Monday, November 25, 2013

Tis' the Season to Eat Grasshoppers - November 25, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

I’m tuning into you today from the "H.F.L internet cafe" :) I’m not so sure what H.F.L stands for but if I had to guess it would stand for something like this :)

· H: Hard to type on key boards

· F: Fairly dim lighting

· L: Low internet speed

This week was transfer news and surprise, surprise – I’m getting transferred again! :) I have come to the conclusion that I don’t stay in areas for to long. Some people stay in areas for a long time while others stay for only a short period. It all works out. I have officially been transferred to Kabowa. I know nothing about Kabowa, so I have nothing to say. I know that my companion is from South Africa, he is white and he likes to work out. The fact that he likes to work out is a huge plus, It is not too often that you get a companion that will work out with you. It will be a nice change :)

This week has been pretty awesome. Elder Alfred and I could not find enough time in the days. Each and every day we would just look at our watch and worry that we were running out of time again. Then, boom, the day would be over again. I would have to say that this week may have been the fastest week of my mission so far. It has also been a really blessed week all together.

We spent a lot of the time tracting and people just kept falling into our laps. It was remarkable to see. As we walked from place to place, fathers would let us into their homes, would welcome us and invite us to sit down and share with them.

The coolest part about teaching all of these fathers is that they lead very stable families. For the most part, families in Uganda tend to move around because the father often works for others. Self-employed people tend to stay in one place. Finding people like this is very rare and helped out this week over all.

Since I have very little news, I think that I will share what the mission has taught me so far.

One thing I have learned is that there is always much more to learn. There are a few other things that have really stuck with me and have helped me out.

1. When you are in the refiners fire you will become one of three things Gold, Silver, or slag.

2. This one I really like: Pride will tell you who is right, humility tells you what is right.

These next two months in Uganda are “Nsenene” or the season for cooked grass-hoppers. Ugandans catch these as they swarm, fry them and then eat them like potato chips. To be honest, I do too. They are pretty awesome and taste pretty good.

Have a great week everyone!

I love you all

Elder Bitter

The Jinja Branch

Ecco shoes are meant for 'city missions'.

Life in the Fast Lane

My Good Friends

Fun Times After Lessons

Best Primary Ever

Finding Happiness

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rainbow Sandals in Uganda - Who Would Have Guessed -- November 18, 2013

Hello Family and Friends:

Hey I hope that everyone is doing well. This week has gone by really, really fast.

So I have a little story for everyone.

This week we went and worked in Njeru. We spent some time with the elders to help them out and see how they are doing. During this time, I had the opportunity to work with Elder Calhoun and Elder Bawuti. I was happy to work with them since I have not had a chance to really get to know them.

As the evening approached, we passed a large church. I looked over at the church and a white guy came running towards me with the biggest smile on his face! He runs up and says, “Hey Mazongu!” This basically means, “Hey white guy.”

I laughed because he was white as well. After talking to him for a little bit, I found out that he is Jehovah Witness missionary. I looked down and saw that he was wearing sandals. But not just any sandals, he was wearing Rainbows. I asked him if he was from California. He smiled and said, “Yep!”

I then responded with a big smile and asked him where in California. He then shared with me that he was from Irvine! In case you do not know, Irvine very close to where I lived in California This was a big surprise and we had a connection. His name is Andrew. It was a cool thing to meet someone so close to my old homestead. :)

This week we tracted a lot. It was very unsuccessful over all. Hahaha So there is much to share about our week tracting. However, I will share about one of the people that we have been teaching for the past week or so. I will catch you up on James. He is the guy that called us off the street in the last email. He is doing amazing!

Over the past few times, we have been focusing on the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. As we have been teaching him, we have asked him for a commitment to pray and ask God if these things are true. We know that anyone can say that their church is true. But we learn from the Bible in Ephesians 4:5 that there is "One Lord, One Faith, and one Baptism".

Which means exactly what it says: there is one God, one church, and one form of Baptism. As we talked to him about this principle, we have been asking him how are you going to know if Joseph Smith truly saw God and Jesus Christ, that he was called to be a prophet and that he was called to restore the same church that Jesus Christ started when he was on the earth unless he prays about it. When he read Ephesians, it seemed to click. He really began to pray and wait upon the Lord for an answer.

If Joseph Smith is a true Prophet of God then the church is true as well. Or if the church is the one true church then Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that if anyone prays asking God if The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints is the true church that they will get an answer. As long as they heed the advice in the scriptures about listening to the spirit, they will receive an answer.

In Galatians 5:22-23 it says "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." So it tells us that if we pray and ask God if the church is true, we need to wait for these feelings to come into our heart. When one of these feelings comes into our heart, it is the Spirit confirming the truth. As long as we ask a direct question and we are willing to stay on our knees until we get the answer and continue praying until we get the answer we will receive the answer. It might not be the first time we pray, it might not be the second time we pray but it will come! It is according to Gods time not ours.

So I know that if James continues to apply all of these things, he will know soon enough the truth about what we are sharing with him. I also know that if anyone wants to know if these things are true or not, all they have to do is apply the principle from above and pray. The answer will be given.

I hope that James continues to pray asking God if these things are true.

I love you all and hope all is going well back home.


Elder Bitter

P.s Happy Thanks Giving Everyone :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Mud Luge - November 11, 2013

Hi All,

This week Elder Alfred and I have been knocking doors in areas where stable people live. Since we have been knocking doors this week, it has not been too hard to get into the home but we have had difficulty getting beyond the first or second lesson.

One day as we continued this procedure of tracting, a man yelled at us saying, "Hey are you missionaries!'' We told him we were. He then asked us to teach him. We immediately sat down and started teaching him.

We found out that he was a successful doctor! We taught him the restoration and we made a return appointment. When we came back, he was there. This was awesome! We then taught him the Plan of Salvation focusing on why we are here on this earth and what we need to do to obtain the Kingdom of God.

After teaching him, he had a lot of questions which we tried to answer. He then said, “Well I feel like I need to pray and repent a lot. And after repenting I need to prepare myself for baptism.” What a super cool experience! This has not happened to me on my mission. We had such a cool feeling. The Lord really helped us out on this one. We did not do anything that special to deserve to meet a guy like that but the Lord just handed us a big blessing! It is so cool.

Lugazi is a great area. I really enjoy it. We do walk a lot because it is so hard to get people to teach. But it is cool to see how the people here always believe. I mean they always believe. It is a nice change and I really enjoy it. I don’t mind the work because I know it is totally worth it. :)

This week I had a funny experience. I found it humorous after the fact. So it has been raining non-stop for about the past week. At the beginning of the week, I was walking with one of the elders and we saw a bunch of kids carry “Jerry cans” of water up a steep muddy hill. As we watched them try to get up the hill, we both decided that we would go and help them up the hill and then walk back down the hill, get the cans and carry them up the hill.

As we worked our way to the kids, we were amazed at their determination to walk up the slick muddy hill while carrying 25 liters of water. They would get about four or five feet up this hill and they would instantly start sliding back down the hill. They would then start again. As we continued to watch them, we realized that this would not be an easy job. But we were up for the challenge. Hahaha

When we finally reached the kids explaining to them that we would help them get up the hill and then we would go back down the hill and then carry the “jerry cans” up the hill for them. Little by little, we helped the kids up the hill. After some effort and minute steps, we finally got them all up to the top.

After reaching the top, we worked our way back down and grabbed the next set of cans. As we were walking up the hill, I then realized it was even more difficult than we had expected. The hill was like a “Slip and Slide”! Trying to carry a Jerry can full of water just added to the difficulty. As I was working my way up, the dreaded moment started to take place! I began to slip.

I had stepped forward and then started to feel my foot sliding. I tried to dig my toes into the mud to create some type of foot hold but I could not grip the ground at all. Quickly, I decided to put the sliding foot back into the previous mud hole so as to regain my footing. As soon as I shifted my weight, SLAP, I fell onto my back (my clean white shirt) and started to fly down the hill at what seemed like the speed of light!

My shirt acted like a friction less sled that propelled me down the hill. I knew at the bottom of the hill there was a huge ravine full of water so I started scrambling trying to grab anything! The funny part was that I was only trying to grab things with my left arm because my right arm was holding the Jerry can straight in the air so that it wouldn't spill the water and waste the kid’s efforts.

As I continued to slide down this huge hill I was thinking, “OH MAN I BETTER NOT SPILL THIS JERRY CAN. THESE KIDS WORKED SO HARD TRYING TO CARRY IT UP THIS HILL!” And then the other half of my brain was saying, “STOP! STOP! STOP! YOU ARE HEADING FOR A HUGE LEDGE!!!” Fortunately, I was able to stop myself before reaching the ravine AND I had successfully held onto the can without spilling a drop of water! EUREKA! I had survived. :)

After I stood up, I looked up the hill and all the kids were staring at me in amazement. I laughed (by this point I had a lot of adrenaline in my system) and then continued trying to get up the hill. This time I made it work and got to the top with a full Jerry can of water and a very muddy shirt. :)

Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of time for emailing because I had some mission responsibilities that need attention.  I have got to go!

I love ya all and hope all is well back home or where ever you are!


Elder Bitter

Monday, November 4, 2013

Restoring Electricity: Ugandan Style -- November 4, 2014

Hi All,

I am back and I’m coming to you from UGANDA, Lugazi. It’s nice to be here!

To start I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween! :)

Well this week, I will tell a short story. For about five days, we were out of power. It really made our evening duties/routine interesting. Candlelight is not all it is cracked up to be. When the power guys finally came to fix the power line, it was super late at night. (We had been waiting for them for some time.)

When they arrived, they saw it was us (the missionaries). They walked behind our house where the power line was located. As soon as they rounded the corner seeing the power pole, they said, “We cannot fix it tonight.” I looked at them and said, “Oh, why can’t you fix it now?”

They looked at me and said, “The pole is rotten. We can’t use our climbing spikes on a rotten pole. It might break.” Well I laughed because there was no way they could even see the pole because it was pitch black outside and they were 30 feet from the pole. They had not even touched the pole. I joked around with them and lured them towards the pole. After getting them right next to the pole, I asked if they were sure it was rotten? I asked if they could check it one more time. They didn't even look in the direction of the pole and said, “Yep it’s rotten.”

Well at this point, I was extremely tired of living by candlelight so I said, “What can we do to get this fixed then?” They responded with, “It won’t happen today.” I knew the pole was not rotten so I started trying to persuade the guys to climb it and really check it out. (They just wanted to go home.)

Well after trying for some time, I knew my strategy was not working. I needed to change tactics! I looked at the guys and gave them my biggest smile, and said, “Give me your boots and your spikes. I will climb the pole.” They instantly said, “No, no, no! We can’t do. What if you fall?”

So I hiked up my pants a little bit, hopped on that pole and started climbing. Just for information, I am in my proselyting clothes and shoes. I got about half way up the pole (10 feet or so). By this time I had demonstrated that the pole was not going anywhere so I started to shake the pole as hard as I could. I am smiling like crazy at this point trying to let them know that I was taking their lame excuse seriously.

Well after shaking the pole for some time and really letting the guys see that I knew it wasn't rotten  (which they knew as well), I slowly climbed down and smiled at them with all I had. I then laughed a little and said, “Well if it can withstand that, I guess it is good enough, right?”

They just stared at me for a moment and then started laughing. One of them said, “Yep, your right. It is just fine.” They climbed right up that pole and fixed it in a matter of minutes. After they climbed down, we all had a good laugh together. The power was back! YAHOO!!! Electricity is a good thing.

Well now to the important stuff about the work.

I think that Lugazi is my favorite area so far. It's really a great area. I really want to see this branch grow. It is so small right now and very weak. But it is so cool to see how it works. At church this Sunday we had a total of 49 people. This number tied for the highest number of the year. So that was cool over all.

The people in Lugazi are amazing. I don’t mean just the members, I mean everyone. The people here are different than anywhere I have ever served because they are more committed to what they say and do not vary in their opinions or actions. It’s the coolest thing. So far on my mission, I have had to work hard but in Lugazi you have to work much harder to get people to teach. However, it makes teaching all the more satisfying because you know they are truly interested if they let you teach them.

As we find and meet new people, it is interesting how they give us the warmest greeting when they find out that we are missionaries. But they don't always have a strong desire to know more and sometimes they even resent learning something new. But, one thing I know is that when the people in Lugazi accept the restored gospel which is in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and they become fully converted, they will let nothing stop them from continuing on in the path.

The people here are great. They are set in their ways which makes it a little bit more difficult. But it truly helps you to find those that are truly prepared and ready for the gospel. One thing I have learned on my mission is that the people that accept the gospel most of the time are the people that you least expect to do so.

This past week or so my companion (Elder Alfred) and I have really been working on finding people that are established and stable. We are looking for people who will not be going anywhere any time soon. The reason is to help the branch. It really needs people who can lift where they stand. With regards to Lugazi I think it is going to be one of the tougher areas I will have in my mission but I believe it will turn out to be my favorite area of my mission.

I know that the people here in Lugazi really need the gospel. In this area, there is one business where almost everyone works. It is called Mhetta. It is a giant factory that makes sugar and they work the people to the bone. But because of this, the people are strong physically, mentally, and most importantly spiritually. The poor treatment has resulted in them putting their trust in God. Their trust is really strong. So I know that when the people catch onto the gospel, they will flourish as well as the branch.

This week we have been looking for those that can lift where they stand. This has resulted in knocking on a lot of doors. This week, we had a really big success. We met a man named Noah. He used to work for Mhetta. After a time, he decided that he could make more money working on his own so he quit his job. He started his own business. Now he owns a couple schools and a few businesses. We tracted him on Friday. We taught him a great lesson about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and how it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.

He was extremely excited. Sadly he did not come to church. I have a feeling we need to teach that lesson one more time so that he can grasp the importance of it. If someone understands the fact that Joseph Smith RESTORED The church of Jesus Christ (which is the same church during the time of Christ) there is no way that anyone cannot want to be part of it. I also recognize that the Spirit must testify to them that it is true. This takes repentance and faith. If they do this and receive the witness, they will know for time and all eternity that it is true.

I love being in Lugazi! I do not think I will be here long—maybe two transfers. But who knows. But I am going to make this time really count. Anyone who gets to go to this area is really receiving one of the pearls of the mission. It may not be an easy area but it is well worth the hard work!

I hope everyone knows that I really love you all. If I have ever offended any of you, I am sorry. I know that if it wasn't for each and every person, I would not be who I am today. Thanks for everything that you have done for me. Thank you all for the awesome emails and letters. I appreciate them a lot.

The church is true. That is for sure.


Elder Bitter