Posted by: elderleach | September 21, 2010

Life Lessons Learned at the Kranshoek Trail‏

Hello everyone! I miss you all, but then again, not too terribly much. People ask me if I miss my family and friends and I respond, “Of course I do, but to be honest if it’s not Monday I try not to think about them.” Everyone criticizes me for thinking that way, but it’s true! The more focused I remain the less homesick I feel 🙂
 
There are many aspects of this week that I quite honestly feel you could care less to know about, so I will focus on one aspect of this week that made an impression on me. As most of you know, Monday is “P-day”, or “preparation day” in a missionary’s life and that means grocery shopping, e-mailing, cleaning the flat, washing the car…etc. But every once in a while we get to do something of our own free will which is a dangerous statement to be made by a missionary.
 
Elder Gilbert and I woke up last Monday and thought to ourselves: “Let’s go on a hike!” The two of us both proud Eagle Scouts, proper preparation for such a hike would be mandatory…or at least one would think. Let me give you the series of events that led up to the hike itself that proved we were…ahem…unprepared:
 
1) We decided on an area to hike 30 minutes before the hike itself
2) We suddenly became hungry beforehand and stopped by a McDonald’s-type joint for lunch
3) We didn’t pack any water with us
4) We didn’t pack any food with us
5) Cell phone reception was at a zero where we were located for the hike.
6) We used a GPS to get there
7) We didn’t have proper shoes (or socks for that matter)
8) The hike itself was nearly vertical down the mountain and up the mountain, something not thoroughly explained in the hike description before we embarked on it.
9) We’re both extremely out of shape and found our legs wobbling and spazzing uncontrollably half way through
10) I found myself whispering in a pathetic plea “Mommy” amidst sweat and chapped hands
 
As you can so plainly see, and as we so plainly failed to discern for ourselves, this hike was not meant for sissies and proper planning was a necessity. Nevertheless, we finished it in an hour and enjoyed the natural scenery that came with this brutual monster of a hike.
 
Perhaps life can be all that much easier if we properly prepare ahead of time? How true it is that preparation brings blessings and that procrastination truly is a painful thing. Indeed, “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” and we must in turn “preform [our] labors” (Alma 34:32)
 
I have learned in great detail thus far on my mission the importance of the commandments God gives to His children. They aren’t there just to be there. Rather, such things are introduced for our benefit so we can meet the guidelines set for eternal salvation, and sometimes accomplishing these things an be an intense, uphill battle. It does seem unfair that some are given steeper mountains to climb than others, but the most important thing to learn is God has prepared a way for us to make it to the top as long as we ourselves have done as much as we can.
 
Mission life, though yet in its infancy, has proved to be quite the steep mountain, but every once in a while I find myself rewarded with a rest and the opportunity to embrace the rich view behind me, motiviating me to climb to the top and enjoy the blessings that await me there.
 
Life is great here in Knysna. This is the last full week of the transfer, meaning 6 weeks have gone by since the last change. We’ll see what surprises lie in store very shortly.
 
Love,
Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission
1) One angle of our Kranshoek trail (Harkerville)
2) Another beautiful angle of the trail
3) Me on the look our at the top of the mountain!
4) Taking a sip of water…not!
5) We stopped by the iconic “Garden of Eden” on the way home which, by the way, ended up being a dud as far as we were concerned.
6) The Saayman Family (I almost want to say the Leach Family because they might as well be!), my family here in Knysna. Fiona, the one in pink, and Jason are preparing to be baptized in a month. Fiona is holding her “Little Book of Revelations”, a book I bought her to record her special promptings while reading the scriptures and sitting in church.
 
7) Fiona Saayman and her Little Book of Revelations!
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