Wednesday, 31 October 2012

29th Oct 2012 Knysna, South Africa


Mom and Dad,

 Sounds like you had a nice time with Anona and Riley and with the kids and with ribs!!! If there is anything I need you to send me from home, it's a nice rack of ribs! The way mamma cooks em!

As for shirts or things like that, I don't need any new shirts. I always like to get ties! Honestly there isn't much of anything that I can't get here that I can get at home….. ooo send country time lemonade! :P can't get that here! Please send Reese’s!!! And if at all possible, Caramilk chocolate bars!! Oh and mini eggs!!! I remember telling you a long time ago that I could get mini eggs here... but turns out it was only in a special store in Cape Town where they import... haha! Sorry that all I want is candy... Honestly I don't know what else you could send... really anything I get is like Christmas! That last package you sent through Dear Elder was awesome!

Well, thanks for the update with everything I love you both so much! Thank you for your prayers and your love! Be safe with all that snow! Thanks for the advice with the journal writing mom. Ya I think I am going to narrow it down, I'm getting better at writing in it also. I'll be sending another one set soon. Ek is baie lief vir jou!

Can’t believe it, one more week down already!?! I swear I was just in here typing my last update! The week was a nice one. Again not the most productive because of all the delays and things popping up through the week, but it was still nice. We always have something productive to be doing and someone productive to be seeing.
Wednesday was transfer day, and out of the blue we received a call from the Zone leaders that we are supposed to drive to George and be with the George elders until all the transfer stuff is done... Well it was probably one of the most pointless trips of my mission, but none the less we went to George and chilled with the George Elders until everyone had left and come the way they were supposed to, then we went home... That cut into an hour of our studies and 2 of our appointments... By the way, the picture I sent where my companion is sleeping is on one of these trips to George.

Then on Friday we received another call from the 1st counselor in the mission presidency, Elder Fowers, and he said that the George Elders were going to drive a car up to Knysna and that we needed to drive them back to George... so that’s what we did, so that was another trip to George and 3 more appointments missed... Other than that though, the week went nicely.

It has been raining all week, but yesterday it cleared up and was really hot, and now today again it is raining... Yesterday we were able to watch the first half of the priesthood conference session in priesthood! That was awesome! Those talks were powerful! I loved them! and we will finish the session next Sunday! I'm stoked! The prophets and Apostles are truly inspired men called of God to lead and guide us!
 People don't do Halloween here. I will just have to knock on my own door and have my companion open it and give me candy! Maybe I'll dress up funny and scare him in the morning... dunno... we'll see... HEEEHEEHEEE!!! (shrieking witch laugh)
Also the other picture is of this really awesome Bed and Breakfast shack. That is there in the Township! How cool is that! A shack B&B! I didn't think that could exist, but here in Knysna we can take care of all your travel needs! This is what I would imagine the advertisement to say!
 "Can't afford a B&B in town, we have accommodations for you! For R50 a night, you can enjoy a nice queen size mattress, with satellite TV and a radio if you prefer. The alarm clock goes off every morning whenever the rooster wakes. Breakfast in the morning is either pap and chicken, or rice and chicken, depending on the season, and we even provide an electric kettle for you to boil the water for your bath in the basin out back! Open 7 days a week, and even cater to new men just from the bush! Come and experience the Island Lodge B&B."
That actually sounds kind of inviting, paha! Maybe I should spend a night there! 

 By the way, I still love mission life with all my heart! This is the best thing I could have ever decided to do! I am truly blessed to be able to serve the Lord in this wonderful place! I learn more every day and I can't image a better place to be. I have learnt more on my mission so far than I think I could have learnt in 40 years of my life! It's absolutely amazing and I love every minute! Thanks so much for all the support I constantly get! Once again I apologize for not sending letters back! I'm telling ya, I am really busy! I'm trying! Love ya!

-Elder Jones

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

22 Oct 2012 Knysna South Africa

Hello Mom and Dad,

I bet you did great on your final exam mom, let me know your grade when you find out! So now what can you do? What is your title? We had the primary presentation this week here too, but I'll talk more about that later. That's cool about the temple dedication this weekend! I wish I could be there for it! But that's alright... I'm in SOUTH AFRICA!!! I really really really miss the temple! I hope you realized that when I get back, and after being deprived of the temple for 2 years, we are going to be going alot!!! TOO MUCH!!! I love you both!

 Part of the package
Don't worry about me, everything is ok! Just keep praying for me and all will be well! I can't express how much I appreciate your prayers! And let Grandma and Grandpa know that I said thank you, really appreciate it! Also I got your letter in the card and the package! I Loved it too much and I ate and shared like all of it within like 3 days! I'm sorry, I had to share, I just can't not share

Last week I wasn't able to write much but we had this cool youth activity and where there was karate and stuff and self defense, so I have some pictures from that. It was fun though!
This week has been a rather productive one. Maybe not so much statistic wise, but we were able to be productively busy all the time. In fact some more time would be nice! We have some really cool people that we are teaching though! And some good news about old investigators that we haven't seen in a month or so!

I'll start with the new ones! That Zimbabwean father led family we are teaching are doing great! The mother is really gung hoe with everything we share and understands everything extremely well! The Father has shared with us a desire he has to stop smoking and he is also rather willing and interested in the things we share! We have been able to teach all of Lesson 1, and they have a Book of Mormon also and said they would read ponder and pray about it! The only thing is that we still have to see them come to church, but I think once they come once, they will come over and over again!

      I learnt how to make pap, so I made a classic African dish, and no that is not mashed potatoes!
Another man we are teaching is like super gung hoe with everything we share and has even referred us to his friend who we have both taught now. He understands very well and is learning so much! And he even shared with us that every time we come and visit him, he gets this warm feeling inside. Not like it’s burning and uncomfortable, but something that is nice and makes him feel peace and a calmness and joy! So that was awesome when we heard that! So we jumped on that and explained that he was feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost, and he wants to feel that always so he wants us to come back alot! He's cool! Law of Chastity Issues, but that can be resolved. With our old investigators, 2 of them came to church on Sunday! We hadn't seen them in a month, but they were at church! That was awesome! So we are going to keep teaching them again! I love them!
Also, yesterday was the primary presentation in church, and that was awesome! There are only like 9 or 10 children, but they managed to pull off a pretty good presentation! And all of the kids, even the 3 year old, said their memorized lines perfectly! I even had a part in it, haha! I shared a story about two boys and putting silver coins in a poor man’s shoes while he was working. But it was really nice and the spirit was strong! It was awesome to see how even this tiny little branch, as unorganized as it is, was able to pull that off!

This week is transfer week, but nothing is changing for me... I'm staying in Knysna and training still for another 6 weeks. I'm not complaining because I really love this place! But it's so secluded that I have no idea what is happening in the rest of the mission for transfers... I'll have to wait till the newsletter comes out! I also want to say thanks for everyone who has written me and continues to write me! I am so grateful for that! I wish I could write back to all of you so quickly, but I am super swamped! I'll try my best but I might not be able to send one back very soon. I'm going to spend some time today writting letters. Thanks for everything!
 -Elder Jones

Thursday, 18 October 2012

15 Oct 2012 Knysna South Africa

Sounds like a really eventful week! Thanks for the update of everything! First I want to apologize because today we aren't going to be able to email for long... the chapel internet ran dry for this month, so it might be the same next week too... and the place we are emailing at right now is really expensive.. so this will be short again.
I'm glad Aaron is alright! That must have been scary for Kim to have Aaron in so much pain! I'm really happy he is ok now! An answer to prayers to be honest! Now me and him are twinners! My scar is a bit lower though... but twinners none the less!
Well I clicked 10 months on mission today! How crazy is that?!? blows my mind really! I honestly have no perception of time anymore... Time is obsolete... it has no meaning anymore! All I know is that I never have enough of it!
Whenever I tell people how its snowing at home they always say that they will never live in Canada! Paha! I just laugh! I love you both so much! Please stay safe and don't die in a snow storm!  
Another busy week and no time to write! We had Zone Training this week and also it was interviews with President! Man I love interviews with president! He was such a big help to me! He gave me some good advice to help me through the trials I was facing. What an amazing man! I love him! Training was really awesome! After training we drove the 3 hours back to Knysna, and then that night the Zone Leaders came and stayed the night and we had exchanges the next day. It was awesome! 
At one point we were all at Sister Nolundi's house and outside her house was this group of 20 yr olds running around with knives and robbing people, and we could see them from the door of her house. My companion was really nervous, I wasn't too nervous because I have seen worse, but he was really nervous and started praying quietly to himself, and he told me afterwards that right when he had finished praying, he looked up and the people were gone. That was pretty cool! Goes to show the power of prayer! Those guys were out there for a while and right when the prayer was done they were gone! I'd say that's awesome!  
We have had some awesome success with finding new investigators and finding those who are prepared and willing to listen and learn! We recently have started teaching a father led family from Zimbabwe and they are really excited about the things we are teaching them, and also a potential priesthood holder who is also rather interested in the message of the Restored Gospel!
It goes to show that the Lord is preparing people in the world to hear the Gospel and if I have faith and rely on him, he will lead us to them, or they will be led to us! I love it! I love this work! My faith and knowledge grows every day!
Well My time is far spent! Take Luck!
-Elder Jones

Thursday, 11 October 2012

8th Oct 2012 Knysna, South Africa

Thanks for the update! I always appreciate it! Good work on your exams mom! You are awesome! And ya that announcement in conference about missionaries was awesome! I got to watch the first session on Sat and most of the first session on Sunday but that’s it so far.
I don't have much time to write today. I am not in Knysna right now, but I'm in PE and the clock is clicking and my internet time is flying by so I can’t put pictures with this letter now! Thanks for your pictures though! Aaron’s board game looks pretty intense too! Can’t wait to play it.  Also that turkey looks divine! I'm jealous! I hope you ate some for me too! How is my car doing dad? Have you taken it for a spin lately? I haven't gotten the package yet, but it’ll come I’m sure! I love you both a ton!
What a week... Challenges are just flying at me left and right! But the Lord has his hand in all things; I just need to rely on him to pull me through! Even in my times of most struggles, I find that if I pray and seek for help or for an answer, I always receive one! It's incredible! So it's comforting to know I'm not alone. I am still managing with this training! I am learning a ton and am noticing alot of my weaknesses... alot... too much! anyways...
This week was nice! we had some good appointments and were able to get a few new investigators. The work is progressing, slowly but surely. I have also learnt that members can be the biggest and greatest help when it comes to missionary work, and also they can be the most devastating problem when it comes to missionary work... I'm dealing with a case right now where a certain family has been super spoiled by missionaries, and that have received so much attention from them, but now that I am swamped with a ton of responsibilities, including extra studies, and the big workload of the area, the family feels as though we are neglecting them... and I am not neglecting them! I love them and want to serve them, but we can't spend all of our time there, and they don't really understand that too well... so it is becoming a burden on the work... and that is a struggle I have right now... usually I wouldn't write of any struggles I’m having, but this is just something that is on my mind and I can hardly think of anything else... forgive me for this week’s events.
But right now I am in P.E. We have Zone Training this week, and I am really excited for it! Also it's interviews with the mission president! Woot! I'm excited! I'm sorry that this letter is so short for the blog but I’m paying for the internet time and the time is clicking by!
Thank you Aunt Terri! I loved it! Just what my sweet tooth needed!! And thanks to everyone who has sent me letters! I am trying my best to respond to them, but my time is being absorbed by other things! I love you all! Take luck!
--Elder Jonse-- 

Monday, 1 October 2012

1 Oct 2012 in Knysna South Africa

Thank you! Enkosi Kakulu! Baie Dankie!
Thanks for the email! And the happy bdays! I love you guys so much! I don't even feel like it’s my birthday... I can't believe its already General conference too! I'm just so lucky to have Conference whenever I have my birthday! It's lekker! But thank you again for singing happy birthday to me through your letter! Dad when you mentioned you guys were going to have ribs and icecream cake to celebrate my birthday, I started to drool! ...THAT’S IT, I'm already putting in the order now for my first meal home to be ribs and icecream cake! (Oh it was my companion's bday on the 26th so that was funnish)  I now know how to sing happy birthday in 3 languages paha! I think the worst part of this birthday is the fact that I am leaving my teenage years! I don't want to leave being a teenager! It was too much fun! Oh well, I’ll hafta start being mature and old I guess... I have not yet received the Bday package, but I'm sure I will get it soon!
 It feels like just yesterday I was in here emailing! Why is the time going by so quickly! SLOW DOWN!!! Congrats on getting 100% mom! Celebrate by doing a happy dance! Actually I'm sure you already did! I can just picture you dancing around with that "I just did it" smile on your face, going "OOWA OOWA OOWA!!" I miss you mom!
How is my car doing? I miss that thing! I'm getting so sick of Chevy Aveo's! But... It's better than biking or walking or taking the taxi! The work moves so much quicker and smoother with a car! It's such a blessing! Thank you for all your support and for the package you sent! I'm excited for it! :) I have been so blessed to have so much support from family and friends! I couldn't ask for better people to be a part of my life!

For this week, on my end, things have been going much better! I'm starting to settle in to my responsibilities and I'm getting more comfortable with everything. Last Monday we were able to go to the Heads again. Well again for me but for Elder Rizoa, it was his first time. Man that place is so beautiful! And there are ridiculously huge houses there! See that big castle on top there! I'm going to own that one day!
 After we were at the Heads, we went to our appointment at Sister Tessa's house. Sister Tessa is a member and she invited us over for dinner and also because she had a friend that she knows who is interested in learning more about the church! So when we got there we got to meet Mr. Kuda, a Zimbabwian in his 40's-50's. He is an awesome guy! He is a Reverend at his church and is very intelligent! He is qualified to teach something like 11 different subjects at school and has been a principle of a school before. He LOVES knowledge! He knows a ton about the bible and about everything in general and he just wants to learn as much about anything and everything that he possibly can!

 Before we got there, sister Tessa had already given him the Book of Mormon edition of the Liahona (same as the Book of Mormon edition of the Ensign) and he had read through the whole thing and he was very interested in the things that he read and he wanted to know more about our church and its history and about the Book of Mormon and all that stuff! Well, he is a reverend so he likes to preach and talk and preach some more and talk, and so we actually weren't able to share much of our message, but what was very VERY interesting, was the fact that every single thing he said (which he had gained from experience and study and prayer over the years) was exactly in line with what we teach in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. He wanted to know more about the Gospel we teach because he noticed that it had a lot of good things in it. As I was listening to him, my testimony was strengthened so much in the fact that there really is so much good out there in the world today, and that there are these incredible people out there who are looking for the truth and who are being prepared for the Restored Gospel, and who are truly seeking for more! It also strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father loves all of His children equally, and for those that truly follow him, and have a desire to learn and grow, he gives to them freely, whether a member or not.
 It was amazing to hear of his experiences that he had through his life which taught him important truths of the gospel, and it impressed me how he came to know all of these things through these incredible experiences through his life, and yet these things he learned are taught to us simply and clearly in the Restored Gospel. We have this incredibly huge source of knowledge and truth that is so easily accessible to us, while others in the world are having to go through great experiences to know the same things. Anyways I could go on all day about the impressions I received and the things I learnt from that experience, but short story shorter, we gave him the Restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and he said that he would read it right away, and that he had read books twice that size in a week before. He is a very busy man, and we have not been able to visit with him again since our last visit, but Sister Tessa said that she is going to invite him to come to General Conference, and if he comes to that, I think that would be awesome! Haha! He is so well prepared for the Gospel! Anywho... too much talk about that!
 I don't have much time for the rest of the week! We have been having good success in finding those who are prepared to receive the Gospel this week, and I am loving the work! I'm still having difficulties with getting all the work done in the area that needs to be done while still doing all of our studies, but it's coming!

 On Tuesday we were fed by some Malawians in the branch (pap, chicken and cauliflower and tomato salad thing...) it was good! (you eat it with your hands by the way) and on Saturday I made burgers and smokey's for the Saayman family! These people (meaning like everyone in the township) only ever eat pap and rice and chicken and potatoes, so I decided to give them a little taste of a classic Canadian Summer day meal! It went well and I cooked it all in the oven (no bbq) but it turned out really nice and they were all like worshipping me because it tasted so good) but to me it just tasted normal. No wonder because all of their food is always so bland... So they really enjoyed that and it was fun and I am doing it again today for the Lahlwane family, so I'll see how that turns out!
 Woo! On Sunday Brother Julius received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of a priest! That was lekker! And ya... things are going well! Well I have ranted too much today! Gotta go!
But thank you everybody for all of your love and care for me while I’m on the other side of the world! And Happy Belated Birthday to Marshall!!! I love you man! And Happy Birthday to Grandma! You'da best! And if Dahlin is reading this, Happy Bday to you too! And to anyone elses Bdays I've missed! Sorry I can't remember everything... Anywho! I love ya all! Take luck!
-Elder Jones