Hello again friends and family, hope all is well in the states and that the holidays will be nice and chilly. It is pretty weird knowing its november but I step outside and I start to sweat. Some days it gets fairly hot but considering I'm in Africa the temperatures here are pretty mild. Given that, it generally rains about 4 or 5 days a week consistently in the afternoons, and when it rains it gets pretty cold I guess. I can still roll in my short sleeves because it feels great for me, although everyone else calls me crazy.
The work here in the Stanger area and branch is going. It may be going very slow but going nonetheless. This week has been a week full of people not being where they say they will be, which gets frustrating very fast. Here in South Africa most people are very nice and when we knock on their doors and they say they believe in Jesus Christ so they would be ok with us coming back. When we come back at that scheduled time they wont be there about 90% of the occasions. Also most of the workers here work 7 day weeks and work late sometimes so we end up not seeing much of them. The people we did see this week were among the Tembos, Ezron, and the Mtiyanis.
The Tembos I might have described in a previous account, but they are basically the most faithful of anyone even in our branch, and they aren't baptized yet. They are waiting on a traditional marriage vs modern marriage dispute that should be settled soon. The dispute is as to whether or not traditional marriage counts and if it doesn't, the arrangements that need to be made to get them married. Like I said before, they are able to push through this challenge with enormous amounts of faith, faith I wish I could have had at certain points in my life, and the faith I pray to have every night. The husband even went to stake conference with us where Elders Uchtdorf and Bednar addressed the Southeast Africa area from Salt Lake. He really seemed to enjoy it and is now looking forward to baptism and entering into the path even more.
Ezron is a 22 year old kid who reads in the bible on his own but lately has been reluctant to read in the Book of Mormon. He told us one day that he prayed about joining the church but said that God had a different plan for him. The other day when teaching him and his sisters family about Baptism and the Doctrine of Christ, he looked at us and said I have been awakened and when he prayed he prayed to know if baptism is right for him. If he is able to make that decision he will be a great member who might even serve a mission.
The Mtiyanis consist of Tembi who is this woman who lives with her brother Abraham and his wife. The three of them are very devout in their christian beliefs and we often have very involved and interesting lessons and conversations with them. Most of them were able to attend stake conference as well and they seemed to really enjoy it as well. Also could be a very strong family of converts.
As for me, I'm finally getting into the swing of things. Teaching is almost second nature now and my companion doesn't have to nudge me every time it's my turn to speak. I dont think I've ever prayed as much as I am right now, in fact, the amount of times Ive prayed in this month alone probably compares to the last several years. Ive also never prayed so hard for people before. These people that Im teaching make their way into my prayers and I think about them every day all the time. That has been making this mission fly by. The month is almost up, the transfer is almost up, and it feels like I just got here yesterday.
Last week for - day we saw a dolphin show, so enjoy;)
Here are a few more questions posed to Zach for our information.
1. How has it been driving on the opposite side of the road? Have you gotten used to it yet?
Ive totally gotten used to it, I feel like when I come back the first thing ill do is hop onto zuni going the wrong way. Driving is crazy also because people walk in the streets alot and when its pitch black outside and im speeding I have to sometimes swerve to not hit people so drunk they dont know where they are. Just kidding about speeding I only do that during the day. They also have a tracker on our car so if we go over 120, (which is about 75 Mph ) or if we brake fast, accelerate fast, we get a call from the Senior Couple in charge of the cars.
2. Are you living in an apartment or with members? Please describe your living conditions. Is that the case missionwide?
We live in our own apartment and im pretty sure that it is mission wide. It gets so disgusting sometimes, and our fridge leaks when they cut the power or when I accidently move the dial in the fridge. Dont ask. I cant remember if I already told you, but when I sleep I have to lather on mosquito repellent and sleep with a fan. Otherwise, I wake up and it looks like I have leprosy. (because of the mosquito bites). Its happened twice already.
3. What kind of food are you cooking for yourselves? Do you eat with members often?
I cook an omelet most mornings with cheese, salary, tomatoes, and ham. Salary spelled purposely fiscally. And if not omelet I scramble 4 eggs or sunny side up them and eat them with two slices of toasted wheat bread. For lunch and dinner I have peanut butter and jam and cheese and meats. We generally get a Dinner appointment but when we dont I make a really big sandwhich with meat cheese lettuce mustard and tomatoes. My grocery bill was like 250 rands :) and that will probably last me another week.
4. What kind of fare will you get for Thanksgiving? Do they have that holiday there or something like it or is it just another summer week?
I dont think there is anything going on. I'm pretty sure South Africa doesnt celebrate the American pioneers slaughtering the descendants of the lamanites in America. Pretty sure it's just another summer week.