Posted by: elderleach | July 25, 2011

Two Days in a New Area and I’m Footloose!

Hello family and friends! It’s nice to communicate with the outside world once again. Although my letters didn’t always show it the past few weeks, I noticed wonderful miracles in Somerset West, some of which are too special for me to casually share on a blog, but they are carefully recorded in my journal…you just got to hear my lamentations ;). As I have said many times before, I will be honest with my thoughts and feelings about mission life. If I don’t like something, I’ll say it. If I love something, you better believe I’ll say it! And I hope you all know how much I love this Gospel despite the trials and adversity that tends to come along with it. I take special note to bear testimony at any opportunity I get.

This week has been extremely strange in many aspects. I received a phone call Monday night to be something called a ”zone leader” (missions are divided into normal missionary companionships, districts and zones) in Namibia…when I eventually get there. In the meantime, I will be serving in one of the zones in Cape Town, which serves over one of my old areas, Paarl! So that was quite exciting news 🙂 It will be a nice, welcome change. The area I am serving in is called ”Panorama” which is very close to Cape Town central. It’s quite a  Dutch/Afrikaans area so the work isn’t so easy, but boy is it gorgeous! I am loving it here.

I just don’t even know how to express how grateful I am for all the Lord has given me, even recently. A few days ago I woke up in the morning and couldn’t walk on my left foot, and if I tried I felt sharp pain. I turned on the light and noticed many puss bubbles all over my toes. ”Oh no!” I thought to myself. ”It’s back!” When I was 10 years old I had a rare case of ”strep fingers”. Yes, I know, strep belongs in the throat, so you can imagine how surprised the doctors were when they found my hands covered with it. Now, 10 years later, I am seeing the same thing on my left foot! We raced to the doctor, they indeed diagnosed it as strep, bandaged it up and gave me crutches.

You should’ve seen me hobbling down the hospital hall with those awkward crutches. I’d never used them in my life! I felt like I was a younger version of Mr. Bean as I maneuvered my way through the hospital and into the waiting room where my two companions (Elder Tshikare from South Africa and Elder Venetsanakos from Australia) waited for me. They looked at me with shocked expressions. ”It’s that bad?” they said.

”Apparently!” I responded, waving my crutches in the air. One of the receptionists then called out to me to sign some papers. I resumed position and hopped my way over to the desk.

”What is your name?” she said in a thick Afrikaans accent.

”Elder…um, Matthew Leach,” I said, but pointing to my name tag.

”What does ‘elder’ mean?” she asked.

”It means missionary. I’m doing missionary work here in Cape Town.”

”Oh, that’s nice,” she said. We then started to talk about the church and what missionaries do on a daily basis.

”So you can see why it’s going to be a struggle for me to work with these things,” I said. looking at my metallic blue crutches.

”Tell you what,” she responded. ”Come back in two days for your check up visit and tell me more. Maybe I’ll listen…” she then asked me to sign the paper and walked back to her desk. One of the older missionary couples arrived at the hospital to bring me to the mission office so I could elevate my foot for the next 2 days, but as I sat in the car on the way to the office, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement.

”What if that’s why the Lord has blessed me this trial!” I thought. ”So I could meet this woman who seems interested in the Church…”

That’s when I began to reflect on the miracles of Somerset West and how the Lord prepared a way for me to pass through that difficult time. I can bear you all my testimony that the Lord loves each one of us so perfectly. There is a reason to every trial or tribulation we go through, and if we endure it well, the blessings will be enormous. I know it may seem like I’ve been complaining the past few weeks, but quite the contrary! I have really loved this growing experience and have seen the fruits of all of it. Now, in this next chapter of my mission life, I will welcome whatever the Lord puts in my path. I know too much to get discouraged.

I love you all!

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission


1. Elder Leach trying to entertain himself while his foot heals from a strep infection. It has spread to the other foot and one hand, but the antibiotics are starting to work. Yay!

2. Being trained to work in the office while the foot heals. It must be elevated at all times.

3. Dinner with the President in his home while Elder Leach recovers. Tough life.



  1. So glad to hear you are not only enduring but glowing through your trials. What better place to be but surrounded by worthy and wonderful priesthood holders and sisters while recovering!
    You are always in my prayers, Elder Leach.
    Much love.

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