Posted by: capetownelder | October 11, 2010

Spooky Tales from Klein Drakenstein: Welcome to Paarl!

How fitting…October has commenced and so have transfers. It has been a pretty long week trying to adjust to the changes but things are working out OK. Now for the news:
First of all, I have been transfered from Knysna to a staunch Afrikanns city named Paarl (being interpreted from Dutch, “Pearl”). The area is mountainous and very hot (average summer temperature, being October-February, equals 105-115 degrees!) and reminds me SO much of Provo, Utah. Big mountains surround the area and it sort of acts as a protection from the dodgy atmosphere of Cape Town, being only 45 minutes away.
Second of all, I have moved up slightly in the ranks here on my mission. I have finished my time as junior companion and the mission president has asked me to be co-companions here, which means companions with someone who came out in the same transfer, or time period I did. So there’s no senior or junior companions between us…we’re on our own. The President said, “Now I know you’re both young missionaries out there, but I think with you two working together you can help build the branch we have down there into a ward.” Big responsibility!
My companion’s name is Elder Parry from Wales. He’s very funny (think along the lines of Monty Python) and has a big personality. I can tell we will get along! He’s short, a tad chubby and has brown hair and eyes. He looks like your typical English man haha. Overall, the past few days have been pretty good as I have adjusted to these changes. 
I also find it rather fitting that we have entered the month of October and I have been transfered to a haunted place. I won’t go into to much detail yet, but the name of the branch here is the Klein Drakenstein Branch because it’s on Klein Drakenstein Road. Who knows what those words mean, but it sounds spooky…kind of like Frankenstein. Anyway, the church building is haunted and I have heard about and already experienced a few things that I will share over the coming month for your entertainment 😉
First story thus far will be of the “Nasty Shower”. There are 4 Missionaries stationed here in Paarl and we stay in the same complex. The 2 other missionaries had to move into a new apartment, so we went to help the previous owners move out. Yeesh! Was it ever unpleasant. The second we walked in we all noticed trouble: a voluminous amount of smoking and drinking was occurring and the house was a complete and utter pigsty. Truly, the place was horrifying. We nonetheless helped them move out, but they never lifted a finger in the process, just barked out drunken orders. Once everything was moved out, we then went to scrub the place down…again, with no help from the owners.
No we’re getting to the appaling part of the experience: I vacuumed the upstairs and cleaned the outrageously, stomach-churning, mildew-stained bathroom. The tiles were covered in a thick orange and brown layering, the sink had a host of interesting hairs and gunk decorating the drain and the toilet was home to trillions of black life-threatening bacteria, not to mention the seat itself was loose and held together by some packaging tape.
The shower itself was a little shop of horrors. Tucked in a corner of the tile flooring was some old, white soap covered in mysterious hairs. With no gloves on but a determination to clean the dodgy shower, I reached down, plucked the wet, hairy ball of soap out of it’s resting place and, to my horror, realized I had no garbage can to throw it in.  In haste, which typically means my brain will work at a minimal pace, I took the ball of soap and jammed it down the sink, with the objective of dissolving it before it mutated into something only seen in a 1960’s horror movie. The experience ended with soap and scum decorating my finger nails.
Heh heh…can’t wait until you can hear about ALL the scary experiences I’ve had so far this week. But you must be patient and wait…they’re all very much Halloween-worthy!
Despite its haunted history, Paarl has a powerful Spirit about it…and I’m talking about a GOOD Spirit 😉 The members of this soon-to-be branch are so strong and eager to grow in the gospel. The determination of all the church leaders here is something to behold, and you can tell they have the same goal we as missionaries have. It is inspiring to hear their testimonies (at least the ones I can moderately understand…I can tell I’ll be picking Afrikaans up VERY quickly here…English is quite broken!) and I feel so privileged to work with them to achieve this big goal.
Knysna was great, though I couldn’t help but feel discouraged. Some success came from my service there, but I just wish I could’ve done more. Nonetheless, the Lord needs me here in Paarl to be apart of something so special and for that I am honoured and feel so grateful the Lord and the mission president trusts me and my companion enough to get the job done. I love this work and can’t wait to share more wonderful, fruitful experiences that will come from this wonderful place.
Love you all,

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission


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