Guest Testimonies

Monday, October 5, 2015

Excuse me, did anyone see where I put the last 2 years of my life?

with his new companion, Elder Manuma
Eish this week has been a fast one but a great one! Especially the weekend we had some cool lessons, heard some great things and are looking forward to even more great things!
                We had several lessons with an investigator named Lucky. Now, Brother Lucky is a sweet guy whose sister is a member. This week we’ve been teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and today (Sunday) we finished it. After concluding, Elder Manuma asked Bro. Lucky how he felt about what we had shared with him. He understood the seriousness of it all and the impact that it would have on his life. His faith was an example to me as he said, “I’m thankful you guys are letting me pray about this because this is something that’s big. This is something that I’ll have to follow for the rest of my life if I get my answer.” So often, I think people don’t quite grasp the concept of gospel living and all that it entails and when a baptismal invitation is given, they just say, “Sure!” Now, a positive response is good but 10 times out of 10 I would rather teach someone like Bro. Lucky who understands the covenant we make at baptism and wants to make sure he’s doing it for the right reasons. At the close of that lesson after his sister bore a very cool testimony, he asked if I would pray and, “include me and my desire to know the way from God.” Sho, it was a great experience! Many good lessons this week but I would have to say that was my favorite!
                The Soweto stake gets to view General Conference next week in Pimville but we did hear who the 3 new Apostles were! It’s pretty cool that when Elder Renlund was serving in the Area Presidency here in the Africa Southeast area, I got to be in the same sacrament meeting as him! Haha funny little “claims to fame” that we have in the church eh? :P But speaking of keeping good company with people in the church, today we were invited to the home of Elder Mdletshe who is an Area Seventy who lives in the Florida ward of our stake. He works for the CES and has his office at the Roodepoort chapel so when he heard that I was leaving and that our District Leader also has his same surname, he invited us over to his house for lunch! What a great guy and his family was awesome as well! So we got permission from our ZLs and went there today after church for a nice lunch and lesson. Haha I know Area Seventies are no different church members than you or I but after being with the Chatora family in Centurion and now here in Joburg, the pressure always seems a bit higher when it’s your turn to share the lesson haha. But it went well! The spirit was strong and we all learned a bit more about having our hopes motivate us and give us the anchor we need to get through this life and share the gospel with those we love and interact with. And one more cool fact, Elder Mdletshe was the first black South African missionary to serve a mission for the church! He served in the England London South mission in 1985 so that’s pretty cool! He’s one of the pioneers of the church for the black people of SA.
                Other cool things that happened…  three brothers who were baptized last week were confirmed today and also sustained to receive the Aaronic priesthood and 3 members received their endowments on Saturday including one of our ward missionaries who leaves in like 2 weeks for Botswana/Namibia/Pretoria mission! Also, we had interviews with President Dunn and all he could talk about was me going home haha crazy:P He made a funny analogy though about thinking about home. He said that an airplane, when landing doesn’t all of the sudden drop out o the air until 30m above the ground. No, he glides in slowly and smoothly descending. So it is with me and that I shouldn’t worry about thoughts of home just as long as I don’t dwell on them. Eish, that time is less than a month away….
                …Excuse me, did anyone see where I put the last 2 years of my life? They seem to have disappeared. If you find them let me know ;)
Cheers tho hey?
-Elder Smith
Sister Lebo's Baptism

Johannesburg temple gardens

with Elder Lea'aetoa at the temple

Brother Llewellyn wasn't best pleased with Elder Smith's transfer news.
Brother Llewellyn hosts the missionaries in his garden flat.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

The storal of the mory is stay true to what you believe, ask the Lord to help you in pursuit of truth and remain hopeful!

I've had to draw a lot of strength from the Book of Mormon this past week. Its been a rough week with cancellation after cancellation leaving us with no other option but to tract or contact in the heat of the day. I’ve read about Alma, Amulek, the sons of Mosiah, Alma’s sons and all of their missionary work and most recently about the people of Nephi as they are encompassed in war with the Lamanites. It's pretty cool how their examples can have real life impact on us today; especially me here in SA. There are a couple lessons that I’ve learned that I’d like to share.
                The first one kind of carries over from my last 2 areas of Krugersdorp and Centurion. Both affluent towns, the missionary work and people are different from what I'm experiencing now in Soweto. Then, we dealt with a lot of anti-Mormon claims and accusations which caused a lot of doubt to our investigators and even the missionaries. So what I loved from the examples of missionary work in the Book of Mormon are how the Sons of Mosiah and Alma and Amulek responded when faced by people like the unbelieving Lamanites, Korihor, and Zeezrom is how they stood their ground. Imagine, when a lawyer who knows the language of the people tries to twist words and doctrines to suit them how hard it would be to respond when the spotlight is on you and your companion. Or when people straight up deny the Christ. What I saw in them and what helped me to press forward is that they didn’t give up or give in. And ultimately, after the trial of their faith, they saw, and even produced, miracles! So the storal of the mory is stay true to what you believe, ask the Lord to help you in pursuit of truth and remain hopeful!
                Another cool lesson I’ve been learning has occurred this week, and I don't think I'm done learning it either! haha. Eish its been a rough week like I said. People have dropped through, it's been HOT, and motivation has been on the waning side. So what did we do? Unfortunately there were some times where we didn’t use our time as valuably as we should have but fortunately, we pressed on and did our tracting and finding and working with the ward members! So we’re happy that we didn’t just totally flop but even today (Saturday) we’re battling to keep hope and faith and motivation. So I was reading about the stripling warriors and the armies of the Nephites when they take back their cities from the Lamanites in Alma 55-59. With the Lord’s help they were able to pull off some miracles but when it came time to hold on to those things, they were in desperate need of reinforcements and didn’t receive much help. Haha it's kind of like us! Last week was so awesome with great miracles but now that its time to hold onto those things, Elder Manuma and I feel like we need some serious reinforcements! So it's up to us to do like Helaman in Alma 58:9-12 by pouring out our hearts to God to ask Him for help in retaining our works and delivering us from the temptations that are directly related to our purification challenge. So a greater part of peace has come to our hearts, or at least to my heart knowing that all I have to worry about is working hard and not giving up or being lazy and the trial will continue until the Lord sees fit but He won't leave us alone. I truly believe he will buoy me up in some great way this weekend and who knows, maybe next week y’all’ll get the update of the cool things that will happen!
                So yeah, just another testimony that the Book of Mormon is written for us today and no matter what situation we are in, we NEED it! But yeah, keep us in your prayers please- we would love that! Pray that we can have the mental and physical strength to press forward in righteousness!! Cheers!
Elder Smith

Monday, September 21, 2015

Purification in 42 Easy Days!

Elder Smith was released as Zone Leader after seven months and transferred to Pimville in Soweto for his last transfer.  Here he is with his new, and last, companion, Elder Manuma.

Purification in 42 easy days!
                Here in the SAJM, all the elders were issued the “purification challenge” for the Sept/Oct transfer. Put simply, we are purifying ourselves of 3-4 specific things that don’t allow the spirit to fully testify through us. Each companionship in the mission is assigned a day to fast, making a 42 day fast throughout the entire mission over the course of this transfer to help us purify ourselves.
                The story where the challenge originates comes from a missionary in Uruguay who describes his experience:
                “A member informed us that he had an investigator that was ready to be taught and he volunteered to attend the first discussion. The discussion went along as usual. At the conclusion, my companion and I bore witness of Joseph Smith and then turned to our friend. He paused for a moment, looked at the young lady and said, “I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God.” The room filled with an extraterrestrial force. The investigator started to cry.
                As we walked home, I was baffled. The man said the exact same words that we had said but the result was dramatically different. When he spoke he had an influence that we did not have. There was no question that the influence was the Holy Ghost, but this man seemed to have it in a different way...”
This elder goes on to describe how he searched for how he could gain the same power and eventually spoke to a well-known church leader who told him how he must purify himself to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. He said:
                Go home and fast for a day in the attitude of fasting and prayer. Make a list of every behaviour that ‘pokes’ at your spirit. Once you have made your list, then go to the Lord. Covenant with the Lord that you will fast from the things on your list for 42 days. In other words, for 42 days you will do nothing that appears on that list. You cannot just stop old behaviours and start new ones. You need the help of the Lord. Each morning go to the Lord and specifically promise Him that you will avoid each item on your list. Ask for His help so you can have extra strength. At night go over the list with the Lord, if you have failed on some items, figure out why. Tell the Lord. Ask for more strength the next day.”

So this is what we are doing! And its only been two days now but on Wednesday, Elder Manuma and I saw 2 investigators and the spirit was very strong in both lessons. It came to the point where they started crying as they felt the love of the Savior for them and the personal relevance of the plan of salvation. Nosipho, one of the sisters told us how she has felt for a while that this is the path that is right for her but that it just hasn’t been the right time until now. We explained that she could not only see her mom again but that she could live with her in the celestial kingdom forever! She was very attentive and then began to cry as we testified that her mom was being taught these same truths in the spirit world and was waiting for her. She then agreed to be baptized on the 11th of October! How sweet is that!? How great is the power of the spirit!! And how wonderful it is when we decide to humble ourselves to obedience and sanctification so we can carry the spirit more in our teaching! I love it! Pimville AND its missionaries will be totally different after 42 days! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Happy 21st Birthday, Elder Smith!

 Many thanks to the Farquharson family who invited Elder Smith to celebrate with his favorite South African treat- Milk Tart, and gave him the opportunity to view videos from family and former companions, wishing him a happy birthday.
Milk Tart!
Our dear friends, Rachel & Michele Shaw, made sure Elder Smith had a birthday gift from his family by being our hands in South Africa.  And it looks like they all had a fun time with Llewellyn Von Broghan (the Elders live in Bro. Von Broghan's apartment next to his home.)


The video we made for Elder Smith

Morning workout routine?
Bro. Von Broghan trains the elders each morning and keeps them in shape!