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 Storm of Blessings

Hey Everyone!

I know that I'm not going to be able to write all I want to, I'll try to get as much down as I can.

Last Monday I thought I had the topic for this email down, I was going to title it "Please... No more Fanta Grape". I had a few run ins with too much Cool drink, we are fed way too much of it! Last week I was on an exchange with one of the zone leaders and he pushed our Branch missionary into downing the last of the Fanta Grape. Afterwards our Branch missionary felt really sick. For the next half hour he was throwing up, it took us a long time to get to our next appointment. Anyway, that's the abridged version. Each day another experience tops the last and the plan for my email changes.

This week has been fantastic! Elder Sicotte and I have been more blessed than ever. Just in these last two weeks we taught 32 new investigators! Almost all of them just fell into our laps. Many of these new people we have begun teaching have recognized the witness of the spirit within the first vist. At least six of these people told us of the wonderful feelings they felt when they prayed to know if what we shared was true. I reported during Branch Preisthood meeting that blessings are being poured upon our branch, that we have a great responsibility. My biggest concern is that we won't be able to live up to this responsibility. I know the Lord will provide. I think we'll be going on a lot of splits in the near future. The work in Mamelodi is exploding!

On Saturday we had the chance to do Baptisms for the Dead with the Branch at the Johannesburg Temple. It was a wonderful experience. Almost all of the members had brought the names of their ancestors to have the work done. I will always remember how Brother Hlongwane, our Elders Quorum president broke down in tears when he Baptized one of the youth for his deceased sister.

After the Temple trip it felt like everything was going wrong. Elder Sicotte's bike had a low tire, when we tried to pump it up it exploded. We made it to one end of the Area only to find out that the family wasn't in town. We were at the very edge of our area, and the rest of our apointments were quite a ways away. They looked to be really promising too. We hadn't eaten so we ordered Spachlo then tired to fix the tire. We soon found that we would need to replace the back wheel. As we ate we joked about how things were going so poorly and that next we would be struck by lightning, a few minuites later we saw a bolt in the distance. Fortunatley it didn't rain very hard. After the Spachlo we both needed the bathroom. I had heard rummors that they make you pay to use them at the Mauhbe Mall (the very spread out, outdoor mall we were at). We went to them and found them locked with a steel gate in front of them. We asked around to find the key, but no one seemed to know. By now Elder Sicotte really needed to go. One person directed us to the Security tower. We went over there, and found it packed with people, we squeezed through to the bathroom only to find there was no toliet paper. Elder Sicotte ran back out and asked the crowd where he could get some. The security guard responed "you need to use your own" she was completely serious. He threw up his arms and said "But, I don't carry paper!" That's South Africa for you. Anyway, we journeyed on and finally found a bathroom at the Petrol Station.

We had to cancel our appointments since they were too far to reach. It sounded like most of the people weren't home anyway. We decided to check on a DVD referal in the Area that we'd been given the other day. It was probably one of the most powerful experiences I've had on my mission yet. The whole family had been fasting to bring themselves closer to Christ. I was stunned by their faith, they had such a strong trust in the Lord. We taught about the restoration and felt the Spirit poured upon us. Everyone felt the spirit, for a time the mother could hardly look at us since tears were streaming down her face. I am so excited to go back and teach the family.

I had a several other great experiences, but I'm about out of time. We gave a blessing to Sister Moghaswa, one of our investigators with a devout testimony. She hadn't been able to make it to church because of so severe pains in her leg - she walks to church each week. I really felt the spirit during the blessing, and afterward felt promted to bear my testimony. This Sunday she was 20min early, she was beaming. She couldn't wait to tell us that her leg was completely better.

I know that we've been extremely blessed. There's so much more I wish I could share. Each night I feel like such an ungrateful servant because I can hardly record everything in my journal. It's a struggle to plan for everyone each night.

Well I need to go, I love you all,
Sala Pila (Stay well!)
Elder Halterman

One Thousand Thank You's

January 11, 2010

Hey Everyone,

First, here are the answers to your questions:

1) How is your health?

It's pretty good. I've had a bit of a cold the past two days, meaning a runny nose and sore throat in the morning. But it’s nothing that's slowed me down

2) Are you still losing weight?

I think I was only losing weight the first few weeks in the MTC and upon entering the mission field. I just noticed that I had lost the weight later on.

3) You were at 175 lb and now you lost 15 lbs which = 160 lbs - how much do you weigh now?

I weigh about 162 now.

4) Do you know why you have lost weight?

I'm pretty sure it's just because I am no longer lifting weights, It sounds like the same thing happened to several other missionaries in the flat - then they started gaining weight, but as fat instead of muscle.

5) Do you have any other health problems?

Not that I know of. Occasional Sunburns. I try to wear sunscreen, and they're never very bad. I feel great, just that I'm getting over a chest cold.

6) How are your health problems (if any) being treated?

There aren't any that I've had to be treated for. The conditions aren't that bad out here and I don't know any missionaries that have had parasites. I'm doing well and I'll make sure to talk to the mission health advisor if I notice anything or lose more weight.

You really don't need to worry about me; I'm very well taken care of. So long as I live up to my calling I seriously doubt much can hinder me, I have the prayers of so many friends and family members, the wonderful blessings contained in my personal blessings, as well as the myriad of promises contained in the scriptures. Please don't be unduly concerned, I have the whole of heaven watching out for me.

The Christmas package you sent arrived last Tuesday! I loved the notes and candy from everyone. I especially enjoyed all the pictures! They turned out really well. The framed picture now hangs above my desk and the picture book sits beside my clock. Thanks for all the thought you put into it! I really appreciated the laminated card with my setting apart and Father's blessing on it! I really like the watch you sent, the one I brought out is pretty scratched up now. The Stockings were great too! Elder Sicotte gives his thanks for the one you sent him. Thanks so much!

A Christmas package came from Grandma and Grandpa Ward too. It had a calendar with pictures of things we've done during the last several years. It was really thoughtful. I loved looking through the pictures on each page. It now hangs right beside my desk. They sent a letter with it, a 2G memory card, and a copy of the Ensign. Let them know that I received it and make sure to thank them, I really appreciated it. I'm planning to send Grandma and Grandpa a letter today, but it will probably take a while to reach them. My scriptures, the calendar they sent, and the pictures you sent are now my most prized belongings.

I'm so thankful for all the support that I've had. I'm still anticipating the Dear Elder letter from the seminary class, but I've received several Christmas cards and supportive letters from ward members. I'm sure you have, but make sure to thank everyone the ward for me! There were so many great examples of service. I often use examples of people from the ward when I talk about service, dedication, or keeping the Sabbath day holy. As I look back they've all made such a difference in my life.

The elders in Mamelodi West know a member that has a computer and is willing to burn pictures on to a CD; hopefully I'll be able to send one within the next week. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to send more.

This week was awesome! Just this Sunday I had the chance to Baptize Sherifah Manyathella and her daughter, Amogelong. I also confirmed Ayesha, Sherifah's older daughter a member of the church. The father, Samuel has become much more open to our message and is willing to pray about our message. We have high hopes for him!

During the week Elder Sicotte and I brought out two ward missionaries and went on splits, because of it we were able to find several new father led families! Two of those fathers came to church this Sunday! I am really excited for them. We have taught several others who have recently received the witness of the spirit that these things are true! The work is going really well! I love serving and being able to see the blessings being outpoured in these people's lives!

Once again I'm about out of time. Thank you so much for everything! I really feel blessed to have such a wonderful family and such loving friends!


Elder Halterman

January 4, 2010

Thank you so much for all the emails!

It's really good to hear that things are going so well. It was inspiring to hear about all the ways that you have found to serve, and all the prayers that are said in my behalf. It's given me an increased determination to live worthily. I can really feel the outpouring of those blessings, thank you!

It's great to hear that everyone is staying so missionary-oriented. Whenever I participate in church service I hope and pray that I can live up to standard our family has set. I'm striving to learn to teach in a way that will not only pull in hearts of those listening, but invite the spirit and inspire them to press forward. It's such a blessing that our family has been able to serve so much in the ward.

Elder Sicotte is my new companion. He's much shorter than Elder Robinson, he has brown eyes and dark hair. He's from Boston and also misses the pizza on the East Coast. He went to BYU for a year before his mission and has been out for 14 months. He has a dedication to the work and is very willing to follow the rules. I'm really excited. The work in our area is exploding. If we do our very best, I know that we will see a lot of success!

If there was ever such thing as weekly mission theme, I'd say that this week's was prayer and fasting. I have learned a lot about prayer and fasting.

I was reading about prayer in the Bible dictionary and it told how prayer was often accompanied with sacrifice. While living the law of Moses, the children of Israel would burn their sacrifices. Christ later fulfilled this law, but in fasting we still sacrifice. Instead of burning an offering, we give it to bless the poor. The Lord tells us that "inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me". When we fast we are sacrificing to God and blessing others in doing it. It really feels like a fruit of the higher law.

Another cool thing is in the Old Testament. Fasting was said to go along with mourning and sorrow, people would wear sackcloth and disfigure their faces to show they were fasting. However, when Christ came he taught that we should fast in humility without drawing attention to ourselves. In D&C we learn that fasting is a form of rejoicing. We have a chance to sacrifice for the love of others. I've really felt the blessings of fasting, I know that by fasting we are brought much closer to God. I've seen the inspiration and added portion of the spirit that we receive when we fast, It's made such a difference in the work!

Once again, I wish I had time to write more, there is so much to share.

Thanks for everything!

I love you all,

Elder Halterman