Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another week in the pearl

Ok I forgot to tell you, I did get my rain jacket.  I have already used it. So life is all good!  No worries guys, it came!  If it had not come, my shirts would probably be ruined. I actually got it the day after I arrived. It works really well.  I stay warm and dry so honestly it is perfect.  I really like it. And it looks good too so what more could you ask for--the best of both worlds. Dad you were talking about some hiking sandals that you wanted to send well don’t send them. Elder Facer had to get special permission to wear those sandals. He wears them because he picked up some snail in the water somewhere that gave him an insane form of athlete’s foot (he got it in Lake Victoria).  It is not contagious but it gets really bad when his feet sweat so he got permission to wear sandals so that it does not spread up his legs. It is slowly going away.  He showed me a picture of what his feet used to look like.  It literally looked like leprosy, the disease that is in the bible. His skin a few months back looked like a spider had wrapped his foot in spider web so it has gotten a lot better over the past 5 months or so.

Well to start, we taught the coolest lesson ever to a recent convert who is less active this week. His name is Godwin. He is a really cool guy. He is about twenty three or so. Before the missionaries tracked him, he was smoking two packs a day and drinking enough spirits to turn over an elephant. The missionaries taught him for a long time and he was able to give up all of that and was baptized. But when we taught our lesson, he wanted to talk about the story of the fruit and the iron rod because that is his favorite lesson in the Book of Mormon. He was talking about how he thought the fruit was the sweetest fruit in the world because he loves this gospel. It was really cool because he was basically teaching us. He was talking about the above mentioned and then everything stopped. He just stopped talking. Then he just sat there for a long time.

Then Godwin just broke down and started crying and talking about how he wishes his father would just partake of the fruit. He told us how staunch Catholic his father is. And he loves his father but his father would not listen to him whenever he talked to him about the gospel. Well it continued on and he talked about how much he loves the gospel and how badly he wants his father to be a part of the gospel with him.  He wants to share it with him because he knows it will bless him and his father’s lives if they are in the gospel together. It was a really powerful lesson.  Words cannot describe the feeling that was in the room.  It was remarkable.

So the people here have so little. They literally sleep on nothing.  Often times there are just a concrete floor in a one room house. This one room house has a ten by ten space, with maybe a few wooden stools to sit on and a little Coleman stove looking thing that they cook and boil everything on. Now that you have this image in mind you can imagine how little these people have. So Brian and Moses, the guys I baptized two weeks ago are so grateful. So after teaching them a lesson, they both gave me something. I had trouble accepting it because I felt awful taking anything from them. Honestly, they have nothing whatsoever. Brian gave me a couple bananas and Moses gave me three chapattis. I struggled to take them.  But I couldn’t say no because they insisted.  It was a really cool experience. It really shows how little these people care for themselves.  They are just so loving and want to help each other out so badly. It’s really, really an amazing thing to see. Talk about being humble.

So I have been meaning to tell you all about the public bathrooms.  They are crazy thing. So they dig a rectangle that is about three feet wide and ten feet long and about 30 feet deep. Yes, 30 feet deep.  It is about 900 square feet (if my math is right) which is insane. They dig it all by hand! One guy goes down in the hole and fills a bucket of dirt with a shovel. Then the other guy on the top side pulls the bucket up and passes it back down to the guy at the bottom. And then the guy fills the bucket again and it gets pulled back up to the top and emptied again. This process goes on and on and on until they basically dig this huge trench. After digging this huge trench, they literally just place little huts on top of them and leave a concrete hole in the hut that you do your business in. It’s not the most pleasant experience; I’m not going to lie.  But it’s a memorable one that is for sure.

Dad you were saying that I always need to wear shoes and yes I know. I wear shoes almost 24/7. The reason I wasn’t wearing them in the baptism pictures is because I was just about to get into the tank.  So I had taken off my shoes. :)

So the bananas that Brian gave me were amazing. The fruit here is unreal. But the best part was I made the bananas into banana bread. It was the sweetest banana bread I have ever had. The bananas here are so sweet you barely add any sugar to the bread batter. It was crazy how sweet it was. I wish you guys could try them.

So in Mutungo there is a mental hospital. And occasionally people escape. (Not dangerous people).  So when people escape, they just kind of roam the towns. Well I did not know this until a few days ago. SO this guy walked up to me.  I was more than happy to talk to him.  He was obviously interested in learning about the gospel or the church or something. So I greeted the guy and started talking to him. During this exchange, I couldn’t help but notice all of the people staring at me as I was talking to him. They were all like what is this Mazungu (white person) doing is he insane.  He can’t seriously be talking to that guy.

Well during this time, Elder Facer had been talking on the phone.  He was also looking the other way because he was trying to figure out where we should go. After ending his call, he turns around and sees me talking to this guy. He was like "Uh Elder Bitter we need to go to an appointment.  Let’s go..." I kind of looked at him like "Um hello! I’m contacting someone right now." But in the end, I was like alright let’s go. We walked about ten feet and then he looked at me and was like: ”What in the world were you doing!” hahaha.  I responded, “I was teaching that guy about the Doctrine of Christ.”  Elder Facer then looks at me and says, “Did you not notice he was wearing a light blue jump suit!”  As I thought about it, I realized he had been wearing a light blue jumpsuit.
I said "Yea he was wasn’t he". Well Elder Facer then went on to tell me that we were standing next to the mental hospital and he had somehow escaped. So basically I was teaching a guy that had escaped from the mental hospital of Mutungo. That was an embarrassing moment!

A side note, I would love for you guys to send the clippers. Clippers are so expensive here it is insane. Just make sure it is marked under 40 dollars. And that they are in the smallest box possible.
So this week we had another baptism. Elder facer and I didn't baptize him though. A guy that Elder Facer had baptized two transfers ago (12 weeks) in this area had a son that just turned eight years old. So the father had the opportunity to baptize his son which was way cool to see.
Well so the first transfer for me is over as of today.  So I am no longer being trained. On Wednesday, we find out transfer news. So I might be transferred to a new area or I might be staying here.
Cool story about what we are going to do. Well here you don’t buy pre-packaged chicken because that is how you get sick and stuff like that. So you literally have to buy a whole live chicken. So all the missionaries in the apartment and I are planning on buying a chicken and cooking ourselves a meal. (You really have to cook it thoroughly here though). So that will be a new experience preparing a chicken that is alive when you buy it!  I will have to let you all know how that goes.
We tracked into a family yesterday.  They are way cool. The father’s name is Stanley. He is a middle aged man with three children. He and his family were so ready for the gospel!  It is amazing to me. They invited us in.  They just love everything we are teaching. It was one of those lessons where you know the family really understands what you are teaching and is feeling the spirit because they are asking all the right questions.  For example, “How do I know if the person that baptized me has the authority of God?” And “How do I know if God is answering my prayers?” and many more. It was really a cool experience.

Well TJ if you are reading this I wish I could figure out how to get a little gift from here to you. They sell Mountain Dew here in glass bottles. They are so dang cool looking it!  I have never seen this particular bottle.  As soon as I saw one, I thought, “Man I wish I could get one of those to TJ.”   I will have to take a picture of one of it and send a picture home.

Grandma Bitter everyone here talks about how good the bread is in Uganda. It is pretty good; I’m not going to lie.  BUT every time someone says that the bread here is the best, I tell them that they need to try your bread because your bread is literally the best! They always ask what makes your bread so good.  I tell them it is the sweetest, softest, best tasting bread that a person can have. So everyone here knows about your bread and how amazing it is. :) Your bread is the good stuff in life :)

Well everyone that’s about it for this week. I love you all!
Elder Bitter

Below are pictures taken during the MTC and his first few weeks in Uganda