It’s to say hello again :)
I’ll start my letter this week with a funny little story that will make everyone laugh a little. This is something that belongs in a cartoon.
On Friday my companion and I were walking home after a good day but it was a really late evening. The time was after 9:00 pm. As we were traveling home on Entebbe Road it was extremely dark. Just so that you all know, Entebbe road is one of the nicer roads in my area, It is actually paved and looks somewhat like an American road. We were walking on the shoulder of the road at a nice quick pace. I saw a giant hole that is used to catch water when it rains heavily. As soon as I saw the hole, I did a little side-step and just walked around it. As I walked by it I looked down to see how deep it was. It was actually really deep -- about 5-8 feet deep. After walking past that I just thought to myself, “Dang, I’m glad I didn't fall down that thing”.
After having that thought, I decided to use the flash light that is built into the phone so that I would not accidentally fall into the next rain catch. I worked to switch on the phones flash light setting. As I tried, the light at first would not switch on. I tried again and it turned right on. Little did I know was that this thing is very bright and it basically blinded me. I continue on with no night vision and then heard, "COMPANION WATCH OUT!!!" WHOOSH. IT WAS TOO LATE! I fell straight down one of these stupid rain holes. As soon as I hit the bottom, my adrenalin kicked in and I jumped right out of the hole as if there was a trampoline at the bottom. As soon as I had jumped out of the hole a shearing pain hit and I thought that I had broken my leg or something.
Little did I know, was that all the locals had been watching in amazement. Finally one of the Africans said, “hahahah MAZOOOONGU (white person)!” Then out of everywhere, people were either laughing or they were just saying, “Sorry Mazoongu. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry”.
I just hopped right up and started walking as if nothing had ever happened. My companion was walking right next to me and kept saying, “we should slow down, you should stop and rest or something”. I was not slowing down any time soon and I was not stopping until we had gotten home. There were too many laughing people and way too many people crowding around asking if I was OK.
Once we had reached home I instantly stripped down and got into some work out clothes so that I could do a self-check on my body and see if everything was still in working order. I looked around I just found a few scrapes on my arms. Then I checked my left leg it was all OK and man oh man did it look nasty. My leg had formed a second knee. Apparently when I fell down this hole my shin hit the other side of this hole and broke my fall before I hit the ground. I literally had two knees at this point. My original knee looked normal and fine. My newly grown second knee was black and blue and super bloody. I started to think that I had broken my shin because my leg had this HUGE square bulge in the middle of it. I fearfully reached and touched it and to my great relief, it was not bone but just very swollen. As soon as I came to the conclusion that my leg was not broken, I was happy as could be. :)
I just started laughing and smiling. I felt like I was blessed. I seriously thought I had thought that I had broken my leg but in the end I had just formed the biggest bleeding bruise type injury that I have ever seen. I would like to come up with a fancy word for it but I’ll just send a picture next week. I left my patch cord at home so I can’t send any pictures today. Sorry folks.
The sad story of the week: My companion went home. Elder Tracy went home and it was a really sad day for me. We were planning out our day and we got a phone call that he was going to be picked up in a few hours and that I needed to help him pack. I cancelled all of the appointments for the day. It was rough helping him pack and it was really sad too. The good news is it was just health issues not the other possibilities. Elder Tracy has had nothing but health problems on his mission. His body could not handle Africa in any way, shape, or form. My body doesn't like it. His body just refused it.
We just packed all his stuff and it was very quiet and very sad in the apartment. After a few hours the mission driver came and picked us both up and we drove Elder Tracy to the Presidents home where he was handed a few papers from President and was given a lot of love. We continued on to the airport and he flew home.
I now have a new companion and his name is Elder Ojjogolo. He is from Africa and he is an unreal runner. Man, what a mistake to ask him if he would run with me every morning. I get worked like no other every morning. He is from Kenya and apparently all that Kenyans like to do is run. Every African from Uganda or South Africa always says to me, “Oh man, you are running with a Kenyan! That is tough.” It seriously is tough. A run that used to require 28 min to complete is now taking 13-15 min. We are going to have to extend the run so that we can use the full 30 minute workout time. It will be interesting when we have to extend. We are to do it tomorrow. Happy day -- more running at ridiculous speeds. haha :)
This week we had a baptism for Jockiem. I have been saying and spelling his name wrong since day one...whoops.... oh well. He was completely ready and is happy as can be to be baptized. He is now working on how he can serve a mission once he has been a member for about one year. This is extremely exciting to me. Knowing that he has such a strong desire to serve a mission really just makes me happy and smile.
Charles is still progressing towards baptism but is really struggling. It has been really hard to meet with him this week because he is not only working to supply for his family but he is a full time Ugandan soldier. Lately the base has been calling him in for drills with the helicopter. He has been sent to Gulu (northern Uganda and it is hot as can be there). He is going to be there for two weeks. We are extremely hopeful that he will not lose hope while he is there. He has been wavering a little bit lately and I am hopeful that this trip does not ruin it for him. He is such a great man and an amazing family man. He would truly be a great help to this ward and would be a great member of the church.
This week we tracted into a man named Adam. Adam is about 30 and he is still going to school and working as well. He is an awesome young man and I love spending time with him. He is a great investigator. You really know someone is a great investigator when they are willing to schedule an appointment during a Ugandan soccer game. If someone is willing to do that then you know that they are really serious. We met Adam about four days back and he was extremely excited and wanted us to come back right after we had finished teaching.
Adam came to church this Sunday and stayed for the first two hours and then he had to leave. I was kind of sad that he did not make it to the end. We forgot to tell him that church was three hours. It was nice that he was at least willing to stay for the first two hours.
Another man that we met this week was a man named Luke. Luke is about 40 and he is a great guy as well. He is really easy to meet with since we are even able to meet him while he is working. :) I forgot to mention he works at the ZOO and he lives there also. :) Whenever we get to go see him, we get to walk through the zoo for free. Since he lives in the very back of the zoo we get to see all the really weird animals that they have in Africa -- and we get to see them for free (which makes it even better in my opinion).
He came to church this Sunday and it was really awesome to have him there. He got extremely dressed up as well. Usually investigators show up in pants and a T-shirt. He came in a full tux – just awesome. He looked better than most everyone at the church including myself. I was so proud of him.
My last story is that Saturday night we came home and the guard was catching all the crickets that were flying around. They were everywhere that night! We asked him why he was catching them. He said that if he catches at least 50 he is going to cook them and eat them! We decided that we would make things easier for him and we helped him catch the crickets :) Let’s just say that I am pretty pro at catching crickets especially the really big ones. :) After catching about 200 of them we helped him prepare them so that he could cook them. Just so you know, ‘incenena’ (fried crickets) is one of Ugandan’s favorite foods. Since we had caught so many and helped him prepare them, he was grateful for all of our help. In fact, he was so grateful that instead of just smiling and saying thank you he insisted that we all eat them with him. He asked that we sit down together and enjoy some nice fried cricket. In Uganda, refusing food is one of the rudest things you can do. And since I kind of wanted to try them, I gladly accepted :) The next thing you know, we were sitting outside enjoying some fried crickets at like 9:30 at night :) It kind of reminded me of popcorn. He was really kind to share his crickets. To buy a batch of fried crickets like that is extremely expensive so he was being very generous to us. It was a pretty cool experience and my taste buds have officially changed. I now enjoy all of the Ugandan foods. :)
I’m out of time and this keyboard is horrible. I have to go. :)
I love you all!
Elder Bitter/Steve P.S. For anyone who is thinking of going on a mission -- all I can say is “GO!” It is worth the time and it gives back to you more than you give to it.