Thursday, 15 December 2011

Letter from Elder Jones, arrived at the Johannesburg MTC safely!

I made it! CRAZY! The travel went well. No problems and i managed to navigate my way through all the airports and terminals properly. I was all alone for the first 12-13 hours. I felt rather lonely but low and behold in the biggest airport in the world, when i went to sit down and study my scriptures, i looked to my right and saw a young man reading his set of scriptures! Man i was so excited to see that! I ran up and said, "Elder?" turns out it was Elder Schnieder! He is from Idaho Falls and is serving in Kenya! We were on the same flight to the MTC! he had been waiting around in the airport for 11 hours already and i had been there for 6.5 hours! Filled with new found hope we were off searching for more lost Elders! Tuns out we were the lost ones because during our scan of the terminal we spotted 6 elders in a group walking around! That was a nice site! We quickly joined the crew and greeted everybody! Elder Cook, Elder Jensen, Elder Lewis, Elder Brown, Elder Tukuafu, and Elder Dewitt were all from parts of the states and Elder Tukuafu is half Tongan! pretty sweet! We then found some food and waited around for our flight. On the flight i sat beside a South African from Johannesburg who worked in London. Pretty cool! He was of some kind of Christian Faith, i couldn't understand the name he told me, but i ended up sharing a very rough, very brief version of the first lesson, which i don't think he took to fondly too, but he had the attitude that "I'll believe in my thing, and you believe in yours." so I don't think i did very much but i t was worth a shot. He was really nice though!
After a very long, 10.5 hour, flight, we finally arrived in the hot, sunny land of South Africa! What a relief! No more airplanes! for a few weeks at least... no problems with customs so we grabbed our luggage and were on our way! We were promtly greeted at the entrance to the airport and taken, with 3 other elders, from various places in Africa (I appologize for my lack of specifics), who were already there, and packed our stuff in a van! Off we went through the city of Johannesburg, which is a metroplois of cities with a total population of about 8 million. 40 minutes later we arrived at the MTC and realized how small it is! Its awesome! I already know every elder in the whole place! 2 other elders on coming with me to Cape Town! The rest are serving in Kenya! It still hasn't really hit me that im here yet! I hope i adjust to missionary life quickly. When we got here we had to fill out some papers, have an interview, see the nurse and get a shot, and eat some food! I have yet to shower since tuesday morning, and i have only brushed my teeth once since! but i figured writing an email to my family was a bit more important. Well i am here! Safe and Sound!
The traffic is crazy here and there are people begging and selling stuff at every corner and robot (robot is what they call traffic lights). It is going to take a bit to get used to thats for sure! I also need to get used to the fact that all the African people speak quietly... Maybe i'm just deaf but i sure wish they would speak up a little :) I think i am going to like it here! It's exciting! It's hot! It's +27 degrees and this is a moderate day! I'm sweating and i am in an air conditioned building! but i like it so far! I feel very unprepared and rather overwhelmed but i think that will pass in a few months. There is 80% poverty here and the cost of living is high. There are taxes on everything! so the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.. corruption coats the land! Looks like I'm needed here for sure!
I'm still coming to grips with the fact that I won't be home for two years, but the Elders are great and the atmosphere is somewhat fun, so hopefully that keeps my mind off home. It's good to finally be here though! Oh ya! mom! you were right about the leaving the baggage un attended in Heathrow! There was an announcement like every 5 minutes that said, "Any unattended baggage will be promptly removed and destroyed!" Pretty much the funniest thing i've heard an english woman say over and over again! Too good! well my time is up! I love you all! I'm safe! I'm happy! Man i still can't believe im in South Africa right now! so crazy! How is the family coping? Are you ok mom? Anyone jumping for joy that im finally gone? I know i am! No cold! Woo!
Take care everybody! I love you so much! I'll send pictures whenever i find out how to! Till next time!
-Elder Jones

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