Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week 1

Jacob's time in the South Africa MTC is almost over.  He leaves on Tuesday morning for Kenya.  It is a 5 hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Nairobi, Kenya. We are very blessed that Jacob is in a small group setting.  the mission president's has been able to share with us different activities the elders have been doing along with pictures! Below is a letter from Jacob and some of the pictures from the past week.

Family, friends, loved ones, and obligatory recipients,
Hello!  I wish I could greet you in Swahili, but all of the African Elders are off to the temple right now.  Let me tell you about this MTC experience.  I walk in the door and immediately I was greeted with a "Good morning!  This way to class."  I met my companion within 2 minutes.  His name is Elder Limo (LEE-mow) and he is from Eldoret, Kenya.  He has a girlfriend who is not a member who lives in Eldoret and I am supposed to convert her.  I struggled through my first two days trying to stay awake because I got about 2 hours of sleep on the plane from London to Joburg. 
My first few teaching appointments were really good.  I learned a TON and was able to improve quite a lot.  This past week I have been killing these discussions and lessons.  In the classroom I am usually one of two Elders who answers any sort of question and sometimes it is only me.  It is not because I know more but I just think I am more outgoing.  Especially compared to the Elders from Africa.  They are very quiet and humble and since they are only decently good with English they speak very softly.  My roommates are Elders Limo, Hansen (from Utah), and Matoropito (Zimbabwe).  There are 22 Elders in the MTC.  11 from the States, 10 from Africa, and 1 from Polynesia.  The Polynesian Elder can hardly speak English.  It is so hard to communicate with him.  He is from Kiribati (check that spelling).
Well about 36 hours into my stay here, I got sick.  And it got progressively worse this whole time.  Yesterday was definitely the worst of it.  I could not even focus on anything I was trying to do.  I got some flu medicine last night and I am so much better, but I am still sick.  It makes it very hard to maintain focus.  Over these last 2 days I have really gotten discouraged because I have been on edge from being sick and having a lack of sleep.  It has gotten very hard to love my companions and I am trying so hard to be humble and see my wrong.  My lessons haven't gone so well.  But hopefully tomorrow I can be back on my game.
We were able to visit the Joburg Temple on Tuesday.  It was neat seeing 7 of the African/Polynesian Elders go through for the first time.  Elder Limo was one of them and it was special to share that experience with him.  The Joburg temple is by far the smallest temple I have ever been in...  Holy moly.
I have been able to get over the pain of being homesick.  I still miss my family a LOT and I think about them all the time as well as Sister Ellis, but it is no longer painful and is just happy.  I am so grateful to be here.  Today, Elder Hiltbrant (California) was talking to me about Christ's coming.  He said that 3 people that he knows have their patriarchal blessing that states that Christ will come while they are on the earth.  Crazy, right?  Hopefully he comes while I am on my mission.  It is a good place to be.
I have found such solace in the scriptures.  I wanted to share a few and why they are special to me.
Jacob 4:4-6 - This explains the Book of Mormon so beautifully.  It is a great tool to share with investigators when they ask about the Book of Mormon.
Alma 26 - Word for word, this is how I feel every day as a missionary of God and Jesus Christ.
Alma 32:26-27 - Faith does not mean that you must know.  I have applied this scripture so many times. 
There are many more that I have read that have changed me and countless more that I use in lessons, but these are some that have impacted me greatly.
It is so amazing the change I have gone through just in the 1 week I have been here as a missionary.  I cannot begin to explain how greatly this has impacted my life.  Imagine what happens to investigators.  A member of the First Quorum of the Seventy who is in the Africa Southeast presidency came to talk to us.  He explained that Africa SE is the fastest growing area in the world.  He said that Germany/Europes time to explode was in the 1910s.  New Zealand was 1940s.  Many many places have grown great in the gospel.  Africa has been left relatively untouched.  Until now.  We are on the whites of the wave that will consume Africa in the gospel.  The time is now for the world to know about the wonderful love that our literal Father in heaven has for us.  I have grown to know it and know that He truly loves me, the least of all His children.  I hope I can share that love and feel that same love for all of His children in Africa.
Thank you for all the emails and keep them coming!!
Until Kenya,
Elder Dick

Jacob's arrival at the MTC with President and Sister Reber.

Jacob and his companion Elder Limo. Elder Limo is from Kenya.

Even though it is blurry I love his picture of Jacob laughing during FHE!

Elder and sister Carl B. Cook hosted a fireside for the missionaries.

Temple trip to the Johannesburg temple on Tuesday, June 18th.

Eating South African food! Not sure he's lovin' it :)

Mabela porridge and "pap", the staple food in South Africa, which is eaten with your fingers.

Service project

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