Hand written letter received from Michael 8-14-2014
Dear Mom, Dad, & Jessica,
July 21 
Hey Fam! I emailed you guys today and I forgot to tell you one of the highlights of my week. It is about a less active member Lazerous. He hasn’t been to church in so long that not even Elder Dutson has not seen him at church. We visit him every now and then and have been teaching him about the principles of the gospel, baptismal covenants, and the importance of church. We tried teaching his wife and his 16 year old daughter too but only got as far as the Book of Mormon. Lazerous kept promising he would start coming to church but he never did. He would say something like “ I definatly will maybe come to church. I have to. I must.” But there was always an excuse whether it was culture or something else. His family began to complain to him that he doesn’t even come to his own church. He always breaks his own promise. He wouldn’t keep a lot of appointments. Then last time we taught him he explained to us that he was feeling sick because he is not doing what he needs to do. Sure enough he actually came this Sunday. I greeted him at the door but my mind didn’t even register who it was because he was one of the last people I would expect to be at church. It is a good thing we never gave up on him. At times I felt like it because there was zero progress for so long. At church he told me that after he comes a few times he will bring his family with him. He said his wife has even started to read a bit of the pamphlets and I think the Book of Mormon. Hope we continue to see progress. I ‘d love to teach the whole family and have them join the church. That is why you never give up.
July 24, 
This past Sunday Lazarus came to church a 2nd time. We have transfers on Tuesday. Elder Dutson to Orange farm and myself to Robie Ridge. My new companion is elder Harris who has been out almost a year. He also is from Utah. He is very funny and talkative guy. This area seems pretty great. I only heard good things and people raving about Robie Ridge. They get a lot more success with teaching here. There are many powerful people here. 7 investigators on date. One investigator just got baptized last week. His name is TJ. He came a long way. He used to be a drug dealer but the gospel changed him and he helps us with teaching appointments often.
Yesterday, Elder Harris took me to a Kota shop. It didn’t taste that great. Not long after I felt sick and had very bad stomach pain that came in waves. Last night I felt cold, achey, and nauseated. It was a horrible sleep last night. I still feel it today but not as bad. Oh, by the way I’m in a two man flat. About time. I was getting sick of noisy 4 man flats.
(August 3, 2014)
Sorry, writing letters are difficult. It is hard to find the time and also I end up emailing you stuff that I write. On Friday I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders so that one of them could interview Bulleani for baptism. It was a good exchange. The zone leaders came up with a good idea, they make a deal with all the members that they would come teach them the 1st three lessons but by the 2nd or 3rd the members have to bring a friend or someone to sit in for the lesson. Elder Wilkinson, the zone leader and I taught a member family about the restoration. It went well and they had a nanny come for the lesson. She didn’t understand English well though…bummer.
Later that night we visited and Afrikaans member family. They were pretty crazy and fun. I love that family. It reminded me of home. It is quite different teaching and working with the Africaans people. We did tracting that day too. It was very unfruitful. It is in town full of whit people. Everyone rejected us as soon as we started to speak with them. It is very different from tracking in a township. I’m glad to be serving where I’m serving.
The other Elders in Centurian are struggling a lot. They had 5 lessons last week and 3 of them were members. Anywayin …In the morning Centurian we had a great wok outs. It was my first real one on mission. We just hop over the fence to the guy who owns the little placer where the Elders stay. We did a ton of abb workouts, bent over rows, military dumbbell press, pull-ups, and bench. I’m SORE! Thankfully my bench isn’t too much worse that it use to be.
Anyway, I am learning the area and the people. I love it. It is great how well some of the members here are involved in the work. I wish I had been a better fellowshipper back home. Or helped out somehow more than I did. I had not realized how much help the missionaries need from members till I became a missionary. President Gordon B. Hinkley said something like, “There is absolutely no point in doing missionary work… unless they get fellowshipped by members” If I were an investigater why would I go to a church where no one knows me or cares about me. Everyone must feel like they belong. We should love everyone as family. I will try to help out a lot more when I get home. I ‘m out of paper… love you all!
To see the photo and read what the Mission president's wife said about the baptism of Buleani go to:
to go to the front page of the mission presidents blog go to:
You can read about his survival of an attack by a bear attack 20 years ago.