Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas and Hello Namibia!

December 19, 2016

Me and Charles

Practicing the guitar in my new shirt

Dear Family, 
So, I am giving your email to the family who I will be going to. They will reach out and plan when I will Skype. I had a cold 2 weeks ago but last week I had a fever and abdominal pain. It is all over now. I got some meds and I'm fine! I Had an okay week this week, I couldn't go to the area a few times but it's all good now. As for this week I am going to go around and start saying goodbye to some members this week because I am sure I am leaving. Which means a lot of dinner appointments which means a bigger kapunda(belly) hahaha.
Love you lots! Have a great week!!
Love, 
Your Son
December 26, 2016
Hello!
Don't really have much to say today, I am glad I was able to speak with you!  I will leave for Namibia on Wednesday morning. I can only bring one suitcase so I will live a Spartan lifestyle. 

Love,
Your Son

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Miamilodi"


 
Don't Mess with Texas







My foes


December 12, 2016
Jackson did not write a letter today.  He said he was  not feeling well and would write next week.  He did send pictures though.  Below is his letter from last week.  

December 5, 2017

Dear Family, 
I don't have any pics this week so I am sorry... I left my batteries at some other elders flat and don't have any extras and keep forgetting to buy some:/ I promise next week! I have a cold right now and I don't know why.  Last week we were walking one day (we now share a car with a new area in my district) and at night when we were waiting for the others to pick us up the skies opened! It was POURING! We got pretty cold even though it was 41c (105 degrees Fahrenheit) that day. Progress is now slow, everything closes for December and everyone has it off. All they do in "Miamilodi" is party, party and party. No one has "time" and it is frustrating. But it's all good, akunamatata.  To answer your question, the maggots came from our trash, there were hundreds! We have a pretty bad roach problem too but I am taking it personal and am busting out some borax.   As for the other questions,  we shop at a store called Pick n Pay or Checkers. It is fairly normal. The food is slightly different, the beef tastes a little different as well as the sausage called buri vors. Its good though, I LOVE this stuff called chutney! It is like a sweet salsa or something. I have this jalapeno chutney right now that I put on everything!  I love you so much! I hope you have a wonderful week!! 
Love,
Your Son

Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2018

At an African Wedding

Thanksgiving dinner in Africa

Selfie at the internet cafe



Dear Family,
My area of Mamelodi just got cut in half.  The whole of Mamelodi is about 2 million people so it's kinda big... I now stay in Montana Park in an apartment that had maggots all over the floor last night but we purged it today so it's all good now. No HUGE storms like before but still small ones.  My pants still fit somewhat. I ripped my pants in the "rear" seam when I bent down the other day. Luckily I was at home.  I will try to save them but I might need some new pants.... MAYBE. The wedding will be fun I'm  sure.  (His sister Maddie just told him she was engaged.) Not as fun as an African wedding though. I went to one a few weeks ago and it was sweeeet. I got fed a LOT. People here feed MASSIVE portions so that's why I am getting a gut. I am glad to hear you had fun with Grandpa, I miss the snow. Here you actually put water as coolant in cars because it never drops below freezing. We just had a good Thanksgiving today actually. We didn't celebrate it on the actual day. Anyway, this week was slow. December here in Mamelodi I hear is crazy. People always party, leave town and what not. So it will be slow. I am good though. I might stock up on some stuff I need.  I will shop smart and not spend much though. 
All in All, thanks and love you tons!!!
Your Fav Missionary

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Welcome November!

Just a hut that looks cool




Call-ins on a Sunday night featuring Granola and Yogurt


Saw this guy cruising down the street

Mamelodi skies    

November 7, 2016
Hi,
I responded to a lot of emails this week and don't have much time. I love you all so much!! SOOOOO MUCH!!! I have transfers this week so PRAY to Heavenly Father I get a good companion. My greenie is done training so we will be separated. Thanks for the hydro flask btw. It keeps ice cubes all day so when its hot in the area it cools me down. I also left my camera at the flat today so no pics.... sorry.   GUYS I LOVE YOU I see a lot of family issues here and it makes me thankful for you guys. I LOVE YOU!!!!! 
Love,
The one, the only... weighing in at fatter than he left!!! Elder Voyles 


November 14, 2016

Dear Family,
I did get a new companion this transfer!  He is funny and we get along. This week had been SUPER slow because I had to drive all the elders to their new companions and was basically driving a lot! All in all I drove about 650 kilometers (400 miles) this week. 

Love,
Your Son

November 21, 2016

Dear Family, 
This transfer will be fun because I am in a four man flat and we have a lot of laughs!!! It is awesome. At the end of this transfer I will have been in Mamelodi for 7&1/2 months!! It is a long time... I love it though, I KNOW the area. The families love me and we get fed probably 5 to 6 times a week. It mainly consists of seven colors. I am getting a kapunda (tubby belly) but it is kinda fun to have. I am super happy. 
Love you sooooo much!!
Love,
Your chubby son



Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2016
Volunteering at a boxing gym in Mamelodi

A CRAZY STORM HIT PRETORIA!!! 
There was lightning every half second and it was non stop flashes all over!! It was INSANE!! 
This is a pic took at night of a bolt of lightning!

My "flat".  That's me getting into the car.


Hello!

My week flew by! It was super busy!! We worked hard here this week.  We had a lot of lessons and now we are shifting our focus to less actives and it is working. We have about 360 of them in the ward so we need to start to change that. We had something like 30+ lessons this week which is a lot for here. It is very common to have like 3 appointments cancel a day but still I am happy.
It is heating up here! It is 38 degrees Celcius (100 degrees Farenheit) and I am in tin huts half the time. A/C does not exist here. But I am told the more you walk in the sun the prettier your future wife gets. Dad must have walked in the sun his whole mission.
No news on Namibia and when I might go. I think I might go this coming transfer but who knows.
Love you all so much,
Elder Voyles

Monday, October 17, 2016

Short and Sweet

October 18, 2016

Viva Las Vegas

From left to right: Elder Homer, Charels, Letsabo, Khutsong, Unknown person



Mormon helping hands!

The service we did at the other Elders chapel (school house).

Playing with a lion
Dear Family,
We had three baptisms this week and it was wonderful! I am so happy and having a blast!!  This week as flown by!!!! I feel like it is Wednesday of last week! (Editor's Note:  I asked what the hardest thing and best thing was about the mission). Truthfully, the hardest thing about the mission so far is the disobedience, it makes things pretty difficult. I think the best thing is the people, they are so amazing. I love the people of Africa so much! I love my district, they all have a strong desire for obedience and hard work which makes my job a lot easier. I love you, have an amazing week!

Love,
Your son

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It's All Good

October 10, 2016


Our car being mobbed by children

Making Cinnamon Rolls 

 Package Received

PUPPY!

Dear Family,
I received my package!!!! Thanks so much for everything!!  I am not sunburnt, it is just hot and I am flush a lot of the time.  In answer to your questions about being district leader, I have a good district, THE WHOLE DISTRICT IS GREEN!!!!  None of us have left our first area so we are all considered green, including half of them who are still in there 12 week training. They are all good obedient guys so that's good. I have fasted this week and it actually was awesome, I have had some crazy cool experiences!! I will tell you more about it next week.
Love,
Elder Voyles

October 3, 2016

Me and my Comp found import candy!!! (And Mountain Dew chapstick, haha)!

We just took an "African" photo (no smiles)

Our investigator Charles has kittens!!

Kitten giving momma a bath!!! SO CUTE!

Hello!
So in answer to your question, we were able to stream conference at our chapel! It was absolutely amazing!  I got called as district leader over the Mamelodi district. I probably won't go up to Namibia for another transfer or so. They don't have a spot for other Elders up there yet.  I am doing good. I am so happy! I was able to bear my testimony when I was on exchanges with the other elders and it was amazing.  I love my mission and I am really excited for everything! I gotta go now though so I'll talk more next week! LOVE YOU!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Just Another Day in Paradise

September 26, 2016

 Charles (an investigator) giving us some African plums from his tree

Me being a goofball with a big spoon at our ward heritage day

Me learning how to Zulu dance at our ward heritage day

Zone Conference


Hello Everyone!! 
Not much time. Not a lot happened this week. I heard my visa got accepted to Namibia so I might go this transfer but who knows. I am super excited! 
In response to your question, Mom, about my driver's license, my license confuses the cops so they don't say anything, haha. I have only been pulled over twice.(no tickets)
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Love,
Your Missionary 



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Last Two Weeks

September 19, 2016




Hello Everyone,

I don't have too much time this week. This week was interesting to say the least. All in all, we were locked out of our flat one night, our phone was stolen, we got our car back from the shop and it broke down again that same day. We then got a different car but my companion misplaced his license in a taxi. So demolition derby champ Elder Voyles is back on the road. We had a slow week because of the difficulties so I will write more next week. Stay safe and stay strong!
Love,
Elder Voyles

September 12, 2016

Helloooo!
           First off we had a great week this week. In weeks past the teaching pool was massive and we had a lot of people who weren't serious so we had many lessons fall through leaving us dead in the water. So what we did was just narrow the teaching pool and try to focus on people who are willing to apply the gospel in their life. We have a few new investigators who are solid, one of which was from Durban and has already been taught the first 4 lessons and told us he wants to be baptized. We meet him for the first time at church yesterday... Amazing right!?! Other than that we are working hard, the times I feel the most joy are when we are in the area working. The more I realize that the more I come to appreciate the words of President Ezra T. Benson when he said "I have often said that one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work!" I have made it a goal of mine as a trainer to instill that in my trainee. The harder you work on the mission and align  your will with the will of our Father's, the happier you become. Needless to say, trials are still going to be there. It is like a constant "gut check" for us and our Heavenly Father to see where we stand. As long as it is on the side of the Lord, the blessings will come, that's a promise. 
            And now, The Story... This week we have been walking again because our car broke down. We had a lunch appointment yesterday that was way far from all our lessons in the evening. As we were treaking back to the chapel for our next appointment, we round a corner to find a man engaged in a vigorous battle with absolutely nothing. He had a stick and was swinging it yelling loudly!(the guy was off his rocker) He then come over to us yelling and I was low key freaking out. I quickly pulled a pass-along card out and he took it and started saying random stuff (trying to read it) Me and my companion then quickly went on our way. 
         All in all I hope everyone is doing well. Have a wonderful week and never forget where it is that you stand. 

Love Elder Voyles

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Just a Quick Note

September 5, 2016

Guys, I don't have much time, our car broke down so we walked to an email shop close to our apartment and it is pricey.  I can't send pictures this week, sorry!

Coop!  YOU GOT A DOG?!?!? That’s so cool she looks so cute!! 

These last few weeks have been a bit rough. My comp is a bit reserved so sometimes I have to carry the lessons but he  just got here so I understand.  Just at the start of the transfer a lot of the people we teach and some who were on date are G-Ghost now. It’s tough, but the only way is forward. Plus, we don't have a car for a while and my comp was sick this week. So thanks for the words of encouragement!   

Love Elder Voyles


Monday, August 29, 2016

Potholes, Prayers and Playing Soccer

August 28, 2016

This one was taken awhile ago, on our way to a lesson

Me and my greenie hit a pot hole on his first day so we had to put on the spare


Some kids from a family that LOVES me​


Hello Everyone,
This week was very interesting. I got a call to train Elder H. straight  from the MTC. Our first couple of days we weren't able to go to the area because of riots. The other remaining days were very slow due to the time of the month. At months end people get paid and go to town to spend their money. The training is going well,  Elder H.  was able to put two of our investigators on date, Khutsong and Letsabo. We also have a car now but I am probably going to institute the P&W routine (park and walk). Everything is going well, we have 9 people on date but a few of them are probably gonna get bumped back. The stakes are being raised, we have a lot of good people getting better but are losing some of the investigators we have. We are SUPER busy right now, the work is going great. Being a trainer is difficult because now I have to lead the area with a greenie. It is a honor and a privilege to be where I am and doing the things that I am doing though. This week we had a few cool experiences.   I have my window down a lot because the AC doesn't work in our car. We drove by some guys and a drunk guy practically jumped in our car asking for a blessing. We just said a prayer with him and drove off. It was quite hilarious. And the kids here love missionaries. We played soccer with some random kids the other day, they are fun! The members and everyone likes us as well. I am really starting to LOVE the mission now. Things are going good, I cannot complain  Everything is well, I hope everyone is doing great!

Love,
Elder Voyles

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Press Forward

August 22, 2016

A little bit of my MASSIVE area

​A fellow American(pit bull) in a far away land, for some reason this dog loved me!!

A Mamelodi sunset


Hello Everyone!
This week was AWESOME! We got 9 new investigators, all of which are solid and have follow-up appointments! We should have about 13 on date by weeks end. Mamelodi is turning into the promised land of the mission! We also had stake conference this Sunday! It was about 40 min away from our chapel and most people don't have cars but we still had 2 less actives at church! We meet two guys from Zimbabwe, they are students there, and they have a lot of questions! All of which we were able to answer by the whisperings of the spirit. They were satisfied and super eager to meet again! We did have one guy confront us at this squatter camp, he wasn't letting us talk and being kind of rude. I got dishearten/frustrated but we went back a few days later for a lesson with someone and people were asking us who we were and apologizing for the incident. It actually worked to our advantage because it sparked people’s curiosity about us. So, lesson learned. Sometimes we are made to suffer to bring about greater good. All we can do is not complain and look inward, but keep an eternal perspective and press forward with a steadfastness in Christ. Nothing else to report really, I hope everyone is well!
So, I just finished training this week and tomorrow I am going to get a greenie to train... I am super excited and look forward to meeting him. The weather is going to get hot here pretty soon so it will be interesting to see how hot. And a lot of the people we teach are younger! It is super fun because you can see them progress so much faster than others! I love the area and everyone in it! We will be having a car this transfer, I got to drive for the first time since the beginning today and it seemed pretty normal. All is well on this side of the globe. I am still looking for shoes because my size doesn't exist over here so wish me luck. 


 Love,
Elder Voyles

Just call me Las Vegas

August 15, 2016
Me and my comp getting ice cream

 This is a sphatlo which you buy from street shops for the equivalent of $1.25 and they are HUGE

Hello,
         We had a great week this week! We received a lot of referrals and meet a lot of new people as well! We went around an area of Mamelodi West called D16 to find new people. It went well, we are meeting with 6 new people this week because of it! We also were able to speak with this lady Namonde. We rarely get to see her because she is SUPER busy. So whenever we get to see her I pray the spirit may teach her as much as possible. Me and my companion were able to speak to her about the Plan of Salvation. We also bore testimony on there being one true church that is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was so much fun! It got me thinking. As a missionary, every day we meet with people and commit them to progression of different ways. Every time we do that these people accept (or don't) to change their eternal life. What a blessing it is to be a part of that processes. Being a missionary, a set apart representative of Jesus Christ, has blessed me so much. It is an absolute privilege to be a part of our Fathers work here on earth. We also have 2 new investigators, Khutsong and Letsabo. Khutsong is 14 and Letsabo is 9. I love those boys. They came to church with us yesterday and loved it! I feel such a unique spirit with them. They remind me a lot of me and my little brother Cooper how we love and hangout with each other.
        Now, on a bit of a different note. I had an interesting week walking the streets of Mamelodi. For some reason drunk people looove speaking with missionaries. Add that with the fact that everyone in Mamelodi drinks, every day, things get interesting. For example, two drunk old guys argued about the bible with me even though I said absolutely nothing...Hahaha. Me and my comp just slowly backed away then just slipped away when they were talking with each other. We also made friends with these guys at "Scratch Corner" which is a place people don't generally go but they always want us to take pictures with them. And, of course, they allllll call me Las Vegas. I always say that my name is Elder Voyles, but none of them can pronounce it so they just call me Las Vegas... That will have to do I guess. Other than that, not much to say except I hope everyone is well and enjoying this wonderful gift of life!
Love,

Elder Voyles

Three Months!

August 8, 2016




Ashee (Hello) Everyone,
This week has been slow but eventful at the same time. I went to a Labola Party for a Member in our ward this week. Labola is the bridal costs the groom pays and it is very ceremonial. It was fun to see these ooooooold African ladys dancing and singing Tswana songs. I to have picked up some Tswana and when I speak it people go crazy! In Mamelodi people think I am Afrikaans(the white african people). So whenever I speak their language and tell them I am from America they LOVE me! One lady even started clapping haha! I am really getting comfortable here. I have just about finished up my 12 week training and I have learned so much!! I encourage everyone to watch the most recent MTC broadcast and more specifically David A Bednar's portion about teaching by the spirit. It Is awesome! I love you all but am now gonna wrap up.
Have a great week!!
Love,

Elder Voyles

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Paintball, Pap, and Preaching the Gospel

August 1, 2016

On a hill above my area

Paint Ball--Magupani Zone vs Pretoria Zone

Hello Everyone!
Sooo, this week has been good! We had two days of exchanges because my companion  is district leader and had to do baptismal interviews. I went with Elder G. one day and then with a zone leader Elder B. We got two new investigators and the spirit was strong. I think teaching the Plan of Salvation is my favorite. So many people wonder where we came from, why are we here and where are we going? As soon as you tell them they can see their child again or their parents in the next life it truly changes there life. We spoke to a lady named Tambi and made her that promise and she broke down. It was sad but so amazing at the same time. I love being in lessons and feeling the spirit of truth working through me. Sometimes you start speaking and you don't know the next word you are going to speak but it just comes out. It is my favorite feeling! I wish I could GoPro everything! I love my area and everyone in it. It is such a blast!

On a little lighter note, I think I am becoming famous in Mamelodi. People see me, a lekgowa (white guy), they grab my hand and start talking to me. Once they hear I am from Las Vegas they all freak out. I have people that say, "Hey Las Vegas!!" They all want me to come drink or smoke with them but I say "Noo, no. I am a missionary".   It literally happens every day. Things are fun here. Our Mission President, President Chandembuka, approved paint balling for a P-Day activity so we went today. I never thought a year ago I'd be playing paintball in the African bush. It was the equivalent to 15 US dollars. It was sooo much fun, it was one zone vs another—Magupani zone vs Pretoria Zone.  I’m in the Pretoria Zone.
It really brought us all together. I like these guys here.

So when it comes to my cooking, allotment is 1,450 rand a month equivalent to about 120 dollars. Things are pretty cheap if you go to the right stores. So I have been eating good. The people here love me, especially because I have been learning a little bit of Setswana and Zulu. They can’t believe it! We have seen some crazy stuff but it hasn't ever been too bad. I am loving the mission more and more. I am really starting to get the hang of things. I love you so much and thank you for everything.  Give the fam my love and regards. 

Dear Coop,
Your week sounds like it was fun, I miss the ranch. Stay adventurous and fun! I love you so much man, you are a stud. Have a good week and keep me posted on the dirt bike stuff that sounds like so much fun!! Live every day without regrets of your words and actions, try to live like the prophets of old. I look up to them so much. In Preach my Gospel there is a line I like "Just as vital as what you do, however, is who you are." So try to become the best version of yourself you can be!

Love,
Elder Voyles


July 25, 2016

Outside the Mission Office

Steak, Pap (like grits), Homemade Bread and Dried Fruit

Hello Everyone,

This week was interesting. Tuesday morning I got pretty sick until Thursday. I had a stomach bug and some pretty bad body aches. I slept for two days but now I am all better and we got back after it ASAP. We weren't able to go to the area Tuesday and Wednesday but we still had a successful week compared to a normal one. We have seven new investigators. One of which was a very spiritual experience! We went to a regular’s house and she wasn't there but this lady named Ntabisen was. We started with the Plan of Salvation and she just started crying. It caught me off guard but ultimately it went great!! Both her parents are dead and she still has a strong belief in God and His love for her! I felt prompted to share with her the analogy of the refiner’s fire and she really understood that it has made her stronger in faith and spirit. We have a lesson with her tomorrow so pray she is actually going to be there. All in all a very successful week!
Mom, I will just buy shirts and stuff here. I don't need much at all. In the package, just send your love (and by love I mean whatever you want just don't send an empty box).  Tell grandpa Happy Birthday and I love him.  He is a strong man and a good example.

To Cooper:  Be thankful for everything we have!! Coming here made me realize how well off we are! It is such a privilege to live in the country we do with the law and rights we have. Love it all and be so grateful!!!


Love,
Elder Voyles