As a missionary, I am always surprised and never know quite what’s coming.
On Monday, (October 21, 2013), Elder Kanthunkako and I came home from a normal P-day. We planned to enjoy our evening and prepare for the next day. In the evening, we started our work out, planning to relax afterwards and enjoy the rest of the evening before we did our reports. As Elder Kanthunkako reached for the phone to make his report, he said, "Whoa, Whoa, President Chatfield called!"
I was confused. Thinking to myself, what are you talking about? He then looked at me and said again, “President Chatfield called.” He threw me the phone and sure enough we had a missed call from the president.
I kind of smiled and then laughed. It’s not every day that you have a missed call from the president of the mission. I called him back immediately. The phone rang and rang. Finally, President Chatfield answered. I let him know it was me and said, “How are ya!” He told me he was great and then asked how I was doing. I told him I was doing well. We then had a warm and friendly chat.
After chatting with president for a bit, he then said, “Elder Bitters, I need you to do something.” I said ok. AND then he told me to pack my bags and meet the AP’s in Lugazi at 6:30 AM the following morning!
I was a little confused at this point but I obviously accepted and said, “Ok no problem.” He then went on to tell me that I would now be the Zone Leader/District Leader in Lugazi and that I was being sent there to take care of some problems that had been going on. (I had no idea about these problems). He then told me that I would pick up three of the Elders in the district and bring them to Kampala and that the fourth elder would be picked up by the AP's since there is not enough room in our truck for everyone.
He then said, “I will fill you in on everything else when you get to Kampala. Do you have any questions, right now?” At this point I was kind of stunned so I just sat there thinking. Finally, I said, “Hum, nope. I’m all good President. I will see you tomorrow morning.” Hahah. So after hanging up the phone, I then went inside and relayed the entire message to Elder Kanthunkako.
We sat there in amazement at the events that had just taken place. Then the reality of the situation kicked in! I had work to do! I had to pack all my bags tonight! I have been in Jinja for about six months so I had a lot of stuff to gather.
At 10:15 p.m., I started packing. I knew that I had a long night ahead of me. I packed and packed and packed until I thought I had everything. I was getting ready for bed and then a thought would pop in my mind of something that I had forgotten. I would stop and pack that item. This happened three or four times.
Finally, I had finished packing everything. I laid down at about 12:45 am. At this point I was exhausted!
I knew that I needed to sleep quickly because I had to get up at 5:00 am. The next thing I knew my alarm was going off. Boy was I tired. It hurt to move. I took a COLD shower so that I could wake up and be alert since I was driving in the dark.
After I loaded all my bags, we hopped in the truck and drove to Lugazi. We arrived at 6:27 am and to our surprise the APs were already there. They had already loaded up one elder. So we hopped out and loaded the other elders into the truck.
Man, it was the quietest drive I have ever had in my entire life. All the way from Lugazi to Kampala, (it is a little over an hour), it was dead silent. A couple of times, one of the elders would break the silence. The conversation would go something like this, “Hey Elder Bitter, look at that motorcycle. Pretty cool, huh!”
I would look but because I was so exhausted my response would go something like "not really." That would be the end of the conversation. We finally reached the mission office and I was able to drop the elders off. They obviously had figured out something was up because they were scared out of their minds.
Each of the missionaries got a personal interview with President. Then Elder Kanthunkako and I got pulled in. Up to this point, we knew absolutely nothing. Then President explained the problems that had been going on and then told us a few things that had recently been related to him by some other missionaries.
After he had explained everything, he told me that I would be over this district and that I needed to get things back on track and rolling again in Lugazi. He also told me that I would continue my responsibilities as Zone Leader but would also be the District leader for Lugazi. (Lugazi is in the Jinja zone). Elder Kanthunkako would stay in Jinja and that the Elder I was replacing would be his companion.
This concluded our time in Kampala. I then drove everyone to their respective areas and I went to Lugazi. When I got there, I kind of figured out that the past elders didn’t have anyone that they were really teaching. My new companion and I are tracting almost all day every day trying to find new investigators. Haha
One of the cool things about Lugazi is that it is a brand new area. It doesn’t have any history yet. So right now we are really building the foundation for the branch. Currently, sacrament meeting attendance is about 40 max. There are only two families in the branch. We are really focusing on finding families. The branch needs some strong, solid members to carry the load of running the branch.
I am grateful to be in Lugazi. It is a nice change. It will be good for me because I had been in Jinja for a while. I really knew the areas of Jinja so it is fun to learn new areas and find new people.
On the bright side, Salome and Geoffrey are still doing well. I followed up and things are still proceeding with regards to getting married and baptized. I was right when I said I didn’t think I would be there for the marriage and baptism. It’s ok so long as they are still on track. That is all that really matters. Life is good for sure. :)
Mom and Dad, I sent a letter with the memory card and I used a tracking number hoping that would give it a little extra protection as far as delivery goes. I love ya all!!!
Keep up the good work!
Thanks for all the awesome letters. A big thank you to Howard and Lori for the get well card. I really appreciated it! You guys are awesome! :)