Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Trainer Moves On - February 11, 2013

Hello again

It is about that time again my friends to write my weeks events. It’s kind of funny I never thought I would look forward to writing about anything but I really enjoy emailing home. Everyone always tells me to keep a journal but I don’t like writing by hand so I consider this to be my journal I guess this is my new online journal. I have started taking little notes throughout the week that will remind me of experiences to write. I hope that this email will make sense overall because this is going to be a little bit different.

This week has been good but all over the place in terms of events. To start Tuesday was exchanges. Exchanges went pretty well except that I lost my trainer. We were all convinced that my trainer and I would still be together because it has only been a few weeks since I arrived. I still don’t know the whole area that we are assigned. I assumed that I would continue to be with him so he could continue to introduce me to all the people that are recent converts, less-actives or something like that. Man was I wrong.

Tuesday morning he got a call from the Mission President. Let’s just say this call was not short by any means. He was in the room talking on the phone for almost 30 min. After the thirty minutes Elder Facer walked out of the room white faced and pale. I started to assume that he had gotten another assignment that would be a tough one -- like being a zone leader again or something like that. Well I was very wrong.

President Jackson stole my companion away! President Jackson assigned Elder Facer as a new AP (assistant to the president). So now he starts working for President Jackson. He immediately started calling people and taking reports and things like that. The craziest part of the day was we were assigned to go pick up new missionaries from the airport. Elder Facer and I drove the pickup truck to the mission office. After arriving at the mission office we picked up the van from the office (one of those 16 passenger vans). As we walked inside and exchanged the keys out for the van, a storm rolled in at that moment. Oh my goodness was it raining. It was seriously raining like nothing I have ever seen before.
We ran from the office straight to the car and within that six yards of running I was completely drenched. My shirt and pants were soaked all the way through. It was like running through a fire hose. Well we hopped in the van and had a two hour drive ahead of us to get to the airport. As we drove the weather got a lot worse and the winds started to really pick up. The winds got so bad that they were ripping signs off of billboards and the wind was blowing down large walls that were next to the freeway. By now the wind was really trying to howl and man was it loud. There is more to come. The draining systems aren't very good here -- well to be honest they are not good at all. It was raining so hard and so consistently that water was pilling up on the roads and the gutters and drains on the side of the roads had water coming up and out of them. Soon the whole road started to get covered in water then the next thing I knew we were driving in about 13 inches of water. It was pretty crazy.

Well we proceeded to go and pick people up from the airport. By the time that we made it to the airport we were out of the storm so it was nice and dry. So we picked up missionaries that were straight from the Provo MTC. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Coming straight from a first world country to a third world country was a really big shock for them. Well delivered missionaries to their places for the rest of the day which meant lots of driving and lots of boredom. We basically drove from 10:00am till 1130pm.

When we were driving back from the airport and coming around a bend, this guy coming the other way tried to pass someone and he just did not have enough room by any means. Elder facer tried to avoid a collision but didn’t have enough time. The guy ran into our mirror which swung inwards and hit the door and was totally destroyed. The impact of the mirror was deafening. The situation turned out ok because the guy turned around and asked us to file a police report so that he could pay for it all. (Wealthy guy)

Well after we finished driving Elder Facer and I parted our ways and I was assigned my new companion. My new companions name is Elder Bulloch. He is from St. George Utah and is a way nice guy. He seems to really know how to laugh and enjoy life.

So Elder Bulloch is the new Zone Leader and he is my companion. The problem for me is that I have to teach him our area when I don’t know it myself. To be honest, this place is literally a maze. There are no street names, no house numbers, no nothing. Everything goes off of central number which makes it kind of hard to remember where to go because everything looks the same (in my opinion).

Elder Bulloch gets a truck to drive since he is a zone leader. The funny part is that he didn’t know how to drive stick and neither does any of the other people in the apartment that stay with us. I started to think that I have driven stick a couple times and I ride a motorcycle -- so I’m sure I could teach him how to drive stick. Was that a scary experience. He picked up driving stick pretty quickly but could only focus on doing one thing at a time -- it was either shifting or paying attention to the road.

In Uganda there are no rules on the road so you really need to do both or you will crash. All I have to say is he somehow was able to find every single pothole. The roads here are full of pot holes and hit all of them. I was literally like I a pogo stick or something when I was riding around inside of this car with hime driving. I couldnt help but tease him constantly – “hey man, you missed a pothole. We should stop and back up and try again. It was a good time and there were a lot of close calls, lots of stalling but he has really got it down now. He has been trained.

I have to direct us through our area now. It is a miracle every time we find a person’s house without getting lost. Mutungo, Luzira, Zone 4, and (another one I cant remember the name) are all in our area. I have to remember how to find all the homes of these investigators and members. It is a huge struggle. A whole lot of praying is involved between appointments.

I have a little bit of a funny story. I think that mosquitoes like white people or something. Because I was sitting with a bunch of people outside at night and everyone was just fine and enjoying the lesson. I was literally not able to teach by any means because I was constantly slapping mosquitoes that were trying to bite me on my arms. After this appointment we went home. The day was over and I felt pretty successful because I didn’t have that many bug bites on my arms and because I had killed a ton of them when they were trying to bite me. The next thing I found when I took off my socks was that those little buggers had been biting me through my socks! The top of my ankles were covered in bug bites. I couldn't feel them walking around on me because I had socks on and they were able to bite through the socks. I learned my lesson -- pay attention to your feet. I have been doing pretty well since that experience :)
My clothes really get a work out. We will definitely get our money’s worth out of my clothes from serving here. The bottoms of my pants always have mud all over them by the end of the day. My shoes are either covered with dust or mud. I’m grateful for cloths that seem like they will survive the trip.

Well I need to give a shout-out to Gmail right now. The computer just shut down on me and came back on. Everything I had typed was still there. I really appreciate gmail for having the auto save function because there was no way I was going to type all of the above again. If it wasn’t for gmail, this letter would have been a very short one.

Well, I have two more stories then I’m done for the day.
There is this guy that we are teaching name Eric. He is a less active and he is progressing very well. He is starting to bring his friends to church. It is really good because when we tell him to bring his friend to church (Albert), he feels responsible for someone else besides himself. He is asking really good questions during second hour at church and is progressing really well. It is exciting to see him making the change for himself.

Eric always wears the same shirt when we teach him. The shirt reads ‘P.H.S Prom’ and has a picture of a rose. Well mom and dad, do you remember the Rose bowl water polo team we used to play all the time? They practiced at Pasadena High School also known as P.H.S and their symbol is the rose. So Eric has a prom shirt from a California high school. He somehow got a hold of a shirt from a PHS prom from 30 years ago. It is so funny I literally could not believe my eyes when I saw it. Well I told him about Pasadena High School and he couldn’t believe it either. Talk about a small world.

Last story for the day. This was a really weird experience. We were on splits and so someone else was in my area. I was with Elder Mgijima. He is really good guy and were working in my area. Well we were walking around with a member when we got lost. Next thing we knew we were deep in the slums of Uganda. Like a truly rough and beat up area. Well everyone was poking each other and pointing straight at me. They were not even trying to hide it or anything. They just pointed straight at my face and were acting like I was a ghost or something. Everyone would literally stop in their tracks and stare at me like ‘what in the world is this Mazungu (white person) doing here’. It was kind of freaky. I think I was the first white person to ever be in that slum. The member that was walking with us said, “ummmm I think they are staring because you are the first white person here and because you don't belong”.

We continued our way through the area saying hi to people and being friendly. We worked our way out of there as fast as we could. I wish I had a picture of this place to show you but in all honesty I didn't dare pull a camera out. It all ended up good and ok. :) As soon as we were out, we all started busting up laughing because we couldn't believe how crazy the experience was. It was a big sigh of relief to be out of there to be honest I thought something was going to happen to me cause I really didn't blend in at all. I was the outsider.

Well all is well in the pearl of Africa :)

I love you all


Elder Bitter

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