Monday, May 4, 2015

Tennis, Granny, and and Sunday School.

Hey Family!

What is up?  It's going awesome here in SA! This week was pretty sweet. To start, I bought some tennis rackets because in our complex we have some tennis courts, so we've been getting up at 6:00 am a few times this week to play. It's difficult hahaha, but it's worth it for the exercise.

We had some great lessons this week.  Hopefully I haven't talked about these people before haha. . . it’s hard to remember what I've talked about before. But the first one is this 24 year old girl Paballo. We talked to her in the street one day, and she was with her sisters and they just sort of walked away, but she was really interested in our message. Her house is connected to a bar though, which is hard because we have to walk through it sometimes, which probably isn't the best place for missionaries to be seen, so we're going to start teaching her at a member’s house. Anyway, she's super cool. We taught just a simple lesson to her on the Godhead, which is always hard for people here to accept. Basically everyone believes that God is just a spirit who's everywhere at once, like oxygen, but it's pretty simple to explain his true nature. So once we're done teaching we always do the whole-- we don't expect you to believe us, we just invite you to pray so that you can find out for yourself. So we did that, and she's super busy with school and maintaining the bar and her kid, so we weren't sure if she was going to be able to pray. But we went back the next day and she said that she was up super late the night before, and everyone else was asleep so she tried praying in the way that we taught her, and she said that it was the most unique prayer she's ever had. Usually she just says the Lord's Prayer as fast as she can so she can go to sleep, but this time she actually took the time to pray and have a conversation with God, and she said that she had never felt so connected with God in her life! So we just testified that what she was feeling was the Spirit, and that she really was talking to Heavenly Father, so it was super cool. People rarely get their answer that fast, but I think she was just prepared. So I'm really excited to see Granny again (that's her nickname. Weird huh?) and continue to teach her! And also she said that even though she lives next to the bar she doesn't really drink, only on rare occasions, which is awesome, because the Word of Wisdom won't be as hard for her to accept!  So that was good.

Then we had a member lesson with an older guy, maybe in his 60's who got baptized last year, which was pretty humbling. He's been having a hard time.  He was working with a guy on a funeral and he gave him R800 to go buy groceries and the dude just bounced with the money.  And then two days later while they were sleeping some guys came into their house and jacked their R16000 (~$1600) TV, so it was just a super hard week, and he was super stressed and he found himself smoking. So he was asking us about the sacrament, how it works if you've sinned, and it was just humbling because an old guy is asking me, someone who's half a century younger than him, advice on his spiritual life. So all we could do was refer him to the Branch President and hope for the best. And he was just about to baptize his two grandchildren the next Sunday, so that's now been postponed. But it's good he's going through the repentance process so hopefully in a few weeks he'll be sharp, but we'll see!

Then Friday we stopped by this choir, we've gone to them in the past, they're super awesome. We street contacted this girl and she wanted us to teach her, so we went there and there were like 14 people in the house so I was super intimidated.  I usually try not to teach huge groups of people, but we just sort of introduced ourselves and what we're about, and then they were like "Well, we have to sing now, but you're welcome to stay."  It was dope! There were 7 guys and 7 girls, and they were amazing! I took a video, and hopefully I can find a way to get it back to you guys.  It was sweet.  They sang the Lord's Prayer and the guys had super good base (even though they were all high haha) and the girls were super good, so we're gonna go back next Friday too haha.

Church was sweet too. One of our investigators, a father led family, were there and the mom just gained a testimony herself the day before that the church is true, and I was like joking telling her to go up there and bear her testimony, but she was like "I'll go up when the time's right. God will let me know," and I thought "Way to be!" She's super cool, and her family is awesome too. Their baptismal date is set for next month, so hopefully they'll be able to meet that goal!

We were sitting in Priesthood during opening exercises and the different classes split up, and normally we just stay in Elder's Quorum but I just felt like we should go to Young Men's, so we did and it turned out that their teacher bailed, so we were just like "Okay we'll teach!" The Branch President was there at first, but then left, so it was just me and my comp and 10 young men, and it was super powerful. Honestly the most involved I've ever seen youth in a lesson haha, because they all felt comfortable with us.  We started talking about prophets and revelation (that's the topic for this month) and they were asking us a bunch of questions, and we'd ask a question and like 5 hands would go up, and it was just chill. So I'm glad we were able to do that, because a couple of them came up to us afterwards and said “That was so awesome! Like I honestly learned a lot, normally it's just the same sort of lesson every time, but today it was different!" And it was cool because I remember being in their shoes, being bored with the same bland Sunday School lessons every week, so I wanted to make it interesting for them. So I think I would be fine with teaching Young Men's lessons back home haha because it was super fun.

I'm super excited to Skype on Sunday haha, I think it will be around 6-7 pm here, which is like 10-11 am for you! Hopefully that works. Love you! Pet Chloe for me! :)  Thanks for the email dad.  I watched a cool Mormon message about a teenage kid who worked to improve his relationship with his dad and it reminded me of you.  I’m grateful that we always had a good relationship!  Thank you for paying for me to be on a mission.  It really is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!  I love it, and I love the gospel and I love you as well!

But yeah fam, that's it this week. I'm excited to see your faces next week, it's gonna be awesome! Love you all, thanks for all you do.  Talk to you soon!

Elder Savage

Back Row:, Neunschwander, Carter, Mwale, Savage, Yates, 
Front Row: Tukia, Andriatiana, Tukia, Stomps and Togiatomai

Found the cutest little puppy on the planet!

Waking up at 6:00 am to play tennis.  Can you tell that I’m tired?  :)

Unite, Magwinyas, and the Huff man.

Hey fam,

Howsit? This week has been pretty good!

To start, I went on exhanges on Wednesday and had to lead my area.  I was worried about it at first because there are no street names so addresses are dificult to find, but it all worked out! We did some service for a member, and he makes these things called magwinyas.  They are like deep-fried rolls, not sure how to explain them, but they're amazing! He sells them for one rand each, so I buy like 10 a week hahaha. He served in the Joburg mission a few years ago and is now living here, so it was fun talking to him about what the mission was like back then.
And then after that we taught some lessons and Elder Stomps taught me how to drive a little more, and I finally got stick shift down haha.  So if my comp leaves I'll be able to lead the area with the car still, which is nice.

We taught a lot of good lessons this week.  One was to this girl we street contacted—she’s about 25 year old.  Her house is connected to a bar, which is hard.  It was on Thursday night and there were a couple of guys playing pool and a lot of people in the house so we had to teach her in the bar haha, which was kind of weird, but it was still a good lesson. There was a drunk old guy in the corner talking loud and I was just like "Hey, be quiet," and then after that he just kept to himself hahaha. There's way too many drunk old guys in Sebokeng, but it's alright.

On Saturday we had Unite again, which is when the members go to the chapel on Saturdays and we play games and have a spiritual message with them, so that was super fun. There's this crazy old guy who always comes to church, and he's not a member, but he's super active and dedicated. No one knows where he comes from either, and he's impossible to teach because he just starts talking about his life and then laughs really hard haha, but he's great.  His name is David. Anyway, the joke we have is that he is in an old folks home and escapes every Sunday to come to church hahaha.  He came to Unite on Saturday and brought a big bag of chips for refreshments, and I was just like "Haha thanks man!" Too bad he's crazy, or else he would be the most powerful/active member in the branch! But yeah, for Unite we played Pictionary and then we showed a mormon message by President Eyring, it's called Choose Wisely.  It’s a pretty cool one, and the members liked it a lot.

Elder Neu and I have street contacted a lot this past month, and it's kind of interesting because we always see people multiple times, but usually in different situations. There was an 18 year old kid washing his car, and he was wearing this hat with weed stickers (the brand is huff), and I thought this guy's a joker, but we just talked to him for a few minutes. And then later in the week we were teaching a family we tracted into, and they have an 18 year old son who said "I told my friend you guys were teaching me and he wanted to join, so is it alright if I go get him?”  We said definitely, so he left and came back with his friend, and his friend was huff man! So right off the bat we already had that trust because we had talked to him before, and we had a cool lesson. Not sure if he'll accept our message, but it was still a cool experience. Street contacting can be lame, talking to random people and trying to spark a conversation, but I never regret doing it. Even if we only get 1 lesson from it it's worth it!

So it was a good week, and then on Sunday I had to give a 10 minute talk on protecting the children, and I was just like what kind of topic is that?  Haha, but it was good.  I ended up speaking for 11 minutes! The longest talk I've ever given haha, and I was pretty proud of myself :)  We were fed twice in two hours and I almost threw up! So overall it was a pretty good day.

Anyway, thanks for all you do.  I'm excited for Mother's day!

Talk to you soon,
Elder Savage

The picture here is of a cow who's about to get slaughtered hahaha. In SA for weddings and funerals they buy a cow and kill it the day before, and that's what everyone at the funeral/wedding gets to eat! :)