Monday, November 20, 2017

Salibonani Week 94!

First of all, I wanted to say that I am safe and doing well. Secondly, I wanted to wish everyone an early Happy Thanksgiving 2017! :)

It has been quite an interesting week here in Zimbabwe. I am sure many of you have heard a bit about the political situation here, but this week brought lots of attention to Zimbabwe. During the week we were told to stay inside our houses for one day, (it was Wednesday for us). To be honest, here in Bulawayo nothing happened. We are safe and we feel safe. No violence, and no problems for missionaries. Even on the day we stayed inside it was peaceful. The only difference is the people are talking a lot about the situation and are glued to the TV to know what is happening, at least those who have TV's. Many people were happy and celebrating about what was happening, and many people were drunk throughout the country. Many people went to Harare to join the protest. The craziest part is in Harare with a very strong army presence and tons of people marching in protest. Harare is really the only place that has been affected, at least so far. I was able to catch some of the news headlines when we visited members and investigators. Except for the one day inside missionary work was as normal as ever for us.

As far as the work goes, Elder Vave and I had a somewhat discouraging week. We were working hard to visit those who came to church last week and visit our other investigators but we didn't have much luck. Many investigators were out of town visiting family, some attend a funeral, and many just are not a serious as we thought. After a miracle week last week, we only had 2 investigators attend church. 1 of them is new and the other is moving back to his rural home next week, which means he can't be baptized. We were sad that no one else came. We are going to continue to try and help people to progress, but success may take a bit longer than we thought. Lots of potential but nothing is for sure. We did find some less active families and we have a potential baptism for the youngest daughter of a part member family. We will see how it goes this week and next. For church this week we attended with my old ward and branch in Gwabalanda and Luveve. We went to the chapel I once served in, the members of Cowdray Park had to take transport to get there. I was able to see some of my converts that I baptized last year and many member friends. The whole Africa Southeast area of the church viewed a special conference broadcast from Salt Lake City that was presided over by Elder Anderson of the Twelve Apostles. We heard some great talks from him and other General Authorities. I hope the members were able to understand and take to heart what they shared. They talked about many things that the church struggles with here in Africa. Next week it will be back to a normal Sunday in Cowdray Park. 

My thoughts of home have increased, especially in my dreams at night. I always wake up and come back to reality and start a new day. The feeling that your mission is coming to an end is quite real, and I hope that I can handle/subdue those feelings. If I dwell on them too much I will not be happy and I need to be happy to help Elder Vave and to love the work. This week we have a zone conference in Gweru, and interviews with our Mission President. After this week I only have one or two more interviews and one zone conference left. We are now down to 8 weeks left, with 4 weeks left in the transfer.

As we begin the holiday season I just wanted all of you, my friends and family, to know just how thankful I am to have you in my life. I love you all so much. I want all of you to know just how blessed you are, never forget to be grateful for what the Lord has blessed you with. I want all of you to look at yourselves and realize just how much the Lord is in the details of your lives. There are many people in the world who have nothing. I have seen it first hand. Never take what you have for granted.  

Have a great week! Happy Thanksgiving everyone and Happy Holidays! :) 

For my pictures this week, I don't have many. I just took a picture of all of my missionary planners and transfer sheets for you too see just how long I have been around. :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Salibonani Week 93!

Well, Bulawayo Round 2 is underway! We are now single digits in weeks left with only 9 to go.

This first week has been a learning experience for me. I have been busy learning the area, meeting the members, working with investigators and finding more people to teach the gospel to. It has been new for me to walk, but it's not so bad. Cowdray Park is quite a big area and members live in many different parts. It has been nice to meet many of the people of Cowdray Park, some of them whom I met when I served in Bulawayo before. It is a good ward with some very stong members. It is going through some ups and downs but all in all it is a great place. We had a successful first week with 14 investigators at church, and 12 new investigators that we met. It was quite a miracle to have such success in my first week, especially with the area not having much success in the past. We have some great investigators with a lot of potential in the coming weeks. Probably no baptisms until December but that is ok! :)

Elder Vave (his first name is Asiula), is from Tonga. He is from a big family of 8, and he is the 3rd born in his family. He is quite a tall and big guy compared to my other companions. He began his mission in Tonga waiting for his visa to come to Zimbabwe, and he has now been here for 6 months. He is a really good guy. He has learned all of his English since he began his mission, so he is still new to the language. Is native tongue in Tongan. He is doing well with it and learns to speak better everyday. Sometimes it can be a bit hard to understand what he says, but it's ok :) It has been good getting to know him this past week. I hope we can continue to get along and work well together! He is also a barberman, so he can cut my hair for me. He cuts the other elders hair as well. 

It has been weird for me to be back in Bulawayo again. It is always a different feeling to be down here, a new feeling and a few changes in culture. I have been able to pick up a bit on my Ndebele and am starting to learn a bit more. When I come home I will be able to share my testimony in 3 languages: English, Shona, and Ndebele! haha :) 

It has been weird to not live the life of a zone leader anymore. The only focus is on Cowdray Park and enjoying the life of a missionary while I still can. The zone met up and played some basketball this morning. There are 26 elders here in Blues now. Much is happening. The rain season is beginning to start a bit early here in Zimbabwe, we have had lots of rain the past few days. 

I love you all and continue to wish you the best! :) On to another week.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Salibonani Week 92!

Well, hello again! :)

As you can see, I will no longer be saying Makadii, I will be saying Salibonani again. After 8 months away from Bulawayo, I will be heading back to Blues, the City of Kings and Queens. I recieved the news that after 3 transfers in Kadoma, I will be leaving to spend the next 6 weeks (probably 10 weeks) in Cowdray Park, a suburb of Bulawayo. After 12+ months of being a Zone Leader, I am back to just doing the normal missionary things. My companion's name in Elder Vave. He is either from Tonga or Samoa, I'm not sure. I will be with him tonight and will share more about him next week. 

I have so much enjoyed my time as a Zone Leader these last 9 transfers and have learned many things. I will always remember my time as a ZL in Bulawayo, Harare, and Kadoma. Now it is on to new experiences. My time in Kadoma has brought many great memories, and I will miss the people here very much. 19 baptisms in 3 transfers here in Kadoma. Many miracles and lots of work. I have enjoyed my time with Elder Byrom and wish him the best as he remains here in Kadoma. 

It will be weird for me as I go back to Bulawayo. Cowdray Park is very near my former areas in Bulawayo. I served in Gwabalanda, Luveve, and Emakhandeni before, and Cowdray Park just borders those areas. It will be pretty crazy to run into old friends and members, but I am excited to experience Bulawayo one last time. There is a high chance that Cowdray Park will be my final area on my mission, but you never know. I have 10 weeks left now, with my last full transfer just beginning today. I am back to the land of the Ndebele. :) I will be without the use of a vehicle for the first time on my mission! 22 months with a car or truck, 2 months without. I will get to walk a lot, Cowdray Park is a very big area. The weather in Zim is hot everywhere you go, and we are waiting for the rains to start anytime now.

Byrom and I were just busy finding and teaching many new people throughout the week, and we had little success with many people not coming to church. Our converts are all doing well though and many of them bore their testimonies yesterday at church. It made me happy. :)

I am emailing now from Kadoma for the last time and will be getting on the bus to begin Bulawayo Round 2 in a couple of hours. The ride from Kadoma to Blues is around 4+ hours. It will probably be my last ride on the Bravo Bus until I am on my way back to Harare on the 14th of January to be released. Pretty crazy. By Kadoma, hello Bulawayo!

With many new experiences coming these last 10 weeks, all I hope is that I can continue to find success and to do my best. I know that the Lord wants me in Bulawayo again, so I will being finding out why I am gong back in the next few weeks. Many of the new missionaries in the mission are not coming in because of visa issues, there were many that were supposed to come this week but aren't yet. Kind of a bummer. Bulawayo is now the largest zone in the mission with 26 missionaries. 

I love you all and wish you a wonderful week as we get into the holiday season. :)

Yebo, baba! Ngiyaphila! :) 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Makadii Week 91!

The final week of the transfer has arrived and a new transfer is about to begin, Elder Byrom and I had a pretty normal week, just trying to contact and find new people in Kadoma to build our teaching pool and to keep bringing people closer to Christ. We had a few new people at church yesterday, but we still have a ways to go. We had a mid-week baptism on Friday for Annie and it went well. Her brother Adventure is a Priest and he performed the baptism. We did it in the evening soon after Seminary so all of the other youth were able to attend and support her. With Annie's baptism it makes a total of 10 new members in Kadoma 1st Branch for the month of October, quite a busy but successful month for us. All those baptized have been confirmed and we are now moving on to a new month. We are back to the basics of finding, teaching, and helping the members. We will see how things progress in November! 

It is tough to tell what next transfer has in store for me. Being a zone leader for over 1 year brings some unknowns about what my final 10 weeks as a missionary will bring. I have had a feeling that I might be training one of the 13 new elders coming into the mission next week, but I am not quite sure what the Lord wants me to do in my final weeks in Zimbabwe. We will find out soon, I will let you know the news next week. :) 

I am in Harare yet again for my 13th MLC meeting today and tomorrow. It might be my last, so I will be doing my best to soak it all in and enjoy it. 

I love you all and wish you the best. For those of you back home, Happy Halloween! :) For Halloween, I will be dressing up as Elder Byrom, and Elder Byrom will be dressing up as me. haha :)

Talk to you next week!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Makadii Week 90!

Hello again! :)

Well, with many things planned this past week, there was a chance for a lot to go wrong. However, all of our plans went through with no problems, and we had a wonderful weekend in Kadoma with a marriage and 5 baptisms! That is now 9 baptisms in the last 3 weeks. I have never been blessed to have baptisms on 3 consecutive weeks until now, but it has been a wonderful thing to be a part of! Talent and Beven Nyanhi were married and baptized this week along with their 9 year old son Kudakwashe. Also baptized was long-time investigator Collen Chirenda and Valentine, a extremely kind and humble young lady. There are many unique conversion stories among all of them, but a can mention a few things. The Nyanhi family was eager to join the church back in 2013 but because of misinformation and other problems they stopped coming to the church. After 4 years, and many prayers, Talent came back to church again determined to do what she felt was right by getting baptized. We met her a month ago, and soon started teaching her, her husband, and the rest of the family again. Br. Chirenda first knew the church back in in the 1990's and came many times, but never progressed to baptism. His son, Simba, was baptized in July and he started coming back to church and had a huge desire for baptism. His brother even served a mission for the church some years ago. Valentine was just a humble and very prepared person to hear the gospel. We were blessed to find her and teach her. A wonderful group of new converts! :)

We were mainly busy this week, making sure everything went well in preparation for the baptisms and marriage. There were some very hot temperatures this week here in Kadoma, one day even reaching above 110 degrees Farenheit. We had an exchange and are now looking for more new people to teach and bring to church. We have found a few people but are struggling to find a similar success of the past month. We will be having another baptism during the course of this week for a young woman named Annie, so we are excited for that as well! :) It has been quite an eventful transfer for us in Kadoma, and the month of October is coming to an end. 

Elder Byrom and I are doing well and enjoying our time together. 2 weeks left in the transfer, and chances are we will be split up. Another milestone happenend for me this week as I now am left with just 12 weeks as a missionary in Zimbabwe. (For missionaries, 12 weeks is a special number. We are trained for 12 weeks when we begin our missions, so we sometimes joke about our last 12 weeks as being something similar.) I will be doing my best to enjoy Kadoma these next 2 weeks and will find out what the remaining 10 weeks of my mission has in store for me. :)

One fun thing from the week: The marriage officer was late to the marriage, so we passed the time with the Nyanhi family and some other by playing some UNO, and other card games. It was fun to teach them how to play UNO. It was a fun time while we were waiting for the marriage officer, President Chiore, to arrive.

I love you all and wish you a wonderful week! Yebo! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Makadii Week 89!

Hello! Another week gone, this one was very hot.

We had another good week and ended it with the baptisms of Precious and Makanaka, two young girls. They are the daughters of a long time member, Sister Patience. She was inactive for 10 or more years after being baptized in Bulawayo in 2005, but we found her in Kadoma about 1 month ago. She came to church with her 3 girls, and told us she wanted the two oldest girls to be baptized, and we were able to reactivate the mother and teach and baptize her two children. The last born is just 8 months old, but Precious and Maka were both of age for baptism. It was cool to help this family come back and make their covenants. Sis Patience is now a strong member and is one of the very few members there before the start of the Sacrament. It is cool to see the spirit work on people like her, and how she went from inactivity to full activity again. :) The girls were excited to be baptized and are doing super well.

We had yet another wonderful week with 16 investigators at church! We will be having a marriage/wedding at the chapel this Saturday, and a baptsim of 5 people on Sunday. 3 straight weeks of baptisms can be stressful, but were so glad that all things are working out. More about the upcoming baptismal candidates next week! :) Their names are: Talent, Beven, Kudakwashe, Br. Chirenda, and Valentine. It will be a busy and fun-filled week for us in Kadoma! :)

The zone conference in Gweru went well and my training was a success. I ended up doing it in front of only a smal group of missionaries, but it was still ok. Crazy to think that I have only 1 to 2 more zone conferences left on my mission! The drive there and back was very smooth. We have 3 weeks left in the transfer and we will be busy with baptisms, exchanges, and interviews in the zone. Should be great! :)

The weather was very very hot this week, and the rain we did have was very short lived. We will have to wait for another month or so for the real rain to start. All is well and the work is progressing. WIth 13 weeks remaining, I am just doing my best to enjoy Zimbabwe while I can. Things are a bit crazy with food prices in the stores going up a lot, but it hasn't affected us too much yet. 

I love you all so much and wish you a wonderful week! :) Go Pokes!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Makadii Week 88!

Hello everyone! Not too much to report today, but I will do my best to fill you in. 

We ended the week by watching all of the sessions of conference and it went well. I really enjoyed the talks and the conference was very uplifting. It is very weird that I will be home for the next conference in April. After the conference sessions on Sunday we had a baptism for two of our investigators, Sekai and Sibongile. The baptism went well, Elder Byrom and I both performed one baptism each. It was a great end to the week. Another huge blessing this week was that we had 19 investigators attend conference on Sunday. It is by far the highest attendance that I have had on my mission in just one unit. It was a blessed day and the future is bright. Things are moving along quite well here in Kadoma. We have 2 more baptisms coming up this weekend, and then 4 baptisms next weekend. :) 

My 12th MLC in Harare went well on Tuesday and the mission is near 1700 baptisms right now for the year. We have to average around 120 baptisms these last 3 months to hit our goal of 2000. We are going to hit it for sure. Lots of miracles in Zimbabwe this year. This week we have a zone conference and some baptismal interviews. Should be a good week! I am giving my first training at Zone Conference this week, after 12 months as a ZL, this is my first time to give a training at a conference. Should be sweet! :) 

The weather this week was very suprising in Zimbabwe. We had cloudy weather and rainfall. I was very happy that the sun was behind the clouds. I am getting worried to return home in the heart of winter in January. I don't even remember what a Wyoming winter really is. haha :)

One of my favorite talks from conference was Elder Cook. The focus was on humilty and I learned a lot. Humilty really is the key to so many things, and I am realy trying to be humble always. It is something I have struggled with at different times in my life but the Lord is teaching me a lot right now about being humble and accepting his will. 

I love you all and wish you all the best this week. Go Pokes! :) 

On to another week!