Johannesburg South Africa ~Temple~

Johannesburg South Africa ~Temple~

Monday, December 26, 2016

Elder Latu

This week has been so full of emotion I honestly do not know where to begin. But I will start with the good I guess. So Christmas was very good and it was so great to just focus on the Savior and his birth. I felt the spirit of Christmas so much more powerfully due to circumstances that soon will be told. We also received transfer news this weekend and that was great... I am staying at least Six more weeks here in Katlehong. So that will make Seven and a Half months here... So yeah but I was called as District Leader for this transfer. That will be a pretty big change but not really at the same time. We also got to skype!! That was great!! It was so good to see the family and see them!!! These were the Highlights of the week. Well now for the rough news that is really hard to talk about. But if you have not heard Here in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission we lost a soldier in the army. His name was Elder Latu from New Zealand. He was a powerful missionary and was doing so well! But I guess his Transfer came a few days early. His calling is in a higher and a better place now. So we found all this out on Friday and then we had our Christmas devotional on that Saturday! It was a sad but so spiritually filled meeting. We had a few musical numbers as well as testimonies. It was just so great.. I honestly cannot explain all that was felt during that meeting. But again all is well and it is so great to have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and what is in store when we leave this mortal body. But Merry Christmas to you all!! I love you guys and I wish you the best. 

Elder Cowan

The 3 missionaries who were involved in the accident holding Elder Latu's Book of Mormon

Words from the Mission Presient:

In Memoriam: Elder Nofo-I-Lelenga Latu (1997-2016) - The outpouring of love and prayers for our dear companion and friend, Elder Latu—who died in a tragic car accident on Thursday—has been overwhelming and so appreciated. It has also been a genuine godsend to our missionaries who have been understandably devastated by this tragedy. Elder Latu was a phenomenal, consecrated missionary who inspired and lifted all he came in contact with. Every day and in every way he was all about doing the work of the Lord. He truly gave "the last full measure of devotion." And his radiance and effervescent spirit will be sorely missed. His unflinching commitment to his God and his religion can be best stated with the words of another similarly committed young person, Joan of Arc: “Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives to little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it…and then it’s gone. But to surrender who you are and to live without belief is more terrible than dying – even more terrible than dying young.” Elder Latu certainly gave his life for what he believed in. And his stellar example will continue to inspire and lift us as we mourn together and work through this painful event. It will no doubt also help us as we collectively rise from our sadness and become even more committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ—which gives us the the clarity and certainty of knowing that Elder Latu's spirit indeed lives on. I will never forget the day we met Elder Latu and first saw his ever-present smile on a bright and beautiful morning this past August at the mission home in South Africa. Nor can I ever forget the stirring tribute to him yesterday morning, on Christmas Eve, where every missionary in Johannesburg gathered to reflect on Elder Latu's life, and on the 100-day reading of the Book of Mormon which culminated that same morning. As our missionaries bowed their heads in tribute, Elder Latu's companion, Elder Andrews, holds up Elder Latu's Book of Mormon,flanked by Elder Eatough (left) and Elder Droubay (right), who were all miraculously unhurt in the accident. Elder Latu's last journal entry in this study book reads, "I am so grateful for the joy I find in this work." Please join us as we continue to pray for Elder Latu's family in New Zealand, and for the missionaries who mourn our loss yet celebrate his remarkable life here in South Africa. ‘Oku ou ‘ofa ‘ia koe, Elder Latu.

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