Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Zimbabwe Harare Missionaries

Can you find me?

"Scream and Run."-Cat in the Hat "Dusty"-Finding Nemo "Happy Birthday."-Phineaus and Ferb "I love that guy"-Barnyard

I had a great laugh this week, but you might hate me for it.   The children out here they always react differently to me.   Some can't wait to run up and see me and others can't wait to get away from me.   So we went to the house of a potential investigator(someone that wants us to share the Gospel) and there was this little girl in the gate we were gonna walk through so I tapped her on the head and smiled at her, and she looked at me for almost ten seconds, then screamed and ran to her mom, the person we were going to teach, who started to laugh, and then told us she was busy and we had to reschedule for another time.   It can be interesting.   

Let me put it this way, we walk all day long in the area, it is getting windy, which helps to keep us cool on hot days, but with no rain for months there is a lot of dust that gets kicked up into the air by wind and cars driving way to fast.   So yeah, just lots of dust in our faces.   

This week on Friday, is the birthday of my dearest Mother and my beloved sister in law Rylee.   This Friday, the 27th of March, people I am putting it out here, my mom doesn't like birthdays but I am not there to do anything for her so I am counting on someone else to help me this year.   I can't send a package with a cake mix in it, would be bad by time it got there.   I just want to say that I love you both, and I miss you much, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Well this week we had a surprise.   Elder Lane, my old Zone Leader from Gweru came to visit us, but his mission had ended, so what does that mean?   His parents came to pick him up and they are staying her in Zim till the 27th, they are going to visit all his old areas, and they are going to Vic Falls and it sounds like it will be fun.   I loved seeing him, it really made my day.   

The area is now really big.   We have been working with our Branch Mission Leader and we are trying to learn it as best we can, but it is a little difficult.   We are pushing as missionaries to get people prepared for the temple, and then to have them go there.   I love helping people understand about the importance of the Temple and all that goes with it.   We have been trying to find people who invited us to share more about the gospel with them, but a lot of the information is not good.   But that is just how it is.   

My companion is doing alright.   Been trying to get to know him more, he wants to be an IT guy, and he is super good with computers.   He is actually learning the area really fast, so that is nice.   He is a bit of a quiet guy when he wants to be, and he listens to really annoying music, but that is just how it is.   

"Missionaries who learn to faithfully obey are blessed with power.  President Ezra Taft Benson emphasized the difference between reluctant obedience and willing obedience.  When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power."
-Jeffrey R Holland

This really means a lot to me as a missionary and as a person.   Some people think that we ought not to obey, or they obey because they are forced, but I have seen that when our quest is to be obedient to every word of God, not cause we are forced, not because we have to but because we want to, then we can become powerful instruments in God's hands.   I know He doesn't just give commandments for no reason, but to help us become better.   I have seen blessings and miracles come from obeying Him.

"I want you to know that even though you tried to terminate me, revenge is not an idea we promote on my planet."
"Try not to look like a country bug, blend, blend in."
"Hey Woody's driving RC, and Buzz is with him!"
"Here you go slick, enjoy.  Thanks, Hey I said no salt!"

Love you all.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Letter to Momma

Dear Momma, I am excited for the Winter, but I have no idea when it will be here, or if it will be here.   The weather is all out of wack.   It should be raining out here but it is all sunny and warm, it should be cooling off but it is staying the same, and all of that stuff it is supposed to be doing but it is not.   I hope it will cool off, but it might not.   I am trying to embrace Coach Parkhurst's "68 and Breezy" mentality he would always tell us Football players.   It is getting closer.   It is supposed to be in April, towards the end of it I think.   But I am not really sure.   

Our Sunday was good, we had three investigators at church this week.   That was nice, and one of them has a baptismal date we are working on with him.   We got out transfer news on Saturday.   I am staying with my companion, and we are now covering all of Sakubva.   Used to be there were two other missionaries there, but now it is just us.  the other two are now gonna be in Mutare Town Branch, still in our house and still in our District, I am still a District Leader, but they are what is called White Washing, meaning that they are gonna be starting with no idea about the area.   That ought to be interesting for them.   I miss our ward on Sundays, and I miss singing other songs.   My friend Elder Mushala and I always laugh because we sing the same songs every week.   We say the Green Hill is not so far away any more, and that we don't even Praise the Man anymore.   It sounds horrible, but we always sing the same old songs, I mean I wish we would change it up a little bit.   

I know that my last transfer ends on the 11th of October and that the following Tuesday I will be flying home, getting home on Thursday or Friday, depending on how things go.   I do not know the date of a definite yet, since they wont tell me for a while, but you can just go to the calendar on the phone and count out every six weeks and then boom.   

I am not very excited for the birthday thing.   They do some weird stuff on your birthday out here.   They cover you in mud and milimeal and water and they just really make it hard to want to celebrate the birthday.   It will be interesting, cause it seems to be something no missionary gets away from.   They do it to members and everything.   If it happens I will try to get you some pictures.   I forgot that I wanted one of those CD holders, I will just have to look for one out here, since the CD cases are starting to die.   But don't worry about it.   I am sure I can find one.   I don't mind when it gets here mom, I am just glad to be remembered.   I have nothing to send you on your birthday, except lots of love, and a letter that wont be there for yours either.   

I am enjoying the service, things are just a little slow out here.   I like to say we are on one of those Old Timey Hand Carts from Phineaus and Ferb and we are going up a hill.   It just takes some work.  

I miss you momma, and I love you so much.   

"Hello [Elliot] It's [Melot]"-Open Season "Tone Deaf"-Emperors New Groove "I'm staying [says the] old man"-Hotel Transylvania

Man people out here just can't get my name down.   I mean I have heard some pretty weird attempts at my name.   Melton, Melot(pronouncing the t) Elliot was the funniest one, Menlow and lots of others, all from the adults.   The kids actually get it down pretty good.   But the adults, they always just butcher it.   It is a little funny, but no matter how many times I tell them how to say it, they never get it down.   

I think my companion is tone deaf.   Like we will be at home and he will be listening to music and trying to sing along and it is just so bad.   I mean, maybe he is trying to sound like a stuck pig, but I don't think so.   I just don't get how he can be so off note on songs that he says he loves.   It can be a little irritating, but I am learning to live with it.   Slowly.

Well, six more weeks of Mutare, at least.   I remember back when I was a kid, and on Ground Hog's day you would hear that it would be six more weeks of winter, and it sounded like it would be really long, but then you get on mission and the last six weeks feel like they were here and gone all in the same day.   Crazy.   So anyway, gonna be here in Mutare, covering all of Sakubva Branch, last transfer it was only half that we were covering, and so now it is all of it.   Which means we are kind of white washing, since we only know our area, and now need to learn the other area as well.   It will be a good experience, and hopefully some good will come out of it.

The area is doing good, and we had three investigators at church and two new investigators.   We are going through a list of Potential Investigators that was started back when I was first here, and got lost trying to find places, and it is actually giving us some success.   Which is nice, cause we need success.   We are working on reactivating members who have stopped coming to church for one reason or another, and it is starting to work, a little at a time.   We are trying to help prepare people to go to the Temple and that is working pretty good, just have to get the ball to roll more and more.   

Me and Mandiquesse are both staying here in Mutare, gonna be together for another six.   That should be good, just have to keep working and get things done.   

"No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellowmen."
-Thomas S Monson
"At times the wisdom of God appears as being foolish or just too difficult, but one of the greatest and most valuable lessons we can learn in Mortality is that when God speaks and man obeys, that man will always be right."
-Thomas S Monson

Too often in life, especially I have seen, in the mission field, people begin to think that they are smarter then God.   They think they can do things their own way and that it is the better way, even when it is not God's way.   I don't fully understand how people get caught in that trap, but they do.   I feel it is sad, when good people start to decide not to listen to "He who knows all things"(2 Nephi 2:24) and do things their own way.   I know for myself that there is no other way that makes any sense then God's way.   I know that God will always be right, and if we will follow Him, then we can be too.   I know He will guide us as we are willing to be led.   I know He loves us.

"First new monster in years, and we can't get like a wolf man? Just somebody to play cards with."
"Why is your dog wearing glasses? Cause his insurance wont pay for contacts."
"I may not have a brain gentlemen, but I have an idea."
"Whats your favorite sport? Well, is inventing a sport? Cause I think I hit a home-run with this one."

I love you all

Monday, March 9, 2015

"If you're going to [lie to me be smart about it]"-Monsters Inc "I am not from here"-Rio "How [crazy] can [you] possibly be?"-Lorax

Lots of people are really stupid when they try to not have us visit them.   They will talk to us and we will ask, hey so do you stay here in Sakubva, and they will say Yeah I stay in 313 Maonde.   Then we say could we come and visit you next week and share our message with you and your family?   And they say, uh well actually I live in... Harare... and I came out here to visit my... sister... who lives in Dangamvura.   And then the make a hasty farewell and then they leave.   It is really sad that people wont just say to us that they are not interested in our message.   I wish they would just have the guts to tell us, it would be so much better.   It is an interesting way to try to get out of  seeing us though, it tells us you are not interested in the message.   

So, a fun part of being here in Mutare is that people mistake me for other American missionaries who have been here before.   Like a guy named Elder Romney who was here about a year ago, and people are all like, "I saw you here last April" and I just think no you probably saw Elder Romney.   It is cool that he left that much of an impression on the people that are here, cause it sure wasn't me they saw last April, unless they were in California.   I keep telling them that I am not from here, not sere how many believe me.

People are crazy in the things they believe about us.   Lets put it at that and leave it at that.

This week was pretty good.   We got to go see Elder Hamilton in Harare, which was good, and I loved it.   He talked a lot about putting our best foot forward, and talking with people about things that really matter, and about obedience and he told us about how well the missionary efforts here in Africa are going.   It was really good, and I really enjoyed it.   We also were blessed with a potential investigator who came to church and two less active brothers came back too.   We are trying to get things rolling here in Mutare, and it is starting to move, it is just a slow movement.

My companion is okay, a little stubborn and thick headed at times, but that is just how it goes.   He has a powerful testimony and he is a good worker in the area, and so we are working hard to get things done.   

"Insomuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land, but inasmuch as ye shall not keep my commandments, ye shall be cut off"

This message is one that is found a lot in the Book of Mormon,a declaration from the Lord to His people through the prophets that we must be obedient if we plan to be blessed and prospered.   There are some commandments that God gives us that are simply there to see if we will obey Him in all things.   It may seem easier to ignore some of the small ones if we want to, but the Lord cannot look on sin with any degree of allowance, and we are here to prove ourselves obedient to the Lord.   I know that as we are obedient we are blessed and prospered.   I know that the commandments are God's laws given to His people.

"Why can't they call the adorable snowman or the agreeable snowman for crying out loud?"
"I'm looking for the Ugly Step Sister.  Oh there you are."
"Sully, that's a cube of garbage.. oh.   I can still hear her little voice, hey I hear it too.   How many kids you got in there?'
"My diet is ruined! I hope your happy!"

Love you all.

Monday, March 2, 2015

"Great, first the car"-Incredibles "[Mission tour] it's gonna be big" "watch where you're going ya numb skull! Hey I''m walking here!"-Hercules

I am driving an very crappy car.   It was last serviced in 2013.   That is interesting.   The clutch is bad enough I can start from a dead stop in third, at least(the last guy did it from 5th) the breaks are bad, the electricity isn't connected properly, and this all adds up to I have to get it the dang thing serviced.   Once it gets serviced it should be a pretty good car, but dang man it is rough right now.  I almost wish they hadn't given me the car, but there is nothing I can do about that.   

We are having a mission tour tomorrow.   Meaning that Elder Hamilton a member of the Quorum of the Seventy will be visiting and training us tomorrow to help us be better missionaries.  I am excited for that.   So we are leaving Mutare today to go to Harare, and have our mission tour with five other zones.   That will be huge, like really huge.   I can't wait to see what we are gonna be taught and all the people that I know that we will get to see.

I just looked out the window and it raining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    I am excited for that.

I got to say I often feel like both of the people in this part of the movie Hercules.   Phil almost gets run over, cause he isn't watching where he is going but he gets mad at the driver.   People out here just don't seem to understand the concept of "Look both ways BEFORE you cross the street".   They just step out there and then you have to try not to kill them.   Then there are the times when you have looked both ways, and start to cross and some Dofo decides to be a Dofo and almost kills you.   Just another day in paradise.   

We are doing well out here in Sakubva.   We had an investigator come to church, which is nice since she is getting baptized next week.   It has taken a lot to get someone to that point, but it is worth the wait and the work.   I am enjoying it out here in Sakubva, every area has it's good points. I am just trying to work hard, and help my companion in all that I can.  That is just how it is.   Lots of people have a bad view of the Church out here, and so we are trying to help get ride of that by doing service and table contacting and all that good things a missionary does.

My companion, Elder Mandiquesse, is a pretty good guy.  He is hard working, and he loves the work.   Most of his family is less active, and so that makes being on mission an interesting experience.   He can be quiet and kind of secluded at times, but he is a good guy.  

Fetch, I forgot my quote book.   Umm, give me a minuet.   

"I will go and do that which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of me, save he shall prepare a way that they may accomplish that which he hath commanded them"
-1 Nephi 3:7

Lots of people here in Mutare, the missionaries especially, have this bad opinion of the work out here.   I was talking to a good friend of mine who served out here in Mutare and has gone home already, and she mentioned how it is all just a mentality thing.   The Lord will never command us to do the impossible, for what is impossible with the Lord?   I know that as we "put [our] shoulder to the wheel [and] push along" then the Lord will push with us and then we can do all the things that He would have us do.   I love this work, and I love the Lord, and the area and all of it.   I pray that we may all trust the Lord and respond to his call just like the great prophet Nephi did.

"It was pitch, I felt it in me belly.   I'm supposed to postpone Easter cause you're having indigestion?"
"Isn't there someone else you can annoy?   Family, Friends?  Poisonous reptiles?"
"I'm all laughter and fun time, and you're all hard work and dead lines, no offense.   Yeah, what part of that was supposed to not be offensive?"
"Alright if you can cross that sink whole in front of ya, you get the sloth... so you were bluffing?   Yea, that was a bluff."

Love you all.