Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30. 2013

Today is officially the last day of this transfer and the beginning of my final transfer as a missionary. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the whole situation. I'm definitely staying in Lenyenye with Elder Dalton to the end which is cool. I don't have to worry about getting a rough companion to finish up with. Some good news is that Elder Msangi is leaving! Hooray. I've never met a harder person to live with and I've lived with him for the last four and a half months. His companion, Elder Ouma, is going to be training for my last transfer so there will be a greenie in the flat. Won't that be fun for him to see someone going home right as he's starting out. I wonder how he'll feel about all of that.
We had our interviews with President Omer this week. It was pretty cool. It was strange to think that it's my last one before my departing interview. He's an awesome guy and I hope that I'm like him someday.
Also Elder Bednar is coming to my mission at the end of this month, but I don't know if we'll be able to go because of some stupid church policy that says that only missionaries that are within two hours drive can attend and we are five hours drive. President Omer has appealed to the area presidency, however, because there are only 18 of us out this far, and the other 150 missionaries would be able to see him. So it's not really fair. I hope we get to go.
This Sunday was incredibly awkward. We had the standard three hour block and a baptismal service afterward. At the baptism though, we found out that the font had been slowly draining until the moment before the baptism so it was below knee depth. The first girl that was baptized went fine except that it looked pretty awkward that she had to go down so far. The second girl however had to be baptized 3 times, because the first time Elder Ouma not only said her name in the wrong order for some reason, but the girl's baptismal outfit filled up with air and didn't go all the way under the water. The second time he said the name correctly but the baptismal clothing still wouldn't go under the water, so the third time we had to have her sit down in the water, and lay down to be baptized. It was incredibly awkward. I can only imagine how she felt. Then as the baptismal program was ending and everyone was filing out of the chapel, the family history representative for the branch stood up and ordered everyone to sit back down so he could talk about how they should be doing family history. My companion turned to me and asked "Does he have authority to do this?" I doubt that he did, but this is Africa, and in six weeks I don't have to see that ever happen again. It's hard to describe in an email, but it was quite an awkward sight.
Our attendance at church was alright though, even though it was raining pretty hard. The rain was a welcome substitute for the scorching heat though, which has been making everyone pretty miserable. It was over 100 degrees plus humidity the past few days. I've never sweat so much from just standing in my life. It's going to be weird to go home to snow from the blistering heat. I don't know how I'll be able to adjust.
Anyway, I love and miss you all and will see you all sooner than you know. I hope you're prepared.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23. 2013

Another week has passed. I now only have seven more weeks as a missionary. How crazy is that? Then Dad and Grandpa will be here to pick me up. I found out this week that I'll most likely be home on the evening of 17 November. I'm so excited to see everyone. I heard that Josh Miller came home a few weeks ago and that means that I'm the next one.
This week has been strange. We began teaching some new people who seem promising. At least if we can get them over the whole "any church is OK, as long as you pray God," and yes they say it like that.
A lot of the regulars that we meet with ditched us quite a bit this week, and my companion and I both have had just a general feeling of discouragement about the work lately. But we're still moving on. We have interviews with President Omer this week on Wednesday, and that should help I think. I always feel much better about my life after speaking with him. And hopefully I'll be able to find out from him if this will be my final area of if I'll be transferred one last time. It's kind of up in the air right now. Hopefully he'll let me in on what the Lord has planned for me a little bit early.This transfer ends October 1. So we'll see what happens.
I love and miss you all.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16.2013

This week has been relatively slow, just like the last one. The only eventful thing that has happened is that our water was shut off by the city, because apparently we are 6000 rand past due on our payments. But they have been paid, they're just claiming that they haven't. But it's OK, we found a way to beat the system, we've just been showering at and taking water from the gym within our neighborhood. 
Also, there is this little girl named Tebogo, who is the daughter of one of our investigators, who during one of our lessons found a bottle of snake poison and managed to drink it. She started to have an allergic reaction and the lips and tongue began to swell and she was vomiting so we gave her a priesthood blessing and rushed her to the hospital because they didn't have a car and it was already late at night. She is alright now. Good as new, but she had to spend the night in the hospital for observation. Bad girl. Actually, that happened last week, I had just forgotten to write about it.
That's about it. I love and miss you all.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9. 2013

This week was a good one except that somehow I caught another cold. It sucks but everything else was pretty awesome.
Last Monday Elder Dalton and I went to a Crocodile ranch for a tour. And since we were the only two people there the tour guide took us right down to the crocodiles to feed them. It was awesome. The tour guide was pretty crazy too. At one point he found a piece of PVC pipe and started poking the biggest crocodile they had in the face with it trying to make it mad. The whole time taunting it. It reminded me of that scene in Joe Dirt where he's doing the alligator show smoking a cigarette. It was just like that except with a black guy instead of a redneck.
We also had a zone meeting this week which was pretty lame, but afterward I went on an exchange with Elder Ouma. The same Elder Ouma that I lived with in Molepolole. It was pretty fun. He got to rant a little bit about how crazy his companion is. I already knew that though. I like him a lot. He's a good guy.
One night also as I was climbing into our truck to go to another appointment, I noticed that as I turned our headlights on there was an old woman standing up and peeing in front of the truck and she was so close that I could tell that she was well hydrated. It's a horrific image that is impossible to erase from your mind. 
Something really cool that happened, however, was an experience that we had with one of the families that we are teaching. The mother of the mother in the Kashira family lives in the UK and is a member of the church. One of the members of her ward from the UK is named Janet Taylor and is currently serving as a senior missionary in the genealogy center in the Johannesburg area office. Janet is good friends with the mother in the UK and has sponsored the family at times in their life but has never met them and we arranged to help them meet this last Saturday. It was pretty cool to see how excited they were. I think it helped with our teaching relationship as well.
Over all it was an interesting week. I love and miss you all. Have a good week.
Elder Balmforth