Monday, December 11, 2017

Advice on Writing a Missionary

We have had a lot of inquiries about what is appropriate to write and send to a missionary - and we have discussed with our missionaries the types of things appropriate for them to share with family and loved ones in their weekly emails.

Below are lists of things to ask, write, and send. Some of these ideas may also spark other ideas. This is not a complete list.

We have noticed that when missionaries receive these types of uplifting emails from home, they are better able to focus on their purpose.

There are also some suggestions on what NOT to ask, write, or send. Remember, these are suggestions that we feel is in the best interest of your missionary. This is not a mandatory list - but ways in which we feel your missionary can keep in tune with the spirit.

You should also expect the same types of information in the emails and photos from your missionary.

Ask about their:

-  Work
- Schedule
- Investigators
- Missionary experiences
- Cultural experiences
- Who they are teaching (remember their names and follow-up about them in future correspondence)
- Ask frequently what he has learned from his Book of Blessings (we have added this title to their missionary handbook)
- Health and well-being

Write about:

- Important and uplifting things happening in your life
- Gospel related insights you've gained
- A scripture you found meaningful
- Things you are doing to help missionaries at home
- Blessings you've discovered through his service as a missionary
- A favorite conference talk and what it means to you
- Encourage your missionary to work hard in teaching the gospel
- Encourage your missionary to focus on his purpose
- Your testimony
- If your missionary receives a challenge (like read the Book of Mormon in 100 days), do it along with him and write of your experience

What to send:

- Basic toiletries
- Socks
- Photos (however, avoid photos that might make him homesick)
- Recipes for simple dishes
- Church photos

Do not ask, write, or send:

- How many baptisms have you had
- Something that will make them sad
- Don't discuss your personal problems or tales of woe
- Refrain from gossip
- Refrain from discussing challenges or difficulties you are experiencing
- Do not criticize your missionary
- Do not send large packages of stuff (your missionary has access to almost everything needed here) It also makes it difficult at transfer time to take more than is needed - so either he has to carry a lot of things, or he leaves it behind, which is usually the case. It becomes a waste of money for parents sometimes!
- Do not send things that would distract your missionary from his work (games, cards, gadgets, toys, etc)
- Avoid telling all about the fun vacation you took, or all the other fun things he is missing out on (this tends to make our missionaries homesick)
- Try to focus on the present - don't mention that in so many months you will be home, and all the plans you have for them (this projects them back home, and does disservice to your missionary).
- Refrain from passing along celebrity gossip, or information on sports teams (this takes focus away from their service) Help them keep focused on their purpose
- Don't discuss things that would cause them to worry

Hope this answers some questions!

We are so blessed to serve with your missionary!

I used to thank the missionaries for the service and "sacrifice" they've made to come on a mission....however, I've changed my attitude recently. I don't believe it is a sacrifice - I now thank them for the privilege we have to serve the Lord. It is indeed a great privilege and honor!

Let me know your thoughts! Our purpose is to guide and build your missionary to stand with a firm foundation in Christ. We have seen so many miracles, and your son is a part of this important work!

Best wishes!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Richards Bay District Conference

Richards Bay District Conference took place on December 2-3, 2017

Speakers from the photo below were President Thompson, Sister Thompson, Sister Mdletshe, Elder Mdletshe and President Gezane

President Thompson, Sister Thompson, the Mdletshe family, (Elder Mdletshe is an Area Seventy), and President Gezane (District President)

Saturday, December 2, 2017


We are so excited for this holiday season and for what is represents - celebrating the birth of our Savior!

This holiday season we are turning our hearts to Christ by 

12 Days of Christmas through service 

and introducing our theme for 2018 

                    "COME UNTO CHRIST"                        


Starting December 13th - 24th each Missionary will:

-  offer daily, a total of 12, acts of service for their companion (shine shoes, clean, make a meal, sing them a hymn, make them cookies, make their bed, etc)

- offer 3 acts of service for a family member (share a special missionary experience, share testimony, tell them good qualities you see in them, etc.)

Sometime between December 13th - 24th each Companionship will choose 3 occasions for each:

- offer service for a church leader
- offer service for an investigator
- offer service for a member

Sometime between December 13th - 24th each Zone will:

- offer approximately 4 hours of service

President Thompson and I will visit each Zone in December, share a Christmas meal with the Zone, read from the book of Luke, share Christmas stories, and possibly play a game.

These acts of service are meant so that these 12 DAYS LEAD TO CHRIST:

ON CHRISTMAS DAY: Every Missionary will give their own gift to Christ!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Goodbye Elders!

This has been such a wonderful group of missionaries!
They will be missed in South Africa!

Best wishes to you all!

 President, Elders Schraedel, Beck, Christensen, Jantjies, Homer, Takau, Bringgold

 Checking luggage at the airport.

 Goodbye Elder Takau!

 We got in line just before a big crowd came! Whew!

 Elders Diehl, Schraedel, Moore, Christensen, Reed, Vaughn, Beck, Bringgold, Jones, Takau

Elder Beck (going at a different time than the others, along with our Assistants: Elders Jewkes, Jantjies, Mshweshwe, and Homer 

On the Way to the Airport

 Making breakfast before going to the airport!

 Elder Fransen and Reed

 Packing up! 

 Elder Takau quickly slipped a New York Yankees hat on President, but he quickly took it off!
President is a true Boston Red Sox fan, rival to New York!

 President agreed to wear the Yankees hat in a picture, but turned it around!

 Elder Homer (AP) and Elder Fransen

 Elder Diehl goes home to Idaho

 A final photo at the mission home.
Back: Fransen, Christensen, Bringgold, Schraedel, Jones, Moore, Diehl, Keyes
Front: Beck, Takau, Reed, Vaughn

 Elder Vaughn in a Zulu headdress

 Elder Jones in a Lesotho hat

 Elder Keyes only has an hour flight to Johannesburg!

 A stop at the Durban Temple site on the way to the airport!
Elders Keyes, Jones, Fransen, Beck, Diehl, Christensen, Reed, Moore, Takau, Bringgold, Schraedel, Vaughn

 Elder Diehl, Christensen, and President

 Elders Fransen, Beck, Diehl

Our Madagascar Elders!
Only Elder Keyes goes home!
Durban temple being built in the background!

Departing Elders November 2017

We will definitely miss these valiant twelve missionaries. But we wish them the best as they embark on their different endeavors. God be with you Elders! We love you!

 Elders Vaughn, Keyes, Shcraedel

 Elders Christensen, Reed, Fransen

 Elders Jantjies and Homer (Assistants) cooking!

 Back: Elders, Keyes, Christensen, Fransen, Moore, Schraedel, Vaughn, Takau, Diehl
Front: Jones, Reed, Beck

 Elders Moore, Schraedel

 Elder Reed

 Elders Schraedel, Moore, Diehl, Jones, Bringgold, Beck, Christensen, Reed, Jantjies

 Elder Schraedel

 Elder Vaughn

 Elder Keyes

 Elders Diehl, Jones, Moore, Bringgold

 Elder Jones

 Elders Moore, Keyes, Christensen, Reed, Bringgold, Takau, Beck
Elder Jewkes (AP)

 Elder Schraedel bearing testimony.

 Elder Takau's testimony moment

 Elder Diehl bears his witness

Elder Keyes testimony

We will miss all of you!

Another New Elder Arrives

Elder Leishman is here!

So excited to have you! 

The Durban Temple being constructed in the background!