Monday, April 30, 2012

All To Familiar 04/30/12

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!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Great Week 04/23/12

We pull over at our recent converts house.  I grab my back pack (that is always right by me like Grandma Peterson).  I step out and look down........then Elder Giles gets out and comes around and sees me looking at the ground.  So he says.....what?   Then he just looks down for himself and there lies a small dead dog right by my feet.  Elder Giles whispers (I don't know why he whispered?) "I did not hit him"!.........then asks "did I"?? hahahaha, maybe you just would have had to be there but it was sooooo funny!  We see dead dogs at least everyday but I mean I almost stepped on the dumb thing! hahaha it was so funny! ANYWAYS!
It was a great week!  We had a lot of appointments, and most of them held. We have been working so hard with our investigators to help prepare them for baptism.  They all just need a little more work.  Hopefully they will be ready by next month!  We have about 5 very solid investigators and 9 recent converts.  The Church and especially our mission is focusing on real growth.  I think I have talked about this before?  Its so easy to get baptisms its just hard to baptize people who understand and who are willing to endure to the end and keep the sacred covenants they made.
We also love to visit an old lady named Mama Peggie.  She is a saint that one!  She is always the first one at church with out fail.  Except yesterday.  So we went to make sure she was okay after church and sure enough she was okay she just had a strong cold and couldn't walk that far.  So we visited for a minute and shared a thought and then prayed.  Mama Peggi's hearing is not to good so we basically shout the whole time its so funny.  She told us she read the Xhosa Book of Mormon and then paused and said...........ugh you don't believe me....wait here" so she goes to get it and reads....forever! hahaha I love Mama Peggie!  She gets so lonely so its nice to stop by for a few min when we can and cheer her up.  I love old people!
But yeah the week was really great!  We kept busy and I'm loving this area.  Its been nice and cold!  Which is GREAT!
Well my spiritual experience for the week was at Sister Mandeesas house.  She is a reactivated member and is so strong!  She has older kids that we are teaching and they are awesome!  They never miss church!  So we were teaching last night in Sister Mandeesas small cement house with out electricity.  So, if we meet them at night we always have candles.  So we were reading from the Book of Mormon and a little boy saw that Elder Giles was struggling to see the Book of Mormon and of course Ii just think "come on read the verse its not that dark" but this little boy went to the other room and got a candle and held it by Elder Giles'  book.  It hit me so hard that we are to be as the little children, meek, submissive, humble ect.  That little boy has nothing!  He was so quick to think of someone else.  Its not easy to put off the natural man but I know that as we try and be humble, meek, submissive and loving we will receive eternal life and blessing in this life.  I just thought that was really cool!
Thank you for all the letters this week.  Laura I got a letter from you that you sent in March.  Hahaha post is so unpredictable here!  I hope every one gets my letters.  I love ya have a great week!


Monday, April 16, 2012


Hello everyone,
I know I should have a better attitude about writing this email.  I have SO much support back home and so many people who sacrifice for me.  So I will try to write them for the rest of my mission, but its not easy. President Monson talked about in priesthood session of general conference how when he was a bishop the first presidency of the church committed all the bishops too write to all the members of their wards who were serving in the armed forces MONTHLY!  I can't write a letter to save my life and he wrote 26 letters every month!  So you will be happy to know I wrote three letters this morning.  I think the letter from Mishon helped me have a desire to write because she asked if we were still friends or if I was alive.  Hahahahah. YES, Mishon your letter was one of the three I wrote this morning and duh....we are still friends!  So letters will slowly come.  The Van Sickle's are coming here on the 27th of this month and I will send my letters with them and they will post them from PE.  So it will take a while.
DANG Katee's last email was so blasted long. she always seems to show me up some how. hahaha. Anyways this week was great.  It was a little slow in the work department.  We had General Conference which was AWESOME!  Then interviews with President Wood and a morning of training.  So it was nice. My interview went as it always does short and sweet and nothing much to discuss.  It was a great interview and its always great to be with President Wood.  He is really awesome.
So mom said I haven't told enough about where I am.  So here we go.  I work about a 30 min drive from where I live.  I work in the Mdantsane township.  It is great, my area covers NU (native unit) 15,16 and 18. It also covers Mbekwene unit P and a small university separated from the rest of the area.  No there is no student ward. ha ha ha Mdantsane is a huge town ship that has 3 wards and 2 church buildings.  The members are great and the ward functions great which is a bit of a change.  When the church is in new areas it seams to struggle.  Mdantsane is know for success when it comes to baptisms, however the stake presidency really does not want baptisms.  Really in most the missions our focus is not baptism any more.  It is real growth.  Which means a whole lot of reactivation and retaining new members.  For us we only baptize those who truly understand the covenant they are making.  Less activity is so dangerous.  It would be better for them if they don't make the covenant at all then go less active later. (2nephi 31;14) there are even missionaries here who have been assigned to do less active work and only baptize if they find someone through a part member or less active family.
In this area we have been doing lots of service.  Like painting houses, or yard work.  I like doing the gardens because it helps members and others be self reliant.  Our area is safe mom.  Or at least safe as any.  The people are awesome.  They will almost always let us in and all have a deep desire to follow the savior.
We drive alot because of the size of our area.  We drive a blue Chevy Aveo. (my word mom this is detailed....and boring) hahaha General Conference was awesome!!!!  I loved when President Monsoon spoke on 1 Nephi 3:7.  I love that verse.  It is when the lord commands Nephi to go back to Jerusalem and get the plates.  It wasn't only a dangerous task, but it was hard because they had already walked so far from Jerusalem because the lord had commanded them to leave.  Nephi's brothers complained saying It was a hard thing to do.  Nephi said " I will go and do the things which the lord has commanded for I know the lord giveth no commandments to the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them".  I know whatever the lord asks us to do, we will be able to accomplish it.  Whether it be something specific to us or a general commandment, it is possible.  I have felt the lords help in things that are hard to accomplish.  I know he helps us!
I will talk more about specific people were teaching next time.  I hope every one had a great week.  Love you all and thanks for the love and support given to me each week.  I really appreciate it.  Happy Birthday this week to ADAM!!!!!   I hope your day is great.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Well another week gone by.  It's so crazy how fast these weeks fly.  Whats crazier is that I get up and do the exact same thing every morning.  Up at half past six, shower, get ready, blah blah.  Some oat meal for the past 18months hahaha but its REALLY worth it!
Well its finally getting cold in Africa and I will never have to go through another African summer!!!!!  Unless I come on another mission here which I would do in a heart beat.  Its nice for it to be cold though I think I'm a little more sensitive to the cold because temperature wise its not that cold but I am FREEZING!  Utah is going to kill me!
We had a great week this week and we taught the first lesson the a girl named Dudu. (yes that is her name) she is awesome.  She comes to church a lot and we all thought she was a member but we visited her and found out she wasn't!  It was a great feeling!  She is so solid.  The lesson was awesome, she understood so well and even said "well yes if his church was lost then god would not want us to be lost as well, so there would have to be a restoration"  DING DING DING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The room just filled with the spirit and she felt it as well!
This was an awesome Easter.  I remember last year when my district leader in district meeting said it was the best Easter because we have  time to bear testimony every day that the Savior lives and loves us and that he did restore his gospel to the earth through a prophet  who was called of god.  It was my second best Easter because I got to do it again.
So Oma, one of your students wrote me and I lost the return address tell her sorry and maybe you could help me with that address?  Also Ii still can receive post here its just hard to send.  I got post from Oma and Grandma and Courteney and also Cheryl Thomas.  They were awesome letters!  So, thank you very much!
So before I forget happy birthday last week to Brad and Parker Franson!  And this week to Emery and Emily..AND Brayden.  I cannot believe it was a year ago that I got a phone call from Sister Herbert in the office telling me Calee had Brayden!  I was stoked but disappointed I was missing out on it all.  I know why I am here and wouldn't change that for the world.  I hope you all have a great week. 

Monday, April 2, 2012


Its been a pretty good week.  On Tuesday I got the call that I would be leaving good ole Kwano and going to another large town ship called Mdantsane.  I'm serving in the Mdantsane 3rd ward.  So I was pretty excited but its always hard to leave.  I said good bye to some great people and I'll miss them a lot. There are great people here that I will love!  So I hoped on a big double decker bus and rode for about 5 hours.  It was a nice ride though and I saw elephants on the way.  They were in an elephant reserve and a bunch were just chilling by the road.  I've seen a lot of elephants so its similar to seeing a dear back home.  It was sad to see Elder Fozard go home but he emailed me today and said he is doing well.  I'm excited to be in this area, this ward seems to function really well so I'm excited for that!  My new companion is Elder Giles from Tooele Utah.  He is pretty cool.  He was trained by Elder Fozard at the same time Ii was training Elder Zarbock, so I met him a few times at some training meetings nearly nine months ago.  TIME FLIES!  So here is the bad news.  Post is really unreliable here.  We get post just fine because it comes from Capetown but it will be hard for me to send anything out.  I owe alot of people letters like Mishon and Cameron and Ashlee and Grandma and Oma....I could go on.  So it might take a while.  I can send it with the AP's when they come every six weeks.
So sorry.  But other then that its been a good week.  I have been so tired from moving but its still been good. We had an awesome lesson with a recent convert yesterday!  He sacrificed so much when he was baptized. He automatically began to live the word of wisdom and law of chastity and became very active and totally changed his life.  Yesterday when I asked him why he changed so quickly he said. "most people don't see the big picture, I saw the truth and it was the big picture and I changed my life to live how god would want me to live"  SO TRUE!  Most people cant see the big picture!  He later explained that this life is so short and we have a purpose here.  The purpose is not just to eat drink and be merry.  But that purpose is to come unto Christ by first developing faith in him and our heavenly father.  Then repentance, Baptism by the correct authority, Receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end.  That is how we fulfill our purpose. This life is so short and it is the time god has given us to prepare to live with him.  His way is NOT a suggestion its HIS way.  The life after this is so much longer and we need to prepare now in order to have a good life in the life to come.  I was just so impressed at his understanding.  I to know that this is true.  I know this life will be short and worldly things do not matter.  It is the time to prepare to meet god, nothing else.
I am going to love this area.  Well I hope everyone is having a great week.  Thank you for all you do.
 Elder Balmforth