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