Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

Dear Family,

It's so hard to even understand where to begin this email. This week has been so awesome and such an adventure! I've witnessed so many things both physically and spiritually! A mission is the best adventure I've ever been on yet!

Better to start off by answering some questions that have been asked to me. I was asked "How is the work? Are you feeling confident when you teach? Are you becoming at all comfortable with the culture there yet?". The work is so awesome and is really moving! All of the people we come in contact with really have been prepared by the Lord. We have 22 people on date for baptism and are planning on six baptisms this next month, if it's the Lord's will. We baptize every third weekend of the month as directed by our awesome bishop, so we take our time building people's testimonies. With teaching, it comes naturally to me. I love talking to people. I feel very confident that I can teach and that I know the doctrine. The challenge comes in two ways: to teach simply and to be able to discern with the Spirit. It is so cool to work with the Spirit and even more cool to watch it work with people in their own lives! My trainer loves having a companion who can just take over. He says that it's amazing to watch a "son" simply take action. The secret is just to open your mouth and listen, I'm working on complete reliance on the Lord. My companion is district leader and said that he told our zone leaders that I should train when I'm done with him. What a compliment! Of course i would be terrified if I did :) The culture is coming to me a bit at a time.

This week I've witnessed the Spirit work like I've never seen. Monday I prayed for help that I would find something in my studies that would help someone else. We met with a guy who thinks there is no hope in repenting, that he always falls back into drinking. His questions where answered with exactness from what I had studied. I was ready to cry when I felt his pain and knew I had his answer in my hand and in my heart. It was amazing to be a tool and have my prayers answered. I also have a testimony of the power of discernment. I love listening to people and simply saying what the Spirit puts into my heart. I may not know these people, but Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do. I just love being here for the ride!

This week has also been a one of many firsts. On Tuesday my companion and I came across a burnt out taxi van in the middle of the road. The windows had been smashed, seats stolen, and tires slashed. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen. The people are crazy down here I tell you! That wasn't even the craziest thing! Saturday we were driving to an appointment and two cars ahead of us a smash-n-grab happened to a lady! That's where someone sees something of value on the passenger seat of a car when the car pulls up to a "Robot" (Traffic light) and someone on the street smashes the window to grab it off the seat. It happened so fast and was so crazy to see. The two guys just seemed to be normal, when out of the blue, they smashed her window and ran off with her purse. What a Rush!

This week has been a challenge for my companion. Elder Fagg came on mission as a pretty heavy dude and has lost a lot of weight. They even thought he might have a worm, but he doesn't. They just call it the Fagg sickness, and I've started to catch it. I know I'm losing, I can hardly keep my pants up and I’ve placed a new hole in my belt. It’s awesome, but back to my comp. Lately at night he has only gotten 3 hrs of sleep and has been struggling. There seems to be no reason why he's not sleeping, so the zone leaders took him into the doctors while I worked all day with a ward missionary named Treasure. The doctor said that it could be diabetes or an overactive thyroid. We won't know for sure until Tuesday. He is really worried and I do my best to give him comfort. I've earned the title in the mission as "Mom", because I take care of everyone. I gave him a blessing and now we are just waiting.

I've received four letters! I was running in circles and jumping up and down! Two are just the emails you sent me, and two are from Grandma Karen. They gave me such a boost that day, I needed them. Still no packages, but I haven't checked the post today. Maybe I will get lucky. Let me know if you all want scripture cases like Dad's. I can get them if I have the cash this next temple trip:)

Family, know I'm doing well and love to hear all this great news from home. You are all in my thoughts everyday. I know that I'm where I need to be. I love you all very much.

Love

Elder Jack Dalton

Oh I almost forgot. I found out I can Skype this Mother's Day. You just need to download the material. I will have more info next Monday. :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

My Dear Family,
All is well in Africa! I'm so excited to hear that everything is going well back home. I've been very focused on the work and have found that as I do that my feelings of homesickness leave me. It was hard after our time in the temple, but my companion gave me some advice and a powerful blessing. Ever since that, I'm feeling more at home down here in Africa, and I’m getting along more with my area. I know that my Redeemer lives and is watching me as I proclaim his word to all ends of the earth.
Let me tell you how awesome my week has been! First and foremost, I had my first two BAPTISMS and I was able to confirm one of them, Woot-Woot (rub eyes)! We baptized Amanda and Nolene. The spirit was so strong with these two. I could just feel their testimonies penetrate my heart. They are two amazing girls who have used the Atonement of Christ and are now taking his name on themselves. They were baptized this last Saturday and confirmed in sacrament this Sunday. I confirmed Nolene. I was just on cloud nine! It has really set the tone for this upcoming week! What a great blessing to be worked in the hands of the Lord!
Earlier this last week I've been working on remembering people, streets, and slang. It really has become a week of rich blessings and sore trials, but it's funny how the teachings of dad have helped me. Dad, remember when I was little and I told you I didn't want to go to church? You told me that those are the times I need to go the most. I've been applying that principal throughout my days here. The times when everything seems to go wrong, are the times when we must keep pushing the most. That has paid off the most in my mission so far. Some of the trials I've faced are: getting lost, pulled over by the cops, locking our keys to our flat then climbing through the shower window to get them, having no more money in my account, homesickness, appointments cancel, and just being confused at what I'm supposed to do. There are however great blessings that come from doing this great work: I've seen two daughters of god baptized and confirmed, united more with my companion, humility, a pure knowledge that this Gospel is true time and time again, great investigators who are prepared before us, dinner appointments, friendly people, safety, a lot of laughs, A mom in Africa, sense of comfort, and people I know I promised to see before the world was.
The more and more I'm down here I feel the spirit testify to me that this Gospel is true. I know that my number one convert I need to get out of this mission is myself. I see it every day and can feel my faith building as time goes on. My goal is to have a faith unshaken as it says in the scriptures and hopefully one day have the faith that the brother of Jared had. This mission is such a blessing to my life and it creates my passion to share what I know with others everywhere.
Well mom, you know how you hoped for a woman to be down here to take care of your baby boy? There is one. Her and her family are recent converts to the church and one that was baptized by Elder Fagg. They are the Meseta Family, and every time we visit she takes care of us. She even calls us her sons. Plus, they get mad if we don't visit often and for a good amount of time. They even feed us every time we come over, which mainly consists of rice and cool drink aka "soda". They are a large family of eight, and I love them very much.
Speaking on food, I also had my first "khota" this week. What it is is a whole bread loaf hollowed out filled with chips “French fries", different sausages, egg, sauces, and it is a heart attack waiting to happen! Yet, when I bought it and bit into it I was so happy, I wanted to cry, it was so good. Dad you'll have to try it someday! I will take a picture next time.
As I've been down here I've witnessed that these people are ones I promised to teach the gospel to. Last night we taught Tebho and Leha, a couple who has two little girls. They have been taught everything and come to church every Sunday; you would even look at them and say they are members. But because of the lebolha “the Johnny Lingo thing" they haven't been baptized. We are working on that though. We watched the Testaments with them and afterward bore testimony of Christ and the Gospel's truth. The spirit was thick. Then as we talked, Tebho and Leha said to me that they feel like they've known me for the longest time and can tell I’m their brother. I was overwhelmed by that. These are just some of the people I've worked so hard to come and find.
Everything is well down here and my life is being changed. I can feel my heart becoming softer and patience lengthening. My companion is just like me and is very experienced. He is such a caring guy and is sensitive to my needs. Every time he steps in to help me I bear witness that we have been chosen to work together. He has started to teach me how to love soccer and about his family of eight. He is the second oldest and loves Africa. His dad runs his own business internationally with the fruit market and is pretty well off. After the mission he wants to work with his dad and wants me to visit England. He told me he will take me on tour of Europe. The other two Elders that live pretty close to us are Elder Poche from Kenya, who is my brother, and Elder Leftwhich from Colorado, who is my uncle/best cook ever! They keep us going and make life on the mission possible. We are like a great family down here, always joking! Plus we watch out for each other, because we had to move flats into a danger zone. We now live in two, two man flats in student housing.
I would like to bear my testimony to close. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that it is only through his atonement that we can return to Heavenly Father. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of god and that he translated the Book of Mormon through the power of god. I know that there is a plan of happiness and through that I can be with you for all of time and eternity. I know Thomas S. Monson is now the current prophet on the earth today. I love you all so much, and I know this is the place I am to be.
Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 12, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

How is it? I'm still alive down here, and I'm very excited to be where I am serving. I was so nervous to find out about my new companion that I would have one week ago, but now there is no fear at all. We left the MTC early in the morning when President Omer and Sister Omer came with his Assistants. We were just taken over to the church building across the street for pictures and orientation; While we were doing that we had interviews with the President. That man is truly inspired and incredibly humble. I felt as if the doors to my soul were opened and he could see everything. We talked about you and what I had to do in order to get on a mission. He also asked me if I could bear my testimony of the Savior, which made me emotional. He was wonderful.

As we waited to find were we would serve and with who, we were told about money, security, and how to follow the rules. We are given only 1450 Rand a month, which is just over 150 USD, to live on. We all have cars and walk on certain days, it was all simple info.

The time came when we were assigned to our "Fathers". It was so intense. I was third to the last to receive my companion. When the time came, I jumped up and said to everyone how excited I was to get out. Everyone laughed. President Omer then announced I would be serving with Elder Fagg from London, England. I ran up and hugged him so hard. (more laughing) At that moment, President Omer said, "Elder Dalton has a great and special spirit about him"! The area I serve in is Johannesburg Central 1. It's the most dangerous area of our entire mission.

The first day was the best day any new "son" could have. I was told by many that before Elder Fagg was brought in, the area was about to close. They only had 3 people on date, one being homeless; it was on the verge of closing because the ward hated the missionaries. Yet, Elder Fagg turned it all around, even with a companion who before him was killing the area. Now we have 25 people on date for baptism, five of which are going to be baptized this Saturday! The Bishop is the coolest guy I know, and the entire ward is blown away by how much I talk and how well I know the doctrine. I've been asked three times how long have I been out. I tell them a matter of days, and they are blown away.

My emotions of homesickness have left me. I'm getting lost in the work. I love the people that surround me and the way I see them prepared for the gospel is so unreal! Many of our investigators should already be members, but it's just showing me how the Lord prepares the hearts of all we come in contact with. My favorite people are the Meseta Family, the Moyo Family, and Amanda who will be baptized this Saturday. Elder Fagg has told me that he is so happy to have a companion who can teach and works well with him. His last would go off and play with the children, leaving him to teach. It was unreal to me, until the investigators told me about it. I know we will continue to move mountains here for the Lord. It is only with him that we can do it. We are merely the instruments.

I was struggling with how I should act and was a little scared. My area is the center of Jo'burg and we are the only whites. It's the worst ghetto you can think of, with garbage everywhere, homeless all around, crime every night, and people living in the poorest of places. Dad you would never make it here, I just know it, sorry. The area I'm in is even number one in the world for the most crime, murder, and rape. It's an adventure everyday! We can't even go tracking it's so bad, we only work off referrals. Yet I know the Lord is with us every step. It's a huge blessing to have his protection in this huge city.

I must tell you that South Africa is prone to strikes of all kinds, and as of now, we are going through a postal strike. Any mail sent to me might take a while to get here. Some advice that I was told with packages is to claim their worth to be under $40 no matter what, so I can pay duty down here and it won't kill me. Also, it is a big thing to place a picture of Christ over the opening of the box. Many times the post officers will open boxes from countries and take whatever they want. The post and police are so corrupted down here it's nuts.

My P-Days are now every Monday. I have to go to a internet cafe to email, but I can email up to 2 hrs. It’s nice to have the time to think and read everything sent to me now. I love hearing all about home, and that video is just awesome. More would be great to have next Monday. It's funny that you said it's heating up, because it's now cooling down here. I love to hear that Jacob is doing well at ballroom, Keep going!!! Jill of course just picks up talents and I’m not surprised that she is a great seamstress, Jill I still remember your wicked awesome hot pad!! Mom and Dad, it's hard for me every Sunday without you near me, but I feel the same spirit of family in this ward. I am very glad to hear that you are all doing very well, and Mom, work sounds like a blast. I'm going to attach some photos of my area and Elder Fagg. I love you all so much and it seems the longer I serve the more important you all are to me. The blessings of family is one of the greatest my Father in Heaven has granted me. You all are my foundation and the fuel to my fire down here. I use all of you in my teaching and love to show people the pictures of you I keep in my scriptures. I'm still same old Jack, and I'm living up to the great name of Dalton as I harvest this field. Please email and write often. I love you all.

Love Elder Jack Forrest Dalton :)

ALWAYS FORWARD SOUTH AFRICA! YEEEEHAAAA!

Short Video From the Mission Field

video
You gotta love modern technology!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Letter from Jack’s Mission President

6 March 2010

Dear Brother and Sister Dalton,

I am pleased to inform you that your son, Elder Jack Forrest Dalton, has arrived in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission and he is doing wonderfully. We are delighted to have him serving with us in the Mission. Elder Dalton will serve initially in the Johannesburg 2 Area of the Johannesburg Zone. His companion and trainer is Elder Luke D. Fagg from England.

Uplifting and supportive letters from home are important to missionaries. We encourage you to write or e-mail your son weekly. His mailing address throughout his mission will be jack.dalton@myldsmail.net . In fact, email communications are preferred.

For letters sent through Pouch: Letters using the Church’s pouch system are limited to a single sheet of paper, folded into thirds, and taped on the top edge only. No envelopes, no pictures, no cards, etc. are allowed. Pouch mail uses US postage.

Elder Jack Forrest Dalton
South Africa Johannesburg Mission
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT  84130-0150

For packages and letters sent through Postal Service:

Elder Jack Forrest Dalton
South Africa Johannesburg Mission
Private Bag X4
Ansfrere 1711, South Africa

Packages should be labeled “Missionary Supplies” and valued less than $40.00 to avoid high custom charges. For secure items please use FEDEX of DHL and the physical address: 3 Phillips Ave. Discovery 1709, South Africa.

We appreciate your support of your missionary and thank you for sharing him with the South Africa Johannesburg Mission. I have included a picture of your missionary with Sister Omer and myself.

Sincerely,

S. Craig Omer, President
South Africa Johannesburg Mission

100_0744 Elder Dalton & Trainer Elder Fragg

 

100_0711Elder Dalton

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jack and His African Transportation

rhinojack

Drawn by Mr. Bushman, Jack’s UCAS Art Teacher!

On My Way To Africa

Open House–Feb. 12, 2012

Email–Mar. 2, 2012

Dearest Family,
I'm doing very well. I love all the emails and knowing how everyone is doing. I will say I was a little sad to find out that grandpa had died. I then look back and I'm very happy that I stopped to stay the night with him. It was a good thing to talk and hug him when I did, thanks mom for that advice. That is just another example of how the plan of salvation works and can give us more hope in this life.
Mom tell everyone at work I miss them. They all played a great part in helping me meet new people and knowing I can always be myself. I wish I could hug them all.
You know this week has been great. I'm finally getting used to the climate and how people shake hands down here. Last night we had our open house where investigators come to know about the church. I was a great instrument in the hands of the lord. The first was awesome and we could feel the spirit working with us. The second always seems to be the harder one, but this time I brought our companionship through the rough storm of questions and come backs. I simply stated humbly and meekly with a lowliness in heart. It was a testimony to me that I can do this work with my god behind me. It was last night that helped me know I can be a great missionary.
We went to the temple again this week and it's always hard for me there. My thoughts are often turned to my family. While I sit and ponder I think of mom holding my arm and talking to me!
It is a great experience for me to out here as a missionary to learn what I must do to be independent. Mom and Dad you did a great job in teaching your son the gospel and how to rely on Christ. I think of you often.
Jacob and Jill stay close to the lord and his teachings. Never be scared to pray to him in need. He will always be there for you and will bless you for your willingness to call on him. I love you two more now than I ever have. You two are the best people that I can think of. I'm glad to know that we are an eternal family. I witnessed and joined in on sealings in the temple and realized how awesome it is to know we will never be torn apart.
I'm so excited to hear I'm getting a package. I would love candy, a tape of your voices, pictures, a lineage of my priesthood, my patriatichal blessing laminated, and a letter from each of you. If all of that is okay. Also letters are a great thing to have down here, they are solid gold. Please write me often so I can always read them. I'm also sending and have sent a package of my own to you, be excited for it. I'm sending pics over this too.
I love you very much and can't wait for letters. Know that  I know this church is true. I'm off to go on an exchange with missionaries from here.
Love,
Always Forward Africa
Elder Jack Dalton :)