Posted by: elderleach | November 23, 2010

Missing the Sights, Sounds and Snow!!!‏

Thanksgiving Dinner African style

Every young man or woman who serves a mission has to sacrifice a great deal of things to get there. For me it was my family, my Mustang and my 3 jobs which I loved so much. As time progressed I’ve noticed more and more things that I choose not to miss (too much, anyway) like computers, television, mom’s cooking…that sort of thing 😉

But the thing that is the HARDEST for me to be at terms with right now is the fact that I can’t experience the sights, sounds and snow of the holidays! Not that Western Washington typically offers much in the way of snow in the first place, but apparently it has been very cold and snowy lately at home and I am sweating in 95-100 degree heat here in Paarl. Christmas music is being played in the local grocery stores, but it doesn’t help that fans are blowing at the same time! I’m just about ready to put my Christmas ornaments on the tree that mom sent me in a package, but I’ll have to do it with slippery, sweaty hands. I guess I should stop complaining about it because I still have one more holiday season to go after this one away from normal winters, but ‘Tis the Season for thoughts to be directed to life-before-mission.

I am thankful for Elder Balmforth, my trainee. The other missionaries in this area have struggled to get along with each other, but it is refreshing to have such a strong companionship at this time of year. Elder Balmforth commented to me that it will be hard to not have his family there on Christmas morning, but I reminded him there was a reason we were paired together: we have the same concerns! “Two missionaries longing for the holidays at home will often make a plan to create Christmas wonderful wherever they are” (Proverbs 32:1) 😉

This week has been a great one with miracles to our left and to our right. 7 new investigators we have found this week all committed to baptism, and happily. It seems as if the Lord is just guiding our footsteps EVERYWHERE to find those who are the most prepared. We have a stacked baptism day on the 26th of December and the 10th of January.

One humorous note, there’s something here called “White Tracting” and that means knocking doors in the white area of town. Typically missionaries avoid white areas because that’s where most of the rejection occurs. I told Elder Balmforth, “We will go white tracting when we have a nice 5 litre tub of ice cream waiting for us at the flat. Not a minute sooner!” We laughed about that. One day Elder Balmforth and I found some down time, so we decided to knock some doors near the church, being a white area. Elder Balmforth didn’t know that, so after the first few doors he paused and exclaimed with horror:

“Elder Leach! We’re tracting in a white area without a big tub of ice cream waiting for us at home!” We laughed about that and it has become a running joke within the companionship.

Here’s the spiritual thought for the day before I end: now that I have read all the standard works except for the Old Testament while being on my mission, I decided to begin at Genesis and make my way through. One scripture that meant a lot to me was this:

“And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter…and Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” ~Genesis 29:18; 20

Why is that my spiritual thought for today? Because I absolutely LOVE what the Lord is helping me do here. My story began, “And Elder Leach loved the Lord and His children in Africa; and said, Lord, I will serve thee 2 years for thy children in Africa, whom I love so much.” and the story will finish, “…and Elder Leach served two years for the Lord and His children in Africa; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had for them.”

Quite honestly, these nearly 7 months I’ve been serving the Lord have flown by. They’ve seemed like a “but a few days”, but I know I’m doing the Lord’s will and I’m excited to see what lies in store.

Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone and when you see the sights, sounds and snow of the season, please think of me and send it my way 🙂


Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission



  1. Nice read Matt. 8 )

    Service brings blessings and strength that last throughout eternity. Remember how little time we have on earth compared to eternity and months will seem like days.

    Uncle Bruce (race car driver)

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