Monday, September 29, 2014

"Our [games] quickly became more elaborate, he would win some, I would almost win others."-Megamind "[Melot's] blown a tire!"-Cars "I'm stayin!"-Hotel Transylvania "Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry"-Hulk

Hey mom, a while back you told me you had given a friend at work a copy of the Book of Mormon.  How did that go?

Would it surprise any of you to know that I have a travel sized Chess set?   Probably not.   Well, Elder Hove and I play Chess when ever we get the time and we are home.   He is actually pretty good.   I have to really concentrate to beat him, and even then he wins his fare share of the games.   Not like when I used to play my old Zone Leader Elder Thomas. He would just throw pieces away willy nilly.   So it is pretty fun having a challenge when I play chess.   It is nice that he knows how to play since many people out here don't.  
I have had really bad luck with my car as of late.   Old Shela Mark II has given me problems.   So last week we went to Gweru for training with President Cook.  Good meeting.   Great to see old friends and meet some new ones.   Anyway we were heading back to go to Chegutu and we have to pass through Kadoma, which has awe-full roads, and people out here don't have a concept of staying on their side of the road.   So big old truck coming my way, I tried to edge over a little to give him room and my front left tire went off of a drop off, and BOOM!   Tire dies.   Yep that sucked.   I have gotten pretty good at putting the spare tire on the car.   Gotta tell ya, next time we have to get up at five in the morning to drive most of the day I'm gonna buy me a Dragon.   A big old energy drink they got out here, cause it didn't help that I was exhausted at the wheel.  
Well anywho, Elder Hove and I are both staying in Chegutu for another transfer, as are Chasouka and Machakaire.   In the words of President Cook we are "the four horsemen of the Apocalypse".   I have claimed War.   My companion is Death.   But that is just an inside joke for us.   We are gonna tear it up and do some good.   I am excited.
It is very important to not get angry when you are on a mission.   Sometimes that is hard, when the same drunk guy always bothers you.   There is one guy Prosper, who every time he sees me starts to follow us around and bother us and kills our time and he is always drunk.   The guy is a gold pan-er so every day is Pay day which means everyday he gets drunk.   So every day he comes and bugs me.   It is very hard to keep a tight reign on my anger.   I have a short fuse, and that isn't good.  
Our area is doing well.   We are working on getting at least two baptisms on the 11th, more if we can get the people married.   It has actually been cooler during the day as of late, but the night gets horribly hot.   It is weird.   People out here still crush rocks.   Every few days we see huge trucks dropping off piles and piles of rocks.   It is interesting.   There is a religion out here called Matsie Baba's who are super hard to teach.   They don't read the Bible, so they wont let you quote from it.   Since they don't read the Bible they don't have much of a grasp on Christianity, other then what their leaders tell them.   They have a strange concept that Jesus is the Savior of only Africa.   I don't now where they got that from.   Anyway one of our members, sister Nomatta, has a brother in law who is a Matsie Baba and so we were trying to teach him, since his wife wants to learn with us.   Let me tell ya, didn't get us anywhere.   UGH.
Elder Hove and I are doing well.   The guy loves P-days.   He calls it "going less active".   It is really funny seeing him go from being a super focused missionary to being just a goof.   I love they guy and I am excited to be around him for another transfer.   It's gonna be great.
"That is the thing about work.   If we simply keep at it- steady and constant- things certainly will improve.
-Dieter F Utchdorf 2nd Councilor in the First Presidency..

"There is no problem to big, or to small, for God."
-Thomas S Monson 16 President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
"Your Potential is not determined by any outside circumstance.   Your potential is determined by your faith and how much you want it."
-Elder Mohl my old Zone Leader in California
Well it is interesting, as I sit here at the computer I realize that I am coming up on a year of missionary work.   It really doesn't feel like it has been a year.   But it has been, my time on mission is not infinite, and neither is our time in life.   People say YOLO all the time, but I prefer YOMO, You Only Mortality Once.   We tell our investigators all the time that their actions here in life are very important, because what we do here will affect where we go after this life.   In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given agency, or the ability to make decisions for themselves.   That gift is given to every son or daughter of Adam and Eve on the face of the Earth.   We are free to choose our actions, but not our consequences.   We must use our agency wisely.   The prophet Lehi in the Book of Mormon said that we are free to choose between two things, either "life through the mediator of all flesh" or in other words, Jesus Christ.   Or to choose "captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil for he seekth that all man might be miserable like unto himself."   So every decision we make either takes us closer to God or farther from him.   We have to choose which way we are going to go.   Elder Mapugwa my District Leader said "it is better to be a step away from Hell facing Heaven, then a step away from Heaven facing Hell".   We have to choose where we are going to go and who we are gong to follow.   We have the words of prophets, both ancient and modern day, that guide us closer to God.   I testify that the Scriptures are true, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, also the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.   They contain the word of God as given to Prophets.   I know that they are true.
"Well then Mr. Lightbeer, prove it."
"You're a walking stick! It's funny! Now GO!"
"Stranger, from the outside. Ohhh.."
"I know its a rock! Don't you think I know a rock when I see a rock I spent a lot of time around rocks!"

Love you all.

Monday, September 22, 2014

So[what do you do on P-days] absolutely nothing!"-Space Balls "Stop following me okay!"-Finding Nemo

Had a few more I could have used but time is short, and computers are super not good out here.   Tried to respond to an email from Auntie Jessie, but the computer deleted half of it.   So Auntie Jessie, I got you message, thank you so much for the email and encouragement and I love you so much.
Hard to believe that a year ago I was at Auntie Lizzy's place, staying up all night playing Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword cause I wanted to beat it in a week.   And I did too.   Man that seems like such a long time ago, and at the same time, not that long ago at all.   I love my family and I really enjoyed that week I spent at Liz's.   

There is nothing to do on P-day here in Chegutu.   I mean nothing.   We email, we shop and that is it.   But today I got some stuff to use for baking banana bread, which should turn out well.   Hopefully.   There is a dam outside of Kadoma but we need permission to do that and we haven't received it yet.  
I have a strange group of followers.   All the drunk people follow me around, and all the little children.   I don't know which is more irritating and weird.   Seriously, they just migrate towards me, both of them.   It is weird.
We see a lot of large reptiles out here, and the other day an investigator kissed my hand.   Don't know if he was drunk or what, but I might not shake hands with him again.  
The area is good.   38 people at church yesterday.   That is a new record.   Got to get Mackaire to give me those pictures.   That might take a while.   Anyway, things are going well.   We are working on doing a group marriage that might or might not get us in the Ensign so keep you eyes out for it.
Everything here is great.   My companion and I are probably gonna be together for another transfer, so that will be nice.   I really love the guy.  
"To be effective in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must have this purpose in our mind, feel it in out heart, accept it in our soul and act upon it."
-D Todd Christofferson of the Qurome of the Twelve Apostles
"The best way to make a permanent change for good is to make Jesus Christ your model and His teachings your guide for life."
-Richard G Scott of the Qurome of the Twelve Apostles
"If we don't feel like praying then we should pray until we do feel like praying."
-Ezra Taft Benson 13th Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I recently started to read the Book of Mormon again.   It truly answers the questions of the soul.   I know that the book is true.   It contains the word of God, clarifies teachings in and fully supports the Bible.   I know that when we pray and ask God we can receive answers to our prayers, I know it, I've done it.   God lives.   He is there.   No matter what everyone else may say HE IS THERE.   I agree with the great prophet Alma "All things denote that there is a God, yea the earth and all that is in it denotes a supreme creator."   God is that supreme creator, and even though He is holding all creation in its place, He always has the time to hear us and answer our prayers.  
"Putting the word 'who' in front of everything doesn't make it hurt less it just wastes time."
"A person is smart. People are dumb, violent animals and you know it."
"You can be what ever kind of mayor you wanna be, hands on, strong and silent, its really up to you."
"So wait you just flash her with that thing and it erases her memory and you replace it with a different one? Standard issue nuralizer."
Love ya

Monday, September 15, 2014

"What? Snake eyes? Eleven!"-Nightmare Before Christmas "Right where I LEFT you"-Pirates of the Caribbean " "Hey the showers are awesome!"-Elf "Them [fall through's] are rough"-Barnyard

Wanna know something that I can't seem to get my head around?   I hit 11 months tomorrow!   I can't believe that it has almost been a year since I came into the mission field.   It is weird.   Lots of stuff happened this time last year.   Hey mom, did you ever try to play Dead Space like you said you would?   Or did you forget?   Anyway the time is going fast, before you know it I will be home.   It is a scary thought.   But it is what it is.

You know what is really embarrassing?   An experienced missionary making a greeny mistake.   That was me last week.   Went to the ZL's (zone leaders) on P-day (Monday) because it was half way to Kwe Kwe where we were having a Zone Meeting.   So we get all our stuff and get out the door, on our way to Kadoma, where the ZL's live.   Latter that night I realize I forgot my bag, my scriptures, my Preach My Gospel, and so I didn't have anything for the meeting.   Rookie mistake, by an experience missionary.   Embarrassing.

I sit on the right side of the car when I drive and I shift with my left hand.   It is interesting, and I think I am getting better.  Tell Jeremiah that the only animal I have seen other then lizards and monkeys is a Zebra. 

The good thing is now our geaser works, we get warm water and showers!   I have missed warm water.   And showers are great.   No more bucket showers.   Running water is great.   The bad news is that lots of people have been making appointments to meet with us and learn about the gospel only to not be there or to tell us it is a bad time, or something along those lines.   That isn't fun.   For a missionary that is a fall through.   And they suck.   

The area is doing well.   We are still working on getting people to come to church, but it is starting to work.   Our numbers in Sacrament Meeting are going up, as well as our number of lessons, and Babas that we teach.   A Baba for those who don't know is a Father.   And they are very important in this mission.   We are trying to teach and baptize more fathers, and more families.   And we have a few out here in Chegutu that we are trying to get ready for Baptism.   It is gonna happen, but it will be slow.   I might have ruined white people for a kid yesterday.   The children out here like to play around, and they like to mess with me, so one of them will poke me and run off, or throw things at me and run off, and so at one point when she wasn't paying attention I crept up behind her and surprised her.   She happened to have her little brother in her arms, and the poor kid just starts to scream and cry and it was so bad.   He may never like white people.   Years from now he will be asked why he hates white people, and he will say "Elder Melot".   I felt so bad, but it was super funny at the same time.   Gonna need to buy him some candy to win back is friendship.   My bad.

Out here in Zim there is Civil Marriage which is the Legal of the Country marriage, then there is Tribal Marriage, which is much easier to begin and to end.   So church says a marriage needs to be civilly binding.   So there are members of the Church who are marriage officers who can do the marriage, or other marriage officers can do it.   It just needs to be done before baptism.   So yea, they are a little crammed for time, and tight for money, so we are gonna have the wife clean our laundry to earn some money so they can get married, cause the church marriage is free, but it takes longer, and they seem to not want to wait that long, the non church one is $20 or so.   So yea, that is how we are helping.   Paying them to clean some laundry so they have the money to get married.   It is a common thing yes, lots of people get tribaly married, cause they have Labola out here, you know "I want three cows for Mahana."   type thing, so they don't really have money when they start out to get civilly married.   

My companion and I are doing well.   His cousin is here in the mission as well.   He is serving North of Harare, in Bendura.   Anyway my comp is super excited about it.   He is 22 years old.   But he acts like a teenager sometimes.   It is funny, seeing him go from being all serious in a lesson and then be back to goofing off when we step out of the house.   I wonder if I ever act like that.   It is interesting being the "Senior Companion" to a guy two years my senior.   But it is going well.   

"A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation and it [is] through this sacrifice , and this only that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life"
Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Restoration 

"One who is obedient to His commandments is trusted of the Lord.   That individual has access to His inspiration to know what to do and, as needed the divine power to do it."
Richard G Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

"Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the Temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings."
Thomas S Monson 17th Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I have seen lots of people out here in Zimbabwe.   Lots of struggle and hardship and also lots of joy.   There can not be one without the other.   The Prophet Lehi in the book of Mormon taught that if Adam had not fallen there would not have been any change or progression, then he says that "Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy" (2nd Nephi chapter 2: 25).   There are many things in this life that are hard, and many things that are difficult.   President Watkins my first Mission President said "You're gonna do hard things everyday of your life.   Step it up, it will get better."   If we look on the bright side, if we have an eternal perspective and know that this isn't the only life we get then we can face trial and opposition with faith and courage.   I know that God has a plan for all of us, and that we are able to be happy in this life.   The song "Red Dirt Road" says that "happiness on earth ain't just for high achievers".   We can all be happy knowing that God lives and loves us, and that Jesus is the Christ, and that because of Him we will live again.

"And then Snap! Dad's leg was clean off! Oh now that's my favorite part."
"Um,  I'm supposed to build a hive for the alien queen, yea and I'm supposed to blow up things unless you need help with the hive."
"At least we have hair, yeah and all of our teeth, and at least we don't live under bridges you grumpy old troll."
"I think I'm a zombie, I keep hearing this piercing voice in the back of my mind.   It's me.   There it is again.  It's me you idiot."

I sing to the moon every night.   Usually a country or a church song for you to hear.   Problem is by the time it is night for me you are home asleep.   So I don't know if you hear.   We live in a pretty good size house.   I will send a picture sometime.   The computers here in town don't let us send pictures, so it might be a while.   I have a kitchen, and one bathroom, and one toilet room.   There are two stores in town, but they don't have very much in all honesty.   It is a city, but it is a very small city, barely worth calling it a city.   I don't hear much when I lay down to go to sleep, other then the buzzing of flies.   It is quiet out here.   I don't get many pictures, since we are encouraged not to take them into the area.   Mom this is me, when don't I sleep at night?   I have a bed, that is to small for me.   I am like the man from Cornwall, except my feet stick off the bed.   My knee and health are good, and I don't know how much weight I have lost.   I think it has slowed down now that I am in a car part of the time, but it might not have.   I do eat, I make myself dinner most of the time, cause too much Sadza makes me sick.   

Love you all.    

Monday, September 8, 2014

"What do you think that that means?"-Horton Hears a Who "I smell, I smell, [sewage]"-Land Before Time

I see a lot of people out here with designs and pictures on their shirts that they don't know what they are for.   I have seen a person in a Washington State University Sweatshirt and I asked him what it was for you know what he said???   He said for the first president of America.   Elder Brandonburg and I both wanted to cry.   That was of course last transfer, but even worse I saw a person with a Detroit Red Wings hat, and he didn't know what it was for.   I wanted to cry when I saw that.   It was all dirty and beat up and it was awe-full.   I was so sad.   I don't know where they get all of that stuff from, but I wish I knew.   They get some pretty cool stuff, TMNT shirts, Pokemon, Starwars.   I mean all this cool stuff, and they don't even know why it is cool.   There was a guy with the classic Beatles shirt you know with them all crossing the street, and the guy didn't even know who they were.   Sad.   

I don't know why, but in the right area of my area with the wind blowing the right way, you get a face full of sewage smell.   I think they are redoing the sewer lines or something.   All I know is dang, it don't smell good.   And we get it almost everyday.   It is interesting.   

This week we had Branch Conference in Kadoma, which is about an hour or so away from Chegutu.   So we organized to have a commuter bus, other wise called a kombe, to pick up members and investigators.   We had a decent turn out, and so off to Kadoma we went.   It was a fun conference, and since it is a mission ran group, it was presided over by the second councilor in the Mission Presidency.   Afterwards we had to wait for the Kombe to come back and pick us up and take us back home.   It was hot yesterday two.   NOTHING is worse then being in your suit in a Kombe for an hour and a half on a hot day, let me tell you.   Lots of people we are trying to prepare for Baptism but they aren't coming to church, that can be frustrating, but we will work through it, and things will get done.

 They gave me a different car then the one I had when I began, so I have learned two cars, one a Chevy and one a Toyota.   I am currently driving a red Toyota, and it is going well, though I still struggle with finding the friction point sometimes.   But it is going well.  

One thing I don't like about the area.   The speed limit signs and things like that are almost non-existent.   And you guessed it, I got a speeding ticket.   I thought I was in an 80 KM zone when I was in a sixty.   So thinking I was in an 80 I figured 75 was a good speed.   The police officer thought a $15 ticket was a good response to it.   Long story short, I will NEVER get a speeding ticket out here again, cause if I don't know the speed limit I am gonna go 60 since it seems to be the 35 MPH of Zimbabwe.            

"There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do."
-Dieter F Utchdorf Second Councilor in the First Presidency 

"Guided by the Holy Spirit we will learn from our mistakes.   If we stumble, we will rise.   If we falter, we will go on.   We will never waver, we will never give up."  
-Dieter F Utchdorf Second Councilor in the First Presidency 

"Please understand that having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and keeping His commandments are and always will be the defining test of mortality."
-Quentin L Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 

I know that the Priesthood Authority is the power to act in Gods name.   And I know it works.   A few weeks ago Elder Hove and I were asked to give a kid a blessing.   Just some kid, didn't know him, but they wanted him to have a blessing, since he was very sick.   So we gave him a blessing and then they thanked us and we continued on our way.   A few days ago this little kid runs up to me and asked if I remembered who he was.   After a moment I recognized him as the kid we had blessed.   He told us he had had the measles, and now he was feeling much better.   Now when ever we go past him he smiles and waves at us.   

I know Priesthood Authority is again on the Earth, and that it was restored through Joseph Smith.   I know that with it our lives can be blessed and we can be healed of sickness, comforted in times of distress and that with it sacred ordinances such as Baptism can be done the way God wants them done.   I know this church is led by a prophet of God.

"Remember the end?   That already happened it destroyed our cave. No that was the beginning of the end."
"I think those chickens are planning something.   Repeat after me: its all in your head"
"no he is a pet and he is mine.   Whats a pet?   An animal you don't eat.   We call those children."
"They don't let chickens fly airplanes!"

Love you all.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

"There's 104 days of summer vacation, then school comes along just to end it"-Phineaus and Ferb "One [murungu] alone"-Transformers 2 "Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?"-Rush Hour

It is really hard to believe that school begins tomorrow for all my friends and family members who are still in school.   It is weird that summer has gone past, for those of you in the northern hemisphere, and school is there.   Wow, I mean just wow.   Who would have thought time would go by so fast.   NOT ME!

I gotta say, it is interesting being the only white guy in my district.   We go to district lunch and everyone else gets Sadza, I get rice.   They all speak Shona.   I do my sign language.   It is fun, and we are getting along great.   It is just funny, the children here are still always so shocked to see me.   They all know my name now, Elder Hove's name on the other hand, not a one of them.   It is funny how that worked out.   Also I have learned that there are a lot of people here who speak very little English, and apparently I still have an accent cause lots of people struggle to understand me.   The feeling is often mutual.   It is sad really, but we are getting things done.

This week we are doing great.   Lots of people to teach, and several who have accepted the invitation to be baptized.   Lots of people who don't understand the proper way to baptize.    There are lots who were dipped in the water three times, or who were sprinkled.   All we have to do is pull out Matthew 3:13-16 and Romans 6:3-4 to help them to know how Jesus Christ was baptized and then they want to do it the right way.   Then we talk about Priesthood Authority and how without that it is like an icecream man trying to write you a ticket, and then they want to know who has that authority to baptize, and it all flows from there.   The people are so ready to accept the restored gospel, it is amazing.   President Cook and Sister Cook came to Sacrament meeting yesterday.   Afterwards we had a meeting as missionaries and President Cook encouraged and directed us in the work.  We finished with a powerful prayer for the area, and the people in Chegutu, for us missionaries and for the members, with President Cook calling down the powers of Heaven by the Authority of the Priesthood.   It was like a dedicatory prayer for our area.   It was awesome.   Oh, and President Cook basically told us to expect all of us to be here for at least two transfers.   So awesome, gonna be here for a while.

My companion and I are sick today.   It has been coming on for a while.   So now it is coughing, sneezing, sniffles, and head aches for yours truly.   I hate being sick.   It must be all the dust in the air, since it isn't cold here.   We are heading into Summer time, and everyone tells me it will get hotter before the rains come.   Man I am already dying as it is, and it is gonna get hotter?   Someone told me that by the end of summer my skin will be black as a natives.   That might be interesting.   

"I hope to be judged as good a man as my father.   Before I hear those words 'well done' from my Heavenly Father I hope to first hear them from my mortal father."
-Boyde K. Packer President of the Qurome of the Twelve Apostles

"So lesson number one from the Lord's vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevateyour standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live."
-Geoffrey R. Holland of the Qurome of the Twelve Apostles.

"Knowing the Gospel is true is the essance of a testimony. Constantly being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion."
-David A. Bednar of the Qurome of the Twelve Apostles.

I have been reading the Conference edition of the Liahona as of late, and I mean a lot of them.   I love to see how the people who are asked to speak(even though they aren't given an assigned topic like people in most church meetings when asked to give a talk) are prompted to talk on things that connect to each other.   The last few I have read have contained talks about the importance parents have in raising their children to obey God, and follow His commandments.   The talks seem to carry over from one person to another, following the message and building on it.   It never ceases to amaze me how powerful these men and women are, and how well they express their feelings and help us to feel the Spirit.   I am excited for next month when we get another General Conference.   I know that the leaders of this Church are called of God.   I know we have living Prophets and Apostles on the Earth.   I know God loves us and guides us.   I know that His hand is in our lives if only we will see it.   George Strait has a great song called "I Saw God Today" and it's message is that if we will look we will see God in our lives, if only we will look.  We have been teaching a man here, Constable Nherera, who has had some hardships in his life, and as we have been teaching him, he has told us of things that have happened in his daily life since we began to teach him, that I believe are tender mercies from God.   He has began to see God in his life, and I know we call all do the same.   

"You're almost ready to take over the restaurant, like I took it over from my father, who took it over from his father who won it from a friend in a game of Majang."
"Well my insides are already super peaceful, so what was it you did with your foot there?"
"Put that down! The only suviners we collect here are bloody knuckles and broken bones."
"Were close, I feel a kung fo chill running down my spine... sorry that's just me."

Do you know these ones?   They are number one and two.   

Love you all.