Monday, October 22, 2012

"The Challenge to BECOME" 10/22/12

Wow what a week and SOOOO much to say.  It has been raining hard core since last Monday!  Many roads and even houses have been washed aways.  Our yard had a small mud slide and took the land lords 12 ft wall with it.  It fell just before we came home and fell RIGHT where we park our car, ha good thing we were working or I would be riding a bike right now hahaha.  We were up late the other night after the priesthood session bucketing water out of the bottom flats and putting things on bricks.  Our flat luckily only flooded near the windows so not to bad.  We went to the town ship yesterday where we found the elders waist high carrying people across the flooded streets out of their flooded small homes to dry ground.  It reminded me of the early pioneers who carried people across the freezing rivers.  So the African water was not cold but who knows what the heck is infested in that water.  I'd like an appointment to get some blood checks hahaha.  So, needless to say its been a crazy week with a LOT of community service!
I will have pictures of all the flooding later on. 
We also saw quite a few people this week.  We saw Alan and had a powerful lesson.  He is comfortable in the church he grew up in.  To me that is the hardest situation to address.  I cant imagine some one telling me that the church I went to was good but was missing pieces of the truth.  Its not that any other churches are bad, they are awesome and help others to live the gospel and live their lives as close as they can to the truth, but......there IS more.  There is the fullness that was lost with the death of the apostles and it HAS been restored today.   I know so many are offended by the boldness of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but we are bold because we love God.  We love All on the earth and share Gods desire to have them all live this life as he expects us and to one day return to him, being able to say that we did everything we knew to do and we gave it our all.  If you reject the truth because your comfortable where you are is that truly giving it your all?  Is that truly always seeking for the truth and following it?  The lesson went so well.  His friend, who is also a member did so well in explaining this to him.  He did it boldly but also with love.  It worked, he is praying for the truth but this time with a real desire to actually find out.
I watched the Priesthood session and a main focus I would say is to be bold in what we know to be true and to serve others.  It really made me feel bad because I have waisted a lot of time by not being bold.  I have always known it is all true but I have always been so scared of offending or pushing.  I realized what will I say when my friends come to me at the judgement day of god and say "why didn't you tell me?'' "you knew all this time and never told me".  I would be crushed.  So, its NOT that any of us want to be pushy it is that we love you and desire all God has in store for you and we KNOW the way.  Christ came to teach it to you and it was lost with the death of the apostles and confused as each generation passed.  BUT it has been restored in no uncommon way.  He called a Prophet as he always has.  He restored authority as he did before.  And I am so thankful for that knowledge. 
Anyone who thinks "now that's a little to strict that God would keep us from eternal life with him because we didn't seek for the truth or follow it?  Gods commandments are strict!  They are for the wise purpose to keep us clean and ready to serve.  If your loved one was lost or maybe far away from home would you not provide them with a very strict and flawless plan to get them home?  Would you be crushed if that loved one did not follow the plan exactly?  I would and so is He.  He sent us hear to strengthen us by following this plan.  It is not easy.  We will stray from the course.  He has provided a way for us to return to the path.  He sent us a Saviour who lived, Suffered and eventual Died for us all.  What about those who die with out the truth, Gods plan is flawless and they will have an opportunity to receive the fullness of the gospel and make necessary covenants to return to our father.  I KNOW that is true. 
So basically I have promised my self that I will be bold in sharing the gospel.  I won't be pushy and I will always be loving.  Its our Duty.  No, I haven't changed, I'm still the same.  I think that is one thing I really worry about is having people think I have changed.  Okay, well I guess I have actually hahaha.  I have a stronger testimony of the truth.  I have been through things that have made me stronger.  I also think I have learned how to love and care for others no matter who they are.  If they don't choose the same path I will still always love them, no matter what.  That is also our duty and I think its the part of our duty that can often be forgotten. 
I think it was Elder Dallin H. Oaks who gave an awesome talk that has helped me so much.  It's called, The Challenge to Become" I have learned that this life is not the time to be the savior its the time to BECOME like the savior.  We learn, we fall, we sin, we offend, and a lot more but we learn and we get better little by little, here a little there a little.  I'm so thankful for that doctrine because I'm just about the slowest learner and I have a lot to become.
I'm so thankful for the last two years.  They have been the hardest and best two years of my life.  We "become" a lot quicker when we serve God.  I learned in this General Conference that this life is the call to serve.  Not two years but  a whole life time.  I cant wait to continue on.
I can NEVER express the gratitude the way I feel.  I have had more support then I think any other missionary. 
I have the two best parents any one could ever ask for.  They have never been after what they want but they work so hard and never quit. They have sacrificed so much my whole life.  They have opened and closed business after business.  My mother has been up at 3am not able to sleep and goes down on her computer and works.  My dad has spent hours and hours and hours at his office my whole life, but always there anytime we needed him. He faces trial after trial, discouragement after discouragement, he is the most loyal person I have ever known.  He remains loyal even when others have not been loyal to him.  My parents have never in my life missed a game, a performance, an assembly, an awards ceremony and stupid boy scouts thing that I know my mom hated hahahaha but she came any way.  They have always been there and it has been so hard for them to support me 10,000 miles away but I have still felt the same support if not more.  I have felt their endless prayers, their faith, their tired and worn out bank account hahah.  So so much more.  Most importantly I will always remember their teachings they taught us obedience, love, charity, kindness, faith and of the savior and so much more.  They never stop and the most honorable thing is that non of it is for them it has ALWAYS been for us.  I cannot thank them enough.  I will forever be in their debt.
I have the worlds best three sisters, who for 19 years were patient and loving.  They also taught me so much.  I have felt their love and support.  They can always treat me how they please but when someone else mistreats me they have my back.  Sure I'm now a little particular and at times emotional and probably a little too loving for a 21 year old guy, but hey when your raised by wolves.......I love them.  Calee, Katee and Kelsee, thank you!  Dave and Riley thanks for putting up with them hahahahaha, I know its not easy hahahahahaha okay just kidding
I have the Best grandparents. They have taught me so much.  For some reason when ever I mess up,  I'm having a hard time.......or I'm hungry haha you will find me at Grandma Harwards and Jodi's or Oma and Grandpas.  Grandma Harward has taught me to love no matter what and to just suck it up and put it in the Lords hands.  Grandma and Grandpa taught my parents a lot, particularly Faith.  I have heard so many stories that end in my Grandpa Harward telling my dad to just have faith.  I love them and will really miss Grandpa.  It really hasn't hit me that he is gone and so I'm hoping I don't fall apart when I get home.  I love you Grandma and Jodi.
My Oma and Grandpa have taught me how to welcome the spirit, (unless weare engaged in a fairly in appropriate conversation, which would happen from time to time, but I also learned alot from those hahaha). Every single night that I would sleep at Oma's and Grandpas, Oma would kneel by my bed and say okay you say the prayer.  She taught me to love prayer. Grandpa would always play hymns on the harmonica hahaha it was awesome to wake up to that.  He taught me to stand firm in what I believe.  I love you both.
I seriously cannot thank every one in a single email.  There are SO many family, friends who wrote every month and helped me way more then they will ever know.  I have the best friends who wrote all the time updating me and encouraging me.  The best extended family, aunts and uncles and cousins who are great examples to me.  I wish I could go through and mention every one but this would be way to fetching long. Don't think because I didn't mention you that I'm not thankful because I am. 
I'm so blessed to have been here.  I'm not afraid to come home, but I'm pretty afraid to leave.  I love Africa. I love the people.  I love both my mission presidents and their wives, senior couples, other Elders.  I am so blessed.  Its so hard to leave, but I know its right and its not the end of serving.  The challenge to become is a life long process and this really is the challenge to become.
See you soon.  I love you.
 
Elder Balmforth

Monday, October 15, 2012

Don't Let Go!

OH what a week!  Monday we took the whole day to plan for the fire side then had a FHE with the Parkin family.  It was awesome they did a lesson on writing down our blessings and it was awesome to see how we are really blessed with so much!  I have been more focused in my prayers to be more grateful.
Then on Tuesday we woke up early and had our training with half the zone while President was interviewing. It went well, it was focused on obedience and planning and studies, so it went well, I guess.  Then we had his training with the whole zone.  It was AWESOME.  It really helped me see how I want to be in life.  It was on honesty in all we do and how important it is.  The last 5 commandments evolve around being honest, so obviously its pretty important.  I did a personal study on the last 10 commandments and related them to honesty and it really shows how God wants us and needs us to be 100% honest.  Can you imagine the world if no one lied?  Wow!  Then we ate lunch and we repeated our training with the other half of the zone while President interviewed.  My interview was great.  Sweet and short seems how I will have my final interview next week.  He thinks my plans for coming home are pretty great the only thing is he wants me to apply to both BYU's, hahahaha.   I hate to not follow council so I will pray about that one.  It was so cool to go to George and Knysna.  We met with both the branch presidents and that was great to see them.  They have hectic callings to run those struggling branches in the middle of no where.  They are awesome!  They also both said I have gained weight and look different haha, so I guess that's pretty good!  In knysna we went to go pick up the other elders and LOW AND BEHOLD it was at a family who are strong members.  I walked in and recognized them.  I TOTALLY taught that family for the first time!  It was a good lesson and they remembered me.  I have to be honest I didn't have high hopes for them!  The Lord did!  And no, it was a different family from Yoliswa.  I also saw her and took her a picture.  I also saw Luyanda and Veronice.  They are doing great we found and baptised them when I was there.  I love that family and now they have three little boys.  Power house!  We also visited sister Tessa she is an awesome sister and she fed us lunch!
Then in George we had a lot of fun seeing Elder and Sister Richins.  They are an AWESOME couple they work so hard and have seen alot of struggles in George but they are doing so good.  I saw Cecilia who is no longer active.  Her family was anti mormon and very abusive.  Her family just moved though to Dubai and so now she is trying to get Sundays off.  She really missed the church!  If you forgot who she was she is the short older coloured woman.  I loved her she reminded me of Kathy! 
We had alot of fun driving down and back my comp Elder Andiamanantena is THE BEST!  He is so fetching funny!  He is the perfect one to kill me.(mission lingo)  We have a great week planned out basically appointments every hour and  two exchanges.  So I'm looking forward to the week.  The fire side went so good!  We made the rod out of PVC pipe that we found in Brother Fourier's yard hahaa.  Then we had some tempters to get people to let go of the rod and some good spirits to whisper that they must not let go. It was completely dark. Lots of people let go and were lost then at the end there was a bright Christmas tree with the tree of life with white chocolate on it hahaha, then we showed the video Spiritual crocodiles by Pres Boyd K Packer.  Mom I think you should link that to the blog or just you tube it because it was really good.  It was about staying away from sin and temptation.  I know in this life its not easy but if we hold on to the word of god we will never be led astray.  I saw a woman who could not let go last night because she was helping a sweet elderly woman to hold the rod in the dark, so she was too busy helping others along the path that she could not stray.  We should practice this in life.
Well, I have to go.  Love you all and  thanks for everything!
Love,
Colton

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crazy, Busy and Going Strong! 10/08/2012

Wow what a week. Sorry there was not mass email last week, it was a crazy busy time with all the changes and traveling.  Small glimps into the future.  We took Elder Cowey to the Airport Wednesday morning it was sad but I always think everything will be harder then it is.  So, I'm doing great.  This week has been a little slow as far as the work goes. We did however find a new family.  The Bolani family.  They are so excited to learn more and begged to come to church.  They live in a small shack about the size of my bedroom back home.  It has thin wood and cardboard walls with a roof full of holes.  No running water.  Dirt floor, the whole works.  Its basically the typical shack.  They are really poor and sometimes people want us to teach them with false hopes of us helping them financially.  I really wish I could.  So I hope their intentions are not that.  That was bad English....sorry Oma. 
Were still teaching the Dewaal family and they are doing awesome.  Because they have had bad experiences with attending other churches in the past they still have not come to church but they are reading and doing well.  Last night they even said they feel they have received an answer and know its true! That was really exciting for us.  Whenever anyone tells me that I feel the spirit so strong just testify to me that it IS true!
Its so nice to work in an area with a big chapel because that means..........BIG SATELLITE,  so I got to see the Saturday and Sunday AM sessions even though they were at night.  It was awesome and I loved the new announcements about the age requirement for serving missions.  Hopefully that will help more to get out here. 
Were are doing a fire side this coming Sunday.  Its going to be about the iron rod in Lehi's vision. We are going to have a rod in the dark leading to "the tree of life" then people will hold on to the rod while the senior couple missionaries try to tempt them and get them to let go.  Obviously their goal is to hold on and not fall into temptation then in the end we will watch the video where elder Packer talks about "spiritual crocodiles", how in the wild crocodiles slowly approach their pray little by little just like satan and in life we have to be careful and watch out for spiritual crocodiles.  So hopefully it goes well and doesn't flop. 
Well thanks for everything.  I have really gained a huge appreciation for my family and our friends I probably have more support then any other missionary here and I'm serious.  So thanks for everything and for your faith and for your prayers.
 
Love,
Colton

Monday, September 24, 2012

09/24/12

I.....AM.......SO....... TIRED!!!!!!!!!!  This is not easy.  The last few weeks are known to be the hardest and its even worse because its Elder Cowey's last week.  So its like I'm dying before I'm dead!  We have had an okay week as far as work goes.  Mission really is like life and towards the end you get a bit slower. But we are really trying!  Our investigators have been so busy this week.  Three of the people we are teaching are students and that's a very busy schedule plus they have exams this week so they have been hard to meet with.  The Dewaal family is doing well.  We love them.  Brother Dewaal is struggling to feel ready to come to church.  It's hard to help him resolve this concern because he just says he is not ready.  What do you say to that?  I wish he would come because my testimony of church attendance has really grown.  I learn so much at church and with this being our time to prepare there is nothing better to help us prepare then going to church.
We have been helping our landlords clear their yard for construction and it was so bad the other day they bought the yard next to them which was owned by an old man and that yard was all grown over and had TONS of rubbish buried in long grass.  I mean ropes, tubes, trash, garden tools, even an old toilet! ,Hahaha we took two loads to the dump and still have more.  We collected all the scrap metal and Brother Fourie said he would take us to dinner with the money he got from the scrap metal hahaha.  We love the Fourie family we have cake with them every Sunday night and love to visit with them. 
Elder and Sister Taylor leave this week so that will be sad but the new couple is really nice.  When we fetched them from the airport Sister Sherbert looked at my tag and said "hey I know you...I have read your moms blog" haha I was a little nervous about that!  Oh well, they seem awesome.  Well, I think today we are going bowling because the weather sucks.  We helped out at the family history center this morning digitalizing some records.  That was cool. 
We also went to George and Knysna this week.  The new missionaries are awesome.  I feel bad for the one because his flat was broken into and he lost a lot!  Anyways I'm doing well and trying to die strong!  Its not easy but its possible so I can do it.  Happy Birthday this week to Tiffany and Kathy, I hope you guess have a great day.  Well, that's it, love you all.
Love,
Colton

Monday, September 17, 2012

09/17/12

HELLO!
Wow the weather has changed, its so hot here.  Its been a crazy week with transfers but luckily this time no one in PE or George and Knysna missed any flights!!!!!!!   It was a crazy week but we are all where we need to be now.  Our new companion Elder Andriamenentena from Madagascar is awesome he is a ton of fun and loves to work so I will die quite nicely.  Elder Cowey leaves in two weeks, we will miss him but he is ready to go.  I think it will hit sooner though. 
So we had an awesome lesson with Ruchenda.  She is doing really well.  We were planning on teaching about the Plan of salvation but we listened to the spirit and it took us a whole different direction.  We taught an awesome lesson on prayer and baptism and how you find the truth.  I honestly have never followed the spirit so well.  Both Elder Cowey and I were directed the same and it was so powerful.  We talked about it afterwards and we honestly received the same promptings the whole time.  God knew what she needed to hear to know that what we were saying was TRUE!  SHE EXCEPTED A BAPTISMAL DATE FOR OCTOBER 14TH! oh crap I wasn't looking at the screen and I just realized it was on caps lock hahaha whoops.  It was an awesome lesson.  One thing I have really learned is how to follow the spirit.  As if its really hard.  More just accepting what it says even if His plan is different.  It will really be better. 
So we have been teaching some awesome people and I hope to have some good baptisms before I go. 
So the other day Elder Cowey and I were boiling some eggs and we just sat there at the table reading and all the sudden we hear "chirp chirp.....chirp chirp".   I look at Elder Cowey then at the boiling eggs and think.....NO WAY!!!!   So one by one we take the eggs out until the chirping stops.  We just threw it away because we had no desire to see what was chirping hahaha, not the end you all were hoping for but still pretty cool.   The eggs here are natural so the are brown and usually have the poop or feathers still stuck on them....yummy ey?
We were also invited to the Vansickles for a Braii.  It was for the Taylor's who are leaving. ;( so we go and then walks in Bishop Mahaluba and his wife from Kwano.  I loved them.  We keep running into each other so she says HEY WENA (you) who's following who, ey?  Hahahahahahaha it was so funny.  Then Bishop asked why I'm not going home?  Seems like I've been here forever I guess.
We ate at the Malekis' yesterday and Sister Maleki asked Elder Cowey to pray and so he started arguing about it with their 9 year old daughter and she just firmly said FINE you don't want to talk to God ey??? Hahahaha it was so funny. 
Well all is well here, we have a ton of exchanges because everyone in our zone is training!  So we are off to George tomorrow.   I hope its cooler down there.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA'S and CALEE!  I hope you all have a gret birthday, I will be thinking about you.  Marilyn, I get your faithful letters every week and I promise you at least one letter even though you deserve way more.  I also get letters from Grandma and Oma, Mom and Grandpa and Mer and Terry and Laura and I'm not worthy of them because I'm so lazy and busy to write back.  I love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
Love,
Colton

Monday, September 10, 2012

Running on empty.....09/10/12

Hello!
Well I really do not have much time.   Today we are going to the Cheetah park and to the driving range I'm still really bad at golf but its way fun.  I cant wait to go with the Cockaynes.  If they can still swing with those prego belly's hahahaha.  Amy and Emily......and DAN hahaha just kidding!  This week has been great.  We had a lot of exchanges and that kept us really busy.  Its fun to go work with other elders in their areas. We are going to George and Knysna next week and that will be cool. it might mess with my emailing time but we will see how things go.  There are so many new elders coming this week, like 20!   All but one in our zone is training so we will have tons of exchanges!  We are excited though it will be fun!
Were doing well in our area.  The De wall family is progressing really well.  We love going there.  Also Alan came to church!  He is a student from Zimbabwe that we teach and he is really cool.  He is friends with Luthando who is in the ward so he has an awesome fellowshipper!   I forgot my planner and I forgot what I was going to write about!  Dang!  Oh well. 
Well I am doing awesome, our third companion Elder Andriamenentena will be here on Wednesday and we will be three until the 4th of October when Elder Cowey leaves.  Sad day, but hey its all good.  The weather is starting to change and its an awesome place to be in the spring, summer time.  Right on the coast!  OH DUH Carey and Karen in Bellville were baptized on Sunday!  I was so excited to hear.  I cant wait to see them again!  Anyways I hope all is well.  I love ya, thanks for everything.  Sorry this is short I will have a better one next week!
 
Love ya,
Colton

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

. . . . . . . . . 09/03/2012

Hello All,
WOW what a week, we have been so busy all week.  We had Elder Carl B. Cook of the seventy come down to Port Elizabeth and it was great.  We had an awesome zone conference with him and the Woods.  It was all about true conversion to the Gospel.  It was a really good conference and we learned a lot.  It was sad because it was my last zone conference!  Next one will be a zone training.  So at your last zone meeting you bear your final testimony.  This was Elder Cowey's last one because he leaves in the middle of next transfer.  So he bore his testimony and also some other elders who are leaving and Elder and Sister Taylor.  It was fetching sad.  I hate change!  I'm glad I still have a while before that!  Or at least a few weeks. 
We are teaching an awesome girl who is dating a return missionary in the ward.  She is brought up Methodist but explains that she feels different when she comes to church with us and she loves it.  She says she has leaned a lot.  We taught her the other day at Brother and Ssister Parker's house.  They are the BEST!!!!!! and actually its now President Parker he was called to the stake presidency.  Anyways it was an awesome lesson and Sister Parker who was also raised Methodist bore powerful testimony!  I think it really helped he.  Also yesterday at stake conference we rushed up to the stand after and introduced her to Sister Wood (mission presidents wife), she is the best and was baptized the same age as our investigator.  They talked for a good 20 min and it was really good.  So we will see her on Friday again at the Parker's. 
We are also teaching an awesome family.  Its the one I told you about.  They are doing so well and they are reading the Book of Mormon.   Last night we taught a great lesson on prayer and so after the lesson we knelt down and the father offered an awesome prayer!  He plead with God to tell him if what we were saying was true.  After he just said I felt so peaceful.   I just felt like he was listening!!!!   It was so cool. they are pretty happy clappy so getting them to pray with out saying, "YES LORD or THANK YOU JESUS"  was quite the task.  Even though it seems so fun, I have had to stop my self from joining them hahahahaha if I didn't know that this WAS TRUE I would so be happy clappy hahahaha anyways they are doing great! 
We are also teaching a cool catholic.  I just had to mention that one for Oma :)!
I will tell you about the other guy next week he is doing great though and reading the Book of Mormon.  He is a super genius and says he tried to prove the Book of Mormon wrong but couldn't, so now we are teaching him and its going awesome!  So I will tell you about him next week.
We had stake conference this week with Elder Cook he called a new stake presidency.  He called the First Black stake president in the mission!  Cool ey?   I saw some friends from Kwano, do you remember those two girls we fasted with a long time ago so their parents would let them get baptized.  Well, I saw them at the conference and they are strong baptized members!!!!!!  Its good to see that!
Well,  I'm doing great you can tell summer is coming its been pretty warm.  Except today it is cloudy and raining!  Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY LYDIA< JENN< JODI< DEANN< and BROOKE> I think that is everyone?   PS- that is honestly off the top of my head so if I forgot someone I'm really sorry. 
I love you all, have a good week.
 
Love,
Colton

Monday, August 27, 2012

Long Lost Miracle!!! 08/27/12


Hello Everyone,
At the beginning of 2011 I was serving in Knysna with Elder Nzuki.  I remember one of my last days in Knysna.  I had already received the call that I was going to George.  On one of my last days we were doing some finding.  I remember Elder Nzuki asked me, "where do you feel we should go finding?"   So, I remember thinking and driving to a certain area in the Knysna township.  I parked the car and we got out and began tracting.  We didn't have any immediate success until we saw a lady siting under a tree in the shade.  She was holding a really new baby.  We began talking to her and then she invited us in her home. Her name was Yoliswa.  We asked if we could share a message with her and she said, "yes" and so we opened with a prayer and taught what I remember to be a pretty good lesson.  We set a return appointment that would happen only after I left Knysna.
This week I went on exchanges in Knysna with Elder Andriamenentena.  He was taking me around and then told me we could go visit a sister who was in the relief society presidency.  So we pulled up to the house and I recognized it as the same house as Yoliswa.  Elder Andriamenentena then told me how she and her family were baptized and they are powerful members!  So, we walked in and I saw Yoliswa and her two kids.  She shook my had and looked at my tag and said hello......then she paused and yelled, "ELDER BALMFORTH", I thought I would never see you again!  She just was so happy and said thank you.  She said that day we came she never thought that she would be this far, this close to her heavenly father and this happy.  Its not like it was anything I did.  I met the woman once.  It was so awesome to see how much the gospel and heavenly father has helped this awesome family!
So my exchanges in George and Knysna were awesome!  I was able to see a lot of great people that I love! The drive was really tiring but it was fun.  Sister Botha and Carey and Shaun from Bellville came all the way to George to visit me!  Man, they are the best!  It was awesome to have lunch with them!  So we got back on Friday night.  This week is going to be another really busy one!  We have Zone Conference with Elder Carl B. Cook of the seventy.  So we are organizing that, it will be on Friday.  George and Knysna are coming up the day before.  Oh on our way to George we get a call that An Elder is in the hospital ready to have his appendix out.  So he had it out while we were there.  So it was good that we were going down he is doing well and living it up with the senior couple haha. 
Oh and last week we were looking for some members and when we found the address we met a different family who had just moved in.  So we asked if we could come back on Sunday.  So last night we went there and met the coolest family.  A mom and a dad and three kids.  It was a way spiritual lesson where they told us about alot of challenges they were facing and the father said he was always so confused about why there are so many churches.  He also said he was praying for someone to come and help strengthen his family!!!!!!!!!!  It was so cool!  So its been a great week with lots of miracle's.  I love missionary work! I love you all thanks for everything.
 
Love,
Colton



Elder Balmforth and Elder Cowey with the elder who just got his appendix out.

The tree where Elder Balmforthand Elder Nzuki first found Yoliswa in Knysna.

Elder Balmforth and Yoliswa and two of her children.

Elder Balmforth in the middle of a bunch of signs pointing to different churches.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Great Week in PE 08/20/12

Well its been a great week.  Things are definitely looking up in PE!  We found a lot of new people which was really needed because there was NO one!  So we focused on referrals and we got seven!  That's pretty good here!  So we have had some awesome first lessons.  We have also been teaching the Sanadyo Family. They are recent converts and there doing great.  We taught a lot about the priesthood.  We committed Brother Sanadyo to pass the sacrament.  He was so nervous but understood the importance of magnifying his calling and exercising the priesthood.  It was a really cool experience to see him pass the sacrament on Sunday.  He did awesome. T hose are some of the best moments in missionary work!
We also went to Knysna for a partial Zone meeting.  George elders met us there and it was a great meeting. We have really been focusing on obedience and how we all need to be obedient.  I really don't get how its so hard I mean, yeah I'm not perfect but there are reasons were obedient and its not because we don't want to get caught it should be out of love.  A love for God and the Savior.  Again I'm really not perfect or anything close to it, but that is what has helped me to be better.  Within the next 2 months we will have over 40 new missionaries and they will pretty much follow what ever we do (except I won't be here) but the training has helped every one step it up.  Going to Knysna was a blast its about a 3.5 hour drive and George is 4.5 hours. We are going to their District meetings and having exchanges down there this week.
This week we also had a cool service project.  We planted three good size gardens at an orphanage that will help them become more self reliant.  It was fun and the whole PE ward was in on it.  We also committed a girl named Lithi to baptism.  So now we have one person haha.  But its all good.  We will find more and help them progress. 
We are all getting excited for the next Zone conference,  Elder Carl B. Cook will be coming so it should be good.  Our stake is also getting a new stake president and maybe some boundary changes so every one is speculating about that.  We live in a flat behind some awesome members named the Fourie family.  They fed us yesterday and it was really good.  Sister Fouries' cake is awesome it was granadilla cake!  I will miss all the fruits and vegetables here.  Anyways I'm doing great and loving it here in PE.  Elder Cowey is fetchin awesome and were having a blast and working hard.  I hope every one is doing well.  OH, I have been bad at birthdays_ so Happy Birthday to, Marianne, Janet, Mer, and next week Lydia and Jen!  I hope I didn't forget anyone.  I love you all, have a good week.
 
Love,
Colton

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Great Week at Zone Conference 08/13/2012

WOW, what a week!  On Monday we flew to Cape Town for Zone Leader Council and it was a ton of fun and the trainings were really good.  Most the missionaries are really old on mission time so we talked a lot about example because there are over 40 new elders coming within 12 weeks to replace us.  It was a nice couple of days.  We came home on Wednesday evening.  Elder Acton left this morning and so now its just me and good old Elder Cowey.  We are so excited to work!  There is a lot of work to do.  We need to find more people to teach and really want to work with the inactive members.  We have a lot of ideas to work with the Ward and  are working with the ward mission leader to put together a fire side.  So there is a lot to do!
Yesterday we went on exchanges with Elder Byers, so all three of us from the same transfer.  It was a good day.  Then the Vansickles fed us!!!!  It was awesome.  Imported turkey and stuffing because they don't have either of that here.  Haha it was sooooo nice and the Taylor's were also there.  They go home at the end of September!  They were brand new when I came out!   Time seriously flies.
We have a recent convert family named the Sanadyoes.  Half our area is township and the other town.  We work mostly in town though.  Anyways this family is really cool.  We have been teaching them some great lessons and excited to set some goals for them to go to the temple.
We are also working with a family named the Clarke's, they have not been active for 26ish years and they are coming back and the change you see in them is awesome!  Sister Clarke just said "it felt good to be back".  She made us some bed socks as well and they are real warm haha.  It's been cold at night but pretty warm during the day.  Summer is coming.
Well my letter next week should and will be better.  I hope everything at home is going good.  Its awesome the La Vitas are at my house.  I hope they are enjoying it.  I am glad Grandma is doing well.  I love all of you and thanks for all you do.
 
Love,
Colton

Monday, July 30, 2012

On the road...........AGAIN! 07/30/12

Hello All,
Well I guess I'm leaving again haha I don't know whats up with this.  President Wood called and apologetically told me that I was leaving again, but you can tell he really does feel bad because I'm going to an awesome area with what will probably be my 2nd favorite comp or equal to the 1st?  I will be with Elder Cowey from England!  We are in the same transfer.  We are both way excited.  Plus I will get to travel to George and Knysna for exchanges and visit people there, so that's a huge bonus!
It will be way sad to leave Bellville, but after all the moves I'm getting used to great friends going home and me leaving awesome areas.  Its not fun but its getting easier.  I will for sure miss our awesome investigators but they are progressing so well and probably will be baptized before the end of August!  So, Tuesday will be a rough day but Wednesday will be better!
We taught this awesome family that we have been teaching and the daughter had a concern about prayer. She was uncomfortable praying because she felt a bad feeling when she prayed?
So we decided to go with the ward mission leader and offer a prayer to invite the spirit.  Sometimes also know as dedicating a home.  I have not felt the spirit so strong in a long time.  I mean obviously I feel the spirit every day but not that strong it was a powerful experience!
We are also doing well with our other investigators and they were all at church yesterday so that's cool.  It sucks saying goodbye to them but its all good.
Well I know this is way short but my next one will be longer!  I'm so thankful for all the blessings that I have. Its nice to look back and see everything I have been given.  I hated moving so much and honestly its still not the best but its something I have really never experienced my whole life.  I mean same schools, same house same everything, no deaths, basically my whole life and now I have NO stability what so ever.  I have moved every six weeks for the past six months and its crazy.  I always figured I was doing something wrong or whatever but president said, no I was good haha.  I still wonder?  So its really mixed emotions.  I'm getting used to change but I still don't like it.  I'm willing to go wherever and do whatever I need too.
Thank you everyone for your letters and emails. I really appreciate it!
Love ya,
Colton

Thursday, July 26, 2012














07/23/2012

Hello All,
AHHHHHH my camera is dead and I left the charger in Grahamstown, dang it!!!!  Oh well I'll make a plan! Well its been a good week, nothing out of the ordinary except I was really rushing to get home the other night (I won't say why....okay I will I had to pee) and I ran through a very short yellow light that turned red and here in SA they don't use cops much they only have cameras that flash really bright lights and yes I got flashed but it was so cool!  With the red and yellow and green lights and then FLASH the whole street lit up it was cool but I dread getting the dang fine!!!!  Oh well!  It for some reason has been an incredibly long week. We have had great lessons with our investigators and things are going really well!  We so far will have two baptisms on September 2nd.  They are both progressing so fast that I am sure it will be before that!  It is so weird to teach here because if the people are really interested they will google more about the lesson. Like the other day we were teaching my favorite investigator and we asked about the chapter we left her and she explained it so perfectly!  So I had a grin on my face and she said wait is that wrong....and I said, no no, no that is awesome.  Its the best description I have heard!  She paused and said "OKAY OKAY I GOOGLED IT!!!!!!" hahahaha  It was so funny she acted like it was bad.  She promised she read it then googles it then read it two more times hahahaha it was so funny!
So I will still not admit that I'm getting tired but physically for some reason I feel exhausted!!!!  So, I have been praying a LOT!  More then usual and asking for help.  The coolest miracle happened.  I have specifically been asking for people to teach who are prepared.  On Wednesday I got a call from some Joburg missionaries and they said that their best investigator is moving to Bellville!  I was so happy!  It wasn't until later that I realized that it was a huge answer to my prayers!  AGAIN, I see that He is there and He does listen.
So I have been getting some great letters.  All I can say is thank you.  It means a lot.  I am trying to be good about writing back but its hard enough to get home late and write in the area book and then my journal (which is not the best record but I'm really trying!)  So, I will try but I can't promise but I do want you all to know that every letter is a huge blessing and I am so thankful!  I love you all have a great week.

Love,
Colton

PS...We are going to the Lion Park today for P-day, it will be awesome.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

07/16/2012


Hello everyone.  Well it’s been a crazy week.  I think today we are going bowling!  I can’t wait! It’s still pretty cold here and should warm up in a month or so.  I think I told you all about the homeless man that they found at MES.  He passed away in the hospital  a couple days later.  The doctors said he had cancer and was not healthy.  At least he died in a warm bed and not the streets.  We still volunteer at MES and it’s been a lot of fun.  We are teaching some great people.  We are teaching one of the members oldest daughter.  She is awesome.  She is married and has no kids.  She is Calee’s age.  We get along great!   So she set a goal to be baptized on the second of September!  I was so happy for her.  Her mom has been a member her whole life and she has grown up coming to church here and there but not a lot.  Now this will be the last child in the family to be a member.  They sort of remind me of my family.  They have a lot of fun and there just way cool!  We are also teaching a cool lady who has two little boys she is a single mom and she is doing really well.  She also has a baptismal date for September second. Then her sons will be raised in the church and bam two more missionaries hahaha.  We also watched the restoration video with the other family we are teaching.  They fed us which is always a bonus.  I think this could be a good last area because people feed us a lot so I’m gaining weight haha.  As we watched the video the mom said she felt chills when it showed God the Father and Jesus Christ coming to Joseph Smith and restoring the gospel through a prophet.  I felt the chills too.  She said she just felt good.  We explained with the bible that she was feeling the spirit.  I love teaching about the restoration of the gospel because it’s the missing piece.  It’s like when you lost something and then found it.....you feel happy.  Sometimes you don’t even know that it was gone.
We also had flat inspections and we live in a pretty nasty flat haha, but we cleaned it and when Sister Oldham came she whispered to me " I told Elder Oldham that this flat would probably be transformed because Elder Balmforth was here" hahaha and she said it was.  She even took pictures.   We scrubbed the walls!!!!    Haha, I’ m not bragging for myself, I’m bragging for my momma, haha she made us wipe off the crown molding and everything haha, so I was taught well!   Thank you mom!  Anyway, sorry this email is a little short.  I love you all and thanks for everything!
Love,
Colton

Monday, July 9, 2012

"I will join you if you say I can have seven wives in the next life." 07/09/12

I FORGOT MY FETCHING PLANNER!  It has everything I wanted to write because I know my emails have not been the best!  So, just know I really try!  Before I forget the two girls in Kwano< Mtikazi and Sikilele, who couldn't get baptized because of their mom.....yeah they got baptized!!!!   I was so excited they are so powerful!  AND, I just saw Malcom Fredrick's who is Tanya Fredrick's husband.  I taught and baptized Tanya in Khayelitsha.  We went through a ton with her!  He said she is doing well.  I just saw him now in the email shop!  Its good to see people!  So, we just went on a hike with the Krugers.  We hiked Skeleton Gorge.  It was the best hike I have ever been on!  I did really well too because I'm still in pretty good shape from the bike!  It was raining the whole time and there were waterfalls and it was a blast, we were soaking wet and we froze!  It was way fun!  It is straight up almost the whole way.  There are ladders and ropes and it was so fun.  When I was hiking today I really felt grandpa, its so weird how that just randomly happens some times.  It hardly ever does to me but when it does I'm glad I take the time to remember him. Things in Bellville are really taking off.  Its going well.   We have one white guy we are teaching and he is way funny.  We were teaching the plan of salvation and before we started he said "I'll join if you say I can have 7 wives in the next life"...................ummm too deep we will talk later hahahaha.  Hahaha, but really he just seems so prepared, he agrees with all the doctrine and said that is what he pictured it all to be.  He is a cool guy.  Then we just started teaching a new lady with two small kids, she is also incredibly prepared!  She went to the church when she was way young and remembers primary.  She now wants her kids to grow up having a relationship with God and says she feels drawn to the church.  She is awesome.  Her oldest little boy is an adopted black baby.  He's way cool. She is white. (not that color matters its just weird to work with white people).  Then we are teaching another white family and they are awesome.  She is recently divorced and her kids have been through a lot.  They really need the gospel and its helping them so much.  Its cool to see the spirit work and begin to change a family.  Its going slow but we can see it.
So on the fourth of July I had exchanges with Elder Staheli.  It was possibly the funnest exchange ever!  We had appointments and it was the 4th of JULY!!  So we had fun.  We were invited to Braai at the Botha's, they are awesome!!!!  We had a ton of fun.  Brooke, I made them deep fried Oreos....don't be jealous.  We had a good day and Carey, who is Sister Botha's oldest daughter bought sparklers.  We forgot to light them but we probably will this week!
We also eat at the Kruger's house every Sunday and that is a lot of fun.  They have a pool table so before dinner we played a quick game and it made me miss Oma haha.  She was the only one I'v ever played pool with and it was fun.  So, Oma beware I'm just getting warmed up!
I have been getting letters, I got one from grandma as usual and it was awesome and two from Marilyn Hancock and Oma and mom.  Thank you all for writing!  I am not the best at writing back but I will try.  I know you all deserve it!
Well its obviously been a good week.  I miss and love you all and hope you have a good week. Oh yeah,......HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY AUNT LEZLEE AND ON WEDNESDAY DAD AND ANNIVERSARY EMILY AND TYLER (I remember that one because it was the same day I got my mission call two years ago).  Wow!

Love ya!
Colton

Monday, July 2, 2012

Count Your Many Blessings 07/02/2012

HELLO,
I know my emails have been bad lately so this will be better.  Its been an awesome week I totally forgot it was T-Ville Dayzz but thats okay because the 4th is my favorite holiday and I freaking miss it!  I'm going on exchanges with Elder Staheli on the 4th so we are bound to have a blast.  The other day Sister Botha called, the Botha's are members and they are awesome!  Anyways she called and said "Isn't this week like an American Holiday?  And I said yes?  She said, "well do you want to do something?" hahaha and I said, YES!!!!"   So weare having a Brii!  I'm stoked!  It will be fun.
Bellville is awesome it has awesome members the work is harder and different but a lot of fun.  For the first time in my mission I have progressing white investigators!  Wierd, but they are cool!  We are teaching an awsome family.  She is a single mom with two kids and the gospel is for sure needed in that family.  They are the best and they have come to church two weeks in a row!  We are also teaching a guy named Shaqas. (its an africans name), its saved in my GPS, imagine what my GPS sounds like "arriving at Shaqas) haha potty mouth not good!
So to answer some question that I have been getting, yes I do have a car its a white Chevy Aveo.  Haha I am sure you all love the details.  I really miss my bike!!!!  I am not in as good of shape now haha, I would love to go back!  Its cold here but not as bad as Grahamstown. Yes we do get fed more, we get fed every Sunday night by the Kruger family!  They are an awesome family.
President Wood encouraged us to look for more service opportunities, so we found this place called MES.   I can't remember what it stands for but its a place that helps the homeless find jobs and homes and become self reliant.  They are looking for something for us to do but untill then we are working in the kitchen where we serve food to the homeless every Tuesday and Wednesday.  Its so much fun and has really made me realize how blessed we truley are.  I will feel so guilty going home to what I have.  Some of these people have nothing!  It kills me, I wish I could just give everything I have but then they would be serving food to me.  Oh every Saturday we go to a center for the elderly and the disabled, we have three awesome members there.  Tanya and Lizett, who are best friends and then Sister Bossman.  I love going there its just in my comfort zone.  They have a special spirit about them and really teach me a TON!
I am doing awesome.  I love Bellville and will enjoy my time here.  It could be my last area.  My companion is cool he loves to tease so it just reminds me of living at home with dad haha.
Well, I can't tell if this is long or short but its all I got.  I love you so much and I am so thankful for all of you and for all that I have!

Love,
Colton

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

06/25/2012

Okay this is the mass email.  Its going to be short.  I have had a hectic morning and way hectic week!
Monday they call and say I'm staying in Gtown. 
Tuesday they call again and say pack your bags you have a flight to Cape Town.  So I have about 12 hours notice and 8 of those hours were sleeping.  Yeah, I couldn't say good bye to hardly any one.  Its so hard to leave, that was my favorite area and I was way depressed, but I'm doing better now.  I'm in Bellville and its an awesome area.  It is HUGE and its only white people.  I have never really taught whites.  We had four investigators at church on Sunday and that was awesome.
My companion is from Uganda and he is awesome!  We are having a lot of fun!  My GPS is back in use and it helps sooooo much because we are always lost.  And, no Dad, I did not move because I am a trouble maker just to clear that up.  Well I had a lot to do this week on my emails so I emailed NO one.  I'm so sorry.  Next week will be better.  I love you all so much and my next email will be detailed I swear! Oh, and happy B day Michele!!!!!!
 
Love you all!
Colton

Monday, June 18, 2012

WHAT A WEEK! 06/18/12

Hello All,
Its been a fun week. I  went to East London for leadership training.  It was awesome!  Then we had exchanges with the zone leaders.  I went with Elder Naylor who was recently dear Johned. Poor guy!  It was a fun exchange.  Then on Saturday we had a movie night with the branch and they were supposed to bring friends.  We watched the movie Courageous and it was awesome.  It reminded me of my dad and how awesome he is!  HAPPY FATHERS DAY dad and grandpa and everyone else!  We celebrated with Eelder Nye haha.  So a lot of funny things have happened this week.  We went to Sunday school with the 12 year olds and Sister Avewe was teaching about patriarchal blessings.  Yeah.....so Luntu asks. "so, I like Lil Wayne......will my blessing say that I like Lil Wayne"! hahahaha, I laughed so hard it was so funny!!!  We also had some awesome first lessons one was with a man named Honey....yes that's right.  He explained some challenges in his life and we just taught about the gospel its so awesome how if we live the gospel our challenges and temptations and addictions can be easier.  The gospel really blesses and comforts.  Okay I just really am not in the big email mood and I don't have a lot to say.  I'm really sorry I know this is so lame hahah.  I got pictures from Calee and I show them off to every one haha.  I love you, thank you for all that you do!  Sorry this sucks, next week will be better!  I promise so don't complain.  Its not like I get that many letters any ways hahah, just kidding.    Love ya!  Have a good week everyone.

Love,
Colton

Monday, June 11, 2012

Warthog Anyone?


Its been an awesome week!  Zone conference was great.  I love the strong spirit I feel there.  Its about a two hour drive and its nice to get out of town but I'm sick of traveling now haha.  It was an awesome training by the Woods and their assistants.  It was cool.  Of course we saw baboons and other monkeys. But its normal now haha
We also went to Sister Thomas' farm.  She is a member with a farm about an hour away.  Her husband is not a member.  He is an awesome guy.  They fed us breakfast and lunch and we did service.  We built some fences.  It reminded me of Escalante and made me miss Oma and Grandpa.  It was fun.  For lunch we had wart hog meat.  It was not my first time, it's not my favorite, but it's not too bad.  He shoots them himself.  We saw a bunch of wart hogs on the way home.  We were looking for the hippos in the river but I think it was too cold.  This week we have been trying to help the people we have found to progress.  Some are on their way, some have fallen through.  At the end of this week all the students from the university will leave, which is a portion of our teaching pool, but we will find more.  The Grahamstown Festival is coming up and we are planning some finding activities there.  Like a booth or choir or something.  Its basically an arts festival and its huge in South Africa.  We have also been brainstorming some community service activities with the ward mission leader and we should have some good things come from that very soon.  Maybe like at a senior center or library.
We taught Nandi yesterday and it was an awesome lesson.  We followed up with her reading.  We left 1 Nephi 8, which talked about holding on to the iron rod and staying on the path towards eternal life (enduring this life).  It also shows in the vision how there is a large beautiful building with people partying.  Nandi called it a "crib" hahah.  They were having a life full of worldly things but then the building collapsed crushing all who were in it.  We then watched the Book of Mormon cartoon of that chapter with her.  Her understanding of the chapter was a lot more clear.  She said "I would rather die in beautiful building then go to a tree......okay, no I don't want to die" so then we said "EXACTLY you GOT IT!  You don't want to die, you want eternal life and if you endure this life then you can have an even more beautiful mansion with all that makes you happy.  She felt the spirit and understood obedience.  We then asked if her desire to be obedient was stronger.  She said, "yes".  It was awesome.  Her friend who is a strong member shared that in this life we make so many close friends and we love them and she said that she can see the bigger picture.  She expressed love and said she wanted Nandi to have eternal happiness not temporal happiness.  It was a spiritual and even emotional lesson for them.  Aviewe (Nandi's friend) understands the gospel of Jesus Christ.  She understands our purpose in this life.  Our purpose is to prepare to meet God.  The world has changed but God doesn't.  We are not supposed to turn to the things of the world for happiness.  True happiness is found by living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Its been very cold in G town!  Freezing and rainy.  Today its cold but clear.  We are going to see some elephants today for 350R (50$)ish.   Ii could ride one, but I will wait for my parents to come.  Anyways I got NO letters this week.  The post is so unpredictable.  I sent a bunch off today.  I got some tapes a while ago and I don't trust the post here to take a tape so I have just sent letters.  Sorry, hopefully I will send a tape soon.  Anyways, love you all  and I hope you have good week!


Love,
Colton

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not Just Because . . . . . . . 06/05/12

Hello Everyone,
Its been a really sweet week.  We have been working really hard following up on all the new investigators and teaching them about the restoration.  The spirit is always strong when we testify of the restoration.  I think that is probably one of the highlights of my week.
So despite the constant run from dogs, I am loving Grahamstown.  But really I like the dogs.  Part of our area is town ship and we ride up there usually once a day.  Every time we turn a certain corner these dogs always chase us and bite at our ankles.  Well, I have made a game out of it to race them and hit them if I have to.  So if they don't come I call them to come and then peddle my little chicken legs off.  Its so funny I love it.  I don't think my companion is too big of a fan but I love it.  I am definitely going to buy a bike when I get home.  Its way good exercise and a lot of fun.  I mean I worked like 3 min away from home, I should have walked or ridden a bike hahaha, I was so lazy.  So the other day after a particularly busy dog race we got to Evelyn's house.  She is a recent convert, she was baptized by Elder Leach...so you can imagine all the clean up I have to do...hahahah JUST KIDDING MATT!  She is powerful.  So we went in and sat down.  I started to make small talk by saying the dogs are crazy today?  She said  "Its the weekend Elder" and so I sarcastically said " OHH right the dogs...there drunk" and she laughed and said "no they know that its the weekend and everyone is getting drunk so there more defensive on the weekends" hahahahahaha shes great!
We also celebrated Sister Nye's birthday.  I attempted to make "better then ANYTHING" cake and it was different but good.  We called them and said Elder Alexander fell off of his bike and hurt his leg.  So they came to the chapel.  She walked in and said something like.  Well what happened, and we all jumped out, "SURPRISE" haha it was lame but fun.
This week we taught an investigator about obedience.  As I prepared for the lesson I took the time to think of why we have commandments.  Its obvious really.  God is our father he loves us.  Why do our parents give us rules, well to exercise unrighteous dominion of course hahahahahahaha just kidding mom and dad.  Its because they love us.  They see the bigger picture and God does not only see the bigger picture he sees the WHOLE picture.  Despite what we may feel at times he does love us.  We cannot remember our life with him before this life but if we could I know we would remember his love.  He has shown it to us here in this life some just mistake it for scientific excuses or say its just because.  Its not just because!!  GOD LOVES US so much!  Way more then we will ever know.  So he has given us commandments so we can safely return to him.  Like our earthly parents he can see the consequences of our actions and know we must have faith and choose to follow him.  President Monson said "we should stand in holy places and be not moved by the winds of change".  The world is changing but the commands of god don't and neither should we.  We are promised to have his spirit always if we are obedient and to receive eternal life!  I am soooooo thankful for that promise.
Well I'll stop now but I just thought it was a really cool lesson and it opened my eyes a lot.  Its been an awesome week and with Katee going home I am more and more thankful that I am here and I enjoy it more every day.
I love you all and Oma and Mer thanks for the letters!  Happy B day Steph and Hope and Amy!
I love you all!

Love,
Colton

Monday, May 28, 2012

BANANA!!!!!!!!! 05/28/12

Hello Everyone,
Yesterday we went to the army base that is in our area but its pretty far so the other elders took us in the car and to save kilometers on the car, they just joined us.  The other elders are Elder Mikaela from Kenya and Elder Mahavira from Zimbabwe.  They are awesome!  So we go to the army base to visit Revendo, a young kid who is a member.  His dad who is also a member is in the army and away till September.  So we visit him with the young men's president (who is younger then me haha) and work with him on his duty to god award.  When we were introducing ourselves I introduced Elder Mahavira and said he is a new elder and doesn't speak English yet.  I was obviously just kidding but he believed and so we played it off.  Elder Mahavira prayed in shona and they loved it!  So when we were teaching if anyone asked him anything all he would say was BA-NAN-A!!!!! hahahaha, maybe its not that funny to you but these young kids were laughing so hard and so was I.  Then at the end he just started speaking perfect English and it made the youngest kid cry he was so scared of him!  Haha it was funny!
But this week has probably been the best week I have ever had my whole mission!  I have never had to work so incredibly hard for success.  In the township it has always just seem to come, but here in town it doesn't just come you have to find all the work and its not easy.  Most of my mission I just thought God didn't think I could find my own work and that really bothered me!  Last weekend we knew we really needed to find way more people to teach!  So we prayed a LOT and worked really hard on Tuesday we spent for ever at the hospital trying to get our names on a clergy list so we could go and speak to people who have a death or serious illness in the family.  That was not an easy task.  Then we went to other shelters and support groups where the gospel would bring a lot of light into these lives.  Then we followed up on some formers.  It was very slow at first but I have never seen blessings come so quick!  This week we found NINE NEW PEOPLE to teach!!!  NINE they are all pretty cool too.
We were riding up the huge hill when we saw this mom carrying a huge bag on her head and one in her arms so we carried them home for her and met her family.  She was so grateful and she had us teach her whole family!  It was an awesome lesson!  We also had three people visit church and so that was cool.
This week we focused on one of the sisters we are teaching at the university she struggles to live the word of wisdom and so we have been helping her with that.  The other day we taught a lesson on the atonement.  We taught that he died for US!  We showed a dvd on the atonement and she said she just didn't realize what sin was doing and how we have the great gift of being able to repent and be made clean because of the atonement.  It was an awesome spiritual lesson!
We also took some time to kill roaches!  I think I killed a thousand!!!!!   I took video and pictures.  We went through three cans of bug spray!  They had nests up in the back of our fridge.  I think the ones that survived got cancer or something because they are still just dropping dead in random places. hahaha
I have thought a lot about Katee and hope she is doing good.  I can't imagine how hard it must be.  I struggled leaving home but now I feel like this is home and the thought of leaving freaks me out a little.  So I bet its not easy!  Anyways, thanks for everything I love you all, have great week!

Colton

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why Don't You Believe? 05/21/12

Well its been an awesome week!  On Tuesday we got to take a sweet road trip to PE and watch the Young Ambassadors concert from BYU!   It was awesome to do something normal hahaha.  Then we slept in PE, I stayed with Elder Cowley and that was a lot of fun.  Then in the morning the windshield of our car was off! hahaha not completely off but loose and so we drove all around PE trying to get it fixed and the guy said that if we would have gone to fast the pressure would have shattered or lifted it off.  So good thing we prayed before we left and noticed it was loose. A real nice guy fixed it for us.
Then we came home and had a normal week.  A lot of our appointments cancelled and that was no fun but we worked a lot with members and I even went tracting, which I have not done since I was in Mobray haha I think?  I hate rejection so I will do anything before it gets to that as long as its productive.  We went and we were rejected hahaha but it was really sad when a guy nicely answered the door and said I'm not interested simply because I'm atheist!   That killed me!  I just don't know how anyone can think there is no god.  Are you that alone?  Why don't you believe in Jesus Christ?  Do you know that means you have no Savior???  Man, it depressed me for the whole day but I realized he will have another chance and hopefully all will be well!
Anyways our flat is really nice but has a really bad roach problem.  They are everywhere hahah.  We kill at least 20 right when we walk in the door at night.  The weather has been awesome!  Its so cold!  I love the cold.  I doubt any of you would think its cold but we do!  Especially when you go down the huge hills fast on the bikes yo I freeze!
This week we have put our focus on asking inspired questions, I think I talked about that a while a go.  It has been really nice to teach by the spirit its awesome to ask what to say and they you just talk!  The spirit is awesome!
We taught a cool lesson to Sister Evelyn.  She received the holy ghost on Sunday and before she did we wanted to teach a lesson on it.  The lesson was awesome and it really made me so grateful that we have that gift to guide and comfort us.
I cant believe Katee is almost home, that flew by!  Meeting the Leach's was awesome!  I also got letters!!! Thanks, Brooke, Liz, Ali, Maurie, and I think that's all.  I really appreciate it.  Also a  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....Cameron, Clara, Terry, Amanda, and Sandee!
Thanks for everything.
 
Love,
Colton

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's Like Riding a Bike........my foot. 05/14/12

Well what a week!  I'm here in Grahams town and its pretty sweet!  Its just a really old town with lots of history.  There is a town ship near by but the other elders work there.  I work in the town area and its a lot of fun!  One of the funnest parts is we are riding bikes!!! hahaha I have not ridden a bike in probably five years and my butt hurts so bad!!!!  And my thighs but I guess its a good way to beef up!!  It is sorely needed!!!  But riding the bikes have been a lot of fun!  Its nice and cold here too!
I'm excited for this week because the BYU Young Ambassadors are touring South Africa and President Wood is letting us go!!!!  It will be pretty cool!  So we get to drive to PE for that!  It will be good to see other missionaries as well!
Its really just been a crazy week with not a lot of info!  The branch is really small.  We meet in a house and Elder Nye (Senior couple) is the branch President.  A huge part of my area is a large university so that's pretty cool! we teach a few students.  We have awesome fellow shippers as well.  They come with us everyday all day!  So that is awesome!  OH I will get to see the Leaches tomorrow!!!!!!  I'm really excited about that!  It was fun to skype Katee yesterday she looks really good and sounds way different!  maybe its because I haven't herd her voice in forever!
This weeks district meeting was on receiving Revelation through the Book of Mormon!  It was really good to study and the cool part is that we got to practice what we learned.  That same day we went to our last appointment and our investigator didn't read the Book of Mormon so we read 2 Nephi 33 with her where Nephi bears his testimony that the record is true. I t really touched her and she came to church with her family!  It was great.  Jeffery R Holland said that no bad man could write such a book and no good man would write it unless it was true!  I have thought about that a lot and I know that it is true!  If that's true then Joseph smith WAS a prophet and the church is TRUE!  Its the best evidence!
Well its been a great week!  I am so happy I got to talk to the fam!   I hope your all doing well sorry this is so short!  Have a great week.

Love,
Colton

Monday, May 7, 2012

WHAT!!!!!!!!! 05/07/11

HAHAHA, so crazy week.  Elder Giles is doing AWESOME!  He is not letting it effect him!  So yeah this week we have been expecting transfer news.  It usually comes Sunday or Monday but president loves to keep us on our toes.  So, we figure of course if either of us go it will for sure be Elder Giles.  So its Friday morning and we are on our way to District meeting which is a good 30 min drive to Mdansane NU 13 chapel.  Give or take, and on the way our phone rings and the number was not saved so I answer "hello this is Elder Balmforth" "hi Elder Balmforth, its President Wood how are you".   I had been having a real bad head ache the whole night before and I could feel it turning into a migraine so I did what I had to and took the strong stuff (that I never take).  Its the only thing that can sort of prevent a migraine.  So long story short I was really "loopy" and I have NO filter on my mouth when I take these.  So, I reply "I'm fine president how are you" he says "I'm fine, Elder Balmforth I need to talk to you....your leaving".  So I reply by yelling "WHAT!!!!!!!" hahahahahaha he was silent for a minute and then laughed.  I didn't remember perfectly, so after a few hours I realized how weird I was and called Sister Wood to tell her the story.  She just laughed and said its funny.  Oh man mission is so crazy!!!!  So yeah, after six weeks in Mdansane I am leaving!  Crazy, but president says I'm needed in Grahamstown.  It is a small mission branch sort of like Knysna and George but smaller.  The Branch President is a senior missionary named Elder Nye.  Him and his wife came when I was serving in the office.  I hear they are great!!!!  So mom I bet I can  skype for a little on Sunday? Not to sure yet.  I am taking Elder Leaches spot sort of.  I will be in his biking (not motorcycles) :( area. it is a town area which is a nice way of saying its not a town ship.  I haven't taught wealthy and or white people in a LONG time, so this will be interesting but really fun.  Elder Leach says its one of his favorite areas!
In church on Sunday the Bishop stood up and said we will now sing families can be together forever and after we sing everyone needs to go sit with their families. (they don't usually sit by families here!!!!!!) So needless to say that was depressing.  I even looked around to see if by some chance this was a joke.  Maybe they would be here? hahahaha funny!
We had a baptism on Sunday and it was awesome.  We worked really hard with Yonela.  She has come a long way and is really excited about her baptism.  I wish I could be here to see the rest of them!!!
We taught an awesome lesson to an investigator named Thandekazi!  We taught about prayer.  I love the fact that prayer is just talking to God.  I think people take it as some poem you have to recite to him, but its not.  He is there to be thanked, he is there to talk to and ask for help.  I shared the experience when I finally knew someone was listening.  I was in the MTC and obviously a little home sick.  I prayed A LOT but questioned if he heard. (I know stupid doubt) but its true.  I asked for some comfort to know that he heard me and that whole day was signs and comfort.  They had so many lessons on comfort and the Savior and home.  It was awesome!  I felt the spirit really strong as we testified that He is there and He DOES hear us.  I love prayer and know that I have a strong testimony of it.  I would be really lost with out it.  I know prayer is real and He Will listen!!!
I can't freaking believe Katee is 16 days away!!!!!  That's so weird but its good.  I am happy she will be home.  Well happy Mothers day soon and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JANELLE!!!  I hope you had a great day!
Love you all!
Colton

Monday, April 30, 2012

All To Familiar 04/30/12

HELLO!
Well what a week!  On Monday night President Wood called and talked to us.  He told us that Elder Giles Grandpa passed away......sound familiar? Y eah its been a rough week for him.  He was able to call home and that was good for him.  He was pretty close to his grandpa and his family is really close like our family.  I just feel really bad and know how he feels.  At times like this you just wish you could be home with your family to support them.  But the Lord and our Grandpa's would never want us anywhere else.  There both really proud and happy that were serving.  Elder Giles is awesome and he will do great!
I remember when my grandpa died my testimony of the plan of salvation just got so much stronger.  Its just awesome to know where we go and that we will be happy.  Please keep Elder Giles and his AWESOME family in your prayers.

Other then that is been a good week.  I remember when grandpa died it was a SLOW week actually a couple slow weeks.  We worked hard its just my thoughts were at home with my family.  I think Elder Zarbock wanted to KILL me haha.  But I know its been a long week for Elder Giles, but things are getting better.  We even have a baptism this Sunday.  Its one of our favorite investigators, Yonela. at least that's her English name.  She has worked really hard and is so ready for baptism.  She is really excited.  We are also still working with Dudu.  She is progressing FAST.  We taught a lesson on enduring to the end and she just said she knew that she could do it!  She said she is ready.  Enduring in this life is NOT easy but its not really meant to be.  Were are expected to return to our father strong and how could we do that if we didn't endure.  We would be weak.
When we were teaching Yonela yesterday we were in the middle of the lesson when a little boy Rins comes in and said, "JONGA" (look) and so we looked over and he was holding a little mouse by its tail.  We laughed and said get out hahaha.  I instantly thought of Oma!  When I was little I would ALWAYS hide mouse stuffed animals and try to scare her.  She would always scream and dramatically jump.  I thought she was serious but she was always just making me laugh.  Then I got older and bought some that were rubber that really looked like mice and I think I really got her hahahaha.
I'm sorry this is a short email.  Its been a long, crazy, weird and bit emotional week.  But its been good and we have just been reminded the Lord is always teaching us.  I know elder Giles grandpa is in a better place and he is happy serving the lord there.
I got moms letter and Brad's wedding invitation, sorry I can't make it haha but it looks good and congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!! I also sent off 12 letters!!!!! Yeah 12!  I was WAY behind!  So I hope they make it home. I am so sorry I am not better at writing back to everyone.  I will try harder.  I hope you all have a great week.  Please keep us in your prayers, it will still be a rough few weeks for Elder Giles.  Transfers are soon and I really hope we stay together, but you never know what will happen.  Grandma, I have been thinking a lot about you this week, and I hope you are doing good.  I know Jodi is taking good care of you, but I know you have hard times, just remember I am thinking of you all the time and praying for you that things will get easier.  Thanks for the love and support.  Love you all!
 
Love,
Colton