Posted by: elderleach | May 31, 2011

“It Stings”

Molweni fam and friends! How lucky I am to e-mail every week and update you on the many adventures that transpire in this beautiful land. I really do love South Africa. Never in a trillion years would I raise a family here, but this is a gorgeous, culturally vibrant part of the world nonetheless.
We provided service for this mama in our ward named Sister Ntshebe. She reminds me a lot of my mama for various reasons. But on this particular day, she took us to the back of her house and showed us a cluster of itchy weeds that we were forbidden to touch. We were handed shovels and told to shovel them out of the dirt so we didn’t have to touch them.
I’m sure this may come as a huge surprise, but I declined the shovel offer and said, “Mama, if we get these weeds at the roots, they won’t come back. Elder Critchfield and I have gloves, so therefore we won’t get stung by these horrible weeds.”
“Come now, Elder Leach,” Mama Ntshebe said in a motherly tone of voice. “I know these weeds. Those gloves will not protect you from the sting. Just dig deeper and try as hard as you can to get the weeds without getting the sting!”
She went around the other end of the home and left Elder Critchfield and I up to our own fate. “I say we just pluck them,” I said. “I mean, seriously, we’ll be back here in a matter of weeks unless we pluck them out of the ground the right way.”
“I agree,” Elder Critchfield said. “Let’s pluck these suckers out.” It seemed to me, at the time anyway, the most productive and thorough thing to do. I felt like there was a better way to do this service project then hew down every weed in my path with a shovel.
I squatted down and began to pick those nasty little things, but within seconds I felt it. “Ouch!” I said. “Wow, that was sharp.”
“OW!” Elder Critchfield hollered (I told him he sounded like a sister missionary when he got stung, but shhh…don’t tell him I revealed that!). The “ow”, “ouch”, “oh my heck!” comments continued until finally we used a shovel to get the last remaining weeds.
I took off my gloves and noticed small red bumps appearing on my skin and let me testify to you that THEY ITCHED!!! And stung.
“Told you so,” Mama Ntshebe said, giggling to herself. “Now let me get my babies some cream…”
Moral of the story? Listen to the wise ones who have been there before. My testimony of Heavenly Father has grown so much since I have been on a mission, specifically in this area. Our Father knows what stings and what doesn’t. Listen to Him. If he tells you to use a shovel so you don’t have to feel the “sting of weeds”, use the shovel for crying out loud!
Transgressing God’s laws certainly can sting because He “told us so” through his prophets and scriptures, but that is why Jesus Christ was sent here to atone for our sins, because they both knew the sting that sin would cause in the world.
The prophet Jacob in the Book of Mormon testifies: “And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded (and itchy! :)) soul.”
I love you all!

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission

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