Posted by: elderleach | November 11, 2010

“You’re a Good Man” (with pics!)

Hello again my wonderful family and friends. I hope life has been relatively stress free and happy since the last time I have connected with you via e-mail. In a little over a month and a half I will have the great opportunity to speak to my family over the phone for Christmas and THAT is the ultimate gift for me. I suppose I never realized how good voices sound from those you haven’t seen for quite an extended period of time.
 
For those who will not be hearing my voice at Christmas, just know it’s the same 🙂 I do plenty of talking every day, so my voice has had little time to go through any drastic changes.
 
This week has been a baie goed one (very good one) for me, though it was the last week of the transfer and that’s always nerve racking. So many changes have been taking place in the mission and many more are expected by Thursday, so in my next e-mail I’ll tell you all about it! That ends up being one of the most exciting aspects of mission life: 1st someone changing their life for the better, 2nd baptisms, 3rd transfers! haha
 
If I may just shift my thoughts onto something else right now. A few church conferences back, President Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, gave a powerful sermon on the damaging effects of anger. Out of the blue, I found that article in our flat complex this week and began to read through it. Not coincidentally, I have noticed a disturbing trend of anger and violence this week from others that has made me very uneasy.
 
Earlier this week on our way to an appointment, Elder Parry and I drove by two men fist fighting each other. We stopped to observe exactly what was happening, which, by the way, was a mistake. Within minutes the whole neighborhood was involved in the fight, many people picking up large bricks and throwing them at each other. After seeing one too many bricks whizz past people’s arms and heads I said to Elder Parry, “We have to go now”, and immediately he hit the gas and we sped off. I felt a thick sense of darkness encompass me and I began to feel upset about what had just happened. It’s not like I could do anything about it, but it had an effect on me.
 
Later this week as Elder Parry and I were walking from one appointment to another we noticed a large group of teenage kids chase after a young, malnutritioned child with a rotten egg. The helpless child just stopped running after a while and turned around. The big kid with the egg hurled it at the child’s face and Elder Parry and I shouted, “HEY!” The kids ran away as fast as they could and were out of sight within seconds. The child was screaming and crying so hard, he could hardly make a sound. The egg had hit him square in the eye and we rushed to get him to the nearest house where someone helped clean off his face and wipe his mouth. The stench of the egg was nauseating and the kid’s  face was such a sad sight to see. Luckily he didn’t get any shells in his eyes. After that moment I began to feel upset about what has just happened. I felt angry and it seemed as if I could take out that anger on those rascally teenage boys. Elder Parry and I had received some candy from a member not too long before and we gave it to the child and left.
 
For whatever reason, by the end of this week the subject of anger has weighed on my mind. One evening I was severely annoyed and bothered and hurt Elder Parry’s feelings. I didn’t say anything too nasty, I just got uptight and upset about the events of the week and took it out on him. I found it hard to be happy for him if something good happened or support him in companionship decisions and I felt like I was being overtaken by anger, frustration and, the most deadly of them all, pride.
 
That evening our planning session didn’t go well. The tension was so thick I nearly choked. After the prayer I immediately got up and took a shower because I needed some alone time to reflect on the poor feelings I was having. I then walked downstairs and kneeled down on my bed in prayer. Then commenced one of the few times I didn’t feel like praying. I just wanted to roll over and go to sleep. Instead, I fought the adversary and realized if there was ever a time for me to pray it was then. Unfortunately it was the shortest, most uninspired prayer I have ever had the displeasure of giving.
 
As I laid in bed, sweating because of the hot day, a thought came into my mind to tell Elder Parry, “Elder…you’re a good man…” I tried my best to fight those feelings. I tossed and turned until eventually I closed my eyes, sighed and said, “Elder?”
 
Elder Parry responded, “Yeah…”
 
Fighting back my pride, I said, “You’re a good man…”
 
He paused and then quietly responded, “…thank you…”
 
I nearly cried and I don’t know why. I felt so happy and peaceful saying what I said. I learned a great lesson: I have never been negatively affected by trying to positively affect another individual. Anger can be subdued and the waves of commotion and distress can be calmed with a simple prayer and the courage to show love to those who you would rather not show love towards.
 
Anger is rampant and controlling the lives of too many families and individuals. My hope is to see less and less people “drunken with anger, even as a man who is drunken with wine,” (Ether 15:22) and more and more people receiving “no contention in the land, because of the love of God which [dwells] in the hearts of the people” (4 Nephi 1:15) This Gospel can solve that problem. The sweet peace the Gospel brings into my life casts away all fears, doubts or feelings of anger or inadequacy. People are meant to be loved.
 
I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL week and remember…go to church on Sunday! It will do you more good than you know 🙂
 

1. The Elders, Keagan Benance (a great fellowshipper) and a lady named Precious from Zimbabwe that was baptized on October 17th.
2. A list of my goals the Sunday I met Elder Holland!
3. Elder and Sister Holland shaking Elder White’s hand!
4. Me, Elder Parry, Elder White and Elder Nielsen in a wine chamber! hehe
5. Elder Parry and I being…weird
6. A view of Paarl from the Klein Drakenstein mountains (“small dragon mountains”)
7.  A lovely neighboring town named “Franschhoek”
Love,
 
Elder Matthew Gregory Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission

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