I have now been in the MTC for 8 days in Johannesburg, South Africa and am loving every single second! Seriously, who would've thought. I have a great companion from South Africa, Sister Buthelezi (boo-tah-lez-ee), and we work so well together, and are having the best time! Sister Erickson, Walbeck, and Ziqubu (zee-(click)-oo-boo) are the other companionship, and let me tell you, these girls are my best friends!! I am slowly, but surely, learning Shone, Zulu, and xhlosa (klosa). Zulu is really clicky, and I'm getting the clicks down pretty well. They're just hard to say really fast. But in the words of Sister Ziqubu, "Sister Richards, you're practically African". Oh stop it, I'm blushing.
I got made Sister Leader the first day we were here, so it's been great being able to learn how to be a leader! President and Sister Ashton are so incredible, and I've already learned so much from them.
Joburg is beautiful! It's been raining like crazy every day, and it gets pretty loud in the atrium. It's so pretty having everything green here, and it's the perfect temperature down here! We went outside for Book of Mormon study the other day, and our teacher, Sister Neo (nay-oh), said "oh no it's too cold out here" and all of the utah sisters were like "are you serious!! this is so warm!!" and we're just sitting there taking off our cardigans and basking in the sunlight. I'm guessing it was a solid 70 degrees out there. We got to go to the Joburg temple on Tuesday so Sister Ziqubu and Elder Chaparadzda could go through for the first time. Such a cool experience.
Our teachers are absolutely AMAZING! I don't know if I've even been in a place where the spirit is so strong, and these teachers know the gospel like it's nobody's business. They can recite hundreds of scriptures, and I am learning sooo much from them. Sister Neo and Van Zyl (fun-sale) are our morning teachers, and Brother Kubekah, Ventzel, and Moshani are our afternoon/night teachers. They all act like our investigators, and it's so hard to keep their names straight haha.
I'll spare you my real feelings on the food, but know that I am alive and well. Also, cranberry juice will get rid of the taste of ANYTHING. Seriously. The toast is good, though. And the chocolate pudding.
My testimony has grown more in the past 8 days than I ever could have imagined. I've learned to recognize the spirit more clearly, and I can testify to each of you that if you open your mouth, the spirit will fill it with words. I went into District Meeting on Sunday not knowing what I was going to say to my sisters to help them, but as soon as I opened my mouth, the spirit took over and we had an outstanding meeting. Each one of mine and Sister Buthelezi's investigators has accepted the invitation to be baptized, and I could cry every time they say yes.
There is no place else in the world I would rather be than in South Africa right now preaching the gospel. I love this gospel with everything I have! The Lord truly is hastening the work, and I can hear it in every testimony of the elders and sisters here (all 9 of us). Let's preach this gospel!!
I'm really sorry that was so long, but there's just so much to say! As the Africans would say, I am "so much grateful" for each of you. Your testimonies have gotten me where I am today, and the people of Zimbabwe will be able to hear your testimonies through mine.
This is Africa's time. This is C Rich signing off.