Monday, December 29, 2014

"Don't you know it's a new year?"-Phineaus and Ferb "Jokers."-Batman Beyond "So is this [the left] or [the right]?"-Up "You got to be a straight shooter do ya got it?"-Aladdin

I know I used this quote last year at new year time, but come on, it is a whole new year!   A new year of possibilities, a year of potential and a year for growing closer to those that we love and to our God.   It is also the last year of my mission, but that is beside the point.   Now we don't really do new year resolutions, but let us all decide to have an even better year then the last one.

There is a term among missionaries, used for those who seem interested at first, then just don't have the guts to tell you that they don't want to hear more.   It is Joker.   Well there is a whole chunk of our area just full of them.   They ditch lessons and they avoid eye contact, they don't come to church and they just joke with you.   But in that same area we have a few people who are actually starting to make steps towards baptisms.   There is always a ray of sunshine.  
I have a difficulty driving in Zimbabwe, it is called getting directions from my companion.   We will be driving and he is giving me directions and will tell me "okay turn left up here" and so I start to turn left and then he goes "you're turning the wrong way!" and I have to hit the brake and swerve and I don't "mumble under my breath" (from "I been watching you" for those who are country fans as I am).   But like all of the missionaries out here who are from Zim do it.   It is really difficult to drive like that.   I've started saying Port or Starboard?   They don't get that.  
I find one thing kind of funny.   Zimbabwe culture is a culture where you beat around the bush.   I remember my mom told me that in Japan they don't say "I don't like you" the say "I don't like people who are like you" or some such.   It is similar out here.   Someone will ask my companion a question and he will answer it, but in a softer way.   They ask me the same question and I just go right through the bush.   Like a lady asked us if ministers should be paid, or pastes or what ever term she used.   She asked us to show her from the bible, and my companion answered and showed that they aren't supposed to, and she tried to counter with a different scripture, and I just told her "no, the bible tells us that they aren't supposed to be paid."   And she said "then why does my pastor tell us that he is?" and I said "cause he wants to get paid for it."   It usually works pretty well though when you just tell it to them straight.   Hopefully we will hear back from her.   We will see.
Two baptisms this week, not three.   One Baba didn't make it to be interviewed, he went to some place called Halfway.   Don't know half way to what, but he went there.   Still the baptisms were great, 45 adults at Sacrament and 31 children.   We are growing pretty well, and it sounds like the papers to make us a branch are being processed.   It is nice seeing things come together.   

My companion has been sick for the past few days.   Not so good.   But hopefully he will get better soon.  
I am running low on time.
I know that there is always a sunrise.   God is always there for us.   He will answer our prayers.   I know it.
"I object, over ruled, I object! Quiet! Darn."
"Gil, am I to assume every time we come to this here secret lair, you manage to sit in that exact spot, blocking that choice piece of property from my view!?!   This is my comfy place."
I love you all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Turn it up! I love this song!"-Phineaus and Ferb "It's good to be home"-Shrek 2 "[Thursday] is Christmas, it's practically here."-How the Grinch stole Christmas "You see this face? This is a happy [missionary] face"-Gnomeo and Juliet

I love Christmas music, Disney Music and Country Music.   But only two of those groups are approved for mission.   So when ever I get any Christmas music I am giddy as can be, and I love getting Disney Music.   I miss my good ole home town Country, but that can wait.   I have been getting Christmas music as the days have gone by and I love it.   I have also been getting Disney stuff as well, and will go into that latter.   But when ever I hear it I want to crank it up and just enjoy it. 
I got to go back to Gweru last week, the place where I was "born" for what might be the very last time, since there probably wont be another zone conference till February, and I also got to come back to Chegutu after almost a three day exchange with the District Leader.   So yea, it is good to be home.  
I can't wait for Thursday! Merry Christmas Adam, as my old companion Elder Sant would say, since Adam came before Eve.   I am so excited to call home, and to do what ever else I will do that day.   Mostly calling home is what I am looking forward to.   Only a few more days.  
I got my package from my parents a few days ago, let me tell ya, I am a happy missionary.   Disney Music, told you I'd get to it, and Christmas music, Candy, Pez, Muffin mixes, Lemonade and Cool-Ade and Slim Jims, and a great card with a Picture of the Birth of our Savior.   I love Christmas packages, nothing is better, well few things are better.  
Like Baptisms.   We are really coming alive with baptisms out here in Chegutu, and it will only get better as the days go by.   We are anticipating three baptisms on Sunday, and there are three couples that we are hoping to marry, one from our side and two from the other side.   Chegutu is doing great.   The reason I wasn't able to email yesterday was because we The Chegutu Group went to Kadoma for a Christmas activity, and wouldn't you know it I forgot my camera so, yea, that sucks.   But it is all recorded in my mind, where it will have to stay.   But it was a really fun time, and the spirit was powerful.

My companion is doing really well, we are both looking forward to the next six weeks here in Chegutu, and we are looking forward to calling home to our loved ones.   He has been a little bit sick, seems like the sudden change from super hot to nice and cold has had a negative effect on a lot of people, since it is now rainy season and has cooled off, at least a little bit.   

"When others demand approval in defiance of God's commandments, may we always remember whose disciples we are and which way we face."
-Lynn G Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy
"Courage is the form of every virtue at the testing point. Pilate was merciful till it became risky."
-C. S. Lewis
"Although it's been said many times many ways, Merry Christmas to you. Merry Merry Christmas to you.
In the story How the Grinch Stole Christmas we read the lines "it came without ribbons, it came without tags, it came without packages, boxes or bags" and then "maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more."   I testify that Christmas is found not in the packages, or the gifts, or the lights or the trees, or any of that, as nice as it is.( I did get bored and drew a Christmas tree to hang on the wall).   Christmas is found in that Holy Birth that occurred 2014 years ago, or there abouts.   It is about the Savior, who had such great "condensation" so as to leave His thrown on High, to "Walk upon his footstool and be like man almost" to "suffer, bleed and die" for all of us.   I know He is the living son of the Living God.   I know He loves us, I know He came here for all of us.   And in the words of a great Christmas song "He will come again, cause He was here".
"She can't stay here this is the men's room."
"Which door, there's more then one."
"Sully just think about a few names would you?   Lockness, Big Foot, the Abominable Snowman, they all got one thing in common pal, banishment."
"Jack, I'm only an elected official I can't make decisions by myself."
I love you all.   May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.

Monday, December 15, 2014

"I'm a [messenger] boy, alright."-Shrek "Say it loud say it proud!"-Little Mermaid 2 "I think two genders is too much for him"-Doctor Who "Is there anything for me?"-Robots

One thing that is really annoying here on mission, people treat me like I am a district leader.   Even my District leader treats me like I am a district leader.   It is always, "how are the other guys investigators coming along" or "Hey did you get the information about this meeting" or something along those lines.   I am NOT a leader.   I am simply a missionary trying to find, teach, and baptize.   I am perfectly fine with being someone president trusts to carry out assignments in the area, and all that good stuff, but I am not a leader and it is just weird being treated like one.  

Okay, picture this, my companion and I are tracting, and we walk up to the open door of the house.   In this situation culturally you don't knock first, you call out "goi goi goih" which basically means "knock knock knock." in Shona.   Right so my companion walks up and calls it out, like a tiny mouse trying not to be found by the big cat.   In Cali my companions and I would say "knock like you want to be heard" when we would walk up to a door.   Now when I call out "goi goi goih" it is usually in my big old "gonna call a huddle" football player voice that might shake the house apart.   The difference is really funny, he has started telling me to call out to the people in the house because of how loud I am.   Does that surprise anyone?  
I love my companion but it is the funniest thing.   Right, English is his second language, and it seems like Shona doesn't use pronouns, like one word refers to a man and a woman, depending on context.   So he will be telling a story and start by saying, "so this lady was going to..." right and then at one point in the story he will say "so when he got there she..." and I blink and ask him if the main character has changed.   I've started calling him Strax, the name of a Sauntarin in Doctor Who that can't tell the difference between a male human and a female human.   It has become a bit of a joke for us, and we both laugh.
So, got a call a week or so ago and was told that there is a package for me at mission office.   I knew you loved me.   Now the issue is, how do they get it to me?   That is the pickle.   I hope they find a way to do it soon, opening Christmas presents in January just seems like it will take the fun out of it.  
The area is doing great.   We had three people baptized on Saturday, Sister Matosi, and Panashe and Lindsay Nyamutora.   The Nyamutora's were baptized by their dad, who is progressing towards advancement in the priesthood.   I got to baptize sister Matosi.   I love seeing the group grow.   Hopefully in January at the latest we will become our own branch, and hopefully much sooner then that we will be in a better place to have meetings.   It sounds like this will probably be my final transfer in Chegutu, which means if that is case, then I got till Feb to get the work done.   Can I do it?   We will see.   The children are great out here.   They see me walk past and they come, like they are gonna greet me and welcome me to munchkin land, and they come running just yelling "elder Melot" it is kind of scary, like a whole group of them will chase me, the funniest thing is they pronounce my name best of almost everyone.   When we are at church they will come and I'll be reading or something and they will slip into my arms with a huge smile on their faces, and the adults laugh about it.   Often times the other missionaries will say "Suffer the little Children" and they laugh.   The kids love all of the missionaries, but they flock to me in herds.       
My companion is doing great.  He has really gotten the area down, and things are going really really well.   He is a great teacher, and he has a powerful testimony.   I love it.
"love should be the very heart of family life."
-Thomas S Monson 16th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
"Kind words and good manners will cost you nothing, and will add greatly to the happiness of those around you."
-Wilford Woodruff 4th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
"There is a destiny that makes us brothers; none goes his way alone. All that we send into the lives of others, comes back into out own."
-Edwin Markham
The children out here really give me a testimony of pure love.   Most of the ones in the area, don't know who I am, they just hear the others yelling my name, but they still come running with smiles on their faces.   They love all those around them.   There is one little boy, Devine, the son of a recent convert, who when ever he looks at me will just smile and try to mimic me baptizing someone.   "There is beauty all around when there's love at home" is such a true fact.   I know that God sent us here to learn many things, including how to love those around us.   I know as we love them we will receive that love.   Reach out to those who are down trodden, lift the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees, and one day when you need it, you will receive like wise.   I know it I live it I love it.
"Don't worry, we're on her like stink on a warthog. Hey! Its a hard truth Pumba live with it."
"I believe I made my position to your boss very clear. You put prune juice in his gas tank."
"Don't worry for once we aren't following ya, were trying to wrestle up some grubs."
"I'll give you some change for the bus fare, nah I got a bus pass.   That's gotta be like a million transfers to get home from here."
I love you all.      

Monday, December 8, 2014

"[Waterguns] there's nothing [better]"-Horton Hears a Who "Thats new"-Princess and the Frog "Well this is awkward"-Phineaus and Ferb

My entire house and the Kadoma Elders got water guns last Monday and we had a huge water fight in the Kadoma house.   One Elder, Elder Kwaramba got a launcher and he was just going to town, everyone else had little pea shooters, and we just soaked the house.   That was so much fun, and now we have them in the house, and we just have fights once in a while.   I'm telling ya man, there is nothing better on a boring day then filling up a water gun and shooting people with it.   I love it, and it is a great way to bond as a house.  
Several new things happening here in Chegutu.   Because of Christmas we have ended the transfer two weeks early, which means that today is the start of my 11th transfer on mission.   That's new.   Which means that this will be an 8 week transfer to get us back on track.   That's new.    Also I have stayed here in Chegutu which will be a total of four transfers here in Chegutu, totally at almost 6 months in an area, which is the longest that I have been in an area, and may be the longest of my mission.   That's new.   Yeah, so a lot of new stuff going on here.  
There is nothing more awkward then trying to explain to someone a reason why they can't get baptized, especially when it isn't directly related to them.   For instance.   There is a religion in Zimbabwe that encourages polygamy, and church policy says not to baptize them when the one or the other is involved in polygamy.   Worse is when it is the child of someone who is involved in polygamy who wants to be baptized but can't.   It is just awkward, and difficult to explain to them.  
I am doing well, and am doing my best to get lots of water, but it can be difficult knowing which water is safe to drink and which one I should avoid, out in the area where there is no filter to put it through. 

Still in the process of becoming a branch, they are filling out the paper work to send to Salt Lake to get approved.   I can't wait till we are a branch, it will be a great day.   We are having four baptisms on Saturday, which is great, the area is growing and the recent converts are super strong.   There are lots of things getting done, and in spite of the difficulty talked about above we still have lots of people we are preparing for baptisms farther down the line.   I love the people and all of the things that we are able to do with them.   What I don't like to much is there are so many people who want to argue with us.   There is an Anti-Message guy who is just interested in teaching us what he believes, and in proving to us that we are wrong.   I finely got sick of it and told him that isn't why I am here, and that if he wants to learn and to read he can call us.   That was last week, and no word so far.      
None of the families I have visited with have one (a Nativity).   I don't know what one would look like.   There are no decorations for Christmas, mostly becasue all of it is so expensive, I am thining about getting some lights, but trees are way to much and so is everything else.   I so wish we had a tree, and lights and all that good stuff, but I have hung up my stocking. 

My companion and  I are both staying here in Chegutu, which is nice, I really like Elder Muzonde, and now that we have gotten to know each other he is quite the talker.   (There is no spell check on the computer I am sorry if things are spelled wrong)   I have a friend who is serving in his home ward in Harare, which is pretty funny.   My companion has really connected with the people we are teaching.    
"Have no fear, slacken not your labors for the truth, live as becometh saints. You are in the right way, and the Lord will not let your efforts fail."
-Joseph F.Smith 6th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

"The Gospel of Jesus is the way of peace. To the extent we follow it and incorporate it in our lives, to this extent will we be blessed and prospered. What a wonderful thing it is to be involved in this glorious work. Let us rejoice in our great opportunity,
let us serve with gladness."
-Gordon B Hinckley 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints   
I testify that God loves us.   I have seen great people reach out to those around them and share that love.   We are God's hands on earth.   As we share our love for others and for Him, we help Him to take care of His children.   I know that He is real, and that He is there.   I know that as we stand firm in our faith of Him, as we stand by Him, He will stand by us.   I have been reading the Old Testament as of late, and even when it got rough for Moses and the Israelites they were upheld as they stood true to their faith.   We can have the same.
"No, my parents are wealthy, but they cut me off for being a leach!"
"Sony boy, I invented Hakuna Matata. Oh yea, well I perfected it."
"I wanna play with the big boys, why don't you? I tried once, it didn't end well."
"I feel like bowling with porcupines wasn't such a good idea. Yeah, right up there with bobbing for snapping turtles."
I love you all.


 My skin just gets darker and darker and darker.   It is never more obvious to me as when I step out of the shower and see my arms next to the rest of me.   I miss cold and wet. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

"We're gonna need.. some more peanut butter"-Phineaus and Ferb "There is no Santa Claus there is no Easter Bunny and there is no [Ju Ju]"-Megamind "we're all gonna die"-Winnie the Pooh "[Baptisms!] Now thats my favorite part"-Brave

I am sure that to those who know me this comes as no surprise.   But I find myself eating a lot of peanut butter and jam.   Our cooking supplies are limited and time to  cook when we get home is also limited, and it just takes to long, so I eat peanut butter most every night for dinner.   I should probably find some other stuff, and I am planning to, but still, I love peanut butter and jam.   And it is so easy, just make it, eat it and go study Pearl of Great Price till bed time.  
The people out here are super superstitious.   They believe in Ju Ju an mermaids and all this stuff that makes me think of the Twilight Zone.   They are afraid of everything that goes bump in the night.   I just tell them that it isn't real.   They look at me like I am nuts, and they all say one day something will change my mind, but I don't think so.   I say it is a lot of smoke and mirrors.   It is funny when members are freaked out by it to, just the mention of a mermaid in the dark freaks my companion out.   It is kind of funny.  
I think that the world is trying to melt us.   Even the native Zimbabweans say that it is way to hot for this time of year.   We are gonna die of heat, starting with yours truly.   I can't believe how hot it is, in the upper 90's I am certain of it.   I am melting like a snowman in my parents front yard on a snow day.   I am not kidding you, it is hot out here.   It started to rain yesterday and has cooled off as a result of it.   It seems that it will get almost unbearably hot, and then it will rain a bit, and then get hot again.   I am struggling with the heat.   Much easier to ignore cold.   

I love all the success that we have been having out here.   Six people baptized on Saturday all together, with at least five more on the way from our side, I have no idea about the other elders.   The people are hungry for the gospel, and I am ready to welcome them to the buffet.   I love it.   Favorite part, is definitely seeing people accept the gospel.

 I love the people we are teaching out here.   I really care for them.   Speaking of care for and prayers, could you keep the Nyumtora family in your prayers?   They are a recent convert family and they have a son who is very sick, has been for a while and is now in a hospital, and they are in need of prayers.   Please.   I would really appreciate it.  
The area is doing great, like I said, baptisms are happening, and there are people to teach, and things are just Bho.   I love it.   And I am picking up more and more Shona.   Probably wont ever be fluent, but I can understand most of the lesson material in Shona and say some few things.   It is a fun language, but tough.  

My companion is learning the area really well, and the people really like him.   Smart guy, and a great teacher.   But still the mermaid thing, I just find it odd.   But we are getting a long really well, and things are sweet out here in Chegutu.  
"Everyone of us has times when we need to know things will get better.   My declaration is that this is precisely what the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need.   There is help.   There is happiness.   Don't you quit.   You keep walking.   You keep trying.   It will be alright in the end.   Trust God and believe in good things to come.   Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ they come."
-Geoffrey R Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
I love this quote.   I first found it in the beginning of my mission when I was really struggling, and feeling discouraged.   It is a powerful reminder to trust in God's time.   It brought me comfort, and gave me the courage to carry on, when I wasn't sure I had it in me.   I testify that the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency are Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.   I know that they are called of God, given His divine authority, and are guided by Him to accomplish their task.   I know if we listen to them we will never fall away or be led astray.   I know it, I live it, I love it.
"A minuet before he knows we're there, old Rob'll snatch his underwear."
"Shooting a man in the middle of his chorus , it ain't good form ya know."
"Ahhh! Mommy... I've got a dirty thumb."
"I'll fight you man to man with one hand behind my back. You mean you wont fly?"
Love you all.