I am currently serving as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Johannesburg, South Africa Mission! I plan to serve for two years before returning home to finish my education.

I am serving a mission because I know that God is our loving Father in Heaven. I have a testimony that he knows each of us personally and wants us to succeed. The gospel Jesus Christ leads to lasting happiness. The fullness of his Gospel exists on the Earth today and I want to help spread the joyous news!

If you are reading this and don't know for yourself I plead with you to learn more. You can gain a personal witness that the Gospel has been restored! Visiting http://mormon.org is a great way to start!

I miss you all and would love to hear from you! See you in two years!

Greetings from Mamelodi!

Hey Everyone!

So I'm sure you know by now, I'm in my first area! Transfers were last Wednesday. When we left the MTC we had several classes about driving, health, safety, and a few other things. We then had pizza (the pizza is good thanks to one factor - Chutney, I'll have to explain later, but it's nothing like NY stuff) and met the trainers. Afterwards we went to transfer meeting. The people leaving bore their testimonies, then the president called us (the new Greenies) up and gave us our assignments. Apparently it's a tradition for the trainer to put on a scene when his name is called. My trainer had parted his hair funny, and had old sweater under his suit coat, when he stood up his old trainer helped him take of his jacket and they both stuck on fake mustaches. They then went up and stuck one on me and lead me back to where their district was sitting. After transfers we drove for an hour to Mamelodi then started to work.

Mamelodi is what South Africans call a township. It's hard to describe one if you've never seen one before. It's where all the Blacks were forced to live during the time of apartheid. When driving into town I saw a row upon row of these tiny homes, all exactly the same, each smaller than a single car garage. I pointed them out to my trainer and he explained that those were the nice homes. They are homes built by the government to help get people out of the squatter camps, the people who live there are the lucky ones. A few minuets later we drove by a squatter camp, it was huge. An on-stretching field full of makeshift shacks. I'll have to send some pictures once I can burn them to a DVD. The town area is better, but still very impoverished, few homes have more than a few small rooms.

The area has been awesome though! Elder Robinson and his last companion worked really hard and have lots of investigators, when his companion was transferred they were just beginning to see the success. They had near 25 baptisms scheduled for the first 3 weeks of this transfer, sadly most have been pushed back or fallen through. It has meant that I've had many chances to teach. The experiences have been awesome! Each day is crammed with appointments, normally 2 or 3 fall through, but we always have people to visit.

I am one of the lucky ones to be in a biking area! (We do have access to a car twice a week if we need it) The first two days I was in the area it was raining. Most roads are paved, but many are covered with more than an inch of dirt. Both days we got completely drenched. We were covered in mud too, since the bikes kick up a lot of mud. I think I'm going to wear through my clothes pretty quickly. It's supposed to only be like this during the spring (the rainy season), otherwise it's normally pretty dry. The landscape is really pretty, there are lots of trees and many hills. The sunsets are spectacular!

I'm pretty sure we're the only whites in the township. It makes us stand out. Most are afraid to enter the townships. We get huge crowds of kids cheering after us wherever we go. It's really fun to greet people while we ride, we get lots of puzzled looks. 

I'm sorry that I don't get time to answer more questions. I have tons more to tell but I'm out of time. I'll have to start sending letters to fill in the gaps. We've had some amazing lessons, my trainer and a ward missionary got into a nasty bike crash (they're both okay) and we've done some other jobs that I didn't expect, like emptying the baptismal font with buckets. I'll have to elaborate later.

I love you all, things are really great here! I can already see how mission is going to be the time of my life! Thank you so much for your messages, they really brighten my week.

Love Elder Halterman

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