Monday, 5 November 2012

5th Nov 2012 Knysna, South Africa

Hi Mom and Dad

And it was nice to get all those pictures! I had almost forgotten what our kitchen looked like! paha! I think it’s also crazy how the majority of people here... like 80% wash their clothes by hands! It's not that I think that it's crazy... but it takes so much time and effort! eesh! I'll keep my 40 minute long washer load that costs $1.25 (R10)

By the way! Congrats on your exam results and final mark mom! "Honors" Good on ya! And you always wondered how your children were so smart!
About the shacks... by the way, that B&B is a nicer looking shack! Usually they look alot more run down than that... No, shacks do not have bathrooms in them... usually they will just have an outhouse out back and whenever it gets full they just dig another hole in their yard and then fill it with fecies, then cover it up with dirt, then keep using the outhouse... I khayelitsha the government was building public outhouses for everyone and they flushed, but here the shacks just make their own... once the government builds them a house, then they get a working bathroom inside the house.

 The dirt here is closer to clay then to dirt... It was really weird when I first experienced it. It was raining really hard and I was dreading having to walk up to the houses we were teaching at, but when I step on the dirt, its still solid! it's weird... some kinds of dirt here get muddy, but the majority of the earth is like clay.

The way packages work is usually if the value is over $40 or 3kg the customs tag an extra fee onto it. It's not too much, like $5 or something, but then they just instantly take that from my mission fund that I get bi-monthly for groceries. But it's no big deal really. Well my time is running out so I better tell you of my week... and I still need to do reports...

This week had it's ups and downs... We had an entire day where every appointment dropped, and everyone else we could visit weren't home and so we resorted to tracting and all of the people we tracted into were single mothers... Now let me just briefly explain... because lots of you are probably like, "Does it matter who it is? why are you sad about just tracting into single mothers? Isn't the gospel for everyone?!?!" and I will try to explain... Here in South Africa (especially in the townships, not so much in town with white people) you can literally walk up to any door, knock on it, and they will let you in and share a message right then and there and they will stop everything that they are doing to listen to you. The problem with that is that it is then very easy to find alot of new investigators, but if you only find females, then it poses a few problems.

1st problem is that whenever we baptize a single mother it puts added responsibility on the priesthood of the branch members. Not to mention this is just a small little branch with very few priesthood, so we need to do all we can to build up the branch and make it stronger so that it can grow! I emphasize "grow" because sure it’s one thing to get more and more members, but they need to be fully converted and come out to church. It’s not a numbers game. The way to get "Real Growth" is by baptizing Father-led families or potential priesthood holders who will support and work towards the goal to attend the temple.

2nd problem is that if we are teaching single mothers or single sisters, we need to have a fellow shipper (another member to go with us to appointments).. now what happeneds when we can't get a fellow shipper to come with us to visit them? Well, then we can't teach them and... so then progressing them is very difficult, and yields little results...

Now the majority of people here are single mothers because the men just sleep around with whoever they can and then just run away. There is something called "Labola" here which means that in order to marry a girl, you have to first pay labola (whatever price the parents feel that their daughter should be worth). So men, not being able to afford labola, instead of marrying, just make them their girlfriend, then get them pregnant, then they don't want the responsibility, so they just leave and find another girlfriend.... it’s sad, but super common! So now single mothers plague the land! I want to just share the gospel with all of them! I really do! So after a day of tracting into single mothers and having  appointments drop and not teaching one lesson, a missionary can get to be feeling pretty beat...

But we did have a successful first part of the week with full days of lessons! Also really good news! Goodman and Dorothy have a baptism date for the 25th!!! And they are progressing very nicely and I am very excited for them to be baptized! If everything goes like planned, then we can probably even baptize Betty at the same time! (Dorothy is Julius' wife. Julius was baptized a couple months ago. Goodman is their cousin who is staying with them, and Betty is Eric's wife, who I baptized) If we can get them all baptized on the same day, that would just be incredible!!!! That would make me so happy helping complete the family! I've been working so hard with these people for the past 5 months! And better yet if I could get their other cousin Leah to start coming to church again, we could baptize her at the same time too because she has been taught everything already twice! That will be awesome!

There are good things happening here and I love this work more than I can explain! It just brings so much joy to my soul and I can't imagine feeling any other way for the rest of my life! Mission is the greatest thing I could have ever decided to do and I can't image what my life would have possibly turned into if I hadn't have come on mission. But my eyes have been opened in so many ways and I can see clearly these days!

 I still have a TON!!!!!! of stuff to learn and experience, and I can hardly imagine my eyes getting any more open than they are! My eyes might pop out! Thank you all for all your support! I received a resounding 6 letters last week! That was awesome! And I am almost caught up with responding to all my letters! So have patience! I'm mailing a bunch out today! I love you all! Take care!


-Elder Jones

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