The pics this week are: kids cleaning the church for us, and pics of my new companion!
So my companion from Zimbabwe is going home at the end of June so he is getting a tiny bit tired of missionary work these days… but he is a cool guy and I like him a lot! He taught me how to eat a mango whole! Not too useful of a skill because the seed and skin taste nasty but it’s ok!
For adventures this week we had this member show us to a new person who wants to hear the gospel and it turned into a jungle adventure through the swamp! It was way fun and we saw the country’s national bird [Gray Crowned Crane]! No pictures of it though, because they were flying and it was hard to get my camera out.
The people in the baptism photo are two students at the YMCA. The guy is a return missionary and the girl to his left is the one getting baptized, He is going to propose to her this week! It’s way exciting. The guy, Denis Onen, is from the north of Uganda in the district of Gulu. He served in Ghana and when he returned home from his mission his family did not want to help him get started. So after living homeless for a few months trying to save $ he started to grow peanuts. After he had dried them for a year or two he made them into a butter! And now days he sells them, walking miles a day just to sell enough to pay for rent/ university. After 2 1/2 years of hard work his life is coming together, school is almost over, and he will be getting married within the end of this year as well!! Denis has put life into perspective in the fact that he has had to work for every shilling in his life. 1,000 shillings is 25 cents, but he was able to get through university, which costs 10,000 USD.
Word of warning if you ever come to Uganda: don’t give out candy freely to kids. Like I explained in my last email how I compared them to zombies when they see a white guy, well when there is candy involved it’s more like a raging wolf pack. Elder Driggs gave some cake to a kid who wanted food. As soon as the food left his hands 7 other kids swarmed the poor child that had the cake. After a small scuffle and some screaming one of the kids broke free and took off running into the jungle with the peace of cake! The others gave chase and the kid who had originally gotten the cake was sitting on the ground just awe struck. So if you give sweets to kids, do it in secret!
Other than those few points all is well. I encourage all of you to read Alma 42:15 it is one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon! And it is also my favorite chapter!
So my beloved companion, Elder Foster, is leaving. He is getting transferred; my 4th companion Elder Tembo from Zimbabwe has 6 weeks left (one transfer lasts 6 weeks, there is 17 transfers in a mission) on his mission! I am leading the area so it will be interesting because Elder Tembo is 27 and has been a missionary a lot longer than me… but I am so excited to have an African companion. They are so so so much fun! Hopefully he will teach me some of his mother tongue (Shona). It will be interesting for sure!
This week we met this guy where we do service about twice a week it is a bakery that a member owns. We had an appointment with one of the cake bakers and when we went to meat him we didn’t expect too much because this guy is quite a joker so we did not think he was serious. But as soon as he sat down he told us about how he loved the sacrament and how he loved going to church because it’s the only time in his life he has felt gods love. During the lesson we explained about the Book of Mormon and we asked him to pray about it. The spirit was so strong in there you could have touched it. God can answer prayers if you ask with real intent. I know if this man were not serious there would have been no spirit. It put a perspective into my eyes that I need to give everyone a chance for the gospel. Because Gods sees them for who they really are.
For p day today we went into Kampala, which was fun. I always enjoy traffic! Also to give some people a perspective on how bad we stick out as 1 white people and 2 missionaries
We were walking down the street and it appeared that no one was on the road. But in the distance we here a kid yell “muzuigu” all of the sudden kids from every house, tree, and other hiding places that only god knows where they were. In the course of 1 minuet kids, like 50, swarmed us. If I could ever imagine the zombie apocalypse it would be about that. But every time it happens I love it! You just do a fist bump with them and speak there language small small and it makes there day! And the mommas just laugh and give you mango! We have a bag of 30 in our house!
Hope all is well! I’m safe and well fed
Love you all!
Floods in the rainy season! We saw lots of fun stuff in the water!
So Mother’s Day was a blast! I think the reason Mother’s Day is in place is so the family knows that their missionary is alive… I enjoyed the phone call!
I’ll be 100% honest, but I have nothing cool or fun to talk about this week. The pictures from this email are just random ones I have not sent home yet…
One story I have is about cleaning the church. There is no carpet in Uganda because of the dust. So to clean the church we use mops, squeegee, and lots of soap! This soap has a chemical in it called Soda Ash, and when that chemical gets wet it is very very slippery. There is one long hallway that was full of soap. And me and the rest of the elders made a slip and slide with the rest of the people cleaning the church that day. One kid from Mbali, which in my opinion has the most athletic people in the world because they live on a mountain, could slide down the whole hallway if he got a running start! Kinda different from back home when you all have vacuums and can’t even talk to each other because its so loud!
One thing I am wanting to tell you guys is to let you all know that God is real, disregard what religion I am from or my personal belief. But look at the family around you or your friends. Those people around you love you and you can see it in their eyes. Yes you might not get along all the time, but when you look into their eyes you can see there is a light. From my knowledge and personal experience that light is the light of Christ. Christ’s light is with all of us and it is what makes us happy. When we act on impressions or thoughts we get that light in us and it seems to grow. That is why doing something nice for someone that will not benefit you at all still makes you feel good. It’s because God is happy you are helping out one of his children. I have felt the light of Christ on mission way more than I ever have in my entire life. I can say that with confidence. And it’s because every day all day I’m trying my best to help people come to Christ the best way I know how. It makes my day every day when I see someone have a change of heart! Does not mean they will get baptized or that I’ll ever sees them again, but it makes my day just to see a stranger happy!
I had the best experience this weekend with a group of people I had never thought to have been friends with. There is this local restaurant in Mukono that is owned by a man who is Muslim. He is always a friendly guy and very nice. This Saturday his boss was here from Pakistan… we saw them and me and Elder Foster’s first instinct was to avoid them, but they invited us over and we expected to get made fun of, (the usual). But all they wanted to do was buy us dinner and talk about how similar our religions are! Especially for the Christian faith as well as the LDS church; they don’t allow alcohol at all; you have to abstain from sex until you are married. And one thing that struck me is that you are deemed “innocent” until you are the age of 8. Just like our age of baptism. In Pakistan there are no bars/ clubs. It is very strict and to the point with its laws. During this whole conversation food was constantly coming to our table they explained to me that there are 2 types of Islam Sunni, which is the main branch, and Shi’a which is mostly in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. It really put things into perspective for me that these people are not all bad people. It’s just like how we all know that one crazy guy down the street who is Christian. It’s just him, not the religion.
This week Elder Foster and me went to visit a mother who got baptized this week. Her son was sick with malaria and was not looking to hot. She did not have the $ for a hospital and she asked us to give him a blessing. This was the first time in my life I have found how this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints really does have the power of God in its church. The next day, this child who was sick, coughing, and had a temperature so high it burned your hand when you touch his forehead, and not even enough energy to sit up, was running the next day.
In other news I found a Cadbury egg! Those things are the Bomb! I even took a picture of it! Basically anything from America is bliss. This week flew by we had some baptisms this week and traveled all over this country for meetings and just exploring (fancy word for getting lost). Also we have a stalker we call Cape Chester. He follows us all over town but never says a word. So to get home we run really fast through the slums and we lose him. But this morning he was outside our compound so it obviously did not work…
Hope all is well love you all!
So these cakes were for a fireside our district put on, the theme was smile!! Well we do service for the bakery where the cakes are made and so we got them for a cheap price! But later that day when we came back to the factory we realized the cakes we buy they put alcohol on them… they say its a preservative but it smelled like germ-X so we definitely fed a group of 45-60 people rubbing alcohol, but nothing like so juice to wash it down! The fireside went great and we got our point out that its good to smile and make others smile!
This week was good! I always say that but I’m not lying!
You know the feeling when you have a lot to say but nothing is coming to your mind? Well that’s me today so I am going to explain a bit about my mission from the common questions that I get
All water in Uganda has typhoid in it and so to drink water here you have to 1. boil 2. filter 3. buy bottled water from UAE (United Arab Emirates). All missionary flats have a water filtration system and a 5,000 Liter water tank attached to the flat. No homes/flats have carpet in them because of the dust that comes off the dirt road. Only main roads are paved
We have one white South African missionary. We have 50/50 African and American missionaries and we have 95 missionaries in UG; 8 in Ethiopia; and 16 in Rwanda. All of us walk except for 24 of us. Those 24 (1 companionship per truck so 12) deliver supplies and act as rescue cars in case of emergency.
It has been raining big this week and its been so so sooo muddy. Blessing from that is we had a guy run into the church to get away from the rain, and he ended up recognizing the LDS church from a different part of the country! And he was so happy to find the church again! He had recently been kicked out of his old church because he was not paying tithing when he lost his job; it’s interesting how the lord works!
Just makes me think when bad things happen what that lord is trying to set up for us in the future! I know that everything has a purpose in this life including setbacks and roadblocks, hope you all do well! Love you all have a safe week!
This week was a blur of blessings. After we had given those 4 investigators to Elder Driggs and Elder Hawk, we just went into this week with faith. And the Lord blessed us!!!!! The area we are in had a truck last month and we are struggling to walk so far out to get to people. Sometimes it takes 2 hours just to visit one person. But somehow by grace, and logically it does not make sense, we have had better numbers (number of lessons taught investigators etc.) this week than Elder Foster EVER did when he was in the truck… this success was from God. Not us in the slightest, we have been very busy with walking, but the members have helped us with referring us to new investigators and what not.
So we went to this local place called Ssezibwa falls. It’s a huge waterfall where people go to do the old traditional dances and worship. As we were walking we found some worshipers who put $ in jars at the falls, but as soon as they left we saw some kids run and go steal the $ from the jars, so the kids get fed and the people think its just some spirit that takes the money. It’s like when you watch National Geographic and you see some animal trick another animal or something.
Nothing else too big this week, just super busy, and yes to all you people who keep asking if I get food here… I’m actually gaining weight. I am 65KG now. We eat pork and cow like 2 times a week and beans and rice are cheap! Africa is not starving it just has no flavor… like no joke all I use is this beef flavoring called royko and some salt… but it’s food none the less!!
Love you all be safe, know that God loves you and he can give you success in any situation if you are obedient!
So I’m still in Mukono, like I said, but I am in an area that normally has a truck to drive because the people live far out and all over the place. Mukono is big. Well now they took the truck away, but we still have investigators that live far away. Like far as in farther than I walked in Kololo. We walk like 2X as much. I have gained a testimony of why cars were invented… the Lord is blessing us though.
For Easter our district all dressed up in our suits and took a “Family photo.” It was fun and honestly I did not even notice that it was a holiday or missing home. I know I’m still new to this mission thing, but the weeks fly by.
One trial I had this week was a missionary that is not particularity fond of me (and I’m not fond of him either) would just make cruel and bantering comments all the time. Then when me and Elder Foster had huge success with teaching, he asked me and my comp to give him some investigators; to take the burden off our shoulders ( we were fine as it is he just wants a baptism). After he said that, on Sunday, he started setting up appointments with my and Foster’s investigators! I was livid… but when I went to pray to ask for help I got the thought in my head, “give him some investigators.”
That answer was the hardest answer to follow in my life, we gave them 4 people to teach who are to be baptized soon, but its not my work it is the Lord’s work. It is something I will struggle with. If any of you know me, I am very competitive so if anything can be a competition I will want to win. Even if it’s not a race, I’ll make it a race. So it was truly humbling and spiritual to let someone else have success over me.
Also I went to the most expensive place in Uganda this Monday: an all you can eat buffet of real American food. It even had Cheese!!!! And it only cost $10!!! It was so nice. I ate at 9:00 this morning and I’m still full at 4pm, but it’s a place for businesspeople so its funny seeing guys in suits with a bagel and a laptop and then some missionaries with plates of food 4cm high.
Also some young single adults and 4 of us missionaries are doing things thing we called “operation smile.” Basically every Sunday/activity you try your best to make everyone smile no matter what!