Monday, December 7, 2015

Letter from Michael 12-7-2015- 21 Years Old- Last Email Home

Part of his letter to his dad:
Thank you very much! I enjoyed eating at Carnivore! I ate warthog, springbok, kudu, zebra, lamb, and crocodile. For me crocodile was the best meat of all! See you in 2 days! Ya, unfortunately we missed the zone photos. No investigators came to church. I actually went to Carnivore on Monday because it is so far away. On my birthday I ate the Monster Burger and a place called Yankees. On Sunday night some members had a birthday party for me! 
Ha!!! I will get to see that rivalry game! Whoooo!

Congratulations to Blake going on a mission! I like Chicago!

Part of his letter to his mom:

Yes we left before the zone pics. We did not know it was going to happen. 
Yes, I got a couple letters from you. One was the very last one. I am all packed to go home now!
Yes, I bore my testimony in tsakane! I don't think it was necessarily harder to be a missionary the last week. But there is no way that I can't be thinking about home in the back of my mind. I am looking forward to coming home, but a little bit sad that the whole journey is over. I have been reflecting some on the times I served in all of my ares. But I feel a satisfying sense of accomplishment. all in a hard DAYS work... 2 years service.
I have a scale and I know my luggage is under the weight limit.
I will be in the mission office at 3pm to make sure my luggage is the proper weight.  Then 6pm at the mission home is our departing dinner with President and Sister Dunn. 

Michael’s last email home:

Behold, I am an old Madalla (grandpa) now. My 21st birthday, 3rd birthday on mission, was a great one! I enjoy being with the members and eating exotic animals Crocodile is the best, by the way! 
I really have enjoyed serving a mission. I know it is the best thing I have ever done. I would not trade it for anything the world has to offer. I know anyone who is sincerely searching for the truth with a humble heart will find it if they read scriptures (Book of Mormon), pray to Heavenly Father, and live the principles of the gospel. I don't need to see or have anymore physical evidence to know what I have learned by the Spirit. I will never deny it. I thank everyone for their love and support. I have felt the prayers of many and look forward to seeing everyone again!
- Elder Michael Johnson


“The power of God is the priesthood, which is necessary in the true Church of Christ. We can have the true Church without all of the programs, without perfect people or perfect administration, but we cannot have it without the keys of the priesthood.” —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others.” – President Thomas S. Monson
Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Letter from Michael 11-30-2015- The End

On Saturday I went to the temple with Elder Dlamini for the departing trip with all the missionaries going home. It was especially nice because members from Tsakane, Seshego, Polokwane, Protea Glen, and Rabie Ridge were at the temple as well. It was great to see them and catch up with them. Some of them I have not seen in almost two years. I really enjoyed that day. Elder Dlamini's home branch from Swaziland was there. So he was able to send some of his belongings home with them.
Unfortunately no investigators came to church on Sunday. We did find a father lead family to teach though. We will see them on Wednesday. Tomorrow is the mission tour where one of the general authorities in the church will speak with us. I am sure we will learn from and enjoy the message prepared for us there. 

Quote: "Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders of his church, who are to return speedily to the land from whence they came: Behold, it pleaseth me, that you have come up hither;" - Doctrine & Covenants 60:1

Quote: "O be wise; what can I say more." - Jacob 6:12

Part of his letter to his mom:

I dunno about tears nor the number of people going home. But this I know; that there are few survivors left from my MTC group.  (When asked if people were surprised to see him at the temple he replied the following: Yes, I don't regret it one bit. Yes, the people we are very happy and surprised to see me. They all assumed I was home already. Elder Mcclealan, from my MTC group, came back to finish his mission in his 1st area. The area is Seshego next to Polokwane so people though I went home same time as his which was 6 weeks ago.

When asked if he was able to meet any more of the members and work with them he wrote the following: Yes, we found out where some more members live.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Letter from Michael 11-23-2015- Two Weeks Left

This week we have 12 new investigators. One of them is a father lead family. A new investigator, Xoly, came to church this Sunday. This Sunday was different. We had stake conference in Kwa-Thema. It was a recording of Elder Renlund, Elder Cook, and the other Elder Cook. They spoke about tithing and women. 

Quote: Serve your mission in such a way that each day when you get out of bed Satan says, "Oh no, HE'S AWAKE!"

Quote 2: "The attitude you have towards your mission experience is a reflection of your love toward your Heavenly Father and His son and your respect for the priesthood."

Quote 3: A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop. - Robert HUghes

Part of his letter to his mom:
I got my itinerary packet last night! It is cool to actually see it and have it in hand!
Yes, I have been trying to be charitable. Often times they won't let us but last week I managed to wash a bunch of dishes for a member. 

The father lead family is nice! The first time we met with them it was awkward but the 2nd time was so much better. They were quite interested. It was awkward the first time because they didn't really say anything or show any interest until we taught about the plan of salvation. We taught about the plan of salvation. I love teaching about the plan of salvation and also the Book of Mormon. I am sure all of my companions could tell you that teaching about the BOM to investigators is my favorite!

The only dress shoes I have are the ones I had even as a teacher. The laces look bad. The other two pairs of shoes gave up the ghost. I suppose they just worked too hard, neh?

Karabo is still on date for baptism. She just did not come to church because she had no money for transport.
Elder De La Cruz actually wants to be a detective when he gets home. We get along well. It is funny... he compare our companionship to Thor and Captain America as the fought as a team in the first Avenger movie.
Today, we don't have plans. For my birthday we plan to go to a place called Carnivore and they will give us exotic food to eat such as Kudu, Zebra, warthog, and crocodile! It will be awesome! 

Quote 4: "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Letter from Michael 11-16-2015  -Three Weeks Left

This week was much nicer for us. We had a fun activity with the mission. It was like a zone conference with also games, a hike, and a Speaker who is a woman who climbed Mount Everest. We compared her experience climbing Mount Everest with the missionary work. We were able to meet with many people last week. Still only Karabo came to church but at least we have a teaching pool now. We found when we taught and taught when we found people to teach. We found them through tracting, referrals, and found more people to teach as we went to appointments. We teach the friends and family of those we already visit to teach. Mdu, the ward mission leader, is still a big help for us. We finally have a branch list and will soon see if we can find other members to come teach with us. We are especially looking for the young men to help. It will also help them as they prepare to serve a mission.

It is hailing HARD right NOW! The last time I saw hail it was my first day in South Africa. It was so much that it looked like snow!

Quotes for the week:
Love is the guiding light that illuminates the disciple’s path and fills our daily walk with life, meaning and wonder. Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship. Love is the way of the disciple.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, GC, 10/2010.

"Above all the attributes of godliness and perfection, charity is the one most devoutly to be desired. Charity is more than love, far more; it is everlasting love, perfect love, the pure love of Christ which endureth forever. It is love so centered in righteousness that the possessor has no aim or desire except for the eternal welfare of his own soul and for the souls of those around them." Bruce R. McConkie.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Letter from Michael 11-9-2015 – Four Weeks Left

Last week was a long one. We did much tracting and scheduled many appointments but almost all of them canceled. Karabo who is an investigator has baptism date set for the end of January. We would like to have it earlier but she is going to be out of town for summer break. The Tsakane 1 elders had a baptism for a woman named Felicia. Interestingly she asked me to baptize her even though I did not know her. I couldn't because I didn't have any clothes to change into. So one of the members baptized her. The gospel principle classes are different here. The members take turns each week in teaching the class. They teach in English and Zulu in the classes. Because of this it is difficult for Elders to pay attention. This Sunday it seemed they were mostly speaking Zulu. 
Quote: "It is better to prepare and prevent, than to repair and repent."  - Ezra Taft Benson

Part of his letter to his mom:
Yes, there are 4 Elders serving in the branch like it was in Polokwane. Last week was frustrating. We went around every day everywhere trying to find a place where we could buy electricity because we ran out. Everybody referred us to some other place until finally today we figured it all out. Most of the time we could buy electricity anywhere. But this flat complex uses private electricity so there is only one store in the world where we can pay for our electricity. 

You have to prepay for the phone as well. You have to buy what we call "airtime" here. They don't do the contract thing.

Yes, I got cards from many. I got some from you, the Binders, the Brittners,  and the Johnson Grandparents!

Yes, the food was good. Everywhere it is chicken and rice. After district meeting our district went to our area to tract to find us some investigators. We will contact them this week. We found a cool Kota shop where we can sit down and have free juice. I was going to send a picture of it. But a virus destroyed the picture.

Dell, Thendai, marriage officer, and the Youlton family.

Alberton Flat

Monday, November 2, 2015

Letter from Michael 11-2-2015 -  First Week in Tsakane

This week was hectic. I was put in companionship with Elder Musandirire and Elder De La Cruz. Elder Musandirire was actually serving in the Zimbabwe mission but had to come to South Africa for a transfer for medical reasons. On Wednesday we had to take him to the mission office and the to the OR Tambo airport to go back to Zimbabwe. He was supposed to be here longer but his mission president decided to have him come back earlier. 

Anyway, it is just Elder De La Cruz with me now. He is from Spain and is 13 months on mission. We are both having fun trying to learn the area. We didn't have an area book, a branch directory, or a map so we were kind of left in the dark. Fortunately we have the branch mission leader on our side of the branch so he helped us to know where people live. He is a great branch mission leader. Sunday was the only day he did not come to teach with us. 

The branch is big and they feed us often. Tons of people filled the chapel on Sunday. It looks big enough to be a ward but there are not enough priesthood holder. Most of the branch is just women. We started with to investigators from part member families. There is Karabo who is 13 and Sweetness who is in her 40's. We started teaching new people but we will see how serious they are as time goes. Karabo came to church with her mother on Sunday. 
- Elder Johnson

"They that love, show their love."
- William Shakespeare 

Part of his letter to his mom:

On P-day we went to the mission office because Elder Hughes had to go to the district leader and training meeting. I played rugby the whole day. I met the Larsons in the mission office. Sister Larsen took a picture with me.

We don't live in the township but we live in Brackpan. Brackpan is actually near Alberton. We drive through Alberton to get to the mission home. At the complex we live in there is the (ZL) Springs Elders, Tsakane 1 Elders, and (DL) Kwa-tema Elders. We are all in separate complexes. The township is mostly Zulu's. It seems nice with friendly laid back people. There are many young people it seems in Tsakane.

Party of his letter to his dad:

Today we are going bowling with a bunch of missionaries. Elder Commings from my MTC group and Elder Rouse will be there.

Elder Commings is from Burmingham, England. He goes home same time as me. 

Lower Right- Michael during transfers Oct. 2015

Upper Right- Michael with car loaded down- Transfers 10-2015

Lower Left- Michael sitting at transfers- 2015

Lower Right- Michael sitting at Transfers 10-2015

Lower Left- Michael sitting in Transfers 10-2015
Tripanionship- Michael with Elder Musandirire and Elder De La Cruz

Monday, October 26, 2015

Letter from Michael 10-26-2015 - Dell and Tendai's baptism

On Sunday of course Dell and Tendai got baptized. The services went quite well. I really enjoyed the speakers and the Spirit was strong during the ordinance and during the testimonies. As I said before Brother Youlton baptized Dell and Tendai. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures with them. Everyone was a bit rushed.

We had 7 investigators come to church. Renato is starting to come to all 3 sessions at church and seemed to enjoy it. These last couple weeks of the transfer we have found many new people to teach. Sylvester and Caroline came to church and conveniently live right next to it.

On Thursday both Elder Hughes and I got calls from President Dunn. I have been released as district leader and am opening the 2nd Tsakane area. Apparently it is near Springs. It is a nice township. It has been a while since I have served in a township area. Elder Hughes is training and district leader of a district of 3 greenies. That will be quite interesting for him.

I got all of the birthday cards last week. Thanks to everyone!

In reference to October 21, 2015, he wrote the following:

That day you mention was a very good day for us. We taught many people and relieved and cooled of by the rain. It has been hot lately.


Rob Davidson- Alberton Ward Mission Leader