Monday, January 21, 2013

My First Baptism

Well it is this time of the week again to give everyone a heads up on what has been going on. Haha. Well there has been a lot this week so I will try to remember everything so that everyone can keep up on what is going on here in the PEARL OF AFRICA.

Well so we flew out on Tuesday and the flight in general was pretty uneventful (luckily there was no throwing up or anything like that). To start I had the opportunity to sit next to a lady that was from South Africa. She was a flight attendant so she had flown to Uganda many times. I had the opportunity to talk to her all about the country. She was pretty funny. I honestly had no idea what she was saying a lot of the time but I tried to get the gist of what she was saying haha. One thing I remember her saying was it is HOT in Uganda and I just sat there and was thinking I may literally die on this mission haha because in South Africa I was roasting when I was inside an air conditioned MTC haha. But to say it simply I had no idea what was coming my way hahaha. That flight went by pretty quickly because the lady and I talked most of the way about Uganda and all of the places she had flown to. She told me all about all the places I would be going on my mission and she informed me all about the things I should do and not do.

Well we finally landed. What a relief we entered the airport! Anyway, we were all going across the border where you show your passport. After about thirty minutes of waiting we finally made it through. We then did our head count and realized that we were two short..... Whoops.. Well we all split off into companionships to look around to find our two lost sheep hahaha. After looking for about twenty minutes none of us were able to find them anywhere. We then started to think up all the possible places they could be. We realized that we never saw them make it through customs. We instantly all new that they were stuck and were being interrogated or something (I laughed I know I shouldn’t have but it was kind of funny)…so we continued to wait. After waiting for another couple minutes we decided to walk to the border control and look for them there. It turns out that the border patrol lady had told those two missionaries that she had always wanted to learn about the church. So they hopped right on top of that. They were pulling out pass along cards, pamphlets, and book of Mormons. The lady had enough literature that she could have read all month and not been able to finish it all hahah. 

After finding our lost missionaries we then proceeded to leave the airport where we were greeted by our mission president. There isn’t anything too crazy to tell about that. The exciting part involves our road trim. Well we load our bags into two 12 passenger vans that were being driven by local members. As soon as we hit the roads I knew that I would not have to worry about dying from diseases because I knew that I would probably perish before getting to the apartment hahaha. The roads here are INSANE. There are no center dividers, no yellow lines, No nothing. There are not even those little reflectors.

Well since there are no lines or reflectors, you would think that the local drivers would still have some sort of laws that govern the road or something. Furthest thing from the truth. Our drivers were driving these vans like they were brand new Ferraris. They were constantly dropping gears, swerving between cars, driving on the wrong side of the road to pass slower cars (which weren’t really slow, they just weren’t at hyper-speed). If we tried to pass a car and there was a car one hundred yards ahead driving towards you, you wouldn’t slow down and return to your “lane”. Instead, you drop a gear, floor it and start flashing your Brights at the person coming hahahaha. Basically, driving here is like one big game of chicken. The whole drive here I just couldn’t help but think back to the days of when Jon and I would play Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 (it’s a racing video game where you drive around and dodge cars all day).

Well we finally made it safe at last--such a good feeling. Oh yea. Side not, the roads here are also completely unpaved. They are simply wide dirt roads covered with ruts and very large pot holes…so that added to our adventure. That little card that was given to me that says DO NOT RIDE BODA BODAS (motorcycle taxis) was good advice. Those guys are insane drivers! I don’t understand how they even make it through the day. They race around so fast it’s remarkable their little bikes can even handle it hahah

Well we then arrived to a place to stay and slept for the night. Then next day we met with the Mission President and we were given our new companions. I was paired up with Elder Facer. He is from southern California and lived about 30 min from us in California.

After that we had training all Wednesday. Not much to say there. It was really spiritual though. Thursday came and it was now time to get to the missionary work. We started looking over everything and we noticed that all of the people that they had been teaching were starting to either go completely A-WALL or they were getting baptized. So in simpler words we were running out of people to teach which meant we needed to find new people to teach…and fast.

So we slipped on our shoes and started walking and talking to everyone we saw. One thing I learned very quickly about the culture here is they don’t like to say no. They will do whatever it takes to avoid directly saying no. So when you would ask them to come join you for church they would say "I will try” or “If I have time I will come” or “I don’t know we will have to see" Which translated into American English means "I’ll pass” or “no thank you” or simply “no".

But to be honest the people here love the gospel. They are always willing to listen about the church but they don’t really want to change religions. They just enjoy hearing about Christ. My companion is a way good guy. He knows know to just keep going. So no matter how many times I was told no we would continue to just keep going and eventually, we would find someone to teach. The more people you teach, the more chance you have to find someone that will come to church.

So as the day went on we began to find people that would actually have a desire to come to church. This is always the best feeling in the world because you then realize that it’s always worth asking everyone. Well out of all the people we have been teaching there are three people I would like to talk to you all about. The three people are Joseph, Brian, and pastor john.

When we were tracting we were walking down one of the "towns" here. As we walked we were greeting people and talking about the gospel. We then saw a stalky built guy sitting on a stool leaning against the
wall with his shirt off. My first thought: “there is no point in trying to teach him because he will just say no” but that was wrong! haha. As we introduced ourselves he wanted to know everything. He was
truly anxious to learn more. He was commenting on everything and wanting lots of clarification. He was asking very in depth questions and then out of nowhere he was like “I want to come to church with you.” That was an awesome feeling. We barely had to do anything. The Lord had truly prepared him for the Gospel. He is now coming to church next Sunday and he has been reading all the literature we gave him and he has been keeping all the appointments (they call appointments programs here) we have set up with him. So I am extremely excited for him.

Brian is someone that my companion has been teaching for the past couple weeks. He has been very receptive to the Gospel and has been very committed to coming to church and keeping his commitments. He is a very honest man. He tells us his concerns so we help him get through them. He has been doing amazing at keeping all the commandments. He has apparently changed a lot from when my companion first met him. I really wish I could have met him before so that I could see the changes my companion has seen.

But that is not the coolest part. On Sunday I had the opportunity to baptize him. It was really an awesome first baptism for me. Him and I get along really well so he was happy and I was happy. We baptized him in a large metal tank that looked like an empty American dumpster that had been cleaned out. His name again was Brian Mugabe (How to pronounce Moo-Gah-Bee). There was a little humor to the baptism though haha. Me being a rocky at this whole baptism thing—I kind of forgot to tell him to plug his nose and close his mouth when he went under. So I dunked him under the water and he came out spitting water out of his mouth like a broken drinking fountain hahaha. All the missionaries there were giving me a really hard time about it hahah but it was good in the end. Brian was happy and I was happy :)

Well pastor John is a really interesting story. We were walking through one of the "Towns" again and saw this family just sitting and talking. So we sat down and started teaching them. They were really receptive so we asked if we could come back another time at the end of the lesson. At the end of the lesson an older guy walked up and started basically yelling at us in a different language. We had no idea what he was saying but it seemed pretty obvious that he didn’t want us there. After him speaking for a little while a friend of his started to translate for us. Well apparently he wasn’t mad at all! Apparently he was welcoming us in the name of Jesus…so he must have been very happy to see us. He then asked if we could set up an appointment and teach him and his whole congregation (about three families worth). I was like “wait what???” But sure enough he wants us to teach his whole congregation about the Gospel! So we will be meeting with them tomorrow and teaching them all. We will see how that goes :) we’re both really excited about that haha

I know that I keep saying "Towns" so I think I should clarify what that means. There are large long buildings here that have tin rooms (I’m in Mutungo). The buildings are usually about fifty yards long. They are divided up into a ton of little homes that the families live in. Each home is about ten feet by ten feet. The people that live in these homes are so humble it is remarkable. They live their lives so simply yet so happily. They are all amazing people. If they accept the gospel or not I can’t help but love them because they are always so kind and so welcoming. They are filled with love. All the little kids in these areas, whenever they see my companion, yell Mazungoo!! (Pronunciation Ma-zoon-goo) which means white person. They are always running and jumping. They are so happy it blows my mind. The simplest things mean everything to them.

Dad you asked what I eat here. Well to be honest when I cook for myself I eat eggs and toast, bread and peanut-butter, or bananas hahaha. I live simply I guess. That’s about every meal for me when I cook for
myself. But I have treated myself to this thing called Rolex (just like the watch). It’s a Chipati (really thin bread almost like a tortilla that is really soft). It has eggs, peppers, tomatoes, and parsley in it and some other stuff. It is honestly amazing. It is for sure one of my top ten favorite foods of all time. It seems very plain but the flavor is unreal. You should look it up and see what is actually in it and let me know hahah

It’s insanely hot here by the way. My shirt is always glued to me by the end of the day and the collar is brown hahah. It is so humid and so hot. I literally have to drink water constantly or I think might just melt away. Oh I almost forgot! We had nine new investigators that we tracted and taught this week come to church. That was a very nice feeling of work paying off.

Well I think that is about it for what has happened this week. I’m sorry I didn’t reply to everyone’s emails personally I just had a lot to say this week and time is always limited because there is a lot to do.

I love you all
Elder Bitter

1 comment:

  1. Omg, Steve I am totally cracking up. Rudy asked what was so funny & I read him the part about your road trip on the not so much of a highway. Rudy has video of that from when he was there. He said its like the 405 freeway & you go from the slow lane all the way across the whole freeway to avoid the ruts in the dirt, no paved highways just dirt. Btw they do get rain, it's just not the right time yet. Praying for you
    Love you Rudy & Deb