Monday, August 20, 2012

Living and Learning Mosiah 7:33 the entire week!–August 20, 2012

I really don't know how to start off this letter and have it really become exciting. That's one of the hardest things to do every Monday. I can say that letters are very fun to do when you have thought of what to really fill it with and how to lay it out. My mind always goes into my "English essay writing mode” when I want to write, it's crazy. This week has been full of a lot of learning, understanding, and praying. Elder Palmer and I really have been working hard every day and passing out by the time we make to our house. Last night we got in trouble for getting home and passing out on our beds not staying up for call ins from our Zone leaders. I'll just say the talk this morning was a lot of awesome :) Still, life is being good to me and I have started to develop a new attitude in myself.

I want to start by talking about my title of this letter, Living and Learning Mosiah 7:33 the entire week! I had started a fast last Monday after my lunch (inspired by mom), the next day we had an exchange with our ZLs. (Please note that Tuesday was mine and Elder Palmer’s official bump day! 6 months) Well, as my zone leader was with me, our first appointment was with a less active named Nati, who swears I was black, but was just bleached out. We began to talk about his life and his inability to find work. That's when I was prompted to share a scripture, but I had no idea which one, so I did what I do best: I simply flipped open the Book of Mormon and found the first scripture, it was Mosiah 7:33. It's Ammon, my favorite dude of all time telling a people how to get out of bondage. Nati said that was the very scripture he needed to hear, the spirit was super strong, and not to mention that was the very scripture that I needed. It tells us to turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart and to trust in him. That if we do this, he will release us in his own time and pleasure. That whole day was blessing after blessing. We taught six lessons that day, making everyone's day as we went. My Zone leader was super impressed, but I told him it really wasn't me.

The rest of our week was pretty awesome and full of ups and downs. We had a lot of people cancel on us, like Saturday we had 6 in a row call us and cancel. Those days make you feel like a horrible person. Nevertheless, we taught a total of 24 lessons with two days not being able to get out in our area. We found a way close cool place where we can chase zebra's, ostriches, springbok (gazelles), and geese for free! It was fun to find that place and run around like a little kid after cool animals, but when I say chase it's more like them walking as I try to catch up at a full sprint. Kind of sad! On top of it all I'm glad that Elder palmer is with me to make me laugh like crazy at all the stupid things that happen to us.
To answer some questions, it's starting to heat up down here reaching the mid 70's. It really dry and extremely windy like a New Mexico's spring. As for investigators, we are working with a group of teenagers right now that keep inviting there friends to our lessons. One of their friends has his own church at the age of 17 with like 28 members! On top of it all he loves what we teach and has prayed over the Book of Mormon, and knows it's true. So you might hear how we convert a whole church soon. A struggle that we have been going through is to teach how one of the African traditions is wrong and against the Gospel. They have local witch doctors named, sangomas (Sand- go- mass), they believe they have magic powers and give out powerful potions named muti (moo-tee). It wasn't until last night that that we found our answer to their issue. We found it from our less active elder's quorum president that we have been visiting to get him back to church with his family. It’s found in the bible in Deuteronomy 18:9-12. It was so cool!

I talked about a new attitude that has started to grow. I'm now the senior companion of the area and it comes with a new stance. I've chosen to take my life and emotions by the horns and make my life work for me. I've been noticing how just falling into deep depressions, rolling over, and just being sad is extremely cowardly. It takes courage and power to stand and make things happen, too stand in charge. I'm starting to find that I have to be me and not get down over every little thing that stubs my toe. I also have a firm testimony of fasting for the things you need, it adds the needed firepower to your prayers which open the arsenal of heaven to your aide.

I loved the "wasp" anniversary story! I nearly died laughing at it! I can see everything that happened and dad's face at being outdoors half naked! LOL! I'm glad to hear you make memories and are very much in love :) Happy Anniversary!

I miss you all and love you all so much:)
Good luck at school and have fun:)

Love your Brother and Son,
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton

P.S.- " You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be sad, it's your choice."- quoted by Mom


So there are pics of me at the game refuge. Pics of Palmer and I in Africa mode. Then a group photo at the Katlehong sign!

The Week of all Weeks!–August 13, 2012

Ever had that feeling that you've been through almost everything life can throw at you, then out of the blue life keeps coming at you? That is basically the week I've had. Things like: using the worst toilet in Africa, having it snow on me, getting a speeding ticket, and having Elder Bangerter leave! It's always an adventure in my life. I guess it's a good thing that stuff happens, because if it didn't, life would be extremely boring. I've taken Dad's motto of “Just grin and bear it" to heart.

I should start from the beginning of my week of wild. We went out to a township that is called Tesitsi (tee yet see). It's no more than a metal shack town with no power or running water. We were teaching a wonderful father about the gospel of Jesus Christ, when deep within me my body yelled BATHROOM NOW! This was a hard thing, because the toilet out here is an outhouse which is , we can say, a bit below a five star restroom. It didn't matter though; I needed to go so bad. So I braved it, and now I can say I'm a veteran :) Not to mention a chicken trying to come in and join me was kind of funny. I was smart though, I placed toilet paper in our trunk for just an emergency. Needless to say the whole community and my companions laughed to see a white guy run to an outhouse.

The next thing happened at our Zone Conference. We were just released for lunch when we noticed the it was a blizzard outside! You heard me right, a blizzard! There was snow in Africa! I even had a snowball fight with Elder Fagg, who nailed me right in the face! It was so unbelievable! It hasn't snowed here since 1981! How lucky am I? I'll send pictures to prove it all! It made me feel as if I was home, even though I heard it was like 100 plus back that side!

Then the downfall of my week was being asked to drive back to our area after district meeting. We were all in our car filled to the brim going down a large hill. I was asked a question about home and my mind left thought of our speed. Low and behold there was a speed trap at the bottom of the hill of doom. I was caught! I was charged with a 600R ticket, which is like 75$. For going 16Ks over, this is like 9 miles over. This has really worried me and destroyed my joy for the last three days. I've tried to live in my means, but now that is blown out of the water! It really sucks when life throws you a curve ball when you don't expect it. Luckily, the officer said that if I go to the police station, they most likely will reduce the fine or get rid of it because I'm a missionary from the states. So pray for me.

Finally, FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST! My dear companion, Elder Bangater, left yesterday with his parents to go tour SA. It was weird, because I was more excited for his parents to come than he was. Is that a bad thing?! Plus it freaked me out when we first met up with them. When we got out of the car there was no rush to each other, no tears, really no hugs, emotionless. I was thinking in my head “now I see where it all comes from." I was also thinking, if this was my family, I would never let them go and it would be a huge thing to be together not what I saw yesterday’s event. So for the rest of the day after church we visited a lot of people, Elder Palmer and I felt like bodyguards the whole time. It was a moloungue (white person) parade! Then after a few pictures he was gone. Needless to say there was a lot of partying between me and Palmer!

I'm sad to hear about ash. She was a wonderful cat and was a part of our family. I have no doubt we'll see her again soon :) I'm glad to hear that Jacob and Jill are rocking it down in Arizona :) I'm sure it's a mad house that side :) Mom and Dad, congrats on your anniversary of 21 years :) I can say that those years have been amazing and full of love:) Then again I don't know about that first year, but since I came out of it I’m guessing it was full of love as well :) LOL!

I'm doing really well, besides my financial problems. The work is still moving and I see miracles everyday around me. As a missionary you are truly in the service of God, but you also become more of a man than anything I could do now at this time in my life:) I love you all soooooo much:) Stay happy and good luck with school starting soon:) Stay tight and happy!

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton


So the little boy is named Sibosiso (see bow see so), then me in the snow with palmer and elder jenkins my old companion:)


Shacks, Splits, and Fasting–August 6, 2012

This week has really been another adventure and a great learning experience. I've spent most of my time with Elder Palmer going on a lot of splits, to cover or huge area. I find myself also becoming very well known in this township and getting to know a lot about it. My week can be melted down to three major things: Splits with Elder Palmer, trying to think about how I can describe a shack, and our wonderful fasting experience we had yesterday. It's been another week of service and the Lord never disappoints in adventures.

So, we've been in a threesome as missionaries for the past few weeks and this week we put it to use. Our area is roughly the size of Utah County, maybe a bit smaller, but nearly the same. It holds not only Katlehong (a township), but four other townships. We pick up a ward missionary to divide and conquer. This has been a huge blessing to me, because lately I can't really stand Elder Bangerter. Thus by going on splits we all keep our heads and don't kill each other. It's wonderful to go along with Elder Palmer who is almost exactly like dad. We laugh all the time and pull jokes like no one’s business. Our investigators also feel our brotherhood, and constantly want us over to laugh and teach them. I found out this week that you need to relax enough to be yourself, but still watch the rules so you don't fall on your face! Balance is a funny thing to work out. :)

I've been thinking a lot this week on how I can describe life here in the township. During apartheid, the blacks were made to live in these townships to be divided from the whites. It's a very poor area with a lot of loose dogs, pigs, cows, goats, a million chickens, and a billion rats the size of cats. All these animals dig through garbage that is all over the place. There are so many diseases, Yikes! In the more developed areas, there are cinder block houses that we call RDP homes. They are built by the government for free. They have an outhouse with running water and power What these people do is give space at the back of a home which may contain 2-4 sheet metal shacks. They charge rent to the people that stay there and use that as a source of income. The shacks however are no bigger than our kitchen or Jillian’s old room! They are very small to a big boy like me. They fill it with everything a regular home has, but it's extremely low living. A squatter camp is just a place that is very dirty, covered in shacks, and basically has no power and one water pump for a huge section.

A lot of these people's situations could be a lot better if they had a decent education. Education here is very low and many drop out. The Afrikaners really screwed themselves when they withheld education from these people. Many turn to worldly lusts to live their lives: drinking a lot, smoking, drugs, and a lot of moral sins. It's a very sad place when you look at it and your heart wants to give these people the knowledge of how they can make it all better. The problem is many love where they are. Satan is very strong on their hearts here, but you can find those families and people from all the smog: the diamonds in the rough.

That is what happened yesterday as we fasted. :) Our fast this Sunday was for a brother of ours to quit smoking and for Elder Palmer and I to be helped in our diet. What we didn't know was how Heavenly Father wanted us to have a lot more because of our fasting state. We had another full house at church (which is in a school) with a ton of investigators who bore amazing testimonies that really pull your heart. These people suffer through so much here and have it really hard, but they pull through because of the gospel. The whole Sunday was full of us visiting many investigators, giving many blessings to the sick, and once again going on splits. Our last appointment however made my weak. I was with Elder Palmer and we were on our way to visit a sister who is 20 named Tumi (Too-me). She wanted her family and grandparents to know what she does, and has been working on them for a long time. We thought we were going into another RDP house, but in turned out it was the most beautiful house I've seen since the start of mission. Plus to our surprise there was a huge family gathered around. About five were there plus two more that would join us next week. They are all an older family: The grandparents, then the kids in their mid or later twenties. They were so ready for our message and polite to us. It was a testimony that there are people that are made ready by angels!

It sounds like summer is coming to an end on that side. Kind of crazy to think how the true African heat is just around the corner for me.

I love you all so much and loved hearing about girl’s camp! I'm sure that was a blast!

Be happy and pray often :)

Love your Son and Brother :)
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton

The three missionaries . . . more like The Three Stooges – July 30, 2012

This week has been up and down, side to side, and in every direction that you can imagine. Ever since Elder Palmer has joined our crazy set up it's been a week of laughs and craziness. It's been really fun this week to go out with him and to have him notice how funny our area's situation is. We tease Elder Bangater all the time, and both laugh at how by the book he can be. We've come to the conclusion that a dying missionary is either too tired to care or becomes so strict like a robot to feel like he finishes his mission with flying colors. The latter is what Elder Palmer and I are working with, and with two easy going guys that love to joke, it's gasoline to the fire!

We've started what we call the memory of the day. It's were we write on a sticky note our funniest memory and place it up on the wall. Needless to say, every one so far has come from me. I try to tell everyone that Heavenly Father puts me in the funniest places, and I have crazy things happen. It’s fun being the guy that everyone enjoys being around just to see what happens or what I'll do next.

We've been able to do a lot of splits with us being in a threesome. It usually means Elder Bangater goes off with a ward missionary and we go off to tackle more appointments. It helps to really move the work along and to helps me test my knowledge of the area. We've found a lot of blessings from that ability of our placement.

I still love teaching and found that I have a great ability to handle the tough conversations; the ones where no one knows what to ask or answer. Take the example that we had last night: We have a less active trying to come back to church named Musa. He's 37 and has formed a habit of smoking. We are trying to help him overcome it. Last night we took a member who has overcome the same issue. As we entered the home, I could tell that someone had been smoking. In my mind I just said "This is going to be crazy". At first, after the prayer, I thought Elder Bangater would take it and start off. I was wrong, he was too nervous and had no idea how to handle "pointing out the elephant in the room". So I just took it and started being straight. I thought, “If Jesus was straight forward, I guess I could be too”. I was blessed, because it worked, and the spirit was heavy there. We strengthened him as well as gave him a blessing. The member we took to help gave a lot of advice and you could see Musa's heart being pricked. I chalked up all of my abilities to handle and run a difficult conversation to the many many talks I had with mom and dad.

I know still that the Church is true. As you study the scriptures and see the miracles that happen right in front of your face you see that it all just makes sense. This religion is not something that is just magical or a fantasy, but truly works and is real. My testimony of this church and the Book of Mormon is undeniable now, I could never deny it from everything I've seen and been able to learn. It's true. If you really want to know it too, just start doing what it asks. Read, ponder, and pray. It's that easy.

A mission is a struggle. It's like life. If it wasn't hard, it would never be worth it in the first place. I know that tough times come, but I never joined up in the pre mortal life and for a mission with the thought that this would be some pleasure cruise. Luckily, we have help from Heavenly Father and prayer. Even more, he gave us families to help us constantly to up hold ourselves. I've been blessed so much from having you support me time and time again. I'm so grateful for all the letters, emails, pictures, and packages you give me to help me continue the work. It does more that I could even express in words. Until you witness mission life, you won't know how it feels to receive emails and letters from the ones you love so much! Thank you!

I love you all so much! Keep up all that you do!

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton



What a squatter camp looks like. this is one of the townships I work in called Tesitesi.


This is Zandie who I confirmed Sunday, she's the darker one. with her sister and her sister's little boy. We helped them pack and prepare to move to Durban. I'll miss them a lot! Of course, there is Elder Palmer!