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 :)


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