Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016 - "Elder, We're Not in Provo Anymore"

Hey everybody!
Well I'm officially in Zimbabwe! Holy cow I can't believe it. The flights were extremely long and I had a pretty bad headache, but it was ok. So crazy story two of the elders we were with got held up in South Africa overnight and got moved onto a different flight! But by a tender mercy, a member saw them and let them spend the night at his house until they could fly out which was awesome. President Mkhabela is a good guy and I am in good hands. The first night we spend in the Harare transfer house. Total there were at least 30 missionaries there at once so it was super crowded. The living conditions aren't the best and there's no hot water, but it's ok! My companion is Elder Bamutesiza from Uganda. He's 22 and been on his mission for over a year. He's very wise and sets a great example for me. We had meetings at the chapel by the mission office and had interviews with the President, which all went well.
The food isn't too bad here. I had sadza for the first time this week. It's essentially solid cream of wheat, so that'll take a little bit of adjusting haha. We headed out to our areas after one more night in the transfer house. We got up early Thursday morning and all got on a huge bus. My first area is Mkoba, which is a suburb of Gweru, about 3-4 hours southwest of Harare. The busride was long and hot but we made it. Wow Zimbabwe is very different from home. It is a very poor country and not very developed. There's lots of trash on the streets and it's dusty. The traffic is also kind of disorganized. People jaywalk whenver they want and it's crazy. Also the driving on the left side of the road is strange. Everyone lines up along the streets and sells things to try and make money. Also for transport, most people take combi's, which basically are 12 person vans that they cram as many people in as possible and drive all crazy! What a blast haha. Mkoba is a very poor area. It's extremely dusty, the houses are very small, and the roads are broken down. It's ok because the people are good and usually pretty happy! I'm the only white person I've seen other than the other missionaries, so that's different. The little kids point at me and say Murungu Murungu! all the time and sometimes come up and hold my hand, which is cute. I will learn to love this place a lot. Our house is pretty rundown and we only have cold water, but we are doing good. Also, if you've ever wondered what it's like to sleep in a giant jellyfish, buy a mosquito net haha. 
Our area got whitewashed, so my companion is also new to this area. We don't have many people to teach right now but we're working on it. The missionaries there before us taught and committed to baptism a 14 year old boy named Panache and I had the opportunity to baptize him on saturday!! Ahh so cool. I'm so excited about this work and I want everyone in Zimbabwe to receive it. We taught a man named Tinashe and a young man named Believemore on Saturday as well. That was good. It's pretty hot, but Sunday night a super cold wind whipped through and it was freezing. Gotta love the weather. Church Sunday was interesting. The branch we are in is struggling a lot. There were only about 30 members there Sunday and it wasn't very enthusiastic, so we will work hard to change that. Nobody plays the piano so we sing a cappella, so that's different. Also, everyone speaks Shona all the time and prefer to speak it rather than English, so i've got some work to do there haha. I hope I covered everything. Overall it's been a pretty hectic week. I miss home a lot, but it's ok I'm doing the Lord's work. I love you all and hope you know that this gospel is true!!
Elder Barlow

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