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!

The Runaway Investigator

Hey Everyone! Everything is going really well!

So I have a few more questions to answer:

What is Chutney, and what about it can possibley make non-NY pizza taste good?
Chutney is like a mix between barbecue sauce and peach jam... It's hard to describe, it's like a ketchup in that it's eaten with almost anything. At the MTC I think we went through at least a bottle a day. It's pretty sweet, they put it on pizza like they sometimes do with barbecue sauce in the states. It made the pizza pretty good.

How big is your Branch/Ward? Do you have a building? Does it rely on local leadership or mainly on the missionaries?
I work in a brach, we have about 200 members, but many are less active. Normally we have 100-150 in attendance. We meet in a small chapel that was built 20 years ago. A strange thing about chapels here, they all have vaults where the library would normally be. Even with the vault, the computer in our chapel has been stolen twice. Someone went through the ceiling tiles... The leadership in our branch is really strong, Elder Robinson says it's the strongest he's seen in a township branch. We have quite a few return missionaries. I wouldn't be surprised to see our branch become a ward while I'm here.

Have you seen any cool wildlife?
I haven't seen any of the typical African Animals, but I do see a lot of strange chickens, goats, and cows in the township. Most are wild and eat garbage that piles up in the area. I saw one cow that looked more like a camel than a cow, it had a huge hump above it's neck. I do see a lot of lizards though.

Things in Mamelodi are going really well, we have twenty people with set baptismal dates, and a large pool of other investigators to teach. This week we began teaching eight more! The hardest task is getting the people we teach to come to church, this week the attendance was especially low, we had nine (normally it's over 20, and even that should be much higher).

We have a baptism coming up this Sunday. It's for a boy named Laybo Seketa. He's 16 and has been coming to church for a while. He lives with his family Stoffel Park. Stoffel Park is a huge stretch of land at the base of a several large hills. The developers sell small plots of land to people who are then free to do whatever they want with the land. It's a place where people are pretty industrious, they live in tin shacks, the roads are made of dirt, there are pipes for water every 100 meters or so. There's no electricity, but some people have generators.

Anyway, Labo's interview for baptism was on Saturday. We went up to his house with the Zone leaders and found that he'd just had a falling out with his parents while they were mixing cement to lay around the house. Laybo had run up into the mountain. We went with his father and older brother to search for him. We went way up into the mountain when his brother whistled to us and began running. We were running up the hill for almost 30min before we found Laybo walking back with his brother. It was an amazing view though! I could see clear across the valley. I felt like I was in the Lion King, the mountain was covered in rocks, bushes, shrubs and small trees.

We had the interview up in the mountain, then went back with Laybo and helped mix cement with him until they were done. It's Laybo's birthday next week, we're planning to bring a lunch and have a lesson with him up in the mountain.

I've had so manny more great experiences, I wish I had more time to tell you about them. Being a missionary is fantastic! It's amazing to be able to look people in the eyes and promise them that what you are sharing is true. I wish more people would realize how important message really is! It's devastating to come back to a person's house and find out that they haven't been reading from the Book of Mormon or that they haven't asked God if our message is true. On the flip side, it brings the greatest of joy to hear an investigator tell you they've been reading and their feelings as they read, or to see an investigator walk through the entrance to our church building with his entire family! Being a missionary is awesome! I'm so grateful that I have this chance to share the message of the Restoration of the Gospel! I love you all and can't wait to write again soon!

Thanks for all your prayers!
Elder Halterman

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