Monday, October 26, 2009

2009 11 01 - An Abrahamic Test (if we may define it as being willing to give up something you really, REALLY want, and trusting the Lord is in charge)

Dear Family & Friends:

One of our brand-new elders (well-prepared, powerful testimony, ready to work) became ill at the start of his mission. After the requisite "Wait a few days and see if it goes away," he went to the doctor, who sent him to a specialist for tests, who in turn checked him into the hospital for more tests, including some biopsies.

He spent seven long days in the hospital - but they weren't all wasted. He asked us to bring him pamphlets, as he was proselyting among his fellow patients. He even provided two referrals to the Pinetown elders. On the 4th day (Friday) the tests were all in and the doctor diagnosed a lifetime, but not life-threatening medical condition, which can be controlled by medication.
As the Church takes very good care of the missionaries, and Missionary Medical wants to keep on top of all medical situations, Steve called Salt Lake to report the findings. The reaction there was "Send him back to the States." Steve argued vehemently to keep him here, citing the good medical care, and the doctor's statement that it can be controlled. Eventually they called another doctor for a second opinion, and he agreed that the elder should go home, be stabilized, and then finish his mission in the States. Hayibo.

We went to the hospital Friday night to tell him the news. His previous visits had been a lot more fun - sneaking in pizza, Big Macs, candy bars. This one was pretty sad, but our elder was very positive, and willing to serve wherever the Lord put him. I was impressed, although I know things were more difficult for him after we left, and he was on his own. The other missionaries shared in his disappointment, and his companions from the MTC who are working in the Durban area all stopped by to see him.

Monday the Assistants and his district took him to Tala to see a few African animals, and down to the Durban beach to see the Indian Ocean, then he went back to his boarding to pack for his Tuesday flight home.

THEN, as a result, I am sure, of fasting and prayer, as well as works (contacting Missionary Medical with more family medical history) the decision was made to LET HIM STAY! Wild rejoicing and grateful thanks echoed through the Durban hills. We're working with his doctor to monitor his condition and help him learn to control it, but hey! We got to keep him! He's excited, we're excited, his companions are excited, and his family is excited. Even the few investigators he had worked with are excited! I guess it's just another mission miracle - Faith +hard work + obedience with exactness really does work!

On the heels of that very happy news, however, we recieved some very sad news. Our former Elder Chumani Magwa, returned home to Prince Elizabeth in October of 2007, married, and had a daughter. This week his wife passed away unexpectedly due to complications of TB. For any of you who would like to send him a note, his address is 11 Majombozi Street, Kwanobuhle 6242, South Africa.

These are a few more of the quotes and information we picked up at the Mission Presidents' Seminar - Steve attended some different meetings than I did, and he's been using them in the mini zone conferences:

Evidence that the Church is growing and becoming more locally self-reliant around the world:
Brazil creates one new stake every month
There are 70 stakes in Mexico City
The Area Presidency in Mexico are all Mexicans. In Brazil, there are two Brazilians and only one American.
The Hong Kong Temple District covers one half of the world's population! We definitely need more temples in that part of the world.

Memorable words:

When Elder Nelson dedicated Rwanda to the preaching of the gospel, he said "We lift the hate and malice so there will be no more desire for war."

Bishop McMullin:
To become more spiritual, just study the life and teachings of Christ; not just the great things, but the little and mundane things. When you know the Savior, you will know yourself.
The purpose of welfare is to preserve the dignity of the people. Teach them to solve their own problems.

Elder Andersen:
Ordination gives authority. Righteousness gives power.
To increase spirituality in a stake, teach the principle of tithing. Tithing for members is like mission rules for full-time missionaries. If they are obedient, they will have the Spirit.

Elder Sitati (one of our Area Seventies):
It is Satan who says you are not worthy.

Elder Hallstrom:
Hearken doesn't just mean listen; it means listen and obey.
Diversity is a joy, but it is a greater joy to be as one.
The Lord puts in your circle of friends those who are seeking the truth.

An Area Seventy from West Africa:
We need to teach our children doctrine so they choose Church traditions.
We are the people of the Lord Jesus Christ and He will teach them correct traditions.

Exams started on Monday, and Hunter is studying like crazy. Morgan...isn't. And I'm going to have to repent of some of my less-than-complimentary comments about Westville teachers. Mrs. Parrott, their Afrikaans teacher, actually came to the house Tuesday night to tell them of the special arrangements she had made for their exams: they will be at the back of the classroom on their own, so they can use their notes. Pretty nice!

In reaction to studying and testing during the week, we had five friends go to Gateway with Morgan and sleep over on Friday. (Hunter spent the evening on the phone with girls.) Saturday morning a couple went home, and four of Hunter's friends came over. It wasn't all wild and crazy, though - there were as many asleep on couches all over the house as there were playing basketball or video games. The exams end on Wednesday, and so far the boys have felt like they were pretty easy (famous last words). Could that possibly be because they actually studied this time???


ps PicknPay has added some new muffins to it's offerings: alongside chocolate chip, blueberry and iced cappuccino we now have cheese, and spinach & feta(?)

pps I've been in a lot of queues since I arrived in South Africa, but Elder and Sister Johnson have learned how to do it in comfort! They went down to the municipality to get the power turned on in a new boarding (and we won't go into how many forms and IDs and signatures that requires) and found themselves in a room full of chairs. Everyone "sat" in the queue, and moved over a chair as people were served.

ppps Hitting the trailer hitch on a bakkie does a lot more damage to the front number plate than hitting a chicken - and that's all I'll be saying on the subject.

I must admit, I would have sat there hoping for music and chairs being removed... way more fun!

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