Haha I know that hakuna matata isn't Shona but I've been trying to make it my motto, especially this week.
Haha let's just say this week has been a little rocky. On Tuesday, I learned that one of the new missionaries in my area had a bad trainer and that my trainer was being given to him. Wow. That was really hard to have my trainer be taken away from me three weeks in, but at least he's still in my zone. My new companion is Elder Muzenda. He's originally from Zimbabwe but lived in SA. He's been on the mission for 6 months and this is only his second area. He's got a cool story. Because of visa problems, his initial call to Cape Town South Africa last year was cancelled. However, after 6 months he got reassigned to Zimbabwe. He loves soccer, hip hop, and just having fun. We get along pretty well and hopefully that continues to improve. This week I've mostly been showing him the area and the people we've been teaching. Basically, I've been the senior companion for the week. Being more active actually helps me feel more like a missionary. Elder Muzenda is fluent in Shona and is really good at getting to know people and just talking with them, and he sets a great example of how to get to know and love the people. I think he will teach me a lot of valuable things.
A couple of cool experiences this week! So before the emergency transfer, Elder Bamutesiza and I received a text from Sister Fadzai (the member that's been really helping us with our missionary work) saying that she was sick and needed a blessing. When we got there, it was so hard. She couldn't speak and she was just shaking. I had the opportunity to give her a blessing, and I really felt the Spirit. That evening we called her and she said she was much better, and the following day when we saw her she was basically back to normal! The power of faith and our Heavenly Father is real!! Also we saw a couple of our investigators at Choppies (basically African mini Costco) and it was like seeing old friends. It was awesome. We taught this guy Prince, and when we asked him what religion he was he told us that he was a seeker of the kingdom of God. Wow, zhakasimba (it's powerful).
Conference finally came!! Ahh I can't recall a time when my soul yearned so much for the words of the living prophets. President Uchtdorf's talk about finding the joy of the gospel really spoke to my heart. I need to really feel the joy of the restored gospel more and find more joy in sharing it with others! Elder Cook's talk about stumbling blocks was amazing too. Ahh it just wouldn't go on long enough. President Monson is obviously becoming very weak, so let's all continue to pray for him and the other leaders of the church. Saturday night we had burger night with the Elders in Gweru, and that was a blast. I love just talking with the zone leaders and the other guys. It was a blast.
A couple of blessings this week! Elder Tsongora and Elder Aden moved in with us this week! Elder Tsongora is from Zimbabwe and goes home in April and Elder Aden is new from Idaho. It's so good not to have a quiet house anymore, and I have another American to cook pancakes with haha. When we made pancakes it was so flipping good (no pun intended haha). Friday we had dinner with the Muchemwas (Fadzai's family) and her sister made a cake (she bakes and paints for a living). It was SO DELICIOUS!! Also, the cakes that she makes even rival your birthday cakes mom......just kidding haha. Also, we found out that one of the showers has hot water!! So I took a hot shower for the first time the other day. Hallelujah, that was wonderful. Haha anyways/
Our zone leaders nicknamed me muroy, which means sorcerer haha. They are nicknaming all the new elders. Crazy story, so both on Tuesday and Wednesday we had no power and no water. Welcome to Africa!! Needless to say, this week has come with more than it's fair share of challenges, so I pray for more patience and charity each day!
The best part was on Sunday. So at first when we got to conference, we had no investigators there. That was tough. But 15 minutes into the Sunday morning session, 7 investigators walked in!! 7!! I was so pumped!! Afterwards I was rushing them around introducing them to members and just saying hello, I was so excited! Hopefully we can baptize all of them by the end of the month and help them get closer to Christ! Fadzai introduce us to her uncle as well and he was super receptive and willing to listen! Some people, when they have questions, they aren't willing to hear the answers. This guy was super humble and wanted to learn so we have high hopes for them!
I hope you all are doing well! I pray for everyone a lot and I hope that the Spirit guides you all in everything! Also, congratulations to Kelsey Schwartz on getting her mission call!
Here's to one month in Zimbabwe down, a ton to go haha.
Love Elder Barlow
1. Last week celebrating Elder Allen's year mark
2. Beautiful, purple jacaranda trees that are everywhere
3. One of the many nightmare spiders