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.