Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jinja Transfer: Driving Stick Shift and Lots of Mud - June 17, 2013

Dear Family,

This letter is going to be short because there is a lot to do today and I have to send home some pictures to keep everyone happy (depending on how much time I have and if this key board will work). I have to like punch the keys on this key board to get them to work. Annoying, but oh well.

I have been transferred again. At this point it’s not all that surprising anymore. It seems that I would stay for a few transfers for every area I land in. I get transferred all single transfer. I am not complaining because I really enjoy it. It’s kind of fun and it has been a really cool experience to see how each and every area is struggling with its own things. I really like to get to know the new areas, to see how each is laid out and how each is different in some way.

This new transfer came with even more surprises then just getting transferred. I was recently transferred to the Jinja zone and I am in the Jinja 1 area. The Jinja zone is a little bit bigger of a zone than most zones. It is the third biggest zone in the mission and has a lot more jungle than the other areas. It is also very agricultural. There are miles of sugar cane and tea fields. It is really cool to see how beautiful a nice field looks. The remarkable part is how much sugar cane there is and how much ground it covers. All the work is done by hand in some truly back breaking work. Another thing surprising about this transfer is that I was placed as the Zone Leader. I thought for sure that I was going to be the District Leader in Entebbe for a long time.

One cool part about being in this area is that food is very cheap because this is where everything is grown. This is where all of the sugar for the country comes from. And another cool perk about being the new leader of the Jinja zone is that I get to drive a truck that enables me to cover all of the areas. The best part of it all is that it is stick shift. I have been missing out on the joy of stick shifts my whole life. In my opinion a stick is just so much better. I have more control of the car’s power, more control over braking, and just handling the whole car a whole lot better. I can’t see going back to an automatic transmission because the stick just makes driving so much more fun.

Driving here is like a video game with a maze of cars that you have to work your way through. You have to slide around in the mud when it is raining. It is something else. I love it. Talk about a dream come true -- a pickup truck, a stick shift and a place full of mud and water. What more could a person ask for in life. :) It is expected that I drive through the mud so it’s not like I’m breaking any rules. When I’m driving through the mud to get to another missionaries’ area to check up on them, it is the best. Go the Uganda Kampala Mission, the mud, and the trucks with stick shifts! :)

Driving in Africa is nuts! Driving consists of dodging pot holes and avoiding cars and motorcycles that are over packed with luggage. Every road basically has three lanes in total. There is a lane for going north, there is a lane for going south and then there is the middle lane which is used by both sides for passing. The middle lane is a tight fit when you get four cars across—one going north and one going south and the other two trying to pass. It is important to be aware of the width of your vehicle at all times.

This new area is pretty good overall. Normally I like to tell you about our investigators but I have been in this area for about three days and two of those days were spent going to each area in the zone to check on things and make sure all is well.

So this week consisted of getting picked up from my old area in Entebbe and going to the AP’s apartment. Once I had reached the APs apartment, I spent the night there. At about 9 am on Thursday, I was taken to my new area where I met my new companion whose name is Elder Seyoum. He will go home in about 9 weeks. It is pretty cool to have him as a companion because he really wants to end his mission strong. So we have been working hard these past few days which makes time fly. I really enjoy working hard.

Elder Seyoum is from Washington DC and he is a really cool guy. I enjoy serving with him. He truly has love for the people. It helps when both missionaries love the people. Besides loving the people, he is a fun loving guy that works hard and wants to have fun while doing the work! Score!!!!

When you get a companion that sees a mission as a job to complete so that you can 'check the box' in your schedule planner, the work goes by so slow and it is not nearly as enjoyable. A companion like Elder Seyoum who loves the work and likes to make the work fun, it is the best possible situation. It changes everything. Tracting is no longer just walking from door to door in the hot sun; it is smiling and laughing and enjoying life as you go from door to door trying to invite others to come unto Christ.

It’s amazing to see how the gospel blesses people’s lives. A great thing about this area is that the missionaries are loved by everyone. It is wonderful when you go to church and get a warm welcome.

I’m sorry about how this letter is turning out. I really haven’t talked much about the investigators in this area but I really haven’t met them yet. This week has been all about taking care of all the areas in the zone. Starting tomorrow we will be focusing on the investigators and finding some more people to teach.

I will throw in one last thought that has crossed my mind.  Since the first day of my mission, I have been planning to have a huge party on my 6 month anniversary. I had it all planned out and was preparing to enjoy some nice food with my companion. Recent events dashed my plans for a huge fiesta.  It turns out that the day of my 6 month anniversary (June 27th), my companion and I will be doing a road trip to Kampala.  We will need to wake up very early, hop in our truck and make a very long journey to Kampala. We are having a Zone Leader Council, welcoming the new Mission President and saying good-bye to President Jackson. Our new mission president is President Chapfield. He is from Utah and will arrive on the 28th of this month.

President Jackson decided that he would do ZLC a bit earlier since it is his last and it provides him an opportunity to introduce us to President Chapfield. This should be a spiritual feast. :)

Well I am totally out of things to say and I am tired of this key board. My fingers are numb from pounding the keys so hard to get the letters to register in the document. I will upload some photos with the rest of my time.

Love you all


Elder Bitter / Steven

A few pictures:

Local Market Place in Entebbe

Everyone is Your Friend

Jinja Morning

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