Monday, August 14, 2017

Makadii Week 80!

Wow, 80 weeks for real?
It has been a good Week 6 to finish off Transfer #13. We worked hard but didn't see many results. This weekend is a big holiday in Zimbabwe (Heroes Day), so people have been busy and out of town, which makes our work that much harder. Nothing to complain about, just have to work harder! Had exchanges with the other guys in Kadoma, and I worked with Elder Condie who is now in Chegutu. We had a good day together!
We received the transfer news this week and made the calls to the zone. I am staying in Kadoma for another 6 weeks and will have the pleasure of working with a new companion Elder Byrom. He is from the UK. He will be my 11th companion in 14 transfers! I was his ZL in Bulawayo and now he is becoming my companion. I am remaining a ZL for an 8th straight transfer and will be helping Elder Byrom 9 (a new ZL) to learn the ropes. He is turning 1 year on his mission in a couple weeks. He came last year in the same group as Elder Makalio.

Same area, same branch as the last 6 weeks. Lot's of changes throughout the mission, and the addition of 2 elders in Kadoma. There are now 14 in the zone and 6 in Kadoma. My old pal Elder Aden and I will be reunited, which I am happy about. Should be a fun transfer! All the sisters that I came with are either gone already or are leaving this week. Officially over 18 months and now right at 5 months left to go.
I had a blast with Elder Billings in our 6 weeks together. Time went by super fast, but we accomplished a lot , and had some good experiences together. He goes home in 6 weeks. Crazy stuff. He is off to Bulawayo! Wishing him the best. One funny story from this week: We had a lot of appointments fall through and we were knocking on some doors. At one house there was a big turkey in the yard and I started to make turkey noises to see what it would do. I had a nice conversation with a turkey in Zimbabwe this week. I know I'm weird. :) Gave us a good laugh.
The work is moving along despite opposition, and Elder Byrom and I have our work cut out for us the next 6 weeks. Lots to do in Rimuka, Kadoma. President Mkhabela visited our branch yesterday for church. It was the first time on my mission to attend church with him.
I love you all so much. Keep loving life, and always remember that you are a child of God with the potential to become like him. No greater knowledge to have than that! :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Makadii Week 79!

Well, some cool stuff happened this week!
The week was pretty normal with lots of teaching and exchanges. We had a great MLC meeting in Harare on Tuesday and traveled safely throughout the week. We ended the week with another baptism on Sunday, for a 17 year old named Tapiwa! With his baptism, and the baptisms of my old investigators, Mai Owen and Mai Dorcas in Harare as well this weekend, there are now 102 of my investigators that have been baptized and made covenants with God! Another plus is that all of the confirmations happened as well. We also have an investigator, Br. Semba, who was first taught by Elder Billings and Elder Robison back in February, that finally came to church for the first time after many months of teaching! He even asked when he is getting baptized when he came to church, so we will see if he has finally found his commitment in the coming weeks. If all goes well, he will be baptized at the end of the month. We also have another awesome investigator, Davis, who will be baptized in 2 weeks time. Lot's of blessings for sure.The work in Africa really is crazy, but it is moving right along.
We had a branch activity on Saturday and there was a good turnout even though everyone was late. We had lot's of investigators there and we played some frisbee, basketball, and soccer with the members. All in all a good day. The highlight of the week was for sure the baptism, but also the fact that we got to hang out with a family of elephants today! I have trying to upload pictures and even a video. but the internet cafe is not cooperating. If I don't manage to send pictures this week. I will make sure to send some next week. It was awesome! We went on a game drive, and had a nice lunch as well. A memorable pday for sure!
I also went to visit some old friends in Chegutu on our way back from MLC. If you can remember, last year when I left there was a newborn baby who was named after me. Dennis Kevin Chimusalo. I passed by and visited him and his family again, as well as some of my converts there. He is so much bigger now! It is crazy how time flies!
It is pretty crazy that the final week of the transfer is here yet again. We will receive our transfer news on Saturday this week, and transfers will be on Monday next week. It is tough to tell if I will be staying with Elder Billings or not, but either way I have really enjoyed my time with him. Always exciting to see what will happen and where I will be, and who I will be with. Lot's of things are happening in the mission so it is tough to tell just how much things will change. We will keep working hard this week and will have our last exchanges of the transfer. Onward, ever onward! The last 4 transfers are about to begin! Crazy stuff! :)
I love you all! Musare zvakanaka! :)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Makadaii Week 78!

Hello once again! Africa is just as crazy, and action packed as ever.
I am in Harare today and tomorrow for our MLC meeting once again. It is pretty crazy that July is already over and I have been in Kadoma for 4 weeks already. We had a good week and found lots of new investigators, but many of them are not progressing. Good things take time I guess! We were able to have confirmations for Jasper and Br Karichi this week, but we are still waiting on Simba and Alexio to be around and on time on Sunday. Hopefully this coming week!
We will be having another baptism this coming Sunday for a young guy named Tapiwa, who has been meeting missionaries and coming to church for a long time. Things have finally fallen into place for him, and he will be baptized this week! We have another investigator, Br. Nyabote, who we are working with to help him stop drinking and smoking before he can be baptized. We are hoping miracles can happen for him so he can be baptized in August. Other than that we are just finding and teaching and seeking the elect. Kadoma sure has been good to me so far! 2 weeks left in the transfer.
Today before we drove to Harare we played a 9-hole round of golf at the Golf Club in Kadoma with the other elders in Kadoma. It was actually an ok course, and I enjoyed it even thought I was just as bad as I have always been. I have figured out my swing with the driver finally, and had some good shots today. I had a putt for Par but missed, that was my best hole of the day. Haha :) It was good to actually play a round of golf again. Even though I am pretty bad and get frustrated, I still enjoy it. When we got to Harare we went and played some basketball with the other elders at the office like always. Lots of fun today! I am still going to the gym 4/5 days a week and am getting better with lifting weights and getting back into some sort of shape.
If all goes well, next week on Monday I will be with some Elephants, up close and personal, for the first time on my mission. There is a game park not for from Chegutu and Kadoma that has elephants. I hope all goes well, and I will be sure to get pictures! :)
Elder Billings and I did come up with a cool parable this week about how the church is like a combi. Just a reference, a combi is a commuter omnibus that most people use to get around. It is a common form of transportation throughout Zim and most of Southern Africa. I will share more about that next week when I have some more time. I am just grateful that the true church, and all that it brings with it, has been restored today. I know that it is the only "vehicle' that can get us to our destination safely. 

Another week ahead of us, and the Lord's work continues. I love all of you and wish you all the best! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Makadii Week 77!

Well, the week was crazy busy, but we made it! Yebo, baba! :)

A zone conference, exchanges, travelling, interviews, and baptisms are enough to make a missionary go crazy, but it was actually nice to be busy. All went well this week, except for the fact that we missed our morning bus to return to Kadoma from exchanges in Harare. It only delayed us a few hours. We traveled safely throughout the week and everything worked out. Br. Karichi, Alexio, and Jasper were all baptized on Sunday! Killian was confirmed and Simba was just a bit late so he will get confirmed next week. We were able to finish the preparations to help them be baptized, and even though we still have much to teach them, they were all ready and prepared for baptism. Now just have to make sure they all get confirmed and that they continue to learn. 3 weeks and 5 baptisms in Kadoma. We are blessed for sure! 

We have a few investigators that should be baptized in the next month, so we will keep finding and teaching and serving and will find more success! Exhanges with the DL's in the zone are coming up the next 3 weeks. Our Branch President and his wife welcomed a new baby boy into their family this week which is awesome. He was a bit tired at church yesterday. :)

Our exchanges with the AP's went well. Lots of teaching, and finding. It was nice to be in Harare again for a day and a half. I got to work with Elder Scoresby for the first time on my mission. We flew from the USA together 18 months ago, and were in the same MTC group. It was a good experience. At our zone conference I had to say goodbye to the some of the sister missionaries who I came with 18 months ago. They will be going back home 6 months before me, so it was weird for me to say goodbye. I won't get the chance to see them when they leave at the end of the transfer, which is in 3 weeks. A pretty normal week ahead of us with no baptisms planned, and nothing crazy happening. MLC will be next week to end July and start August, so I will be back in Harare when I send my next email. Kinda crazy the July is over soon. only 5 months and 2 weeks left to go! 

Two of my old investigators were also baptized this week in Arcturus. Dorcas and Fungisai, two young sisters who walk almost two hours to go to church, were finally baptized after more teaching and commitment. I am glad not only for them, but for all the younger kids that have been baptized throughout my mission, because they get the chance to learn and live the gospel at such a young age. They all have a bright future. All I can hope is that they are helped and watched over by the efforts of church leaders and their families. 

Not much to say this week, just that I am thankful for the Lord's help on my mission and for the people that have been prepared for me to bring into the gospel. I am grateful to have played a part in their conversion and in their lives. An update: With 5 of my current and former investigators baptized this weekend, there is now a total of 99 people whom I have worked with that are now baptized as a result of my service as a missionary in Zimbabwe these last 18 months. This really is a time of hastening and hard work in Africa. Like I said before, the Lord is the one doing all the work, I am just honored to say that I have helped these 99 people come closer to their Heavenly Father. With just under 6 months left, who knows how many more miracles I will play a part in? Just like the old Beach Boys song says, "God only knows." 

I love all of you so much. Have a good week! :)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Makadii Week 76!

Well, it has been another successful week here in Zimbabwe!

MLC went well, and we traveled back to Kadoma safely. We spent lots of time working with our investigators, and we ended the week with 2 baptisms on Sunday. Killian, and Simba were both baptized after church and will be confirmed next week. They both have been coming to church for some time, and finally everything fell into place. 2 weeks in Kadoma, and 2 baptisms already! We will most likely be having 3 baptisms this coming Sunday, for Jasper, Alexio, and Br. Karichi. We will be working to make sure they are ready this week. We are always trying to find more people, but we are so grateful for the investigators that we have, and for their desire to be baptized. It makes our job so much easier. More about those investigators next week. :)

I also was able to call and talk to Augustine, my investigator back in Eastview, on Sunday after his baptism. I was so excited for him to finally get baptized. Augustine is truly one of the elect that are mentioned in the scriptures. There is no one more prepared for the gospel than he was, and I know he will be such a blessing to the branch back in Damofalls and Eastview. An exciting week, 3 of my investigators were baptized! 

We have a busy week ahead of us. We will be traveling to Gweru tomorrow for a Zone Conference, and after the zone conference we will be traveling all the way back to Harare to have exchanges with the mission assistants. We wont be back in Kadoma until Thursday morning. When we get back we will be busy busy working with those who are set to be baptized, and will have an eventful weekend with a branch soccer activity on Saturday, and a baptism on Sunday after church. In the midst of all of that we will have to do baptismal interviews for others in the zone! Yay us! Can't believe it is already week 3 of the current transfer, and it will soon be over. Time is such a weird concept for me right now. haha :)

I did realize that I am the last missionary out on mission among all those that I graduated high school with. I also am one of the oldest American elders in Zimbabwe according to age. I sure have been around for a while. 6 months isn't that long is it? I am hoping that I will keep myself busy and that time will go by faster rather than slower. I am thankful to find success in the work and joy in the little things. I won't get to be in Africa much longer, after all.

I love you all. Know that I am healthy, and doing my best. I wish the same for you!

P.S. The gym isn't as bad for me anymore, and my fitness is going up bit by bit now. At least I can be grateful for that right!? :)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Makadii Week 75!


ate happy Fourth of July for those back in America! I hope you know just how blessed you are to live in the land of the free.
Hello again from Harare! We are here again for MLC tomorrow. My first week in Kadoma has gone well, and we have some great investigators that are preparing for baptism in the coming weeks. If all goes as planned, we will have 2 baptisms this Sunday for two boys, ages 13 and 15, who have been coming to church in Kadoma for awhile. Killian, the 15 year old, is very prepared and is ready to be baptized. Simba, the 13 year old, we are not sure if it will work out this week for various reasons. We will find out if it will work out or not this week. Either way, the work still moves along whether I am in Harare or Kadoma! We have another 4 investigators that are currently working towards baptismal dates in the near future, and just like always missionary work in Zimbabwe keeps us plenty busy!
Elder Billings is an awesome guy. He is from West Haven (West Ogden) Utah. He is the oldest of 3 kids I believe, and is just about to finish his 2 years. 11 weeks to go for him. He has been in Kadoma for the last 4 1/2 months so it is nice to have him around to teach me the area and to help me meet the people. He ran XC in high school as well, did lots of track events, and loves parqour/ free running. He can do all kinds of flips and jumps. Pretty sweet. I have started working out at a gym for the first time on my mission! This past week has made me very sore, and my body is adjusting bit by bit. We go every morning, except the weekends, and all I can hope is that I can regain some of the fitness I used to have when I was training for my half marathon way back in September of 2015. We are running and doing lifting workouts. 
The branch in Kadoma 1st is great. It is organized, even though most of the members come late. Our branch presidency is so great, and President Chiwaka is one of my favorite guys here in Zimbabwe. The branch is a lot more stable than my last area for sure. Our area in Kadoma is pretty small, but there many people in that small area. We focus on an area called Rimuka, which is where the chapel is located. Our house is quite big, but I really like it. I have also enjoyed using an automatic car for a change! One huge plus about Kadoma, there is legit fresh milk that is found nowhere else in Zim, at least that I know of! It tastes the same as milk back home. Finally real milk! :) Kadoma is not much different from Chegutu, there are many similarities.
Speaking of Chegutu: I was finally able to visit Chegutu again twice this past week. Once for district meeting and another for a baptismal interview. I was so happy to be back and to see some old friends. I saw the branch presidency, and I stopped by to see one of my convert families, the Chinga Family! It was so good to see that place again, and I am glad that I get to visit often because Kadoma is so close.
One story that I forgot to mention last week: My recent convert in Eastview, Vida, gave an awesome testimony on my last Sunday last week. She gave me a shout out in her testimony. Elder Whiting and I challenged her to finish the Book of Mormon before I left, and she did. She finished the Book of Mormon 1 month after she was baptized. She is my first convert to do that! She is now helping her sister Samantha to do the same. She thanked me and expressed to me how grateful she is to have been led to the truth. I am so glad to have made such an impact on her life. In reality it is not me that has made the impact, I am just an instrument in God's hands after all. :) I do miss Eastview and the people there, but things are always changing.
We traveled here to Harare this morning and had a nice session of basketball at the mission office, and we will be having our MLC meeting in the morning.
Wherever you may be, know that I love you and am thankful for you. Keep loving life! :)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Makadii Week 74!

Hello everyone! Transfer day is here yet again! At the moment I am emailing from Kadoma, a small town near my former area of Chegutu, some 2 hours outside of Harare. 

After a crazy and awesome 3 transfers (4 1/2 months) in Eastview, I will be leaving the Harare East Zone and will be going back to one of my former zones! I will still be serving as a zone leader of the Kwekwe Zone alongside Elder Billings, a native of West Ogden, Utah. We are actually serving in a small town called Kadoma, about 1 hour from the actual town of Kwekwe, with two other elders. We stay in a house just the two of us, and work in our own branch. There are two branches here in Kadoma, along with a new "cluster" of members that will soon be a branch as well. We serve in the Kadoma 1st branch, and the other elders serve in the other branch. I served in the Kwekwe Zone 9 months ago when I served as a District Leader in Chegutu, so I am a bit familiar with Kadoma and the rest of the zone already, as we often came for meetings here. It is called Kwekwe Zone, but it is very spread out and covers many different places. 

I have gone from the biggest zone in the mission with 24 missionaries, to one of the smallest with 12 missionaries. I am excited for the new opportunities and will hit the ground running! I am excited to see some familiar places again and even visit Chegutu once in a while to see some old friends. 

After all the trials, challenges, happy moments, sacrifices, and miracles experienced in Eastview and the Harare East Zone the last 3 transfers, I will for sure miss it. I learned a lot of things during my time there, and will look back on it with fond memories. I will miss Elder Whiting quite a lot, and will always be thankful for our time together. I know he will help our investigators and will keep the work moving in Eastview. It was hard to say goodbye to my friends in the branch, as well as some converts and investigators, but I know that I did my best there, and I feel at peace with the changes that have been made. I am also thankful to have been able to help in Arcturus Branch as well. Lot of memories for sure! I am excited for new challenges and more miracles to come here in Kadoma. Should be another action packed transfer here in Zimbabwe!  

Today I woke up early to catch the bus and arrived here in Kadoma just before 10:00am. We have helped some other missionaries, and now I will be settling in to the house, and the area. 

After my first week here I will be headed back to Harare for the MLC meeting next Monday and Tuesday, and will still be in touch with other missionaries. It is nice to go back every month for MLC and to be so involved in the mission.

I love you all so much, stay safe and stay sweet. Hello Kadoma!