Monday, February 29, 2016

Makadii Week 4!

Week 4--Hesi, Makadii everyone! (That means hello, how are you in Shona) I first wanted to apologize for not sending emails last week. I was in a really rough place out here in Zimbabwe. I had serious thoughts about going home, and Satan was working on me harder than ever. Last week was the the toughest week of my life by far. I want you all to know that I will definitely be staying on my mission, and that I'm doing almost 100% better this week than last. I want to thank all of you for your words of encouragement, support, and most of all your prayers. I have felt every single one of them, and I'm so thankful to have family and friends that care for me so much. I wouldn't be here, or be who I am without all of you. I'm serving in Marimba Park, which is just outside of Harare. My companion is Elder Melvyne Milikafu, and he is such a great guy. He is super short, but has the biggest personality of almost anyone I've ever met. I prayed to have a great trainer, and that prayer was definitely answered. We are actually serving in two wards, Marimba and Mufakose. We have a big teaching pool, and have around 10-12 progressing investigators. We have baptismal dates set for the 19th and 26th of March, and if all goes well, we will have around 15 baptisms this month. I never thought that things would be going so well in my first transfer. I've been truly blessed. I'm starting to get used to the culture here. Things are so drastically different here than back home. Everything is so unorganized, and I don't even know how things get done most of the time, but they do. The streets are all in really rough shape, traffic is crazy, and people pretty much do whatever they want. The streets are crazy busy with traffic and people. I have no idea how there aren't more accidents. The main cities here are fairly well developed, but the outlying towns are all in really rough shape. The houses aren't even houses, at least to what I'm used to back home. Everything has a gate around it, no matter what. The crime here is really low though, the police don't even carry guns. There are corn fields everywhere. All in all, things are just really undeveloped compared to the U.S. Don't take anything you have for granted back home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Arrival in Zimbabwe!

We got this email today from the mission office in Zimbabwe: Elder Kevin Jesse Baldwin arrived safely in Harare yesterday. He is very excited to be here. He was able to meet President and Sister Mkhabela, as well as his first companion, Elder Milikafu. They will be serving together in the Marimba Park area of Harare. We also found out that his p-day, the day he can email, will be on Mondays, so if you email him, you'll want to do it on Sunday so he'll see it the next day.

Friday, February 12, 2016

MTC Group

This picture was shared by another parent, but appears to be a shot of the entire MTC group in Johannesburg along with the president and his wife. Really awesome to see the whole group!

Here are a few more pictures from the time in the MTC.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

From Kevin's email on February 11, 2016

Hello All! Everything is well here in South Africa! The MTC schedule is getting pretty old, and I'm really looking forward to being in the field in less than a week. All of the Zimbabwe missionaries here will be heading out next Tuesday afternoon! It will be great to finally get out and get things done. The MTC here is tiny. There are only about 30 of us here at a time. It's really nice though to have more one on one instruction. My companion's name is Elder Silotile (See-loh-tee-lay). He is an a Black, South African native, who is also serving in Zimbabwe. He has only been a member for a few years, and he is the only member in his family. It has been really hard to find common ground, and to teach with him, but I've learned so much patience and courage as a result. I'm thankful for the chance to grow, and am trying my best to have a positive attitude. Here is a picture of Kevin and some of the other Elders in his group. South Africa looks like a beautiful place!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Arrival! Hello all! I have arrived in South Africa safely this evening. It's past 8:00 here, so I am 9 hours ahead of most of you. The flights went well, luckily I had a whole row of seats to myself on the 15 hour flight, so I actually got some sleep! I flew with 6 other missionaries, and all of us are assigned to serve in Zimbabwe. There are 2 other Elders, and 4 sisters. Most are from Idaho, and one is from California. I'm not too familiar with names yet, but I will let you know soon. We arrived a day earlier than others. About 15 African Elders will be coming in tomorrow, and we will be assigned companions then. I hope all is well with you! My schedule isn't set in stone quite yet, so I will let you know when I get that information. Until next time, Elder Baldwin :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Week 1-- Kevin left today (February 2, 2015) for the MTC in Johannesburg, South Africa. He will be there for about two weeks before he goes to Harare, Zimbabwe. As I am writing this, he is flying over the Atlantic Ocean. He left Salt Lake City bound for Atlanta this morning a little after 11:00 am. He left Atlanta for Johannesburg at 7:20 pm eastern time. The flight will take about 15 hours. When Kevin got his travel plans, we were surprised and a bit confused as to why they had him leaving from Salt Lake rather than Denver, which is much closer to our home. We asked about that, but didn't ever get a reply. We just figured there must be some reason. Over the course of this past weekend, we had reaffirmed to us that our Heavenly Father really is in the details of our lives. This is winter in Wyoming, and that in and of itself is unpredictable. As we watched the weather forecast and saw that a big winter storm was heading our way exactly when we needed to be leaving, we changed our plans and left a day early. That was a good thing. We were able to get across Wyoming and to Salt Lake without being caught in terrible weather that caused many roads (including I-80) to be closed. If we had delayed our trip to our original timeline, we would have been stuck in Laramie. It was also a blessing because one of Kevin's grandmothers was not able to come to Laramie to see him off due to some health concerns. By flying out of Salt Lake we were able to make a small detour to visit her and some of his cousins on our way. We couldn't have done this if he'd flown out of Denver. We also found out that over 500 flights had been cancelled at the Denver airport due to the storm. It would have been absolute chaos to be at that airport--if we could have even gotten there. At the Salt Lake airport we timed it well--didn't have to wait in any long lines. We got Kevin checked in and then he was ready. He didn't want to hang around, but was just ready to head upstairs. Once we got upstairs, the security check was right there. His dad and I both got good long hugs--he was emotional, but more worried about us than himself. He squared his shoulders, headed through the security gate, and didn't look back. We watched until we couldn't see him anymore and then headed home. Technology is great! We tracked his flight from Salt Lake to Atlanta and then again as he left Atlanta headed to Johannesburg. As I write this, he's flying over the Atlantic Ocean and should arrive about the time I wake up tomorrow. Hopefully he'll be able to send us a quick email and let us know when he gets there. We're looking forward to that.