Monday, September 18, 2017

Makadii Week 85!

Well, the final week of the transfer has arrived yet again!
This past week went well, and we saw some miracles. We had 7 investigators at church this week. That is the highest total we have had since I arrived in Kadoma 11 weeks ago. For 5 of them, it was their first time at church! Gogo Martha, and Leeroy are both doing well and are preparing to be baptized this coming weekend. We will be having 2 more baptisms to end the month of September! :) We will also be working hard this week to set some baptismal dates with the others that came to church. We have high hopes for those that came, and it looks like we will have some great success in October. Maria and Petros were both confirmed and things are going well. We are going to work to make sure we finish the last week of the transfer on a high note, and that we prepare for the next!
Today the Kadoma District had a BBQ lunch and it went well. We cooked some beef, pork and sausage, and even had some desert. Elder Byrom and I also went to the gym to lift and play some squash. I beat him 5 games to 1 today. :) Not a bad Monday.
I realized that tomorrow marks 2 years since I went through the temple for the first time back in Twin Falls, ID! Pretty crazy that it has been that long already! :)
Another week ahead of us! I will let you know the transfer news next week. With 3 transfers left, it is tough to tell what will happen and if or when I will leave Kadoma. We will find out at the end of the week!
Until then! Love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week! :) 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Makadii Week 84!

Hello everyone! :)

Another week gone by and more progress made in Kadoma! Petros and Maria were both baptized on Sunday, our first baptisms in over a month! In Zimbabwe, 1 month without a baptism is a long time. It was a great baptism and all went well. We even had 3 other investigators recieve baptismal dates this past week, and they all came to church! Another baptism is planned for the 24th of September for Martha, Leeroy, and Sekai. Our labors are starting to bring forth fruit! :) We have been busy just like usual with exchanges, and finding new people to teach. We do have a good group of new investigators from this past week, so we will continue to find, teach, and baptize. That is what a missionary does after all! I worked with Elder Porio from Austrailia on exchnages this week and learned a lot. 

Today I played another round of golf with Elder Byrom but it didn't go well for either of us. Many lost balls, and just a few nice shots here and there. Still a fun time though! :) Crazy to think that there is just one more preparation day left in this transfer. Week 5 has begun, which means there is only this week and next left until transfer news comes again. Time is moving fast. The last transfers of your mission do go by pretty fast from what I have seen. My 11th MLC meeting went well this past week and the mission is doing great things.  

One big milestone from this past week, (actually last Sunday), is the 2 year anniversary of my mission call! 2 years ago I found out that I was coming to Zimbabwe to serve for 2 years of my life. Pretty crazy for me that it was really 2 years ago. I waited for 5 months to leave for Africa, and I now have 4 1/2 months left in Africa. Crazy stuff! I am doing my best to make the most of my time here. I am missing things from home quite a bit, but I know my time is not yet done. I am always looking for the strength to keep going despite oppostion. 

This week is going to be quite busy for us. We have interviews, exchanges, and a zone conference coming up the next few days. Should be busy, but fun as well! Before I know it, the final week of the transfer will arrive. 

I love you all and wish you the best. Go Pokes! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Makadii Week 83!

Hello again! :)
A lot of normal frustrations this week, but also miracles once again for me and the guy from England. We will be having 2 baptisms this coming weekend for Petros and Maria. They are both 16 years old and we were very blessed to find them both. To find people in Kadoma who will actually come to church on their own and for the right reasons is quite a miracle, and all has gone well in their preparation. In addition to Petros and Maria, we had a few new investigators come to church for the first time! We will be having some more baptismal dates this week for sure. We did visit many people on the member list that we didn't know, and found out quite a number of things. We found that some people had moved away, some wanted their names removed from the church, some that wanted us to come back and help them, and many of them that were inactive members. We are hoping that going through the list of members will lead us to reactivate some members and to find more through them. All in all not a bad week. When miracles happen there is not much more we can ask for! :)
One crazy thing: We contacted an older baba who stays not far from the church, and he seemed like a really cool investigator. We taught him 2 lessons thinking he was an investigator, and we came to find out later in the week after looking at the member list that he was actually already baptized into the church. When we visited him again he said that he was baptized back in the 1990's and then moved to Botswana. He has since moved back to Kadoma, but he hasn't attended church in over 10 years now, and he stays a 2 minutes walk from the chapel. Even though we won't be able to baptize him, we will still be working hard to bring him back. He has forgotten almost everything about the church, so we have lots of work to do. Just goes to show what will happen when someone is not properly fellowshipped by the members! Lesson learned.
Today we are in Harare for our monthly MLC meeting tomorrow. It will be my 11th MLC. I have been a Zone Leader for almost 1 year now! Crazy stuff. This morning we had another squash ball tournament in Kadoma but I ended up taking 2nd place this time. Elder Hamling and I had a hard fought championship match and he beat me just barely at 16-14. I had several match points but couldn't finish it off. We are having fun with Squash ball in Kadoma! :)
One awesome thing is that my investigators back in Eastview, the Mashaya family, were baptized this past week! It is a family of 5 that Elder Whiting and I found back in April. One of the most prepared families I have ever found or taught. The mother and father were legally married and baptized soon after along with 3 of their children. So sweet! I was bummed not to be there, but I was able to call the family after the baptism to extend my congrats to them. They were all so happy and they have see just how much the gospel is able to bless their lives. That's what it's all about! :) Another cool thing is that one of the converts I taught and baptized in Chegutu, Tsitsi Chinga, is finalizing her papers to serve a mission! She visited Kadoma for church on Sunday and told me all about it. It is so cool to see the chain reaction that comes from your efforts. :)
We are halfway through the transfer already and these last 3 weeks of the transfer will be full of adventure. Exchanges, interviews, baptisms, zone conference. A fun and busy 3 weeks coming up.
I love you all! Peace out until next week. 


Monday, August 28, 2017

Makadii Week 82!

It is now officially 20 weeks left in the mission field!
The past week was good, and we are doing well. Kinda crazy that August is over this week. Time is always moving! Elder Byrom and I were able to see a few miracles but also some disappointments in our area. Many of the people we have been working with just aren't progressing at all, and it always stinks to see the people you put your faith in not keep commitments, especially when they tell you they will. (That is a big problem in Zimbabwe). We are doing our best to be patient with everyone and to keep our faith in them. We did find some new people this week that actually came to church on their own! There is nothing set in stone, but we should be having another baptism in two weeks for a young man named Petros. Hopefully there will be another added to that day, and others added later on in the month of September. We are really asking the Lord to help us find more success in September after a tough August. One awesome thing from this week was that yesterday, some of my old converts from Chegutu came to visit our branch in Kadoma. I was super happy to see them and to see that they are still doing the right things. :)
The devotional this week with Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson and her husband, as well as our newly called General Authority Seventy Elder Joni Koch, was a really good experience. It is always rare for us to be visited by General Authorities and General Presidents of the church here in Zimbabwe, so it was really fun to be there and to learn from them. The spirit always teaches me the things that I need to learn at meetings like that. It will be an awesome memory for sure. I visited with Elder Joni Koch after the meeting and he asked me where I was from. When I told him I was from Wyoming this is what he said: "There are still people living in Wyoming?" haha :) I know people always make fun of Wyoming, but I love it with all of my heart. I love the fact that the population is so small, people just don't know what they are missing! Go Wyoming! I am the only elder from Wyo so I get a lot of crap for it. haha :)  Lots of driving this week for the devotional as well as for baptismal interviews in the zone. I sure am ready for a fresh start to a new week.
There is an opposition here in Rimuka, Kadoma that I have never really faced on my mission. People think we are Satanist!? Not kidding at all. Apparently The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints is actually The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Satanists, if that makes any sense at all. There are some other places in Zim that have similar views. It has been so hard to get people to understand that we are not at all like that. It plays a big part in our success because it is hard to find true investigators that actually want to come to church, and it is extremely hard to get people that we are teaching to come and see for themselves that the church is true. Pakaipa. Zvakaoma!
Us elders here in Kadoma had an awesome Squash ball tournament this morning. Four of us played and I ended up with the 3 seed going into the elimination rounds. I came back from a big deficit in the semi-final to move on to the championship final against my companion Elder Byrom. We played our games to 11, and I was down 6-2 early on. I mounted a fierce comeback to win the final 11-9. Yebo baba! I am the Kadoma Squash ball Champion! It was fun to move around and relieve some stress. I will have to defend my title sometime soon! :)
With September coming up, Zimbabwe is about to get really hot. I am not excited for that, especially because Kadoma is one of the hotter places in the mission, and I don't know how much longer I will be here in Kadoma. We will have to see how bad it gets. The next few months I will be sweating like crazy! The mosquitoes are also being seen again. I hate those things!
I love you all and I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints really is the true church on the earth today. It is the only place we can find the fullness of the gospel. Whatever others may think about the church, they will never know the truth until they come and see for themselves.

Have a good week and an awesome start to the autumn months. My favorite time of year back home. :)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Makadii Week 81!

The end of another week in good ol' Zimbabzwe. (That's how President Mkhablea says Zimbabwe.) :)
The first week of the transfer has gone well and I have enjoyed being with and getting to know Elder Byrom. He is from a place two hours outside of London called Star, England. It is not far from Cheddar, England where the original cheddar cheese comes from. Kinda cool! His dad is his Stake President, and he has 3 sibilings, 2 brothers and one sister. He is set to attend BYU Provo after his mission and he has plans to become a dentist. He says he wants to live in Arizona. His dad was actually born in Harare back when it was still Rhodesia. He has some cousins living in Harare right now. He is just turning 1 year on his mission and he is a great guy. We have been working hard and I have been showing him the members and the area in Rimuka. We are having struggles seeing progress, and we are going to fall well short of our goal this month which is a bummer. We had planned to have a baptism for Br. Semba this coming week, but he hasn't been able to come to church for the last 2 weeks so we have to postone it until September. We did have 4 other investigators come to church this week, and it was the first time for 3 of them. We are being patient and doing our part. Miracles are on the way for sure! :)
Everyone in the zone is now settled and all of the new misisonaries have arrived. The transfer is now rolling right along. This week on Friday, Sister Oscarson, the General Young Women's President, will be visiting Zimbabwe. We are privelged to attend a devotional with her in Harare. Missionaries from from Chegutu, Kadoma, and Bindura get to attend the devotional along with the missionaries in Harare. I am excited to meet her and to attend the meeting. Should be sweet! :)
This morning after going to the gym, all of us elders in Kadoma climbed the water towers and got a nice view of all of Kadoma. It was sweet!
Not much to report this week. The work continues! It has been fun to talk to Elder Byrom about the differences between British English and American English this week. I always tell him how American English is better. haha :)

I guess this full solar eclispe is a pretty big deal so I hope it is sweet. Love you all! For those who are starting school soon, have a blast this fall semester. Talk to you next week! Tinowonana! :)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Makadii Week 80!

Wow, 80 weeks for real?
It has been a good Week 6 to finish off Transfer #13. We worked hard but didn't see many results. This weekend is a big holiday in Zimbabwe (Heroes Day), so people have been busy and out of town, which makes our work that much harder. Nothing to complain about, just have to work harder! Had exchanges with the other guys in Kadoma, and I worked with Elder Condie who is now in Chegutu. We had a good day together!
We received the transfer news this week and made the calls to the zone. I am staying in Kadoma for another 6 weeks and will have the pleasure of working with a new companion Elder Byrom. He is from the UK. He will be my 11th companion in 14 transfers! I was his ZL in Bulawayo and now he is becoming my companion. I am remaining a ZL for an 8th straight transfer and will be helping Elder Byrom 9 (a new ZL) to learn the ropes. He is turning 1 year on his mission in a couple weeks. He came last year in the same group as Elder Makalio.

Same area, same branch as the last 6 weeks. Lot's of changes throughout the mission, and the addition of 2 elders in Kadoma. There are now 14 in the zone and 6 in Kadoma. My old pal Elder Aden and I will be reunited, which I am happy about. Should be a fun transfer! All the sisters that I came with are either gone already or are leaving this week. Officially over 18 months and now right at 5 months left to go.
I had a blast with Elder Billings in our 6 weeks together. Time went by super fast, but we accomplished a lot , and had some good experiences together. He goes home in 6 weeks. Crazy stuff. He is off to Bulawayo! Wishing him the best. One funny story from this week: We had a lot of appointments fall through and we were knocking on some doors. At one house there was a big turkey in the yard and I started to make turkey noises to see what it would do. I had a nice conversation with a turkey in Zimbabwe this week. I know I'm weird. :) Gave us a good laugh.
The work is moving along despite opposition, and Elder Byrom and I have our work cut out for us the next 6 weeks. Lots to do in Rimuka, Kadoma. President Mkhabela visited our branch yesterday for church. It was the first time on my mission to attend church with him.
I love you all so much. Keep loving life, and always remember that you are a child of God with the potential to become like him. No greater knowledge to have than that! :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Makadii Week 79!

Well, some cool stuff happened this week!
The week was pretty normal with lots of teaching and exchanges. We had a great MLC meeting in Harare on Tuesday and traveled safely throughout the week. We ended the week with another baptism on Sunday, for a 17 year old named Tapiwa! With his baptism, and the baptisms of my old investigators, Mai Owen and Mai Dorcas in Harare as well this weekend, there are now 102 of my investigators that have been baptized and made covenants with God! Another plus is that all of the confirmations happened as well. We also have an investigator, Br. Semba, who was first taught by Elder Billings and Elder Robison back in February, that finally came to church for the first time after many months of teaching! He even asked when he is getting baptized when he came to church, so we will see if he has finally found his commitment in the coming weeks. If all goes well, he will be baptized at the end of the month. We also have another awesome investigator, Davis, who will be baptized in 2 weeks time. Lot's of blessings for sure.The work in Africa really is crazy, but it is moving right along.
We had a branch activity on Saturday and there was a good turnout even though everyone was late. We had lot's of investigators there and we played some frisbee, basketball, and soccer with the members. All in all a good day. The highlight of the week was for sure the baptism, but also the fact that we got to hang out with a family of elephants today! I have trying to upload pictures and even a video. but the internet cafe is not cooperating. If I don't manage to send pictures this week. I will make sure to send some next week. It was awesome! We went on a game drive, and had a nice lunch as well. A memorable pday for sure!
I also went to visit some old friends in Chegutu on our way back from MLC. If you can remember, last year when I left there was a newborn baby who was named after me. Dennis Kevin Chimusalo. I passed by and visited him and his family again, as well as some of my converts there. He is so much bigger now! It is crazy how time flies!
It is pretty crazy that the final week of the transfer is here yet again. We will receive our transfer news on Saturday this week, and transfers will be on Monday next week. It is tough to tell if I will be staying with Elder Billings or not, but either way I have really enjoyed my time with him. Always exciting to see what will happen and where I will be, and who I will be with. Lot's of things are happening in the mission so it is tough to tell just how much things will change. We will keep working hard this week and will have our last exchanges of the transfer. Onward, ever onward! The last 4 transfers are about to begin! Crazy stuff! :)
I love you all! Musare zvakanaka! :)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Makadaii Week 78!

Hello once again! Africa is just as crazy, and action packed as ever.
I am in Harare today and tomorrow for our MLC meeting once again. It is pretty crazy that July is already over and I have been in Kadoma for 4 weeks already. We had a good week and found lots of new investigators, but many of them are not progressing. Good things take time I guess! We were able to have confirmations for Jasper and Br Karichi this week, but we are still waiting on Simba and Alexio to be around and on time on Sunday. Hopefully this coming week!
We will be having another baptism this coming Sunday for a young guy named Tapiwa, who has been meeting missionaries and coming to church for a long time. Things have finally fallen into place for him, and he will be baptized this week! We have another investigator, Br. Nyabote, who we are working with to help him stop drinking and smoking before he can be baptized. We are hoping miracles can happen for him so he can be baptized in August. Other than that we are just finding and teaching and seeking the elect. Kadoma sure has been good to me so far! 2 weeks left in the transfer.
Today before we drove to Harare we played a 9-hole round of golf at the Golf Club in Kadoma with the other elders in Kadoma. It was actually an ok course, and I enjoyed it even thought I was just as bad as I have always been. I have figured out my swing with the driver finally, and had some good shots today. I had a putt for Par but missed, that was my best hole of the day. Haha :) It was good to actually play a round of golf again. Even though I am pretty bad and get frustrated, I still enjoy it. When we got to Harare we went and played some basketball with the other elders at the office like always. Lots of fun today! I am still going to the gym 4/5 days a week and am getting better with lifting weights and getting back into some sort of shape.
If all goes well, next week on Monday I will be with some Elephants, up close and personal, for the first time on my mission. There is a game park not for from Chegutu and Kadoma that has elephants. I hope all goes well, and I will be sure to get pictures! :)
Elder Billings and I did come up with a cool parable this week about how the church is like a combi. Just a reference, a combi is a commuter omnibus that most people use to get around. It is a common form of transportation throughout Zim and most of Southern Africa. I will share more about that next week when I have some more time. I am just grateful that the true church, and all that it brings with it, has been restored today. I know that it is the only "vehicle' that can get us to our destination safely. 

Another week ahead of us, and the Lord's work continues. I love all of you and wish you all the best! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Makadii Week 77!

Well, the week was crazy busy, but we made it! Yebo, baba! :)

A zone conference, exchanges, travelling, interviews, and baptisms are enough to make a missionary go crazy, but it was actually nice to be busy. All went well this week, except for the fact that we missed our morning bus to return to Kadoma from exchanges in Harare. It only delayed us a few hours. We traveled safely throughout the week and everything worked out. Br. Karichi, Alexio, and Jasper were all baptized on Sunday! Killian was confirmed and Simba was just a bit late so he will get confirmed next week. We were able to finish the preparations to help them be baptized, and even though we still have much to teach them, they were all ready and prepared for baptism. Now just have to make sure they all get confirmed and that they continue to learn. 3 weeks and 5 baptisms in Kadoma. We are blessed for sure! 

We have a few investigators that should be baptized in the next month, so we will keep finding and teaching and serving and will find more success! Exhanges with the DL's in the zone are coming up the next 3 weeks. Our Branch President and his wife welcomed a new baby boy into their family this week which is awesome. He was a bit tired at church yesterday. :)

Our exchanges with the AP's went well. Lots of teaching, and finding. It was nice to be in Harare again for a day and a half. I got to work with Elder Scoresby for the first time on my mission. We flew from the USA together 18 months ago, and were in the same MTC group. It was a good experience. At our zone conference I had to say goodbye to the some of the sister missionaries who I came with 18 months ago. They will be going back home 6 months before me, so it was weird for me to say goodbye. I won't get the chance to see them when they leave at the end of the transfer, which is in 3 weeks. A pretty normal week ahead of us with no baptisms planned, and nothing crazy happening. MLC will be next week to end July and start August, so I will be back in Harare when I send my next email. Kinda crazy the July is over soon. only 5 months and 2 weeks left to go! 

Two of my old investigators were also baptized this week in Arcturus. Dorcas and Fungisai, two young sisters who walk almost two hours to go to church, were finally baptized after more teaching and commitment. I am glad not only for them, but for all the younger kids that have been baptized throughout my mission, because they get the chance to learn and live the gospel at such a young age. They all have a bright future. All I can hope is that they are helped and watched over by the efforts of church leaders and their families. 

Not much to say this week, just that I am thankful for the Lord's help on my mission and for the people that have been prepared for me to bring into the gospel. I am grateful to have played a part in their conversion and in their lives. An update: With 5 of my current and former investigators baptized this weekend, there is now a total of 99 people whom I have worked with that are now baptized as a result of my service as a missionary in Zimbabwe these last 18 months. This really is a time of hastening and hard work in Africa. Like I said before, the Lord is the one doing all the work, I am just honored to say that I have helped these 99 people come closer to their Heavenly Father. With just under 6 months left, who knows how many more miracles I will play a part in? Just like the old Beach Boys song says, "God only knows." 

I love all of you so much. Have a good week! :)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Makadii Week 76!

Well, it has been another successful week here in Zimbabwe!

MLC went well, and we traveled back to Kadoma safely. We spent lots of time working with our investigators, and we ended the week with 2 baptisms on Sunday. Killian, and Simba were both baptized after church and will be confirmed next week. They both have been coming to church for some time, and finally everything fell into place. 2 weeks in Kadoma, and 2 baptisms already! We will most likely be having 3 baptisms this coming Sunday, for Jasper, Alexio, and Br. Karichi. We will be working to make sure they are ready this week. We are always trying to find more people, but we are so grateful for the investigators that we have, and for their desire to be baptized. It makes our job so much easier. More about those investigators next week. :)

I also was able to call and talk to Augustine, my investigator back in Eastview, on Sunday after his baptism. I was so excited for him to finally get baptized. Augustine is truly one of the elect that are mentioned in the scriptures. There is no one more prepared for the gospel than he was, and I know he will be such a blessing to the branch back in Damofalls and Eastview. An exciting week, 3 of my investigators were baptized! 

We have a busy week ahead of us. We will be traveling to Gweru tomorrow for a Zone Conference, and after the zone conference we will be traveling all the way back to Harare to have exchanges with the mission assistants. We wont be back in Kadoma until Thursday morning. When we get back we will be busy busy working with those who are set to be baptized, and will have an eventful weekend with a branch soccer activity on Saturday, and a baptism on Sunday after church. In the midst of all of that we will have to do baptismal interviews for others in the zone! Yay us! Can't believe it is already week 3 of the current transfer, and it will soon be over. Time is such a weird concept for me right now. haha :)

I did realize that I am the last missionary out on mission among all those that I graduated high school with. I also am one of the oldest American elders in Zimbabwe according to age. I sure have been around for a while. 6 months isn't that long is it? I am hoping that I will keep myself busy and that time will go by faster rather than slower. I am thankful to find success in the work and joy in the little things. I won't get to be in Africa much longer, after all.

I love you all. Know that I am healthy, and doing my best. I wish the same for you!

P.S. The gym isn't as bad for me anymore, and my fitness is going up bit by bit now. At least I can be grateful for that right!? :)