Monday, December 18, 2017

Salibonani Week 98!

Transfer #16 is now done, and my last 4 weeks have officially begun!

This week brought many surprises, but sadly I don't have time to explain it all today. I am now an Assistant to the Mission President in Harare. It was a very unexpected change for my last 4 weeks, but I am excited for the new experiences I will have as an AP. The crazy thing is their are three of us as AP's now, and I am now back with my old companion Elder Whiting. The other companion in the trio is Elder Scoresby, a fellow elder in my group. I was in Cowdray Park for only a short time, but I will always remember my time there. :)

I wish I could write more but it has been a crazy day of transfers. Just know that I am now in Harare serving in the mission office. I will explain more when I get the chance. I won't have much time to write all that I would like these last few weeks, so don't think I have forgotten to do it! haha :)

I love you all and wish you a Merry Christmas from Zimbabwe! :)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Salibonani Week 97!

Hello and Happy Holidays from Africa! :)

This week brought us a smile as our investigators, Iphi and Bongie, were baptized and confirmed! After 5 weeks of hard work in Cowdray Park, the Lord has blessed us with success. We are grateful, and will keep working with them in the coming weeks to keep them going in the right direction. I was also told that some of my old investigators in Kadoma will be getting baptized soon as well, which makes me super happy! We are still working with more people and continue to find and teach each day. The final week of the transfer has now arrived, Week 6 as we say. 

This past week was my final Week 5, and this week is my final Week 6. After that there is only 4 weeks (28 days) left to go. The transfer news will be coming out this weekend, so soon you and I will know how and where my mission is going to end, whether it be in Cowdray Park or another place! It's pretty exciting waiting for your final transfer news. I have been anxiously waiting for transfer news every 6 weeks for the last 23 months, so it's weird to think that after this week I will never have another one to look forward to. Things are slowly coming to a close. 

This week we were busy preparing Iphi and Bongie for baptism, but we also found some new investigators. We also were able to help a member family prepare their fields (garden) for planting. In Zimbabwe during the end of November and throughout December, people are always busy in the fields, preparing and planting various things in preparation for the rain season to come. This week was much better, with rain coming off and on, and clouds in the sky. It was good to help them out and do some service! Just trying #LighttheWorld right? :) 

It has been a great transfer full of learning and growing for me and Elder Vave. No matter what the news is at the end of the week, I know the Lord is the one behind it all anyway! I am becoming very anxious and excited in these remaining weeks of my mission. I know I will be back home soon, and I know that I still have a bit more time to give to the Lord. This week on Thursday we will be going to Gweru for a Christmas Devotional with other people throughout the mission. I am excited to see some old friends. It might be my final zone conference, so I will do my best to enjoy it! There will be a baking competition, and a talent show as well. I plan to participate in both, haha :) We will see how it goes!

Merry Christmas everyone! I love you all and wish you a wonderful week wherever you may be. :) 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Salibonani Week 96!

Yebo! Lingani? I hope you all are doing well. :)

Another week gone, and another week begins. The way time works on a mission is quite different from back home, and days and weeks just run together. After you have been serving for as long as I have, you will know what I mean! :)

This week went well, and we are preparing for a great last 2 weeks to end the transfer. Elder Vave and I continue our work in Cowdray Park, and we are going to have some good things happen soon. Our investigators, Iphi and Bongie, are both preparing for their baptism this week on Saturday, so we will be busy this week to help them get ready for it! After 4 weeks of work, it will be awesome to see them be baptized! We also have some great new investigators that are keeping us busy, and we ended up 7 investigators at church. We will be working to help more of them make progress as well! :)

We had a pretty normal week. The weather was very very hot and sunny throughout, and no rain. We are hoping that more rain will come soon to cool the temperatures down a bit. I was able to go on one of my final exchanges this past week with Elder Dore, a native Zimbabwean serving in the mission until he gets his visa to go to his assigned mission in Cape Town, SA. We had a good day together. He knows my former companion Elder Sekerere, they are in the same ward in Harare. 

This past Sunday was Fast Sunday, which means that I am now left with only one Fast and Testimony meeting as a missionary in Zimbabwe. December has begun and the holidays are in full swing. It's not the way things are back in the USA this time of year here in Zim, but that's ok! I have now begun my final 6 weeks. My final transfer is on the horizon.

Today I handed over my guitar that I purchased early on in my mission to my good friend Elder Condie. It will be weird to not be able to play it over the next 6 weeks, but it's ok. I couldn't justify taking it back home when I already have one, and Elder Condie really wanted it so I gave it to him so that it can be used after I leave! I won't have to worry about lugging it around with me which is nice. :)

Some great news is that my former area, Chegutu, now has 2 branches instead of 1! Chegutu Branch was split yesterday into 2 branches to prepare for the organization of a district  in Chegutu and Kadoma this coming weekend. The church sure is growing! I am glad my work has contributed to the wonderful things that are happening. The mission is now at 1,985 baptisms for the year and our goal of 2,000 will be reached in the coming weeks as we end the year of 2017 and begin 2018. Lots of good is happening!

I love you all and wish you an awesome week wherever you are. Happy Holidays! :)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Salibonani Week 95!

Hello again! :)

Not much to report this week. Zimbabwe does have a new President now, but not much is different. The days are just as normal as ever for us. 

We continue to do the work in Cowdray Park and it is moving along slowly at the moment. We meet new people almost everyday but just don't experience much success in helping them act on the things that we teach them. We did end up with 5 investigators at church. Things are up and down, but we do have high hopes for next week. If all goes well, we should be able to have a baptism for two people. Their names are a bit tough to read and pronounce but I will type them out for you anyways. One is YSA age, her friend brought her to church. Her name is Bongie. The other is the youngest daughter of a part-member family who has been less active for some time. Her name is Iphithulenkosi. We will be working with them this week to see if they are ready. I hope all goes well! 

The transfer is now already half-way done with only 3 weeks left now. It feels like I just arrived back here to Bulawayo. Time continues to go by whether I can notice it or not. There ended up not being any zone conference this week, it has been postponed until the end of the transfer. I did get to watch the first primary program of my mission during church this week. I have yet to watch one in Zimbabwe until now, but it was good. As the young kids sang the songs and shared their testimonies it just reminded me of how simple the gospel is. So simple, yet so powerful. Powerful enough to change and save lives. I just wish I could be better at helping the people I teach to see just how simple and powerful the gospel is. I do my best to teach them, but many times they just don't fully understand what the restored gospel can do for them.  

Crazy to think that November is coming to an end this week and that the final month of 2017 is about to begin! Thanksgiving this week was just a normal day for us. We had some interviews with the Mission President and then had a big lunch downtown. The holiday season is officially here. The year is coming to an end, which means my mission is coming to an end too. 7 weeks is still enough to time to do some good while I still can. Just trying to remain humble to live and serve among the people of Zimbabwe to help them in anyway that I can.

I failed to take any pictures this past week, so I apologize that I don't have any to show you. I will do my best to take some more pictures this week.

I love you all and wish you a wonderful week! :) Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Salibonani Week 94!

First of all, I wanted to say that I am safe and doing well. Secondly, I wanted to wish everyone an early Happy Thanksgiving 2017! :)

It has been quite an interesting week here in Zimbabwe. I am sure many of you have heard a bit about the political situation here, but this week brought lots of attention to Zimbabwe. During the week we were told to stay inside our houses for one day, (it was Wednesday for us). To be honest, here in Bulawayo nothing happened. We are safe and we feel safe. No violence, and no problems for missionaries. Even on the day we stayed inside it was peaceful. The only difference is the people are talking a lot about the situation and are glued to the TV to know what is happening, at least those who have TV's. Many people were happy and celebrating about what was happening, and many people were drunk throughout the country. Many people went to Harare to join the protest. The craziest part is in Harare with a very strong army presence and tons of people marching in protest. Harare is really the only place that has been affected, at least so far. I was able to catch some of the news headlines when we visited members and investigators. Except for the one day inside missionary work was as normal as ever for us.

As far as the work goes, Elder Vave and I had a somewhat discouraging week. We were working hard to visit those who came to church last week and visit our other investigators but we didn't have much luck. Many investigators were out of town visiting family, some attend a funeral, and many just are not a serious as we thought. After a miracle week last week, we only had 2 investigators attend church. 1 of them is new and the other is moving back to his rural home next week, which means he can't be baptized. We were sad that no one else came. We are going to continue to try and help people to progress, but success may take a bit longer than we thought. Lots of potential but nothing is for sure. We did find some less active families and we have a potential baptism for the youngest daughter of a part member family. We will see how it goes this week and next. For church this week we attended with my old ward and branch in Gwabalanda and Luveve. We went to the chapel I once served in, the members of Cowdray Park had to take transport to get there. I was able to see some of my converts that I baptized last year and many member friends. The whole Africa Southeast area of the church viewed a special conference broadcast from Salt Lake City that was presided over by Elder Anderson of the Twelve Apostles. We heard some great talks from him and other General Authorities. I hope the members were able to understand and take to heart what they shared. They talked about many things that the church struggles with here in Africa. Next week it will be back to a normal Sunday in Cowdray Park. 

My thoughts of home have increased, especially in my dreams at night. I always wake up and come back to reality and start a new day. The feeling that your mission is coming to an end is quite real, and I hope that I can handle/subdue those feelings. If I dwell on them too much I will not be happy and I need to be happy to help Elder Vave and to love the work. This week we have a zone conference in Gweru, and interviews with our Mission President. After this week I only have one or two more interviews and one zone conference left. We are now down to 8 weeks left, with 4 weeks left in the transfer.

As we begin the holiday season I just wanted all of you, my friends and family, to know just how thankful I am to have you in my life. I love you all so much. I want all of you to know just how blessed you are, never forget to be grateful for what the Lord has blessed you with. I want all of you to look at yourselves and realize just how much the Lord is in the details of your lives. There are many people in the world who have nothing. I have seen it first hand. Never take what you have for granted.  

Have a great week! Happy Thanksgiving everyone and Happy Holidays! :) 

For my pictures this week, I don't have many. I just took a picture of all of my missionary planners and transfer sheets for you too see just how long I have been around. :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Salibonani Week 93!

Well, Bulawayo Round 2 is underway! We are now single digits in weeks left with only 9 to go.

This first week has been a learning experience for me. I have been busy learning the area, meeting the members, working with investigators and finding more people to teach the gospel to. It has been new for me to walk, but it's not so bad. Cowdray Park is quite a big area and members live in many different parts. It has been nice to meet many of the people of Cowdray Park, some of them whom I met when I served in Bulawayo before. It is a good ward with some very stong members. It is going through some ups and downs but all in all it is a great place. We had a successful first week with 14 investigators at church, and 12 new investigators that we met. It was quite a miracle to have such success in my first week, especially with the area not having much success in the past. We have some great investigators with a lot of potential in the coming weeks. Probably no baptisms until December but that is ok! :)

Elder Vave (his first name is Asiula), is from Tonga. He is from a big family of 8, and he is the 3rd born in his family. He is quite a tall and big guy compared to my other companions. He began his mission in Tonga waiting for his visa to come to Zimbabwe, and he has now been here for 6 months. He is a really good guy. He has learned all of his English since he began his mission, so he is still new to the language. Is native tongue in Tongan. He is doing well with it and learns to speak better everyday. Sometimes it can be a bit hard to understand what he says, but it's ok :) It has been good getting to know him this past week. I hope we can continue to get along and work well together! He is also a barberman, so he can cut my hair for me. He cuts the other elders hair as well. 

It has been weird for me to be back in Bulawayo again. It is always a different feeling to be down here, a new feeling and a few changes in culture. I have been able to pick up a bit on my Ndebele and am starting to learn a bit more. When I come home I will be able to share my testimony in 3 languages: English, Shona, and Ndebele! haha :) 

It has been weird to not live the life of a zone leader anymore. The only focus is on Cowdray Park and enjoying the life of a missionary while I still can. The zone met up and played some basketball this morning. There are 26 elders here in Blues now. Much is happening. The rain season is beginning to start a bit early here in Zimbabwe, we have had lots of rain the past few days. 

I love you all and continue to wish you the best! :) On to another week.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Salibonani Week 92!

Well, hello again! :)

As you can see, I will no longer be saying Makadii, I will be saying Salibonani again. After 8 months away from Bulawayo, I will be heading back to Blues, the City of Kings and Queens. I recieved the news that after 3 transfers in Kadoma, I will be leaving to spend the next 6 weeks (probably 10 weeks) in Cowdray Park, a suburb of Bulawayo. After 12+ months of being a Zone Leader, I am back to just doing the normal missionary things. My companion's name in Elder Vave. He is either from Tonga or Samoa, I'm not sure. I will be with him tonight and will share more about him next week. 

I have so much enjoyed my time as a Zone Leader these last 9 transfers and have learned many things. I will always remember my time as a ZL in Bulawayo, Harare, and Kadoma. Now it is on to new experiences. My time in Kadoma has brought many great memories, and I will miss the people here very much. 19 baptisms in 3 transfers here in Kadoma. Many miracles and lots of work. I have enjoyed my time with Elder Byrom and wish him the best as he remains here in Kadoma. 

It will be weird for me as I go back to Bulawayo. Cowdray Park is very near my former areas in Bulawayo. I served in Gwabalanda, Luveve, and Emakhandeni before, and Cowdray Park just borders those areas. It will be pretty crazy to run into old friends and members, but I am excited to experience Bulawayo one last time. There is a high chance that Cowdray Park will be my final area on my mission, but you never know. I have 10 weeks left now, with my last full transfer just beginning today. I am back to the land of the Ndebele. :) I will be without the use of a vehicle for the first time on my mission! 22 months with a car or truck, 2 months without. I will get to walk a lot, Cowdray Park is a very big area. The weather in Zim is hot everywhere you go, and we are waiting for the rains to start anytime now.

Byrom and I were just busy finding and teaching many new people throughout the week, and we had little success with many people not coming to church. Our converts are all doing well though and many of them bore their testimonies yesterday at church. It made me happy. :)

I am emailing now from Kadoma for the last time and will be getting on the bus to begin Bulawayo Round 2 in a couple of hours. The ride from Kadoma to Blues is around 4+ hours. It will probably be my last ride on the Bravo Bus until I am on my way back to Harare on the 14th of January to be released. Pretty crazy. By Kadoma, hello Bulawayo!

With many new experiences coming these last 10 weeks, all I hope is that I can continue to find success and to do my best. I know that the Lord wants me in Bulawayo again, so I will being finding out why I am gong back in the next few weeks. Many of the new missionaries in the mission are not coming in because of visa issues, there were many that were supposed to come this week but aren't yet. Kind of a bummer. Bulawayo is now the largest zone in the mission with 26 missionaries. 

I love you all and wish you a wonderful week as we get into the holiday season. :)

Yebo, baba! Ngiyaphila! :) 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Makadii Week 91!

The final week of the transfer has arrived and a new transfer is about to begin, Elder Byrom and I had a pretty normal week, just trying to contact and find new people in Kadoma to build our teaching pool and to keep bringing people closer to Christ. We had a few new people at church yesterday, but we still have a ways to go. We had a mid-week baptism on Friday for Annie and it went well. Her brother Adventure is a Priest and he performed the baptism. We did it in the evening soon after Seminary so all of the other youth were able to attend and support her. With Annie's baptism it makes a total of 10 new members in Kadoma 1st Branch for the month of October, quite a busy but successful month for us. All those baptized have been confirmed and we are now moving on to a new month. We are back to the basics of finding, teaching, and helping the members. We will see how things progress in November! 

It is tough to tell what next transfer has in store for me. Being a zone leader for over 1 year brings some unknowns about what my final 10 weeks as a missionary will bring. I have had a feeling that I might be training one of the 13 new elders coming into the mission next week, but I am not quite sure what the Lord wants me to do in my final weeks in Zimbabwe. We will find out soon, I will let you know the news next week. :) 

I am in Harare yet again for my 13th MLC meeting today and tomorrow. It might be my last, so I will be doing my best to soak it all in and enjoy it. 

I love you all and wish you the best. For those of you back home, Happy Halloween! :) For Halloween, I will be dressing up as Elder Byrom, and Elder Byrom will be dressing up as me. haha :)

Talk to you next week!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Makadii Week 90!

Hello again! :)

Well, with many things planned this past week, there was a chance for a lot to go wrong. However, all of our plans went through with no problems, and we had a wonderful weekend in Kadoma with a marriage and 5 baptisms! That is now 9 baptisms in the last 3 weeks. I have never been blessed to have baptisms on 3 consecutive weeks until now, but it has been a wonderful thing to be a part of! Talent and Beven Nyanhi were married and baptized this week along with their 9 year old son Kudakwashe. Also baptized was long-time investigator Collen Chirenda and Valentine, a extremely kind and humble young lady. There are many unique conversion stories among all of them, but a can mention a few things. The Nyanhi family was eager to join the church back in 2013 but because of misinformation and other problems they stopped coming to the church. After 4 years, and many prayers, Talent came back to church again determined to do what she felt was right by getting baptized. We met her a month ago, and soon started teaching her, her husband, and the rest of the family again. Br. Chirenda first knew the church back in in the 1990's and came many times, but never progressed to baptism. His son, Simba, was baptized in July and he started coming back to church and had a huge desire for baptism. His brother even served a mission for the church some years ago. Valentine was just a humble and very prepared person to hear the gospel. We were blessed to find her and teach her. A wonderful group of new converts! :)

We were mainly busy this week, making sure everything went well in preparation for the baptisms and marriage. There were some very hot temperatures this week here in Kadoma, one day even reaching above 110 degrees Farenheit. We had an exchange and are now looking for more new people to teach and bring to church. We have found a few people but are struggling to find a similar success of the past month. We will be having another baptism during the course of this week for a young woman named Annie, so we are excited for that as well! :) It has been quite an eventful transfer for us in Kadoma, and the month of October is coming to an end. 

Elder Byrom and I are doing well and enjoying our time together. 2 weeks left in the transfer, and chances are we will be split up. Another milestone happenend for me this week as I now am left with just 12 weeks as a missionary in Zimbabwe. (For missionaries, 12 weeks is a special number. We are trained for 12 weeks when we begin our missions, so we sometimes joke about our last 12 weeks as being something similar.) I will be doing my best to enjoy Kadoma these next 2 weeks and will find out what the remaining 10 weeks of my mission has in store for me. :)

One fun thing from the week: The marriage officer was late to the marriage, so we passed the time with the Nyanhi family and some other by playing some UNO, and other card games. It was fun to teach them how to play UNO. It was a fun time while we were waiting for the marriage officer, President Chiore, to arrive.

I love you all and wish you a wonderful week! Yebo!