Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Salibonani Week 52!

The official year mark happened this last Sunday! One year ago I was set apart as a missionary, left my home in Laramie, and traveled to South Africa to begin my mission experience. It is also crazy that Jan. 2017 is already over. 11 more months to go! In honor of hitting my year mark, I burned an old tie that I found!
The rain is been pretty constant the last few days. It was raining so hard last night I could barely sleep! Our mission tour meeting with Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the Seventy yesterday went well. He came to visit just our zone, his wife was there with him as well as President and Sister Mkhabela. We learned a lot about how to keep the Lord more involved in our service, and how to access the help of the spirit in our teaching and finding. It was a good meeting, it was just weird to have it on a Monday, haha :)
We had a great week this past week, Week 52 on my mission! We had lots of baptismal interviews in the Zone, and 16 people were baptized in Bulawayo this past weekend! That puts our January total up to 31 baptisms, 5 of them being fathers. I am happy to say that Br. Gumede, Sharon, and Assan were all baptized and confirmed this week after working with them these last 2 months! I'm so happy for them! :) We are now trying to find some more people and will be relying on the spirit to help us know what to do in the coming weeks. Our trip to Harare for the monthly MLC meeting will be next week.
Also, here in Africa they have some nice trousers called Chinos. They are a big hit in the mission, and the best place to buy them for cheap is in Bulawayo. When we have time we go and get some Chinos for other Elders serving outside of Blues, and take them with us to Harare. Lot's of deals! 

I wanted to share one quote that was shared by Sister Ellis at our meeting yesterday: "Sacrifice isn't a loss, it's a preparation for something better." I know that as we sacrifice some of our time to help our Savior, that we are allowing him to bless our lives and give us something better than we had. :)
I love you all so much! Keep loving and trusting in our Heavenly Father. He can make our lives so much better than we can alone.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Salibonani Week 51!

I'm starting week 52 today! In a week's time, I will have officially hit my year mark! Pretty sweet, pretty crazy.
Not too much to report this week. I have enjoyed being with Elder Mhlungu so far. He is actually 25 (just turned) and is from Durban, SA. He is a sweet guy, and I have already learned a lot from him. After 6 weeks of not much success, we are going to have 3 baptisms this coming weekend, barring any setbacks in the next few days. Br. Gumede, an older baba, Sharon a young woman, and Assan, a small boy, have all progressed and are ready to be baptized! Yebo! I am excited for them.

I also heard that my old investigators in Chegutu, the Mapuranga family, are getting baptized this coming weekend as well. They had some problems with the marriage, but now they will be legally married and baptized! My son and grandson, Elder Makalio and Elder Whittier, are still there and doing good in Chegutu. I am so happy to see my old investigators get baptized even after I leave! :)
We are having a Mission Tour conference with Elder Stanley G. Ellis next Monday here in Bulawayo. Since that will be on our normal P-day, our P-day next week will be on Tuesday instead. Just a heads up for those of you who will be expecting my emails. I am excited to meet and learn from Elder Ellis!
The rains are officially here in Bulawayo and the rest of Zim. When I was picking up and dropping off missionaries last week it was pouring so I got soaked, along with everyone else! Transfer days with rain are quite an adventure! :)
I am continuing to have faith in the future and doing my best! I love all of you wherever you may be! :) Nisale kahle, musari zvakanaka! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Salibonani Week 50!

Yebo! I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying life. :)
Transfers have been announced and are happening at the moment. I will once again be staying here in Gwabalanda, Bulawayo. My new companion is Elder Mhlungu, and native of South Africa. He is finishing his mission this year in August, so he is still around for about 6 months. I was with him in Harare, in the same zone, when I was being trained. He is super short and about 26 years old, but he is a great guy. I am excited to learn some more Zulu and Ndebele from him and to lead the zone together! :) More on him in later emails. I am on to Transfer #9!
Elder Twikala is now on his way home to DRC! I enjoyed my time with him these last 6 weeks. I have now killed 3 Elders on my mission!  He is a talented artist who will find a lot of success back home. I wish him the best! Au revoir mon ami! :)
Last week on P-day we went to Matopos/Matobo National Park as a district and had some fun hiking in the mountains, and getting lost. All is well, we found our way back. We didn't see much wildlife, just some springbok, and buffalo. Saw some cool sights, the grave of Cecil Rhodes and his friends, and had some good views of the park. It was a good time. We also found a separate game park that has rhinos, so we are planning on going back in the coming weeks. :)
My good buddies, Elder Gordon and Elder Bollinger have both been transferred to Harare. I will miss living with Gordon, and having Bollinger in the district. Gordon has been called to be a ZL in our former zone in Harare. He will do an awesome job. At least I still have Elder Aden around! All in all not too many changes in the zone. My other good friend, Elder Scoresby has become an Assistant to President Mkhabela. I am happy and excited for him too!
Lot's of cool things happening in the near future. Elder Ellis of the Seventy is coming to tour the mission at the end of this month, and we will have a worldwide missionary training broadcast in February. Four of our main investigators came to church this week, and all have accepted to be baptized at the end of the month! I hope and pray they come again next week and that we came prepare them to get baptized. After 6 weeks with not much success, the coming transfer brings a new sense of faith. :)
Gotta go, more missionaries to drop off at Bravo, and more to pick up!
I love and am thankful for all of you wherever you may be!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Salibonani Week 49!

Hello everyone! I hope this week was once again filled with joy for all of you! 1 week has already passed in 2017!
It was a pretty frustrating week for me. We went to Harare for MLC and had a good meeting. We set some goals for the year and discussed, but after wards I felt very sick and ended up having a long night of throwing up body aches, fever and such. We ended up staying in Harare an extra day so that I could go to the clinic for some blood tests to see if my sickness was serious (malaria or typhoid) but all the tests were negative. Just a bad stomach and intestine infection. It wasn't how I wanted to start off the first week of the year, but that's how it happened! I am feeling better and am fully recovered. It did take away from our time in the area so we didn't get as much accomplished as we had hoped.
We are still finding lots of struggles in our area helping our investigators to come to church and really be excited about what we are teaching them. It has been hard for the last month to help people come unto Christ and repent. We are doing our best, and we will be working harder this last week of the transfer to find some new people who are prepared to hear the restored gospel! :)
Other than my sickness, not much happened this week. Lots of traveling and stress but things are moving along. I have no complaints. :)
By the way, if you wanted to know the numbers for our mission:
A little over 1700 baptisms/confirmations in 2016, our goal was 2000.
Our goal for 2017 is once again 2000!
As my year mark is coming up in just a couple weeks, here is a rundown of year one on my mission: (8 transfers+MTC)
8 companions, 3 areas, and 66 baptisms. I have had the privilege to serve as a trainer, a district leader, and a zone leader. My 3 areas have been: Marimba Park/Mufakose (Harare), Chegutu, and Gwabalanda/Luveve (Bulawayo). It's been quite a year for sure, with more exciting adventures to come in 2017! The Lord has truly blessed me with success, and I have grown so so much through my service so far.
Week 6 of the transfer has now arrived, and transfer news will be coming out on Saturday. One of the cool things I get to do as a ZL is to call all of the missionaries in the zone to tell them if they are getting transferred, and who their companion will be for the next 6 weeks. It's pretty fun :) As a district, we are planning to go to a National Park this afternoon to see some of the African wild and hopefully see some animals! If all goes well, I will have some good pictures next week.
I love all of you so much! :) For those of you back in the mountain west region of the USA, enjoy that super cold weather and snow for me. I miss it!

Talk to you next week y'all! :)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Salibonani Week 48!

Happy New Year everyone! :)
This week went well, and we had a good New Years! We had a fun American football activity with some of the zone, had a cake, and played some games.
There isn't much to report this week. We did find out that some of our investigators just up and moved with no prior say, so we have a lot of work to do to try and find new people to teach. Zimbabwe is crazy, especially around the holidays. Sometimes the people you teach just up and move on you or stop progressing. We just have to keep finding people and doing our best! :)
New Years isn't anything special here. Just a lot of drinking and a lot of fireworks. Missionary work has been hard this past week, but the new year brings a new start and a new perspective. Time to get to work, I will be here in Zim for all of this year anyway :) It's pretty crazy that I am approaching 1 year on my mission. I am almost half way done. Crazy to think I am where I am. I have gone through and learned more than I ever thought I would. I am excited to serve the Lord in 2017! :)
I am emailing again from Harare today. I am here for the monthly MLC meeting and I am glad to see some old friends while I'm here. We traveled safely here, and all is well. We are headed back to Bulawayo on Wednesday morning. This is week 5 of the current transfer, so we have this week and next until transfers are again announced.
I love you all so much. Let's make 2017 better than 2016. 

Musari mushe! :)

(These pictures got missed last week)