Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Yep I arrived safely! It was another long and smelly bus ride and we got stopped twice by the patrol cars in the middle of the night and had to show our papers to prove that we were here legally. But it was a good trip. My new area is called Viana, and there used to be 6 elders in this area but now there is only 4 so our area is huge, (meant for 4 Elders) This place is full of sand, no dirt, just sand, and it gets everywhere. I'm still trying to get to know the area and the members, but that will come with time. The humidity is back and the mosquitoes as well. In fact I am sleeping under a net now. Its a lot nicer than before AKA without a net. But this Saturday and Sunday we had District Conference (Stake Conference). It was very cool. We had all the members from Luanda in one room! Something like 650 to700 people. The church is growing!!!! And it won't be stopped!!
I am the new district leader in Viana as well and I don't really know what I am doing but we shall see how that goes. We had a meeting the other day with the Zone Leaders and I received a small training and what not. There are a lot of changes going on now that President Merrill is here, and changes for the better! The Lord is hastening his work!!
This morning on the way to Soccer my name tag got bumped off in the taxi. Good thing I have one more, but I was pretty livid that it was missing. This week we had two mystery fone calls from Less active members that we didn't know existed. They somehow got a hold of our number and told us that they wanted to meet with us. We went over and thinking that they were investigators but come to find out they were less actives. Two men that moved here from the Congo 8 years ago and didn't know that the church was here and a lady that went off the grid 2 months ago. It makes me think of the scripture in D&C that every soul is great in the eyes of God. And all three of these mystery members came to the conference this weekend!!!!!! Cool huh!? That is something that we are going to be working on a lot more is member missionary work, and going after the lost sheep that have fallen away. I also found out that Edson, the man that I baptized way back in the beginning of my mission is less active. I called him today and talked to him for a min. I'm not sure what is going on but i will try and find out.
We had a lesson with a man named Luis. He is brand new investigator. We gave him the Book of Mormon a few days ago and passed by 2 days later. He had already read up to I Nephi chapter 13!! Holy smokes, that never happens! I was so surprised and super happy. We set a baptismal date for him for the 26 of October but I'm thinking we might move him up a week. He is super prepared by the Lord. He told us that he trusts us and that we will decide when he gets baptized. He said he knows that we know when he is ready, extremely humble and willing to follow the will of the Father.
I love missionary work! I love it so much!! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!!! I love all of you so very much!!! I pray for you every day!! You are my heroes!!!! Don't ever give up!
Keep the faith!

September 16, 2013

So yes, I did get transferred... We are leaving tonight to go back to Luanda. I will be in an área called Viana with Elder Dunkly, a Texan. It is extremely hard to leave Huambo. I love the people here. Dad, yeah we have been doing a lot of seed planting. but nevertheless i love this place with all of my heart. All the members and the investigators. They have even been teaching me Himbondo, the native dialect. I can hold a very basic conversation, but its really funny when they see a white guy greeting them in the native language. I get a kick out of it. But Huambo is my home, We are leaving tonight on another long bus ride to Luanda. it was really hard to say goodbye, But I know in whom i have out my trust, and He needs me somewhere else. I have learned so much here in Huambo. I cant describe the love I have for this place.
Fun fact: In this last transfer alone I have seen 6 motorcycle accidents. crazy huh.
Caleb.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRO!!! I can call you my bro because your my brother and my bro, yeah? Your going to be 15!! Bhaa, What the heck man, slow down. Heh, I would send you a presente but it might not get there so ill just bring it home with me next year.
As far as Daniel and Martihno, Daniel came to church but Martihno just couldn't get work off. and he is like head of the police department so I assume its pretty hard. But for the last 3 weeks we have had 0 investigators at church, but yesterday we had a whopping 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was thrilled out of my mind and the fact that Daniel came as well!! When he introduced himself he said," I didn't got to my church today because the activity they are doing today doesn't interest me very much." Heh, it was hard not to laugh. But now he is in the hands of Elder Clifford and Whitaker. I know they will do all they can for him. But i think he feels a lot better about the church now, and he went to the huge lunch we had after so that was good to create some friendship with some of the members, especially Beato.
President and Sister Merrill did come down and gave amazing training. Sister spoke on faith and teaching. She is an amazing presenter and brings the spirit so strong whenever she talks!! She said something very interesting. She asked in what ways the Savior tought. And we narrowed it down to to principles. Love. and Questions. He teaches so much just by asking questions. It was like a light bulb went off in my head, because when you yourself are asked a question you have to think about it na you learn a lot more than if somebody just tells you. Its a concept that I don't understand completely but will try more to teach in this way. President talked about Obedience and that obediência brings power. If we want to be powerful missionaries then we need to be obediente. All in all it was an amazing two days. I gave the Sunday school lesson again for the last time, before I leave.
Right now we have 13 missionaries living in our house!! its a bit messy... the Lumbango Elders came up as well as our replacements from Luanda and the assistentes. So we have had a full house the last few days. Elder Tilley is the new branch presidente here in Huambo, and I know he will do a great job! AH I love Huambo!
Well wish me luck on that nice long bus ride through the night.
Amen doku sole chalwa - (Himbondo)
Eu vos amo muito
I love you very much

September 9, 2013

This week was just as crazy as all the rest, granted that I did not eat another guinea pig head or almost punch somebody in the face, it was still a crazy week. Its a very difficult área, partly because its really new and a very religious city, Huambo. The Branch is very new and still have the Deer in the headlights look. But they are all starting to see that things still haven't been started yet. Its been voiced and the desires have been planted, all that needs to happen now is action. We have been stressing so much member missionary work and references for a long time. But I finally feel like the members are starting to catch the vision. The ball is going to start rolling here in no time. And President Merrill is coming down on this weekend so that will help out a lot and get the members more gung ho about missionary work. Its really cool to see things unravel along the way. But I have the feeling that I will be leaving this next transfer next week. I don't want to leave though. I loove this área so much and all these members are amazing!
But we just re visited an old Investigator that went to Portugal for 2 months but returned not to long ago. He is amazing and is super focused on the Family. He is basically head of all the police departments, doesn't participate in a religion, and is married legally. He really wants to meet presidente Merrill. His name is Martinho. His wife Vanda is super super nice as well and is due in a couple of months. Beato (a member) thinks he will be the next Branch presidente. So keep your fingers crossed.
Daniel, the man that read the BOM twice is coming along. He wants to merge our two churches together. He is having a really hard time accepting that There is only One church of Jesus Christ, but he knows what he has to do. He understood everything we told him and he paused and said. " I need to pray about this, come back in a week and I will have an answer" So keep your fingers crossed for him as well.
I love you all and hope you have an amazing week of school and work and fun. Don't Forget to have fun every moment!!!
Keep the faith!

Below is a photo of the Huambo missionaries, along with President and Sister Merrill and some Elders from Luanda.

September 2, 2013

Zions camp went pretty good. It was the first time this was done her down in Huambo so there are some things we could have done better. But over all we had 25 people that came. And yes, we were pretty much in charge of it. We did almost everything. We played lots of games that are applicable to creating Zion/ A place of unity/ a people of unity. At the end of the day we split everybody up into 4 groups and did rotations. Each one of us missionaries took a topic and gave a short 20-25 min lesson and discussion with each group, then at the end we had a testimony meeting. It was a little strange because more that half of the boys weren't members and they didn't know how to bear testimony, but they tried. It was great!! But half way through the camp Elder Clifford got sick. So he was down for the count. And then Saturday night he spent the night in the bathroom vomiting and having diarrhea. I felt really bad for him, It was miserable. And so I spent the night on the phone with Sister Thompson and making him concoctions of salt and sugar for him to drink so he wouldn't get dehydrated. He didn't like them very much but he had to do it. We were going to go to the hospital at like 23 o'clock but the hospital didn't have the things that we needed. We needed a clinic but they were all closed. So we just ended up going Sunday morning to get him tested for Malaria, but he came back in the negative, so they think he has Typhoid. But he is doing a lot better, The fever, chills, and headache are gone. So he is recovering pretty fast.
But we didn't get a chance to visit Daniel this week because he was out of town . I want to go talk to him so bad. Without fail, this week we will see him. But our área is struggling still. We are still doing a lot of finding. I did have a bitter sweet experience yesterday though. We went on a division so I could get out of the house (I was there with Elder Clifford all day and didn't go to church) But on our way home we ran into some drunk guys. They stopped us and started asking us weird questions. Like "Where is the Garden of Eden?" One of the drunk guys was like "Oohh I know I know... its in Iraq" It was pretty funny, one because of his answer and two because he was answering the questino of his friend directed at us. But then one of them started asking us questions trying to get us to mess up and trying to stump us. So I said to Elder Castleton, lets go, I don't want to talk to these drunk guys. The one man got fuming mad and started chewing me out. He layed into me telling me that I as a servant of the Lord can't judge people and tell them they are drunkard just because they are drinking beer. He got me fuming mad. He yelled at me for about 1 min saying vulgar things and insults that would make your hair stand on end. I snapped. I actually swung a punch in the direction of this mans face with the intent of railing on him. But my fist stopped inches in front of his face and my finger stuck out and was almost touching his nose. I was confused and stunned for a min that my fist didn't make contact. So I told him to stop talking and we walked away as they were laughing at us. I do feel ashamed that I wanted to hit him; but I was physically constrained. I learned a lesson. And he was partly right, I did judge him, and just because somebody is drinking doesn't mean I shouldn't talk to them. Every single one of these people are all children of God. So I felt very bad that I said I didn't want to talk to him because he was drunk. I have no right to not share the gospel because someone is doing something I dont like. In fact it is those people that we are here to help the most.
But this week we also ate ginnipig (guinea pig) -don't know how to spell it. A member that lives in a mud hut invited us over for lunch. He killed the animal right in front of our eyes, gutted it and cooked it over the stove. I got to eat the head. I almost gagged but I put it down.
Well I love you all

August 26, 2013

Well Today I don't have a lot of time because it took me forever to get this stinkin computer working. But this week was a miracle and the same time super rough. We have 11 new investigators this week and did LOADS of contacting. And at the same time we are trying to get the branch running and up on its feet. But we have a lot of less actives that we are trying to work with. One of them just up and left to another city and didn't say anything. But James, one of out less actives is coming back and even gave a talk in church on Sunday!! This weekend we have a campout. Its something similar to Alma Camp. We are calling is Zions Camp. Its for the Sacerdócio and anyone that wants to bring friends. Its the first time anything like that has been done here but we are all super excited!! Our investigator Lucas is really struggling though. He feels alone, partly because he is. He has no parents and his his sisters don't help him. His house is a 20 by 15 foot closet. (smaller than mom and dads bathroom) But he has desire and Is extremely humble. I love him so much. He said that no matter what he is going to be baptized on September 21!!!
I will tell you about Daniel. One day we got a call from a random number and the he wanted to meet with us. We went over the next day and found out that he lives in the boonies of the boonies. But it was well worth it. He was given a Restoration pamphlet from a friend and a Book of Mormon. (We have no idea who the friend is, a man named Salgado) From what we could tell he had already read the Book of Mormon and had started over. In just 2 months!! He also taught us the Restoration and said that he found some anti-Joseph Smith stuff of the Internet, but that that didn't bother him. He said that he already prayed and received his answer. And he knows that the book is true and that the Prophet Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God. He talked as if he was already a member. He his also a big shot in his church and said that he had already talked to some of the people there but that he was going to talk to as many as he could to see if they would accept the message. It was a MIRACLE!!! He talked for the better part of an hour and we just sat there in awe and wonder of this man inspired of God. He also testified that he knows that his church has Prophets as well. And then told us this story about how one of the leaders of his church back in the year 2000 had a prophecy. He prophesied that there was a church in the United States that had the fullness of the Gospel that would be coming shortly to this people. It gave me the chills These people have been waiting for this for years! I have never cried in a lesson before but I was teary-eyed, for a good while.
I love this work, It is difficult, but I have to remind myself that I'm not in it alone and that there is someone who has already passed thought it. The refiners fire.
I Love you all and pray for you often!!
Keep the Faith