Greetings from Uganda!!!
First of all thanks for all the letters and emails, they are greatly appreciated since I only have 2 hours every week that I can be connected to home. Congratulations to Jimmer for making the Sacramento Kings!!! I'm sure that every BYU fan in Utah will be at the Energy Solutions Arena to see him play in his first game there against the Jazz. So...who did the Jazz pick up??? Kawai Leanard? I hope so, I really like him. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BENJAMIN!!! Everyone, Benjamin is now fifteen years old!!! Watch out for him on the streets of Lake Point now :D
I guess I will make this email kind of a Question and Answer email...I've had so many questions and I want to make sure I get the answers out so if I repeat myself or say something I've already said in previous emails please forgive me :D
First of all the language...So the official language here in Uganda (as well as the mission) is English. But two other languages called Luganda and Musoka are very common as well. I have learned basic greetings in Luganda (which is the predominant of the two african languages here in Jinja). So if I start out an email in the future by saying "Jabale Sebuls ni Nyabols" you can just understand that I am saying in essense "how is it with you, men and women." haha I've also learned how to say thankyou and your welcome...some things. I think I will include a "word of the week" in each email to follow along with the "plate of the week" and "scripture of the week" themes I am trying to make a habit. So this week the word is Jabale, meaning "How is it with you?" One of the most interesting parts of the language here is the accent. I think I have fully mastered (understanding) the African accent. I still talk like an American and little kids will laugh when I say something funny sounding. One thing I have had to get used to is how they say my last name. Elder Winters is pronounced El-daw Ween-Taws :D I've been used to listening to my name as Winn-Turrs for so long that I sometimes miss my own name even if my companion is talking to me. Another funny thing about the accents is the accent I myself am picking up. Even though Africans are taught English from a very young age their word and sentence comprehension is at a very low level. So...I have learned to talk very slowly and in short choppy sentences to ensure understanding. Also, I've learned to put the emphasis of words and sentences in different places to ensure that the investigator (or member for that matter) gets the point or subject of my message, cuz sometimes they will dwell on a non-important word in the sentence and lose the whole meaning. Am I making sense or is this all just blabber...it sounds like I'm just rambling, but I think I'm making sense. Sometimes when I talk or write I'm prone to over explain a topic or idea just because I feel that I'm not explaining it well the first time when in reality the concept I am trying to teach is coming out just fine and perfectly clear without further explanation. HAHA THAT WAS FUN!!! I haven't been able to talk complicated for a while :D
All right...some of you have asked about my companion and I probably forgot to mention some vital details...lol My first companion here in Uganda is Elder Butawo, he is a 26 year old Elder from Zimbabwe. The reason that the African Elders are so old is that they have to finish school (high school) before coming out. The high school system is a lot different from in the States. High school for Africans starts when they are sixteen and depending on how well they comprehend things could last till about age 24-26. They have six years of high school during which they spend time learning writing, basic math and geometry, history, and music or dance. One thing about these African kids is that they sure know their country and the other countries of the world. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these kids knew more about the United States than some of us do. :) Elder Butawo has been out for 10 months and can't wait to get home to his girlfriend Latisha who is waiting faithfully for him back in Zim (as he calls it).
One of my favorite things so far about my mission has been talking and teaching the members. My companion and I teach two classes during the week. One is on Sunday and is a Teacher Development class. I love teaching this class because it gives me the chance to share the things I learned both at the MTC and here in the field. Our goal is to teach people to be better sunday school teachers but the skills can be applied to missionary work as well. Last week I was able to teach a class on "Teaching from the Scriptures" which was really great. I love the scriptures and it seems like I haven't had enough time to spend in them while I've been out here. We only have 1 hour of personal study time every morning (which seems like a lot, I know it did to me while I was back home). I have come to realize since coming out here that there is SO MUCH scripture available to us not only the Standard Works but modern day scripture such as General Conference. I wish I had more time to devote to scripture study and I want everyone back home to know how lucky you are. Especially you youth and young adults. You have soooo much time on your hands and even though you might like playing video games or watching movies, PLEASE I IMPLORE YOU open the scriptures and learn from them. The word of God will bless your life more than you will ever know. The second class we teach each week (on Saturday nights) is a Missionary Preparation class. This is really fun. We have 6 young men and 2 sisters preparing to serve missions right now. The material is pretty much the same as the Teachers Development class but is geared towards missionary work. We spend about half the time running scenarios and exercises to prepare these prospective elders and sisters for things they will see in the field. I LOVE missionary work, it is so much fun and I really like seeing the fruits of my labors. I have included a picture of Sister Vivian and her sister Patience taken during a lesson at her house. We are hoping that Sister Vivian will be baptized on July 10th which will be at the end of our transfer.
So we have District Conference coming up on the 2nd and 3rd of July. This is like Stake conference but on a smaller scale because it is composed of branches not wards. It will be presided over by President Jackson (the mission president) he is also the District President and guides the creation of branches in Uganda, Sudan, and Rwanda. The Jinja zone of missionaries has been asked to provide two musical numbers for the general session of the conference on Sunday. SO I WON'T HAVE TO MISS OUT ON STAKE CHOIR!!!! I know it's not going to be the same as our fantastic Stansbury Park Stake choir but I love to sing so it doesn't matter. On top of that I have been asked to prepare the Primary of the Walukuba branch to sing "I love to see the temple" at the district conference as well (see pic of me pointing while sitting at piano). I don't know why I was asked to do this since I haven't told anyone that I used to work with the primary back home...but I'm glad for the opportunity. I'm so glad that we have a piano at the church building and that I have been given permission to play it whenever I have time. I really miss playing on a real piano, and I miss all my music but I'm glad to have what I do have.
So I guess I will end by explaining each picture as well as giving the scripture and plate of the week...
-5671 is the plate of the week. Pineapple, sausage and an omlet with tomato inside. The pineapple was a pretty good sized one and cost only 1500 shillings (about 68 cents!!!)
-5669 is pretty self explanatory. I love getting letters. It is so much fun to be able to sit down at the end of the day and read about what is going on at home!!!
-5659 So I found a place in Jinja that sells Snickers!!! They are 2800 shillings (1.15$) but it was worth it for a treat.
-5696 practicing with the primary kids in preparation for district conference
-5664 some people have asked what the power outlets look like, hopefully this helps :D
-5677 Teaching Sister Vivian (left) and Patience (right)
-5679 what I call Seussy African chickens (if you don't get the pun go ask your mom :D)
Scripture of the week is: Alma 31:31 and Alma 34:41. These two scriptures talk about having patience with all things. I have been required to have a lot of patience with companions (both my own as well as the two others living with me) and with investigators. Since I KNOW for myself that the gospel is true, I want other people to automatically know it as well. This causes problems during lessons because sometimes people just don't get it and I want them to. These scriptures also comforted me in my homesickness problems, saying that if I am patient with my afflictions (being away from home :D) that I will be blessed and will be reunited in due time.
It has been a great week!!! I miss you all!!! Be safe, know that you are in my prayers. On that note...I know now why missionaries families are blessed so much when their sons and daughters are in the field. Yesterday I counted 37 vocal prayers in which I prayed for my family and friends back home. I believe that God hears those prayers and blesses you.
I love you guys!!!
|Plate of the Week|
|Dear Elder Letters|
|Playing the Piano and Teaching the Primary|
|Brandon with Sister Vivian and Patience|