My Friends and Family!!!
I MISS YOU GUYS SOOOOOO MUCH!!!! Not a day goes by that I don't think of home, and all the people I left there :) It gives me great comfort to know that this "affliction" shall be for a short while. Don't get me wrong, I love being here in Uganda serving the Lord as a missionary. I have been able to touch so many people's lives in the short time I've been here and I wouldn't trade this experience for the world!!!
So the transfer news is in!!!! I think I'll maybe wait to tell you until the end of the email so you can just sit and stew...:D haha, no cheating, you have to read the whole thing from start to finish :D
Yesterday I had the privilege to baptize Brother Geoffry. I think I have mentioned him in previous emails...we met him as a street contact probably 4-5 times since the beginning of the transfer and invited him to church. On the fifth time he actually showed up to church. I don't know what changed, maybe it just took this much time for the Lord to work on his heart. Regardless, he is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!!!! And has taken the first step toward securing his eternal salvation. Sometimes I look back on this transfer and feel discouraged because I have only had two baptisms. When I look though at the strength of those two individuals I have baptized I feel better because I know that they will be strong for many years to come. ~short side note~ President opened a new area this past transfer and yesterday they had 35 BAPTISMS!!!! 35 new members of the church!!!!!! I was so happy to hear this news, but I was kinda jealous as well :) I can't even imagine what it would be like to have 35 baptisms on one Sunday. Okay...back to me :D
So maybe I will just reflect on the past transfer and some things I have learned. Not to brag, but I believe that I came into the mission field as prepared as any young man could be. I attribute this preparedness to the wonderful parents I have. Mom, Dad. I am "eternally grateful" (as the little green men say) for all you have done for me. I am a better person because of your efforts to teach me the gospel and show me the right way to live life. I am also grateful for the friends I have had throughout my growing up years. Each and every one of you has influenced me in some way or another. Keep living your lives the way you know God wants them to be lived, He will bless you when you keep his commandments, I know this for myself because I have experienced his love and blessings through obedience.
I have learned the value of cleanliness. Some of you may laugh because you know what I'm talking about. Living in an apartment with 3 other elders who will not wash their dishes, sweep the floor, or wash the tub after they use it has been the most difficult challenge I have been faced with on my mission so far. Young men who are preparing to serve mission!!! Start now to learn personal cleanliness, you will have a great mission if you can take care of yourself and your apartment. If you don't know how to wash dishes, ask your Mom, I'm sure she would LOVE to teach you :) If you lack the desire to clean up after yourselves, I don't know what I can do to help you there...:)
I have learned to be more humble. My first companion (Elder Butawo) is an African elder from Zimbabwe. He has been a member of the church for only 4 years. It has been difficult for me to be humble and accept his counsel. Many of you know how stubborn, and self reliant I am. It is the hardest thing for me to accept service or words of advice from others. I have been getting better but still have to tell myself to calm down sometimes when he is telling me things. I know that humility is one of the Christlike attributes we are commanded to nurture while on this earth. As we become more humble, God will bless us.
I have learned how to enunciate EVVVERRREEEE WOOOORRRRDDD :D People here in Africa have a very hard time understanding the American accent. I have learned to avoid contractions (i.e. "It's, what's, etc...) they just don't know what I am talking about. I have also been getting better at saying each syllable clearly and distinctly. If I talk to you when I get home and it sounds like I'm talking to you as if you were a child please forgive me. The only way I am able to be understood here is by using short, choppy sentences using vocal inflections very different from what we are used to in the United States. I am sure that I will learn how to talk American when I get back, but for now I must speak Ugandan-English. I think the only way to describe talking and teaching people here is to compare it to teaching primary. Almost all the people here (except Muslims) believe in Jesus Christ, but they don't know anything else other than he has "saved them." It is really fun to be instrumental in the learning process of these individuals as they learn about their Savior and how they can be like him.
All in all, this has been a great transfer. I have enjoyed getting to know the people and area of Walukuba. I know that I have been an obedient servant of our Heavenly Father and that he has blessed me with wonderful people to teach. Before I talk about he next transfer I get to tell you about my first injury on my mission. I wish I could tell you I was mugged or something cool like that but...So at our church building, we have an outdoor spigot coming out of the perimeter wall. One day as we were locking up the building, some kid was banging on the spigot. I started running over to stop him but it was too late. He had already knocked off the tap part of the spigot and water was spewing everywhere. As I was trying to get the water flow stopped I slipped on all the water on the grass and hit my head against a pipe coming out of the wall. I got a pretty nice cut about 2 inches long on the top of my skull. It was pretty shallow and I was able to get the blood flow stopped very quickly. I have suffered no serious loss of mental capacity, at least not any more than I have previously had at any time in my life :D Everything is fine!!!
Okay, I guess I will let you guys know what is happening for this next transfer. Actually...before I do I'd like to share a scripture with you :D It is found in the book of 2 Nephi 12:2. This is Nephi quoting from the teachings of Isaiah. He talks about Zion being built in the top of the mountains, etc...I'm sure that thousands of people have noticed this before, but I want to share it with you. We have seen many scriptures that have been fulfilled in the past 200 years, but this scripture stands out among the rest because it literally fulfills itself. If you look in the printed copy of the Book of Mormon, you will find that as Isaiah is talking about Zion in the top of the mountains, the word "UTAH" is written vertically in the center of the verse. SOOOO COOOLLLLL!!!!!!
HAHA, I'm never going to tell you the news...well here goes!!! I have been called to serve the Lord as a missionary for the next six weeks in the Kololo Zone, Ntinda District!!!!! Ntinda (ENN-TINN-DUH) is a suburb of Kampala and is said to be the "Hollywood" of Uganda. All the houses in my area will be owned by rich business men and government leaders. I am grateful that the Lord has seen fit to help me to grow by allowing me to serve in this area. My new companion will be Elder Goodner from St. George, UT. He is a Muzungu like me!!!! I know that it will be a new experience serving with an American elder but it will be a growing experience. We will be washing the Ntinda area, which means that all the missionaries currently there will be moved and a complete new set of missionaries (me and elder Goodner) will come in. The difficulty with this is that neither of us will know the area or people. I am expecting the first week or two to be pretty rough as we learn where the different members and investigators live but it will be a good experience. Also, we will have a supermarket in our area (which we didn't have in Jinja). It will be about the size of a small Macey's or Albertsons. The food prices are supposed to be through the roof in Kampala right now so I'm glad that I will have a little left over from serving here in Walukuba to help out. I'll make sure to write next week and let you know how things are going.
Until next time...
|Geoffry's Baptism day|
|Sunrise out our back window in Walukuba|
|Cut on head. All is well, please don't worry. No hospital, doctor or anything ;)|
|Brother Moses (Recent Convert) and Mom. We were really close to these two, I will miss them a lot|
|With Shila one of our investigators|
|With Shila, Rachael, Susan after a lesson|