Monday, January 26, 2015

Letter from  Michael 1-26-2015  Hello Again

            This Sunday was a great Sunday. Selina and her kids came to church and some less actives came to church. On of the less active who came Quinton. He has been struggling with the word of wisdom and hadn't been to church in a long time. It was really good for him to come again. There were tons of people who attended sacrament meeting. There were over 80 people who came. It helped the members in our branch to get excited again at missionary work. For a long time no one here had any faith in it but now are seeing good things happening in the branch. Elder Perez said that he believes that the branch is beginning to have faith in or trust missionaries again. 
            Also, last week I was able to see more member families and the branch presidency. It went well. Our relationship with them is beginning well. Other than that the work last week was a bit slow. So many people had to cancel appointments. A member of our branch wrote us a letter about what he is been through in his life. It was some pretty intense stuff. It is remarkable that despite all of the horrible things he has endured in his life he didn't turn against God but only trusted that God still loved him and was preparing him to be what he was meant to be.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, "The testing processes of mortality are for all men, saints and sinners alike. Sometimes the tests and trials of those who have received the gospel far exceed any imposed upon worldly people. Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his only son. Lehi and his family left their lands and wealth to live in a wilderness, Saints in all ages have been commanded to lay all that they have upon the altar..." If we live righteously our losses will be made up and blessed for our sacrifices we make. 
- Elder Michael Johnson

Part of his letter to his mom:
We did donate the Book of Mormons to the Library.  the usual attendance is much lower though. 
Part of his letter to his dad:

Jonathan, Selina, and Tapewa came to church. All of them have family members or a friend in the church. Not really any fruits this week from our finding efforts. 

Protea Glen fire

at Rabie Ridge

Sthediso (David) and Mapule

Bro. Amos's baptism

Chipiso family

Onkabetsi, Putsoletso, and Welemina


Mopane Worms

Monday, January 19, 2015

Letter from Michael1-19-2015 week 2 in Witbank

It was another good week in Witbank. On Satrday we did a lot of finding. We found 4 father lead families to teach. Two of them we already began teaching. We also found a few other individuals as well. On Sunday Dewald and Jonathan came to church again. We also had three people walk in for the first time. There was Zuele who is the 18year old son of Sister Nkosi, Krisben, and Selina with her children. They enjoyed church very much and would love to come again. We scheduled appointments with all of them to see them this week. Some other father lead families we are teaching is Thelma's family and Stanley's family.
There are some things I failed to mention about the Witbank area. There is a lot of pollution in the air and water. None of the water here is safe to drink unless it is filtered or comes from a bore hole. Many of the people here are from Zimbabwe so they speak Shona. Hopefully I will be able to learn a bit soon. The Missionary who I replaced here served in Rabie Ridge with Elder Harris just before I got here. His name is Rushton and his trainer trained him in Rabie Ridge. Rushton's traainer, Elder Beers, is now my zone leader. Elder Perez also served his first area in Rabie Ridge. Elder Kolditz also served here in Witbank and Rabie Ridge. In fact Elder Kolditz trained Elder Beers in Witbank. Crazy how that is, eh? It is quite the web of connections. In this area we are not sharing a car with other Elders. It is stange only being around on missionary who is Elder Perez. Last week I failed to mention that a man named Terry helped us out when our car died. He towed us to the nearest gas station. He asked about what we do and where the church is. He gave us his number even and told us to give him a call. We will try that this week. Elder Perez and I are planing on donating copies of the Book of Mormon to the library in Witbank. We are going to put stamps on the books with numbers to contact and where to find the church. Hopefully all goes well with that. We will see this week.
- Elder Michael Johnson

Letter to his mom:
We got the car back on Tuesday morning. It is fine now. It was something wrong with the wiring. I don't know about a specific email time. Perhaps usually the same time as last week. Today we could not use the chapel to email because someone did not lock the electric door properly so it is stuck. I won't be sending pics today then. I am not able to use a gym here unfortunatly. It is hot here but there are a lot more trees to give shade. Yes, I know Bernard. I got some letters from you and both sets of grandparents. Tell them I said thanks very much and I love them. I heard how they went to Disneyland and Grandpa even went in an electric chair. It seems to work for everyone. That is awesome to here that David is back and well! Time flys!
(When asked what he does for water and when earing at the house of others;) We have a filter. At someones house....? we hope and pray. (When asked where most of the people that live there are from and what they speak, also where the polution comes from:) It was still mostly Sepedi. Some Shona though. At least with my experience. Yes, from the mines.
Douglas from Protea Glen is now baptized and Mphumsi is baptized. i wil ask for pics.
My 1st Sunday I gave a talk about faith. We teach gospel principles.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Letter from Michael 1-12-2015  (Witbank, Mpumalanga )

The new transfer was last week! So much has happened this week and so much to tell. I don't know where to begin or end. So my new companion is Elder Perez from St. George, Utah. He is the district leader and goes home in just five weeks. It has been great serving with him in Witbank, Mpumalanga. It is a branch and we don't share it with any other missionaries. The branch is stuggling quite a bit. There are hardly any active members. The work here has not been good here for a long time until last week. We actually got to teach many people. Our area is huge it is in Town and also township. The township is too far away though so we only go out there for members. I think it is one of the biggest areas in the mission. The roads are horrible here. Technically they are potholes but to me they seem more like craters. It is strange being around so many white people again. The area in which we work in is about half black and half white. I have met some very interesting and great people here. It is great to enjoy this new experience. 
On Saturday the alternator on our car went out. So we have not had the car since then. We had to walk so much in our big area. On Sunday night we lost our keys. We checks all pockets and our backpacks... nothing. We prayed and vuala... the keys were in Elder Perez's pocket. We still had to wait outside our flat complex for a long time though because our clicker is broken. We had two investigators come to church and some less active. The investigators that came were Johnathan and Dewald. They are both Afrikaans. Johnathan's mother is already a member. 
"When I do good I feel good. When I do bad I feel bad. That is my religion." - Abraham Lincoln
When was was Adam put on the Earth???
- A little before Eve.
- Elder Johnson

Part of his letter to his mom:
Hey! My companion is pretty cool. The flat is nice. I am back to sharing a bathroom now though. 
I can't beleive that gas is really under $2! Never thought I'd see the day. Here they call it petrol, never gas.  
The people were great! i love them already. They had interesting bACKGROUNS. We are taching a man and his family. The man's name is Stanley. I can see his testimony of the restored gospel begin to grow. 
We did some tracting. Some were just people that the Elders just never got a hold of. 
I am a 2 hours drive from Roodeport where the MTC and Mission home is. I am up adjacent to Limpopo. 
(When asked if there where senior missionaries in his area and what his zone is, he answered: No senior missionaries. Pretoria East zone.)

Part of his letter to his dad:
I am doing great! I am excited about this new area for me. Since it is in town so many more people either have cars or can afford transportation. So is gas really now under $2 a gallon? I remember it being significantly higher that that. Hope you had fun losing to Mom in Othelo! She told me all about it. You should step up your game now and compete, Dad.

Elder Kolditz and Elder Johnson

Elder Ainslie and Elder Johnson

Elder Johnson and Mphumsi

Petting a Rhino
Slide Showing Transfer

Elder Johnson and the Mlanga family

Monday, January 5, 2015

Letter from Michael  1-5-2015  Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone. It was a great one for us. In our mission it is dangerous to proselyte on New Years so we stayed home for the day. Actually we had our zone activity which was sports and Braai (BBQ). Transfer news came in on Saturday. Elder Kolditz got released as a district leader and is staying. I will be leaving to a new area tomorrow.
Sunday was a pretty good day. I got to say good bye to a lot of people. Gorgeous, one of the father-lead family who can to church last week, we taught about the Godhead to. They loved it and even offered to feed us. The would be great members of the church. I can see them being baptize soon. We had quite a few investigators come to church namely George, Gorgeous and the other 4 members of his family, and then of course Mphumsi. The members didn't do a very good job at fellowshipping this time. They only fellowshipped Mphumsi. We will have to talk to our members about that so people don't get ignored at church. Also we had some less actives come to church including, Sewela, Zanele, and Brother Mlhanga whose family we gave Christmas gifts to. Last week we found another father-lead family and started teaching one of Mphumsi's friends who lives next door.
Also, last week I went on exchanges with Elder Matos in centurion. We taught some great people. They were so kind and welcoming I felt like at home. But tracting or contacting in Town is rough. It is like other missions... no one wants to listen. It was nice to have the exchange and experience new things.
- Elder Michael Johnson

part of the letter to his mom:
For New Years we did sports, Braai, Risk, and a game very similar to Mafia. It is actually more fun. It is called "Wolf." I will have to show you when I get back.  Yes, people are starting to now come back home. Mphumsi is still on date for the 11th. Hopefully the water will be working then. The Sunday before Christmas the pipes in the chapel broke. We will see. Mphumsi said he would email me his baptism picture. The car still needs to be repaired but that will be after I leave. We had to give our extra car to Kampton park. So we won't have a car when we get ours fixed.
Awesome news about Dutson! I'm sorry to hear about Austin. Can't wait to try your new recipes! Sounds delicioso! I have been studying the Doctrine and Covenants and came across some interesting quotes and commentary in the manual. We went to a place called Chameleon Village to get some souvenirs. It was exhausting because everyone in all these little shops want us to buy their stuff. They grab our hands and take us to their shop and show us everthing. They  act so desperate. tO BUY IS ALL JUST BARGINING. There are no set prices. You can even trade stuff. I got a few monkeys and some pretty painting for not much. There is a nice place near our flat where they sell real South African diamonds. They even have diamonds that are only $250. Plus missionaries get a discount. Some things are so much cheaper than back home.

Part of his letter to  his dad:
Tshediso did not come to church. He was but he has the flu. We stped by to
visit yesterday and found him reading the Book of Mormon. I got a picture
of his family and got his email address.
That is a shame about Florida state.
Oh. Preston baptized Justin. Awesome!
That is so good to hear about Dutson. I am so happy for him. He will make a
great missionary. Congrats on finishing the BOM. I am soon to finish
myself. That is great that you can still read French. I will bring home a
Zulu Book of Mormon.

There are several pictures of Michael this week on his mission's blog: