Monday, August 25, 2014

"You don't speak a word of [english] do you?-Men in Black "Why is the [water] gone? Why is the [water] always gone?"-Pirates of the Caribbean

Well it turns out that not to many people here in Chegutu speak much English.   It is a little difficult to have lessons and for me to contribute when the majority of it is in Shona.   I am working on they Shone, and I can catch parts of conversations, but I can't speak it to save my life.   It is funny how few people understand me.   The children are still the same.   Half of them want to see me because I am a marondgo and am different, the other half look at me like I am Der Kinterlumper and I'm gonna put them in a Gunter Sack.(If you don't know that reference you need to watch Phineas and Ferb).   So it is interesting.  

Another interesting thing, is that we haven't had a reliable water supply for the past week.   They are bringing us our water today, which is good.   Cause bucket baths get irritating after a while.   Our Land Lord has been bringing us containers of water every few days, but it is never quiet enough to do everything that we want to do.   So having our water filled up will be great.   I am excited for that.   And I need to wash Shela(the name I have given my car.)

I am being safe, the other drivers of course are always another story.   I like the stick, it is the clutch that I am struggling with.   But I am getting better.   It is mostly flat out here, a few little hills, but nothing to bad.   I learned to drive kind of like Kenji did when he first learned.   Under fire.   

"Quiet down fish."   My companion is Elder Hove, which in Shona means fish.   It is interesting, cause every name means something out here.   There is no meaningless name in the whole of Zimbabwe, at least in the parts I have been to.   They think it is super weird that many of our names as Americans don't really have meaning.   They find it weird that I don't know the meaning of Melot.   My companion is a good guy.   Out for three months on mission, which means I am his breaker(first companion after training is finished).   It has been a good start to the transfer.   

We are currently having church in the Pfupagena High School.  It is interesting meeting in a high school class room for church.   Not to mention that we had sixteen people yesterday.   It is a "group" which means it is to small to be a Branch just yet.   And it is run under the authority of the mission.   Our President is President Sibisha, who is a return missionary from the Zim mission also. We are working hard, and things are looking like they will go well.   Starting from the ground up, gonna make a branch and then hopefully a ward, and then who knows.   Things will go great.

"With faith comes trials of faith, bringing increased faith"
-Neil L Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

"God does notice us and He watches over us.   But is usually through another person that He meets our needs.   Therefore it is vital that we serve each other."
-Spencer W Kimball Twelfth Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

"Doesn't it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?"
-Dieter F. Utchdorf Second Councilor in the First Presidency

Often times in life we face struggles.   We feel like we are in a bad situation that we need to leave.   We feel like we are being put through to much for us to handle.   We feel like if we were in a different situation then things would be better.   We wonder why we are going through these hardships.   The answer is simple.   We came here to be tried and tested.   And if we prove true, then we will inherit "all that the Father has".   The Lord has counseled us in the scriptures to "act upon this land as for years (D&C 51:17) and has commanded us to "lift up [our] hearts and rejoice".    This two shall pass, one of the most influential people in my life often told me.   When life gets hard, we need to trust in the love of our Heavenly Father.   I know he loves us and I know he is there.   He will always take care of us and give us what we need.   Thomas S Monson said "I promise that one day you will look back on your hard times, and realize that He was always there with you".   I know that is true.   Hold of to faith.   The Book of Mormon says "ye receive no witness till after the trial of your faith."   

"He never listens, it runs in the family.   And when he does it is always with this disappointed scowl  like someone skimped on the meat in his sandwich."
"Why are you so fat?   Because sometimes instead of taking care of my problems I just eat."
"The sun was in my eyes Astrid, what do you want me to do?   Block out the sun?   I could do that, just give me time."
"I know what makes you a boy.   You do?   Its your bald head.   Sometimes I like to imagine a little chick popping out of it."

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Which ones the quarterback? Where's your helmet? Pick up the ball pick up the ball, dang! These Zims don't know the first thing about football!"-Flushed Away "Whats everybody on the wrong side of the road for?"-Cars 2

Okay, so I am sending this to as many people as I could figure out how, since the computer is being stupid.   I don't know if i will be able to respond to all of the emails today, since it has been hectic.   Okay, so I have been transferred, to the Chegutu A area, a brand new area that has never had missionaries before, with a green-y Elder Hove, and so we have been trying to get out here for a few hours.   I am now driving in Zimbabwe, someone catch mom, in case she faints on hearing the news.   I am driving a Stick Shift car, which is interesting, because other then the two hours it took to drive to my new area, my experience with stick shift was... like none.   SO YEAH.   That was interesting.   One of the hardest parts was driving on the left side of the road, and so yeah, it could take a little bit to get used to.   It will be interesting, even though I am inexperienced at it.   So yea, driving in Zim, it is gonna be great.
Football in good old Orting starts this week.   Man I miss it.   Really I can understand Kenny Chesney's feelings in the song "Boys of Fall" cause I will always feel like one of those boys, strapping on my helmet and shoulder pads, and getting ready to kill somebody cause he is in the wrong color jersey.   Man I miss it back there.   I hope they do well.   Hard to believe that ten months have flown by like the blink of an eye and I wish I could understand how time can go so fast.   This time next year I will be almost done.   But I don't want to think to heavily  on that.
New area, don't know a single thing about it yet, other then what has been said already.   My last area had two baptisms last Saturday, and it went great.   I will send pictures next week, currently everything is still packed, we aren't even in our area yet, since the apartment wont be ready till Wednesday.   I had to say good-bye to everyone I knew in Mkoba, probably for a very long time.   The hymn "God be with you till we meet again" says the line "till we meet at Jesus' feet"   and it really hits it right on the head.   I will miss all of those I served with and around, and may not see them for a long long time.   

My new companion has been on mission for three months.   He is also from Zimbabwe, most of the missionaries here now are.   He is super new to mission and as his second companion or in mission terms his breaker it will be fun to work with him.   Haven't got the chance to get to know him to much.   I will in the next at the very least six weeks.   Interesting fact, I will be with a bunch of Shone's this transfer.   So yea, might be the only marondgo around for a while.   That will be interesting.  
"Never lose hope, when the sun goes down, the stars come out."
"When we are unduly impatient with an omniscient God's timing, we are really suggesting that we know what is best.   Strange isn't it- we who wear wrist watches seek to counsel Him who oversees cosmic clocks and calendars."
-Neal A Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles   
"The best way to make a permanent change for good is to make Jesus Christ your model and his teaching your guide for life."
-Richard G Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
I listened to a song the other day, it said "Jesus was no ordinary man".   I testify that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.   I testify that He came to earth to save us all by paying the price of our sins.   The "just for the unjust" as Paul puts it in the Bible.   I know that He rose again on the third day and that because He did, we will all live again.   What a wonderful gift.   Thomas S Monson is a Prophet of God, and so was Joseph Smith.   The Book of Mormon is true.   I know that these things are true.
"Don't even think about it.   How'd you know it was me?   I'm your mother I know everything."
"Is it like this every night?   Of course not, last night we had meatloaf."
"I'm in a tree with a man who talks to monkeys."
"I have a big head, and little arms, I'm just wondering how well this plan was thought through... Master?"

Love you all.   I will try to respond to my emails.   

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"To them we're just big and dumb and slow"-Epic "Where did you get that?"-Pirates of the Caribbean "Are you Drunk?" Transformers

Wow are there a lot of flies out here.   Something about going into summer time is making all the flies come out in force.   Our house seems to be full of them.   They are so hard to swat, or do anything about.   They are fast, and I am not.   That is a fact of life.   Hopefully we will find a solution, or maybe I will just have to get used to it.   I don't really know.   

The native missionaries out here don't seem to understand a few basic principles of life.   Namely; don't take that which is not yours, and no one likes a beg-er.   I mean really.   They will just walk up to your stuff and be like "hey I am sorry, but I am eating your candy." or they will beg and nag at you to try to get you to give them something that you have that they want.   It is like living with a two year old.   I mean me and Brandonburg are getting irritated about it.   We all go to the same store and we all get the same allotment, they just seem like they want us to provide them with everything.  What next?   Am I gonna have to cut their steak?   I mean really.   They are starting to understand it, but it might take some time.  

And for some reason every drunk person in the area is fascinated with bothering the maroundgos.   Like we are walking home last night from a dinner appointment and these two guys walk up, well stumble up and ask me and Brandonburg for money for beer.   We can be sitting eating lunch and drunk people walk up and talk to us.   We usually just hand them a Word of Wisdom pamphlet and tell them to read it and come to church.   It is kind of funny, kind of annoying.   But that is what it is.   

Can you believe that I am almost at my Ten Month Mark?   I sure can't.   It feels really weird to have been out here that long.   Mission goes quick.   When Elder Horlacker told me that and held up all of his transfer books, I thought it would take a long time to get there.   I still have a long time to go, but still, it is weird.   

This week we had Stake Conference ( a meeting for all the members who live in the geographical area f Gweru) and we got a new Stake Presidency (the guys who are asked to help lead the people in the Stake) and so we here in the Mkoba 2nd ward (smaller geographical area) have lost our Bishop (leader of our ward) since he was called to be the 2nd councilor in the Stake Presidency.   I wonder who the  new Bishop will be.   It will be interesting to find out.  We have two people we are baptizing on Saturday.   Ruth, who is a mama, and Bradley who is in a part member family (family where part of the family are members and part aren't) and they are both doing great.   I am super excited for Saturday.   What makes it even more cool, is that we are doing the Baptism together as a District (group of missionaries serving in the geographical area of Gweru Town and Mkoba) so there will be lots of people entering into covenants with our Heavenly Father.

My companion is doing good.   Ever since he got that medicine he has been feeling healthy and we have been doing a lot of great work.   He seems to like trying to get under my skin though.   Don't know why, he just seems to enjoy irritating me.   It is a little bit of a test of my patience and self control, but I guess everything has a purpose so hey, I will go with it.  

"We try to do what is right because we love and want to please our Heavenly Father, not because someone is forcing us to obey."
-Quentin L Cook

"Mans greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others."
-David O Mckay

"I have wept in the night for the shortness of sight that to some body's needs made me blind; But I never have yet felt a twinge of regret for being a little too kind."

I like these quotes.   I was told in the MTC by my teachers, well me and my fellow missionaries, that there are three things that motivate obedience.   1 Fear. 2 Duty. 3 Love.   We can choose every day whether we are gong to obey God and His divine commandments, or wither we are not.   He will never force us to obey Him, not a single one of us.   We have to choose.   And when we choose to follow Him, we can and must choose wither it is out of fear, duty, or love.   We were told that Love is the greatest and should be our only motivating factor in obedience.   If we obey out of love, we will be happy, and we will be able to see that His commandments, from the Ten Commandments to the Word of Wisdom, are given to us to help us to grow and to be safe.   They are giving to us by a loving Heavenly Father who knows what is best for us His children.   I know that we have a prophet on the earth today.   That through that prophet God reveals His commandments that we need to do to return to be with Him.   I know that that prophet is Thomas S Monson.   And that the prophet of the Restoration was Joseph Smith.   I know that he saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ in that sacred grove in the 1800's.   And everyone can know if they will just pray about it and ask God.   He answers prayers.   I know it.  We just have to have the faith and love to ask.   

I love you all.

"Ummm, I'm a cow, can I go home?"
"How would you describe her?   Uh, scary beyond all reason."

"While they were learning 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider' I was learning how to dehydrate and rehydrate inanimate objects at will"  
"Did you ever think that this day would come?   Oh no sir, no not in a million, I mean yes I did."   

Monday, August 4, 2014


This picture is of me and my comp and all the primary children, and you can't see it in the picture, but many of these little ones are hugging my legs, and they hold my hands walking down the halls of the chapel.   They have really come to love me.

"[Sadza and sour mild] its not bad. Not saying I want to [eat it everyday] but still" -Princess Bride "That is just a [none member] and they are just as scared of you as you are of them."-Over the Hedge

Well this week was good.   We ate dinner one night with the Zviraow family, and they fed us... you guessed it Sadza.   UGH!   I can't stand the stuff.   However, they also gave us some stuff they call sour milk, which is like plain yogurt, with a little bit of sugar.   And so you put the Sadza in the milk, and it actually gives it a decent flavor and makes it bearable.   Not that I want to eat Sadza and sour milk very often, I have been avoiding Sadza like the plague, but it was a nice way to eat it.   

I am gonna be honest, I have fallen out of the habit of talking to people on the streets.   I could blame it on the language barrier, but I think I have just been lazy and have lost the habit.   The good news is my companion and I began contacting again.   Contacting for those who don't know is when you try to start a gospel conversation with a non member.   So it was actually fun, even though the language did cause some problems.   But I am sure as I continue to work and try to get things done that I will hopefully get to be able to speak shona with out being laughed at.   People say it is because of my accent that people laugh when I use it.   My companion says I sound like a cowboy, and so that means that I have a southern drawl... that is interesting, being that I have never been to the south, but I listened to enough country music to make up for that fact I guess.   

This week we found a powerful Baba (father).   Here in Zim we are focused on finding Baba led families, to try to increase the number of active Priesthood holders.   This Baba's name is Bother Msipa.   And he is great.   He wants his family to learn and he accepted Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon without hesitation.   The Lord truly is preparing His elect to hear the message of the Gospel.   We were challenged this week to work more with the Book of Mormon, so I have for the most part put my Bible aside and am trying to use the Book of Mormon.  Which is difficult since I know the Bible so much better.   It has been a challenge finding verses that I can remember where they are in the Book of Mormon that teach the same things I would be teaching with my usual Bible verses.   Don't worry, my Bible has not taken a back seat.   I still teach from it and use it in my studies and every thing.   But it is a nice opportunity to work on my Book of Mormon knowledge.

My companion has been a little sick again this week.   We took him to a clinic and found out he has to much acid in his stomach which explains why he always feels sick to his stomach.   Now that he has some medication to help with that things are going great.   We are working hard, and we are both learning the area pretty well.   I love the guy.   

"I have seen enough ups and downs in my life to know that winter will surely give way to the warmth and hope of spring."
-Dieter F Utchdorf 

"With thoughtless and impatient hands we tangle up the plans the Lord hath wrought.  And when we cry in pain he saith 'be quiet, man, while I untie the knot."

This life can be full of ups and downs.   There is a family that I used to teach in California that is experiencing one of the downs of life currently.   To that family and to all of us I testify that there is a plan in place.   The Lord is aware and is always there to untie the knots that we often get into in this life, wither because of others or ourselves.   The "ups" will come, the knot will be untied, and we will come out stronger then we went in.   The Lord loves us and will never leave us helpless or friendless.   I know that "The best laid plans of mice and men will often come to not" or how ever that quote goes.   But I know with a certainty that the plans of our Father in Heaven can not and will not "come to not".   Have courage, have faith and "press forward with steadfast faith in Christ" as the hymn says.   God lives, and He is over all.   I know this with all of my heart.   

I love you all.   

"I told you, didn't I tell him about the feet?   He did tell you about the feet."
"You start barking at some strange mutt... stop that racket you'll wake the baby!"
"What do I look like a steak to you?   Yeah!! See I told you I didn't wait what you say?   Oh Yeah."
"I don't recollect that I've ever mentioned Old Reliable?   Aye, you have lad."