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!

A Nice Exchange

Hey Everyone!

Everything is going really well! This week has been really good!

First, about letters, I can only really write them on P-day, but even then I don't have much time. We wont' be proselyting on Christmas or New Years, so I'll have some time then to write a few letters.

DearElder letters - It would be great if you can put your return address and date you sent it, otherwise it's somewhat confusing and I don't always have an address to send back to.

This week was a huge success! I've been most excited that Solomon, a father we've been teaching, was finally able to quit smoking! We had been fasting with him two weeks ago and it really helped. He's going to be baptized next Sunday! We have 3 others that will hopefully be baptized the same day, a mother and two of her daughters. They all have firm testimonies, stronger than many of the members, Sherifa, the Mother, just has some family problems that have been weighing pretty heavily on her.

We had a fantastic baptism this Sunday for an Young Woman named Ursula. Sherifa and her family attended. The speakers were really good, the first two were recent converts and very close friends to Ursula, one of them was baptized the week I came. Then Elder Robinson, a branch missionary named Karrabo, and I sang "Come thou Fount of Every Blessing". After the actual baptism Ursala bore her testimony, it was really moving. She talked about her struggle before she knew about the church, and that she had been blaming God for many of the problems in her family, but once she came to church and learned about the restored gospel everything changed. She told how she now had a new family, a family in the church, and how it had helped change her life. I think the testimony especially touched Sherifa, it seemed to address the exact concerns that she had. It was amazing how everything tied together so perfectly!

Even after 4 weeks I really feel a close connection to the ward. I've felt the same thing Ursula was talking about. It's amazing how the gospel unites people. I can't wait for each Sunday to see everyone at church.

On Saturday my idea of a exemplary missionary completely changed. I went on exchanges with Elder Niced from Australia. He taught with such power and clarity. When he taught the plan of salvation it felt like it was completely new to me. He explained everything so well that I couldn't help but think of the elegance of Heavenly Father's plan for us. He's really good at asking thought provoking questions and teaching with examples and stories. What's more he lives up to the highest standard of a missionary I've seen. He's constantly looks for chances to serve those around him. He's done a really good job of developing Christ-like love. I'm trying to set a course so that I can learn to serve like he does.

Several people have asked me what advice I would give to prepare for a mission. The best I can say is to learn to love the scriptures. Soon after coming out to the field I realized that two hours of scripture study each day is barely sufficient. Our mission president said that our study plan for the next two years should first focus on studying Preach My Gospel and the Book of Mormon, then if we need more to go on to the New Testament. Elder Niced said that throughout your whole mission you will wish you had more time to study, but that you'll have to wait till you get home for that. My advice would be to fast and pray for a desire to study the scriptures. Learn to apply what you learn in both your life and in teaching. Your investigators need you to know and love the scriptures. Take advantage of the time you have to prepare.

Everything is going well here. Yesterday we had two meal appointments within 3 hours of each other. We were stuffed! It was terrible trying to ride bikes after that. There's so much that I wish I could include in these emails.

I love you all,

Elder Halterman

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