Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29.2012

Hello Family and Others,
This week was really cool. I finally got to meet Elder Holland. It was awesome, even though he was basically trying to scare us into never going less active in the church. It was cool though. It just catches you off guard a little bit when he's speaking softly and all of a sudden bursts into yelling. I got to shake his hand though and have him look into my soul through my eyes. And the best part is that he didn't send anyone home.
I also was able to see a bunch of my friends from around the mission on thursday also which was awesome. Especially Elder Fraga. He's awesome. He's like my favorite guy here. What makes it funny though, is that when I was at the airport in Salt Lake with all of the other missionaries departing, Elder Fraga was one of the missionaries that Uncle David pegged as a wiener. Little did he know that he was one of the coolest ones.
That was pretty much the highlight of my week. I did pay a kid ten rand to stuff an entire piece of pizza into his mouth, which doesn't sound too impressing until you know that the pizza was mayo pizza. It was pretty gross. But fun to watch.
The work wasn't too awesome this week. We did meet a few really awesome people. They didn't show up to church though, which sucks. Most of the week though we did a lot of contacting and met a ton of people that just wanted to argue and stuff which I hate. If only they knew what they were missing, but they won't give me a chance to say anything. They are all just content with the church they have, and they won't have anyone tell them anything contrary to it. It's pretty sad, but ok though. At least I'm doing my part.
I love and miss you all. I hope you have an awesome week.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22. 2012

Hello Everyone,
Well I just want you to know that the strangest thing ever happened to me last Monday right after I finished emailing. I went to get a haircut because Elder Holland is coming in a few days, and as the guy was cutting my hair, he reached over with the clippers and cut my eyebrows before I could even react, and then he continued on as if it wasn't strange. It was ridiculous. They're not gone, just really short now. What's even stranger, is that it's actually kind of nice. I'll never do it again probably, but it doesn't feel as weird as I thought it would.
I also had my interview with President Omer this week. I really love that man. He always makes me feel better about how I'm doing as a missionary. I hope I can be like him someday. He's an awesome guy.
On a way less cool note. I got robbed yesterday. In the middle of the day, on a busy street, two thugs snuck up behind us, pulled a knife and took our phone, our wallets, Elder Anyoso's scriptures and our flat keys. So right now I'm sitting in the clothes I wore yesterday because we couldn't get past any of the burglar bars into our flat last night. Amazingly though, they didn't take my backpack which had my camera and scriptures in it. We're ok though, although it really seemed like they wanted to stab Elder Anyoso. They did let me take my home card and my ID out before they they took off though. I asked them if I could have my food card too, but they just cursed at me then left. It was worth a try though.
Hopefully the locksmith will come and change the locks on our flat today so I can change my clothes and everything. Typical Africa  the landlord doesn't have any spare keys and blamed us for not getting copies made. It's ok though.
We did have a good week teaching though. And I have seen a lot of the Lord's tender mercies in my life this week. I just had to look for them.
I love and miss you all. I hope you don't get mugged this week.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15. 2012

Hello Everyone,
This week was a good one so far. We did have a family drop us though. It was pretty sad. Actually really sad. But it's ok. We should have a couple of new families that we will be teaching that seem promising also. I hope it goes well with them.
Conference was awesome. I didn't do as well at preparing for it and coming with questions as I should have. It was still awesome though. I remember when I was small hating conference, and being forced to sit and watch it. But now it's probably the highlight of the last couple of months. It's funny how things like that change. I'm glad that I'm not a Leopard, or I would still hate it. I learned a ton. I do miss watching it at home on the couch though. Spending like 14 hours at the chapel in a single weekend isn't very much fun. On the bright side, however, we did have some investigators that attended the Sunday morning session with us. And we even found some new people to teach that came and seemed really interested. A ton more people showed up than did the last conference too.
We taught some really good lessons this last week and found some pretty awesome people. This week is looking promising as well. I have my interviews with President Omer on Wednesday as well which I am really looking forward to. He's really an awesome guy, and talking to him is the coolest experience ever. He just makes you feel better no matter what's going on. He and his family are awesome.
I'm super excited for the 25 though. That's the day that Elder Holland is going to come and do a Zone conference for all of the Joburg missionaries. It's going to be awesome even though he's incredibly intimidating.
I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for the gospel in my life. Think of how fortunate we all are to have a living prophet and apostles to lead and guide us today. It's so awesome. There are so many blessings that come along with membership in the kingdom, but the greatest is that we have the truth. And it is the truth.
I love and miss you all and hope that you each have an awesome week an a new found resolve to be happy and to love the Lord.
Peace out.
Elder Balmforth 

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8. 2012

This last week has been crazy and awesome. With good and bad, but mostly good.
Transfer meeting was this week. Elder Hansen left to the zone that I was part of in my first area. My new companion is a guy from Kenya named Elder Anyoso. He's pretty cool, and we get along really well (except when he's driving). The area has picked up a lot since he has come here. We taught almost double our normal lessons and picked up a couple of new promising families. I really hope that it goes well. We also teach really well together which is nice. When he's talking I can actually understand where he is going in his though process. I think he likes me as his companion a lot too. He's right up there with my favorite companions (at least so far, but I'll keep my fingers crossed)
I haven't had a chance to watch conference yet. We usually have to wait for the dvd to watch it. But I've heard really good things about it. I can't wait. The cool thing is that I get to watch it this Sunday because Elder Holland is coming to our mission to do our zone conference with us. That means I get to meet my favorite apostle. He's my favorite, but also one of the most intimidating. One of the last times that he came to our mission it was to send a ton of disobedient missionaries home. He lined them all up, shook their hands, looked into their eyes and separated them into three groups. One group he told that they were doing well, and to keep it up. The second group he told that they needed to straighten up and have interviews with the mission president. And the third group, he sent home. He discerned them by just looking into their eyes. It's going to be hard after hearing that story to look into his eyes. I am excited though.
It's been a good week thus far. I love and miss you all have an awesome week.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1. 2012

My companion is leaving tomorrow. It's crazy. I thought I was going to be really excited, I still am, but I'm more scared than anything else. I love and hate transfers, because there is a change, but you never know whether that change is going to be a good one or a bad one. I really hope it's a good one. The worst part about it is that Elder Beenfield, who lives in my flat complex and shares a car with me, is going to be leaving too. Him and Elder Fraga are the best friends that I have here, so I'm glad that they are going to live near by when I go home too.
We only had one investigator at church this week, and we didn't get a lot of lessons taught either because Elder Hansen wanted to go around and get pictures with and his journal signed by a lot of the people in the ward here. We did get some promising new investigators though which is awesome. I hope it goes well with all of them. Just a side note, Jehovah's Witnesses are crazy people.
The only thing that I learned this week, happened as was pondering before I fell asleep one night. I was thinking about prayer, and I realized that I am thinking about it all wrong. I hear people say all the time, and I say all the time to my investigators that we need to actually "talk" to our Heavenly Father, but still I find myself praying in the same pattern, using the same vain repetitions and lacking the feeling and sincerity that make prayer what it needs to be. Sometimes I think that I fall into that trap because I feel bad because of how imperfect I am, and I find it hard to let my true feelings out. I have begun to try (I say try because I'm still not very good at it) and speak with Heavenly Father as I would my own, about things that I feel, things that make me happy and sad, things that I need help with, and things that I'm grateful for. That probably sounds like how everyone describes how to pray, but I think if we were all to imagine the relationships we have with our own fathers, and how much they care for us, imaging how much more your Father in Heaven is willing to patiently and lovingly counsel with.
Anyway, that's all. 
I love and miss you all.
Elder Balmforth