Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Letter from Michael 4-27-2015 - Selena confirmed a member

Well Selena was confirmed a member of the church yesterday. There were a few more people this week at the family home evening. We moved the time down to 7 O'clock so that more people would have time to come after work. 
One of the members found an article in the news paper about the accident we saw a while ago. There were actually two people that died in the back of the car. When we got there one was already dead lying across the seat. On the highway the car collided with a big petrol truck and spun off the road while inflamed. 
On Monday shortly after emailing we got our phone stolen. We were at a red light in traffic down town to pick up the other Elders when three guys opened up our doors and turned off the car. Then they took the phone which was all we had. Poor Elder Novotny got his SD card in the phone taken away too. It had all of his mission pictures. So I did not really lose anything. But we were with out a phone for a long time. The other Elders finally got their car fixed. It took over 2 weeks to fix one thing. 
Yesterday, church went very well. After church I started driving down the parking lot to ask someone what their address is when Elder Novotny jumped on the back of the car. He shattered the back window. He felt so bad! I laughed! All of the kids at church saw and the told there parents to come see while they pointed to Elder Novotny and repeatedly said, "He did it! He did it!" Anyway we still can't get the window fixed because today is a national holiday. He just wanted to disappear so that the members wouldn't see. There was a lady member there who saw it. I never saw her smile until just then. She made a joke saying, "If the church were not true the Elders would have destroyed it years ago." Then we went to go visit members' homes which we never visited before. The end. 
- Elder Michael Johnson

Quote: The good works that really matter require the help of heaven. And the help of heaven requires working past the point of fatigue so far that only the meek and lowly will keep going long enough. The Lord doesn’t put us through this test just to give us a grade; he does it because the process will change us.” - Elder Henry B. Eyring

Part of his letter to his mom:
I forgot to mention another part of the story. When the guys opened the car doors they said, "Shoot him!" Elder Novotny asked, "With What?" Then they said, "....stab him!" Again, "With what?" We were too surprised and confused to do anything. 

When asked about the college class and family home evening he wrote: The college class was canceled because they are on strike. The ones who came loved "Meet the Mormons." They all want to see it again so we are this Friday but more people are coming because of the time being later. 

Part of his letter to his dad: Some random guy named Robby came to church.

Selena and William after the baptism

The  broken back window

View of Joburg

Monday, April 20, 2015

Letter from Michael 4-20-2015- Selena is baptised

Letter from Michael 4-20-2015- Selena is baptized

This was an interesting week. In our district there is us and four missionaries serving in Kwagukwa. At the beginning of last week their car died. So we had to drive them everywhere. We made at least four trips to Kwagukwa and back everyday so the work was a bit hindered on both sides. I hope their car will be fixed this week. 
We taught at the college again last Wednesday. We had a presentation about the Bible and the Book of Mormon. It went well on our side. We also had the family home evening on Friday night. Not enough people knew about it so only two people came. More people know now and some of the leaders are coming as well this time. We are going to watch Meet the Mormons and drink some Hot Chocolate afterwards. 
Selena got baptized yesterday. The services was nice and her daughter and husband even came for all of church. William, the husband, enjoyed it. It was his first time attending the church. I have pictures from the baptism but I am sick of getting virus's on my memory card. 

Spencer W. Kimbal said,  "...forgiveness is not a thing of days or months or even years but is a matter of intensity of feeling and transformation." Repentance was never meant to be an easy thing Forgiveness is possible, but requires a mighty change of heart. 

- Elder Michael Johnson

Part of his letter to his Mom:
On Thursday night I probably saw the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life. On our way back home we saw a car on the side of the highway in flames. We were observing it and discovered that there was someone inside of it. We don't know how the accident happened but we were one of the first ones there. Tons of people arrived after us. Anyway, so there was a woman in the back seat. We originally thought she was a man but it was just because her air was singed off. We wanted to help but there was nothing we could do. Some guys had fire extinguishers which did not help. They managed to get the door open which only made things worse. It was windy so the flames only got stronger. We stood and watched as the poor woman squirmed around trying to escape. She got only part way out once or twice. I think her leg or foot was caught on something. No ambulance or fire fighters came to help. Eventually the flames were to much and we watch her die and she turned to coals. A couple other missionaries could not sleep for two nights since then. I think I handled it very well but it was still quite sad. But that was not the worst part. The worst part was that her daughter had escaped and just stood there balling helplessly as her mother was burning to death. She was around our age.  Anyway, life is so short and so precious. We should make the most of it and not hold grudges with anyone but show our love for one another always. Only God knows when we are to leave this life. It reminds me of one of the few country songs I actually like. It is by Tim McGraw and I think the name of the song is "Live Like You Are Dying."

Part of his letter to his dad about how many came to the religion class at the college: The class was about 40 - 50 or something.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Letter from Michael 4-13-2015- Like a Lamb to the Slaughter

On the transfer I failed to mention that Elder Haynes, who trained me, is now my zone leader. This is his last transfer before he goes home to Australia. It is good to finally serve around him again. By the way, Selena and her daughter came to church on Sunday. Selena might actually get baptized this coming Sunday.  
The college class on Wednesday was a success. There were about 60 student crammed into one small room. They were all the way up right in front of us and to the side. The whole class was just girls and only one boy. We taught for about 40 minutes. We started out teaching about faith with works. Then "the armor of God" and why we have commandments. Then we focused on the law of chastity. We got some interesting reaction while teaching that. Most of them seemed to enjoy it though. We are also going to try to do the same thing at the TUT which is right across the street from the chapel.  
Last week we had a very interesting service project at a member's house. It is something I have never done before. Brother McDonald had a 7 month old sheep that broke one its front legs in half. It was bleeding and there was no hope for fixing it. So we helped him catch the now 3 legged sheep. We tried surrounding it but it was remarkably fast even with only 3 legs. Eventually it fell down. I jumped onto it and pulled its legs back. Since then it was as if it had accepted it was going to die. It no longer tried to run away or fight back. The lamb was just calm. I once read the words of Joseph Smith as he was leaving to Carthage jail. He mentioned that he was as cool as a summer’s morning like a lamb to the slaughter. Also it is just like Jesus Christ before he was crucified. He did not resist, he did not fight, he did not complain. He had fully accepted the will of His father. 
After we had caught the lamb, we picked it up and put it into a wheel barrow so we could carry to the place where we would put it out of its misery. We held it while Brother McDonald slit its throat. I was surprised at the amount of blood that came out and how quickly it shot out. I never saw an animal be slaughtered like that and being so close. When the blood drained out we skinned the sheep and then Brother McDonald took out some organs to cook for dinner. We left before dinner so no lamb chops or intestines for us. Anyway, it was an interesting experience.
- Elder Michael Johnson 

Part of letter to his mom: Sorry, I failed to mention that starting this week we are having family home evening at the chapel for the members and their friends. It will be every Friday night at 6:00pm. We will have a lesson and then games as usual. 

Part of letter to his dad: By the way, I never sent you a post card before. Today I am sending you one. I will stop by the post office and give it to Selena. I don't know if I told you but Selena work at the post office. I can now bench 242 lbs. a few times. I need more to max out. I am surprised that I am able to get stronger just on mission. We don't exactly eat enough or exercise long enough. I started my mission at 155 lbs. and am now 180 lbs. 

Quote of the week: Conference from Elder Dale G. Renlund, former Africa Southeast Area President: “God cares a lot more about who we are, and who we are becoming, than about who we once were.”

Michael on Transfer Day April 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

Letter from Michael 4-6-2015  Easter/Week of Witnessing

Conference was great! I enjoyed all of the talks. I saw both morning sessions live and also saw the Saturday afternoon session. This week we did something different. We had what we called the "Week of Witnessing." There is a new short video that the church came out with for Easter. It is called "Because He Lives." Anyway, we had many Because He Lives pass along cards and we were supposed to pass out as many as possible. So finding was the focus for the week. President Dunn also provided for us big Because He Lives banners so we can have it with us on the street corners when we pass it out. They are very good quality too. We went to mall, gas stations, and shopping centers. Also, passed some out at a members tuck shop in the location. We also did at a members mini fast food restaurant. Most of their customers work at the power station so a lot of them are foreigners. There are even some Americans and Czech Republicans. 
My companion got pulled over last week for crossing a solid white line. The cop was going to give Elder Novotny a 2,000 Rand fine. We gave her a card and talked about Easter, Christ's mercy, and how she should try to follow Christ's example. So thankfully she forgave Elder Novotny. 
We taught Selena about the word of wisdom and she committed to keep the commandment. She and another investigator, Veronica, attended general conference. 
- Elder Johnson

Part of the letter to his mom: Starting this Wednesday Elder Novotny and I are teaching two gospel classes at a university here. It is going to be awesome! I have not heard of a missionary doing that before. We are able to do it because we have a member, Edwin, who works at the school. It will be every Wednesday!