Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sickness and Triumph–January 7, 2013

It has been crazy for me to think that it really has been almost two weeks since I saw your beautiful faces and heard Jacob's weird deep voice. That was a blast to know that you are all doing so well and have started to change in unique ways. The holiday season really wasn't too bad when it came to the feeling of homesickness, instead it was just a positive feeling of "I can do this!" Thank you for all of your prayers and the love you continue to give to me, every bit of it moves me along. There were even times when I felt you guys were just down the street and that I would soon be back around you, it was also nice to think I'm getting very close to being out one year from you (CRAZY!).

For this week I can't really say that too much has happened in the way of moving the work forward, but a lot has happened in the case of large experiences. The first was having New years eve at our stake center with our entire zone. That was so much fun to be around everyone. We spent a lot of the time playing sport in the late hours, playing capture the flag, and watching Disney movies on a projector. It was the greatest to hang out with Elder Fagg and hear him talk about how close he was to being home, most of the time it was every 30 min. Still it was nice to be around my Zone "Family" for the holidays. I was really blessed:)

Except the remainder of my week would not be so awesome. We left from our Zone early Wednesday morning to get to an appointment that day and I had awoke with a sore throat. At first I didn't think too much about it and went on with the day. That day went fine and we placed another investigator on date for baptism. It was then early Thursday that my throat got a lot worse and was really tight that it awoke me from my sleep. I was able to control it and the later that day called my mission mom Sis. Omer. She told me that I was too far away to go to the clinic in Florida by the mission home, so I would need to sort out some kind of help in Witbank and work with the complicated paperwork of payments from the mission office. After about two hours of trying to find somewhere that would take what I had, nobody could help me. So I called back Sis Omer and said to give me two days to fight this on my own and I would treat the symptoms. Man was that a bad idea! Saturday I woke up with a completely white throat and some bad bowel issues. I was able to talk to Sis Omer and tell her that we had left over money for bike repairs in our flat and that I could use that. She gave me permission and off I went to experience the south Africa emergency room. It was nice too an end, and the people were very nice to me. The doctor took one look and said she knew I had strep, Elder Meyers who was waiting said she came out and talked to most of the staff about me in Afrikaans. She made a clinching motion by her throat then a thrust downwards, everyone including Elder Meyers leaned back in disgust. Anyways all is now okay and I got the medication I needed, the only down side I was sick for five days.

Finally we have had small, but very meaningful triumphs in Witbank. We are now up too six investigators and two of them are on date. One we just met at church this last Sunday who was invited by the missionaries shopping. She was a wonderful lady and very interested, it was only too bad that we didn't have longer to chat with her because my pain medication makes me very loopy and I needed to get back to the flat to sleep. I'm slowly learning that their is my sight on life and Heavenly Father's sight on life, I just need to turn my view to his. Often what I would see to be progression isn't the way he wants us too, but in a completely different way.

I love you all very much and very excited to hear your having a fun time. Good luck with getting back into the groove! I hope this letter eases your first day back. Have fun Dad entering the desert valley of the school year, you can do it:)

With lots of love,

Elder Jack F Dalton


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year From Africa–January 2, 2013

Party Time! That's what it was like for all missionaries the past week. It has been a lot of fun, but often it's a bitter sweet sense. We've hung with our entire zone, had a spit with our branch president, and my favorite part talking with all of you. This holiday season has been such a blast and a very cool time for me to reflect on were I've been and what I have before me. I hope that it has been just as fun for you all.

For Christmas and for new years we gathered together as a zone to play sport, have braais, watch some good holiday movies, and have a blast together. However most of the time we were just winging it and caught in a confusion of "what do you want to do" from time to time. It was really nice to be around my friends and especially my trainer Elder Fagg. I can say he's been trunky for home by the way he kept reminding us about the amount of time till he would leave. He made sure even today that I knew he only has 19 days left. Besides that we hung around each other talking about the great time we had together in Jozi. Time is traveling as I often sat thinking about I was just with Fagg. It helps the feelings of homesickness you get around this time with the thought you only have one more to cover.

Christmas was harder that New Years for me, mainly for the memories we've made the past few years. The traditions have a funny way of creeping back into your mind and let you reflect on life. I found myself thinking about Disneyland, making homemade gifts, and decorating the house. It was a good time and a happy one to remember. It was even fun to be around our branch president on Christmas with all his little crazy kids. We had a huge spit with lamb and tons of games, it was so nice except the pool part were we had to sit and die in the heat. It got even better when I was able to hear and see all of you. I was so happy and proud to see the small changes that are happening, Jacob's voice being one! I was so thankful for that time.

I must apologize for how short this message is,but most of what I wanted to share was said in our call. I promise a longer one next week:)

Much love from me and Africa. My branch president also says that he doesn't sound Irish.

Love your son and brother,

Elder Jack Dalton


Tender Mercies! You’ve Gotta Love ‘Em–December 18, 2012

First off sorry for not getting a hold of you. Yesterday was a public holiday and all the email shops were closed. Please forgive me:)

This week has been the best among all the weeks in wonderful Witbank. We've gotten transfer news, had many braais, gotten many new investigators, and I even got my way awesome second package of doom! I've really needed a week like this and with all this happening it shows me too look at how nice the area can be if you cherish the small blessings as much as the large. We can't cry when a small rain cloud enters our blue sky, but praise god for the sunshine we receive. I'm learning how to best take this lesson one day at a time.

So transfers is tomorrow and we found out that Elder Holman is going to a be a new Zone leader! He was so happy about that news, one because he's been a district leader for a year and I know second it's to finally be able to move after being here 6 months. I love cracking new jokes at him about being a Zone leader. I'm very happy to hear that he will be moving up and out, it really helps missionaries to move and keep it fresh. Myself nothing new, I wasn't called for anything besides my untold tittle of the rebuilder:) I'm glad that is the case, leadership can be hard and training really test your "faith" aka patience :) Still this transfer will be huge with half of our district and zone being swapped around. I'm excited.

With the news of Elder Holman leaving and the miracle of having a car we scheduled many appointments to visit members, this ended up with a braai almost every time. We first had a good time at our Branch Presidents house. We had a big one with every kind of cut of lamb and chicken. Afterward we had a ton of ice cream and cotton candy, he owns his own machine. Then we all decided to run it off by me teaching them to play capture the flag, we had a blast. Next we went out to the McDonald Farm, yes no pun intended, were we helped to unload 2 bulls, 6 sheep, and 12 very bad smelling pigs. I say bad because when they opened the doors to let them out, I was on the receiving end of the putrid aroma blast. I nearly died of that stench, it made me a man. Then of course we had a good old braai with tons of laughter. Most of our members are farmers and it's so much fun being around them. I could see Elder Holman enjoyed himself, most of the time it being his first time at people's homes.

There also came a few investigators too a pool of none. It showed me that you can still find water in the desert. We now have three investigators all potential priesthood holders. Two stay together and are best friends from Zimbabwe working security. They love the Book of Mormon and have a great desire to learn about us, they were referrals from members. The next is a member of the branch who was long excommunicated and is what you call a true Afrikaners! I'm a good six inches taller, but the man intimidates me at times. He has a large desire to come back and his family is all behind him. The wife pulled me aside at church and said take your time and really make sure he gets it, we don't want him to mess up again. To be honest I think the reason for his excommunication is he might have killed a guy! Still I like him.

There are also many members we've talked with that are preparing referrals for us, so hope is not lost.

Finally that package was freakin awesome!!!!!!! I got it yesterday after my district beat Elder Fagg's at soccer 2 to 0. When I got it I did my package dance and the contents made my night so much. I have to admit that the Zebra cakes were the first to go. Thank you so much for all of it, it was exactly what I wanted and I can't wait to set it all up today. I must say your all very good at putting a package together:) That was perfect! Whoever got the shirt for me is a champ, I nearly died laughing! Thank you so much, I felt your love from it:)

Well, I'm excited to Skype you in a week from now! Crazy, I never thought I'd make it to the second call home! It will be so good to hear your voices! I Love you all so much and wish you the best Christmas break ever!

Love your son and brother,

Elder Jack F Dalton