Monday, September 24, 2012

I Had a Dream, Elder . . . September 24, 2012

So this week has been another full of work and dedication to keep moving forward. We've been doing a lot of work with our less actives and our recent converts. Always trying to re-motivate them to come back and get back on the horse. Many of them have fallen into sin and gotten lost onto forbidden paths that make them end up in hard times. My heart bleeds every time I see a member suffering and going through a life in the dark or being consumed with a soul crushing addiction. If only they would wake up and remember how good the gospel is and how easy life can be when Heavenly Father is first in their hearts. I guess that is our agency and our weakness as humans. Still, there have been many times that I've wanted to pick them up and shake them awake.

For the most part of our week we got around, teaching 31 lessons ( more than our neighbors Vosloorus 1 and 2 combined! Haha little bit of pride!), and really did our best to invite and inspire. Our miracle of the week happened as we went to visit our Indian Family in Palm Ridge this Saturday night. We showed up just at the right time to help push their car that ran out of gas again. My ability to push cars great distances has come into play a lot. When we got the car to the house and took them to get gas, we found the whole family a wreck. The Father and son in law had been driving in the truck all over South Africa delivering things with out sleep and got injured when they moved heavy supplies, the kids had been writing exams, and the mom was really sick with the flu. Elder Palmer and I had our hearts broken as they still tried to entertain us. As we talked with them, they laughed and got serious at how we always showed up at the right time. They also said that ever since we came to this house there has been a new feeling in the home. We were amazed at how they told us what they noticed, the spirit became very strong. Then a miracle happened I will never forget my entire life. The Mom got very silent, then asked us a question. She told us she had it the night before and talked to her daughter about it. She said that in the dream she saw us talking to her, we told her to put oil on her head and she would feel better and be alright. I was shocked and nearly fell off my seat. We had never taught about blessings for the sick or even the priesthood. It was a shock for them when Elder Palmer pulled out his oil. That night we gave the mother a blessing, the father, and Trisha. We then knelt as a family in prayer to thank god for our experience. They told us they new we were true messengers and want to know more. It forever built my testimony to the truthfulness of this gospel. I cried that night from the spirit I felt.

I'm doing well and feel like I'm now apart of South Africa. I know all the slang and the stuff. I even feel natural at driving on the other side now. It's almost like life back how is a really good dream we talk about. I'm happy to hear mom didn't die while being crazy and Jacob loved his party. Tell him to take good care of Dexter my car! Jill I love you and keep being awesome. Dad stay strong at school and play some xbox to remember me. Mom I love you:)

Love your son and brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Gospel Blesses Families–September 17, 2012

Dear Family,

Nice to hear that there is a bit of being normal in your last week. As for myself it has been up and down, I feel like someone threw me into a washer and hit the extra spin cycle for fun. Still I'm alive and doing okay:) Glad to hear that people are getting my mail to them, shows that the post offices are working. This week has taught me a lot, but my favorite has been on families. There has been two major families here that have touched my heart in a new way I have never felt before. Elder Palmer and I have really been working this area and have been blessed enormously. Let me tell you of the two major ways this week.
I told you that we were teaching an Indian family last week. Their surname is Jacobs from Palm Ridge. There are five in the original family, with their daughter Trisha married with her husband in the same house. When we first got into that home it was on the brink of falling apart. The mother had tried to commit suicide twice, her marriage was down the toilet, finances were shot, and you could feel a home on the verge of collapsing. Then the two large boys from Utah showed up to the scene. They told us everything, my heart sorrowed for such a wonderful family, but we made them promises that only elders could. It was a testimony to me that the Lord has perfect timing, and we are just here for the ride. As we've began to teach them blessings have began to flow out to them. In a short week: the Mom and Dad are closer in love, peace is in their home, the father got a 20% increase in pay, and things are just working out. Even better is that they are the ones noticing the blessings and putting them to us ever since we have began to visit them.

On top of it all was on Thursday this last week we didn't have an appointment with them, but I told Elder Palmer we needed to go visit them. Needless to say we showed up at the perfect time. Their car was not starting and needed a jump for the next day. They were amazed to see us show up right in time. Brother Peter (the father) said to us, " As we looked at the car and thought what are we going to do I saw that blue car of yours. I just said Elder Dalton and Palmer are here!" We later just talked and they fed us curry. That's right, curry from real Indians! It was powerful. Later the next day we taught a powerful lesson on the Book of Mormon to them, they felt the spirit, it was thick. I might even say it was the most I've taught by the power of the spirit than any other time in my mission.
If you think that was cool, I haven't gotten to the next major experience in my week. Again it deals with another family named the Dlamini family. We've been teaching the Mother and Father of this family ever since I got to Katlehong. They're later in age, in their 50's, and have a good sized family. Missionaries first came to meet them back in 1998, but brother Elton (father) didn't want anything to do with them. His kids how ever listened and eventually all joined, their eldest son serving a full time mission. Finally they were ready to be taught and Elder Palmer, Bangerter, and myself got the chance to teach. This past Sunday the entire family was united in faith, they were baptized. 14 years of resisting, but accepting it with powerful testimonies of Joseph Smith, the priesthood, and Temples. They now told us that their goal is the Temple sealing one year from now. I was greatly blessed to be apart of it all:) There was a lot of tears that day with a family finally being united.

For me this week went by fast and was weird. The rains have come back to Africa and keep us pretty cool in the 70's. Personally I have been struggling with motivation and not becoming tired, hopefully this P day will refresh me and help me gain my strength. Elder Palmer and I have been praised for all our hard work by our leaders and even has reached word to our president. The zone leaders even had a meeting with him and suggested we stay together for another transfer, President said " Sounds like a good idea!" So Elder Palmer and I might be together another 6 weeks after this transfer, meaning we will celebrate both of our birthdays and our 8 month mark! Kinda crazy huh?!

I love you all so much and I know this is our Savior's true church on the earth. Families are meant to be together forever and are made to support each other. Before you know it I'll be home sitting with my family once again. Keep it all up:)

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack Dalton

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Growth Was Never Meant to Be Easy.–September 3, 2012

My Dear Family,

Sounds like you all had quite the week of doom! I'm very touched to hear you’re all okay and were able to stand together in hard times. We've been teaching a lot about families and how they are the major part to Heavenly father's plan, and that our family is the best source of love and support to overcome this world. I use you all in many lessons.

This week has made me reflect on family a lot, and has helped me to move forward in the work we are in. You could say Family is really what I've seen this week. This week has been full of finding and strengthening our branch. Along with it, Elder Palmer and I volunteered every day to dish for orphans in our community. It helps the community know that we are really here for them and at the same time humbles us missionaries to see the state of poor children. It was actually a blessing that we found this small foundation.

Tuesday we went and had all our appointments cancel, our finding efforts were a disaster, and I was telling Elder Palmer how discourage I was because of it. That's when a lady called us over and asked why I was so distressed. We talked and told her who we were. She then told us how she feeds orphans lunch; we then quickly asked to help. The rest of the week, we were there dishing to kids with a smile. They all love seeing two huge white guys serving them and often laugh as we tell jokes. It really helps me to be humble and courage to keep up in this great work. Blessings soon came from this increase of service and in our own efforts to be more obedient. An example is how we were walking from appointment to appointment when a man named Praise God stopped us. He told us how he had a friend tell him about our church and he had been looking for it for a long time. He then said he needed the Book of Mormon and was willing to buy one from us. When we gave it to him for free he was incredibly happy, telling us he knows it's true and he wants to be baptized. Needless to say Elder Palmer and I left with jaws open. That doesn't just happen. What a testimony builder to us in the Lord's promise that he prepares people. Not to mention that it then would happen again, but with a new father with a large family who said “I NEED to hear what you have."

Patience is key to the work as well. The Lord has taught me to trust him and know that the work will go at his pace, not mine. I say that, because our teaching pool is very low and we have a small number of investigators, but we are seeing the Lord prepare us for a much larger plan. All we must do is wait and keep enduring the challenges set before us. We know that we can't fail if we are in the Lord's hands, no matter how long it takes. Growth was never meant to be easy; it often requires a little discomfort and pain.

I got my package on Thursday and nearly busted into tears at it. I loved everything in it so much. The candy was well loved by all missionaries and the heating pad with lush will be loved in times of hard work. The vest is another constant companion and all the other missionaries are jealous, I tell them my mommy and I made it. Of course you can now see me walking the streets playing my air guitar with the sweet pic of doom! That was so awesome to get, it helps on the long walks. I loved Anika's tape and the Tie Amanda got for me. Both help me feel more at home. Packages are a missionary's love.

I'm doing well and I'm very happy. I see my efforts are never wasted. Never worry too much about me, I feel like I'm now a part of South Africa. This place is awesome and stands in need of the Gospel. A young man that I took out on splits yesterday asked me what I loved most on mission, I told him “It’s watching and being a part of the gospel changing to improve people's lives."

I love you all. We will be together again. Together we are strong.

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton:)
AKA Elder Bumba


The Blazing African Sun is Starting to Heat Us Up!–August 27, 2012

My Dearest Family,

This week has been one for the record books on work and heat. Elder Palmer and l are doing well. We worked incredibly hard this week, and now we are going to party hard this Pday! We had three major goals this week: keep our kilometer limit under 500, teach as many lessons as possible, and find a ton of new fathers in the process. We have seen miracles happen right before our eyes.

Our Zone Leaders told us last week that we needed to stay under our k limit. We promised to, even though our area is huge! We then started to work by park and walk days. That's where we do exactly what it sounds like, park and walk forever! At the same time we are starting to get to summer really fast. It’s around the 80's, but with the humidity it feels like the 90's in church clothes. Luckily, we are now getting a sweet tan of doom!

While we walked to and from appointments, we did a lot of street contacting. I found that I have a very good talent of pulling people over and getting to talk with them about the gospel. It's my favorite thing to get to know these people and their lives in South Africa. Many are amazed when they see two white boys in the township, then get shocked when we start talking to them. It's sad to say, even though apartheid is over in the law it's still stuck in their hearts.

The fruit of us walking around all week quickly came out. We talked and have set up times for more than 13 or so families, and have started to gain the trust of the people. Not to mention we were flagged down by a well off father in a huge SUV who had once met missionaries a long time ago and has been in search of us ever since. That was our major miracle of the week. We meet him and his family this Tuesday. (Rubbing eyes!)

The totals for our week were awesome. We taught 30 lessons to many different people, gained 7 new investigators, and have a bright outlook for our future. We are moving the Lord's work forward:) I found that if you really plan and have a goal, then pray to Heavenly Father to consecrate your performance, the blessings keep flowing like crazy. There were too many times where after we met a new family or had an amazing moment I would just look at Elder Palmer with the look of " Did that just happen?!", then he would return the look of " I know" ending with a double tap fist bump.

I can hardly wait for my package to come and feel all that closer to home. I'm also in shock at how quickly Jacob and Jill are growing! Jacob is going to knock them dead with those Dalton looks, and we will have to hide Jill in a closet until I get home to watch out for her! Sounds like you’re all going to have a fun fall and party it up in school. I love you all so much, and miss you like crazy. Keep it up and write often.

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack F. Dalton