Posted by: elderleach | July 26, 2010

“How Great Was My Joy!” (With Pics!)

Guess who received a package on Friday?!?! ME! I mean, US! Us as in Elder Randriamalala (Elder Randy) and I 😉 If I may share an excerpt out of my “other set of plates…which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world” (1 Nepi 6: 5…hehe! I love mixing my language with that of biblical prophets!), but being more purely translated, my handwritten journal. This excerpt comes from the day we THOUGHT we received a package, but it was a false alarm:
DAY 42, Knysna, July 16th, 2010 (out of the cool, crocodile-skin bound record of Elder Matthew G. Leach)
…Part of missionary life is the anticipation of packages from loved ones. Just a couple days ago we received an SMS (text message) that a package was waiting for us at the post! Mom DID say she sent me a package a couple weeks ago, so I became ridiculously excited. I told Elder Randy how cool that package was going to be because Mom always puts together cool things for missionaries!
We rushed on down to the Postkantoor (post office) and anxiously awaited Mom’s heavenly package. The man behind the counter gave me a large white envelope addressed to the church instead. You don’t want to know my level of disappointment I felt receiving a non-mom package. I looked at that envelope a handful of times, hoping and praying it might just turn into a big brown box. Alas, it stayed as a white envelope and we dragged our heavy feet back to the car. We even stopped by KFC for lunch to drink our sorrows away with a can of Sprite…”
Pretty pitiful, eh? Well compare that entry to the one I wrote when I RECEIVED the package!!!$%$*&$*
DAY 49, Knysna, July 23rd, 2010 (out of the cool, crocodile-skin bound record of Elder Matthew G. Leach)
Well, today was the day! After companion study we rushed to the Postkantoor. Sure enough, it was from mah MAMMA! Mom packed in a tie, cool pens, colourful post-it notes and $20 worth of candy! Elder Rand and I were giggling like a group of Sister Missionaries as we ripped the box open and beheld the celestial-like glory therein. Really, packages ARE that exciting! After indulging ourselves with high volumes of sugar…” etc
Yeah. We were pretty much excited beyond belief. There are two things that spark a hint of homesickness while on mission, however: E-mailing and receiving packages. But that’s SO worth it. So…mother AND father…thank you for sending wonderful notes, materials and sweets for us to enjoy 🙂
Yesterday was an interesting day for sure. I prayed very intensely that we might see a sunny day so investigators (those interested in the church) might come and partake of some spiritual goodness and make progress. I woke up to sun shining its brilliant rays on the Zionic town of Knysna. How great was my joy! I clicked my heels, grabbed a broom, swept the floor and sang songs with little birds, squirrles and random deer that came out of nowhere.
When we arrived at church, there was no one. At 9:00, when the meeting started, there were 6 people there, none of which were investigators. What was worse, I was asked to speak on the subject “Let Virtue Garnish Your Thoughts” (my second talk in a month and a half…yeah, this is a small branch) and the other two speakers were stuck in traffic. Wonderful. Such a pleasant subject to speak on for 45 MINUTES!
Anyway, I gave my talk, which I could only realistically stretch out for 15 minutes, and then a flood of people came in. We ended up with 8 investigators, many of which were youth, and near 50 people in attendance. That sure lifted my Spirits and oh how great was my joy! Remember Leonie and Fiona from the past letter? GUESS WHO CAME TO CHURCH?! Fiona!!! And what’s more, it’s the very first time she has been to church. She has quit drinking, has helped us tremendously with missionary work lately and even brought here nearly always drunk-as-a-skunk husband Joseph!…SOBER! They all enjoyed church and WANT TO LEARN MORE! Especially Fiona. What an angel she is. My momma of Knysna is back!
However, we will be working hard with her. She can easily slip back into her old ways, especially Joseph. But I am saying diligent prayers for them and their success.
At this point you have probably given up reading because this letter is so ridiculously long. But if you have stuck it out…good for you! You will be blessed tremendously 😉 Perhaps you’d like to hear another feel good story? If so, read along.
One rainy Sunday a few weeks ago two children entered the chapel. No parents, no guardians…just them. After sacrament meeting, a Primary teacher went up to the children and asked them their names and ages. There was an adorable little boy named Ayanda (8 years old) and a beautiful girl named Ziyanda (11 years old). When asked why they came to church on such a blustery, cold day, Ayanda responded: “This is my church. I must come.” The interesting thing is…no one knows where these two came from…they just felt it their duty to come to church.
Well, they’ve been coming quite consistently. Yesterday they walked in with two friends named Anderson and Julius. Turns out, Ayanda invited these two to church because he has been enjoying it so much. Both Anderson and Julius are nearing the beginning of their teenage years, so I was impressed with Ayanda for having courage to invite his friends! Elder Rand and I taught them Sunday School, and the lesson was on 1 Nephi 16, where Nephi breaks his bow and needs to find food.
We specifically focused on verses 18 and 23 which talk about the breaking of the bow, and then making a new one to find food. I began to wonder if they were understanding the lesson, so we played a cool little activity with them to illustrate the point. After church, we drove to township and stopped by Ayanda and Ziyanda’s home to set an appointment with their mother so we can begin teaching them. As we did so, Anderson, Julius and Ayanda signaled for me to come. I walked over to them and they introduced me to their friends, Aviwe and Antonio.
Anderson then proceeded to tell me they want to come to church next week! Apparently Ayanda, yet again, extended the invitation. We’re talking about an 8 year old boy asking 10-12 year old friends of his to come to church! What a hero. Then something hilarious and heartwarming happened. Anderson, with his Book of Mormon in hand, opened up to the exact chapter we read in Sunday School (1 Nephi 16) and gave it to Antonio and Aviwe to read, pointing out verses 18 and 23! To be honest, I even forgot what verses they were!
Turns out they enjoyed it so much they remember what was taught and are inviting their friends to come! Ah, how adorable. I will keep all of them in my prayers.
Well, thanks for reading. This was a long letter, but I just couldn’t exclude these joyous miracles that happened this week. I have found myself stronger and stronger in my relationship with Heavenly Father in such a way, that I literally look at everyone we meet as family. And I love my family, therefore, I want them to experience the happiness and joy I feel as I proclaim the gospel.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16) and neither should you! 🙂
I love you all and pray for you,
Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission
1) Yeah…I wasn’t too friendly with that box! I ripped that thing open! Haha
2) Yup! The stash is officially in my desk drawer!
3) Excited faces of Elders receiving a package from a mother who loves missionaries dearly ❤ 🙂

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