Well to start Happy Birthday, Jon!!! And Happy Father’s Day, Dad :)!!!
Well this week has been amazing but also a big letdown. I hope that I can convey it clearly so that it will be understood.
On Tuesday, we had a meeting with President Jackson. It was all day long so we were unable to go out and teach. So we were behind in our schedule by a whole day. We felt such a loss in the work. But it was all worth it because it is the last time that I will be meeting with President Jackson. He is going home in about 15 days or so. This meeting was like a farewell zone conference. His message was powerful!
He used a 2X4X8 as an object lesson to teach the principle that he wanted us to learn. He spoke specifically about the stress points of that board and that this is the standard piece of wood for building homes. He explained that if you get one 2X4 it will hold up to 480 pounds (if I remember the correct number) and if any additional weight is placed upon it then it will break. He then asked everyone attending the zone conference how many pounds two boards right next to each other can hold. Many people instantly said 960 pounds. He just smiled and said does anyone else want to make a guess. I threw out the number 1500 pounds. He then looked at me and said, “Good guess but not quite.” He then went on to tell us that two 2X4s when they are placed right next to each other can hold 2800 pounds. That is a little less than five times the original weight. Wow that is a really cool fact.
Once he had shared that little fact with us, he looked at us and said, “Why do you think you are in companionship's instead of sent out on your own?” Well the answer was obvious! When we are in a companionship, we can accomplish a lot more work than when we are working alone. If our lives coincide with the analogy of the 2X4s, we should be able to accomplish nearly five times the amount of work as a companionship than doing the work on our own. It was a really cool analogy and really put a lot in perspective for me.
Right before the meeting was over, President let us know that he was still expecting us to meet the mission goal on teaching even though we are short one day. After that we statement I thought, “Oh man, we have got to kick it into gear this week!” (To meet the mission goal, we need to teach 42 lessons in the week.)
The next day we hit the road. We started teaching our investigators and doing a lot of tracting. We had more blessings then I could ever imagine! We were able to teach at least 8-10 lessons a day which was really amazing. My companion and I began to see the possibility of accomplishing the mission goal. We went around the whole week with huge smiles because of the anticipation of pulling off the teaching goal AND we had three baptisms scheduled for Sunday. We were pumped!
We hit Thursday and the week got tough. My companion woke up with a horrible stomach pain. We did not do our routine run. I knew that if he couldn’t do our short little run that it would be impossible to tract at our normal pace. (We are good at speed walking.) So the whole day just slowed down. We had a miracle that day because we still got the desired number of lessons for that day.
On Saturday, we decided we would treat ourselves to lunch. I ordered some Kalo which is a local food that has about the same texture of bread that hasn’t risen yet. Apparently, if Kalo is not prepared correctly, it really makes the locals’ stomachs angry. Well lucky for me I’m not a local! When I ate the Kalo, it not only made my stomach angry but made my whole body angry. I felt like my stomach was about to burst. Sometimes, I would literally have to stop and just stand waiting for my stomach to relax a little so that I could walk again.
Later that day, we visited a less active named Ester and she asked me what was wrong. I told her that I eaten some Kalo that wasn’t prepared correctly and I was suffering the consequences. She said. “Oh, oh, oh, I’m sorry! That cook must of been no good! She is not a patient woman.” I just looked at her saying, “What do you mean?” She then told me that the only way you can prepare Kalo wrong is not letting it steam long enough and rushing it instead of being patient. I thought, “Someone’s lack of patience is doing this to me now that is just not fair!” Hahahahahhaa :)
Well by the end of the week, we were still blessed to meet our mission goal which was awesome. But sadly our three baptisms fell through. Two of them said that they weren't ready. Translated to American English means, “I don't know if I want this anymore.” (People in Uganda fear using the word no.) The third planned baptism decided to postpone for holiday. :)
This week was good except for the cancellation of the baptisms. We met with Charles a lot and he is still working towards baptism. He is a really a remarkable guy just tough as nails. He is a gunner for the Ugandan air force. He rides on the side of a plane and when the target comes into range he leans out of the plane and fires. These gunners (as they are called) cleared south Sudan of most of the rebels.
He has been shot two times and is still kicking and loves a good laugh. He is struggling though with the idea of not being able to drink coffee especially since he grows it. It is always around and very plentiful. He has quit drinking tea and smoking. But coffee is still a struggle. I really like Charles. He is extremely humble. He is a great guy. When he is around the room feels happy. I am hopeful for him. :)
Jakoon is still progressing really well. Actually he is so awesome it is hard to explain. He not only has a love of the gospel but he also has a deep love for missionary work. He is just always so happy to be around the missionaries. He is looking forward to serving a mission which will be a great blessing for him. He knows how to work. Every time that we are with him, it is amazing how hard he works and how much he is willing to give up to become a member of this church. He gives up hours of study time so we can teach him and so he can go to church. However, the best part is when we are finished teaching him; he smiles and asks when we can meet again. We have yet to ask him.
Well this Sunday we really saw the Lord’s tender mercies. We were struggling to find new investigators that were serious about learning the gospel. In Africa you can get anyone to sit down with you and listen for a few minutes. But finding someone that truly wants the gospel is not easy. Yet on Sunday, the Lord really took care of us. We came to church expecting to have about 4 investigators attend. But in the end, we had 9 investigators at church. Five random people that had never heard of the church saw the sign out front and decided to check out this church. We have taught all of them. They are all such wonderful people and prepared for the gospel. Their names are Mike, Masuzi, Dyson, Joffry, and Okin. All five seemed really ready for the gospel but Okin’s desire to change needs our prayers. We will see how it all goes. We are both very excited :)
Well I’m just about out of time so I have got to go. I love you all and hope all is well. :)