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

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