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!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Makadii Week 73!

Hello family and friends!
Another normal week for us, with lots of driving for baptismal interviews in the zone, exchanges, teaching and a baptism for 2 of our investigators. We ended the month of June with 4 baptisms in Eastview, and the zone had a great week with 28 baptisms to end the month. The total for the month in the zone was 54 baptisms and 51 confirmations. We seem to be very consistently around 50 baptisms, and have been for the past 3 month. Our two baptisms were for Shania and Nomsa, the two younger sisters of our recent converts Samantha and Vida. It has been fun to see them open up to us and the gospel, and to see how it is blessing them. After the baptism they even stayed to helped us clean the chapel on Saturday, because no one else was there to help. It was neat to see that! :) We are very thankful to have those baptisms, especially after all of our struggles we have found.

An update for my mission: In 17 months, my companions and I have now helped 90 people be baptized and confirmed members of the church here in Zimbabwe. I am thankful for my Savior and my Heavenly father for blessing me with so much success. All of the people behind that number were truly gifts from God, and all of them were prepared by Him. I owe everything to Him, we all do.
Because of the struggles we have had we decided to fast on Saturday and pray for help. During the week on exchanges, while I was working with Elder Hanson (from Washington State), we met a really awesome guy while we were visiting a part member family. His name is Augustine. I didn't think much of him at first, because everyone will listen to us, but not many will actually commit to what we teach. On the day we fasted, Elder Whiting and I went back to teach him again, and we found out that he is one of the most prepared and humble people ever. He loved the message of the Restoration and accepted all we taught him. He wouldn't let Elder Whiting finish his baptismal invitation before he said yes and committed to a date in July. He promised to walk with us to church and on Sunday morning he as well as his friend, our less active member Br. Bikoko were ready for us, dressed up in their suits. They came, and he loved church. We are really hoping that he can continue to progress. We will be doing our best to not let him fall through the cracks. It was a miracle for us! He was one of 2 investigators at church for us, and is the only one that is progressing in our area. He reminds me a lot about of a recent convert that I baptized in Chegutu named Mathias. Super prepared for the truth. The blessings will come from our fasting, prayers, and humility! 
Today we had some fun at a members house with a pancake breakfast (eggs and bacon included), basketball, American football, tennis, ping-pong, and rugby. It was the first time on my whole mission that I had real salsa. It was nice to have some fun to start off the last week of the transfer! This is the start of Week 6, and on Saturday we will find out what will change in the mission for next transfer. I am about to begin my 13th transfer and I have no idea what will happen to me. Whatever happens I will be ok! :) I will let you know next week.
Another thing of note: A member of the branch had a house fire during church and luckily his neighbors put it out before it got out of hand. Only a small part of the house was burned, so it could have been much worse. It was cool to see some of the branch members put everything aside to help the family clean up soon after church and get the house back in order. It was also cool to help out and make it a bit easier for the family after the fire.
I love you all and encourage you to serve your friends, family and neighbors as often as possible. Service is required for us to become more like the Savior! Have an awesome week. Sending my love from Africa! :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Makadii Week 72!

Well, hello again! :)
Another week begins! I just realized that I have 30 weeks, to the day, left on my mission. Kinda seems like 30 weeks is both long and short, but either way it's not much time.
This week was full of disappointments and also miracles. We had some ultimatum moments with our investigators and many of them have fallen off, including some we had hoped to baptize. It is always tough when you lose investigators because of crappy circumstances, but that is a reality too often realized here in Zimbabwe. We did end up having 5 investigators come to the Stake Conference with us, some which were unexpected! We ended up walking over 2 hours, there and back, to bring our investigators and recent converts to the conference in Mabvuku with us. It ended up a success. We sadly had no visiting General Authorities, but it was the first stake conference for the new Harare East Stake. It was run well and I know it was a good experience for those who came. It was held on the grounds of the high school in a huge tent, so that was cool! :)
We will be having a baptism for two of our investigators this coming weekend. Shania, and Nomsa, the two younger sisters of Samantha and Vida will be baptized. Despite all of the challenges we are facing, these two baptisms are truly a blessing. We have seen their excitement grow, and it should be great!
We have been bust like always with interviews, appointments, and exchanges, with more to come! This is the beginning of Week 5 of the current transfer, so transfer news will be on the way next week. I have a feeling there will be many changes in our zone. My fate is always up in the air, so we will see. I really have no idea what to expect the last 30 weeks, or where I might go. Many of the missionaries in our zone have been around each other for 4-6 months, so there is a high chance that many will come and go. Until then, there is 2 weeks to do what we can.
We had a nice best of 7 basketball series against the other zone in Harare this morning and we won the series 4-3. Thought we could have our own series while the NBA Finals had just finished. Harare East Zone was victorious. I think we could take on the Warriors no problem! ;) We also tossed the pigskin around for a bit. It was a fun time for sure.
One interesting thing of note: On our way back from Stake Conference, we counted over 40 different churches, none of them the same, gathered in various locations along our route. The level of apostasy and confusion is very high here in Zimbabwe, and it is always frustrating to see people dwindle in unbelief. The churches here and the attitude towards religion is no more than a business venture. We do our best to help these people come to the truth, but you would be surprised how hard it is to help someone leave their church to follow the truth, even when they know what we teach is true. Patience is always required!
I will forever be grateful to be brought up learning the truth, and to have the support that I need to remain on the straight and narrow path back home. Gratitude is the key to happiness! :)
I love you all so much! Musare zvakanaka! :)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Makadii Week 71!

Hello murungu!!!! (white person) How are you!!!??? (This is what I hear 24/7) :)
Another typical week here in Eastview, Zimbabwe. Lot's of teaching, lot's of missionary work! We had exchanges this week with Elder Bollinger and Aden, two of my favorite guys. I worked with Elder Aden, the one from Star, ID, for the second time on my mission. We worked together down in Bulawayo also. We had a good day together. We ended up with 9 investigators at church this week and we are counting our blessings. We will be hopefully be having 3-4 more baptisms in 2 weeks on the 24th of June. We will have to see what happens this next week to determine what will happen on that day.
Our stake conference for the new Harare East Stake will be this weekend on the 17th and 18th. This is the first stake conference that I will have attended on my mission! The only one in 16, almost 17 months. Kinda crazy. We haven't heard if there is any General Authority coming or not. Elder Palmer came to the conference for the other Harare Stake this past weekend. We also had a huge zone conference this past week which went well.
We met an investigator this week named Simpillisous. It is quite amazing how many different names you can find here in Zimbabwe. We just started to teach him, so we will see how he progresses. Just thought you might get a kick out of the name. :)
Today we played some more basketball and ultimate frisbee with the other elders in the zone, so not a bad P-Day! We will have a nice FHE tonight. 

Our recent converts are doing pretty well, and we can't complain about much. Just doing the Lord's work. Over and out! :) 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Makadii Week 70!

Another week past, and another ahead. The work never stops!
This past week went well, and it ended with Molleen and her cousin Anesu getting baptized after church on Sunday. They were both super prepared for the gospel, and it has been awesome to see how they have accepted the gospel so fully in their lives. Tea is a big problem here in Zim, but even when their Gogo makes it for them, they don't drink it. It is cool to see the spirit work with them. Their Grandmother and Anesu's mother both walked to church as well to witness the baptism. Molleen almost went up to bear her testimony during church, but one of the members took too long so she didn't get the chance. Anesu is only 10 years old and he already wants to be a missionary! It was a good baptism and most of the members stayed for it which was sweet. Once again I played the role of John the Baptist. I'm getting quite used to it. :)
Our other recent convert Samantha bore her testimony and it was really great! The deal was if I bore mine first, she would go up and do it too. We ended up with another 10 investigators at church this week. Most of them are mothers that have some marriage problems that prevent them from getting baptized. We fasted for them this week so that things might be able to move forward. We will keep working and praying that things will work out in the near future. We will be having another baptism for two of our other investigators, Tatenda and Brenda, either this week or next. We will see how it works out!
Our MLC meeting on Tuesday went well, and we will be having a joint zone conference this Friday the 9th of June. Excited for that! We will be having exchanges with District Leaders the next 4 weeks so that will be fun. The work and learning never stop I guess! :)
Today we went with some of the guys in the zone to hike a small "mountain" in Arcturus. The mountains here aren't much compared to the Rockies back home. haha :) At the top we has a nice view of the surrounding area, and we also went to a cave that was home to many many bats! After the bat cave we sat on the mountain and ate some PB+J sandwiches together. Kinda cool to sit on a mountain in Africa eating a PB+J, at least I think so! It was a good day. I did find out that I am very out of shape. My legs were burning and my heart was beating, and the hike wasn't even long! It was good to be out and about though. :)
Onward ever onward. Tinowonana shamwari! Love you all! :)