Monday, January 30, 2012

FIGS!, Lebogang, Maleka, Mpho, other awesomeness.

Good week man... good week. So early Monday morning we began our study because of the trip to the office. I finished the Book of Mormon for the 6th time on mission and prayed about it again. I've received answers of course before but sometimes God has some pretty cool stuff in store. The answer came Tuesday. 6, 7, and 8, were sweet as heck appointments. Brother Mpho who was baptized back in November hasn't been to church since his baptism because just that same week his brother committed suicide. Turns out his family has been persecuting him like crazy because he joined the church. So much so they burned his BOM, have called family meetings to convince him to go back, and kept him away from us and deleted our number. So we finally sat down with him and he told us all of this. Then quote of a lifetime " I prayed once to know that this was true and I got my answer, it was this 'never let this knowledge go to waste.' I REFUSE to do that. I don't care if I have to leave my entire family, home, job, everything and move to America with you or Zimbabwe with Elder Bangani. I WILL NEVER LEAVE THIS". We left, man that guy is powerful, to our next appointment. Lebogang had read from 1st Nephi to Mormon in 6 days. and " This book has changed me, I know its true, I am going to be baptized on the 26th of February". That was really nice, so then we went to our final lesson. The Malekas. It was your typical L1, just good, and they asked great questions. We reached the point of the 1st vision and I felt prompted to tell them to really listen with their hearts. So, after asking them "how do you feel about what we taught" the one daughter just lost it "This last year has been the hardest year of my life, and I've prayed every day for guidance and now God has finally answered me." You get answers to prayers when you're on your feet, and this was my answer. "This is true, he does answer prayers, I can never let this go" Church is true... Nuff said.

Honestly its just been a great week, everyone is reading, 8 made it to church, we're baptizing for sure this month, Diego, Spencer, Oscar, Babaloo, Nkosana, Issac, Lebogang, Maleka family, everyone is looking so good. We've weeded so much, but everyone we are teaching is progressing. Hard to believe its February in like a day. summer is drawing to a close and this is when the weather starts to cool down finally. the mangoes are ripe, the field is white, I love it.

Elder Robinson

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recognize, "I can be baptized even right now", ZIMBABWE!, mango season!, other good stuff‏

Man what the heck Nick and Kylee are getting married and I won't even be there! Congrats guys! get a cardboard cut out of me or something and I'll get you a gift when I get home.

In other news things are awesome in Hammanskraal. Diego, Tsepiso, Nkosana, Spencer, Oscar, William, and Rose all have their answers, have testimonies, and are preparing to be baptized. February is going to be a huge month for us, and our little house is literally bursting at the seams. We had to sit outside and just listen through the window. count 53. We seriously need to move but the school board is giving us problems. So... we wait....

We met a house of like 10 from Zimbabwe who all know the church and were so excited it is here so they are all going to come and more than likely be baptized. We are seriously just being led to people who are ready, willing, and committed. It's the depths of summer, its hot, but that means mangos! and that's pretty cool haha.

I'm a little frustrated with our teaching pool haha. Some people are just so great, but man do we have to sift to find people. 117 investigators in 5 weeks. how many on date 30... how many serious on date 17. eish. But each area has its own challenges and I guess this is Hammanskraals.

Kinda a cool thing happened this week. GM South Africa struck again. Flashing back to my Nelspruit days of my 6 months there, the car was in the shop for about 4. I haven't had any problems since then until this week. Our car literally sounds like a metal forge and as metal as that is, its not good. So knowing that it was the ball joints, we took it to GM. After 6 count em 6 hours we get a phone call. "it's your tires, not the bearings." Ok... so we go to Supaquick tm. just around the corner. 5 minutes there... It's your ball bearings have GM do it because they are still under warranty. So back to GM. we tell them what Supaquick said and... "ok... let us look" 2 hours later... "yep its the wheel bearings. But we don't have any, can you come back Tuesday?" ACH!!!!!! man haha such a waste of time. So yeah off to the area at 5PM. But then ohohoho such a good night. 1st lesson a guy who was offended by his pastor 2 years ago and believes no church is Christ's guess again hehehe. On date for 26 February. 2nd Lesson Issac and Lebogang a father led family that we met. They are new to Christianity so we taught a very basic Lesson 1 and put them on date. Huge freaking smiles "I can be baptized even right now... can we go to the river?" haha I love answering a question like that. 3rd Lesson David a cool guy with dreadlocks half way down his back also on date for February. 4th Oscar a sweet colored guy who will totally be baptized in February. It comes back to this...

When you just stay positive and don't blow things out of proportion however frustrating they may be, awesomeness happens. This week we focused our study a lot on the Spirit and we spoke a lot about recognizing it and remembering it. Just read Moroni 10 and consider how many times he uses the word remember. So what I've decided to do is count every time I saw a little miracle or some kind of guidance. 74 in 3 days. Are we led by the spirit? you betcha you just gotta recognize it and consider it. It was a really profound week.

Elder Black is awesome he's gonna be a great missionary and its good to be his companion. He has everything he needs just he's a little shy and lacking a bit in confidence so I think its good he got me "Mr. no inhibitions". Hopefully by the time I leave this place he'll be kicking down doors and confounding falsehoods just like his dad haha. Nah its great its really bringing me back to the basics of missionary work and its keeping me on my toes even though I'm getting old. I don't think I could have asked for a better situation than opening an area and training and being DL at the same time haha. awesome.

So yeah everything is good. I hope after these 6 weeks to go back to town and die close to Joburg I miss just the atmosphere Pretoria is to slow. But none of you know anything about that anyway haha. Great week looking forward to this one.

Elder Robinson

Monday, January 16, 2012

Babaloo!, February insanity, things to work on... Elder Black haha‏

Man sweet as heck week. transfer news next week... 99.99 percent sure I'm staying. But crazy how time goes. All is well in Hammanskraal. Due to some unforseen circumstances our baptisms will be pushed to next month. But William, Sylvester, Pauline, Karabo, Koketso, Diego, Babaloo, possibly Komelo family (5), Rose, Oscar, Maphula all have an awesome possibility of being baptized which would be quite a way to go out before I leave March 7th.

Honestly things are crazy. I love serving in town on mission because when you finally get an investigator, they progress, they are sweet, you love them, you work with them. In the township anyone and everyone wants to meet with you. So we sift like crazy. Like in 3 weeks we have had 73 new investigators and we extend baptismal dates the very first lesson. and... drum roll... 22 on date. because 51 of them were not serious. That's what happens some time... so its a little frustrating, but I love it and everyone who is on date is progressing and honestly in a few weeks/ months I have high hopes at least 75% will be baptized. I may not be around to see it, but that doesn't really matter as long as they receive the blessings and the branch grows.

I think in Hammanskraal, like opening any area, you see success, maybe not as much as you would like because its a ton of finding and building. But you can look back on it and smile. That's kinda my attitude for the next 6 weeks here. Just break myself down finding people who are prepared whether or not I see the fruits, because well... I know what's more important. The Lord has blessed me with so much over the past 18 months that I just wanna waste myself out and go home on a stretcher. Not only will I go out in a blaze of glory, but I won't be trunky either... something I refuse to let happen.

It's nice to work with Elder Black, because he just has fire and wants to learn. Every day is an adventure. He's still a little shy tracting but he is a teaching machine now and I'm instilling a love of the scriptures and doctrines in his heart. something papa Nelson did for me. It's kinda funny because when we refer to him, or other missionaries that have had an impact on me its like... "grandpa taught me this" Or your step grandfather taught me this" or "your great uncle did this once" Its funny man mission life is the best. Just the little day to day things, the inside jokes, the randomness and culture of it you just can't experience it unless you go yourself. No one will experience your mission but you and its pretty sweet just every day little miracles, shamboking pastors who think you are false proselytes, just turning to a scripture that is perfect and you didn't even plan on it, being led to a 350 pound guy named Babaloo who is prepared with a capitol P.... all in a days work...

Well, typical week, nothing too exciting... but a good one.

Elder Robinson

Monday, January 9, 2012

Everything you need, not what you expect.

Very interesting week. We've been doing a lot of groundwork lately... a lot of finding, lesson 1's, extending dates, and sifting. this week, we did a lot more teaching. We accomplished quite a bit and some people are looking really good for February. Like the Komelo family, Sylvester, Russell, Rose, Moshidi family, and others. On the other hand we really realized just how not serious some people are haha!

"So if I come to your church and get baptized it means I have to leave my church? Like I can't just get baptized so its done by the authority and then go back to mine?"

"Well I think we need to pray to the Holy Spirit because he's the one who answers us... not God..."

"The Book of Mormon is kinda like a commentary on the Bible. I don't need to read it. That's what my pastor said"

"I know my church isn't true, but your music is so boring"

These are the kinda questions we dealt with this week and Elder Black said something profound that I was just waiting for him to learn on his own haha. "man some people are so dumb... how could you think that?" Man that's mah boy! He is a good guy. He's a little timid, a little shy. But he's really catching the fire now. I just get to sit back and watch sometimes. He's just loaded with fire and testimony and is starting to be more bold with people. It's awesome. I'm just waiting for him to shut down a falsehood and then I'm buying pizza haha!

So yeah... good week in many ways... a little disappointing with some investigators... But I think yesterday summed up our whole week. Planning on about 10 at church and 0 of them came. What we did get was a former investigator who came back, a couple we contacted the night before, and some people who just popped in because they saw us reading the Bible. You could say we got nothing that we expected, but everything that we needed. A little discouraged looking back over the week and thinking "why didn't they come?" but as we kept a positive attitude, worked, and just smiled. The night was awesome. Sister Pauline has decided to be baptized. If not this month then February for sure. Which means her grandkids will follow. Sister Olga has 5 friends for us to teach, the Komelo's GOT lesson 1... like they GOT it and are pumped about the Book of Mormon. We tracted into a family who got a Book of Mormon 6 years ago but had no idea what it was. and now... they are reading it like crazy.

So what's the moral of the story? If you simply try your best, are obedient, and just smile even if your house smells like eggs and cheese, no one came to church, and your neck is sunburned from playing volleyball. Everything that you need will happen. Crap happens, but what do you do with it when it comes? See Mission teaches you to smile all the time, because if you don't you'll be miserable haha. So in the words of Joseph B. Wirthlin... come what may and love it.

Have a stellar week
Elder Robinson

Monday, January 2, 2012

NEW INVESTIGATORS!, "hanging up the skirt", lookin forward, lookin back, Elder Robinson V. Church of Christ head Pastor‏

So trying to think of what to say about this week. Nothing super amazing happened. but we found a lot of new people... 33 to be exact and we'll see this week if they amount to anything after a follow up lesson. One cool thing though was the Nkuna family. we've been trying to teach them literally for 3 months but the appointments are always too short or get cancelled for one reason or another. So finally... we taught them. And sister Nkuna was like eating up the restoration she was asking for books, videos, info, everything and she just told us how right it felt. we'll see them tomorrow :D

Wednesday we had a cool experience. We went to go see our investigator Katlego and lo and behold. not one... but 2 pastors. One is the head of Church of Christ Hammanskraal and the other one is the head over all of Soshanguve. So... it was on... haha they tried to bash so at first I picked them apart saying contention is of the devil. then they tried to disprove the book of Mormon and say we need no new scripture... so I picked that apart with good old John and with like 5 references made by prophets about books not contained in the Bible and good ol' Ezekiel 37. So I invited them to be baptized and pray about the Book of Mormon which they said no to. So they tried to contend our doctrine but in every point we were clear. So I invited them again to be baptized and they said "So what you're saying is this... If we follow the Bible word for word, and don't read the Book of Mormon, we are lost." Elder Robinson:"Yep... you got it". So then silence. Elder Robinson: "If you followed the Bible word for word you'd be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints." Silence. Can we close with a prayer? Man it felt good haha. If you wanna gain a testimony... defend the church in front of pastors.

So looking back on the last year I've had a lot of legendary experiences. Too many to count or mention but looking back and looking ahead to 2012 maybe I can share one. Nelspruit was the refiners fire at first and a few weeks after arriving, I loved my companion, I loved the members, but man I was discouraged. I'll never forget one night just asking what am I supposed to learn here. Then this prompting came. "keep a smile on your face, go to work." I believe still that was one of if not the most profound promptings of my mission. It changed everything and has made it the best 18 months. Gordon B. Hinckley had a similar experience and advice from his father "forget yourself and go to work." The Savior said it best "He that loseth his life shall find it, he that keepeth his life shall lose it" Going in to this new year and my final 6 months I'd just like to say. Enjoy it... if 2011 sucked guess what its gone. Live what you've got now. I've got 6 months left of the opportunity of a lifetime and in the words of Elder Holland "the opportunity must be taken in the lifetime of the opportunity." Don't look back, just go for it... That's my plan.

Happy New Year and have a legendary week

Elder Robinson