Posted by: elderleach | August 12, 2010

A Pretty Tough Week

Hello family and friends! A shorter letter this week is in store. I don’t know if I can keep up with such a rollercoaster of emotions (I was told it would be this way but…well, of course I didn’t believe them :)) but I’m praying hard everyday for strength. I’ve always been a worry wart and it seems to be Satan is using that to his advantage right now. There’s always a battle going on between God’s team and Satan’s team. But we know who will win!
The work here has been progressing, albeit very slowly. This is a tourist area, remember, so people come and go far too often. May I just share one very impressing moment this week as well as a pretty humourous moment:
Thursday August 5th, 2010– I literally felt the Spirit descend on an individual today. I’m not sure if I have mentioned Ben in my journal yet, but he’s a tall 17 year old kid from the Congo. Apparently he has been taught by missionaries for a couple years. He had a date scheduled for baptism and he was all ready to go with parent permission and everything. Well, the advesary worked real hard on him and he backed out, having his testimony of the Gospel shattered to pieces by the outside world.
Since that time, we have been busy at work to restrengthen his testimony. On Thursday, after a powerful lesson on faith, repentance and baptism, we asked him to commit to be baptized on August 29th. He immediately said “No, I won’t be ready”
But you see, I KNEW he would be ready because I could feel his testimony as he sat there during the lesson: he didn’t have to say a word. He said he didn’t feel like he got an answer. I asked him, “How do you feel when we come and talk to you about our message?” He responded, “It feels good…it feels right.” I smiled and responded, “By golly, Ben, you have your answer!” He smiled and we recomitted him to August 29th. He looked down, then looked back up at us and nodded his head. “Yes,” he responded. “I’ll do it!”
After hearing he has been struggling with remembering to say his prayers about what we have been teaching him, I said, “This is important to understand, Ben: you could be making the worst decision of your life right now. Or, perhaps, you could be making the very best decision you have ever made and ever will make by accepting to be baptized by the priesthood power and authority from God.”
The only way an individual will know if missionaries are sent from the devil (look at me…could that POSSIBLY be true? 😉 hehe) or sent from God is to ask God yourself (James 1:5). Only God will give you a straight, unwavering answer. I’m so blessed to see Ben’s life changing and to soon witness the best decision he’ll ever make in this life and the life to come.
So yeah…we hear some pretty interesting things as missionaries, mainly from drunks on the weekends. One of the biggest—nay, THE BIGGEST– issues here in South Africa is alcoholism. One of the most obvious ways we can tell if someone is drunk is when they say, “I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! COME HERE AND TELL ME YOU LOVE ME!” (Elder Rand had a drunken older lady say he was “Her man” and that she has been looking for someone like him for ages. Elder Rand looked over at me with helpless eyes as I stood there, chuckling, holding back an uproarious laughter)
One evening, after leaving Ben’s house, a severely drunken woman came up to us and screamed: “Pastors! Pastors! Heal me of my alcoholism! Stretch forth your hand and proclaim, in the name of Jesus, a prayer for my soul!” At this point I was so sick of dealing with drunk people as it tends to be a daily episode, so I just sighed heavily and said, “Ma’am, are you drunk?”
She nodded her bubbly brain up and down and said, “Yes, I’m drunk…RIGHT NOW!!!” She then pointed to me and said, “Do you doubt?! Heal me, pastor. If you believe, if he (Elder Rand) believes and if I believe…I WILL BE HEALED!” Though it was 2 minutes too long, we stood there telling her we can’t give drunk people blessings.
It is an awful shame what alochol does to people here, but every once in a while we’ll get a humourous story to tell because of it.
I wish everyone the best! Like I’ve said, the work is moving along but it isn’t easy. Change can take a long time, but through the Spirit of God, ANYONE can change (see Mosiah 27 for example)
Love ya!

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission


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