Posted by: elderleach | April 17, 2011

Elder Leach vs The Gangsters‏

Molweni, family and friends! Wow, already heading into mid April. The weather is still quite warm here in Kwa Magxaki: 75-80 degrees most days, but an occasional cloudy, cool 65 degree day. Fall is coming, so luckily the heat will be going. I’m glad there’s a cold season here!
A few days ago I had an interesting dream. The dream went like this: Elder Nkala and I were walking around the township late at night and upon returning to our car, we discovered some shady looking men leaning up against it. We didn’t turn the other way or even hesitate to approach the car. I greeted the men, but they didn’t move from their position. I kept smiling at them as I requested they move aside so I could put my backpack in the boot (trunk) of the car. One of the men grabbed my backpack, threw it on the ground and forced a gun into my hand.
I remember feeling a sharp sense of fear as I held that gun, but I then laughed and handed it back to the man. “No thanks,” I said. “We’ve got to get going!”
He nearly growled at me as he forcibly placed the gun in my hand again, and then he gave my companion a gun. “You two are going to fight. On the count of 3, you’ll pull the trigger. The trick is to be sure you don’t suffer any delay!”
When I realized this was serious, I looked down at the gun and contemplated what my next move would be. “Well, I was born and raised in Silverdale, Washington, so throughout my time there the only gun I’ve handled has been a paintball gun!” As a shock to me, I threw the gun down on the ground and it shattered into pieces.
“Do you have any idea how much that gun cost me?!” the man shrieked. I then found myself laughing again.
“Well, it must’ve been cheap if it shattered into pieces!” I responded. My companion started to laugh as well.
“Fine, give me your watch then,” the man said.
“Ah dang it,” I said. “But I like this watch!”
“Just give it to me, OK? You’re exhausting.” he said, almost about to walk away. Then I woke up.
When I woke up, I wasn’t really sure what that dream meant. I wrote it down, then went on with the day. We had a baptism later on in the evening at the chapel for one of our golden investigators, Nompucuko. She’d been taught since January and she finally made the step! We have two more baptisms set in two weeks, so it’s been a busy transfer. By the end of that lovely service, I forgot all about the dream.
It was getting dark and we pulled up to an investigator’s home. Someone came out of his gate that we didn’t recognize, however. I felt uncomfortable getting out of the car, but I did so anyway. This man’s eyes were glazed (like half the people in township during the weekend) and he looked very angry. He walked over to me in a hurry and I smiled.
“Hello sir!” I said. He just stared at me, shook his head and walked away.
We walked past the gate and knocked on the door. Our investigator, Emmanuel from Zimbabwe, answered and told us to hurry inside. “What are you guys doing here?” He asked. “A man just tried to rob me!”
“Really?” we said. “How long ago?”
“Just now!” he exclaimed. “You guys are OK?”
“Yeah…” we said hesitantly. “Are you?”
“Well, I’m fine, but this man was in a rage,” Emmanuel explained. “I thought I was going to get killed. I thought YOU were going to get killed!”
We talked to him more about the incident and then we left. It then occurred to me: the man who left Emmanuel’s house when we arrived was the robber. His anger seemed to pierce some nerve within me when I saw him, but I felt like I should give him a friendly “hello” anyway. What would have happened if I had been afraid or tried to avoid him?
Perhaps the Lord was trying to warn me through that dream to prepare me for that moment: “Matthew, you’re a friendly, awkward soul. Because you are incapable of fighting, use your smile and happy ‘hello”s to get yourself out of dangerous situations. Thief’s don’t like happy, confident people!”
So let this be a lesson. If someone is bothering you, teasing you, or forcing you to do something you know you shouldn’t do, smile, say no, and move on! No one can resist that!

Love you all,
Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission

1. Elder Patterson (from Pennsylvania) raking up beer bottles, plastic bags and…gulp…old diapers!

2. The trashiest service project ever!

3. The biggest locust I’ve ever seen!

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