Monday, March 11, 2013

Little Clay Ovens - March 11, 2013

Hey Everyone :)

The weeks are speeding up. Everyone always said that the two years fly -- at this rate they really will. One moment I am emailing home and the next moment it seems that I am emailing again.

This week we have had a lot of successes when it comes to teaching lessons. It seems that lessons have been just falling into our laps. We had been really hoping for the best and trying to do our best so that we could end the last two weeks of the transfer on a high note. We really just put our heads down and tried to get a lot done this week. In spite of that, the week started off a little shaky. We continued to push forward and the blessings flowed. As we walked around corners people would say, “Awwww elders how are you how have you been”? We would just look at each other in surprise and then ask the person who they were. Almost every single time that people greeted us this way, they had previously been investigating the church very seriously. They had discontinued the discussions because of business (business trips here last for up to a year). We have people that used to be investigating the church just fall into our laps asking to be taught. I love those moments.

We have really been focusing on our current investigators instead of finding people. This has made scheduling really tricky to find enough time to teach everyone and plan new appointments. It’s all worth it. Everyone needs the gospel so it is a great thing to see the amount of people we have to teach grow.

At the beginning of the week we had 6 baptisms planned for next Sunday March 17th. I was really excited and we were trying our best to visit all of them at least every other day so that they would not get tempted and lose sight of their goal. We did a good job of meeting with each of them. Their names are Oscar, Isaac, Dan, Wilfred, Eric, Jimmy, and Latif. A good rule in the Ugandan mission is that you can’t baptize someone if they don't come to church a certain number of times. All of these people were right on track to hit just the right amount of Sundays so that they could be baptized on March 17th. Elder Bulloch and I were really excited.

This past Sunday rolled around and only 4 of them showed up. This was kind of a bummer we then had to push back the baptism dates of the two people that didn't show up to church. On the bright side there are still 4 people who are ready to be baptized next Sunday. :) It was just kind of sad to push back two baptism dates -- but you know the rules are the rules.

So far, all is good with me. :) Elder Bulloch and I decided that we would start running in the morning with Elder Migijima and Elder Chuya. Oh my goodness! Running with two people from South Africa who have been running every single day of their lives is super tough. I feel like my lungs and legs are going to give out during some of the dirt hills we run up. I can say that I keep up for the most part (which is a nice feeling).

On Wednesday we had a meeting with the missionaries throughout the entire zone. We met with them and talked to them about how things are going and how we all can improve ourselves to be a more successful zone. It was a really interesting meeting to say the least. Some of the missionaries were just disrespectful to the Zone Leaders that were conducting and leading the meeting (elder Chuya & Bulloch). It was unbelievable. I just sat there and listened in amazement as a very select few were trying to show off by being disrespectful. It was kind of funny because in the end I kind of snapped at them. They all tightened up and shaped up. I felt kind of dumb about snapping at them but in all honesty I think it was long overdue for that meeting.

This week I was able to see some of the people that were in the MTC with me. They all seem to be doing pretty well. One of them is struggling because he stresses too much. Yes, missionary work is stressful but in all honesty it’s pretty fun. You can have a really good time while you’re doing it if you make it fun, just relax and take a breath every once and a while. I hope that he can work it out, be able to calm down a little and enjoy the ride.

I saw something this week that everyone will probably get a good little laugh at. In Uganda, they use these little clay ovens that are about the size of a soccer ball and cone shaped. These little clay oven get super-hot. In simple words they are crazy hot on the outside and deadly hot on the inside. They burn coal in these things and then put a pot or pan on top for cooking. You usually find these cooking stoves on the ground outside of doorways when they are in use. A few days back my companion and I are walking at dusk and we see this women coming toward us who is just glowing red. I couldn’t figure it out.

Her face was literally glowing red in the darkness. As I got closer and closer I thought that this woman must be a super-hero because she had one of these burning clay ovens balanced on her head. On top of the clay oven was a large pot with food cooking inside of it. I was dumbfounded and looked at her in amazement. Not only did she have a burning hot clay oven on her head but she also had a boiling pot of food on top of the oven. She had turned herself into a walking food stand. I couldn’t believe it. She was a work of art.

Here is another cool experience for this week about a man named Eric. He is not the same Eric who is getting baptized this Sunday. He is an investigator that has been taught for a very long time by many elders. He has not been able to give up alcohol during this time. In Uganda, they have these little spirits packs that are sold for next to nothing (500 shillings or the equivalent of about 20 cents in US money). Anyone who wants to drink can get ahold of these little alcohol bags that I would guess are about the equivalent of a shot in the United States. They are about 40% concentration -- pretty strong stuff. This guy has been drinking about 12 of these a day for a long time. Over the past few months he has been able to wean it down to fewer and fewer drinks every day. This week we committed him to drinking one every other day. And he has been able to do it so far and it is amazing to see. After one more week we are dropping it down to two a week. After that, one a week and then finally, no more. It is really cool to see his countenance change as he slowly works his way off of the alcohol. I love it. I think he is going to make it :) He came to church this Sunday. Just awesome :)

The Lord’s work is moving along here. We really work hard and we try to do everything exactly as the mission president asks. There are a lot of blessings that come from this. It is amazing to see how things have changed while I have been here. The gospel really changes people and blesses their lives. The gospel is really here for all of us -- everyone on the earth.

I decided to try a new local food this week and it a good idea! It was probably one of the best dishes that I have had in a long time. Either my standards in food have really dropped since I have been here or this dish was just awesome :) To be honest it is probably a little bit of both -- my standards in food dropping and the food being relatively good. The food is called injera and is an Ethiopian dish. It is a flavorful dish with a large mixture of spices. It is served with a flat bread (to be honest it looked like an extremely thin piece of Styrofoam). The bread was a little bit sour tasting and the toppings were a bunch of really spicy mixtures of meat. It was very good. I really liked it.

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