Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 7th 2011

Good morning, (good night for you guys I guess...:D) It's weird knowing that we are almost on an exact opposite schedule being 10 hours apart...When I wake up you go to bed, then it's time for me to sleep and you are just getting up. The jet lag is going to kill me when I come home :D

D&C 18:15-16 "If you bring but one great shall be your joy..." This week (yesterday) I had the privilege of baptizing Sister Vivian into the true church of Christ on the earth today!!! It was a really neat experience because not only was it "my" first baptism on my mission but I played an instrumental role in her conversion. As you know, I met Sister Vivian as a street contact the first or second week I got here. I have been here with her from contact to baptism recipient. A lot of the other elders in my MTC group have been having some baptisms throughout the weeks but it hasn't been the same because they are for people that were taught by other missionaries. There is just something about being with someone through their whole conversion process and being able to see how strong they are and where they have grown. The Lord has truly blessed me and my companion. I know that we were sent here to Walukuba to help Vivian come to a knowledge of Christ and what he would have her do in her life. Verse 16 of the scripture cited above talks about how much MORE joy we will have if we continue to labor and bring more souls to Christ. I will be 2 months into my mission on the 17th and have 22 more months to go. I hope that I will be a worthy servant and do my best to be an effective missionary.

So I guess I will tell you of the "exciting" time we had trying to get the font filled. On Saturday morning we set aside a 2-3 hours to clean the font and get it filled for the service on Sunday. We got there and I got to work scrubbing every inch of tile. After draining the font and rinsing it down it looked spectacular!!! Time to fill it right??? Well...we turned the knob and nothing happened. We called the Branch President to see if he had turned off the main water source or something, it turns out that he had. This wouldn't have been a problem except he was spending the day in Kampala and wouldn't be back till morning (Sunday). So, in order to make sure we had a baptism font for use, Elder Butawo and I rolled up our sleeves and decided to do it the old fashioned way. We grabbed two buckets from the janitors closet and went out behind the church to the spigot. Yep, you guessed it...we filled the entire font (well full enough to baptize :D) by hand, bucket by bucket. This is Africa!!!! I think it was a really good experience for me because it helped me see (as other things I see every day) that we are truly blessed to live in America (and Canada for all the Canadians in the crowd 'A).

So a really sad thing I have seen more and more of as I've spent time here in Uganda is physical abuse of children and spouses. I was talking to two teenage girls and they told me that their father beats them on a regular basis. The conversation came about because I saw her hands were all cut up...The father wasn't even drunk, it is just a way of life over here. Also, the abuse of husbands toward their lives is really bad here. President Jackson spoke about this very topic at our Adult session of District Conference. He said point blank that this should NOT be happening. I have resolved to never use physical force as a punishment towards children, after seeing the hands of those girls (who were only trying to defend themselves) I felt so bad. Mothers, Fathers, Husbands, Wives. Please, show proper respect for your family members. Never, Ever physically abuse someone no matter how much you think they "deserve" it.

Okay, on that note...we have our new Transfer Assignments that will be coming in on Wednesday. It is the moment of truth. Will I stay...will I go...will I have a new companion or spend another six weeks with Elder Butawo? I think we are really starting to get into the swing of things now. We will probably have 4 baptisms on the 17th (next week) and are scheduled for another 4-5 on the 24th and 31st. When I got here to Walukuba Elder Butawo (who has been here for 4 months) wasn't actively progressing anyone towards baptism. Whatever the reason I don't the first 2 weeks of the transfer we spent our time finding people to teach. It is only now (at the end of the transfer :/) that we have been able to stabilize our teaching pool with people whose baptism dates are spread out so that we can have 3-5 per week. I hope that I get to stay here in Walukuba because I have worked so hard to get these people started on their way to Christ and I want to continue the work here. Well...only Wednesday will tell :D So depending on where I'm going and what I'm doing I might not be able to email next week. For transfers we travel on Monday so I might be on a bus or in a taxi all day. If you don't hear from me please don't worry, just know that I'm probably changing locations and will update you as soon as I can.

So yesterday I was able to give a talk to the Walukuba branch on the importance of making and keeping commitments. Here in Africa a lot of people have a problem with this even the church members. I talked mostly about the importance of our baptismal covenants because we had so many investigators at church yesterday. One thing I challenged the branch members to do is to be at church on time. When sacrament meeting starts (1st meeting of the day) we usually only have 30-40 people and by the time the closing hymn is sung we have between 110-120. People are showing up late and missing the most important part of their day, of their week. The sacrament is so important in our lives and when we miss it we miss out on the blessings promised in the sacrament prayers. I don't know about all of you but I WANT to have the Spirit to be with me always. The only way we can do that is partake of the sacrament and renew our baptismal covenants. I thought of an interesting concept this week during personal study. We know that we are promised God's spirit to be with us always, but why...? I came across a scripture in Helaman 4:24 (I think....I don't have a BOM with me :D) that talks about "...Holy spirit cannot dwell in unholy temples." When we sin, we dirty our spirits and make ourselves unworthy of the spirit's presence. Every time we repent and seal the repentance by taking the sacrament we become clean and worthy of the Holy Ghost's presence. I am so grateful for the sacrament and the cleansing power of Christ's Atonement. Every day we make mistakes and I would encourage you to repent so that you can feel the cleansing power that comes from that action.

All right, that's all for now folks!!! Have a great week, don't have too much fun without me :D

Elder Winters

 "Goondy Bird" Also known as a Crane (not quite sure what kind of crane) When they soar they look like a Pterodactyl. These things are about 4 feet tall when standing and their wing span is like 6-7 feet!!!

On the shore of Lake Victoria. This is at the docks where all the fishermen come in. Yes it stunk SOOOO bad!!!!

Sunrise over the church building. Not quite a Utah sunrise's the best I've got

MTC buds meet at a Mission Conference in Kampala (Thursday, 7th)

Ugandan President's helicopter coming in for landing at the Kololo airstrip next to the chapel in Kampala. YES!!!! I HAVE HAD MY EYE CANDY!!!!! Let me say this was the secular highlight of the week :D

Ugandan money. Paper money is pretty self explanatory, coins from top down: 500, 200, 100, 50 Ugandan shillings respectively. Current rate of exchange 2500 UGX to the US Dollar

On Friday we did a service project for a Ja-Ja (old lady) in the branch. She wanted to plant a garden so we dug (weeded and tilled) the dirt for her. Yes I got blisters, 8 to be exact.

Highlight of the week. Sister Vivian's baptism.

"We are not the ordinary..." Two teenage guys trying to be cool on mission haha!!!

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