Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Zone BBQ: The Ugandan Way - September 16, 2013

Hello family and friends,

This week was a good week -- a lot better than last week because I’m not sick.

I will start out with two or three stories and then continue on with an update on the work.

The Jinja Zone has been requesting a zone activity. As a result my companion and I have been trying to get a zone activity off the ground. The good news is that it happened and it was awesome. The Jinja Zone has a history of just playing soccer for zone activities. This just seems ridiculous and a cheap way out for the people that have to plan. When it came to our turn, I just said we are going to switch it up and do something a little more fun (and a lot better). After some thought we decided that we would do a giant BBQ. We had our doubters for success. Oh boy, were they wrong.

After getting everyone's agreement that it was a good idea, Elder Kanthunkako and I went to work picking up money from everyone and finding the stuff for the activity. Finding a grill is a huge task -- they just don't exist. The ones that do exist are mainly used for restaurants and those who cater. We wouldn't be stopped so we just kept looking and finally got one. :) One of the missionary apartments has a common-use grill. It was made from a giant used oil drum. It had been emptied, cleaned and then cut in half. Rebar had been welded to the half drum for legs. A huge steel grate was placed over the top of it to make the perfect home-made beast. It was an awesome find!!!!

Next, we went to work buying all the supplies for the BBQ. We started out by buying 10 kilograms of meat, 6 kilograms of rice, a lot of vegetables to be cooked in with the rice, and the charcoal for cooking. After finding all of these things I knew that we couldn’t cook the meat without marinating it first. The meat found here just isn’t all the great. It would be good for a pressure cooker or a crock pot but not for the grill.

After thinking about preparing the meat, my mind flashed to my dad and I instantly knew what I needed to do. I had to find some type of marinade that we could soak the meat in. After looking for a little while we found the jack pot in a store that sells American products. They had 5 bottles of Italian dressing! We bought all of them. After getting the marinade we prepared the meat late Saturday evening. We cut all the meat into cubes, removed the majority of the fat cap, and all the bones. It was ready for the marinade.

Well before I explain further, I have to say thanks to my mom. Before I came on mission she insisted that I bring lots of Ziploc bags. You can’t find Ziploc bags anywhere here and they have been such a nice thing to have.  After grabbing a good handful of zip lock bags we took the meat and divided it into each bag then added the Italian dressing, sealed the bags and tossed them into the fridge. We let them soak for about 2 days. On Monday morning (P-Day) we took it out and put the cubes on some homemade shish-kabob sticks (that some local guy makes). We were ready for business. The meat had become so tender and smelled amazing. Definitely not the missionary food we have gotten use to.

We took the grill to the church, fired it up and grilled the meat. We cooked all the rice and vegetables and had our huge party. It was a very successful activity and everyone enjoyed it -- lots of food, lots of soccer and other sports. I enjoyed it and it seemed like everyone loved it since the meat was 95% consumed and the rice was about 85% consumed. I was surprised at how much food they ate. Everyone was stuffed by the end and it was a good and happy p-day. :)

Good food, good weather, good activities and good people lead to a good day :)

That was kind of a long story so maybe I will just start talking about the important stuff.

This week we were blessed. One thing about Jinja is that there many wealthy parts where few want to hear the gospel. This is sad but OK because everyone has their individual agency. Since I have been in Jinja it has been a little bit of a struggle to get new investigators. This week all of that seemed to change. This week started out strong and ended strong. As we tracted this week, the Lord really blessed us. It seemed that every door we knocked on was willing to let us in and allow us to visit will them.

Each and every person that let us in was more than happy to learn about the gospel. These people are always so kind to us and so welcoming. One home that seemed to be the most promising is a man named John Peter and his family. John Peter is an older man that has a somewhat large family. When we knocked on his door he gladly welcomed us in, just smiled and allowed us to sit down. As we sat with him he was so kind and happy to be with us. After talking to him for some time we found out that he was married and that he had 5 kids. As we taught him a lesson it was cool to see how he wanted to learn more about the gospel and also that he wanted his whole family to learn as well. It hasn’t been easy meeting the whole family this week because they are all working. We have been able to meet with John Peter repeatedly. I have really loved it.

Another family that we are teaching is a husband, wife and one child (Salume (mother) Jeoffry (father) and the child's name has slipped my mind). They are a great family. They walk a long ways to church every single Sunday. This is just wonderful when they come. When they walk in they always have the biggest happiest smiles. It is so great to see a family coming into church together.

The downer for the week is that Tony (the man who was supposed to be baptized this Sunday) decided that he didn’t want to be baptized. He has been avoiding us since and ignoring our phone calls. I just feel bad for him because he was so close to receiving a great blessing in his life. Being baptized by the priesthood is just a blessing for everyone’s life. The work goes forth and the Lord will help him. He is a great man and has a good family.

I love you all and hope everyone is doing well.


Elder Bitter

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Week of Sickness - September 9, 2013

Hello world!

I’m alive. It has been a boring week. I will try to write something worth reading.

I spent Monday through Thursday in three places—my bed, the couch and the tile floor. My bed is not the greatest. It is made out of foam. Arghh! The couch in our apartment is more comfortable than my bed. Finally, the tile floor in our apartment is nice and cool. Sometimes I just felt so hot that I couldn’t stand the bed or the couch.

The reason I spent so much time in those three places was because I was sick. On about Monday of last week, I felt weak and tired. So I slowed down. On Tuesday I was completely out of commission. I felt lousy on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I was in the house the whole day. There is nothing to tell about that experience.

On Friday, we went out and taught for about three hours. We were able to see our key investigators. This was really important because we had not seen them for a long time. Finally, Saturday came around and I felt that I had enough that strength to work the whole day. Hooray!

On Sunday, something cool happened. We were at church and William showed up!? I thought, “You are supposed to be in China.” I asked him about it and he told us that his flight was moved to the 9th of September thus allowing him to attend church for one more Sunday. It was so fun to see him. He then invited us for dinner.

Of course we accepted! I expected the normal Ugandan fare—chapatis, kalo, posho, katoga, chavuvu etc. This is always served when we are invited to dinner. (Being invited to dinner does not happen often.) We walked into the home and there sitting on the table was noodles and sauce! Woot, woot! I was pumped to have a meal from back home! :) It was so nice to have something that wasn’t flour and water mixed together and then cooked.

After the blessing on the food, they looked at us and said, “Don’t be shy! It is all for you. We have already eaten. I looked at the food thinking, “Oh man this is going to be brutal! How are we going to finish it all?”

One of our investigators is an older man named Tony. We have been teaching him for about five weeks. He is progressing well. He is a happy and humble. He is very kind to us. As far as material things, he has nothing. His home is so small that when we come to visit him, we have to sit outside because we cannot all fit in his home. Yet he is amazing. He runs a small business that is growing rapidly.

His business is making and selling Ugandan pancakes. (Nothing like American pancakes.) They are a fried snack that people here love. And he makes the best ones in all of Jinja. I came to this conclusion because he sells more than any other person. He makes tons of them each morning and night. He sells them all each day. Tony is paying for his children’s schooling. His wife and children live in their village while he lives in Jinja trying to make money so his children can have an education.

Tony is to be baptized this coming Sunday (September 15). We are really hoping and praying that he will move forward with his decision to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized, by immersion, by someone holding the priesthood authority. If he does follow through, he will be an example for the rest of his family.

I know this was a short letter but that is all I have for today because my work week was so short. It is a bummer being sick in more way than one.

But thanks everyone for all you do. I love and appreciate you all.


Elder Bitter

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Short, Tired and Sick - September 2, 2013


I’m back and I am going to make this one short because I am super tired and I am sick.

This week was a good and we really were blessed. We had a day and a half taken out of our week this week but we were still able to meet mission goals. One thing I have realized about mission goals is that they are inspired. They are from the Lord and are set so that we will work until the work is done. The Lord doesn’t give a goal/principle/commandment unless he provides a way to reach it. I have found that if we are diligent, the Lord will provide for us.

I’ll just wrap this one up by talking about a man named Tony. Tony is bit older and is really progressing in the gospel. He has a love for the church and he doesn’t want much more than to be closer to God. Tony runs a small little business that is so simple yet he makes a fair amount of money. I like to see someone’s success in something and doing their best to make things work.

I love you guys,

I hope all is well back home

The church is true


Elder Bitter