To answer your questions about my day to day life --- I am going to send postcards as thank you notes to people. I found a place that sells them last week and they cost about 45 cents. The postal system here is kinda sketchy. We went to one in Joburg and they had one of those doors where you have to open them one at a time because apparently people break into post offices all of the time and steal packages and stuff. Most of the time it takes a couple of weeks for mail to arrive but sometimes it doesn't work out.
My companion is Elder Sombke. He was born in Idaho but his dad works for the government so he's lived in Virginia, Ethiopia, Bosnia, and New Mexico. He's a really cool guy. Our personalities are pretty much exact opposites. I like sports and he likes baking and anime. He wants to own his own bakery after the mission. We get along really well though and he's an awesome guy. The first time I met him he made a joke about me being from Provo and calling it The Factory. This was before I knew we would be companions and I thought to myself I hope this guy isn't my companion and then lo and behold he's my trainer. I really do love him though, and I'm glad he's my trainer; it's just funny that he was the only one I didn't really want to have be my companion at the first meeting.
Walking down the street here is a lot different because the combis (taxis) honk at everyone on the streets and yell out the windows trying to get people into their taxi. We mostly walk down Main Road which is the road that connects to the campus and now that the students are back there are people everywhere. There are stores on either side of the street and KFC is the most popular fast food chain down here. There is only one Burger King on the whole African continent and it's really close to our area but I haven't had a chance to go yet.
There are so many salons and barbers here on the road too. There are like 5 or 6 in a row then you keep walking and there's even more. Our Ward is super awesome. There are about 125 people every Sunday and everyone is super nice and friendly. It's been such a great Ward to start off in. I don't know if I already mentioned this but it was the first Ward in all of Africa and is celebrating its 160th year this year. The Bishop is super great and he is pushing the members to get more involved in missionary work because now really is the time.
For groceries we go to a store called Pick n Pay. It's nothing too fancy. We bought a ton of food last week for 400 Rand. Things are cheaper here but not by a whole lot. This last week Brother Mike offered to cook us food every day for 35 Rand a plate. It's worth at least twice that. He is really such an awesome guy and he loves the missionaries. He's a convert of about a year and half and he is so great. I cannot say enough nice things about him. His food is so delicious too! He makes sure to heap on the vegetables. I don't think I'd eat vegetables if it weren't for him. This last week we had Ostrich Neck stew which was delicious and that came with butternut squash and other stuff. But it is so much food and it's all super healthy for you. I am so glad I'm in this area if for no other reason than Brother Mike.
We do have a cell phone but it’s a brick phone that doesn't have color or anything. We go to an email shop to email and across the street is an apartment building called Trump Towers; I find that funny. They play music while we email and it’s the only time I get to hear music so I'm not complaining. They love Mondays though because that is when tons of missionaries come to email home.
This week has been a bit of tough one for missionary work. Last Monday we had to cancel an appointment with our best investigator because there was a new Elders training. At the training I got to see a bunch of guys from the MTC and it was so great to see them again and see how they're doing. Every appointment for the rest of the week had to cancel on us though. So it was really frustrating, not to mention Elder Sombke has been sick for a couple of days.
There were some good points too though. We had Zone training on Wednesday where we learned about some new policies. One of the policies is that all walking Elders have to wear orange vests at night because some numb nut got hit by a car while he was riding his bike in the middle of the road at night without a helmet on. All of the other Elders make fun of us and our investigators ask us what we're wearing and everyone driving by stares. It's ok though because we're being obedient and we'll be blessed for it.
At the Zone training I was looking around as we were talking about grace and watching a video from Brad Wilcox and I thought to myself that there's no other place that I would rather be. Where else could I be sitting with 20 other guys and the mission president and his wife and the senior couples discussing things of such importance. It just made me so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve and I’m really loving it here even though it has been a hard week.
I got to go on my first exchange this week. I went with Elder Khoni who is one of our Zone leaders and a super nice guy. He got to his area at the same time as me though and his area is much larger than mine because he has a car. So we pretty much got lost everywhere we were going. We had three appointments and all of them were cut short because we were late to all of them. It's alright though because we still had some good spiritual lessons.
I'm also now certified to drive in South Africa. I already was but now I'm mission approved too. Driving on the left hand side is a little weird but I've gotten used to it over the last month just riding around with other missionaries so it wasn't bad when I did it for the first time.
Our investigators are great, I just want them to stop being too busy for us. One investigator with a baptismal date is back from holiday because she's a student. Her name is Pinky and hopefully she'll be baptized soon so I can get my first baptism. I don't have much else to report on. I love the work and I got 15 emails this week so I'm feeling the love as well. I miss you guys but I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve and two years really isn't that long. These first six weeks have flown by.
Love you all,