I have a new companion with this transfer. His name is Elder Kanthunkako and he is from Malay. He is a pretty funny guy and we have a good time together when it comes doing the work and missionary life in general :) The good news is that he committed to run with me every other day. It is not every day but I’ll take anything I can get so that I can keep fitting into my pants. He is a really calm, somewhat shy and very sincere and loving with the people we teach. It is nice to stay in an area for more than one transfer.
Let me think of a funny story of the week that I can relate to you. Hmmmm… I do have one story but it is not that funny but a story none the less. This past week I had the opportunity to do something completely new to me. Anyone who has been a missionary in Uganda knows that meat is pretty expensive -- especially chicken since it goes bad quickly unless stored properly. Elder Seyoum and I came up with this idea for a little personal party for the both of us that included chicken. To put it in perspective, 1 kg chicken meat (already cleaned, prepared and sliced) costs 10,000 UGX. A whole chicken that weighs 5 kgs costs the same 10,000 UGX .
Elder Seyoum and I thought about this and determined that the live chicken is five times the value and would be worth the mess. We assumed that we could just do it ourselves and get a whole lot more. Genius – we were just cutting out the middle man. Well, we purchased a local chicken and did almost everything ourselves. First we "sped up" the chicken’s life span and then took it to a member of the branch to teach us how to remove the feathers and clean the chicken. In Uganda, they cook everything like the gizzard, the back, the feet and the neck (and everything else for that matter).
Ugandans truly believe in not wasting a single piece bit. It was a wild experience. I looked at the dead chicken and wondered, “ How in the world are we were going to get the feathers off?” I soon learned that you just pour hot water all over the entire chicken and the feathers will then come off easily. Just another experience for the record books of things that I thought I would never have to do. In the end it was worth it --just a little bit of extra work. :)
Now - on to the important stuff.
This week was amazing. Elder Kanthunkako and I have really been very blessed and received lots of referrals from Richard. Richard is one of the people that Elder Seyoum and I Baptized a while back. He introduced us to a large group of people this week. This all began by him giving us a phone call and telling us that during our five o’clock appointment he would introduce us to a few of his friends who wanted to learn about the gospel. Of course we were more than happy to meet his friends.
When we arrived at Richard’s home, he gladly invited us in but the home was completely empty. I just figured that the friends invite just didn’t work out. After sitting and chatting for a little bit, Richard just smiled and said, “Well, should we go”? I just said, “Of course, let’s go.” After walking for a few minutes we entered into a little village area. As we rounded a corner, I could not believe my eyes. There were many, many people just waiting for us. About 15 children, about 12 more who were teens/adults and just a bunch of other random people standing around that weren’t necessarily waiting for us but elected to sit and listen to the message anyway.
As we taught these people, they were full of questions and so full of life. In particular, there was a lady named Ruth who really amazed me. She sat in the front, didn’t speak any English but received translation from Richard as we taught. As we taught, Ruth asked questions about the church and I could see in her eyes that she truly cared about what we were teaching. Ruth is quite old, frail and lives very far from the church. After teaching and getting to know Ruth, I knew that she didn’t have the money to take a taxi from her home to the church. I really didn’t think she would be able to make the walk on Sunday to the church.
Boy, was I ever wrong. She not only came to church she made it to sacrament meeting and made it on time. This is very unusual for Ugandans to make it on time for sacrament meeting. For her to cover the distance she likely walked an hour and a half before the meetings started. As I thought about her commitment, I was just really really happy for her. I really think that she is sensitive to the spirit. Because the service was given in English she couldn’t understand what was said. After the service I asked her how church was and if she liked it. She responded with, "balunge no" (very good). Usually we get answers like it was "gendy" (fine). I realized that she didn’t need to completely understand what was being said to feel the spirit.
At church on Sunday, we just had a great turn out. We had a lot of investigators come. Sandra, Ruth, Caroline, Teddy, Prossy, William, Ronald, and Hassan all came. We are teaching all of these people already except Prossy and William. It is wonderful when random people come to church and even better when people that you are teaching come.
The church is true
The Book of Mormon is true
The opportunity to learn and come closer to God is for everyone.
God loves us all no matter what.
I love you all.
Elder Bitter / Steven