Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27. 2012

Hello everyone,
So I finally got transferred!.. Now I'm right in the middle of Soweto. There are a ton of different areas in Soweto because it's like the biggest township in all of South Africa, but I'm in Soweto, Soweto which is like the original ward here. It's way cool, the chapel we use is a stake center so it's huge and nice and we have a relatively functional ward which is nice too. I also have a car in this area, but only half the time. The other half I'm on bikes again, which I forgot how much it sucks to in dress clothes. It's OK though.
My companion's name is Elder Hansen, and he's from Norway. He's a pretty cool kid, except that he's not from America. Yes, I make fun of him for that a lot.
That's the good stuff about the area, but it feels as though I'm almost starting over in my last area again because there is like no teaching pool at all, and my companion doesn't know anyone in the ward even though he's been here 3 months already. It's basically like we're white washing it. I really have no idea what the missionaries here before were doing. The area book is horrible too. It's a little  frustrating. We'll see what we can do though.
We have made contact with some pretty awesome father led families though. We've yet to teach them, but I have hope for them. We're also shifting our approach from just tracting and contacting to work with the families in the ward more (as we begin to figure out who some of the members actually are). We'll probably come in contact with less people, but I think the people we do find will be stronger. Plus, I'll get fed more. I'm determined to have an area where I get fed a lot, so I'm working on it.
Sorry for not sending anymore pictures, I forgot my camera today. But, I do love and miss you all. Thank you for all the emails.
Peace out.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20. 2012

Hello everyone,
Yes, I'm finally getting transferred. I'm having a lot of mixed emotions about it though. It's turning out to be a lot harder than I initially thought that it would be. I thought that I was ready but as I tried to say goodbye to everyone I realized how unready I really am. There is this family named the Mejes who we are teaching, and the mother, Rachel, cried the whole last couple of days that I've been here. She fasted and prayed that I would stay and get transferred, but she stopped because she said she was answered that other people needed me elsewhere. The coolest and funniest part about this whole situation is that she named her new born child after me. Awesome, I know.
I'm excited to be leaving though still. This area has been really hard for me, especially training. My comp has been really hard for me to deal with a lot of the time. He's a good guy, we're just not the same at all. I have no idea where I'm going, but I hope that I get to go up to Botswana. The mission has been having a lot of trouble with getting residency for the missionaries who are up there so I think that there might be a good chance of me going because a lot of the missionaries there are having to come down. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed.
Today we went to chameleon village, a place where you barter for African things that was really cool. I ended up mostly trading stuff that I had that I don't use. All you really have to do is say "I brought this from America" and the people jump all over it. The people in the little market are crazy con artists though. I bought this traditional African shirt for some slacks and R150, but he originally started out trying to get me to pay R1500 for it. 
Anyway, I forgot the cord for my camera or I would have sent more pictures. 
I love and miss you.
Peace out.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13. 2012

Hello Everyone,
This week in Munsieville was a good one. Actually I didn't really get to spend very much time there at all, but a lot of the time there was really good.
Monday was P-day, Tuesday was zone conference, Tuesday evening to Thursday morning I was on exchange with one of my Zone Leaders in Rustenberg, and Friday was district meeting. So I only really got to spend a couple of days in our area. It was really cool though.
Last night, since it was my birthday yesterday my district came and slept at my flat and we played scum and ate cake and took some crazy pictures. They take a really long time to load so I'm sorry if I cant get very many of them on here before my time runs out.
Some of our investigators named Mandla and Jennifer made me a birthday dinner last night which was awesome by the way. It was Dombolo (steamed bread), with some kind of beef stir fry, cabbage, chakalaka, and pumpkin. It was awesome.
One of our promising investigators named Kgotatso, went around with us to a few of our appointments. It was awesome. He gets bummed our when we can't come more often or when we have to leave because he loves learning about the gospel. He's awesome, and even though he has had some hard times getting his family to be OK with him coming to church, he is still hanging in there strong.
There is also a mother named Charlotte and her 20 year old son Treasure that we are teaching who this week as we were teaching them about the priesthood and the restoration got way excited and asked us to meet the prophet so they could get baptized. It was pretty funny and it was really cool to see someone that excited.
Oh on Monday we went to the rhino and lion park again with some of my district and it was pretty cool. We played with the baby lions again. It's a really cool place, but you can tell that it's in Africa because even the fences dividing us from the full size lions are old and rusty and it's just like one chain link fence that you can get within inches of the lion if you wanted too. We were so close that if we ran along the fence, the lions would chase us like they were stalking their prey. The grown up ones not the little ones. It was crazy. I took some videos but I don't think I can send them from this computer. I don't know if the pictures are going to be very good quality either.
It also snowed this week at zone conference in bedfordview. It was crazy. It wasn't just a little bit either. It was a ton. It was ridiculous.
I love you all and thank you for all of the happy birthday wishes. I hope you each have an awesome week.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6. 2012

Hello Everyone,
Elder Balmforth here. Thank you all for all of the pre birthday
wishes. I really appreciate it. This week has been really hard, and we
haven't taught as many lessons as we usually do, but we have made a
lot more progress than I usually feel that we do. Our teaching pool is
full of awesome people, but they all have their own unique obstacles
to overcome before accepting the gospel. It's so frustrating
sometimes. I see all of these people, some happy and some not so
happy, but all could be so much happier if they lived the gospel.
Sometimes I get my hopes up and get way excited when there is the
sligtest progress made. I just want to tell everyone the blessings of
the Book of Mormon, and the Church, and the Temple but we have to
start from the beginning so that people understand, and when people
don't let us get to the blessings that they could have it makes me
really sad. We keep going though.
We have been teaching this woman named Charlotte for a couple of weeks
now, going slow because our schedule is so tight and we always need to
arrange for another member to be with us, but we finally got through
the restoration yesterday and it was awesome. Her and her son Treasure
who is like 20 or something were so involved with the lesson. And as
we closed and used some verses from the Book of Mormon as we bore our
testimonies I could tell that the spirit was truly carrying our words
unto the hearts of the children of men. It was awesome and it was
confirmed with their explanation and understanding of how the spirit
works to answer our prayers.
Yesterday our fast and testimony meeting was actually really good.
Usually it is the most stressful day on mission because you just sit
there next to your investigators and pray that no one says anything
stupid, but one of our investigators actually got up and bore an
awesome testimony. It was also really cool because President Omer and
his wife showed up out of nowhere for the meeting. I'm really glad
that we had investigators there.
One thing that I learned this week, which is probably one of the most
valuable things that I think someone could ever learn. I'm still
trying to really learn it. But it is that it is better to light a
candle, that to curse the dark. You may have heard it before, but it
was new to me.
I love and miss you all so much. Thank you for all the birthday
wishes, letters, support and everything.
Elder Balmforth

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 30.2012

Hello Everyone,
This week has been really crazy, and I don't have like any time to reply to emails or anything, so I'm sorry that this will be short.
This week has been really hard. We have picked up a crazy awesome new investigator. His name is Isaac, but he's very prepared I think. He's 21 and is doing very well and actually does the things that we invite him to do. He's awesome. Lucky moved away and doesn't have a phone so we have no idea where he really is, I hope he shows up again. One of our most promising investigators' status in the country turned out to not be legal and so we're not going to be able to baptize him until he goes home to Zim, and gets everything legal. It may take a long time, which kind of hurt when I found out.
We have a family that we're teaching whose names are Mandla and Jennifer who are so promising, but who are turning out to be a real challenge since they are so involved in their own church. If you pray for anyone, pray for them.
I'm so excited to move to a new area. It's really likely that I'll be leaving in the next couple of weeks because I'm going to be done with training my son. It's going to be awesome to not have someone looking to me for an answer and have all of the weight of an area on my shoulders alone for a change. It's been good though. I really have learned a lot in this area. We've continued to work hard even thought it's been really difficult without much result. I'm doing my best to stay positive though.
I love and miss you all.
Elder Balmforth