Monday, August 29, 2016

Makadii Week 30!


Mangwanani! Good Morning! (When I send this it will be morning for you guys.)

I've hit 30 weeks now! I've officially been in Chegutu for a month now. Time has gone by really fast for me this transfer. Only two weeks left before the next one begins. My fifth planner and transfer is almost done, and I'm on my way to 8 months a missionary! It's crazy how time flies when you are busy, busy teaching. I need to do my best to make my time count!
This past week was good for Elder Mahlangu and I, as well as the other guys in the dustrict. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that we had 3 baptisms and confirmations this week and the other guys and 3 as well! We baptized our golden investigator Matthew, and young man named Pardon, and a little girl named Natally. We were blessed to find success! Our marriage we had planned for the Ndhlovu's didn't end up happening like we had hoped, but we have rescheduled for the 10th of September. The Ndhlovu family, and a few others named Sibongile and Tinashe will also be baptized on that day if all goes well. People are listening and learning from us all the time, and the people of Chegutu really love me. My SHona is getting better every day. Ndirikuzidsa taura chiShona mbichana mbichana(I'm learning to speak Shona little by little). Chegutu is becoming very fruitful for us, and we are staying plenty busy!

The bad news is that the car we were using completely died this week. It died originally in Kadoma when I was there for baptismal interviews, and with help from heaven we were somehow able to make it back to Chegutu. It was not safe to be driving the way we were, and it was a miracle that we made it back in one piece. The car then completely died when we got back. I am very thankful we got back. The bummer is that we don't have a car at the moment, and we don't know when this one will be fixed or if we will be getting a new one anytime soon. The areas in Chegutu are very big, and we live pretty far from where we teach, so in the meantime things will be pretty tough for us. We will be carrying groceries back home with us, and walking in the dust and grime all day. My shirts are getting harder to keep white! Haha :) The work must continue, but I hope that we will be getting a different car soon-soon.
In the branch I am currently busy being the chorister in priesthood meetings, and being in charge of the missionary efforts. We don't have a branch mission leader, and our Branch President Bveke (a member of only one year) is alone. His counselors are currently not in Chegutu. It is so interesting to serve in a place with a very un-established branch. They rely on us missionaries a lot, so we have to do our best to help the members become more self reliant in the gospel. It really is a cool experience to see the church grow in a place like this.
The awesome news is that Br. Mupamba, the man I started teaching in Marimba who was deaf, was baptized this last week by the new Elders there. I am so glad that he was able to do that. The seed I planted has now grown! :) The miracle that I hoped would happen has happened! Yes!
The people here in Zimbabwe are very Christian people, so it is very easy to find common ground with them. This Christian back ground is one of the reasons they are so receptive to the gospel. There is also much religious confusion here, with new churches being started very regularly. We teach the Restoration a lot, to help them know more about Joseph Smith and the true church. They agree with many of the things we teach, but the biggest thing is helping them understand the reality of apostasy and restoration. They love the Plan of Salvation.
I gave one of my old pink ties to a young prospective missionary in our branch named Tawanda SIbanda. He is preparing for his mission in a couple years, and has been working with us often. He is such a sweet kid, and he only had like one tie, so I decided to help him out! :) He actually helped me with the baptisms this week. I was the only missionary who actually performed the ordinances this time! I do love doing it though! :) The schools here have been on holiday this past month of August and schools will be starting up again in September.
I wish all of you the best with the start of school, and the fall coming just around the corner. It is only hot and dusty for me here in Zim. Please cheer on the Pokes for me when they start the season! :)
Ndinoda shamwari dzangu neMhuri! I love my friends and family! :)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Makadii Week 29!

Hesi! Mhoroi! Murisei? How is everything? :)
This week has been good, and we have found some success. We have 4 people that we are planning to baptize this coming Saturday, as well as 3 for the other Elders! It will be a wonderful day in Chegutu. I am really hoping that all goes well in preparation for it. We will also be having a marriage for the Ndhlovu couple we have been teaching before they get baptized! :) Things are going well with the work for sure, and we have others that we are preparing for baptism next month!
In my last email I mentioned my frustrations with other Elders, specifically my companion and I would like to apologize and repent for that. One of my fellow Elders from the MTC emailed a reply to me, and reminded me that it is not ok to talk bad about your companions or the other missionaries you serve with. I thank him for the reminder. We are put together with companions for a reason, and that is to serve and help each other become better. I'm sure there are things he doesn't like about me either, so I need to swallow my pride. Thank you Elder Nkosi for the reminder! I will be sure to seek to help my companions rather than put them down. I encourage you all to do that with all of those around you. Learn from them, and focus on the good things.
The Zone Conference we had in Kwekwe was an absolute blast. Soccer was sweet, and we got to play with our former AP, Gundani. He lives near the chapel in Kwekwe. It was good to see him again! His dad was a famous Zimbabwean soccer star who passed away last year. I had two nice assists that set him up for goals. It was nice! The meeting was good, and really weird with just 10 guys. I'm used to 20! haha :)
In Chegutu itself, I am serving in a few separate parts. Heroes, ZMDC, and Pfupajena. The meetinghouse is located in Pfupajena. We had 14 investigators at church this week which is really great! The future is really bright in this branch. It is so cool to see the church become established in a place like this, and to see the branch leaders grow together. They rely on the missionaries a lot for help. I have had to teach priesthood class two weeks in a row, which was a good experience. It's crazy how much better I have become at teaching on my mission. As I look back, I have grown so much as a teacher and my understanding of the gospel has gone way up. It's crazy how much the Lord is helping me grow. :)
One thing I have really come to know this week is just how true the Book of Mormon is. Through my study and teaching of the book my testimony has been strengthened, and I have come to understand new things about it that I didn't before. The call of the prophets that we should focus our study on this book is so so true. It truly does bring the fullness of the gospel, and reading about the lives of these people can really give us valuable insight on how we should live our own lives. It truly was preserved for our day. The things in it are meant for us. Helping people here in Zimbabwe come to a knowledge of the Book of Mormon is one of the hardest things we do. They all have a strong belief in the Bible, so we really have to strive hard to get them to build their testimony on the Book of Mormon. It truly is the keystone of our church!
Good news is that we now have hot water in our house, the shower is now working, the water is clean, and we are able to use our toilet again! :) People came to fix those things this last week. I think the Lord was just trying to humble us the past two weeks. I'm thankful that we can enjoy those extra luxuries now!
Ndinokuda! I love you all, and I hope all is well wherever you may be. To my fellow missionaries, keep it up. To my family and friends back home, enjoy the start of school coming up. Be sure to cheer on the Pokes for me in the upcoming season! I'm glad to hear the Olympics were a success for Team USA!
Stay sweet! :)










Monday, August 15, 2016

Makadii Week 28!

Warm greetings everyone! 28 weeks now, I'm 7 months a missionary!

This past week in Chegutu has brought a lot of miracles and lessons learned, but also a ton of frustration for me. We ended up having 10 investigators at church this week, 4 of them were fathers. That is double from last week! The Lord is blessing our work immensely! :)

We currently have 8 investigators that we are preparing for baptism at the end of this month, or the start of next, so we will be working hard to make those happen, along with some marriages, in the coming weeks!

I get along great with Elder Mahlangu and we are working very well as a companionship. Even though I enjoy serving with him, living with him is a tough thing. Living with any African Elder is really hard. Nothing they do makes sense to me at all, and they never clean up after themselves even if you ask them to. Having Elder Whiting in the house keeps me somewhat tolerant, so that is a positive thing. On top of there not being a shower or hot water, there is now a big problem with the septic/toilet system, and for the past couple of days we haven't been able to use the only toilet in the house. They are supposed to be sending someone to fix it soon, and I sure hope they do. The work is great, but everything else has been really hard on me. Just like before, I'm trying to always look on the bright side and focus on the positive. Zimbabwe is just too much sometimes. 

We had an awesome FHE last Monday evening with our Branch President, his wife, and much of the branch youth. I got the chance to show some card tricks and fun games I've picked up so far on my mission. The little kids really loved it, and my tricks were a big hit! We discussed trial and tribulation, and I shared a part from Doctrine and Covenants when Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail. Those verses always mean a lot to me because of my family heritage, and Caleb Baldwin. We also are having District Meetings in the house, since there are just 4 of us. It is pretty fun actually! Now we don't have to worry if the meetinghouse is unlocked or not, we just do it at home! :)

We are getting some ties made for the district that say: Chegutu Dustrict. Dustrict because there is so much dust here! :)

Today I am emailing from Kwekwe, and town a bit farther South than Chegutu. It is basically the middle of Zimbabwe. We came today to stay the night with the rest of the zone, and we are having zone meeting mangwana (tomorrow). Kwekwe is an awesome place from what I have seen so far, with an awesome chapel. It is was the first chapel built in all of Zimbabwe! Edward Dube, member of the Seventy, is from here in Kwekwe. We are planning to play some soccer, so hopefully that takes some stress away! :)

I am learning more Shona all of the time, and I am trying my best to put a smile on my face despite a lot of tough situations. I challenge all of you to do the same! :) I know the Lord is blessing me, and that He will bless me even more in the future. I'm really trusting in that. You should too.


I love you all so much! Musari mushe! Go Team USA!

Ndinofara! (I'm happy!)

P.S. I didn't get the chance to upload photos this time, so I will be sure to do it next week. I'm sorry!

Makadii Week 28!

Warm greetings everyone! 28 weeks now, I'm 7 months a missionary!

This past week in Chegutu has brought a lot of miracles and lessons learned, but also a ton of frustration for me. We ended up having 10 investigators at church this week, 4 of them were fathers. That is double from last week! The Lord is blessing our work immensely! :)

We currently have 8 investigators that we are preparing for baptism at the end of this month, or the start of next, so we will be working hard to make those happen, along with some marriages, in the coming weeks!

I get along great with Elder Mahlangu and we are working very well as a companionship. Even though I enjoy serving with him, living with him is a tough thing. Living with any African Elder is really hard. Nothing they do makes sense to me at all, and they never clean up after themselves even if you ask them to. Having Elder Whiting in the house keeps me somewhat tolerant, so that is a positive thing. On top of there not being a shower or hot water, there is now a big problem with the septic/toilet system, and for the past couple of days we haven't been able to use the only toilet in the house. They are supposed to be sending someone to fix it soon, and I sure hope they do. The work is great, but everything else has been really hard on me. Just like before, I'm trying to always look on the bright side and focus on the positive. Zimbabwe is just too much sometimes. 

We had an awesome FHE last Monday evening with our Branch President, his wife, and much of the branch youth. I got the chance to show some card tricks and fun games I've picked up so far on my mission. The little kids really loved it, and my tricks were a big hit! We discussed trial and tribulation, and I shared a part from Doctrine and Covenants when Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail. Those verses always mean a lot to me because of my family heritage, and Caleb Baldwin. We also are having District Meetings in the house, since there are just 4 of us. It is pretty fun actually! Now we don't have to worry if the meetinghouse is unlocked or not, we just do it at home! :)

We are getting some ties made for the district that say: Chegutu Dustrict. Dustrict because there is so much dust here! :)

Today I am emailing from Kwekwe, and town a bit farther South than Chegutu. It is basically the middle of Zimbabwe. We came today to stay the night with the rest of the zone, and we are having zone meeting mangwana (tomorrow). Kwekwe is an awesome place from what I have seen so far, with an awesome chapel. It is was the first chapel built in all of Zimbabwe! Edward Dube, member of the Seventy, is from here in Kwekwe. We are planning to play some soccer, so hopefully that takes some stress away! :)

I am learning more Shona all of the time, and I am trying my best to put a smile on my face despite a lot of tough situations. I challenge all of you to do the same! :) I know the Lord is blessing me, and that He will bless me even more in the future. I'm really trusting in that. You should too.


I love you all so much! Musari mushe! Go Team USA!

Ndinofara! (I'm happy!)

P.S. I didn't get the chance to upload photos this time, so I will be sure to do it next week. I'm sorry!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Makadii Week 27!

Hey everyone! :)
This first week in Chegutu has gone really well. My companion Elder Mahlangu is an awesome guy and we really get along well! He was baptized in 2013, and has a sweet testimony. Although he is from South Africa, he is almost fluent in Shona. Before me and his last companion Elder Chimtengo, who is now training the new missionary Elder Whiting in the house, he had all Zimbabwean companions. He has picked up a lot of Shona in his 15 months as a missionary. He has 9 months left, and has been in Chegutu for 3 months. I learned that Ndebele, which is the language in Bulawayo, is basically the same as Zulu, which is the native language of my companion, so he is fluent in that too!
The work in the area is going very well, and we already have 4 people we are preparing for baptism. One of them we found this week, and he was actually my first contact in Chegtutu, and our first contact as a companionship. His name is Matthew, and is such a humble guy, so prepared to hear and receive the gospel. He has had a really tough life, which I won't go into, but the Lord has really been working on him as of late. We just happened to feel prompted to speak with him. He came to church for the first time and already has a strong testimony that the church is true, so he got up and bore his testimony during the meeting. It was awesome! There are a few others as well that the previous Elders were teaching that are doing very well too, so we are very blessed.
Chegutu is really great but very very dusty. Most of the roads are dirt, so dirt and dust are always flying. It is so much more spread out compared to Marimba, and the are much less people. The town itself is pretty small though. Shona is even more here than in Harare, and I am learning even more than I did there. There is just one small branch here, with two sets of missionaries working in it, just in different parts of the area. It is total opposite of where I just was. Instead of just two missionaries in two areas, it is four missionaries in 1. It is a great change of pace for me to say the least. The branch here only has around 100 members, and many less actives at the moment. The missionaries that were here before weren't very diligent with records, so things are very disorganized. The branch meets in a small meetinghouse that is surprisingly nicer than I thought. I will be having baptisms in a tub, which I'm super excited for. No more chapel and font! I'm stoked to be able to help this branch grow! :)
We have the office couple missionaries coming to our branch each Sunday, so it is nice to see them every week. They are Elder and Sister Peterson.

The house is pretty nice, but not as nice as the one I left. There is no shower or hot water, so we have to boil water every morning and mix it with the cold and use it to bathe with. It's a pretty big bummer, but I've already gotten used to it. The kitchen is nice, and the rooms are good, but the water is pretty bad here. We have to buy bottled stuff to drink. A whole new crop of missionaries came this last week, including Elder Whiting from Utah. He is a sweet kid who I am excited to be living with. It balances out the house with two murungus and two mutemas! The other elders in our zone our super sweet, and I am excited for the future here in Chegutu. The Lord is truly blessing us! No mosquitoes yet, but they are coming very soon!
Some funny things I've failed to mention...
1. The lines on the roads here are opposite. The outside lines are yellow, and the inside lines are white.
2. So far I have introduced the doctrine of the PB and J to all of my companions. They all love it now! They had never had it before I showed them.
3. I also have introduced he Slug Bug game to all of them. We always have a good time playing it in the area.
4. At gas stations, people fill up your gas for you. Super nice!
5. African missionaries think it is weird that most of us Americans don't use lotion after we bathe. Just different cultural things I guess. I don't need lotion here with the humidity. Summer is coming soon here. There isn't really a spring season, it just gets super hot. It is hotter here in Chegutu compared to Harare, but it isn't the worst in the mission.
I love all of you so much! Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, and cheer on Team USA for me!
Musari mushe! (Stay well!)
Tinowonana um swe Monday next week! (We'll see you on Monday!)




Monday, August 1, 2016

Makadii Week 26!

6 months baby! I am now a sister missionary, haha! :)
There have been many changes this last week, and much has happened since my last email, so I will do my best to say everything.
First of all, we ended up having 4 baptisms this past weekend. It was great! I am glad I could send Smiley out on a good note! We didn't end up getting to baptize some of the people we wanted to, including the Kwenda's, but it was still a success!
Elder Sekerere has finished his mission and gets released tomorrow. I am very grateful for the time I had to serve around him. He will always be a great friend. I love him like a brother, just like Milikafu. He is such a great guy, and I wish him the best!
The big news is that I have finally been transferred from Marimba/Mufakose after a wonderful 6 months there! I am now serving in Chegutu, and I am sending this email from there. Chegutu is a small mining town about 1 hour 30 minutes from Harare. I got to drive a car down here today with one of my new Zone Leaders, Elder Kamwesiga. He is from Uganda. I got to see some more of the country on the drive, which was really sweet. My new companion is Elder Sipho Mahlangu, a South Africa native from just outside Joburg. I have only been around him today, so I am still getting to know him, but he seems like a really great guy. I am excited to be with him. I will be serving as a DL here in Chegutu district, which is just 4 Elders again. There will be a new American Elder being trained here as well, Elder Whiting. I am excited to welcome him to the mission this coming week. Us 4 stay in one house, so I will get to know the other guys really well the next 6 weeks! We are part of the Kwekwe Zone, the smallest zone in the mission with just 10 missionaries. The cool thing is that I will get to know the other 9 guys very well. :) I met a ton of missionaries I have never met before today, which was really cool. It is is crazy to leave Harare and all that I am used to, but I am excited for the new challenge in Chegutu!
Leaving Marimba/Mufakose was very bittersweet with lots of goodbyes. 6 months in one area makes it tough to leave sometimes. I didn't have enough time to say goodbye to everyone, but I am planning to visit again before I finish. Just when I started to appreciate the area, I was transferred. Crazy how that happens. I  learned so much in that area, and I will always remember it. There were a few people that we had been seeing just at the end of my time there that I won't get to teach and baptize, and it really sucks. I did my best to help the new elders coming in, though. I know I played my part in that area of Zimbabwe. Time to move on!
The internet cafe here is very very slow, so my emails won't always be very detailed. I will do my best though. I don't have as much time as I did in Harare. I will be sure to include more info about the area and my companion in next weeks email because I have only been here for a few hours! I will include some pictures as well. It as a very beautiful, but very dusty and dirty place. I am excited to get down and dirty! :)
I love you guys so much! Hauite Hauite! :)