Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24. 2012

Sorry, but there's not a ton to write about this week, so this might just be very short.
This week was a little disappointing. Our father led family didn't come to church yesterday. We did have a couple of other investigators there, but I was still pretty disappointed. We also didn't get a chance to meet with them this week either. We did pick up a couple of other families to teach though. I hope it goes well. 
I taught the gospel principles class which I haven't done since I was in Alberton. It went well though. I think people enjoyed it, and hopefully came away edified.
My face is doing a lot better. It's actually almost all the way healed. It has healed crazy fast, it must be because I'm a missionary. My companion on the other hand was riding in front of me on our way to go home through the raw sewage running down the street, when a car pulled out in front of him and he laid down his bike and scraped up his arm in the fecal water. It was pretty nasty, but kind of funny at the same time. I was behind him too so we saw the whole thing. He's ok. He called the mission president's wife to make sure he wouldn't get aids or hepatitis or anything. He should be fine.
Transfers are coming up again. I think my companion is going to leave, I'm kind of excited. We don't work very well together. It's probably me though. 
I love and miss you all.
Elder Balmforth

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19. 2012

First of all I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to email this week. The power was out in my area and so the place we usually email from was out of service.
This week was a pretty awesome week so far though. It started out with a huge group of missionaries playing rugby and volleyball at the mission office which was a pretty awesome pday.
I went on exchange with my district leader's companion this week. It went well except that I ended up burning my face on the stove top. You know when you stand up quickly and end up getting light headed? Anyway, that happened to me as I got up to help my companion who was cooking, and by the time I got the counter I blacked out completely. The next thing I knew I was coming out of it and I was shaking and my face hurt. I didn't know why though, because I couldn't remember anything. I looked in the mirror and there was a bunch of skin scraped off my nose and a big burn on the left side of my face. We pieced together what happened when we found some skin scraped off on the edge of the pot of rice that had been moved off the burner and we found my chin print on the counter. It hurt pretty bad, but is healing up pretty well. It looks like I got in a crazy fight though.
I ended up yelling at a couple of my investigators who just wanted to prove us wrong this week. I felt horrible and apologized before I left and they accepted it. I don't actually think they were offended or anything though in the first place, it seems like they are use to arguing. I still felt really bad though. In my defense though, they were claiming to be apostles, and when I read to them from Acts 10 where it talks about the witness of Christ that all of the prophets have and asked them if they had seen the risen Savior they defiantly answered yes. Their answer made all of my patience and rational thinking go right out the window. I bear witness that the Old Apostolic Church of Africa is false!
On a lighter more fulfilling note, we had an entire father led family at church this week. Isaac, Thutula and their two children. It was so cool. They enjoyed it and the ward did an awesome job at fellowshipping each of them. It was an awesome sight. We have also picked up what I think are some pretty prepared investigators.
I guess the week was pretty even with awesome and lame parts. Overall though, this week I've become a lot more grateful for the blessing that the gospel is in my life. As I sit and watch these people so stubbornly reject something that could help them so much if they only gave it a chance, I feel as though I understand to some minute degree what the Savior must feel all the time as he watches his spirit brothers and sisters reject him. It's so sad. But it has helped me to realize how good we all have it, that we were raised in such a way that we were receptive to the Savior and his teachings.
I love and miss you all and am so grateful for all of you. I hope you have an awesome week.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10. 2012

Hello Everyone,
This week has been a little bit depressing. We only taught a handful of lessons, which was really hard. Not only do I have to explain to my leaders what happened, but I have to feel horrible about it too.
We did get a couple of investigators at church though which was awesome. One of them had an asthma attack in the middle of sacrament meeting though which is kind of lame. I hope it didn't scar her thoughts about how you feel in sacrament meeting. We were supposed to have a family come, but they didn't show up. We went to their home afterward to see what happened, and it turns out they were late and when they got to the church building they couldn't see anyone outside so they went to a different church that they've been to before. It was really sad. They promised that they are going to come early next week though. Their names are Issac and Thutula.
On Saturday we got to take out the mtc missionaries again to go tracting in a place called Pimville, Soweto. I had a kid named Elder Bullock and I'm jealous of his trainer because he's going to be an awesome missionary. He was actually bold and wanted to contact people and wasn't afraid to do it. It was a pretty cool experience.
Elder Hansen and I are doing ok. I'm really sad about the area though. I hope we do better this week. 
I love and miss you all.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3. 2012

This week has been a pretty good one. I got my birthday package from Grandma Balmforth. Spam.. Awesome.. We also have been finding some more families to teach which has been pretty cool. One of them, the Maotwe family, seems to be the most promising out of the bunch. I hope it goes well.
The area that I'm in is one of the closest townships to the mtc, so on Saturdays we have to take out the mtc missionaries to go tracting to build up their confidence and give them a sense of what missionary work is really like. I had 2 new missionaries with me for a couple of hours. It was pretty funny and kind of stressful to watch them try and contact people. It made me think of when I was still in the mtc and was taken out into a township for the first time to contact people. I don't remember exactly how it went, but I do remember being way nervous to talk to people. I probably looked just like these 2 kids did yesterday.
Sometimes it's really hard for me to think anything really positive. Sometimes I feel like I'm not progressing at all, that I'm stuck in the mud just spinning my tires, but this experience with these 2 missionaries changed my point of view a little bit. I have realized a little bit more of why Heavenly Father lets us struggle at times in our lives. If it weren't for my struggles throughout my mission, I wouldn't be the missionary I am now. President Omer told a story of a woman who, in her pursuit to understand the phrase "refiner's fire" went to a metal worker to find out the process by which metal is purified. She watched him as he took some silver full of impurities and held it over a flame. The silver melted as the impurities were burned away. Eventually, the metal worker took pulled the silver away from the flame.The woman asked the metal worker how he knew that the silver was done being purified. The metal worker replied "When I can see my reflection in it." I connected this little story to what I noticed about myself as a new missionary compared to where I am now and have come to the conclusion that this is exactly how(through trials) and why our Heavenly Father subjects us to a refiner's fire daily, until he can see his reflection in each of us.
Anyway, that's what I learned this week. I already knew it a little bit, but it was just reconfirmed to me. I love and miss you all. I hope you all have a great week.
Elder Balmforth