Guest Testimonies

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

catching up: three emails to mom

With the loss of "Typie," Elder Smith has less time to email each week so we haven't received an email written specifically for his blog as he likes to do, but he has given me permission to share his emails to me. Below are excerpts from the last three weeks. 

July 28, 2014
Yo this week’s emailing with all the pictures and stories is really making me feel close to home and I love it! hahah I still can’t stop laughing at how you and Clegg's mom met*, you really are stalker friends ;) hahahaha 
I can’t wait to get those presents and I promise I won't peek! Pinky promise! haha That’s the fun thing is the surprise to make my birthday special! If I peek, then I won’t have as special a birthday! When you’re 9000+ miles away, you need all you can get to make it special! But a couple members have said they’d do fun things so I hope it’ll be a great day! And I’ll make it even greater for Clegg and yes, the package will get to him! And still no peeking;) haha and tell Sis. Youlton thanks from me! :)
Goodbye Elder Stilgoe
As far as transfer news, Stilgoe went to a place called Ennerdale and Graham went to a place called Klerksdorp! Elder Kewuti's new companion is our DL. Elder Bizimana is from Rwanda and he goes home in 4 1/2 months! So Daveyton will possibly be his dying area. He is a sweet guy for sure! Now, for life as a "father" haha Yo I love Elder Clegg!
Hello Elder Clegg
We have mutual friends so that’s cool! And now our parents are mutual friends hahaha But seriously we were wondering just how long it would take for you guys to have dinner or something and there ya have it! What I can say about training: it is mentally exhausting for sure haha.  At the end of the day I am soooo sick of thinking so I appreciate sleep even more :P but man I love it! I love being able to serve him and I’ve ironed his shirt for him every morning so far and I think I want to make it for 3 months. :) He is super willing to work and excited as well! He is a fireball ready to work! Each day he has just leaped from where he was the day previous! I think training is better for me though than for him! He can learn how to be a missionary anywhere but for me, I’m learning how to again be disciplined! I love it! The fact that I set the tone for his mission is very motivating to be exactly obedient! We’ve set a bunch of goals together and so it’s going well! But all his questions and experiences and the things that he prompts me to do are taking me back to the beginning! "This is where we got the job, this is the beginning." hahaha! I love it! And though almost all of our lessons have ditched this week, it’s been successful! Daveyton needed our companionship because we are going to drop a lot of people who just aren’t ready yet. Elder Stilgoe loved them too much to let them go but sometimes you need to give certain people time. At least we can rely on the spirit or else there’d be a tone of mistakes! But that’s training in a nutshell haha!

 I was telling dad how much I appreciate being able to email you guys! Seeing and hearing the joy and hope in your messages really uplifts me! I love it:) I especially loved this part of your RS lesson "They never force righteousness because righteousness must be chosen. They make righteousness discernible to us, and They let us see that its fruits are delicious." Wow how powerful! I love it!
Thank you mom :) I love you and think about you and the family daily and pray for you guys daily as well! I don’t have a ton of time but enjoy your week at Hebgen and I REALLY hope I’ll be able to receive some emails from you this coming Monday :) hopefully you guys can find some WiFi up there :) and look over observation point for me :) I would love a picture of that!
Elder Smith
PS. 1/3 done? Crazy!!!! 8 months and over a year since my call came and was opened!!!!

*Mom's Note: The day after we knew transfers would occur, I got an email saying that someone had commented on Elder Smith's blog, 
"Hey to the family of Elder Smith, from the family of Elder Clegg...the new "son". President Dunn sent us a picture of your son and his name, and I've been looking through blogs to see if I could find him, and I think I did. From what I've been reading, it's a perfect fit and I couldn't be more greatful in advance to your son for teaching mine. My son's blog is"
So of course I had to do some research of my own and I found Elder Clegg's mom's email address.  One thing led to another and of course we had to meet!  

The Mamas
We sent the photo to our sons and surprised them that we knew each other already even before they had told us who their new companions were! 
Elder Smith's reply: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA me and Clegg were talking about how our parents might even meet up one day and: here we are! hahaha How funny! That's awesome! Me and Clegg have huge smiles on right now!"
Take a look at Elder Clegg's blog.  It provides another perspective to serving in Daveyton that I have really enjoyed.  "Tanner Clegg, Called to Serve in Africa"

August 4, 2014
Yo I have very much looked forward to emailing you today! Week 2 as a father is great! Me and Clegg are getting along better and have a ton in common that we discovered last night! Haha it’s now becoming funner and funner! :P I love serving him and ironing his shirt and stuff but I have had to learn to let him serve me! Crazy haha I know but it’s a fun companionship! haha As far as funny food stories go, Clegg doesn’t like pap so he has a long 2 years ahead of him....
Pap (also known as mieliepap) is a traditional porridge/polenta made ground maize (corn.)  It looks like mashed potatoes in the photo above.  They eat it with almost every meal.
I can remember that as well haha but he'll adjust! Hopefully :P 

I have a cool story to tell you but I only want to type it once so you have to show dad too kay?
So on Saturday, I started my fast that I could receive strength to keep my commitments. So it was a nice day Saturday but the cool part happened Saturday night. I had a dream where Elder Clegg and I went to the mission home for a missionary class (idk why but we just did and it made sense in the dream haha) and so we got there and sat down at the table and in walks M. Russell Ballard, Jeffery R. Holland, and Richard G. Scott to teach the class. So they sit down with us and we have a great class learning and laughing! I loved how real they were and how they really cared about our areas when they have a whole world to care about. But anyway, after the class, Sis. Omer (yeah it was Sister Omer instead of Sister Dunn but Pres. Omer wasn’t in the dream) anyways, she gave us glasses of ice water and we went down to the basement to sit on the couch. In walks Pres. Monson and he sits next to me. I greeted him with "Hello Elder" and I was horrified that I just ruined the title of the president of the church! haha He laughed and said "Hello Elder Smith" and we just started talking! I remember looking into his eyes and just seeing pure love and concern! He made me feel like the most important person in the world and I knew he had the love of Christ! But after laughing with him and talking with him, I said "President Monson, I have to thank you." He asked why and I said "Do you remember being in the SLC temple 22 years ago and being sung happy birthday to?" He said "Yes, by Lynn Stephen Richards" and I said "Yes, he was my great-great-grandfather and you sealed my parents in the temple. I wanted to say thank you because now I’m on a mission." haha I’m tearing up right now actually as I type but it was such a great dream! I woke up and just had the biggest smile on my face! I said a prayer to Heavenly Father and just said "Thank you!" :) but it wasn't the end there. When I woke up, I read in 2 Nephi 4 where Nephi glories in the Lord. And as I was reading how Nephi feels wicked, I thought how he really wasn’t and the spirit told me that it was like me! I’m my own worst enemy sometimes but when I can remember who my trust is in and who is guiding me, I can only rejoice and my heart "no longer droop(s) in sin!" It was really cool as I was preparing for the sacrament that morning:) and that was a great sacrament meeting with all the testimonies:) as I took the emblems, I could only say thank you in a prayer! The rest of the day was golden as well and I loved it! I thank you for the strength I was able to feel from your prayers:) THAT is my testimony building experience for the week and possibly whole month of August!! So that was wonderful :) 
Oh also, I had a cool scripture experience in Alma 26:1-8 where you substitute Joburg for Zarahemla and omit "Lamanites." Read it and see. :)  It really is amazing to see how faith is such a big part. Yo it’s hard but this week I’ve really felt I made progress! I love you very much mom! I love your emails and all the love that is jam packed in here! I’ll keep you posted on the b-day package for sure:) Please tell Sis. Youlton thank you for that very much!!! 
 I LOVE YOU!!!! I hope you have a great week!!!!!! And keep your health well :)
Love, Elder Smith :)

August 11, 2014
I need a good smile and laugh and testimony building experience this week in email! Eish, I’m feeling like death but I talked with Sis. Dunn and she’s scheduling me a doctor’s appointment this week. I’ve had this stupid cough for as long as I’ve been with E. Clegg and now last night I got the aches and couldn’t sleep. Plus I have a tingling sensation (not painful) under all of my teeth in my mandible (still pullin' out medical terminology! :) ) E. Clegg must think he got a broken companion.... haha So it’s rough and I don’t feel good at all!  But I push thru to email you!
As far as the families here in Daveyton, I love Daveyton! The people are genuine and even when they’re drunk as all get out, they can be nice to us whites haha!  Except that when they see us they start speaking Afrikaans haha so we have to tell them they’ve got it wrong! haha We have several "favorite members" I guess you could say! The Madumane family feeds us every Thursday and even though there are rats running around the kitchen, we enjoy the time there! They are the nicest I would have to say! I also like the Tsibogo family! The whole family are members but the granddaughter’s fiancĂ© isn’t a member so we teach him and he really digs on the gospel! Hopefully soon they can get married and he can get baptized! Yo and one other of my favorite members is Gogo Mhlanga! (Gogo means grandma) she is 90 years old but can still read small text in the scriptures and still comes to church every Sunday! If I had to compare her to anyone it would most definitely be Grandma Homer! :) The baptism this weekend was mine and Clegg’s!! (Well, the Lord’s haha!)  Nyiko Masiza was baptized by his father! It’s an interesting dynamic here how many kids that should be children of record- or baptized when age 8 - aren’t because the parents want the missionaries to teach them! So they become convert baptisms haha but the baptism was so great! Bro. Eddie (the dad) was so nervous he had to start the prayer over 5 times and baptize 2 times but eventually it was done properly! Yo what a cool thing to be a part of! And askeese, I can’t remember the photo you’re referring to! My mind isn’t working very well… eish I hate being sick! Especially on p-day!!!! :( But then I’d have to say some of the beauty we see here IS the poverty but the smiles on the people faces! They beat the band! As well, we get amazing sunsets and sunrises and the clouds are by far the coolest part! It’s amazing here! Truly beautiful! 

Haha One thing we also have been dealing with this week is something called load-shedding. Since electricity is in short supply in the winter, in all the townships they kill ALL electricity for several hours haha. So that means lessons by candle light and with my torch that we bought that looks like a light-saber!! haha But it adds a unique dynamic because I kid you not, it ALL goes dark! Streetlights, robots (traffic lights), houses haha everything! It’s hectic and we've had to cancel a dinner because of it -______- hahaha not cool!
Mom, I love you so very much! Thank you for your prayers and the wonderful messages you share with me and the hope you inspire in me! I couldn’t do this without you or dad or the Lord! Please keep my health in your prayers and I’ll let ya know how the doctor appointment goes tomorrow! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder David Spencer Smith