Posted by: elderleach | September 9, 2010

Elder Leach: The Man With the Sweet Lips‏

You know it! 😉
But really, it has been a VERY interesting week on many levels. Just a couple examples:
Ah, now this is a good one.
Everyone knows I have luscious lips. It’s just a fact. But I never knew they would be so much of a distraction while on my mission! 😉 Let me explain: we found this Xhosa lady sitting on a curb while tracting (knocking doors) one day and I felt impressed to speak to her. I was with Elder Randriamalala at the time, so we gave her a Restoration pamphlet and asked her if she’d like to hear more. She said yes and that was that.
Well transfer time came and Elder Rand left, but Elder Gilbert and I decided to follow up with this woman, her name being Jennifer. We brought a Xhosa speaking man with us to help translate since her English isn’t as good as it could be, and overall the lesson went well, but she seemed a little distracted. We weren’t sure what it was and everytime we asked her a question she went silent for 10 seconds, and then would answer. But here’s where the problem starts…
A week later we were driving home from a dinner appointment and we got a text message. It read: Somebody loves you when you are sleeping and I miss those sweet lips of yours…sweet dreams Lovie!” No doubt Elder Gilbert and I were stunned, but we both laughed thinking a member or another missionary sent that as a joke.
But Elder Gilbert did some research on the phone number the message came with and it matched to JENNIFER. My mouth dropped open and I could hardly keep the car on the road. Disappointed and perplexed at the same time, I told Elder Gilbert to call her, and he did. The conversation went like this:
E.G.: “Hello, Jennifer. This is Elder Gilbert.”
J: “Hello…I miss you two…”
E.G.: “Jennifer, you know we’re missionaries, right?”
J: “…Do you miss me?…”
E.G. “Um…, we’re going to hang up now. Have a good evening.”
J: “Don’t say ‘we’! Say ‘I’!”
E.G.: “Bye, Jennifer” *click*
HAHA! Oh my word…this lady was crazy! The running joke with me now is, whenever there’s some downtime, Elder Gilbert will say, “Well, we could go and see Jennifer if you want…” I punch him every time he says that…
But that’s certainly not the first time an “investigator” has had alterior motives. I guess it just happens in mission life and you have to learn to rub it off and move on. It was a little bit of a downer, though…I had high hopes for her!
This family is my favourite in all of South Africa at this moment, but that’s not saying a lot since Knysna is my first area. I have attached a photo of them (well, excepting Fiona…she couldn’t make it to church this past Sunday) below so you can put faces to these names.
Leonie Saayman (pronounced like “Simon”) is a coloured girl (which is very much appropriate to say here. Coloured means a black parent and a white parent) and she was baptized in April. She’s been having the missionaries come and teach her mother and brother, both very stubborn and devout in their beliefs. Not being one to turn down a challenge when it comes to religion, I became very much excited and determined to see them progress.
We started with Fiona. I call Fiona my “Mummy of Knysna” because she is pretty much the missionary mother and everyone who visits that home falls in love with her motherly ways. So naturally, I worked especially hard to get her to progress. We taught her all the lessons and even gave her Die Boek Van Mormon (The Book of Mormon in Afrikaans…and no, “Die” is not pronounced like you think it is. You must say “Dee” ;)). But nothing seemed to work with her. She wasn’t willing to accept what we were telling her.
Recently we’ve received training on how to become better missionaries. The focus of this training is centred on the Doctrine of Christ which is the central point to everything we teach. And then it clicked in our minds: we haven’t been focusing enough on our purpose. I think we’ve spent too much time trying to convince Fiona what we’re saying is right instead of letting the Spirit take the reigns. So, we focused on our purpose and had a whole lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He expects for all of God’s children.
Almost instantly, Fiona admitted she needed to be baptized by the priesthood authority of God, even though for the longest time she was conviced because she was already baptized in another church she didn’t need to be baptized again (see Acts 19:2-5). We were so happy for her! It was a powerful testimony to me of the power of the Spirit. The truth doesn’t have to be explained in such a way that it feels like you’re trying to prove something. It should be simple, direct and centred on the teachings and miraculous life and serivce of Jesus Christ. That is the convincing power in and of itself.
On a very similar note, Jason, Fiona’s son, came up to us and asked us what the Atonement means. Such a heavy question, but again, we tried to make it as simple as possible. Without him even telling us, we knew he wanted badly to change some aspects in his life. You could just see it in his eyes: he’s pretty quiet and reserved with even a bit of a cold shoulder when you first meet him. But he has a soft heart. Throughout the lesson we beheld his countenance change and a rare smile slide across his face. At then end of the lesson, he too wanted to be baptized and when we left, he said to me,
“Bye, my Gazlam” After inquiring what that meant, he said “Gazlam” in Zulu means “Blood brother”. Even though the way he said it was sort of creepy (remember, he doesn’t smile very often), I knew what he meant and I was honoured! Seeing people change and embrace the Gospel is SO worth it. Fiona had to watch after a few things at home on Sunday, but Jason and his sister Janine along with Leonie and her baby made it to church.
Well, the work is certainly improving. I think your prayers are helping! There are only a few weeks left of this transfer, so we’ll make it a good few weeks! 
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ, Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission
1. Elder Gilbert, Sedibe (a man we have been helping build a fence and a preschool) and me
2. Elder Gilbert and the “how in the heck are we supposed to clean all this up?” look
3. Me overlooking the area of Knysna in deep thought… 😉
4. Foggy morning in Knysna. This is a view from our flat
5. The Saayman Family (unfortunately Fiona isn’t in this picture!) L-R: Janine, Jason, Leonie, Baby Vinisha, Me
6. A less active member named Nickson from Zimbabwe that we helped reactivate into the church. He asked for his picture taken…he was so proud of himself for coming back to church!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: