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!

An African Ensemble

Hey Everyone!

First, I have a question to answer:

What do you think of your mission president?

President Poulsen is a fantastic mission president. He is overwhelmingly positive and optimistic; somehow when he rebukes the mission he does it with a smile. He cracks down on disobedience, but does it lovingly, he almost guilts people into working their hardest. He is very intelligent, and leaves you wanting to be the best you can. He has done wonders for the mission.

Also, there's supposed to be pictures from our mission on www.johannesburgmission.googlepages.com I'm not sure if there are many of me though.

This week went really well with the exception of a few more bike problems. Once again a lot happened. I hope that I can write all I want to, but we'll see.

On Thursday my companion went to do interviews in Mamelodi West so Elder Hatch came to my area for the day. In the morning we had two spectacular lessons! We were not sure what to share at either of them, but after talking with our investigators it became pretty clear. It reminded me of what one of my MTC teachers said. When you take time to listen to your investigators you are not only listening to them, you are also listening to the spirit. Both lessons seemed to flow perfectly; they all covered exactly what these people needed to hear. It's amazing how the Lord guides and leads people to understand what is most important for them.

After those two lessons we had to bike from one end of our area to another. Most of it was uphill. It was a grueling journey. Along the way Elder Hatch crashed into a man that was trying to cross the street. Common sense isn't common here. The man was trying to beat the cars across the road and literally jumped in front of Elder Hatch. People often run out into the road without looking. Most of the time they stop midway and panic or run back. Both Elder Hatch and the man were fine. The guy had been knocked to the ground. We gave him a pass along card.

Before our next appointment we stopped to visit several of the people we've been teaching. We made contact with a lot of people.

We then had our lesson with the Shiba family. We had taught them once before, the spirit had come very strongly, the mother and sister had been in tears last time. We soon found that all was not well. The mother had been terrified to read the Book of Mormon. Many people get confused and think it's another translation of the Bible. When she realized that there were different prophets in it she thought of Matthew 6:24 and had Mammon confused with Mormon. Elder Hatch tried to explain, I think the mother understood, but there were several new people there that just became more confused. When he saw the confusion he tried to explain more, but soon one of the older daughters stopped him and asked if we could pray right then. Of course we agreed. Big mistake.

She stood up and began to sing. "Praise the Lord" The others all stood and joined in. Elder Hatch and I didn't know what to do. We stood, but I could hardly keep from laughing. They were all singing the chorus while the one girl shouted "Hallelujah!" I decided the best thing to keep me from laughing was to join them - at least to hum. It went on for a while, then the singing ended and they all broke into separate prayers. It was really confusing. Some of them were really into it. I'm pretty sure that one of them blessed every corner of the house and rebuked every devil within the three blocks surrounding. I silently prayed that we could find a way to bring in the spirit. After they finished - it took a long time. I asked if Elder Hatch and I could sing a song, we sang ‘Redeemer of Israel.’ I then asked if we could pray, we all knelt down and I offered one of the most fervent prayers I have ever offered- I did not want to lose this family. I don't know what's going to happen, but we left them feeling the Spirit. After that we had several more good lessons, but I'm about out of time and I want to talk about what happened this Sunday.

On Sunday, Elder Koelliker of the Seventy and the Stake President came to our branch. They both spoke during the third hour in a combined meeting. They both lead incredible discussions. The spirit was very strong. Elder Koelliker gave many great insights. He wanted everyone to learn to apply what they read in the scriptures. We went through Matthew 10 - the Story of the young man who asked Christ what he needed to do to go to heaven, and Nephi 8 - Lehi's vision. He spoke about personal testimony, also the first four principals of the gospel.

He talked about the three most sacred places - the Home, the Chapel, and the Temple. He said that we must use the Celestial room of the temple as a pattern for our homes. At the end he invited everyone to do two things: To find patterns for their lives in the Scriptures, and do everything necessary to visit the Temple. We had 16 investigators there for it! After church one new investigator asked me how long it would take before he could be baptized. The Stake president had also given a very good talk about the sacrament, and about the importance of being on time to church.

Well my time has run out, I'm sorry for the poor explanation above. This week has been amazing and I know that I've really been blessed.

I can't wait to write more next week!

I love you all,

Elder Halterman

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