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!

Mission Life- Uncensored

Hey Everyone!

Some concerns have been voiced that I am censoring my emails since, aside from my springy mattress, I haven't written about the bad side of being a missionary. Honestly there's been little to hold back, missionary work is awesome, but rest assured that this email will be censorship free.

To balance the scales here are a few of the rough patches:
Two weeks ago I was sick, It lasted for three days. I think I caught it cleaning out stagnant water from the baptismal font when the pump was broken. It wasn't too bad though, just energy draining.

In South Africa it's almost a joke to drink water. People serve us either juice or "cool drink". Cool drink is just another name for soda. We drink a ton! I hardly touched soda back in the states, in fact I quite loved water - I still do. Cool drink quenches thirst really well, but I was so thankful when a recent convert ran out of soda the other day and served us ice water instead. I think my stomach has growled and turned more out here than it has in my entire life.

A few days ago I got a mosquito bite on my left hand. I think it's the first one I've had. It was a tiny bug, but the bite swelled up and stayed that way for 2 days! Don't worry though, I don't have malaria or west nile, I just had a chubby hand for a few days.

In other news, I found out that I've lost 15 pounds! In the MTC I was basically eating 4 meals a day. I eat a ton out here too, I went through 15 eggs and two loaves of bread this week! (I finally figured out why the bread in our house seemed to disappear). I thought I had gained some weight, and that would have been great, I've been looking to go up to 185, but now I'm around 162. Don't worry though, I'm still really healthy.

Yesterday (Sunday the 13th Dec) I felt the starkest contrast of emotions I think I've ever felt. In the morning we biked by the homes of several investigators to walk with them to church. We were concerned for each family, these people had received a testimony, but they were letting life get in the way of eternal life. They'd been struggling to read and come to church. These families had promised that they'd let nothing get in their way, and one family planned to stay for the baptism afterwards. We had agreed to come by in the morning and walk with them, we went by two families, and had a ward missionary go by the others. For one reason or another none of them came.

We were disappointed, but we still had nine investigators at church. During sacrament meeting I really felt the spirit, and when I was sitting in our gospel principals class I looked around and noticed that I was surrounded by people who I knew and had been closely working with - people who were excited to take hold of the gospel and were changing their lives. I was overwhelmed with love and joy. I began to understand how Alma felt when he rejoiced in the success that the Lord had blessed him and his brethren with. The day continued, we had a fantastic baptism - it was for Laybo Seketa, the young man that I talked about last week. I was one of the speakers, and once again felt overwhelmed with joy to see him baptized and his mother there watching.

Later that day we had an appointment with the Serreo family, one of the families we had stopped by to walk with to church. The father hadn't read or been to church in 3 weeks, even with our repeated visits. He knew it was true, he's just too busy. Elder Robinson and I were at a lost for what to say. We were both searching for something, some way to tell them how important this gospel is. I was on the brink of tears at several points. They talked most of the time, we addressed a few concerns. They saw that we were upset though. They're an awesome family, but there's little more we can do for them...

Overall things are great! I love missionary work! As the Savior promised, It's hard, but it's worth it!

I love hearing from everyone. I'm glad things are going well!
Love Elder Halterman

1 comment:

  1. Hello Keith,
    I do read your posts. I find them quite interesting. I was wondering if you can have bottled water sent to you? My husband was recently baptized, (December 6th. Our branch is small, yet a very wonderful church family. Our branch president is a rancher. He has 5 sons! They don't know if they will have any more children, however, they would like to have a baby girl. I told them miracles do happen! There is another family in our branch, the only other people that live in our town. The grandfather is from Iran. The grandfather has a family in the U.S. and a family in Iran. The son joined the church about 20 years ago and went on a mission and then on to graduate from BYU. This family has a son on a mission now and their daughter is attending BYU. We have another member with 10 children,(all grown and members) this man is from Samoa. I have a hard time understanding him because his accent is so strong. I can imagine how difficult it must be for you to understand some of the people you meet. The most interesting thing about our branch is it's diversity and the great distance our families travel every week to attend church.
    I guess the main thing that I wanted to tell you is that our experience with the missionaries here has been so wonderful. Our missionaries live in Gregory South Dakota and they too have to travel a great distance to cover their area. One of them, Elder McFarland goes home on January 4th. He confirmed my husband. We did not learn his first name until after the baptism. He finally told us it was Jethro! We thought he was kidding so we laughed but it really was his name. He is starting his first semester at BYU so he was leaving 2 weeks early. The other wonderful thing about my husband's baptism was that Elder Battie, the one that baptized Steve has been out in the field over a year and Steve was his very FIRST baptism.
    It was such a wonderful day for all of us. I pray for you daily. If there is anything that you need that I might send to you please email me. I guess my main question was is it okay to send you bottled water? We would love to do so.
    Love to you In Christ,
    Karen and Steve Carrier