Queenstown is very nice. It's like going from Provo to Ephraim. Only Cape Town is bigger than Provo and Queenstown is bigger than Ephraim. I like it a lot out here. I'm very grateful that I didn't lose my bag and my big suitcase is great; I'm very glad that I have it. I'm still underweight on all three of my bags so I'll be able to buy souvenirs when I come home. I don't know how it's going to work if you guys pick me up though. I won't be released as a missionary and we can't really go to other places. So we could visit my first area and that's about it. I'll still have to follow the mission rules, so no going to the ocean or on boats or anything like that. We’ll have to decide later what to do about that.
It's been such a great week. We taught a lot of people. I think in these first two weeks I might have taught more than I did in my last three months in Cape Town. I want to spend as much time in the Eastern Cape as I can. We went back to East London this week for Zone Conference. We left Thursday afternoon and when we got there we didn't really have anything to do but one of the guys we were with served in Mdantsane which is the second largest township in South Africa. There's a lot of work going on there and some really great people people live there. We went around visiting families that he had taught and baptized and I hope to serve there one day too.
We met the Bishop of the first ward there. There are three wards in the township and that could soon become five if they split. The Bishop has been serving for 20 years! We went to a correlation meeting at his house with the Elders we were staying with and he still has so much excitement for the Church and his calling and it's so cool to see.
Then on Friday we had our Conference. It was a Tri-Zone Conference and there were a lot of missionaries there so it felt like I was in Cape Town again except these guys are a lot more spread out. It was a very awesome Conference though. We were talking about the creation and the fall and I got a lot of new insights on it. One thing that I really liked was when I was reading in True to The Faith they described the fall as a slope. That yes we fell but we also moved forward and were able to progress which is really the whole point of our being on this earth. I learned a lot that will help in my teaching. President Wood also managed to tie in eternal marriage and counseled us on marriage for a while. It was funny.
We also had to report on each Zone in the form of a skit. One Zone did it with their leaders being judges and then accusing people of baptizing too many people which was funny. Another Zone did an Old Spice commercial type skit. Then we did it as an Army where we had to march in and do all this military stuff. One guy in our Zone was in the Army so we had some pretty legit marches. Each Zone had to sing as well. We sang If You Could Hie To Kolob and it sounded awesome and President even started singing along.
The Mdantsane Zone had never practiced with a piano before because the piano player serves in King Williams Town which is an hour away from everywhere else. I have never heard a worse singing performance in my life. Everyone was trying so hard to hold in their laughter and even the people who were singing just gave up and started laughing. I don't know how they did that but it was bad.
Tuesday of this last week was Heritage day. Our ward decided to celebrate by having a moving dinner where you go from house to house. We went to a home in Mlungisi and shared a spiritual thought, had a brief testimony meeting and then ate soup and talked. All of the members were dressed up in traditional clothing and had designs painted on their faces. At the second home in Town we had lunch and my companion was asked to share something about our heritage in the Church. He did a good job and then we all talked again. I have some pictures that I need to get from another Elder so I can send them home. Then we went out to Ezbeleni and had ice cream. All of the women started singing in Xhosa and dancing around. It was very cool to watch and made me appreciate the culture here even more. It also made me realize that I am terrible at remembering Xhosa names. I'm usually pretty good with names but here I can't remember a dang thing. I'm starting to get there and can remember some people but I'm working on it.
We've been doing a lot of teaching this week even with all of the craziness. We had eleven member present lessons and five new investigators. We also visited recent converts, less actives, and members. It was a busy week but it makes the time go by so fast. I seriously can't believe that I've been here for two weeks. We have two very solid baptismal dates for the 20th and we have more investigators who are ready but aren't willing to commit to a date yet. We are continuing to work with them and trying to help them to come unto Christ.
One of the investigators with a baptismal date is Apiwe. I am so impressed with her intelligence. She is only 18 but she is so smart and so ready to join the Church. When we explain things to her and then ask her questions about it she is able to tell us everything and she even throws in her own ideas that tie it to other parts of the gospel. She read the first seven chapters of the Book of Mormon in three days and then was able to explain everything that happened back to us in great detail. It's so awesome to see that what we are teaching her is actually helping her to understand the gospel and why it is so important.
I'm very grateful for the guidance of the Spirit because I know I couldn't possibly even hope to do this all on my own. The 20th is going to be an awesome day. I'm also very excited for General Conference this weekend. We are going to watch the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions live. Then catch Saturday afternoon and priesthood on Sunday morning. Then they will show us Sunday afternoon another time. We watch it at our chapel with our ward and I cannot wait. We've invited all of our investigators to it too and I hope they come so that they can see that there really is a prophet of God on the earth today.
On Saturday we came back from East London and were able to make it to an Elder’s quorum activity which was playing soccer in the Church parking lot. We even got a new investigator out of it and had some fun. Afterward we had a Braai that was delicious. Things are going well here in Queenstown. It's nice to have a car and I drove about 750 Ks this week which more than makes up for the last three months walking in Cape Town.
The work is good and the Church is true. I'm so glad to be able to share that message with the people of South Africa. I've never been happier in my life.