Monday, April 29, 2013

Lighting the Fires and Kicking the Tires–April 29, 2013

It's been a very interesting week of ups and downs, maybe even some sideways:) Still it's been a good week with more unique things happening. I've also had a confirming feeling of my "talents" that has been given to me. This week has been full of teaching, inspiring, and foundation laying. It's one that shows some work is going to get done, and I get to be the one to kick a few butts into gear.

I need to give you some background to "set the stage". Our ward in Rynfield is very nice and seems to get along, this is what many see on the top layer. It's come to our attention that their are some major cracks in the ward and the Bishop is trying to take it all on himself, often with the job of damage control. Many tragic this have happened since I've been here and I've been in the midst of it all, often told of things that are out of my priesthood keys, but since we seem to be the only ones running around to the ward we get to see it all. There is absolutely very limited home teaching being done, more than the average slack. There is also unseen barriers in the ward by class and race. Overall, the ward is missing the "Ward Family" feeling and it's every member for themselves.

We then went into action with what we needed to do. With our position and purpose we've seen and set appointments with key leadership in the ward. We've been teaching about service and using the Savior as the focus point to it all. This has caused many of our leadership to start too "Gird up their loins and be like men". We've also had a long and good meeting with our bishop, who told us he has heard amazing feed back about us and that he wants to send a request I stay for a while. We talked about things in the ward, families he needs us to focus on, and his requirements so we can help him. I felt very complimented that whole time and even at the statement he said " I'm going to be leaning on you guys a lot, we need your help", could he have said anything better to make me feel like a superhero and ready to take action to serve? I don't think so:) We were also given all rights to meetings to be a part of the ward as much as possible! Woo whoo!

From all the work we have been doing in teaching and growing our little tree in Rynfield it's starting to take major roots. I finally feel that the whole body of the ward is finally on the move and heading in the right direction. It's another testament to me that if I simply keep chipping at the mountain ahead it will fall! That is my message to everyone this week, just keep chipping away even if the end is not so clear. Also remember "You can't be wrong by doing right, and you can't be right by doing wrong"-Elder Soares

I'm doing very well and love you all. I'm excited to talk to you all in two weeks:) exciting!

Love your son and Brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pictures–April 22, 2013


The BEST street – I tried to find the BEST address!

The Blessings of Job and the Power of the Priesthood–April 22, 2013

Sounds like your week was pretty sweet and normal:) It's fun to have an easy week of the norm that is full of exciting things:) First tell the Vance's I'm so happy for them and their new baby girl! It's funny to think that when I left there wasn't even a whisper of them having another child:) LOl kind of cool to think about:) I also I'm so excited that Tyler has gotten the call of calls:) I never thought the world could handle two First ward boys in the same mission? I got a feeling that the mission is need of some serious power from heaven, that's why they come knocking at our wards door:) All of us were taught, tested, and supported for mission, a lot more than the missionaries I see out here today. I testify the words of mom, " It does take a ward to raise a child."

Testifying is really what I feel I've been doing the most:) Our week has been a huge blessing and seen miracles. It's funny how last week I likened it to Job in the bible. If that was the case, then this week the Lord poured out a blessing twice as big as before. For example, we were blessed with teaching 20 lessons this week, where the area record is 15. We also have two people on date for baptism and three others we are challenging this week. On top of it all was the amount of the spirit I felt this week and the power I felt by using my priesthood.

Let me start from the "least" to the best to me, even though all these blessings are great. We tracted about a week ago into a Father Lead family with the surname Sothoani. The first time the husband opened the door right away and let us in, first shock to me. We met his wife and little boy and began to give our message of the restoration. Afterward, through different miscommunication, didn't see them for many days, this got us worried we had lost them. We then chose to go back around the time we found them, they were so happy to reach us. They had told us that we had brought the most "unusual" spirit last time and they knew we were men from God. Through the week we taught again the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. My favorite was teaching the Plan of Salvation. They are a very smart young couple that as we taught kept saying things like, "Oh, that makes sense", "Interesting", and " I never knew how it all fit together". Probably my favorite thing in that lesson is when Vuci, the father who has studied religion, put together how the Book of Mormon helps the bible to fill in the gaps. The spirit was strong and we are now excited to go back and teach about Baptisms.

The last two major miracles happened to my beloved family the Ackermanns. We pulled up on Tuesday this week to have a lesson to find on their gate a "For Sale" sign. My heart sank immediately at the sign and thoughts swamped my head that I might loose this family. Inside I said a prayer that we might continue to teach them and not loose them. As we went in we were told the the man who they were renting from needs to sell the house and that the first person with the money can buy the place. We also found from Oma, which is grandma in Afrikaans, the Brother and Sister Ackermann were talking to the people now and would be back soon. When they got back, we had a long talk with them about what was happening. We taught them that this was the first major test since they've started to change their life. We also poured over the scriptures to teach them to continue in faith and show courage in their tithe. It was very powerful to listen to how they would continue to go forward with faith. They expressed a great hope in even if they have to move again, It maybe that Heavenly Father has something better for them. I was on the verge of tears at the family I love so so so so much. I then began to teach about how great blessings come from "burying the weapons of our own rebellion". That was mainly to Sis Ackermann and her smoking habit that we were working on, because she is the last one in the family that was struggling to give it up.

Needless to say the blessings have sense began to pour out. We just stopped by the next day to check on them, to have Sis Ackermann very excited to tell us that Saturday was the day she's giving up smoking, I was shocked! Here was the woman that never said she would give it up. The woman who needed a list of things to happen first before giving it up. Yet, she told us that day we left her with a new sense to change and talked with her husband. We then planned on fasting together and that we would give out blessings after. It wasn't long until they told us of blessings. They said that a ward member just showed up with two huge black bags full of clothes for the twins! And how that day they were worried how they would buy the twins new clothes on top of everything! Then this Sunday we got the news we were waiting for, Bishop told Brother Ackermann that 2 more weeks until he could get the priesthood! I could've died at that news! So I can testify that blessings are coming to this family, I'm very excited what the Lord has instore next.

So that was just the first side of the Major blessings. The second also involves the Ackermann family. Brother Ackermann on the way from a far away job picked up his friend to come and stay with them. The two have been friends for ages and his friend was going through a very hard time. His wife had left him for another man, his job had fallen through, and the people he was staying with where horrible abusers. So as a result we met brother Albetus, a 52 white Afrikaans broken man. That's just the kind of person missionaries help! The Ackermanns had told him a lot about the church and how they were changing. He had also noticed the change of heart in Brother Ackermann ( Who just for the sense is only 42), from party man to calm church goer. Our first lesson was on Christ and the atonement, but it quickly changed to a power house of the spirit and tears as we talked to Albetus. He told us that the words we were speaking to him were hitting home. WE then invited him to church with the Ackermanns the next day. After church, when we went to break our fast with the Ackermanns and give blessings he was sitting with Brother Ackermann watching a Restoration video to understand the church. It was cool to see the Ackermanns testifying of their religion again and to see how far they have come. But before giving a lesson we needed to give oma and Sister Ackermann blessings. I'll tell you these blessings that I had the right to give where a powerful testimony to these women that god loved them. It also answered the questions of their hearts as they told us after. We then gave a blessing to Albetus.

Later, as our lesson went on Albetus asked us where this power came from? He told us as soon as I placed my hands on his head all of his worry left him and he felt a comfort never before known, and he wanted more of it. We would go on for the next two and a half hours teaching. He had questions about the temple, why there where so many churches, Joseph Smith, what God expected of him, and (my favorite) how do I join your church? It was a missionary dream to have someone really asking us questions of life and then accepting them on the spot. After it all he was so determined that it was time to change everything and listen to everything we would give him. What a humbling experience to see someone broken notice the prompting of the spirit and answer the call to change! It was Freak'n SWEET!

So needless to say we've been rocking it and the Lord has been blessing us for it:) I'm happy and excited to see all of the change Rynfeild is making from when I first got here. It has turned upside down and moving at a powerful rate, especially for a town area!

Have a great week and know I love you so much:)

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton

P.S. Oh I almost forgot, I've already made solid plans to Skype you on mother's day! So Woot Woot!


The Week Like Job–April 15, 2013

Sounds to me like you are happy and well. I'm very excited and laughed very hard at the fact that Jacob finally bought his colored jeans, yellow ones too! That is so Jacob's style and fashion, I'm sure he rocks them wherever he goes.It makes me also feel very weird to know that Jillian got her driving permit, and one the first try no doubt! It's weird to imagine my little sister driving and my little bother. I'm sure that will take getting used too when I get back, but now they can drive themselves everywhere.

I've thought a lot about you guys this week. This week was one that challenged the thoughts of missionaries, with the challenge of why am I here. We had three days this week in a row cancel on us and we were left with no one to teach. When a missionary has no one to go and see, it kind of blows up their purpose. I felt myself feel very discourage, this caused me to ask myself serious questions. Then came a great lesson I learned, it was a beautiful spiritual confirmation of patience and long-suffering.

After the first day of no one to teach, I was prompted to study the account of Job in the Holy Bible. I read about this man who was being blessed right and left, one who was doing the things he should be. Then a great challenge was placed on him, where Satan caused many of his "possessions" to be taken away, even to the loss of his good health. Job was in the depths of great affliction and suffering, yet still he persisted to praise god. My favorite part of what Job said something like this, "Gird up your loins and be a man". This statement made me laugh so hard! Basically the scriptures were telling me to man up and go forward.

In the end of the account of Job, comes the happily ever after part. In the end, after showing faith unto God and never giving up, he was blessed with double he had at the start. He once regained all that he had lost and was given even more. I testify that this promise is true to all of us. How often do we feel overcome with the struggles of life or the temptations of addiction that we "seem" to lose everything we had? How often does it seem like the heavens have shut their doors and left us too the wolfs of Satan? It is often in these times do we show the faith we believe in and often need to fall to our knees in humble prayer. At the time of great pain and anguish it may seem that there is no end to the torment, but I tell you there is! The hope we have in Jesus Christ and his everlasting atonement gives us that light at the end of our tunnels of challenges. And similar to Job, if we endure well what is placed before us, we will receive our own blessings greater than the first.

My challenge to you my family, and even to all of those that I send this too is to seek the testimony of the Savior. Learn to use his sacrifice and his gospel to give you the light you need in your darkest of hours. The reinforcement is coming, the day dawn is breaking, and the train is coming in to rescue you; all you need to do is trust in the lord's timing and power. He asks you to jump off the edge, so that he can make you fly!

As we did our best to endure well, mainly tracting. We found a new Father lead family to begin teaching. WE also had more lessons on Sunday that made up for our lost three days. So this is my testimony, it is true, and it is for you.

Never give up your Faith and Hope in a better world! It is coming!

I loved General Conference so much. It always refills my tank spiritually. My favorite talks were from Elder Uctdorhf about tittles we hold in priesthood session, President Thomas S Monson's talk about obedience in Sunday morning, and finally Elder Holland's talk about faith leading in Sunday Afternoon. It was an awesome conference and the place to be. It was also cool to think that I only have one more until I'm back home with all of you, and the next time there is a Spring conference I'll be back!

Thank you for all of your prayers that lift me and protect me. It is amazing to be on the receiving end of so much faith:)

Have a great week and enjoy work/school:) Also again Happy Birthday to MOM! Your the best looking and hottest 40 year old I know:)

All my love and know All is well:)

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton

Pictures–April 8, 2013


The Work Still Moves On–April 8, 2013

It looks and sounds like you had a pretty fun time on your vacation. I loved all the pictures and will print them off. Everyone looks great and is changing so much. I fear when I get back I might not remember who everyone is, just kidding. I hope you all feel well rested and ready to face another end to the school year. I also want to answer one of Jill's questions from her letter, "yes you have my permission to wear my jacket:)".

This week, well since the last time I wrote you on Friday has been full of craziness and fun things happening. We've had people ask us when they can be baptized, the broken hearted just showing up to church, and Families being united through the gospel. On top of it all, I was spiritually recharged at conference:) It's funny how every conference speaks the words of truth to my heart and tells me exactly what it is I need to do. It was also a blessing to promise Less actives that if they came there would be a talk just for them, even better was seeing them be touched by it.

So to talk about the two that asked us when we could baptize them. The first was the elder son of sis Ackermann, his name is Gavin. Earlier we went to give him a blessing and talk to him about what we do as missionaries, he also told us how now was the time for him to change his life. The very next appointment, before beginning the lesson, he told us he wanted to be baptized. We were pretty shocked and there was much eye rubbing. We then placed him on date and began to teach. Since then we've gave him scriptures to read and movies to watch with his less active family as they are now all coming back to church. The Ackermann parents see it as a miracle that their son, after so many years of rejecting, sees that now is the time to repair his relationship with god. They even told us how he is reading the Book of Mormon in the morning even, it's those little things that tell us his desire to repent. On top of it all, this Ackermann Family reminds me so much of Eric's family. They have all kind of fallen away, but have felt the spirit call them all back as a family. This gives me hope to be able to invite my own family back when I return.

The second person is named Celeste. Celeste stays with one of our recent converts, she's the cousin. She has been attending church for a while and now felt ready to meet the missionaries. After our first visit, talking about who we are and asking her to read the Book of Mormon, she told us she had prayed and knew it was all true. She then knew it was time to be baptized. Having two people this week so easily accept the Saviors invitation to come unto him, is a testimony to me. It shows me that our prayers for prepared people is being answered and that the lord is really preparing them for us.

To continue on the theme of "Prepared people", let me tell you what happened after the first session on Sunday. We had watched the Saturday Afternoon session on Sunday morning and just got finished. Elder Msangi wanted to go out in the sun for a little while until the next session. Many of our members did the same and we were all out in the parking lot in front of the church. As we were leaning against the car talking to members, for some reason my attention was turned to the gate at a white truck pulling up. I felt very interested on this truck and had a certain pull to it in fact, not soon later others noticed my gaze and started to look. The white truck came in and pulled over to our bishop and a few members, it then parked and white people got out. My missionary hunting senses were going off the chart and I found myself walking toward these people, before our bishop waved for us to come over. We met a older sister named Belinda that day. She's been going through one killer storm of life: with deaths, drugs, and marriage problems. Her Cousin that day took her in his truck and told her that the only way that she will gain peace is through God, they then set out to find her a church that morning. They then felt impressed as they passed our church, that this is the one. Even as Elder Msangi and I told her things about the gospel, she was holding back tears. I almost was overcome myself and wanted to hug this poor woman who had seen so much darkness in her life, to tell her it will be okay. This was another testimony of people just coming to the truth. We then gave her something to read and made an appointment to come and see her.

Now back to my favorite family, by far on my mission, the Ackermanns. On Sunday we went to their house for lunch and to wait for the last session of the day. This family is making so many changes in their lives to come back it is humbling to be apart of it. Brother Ackermann is preparing to receive the Aaronic in two weeks, then the Melcezedek in July. I have never seen a more humble man search the scriptures and have a huge desire to bless his family. After lunch, with Bro & Sis Ackermann and the grandma, we taught out of Section 84 the Oath and covenant of the Priesthood. I loved talking about the priesthood and how it blesses, also reminded myself what I promised to do. This family is making leaps and bounds to come back.

There is another family we are working with, Absalon's part member family. Absalon is a less active, who after our visits with him, has got the burn to come back with his family. He's mechanic who everyone relies on and is the humble enough guy that will do anything for his friends. His wife has a broken leg and is home bound right now from a car accident. He also has three girls (tough man). We've been seeing him and his family for the past few weeks and seen some great changes. When we first got there, as an example, no one in the family could pray and we needed to teach them. Now you can ask anyone of them and you would see a person who has been praying for years. They have also been doing family prayer and family scripture study. We have great hope to baptize and complete this family.

In conclusion, this week has been very cool and is a testimony builder to me. I think my favorite talk was Thomas S Monson in the Sunday morning. I'm doing well and full in the faith. I'm excited with what I am doing and know there is no greater work or place I could be than here. Stay safe and happy:)

Love your Son and Brother

Elder Jack F Dalton


Can You Come Over Right Now? . . . Oh Yeah!–March 25, 2013

I'm so excited to hear that you are all very busy and working hard. I'm sure the spring break will be very nice to find those restful moments to keep going. I'm excited to hear that Jacob wants to go out for football, very manly. This week has been a week of miracles and many answers to my prayers and the prayers of my companion. We have been on much bended knee asking for more families and much success in bring more of God's children to him through his son. I find it a complete blessing in my tness just how the lord is working everything out. It's funny how at the moment it may not seem that anything is happening, then out of no where the lord drops a spiritual bomb in Rynfeild.

One of these spiritual blessing "Bombs!" (SBB) happened early Thursday morning. We had just gotten up for the day and were still getting all together when we got a text from our recent convert white family. It basically said, that they had a woman that worked for them and was extremely interested in the church. On top of that she wanted to see us now and had a family of six with most of the kids in their 20's with her husband! Needless to say Elder Msangi and I looked at each other with dumb founded faces! Then in a sudden burst we were finishing getting dressed and heading out!

When we got there we found our Recent Convert father talk to us about her. She and most of her family only could speak Zulu and Afrikaans. So our plan was then to have him translate as we taught. This woman, named Flora, had been working since she was 15 years old to provide her kids with a better future, you could see the marks of the hard labor from over the years, and she also told us that she had been in the Catholic Church most of that time as well. However, when we sat down she said, "I have this overwhelming feeling coming over me of peace and warmth", she could tell she never had this feeling ever in her church. We taught her alone and made plans to meet her family, because this, she said, is what she wants for them all. We also gave her a Zulu Book of Mormon and she started to cry and kiss the book, I had never before seen such a person truly understand what we were giving her until now. My heart was deeply soften to see one of my lost sisters coming home and knowing just from our presence that we were messengers of God.

The SBB's don't stop there at all! I told you about the Ackermann family, the less actives we found as we were tracting. Earlier this week we taught them about the spirit and at the end of the lesson the father and mother talked with us. The father expressed the desire to receive the priesthood and get his family to the temple. They both expressed how they felt it was time to really get back and have all the blessings we taught them. Again Elder Msangi and I were caught off guard, you don't normally prepare to have the entire family after a few visits say " We know it's true and we are done falling away, help us reach the temple"! And when I saw them the next time reading the scriptures as a family and Brother Ackermann reading about the priesthood my heart could burst. Then at church when I saw them come in to sit, let's just say there was much eye rubbing and clapping of hands. They then met with the bishop and set out dates with goals and said to me "You are now always going to see us at church!" It was brilliant!
We've also been able to meet with other Less actives and a part member family to get them on the path of becoming a "forever family".

Finally, the last biggest thing that happened was on Wednesday. The Campbell family is a very young family that are very cool members. They remind me of you and mom at an early stage. They had their first baby girl on that day and we decided to go all out for this family. To give a little background for you, we see them every Monday night for family home evening and I've grown to love these two very much. Sister Campbell is a recent convert who's family hates her husband and also is very hurt that she would become a Mormon. Still both of these two have stuck it all out in faith no matter what , even with not having much friends besides us and Brother Campbell's brother and wife. So I decided to spend most of my Easter money to buy them a card, pictures of their new baby, roses, and a very cool balloon to show they were loved. It was all worth it when we walked into the hospital room and gave them these gifts in front of their family. We would later find out that us going to be there for them has started to soften their parents hearts and got us many referrals of hospital workers. All I could say was "When you are in service of your fellow man, you are only in the service of your god".

I wish I could write all the things that have happened this week, but it would take too much time. The biggest thing I learned to sum it all up is " Stay the Course". You'll never be wrong by doing right!
I love you all and wish you a great week of work. Just keep looking to that vacation:)

I'm well and working hard, thank you for your prayers.

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton

I Would That You Would Experiment on My Words–March 18, 2013

It sounds like another crazy week in the "desert" dad calls these months. I'm sure your all looking forward to the future holidays and time to relax together. I can say that my side of the world has been full of much work and it makes me very tired. This past week my companion and I have found our theme in how we are going to work and also our message to our people of Rynfield. It all came to us while we shared Alma 32 with a less active young adult called Nati. For all of you that need to remember what the chapter is about, it's the teaching of Alma the younger to the poor Zoramities about the seed of faith and allowing it to grown into a tree of everlasting life. It also talks a lot about reaping the fruit we receive from our patience and diligence in nurturing the tree.

Our week was placed with much work and dedication. I'm so happy to have a companion who will stand with me and willing to push the wheel next to me. We visited many members, less actives, and investigators all with the same message of putting the work into their "spiritual trees". To also give the fruit of these trees to others, much like Lehi desiring to share the fruit with his family. We just all need to see that "our family" is really every son and daughter of God. Our effort has shown that we are dedicated to these people and will soon give us fruit at the right time.

This week we also have placed much time in finding more prepared people. The greatest blessing of my week came from this experience. On Thursday we took out a member to teach with us and we found time to also go out finding. I challenged Elder Msangi to try and contact someone, because he needs the practice using English. He then approached a large home and knocked on the gate. A young teenage girl came out and then quickly ran back inside saying "I'll get my mom". MY heart sank in fear at the thought of a white Afrikaans woman eating alive my poor companion. Just as my fear was taking me, a smaller girl ran up and shouted "THE ELDERS ARE HERE!" Come to find they were a very less active family and was in great need of our visit. We shared our message about trees and I got the name "Elder Peaches" from my description of the "desirable fruit" Alma talks about.

It was a testimony to me not to fear cause anything can happen and because of a little faith we now have a family to bring back.

Needless to say that my spirits are high and I look forward at this area with much hope. I understand true growth comes with time and patience. No tree was grown over night, but with day after day of work. I close with the words of the last verse in chapter 32 of Alma, in which I firmly testify I know is true: "Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence,and patience, and long suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you."
Much love and prayers for all of you:)

Love your Son and Brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton

More Picture of Rynfield–March 11, 2013


Pictures–March 11, 2013


Rynfield. Another Town, Another Adventure–March 11, 2013

Sounds to me like you've had quite the week and full of people coming and going. Myself I've been doing much of the same, "Coming and going". So you new that I was moved areas and left the improved Witbank with much sorrow since the members I visited cried at my departure. I was then shipped to a new place called Rynfield which is another town. It was very fun to meet my companion, Elder Msangi from Tanzania. When he looked at me for the first time all he could express in broken English was "WOW, what a big elder!" I was so happy to finally have my first real black companion, especially since I found out the horrible news that my MTC companion was sent home with some girl issues.

It was very cool as well to be told by the APs that I was sent to this area for a very special reason and that I was called to repair yet another area. I felt very honored at the thought of now being considered an AR, an Area repairman. At least that is what many of my group called it when the aps talked to me. Apparently, my companion has had a very challenging time with other companions and the area is suffering on the missionary side. I guess this is going to be my "special skill" for my mission. Kind of cool to think I'm the guy that President can look for as a tool to repair things.

Our teaching pool is very low and the commitment of the investigators is very low. The upside is that the Ward is amazing and full of awesome people. It's also the most white ward I've ever seen besides being home. They all welcomed me very openly and told my companion that I was going to whip him into shape. It's not good when the Ward notices the missionaries have been slacking. None the less our Ward Missionary leader is minted and will do anything for us. His own son is going on a mission to the Netherlands. I have another adventure and my work is cut out for me. I almost feel like I need to train my companion again, because he's had to learn English to be here and it didn't hit me until this morning that I'm now Senior companion. He's been out 6 months and I've nearly been out 13 months.

I'm excited and ready to do my best in another cool town. This one seems a little more promising with people willing to listen. I wish you all the best and the best of luck:) Jillian don't get stressed out about UCAS, they only try to scare the ones who aren't going to be committed. I know you and have been through that school, you're the right material for it. Jacob I'm so proud of you for dancing it all up:) your such a stud and I want pictures from prom. Mom make sure you sleep a little this week, I know how easily work takes you over until you crash. Dad, great news on the new jr high move, that will make your life a little easier:) I also want to see the alien they pull out of your hand!
Much love to you all and best wishes from Africa:)

Love your son and brother,
Elder Jack F Dalton