Monday, August 25, 2014

Cucumber finger - August 25, 2014

I am so tired of these different internet cafes. I have been going from café to café trying to find one that will send my email. For some reason the internet in Lira is having a problem. I will log on, start to type an email and it will log me off. Sometimes I have been able to send the email in other cases, I lose everything—so frustrating. Once I have been kicked off, it will not let me log on again. Hopefully, I will be able to get this email off before it kicks me off as well. This is the last internet café in Lira so if that happens—game over

This week was a good week. We have continued teaching David and the Kalistos family and others. (Mr. Kalisto was the doctor that we baptized some time back.) We are teaching his children now. His children love the gospel! We are slowly working on teaching his wife as well. She is not quite as accepting but she is moving along. She is more welcoming then before.

Another person that we are teaching is Ketsy. She is awesome. She is the neighbor to the Kalisto family. He introduced us to her and she is a very kind lady. She has a very nice family. Right now, we are trying to teach her and her husband together but it has been mostly just her. We are trying to get him more involved.

This week we went and did service for Sister Grace. Apparently she owns a lot of land. We had no idea. All of this land is farmed and produces a lot of potatoes and corn. We went out to her farm and did some service by working on the farm for a few hours. It was pretty cool.

Working on this farm, I grabbed a bush and some sort of animal stung my finger. It swelled up pretty good! Ha ha. I thought the finger was going to burst or something. I walked over to Kalisto’s work and called him. He came on out and looked at it and said, “Don't worry tomorrow it will almost be gone.” I struggled to believe him because it was so swollen (and so quickly) but sure enough when I woke up the next day the pain was gone and my finger didn't look like a cucumber anymore. So life is good.

The work is really moving forward and things seem to be going smoothly. I hope that everyone has a great week.

Sorry for the short non-detailed letter but I have a feeling the internet is going to log me out. I want to make sure you hear from me this week.

Have a good one

Elder Bitter

Monday, August 18, 2014

Conquering Coconuts & Grace's Baptism - August 18, 2014

This week was a quick one!!!

I will start out with a small story. In our compound there are three coconut trees. For the past six weeks, we have been saying that we wanted to get the coconuts from the tree on our P-day. For some reason we just never got around to it until today. It took forever to get those things down!!! In fact it took us four whole hours!!!!!!

We started by taking turns climbing the coconut tree (The tree is very tall!) and trying to whack the coconuts down. After climbing up the tree, we were panting and our arms and legs were so worn out that it was an effort to lift our arms out to try and reach the coconuts. We would try to extend our arms so that we could give the coconut a good chop but our effort was very puny because we were spent from climbing the tree. We tried this method a couple of times and realized that this was not going to work. We then thought of the movie, “Mulan” and how she climbed the tree with a rope around your back and slowly walked up the pole. So we grabbed some rope and tried that method. We quickly learned this method would not work. Ha-ha!

We then resorted to throwing stones at the coconuts trying to knock them down because climbing was becoming such a difficult task. After doing this for about an hour, we decided to give it up because we were sore and tired. We sat down to rest and think. I didn’t want this tree to defeat us. It was kind of humbling to realize that we could not get a coconut down from the tree.

After thinking about it for a little while, “MASTER J” came to mind. (Master J is Brother Johnson who was my scout master when I lived in California.) During my scouting days, he taught us to lash poles together so that we could make longer poles to build stuff. When we were learning this skill, I thought that I would never ever do this again. But I was wrong! I started gathering all the jump ropes in the house and all of our mops and brooms. I then lashed together a 15-18 foot long pole!!! Well after lashing the pole together, we leaned a ladder against the tree and started hitting the coconuts. Still no success!

Since we were unsuccessful with hitting the coconuts, we took a hanger and made a loop out of it and hung it on the end of our makeshift rod. After doing this we would hook the hanger around the coconut and yank them right off the tree! Eureka! We got four large coconuts and one small one!!! Our plan is to cook something with them. I am sure that it will be tasty.

Now the work! This week is going really well. Grace got baptized last week. (She is 55 years old.) We have been teaching her for about a month and a half maybe a little bit longer. I really enjoyed teaching Sister Grace because she always had great questions and really wanted to learn the gospel of Christ. She bore a wonderful testimony about how she would not only endure but live the commandments while enduring. She knows the commandments are true and they bring blessings.

We have had success in finding people. This week we have a lot of different people that we will continue to teach. Things are really looking good overall. Things are really working out so far for this transfer. The work is racing forward. It is a great thing to see. The Lord is helping and blessing us abundantly right now. He is placing a lot of people in our path and making the work easy for us. It is really nice!

We are still teaching David. (College student, basketball player.) He is dating one of the sisters in the branch right now and is trying to decide if this is a something that he is willing to commit to for his whole life. He will be a great member when he commits. He is well educated, smart and nice. He really understands the gospel. And he reads the Book of Mormon consistently. I really think that he will end up coming around, accepting the gospel and choosing to be baptized. He is a great guy and gets along well with the branch already.

Well that is all I have for today. Have a great week!


Elder Bitter

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Black Mamba and Ebola Controlled

Well, hello everyone! I’m trying a new internet cafe today.

I wanted to talk about the new elders that are now living with us. Here are the details. You may have heard about the Ebola breakout in Sierra Leon. Due to the break out, all the missionaries that were in that country were on lock-down. They were not allowed to leave their homes for almost two weeks. After two weeks, the mission ended up getting shut down and all the missionaries were shipped out of the country and sent back to their original countries to serve the rest of their mission.

Lira received some of these missionaries. We have two of them in our house. We now have a total of six missionaries in the same home. It’s a little tight but it is really fun to have them around. They are really great guys and I enjoy being around them. I haven't mastered how to pronounce their names yet and I haven't gotten close to learning how to spell them! So for now I won’t be using their names. (I don’t want to spell them incorrectly. Ha ha!)

When it comes to the work, they are good hard working missionaries. They are great additions to the Lira branch. To accommodate these additional missionaries we had to divide our areas up into smaller pieces so everyone would have an equal amount of area to work. This caused all of our investigators to be handed over to the new elders because the area that they received is the area that had most of our investigators. We will be starting fresh again. This is not problem to be honest as long as the people that we were teaching continue to get taught and continue to progress in the gospel.

Out of all the people that we were teaching the only people that we still have are David and Grace. They are not related or connected in anyway. They are both moving forward. Grace is a lady in her 50's and is a widow. David is in college and a basketball player. They are both great people. I am glad that we get to continue with them.

Grace is awesome! She is probably one of my favorite investigators on the mission. She reminds me of Grandma Bitter. She is just fun and funny. She also really enjoys learning the gospel. She has these animals that she raises that are like chickens. However they are not really chickens. They have red and white clown faces. I will have to take a picture of them. They are something else. She says they taste like chickens but better.

Not too long ago, I did something that I have never done before. It was on a Monday (our P-day) and I heard one of the Elders in the house just yell, “SNAKE!!!!” So I quickly grab a kitchen knife and ran out to the “garage”. Sure enough there was a Black Mamba trying to find its way out!! I could not believe it. I had no idea how in the world it even got in because all the doors had been shut. Luckily it was still somewhat young. (It was not full grown or able to move at full speed.)
(Karla looked up on Google on the Black Mamba. Below is info found.)
Common black mamba or black-mouthed mamba, is a highly venomous snake.
It is the longest species of venomous snake in Africa, and the second-longest venomous snake in the world after the King cobra. It is also the fastest moving snake in Africa, and one of the fastest moving snakes on the planet, perhaps the fastest, capable of moving at 6.8 mph over a distance of 141 ft.
 I raised my Samurai sword (kitchen knife) and I took one good slash at him when it was trying to squeeze underneath the door. Off with its head, the problem was finished. That is my story for the week. It isn’t really funny or crazy but I thought it had been a while since I told a story. (Karla thinks it is a little too crazy!)

Yes, we are still buying sticky traps and catching mice from time to time. It does seem that we have almost conquered the problem. We go for days without catching one so things are a lot better regarding that issue. The house is in a lot better shape now after we have cleaned it, fixed power and sockets. (I’m getting quite good at electricity) So all is well!!!

Sure love you all

Elder Bitter

Monday, August 4, 2014

Robert Saved The Day

We got transfer news and my companion and I are staying. This will be three transfers that we have been together which is good.

This week we did a lot of tracting and searching for people to teach so once again the letter will probably be short. As we did the searching, we were not all that successful. We would meet someone and talk to them and it seemed like they were really interested but then it would head south for some reason or another. We just couldn’t figure it out. But we just kept moving forward even though it looked like nothing was going to work out. We had a lot of things fall through which was a big letdown.

Finally, we found a guy named Robert. He is a successful guy. And is a “boss” over all. After we taught him, he just loved the gospel. In fact he went around telling all his friends about the gospel. These friends turned out to be some of the people that we had been teaching but stopped for whatever reason. (We knew when we were teaching these people that they would really help the branch because they are stable and committed people.)

So after Robert had told all his friends how important our message was, he demanded that we teach them all one more time. Of course, we didn’t refuse. And believe it or not they came to church this past Sunday! It was really awesome. After church they all told us that they wanted to come to church again and would like to continue taking the lessons so they could grow closer to God.

So long story short Robert referred us to the people that we had been teaching before, yet he didn’t know that we had been teaching them earlier. Since he referred us, his friends trusted us and decided to give church a shot. What a miracle! The Lord really helped us out a lot. I am so grateful.

We feel like we will have success this week because of this miracle and that we will be busy and have a solid teaching group. All is well in Lira!

Elder Bitter