Monday, May 26, 2014

Land of Mangos-May 26, 2014

Well hello! I will try to share things about the new area and about the work as well!!

My companion is awesome! He is really a great guy. He is committed to morning exercising. This is very important to him but the work is more important so we are very compatible. Life is fun, enjoyable and hard work. I love it!

So Lira is the land of mangos. They don’t have the usual fruits in Uganda but mangos are plentiful. The land is covered in mango trees. They are so common you can basically eat them for free because there are not enough people to eat all of them. There is probably a mango tree every 50 feet or less depending on the area. If you love mangos, come to Lira!

This week we had an appointment with a guy named Thomas. He is about 60 years old and a nice guy. As we walked up to Thomas' home, he was sitting outside underneath a mango tree. He warmly greeted us and said I am ready for you. From this statement, we concluded that he was ready for our message. Wrong! As soon as we sat down, he stood up and walked away. We were really confused. We stayed underneath the tree for about two minutes trying to decide what to do when he showed up with two buckets full of mangos. He smiled explaining that all of these mangoes were for us and our message could not be shared until we had finished all of the mangos.

We looked at the huge number of mangos for a second, taking in the sheer quantity that we had to eat before we could chat with him! After feeling sorry for ourselves for a second or two, we realized that we needed to get started so we could make our next appointment on time. We ate and ate and ate and then we ate some more. (We were very polite and fast!) FINALLY we defeated the mangos!!! I was full on mangos. Who would ever guess that I would be full on fruit? It was awesome! hahaha

This week was a good one. We spent time building up our investigator pool. The best part of this effort is that we not only found people to teach but they came to church as well. The people we shared a lesson with are great people, willing to hear the gospel and respond to it.

One person that fits in this category is a guy named Johnson. He is 32 years old and has two children. As we shared with him this week, he not only understood the restoration but he also caught the importance of applying these principles to his life. He had loads of great questions. Then on Sunday at church, he participated, asked and answered questions, and listened intently. He is a stud when it comes to learning the gospel. He has a huge desire to learn and apply the gospel in his life which is super cool.

The branch is very young and needs a lot of support. The running of the branch rests on the shoulders of about 5 people right now. They are all young and need help. So we have really been trying to teach and find people that will not only be great members of the church but also become leaders and be able to lift where they stand. We hope that we will not add to their stress and worry.

Things out here are good. Yes, it is hot but it’s a great place. There is a lot that can be done here. But we have a lot of things rolling already. I am really excited to be serving here. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve with Elder Sithole.

Sure do love you all! Happy Birthday Anne! :)

Elder Bitter

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Livin' In Lira-May 19, 2014

Hey everyone!

I’m tuning in today from the hot land of Lira and I am happy to be here despite the weather. Lira is a great place. I really like it a lot. The people here are just amazing. They are the best of the best in Uganda. They are kind and helpful. You can literally just pick anyone off the street and just start talking to them with no problem. They don’t necessarily accept the gospel but it is nice to be around people who are kind!

Lira is a lot like the other places I have served when it comes to the work. The difference seems to be that life is a bit simpler here. I feel that the people of Lira are ready for the gospel. I can’t even explain why I feel this way. I just do. They all basically speak and read English. Generally, the people are very open-minded. I will not be able to forget the people of Lira. They have a great ability to understand the gospel. Watching them listen and understand gospel truths is pretty amazing.

My new companion is from South Africa and he is a really great guy. He is happy go-getter. He is new on his mission but he has a great desire to get out and work. He is always excited and willing to do the work.

This week we had three baptisms and it was great! The three people were from part member families so it was a wonderful to watch the families. It really makes us as missionaries feel content when we know that they have family and friend support.

All of the missionaries here in Lira, see the great potential of the area. We are excited and focused! Maybe this is why I am having a hard time focusing on this letter. I will just wrap up with a simple testimony.

This is the Church of Jesus Christ. This is his church on the earth today. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is proof that there is a living God and anyone that reads it and prays will know for sure that this is his gospel.

I sure love you all!


Elder Bitter

Transfer to Lira-May 12, 2014

Dear People That I Know:

Hello everyone I am tuning in for the last time at "Breaker’s Cyber Cafe". After today I will be in Lira. Yes, I have been transferred. Sadly, I will not have Elder Stewart as my companion anymore. I will miss that guy.

I don't know very much about Lira but from what I have heard it is the kind of place that we all picture in our mind when we think of Africa. Everyone says that you will teach in grass huts and eat odd things. I don't really know for sure how it all works or what that place is like but I do know that it is HOT. Lira is in the northern part of Uganda. They eat a lot of Kalo, cassava, and g-nut. I have been told that will be my new diet. You now know as much as I do about Lira.

I will be traveling to Lira on Thursday. It takes about 7 hours to get there. The distance is not that far but the roads are terrible. My new companion is Elder Sithole (Sit-o-lay). He is from South Africa. I am excited. I think that it will be awesome. I am looking forward to experiencing the northern area of Uganda.

So this past week was really great. Elder Stewart and I were trying everything possible to find new people to teach. We wanted the next transfer to be set out for the new group. We wanted everything to transition smoothly and stay on track. And we saw a lot of blessings come as we were trying to work our plan.

As we were looking for people over the past week, time and time again people just fell into our laps. It was just remarkable to watch the Lord work. As we were tracting and searching, people were just welcoming and very receptive of the gospel. From these experiences, we have started teaching a family and a set of brothers. They are both awesome.

I will share about the family. The parents are in their mid-twenties. They need to get married but their relationship seems really good. They have two daughters. The oldest is nine years old and the other is four. They are such a happy little family. They are educated. (They can read and speak English.) This is such a blessing. The parents’ names are David and Mama. The daughters’ names are Sutup, and uhhh well I forgot. (Bad!) They are awesome!

They all came together to church yesterday. They were super late but I was so glad to see that they made it. They all went to their respective classes. After church, I was so grateful that they were happy and excited. The kids were dancing through the halls and the parents were smiling as they left. It was a great reward to see their family so happy after attending three hours of church. As usual when we thought nothing was going to play out, the Lord took over and it was better than we had hoped.

Well in conclusion, I will tell you about our farewell meal that we cooked in honor of our mothers back home. The meal consisted of 4 kilos of beef, 2.5 kilos of potatoes, 2 kilos of tomatoes, enough onions to feed Uganda, and some carrots. This was thrown in two crock pots. We cooked it for about 13 hours. (The meat was marinated in a mixture of spices plus a little mustard and a lot of BBQ sauce.) After it was cooked, we used the drippings and made gravy. We had a loaf of bread (specifically Supa loaf) with the stew. The meal was a bit pricey but totally worth it. We wanted to celebrate and honor our mothers.

But the best part of the day was not the meal but the CALL home. It was awesome!!! Sure love ya family and it was awesome talking to you all. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Keep up the good work everyone!


Elder Bitter

Monday, May 5, 2014

Birthday Tradition for Elder Stewart-May 5, 2014

Thanks everyone for all the great letters this week. I really love and appreciate you all!

I was a little sick all week with a cough and stuff like that. But it wasn't anything life threatening or that would cause me to stay home. But it sure made the week drag. I will not have a whole ton to say. I’m still a little sick and a run down so here goes.

So this week we really saw something great happen. We had a man come to church that I would of never have thought would do so. When we were tracting, we met a guy that cannot walk. In fact he can barely move. He needs someone to help him on one side and a cane on the other. Well this Sunday, we heard a bodda revving up to the front door of the church and to our surprise on the back of the motorcycle was this man that cannot walk. We had invited him to church and he had decided that nothing was going to stop him from attending.

It was so great to see the members eagerly stand up and help him enter the church building. They took him to the front row. He stayed for all 3 hours of church. He really listened and enjoyed it. It was just great to see. The best part was the learning that I gained. Anyone can go to church if they really want to. There is seldom a good excuse for not making it to church. This guy lived a fare distance from the church and he was not going to let anything stop him. The Sabbath day is the Lord’s Day.

Also this week we celebrated my companion’s birthday. I built him a cake. And I even used frosting. We ate it as a district and everyone enjoyed it. We followed our birthday tradition and we all said something that we liked about Elder Stewart. It was pretty cool! I really enjoyed it a lot and it wasn't even my birthday hahah.

This week we did a lot of contacting and have a lot of appointments set up for this upcoming week. I am really looking forward to the week. I hope that all these people that we are meeting and contacting are not only ready but willing to receive the restored gospel of Christ. It will be really great to teach them. I'm really excited and hope it all works out!!!

One of the people that we contacted, I had actually contacted the first week of my mission. He actually remembered Elder Facer and me. I was stoked! We will be teaching him on Tuesday. He was very careful about choosing the time. He told us that he did not want to cancel because of his work.

I sure love you all and hope that all is well!


Elder Bitter