Monday, February 10, 2014

Ugandan Traffic Ticket Humor - February 10, 2014

Hello Everyone.

It is good to give you a weekly update on what has been going on in Uganda.

First, I’ll share my driving story of the week. You need to understand that if you are not from Uganda, it is likely that you will be pulled over two or three times a week and receive a ‘ticket’. Well every time I drive I usually get pulled over. I don’t get pulled over because I’m doing something wrong but more because I’m white and don’t quite blend in. There is not really a procedure for writing out a ticket. The procedure is more like discussing with the police officer how much it is going to cost you to pay for this ‘ticket’. It is very possible that ticket revenue equals personal income.

This week he pulled me over and talked with me for some time about how much it was going to cost me to "take care of this ticket". The officer indicated that it was going to take ten thousand Ugandan shillings (about three US dollars) pay the fine. I was sitting there just laughing to myself because all I had was a single 20,000 shilling note on me. I thought that if I gave him a 20,000 note right off the bat, the price of my ticket would instantly double.

So I looked at this guy and said "It’s ten thousand right?"

He just looked back, smiled and said "yah, ten thousand".

I just smiled back and said "Well, I guess you owe me some change then don’t ya". I pulled out the twenty thousand note and gave it to him. It was one of the funniest things to see this police officer looking at this twenty wanting to increase the price but knowing he had already settled on ten. He continued to look back and forth from me to the note in his hands. Eventually he pulled out a Ten thousand note and gave me my change. Needless to say, I am keeping that note as a souvenir and will be writing this story on it as a memory of my regular police officer friend.

Enough of the funny stuff. On to the good stuff spiritual stuff. :)

This has been a fast week. My companion and I have been really been trying to find some new people to teach and have been doing everything possible to make sure that the lessons we are teaching people are not repetitive lessons. A repetitive lesson is when you are not taking the extra effort to teach by the spirit. Since we teach so often, it is easy to fall into a ‘script’ format similar to the last lesson taught to different individual. Lessons are intended to be personally delivered to each and every person. It is as simple as that.

As we work to teach by the spirit we get great results. It has been really cool to see how the gospel is for everyone. It is learned differently by each and every person even though the principles are all the same.

Elder Stewart and I had a pretty great experience when we met with an investigator named Francis. As we walked to Francis’ home, Elder Stewart and I were in our normal happy good mood. As we entered his home it felt particularly peaceful and warm.

We started with a prayer. As soon as the prayer was finished, I had the strongest feeling that we should extend a baptismal date. I knew that Elder Stewart felt it too. As we finished the prayer Elder Stewart and I both looked at each other and just smiled. We knew exactly what the other was feeling.

Without hesitation, Elder Stewart went on to extend a baptismal date invitation before we ever taught the lesson. He gladly accepted. It was cool to see that after only teaching this man twice that we had such a strong confirmation to extend a baptism invitation.

One thing that Elder Stewart has taught me in the past couple weeks is how to be more sensitive to the spirit. I have been able to feel the spirit throughout my mission but Elder Stewart has taught me how to better recognize the promptings quickly.

Elder Stewart as my companion has been a fun, eventful and spirit building experience. Elder Stewart is one of those people that can truly lift wherever he is standing and make a big difference. The transfer isn't over yet but it sure has gone by fast.

I hope that this was a good letter to make up for last week’s weak letter!

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


Elder Bitter

Monday, February 3, 2014

Short and Sweet - February 3, 2014


This letter is going to be short. It has been a very fast week.

My companion and I have been spending a lot of our time looking for some new people to teach because over the past few weeks -- all the people we have been teaching have been fading away. We have just been finding.

We were recently referred to a man named Vincent. Vincent is a good friend of Kennedy, the man that
was baptized a few weeks ago. Vincent is a really happy guy, 27 years old and has one child. He works hard and really tries to serve his son.

As we have been teaching him over the past week or so, he has been very interested in learning more and more. The best part about is that he is trying his best to read and pray. When we teach a person like Vincent it feels great because he is trying his best to feel the spirit and learn if what we are teaching him is true.

I know that as he continues to pray and really looks for an answer that he will really find truth.

Most of this week was spent knocking on a lot of doors. So I really don’t have all that much to say.

Some of you asked about the meeting with Elder Bednar and the reaction to the declaration that the tradition of 'Dowry' is not in keeping with the will of the Lord.  For the most part, they were not happy. Dowry is kinda just ingrained in the culture of the people.  One thing that is hard to accept is change.  In some respects, people are living the exact same way as their great-grandparents were living 150 years ago. The only thing that has really changed is the use of phones and taxis. This is a big change for these people and they initially weren't happy at all.  Give them some time and they will catch on.

On a more positive note, the sewer is fixed!!! yahoo :)  No more stinky, slimy, nasty gunk on our kitchen floor!!! :)

Oh, one more thing.  This last week we had a meeting with President and all of the Zone Leaders.  He told us that it is time for the younger generation of missionaries to have a chance to lead, so most of us will slowly be released over the next couple of months.  I'm guessing in the next couple weeks my turn will be finished and someone else's turn will begin.  It does not matter what your role is, the work is the work.

I hope all is well back home. I'm healthy and all is well.

I love you all,

Elder Bitter