Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Ghost Towns - December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Happy Birthday, Dad!

This week was uneventful because of Christmas. As we were tracting and trying to find new people to teach, no one was around. I learned a little secret about Uganda. During the year everyone comes to the city to work since there is no work in the villages. During the Christmas week, everyone travels back to their village. During the season of Christmas, the cities empty out and become like ghost towns.

So our work consisted of us visiting members and people that have recently joined the church. This was awesome but it was a little bit of a bummer since people we had hoped to see again were not around.

Fortunately, Kennedy didn’t go to his village. Thus he is progressing well. We spent some time with him this week. He also invited us over for Christmas. He served so much food! I am not exaggerating when I say that he had cooked for twenty people. We were there with a couple other people. We kept eating and eating. It was good but I was stuffed.

Christmas was good. I got to spend time with the members and call home to my long lost family.

Even though this week was slow, we are expecting great things this next week.

Love ya all,

Elder Bitter

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Awesome Eats in Masaka - December 16, 2013

Hi All,

This week was awesome.

Sunday was probably my favorite Sunday to date as a missionary.

During the week we passed by a nice home, stopped in and asked him if we could share a message. The homeowner is named Kennedy. He is in his thirties and is doing financially well (e.g. car, home, etc.,) As we met with him, we shared a gospel message and taught him the restoration then set up a return appointment.

When we came for the return appointment, he said he needed to be honest with us and said, “I was taught by missionaries many years ago and I had no interest in the message. He then showed us a Book of Mormon that he has received at that time. He also indicated that he had not gone to church in over twelve years.

After that bit of news he went on to tell us that he really wanted to learn about the church and wanted to come closer to God. Basically his priorities had changed from his first visits the Elders over four years ago.

We taught him again and the best thing happened on the following Sunday (yesterday). Kennedy drove his car to church and showed up twenty minutes early. He sat there and read the gospel messages out of all the pamphlets that he had received. He stayed for all the meetings and then stayed for the baptismal service that we held just following. After all of the services, he told us that there was something different about this church than the churches he had attended in the past. He wanted to learn more.

Bonus: He wants to have us over for Christmas as well.

I am always amazed to see the impact that the Spirit can have to change the way a person feels. I hope to have many more like this and I hope that Kennedy continues to progress as he is right now. The thing that I really loved is how he said that there is something different that he feels and when he is here he realized that he has a lot to learn and he said he wants to learn it. It’s just great to see the spirit really hit someone and they start to notice things about themselves previously unnoticed.

Now for some fun.

This week we traveled down to Masaka to visit the Elders there. It was a really long drive -- not so much because of the distance, just because the roads are far from okay. This also means that I had to cross the equator. I took a photo of me standing on each side of the hemispheres. Success!

When we reached Masaka it was all worth it! Masaka is the most beautiful place in the world. Food is plentiful and we ate like there was no tomorrow. Apparently there is a Masaka tradition that when we come down, we are to buy two chickens to feed all the missionaries there (including the couple missionaries as well). Man, did we eat good food. It was marvelous how much food we ate. It was just awesome! :)  Did I mention how good the food was.

As an added bonus I have been having a great time with my two companions. I have Elder Allen and Elder Cockbain assigned to me right now. Elder Allen is temporary -- but the three of us really love working together. I will just enjoy the moment while it lasts.

The mission is awesome.

I really love you all and hope all is well back home!

Elder Bitter

Monday, December 9, 2013

Full Head of Steam in Kabowa - December 9, 2013

This week was a very, very busy week! I felt that it ended before it started. Weird.

On Tuesday the elders from Masaka came to stay at our apartment so that they could attend the zone development meeting (all the missionaries in a given area gather together and have a meeting). Masaka is so far away they had to come in a day earlier than the meeting. We spent a day working with them which was nice.

On Wednesday we had our zone conference. It went really well. We talked about a lot of different things. But most of the discussion was around the business side of a mission.

On Thursday the Masaka elders stayed with us as well. We split with these elders and we went to Entebbe for our exchange. After reaching Entebbe, we worked there the entire day and slept over that night. After spending the night in Entebbe, we grabbed all of the elders in Entebbe and they came back with us to Kabowa. All the Elders and Sisters gathered together and we traveled to Kampala for a Zone Conference. (A zone conference is where a large group of missionaries get together to sit down with the mission president to discuss goals etc.)

The mission president focused on being bold. President Chatfield focus has been “Be not afraid only believe.” (From the New Testament Book of Mark) It has been really cool to see how not being worried and really proclaiming the gospel without fear really helps people want to learn more and increases the missionaries’ faith.

His perspective touched me. “If you know the gospel is true and you understand how much it blesses your life. Why would you be afraid of telling anyone about the gospel? We each know that we need it so other people need it as well. Therefore, if we are not bold with sharing the gospel, we are literally taking away someone’s opportunity to the truth now and extending the period of time until they accept the gospel.”

He also pointed out that since we know God is real and have a knowledge that we can be forgiven of our sins we are free from the burden of guilt, shame etc. He then pointed out that as we share the gospel we are helping them draw closer to Him and giving them the opportunity to repent of their sins so they can be free of that burden as well.

President Chatfield is a spiritual man!

Now let me tell you about a man that we have been teaching since I arrived in my new area. His name is Richard. He is a chef at a high end hotel in Kabowa. This is a primary hotel for businessmen and tourists. Richard loves the gospel. It is amazing to see how he accepts the gospel and allows it to be part of his life. Some of the commitments he had to work on but he knows the church is true and is committed.

Richard is scheduled to be baptized next Sunday. This is very exciting because he has been waiting a long time. This past week we taught him about the importance of the covenants he will be making with the Lord at baptism. He was so excited to know about these promises. He was even more excited about the blessings he will receive as he is faithful to these covenants.

Well I really love you all and I hope that everything is going well back home!!

The church is true for sure and it is a great blessing.


Elder Bitter

Great Sisters

First Week in Kabowa - December 2, 2013

Well hello everyone it is good to hear from everyone. And it is nice to be able to work in a new area. :)

I am officially in Kabowa with my new companion Elder Cockbain its pronounced Cobain. Kabowa is the place to be. I really enjoy it. Being in kabowa is a very different from any of the other areas I have served. Kabowa is in the middle of the biggest city in all of Uganda. Consequently it is very developed. The branch (Oops, I mean ward—hurray for a ward!) is extremely stable.

So basically this new area is bigger, more developed, and loaded with people. One thing that I really enjoy about Kabowa is the ward is as a whole has the Spirit. When we attend the meetings, the Spirit is very powerful. I feel really lucky to be here. I feel like this ward is one of the pearls of Africa.

I have one good experience to share (since I am so new here).

The important story of this week is that we tracted into someone this week that will be a great member of the church. His name is Paul. He is a very powerful man in Uganda. He has invited us to come to his home tomorrow. I am excited. I just want today to end so that I can go and see him tomorrow! I think that things will go really well. I am looking forward to the teaching experience.

I know this letter is short but my time is up. Have a great week everyone!!! Love ya all!


Elder Bitter