Posted by: elderleach | July 12, 2010

Fainting Companions & Crash Course Driving

Ok, let’s try this again! Hello family and friends! I hate internet cafe’s now. I suppose I never really had strong feelings for them either way before the mission, but now I really dislike them! I suppose it’s ok…there really wasn’t anything of major substance to the letter anyway 😉 First I’ll do a little recap of last week’s adventures and then a report on the major responsibility I’ve been given this week.

I kind of feel like doing my announcer voice and saying, “On last week’s episode of Knysna 101…” but it really was so drama-filled that it may as well be a reality TV show. Elder Austin and I went to an investigator’s home with a lesson planned to teach. We were a little delayed in teaching because our investigator, Gladys from Malawi (about 80% of our teaching pool is Malawian), broke her wrist and was in a lot of pain.
So we decided to focus more on what we could do to help her instead of try to rush through a lesson. She began to explain how she fell and what it felt like when her wrist snapped. Well, it wasn’t until after this descriptive account of her mangled wrist that I found out Elder Austin gets severely nauseous when people talk about broken bones. Bad news is, we were all standing when she was talking about it.
I notice Elder Austin’s feet going in and out kind of like a Captain Jack Sparrow impersonation and then he falls backwards, collapsing on a stove, then falling from the stove onto a bucket of dirty water which in turn tipped and spilled all over his limp body. Gladys and I are just staring at him for the first few moments of his initial impact with the floor, then we scramble to help him up by grabbing his arms. Looking back, it more seemed as if we were mopping his body with the floor as we dragged him from point A to point B. After about 10 seconds he regains consciousness and color begins to fill his face again. He had no idea what happened!
My initial thought was, “He’s dead. Oh my word, my companion has just died!” but it turned out to be something a lot more sissy than that 😉 Just kidding. I called President Probst and he instructed me to drive Elder Austin back to the flat and to stay there. He was in town for interviews, so he said he’d be right over. I gulped an exceedingly large gulp when I realized I’d be driving, ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD MIND YOU, my dazed companion back home. I never said so many prayers in my life. 3 weeks in the field and I’m driving through township dodging chickens, cows and little babies who wander in the streets looking for little puppies to play with.
We made it back safely and all went well.
Pretty self explanitory. We were doing service for a man named Sidebe (sed-ee-bay) in township by helping him build a fence (stop laughing! I swear I can hammer a nail!). Well, one thing led to a-blasted-nother and Elder Austin stepped on a plank with a nice, long rusty nail sticking out of it. He screamed profanities and I rushed him to the hospital. Just kidding, he didn’t scream profanities (unless “Dang” and “Heck” count) but we did rush him to the hospital. Turns out, the rusty nail pierced the skin and went through his whole foot! Ah, it takes a man to experience something so traumatizing I tell you what…
Well, last week was transfer week. President called and informed Elder Austin he’d be serving as a zone leader in Mdantsane (East London) and I’d be staying here, showing another Elder, coming from an area nearby called George, around Knysna. On top of that, this Elder is from MADAGASCAR and can’t drive. So guess who’s driving everywhere around town, showing him where all the investigators, less actives, recent converts, members, etc live? ME. Holy cow.
President says he trusts I can do it. And it’s true, thus far I have, but it has taken a lot of work. I have been filling out teaching records, planning appointments for the whole week, making phone calls, following up on all our appointments…whew! I’m not the district leader though, Elder Randriamalala (can you pronounce that? ;)) is. But hey, I think this is good practice. 4 weeks in this area and I am instructed to drive (LEFT SIDE!!!), lead and plan for the first 2 weeks of the transfer.
So yeah…prayers have been in abundance lately 😉
Well, I want more time to e-mail family SO I will cut this short. My journals are full of even more detailed experiences I haven’t even touched on, so come find me when I return and I’d be MORE than happy to relate those stories! But let me just say something:
I have never felt so much strength, love and support from my Heavenly Father in my entire life. It is simply amazing how his guiding hand has played a part in everything that happens here. I have witnessed tragedy while in Knysna, I won’t lie. And it has been so hard. Satan tries his very best to destroy families, and I have seen these things happen in heart-breaking ways. But, the faith of these people is something to behold. It is so true what we read in Helaman 5:12. Build your foundation on Christ…that is the only sure way to make it through very difficult times.
I will admit, I have had an emotional week with all the responsibility, sadness and happiness I’ve experienced. It’s been a rollercoaster, but the Spirit has manifested itself in glorious ways. I don’t feel alone, if anything, I feel a stronger relationship with the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. They are the ones preparing those to hear the Gospel, we just go out and find those hungry souls.
Please pray for me, my companion and the beautiful people of Knysna. They need the Gospel more now than ever. I love you all and know this work is divine. Much love!

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission

NOTE: Elder Austin is the white guy on the right in the third photo. 🙂

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