'Eish' is the golden word. Master it, and you can speak any language in South Africa. The word can be used for almost any expression: surprise, pain, confusion, you name it. Monthly allotment comes in? "Eish! I'm not broke!" An investigator didn't keep a commitment? "Eish...." It's a word without price, a word required if you are to be a resident of SA.
The past two transfers in Springs and Selcourt wards have had a lot of good 'eish's. The area is doing great, my companion is awesome, and we get fed 'kakhulu' (meaning 'too much' in Zulu). On the flip side, with the bad 'eish's, I acquired some parasites, hit the mark of weighing 80 kgs (which is going down... slowly), and my 'son' and brother Elder Latu passing away. There's really opposition in all things, especially in missionary work.
In the past week, the 'eish' balance tipped just a bit too much to the bad side. It's almost like the aftershock since my 'son' died. It's strange, because I've experienced the joy in knowing that I can see Elder Latu again through the Plan of Salvation, yet depression has hit pretty hard. It leaves one wondering," Why am I not over it yet? Why am I so weak? What am I not doing right?"
This past Sunday was the worst 'eish' thus far in my 15 months on mission. Church was an amazing way to start off the day with the partaking of the sacrament to renew my covenants and seeing our investigators continue to progress towards baptism. We continued to have a successful day, yet the evening brought a pretty low dip. Funny enough that today marked the one month anniversary of Elder Latu's passing. I again found myself asking the same questions:" Why am I not over it yet? Why am I so weak? What am I not doing right?"
After consulting with my Mission President and the Africa South-East Area's Therapist in the early afternooon on Monday, we were really unsure of what direction we should travel. I myself was unsure of what was going to happen with my state of being going downhill. Monday night came, and along with it came our weekly visit to the Laats' Family in Selcourt ward. Due to the hectic day we had, we forgot to plan what we were going to teach them. Eish....
While I was thinking about what we could teach, an idea popped into my head. I got out my guitar from the back of our car and asked everyone to turn to hymn #30, "Come, Come Ye Saints". We began by reading through the verses and analyzing what the song was truly saying. Two reoccurring themes continued through every verse: "We don't have to be afraid; God with strengthen us." "It's not about coming to Zion; it's about coming to God." It was really a miracle for me, because it answered a blessing I had received earlier by my Mission President, which said ," I bless you that you may be saturated in the feeling of God's love for you, that He knows of your challenges right now. I bless you that, like a ocean wave receding on the shore, you may feel peace." Even as we sang, the Spirit overflowed into my soul, filling me with peace and assurance that all things will come around.
Eish, I really can't express to you the testimony I have of the reality of miracles. Miracles exist! They happen everyday, everywhere around us. They can come unexpectedly, and often go unseen. But they are there, and we have the ability to see them if we are looking for them. I've come to realize that true miracles don't always come in the form of what we see, but in what we feel; they are not always manifested in the unexplainable, but in the indescribable.
I love you guys! May you be able to find those 'eish' moments in your day when you may behold another miracle that God will place in your path.
P.S. I've hit the 15 month mark!! Only two more transfers 'til I can 'take off my sister skirt'. If you don't get it, forget about it.