Elder Derick Hepworth, Called to Serve In God's Army In Johannesburg, South Africa
A record of Derick Hepworth's experiences in South Africa as he serves for 2 years. Elder Hepworth is from Pocatello, Idaho, and was called to Johannesburg, South Africa, English Speaking, as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I'm sure all of you tend to think that my emails are really great but I think my greatest emails come from speaking how I feel. Sometimes my emails feel lame because I don't feel like speaking my feelings but today I'm going to speak my mind even though I'm not feeling cheery. Lately I've been feeling a lot of stress and fear about coming home and enduring to the end. Only return missionaries know what it feels like at this point. It's a strange feeling. Life is like a novel and as you read on you keep hitting new chapters but every time you do you find the next chapter blank and you can't help but wonder what's going to fill those pages. Life upon arriving home will be mine and I fear if I will make the right decisions and if I'm actually going to be the one making them. People say have faith, pray, and everything will be alright but it's never that easy. I love my Heavenly Father and all that he has blessed me with. My constant prayer is that he will continue to guide and bless me. I don't know what I would be without the gospel. It hasn't been the best two years but it has been the most important. Upon arriving home I hope that everyone will support me in my decisions and that my mission experiences continue to drive me. I thank you all for your support as I have served. I love you all and wish you all the best with where you are at in your life. As the apostle Paul said "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;" (2 Timothy 3:14). We have been having a good time here is Kagiso. Despite the challenges and opposition from the ward leaders we finally baptized a boy named Tsumi.
He is wonderful and wants to be a missionary one day. Ive had many wonderful and some crazy mission stories. I'm sure you will hear more about them soon. Enjoy your week.
We had quite a busy week this week. We had two exchanges this week with our assistants to the president and one of our district leaders. Then we taught a powerful zone meeting. This week a missionary went home from our district and another from a different area so they closed the other kagiso area. So we are over all of it and two wards. We go to church from 9 a.m. til 4 p.m. and it's pretty exhausting. Also I got a cold this week and I was tired all the time and I'm trying to keep going even though I only have a month left ha ha. The work is going good though. We are going to be pretty busy with two wards to cover. It's a shame that many missionaries are going home these days. Mission isn't easy I can promise you that but it's been such a great life changing experience.
6 weeks left! My mom just told me she got my flight intinerary. If that doesn't make it real I don't know what will. Last week was kind of hectic. They have introduced a lot of new policies in the mission. The main one being how transfers are done. It was pretty hectic because there was a lot of responsibility on us as zone leaders to make sure people got moved around. Everything went well and I'm grateful I was kept with my same companion or it would have been a lot more hectic. We are now incharge of training the new district leaders so we did that in Friday and it went well. This week we had some powerful lessons. We have some new investgators that are really cool. Sunday was awesome we had 12 investigators come to church and like 3 referrals. The missionary work here is booming and it's wonderful. We should be having a baptism on Sunday of a 14 year old boy. There are so many blessings around us and sometimes we just need to look around and notice them. Have a great week everyone.
I don't know if it's only me but some things don't seem to be real until they happen. Like when I came here. Now I can't believe my mission is coming to an end. We just started my last transfer which will be 7 weeks. I have no more companions or areas. It's so weird. All mission we talk about going home and how great it will be but when it comes it gets a little strange. It's going to be a little weird readjusting but I did it once and I can do it again. I'm going to miss this place so much though. The people I have met and the places I have been. South Africa has made such an impact on me. I hope to come back one day. I'm enjoying the rest of what I have. This week we had some great success. The two kids that I baptized last week were confirmed and the church was packed. I'm glad I'm staying with my companion because I don't know a lot of them haha. The holidays are officially over and people are seeking God again. I love seeing God's hand in things. To meet someone and see that God has prepared them or how he moves his work forward while we are just his hands is so amazing. Look for God and you will find him I know it's true. I read a quote by Gordon B. Hinckley which said the course of our life is not determined by great, awesome decisions. Our direction is set by the little day to day choices we make which chart the track on which we run. Live one day at a day. Have a great week everyone and stay warm I hear it's pretty cold back home.
Sorry for not sending an email last week. The email shop that we email at is terrible. Even today it is really bad but I'm making it work. Things are becoming a lot better with the holidays ending. The kids here started school today I believe and everybody is going back to work. The week was good. This week we had a nasty heat wave come in. It was like over 100 degrees during the day and 80 degrees at night. Then rain came down so hard that the windshield wipers didn't move fast enough. The weather has chilled out now though and it's enjoyable again. The highlight of the week was Sunday. We had two baptisms and they went really well. They were of a 9 year old girl named Rethabile and a 13 year old girl named Tumi. I had the privilege of baptizing them. We also had 10 investigators at church and had a less active we teach come back. It was a day of success. Those days that you can actually see that what you are doing is paying off. This week we also experienced many policy changes in the mission that are difficult to except but we have no choice. Sometimes we had to remember why we came out here and endure through it. We were talking to a family this week and as we introduced our selves they said if you can do this nothing in life will stop you. Mission is life changing. It is hard but rewarding just like everything in life. If you want to learn an instrument you will struggle but when you master it you will never regret it. God's plan and our plan can be very different sometimes. We always want things simple and easy and his plan stretches and teaches us. He doesn't do it because he wants us to suffer or beat us down but he loves us very much. I know that is true. Don't ever give up. Have a great week. You are all in my prayers.
Hello everyone and Merry Christmas!! I really can't believe that Christmas is this week. December has just flown by. I'm happy to hear that it has been snowing a lot back home because I miss that stuff but I pray you will all be safe this holiday season. Out here there aren't any Christmas trees, lights, or spirit. So maybe that is why I don't realize Christmas is here. Out here the work is going good but it always slows down during the holidays. Many people are going to visit family members and go on vacations. Here Christmas time is also summer break for the kids so we get a lot of see you in January haha. We did have a cool experience this week and are finding more people to teach. We have a family that we are teaching and some of them were struggling to get to church. As we were teaching them I felt that I should invite them to a tour of the chapel during the week. They accepted and we did so. It was awesome to see there response and the man came on Sunday and enjoyed it. We also had a woman who came up to us and said that she wants us to teach and baptize her daughter. I still love Christmas on mission because it puts an emphasis on Christ like I've never experienced before. I can now see that it isn't all about the gifts but the gift that God gave us. I pray you will all find ways to put Christ into your Christmas. I'm very grateful for all that God has given us including his son. Enjoy the holidays and all the blessings that God has given you and I'll do the same. Have a great week!