Monday, June 27, 2016

Makadii Week 21!

Hello, hello, hello! :)
How is everyone doing? I'm sure everything is going well no matter where you may be. Things are going well here in Zimbabwe and I continue to learn so much. I am starting to see how better I am becoming at teaching the lessons and helping people understand the gospel. When I speak Chirungu (English), I have to really try and keep the things I say very simple, so that the people can understand. I know I have talked really fast most of my life, but I've really had to slow it down lately! Haha :) I am by no means fluent in Shona, but I can carry on a small conversation, and say certain words. I am called to speak chirungu after all, so I am not expected to become fluent, but it is cool that I get the chance to learn at least some things.
It is officially winter here, but it isn't really winter at all! The Shona word for this week is Chando. It means cold. Everyone here thinks it is chando at the moment, but it really isn't that bad. It is in the high 60's, low 70's during the day, and at night it can get to around freezing, but it hasn't actually dropped that low yet. The days are always fine for me, but I am slowly but surely becoming a Zimbabwean. The nights are getting pretty darn cold, even for me. We have a heater that we use in the house if it gets too bad. People think I am crazy when I don't wear a "jersey," which is just a sweater or pullover, but I just tell them that they have no idea the temperatures that I am really used to back in good ol' Wyo! The cool thing is that my craziness has started to rub off on Elder Sekerere, and he isn't noticing the cold as much! :)
In my studies, I'm really starting to focus on the New Testament, and the Savior's Life. I'm learning a lot, and finding scriptures that are very helpful in answering questions we come across as missionaries.One of our recent converts, Chengetai, gave a wonderful talk in church on Sunday, and almost all of our male converts have received the priesthood! It is really cool to see them progress and become strong in their testimony.
Our investigators are doing well, and we are finding small successes each day. I really am starting to notice the small miracles that happen, and I am looking for the beauty in everything and everyone I come across. We won't be having a baptism super soon, but in a month or so we are planing to have one. We currently have 3 investigators that we have extended a baptismal invite to that have accepted, but I have seen so much already that just because they have accepted doesn't mean that all will go well. Salvation really isn't a cheap experience. We really have to fight for it, especially when Satan is working so hard. Currently, we are struggling to get investigators to come to church, which is so important in the conversion process. Hopefully that can start to improve in the coming weeks.
My first week as a DL went well, and it really wasn't much different. Our district meeting was just us and our Zone Leaders, because the new missionary, Elder Gordon, was getting here on that day. I've got to spend a little time with him already, and he is a good kid. He is from Springville, Utah. I'm lucky to be able to help him adjust! We did a ton of cleaning at the house this week, and it is so much better now! We had a small district braai at our house as well. I had an amazing cut of pork. It was very tasty!
Zone Conference is this week, and Elder Brooks and I will be singing How Can I Be, a song about Book of Mormon prophets. I sang it a lot back home. We have practiced a few times, and I'm sure all will go well. I will let you know how it goes next week! We are playing some indoor soccer and volleyball today, so it should be a blast!

I love you all so much! Keep enjoying summer, and live life to the fullest. You are more blessed than you can ever realize. I hope and pray you will all find success in whatever you may be doing, and that God is watching over you. I know He is.
Stay sweet! :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Makadii Week 20

Greetings to all family and friends! I love you! :) I'm no longer a teenager on my mission. Week 20 has started!
Most of this past week was pretty uneventful. Not much was happening in the area because we were focusing on finding some new investigators, and strengthening our Recent Converts and Less Actives. We did a really great job of that! At the moment, we have no Progressing Investigators moving toward a baptismal date, but that is something Elder Sekerere and I will be really working on in the coming weeks! There is a family that has been coming to church, but we haven't had the chance to see. They are the Kwenda Family, a father and mother with 2 little kids. I really hope that we can help them progress, and we will soon find out if they are in need of a marriage or not. Things are hard, but good at the same time.
The big news about transfers..... I'm staying! Again! Haha :) I will be staying with Smiley for his last 6 weeks in Marimba/Mufakose (I get to kill my 2nd companion too, after I already killed Milikafu!). The big change is that I am now the District Leader here in the Marimba District, my birthplace! I'm very excited, humbled, and nervous for the opportunity, but I know I can do it! I've been doing some of the things a DL does anyway, and my companions have both been DL's, so I know how it works! Exciting changes! :) Since I'm killing another companion, there is a high chance of me staying where I am for awhile, maybe even another transfer or two after Smiley leaves, which is both good and bad. I am willing to do whatever the Lord wants me to do! The end of this next transfer will be 6 months to the day that I was set apart. It ends on the 31st of July.

I will be the DL to just one other companionship in Kambuzuma. There will be a new missionary being trained there, Elder Gordon from the States! I'm excited to be his DL, so I can help him adjust to missionary life in Zim.
Elder Chidarara just finished his mission, and Elder Sakala has been moved to Bindura. The Glenview area that they were serving in has been closed, at least for the moment. So, for at least the next 6 weeks, Smiley and I will have the Glenview house completely to ourselves! We still have to commute to our area every day, but it hasn't been too bad. We have a lot of cleaning up to do in the house the next few days. Sakala and Chida were pretty messy guys! haha :)
1. This week we had some great visits with members. One visit we had, with the Nyamugara family, I got to teach a little boy how to play some guitar, and I even got to play and sing a few songs for the family. They loved it! I have been asked to sing and play a song with Elder Brooks at next week's Zone Conference! I'm very glad that I am getting to share my talent, (even though I'm not the best a guitar) with others!
2.The daughter of Blessing and Lisa Mutsauri, the couple we recently married and baptized has a daughter named Natasha. She is around 3 years old, and is very full of energy! After every prayer, she starts laughing really loud. She loves the word Amen, and I think she likes to feel the spirit too! :)
3. When I say that I am from Wyoming, people here think I say Miami. haha! :)
4. Here they spell tire with a y. Tyre.
5. The cash crisis is still going strong. Luckily we were able to find some this past week. We played soccer in Domboshava again this week, and I played a little. It was nice to be out there again! I didn't score, and didn't really play that much, but I tried my best! It was a good time. :) Milikafu came too! It was fun to play with him and see him again. I miss that Mfana :)
6. My MTC pal Elder Hoffman has been moved here to Harare, so I got to see him for the first time since we arrived! I was super happy to see him! Now I just need to see Elder Scoresby, but he is in Gweru for the time being. Same district his whole mission, just like me! I'm the first Elder in my group to be given any leadership position, though.

The Shona word is Nyarara. It means, "keep quiet!" It is fun to say to little kids.

I'm continuing to learn so much here. I'm still trying to look for the good in everyone and everything. I encourage you to do the same! I love you all so much.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Makadii Week 19!

Hello friends and family!
Things are very crazy, but good here in Harare Zimbabwe, and the cash crisis is still just as nuts. Smiley and I had a successful week because we ended up baptizing 4 people this last Saturday, as we had planned to! Chengetai, Malvern, Kelvin, and Samantha were all baptized, with 3 of them being confirmed on Sunday. Hopefully the 4th will happen this next week. Even though the week did have many frustrations for me, ending it with a baptism always makes it worth it. :)
We are going to do our best to build our teaching pool back up in the next few weeks, and we are going to really focus on our recent converts and help them to continue to come to church. Hopefully we can get some referrals from that as well!
This coming week is the last week of the transfer for us! That means that next week, I will be able to tell you if I will be going or staying where I am, and if I will receive a new companion. Seke has been a great companion and I've learned so much from him. If I stay and get to kill him off so be it, but I have no idea what will happen at this point. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but he wants to be involved in the entertainment industry in some capacity. He isn't quite sure yet, but he will most likely be leaving Zim in the near future. He has 7 weeks left before he goes home.

Transfers are oh so exciting! (Sometimes :) haha). I have found so much success my first 3 transfers, with 23 baptisms and confirmations, and 2 marriages to show for it! I am very blessed to have made such a difference so early. I hope I can continue to have an impact, even if baptisms don't happen as frequently,
1. I have been decorating my planners, journals, and books with cutouts from church magazines. It helps make them not look so dull and boring! :) My arts and crafts aren't the best, but I feel like I do a pretty good job! Lot's of other missionaries do it too.
2. People open bottle caps with their teeth here. I have absolutely no idea how they do it. I tried once, and it hurt my teeth! Haha :)
3. We saw some chickens riding on top of a combie this week, as well as on the back of someones bike as they were riding. Man, things sure are different here. Monkeys are very common to see at church at the moment.
4. The word for the week is kweche, which means score. When you score a goal playing bhora (soccer), you can yell kweche!, to rub it in a little :). You can also use it any pretty much any other sport too.
I love you all so much, and please know that your Father in Heaven does too. Where ever you might be, and what ever you may be doing, know that I pray for you and love you very much. I wish you all the best of luck in your lives. Never give up! You have angels cheering you on, and they will always be there to help you and guide you throughout your life.
'Til next week shamwari! :)
(Also, I apologize if some of you haven't received my group emails the last few weeks. Some of my contacts were taken out for some reason, but I got them all put back I hope. If there is anyone else who is wanting to receive my emails, please let me know!)

In the pictures, the bag is made from ostrich and the letters and map of Africa are elephant.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Makadii Week 18

Maskwerasei? Hello everyone!

I hope the summer has gotten off to a wonderful start! Its sounds like things are going very well for all of you, and I hope that continues to be the case.
Things are good but very very crazy here at the moment. Currently, there is a very real economic and currency crisis happening throughout Zimbabwe, and it really started to affect missionaries this week. We have bank cards that we use to receive our allotment, which we then use to get money out of an ATM. Most of the things we buy can only be bought with cash. This week we were only able to get a small part of that allotment, but at least it was better than none. Some missionaries didn't even get any. The country is running out of cash very quickly, the ATMs have huge lines, and most of the time they don't even have money to get. It has been very frustrating for me and all the other missionaries, but we are doing our best to make it work. One thing I do know is that the Lord is watching over us, so we have no reason to worry. I'm sure that if things do get bad enough, the church will take good care of us. I do feel bad for the people here though, cause things are about to get really tough for them.
Things have been going well as far as missionary work goes for me and Elder Smiley. We even ran into Milikafu this past week when we were in the area. It was really great to see him. We are having a baptism this coming Saturday for Chengetai, Kelvin, Samantha, and Malvern. I hope and pray all goes well with the preparations this week. Chengetai is a young girl that actually lived next to Milikafu and I when we lived in the Poop house (yeah that's what I call it now), and I'm really glad that she has been progressing. It's crazy how seeds can be planted for missionaries. I'm excited for all four of them to be baptized!
On Saturday, I had the honor of performing another baptism for Chidaz and Sakala in Glenview. Her name was Kerina, and I actually helped teach her while I was there during my threesome week. I got to put on white again, and I will next week as well! I'm loving it! :) It's pretty cool to be so involved in three wards, but it is tough at the same time. I know I'm doing good things and helping these people though.
Random stuff:
1. The mission was actually using bikes right up until I came, but they don't use them anymore. I can understand why with the crappy roads and traffic. They also used to have some technology in the mission, but other missionaries misused it and now we have lost the trust of the mission president. Kind of a bummer.
2. They call Ketchup tomato sauce.
3. I heard that the mother of my MTC companion, Elder Silotile, was baptized a while ago down in SA by Elder Clark, one of our fellow MTC friends. It's pretty cool how that worked out!
4. President Mkhabela likes to joke around and say Zimbazwe instead of Zimbabwe. It kind of irritates the native guys, but I think it's hilarious! I've even started to say it myself. haha :)
5. Sometimes I wonder why we can't have beards as missionaries. All the paintings of Christ show him having a beard, so why can't we have one? ;) They also don't have any real haircut places, but the good news is that a haircut is only like $5!
6. We use a lot of pamphlets to help us teach, and sometimes the ones we receive are for a different country. Our Plan of Salvation pamphlets that we have at the moment are meant for India. It makes me laugh, and really confuses some of our investigators.
7. Members do a lot of their own gardening, and they even have gardens around the church. I also saw monkeys at church again this week,.
8. The way Zimbabweans sometimes shake hands is really weird, but I've gotten used to it. Every handshake is different, so you have to be prepared for any of them when you shake someones hand.
9. Zimbabweans are very quiet when they pray, so when our investigators pray I sometimes say amen too soon, because I can't really hear what they are saying. If I hear something that sounds like amen, I follow suit. I've done it a few times now, and I feel so stupid! haha :)
The Shona word this week is Usadaro! It means don't do that! So you can say, Iwe! Usadaro! Which means, Hey you! Don't do that! It is funny to yell at the kids sometimes :)

I love you all so much. Please never forget that. One thing that I learned this week is that the gospel isn't difficult, but it is hard. Rely on the Lord to help you live it.
Please stay safe and enjoy the Wyoming summer for me. If you aren't in Wyoming, enjoy it wherever you may be! Hauite Hauite! :)