Monday, October 22, 2012

Endure and Sacrifice–October 22, 2012

This week has been really long and just kind of boring. I feel like there hasn't really been anything to write about except: birthday Monday, lessons on Sacrifice, and answering questions on how I'm doing. I know that not every week can be full of amazingness. Still the work moves forward, and so do I.

After we had emailed this last Monday, we went out for our Birthday lunch. We went to a steak house at a large mall called Eastgate. We bought the buffet and ate to our hearts delight; it made sport hard to play later. It was nice to enjoy a good meal with Elder Palmer and a few other missionaries. We talked about our missions so far, home, and our futures. It was like the Sons of Mosiah might have talked around a good meal. It was worth it all. The rest of the day we played sport and hung out. It was a relaxed day with good friends.

Later that week on Friday, we were preparing for our district meeting when we got a call. Our district leader had forgotten to tell us about a zone meeting that day and told us we were now 20 min late. It was not a total loss for us, we made it half way through the meeting, and I learned a simple but powerful lesson: Our leaders talked about Sacrifice and how the law of sacrifice applies to us and our investigators. I was shocked to hear that this has been a theme through your lives as well. It inspired me to teach our investigators to sacrifice for God and show him the evidence of our faith. We taught that sacrifice is giving up something that is of great worth for something greater, and that we shouldn't expect a reward for it. Luckily for us, we know our sacrifices for the Lord never go without a reward, but are made up in the blessings from heaven. The question we left for them to ponder is, “If God gave up his son as a sacrifice, Jesus Christ gave his life as a sacrifice, what are you willing to sacrifice?"

So many of you have asked me questions on how I'm doing and what thoughts are going through my mind. I can say that I still love the mission; maybe even more than at first. Emotionally, serving a mission tries me and I have my downs. But working through the feelings of home sickness and serving others erase them quickly. When I find myself down, I try to serve my companion and in turn it makes us both happier. I've learned that a mission was never meant to be easy, and that a mission can turn us into great men, if we let it. Being on a mission it like throwing raw ore into a furnace, it burns out all the impurities so that the purest material is left. My greatest advice for anyone doing something hard is to just keep going. Our Heavenly Father knows how much struggle we can handle, and we must hope and have faith in brighter skies. In the meantime, look towards the blessings you already have and stop focusing on the ones you don’t.

I'm sorry to say there was no package this week, but that ups my chances for this week. I hope that you all are doing well and are getting excited for Halloween! Work on doing everything Heavenly Father asks of you, and then things will work out. Remember he has to keep his promises :)

I love you all very much and know I'm the same crazy guy you love. I'm handling things; it's what Dalton's do, right?!

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pictures of an African Missionary

These are pics of me eating out on my birthday. (Sorry about the dates, camera issues.) Also, it has pictures of things in the package and of Pokémon cards missionaries play with, me included. LOL

Having a Birthday in the Service of the Lord–October 15, 2012

I laughed and smiled so hard, there was some rubbing the eyes and clapping hands, at seeing the many pictures of you. I loved that you ran in my honor, thank you. It was good to see that you are all doing so well! It makes me strive to be the best I can be to honor you all. Crazy to see how everyone is growing up and how mom is starting to disappear! I'm starting to get afraid that there will be no more mom when I get back! or that I might break her as I hug her. Still good job to the whole family becoming physically active! Working out is just like the gospel and faith, you receive no witness until after the trail of your faith!

This week has been a great one. We taught a good amount and progressed the work with inspiring people about the truth. My favorite line was from an investigator we met at another lesson. We taught the Restoration of the gospel and afterward his face was filled with astonishment, then taking a moment said with amazement "The true church of God has been restored". We both smiled and said at the same time, "Yes it is!" A good week in the work:)

I had a very good birthday. It was filled with Conference, members singing to me, and Chinese food. It was a bit weird having a birthday away from family, but brought many memories of home back. I also got a little closer to home from the biggest package I've ever seen from Aunt Jessie. It was filled with all the New Mexican essentials: Salsa, corn chips, green chilies, macaroni and cheese, gum, and even (get ready for this) Sopapillas! THANK YOU JESSIE! it came at the right time and was a perfect blessing. Tell your husband hello as well and thank you. I know that you (my family) wanted to have your package reach me in time, but it hasn't yet. Don't worry though, I still feel the love you have for me and have great joy in what I have already been blessed with.

Conference really inspired me to be the best I can. It taught me to never give in to the world and be strong. I really feel blessed to have a modern day prophet and apostles to lead and guide in this crazy world. I especially loved Elder Neilson's Talk about if you have a problem or question, " Ask the Missionaries"! Needless to say it was a fun and nice stroke to our egos. It also placed a lot of responsibility on our shoulders. My next favorite was the talk Elder Uchtdorf gave in priesthood session about the two different planes and remembering to enjoy the ride. Also the fact to be happier and letting ourselves to be happier! The church is true and I know it!

Finally my last celebration will be a nice lunch today during P day! I'll send pics for sure.Crazy to now think I'm 20 years old! What an adventure! I'm sorry to be so short today and apologize to those I would normally write a separate letter, but my time today is limited. I'll spend more time next week and tell you about our party'n today. Lots of love to you all. Stay strong and endure with faith and not fear!

Love your Brother and Son,
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton

Strikes, Temple, and Cancellations–October 8, 2012

I love to see that you went out booing recently:) That brings me a lot of fun memories of Jacob and I running like crazy:) Man, I miss that:) Sad to say they don't celebrate Halloween here in Africa. That's not going to stop me, I can't wait to boo some missionaries down here especially after a week like this. It's been full of strikes and with people canceling all of our appointments. If you've ever tried to catch water with your hands, it was like us trying to hold appointments, nearly impossible. It's a been a very crazy week for us and the entire Zone.

Well, I want to start off with the best part of my week:) The Johannesburg Temple. Our zone was the first to get the blessings of returning to the temple since it was closed for 2 months for repairs. I have a great testimony of temples and the work that is performed in them. There is no better place were you get so close to feeling like you are in Heavenly Father's presence. It's a place were my whole soul felt the peace and repairing that mission trails cause. It was so beautiful to sit, ponder, and pray over my life. For a moment as I was thinking of home, I thought I felt Mom and Dad hugging me in the middle. Dad making the little jokes he makes and mom comforting like a mother does. Needless to say the temple brings me close to my family and secures me the hope that I will be with them for all eternity. Temples are the one of the best restored truths that have come threw the prophet Joseph Smith.

The rest of the week was just weird and out of control. We got word that the postal service is now again on strike and will make all of our post be coming late or might be lost. That made me very angry, because of my birthday package, we can hope. Then we got word that the gasoline truck drivers have gone on strike, this means a petrol strike. We now have t make sure our tank always has enough to make it back to the office and be careful never to run out. If both of these strikes keep up for a long time, it will cause major problems. Then we had appointments cancel in a way I have never seen. We had two days were all six appointments called in a row to cancel. When missionaries don't have people to teach, it's a messy scene. On Saturday I was freaking out, because all our appointments canceled, that never happens on a Saturday. My Ward missionary was worried by my reactions, but Elder Palmer just told him I was going through a Mid-Mission Crisis. I'm very blessed to have Elder Palmer, he understands me very well. He also makes us laugh in the hard times. Later we would remember that this week was a school Holiday and gave us many reasons why they canceled.

Anyway what I've learned about trails on mission and dry spots is keep going. I love when Dory from "Finding Nemo" sings Just Keep Swimming cause it's so true. I know that Life was never meant to be easy. We knew this before we came down here and we knew that it would be hard. The hard times are a perfecting time and ones that humble us for the better ones. It's the hardest advice to get when your struggling, but the best to move you. If your going through a difficult time and you feel like God has left you alone in a free fall, it's not true. It's actually the time he is the closest watching how you will react to the hardships. The only one that wants us to feel in a free fall is Satan, because he is in one himself. Never give up, know the hard times move on, and we are left with the strength because of it.

I love you all very much! Good Luck mom on my Birthday with running, I'm so proud of you:) Jill You serve like a pro! Your awesome. Jacob you look like a stud, keep representing. Dad I love you and don't worry too much, you taught me well:)

Love always your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack Forrest Dalton

Monday, October 1, 2012

Elder Palmer and I At Braai


A Week of Sickness and News–October 1, 2012

Crazy to hear that Jacob is growing into the awesome man he is. Sounds like your all getting excited as well for General Conference, I get to watch it on my birthday weekend! That always makes me very trunky for home. This week has had my thoughts towards home a lot. I've been really sick for most of it and have struggled with motivation to push through it for the work. My theme of this week has been one I used when I was training for mission, "The weakness is in the flesh!" It's been like that all week, finding out that it's also happened to many of our branch. It's just been a low week in Africa.

Don't be too worried or sad, we still worked miracles and had many adventures. This week we got 8 new solid investigators, all are really progressing forward. Each have problems or small testimonies about this gospel and church. Many have already been placed on date for baptism and keep every commitment we leave. It makes me very excited for the work here and even more grateful to be staying. That's right, I'll be here in Katlehong with Elder Palmer at least another six weeks having me possibly leaving in November! When we found out we would stay together to celebrate our birthdays, it was like watching two little school girls jumping around in circles screaming their heads off. It's a blessing to us.
The major thing that happened this week was the attempted hijacking of the Vosloorus missionaries car on Saturday night. We got a call close to the end of the night telling us we had an emergency. They had been driving when a taxi cut them off and another two did the same from behind with men getting out throwing beer bottles at the windshield, they were able to drive away 3 times before getting stuck at a dead end. They then locked their doors, took the keys, and jumped a wall to hide in a man's house. Later our zone leaders, President Omer, and us went and got the boys from a police station. The car was found beaten and was able to get back to us by the end of the night. It was a crazy night for all of us and one that we'll remember.

I love you all very much and I'm excited to hear of a birthday package:) Thank you so much for it. I'm sorry there isn't anymore I have to write I was too sick all week, which means a lot of time at our flat with me passed out. Hope this next week goes well:)

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton
(Hope you love the pictures:)