Favorite Scripture

Deuteronomy 1:2
"There are eleven day's journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea."
Confused? One of his favorite seminary teachers taught using this as a the preface. She explained that the journey took 40 years, should have taken eleven days as the scripture says. If we are doing what the Lord wants, then our journey doesn't need to take 40 years.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Steven is coming home from his LDS mission in Africa... his "homecoming" will be on Jan 29 2012 at 9 am. There is some confusion about where the church is ...575 E. 800 N., Orem, this is on the north side of the street. Any questions please contact Steve's dad...John at 801-368-0277

Monday, January 9, 2012

Awe, Awesome, and Did that just happen?

Steven will be speaking on the 29th of January at 9:00 a.m. in our NEW ward chapel (800 North and about 520 East). Please come and let your married kids and children that are in the area, know as well.
So this last week we had some very good experiences. One came when we shared the Restoration with an investigator named Smart. He was completely blown away by everything we shared and he was okay until we got to the First Vision........ Then he was in shock and we asked if he had any questions, and he said," No, just to stand in awe." He asked if such things can still happen and we testified that they do and that they did. Very cool. He even bore his testimony on Sunday during Sacrament Meeting about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the church. People were very surprised and asked us, has he been baptized yet? NOPE! BUT SOON!

Then we had been feeling like we should go to this one part of our area and we finally planned that we would go and we didn't even have anyone in that area. BUt we called the members and asked them to work with us and so we show up and ask this brother about who he knows and he says he knows this one less active family so we go and we find out that they are the parents of a returned missionary that I know very well. I was shocked and the father is not a member. So we share and invite him to be baptized and he said that he had already been planning on that this year. He said that because we came he would have to speed up his plans to this month. The family has been members for years but he has never been to church before. But he committed to be baptized and to come to church. And guess what? For the first time ever, he came to church on Sunday. His son was very surprised and very happy! Just crazy that we actually found him by "accident" crazy that things happen that way!

Then we were walking by this house and saw a young man reading a pamphlet from the church so we stop and talk to him and find out his uncle was a member but had passed away and had left some things with him. So we made some time and we went there later that day. We walk in and find that he has almost everything! The LDS Bible, the triple combination, FHE manual, Eternal Marriage manual, the pamphlets, and a myriad of random church materials(i.e. Teaching, No greater Call). Very funny and it turns to he loves reading them but doesn't know the true church. Hopefully he will do what is necessary to find and accept the truth.

Well I can't recount all the everything that occurred! Sharp!



Monday, December 19, 2011

I love Elder Holland!


Well we had the great opportunity of focusing our studies this last week on the Book of Mormon and what a week it was. We experienced some strange set backs and interesting turn of events and some tender mercies.

Well this last week in the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe they re-opened a park and the City Council invited the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to participate on the program. The opening prayer was given by Elder Allen to open the proceedings. Oh yea the Mayor was also in attendance. Then a quintet of missionaries namely, Elder Skwati, Elder Allen, Elder Chikota, Elder Finn and myself, sang Silent Night. I guess they were impressed because they invited us to a celebration for the city to be held at the city council building and to have us sing again. So that was really exciting and we are getting the name of the church out there! We are bringing the church out of obscurity! Woot!

We also had a Christmas Devotion at church which was well attended and people walked away very full! But at church like we said there weren't many who came at all. But after church we brought to light that the Magudu family was struggling to put food on the table. So immediately Bishop gave us food stuffs and sent us to their home(our bags were pretty heavy....). When we got there they started telling us about this program they had seen on TV about the Church, I guess they had Elder Holland and he talked about the Church and where it came from and its history in Africa and the welfare programs and the pioneers and the missionary program and Temples. Actually I think they talked about everything.

This family was so excited and they said they loved the program and they said they really understand now. They even told us thye had seen an anti mormon movie that spoke very poorly about the church and they were very scared and that is why their progress has been slow. But they said they now see the church as it really is and they were very touched. Brother Magudu was very touched by how beautiful the Salt Lake Temple is and how the pioneers walked 2000 kms across the plains and Sister Magudu said she cried as she saw and heard about the welfare programs of the church. They actually missed church because of this program but all things considered the Lord knew where they needed to be. Then we gave them the food stuffs and they almost cried again, saying, "I was just thinking about what we would eat today. The Lord really is mindful of us." Thank you Elder Holland, you answered our prayers and the prayers of this wonderful family!

Something they said that I echo and bear testimony of is, "How great it feels to be a part of such a great organization!" And truly it is. Hold On. Stand Fast. The clouds will pass and the blessings will shine through. "....the King of heaven shall very soon shine forth among all the children of men."(Alma 5:50)


Monday, November 28, 2011

Miracle 1 and Miracle 2

Alright people,

So this week was really exciting and a bit hectic which is always good. We had Zone Conference. Which was pretty much amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed and we also had some of the new missionaries bear their incoming testimonies. President stands to give the closing remarks to the meeting and starts talking to me. Telling me that I have accomplished a lot and he also told me that my first area, Kuwadzana has a Chapel now and it is really exciting. The attendance was 170!!!! I was thrilled and he said that I should be wearing a big smile for leaving that area better than I found it. I didn't really do much but it was great to hear about its growth.

Also a new couple missionary told us that the first time they were released and they took off his tag the pain was excruciating and they couldn't wait to have that tag back. And it was then in my less than stable state(as I also envisioned someone taking my tag....) that President then asked me to bear my outgoing testimony. I was shocked. This couldn't be the last Zone conference, I still have a lot to do and people to share with....... so I gave my testimony and it was strange. Very Strange, but no worries it is still far away. In fact it is still next year!

We have still been working with the Magudu family and they are learning and progressing but it is a bit slow. They are still in the world and we are doing our best to help them. BUt they are a great family. I have really enjoyed them. Then on Saturday we receive a referral from a member who recently returned to church and his brother is on mission and when we asked him which church he went to he said, "Latter-day Saints". So we told him he would be baptized the next day. He knew everything and he had been coming to church as well but he just hadn't been baptized. So that was really great and we were really excited for him. Then something else happened.........

A miracle happened this last week. One I will always remember and I will always be grateful. Mncedisi, one of the very first people I met when I arrived in this area. I contacted him and he told me that he became familiar with the church in the late 1990's when he and his friend, started investigating. His friend was baptized and went on mission and introduced many of the current members of the ward to the Gospel. The following day I met him again and he approached me and told me that his father had passed away that very day. I truly felt like he was being prepared to receive the Gospel and that I would witness it when it happened. We began to teach him. He was doing well in lessons but then wouldn't be around when we would set appointments and I had a feeling that he was avoiding us a bit. His family are all strong members in another church and he used to live in South Africa where he had a very good job but he was a drunkard and then moved back here. He was drinking a lot and smoking up to two packs a day when we met him. He also struggled with commitments and when he said he had read he would struggle to explain what he had read to the point where I would question if he had read at all. He also did not attend church for 4 weeks concurrently. Always with good reasons..... I admit I began to question if I truly felt prompted to teach him. For weeks we would discuss him in District Meetings with the other missionaries to see if there was something that we were not doing. The only reply that came was, "Drop him." In spite of my doubts I did not feel comfortable doing that.

But at times he would bring questions like, "Why do we worship on Sunday" and "why don't women receive the Priesthood?" And as best as we did to answer him sometimes he would still want more to help him understand. I decided that we would do our best to share what was important and focus on reading the Book of Mormon together. I even gave him my favorite highlighter so that we could see if he was marking and therefore reading. Then he began to read. But still would not come to church. It came to the point where I said, if he doesn't come to church this Sunday then we will have to drop him. I felt conflicted about this because of the prompting I had felt when we had first met him. But I knew that no one could be helped until they wanted to be helped. That Sunday, the service started and still no Mncedisi. I was sad. But then I see him through the window walking up the Chapel and he came the next Sunday as well. It was then that my current companion came and he asked us in a lesson, "When is the next baptism?" I rejoiced because he had given up his addictions and he was ready.

Then that Sunday he did not come to church and we were told he had gone to the rural home where his phone would not work. They kept telling us to call on this day and that he would be back. But every day we called they would postpone and tell us he had not yet returned. I began to grow concerned, small doubts began to form. Was he avoiding us? Is the family not telling us the whole truth? What if he has fallen into old habits again? What if.... What if.... What if.... began to plague my mind.

Then in Friday nightly planning session I felt determined to go to his house for our last appointment on Saturday at 8 pm. My companion wanted to call and set the appointment but I knew his phone wasn't working so I suggested otherwise. We wrote his name down and we planned for him. Earlier in the day we passed by close to his home and my companion suggested that we go see if he was around. Again I suggested that we continue to our appointment suggesting that we had already set the appointment for 8.

That night at exactly 8:02 pm we were walking up to his home when he saw us and walked back to us. We began talking and he said he had just arrived home and set his suit out for church the next day and was going to sort some things when he saw us and walked back. I began to vocalize my concerns about his falling into old habits and if he was reading. He smiled and said that he had taken his books with him and that he was free from his old habits. Again he asked when is the next baptism. we replied, "tomorrow." He said "Am I ready?" We called the Zone Leaders to do an interview for us and he was interviewed and he passed! I was unbelievably happy. He asked me to perform the baptism. I was a bit surprised but happy as I accepted. As we were sitting in Church that day I saw as he held his Book of Mormon and that highlighter that I had given him so many week before.

He came up slowly from the water and we walked from the font and he wiped his face that was wet with water and a few tears. Extended his hand and said, "Thank you. It has been a long road." I took his hand and we embraced. He couldn't stop saying he couldn't wait to get back in the water when he would be baptizing someone and that he felt great. He said he wished this feeling could last forever. He asked me how it felt to help someone to this day and said he wasn't sure if it could compare to how he felt right then. Miracles happen. There is truly no greater work than this. I cannot express how happy I am right now. How great is our joy.

The Church is true and people do change under the power of the Gospel.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Baptism, Magudu!, and INteresting......

Dear Everyone!

Well this week was pretty awesome if I say so myself. Well it had its ups and downs but it was powerful all the same. Well we had a service project at a local hospital and it went really well and it almost felt like coming home because of how often I was there last transfer for my companion and his health. The nurses and some of the office staff asked about me even.... haha!!!! I really was there too much. But it was cool I enjoyed talking with them as well.

We also had a baptism this last week. Brother and Sister Chamunorwa, Fortune, Sis Maswanhise, and Michael were baptized! Very exciting. Michael even cut off his dread locks in preparation for his baptism. I know some of us will be disappointed that he got rid of his very awesome dreads but doesn't that show commitment! Very powerful! I was very excited for him and for the changes he has been making in his life! Although in the picture of the baptism we took Fortune wasn't there because he got there late and we were nervous but he came! But the water was way too low so some of them had to be baptized again. And I was the one to do the baptisms. A bit embarrassing..... :) but they were baptized and that is what really matters right? RIGHT?!!!!

But this week something kind of cool happened. We were walking and we went by this nurse and she had her baby on her back(did I ever mention that is how they carry their babies? Well they do, they wrap a towel or cloth around themselves with the baby in the back and carry them like that.... yep) and the baby was cute and scared of me because I am white-ish and so I waved to her and smiled and then we started talking and it turned out the mom is a bit familiar with the church and the missionaries but never talked much with them. So we got her details and said we would come and visit. So that is what we did. And when we got there we met the husband as well and we discussed. They are very intelligent and Bro Magudu especially has been disillusioned by religion and was content to sit at home. He had talked Bible courses and loves to read but never felt the need to go to any church. So we discussed and he seemed interested if only intellectually.

Then we went back the next day and he had been sick so he hadn't made it to church. But we got there and he said he had slept so I was feeling a bit sad thinking that he hadn't read so I asked and he said that he had read and he was really liking it and he explained and said he really wants to know more and to learn and to see where this will take him. He was feeling hungry! He was so excited to learn more and said that what he had read seemed to only hint at much greater things! Powerful! I love this family. They are intelligent, independent, and ready for the truth! These are the best investigators and they are a family! Can it get any better..... I don't think so......!

Also this last week we had a less active member start confessing his less than righteous past to us and it was really awkward. It was very strange and we aren't talking talking small sins we are talking about big ones. But he said he wants to change so that is good but in the situation it was very awkward. Very interesting...........

We have very promising investigators and we are really excited for them and they seem excited as well but alas they struggle to come to church..... So we are currently striving to fix that. We are doing our best pray for us!

Just by the by, the first photo is the baptism that I was not present at...... can you believe it? I wasn't there!
The second is the one this past week! Woot!


You want to be happy? GO ON MISSION!!!!!

Smiles, Tears, and Families

So this week was very good and also draining and exciting. We are really having a great time with our investigators but we had very few at Church yesterday. I still am not entirely sure why either. Seemed to be a series of coincidences that prevented it. Interesting, huh?

But last week we had the wonderful opportunity of working with the Chamunorwa family and they are really great. We shared with them the first time and they were really receptive and the next time we came back they said they are available for the date of their baptism and they believe and are excited to be baptized and then the next lesson we took their tea! I was really excited for their progress. They have come so far! Very exciting and can't wait for their baptisms.

Then in another lesson with another investigator who stays a bit far we shared with him and found out he has been taught by one our Recent Converts and knows all about the Restoration, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and The Word of Wisdom. He had taken extensive notes and he was really excited to be baptized by proper authority. I felt very smiley that day.

Then this week was an interesting week for some of the missionaries, one companionship in particular. They were having problems and so we went there and talked with them for about an hour and a half and then the next day called and things were not any better. So we had to go back, myself and the zone leaders, and had a seriously long conversation. We helped them to have companionship inventory where they spoke about conflicts and made goals to improve and how they can better themselves and bring the Spirit back into their companionship. We took over 5 hours discussing with them and their were high emotions and much was discussed but things have been a bit better since then and they are improving. We had them pray, one in the start and one at the end and they were among the most fervent and sincere prayers I have ever heard offered. I was reminded of Enos and his 'wrestle' with God and felt like I now have a better understanding of the power of prayer. They were powerful prayers.

But also this week I contacted this guy who was walking home and he seemed interested so I got his details and then we went by his home a little later and found his whole family. So we have been teaching them and the churches they are going to now are really different. They have been struggling a bit to make the adjustment but they are humble and very good people who have felt the goodness of the message we share. They have the desire all it is now is to help them make the adjustment which can be very difficult.

But they are a wonderful family. I also had the opportunity to teach a family that I had referred to another area. I was on exchanges and that was nice. They are doing well and they even remembered me! So that was really cool. The work is moving forward! Go on mission!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

: Elder Chikota, Mncedisi, and ZL Council

Dearest People's!

I know the Church is true! And I know that The Gospel has been Restored!

Just thought you should know. But this week was pretty good, I have a new companion Elder Chikota and he is from Soweto in South Africa and he is good and I can see that he will continue to learn and grow and that he will be a good missionary. We had a good experience with Mncedisi. He has been struggling with smoking and he has had some concerns and we were really close to dropping him as you know but that is when he came to church and guess what happened this week??!?!?! Well we went and it was Elder Chikota's first lesson on mission and we are following up on his reading and he has made it to 1 Nephi 20 and he has been marking it and he has been understanding and he said his concern was resolved and then he said,

"Tell me about Baptism....." Then he looked right at me and said, "Why do you look so happy?!" Hahahahahaha "When is the next baptism?"!!!!!!!!!! It was so powerful and we are really excited for him and for his progression. There is great joy over the soul that repenteth.

We have been really finding a lot and it has been a great experience and we feel that we will be able to achieve a lot in helping the ward to grow and be strengthened. BUt I also went to a Zone Leader council and we were discussing the whole mission and how we can improve and we had a very lively discussion and felt really good about what was planned but we also spoke about what the mission will be doing for Christmas and it seems that we might be doing something pretty awesome. I hope so! I suggested going to Victoria Falls as a mission but President said that wouldn't be possible. That was sad. But it seems like it will be powerful!