Monday, October 31, 2016

Salibonani Week 39!

Salibonani! Linjani!? (Hello, how are you?) I will be using a new subject line while I am serving in Bulawayo.
Greetings everyone! I love you guys so much! I am in a bit of a rush today because I am busy in Harare for Missionary Leadership Council (MLC), the monthly meeting for ZL's, Assistants and STL's. We had a 6 hour ride this morning, so I only get an hour or so to email! The meeting is tomorrow, and we head back tomorrow night.
My first week as a ZL, and my first week in Bulawayo has been good. Very busy, but good. The culture really isn't too much different, but it is a little bit hotter than Harare. The only difference is the language, but the people here in Zim all speak mixed languages. I am learning to khuluma (speak) what Ndebele I can. The nice thing is that people in Blues are pretty good at English, so there aren't many problems. My companion is Elder Njoga, from Kenya. He has been out for around 20 months and only has around 4 months left. He is a good guy, and I am just getting to know him!
We serve in a ward and a branch! Gwabalanda Ward, and Luveve Branch. We live in a small house in Luveve, and I am now driving a Toyota Quest. It is automatic, so I guess I get a break from stick shift for a little while. It is a sweet car, and we really need it to carry out the work there. I have done a lot of driving in my first week, so it really is a blessing. I already have most of the streets and turns down. One thing your mission will do is help you become really good at learning quickly, and adjusting at a faster pace. One crazy thing is that our Branch President in Luveve is blind. Pretty cool how to see how everything works. The Lord helps him, and so do his counselors. The area(s) are really great, and we do have some great people to teach. We had a few brand new people come to church this Sunday, and we have some baptisms planned in the coming weeks! :)
I have gotten to see some old friends in Harare today, and it has been great to see all my mission friends. One thing that I love about being a ZL is being so involved in the mission, and getting to see and visit with all of the other missionaries. I'm stoked! :)
Zimbabwe is very very hot, and we are expecting rains any day now. One crazy thing, I finally got to weigh myself, for the first time in 9 months, and I am now above 65 kgs, which is between 140-145 lbs. Sadza has made me gain 10 lbs so far! Haha :)
I am so happy that the Pokes beat Boise State! I am proud to be a cowboy fan at the moment. Even though I am not watching them, I am cheering them on all the way from Zimbabwe! :) I hope they can keep it up! Good Ol' Wyoming now officially has a temple! Heck yeah! I guess the Lord is helping the Pokes win as a result of the temple and my service. ;) haha
I'm learning a lot and trusting the Lord to help me in my new calling and area. I know he will! I wish you all the best. Please know of my love for each of you!
Nisale Kahle! (Stay well)
Ngiyanithanda (I love you all!)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Makadii Week 38!

Hey guys! 9 months have passed as a missionary!
First of all I don't have much time to email today because it is a transfer day. I am emailing from Kadoma, but I have to keep it short because of time.
The big news is that I will be leaving Chegutu, and Elder Makalio sooner than expected. I have been called as a Zone Leader in the Nkulumane/Bulawayo Zone, the southern most part of the mission! I am super excited and also very humbled for the opportunity, and I'm stoked to visit a new place. I will now be learning Ndebele, so when I come home,  I will be bearing my testimony in two languages!  Pretty sweet.
I so thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chegutu, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Makalio and I ended up having 6 baptisms on Saturday, including a marriage for the Chinga Family. As a district, we had 16 baptisms in one day! We set the most recent record for the Chegutu Branch. We were so blessed. There are lots of changes this transfer, and a new group of missionaries coming in. Another Elder will finish the training for Elder Makalio in Chegutu, so they will make sure to take care of Chegutu now that I am gone. I only had 3 months there, but I loved it. I bore part of my testimony in Shona at church when I left, and it was a big hit. The branch was deeply touched, and they were very sad to see me go. Like always, I cried when bearing my testimony. I get that from my Dad and Grandpa Baldwin (Baba ne Sekuru). :)
One cool thing before I go, there was a baby born in our area some weeks ago, and at my request they named it after me! His name is Dennis Kevin Chimsalo. I got a picture with him, and as part of the culture I got him a gift before I left. I got him a small baby cap for when the rains come. :)
I love you guys so much! I am glad all is well. Congrats to all the XC athletes in Wyoming! Go Plainsmen and Go Pokes! :)
More info next week, and more pictures! Sorry, I'm in a hurry today! :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Makadii Week 37!

The last week of the transfer has arrived, and I am almost halfway done with training Elder Makalio! Time has gone by quickly with him, and we are having fun and working hard!
This coming week, if all goes according to planned, we will have 6 baptisms and a marriage to end the transfer, as well as 4 or 5 more people that we are preparing for the next transfer and into the month of November! The Chingas are getting married and baptized, along with their daughter Tsitsi, and a few younger kids. It will be a great but busy week! As a district, we are planning to have 17 baptisms and confirmations in total this week, so it will be quite a week for us. Please pray that all goes well for our candidates! If all is well this week, I will have 49 baptisms so far on my mission. It's crazy to think that I have helped bring about that much good in my first 9 months. I owe all of my success to my Savior, it is his work not mine!
We are teaching a really old Gogo that has been coming to church for a long time, but she really struggles with the Word of Wisdom, so she has yet to be baptized. We have been doing all we can to help her overcome her addiction, and we are starting to see progress. I hope she can keep it up, quit her habits, and get baptized soon. She loves Elder Makalio and I so much that she calls us her "Bababoys," which is Shona slang for boyfriends. :) We taught her about the Book of Mormon, and we used the Shona version. I read some of the introduction and some verses in Shona for her. she loved it, and was surprised that I could read Shona, most people are when they hear me do it. When I leave Chegutu, I will bear my testimony in Shona! :)
Last week we didn't end up having Zone meeting, but had a District meeting in Kwekwe with the Elders there. Tomorrow we are having a Zone Meeting in Kadoma, and I have been asked to give one of the presentations about the Book of Mormon. It should be great! More soccer and a small braai is happening today, and last week I got to hold a python at the snake park we went to! :) It is becoming very very hot, but I have been told that the rains are coming soon at the end of October, I really hope so! I got a sweet hat to wear to block the sun.
One crazy thing: We are teaching a guy named Fitzgabricks. Never thought I would hear a name like that! haha :) Names here are the craziest!
The car we were using has been taken back to Harare and I am now using the same car I was using  for my first 6 months in Marimba! It is nice to be reunited again after 3 months! haha :)

I am doing great and am excited for the future! I hope all is well wherever you may be. I love you all! :)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Makadii Week 36!

Hello! Today I am emailing once again from Kwekwe. We are down here again for this month's Zone Meeting. We are visiting a snake park, and playing some soccer today, so it will be a fun P-Day!
This past week went well for us, and we ended up with 2 baptisms for Eunice and Obey. One is 8 and the other is 11. They are sweet kids who have been coming to church. Because of General Conference viewings this week, we have to push their confirmations to next week. We have another 4 people being baptized on the 22nd of this month, as well as a marriage! :) The Chinga family; Brother Ephraim and his wife, and their daughter Tsitsi, as well as a young girl named Tanatswa. Then, at the start of next transfer, we will have a man named Caesar, and his son Prince be baptized if all goes well. The work is going really well is Chegutu! :)
I got to go on exchanges with Elder Whiting this week which was really nice. I enjoyed being with him!

There was a big car crash just outside of Chegutu this past week, and over 9 people were killed. 4 of them were from Chegutu, so there was a big funeral during the week. It was considered a national disaster. It was big news all over the country.

I really enjoyed Conference this week. We got to watch all but the Priesthood session. My favorite talk was given by Elder Carl B. Cook, about sacrifice and service. It made me feel so much comfort knowing that my service here in Africa is the best thing I could be doing, no matter how hard it can be. Service is how me grow, and how God shapes us into the people he wants us to be. Oddly enough, in my first transfer here in Zim, Elder Cook was still the Area president. I met him first at the temple in Joburg while attending the MTC, but then got to spend some one on one time with him when he came to tour the mission back in March. I am so thankful that I got the chance to speak with him personally while he was here. He even emailed my parents after our interview. It was cool to see a General Authority actually caring about the life and service of a skinny Wyoming boy. It was especially cool to see him speak at conference.
The main theme that I got out of conference was to really trust the Savior and to give our lives to him. We can do that in many ways, and the speakers all gave wonderful examples. We do it by serving, sacrifice, prayer, and if we do those things, we find true joy, just like Elder Nelson said in his talk. 

I love you all so much, and I think about you often. You are never far from my heart. Love the Lord, and love each other. Go Pokes and Go Seahawks! :)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Makadii Week 35!

Hey everyone!
This week has been good, and also busy busy like usual. All in all there isn't too much to report this week. It is getting very very kupisa (hot) here!
Elder Makalio and I are doing well, and the training is going great. We have extended quite a few baptismal dates this past week, so we will now be working very hard to keep things running smoothly for those investigators in the coming weeks. I hope we will be able to help them progress and prepare for baptism. If all goes well, we will have quite a number of baptisms this month! The Lord is truly blessing us! We had a good number at church this week, and some people we can fall back on. It is nice when things begin to be consistent. We will be baptizing a few younger kids this week, Eunice and Obey. It will be super great! We also have two more families, the Chinga and Tembo families, that we are hoping to baptize in the near future. Still no real answers with the Mapuranga's marriage. We will just have to be patient. :)
We had Zone Conference on Friday, so I got to drive down to Gweru with the district. I was cool to visit and see a part of the mission I haven't be able to see yet. Gweru is an awesome place, with a beautiful chapel. My musical item/performance went well, and I think everyone enjoyed it. Mostly I am just thankful I get to perform for people still. I love to sing, play and help others feel the spirit! :) I got to see my MTC buddy, Elder Scoresby for the first time in 8 months! We haven't seen each other since we arrived, so it was a wonderful reunion. We shared our last meal on American soil together; a nice brisket sandwich at Arby's in the Atlanta airport back in February! My last companion, Elder Mahlangu, has become a Zone leader in Gweru! I am super happy for him, so I got to see him as well at the conference. There are only a few missionaries that I have yet to meet in the mission, so I have almost met all of them! :)
One crazy thing, Elder Makalio passed out during the conference, but woke up after about 10 seconds. He had us all scared, but he turned out fine!
I hope all is well wherever you may be! It sounds like General Conference was great. I will get to see that next week, if all goes well with the connection and stuff. I always love them! Crazy thing is that I only get to miss two more conferences on my mission, it's nuts! Soon I will be halfway done!
One thing that I have really come to love here is Madora. They are these small worms that you can cook and eat. They are actually very very tasty!
It is crazy how serving in Chegutu has helped me grow. When I was in Marimba, I just wasn't in a position where I needed to know Shona, and some of the ins and outs of the work. I had Zimbabwean companions, so I could rely on them to speak and help me. When I came to Chegutu, I had to learn it, so that I could connect with the people. There are like no natives in the mission anymore, so we have to ask and try to learn all the time. I knew a little bit while I was there, but now I'm learning more almost every day. It's pretty sweet!II I'm loving it! :)

I love you all so so much! Keep trusting the Lord, and enjoying life! :)
You are loved! :)
I also heard that the Pokes beat up on the Rams down in Fort Collins. Go Pokes! It is always nice when the Pokes pick up a win, even if I am in Africa! :)