Monday, April 4, 2016

Makadii Week 9

Hey Everyone!
Things have been so great. It was a wonderful end to the week to hear that Zimbabwe is getting a temple! When I got here, I told everyone that it would be announced while I was here, but I just didn't expect it so soon. Elder Milikafu almost started to cry when he found out. Bringing a temple to Zimbabwe was the reason he came on his mission. He feels like extending his mission happened so that he could hear the news while he was still a missionary. I'm so happy for him, for this country, for this mission, and for these people. I'm super excited to be serving here during all the excitement. I really feel like this announcement will really change this place.
I'm bummed I didn't actually get to watch conference this weekend, but I will next weekend! I'm sure it was wonderful, and from what I've heard so far it was very special.
The first week of this transfer went pretty darn well. We have had a few investigators drop us, but we have around 10 that we will hopefully be baptizing this month. We will also be having at least 3 marriages this month, one of them on Sunday! It will be my first marriage on my mission, so I'm very excited to be apart of that.

I only have 3 more weeks with Mili, so I'm doing my best to learn all that I can while I have him around. He talks ALL THE TIME. More than anyone I've ever met. This week, there have been some days where we don't get home til past 9:00, which is when we're supposed to be back. Some of our lessons have been around 2 hours long, which in my mind is way too long. He is just so fired up about teaching people, it's crazy. I'm just trying to be patient with him as much as I can. He ends up reteaching whatever I talk about, which frustrates me a lot of the time. It makes me feel very useless, but I'm doing my best. I'm trying not to be discouraged.
There is one powerful family in our area, the Panya family. The mother is so wonderful and feeds us all the time. Her husband is a member, but is very less active, and we never see him. They have many children, and one of them has recently returned from his mission. His name is Peter Panya (not Peter Pan), and he is the Ward Mission Leader in one of the wards we are serving in. He is super helpful. We have been teaching some of the other kids in the family, as well as many of their friends. We are planning to baptize and marry two of the family friends this month, as well as one of the kids. We baptized one of them last month. I've really learned that member support and fellowship is critical to missionary work.
It just continues to amaze me how people are prepared to hear the gospel. Many of our lessons go smoothly because they are so prepared. It's awesome to see the spirit work on them.
So his week, we had a flat tire. I've officially changed my first tire on my mission, and I'm sure there will be many more. The potholes here are just ridiculous. Luckily, people have been fixing some of them in our area. The government just doesn't fund any road construction really, so the roads are just crap. We make it work though. Just to clarify, the drivers side of the car is on the right, and cars travel on the left side of the road here. Things are very opposite, but I'm getting used to it.
The soccer match this week was pretty low key. Not many missionaries could make it because of gas. We are only given a limited number of gas coupons each month, so sometimes people run out. Luckily, we had enough to be able to go. The fields we play on are just dirt and grass. We don't play on actual nice soccer pitches. Some times the grass is pretty high. It is very unorthodox, but it's fun to play backyard soccer in Africa! I'm not very good, but the other guys say that I'm getting better every week.
One thing that has been really different here is breastfeeding. People don't get mad or offended by it like they do in the US. Moms just do it wide out in the open, even during lessons. Just a different culture I guess. At first I was pretty uncomfortable, but I've gotten used to it now.
I am super happy to know that my Celtics ended the Warriors home win streak! Yeah buddy! With the playoffs coming up soon, they are going to make some noise in he Eastern Conference!
The Shona words of the week are Gogo and Kudenga. Gogo means Grandma, and Kudenga is heaven. I've learned how to start a prayer in Shona as well!
One thing I've come to realize this week is the importance of love. If I can do my best to love the people here,and to genuinely care for them, everything will be great. My frustrations will diminish, my weaknesses will become strengths, and I will really start to love being out here. It is truly remarkable how the Lord has taken me, a skinny runner boy from Wyoming, and turned me into someone I never thought I could be. He truly does make weak things become strong. All we have to do is turn to Him. It's also really cool that I will continue to grow throughout my mission.

Missionary work is the toughest thing I think any member of the church can do, so you have to find ways to be happy as you do it. I encourage all of you to follow Christ and to love those around you, and if you do you will find that everything else in your life will work out.

I hope all continues to go well with you back home. I love you all very much, and I'm very much grateful for your support.
Stay sweet!

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