Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Monday, June 13, 2016

I'm in Utah

For those of you who believe Africa to be a blistering hot savannah, where children ride elephants to school and men fight off lions for their evening meal, think again.

Africa is more developed than the world believes it to be, and the stereotypes of underdevelopment are slowrly slipping away.  Dirt roads have been replaced with asphalt lions substituted with dogs; huts upgraded to Burger King.  True, these stereotypes do exist in many places in Africa.  but this new Arfrica is dominant and prevailing, especially here in South Africa.

Much of the world is aware of the rich heritage of Africa within the pages of history, and that heritage is evermore present in this wonderful country.  But there is one fact that history has failed to tell: Africa can and does get freezing cold!  Eish, the weather that I'm experiencing right now is so much like Utah!  Take away the palm trees and add snow, and it's another winter's day in Utah.  I feel right at home here.  If I'm honest, I had to play some Christmas music to make it feel more like a Utah winter.

I'm not sure if it's been in the news in America, but South Africa has been recently targeted by radical terrorists groups.  Their main target is America and their citizens.  As a result, us missionaries have been counseled to stay away from big malls, KFC, McD's, Dominoes, Krispy Kreme, and any other American/crowded location for the next bit.  But what a wonderful feeling to know that the Lord is protecting us, even if we are to be separated from our comfort food for a short season.

Earlier today, we found out that the owner of our apartment is coming to do an inspection.  We were counseled to do a deep cleaning, which involved the oven.  Eish, I really can't describe a more terrible chore to do than to clean a missionary's oven.  But I can say that, after four hours of scrubbing and scraping, I have prevailed!  The oven is sparkly clean, unlike my hands and forearms.  Pray you never have to experience the same.

There's nothing out of the ordinary to share from this week.  I can just share a story told by James E. Faust that I was relayed by my family this week:

[I'd like to relate] the story of a young piano student. His mother, wishing to encourage him, “bought tickets for a performance of the great Polish pianist, Paderewski. The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away.

“Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’

“His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.

“In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’”

I think we can all relate to the young boy, especially when we compare our small and simple works to the wonderful and marvelous works of our Heavenly Father.  But, as always, Heavenly Father makes our simple melodies into a mesmerizing song that capture the hearts of all those around us.  Like the song 'Glorious' states: "It's like a symphony.  Just keep listening, and pretty soon you'll start to figure out your part.  Everyone plays a piece in their own melodies..."  May we all play our small, yet incredibly important part in this work of salvation, that we may be able to have joy with those who we rescue in the next life.

Have a marvelous week!

Elder B

Zizo with her picture of me:

Fun with the camera:

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