Guest Testimonies

Monday, September 29, 2014

the life of a GOAL-ie

Elder Tony- GOALie
               Ekse fedi, yizo re kaofela! Ey eye y kasi life is too nice! And yes mom, this IS the fastest way to lose any knowledge of proper English and grammar ;) Haha so get your red pens out and get ready to correct cause here comes the blog of the week  :) (Mom’s Note: Just for the record, I have not corrected, or even mentioned, his grammar once in the last 10 months.  I guess he’s just emotionally scarred from the 19 years previous… )

             I guess first things first: the name of the blog has changed into something that I feel is far more appropriate! Not that “tha’s ‘bout it” wasn't good but this is better!

Elder Clegg
                “The life of a GOALie” better describes what is going on here in the life of Elder Smith :) Here’s my explanation and the story leading up to it: So during weekly planning and inventory this week, Elder Clegg was able to give me some solid advice on how I could be better! And that included the personal goal of actually writing down my goals.  This would make it so that I could be more accountable to something as well as be able to put it on my wall so I can look at it! So I did just that but as I was trying to be creative and name it something cooler than just “goals”, I saw out of the corner of my eye some lacrosse pictures that my family sent me!  *inspiration moment*
I thought about all the great life lessons I’ve learned from lacrosse, all the growth, all the sports analogies used to explain the gospel, as well as all the fun and I knew my title had to be lacrosse related. Luckily, the inspiration kept going and the best position in the game actually has the word in it: GOALie! And so there ya have it:  this blog is about a lacrosse goalie who is serving a mission and trying to become a consecrated missionary by setting goals- The life of a GOALie!
                I’m very amazed at and grateful for the events that transpired in order to lead me to this new frame of mind and motivation for achievement. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers because this is the answering of many recent prayers! The event that started the chain reaction was so simple and I think that is what makes it that great! So let me start by saying how much I love, admire, and respect my companion, Elder Clegg. On Wednesday he gave me a small torn card with a little quote on it from Pres. Uchtdorf and it said “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.” Man, that hit home as I remembered this talk from conference! I asked if he had the whole talk and of course he did! Before I go any further, I urge everyone who reads this post to read that talk! But it talks about the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. As he was building the walls of Jerusalem, he was tempted to come down but knowing the danger, he refused with the phrase “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down” (Neh 6:3). President Uchtdorf then goes on to explain how we need to be careful to keep our attention on the things that matter most! And despite temptation and distractions, we need to remember that we are “doing a great work and cannot come down.” What a great reminder!! It’s what I needed to read right at that moment and I thank Elder Clegg for listening to the promptings of the spirit :)  It led me to desire to write my goals down and if you read the above paragraphs, you know the story! So anyways now we’re at the lacrosse junction. I know it’s a blessing that I got those pictures! Cause now, not only can I show people that rugby and soccer aren’t the best
 BUT I can also have a reminder that I am goalie, I’m (Elder) Tony, I’m a GOALie. So each of my missionary planners from here on out will have a picture of CH Lax and a picture of the Savior as my reminders! See how the Lord works in many small and simple ways to bring about the salvation of His children? How oft will he gather us? Amazing :) Ahh the gospel is true!
                As far as events go, this week has been pretty sweet and not nearly as crazy as last week- haha. No near stabbings or funerals but just great missionary work and spiritual growth! We have been able to help several people come closer to Christ than they may have been last week and that makes all the difference! Oliver is one of those people and his is an exciting story! He is preparing for baptism on the 12th of October and so we have been teaching him all the lessons and this past week we have focused on the commandments. When Oliver heard the law of chastity he took out his earrings and he hasn’t worn them since. When he heard the Word of Wisdom, he said “oh I already live like that!” This guy is sweeeeeet! Haha it’s been such a blessing to find him through Lesedi (one of our ward missionaries), begin teaching him, and be able to see him baptized in 2 weeks! What a blessing! This week we also got to go on exchanges, have Zone Meeting,

Elder Smith made this cake from items sent from home.
celebrate the Daveyton birthdays (Clegg, Myself, Ronnie, Shimi, Nature, and Sipho) with a cake from home,

and I even had the privilege of doing the confirmation of Bro. Excellent Mavodze in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday! How can you complain about such a week!? I guess the only sad thing is the high-ish potential I have to leave this area on Oct. 14 :(  I’ve been in Daveyton 5 months now and so things are looking like I might leave :( BUT, we never know, I could stay for 7 ½ and remain with Clegg or something but either way I shall “Act upon this land as for years” (D&C 51:16-17).
                It’s been a fun week and a fast one as well! Too many great things happening here in Msanzi. I am now double digits in my mission age and that’s ridiculous! Clegg and I only have 2 weeks in the transfer and time doesn’t seem to be slowing! But until next Monday, Salani Kahle :)
-Elder David Spencer “Tony” Smith

It's all about the dogs this week...

He loves his lollies!  Thanks Sue Greene :)
"Fast Food"  It's not exactly McDonald's but it's a great little place to grab a Kota!
Kota! = Kasi sandwich made from a hollowed out kota (or quarter) of a loaf of bread stuffed with fried chips (French Fries), boerewors (SA sausage), Russian Sausage, Vienna Sausage, fried polony (bologna sausage), atchar (pickled veg & fruit) and sauce.  Yum.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Even in the face of very apparent danger, if we stick up for what we believe we will be okay. (A multimedia presentation!)

               Here’s Elder Smith coming right at ya with his own typie! Haha I don’t know what I did to deserve such a great gift for my birthday but I hope that the words that I will be able to put into my weekly letters will be able to make this gift well worth it! But wow! What a hectic week! Both great and…less great happened to us this week and so buckle up, grab your popcorns (yes, multiple popcorns, that’s how we do it here ;) ) and enjoy the week in this unique day-by-day perspective (something happened almost every day so here we go!)
                Monday: since I’ve been sick for 9 weeks, Sis. Dunn and I decided that it was about time that I recovered and got well. So I had an appointment Monday morning at the doctor office with the concern of whether or not I had TB… its prevalent enough here in SA and I have been coughing for 9 weeks so it’s only natural (but stressful, can you imagine? Eish it was a trip). So anyway, Dr Van Niekerk was telling me that I could get a chest x-ray, skin test, or even an expensive fluid test but he didn’t think that I had it so at first I felt good. But then when he was checking me out and getting vitals, he got stern and suggested: “I think you’d better get a chest x-ray.”  “Oh great, that’s what you said I needed if you thought I had TB” is the thought that went thru my head as I went across to the radiology room to get my x-rays. So that’s what I got to stress about until 3:30 p. when I saw him again that same day (keep in mind that I had to spend my precious p-day hours doing all this stuff). Luckily, he examined the x-ray and said I don’t have TB but that if I take these prescriptions, I’ll be a better man. Sign me up! I’ll be a better man! Haha well, what he didn’t mention is that like in the Ekurhuleni municipality, there was like no pharmacy that had these pills :/ and I got to spend 1.5 hours driving around finding no luck (still on p-day.. haha) luckily, thanks to the help of an amazing mission mom, I was able to get my medicine! And so I’m TB free and on the way to being a “better man”. This crazy Monday set the tone for the rest of the week!
                Tuesday: well, time to add to the list of crazy events. And as I relate the beginning of our proselyting time, keep in mind that no matter how stupid it may sound as you read it, this was extremely scary. So remember Samuel from my last 1 or 2 posts? The super prepared guy that bore his testimony at his first time at church? And stopped smoking and drinking after reading the pamphlet? Well we went to visit him and here is what happened to the best of my memory (maybe check Clegg’s version if I miss any details). We walked in and it was Samuel and his friend sitting in the main room. So we greeted (the friend only spoke Sotho at this point) and sat down to begin our visit. He seemed caught off guard and told us that he was expecting a call for our next appt. even though the time we were there was the appointment we had set with him. So we offered to reschedule when he would be ready but he said, “no don’t waste energy since you’re here we can pray.” Now, normally I would have been like, “okay sweet, we get to teach another lesson!” but for some reason my mouth just started talking and again asked if we could reschedule and come another time (not knowing what we would do in the meantime). And for the 2nd time he insisted that we sit and stay. So then I asked who would pray for us and it was like someone flipped a switch and Samuel’s whole attitude changed. He asked, “how did Jesus Christ teach His apostles to pray?” and so we tried to answer but were cut off by another, more strict “HOW did Jesus Christ teach His apostles to pray!?” and this process repeated about 4-5 times as each time he didn’t listen to us but got more aggressive and started throwing pamphlets on the table. This is when I got the sickest feeling in my stomach but more on that later. His friend now chimed in and started speaking Sotho so we didn’t know what he was saying (add that stress and worry) but Samuel got up and went into the other room to fill up a glass bottle with water. Anyway, he came back in, slammed the bottle on the table and went and shut and bolted the door shut. Now here is the reason for the sickness in the stomach: I realized that 1-we were now locked in the house of a 2-man who has been in/out of prison and 3-is getting mad and aggressive and thanks to the slamming of the bottle on the table, 4-there is an open knife on the table… for those of you who don’t know a lot about SA, knives are worse than guns; especially in the hands of a aggressive ex-con. So for what felt like an eternity, my stomach was in knots. Only 2 times previous have I felt that way and they were both when a gun was involved. So after this eternity of being fearful, I realized that I didn’t need to be! We weren’t doing anything wrong and we were simply here to proclaim a message of hope; so why did I lose my hope!? I realized that fear and faith aren’t the same thing so I changed  my fearful prayers (you’d better believe I was praying from the start) into faithful prayers and I felt the fear in my stomach just  go away. There are promises given to us as missionaries and I’ve seen the evidence of guardian angels many times in my 9 months here so I knew I had no reason to fear what would happen but to have faith that the Lord would deliver us from any harm. So now that the fear was gone but the adrenaline was still very up, Clegg and I were communicating via looks and it was clear that both of us were trying to find a way out. During this whole time, Samuel and his friend are just spitting the most false doctrine and getting mad at us for “lying” to him about how Jehovah isn’t Jesus Christ and that its really God and how we shouldn’t pray to him cause he gets annoyed and how Jehovah taught how we can drink but not get drunk and all this JW doctrine * (see * below.) But Clegg has the stroke of genius to hand me the phone with a message typed in Spanish “vamos?” (I thought this was very wise because they could’ve grabbed our phone and if they read it and understood, who knows what they would have done but they didn’t know Spanish.) So now me and Clegg were on the same page and I had the phone and an idea. So as I’m keeping eye-contact with Samuel and his friend, (who are both drunk we’ve figured out….didn’t they just say “drink but not get drunk?” Anyways…) I am sending “Please Call” requests to Daveyton 2 like crazy! And then I put the phone in my pocket and waited for the return call. Again, another eternity has passed but the phone finally rang! I pulled it out of my pocket and answered and pulled the biggest fake call I could muster haha! I made it sound like the other missionaries were in trouble and that, since we had the car, could we come get them now-now (South African slang for “immediately!”) (Poor Elder Melese was pretty confused on the other end of the line haha). So Clegg and I picked up our bags and walked right out and without a return appointment but with Samuel saying “I’ll come to church and testify of the truth.” Alright buddy, you do that. At least we were out! We then went to the other guys and told Elder Bizimana (the District Leader) what happened and then called President Dunn and told him as well. CRAZY! And it sounded so crazy and even dumb every time we retold the story but eish, at least from my side, it was super scary. And upon reflection, I was trying to think about what the Lord could have been teaching me in that situation and these are the things I got: He was teaching me that “faith is the antidote for fear!” and that I have no need to fear when we have many things on our side protecting us! It was almost like a 2 Kings 6:15-18 Kasi edition! He was also teaching me about courage to stand up for the truth! Even in the face of very apparent danger, if we stick up for what we believe we will be okay. There was a time where I didn’t really stick up for what I believed and that moment still pains me today. It has moved me to greater courage to stand up and let my light shine and be an example and all those things. During the course of being yelled at for “lying” to Samuel, there was a big temptation to be apologetic and deny the things we taught. I mean this guy was angry and if you’ve been to prison here you know how to use a knife; pretty big temptation right? But the painful memory came to my mind and I knew that I could not deny what I knew to be true. So during the course of this “lesson”, if you can call it that, I did not deny the truth that I knew and believed. We bore testimony that what we had taught him was what we knew and believed to be the truth and reminded him that we had simply invited him to pray! So reflecting upon that period of time made me glad and gave me strength in knowing that if we stick up for what we know, we can and will speak with the tongue of angels, or by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And all throughout the rest of the week, I’ve been lucky enough to see how the lessons the Lord taught me on Tuesday were and are preparing me for bigger and possibly tougher situations; here goes nothing!
*We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. –A of F #11
                Wow, Tuesday was a long day and that whole deal only lasted 45 min. Haha! Anyway moving on!
                Wednesday: actually nothing huge happened on Wednesday except the Lord gave us a huge opportunity to serve! We had a fairly normal day and were coming off a super sweet 6:00 lesson where this new family had kept their commitments to pray about the Book of Mormon! It was sweet cause they’ve noticed the difference around their yard since we’ve been coming and they’ve been reading! So we were happy and we were going to finish our day by visiting a less active family, the Mabodlas, that lives in a far part of our area called Chris Hani. When we got there, we found out that their son had passed away and was being buried on Saturday. Elder Clegg shared a wonderful scripture in Mosiah 16:6-9 about how the sting of death is swallowed up because of the Atonement! It was a very comforting spirit that accompanied his words and testimony.  :)  We were very blessed to have been able to have the kilometers to visit this family and find out about this tragedy because no one from the ward knew about it at that point but luckily the tender mercies of the Lord are on all of His children! So we were able to report that to the bishop and get the most help for this family.
              Thursday: now Thursday was the promised day!!! Why? Because the Zone leaders came and I got my medicine! As well as my birthday package!!!!!!!! =D =D =D 
The Birthday Package!
          Eish, it killed me to have to wait till I got home to open it but I made it and thankfully I was able to push it out of my mind during lessons haha. I was extremely overwhelmed at the size of it, overwhelmed that the Youlton family would be so amazing to bring it all the way from West Jordan for me, :) and even more overwhelmed at the presents inside!! And what was more meaningful than the items themselves was the thought and love that went behind EVERY single one of them! Typie; rechargeable batteries for my camera; A USB with music, Mormon messages, photos and conference talks; USB recorder for blog posts and music recording :) ; toooooo much food stuffs (birthday cake mix, stuffing, CAPN CRUNCH!!, seasonings and sauce mixes)!!!! Haha and American sweets (jolly ranchers, lifesavers, Werthers, Sees pops, and Sue Greene’s lollys! Thank you!!)!!! Plus it was really funny to see Elder Bizimana (from Rwanda) eat Pop Rocks and to see his face haha :) I also got stuff to make a belated birthday party; (balloons, candles, and a sign that reminds me that I’m 20!) as well as a Frisbee from dad; personal lax ball from Lou; amazing drawing from Bekah; Liahona magazines; guitar pics; lacrosse stickers; lax pictures so people can see what sport I play haha; my Nike hoodie; and my work gloves for when we give service. I can’t believe how spoiled am! Now you can see why I was overwhelmed! And again I just have to point out how there was personal meaning behind each of those gifts! And the ones that probably brought the most love were the pictures and thoughts from my family! I got 36 minutes worth of mission stories from my dad! I got a picture of the Savior! I got a picture of Grandpa Richards and me the night before I left for SA with the caption “companions” because he is watching my back :) THANK YOU! NGIYABONGA! REALEBOGA! Is there a bigger word that Thank you? Does it mean more in Zulu or Sotho? Either way I am very thankful  :) It was so much more than I could have asked for and it definitely made my Thursday GREAT!  Thank you to Brother and Sister Youlton for making that birthday package happen.  :)

                Friday: THE coolest experience! Especially coming off listening to my dad’s story about being arrested in France and then giving away 4 copies of the Book of Mormon! You’ll have to listen to the audio recording from my USB for the story :) We’re getting crazy adding sound dynamics to the blog! Haha!  It truly was the coolest!! Ahh the Lord is Great! This gospel is true!! Now go listen! Oh and Gogo Mhlanga signed the papers for her house to be the new meeting place for the church in Daveyton East (Chris Hani, Sgodi, etc)!!
                Saturday: Today was a great chance for us to give more service as well as have a new cultural experience known as the African funeral. We were all 4 able to go to the Mabodla’s son’s funeral and I’m glad we did because we were the only ones from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were there. Even though we were late, we still got to give our love and love from the bishop and ward as well as help with the dishes! Haha- There is a lot of food served for everyone at funerals here so there were a ton of dishes!! All hand washed in tubs out back by the missionaries :)  Haha! We had fun and we hope it helped the family by taking it off their minds. Maybe they’ll decide to come back to church! Saturday we also got rain and lightning so it was just super cool! The rain is probably my favorite part of the summer!!
                Sunday:  Ahh the Sabbath day :) My favorite day of the week for sure! Being able to go to church and be spiritually recharged for the upcoming week is soo necessary! And I’m glad I’ve been able to learn that here because I’ll take that home with me and keep the importance of Sunday in my mind. We had the amazing experience of 3 baptisms in Daveyton 2!  Thoriso and Kewaka Molefa and Excellent Mavodze were baptized today and the service was very nice and the spirit very strong as we got to witness these people commit to follow Christ for the rest of eternity! Its times like this that make me excited for 1-being a missionary but also for 2-knowing that if we endure to the end after priesthood ordinances, we can live with God again! Is there a greater reward? Is there anything more we can do during our 4 minutes? (“Your Four Minutes” –Bishop Gary E. Stevenson) Remember that we’ll have eternity to look back! Let’s look back on a gold medal performance :)
                WHEW! There is the week for ya! Haha pretty long eh? It was a great week and I’m now looking forward to a great p-day and even better week! Haha I’ve got some cracks on my grammar (or lack thereof) so I hope this makes sense! Haha I already know there are spelling errors and grammatical inconsistencies but what else is new? I haven’t spoken proper English since I got here and I’m proud of it! :P Haha! I love you guys :) Carry on back home and remember to follow the spirit in ALL things! God indeed IS in the details of our lives! :) 
Love, Elder David Spencer “Tony” Smith
                PS. I LOVE YOU MOM AND DAD! :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

"I am an African ... because my soul is at home in Africa"

 (This post was sent on Monday, September 15, 2014)

“This is the new South Africa, where we can live together!” 
             ~Nice man on the street where we were contacting

I am an African
Not because I was born there
But because my heart beats with Africa’s
I am an African
Not because my skin is black
But because my mind is engaged by Africa
I am an African
Not because I live on its soil
But because my soul is at home in Africa
~Wayne Visser
(See the full text of this poem here.)

This week has been a great one!  Again, full of miracles and full of learning! We had zone conference and it was pretty dope if I can use that word to describe a zone conference. Haha! In all reality though, it was wonderful and uplifting and we learned a lot; at least I did. This whole week has been about learning! Whether it was in a conference or in the area, this week has helped me to continue growing as a servant of the Lord and as a lifelong disciple of Christ :)

                Some of the miracles we have been experiencing are continuations of miracles! Elder Clegg and I have been trying our hardest to be the most obedient we can be and we think (hope) that that is why we are seeing such great success in our area! Many of the less-active members' hearts are being softened as they desire to come back to church and keep commitments, our investigators are feeling the spirit more and more and are seeing the fruits of planting and nourishing their own seeds of faith! One investigator, Sis. Anna, told us that she knows the Book of Mormon is true! It’s extremely cool to see her drive to come to church! As the investigator, she is more so the driving force in getting the family to church than her husband (who is a less active member but still a sweeeet guy.) Another miracle this week occurred during a lesson with one of our investigators on date to be baptized. We planned to teach Oliver the law of chastity but were concerned because of the slight language barrier that exists because he can’t always comprehend gospel words/topics in English. Luckily, his friend and our ward missionary Lesedi was able to translate into Pedi (a Setho dialect) when we needed it and Oliver not only understood and committed to live it but liked what it was about and agreed with it! We’re talking a 21 yr old guy living in the kasi (South African slang for ghetto) who agrees with the law of chastity! Miracle! Haha! Oliver is truly converted and it is our privilege to be a part of his acceptance of the gospel!
Homes and a playground in Daveyton
Daveyton homes are 1-2 rooms with concrete floors
and corrugated tin roofs.

                But now for the update from Zone conference!! It’s lacrosse camp again!  I’ve used this analogy 3 times now but it’s still the best way I can describe the feelings that I feel as I am able to learn from President and Sis. Dunn and the Assistants. It was a different dynamic than in the past but it was still good! We had a lesson on the Book of Mormon and its role in conversion from Pres. Dunn and that was eye opening! We were able to see the promises that are contained as we use the Book of Mormon and the spirit in our teaching! Simple things such as reading passages with people enable them (and us) to feel the spirit and power associated with Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It reminds me of the cool scripture in Alma 31:5 about the power of the Word of God! Haha I’m not going to quote it so you guys can have the chance of looking it up yourselves and seeing how cool it is! After that great lesson we were then split up by zones into different “workshops”. We first went to sis. Dunn’s about being FIT for the kingdom”. It was a really cool presentation on how we can all be a little better at using our 30 min to exercise each morning! It was nice not feeling guilty since we’ve been running for the last 3 months; as well, feeling good and healthy is probably the biggest plus. Then we went to the AP’s workshop which was probably my favorite! “What to do when there’s nothing to do” helped us to find activities to do when we have “nothing to do” (ie. Appt falls thru, current finding method isn’t working, etc). I say this was my favorite because I really like the focus on using The Lord’s time wisely and not wasting it! It was really cool, we found out that after taking out the time for: food, preparing, studying, meetings, sleep, p-day, and travel we really only have 6 ½ months worth of opening our mouths proclaiming the gospel! Haha time to get working! We got a lunch break where we got a nice lasagna from the senior couple missionaries (THANK YOU!!!!!) and then we went to our last workshop given by Pres. Dunn about engaging with members. It was cool because we talked about the basic mechanics of cogs. (yes, Elder Allen and I did quote The Incredibles) we talked about “mesh-inary work” and how we as fulltime missionaries can mesh better with the members to help the work progress further! After the Workshops we had a Q&A from the ZLs and played a PMG game to kinda build unity and end on a fun note. It was definitely different than I am used to but it was great! It’s nice to look back on the zone conferences with the Omers and to see how much I learned and then look at the current setting and KNOW that the Lord has called the Dunns for this time and for us as individuals! One quote that I love on my companion’s wall is a picture of small flowers with the caption “He is in the details” and He truly is! I feel that the sooner we are all able to learn that better, life will cease to be as stressful and rather we will learn how to become more like Him. And that’s what life is all about: learning! Whether its lacrosse camp, zone conference or just plain life we are here to learn! And don’t worry, we can smile and have fun while we’re doing it :) That’s where I am thankful that Elder Allen’s zone and Elder Graham’s zone were with us so we could chill and have fun joking again. To end, ZC was dope!
                On a sweet lacrosse/mission/adult life note, we adopted a new mission maxim of “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” And in the AP’s workshop we talked about not being discouraged about past events. Do both of those sound familiar to my fellow CH laxers? “First time, every time” and “it is what it is” –two of the greatest sayings from the man that I have come to admire more and more as I go thru life as an adult, Coach Matt Evans. We didn’t see it as high school punks goofing off at practice or during the bus trips or even during the weeks of running and running and then running even more as punishment for not running enough the first two times. But now, I see clearly that Coach Evans was preparing us for real life. It is what it is! Deal with it and learn from it and move on towards greater things! And first time every time! If you’re gonna do something, do it right instead of doing it again. Nobody likes excuses in lax as well as in real life! So I guess this note is just my way of saying thanks coach :)
Elder Clegg's birthday was 3 days before Elder Smith's!  They
helped make each other's birthdays fun and memorable.
Elder Clegg and I are killing it here in Daveyton and having fun while we do it! I’m very glad to 
Elder Clegg's birthday breakfast
made by Elder Smith
have him as a companion because he helps me be better! And man, this guy’s testimony and ability to teach astounds me every lesson! Haha! 
What a missionary to learn from! And what a friend to have as we become the best we can be together! 
Life on mission is good, the greatest, even the best! I love you all and I love Jesus Christ :)
Tha’s ‘bout it!  
Elder Smith
Usually Elder Smith & Elder Clegg are the only two
mulungus in the ward as pictured above.

PS We weren’t the only two mulungus (Zulu word meaning "whitey" or "white person") at church yesterday! A father and his 3 sons from good ‘ol Cache Valley, UT joined our ward! Haha imagine seeing white people in a township ward and you’ll be as shocked as we were! Haha Clegg and I may have even been a bit jealous that these guys were ruining our reputation as the only 2 white guys in Daveyton! Nah! The dad does robotics for the mining companies here so he was on a business trip but let his boys tag along for the weekend so they could go to the Kruger wildlife park (jealous fa sho!) and see South Africa! So it was fun to talk to fellow Utahns and see how small the world is! And even better, the sons go to Mountain Crest High School!  So there ya go dad! 

Proof that Missionaries are still just 
18-, 19-, 20- and 21-year-old kids! 


Monday, September 15, 2014

"What a great birthday present to all of us as God’s children!! The ultimate gift!!"

WHAddup er’body! Hey hey hey it's been a freakin great week and guess who got a typie for their birthday!? Yebo, muzungu Clegg! Haha he's kind enough to let me use it to again start doing my blog post in my short spare time so I can manage my email time better! :) Email time is golden so we don’t waste a single second!! But this week had a ton of great moments! My 1st of 2 birthdays on mission, Soweto towers, birthday lunch (thank you VERY MUCH grandma and grandpa!!!!!), transfers, adding to the list of crazy stuff that happens to SAJM missionaries, and many many wonderful miracles! So let's get to it eh?
                Well, I've heard from many different missionaries about their birthdays on mission and I'd say that the positive vs. negative responses were about 50:50. Which IS a shame but I decided that I wasn’t going to be a part of the pessimistic club. The wise advice of “you get out what you put in” as well as the reminder that "these two years are the Savior’s" helped me to really get the most out my birthday! In the several times that I remembered “hey, I"m no longer a teenager” and “it's my birthday today” I was able to think about the Atonement! What a great birthday present to all of us as God’s children!! The ultimate gift!! (John 15:13) And what a great opportunity to be able to share the message of the Atonement with the wonderful people of Daveyton! I thoroughly enjoyed it and even the bishop was kind enough to invite us over and feed us dinner and then a birthday cake!
Birthday dinner at the Bishop's house
I don’t know how anyone couldn’t love these wonderful people! So from breakfast, to all the great things Elder Clegg did for me, and to the sharing of the best present ever, I had a wonderful birthday!! I was also blessed with the sweet birthday emails from all my friends!
Thank you guys it means more than I can put into words! I even got a present to go to birthday lunch with three of my favorite mission friends: Elders Clegg, Maraetefau, and Allen!! We went to Soweto towers (and couldn’t go up cause the electricity was out -_____-) and got SWEEEEET pictures and then went to lunch! Ah just a sweet beginning to the week!
Soweto Towers
(The Orlando Towers used to be cooling towers for a coal power station but now they are used for bungee jumping and other activities.)

Birthday Lunch

               My birthday was on transfers so we went and dropped Kewuti off (he is going to Soweto) and picked up the new elder in our district: Elder Melese from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape; another Xhosa boy!! Haha he's a sweet guy! He spent the first 8-9 months of his mission in Sierra Leone (where he was originally called) but they shut his mission down because of the Ebola virus that’s killing people left and right in central and west Africa. So we’re lucky he’s safe and glad to have him in our mission! And since Clegg and I have another transfer to go, we stayed together!! Elder Allen went to Germiston which is a town in the Bedfordview zone but he's only 20 minutes away so maybe we can chill on p-day who knows!? Other than that, that’s transfers!
                Hahaha now to add to that list of crazy experiences. So townships on the weekends are full of drunk people! So idk, have any of you guys back home been kissed by a drunk man that you’ve never met before? I hadn’t until Saturday but that’s changed! Haha luckily it wasn’t on Elder Clegg’s or my mouths but the neck is probably even more awkward! Haha eish that’s really all we have to say about that. Haha mission stories :P
                But aside from the fun and unique birthday as well as the drunk guy, this week has been miraclulous. And I use that word because we have seen miracles all week! And I can't thank my comp enough for saying “let's look for miracles this week!” we met about 4-5 less-active families we’ve never met before, had people progress towards baptism, and had 2 new investigators bear their testimonies yesterday at their first time at church! One of them, Samuel met us on the street on Tuesday and said he had a revelation experience that confused him and that he wanted to stop smoking (holding a cig in his hand). So we gave him a pamphlet and arranged an appointment to meet with him. To our delight he was waiting for us!! Sweeeet already haha he didn’t ditch us!! But he told us he's ready to live a gospel life  and wants to do it right so he's going to come to church and he did! But not only did he come he participated in the classes and bore his testimony! Telling the congregation that since he's read the pamphlet, he hasn’t had any desire to smoke! And he read a line from the pamphlet about how he wanted to change his thoughts and actions to do good and follow God! Afterwards, he told us he felt at home at church :) Couldn’t ask for a better miracle! Maybe the runner up is finding a place to possibly open up the Chris Hani cluster of the Daveyton Ward!
But this week has just been all ups! Hardly any downs and any downs that maybe crept in were swallowed up in the greatness of our week! This is mission! This week was the shot in a round of golf that keeps you coming back! It’s the save in a lacrosse game that gets the team and crowd fired up! It's what makes all the hard work and trials worth it! I LOVE IT!!
Cheers until next time! Salani kahle bafwethu, ngyikuthanda
Elder Smith
Elder Smith and Elder Clegg celebrating their birthdays together.
(Thanks Grandpa & Grandma- they look like they had a fun time!)

Gogo (Grandmother) Mhlanga! the 90 year old Xhosa version of Great-Grandma Homer!
(Gogo Mhlanga has offered her home to be the new meeting place for the Chris Hani cluster- a pilot program that will allow members to meet together every Sunday for church, even if they can't afford the taxis to take them to the meetinghouse.)
 those little kids giving high 5 are the funniest naughtiest kids!
they're a crack up in sacrament meeting but sometimes its too much!
my old seminary scriptures now covered in really cool rino leather.