|MTC District 38C reunited:|
Elder Sink, Elder Barlow, Elder Dixon,
Elder Gunther, Elder Hamblin, and Elder Makalio
I hope you all know how much I love you! This week in Mutare has been pretty solid and a couple miracles took place (one of them being my Christmas package finally arriving...ok not really a miracle but that was awesome).
On Tuesday we piled into a kombi atand headed off to Harare for zone conference. After a 3 hour drive with the driver playing the same songs over and over again at maximum volume, we arrived. We received direction on the mission's increased focus on family history and also were taught in preparation for the upcoming mission split. I also got to see the other 5 elders from my MTC district! It was the first time we were all together at a zone conference since Christmas of 2016 and it was awesome to see them! They've been such great examples and friends throughout my mission. Of course, the conclusion of the zone conference was followed by another long and tiring journey back to Mutare (with the same music), but it was a great experience!
|With Elder Motsoiri on his birthday,|
in front of our flat
On Friday we had interviews with President Mkhabela. He spoke a lot about how missionaries have had a bad perception of and attitude about Mutare for a long time. He also told us about how it is a great opportunity for us to serve here and encouraged us to be unified in achieving our purpose as missionaries and helping one another. We discussed about how as missionaries, we have strengths and weaknesses. Then we learned about how we can help each other turn our weak points into strengths. I definitely have a lot of weaknesses, but it is so comforting to know that I can repent and improve and be better than I was yesterday!
Sunday was awesome!! We had 6 investigators come to church, two of whom were new! We also had some beloved less active members come. I can't explain how happy I was to see them. Truly, Christ taught that the good shepherd bears the lost sheep back home on his shoulders, rejoicing that he has found the one who had gone astray. I can definitely say that I have felt that joy seeing inactive members and investigators come to church. After the service, we had a lesson with Ngoni and Cynthia. Ngoni is from Bulawayo and Cynthia is from Gweru. They met and started dating at university in Gweru and they are both working here in Mutare. Cynthia is a member, but Ngoni is not, and our lesson with them was so powerful! He had so many deep questions that the gospel can answer, and Elder Motsoiri and I couldn't help but smile as we listened to him and answered. He seems so prepared and I am excited to see what the gospel will do for him. Later in the day, we were meeting with Brighton, a recent convert of 2 months who is studying in college. He is such a cool guy and so serious about the Church and the commandments. As we were talking, we met a young woman from Japan who is actually lecturing at the college. We talked with her for a while and we found out her name is Mayu. Elder Motsoiri asked her lots of questions (especially about Japanese, my comp loves languages) and we found out that she's not really religious but that she'd be interested in meeting with us sometime. I love meeting all kinds of people on my mission. Who would've thought that I would meet a Japanese person in Zimbabwe? I love this work!
Today we played volleyball!! That's right, actual volleyball. I admit, I'm super rusty, but it was so much fun! Some of the elders in the zone are great athletes and we really enjoyed ourselves!
Well, that's about all for this week!! If I had to choose a thought to share, it would be to reach out in love to those around us. There are so many of our brothers and sisters around us in our own neighborhoods that need our support, our friendship, and our help. I have gained a testimony of these things. When we choose not to judge others and love them unconditionally, even if we don't know them that well, we can be the Lord's hands in doing His work. Mosiahstates that we serve God when we serve those around us, and it is my prayer that we will choose to keep the first and second greatest commandments with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.
I love you all, have the best week ever!!
Love Elder Barlow