Friday, December 18, 2015

New comp, pass along cards, and service!

Wow, what a time to be alive!

So yeah, this week was sweet.  It's a little dificult because people really like going on vacation here in December, so we just had one investigator lesson this week, and that was last night sometime around 9pm, which was cool. Basically we just had lessons with less actives, recent converts, and members.

So I'm training Elder Cowan from Taylorsville, Utah.  I guess it's pretty close to South Jordan, I don't really know.  It’s been such a long time that I don't even remember locations in Utah anymore haha. But he's awesome! I'm teaching him all the South African phrases and stuff, so it's fun. And there's a third missionary in our companionship.  He is finished with his two years, but his brother is coming to visit and they are going to tour South Africa, so he's just with us for a few more days. He also served in Randburg nine months ago, so it's cool because everyone knows him and they want to give him food :)

It was still a cool week though.  They gave us 250 pass along cards that are specifically of "A Savior is Born," with a link to the website where people can watch the video.  So to get the greenie immersed we went to some stop lights and handed most of them out. I handed one to a guy driving a lamborghini, and he was pretty nice.
Besides that there was a lot of service. . .  we set up like four people's Christmas trees, washed some tires, killed some spiders, and people rewarded us with enchiladas and candy! So yeah, it was pretty awesome!  It was a very chill week, so not too much to talk about.  But I will talk to you next Monday! 

Elder Savage

Teach when you find, find when you teach.

Yes, it's true. I'm having another son, aka I'm training. Not sure where he's from yet. I'll find out tomorrow, but I get to stay in Randburg (aka dolla bill ville) for 2 more transfers! So I'm pumped.

Well it was a cool week. We had a mission tour on Tuesday, which is basically a zone conference but it's led by a General Authority. I think it just happens once a year, and it was awesome! It was Elder Hamilton from the Seventy, and my testimony of General Authorities just grew even more. I mean when he came teaching with us we could obviously feel his Spirit really strong, but even whenever he got up to the microphone to speak I could just feel it, like whoa, this guy has authority to say the things he's saying. He said a lot of really good things. I wrote down some of the things I enjoyed the most. 

-"The moment we begin preaching to others our testimony is ended." He talked a lot about bearing pure testimony and what that means. It doesn't mean saying the things you're grateful for, or telling stories, or making people laugh, it means testifying, sharing the things you know to be true.

-Don't teach people who are impaired by the use of drugs or alcohol because they cannot feel the Spirit.  You can get their details and teach them when they're sober. 

-Don't worry about which street should I go to, or where to go, just go and open your mouths. Talk to everyone everywhere.

Most of these came from a Q and A we did with him at the end, but it was awesome! I learned a lot, and he talked to us about bearing our testimony as we contact in the streets.

So the next morning I was still inspired by everything he said and I opened the back door to the flat complex patio, (this was right before personal study), and I saw the gardner sitting reading a newspaper, and I was like hmmm, I've never seen him sitting behind our flat before, there's probably a purpose. So I went to him and handed him a plan of salvation pamphlet and just bore pure testiomny of it, and then went back inside. At 8:20 during personal study he knocked on our back door and wanted to talk about it, so we had a surprise lesson with him outside! Elder Hamilton focused on "Teach when you find, find when you teach," so it was perfect! His name is Moses and we're teaching him, and he's a father led family! So yeah, blessings from following the counsel of a Seventy and from listening to the Spirit. 

So it was a cool experience and a testimony builder for me. 

Talk to you next week.  Love you all!  The church is true!

Elder Savage

Monday, November 30, 2015

Best meal of the year! Thanksgiving!!

Hey, howsit fam! I'm glad you had a fun Thanksgiving. Mine was perfect! It's not too big of a Holiday here, but it's slowly creeping its way in. We went to a member's house.  One of them served her mission in Georgia so she's well acquainted with it, so it was awesome! They had some friends over and another set of missionaries, and I mean Thanksgiving with the family is the best, but this was the next best thing. The best meal and probably one of the funnest nights I've had on mission! I was very grateful for it.  I even made the mashed potatoes! I mean, we went to a member and she helped a little haha, but they were super good. And Lee made stuffing and the best turkey ever and gravy!  And I ate so much hahaha.  I ate so much, that I didn't eat a full meal until Friday night haha. Ah, it was awesome and such a fun day.

It was a good week besides the best meal of the year though.  On Tuesday an AP came on splits with us, and there's sort of an unspoken law that when you go on exchanges, nothing goes according to plan. Lessons always drop and it's just rough, not sure why that is, but that's how it's been for my whole mission it seems like.  But Tuesday went super smoothly, and we had like 5 lessons. We ate sushi for lunch because the AP had never had it before, and we got him some deep fried California rolls.  It was bomb, and we also got fed dinner! 

Oh and they just opened up the first Krispy Kremes in Africa and it's in our area!!! So we had that on Friday after a street contacting session. So the week was a week of good food haha. Besides that we basically just did a lot of service--we did some painting, helped a lady move, helped drive missionaries places because there's only like 4 drivers in our whole zone, and yeah just a lot of stuff like that. Even though we didn't have as many lessons, we were crazy busy, especially in the last few days of the week.

Saturday night was cool because the Randburg chapel is the Stake Center and they put on a huge Nativity thing.  There was a play and musical numbers from members and artwork and there were a lot of nonmembers so it was an awesome missionary event.  A lot of elders were there helping ushering and stuff, so it was nice.  Hopefully a lot of good will come from it! And Sunday one of our investigators, Phume, was baptized, which was awesome! She asked me to baptize her. I always like baptizing because it's cool how the Spirit is automatically present when a saving ordinance is being performed. I pray to feel the Spirit during the baptism, and it's interesting how I've felt it differently at every baptism, but usually it involves feelings of happiness of peace. It was pretty cool.

Well, thanks for the emails! It was a great week. I guess it's basically December now, the month of Christmas music!  Enjoy it-- I know I will! Talk to you all soon!

Elder Savage


Elder Hamilton of the Seventy tags along on a lesson!

Hey Everyone! Howsit?  It's going pretty well over here. There is sort of a drought here, but it's raining most nights now, so it's better.

Tuesday and Saturday were the best days of the week-- the others were a little rough, but the two days made up for it. On Tuesday we saw Jade again, who we first met about 10 weeks ago and have only had a couple of lessons with because she was finishing up her school. We were able to see her again, and we took the Herberts (Lee and Matt), the couple that she knows super well, and it was a good lesson.  We were talking about more of the plan of salvation. We basically just talked about the spirit world and that was it, because she had a lot of questions and Jade's mom (who grew up JW so she has very different views from ours) kept interupting and she talked a lot haha.  It was late so we had to go. But we could tell that Jade's concerns weren't really resolved, (she's had the same questions for months now), which is basically, “ If I die tomorrow what's going to happen?", and “Am I going to go to hell if I don't fully repent?" So we could tell those questions were still bothering her, and we set up a time to see her again on Saturday. She went to a YSA dance on Friday night with Sister Lee, which was awesome because she got to know some more members, and then she spent the night at the Herberts. So we went there Saturday morning and Matt was there but his wife wasn't, and Sister Lee is awesome but she can talk like nobody else haha. So Matt was just like okay, I'm gonna play videogames on the computer, but you can still teach Jade. So we did, and it was nice because no one was interrupting her.  It was just us listening and teaching the rest of the plan of salvation, and it was cool because when we finished explaining the kingdoms of glory she let out a sigh of relief and just said "That's fair." We were praying that her concern would be resolved, and that the Spirit could teach her, and it definitely did. So that made us pretty happy.

On Monday, we got a call from the AP's saying that Elder Hamilton of the Seventy (he's in the Africa South East Area Presidency) was going to come with us to a lesson in our area on Saturday at 3:30pm. So they told us to meet him at 3:00 and meet with an investigator and stress the importance of the lesson, since it's not every day a General Authority goes out with missionaries. So we kept it in mind the whole week, but it just wasn't happening. We had been praying the whole week that it would be a good lesson, that it could be worth Elder Hamilton's limited time, but every investigator wasn't available at that time. So we were like okay, it's going to have to be a recent convert.  But Saturday morning came and the only one available was Oarabile, the 16 year old who comes teaching with us all the time, and we had just taught him recently, but there was no other option. The plan was to take Oarabile to a lesson with another recent convert at 1:30, and then go meet Elder Hamilton and take him to see Oarabile with us. But we got a call at 1:15 from Elder Hamilton and he says "I'm at the McDonald's!" And in my mind I was're two hours early, but actually this works out perfectly! So I said okay, give us 5 minutes, and we picked him up and then drove and picked up Oarabile and taught a lesson to Sister Welhemina. She and her 19 year old daughter were baptized earlier this year, but the daughter is sort of on the path of apostasy. The daughter wasn't at home, so Welhemina was talking about it and asking what she can do about Esther. She was crying and Elder Hamilton was able to help a ton! He has raised 6 kids so obviously he could relate to her much more than we could, and the Spirit was with him so strong! (It kind of inspired me to be better) and so we listened.  He gave some counsel, even Oarabile was able to pitch in, and we read a little from the scriptures and comforted Sister Welhemina. At the end Elder Hamilton gave her a really cool blessing and blessed her with knowledge that Esther would be alright, and that even Welhemina's other son would be taught the gospel and have the opportunity to accept it.  So overall it was just an awesome lesson. I learned a lot from him and his example.  He is the nicest coolest guy ever! So yeah, it was an awesome day haha.

Ok well, I'm out of time.  But I'll just leave with my testimony that I know the Spirit is the greatest gift we can receive in this life, that it helps in every aspect of our lives, and it's fundamental in missionary work.  Thanks for the emails and encouraging words.  Love you all! 

Talk to you soon.

Elder Savage

You can submit this to Sports Illustrated if you want.  :)

We were waiting for Elders for District meeting so we decided to play some basketball and hacky sack (thanks again for that!).

Botanical Gardens and Mount Everest!

Hey fam! What's up. 

This week was sweet! I went on exchanges which is always fun.  Elder Tima from the Marshall Islands came with me to Randburg, and it was fun. We had a plumber come to the flat for like 6 hours though to fix our shower and sink, so after companionship study we were just like...we can't leave these guys here alone, so we just played chess, checkers, sillyhead, and then we kicked a soccerball around in the big workout room.  Afterwards, we watched some Old Testament videos. It was pretty boring.  It’s weird--when I don't do missionary work time goes by super slow. But it was alright because the shower doesn't leak anymore, so I guess it was worth it! 

Then later in the day we were trying to find some less-active members that the ward hasn't been able to get a hold of, which was interesting. One guy left the church and is attending another church like 40 minutes away, another's "address" was a hotel, and the others we couldn't get a hold of because they have huge gates with electric fences, so we couldn't really go up to their door. So not too exciting of a day, but we still got some good work done.

Wednesday was tight, though. We had a zone conference, but it was for the whole mission. The theme was “Overcoming the summits of our mission." We met at this place called the Botanical Gardens.  It is a big area, like a sanctuary, and they have a cool hiking trail with a waterfall and stuff. Anyway, we had normal talks like any other zone conference from President and Sister Dunn, but they had a guest speaker, and she is the third South African woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest! So she talked about it, showed pictures, and it was super cool. Basically, I would never ever climb Mount Everest haha.  After having her explain how many people die, and the physical challenges they face, it's just crazy! She showed a picture she took of a helicopter taking away a dead body, and was explaining how near the top is the "death zone," because the elevation is so high that your organs can shut down, and your eyes will bleed and all this crazy stuff. And you can't just hike Mount Everest, it costs thousands and thousands of dollars (I think she said it was around $40,000), and it takes two months to climb! And she said even if you get to the top, that doesn't count as summiting it, because people so often die on the way down, so in order to say you've summited Everest you have to get up and back down. Just nuts, but it was really cool.  They gave us lunch during her presentation, and then afterwards we went on our own summit! Just up a really big hill and down at the base of a waterfall, so it wasn't as dificult as Mount Everest, but it was still super hot :)  It was a sweet day though.

Lots of cool stuff this week, so because of it we didn't have as many lessons, but the ones we had were pretty quality. We have a new investigator named Prince. Last week is when I had that super strong prompting to talk to the guy who was a former investigator, and Prince is his roommate and we finally had a lesson with him on Saturday. I'm still not sure why the prompting was so strong because I made the mistake of ignoring it and driving away, but it just didn't go away-- it just got stronger until we drove back and spoke with him. So yeah, whatever it is, we have a really important reason to be there. Maybe for Prince, maybe for Kebar (the former investigator), who knows, but we're happy about it, and it was a good lesson. Prince basically said he used to be religious but he's lost his faith and he wants to know how he can get that back. So we talked with him a while about that and told him that that is our purpose, to help people develop their faith in Christ, so it was nice. He wasn't able to come to church though, neither were any of our investigators because they had this huge bike race with thousands of people, and basically in order to get to the church you had to take this crazy detour on the freeway that took like 30 minutes. Luckily it was Stake Conference, because it started at 10:00, but we didn’t get there until not sure what was said, but at least we made it!

So yeah, pretty awesome week. We also went to pick up a member on Friday night but he stepped on a bee and he's allergic, and then the appointment basically cancelled anyway, so we just chilled with him and his dad bought Domino's pizza and Mug root beer, so I was in heaven haha.  It was a complete American meal.

Anyway, love you all. Stay well and talk to you soon!

Elder Savage

The waterfall at the Botanical Gardens in Krugersdoorp, not too far from the mission office.

The view from the top.

Reunited with my son! 
He was pretty tired by the end haha, as you can see.

Friday, November 13, 2015



Wow, this week was fast! At church I said to this lady "How have you been since Wednesday?" and she was like " came to my house last Sunday." Time is going by so quick, something that happened a week ago feels like 2 days!  It is insane, but cool.

So yeah, I'm a year out now, so that's also cool.  :)

It was an awesome week! There were some questions that I had for President Dunn that I was worried about.  One was for an investigator who lives like a kilometer outside our area, and he gave us permission to still teach her because she's progressing like crazy and her good friend is in our ward.  Then the other one was for an investigator who was supposed to be baptized last month. When we were at her house, preparing her for her baptismal interview, we realized that she was still living with her boyfriend. Well they were in the same house but in different rooms, and someone else also lives with them. So we told her that she would have to move out on her own, and she was pretty sad.  I was pretty sure that that's what needed to be done. But last week she said that she felt like she should still get baptized, and so I was like okay, I don't know everything-- I'm not going to be prideful, and I'll ask the mission President.  So I did.  Basically he said, “Has she committed to live the law of chastity? If she has, then she can get baptized.”  Since they weren't in the same room, and due to some other unique circumstances, she'll be getting baptized at the end of the month!  She is so happy and so are we!

We had a lot of cool lessons.  The Spirit was with us strong this week. Probably my favorite was with this recent convert, Esther. She stayed the weekend with a friend in a nearby township called Alexandra, which is a dodgy place. She was pretty upset because there were 3 different people who got murdered during the weekend around where she was staying, so she was just like the people in Alexandra could never accept the gospel-- they're just too wicked. So we listened and then used the scriptures to show different examples of people who were (you know, past the point of no return like the Lamanites and especially the story of Jonah), and how they changed, and by the end she was happy and not discouraged anymore. It strengthened my testimony of the scriptures because the same things that happened back then still happen now.  We taught her how there have always been Alexandras, and there always will be, but prophets have never ceased preaching to them because people can always change. So it was a cool lesson.

Then on Saturday we fasted because we forgot last Sunday (not sure how, but we forgot) and what I felt prompted to fast for was the area. When I first got here we had a good amount of investigators for a town, but they have been baptized and we dropped a couple so the list has gotten pretty small. I fasted and prayed that we could get some new investigators, and after Sacrament meeting a lady brought in these two people and was just like "they're looking for you--I found them outside." It was a boyfriend and girlfriend, in their mid 20s, basically the girl’s mom just got baptized in a nearby city called Pretoria, and now she's like "I want you to come to my house today and teach us, and I want to get baptized!" It was a complete miracle and answer to my prayers!!! They don't currently live in Randburg, but they move here at the end of the month, so they'll be taught by other elders until then. It was awesome!

I visited an inactive member yesterday who was baptized and then the Bishop asked him to teach the Sunbeams during the second hour, so he was offended and his family hasn’t been to church since.  He is a Freemason and offered for us to play video games with his sons and told us to do all these disobedient things because the church doesn’t know what they are talking about.  I was pretty angry.  Fortunately, I bridled my tongue, but it was lame.  Then afterward we went to a member’s house and the 15 year old son was playing a cool arrangement of “O Come O Come Immanuel” on his violin.  I played the accompaniment on the piano and it brought the Spirit right back.  Cool experience.

Tell Brother Martella that I love him!  It was super nice having him prepare me for the temple, and especially attending the session where we got to go through together.  It’s a really good memory I will always have of the temple. Hope he's doing alright. Tell him thanks! His emails are always inspiring.

Yeah, that's about it for this week.  It was pretty cool. 

Love you all and talk to you soon!

Monday, November 2, 2015

January Baptism and Ice Skating!

This week was sweet! All the other missionaries were busy doing stuff on Monday so we went ice skating.  It kind of weird, but the good news is that I didn't die! By the end of the 2 hours I was skating all around the rink like 3 times, no wall no falls, so it felt pretty good. And that night we got fed waffles and ice cream by a member.  So yeah, P-day is always baller.

Sorry, I think my emails are progressively getting shorter. I'm just not as sure what to write anymore because most of the experiences that happen are so normal to me now, so it's hard to think of unique things.  Just know that I'm trying my best! :)

There was one unique thing that happened with an investigator, Tanya, who's on date to be baptized this month. As we were teaching her last week she brought up that she's going to be baptized in January now, and we were kind of skeptical, but she said that that is when she is supposed to get baptized. We weren't really convinced, so two days later we saw her again, and we talked about it.  We were trying to just listen, and not jump in since she's pretty quiet. She explained that she's been having a dream for a little while now about her baptism and it's always the same dream… she is in white and a man is in white about to baptize her, and she talks to someone in the dream who lets her know that the month is January. So after her story we asked her if it is a good dream or more like a nightmare.  She said it's good and she feels good about it, and we asked if she's prayed about it and she said she did pray about it and then she had the same dream again.  So we were just like okay, we'll respect that decision.  Maybe there's wisdom in it that we don't understand. So we'll continue to meet with her until then, which will probably be good because she's from Zimbabwe and her English isn't the best.  Maybe it'll be an opportunity for her to understand the doctrine more before her baptism.

Then on Saturday we went to an investigator’s house, but he wasn't there.  I had a prompting to speak to a guy but he looked a little drunk so I just shrugged it off, but a feeling of guilt swept over me so I though we should go back to that guy, and my comp said he felt the same way. So we went and spoke with him and it turns out he is a former investigator! He was actually progressing very well with missionaries in another area but then something happened and he moved here.  He has hardened his heart a little, but we talked with his friend that he lives with and we're going to see them next Tuesday. We're still not sure what will come out of it, but we both know that we need to go there for whatever reason, so we'll see the fruits in a while I'm sure!

Anyway, it was a great week.  Gotta go.  Talk to you soon!

Elder Savage

This picture is from the beginning of the session.  If I weren’t holding on to my companion, I would have fallen down haha.

Me & Natalie’s friend from her Salt Lake City Temple Square mission, Sister Rakotovao from Madagascar.

I made cookies.  :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sugar canes and scripture study!

Hey what's up family! This week was pretty good, super hot, but it's alright. We went miniature golfing, and then later that day a member took us out to a restaurant, which was rad! So it was a regular P-day, and today I guess we're going ice skating.  You will not be getting any pictures because they would just be of me falling down haha. Remember that one time we went ice skating? That one time? Haha. Yes, I've tried to forget. So we'll see how it goes.

It was an interesting week though. I went on exchanges, so I was back in a township! Not gonna lie, it's pretty nice to be in a town for a little. I mean I love townships and the people, but I was getting tired of people answering all of my questions with "Okay, alright,” haha.  They're great though. One guy after teaching a lesson went in his yard and cut down like a 5 foot sugarcane and handed it to us. I was thinking, “What are we supposed to do with this?” Haha. . . we could've just taken a little bag of sugar, but it was funny.

We had some good lessons with an investigator named Matias.  He’s from Zambia and he is awesome! His wife and kid were members but they died in a fire a year ago, so he's trying to find some direction in his life. The cool thing is that it has really brought him closer to God, and he really does believe that the Book of Mormon is true.  He came to church for the first time.  He loves watching movies, so every church video we give him he watches right away.  So overall, he's just a cool guy. And we're focusing on befriending him with other members, so it's going well!

The three boys who were baptized last week were confirmed on Sunday! Pretty cool stuff.

Dad, I’ve been thinking about doing personal scripture study when I’m at home, and it’s definitely something I always want to do after my mission.  I was talking to a RM and I asked what he misses most about his mission.  He said the full hour of personal study every morning, because now he is married and working, he rarely gets a full hour of study in.  I remember you telling me once that members need scripture study, prayer and church.  Without one of those, your testimony will fall, and it’s so true.  Every less active member I speak with tell me how they were offended or whatever, and I ask them if they study from their scriptures every day, and they always say no.  If they did, then it would invite the Spirit into their life, which brings long suffering, so they probably wouldn’t have even been offended in the first place. 

So yeah, pretty awesome week. I’m still getting fed (still not fat yet), but that's okay.  It will come.  Love you all! Talk to you soon!

Elder Savage

Trampolines and good food!

Hey! This week was sweet.

So last Monday for P-day we went to this trampoline place called Bounce and it was awesome! Funnest P-day ever!  It's just a place with a bunch of trampolines and you can jump into a sort of foam pit and play basketball and dodgeball! I felt like a kid again haha being able to do spins and double front flips! It was so sick. If I go there again I'll take pictures/videos, for sure.

And then that night we went to a member's house for a DA but they had an emergency so they left before we got there.  They told us to still eat in their house, so we did.  It was kind of weird haha.  It was just my companion and I sitting in this huge house, but it was cool, I guess.

And on Tuesday we had interviews at the mission home which is always awesome. While missionaries were with President, Sister Dunn made us homemade bread with honey butter. Best thing ever!  I had like 4 huge slices. And we watched Meet the Mormons. So it was the coolest morning I've ever had on my mission haha.

This week we had sushi again.  A member took us to a sushi place, and we also found a sweet Philly Cheese steak place. We eat pretty well in Randburg haha.

We have some new investigators we're working with right now.  One has been taught for months and finally came to church on Sunday! Normally he goes to Zambia on the weekends but he's not doing that anymore. And there's this cute old English lady in the ward who tried to tell us that she wasn't coming to church anymore because she didn't like certain things about how the church runs.  She is about 80 years old and has been a member since long before I was born. We had a nice lesson with her and read the Book of Mormon with her and I guess it sort of reminded her of her testimony.  Sure enough, she was at church on Sunday! And we also had 3 baptisms on Sunday! Two young brothers whose father is less-active, and a 16 year old kid whose mom and sister were recently baptized. So overall, a pretty awesome Sunday!  The ward is super great and the members are the best.

That's about it for this week.  Talk to you soon!

Elder Savage

The Lord of the Swords.

At the old folks home that we sing at on Wednesdays they have a lot of animals and there are these weird monkey things-- not sure what they are, but they're dope.

I put a stick in there and they jumped on it.

So Oarabile (oar-oh-bee-lay) is on the left, my comp to his right, and then kabello and kamohelo mosoeunanye and their father. I also took a picture with them but the person taking the picture didn't actually take it.  Soooo yeah, that's alright though.  I'm over it :)

Soweto Towers, Phantom of the Opera, and Chocolate chip cookies!

Crazy week!  Well, it just went by super fast. And good news ... I have a lot of pictures to send! 

Last p-day we went to what is called the Soweto Towers.  It is an abandoned nuclear power plant in Soweto (the biggest township in the world) and they've retrofitted it to be a bungee jumping place. Unfortunately, we couldn't jump off, but we still took a lift to the top and took some sick pictures!  That night we ate dinner with another American family, which was cool. When we first walked in they had just gotten their son from soccer so they still had to prepare a lot of the food, and they said we could chill in their living room.  And, like most families in our area, they had a piano!  So I was looking through their sheet music and they had Phantom of the Opera. I just stared at it for like a minute and then asked, “Can I play?" They said sure so I just sat and played through the entire book haha. I haven't played it in 11 months (crazy that I've been out that long) so it was sweet.  It felt so good to play again haha.

On Wednesday we did service for this kid Orobile, who is 16 and his mom and his sister are already members. (And, by the way, he passed his baptismal interview so he'll get baptized next Sunday!)  He made us waffles and we helped him clean up his yard.  It was fun.

On Thursday we ate dinner at this part-member family’s house.  The mom is a member but her daughter and husband are not.  She is inactive, and they were a sweet family! It was fun being there, but kind of sad, because she basically feels that Heavenly Father is pleased with her, even though she's not keeping the Word of Wisdom and like 12 other commandments.  So we're trying our best to work with them and get one of them interested in church, so the others can also tag along. But anyway, they fed us an awesome dinner, and right after that we went to another member’s house who also fed us dinner!  Basically, I felt like I was going to explode, and I didn't even eat breakfast the next morning because I was still full from the night before haha.

And then Friday was cool.  We were able to go to the temple, and then I went on exchanges afterwards with a zone leader. We ate dinner at a member's house and they had a ping pong table, so it was tight.

Saturday was conference! This was definitely my favorite General Conference I've ever listened to! I got a lot more out of it then before. It was the first time that I really took notes, which is awesome, because previously I would just remember a story or two, but now I can look back at all the cool things I liked in all of the talks. I'm not sure what my favorites were, but I definitely loved Elder Holland's talk about mothers, and how he referenced our Heavenly Mother as well. Pretty sweet. I also really liked the lady from the South and someone else who challenged us all to ask "What lack I yet?" in our prayers. Overall, I just got a lot out of it and saw ways to change myself more, which is really the reason for General Conference. Anyway, it was just awesome.

Then on Satuday we got 2 dinners in a row...again. Can't wait till I get fat! (Speaking of getting fat … on Sunday morning I didn't make breakfast because we had to hustle to the chapel.  The American family that we ate with on Monday sat next to us at church and were like “Elders, we made you some chocolate chip cookies!" And so I ate 4 in about 10 seconds.  I was about to eat the other 5 cookies, but I was like, no, I should probably share with my companion. :)  But it was the first time I've had chocolate chip cooks in months so I was going hard hahaha).

So yeah, that was the week.  Because of conference and my companion being sick, we didn't teach as much, just a lot of member lessons, which are still cool. And one of our recent converts brought a friend to conference and she loved it! The members are super good about giving referrals here, which is the best way for missionary work to be done. So I'm loving it here in Randburg.  This is definitely the place I need to be.  The Church is true!

Thanks for everything.  Talk to you all soon!

Elder Savage

Soweto Towers.

Inside the dome.

The lift going up was scary. It was basically a rollercoaster, except the floor was just plywood and I honestly thought we were gonna die haha.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lessons with Lana and Matthew!

Hey family! Howzit! It's going super well here!

On Monday we had family home evening with an American family.  The husband works for the church and does a lot of training here for the church buildings, so that was kind of weird. It was my first time being around Americans that aren't missionaries. There's a few Americans in our ward which is cool. Anyway, they made us steak and cheesy potatoes and veggies and it was honestly one of the best meals I've had here haha. I didn't realize how much I missed a medium done steak. So flipping nice!

The week was pretty normal.  We did a lot of driving taking missionaries from place to place, so we got to know the area pretty well. What we found is on the backside of Sandton, the really nice city, you go about 15 kilometers and there's the second biggest township in the world, Alexandra. We had to drive through it yesterday and it was ridiculous!  There are so many taxis and they don't care about the law, and the stop lights were all out so it was just chaos. It made me a much more defensive driver haha.  I'm glad I'm not serving there. To drive in that every day would be way too much stress.

Another cool thing about this week was we went into Young Men's last Sunday and asked if they could come teaching with us during the week.  Most of them have never really gone with missionaries before, so it was pretty cool! We're going to work with them a lot and try to help them prepare for missions. I think altogether I went with missionaries twice back home, but it would have been nice to go more often. So we'll see how that goes!

Yesterday at church was sick!  As we were walking to Gospel Principles, the class with investigators and recent converts, we saw this member and his wife walking with another couple, and they introduced us to Lana and Matthew. This member intimidates me just a little because he's like 6'5" and has a deep powerful voice and is a millionaire, but he was just like "Elders, these are the friends that we previously told you about."  We thought, "Oh sweet!" Lana and Matthew are both in their late 40's and they were married, divorced, and are now back living together which is weird, but we'll work with it. Anyway, a few weeks back a member invited Lana, who's a paramedic, to come to the church and do a first-aid thing for the Relief Society. Lana noticed there's something different about the building and asked if she could come to church one of these Sundays, and obviously the member said yes so she finally was free to come yesterday! We went to the member's house later on for dinner with Lana and Matthew and were able to watch the Sunday morning session of General Conference which happened at 6 pm here. We talked to them a lot.  They’re a super interesting couple, both are paramedics, the husband was in the army and has traveled all around the world so he had some cool stories.  Lana has always been very spiritual, but she's never felt like she's belonged anywhere. She's been to basically every other religion -- Jewish, Muslim, Christian, always looking for a place where she belonged, but she's never found it. She has asked people in the past about the Mormons, and all she has ever heard is "They have multiple wives." So that sort of intrigued her, because she was confused why everyone had always said that. She was sort of thrown in the deep end yesterday.  She came to church and the members basically gave her an overview of the restoration and then we watched conference.  It was a lot at once, but she said that she has the same feeling watching conference as she does when she's at our church, so we told her that is the Spirit. Her son called and he had broken his arm, so she had to leave, but we set up a time to see her during the week.  She told us "literally any day, even if you want to come speak with me at work it's fine” hahaha.  So we are super excited because she's pretty prepared! Member referrals really are the best, and in Randburg the members are powerful. So it was a pretty awesome week!

I'll get to watch the rest of General Conference next week, but I think my favorite talk last night was Elder Eyring's about the Holy Ghost. For the first time in my life I'm actually really excited to get the Liahona with the conference talks and study them more. I think I just realize now how cool it is to have modern day prophets and apostles that tell us more commandments and give us more counsel and direction.

Love you all!  Thanks for everything, talk to you soon!

Elder Savage

Ten of us elders went to an all you can eat sushi place on Saturday for $10. I ate 30 pieces of sushi, not sure if that's a lot, but this was us afterwards.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

First week in Sandton!

Wow, okay, I have a lot to write about this week haha. It was pretty hectic.

So the area I'm in is Randburg, and it's completely different from my past areas. It's a town, so people have money, and I mean a lot of money. We cover this little city called Sandton. I’ll send a picture.  It's one of the nicest cities I've ever been in and is super clean.  In the middle of the city is a six story mall.  Driving around all I see are Porches and BMW’s, so it's a pretty new environment. The majority of the ward is white, but there are also a lot of blacks and Indians. So it's been an adjustment, because I have no idea how to act around white people haha. I go to their house and I'm just like a baby giraffe because I don't even know what to do but I'm getting used to them. The other night we went to a black family and it was much more chill, and I felt like I was at home haha.  I'll get used to the mulungu’s.

My companion is Elder Souza, and he's from Brazil.  We were talking before transfers about how I was going to go to his area, and then it happened! So it's pretty sick.

The area is not as easy as a township in regards to missionary work. You can't really tract here because people have big gates with dogs and electric fences, and there's a lot of nice apartment complexes that you can't get into, so mostly we have to work through the members and get referrals. For finding we just do street contacting but we're in a car, so we plan in advance for when to do that. The car I'm in is an automatic, which was super weird at first because I've been driving a manual for 6 months. 

We also did a lot of service this week. On Wednesday ten of us went to the temple for it’s 30 year anniversary because they invited a lot of officials from other churches to the temple grounds for lunch and presentations so they can learn more about our religion. So some of us served food and others (me) helped with the cars and directing people where to go. So that was unique.

On Friday we went to a homeless center in a nearby township and helped some ward members there. It was sort of like a soup kitchen. The members who are there are super sweet.  It was the Bishop and the ward mission leaders' wives. At first they just wanted to feed the homeless, but now they're starting an addiction recovery class for the people who are addicted to Nyaope (a super addictive drug--it's like crack but worse.  People who are on it get so addicted they sell everything they have and then are left homeless, so it's pretty terrible). It made me like the members who are helping them a lot, so hopefully we'll be able to go this week as well! 

On Friday night a crazy thing happened.  Basically our door to our flat broke, so we couldn't get inside so we went and slept over at the zone leader's flat, which was pretty tight haha. And then Saturday we played rugby in the morning with members, and then helped another member move, and the locksmith didn't come until like 4:30 so that's when we finally showered. But it was still a nice day! 

Sunday was the best though. . . it usually is. I've previously been in clusters or branches so it hasn't been to hard for me to get to know all the members, but now I'm in a full-functioning ward with hundreds of members, so I was a little worried about it. I prayed that I would be able to get to know them somehow, or they would get to know me. So we were sitting in church at 8:50 and the Bishop asked if I could introduce myself and give a short testimony.  Then, like 5 minutes later his counselor asked me if I could also give a talk since the first speaker bailed, so I was like "Yeah, okay. " I gave a 5 minute talk on prayer, and it wasn't until afterwards that I realized my prayer had been answered, because it was a way for all of the members to get to know me a little better. So it was pretty cool.

At church there was a new lady (we only have a few investigators, less than 10 altogether, which is still really fortunate for an area like this) and she's a friend of a lady named Sister Lee. Sister Lee and her husband are in their 20's and they're both returned missionaries, so they're the perfect fellowshippers for this new girl, Jade. We set up a time to see Sister Lee and Jade at Lee's house, and then our 7 o'clock cancelled last night so we asked if we could go visit them. We were talking to Jade and she had a lot of questions, and they were textbook questions like “How can I know that God is there?" and “Where do I go when I die?" so it was a super cool lesson. I mean there were 4 missionaries in there, so how could it not be dope! We just did how to begin teaching and talked and ate ice cream, and we're really excited to see Jade again. I'm super lucky that my first week here we got an awesome new investigator!

So yeah, that's it. As I said, I'm once again a greenie, because it's so different here than anything else I've experienced.  It’s like I have to relearn how to be a missionary haha, but it's good. I'm really loving this area. A great first week.

Thanks for everything.  Talk to you all later!

Elder Stephen

Some pictures of an indoor pool and rock climbing wall inside of a wealthy member's home!

Elders Mamhere, Widdison, Carter, Malunga, Brown, Souza, Savage, Derera, Todd and Henderson.

On September 15, 2015 the  South Africa Johannesburg Temple was dedicated. Now 30 years later, there is a Celebration! On this special day, the Johannesburg Zone was invited to help with the event. Over 100 people were invited to a special luncheon to commemorate and celebrate this occasion. Local business, government, and religious leaders form all over Johannesburg were invited to attend. Tours of the temple grounds, foyer and gate room were offered before the lunch. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Last week in Sebokeng!


It was a great last week! On Monday we had a district braai and played tennis and then went to a family home evening with a family in the branch. In one of the zones we cover there's 3 families who get together every Monday night for FHE, and it's been really effective for them.  So we have been trying to incorporate that for more families in the branch, and that is what we did Monday night.  We invited investigators and members to the second counselor's home, and it went pretty well. We watched a video from those new life of Jesus Christ bible videos and discussed it. It was a good FHE.

On Tuesday we had a sweet lesson with Lebohang, a recent convert, about the Priesthood. At first he wasn't really interested in getting it but he said he thought about it a lot and was now excited to get it! So he should be able to start blessing the sacrament in a couple of weeks. One thing we've been doing is using Mormon Messages or other church clips because it's nice for people to have a visual thing to see, along with reading from the scriptures, and there's a lot of good clips about the Priesthood and it's power, and how to be worthy of that. So we had really good lessons with 3 priest age recent converts by using those resources.

On Wednesday President Dunn came to Sebokeng again for some secondary baptismal interviews, but the people getting interviewed were a little late so we were able to chat with him for 10 minutes which was cool. He's a great guy, very real and down to earth. When my companion was opening the gate for someone he said "You know, between you and me, you're leaving Sebokeng. But I really think you're gonna enjoy your new assignment." So I was like okay that's cool. I figured I was leaving since I've been here 6 months, but I wasn't really sure what the assignment would be. And then on Friday he called me to be a District Leader. So that's cool. I guess I'll find out where I'll be going tomorrow, and I go for District Leader training today. We'll see how it goes!

Sunday was awesome!  Four people altogether got baptized! Three of them were Mqwati's, the mother and two of the three sons, and now the other son wants to get baptized as well.  We’re still working on the dad, and he's such a good, nice guy.  I have no doubt he'll get baptized sooner or later. And there were something like 17 investigators at church, and some less active members who haven't been in a long time.  It was awesome seeing that and seeing the branch members fellowship them. Sebokeng really is a great place.  I'm sad to leave it, but I know it's in good hands!

So altogether it was a great last week!  Everyone wanted to feed us so I only cooked twice this week haha, and we still have leftovers in the fridge. That's about it. I'll let you know the details of my new area next week! 

Talk to you soon.  Love you all!

Elder Savage

Collen Horomba and I, aka the dopest Zimbabwean ever. 

Me and my homie Loyiso. He's the one who just got the priesthood.

The Mqwati family.

The Maziboku family.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Drive like a missionary, not like a teenager.

Hey family!

Whats up?  This week was awesome.

We did some service in the mornings and painted for a family.  We also did some gardening for another family. People are always confused when they see me doing a job in the township, because there's not really white people in townships.  And when there are they are usually the big boss in charge of a project, not pulling weeds in front of someone's house haha, but it's chill. It puts us out there more and gets attention from people.

On Wednesday we went up to Roodepoort for zone conference which was awesome! It's an all day thing, from 8 to 3, so we had to wake up a little earlier.  We were able to a ride with other elders so I didn't have to drive :)  And we learned a lot of good stuff, one of which was driving. A senior elder gave a presentation on driving and taking care of our cars, which I really needed haha. The taxi drivers here are notorious for driving fast and crazy and stopping whenever and wherever they want, and last week we took a member to a lesson and he was just like "Elder Savage, you drive exactly like the taxi drivers," hahaha, so that was when I realized I needed to change. So it was good to learn and my driving has improved, I'm trying to drive less like a teenager and more like a missionary.  already.

We got an investigator back! Mmutsi.  She is 30 and has a kid.  We had been teaching her for a little while, and she was progressing really well, coming to church every Sunday and slowly resolving her concerns with the church until she got an internship in a town about 90 minutes away.  She was going to stay with her cousins there.  After 3 weeks the company crumbled, so her internship ended and she's back in Sebokeng. The cool thing is, her cousins that she stayed with are members!  Small world, yeah? So it was a really good experience for her to be able to be around them, and they answered some of her concerns. So she should definitely be getting baptized within the coming weeks!

Sundays are always good. The recent convert Loyiso is 15, and we had taught him a lot about the Priesthood.  He was coming to church for 6 months before getting baptized, so at PEC we asked when he could get the Priesthood. On Sunday morning he had an interview with the Branch President and then in Sacrament meeting we all sustained him as a teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood! And he got ordained during the 3rd hour! It made us super happy, because he'll be able to pass the sacrament and start working on his Duty to God.

Overall it was a great week.  Thanks for the prayers and emails.  Love you all! Talk to you later.
Elder Savage

Monday, August 24, 2015

One door closes and another one opens!

What's up fam!

This week was pretty cool.  We had some sweet lessons. One of them was on Tuesday. So rewind like 3 months . . . we were doing a district finding activity in the zone leaders' area, just street contacting in the city for a couple of hours. I talked to this girl named Lebohang (it's a pretty common name haha, I've probably mentioned like 8 others with the same name) and we tried to visit her but it just didn't really work out. So fast forward to Tuesday, we were going to teach this 15 year old kid but he bailed, so we were like okay, we're in zone 12 which is sort of the outskirts,  and there's not too many people we know around here and it's pretty far from the chapel.  Then I remembered Lebohang so I looked in one of my past planners and found her number, called her and she said she was home and available so we went over there!  She’s 19 and her whole family was there. Her grandma and grandpa, aunts, etc.  So at first I was intimidated because we've been having trouble with old people recently hahaha.  More often than not they're sort of set in their ways and yell at us when we try to teach their grandkids or anything. And then Lebohang said that her grandpa was a pastor and I was just like, “Oh no, it's over!” haha.  But it turns out that none of the kids even attend his church, so he was chill with us teaching them. Anyway, we had a super nice lesson with them, and they all had a lot of really good questions.  The Spirit was strong as we received answers for their questions, and we'll be seeing them again this next week! Sometimes one door closes and another opens, yeah? It was pretty cool.

The week was pretty normal.  We did some service, helped a part member family fix a TV, and the dad (who's not a member) was pleased, so that was nice.

Last night we visited a member that I didn't know very well.  Her name is Veronica, and she is 26. We got to know her a little better, asked her about her goals and stuff, and shared a message about the Book of Mormon.  After we closed with a prayer we didn't feel like we should leave, so we just kept on talking. She eventually said that she wanted to serve a mission but was confused about it because she had started her papers but wasn't sure how to finish them.  She thought she was too old to go on mission, so we were able to clear all that up and refer her to the exact people who could help her restart her papers. She was relieved and happy, and she's going to the police station to get fingerprinted today! And we also found that her 9 year old brother attends church but hasn't been baptized, and her parents (non-members) are cool with him getting baptized! I think their family will all eventually join the church now that 4 of their 5 kids are LDS and we're teaching the 5th one. Especially now that their oldest daughter is preparing to serve a mission! So we were really happy that we were able to help them out because the branch could definitely use some more father led families. So all in all it was a good week.

The only bad thing was that one of the recent converts who got baptized on Sunday snapped.  She has literally gone insane, full out crazy. We found that out on Friday, and it was pretty horrible.  She’s in the hospital currently so she couldn't get confirmed so we're praying.  Hopefully she'll be able to get better. We confirmed the other two people who got baptized last week! They're both doing great.  We take them out teaching with us when we can and they're getting friends in the Branch and the YSA is really reaching out to our investigators. So Sebokeng is doing well! The church is true. It's awesome to see more people join!

Thanks for the emails and all the advice.  Love you all! Talk to you soon.
Elder Savage

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

FHE lessons and progress among investigators!

Man, this week was nice.

To start, we had a super cool Family Home Evening with a partially active family. We had them all write down their last words of advice to their children if they were to die, and then we put all the pieces of paper in a bowl. So we took them out, skimmed through some, laughed at others, tore some up and then just sort of ignored the rest and put them on the shelf. We asked how they felt and they were like "We kind of want to kill you" hahaha.  Then we asked them, “How do you think the prophets of the Book of Mormon feel when we don't read their words?" And we just dropped that bomb and let them think for a little and then challenged them to start reading from the Book of Mormon everyday and treasuring up the words inside. So it was pretty cool.

On Tuesday President Dunn came by our chapel to do a secondary interview for one of our baptismal candidates and they passed! So that made us happy.
I bought Kota twice this week.  I was feeling a little lazy and didn't want to cook haha, but we were fed a couple of nights this week, which was nice!
Sunday was the best day!  We had three people get baptized! One of them is a 15 year old kid who has been coming to church for 6 months because no one in his family is a member and he comes out teaching with us when he can.  He’s super excited to serve his own mission, and his parents have given him permission and everything, so it was awesome to be able to baptize him.

Thanks for all the love and support.  Talk to you all next week!
Elder Savage
My comp got the testaments, so on Saturday night we had a dope movie night. I fell asleep after like 10 minutes but it was still cool haha.