Monday, March 14, 2016

Makadii Week 6

Hello Everyone! This week has been a blast. I'm having a great time here, and learning so so much every day. There are frustrations no doubt, but I'm doing my best to overcome them. Africa is just insane! I hope I include the things you want to hear.
I hope things are going well for all of you wherever you might be. I love all of you, and wish you all the best.
A couple of funny/crazy things:
1. White people are called Murungu here in Zim. I'm the only white person in literally my entire area, so people always call me that pretty much wherever I go. All the little kids freak out when they see me. They say, "murungu! how are you?" cause that's the only English they know. It's pretty funny, especially when I speak a little Shona back to them. They are so surprised! All of the older folks do well with English for the most part, but the kids don't know it well at all. I am learning some new Shona words and phrases every day, and am doing my best to put it into practice :). It's getting much better for sure.
2. African people do not care about time at all! They are always late to everything, and they are never in a hurry to do anything. They have no idea how to stick to a schedule. At first it was irritating, especially because I was always quick to do things back home, but now I just find it funny! I'm learning to just let it happen, and just do my best to work with it. People show up to church like 45 mins late, and our lessons are so irregular it's crazy! I'm getting used to it though.
3. The driving here is the craziest thing I've ever seen! You can literally do whatever you want and no one will care. No tickets, and no one will get mad at you. It's just a free for all, but it's always on crappy roads. I have absolutely no idea how there aren't more problems. Things just work, even if it makes no sense at all! haha :) Mom, you would go crazy if you saw what it was like.
4. Everything here is so cheap! You can get 2 weeks worth of food for like $40 dollars! It's crazy. I will have a ton of stuff to bring back home for sure! I still haven't eaten anything crazy, but will let you know when I do.
5. People just do whatever they can to make money here. Businesses are pretty crazy, and not well maintained. People literally just do anything to get the money they need to feed their families. It's so different from back home. I'm not really sure what some of the jobs members or investigators have here, but lot's of them don't really have a set career. The unemployment rate is just crazy high.

Thank all of you for the birthday wishes. My actual birthday was pretty uneventful, but it was nice. I was able to have some really good Pizza for lunch, and was able to get a wonderful cake to eat that night, along with some ice cream. You can't have a real birthday without cake and ice cream! I still can't really believe that I'm twenty years old! It seems just like yesterday that I was on the stage being Oliver! That was 8 years ago! Time sure does fly.

 We had a Zone meeting, and I was able to bear my testimony. I talked about my struggles with the gospel in my life, and my struggles in the first weeks of my mission. I know that I touched their hearts, and the spirit was definitely felt. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this church is true, and that through it we may be converted to Christ. I'm learning something new every day that reaffirms that fact. I urge all of you to study it out for yourself, I know you will be so blessed as you do so.
We are going to be having 6 baptisms this next Saturday! 6! My companion said that he was going to have me baptize all of them! I'm super excited to have my first baptisms. Our work in the area is sure going well. My companion and I are very blessed. The weather here is always around 80 degrees during the day, and around 60 in the evenings. It's only ever hot when it's just the sun and no clouds or breeze. If it's rainy or it's night, the weather is perfect! Everything is super dirty, and I've come to realize that my white shirts will never be completely white. That's just the way it is I guess! We are really lucky to have a car to get around. I'm getting a little better with the manual. :)
A little bit more about my companion. His name is Elder Milikafu, and he is a native of Zimbabwe, and lives in Queensdale. He actually grew up in the area we are serving, so he knows lots of people. He is 27 years old! (Yes, 27). He has had a pretty crazy life. He was a literal celebrity here in Zim, and had his own TV show for kids. Everyone loves him! He did have a lot of negative influence with his career choice, and as a result made some bad choices, but has become such a great guy. He is planning to get married, and become a politician. He can really help make Zimbabwe a better place, and I hope he can do some good things. This country really needs it. He is the District leader in our district, and has only 6 weeks left on his mission. I'm super lucky to have him as my trainer. I've learned so much from him already.
Transfers are every 6 weeks. After a transfer, I could be sent anywhere in the mission, and/or get a new companion. In two weeks I will be done with my first transfer, but will stay in the area I am in now to finish my training. My comp will be leaving part way through, so I'm not sure if or when I will be getting a different comp to finish my training. We will have to wait and see, I really have no idea what to expect. My first transfer ends on Easter Sunday. I will have a total 16 full transfers, and the 17th will be partial,
Today, our whole zone, Harare Marimba, went and played some golf with some of the members here! It was a blast! We got to hit some balls at the driving range, and also got to have some pizza and cake. There were 2 other missionary birthdays this past week, along with mine, so we all sang Happy birthday. We also got some free golfing shirts, which was a sweet bonus! For my first activity, it was awesome. I can now say that I've played golf in Africa! Pretty cool stuff :). We will be doing some more cool stuff in the future. Also, I finally saw some wildlife this week! There was a group of monkeys in our area that were running around. One of them even climbed the church on Sunday! That was the first real wildlife I've seen so far. I'm hoping to see some Elephants and lions soon :).
Our district recently bought some hats and go them embroidered. Mine has KJB and WYO stitched into it, along with the Zim flag. They are pretty sweet! Districts usually get a district item every transfer. Shirts, hats and stuff like that.It's all custom made too! I also got a really cool stone carving of an elephant. It's the coolest rock coloring I've ever seen! I also am in the process of getting a pair of my scriptures wrapped in elephant leather. I'm pretty excited for that!
We will also be having a Zone Conference tomorrow. The Area Seventy, Elder Cook will be coming to train us a little. I got to hear him speak and got the chance to meet him and his wife when I went to the Johannesburg temple while at the MTC. It's pretty cool that I'll get to meet him again. He is a great guy.

In one of our lessons this week, the Baba (father in Shona) really touched my heart. He expressed how thankful he and the rest of the Zimbabwean people were to have me here all the way from little Wyoming. He was wowed that I was willing to give up my whole life back home to preach the gospel. I'm so glad that people are noticing the sacrifice I've made, and that they are thankful for my service. It really makes me feel good to know that I'm truly where I need to be, and I'm so humbled to see the Lords hand in my life. He truly is my Savior, and he only wants the best for me. I just have to be willing to open my heart, and to be willing to learn.
My whole life, I've struggled to be truly happy. I was always focusing on the negative, and was always looking for things to go wrong. In these short 6 weeks of being on a mission, I've already learned so much about how to find that true happiness, and I know that Heavenly Father brought me here to realize that. Just be happy everyone! We are loved and blessed so much more than we can even imagine!
One quote that has been on my mind this week is from my favorite band. Zac Brown and his music has truly been a saving grace throughout my life. This quote from one of their songs was actually my senior quote. I think it applies to all of us in our lives.

"Quiet your mind. Soak it all in, it's a game you can't win. Enjoy the ride!"
I've really learned the truthfulness of this quote out here. In today's world, we truly have to quiet our minds. There are so many things calling for our attention. We have to realize that life is a game we can't truly win on our own. We need the Savior. I'm doing my best to soak in this mission experience, and to enjoy the ride as much as possible. I hope you all can apply this quote to your lives as well. It has helped me so much, and I know it can help you too.
I love you all so much, and I continue to pray for you daily. I wish you the best of luck in everything you do, and hope that you all enjoy spring break!
I will be sending some pictures in a separate email, and I hope you like them! I'm doing my best to get pictures of everything that I can, This place just has some much to offer! It's so hard to show you everything.
Have a good week everyone! Until next week...

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