Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Salibonani Week 47!

Hello Everyone! How'z it? I hope you all had a wonderful week and a blessed Christmas day! :)

Things are going well here, and 2016 is about to come to an end. I basically have 1 more year and some weeks left in Zimbabwe, and time is starting to fly by. I'm about to hit 13.1 miles on this mission marathon. We are doing our best to help people in our area, and we actually had some investigators come to church for the first time yesterday. We will see what the future holds. :) I attended the Christmas party/devotional for both Luveve and Gwabalanda this week, and I even played my guitar and sang a bit for them. It was fun to sing carols and be together.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both fun for us here. We went out to eat, played some cards, made pancakes, bacon and eggs, and skyped our families back home! It was such a blessing to see and talk to my immediate and extended family even though they are so far away. The blessings of technology! :) I am excited to see them again in about 5 months on Mother's Day. 2 skypes down, 2 more to go! 

I had a great time giving out gift bags to some of the kids here throughout the week. They loved them, and it was cool to see how it made their Christmas. It was a cool experience for me. Thanks to my family for putting it together! :)

I don't have much to say this week. Things are "Zimbabwe normal" here right now, so nothing too crazy to report. I am excited for 2017, and I am trusting the Lord to help me get through it! 

Enjoy all the blessings that come from following Jesus Christ this holiday season, and enjoy the last week of 2016! I love and miss you all, wherever you may be. :)

Go Pokes! Go Celtics! Happy New Year shamwari!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Salibonani Week 46!

Yebo! Merry Christmas everyone!
I don't have much to say this week, so it will be a little short.
It was another busy busy week as a ZL in Bulawayo! We ended up having a baptism for a guy named Narald, who coincidentally was born of the 8th of March like me, just a year later in 1997. I thought that was pretty cool. He lives in Emakhandeni, but we continue to help them out even though they have no missionaries. We also got to help out with the baptism of a child of record in Gwabalanda named Michelle! It was cool because the mother was fairly less active, and we got her to come back to church because of the daughter getting baptized. We are having major struggles in our area getting people to come to church and really commit to what we are teaching them, but we are doing our best to work hard and work smart. I know that something will come through for us soon. The Lord will always bless us for our hard work and sacrifice! We have a ward Christmas party, and a joint ward sacrament meeting on Christmas day.
It has been raining like crazy here this week. Almost every day it has rained a least a little bit. The water situation is much better now, and the bond notes really haven't affected us missionaries much at all. The rain has made it tough to wash clothes and let them dry outside. One stressful thing is that one day this week, while it was pouring rain outside, we got two flat tires at the same time! Luckily, a guy was driving by and helped us out. One thing that I love about the people here is that they are willing to help others. :)
I love you all so much and I wish you all a wonderful week leading up to Christmas Day! Wherever you may be, remember the Savior this Christmas.
Nisale kahle! :) Go Pokes! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Salibonani Week 45!

Yebo! How'z it everyone!? :)
This week has been the busiest week on my mission so far! With transfers happening, missionaries traveling all over the country, and a Christmas Devotional, I was very stressed making sure all of the zone members were taken care of. I am sure glad that all of them are settled, and that things will most likely calm down the next few weeks! It is kind of nice to have some other missionaries living with us, I always have someone else to talk to.
Elder Twikala is a sweet guy, and this is indeed his last transfer. He is a super talented artist (he draws and paints) and he has a girl waiting for him when he gets home! haha :) I will enjoy being with him for his last transfer! He was studying architecture when he was home, so I think thats what he wants to do when he goes back. He is also fairly old, around the same age as Milikafu and Njoga. 

Christmas time has arrived, and they celebrate it here too! The only difference is that there is no snow. Even if I am in Africa, I still love the Christmas season, no matter where I may be for it. We had a good Zone Conference/Christmas devotional in Gweru this week, and we got to watch the First Presidency Devotional. President Eyring was so right, this time of year really does brings us peace. We had a gift exchange, and I ended up with a light blue tie, so that's a plus! A lot of Americans put in candy from back home that was sent to them. haha :) My 'son' Elder Makalio is still in Chegutu, and he is training a new missionary, Elder Whittier. I got to see them at the devotional! I now have a grandson on my mission, I am for sure a Sekuru now. :)
As far as teaching, and bringing people to church, I am not finding as much success here in Bulawayo as I did in Harare and Chegutu. Elder Twikala and I are doing our best with the time we have been given. We have a few people that we are working with, and hopefully be baptising in the near future. Zone Leaders, especially here in Bulwayo are always running around helping the other missionaries in the zone. so we don't always get as much time finding and teaching as we want. That's our job though! We gotta do what we gotta do! :)
I am thankful for all of you, and I wish all of you a blessed holiday season. You all have so much to be grateful for. I hope you can all remember the Savior this Christmas time! :)
I love you all!
Go Pokes!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Salibonani Week 44!

Happy Holidays y'all! :)
Things are going well here in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The transfer news came out this past weekend, and I am staying right where I am at. Elder Njoga has been transferred after serving almost 5 months as a ZL here in Blues, he is going to be a ZL in a place called Mutare, on the opposite side of the country. I am thankful for the things I learned from him, and I am excited to continue to lead the zone! Two new areas have opened here with the addition of new missionaries in the mission, and I will now only be working in Gwabalanda, not Luveve. Luveve Branch will be having their own missionaries, and I am excited to see how that branch will improve. My new companion's name is Elder Twikala. All I know is that he is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the middle of Africa. He has been a ZL for some time, and this new transfer or next transfer is his last on his mission. He is going home soon, so I will most likely be "killing" another missionary. My third! haha :) I am excited to get to be his last companion and to help him 'die' strong. Things are really looking up in the zone, and I am excited for the changes that are happening.
We do have some new Elders being trained in the Zone, Elder Horton and Elder Johnson. I am glad that I will be here to help them adjust. They have some good trainers, so things will go well for them. The house I have been living in with Elder Njoga will be receiving two new elders, and we will be very cramped. The good news is that we will get to know each other super well! I am excited to be with Elder Gordon again! He is going to be living with me and Elder Twikala, as well as Elder Aden. It will be a fun, and interesting transfer. There were so many changes in the mission this transfer! Almost every ZL companionship was changed and there are lots of people getting moved around. I love seeing the number of missionaries rise each transfer, the mission is on its way!
We got to help an 8 year old boy, Sibusiso, get baptized this week. That was a plus! All of our baptisms from last week were able to be confirmed this week. I am still getting to know Gwabalanda myself, and will be working hard to find some new people to bring to church. I hope we can help them progress!
The Bulawayo Zone, Gweru Zone, and Kwekwe Zone will be meeting up this week Friday for a Christmas devotional in Gweru! I am excited for that! We are having a gift exchange and each Zone is supposed to sing a Christmas hymn, so I will be in charge of that as well! The ZL life is never boring! :) 

I am so grateful and thankful for all of you. Please know that you will be in my heart and mind this holiday season. I love you all wherever you may be! :)
Go Pokes, Go Celtics! Nisale Kahle! Musari zvakanaka mhuri ne shamwari dzangu! :) 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Salibonani Week 43!

Hello everyone! Happy Holidays! I hope all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving! :)
I have made it safely to Harare today, it is nice and rainy here and I love it. It makes the weather cool, and makes me feel closer to home! By the way, we take a bus to and from Bulawayo when we come, so I don't drive the whole 6 hours in the car. 

I did end up making an attempt to make some sort of Thanksgiving food. I did my best to make some mashed potatoes, and I had a turkey gravy packet from the USA that I got from another missionary. I cooked that, some green peas, and some mince meat and mixed it all together. At least I had a little taste of home on Thursday this week!
Big news from Zimbabwe, they just released the new bond notes into circulation today! You can look it up and learn more, but right now I'm not quite sure how it will affect the mission. We will have to wait and see. They only have $2 and $5 notes at the moment, and the amount you take is limited to $50 a day, $150 per week. We will see what will happen!
We had a wonderful week as a zone and ended up surpassing our goal for baptisms in November. We ended up with 33! As ZL's we got the chance to go out of our area, and to help out some of the areas with no missionaries at the moment. We taught and baptised 5 people from a place in Bulawayo called Emakhandeni, which is just close to our area, and helped another 2 get baptized in a place called Emganwini, also in Blues. All of those people came to church on their own or with the help of members. Also, one of our true investigators in Luveve, Lethokuhle, finally decided to get baptized this week! We had a total of 8. The Lord truly helped us reach our goal, and all the baptisms went well. The water problems didn't get in the way this time! Br Tshuma was also confirmed on Sunday! It is cool to see the Lord preparing people behind the scenes.
This coming week is the last of the current transfer and we will have transfer news on Saturday. If I am leaving Bulawayo it will be a big surprise! The future is bright and I am doing my best! Crazy that December is already here.
I love you all so so much! Have a wonderful end to the school year, and a wonderful Holiday season! I am thankful for all of you, my family and friends, and for all the blessings my Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ have given me!
Go Pokes! Go Celtics!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Salibonani Week 42!

Well, another week has come and gone!
The rains have finally arrived here in Zimbabwe, at least here in Bulawayo! It will take a few months of pretty solid rain to totally fix the water shortage they have going on right now, but at least it is a good sign of things to come! When it rains, a ton of small frogs and toads just come out. They are everywhere!
This week was pretty normal, just running around taking care of things, and doing the Lord's work. We are still struggling to get our investigators to commit and progress, and it is always frustrating when things don't go well. Br. Tshuma ended up getting baptized on Sunday after church, and his wife and daughter came to church for the first time. Br. Tshuma came to church on his own before I came to Bulawayo, and it has been super easy to help him progress. He gave a very powerful testimony after his baptism, and it was really cool to see how the spirit can work on someone when they exercise their faith. He definitely exercised his!

The bummer deal was that the water problems affected his baptism. We had a member fill up the font for us during the week, but when we showed up on Sunday it was very low. We tried to fill it up more, but there was no running water, so we had to make do with what we had. I was asked by Br, Tshuma to perform his baptism, and it ended up being a very unorthodox baptism, one I will always remember. In total, we had to do it about 4 or 5 times until it was done correctly. Because the water was so low, we had to improvise and have him sit down in the font, and I helped him basically lay down in the water until he went under. The important thing is that it was done with proper authority, and done in the correct way, by immersion. I always get a little frustrated when baptisms don't run smoothly, I feel like I messed up or something. I hope that the Lord is happy with my efforts, no matter how we made it work, I did my best!
Things are moving along and we are doing our best! I will be headed to Harare again next Monday for MLC, so I will be emailing from there again. It's crazy that I have already been in Blues for a month, and next week will be the start of the final week of the transfer! I have been told by the office that I have a few packages waiting there for me, so I am excited to open my first Christmas package!
I love all of you wherever you may be! If you are in the States, have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving, enjoy the football games, and have a blast putting up Christmas decorations! I will be missing the feast for sure, but am planning to make an awesome meal for myself, or at least attempt to! :)
So happy to hear that the cowboy football team is still kicking butt! Go Pokes! Go Celtics! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Salibonani Week 41!

Lingani!? :)
Hello my family and friends, I hope all is good wherever you may be. I know that the election has caused a lot of craziness in the USA, but I know that all will be ok! No matter who is at the head of the country, the US will still be great. Each President brings good and bad. Let's keep and open mind and do our best to keep America the land of the free and home of the brave. :)
Things are ok but very busy here. In Bulawayo this week we have had major water problems. The dams are running dry here in Zimbabwe, so they are cutting water off for up to 72 hours or more. We have been busty running around making sure all the missionaries have been taken care of. For whatever reason, our house had no problems at all. Some missionaries have had to shower at our house. It really is a miracle that we have had no problems. The Lord is really looking out for us.
Our area is really struggling at the moment, and the people we had a lot of faith in have fallen back a bit in their progress. Br. Tshuma will be getting baptized this coming week, and maybe a few others in the comign weeks. We are doing our best with what we have! My old investigators in Chegutu are still getting baptized! Elder Makalio is keeping the ball rolling. The old Gogo who called me here boyfriend was just baptized this week. I am so happy for her.
Things are going pretty well for the most part, there are always frustrations, but I know the Lord is helping me grow in the process. Crazy that November is already half way done! Please keep enjoying the football season, and enjoy Thanksgiving. I will for sure be missing the home cooked meal. Go Pokes and Go Celtics! :)
Ngiyanithanda! :)
P.S. Played some soccer and ran around for the first time in awhile today. I am so out of shape! I have been having to give up running on my mission. I just don't have the time or energy to do it. Everyone has to sacrifice things they love on their mission. One of mine happens to be running. I do it when I can! I am focusing on teaching, so that has replaced my running.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Salibonani Week 40!

Yebo! Just hit 40 weeks!
Sorry, as a ZL I just don't have the time I usually have had, so this might be pretty short. I will try to include the good stuff.
I am amlost all the way adjusted to Bulawayo, and I am starting to get the ZL thing down. I really enjoy being so involved in the mission and with the other missionaries. It does bring added stress, but it is an exciting change in my mission experience. I am excited to see where it takes me! My first MLC experience last Tuesday was good, and I enjoyed giving my input in the council! I am super excited for the upcoming Christmas events, including a Christmas Devotional (basically a Zone Conference but with a Christmas focus).

 I really do love Christmas time, even if I am here in Africa. It does stink that I wont have any snow, but I hope I can find a small Christmas tree to use. :) We will have to wait and see! By the way, they don't celebrate Halloween here. They have no idea what that even is in most places.
This week has involved a lot of running around helping and transporting missionaries. We were able to have some really great lessons with our investigators and we have some really great people that we are preparing for baptism. Br. Tshuma, Lethokuhle, Michael, and others! We will see how everything goes these next few weeks, but at least we have people coming to church. These last few weeks, 4 more of the investigators I had left in Chegutu were baptized by Elder Makalio. I am so happy that even though I left, things are still going well. I have been blessed to learn that many of my former investigators in my old areas have been baptized so far on my mission. It really is a great feeling. I called some old friends and converts from Marimba and Chegutu this week and it was really nice to catch up. It is cool to see how much of an effect you can have on the places and people you serve. :)
I do have a correction on one of my previous emails. Madora are caterpillars, not worms. Either way, I still really like them. It doesn't sound like it, but if you cook them right, they taste delicious. Lately, my companion has been making Chapati which is really good.
We also got caught in a small dust storm/tornado in the middle of a lesson last week. That was quite interesting. You see small dust tornados quite often around here. One thing I noticed here in Blues is that the soil is a much lighter color than Northern Zimbabwe. Blues is Southwest in Zimbabwe. There has been a lot of water problems in the suburbs this past week, so we have bee busy trying to make sure all the missionaries have what they need.
I love you all so much. Please continue to be happy, and to have a positive outlook. It will make all the difference! Keep cheering on the 7-2 Wyoming Cowboys for me. I am so happy that the team is finally finding success. Go Pokes, and Go Celtics! :)
Nisale kahle! :)
PS. Crazy that the Cubs came back to win the World Series and end the curse!
Also, I didn't really take many pictures this week, so I uploaded some ones that I took in Chegutu. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Salibonani Week 39!

Salibonani! Linjani!? (Hello, how are you?) I will be using a new subject line while I am serving in Bulawayo.
Greetings everyone! I love you guys so much! I am in a bit of a rush today because I am busy in Harare for Missionary Leadership Council (MLC), the monthly meeting for ZL's, Assistants and STL's. We had a 6 hour ride this morning, so I only get an hour or so to email! The meeting is tomorrow, and we head back tomorrow night.
My first week as a ZL, and my first week in Bulawayo has been good. Very busy, but good. The culture really isn't too much different, but it is a little bit hotter than Harare. The only difference is the language, but the people here in Zim all speak mixed languages. I am learning to khuluma (speak) what Ndebele I can. The nice thing is that people in Blues are pretty good at English, so there aren't many problems. My companion is Elder Njoga, from Kenya. He has been out for around 20 months and only has around 4 months left. He is a good guy, and I am just getting to know him!
We serve in a ward and a branch! Gwabalanda Ward, and Luveve Branch. We live in a small house in Luveve, and I am now driving a Toyota Quest. It is automatic, so I guess I get a break from stick shift for a little while. It is a sweet car, and we really need it to carry out the work there. I have done a lot of driving in my first week, so it really is a blessing. I already have most of the streets and turns down. One thing your mission will do is help you become really good at learning quickly, and adjusting at a faster pace. One crazy thing is that our Branch President in Luveve is blind. Pretty cool how to see how everything works. The Lord helps him, and so do his counselors. The area(s) are really great, and we do have some great people to teach. We had a few brand new people come to church this Sunday, and we have some baptisms planned in the coming weeks! :)
I have gotten to see some old friends in Harare today, and it has been great to see all my mission friends. One thing that I love about being a ZL is being so involved in the mission, and getting to see and visit with all of the other missionaries. I'm stoked! :)
Zimbabwe is very very hot, and we are expecting rains any day now. One crazy thing, I finally got to weigh myself, for the first time in 9 months, and I am now above 65 kgs, which is between 140-145 lbs. Sadza has made me gain 10 lbs so far! Haha :)
I am so happy that the Pokes beat Boise State! I am proud to be a cowboy fan at the moment. Even though I am not watching them, I am cheering them on all the way from Zimbabwe! :) I hope they can keep it up! Good Ol' Wyoming now officially has a temple! Heck yeah! I guess the Lord is helping the Pokes win as a result of the temple and my service. ;) haha
I'm learning a lot and trusting the Lord to help me in my new calling and area. I know he will! I wish you all the best. Please know of my love for each of you!
Nisale Kahle! (Stay well)
Ngiyanithanda (I love you all!)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Makadii Week 38!

Hey guys! 9 months have passed as a missionary!
First of all I don't have much time to email today because it is a transfer day. I am emailing from Kadoma, but I have to keep it short because of time.
The big news is that I will be leaving Chegutu, and Elder Makalio sooner than expected. I have been called as a Zone Leader in the Nkulumane/Bulawayo Zone, the southern most part of the mission! I am super excited and also very humbled for the opportunity, and I'm stoked to visit a new place. I will now be learning Ndebele, so when I come home,  I will be bearing my testimony in two languages!  Pretty sweet.
I so thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chegutu, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Makalio and I ended up having 6 baptisms on Saturday, including a marriage for the Chinga Family. As a district, we had 16 baptisms in one day! We set the most recent record for the Chegutu Branch. We were so blessed. There are lots of changes this transfer, and a new group of missionaries coming in. Another Elder will finish the training for Elder Makalio in Chegutu, so they will make sure to take care of Chegutu now that I am gone. I only had 3 months there, but I loved it. I bore part of my testimony in Shona at church when I left, and it was a big hit. The branch was deeply touched, and they were very sad to see me go. Like always, I cried when bearing my testimony. I get that from my Dad and Grandpa Baldwin (Baba ne Sekuru). :)
One cool thing before I go, there was a baby born in our area some weeks ago, and at my request they named it after me! His name is Dennis Kevin Chimsalo. I got a picture with him, and as part of the culture I got him a gift before I left. I got him a small baby cap for when the rains come. :)
I love you guys so much! I am glad all is well. Congrats to all the XC athletes in Wyoming! Go Plainsmen and Go Pokes! :)
More info next week, and more pictures! Sorry, I'm in a hurry today! :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Makadii Week 37!

The last week of the transfer has arrived, and I am almost halfway done with training Elder Makalio! Time has gone by quickly with him, and we are having fun and working hard!
This coming week, if all goes according to planned, we will have 6 baptisms and a marriage to end the transfer, as well as 4 or 5 more people that we are preparing for the next transfer and into the month of November! The Chingas are getting married and baptized, along with their daughter Tsitsi, and a few younger kids. It will be a great but busy week! As a district, we are planning to have 17 baptisms and confirmations in total this week, so it will be quite a week for us. Please pray that all goes well for our candidates! If all is well this week, I will have 49 baptisms so far on my mission. It's crazy to think that I have helped bring about that much good in my first 9 months. I owe all of my success to my Savior, it is his work not mine!
We are teaching a really old Gogo that has been coming to church for a long time, but she really struggles with the Word of Wisdom, so she has yet to be baptized. We have been doing all we can to help her overcome her addiction, and we are starting to see progress. I hope she can keep it up, quit her habits, and get baptized soon. She loves Elder Makalio and I so much that she calls us her "Bababoys," which is Shona slang for boyfriends. :) We taught her about the Book of Mormon, and we used the Shona version. I read some of the introduction and some verses in Shona for her. she loved it, and was surprised that I could read Shona, most people are when they hear me do it. When I leave Chegutu, I will bear my testimony in Shona! :)
Last week we didn't end up having Zone meeting, but had a District meeting in Kwekwe with the Elders there. Tomorrow we are having a Zone Meeting in Kadoma, and I have been asked to give one of the presentations about the Book of Mormon. It should be great! More soccer and a small braai is happening today, and last week I got to hold a python at the snake park we went to! :) It is becoming very very hot, but I have been told that the rains are coming soon at the end of October, I really hope so! I got a sweet hat to wear to block the sun.
One crazy thing: We are teaching a guy named Fitzgabricks. Never thought I would hear a name like that! haha :) Names here are the craziest!
The car we were using has been taken back to Harare and I am now using the same car I was using  for my first 6 months in Marimba! It is nice to be reunited again after 3 months! haha :)

I am doing great and am excited for the future! I hope all is well wherever you may be. I love you all! :)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Makadii Week 36!

Hello! Today I am emailing once again from Kwekwe. We are down here again for this month's Zone Meeting. We are visiting a snake park, and playing some soccer today, so it will be a fun P-Day!
This past week went well for us, and we ended up with 2 baptisms for Eunice and Obey. One is 8 and the other is 11. They are sweet kids who have been coming to church. Because of General Conference viewings this week, we have to push their confirmations to next week. We have another 4 people being baptized on the 22nd of this month, as well as a marriage! :) The Chinga family; Brother Ephraim and his wife, and their daughter Tsitsi, as well as a young girl named Tanatswa. Then, at the start of next transfer, we will have a man named Caesar, and his son Prince be baptized if all goes well. The work is going really well is Chegutu! :)
I got to go on exchanges with Elder Whiting this week which was really nice. I enjoyed being with him!

There was a big car crash just outside of Chegutu this past week, and over 9 people were killed. 4 of them were from Chegutu, so there was a big funeral during the week. It was considered a national disaster. It was big news all over the country.

I really enjoyed Conference this week. We got to watch all but the Priesthood session. My favorite talk was given by Elder Carl B. Cook, about sacrifice and service. It made me feel so much comfort knowing that my service here in Africa is the best thing I could be doing, no matter how hard it can be. Service is how me grow, and how God shapes us into the people he wants us to be. Oddly enough, in my first transfer here in Zim, Elder Cook was still the Area president. I met him first at the temple in Joburg while attending the MTC, but then got to spend some one on one time with him when he came to tour the mission back in March. I am so thankful that I got the chance to speak with him personally while he was here. He even emailed my parents after our interview. It was cool to see a General Authority actually caring about the life and service of a skinny Wyoming boy. It was especially cool to see him speak at conference.
The main theme that I got out of conference was to really trust the Savior and to give our lives to him. We can do that in many ways, and the speakers all gave wonderful examples. We do it by serving, sacrifice, prayer, and if we do those things, we find true joy, just like Elder Nelson said in his talk. 

I love you all so much, and I think about you often. You are never far from my heart. Love the Lord, and love each other. Go Pokes and Go Seahawks! :)