Monday, July 25, 2016

Makadii Week 25!

Ndeipi everyone!? :)
The final week of the transfer is here, and my time with Elder Sekerere is almost up. I have to make this last week count! I will miss him greatly, but know it is time to move on to something and someone new. I still have no idea what will really happen with transfers, but will know very very soon!
The area is doing pretty well, and we will for sure be meeting our goal, but there is a good chance of us not getting to baptize all of the people we had actually hoped to. The parents to one of our investigators, Patience, have told us that they won't let her be baptized, at least for the moment. I am holding out hope that their hearts will change soon, and that she will end up being baptized and confirmed in the near future. It just might not be me who does it, which is ok! The Kwenda's will have to get a marriage done this week if we have any chance of getting them baptized, so we will be doing all that we can to make that happen, but it might not get done in time. If so, they will be pushed a few more weeks. I hate delaying a baptism, so please pray that all goes well! I would really appreciate it! The rest of the investigators are doing really well, and we have a few more that are actually progressing now!

One man we started teaching this week, Mr. Mupamba, is a military veteran, and is almost completely deaf. His hearing aids don't work very well, so teaching him is very tough. We have to be very loud, and clear. He is doing well, but I fear that he will stop coming to church because he can't hear what the speakers are saying. He told us he feels very out of place there, so I'm really praying for a miracle to happen with him. He has such a great desire to learn more, and I know his faith can make a difference! All is well though, for sure.
A couple of things from this week:
1. We had exchanges with the ZLs again in Domboshava, and I missed the Zebras again! My companion got to see them this time though, so he made sure to rub it in. haha :)
2. We played a few games of pool this week too, and I am actually a lot better than I though I was. There are lots of pool tables here, even though they aren't always in the best condition. We played and beat the ZLs!
3.Don't ask for a napkin here. It means diaper.
4. I ate quail guts and liver this week, and it wasn't very tasty. :)
I love you all so so much. Please never forget how much I love and care for each one of you. Always remember how blessed you are, and how much our Savior loves you. You're all the best!
Until next time shamwari! :)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Makadii Week 24!

Hey-oh! What's happening!?
Things are going well here in Zimbabwe, and even though there was a lot of talk of more protests happening this week, not much happened from what I have seen. Our area was very quiet, so we didn't have to stay in the house this time. All missionaries are safe and sound, and spreading the gospel!
We found a few 9 and 10 year old kids who need to be baptized and a couple other people who have accepted a baptismal date, so that brings our number of hopeful baptisms to 8! That is double our monthly goal. We are still hoping the Kwenda's get the marriage stuff finished up this week, Sandra is still doing very well, and we received a few other referrals that are doing well also. One is Patience, and one is Maxinne. Hopefully all goes well for them the next 2 weeks. The baptism is set for the 30th of this month, and if nothing comes up, it will be a wonderful last weekend of the transfer for me, and a wonderful end to Elder Smiley's mission. I am optimistic that we can get it done! This week has been a real blessing for us as a companionship. :) Only two weeks left with Sekerere!
This week we had a wonderful Zone Meeting, as well as interviews with President Mkhabela. Once again, I really have no idea what will happen this upcoming transfer. In the interview, he originally said that he wanted to me stay in Marimba and train one of the new Elders coming in, but then he changed his mind and said that I would be leaving. He hasn't made any final decisions about transfers, but that will be happening this coming week and next. In two weeks I will be notified as to what will really happen. At the moment, I feel totally ready to train a new missionary, but I also feel ready to move on to a new area. So, whatever the Lords asks of me, I'll do my best! :)
My district went to a small Lion Game Park where we saw lots of animals. Baboons, lions, springboks, kudu, giraffes, hyenas, zebras, warthogs, wildebeests, an ostrich, and other antelope. It used to have cheetahs, but not anymore. It was sweet! We got to drive the car into a lion cage, so they came right up next to the car, and we were super close to them. Don't worry, we were required to keep our windows rolled up! :) We then got to a part where we could get out and walk around. That was where we saw the rest of the animals. Sadly, no elephants! I'm still waiting anxiously to see those!
A couple cool things I did as a DL this week:
1. I had my first baptismal interview for the guys in Kambuzuma, and it went really well. I finally got to sign and authorize a baptismal record. Her name was Margret. Pretty cool!
2. Since no member of the bishopric could attend, I was the presiding officer at Margret's baptism, so I had to give closing remarks. It was a neat experience. :)
3. I designed and organized a district t-shirt that the other missionaries are super jealous of. M.W.A. Missionaries with attitudes! haha :) I uploaded some pictures of them.

Sorry, but I still haven't eaten anything super crazy yet. I did have some cow lung a while back, but I'm still just getting a steady diet of sadza and rice. I hate to admit it, but I'm getting a little bit of a belly! haha :) I haven't really exercised as much as I should lately. I do get to run regularly, I lift buckets of water for my weight lifting, and I do ab/core stuff as much as I can. Zimbabwe is making me gain weight! We only cook for ourselves in the mornings, but we usually have members and non members feed us pretty often.
I hope things continue to go well back home! I love you all so much and think of you often. Please never forget how much you mean to me. All of you.
Have an awesome week y'all! :)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Colder Weather, Elder Baldwin (June 2016)

Makadii Week 23

Hello Everyone!

Today marks the end of week 23, and the start of Week 24! At the end of this next week I will technically be at 6 months, if you think that 6 months times 4 weeks is 24, but it isn't really 6 months until the end of July. It's pretty crazy either way! :)
This past week ended up being sort of a bummer for Smiley and I because we didn't get to work in the area on Wednesday, which is basically Tuesday for you guys. I know my family has heard, but there was a nationwide strike/protest in Zimbabwe on that day, and one of the craziest places was one of our areas, Mufakose. We were told to head home and be indoors a little earlier Tuesday night because of the threats, and then Sekerere and I decided to stay home on Wednesday, which turned out to be the right decision. I won't go into all the details, but there was many arrests made, and fire and roadblocks were everywhere in our area. Things got pretty crazy, so I am glad that we made the safe decision. When we went back the next day, we saw some of the aftermath and heard some crazy stories. Rest assured that my companion and I are perfectly safe, and happy as we can be! :) It sounds like there wasn't any incidents with any other missionaries, so I'm glad that the Lord was watching out for us!
Another cool thing this week was that I ran into a guy in our area that was wearing a grey Wyoming hoodie, with a brown Steamboat on it. I was super excited to see it! I never thought I would see a Zimbabwean wearing Wyoming Cowboy gear, but now I can say that I have! I waved at him and was freaking out, and he was actually pretty confused why I was so happy to see him. He was a total stranger, but it made my day. Go WYO! :)
We got a few referrals from members this week, and one of them has accepted a baptismal invitation for the 30th of this month! She is the little sister of one of the Bishopric members in Mufakose Ward. Her name is Sandra! She is another person that is so prepared to hear the gospel. The Kwenda Family is still doing well, and their banns should be starting this next week. We had to give them some money to get an ID# for the wife. It is one of the things required for a marriage here, so I hope they are able to get it taken care of before Sunday. It sucks to wait for a baptism because of marriage stuff, but I am being patient. These next three weeks are critical, because their baptism could get pushed to next transfer, and I might have to leave. I know the Lord will make it work the way he wants, so I'm putting my trust in Him, just like with pretty much every other phase of missionary work! I know it will work out, especially if we have faith!
I just returned from playing bhora in Mabvuku with a bunch of RM's and missionaries. I played very badly, but it was still fun! It was a tie game, so no one had the upper hand. This coming week, my district is going to a Lion/Cheetah Game Park, so I should have some sweet pictures for you next week. Zone Meeting tomorrow!
Things are going well all things considered. I am definitely relying on the Lords help, and noticing his hand in every aspect of my life and my experience in Zimbabwe, and currently as a DL. I love you all so so much, and am so grateful for the impact you have had on me.
Keep enjoying the summer, and don't have too much fun without me! ;) Stay sweet!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Makadii Week 22

The 5 month mark has come and gone this past week, and time is moving both fast and slow. It's tough for me to tell! Some days go by fast, others very slow. That's how it is for everyone I think!
This week was full of many many things, so I will do my best to talk about all of it. As a missionary, life is never boring! :)
Last Monday, we spent hours playing basketball at the mission office. Mostly it was Elder Gordon and I, and also the AP's. A few others joined us as well, but most of the native guys played soccer. I played soccer for a little while before playing basketball, and scored a goal! I am also proud to say that my 3 point shot was falling, even though I haven't played basketball for real since I arrived. It was such a blast! Elder Gundani, one of the AP's, and I were on fire. We called ourselves the Splash Brothers! He was Steph, I was Klay. I was killing it, which was a pretty big surprise to me. It's nice to know I've still got it! :)
We had both District Meeting and Zone Conference this week, and they both went well. Elder Gordon is adjusting much better than I did, at least as far as I know. He is doing well from what I've seen. Being a DL is going well, and as I look back, Milikafu did such an amazing job in preparing me for it. It hasn't been a tough change at all. My song with Elder Brooks went really well, even though we messed up a couple times. I received many compliments after the conference, and I just hope I was able to invite the spirit, and to also put smiles on the faces of my fellow missionaries! I think I did that. :) I'm super glad I got my guitar, because it has been an amazing stress reliever! I'm getting better at it too!
We also had an awesome dinner appointment with the Chaya family on Tuesday. They aren't in our area, but it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. The father was baptized in 1980, and served his mission in Zimbabwe in 1981. He was the first Zim native to serve a mission, and he told us some pretty cool stories! When he served, Zimbabwe was part of the South Africa Joburg Mission, and the whole of Zimbabwe was just one Zone! Pretty crazy how things have changed. He didn't even go to the MTC, and his nametag had the old church logo on it.
The crisis is still very real here, but Elder Sekerere and I were both able to get all of our allotment out of an ATM this week. We are very blessed!
Things have been going well in our area, and we are very thankful for the success we have been able to find. We are still really struggling to get our investigators to come to church. We have really focused on teaching the importance of the Sabbath day this week, and we hope the spirit can help them feel just how important it is for them to come. We do have a few investigators that are coming, and we hope and pray they continue to do so! Church attendance and marriages are the toughest things for missionaries here, for sure. We won't have a baptism for a few more weeks, toward the end of the transfer. We are now 2 weeks into the current transfer. We also ran into my father, Milikafu, again this week. I got to give him a big hug! I always love seeing him. I miss him tons!
We are having a braai/bbq cookout today at a place called Cleveland It is cool place, and last time we went, monkeys came and tried to take our food! haha :) It will be nice to have a nice bbq for the 4th of July, even though I'm in Africa! Even though Zimbabwe will always hold a special place in my heart, the USA will always be my home! God Bless America! :) Please, please, please know that we are so lucky to be citizens of such a wonderful place. You really don't know just how good you have it back home. Never take it for granted. Ever.

I love you all so much, and I hope summer is going well! Enjoy every minute of it for me! Good luck to all the US athletes in the Olympic Trials and in the Rio Games!
All the best...