Wednesday, October 21, 2015

week 97

Well then, it seems this will be my last real email as next week I will really only have time to say "see you soon".

Where has the time gone haha.

I really don't have much to say. I'm stressed out, I'm super excited, I'm super sad. I'm a bit overwhelmed. Trying to pack, trying to say goodbye, trying to do some good. Its sure strange. Thought this day would never come and now that it is here it is a very bittersweet thing. I'm very okay with the mission being over, I'm not so okay with leaving SA.

On the bright side these last few days, and the next few, have been filled with fun. I know strictly speaking it is not supposed to happen, but I've never been so strict when it comes to rules involving last Thursday I went shooting for about an hour in the evening! Made my week, shot an elephant gun, got me a nice bruise because I flinched and pulled it away from my shoulder. Awesome. Today we had a zone activity, got to hang out with some of my best friends. Great day.

The rest of the week is filled with member lessons and service. Lekker.

Love, Elder Kelly

Thursday, October 15, 2015

week 96

Well lets see here, this past week was okay.

Last week on Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Tumare (A zone leader from Thahati) and we had an awesome time. Lots of fun. Even got a chance to work on a bit of family history that day.

Besides that last week was pretty standard except for having Zone Meeting on Friday. It was focused on the Book of Mormon and I was asked to talk about the blessings I have received from it.

Sunday was great, good classes and talks. That evening we had dinner at a members house (Sister Ruth) and she kept making comments about how I should marry one of the ladies in the branch.

Yesterday I was able to make my third trip to Krugar National Park. I have now been able to cover it from top to bottom! It was a wonderful day. We left the flat at about 4 am and got to the gates at about 7. (Took a while because we popped a tire on the way.) Immediately inside the gate we found a giraffe and some warthogs. The day started off quite cool and because of that a lot of animals were out. Around noon the day heated up and we were only able to see animals around the places with water. Problem being, it is the dry season, so there is very little water! (The last picture is of a dried up river.) In the space of about 8 hours we only traveled about 150 kilos, but it was awesome.

Because we didn't email on our normal day we only have a few minutes. Talk to you next week!

Love,  Elder Kelly

Monday, October 5, 2015

week 95

So, the big news this week... the past two weeks I have been having abdominal pain, but the start of the week it became extreme and Wednesday night it was unbearable. I passed out and ended up going to the hospital. There are two theories from two doctors. The mission doctor thinks I got food poisoning two weeks ago and it is finally busting forth with fury. The doctor who examined me at the hospital felt I have internal bleeding which I tend to believe since I had it before. Says me passing out was from blood loss. Now I've got lots of meds and a diet plan for the next few days (or weeks depending on how it goes).

I'm feeling alright now, still hurt quite a bit, but the doctor said that could take a few days to
go away. Besides the pain though I'm feeling much better! I'm at least able to go about doing things now, sitting in the flat was driving me up the wall! Couldn't stand it. It appears to not be ulcers, but I had some sort of infection and - yada yada - big doctors words that I didn't understand. Feeling quite a bit better now.
This week was of course interesting with the trip to the hospital and the two forced days off, but it has also been a week of firsts! On Saturday I traveled to Mokopane and gave a baptismal interview to a young lady named Betty. I of course have not been present at a baptismal interview since my own and it was wonderful to have a reminder of just how spiritual of an experience it can be. It was also quite interesting to see it from the other way around this time. Betty is much more prepared then I was when I was baptized so I'm sure she will do great. As of late in the Africa South East Area, the qualifications for baptism have been upped in hopes more people will stay active after baptism. Funny enough, it seems nearly all those being taught are rising to the new standards; great to see that it was an inspired move.
During the exchange I was with an Elder Novotney from the Czech Republic. (Can't spell his name or country!) and that was an absolute blast. We are in the same group so we both go home in three weeks and that made for an amazing day. I've never had such great lessons to be honest. We both know what we are doing and it made for a very stress-free day!
As of late there are two verses that I am focusing on in my personal life; 3 Nephi 20:8 which pertains to the sacrament, and 1 Nephi 21: 15-16 which speaks of Christ.

3 Nephi 20:8 "And he said unto them: he that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his sould; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled." This is a promise that I never really saw fulfilled in the first three or so years of my living the gospel. I suppose I just figured it should be a given at the moment you partake ,but as with most things in the gospel, I have realized that you only get out what you put in. A couple of months ago I realized how my mind would wander as the sacrament was being blessed and passed and how that really was destroying the whole purpose. Instead of considering my devotion to the gospel and the Godhead I was daydreaming. As of late (and I may have shared this before) I have done my level best to focus on the Christ and His doings amongst us here on earth, and it is amazing to see what a difference that has made. I've just begun to see this promise fulfilled: "His soul shall never hunger nor thirst" and that as been a great strength to me as of late.

1 Nephi 21:15-16 "For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." Lately I have been teaching a lesson on how a team works. I've been using the Springboks as an example since everyone here knows them. Anyways, a few weeks ago at the beginning of the World Cup they lost a game to Japan, which was quite sad. The reason is because they were letting each other down and not really doing what they should have been doing. If they had, they would have destroyed Japan like normal (in 2007 they beat them 87-3... I think.) Each of us has a team on earth, whether we know it or not; our family, friends, teachers, leaders, and so on and so forth. But they have the same problem as the Springboks; they are good, but they are not perfect, and eventually let us down. Luckily, we do have someone perfect on our team: Christ. The verses above paint picture of the devotion Christ shows towards each of us, and His ever-willingness to help. This coupled with His perfection makes Him the perfect "teammate" in the game of life. It is amazing to think how blessed we each are to have Him be part of our lives if we so choose. As it says in Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Our Savior is there; so often, we choose to go it alone. I tried tat for a long while, it sucks. As we rely upon Christ (and the other members of the Godhead) our burdens will be lightened. Life will never stop being hard, and there is no sense in making it more difficult than it needs to be. Have faith in Christ: that He is, that He can, that He will.

I'm sorry, but I very much struggle to put what I'm trying to say into words for some reason. I think it is because proper English has been out the window for awhile now. But yeah, those are two things that have been in the back of my mind near constantly for the past three weeks or so.

In other news, three girls have told me in the last two days that they "like white guys." Hmm... wonder why they would have mentioned that. That's about all I got, so yeah. I'll try to send pictures next week!

Elder Kelly

Monday, September 28, 2015

week 94

A group of my friends are driving here to see me today so I'm super excited for that! But it means that I have a very short time to email.
I had a very mixed week of good and bad. There was a holiday, so on par with every other holiday here, missionary work was near impossible. I did however go on exchanges with Elder Ndlovu and saw the first girl I ever taught and baptized on my mission! She is going super strong. Awesome young woman.
As far as investigators we have Corney, Nthabiseng, Khaukanani, and Mmanape on date for October the 25th. We are working with a number of less actives members, too: Brother Jonny, Klass, Sharon, George and Priscilla. We are seeing other people as well, but these are showing the most progress at the moment. I get to do a baptismal interview on Saturday!
Oh, I learned how to make a long bow this week, that was pretty fun. I also designed a handgun.
I will send a better letter next week!
Elder Kelly

Monday, September 21, 2015

week 93: back in Sashego

Well, basically, everyone said the same thing when they saw me: "You've lost weight!" Which I suppose is a good thing haha, it is definitely better then the alternative. Unfortunately, a few have made it a goal to get it all back on me in the next 5 weeks. I can't remember the last time I was fed so much.
Coming back wasn't exactly what I expected. I had about a two minute conversation with each of them and then I didn't know what to say and it was a bit awkward. I suppose the best part was to reconnect with those I helped baptize. All of them, besides one, are still coming to church. The one that isn't is due to health reasons. I guess that means I did something good while I was here last. 
I'm starting to feel nervous. I'm pretty excited to be done with my mission, but not so excited to come home. I already had one friend offer to sneak me into Mozambique haha. I'm toying with the idea of going home just long enough to make the money to come back. I already have some job offers here. One is working in the mines as a welder and the other is working as an armorer for a private military contractor that operates out of Somalia. The latter is quite tempting as it has always been my dream to play with guns for a living, but Somalia isn't exactly the nicest part of this earth. I don't know. I still don't like change. Or making big decisions.
I know I'm out in the boondocks again because I nearly ran two baboons over the other day that were fighting in the middle of the road. I like it here. Well, except for the crime and pollution. Besides that it is quite nice.
Hmm, well yeah. That's about all I got. Sorry, but my thoughts are currently elsewhere and it is difficult to come up with things to say. My companion wakes up a lot at night and writes in his journal so I'm pretty tired. P-day is the one day there is time for a nap, so I am going back to bed.

On Fridays we play basketball with some of the township kids. Funny times!

Elder Kelly

Monday, September 14, 2015

week 92

I got the news Saturday that I'm being transferred Tuesday back to my first area, Seshego. I'm going home! And then in six weeks I'm going home home! It feels like I will be there now now. (Adding an extra word adds power to what you're saying...kind of. Like if someone says they will be there now, expect to wait for an hour, but if they say now now it should be within a few minutes.) Also I've been asked to be a District Leader and follow-up train. Last six weeks, might as well be hectic haha.

I very much hope my package gets here, it would make my life. Today is going to be hectic, I think 3... or maybe 2... people are feeding us. Plus we have to do most of the normal stuff.

Tomorrow is transfers, so that will be fun. I'm the only one I know that will finish in the area they started it, I'm quite excited for that. Already know all the members and the roads and such. I'm quite sad to leave Attridgeville so soon. There are some truly amazing people here and we were supposed to have a baptism this Sunday! Darn. It should still happen though! We just won't be here.

Oh, I forgot to say Attridgeville is merging with another area so my companion and I are both leaving. It seems I'm either sent to an area to speed the work up, or finish it up so that it can be closed. It has been a terribly tiring ordeal! President Dunn even told me when I left Nelspruit that the balance of my mission would be spent reviving areas that were extremely unproductive and it seems he was on key with that one.

Yah know, my first year I was in just two areas and this past year I've had five so far and as of Tuesday it will be six. It makes me sad I haven't gotten to spend the time in other areas that I did in Nelspruit and Seshego, but it is amazing to see what the Lord can accomplish given a few short weeks and a (most of the time) willing heart. Alma 26:12 is coming to my mind: "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."  Yes, I'm aware that they spent years out and about, but it is still applicable as far as I'm concerned. God is pretty darn good at getting work done.

Well, it is now time to pack and clean, so I'll send some pictures and move on!
Bishop and family

Sister Ouma and me

Stella, Colyn and me

Stella, me and Phindale

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, September 7, 2015

week 91

The week was very good, but I'm still struggling with my companion. Seven more weeks...

Yesterday at church I had two visitors from long long ago! The first was Sister Makunye from the MTC and the other was sister Bridgett from Nelspruit. It was awesome to see people I quite enjoyed being around since there ain't so many like that in Atteridgeville.

I was privileged to confirm Thozama yesterday, that went very well. Elder kenyah is mad that she didn't ask him; I told him that if he showed an interest in her and didn't just flirt with her sisters at each visit maybe she would have. He didn't talk to me for the rest of the day haha.

Let's see here, I always forget what I want to say.

A verse that has carried much to my heart as of late is 3 nephi 20:8 "And he said unto them: He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled." Christ is explaining how fulfilling the sacrament and the gospel can be. Often I've found myself partaking of the sacrament but worrying about investigators instead of pondering the Atonement. I'm working to correct this and wow it has been great to see the difference, it feels as though I'm actually doing something now. I taught Gospel Principles yesterday and we discussed this quite in depth.

There is a rumor going around they are closing the area next to mine and as of next week I'll be covering two areas. Should be fun, and better yet we will no longer have to share a car and the flat will stay clean! Woo! I'll know for sure later on in the week if this is truth or not.

I wrote (well continued writing) another poem this week. It helps me focus my thoughts. I don't like the beginning much, but overall I enjoy it, so yeah. Here it is:

In the beginning was the Word
It was with Him I could be found.
In our homeland Eternal hope did abound.

To this apostate world have I been sent
hope is dimmed by the lessor's spite.
The path may fade; strife shall rail
In this life I may even feel condemned to fail.
Yet upon His palms does my weakness reside
and for this reason I'll never be over-tried.
After the darkest night the sun shall rise
the refiners fire will burn to the end of mortal time. 
Hope is opposed to doubt, with faith we need not fear
for as time slips by the Savior's return becomes ever more near.

Also, let's send some pictures for once...

It ain't much different from home here.

This is Thozama, the one we just baptized and confirmed.

Thabang got married and is working on getting sealed now. He is awesome. 

Spring is here!

I don't think you ever saw Elder Bryner. Best companion ever. 
Mountains surrounding the area we start. Hartebeesport (spelled that wrong, sorry neh!) 

So, I'm trying to make a plan of what to do when I get home. I'm all over the place, from living under a rock to becoming an astronaut. Well, not literally, but that pretty much shows how lost I am. What do you think I should do? I'm thinking military or WVU.

Anyways, I'm sick and my meds have me on the verge of passing out, so I'll sign off here.

Love, Elder Kelly