Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter 3/28/2016

They do celebrate Easter a little bit different here, they call the past Friday, Good Friday, I'm not sure if they actually celebrate Easter on that day or not. South African culture is sometimes confusing. I think I will get the package this week, because we actually have to go to mission office to get our mail and our Zone leader will be in Pretoria this week. We did have 3 Baptisms this Sunday! Rufaro and her twin Fredrick Jr. as well as Itumeleng. It was a good day, and I didn't have to redo the ordinance, I got it right the first time. I memorized the words in 5 minutes haha. This past week has been good overall. Not many complaints, well not any worth mentioning.      

This week I learned the importance of the Atonement even more than before. The Relief Society president here asked me to volunteer to do push-ups in the third hour. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. She had a bowl of chocolates and for each person she gave a chocolate to, she said, "Elder Flanagan please pay for the Chocolate so and so just had." I ended up doing 220 push-ups. That is 10 for each person. My arms were shaking and I was dead tired. This activity represented what the savior did for us. He suffered so much, whether or not we wanted him to, he did that for us. We need to remember what he did for us and the great magnitude of his love he has for us. I bore a powerful testimony after that left many crying after the lesson. It was a cool lesson for sure! I'm so sore today though. Every muscle in my upper body aches haha, I'm out of shape. That is all that's new this week. I love you guys! Have a great week! Try not to have too much fun without me!
-Elder Flanagan the push-up man.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A much better week! 3/21/16

This week has been a little bit better than last week. I had a talk with my mission president at our Zone Conference. He told me why I was put with this Elder. Basically, he said I'm the missionary to help him fix his pride. He told me he had great faith in me, I was doubting that until later that night. We talked about his pride and he was hit so hard by the reality, that he called the Assistants to the President and said he wanted to go home. I'm not going to lie, I was fully supporting his decision. But, I remembered this mission isn't about me, there are people that he can still help. So I also helped him decide not to go home. Man, two months being out in the mission field and the President is already having me teach older missionaries, they're supposed to be teaching me! Anyways, I have helped heal most of the damage he did. Now, we are getting along better, there are only a few occasional moments he is prideful or he does something that annoys me. I just have to endure to the end, and try and teach him as much as possible. I forgot to tell you guys. Our car broke down last week, so I had to learn how to drive stick shift. So i had a 5 minute lesson and I was out on the road driving. I only occasionally killed it when we were at robots (traffic lights). One morning when I was practicing, I drove with the parking brake on the whole time, so the brakes were smoking for about an hour hahaha. Now i'm back to driving automatic though. This week I have grown a lot in my patience. I've been meeting many new people, we have a new investigator named Julia. She believes everything we teach her, we visit her every other day. We are hoping she will get baptized sometime in April, she will be a very strong church member for sure! Next Sunday we have 3 Baptisms. This week has been raining a lot, it is cool because sometimes fog covers the city and you feel like your inside a cloud. Happy birthday Mom! Make sure Dad takes you out somewhere nice! I would send a gift, but postage is EXPENSIVE here so I will just say its the thought that counts haha. I Love you guys! Stay safe and I cant wait to hear from you next week!

-Elder Flanagan  AKA The PMG Missionary
Translation - The Preach My Gospel Missionary

Monday, March 14, 2016

The struggles of life...3/14/16

     Sounds like everyone is very buys with their daily lives, especially dad. He was always my role model of a hard worker. Whenever I say I want to go home, I always think of how hardworking Dad is, also, being a missionary is hard, but I have seen how much I have grown in 2 months, I dont want to throw away the person I could be in two years. We get to watch General Conference at our chapel, hopefully. That is if the satellite and everything works, if not we will drive to Pretoria and watch it with our zone. Our ward actually has Elder Cook of the 70's visiting us on the first week of May. That will be very cool if i'm still serving in Witbank. Transfers will be sometime in April, so I guess we will see where i'll be after that. 
        My new companion that I just got Tuesday may or may not be leaving me soon. This week has been very rough. My companion is from Uganda. To put it nicely, he has slowly been killing me. This guy has more pride than anyone I have ever met. I'm not quite sure why they made him my trainer. He thinks of himself as a prophet and a judge sent by God. To judge the people Iv'e grown to love. His second day here, he offends a recent convert and two investigators. Thankfully, I was able to calm them down and correct my companions mistake. Then the next day, all Hell broke loose. They were screaming at my companion, told us they were all leaving the church, etc. This guy is destroying my area, and all of the hard work we have put in. Iv'e tried my very best and prayed to get along with him. This guy there is no reasoning with, he has too much pride. I'm praying so hard he gets transferred this week. He has caused a'lot of damage so far and more to come. I know its a sad thing to say but it's the truth. I'm going on exchanges with our Branch President to visit the people my companion offended to try and make amends with them and help them heal the wounds he caused.  This week has been an emotional roller coaster and a real struggle. Please keep me in your prayers. I need them. .
        Don't let Chelsey kill anyone with that bow and arrow haha, i feel like she could be the next Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games. 
I love and miss you all! Stay safe and continue to enjoy life!
-Elder Flanagan AKA Lady Slayer

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A new week.....A new nick name. 3/7/2016

It sounds like the ward auction was a good time. It is crazy to hear that Chelsey is going into young womens. That will be a life changer for sure. I miss going to Olive Garden haha, send me some bread sticks. 
This week has been crazy, we had more appointments than last week which was good. We had an investigator which was pregnant so Thursday we drove her to the Hospital. Then on Friday she had a baby son. Sunday we were able to hold the baby and give it a blessing. The sad thing is Stella is moving out of our area and into the other Elders area, so we won't be able to see her anymore.
 Yesterday, we were visiting all of the people we usually teach because my companion has been transferred to Pretoria North Zone as a Zone Leader. So we were having him say goodbye to everyone, it was sad to see him saying goodbye, I felt like I was saying goodbye to them as well. When I leave Witbank, i'm going to miss everyone I've met here. Im sad to say goodbye, we have gotten close like brothers in the 7 weeks we have been together, but I know ill meet him sometime before either of us go home, it will be good to see how we have changed and grown.
        My new companion is from Uganda. I'll be picking him up tomorrow, Im praying we get along great, missionary work cannot happen when you do not have unity. This week we had a drunk man come up to us during a lesson and he was talking to me in Afrikaans, I couldn't understand anything he said haha. It is funny how friendly everyone is, they just walk up and say hello and other greetings. Man, last night we were fed so much food, a sister gave us pumpkin mash, mashed potatoes, chicken, cabbage and carrots and a ton of juice. I barely finished it all, it was like a Thanksgiving feast proportion. Im getting used to eating pumpkin every dinner appointment we have.
     We still have six investigators on baptismal date, 4 for March 26 or 27 I cant remember but one of those days is Sunday. We have two other investigators we are still helping to quit smoking, their desire to join the church is very strong, I hope their desire to join is as strong as their desire to quit smoking. We are struggling to get new investigators, Witbank does not offer many people to teach, we are trying to work with members to do missionary work and give us referrals. 
        My favorite scripture this week is John 17:7 if I remember correctly; "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself". This has helped me get investigators to keep commitments, because the only way to find out if these things are true is to find out by acting upon things. I'm glad you guys aren't missing me too much, I still have 22 months to go, man, these past 2 months have flown by. 
Love you guys!
-Elder Flanagan 'the Rainmaker