Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 6: Indians, Significant Growth, Car Washes & Bible Study

Hey - 

Been catching up on emails and not too much to report on - but I went on an exchange to Chatsworth, which is an Indian dominated area.  Man it is true that they are so nice and just offer you, and offer you, and offer you more food. Enjoyed it though for sure - it was with my zone leader who is super cool who is getting transferred to Swaziland tomorrow. That and Lesotho are in the mission. 

Stake conference was this week- and man is the church growing. This was the last time they will meet in the Pinetown chapel because there are too many people- they will probably have to rent out a University hall for it next time. 

In a few weeks we will be starting a Bible study class to try and find people- and we also do free car washes on Saturdays, rotating areas, which is cool and a good way to find people to teach. A bit hard to find people  here because every house has a gate surrounding it.

As far as heading to Kenya goes - one of the Elders I came through the Training Center with is from Utah.  His work permit went through, so he is headed there in the morning.  So, assuming within the next month or two we should be there, but a bit of a hectic time to switch - will definitely be bittersweet.

The members here are so nice and have such strong testimonies. It's great to be around them - and most are converts.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving - and Black Friday as it will be a normal day here. Feel free to write me or let me know any questions you have about anything from location to culture, etc. - I would be glad to answer it.

Take Care

Elder Eveson

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Real Update via Snail Mail - because I actually have time to Write Letters!

Hey All,

Just a few things I wanted to note down that you may be wondering about that I haven't had time to share or email.

First, I love your emails, but I would also love to get handwritten letters as well.  I only have an hour to go through my full inbox and lots of times, I don't have time to respond.  And I cannot print out the emails to take with me, because we don't have paper or a printer to use.  I only have an hour to go through my full inbox and send my update.  Lots of times, I just don't have time to respond, but I want to!  Please write me and I'll respond in writing.  I promise!

The boarding:  Boarding or flat is what we could call an apartment.  4 of us stay in here, me and my companion, Elder Rajonarison, and Elder Calwell (who is a huge Utah Utes fan) and his companion who is from Zimbabwe I believe.  2 rooms.  2 baths (our shower is very unreliable) and a full kitchen - besides dishwasher.  So, it's just like the cabin.  You use a dish, you clean the dish and whatever pots/pans you used to make it.  Also, we have a washer, but no dryer, so everything is hung in here to dry.

Quite a few days so far we have had nice mornings, but thunderstorms/rain in the afternoon.  That Nike jacket is doing me nice since it's not cold when it rains.  Thanks Dad.  We have had a few HOT days.  i mean 90-100°'s.  I guess I'm slowly easing into Kenya weather.  Oh man.

There are 2 other Elders that stay in the same complex as us, Elder Weston, from Cardston, Alberta, and his companion.  And 2 more that stay across the street, Elder Sandburg who went/goes to Utah state, and Elder Moline from Alberta, whom I came from the MTC with.

We all get together at 6:30 Monday - Saturday mornings and play soccer together for half an hour on the field that is above the street from our complex.

8-9 AM is personal study, 9-10 companion study, 10-11 training since I'm new, then since we are already home and it's lunch time, we make something then go.

My companion loves to cook lunch.  He doesn't eat much dinner or breakfast, but always cooks me a nice lunch.  We have dinner appointments with members every Wednesday with the same family, Thursday with the same family, then lunch after Church on Sundays rotates.

Food here is alright, only things worth mentioning are that I have eaten beets (no, that doesn't mean I like them), but it's an eat everything on the plate because it's food, I am a missionary, and also it's respectful.

The 2nd largest concentration of Indian people in the world reside here in Durban.

The Claremont area Elders brought some extra food over (our Zone leaders) the night I arrived, and man was it hot.  They said it was pretty mild and they were just chowing down.  They said it only gets hotter.  Starting to think they may have given me a different dish than they were actually eating . . . .

As far as people go -- everyone from President Zackrison (Mission President) to Bishop to other Elders and Members have been very welcoming and nice.

As far as driving goes - I mentioned it in an email - but I love it, driving on the left is just natural and I don't even think twice about it now.  Really helps that it is an automatic and I'm not trying to learn standard and shift with my left hand, since the driver's seat is on the right.

Trying to think of what else you guys may want to know . . .

Yes, the date is written first when you write it, so today is 10th of November, 10/11, not October 11th.  (October 11th I was still home).  So it was a bit weird yesterday was 9/11/13 when you write the date.

Soccer is the biggest sport here - many people play, watch, talk about it and wear jerseys.  Rugby is talked about a little, but I personally haven't seen much or heard much about it so far.

Houses are tiny and the township of New Germany is super humbling.  You can't even comprehend.  Makes me grateful for our small boarding (apartment) and you cannot compare to the houses in America.  All I can say is be grateful with what you have.

These kids live in tiny things and play with a super old ball or toy and have tons of fun together outside -- where as in America, people are waiting for the next video game to seclude themselves from the world even more.  Crazy the things I've seen this week.

So grateful for this experience and being able t oshare the gospel with those willing to listen here in South Africa.

Love You All,

Love, Elder Eveson

ps - If you have any questions, please ASK.  Write me so you get more than a quick one line answer, like on email.  I actually have time to respond to written letters - so plese do.  Although it may not be the most convenient - it is appreciated!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Special Request to My Family & Friends: Be a Member Missionary

Hey Guys,

Been in Durban a few days.  Pinetown is awesome.

Missionary work is hard, but I'm liking it.  You all can do it as well -- take a few pass along cards from your ward's Missionaries and give them to those you come in contact with.  You may think this letter is cheesy, but do it!  You can change their lives.

Read 1st Corinthians 2:6-8.  By giving them a pass along card, you are planting the seed -- then the missionaries will water it.  You will receive a reward for your labor in bringing others to come unto Christ.  Such a simple thing to do that doesn't get done enough.

Missionary work by every member changes the world.  Bring light and salvation to others.  3rd Nephi 12:14-16.

Love you All,

Elder Eveson

Friday, November 22, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things ~ Wish List for Christmas Packages

Hey -

Thank you again for all of your support!

If you are planning to send something, here are a few things I've been craving or could really use:

Peach Rings
Reese's Pieces
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Scripture Marking Crayons
Ties -- a missionary's only fashion statement, so kind of a big deal.
Plan of Salvation teaching aid from Deseret Book
Flash drive to store photos on
Home cooked goodiessssssssss!!!!!  Things like Brownies, Texas Sheetcake, etc. sound delicious.  Cheesecake is a favorite, but not sure it would survive the journey.
Old Spice Fiji Antiperspirant and Deodorant
Taco Bell Sauce packets (seriously!)
Twizzlers -- strawberry kind, not filled or twisted or cherry kind
Chocolate Covered Blueberries
President Hinckley's Stand a Little Taller book

Even if you just send one thing, I will appreciate it more than you know!

Thanks again!

Elder Eveson

[Editor's Note:  Funny how a Wish List changes over the years . . . from wants and desires to simple needs and hopes when perception and circumstances change. For example, I don't see any Nike Doernbecher's on this list.  :) ]

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 5: Machetes, Mongeese and KFC

Hey -

So first off thank you everyone for your support of me being here on my mission. Your emails and letters have been very appreciated. Although I can't respond to every email the way or length I would like. If you mail it to me, I have time to reply.  There is no paper for me to print emails on and take with me, so I have to breeze through everything as quickly as possible and it makes it very tough to read and reply.  I am so grateful you are writing though.  Please keep it up!

Couple of interesting things- People in the township cut their grass with a sharp machete if they don't get paid enough to hire someone, There are lizards and geckos here, alone with mongeese- yes I have seen them and at first had no idea because I had never seen one in real life. 

This week our district went to the Liverpool vs Kaizer Chiefs game at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, so that was pretty fun. Although, we didn't know until we got there it was the 'Legends' teams playing- aka the no name guys who played for the team a long time ago kicking around the ball, not the young Liverpool current team in Europe.Great game none the less and fun day. 

Traditional Zulu weddings might be worth reading about. KFC & McDonald's are here - one McDonald's in town and 5 or 6 KFC's on the main road within a mile.

I know I haven't touched much on the missionary work - but more the culture.  One thing I have found though is Africans have a hard time when we explain the Church's headquarters are in America, and that if they ask we have to tell them there are no black apostles currently.

Teaching lots of lessons and staying busy, hope all is well in the States with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas coming up.

Thanks for the support!! 

My address is
Elder Eveson
South Africa Durban Mission
P.O. Box 1741
Wandsbeck  3631
--- South Africa ---

Take care

-Elder Eveson

Friday, November 15, 2013

Exciting Info About Sending Packages in South Africa

From the Editor:  Helpful website I found to avoid shipping charges to South Africa -- and quicker deliveries. . . .  This is part of the letter I sent to the South Africa MTC and Durban Mission President.

Great News!
I searched online and found an company in South Africa that delivers anywhere in South Africa for free.  They have all kinds of goods to choose from (not candy or cheesecake though - Elder Eveson's main requests).  This could be a great alternative to shipping from the States -- especially for the Holiday Season.
For the website, use the following address:

Elder Brandon Eveson / South Africa Durban Mission 
Derby Downs Office Park
2 Derby Place
The second "Westville" is because a region is required, and this was what their system realized as a correct address.
Deliveries take about 7-10 days standard. No shipping charges! They have warehouses in JoBurg and CapeTown with hubs all throughout South Africa (including Durban) and will deliver anywhere in South Africa. 
I found the prices to be extremely reasonable.  When there are lots of options for a product, sort by price lowest to highest, and use some of the helpful filters on the left hand side to make selections easier.
Note, they bill in Rands, the South African currency, so depending on your debit/credit card company, there may be foreign transaction fees.  Check with your bankcard issuer.  

Still seeking a candy and cheesecake delivery service in South Africa . . . .  

Thanks for all your love and support!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 4: It's a Small, Small World . . .

Hey alright time is short but a few things--

For those who don't know, I am still here in Durban serving until the work permit gets sorted out to go to Kenya, which is where I was called to. It could be next week, next month or a year. Nobody knows.

No pictures until I get to a different place or a card reader. You'll see the super humbling places I've been soon hopefully.

A guy in the Pinetown ward which we serve in got his mission call to Kenya leaving Jan 9, so we'll see who gets there first or if he will have problems as well. He has come with us a few times and is super cool.
So of those Elders and Sisters we flew from Dallas to London with on the way over, turns out one of those was my current Zone Leader Elder Bowman's little brother.

Even crazier-- Ty Davis (Elder Davis) went to Sunset and is in our stake in Portland, now we are in the same zone in the South Africa Durban Mission. Pretty cool to see him. Picture coming whenever I can send them.

Yeah we do drive on the wrong side with the drivers seat opposite to you in America. Pretty easy to get used to for me. 

There are over 800 languages in Africa. Here they speak about 5, the main ones being English and Zulu. Yes, Zulu has a few clicks in it which I'm kinda getting down. Zulu names are hard for me to pronounce and remember, but when someone prays in Zulu.. it's awesome. I have no idea what they're saying but it's cool to hear.

The largest concentration of Indians is here in Durban- their huge holiday Dwalandi or however you spell it was a huge thing this week with fireworks a few nights. 

There are 4 of us in the apartment (here it is called a boarding) and the main differences are we have to wash dishes by hand (like the cabin) and hang our clothes to dry, but we do have a washer.

We were tracting and came to this house and the guy had a brand new Lexus IS 250 parked next to his house, and it was as long as his house. And worth waaay more. The township is crazy with small houses. Most people don't have transportation. Houses are tiny and super humbling.

Almost forgot- long story but basically I got asked to pray for a lady's possessed daughter who is at the local hospital so they can try to stop her from leaving her body and casting demons out in different worlds.

The mission has 144 missionaries, and 55 companionships have cars.

Just as I was writing this, I met Elder Wallace, from Vernal Utah.  He knows QC Testing (my uncle's company where my brother worked while he lived in Utah).

Lastly, thank you for all the emails. Sorry about the short responses, or lack thereof.  I have a lot more time to respond to written letters than email. 

I am pretty backed up on my email inbox, as these last 2 prep days have been cut short and I had to miss the one so I'm still catching up on things from the end of Oct. 

It may not be the most convenient, but please, please write me my address is: 

Elder Brandon Eveson
South Africa Durban Mission
PO BOX 1741
Wandsbeck  3631

If I am transferred to Kenya before your letter/package gets to me, don't worry they'll forward it on.

Also - feel free to check my blog whenever or read my past updates --

Take Care, and God bless America
- Elder Eveson

[Editor's Note:  Brandon's Uncle Ryan Goodspeed collects old Atlases of the World.  Here are a few pix from the 1909 and 1919 Atlases -- quite interesting to review.  Thanks to Brandon's Granddad, Keith Goodspeed, for sending these along.]

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Important Info for Sending Packages and Message from Mission President

Dear Eveson Family,

Please find attached a photo of your Elder with Sister Zackrison and me at the Mission Home in Durban. We want to assure you that Elder Eveson is safe in his first area and appears to be adjusting well.  We are confident that he will be a great asset to the mission and would encourage you to write to him weekly to keep him encouraged and strong.

Just a reminder that all letters and packages can be sent to:

Elder Brandon Eveson
Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
P.O. Box 1741
Wandsbeck 3631
--South Africa--

Address for FedEx packages:

Elder Brandon Eveson
Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
2 Derby Place, Suite 4
Derby Downs Office Park
Westville 3630
-- South Africa --
If you are sending a package to your missionary, please mark the contents “missionary supplies”.  Do NOT list all the goods contained therein.  Just a headline stating "Missionary Supplies" without an estimated value. When you list all of the goods contained therein, the consequences are large duties and taxes charged to your missionary which he must then pay when he receives it. 

[Editor's Note - Missionary supplies fall under a separate tax and if listed as such, the Missionary does not have to pay the high customs taxes on each individual item -- as long as it has been properly labeled.  It also helps to take products out of packaging to avoid the "new" or packaged look.  Putting a note inside that says "Missionary Supplies" also seems to be helpful.  Thanks to Jan White for his input on this also.]

Thank you for lending this young man to the service of the Lord. May you and your family be blessed for his labor.

President Zackrison
South Durban Mission

President & Sister Zackrison with Elder Eveson

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 3: Durban

So as a few might know - I have been temporarily reassigned to the Durban South Africa mission until problems with the Kenya work permit get sorted out. We were notified Monday, and flew to our separate places Tuesday morning. It was a bit hectic but I'm glad to be here. Check another stop of the bucketlist I guess.

Few things from the Missionary Training Center before I hop into things happening here - My teacher Brother Maarman shared this with us: What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages? Bi-lingual. Speaks 3 languages? Tri-lingual. Speaks 4 languages? Quad-lingual. 1 language? American. Got a pretty good kick out of that especially after seeing everyone at the MTC speaking multiple languages except for us. 

There were some crazy cool/wicked thunder/lightning/rain storms at the MTC which was fun.

Met a lady who is a member of the Church in the airport in JoBurg - it was nice to visit, and then got on the plane and arrived in Durban.

Elder Bednar was here for 4 days, and left the day before we got here to go to Johannesburg (Yes to where I was at) so that's all the buzz around here. Bummed I missed him but cool to see how that changed peoples lives by shaking his hand and hearing his words. 

[Editor's Note:  Who is Elder Bednar?  A Member of the First Presidency's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He is very well respected with great influence among the LDS community.  Learn more about him here:  He teaches many great truths through his talks and visits around the world each year.  The link above also has links to his talks.]

Got to the Mission house where the president and his wife stay.  After an interview I was taken on a driver's test. In South Africa. On the left side of the road. And yes - the driver's seat is on the opposite side as well. It was actually pretty easy - 2 of us 4 who came to Durban passed - and I'm the only one who has driven out of us 2. So easy I enjoy it. When it comes to the road everything is different. Explaining the transportation is another story. People walking on the side of every freeway, in the back of pickups, and crazy taxis everywhere because they have no public transport system. Many people don't have cars and that prevents some investigators from coming to church. 

Today we did Visa related stuff to get a South African Visa. At the police station waiting to get fingerprinted with Elder Moline (came with him from the MTC - he is from Grand Prairie, Alberta) and this local guy sitting on a bench by us had a seizure out of nowhere. Its hard to explain the situation and details but we were the only ones who watched the whole thing go down - crazy to watch it happen before my eyes. That might stick with me for a while. 

On a better note - we saw 11 monkeys today, including two tiny newborns, just hanging out on the side of the road.

Oh - and there's an Elder here from Cardston, Alberta, and a senior couple serving in the mission office is from Raymond, Alberta. So many connections, small world.

You're probably wondering about my companion and the food - I'm living like a college student and he's great, from Madagascar. Just kidding about the food. Well, kind of.

The bishop's wife served her mission in Kenya and said it gets to 42 degrees Celsius (108° F). I'm burning up here - might take a bit of getting used to. 

I'm serving in New Germany and living in Pinetown. 

Gotta run but take care and here is my mailing address

Elder Brandon Eveson
The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
PO Box 1741
-South Africa-

Send whatever you want - letters and packages get here fine, and if I am sent to Kenya before whatever you send arrives they will forward it on.

I'll have more time next week to answer emails and respond to things but the visa ordeal took up the day. No pictures yet - possibly next week. Sorry about that, but send me a letter in the mail!

Elder Eveson

PS from the Editor:  Brandon connected with Elder Dalton Tebbs from Arizona prior to serving his mission.   Elder Tebbs is about 5 weeks ahead of Brandon, and is serving in Kenya.  He had this to say today:

"Oh I am just loving it here.  So sad to hear about the work permits.  Because 8 missionaries left and only two arrived, they had to close a lot of areas.  But not to worry.  Everyone was asked to fast on Fast Sunday for the work permits.  Hopefully he gets here before the rains come!" -- Elder Dalton Tebbs

[More about the South Africa Durban Mission:]

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Your Missionary has Graduated from the MTC

[From Sister Janet Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Know that President Reber and I loved your missionary and have high expectations for all of them.

Love, Sister Reber