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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!