Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016 - "It's Not the Heat, It's the...No It's the Heat"

Masakati Everyone!

This week has been so amazing and it totally flew by!! There have been so many blessings and amazing experiences that have happened this week!! I don't even know where to start. Gweru has been pretty good. We had a solid zone meeting on Tuesday. The Elders in the Masvingo district had been sick in the hospital so that was sketchy, but they're all ok now. There's also a keyboard in the chapel where we meet, so that's been super sweet to sit down and play even if it's just for a minute. We had some good lessons this week. Elder Muzenda has been super good for me because he's helped me to better teach people not just lessons. He's really sociable and great with people and gets to know them quickly. It helps them warm up to us, and I'm doing my best to put myself out there, even though it's difficult. It helps that he is fluent in Shona and Ndebele, so that has motivated me to learn more. I pick up a new word or two each day so that's been fun.

Elder Muzenda and I
Elder Aden and I study Shona together sometimes. We founds a Shona Restoration pamphlet and tried reading through the first vision. Wow, we butchered it so hard but it's a start haha. It's been an adventure figuring out how to cook and stuff. We've eaten some unorthodox things, like last night we had leftover spaghetti so i cooked some beans, hot dogs, and tomato soup and it wasn't all that bad. Breakfast is my forte though. I made pancakes and French toast this week and they've turned out awesome.
My plate of sadza and stuff
It's so nice to have other missionaries in the house. We get to tell stories and joke around and it's just awesome. We don't have too many options for working out, so it's usually pushups and stuff. This morning Elder Aden and I actually made weights out of these empty oil containers and an old mop stick so that's pretty exciting.

This week has been so so hot. Like, it's crazy. Sometimes we feel like we are melting. honestly, the Lord blesses his servants because we always have the strength and the motivation to work hard throughout the whole day. Every time we step out in the sun in our priesthood attire, I feel this surge of motivation and energy. By the time we get home and close the day and everything, then it hits us haha. I have a wicked collar tan haha, it's so bad. 
There have been some interesting experiences this week. Zimbabwe is a very Christian country and people absolutely love the Bible. I swear some people memorize it and are so devoted to it. We have to teach using the Bible a ton until we can introduce the Book of Mormon. When we use the Bible, people are very understanding and receptive. There was this one older guy we taught this week. I started teaching him while Elder Muzenda was helping wash their car. This guy wouldn't budge until we showed him Biblical proof of Joseph Smith and he wouldn't let us get anywhere. He kept interrupting us and it was very frustrating. Some people don't open their hearts to the gospel, and so it helps me appreciate the ones that do. We taught a guy named Kudakwashe, who only speaks Shona. He loved our message and was thanking us for teaching him so he could understand. It was pretty cool. Tafadzwa, the 15 year old girl we have been teaching is progressing well. She asked if I could help her get a passport to America, haha and I told her i would if she married Sam. So Sam I've found your wife haha. Her dad only speaks Shona, so I greeted him and stuff as we left and he grabbed my hand and wouldn't stop shaking it. He had the biggest smile and kept laughing and said "My son, I'm very happy, keep it up! Good!" It was pretty cool. We are praying that he will let Tafadzwa get baptized. 
We also taught Sister Fadzai's uncle again, and he's really understanding and willing to learn. We know he will get baptized someday. I wish I could tell more about all these people. We taught this guy Ephraim who happens to be a polo player, horse trainer, elephant and lion trainer, expert hunter, and just super awesome. That guy has got an adventure for a job. 
Crazy story time: so here people claim they've seen all kinds of visions. Like the first week, some guy told us his wife saw a pillar of fire above his head. This week some guy told us he was ordained an Apostle when he heard a voice, and that last month he saw a vision of Matthew 10:10 in front of him calling him to preach the gospel. Wow haha, that's not even the craziest we've heard from the other missionaries. Definitely always entertained. 
Yesterday we had stake conference. It was super hot but it was nice. President and Sister Mkhabela came and spoke and that was really awesome. They really are such great people and I'm glad they are taking care of us. I talked to President afterwards, and he made sure I was ok and stuff. He's soft-spoken but dignified and passionate about the gospel.
Afterwards we went out and taught this lesson to Mai Diana, a teacher we had last taught 3 weeks ago or something. We learned a lot about her and she was very receptive. She's been divorced but remarried happily, and survived a life-threatening car accident and is fortunate enough to teach close to home. She's been so blessed.  I ended up inviting her to baptism at the end of the lesson and she said yes! Ahh it was really cool.

Elder Aden and I and our precious muffins

Last night Elder Aden and I made banana bread muffins and they were manna from heaven!! Thanks mom for the recipe!!! Everyone loved them. I was so proud haha. This morning was awesome. We played a little with our soccer ball in the living room and then packed 8 of us in the zone leaders' car and went to Antelope Park. This place is one of the best game park and resort places in Zim and it's so nice. It was really green and really cool. We got some delicious lunch and were sitting there when they walked 4 elephants right by us!! It was so cool!! They were so huge and we were going nuts taking pictures and stuff. Gosh it was awesome. We were misinformed about the price and time of the activities so we didn't do anything else, but got some sweet pics. It was so cool. We passed a kudu (small antelope) on our drive out and Elder Aden and Elder Tsongora got out and chased it haha. It's been a phenomenal week.


The Elders of Gweru

I wish I could write everything but I can't!! In conclusion I've honestly felt everyone's prayers this week. I've had a lot of struggles but I know the Lord has blessed me so much. This truly is the Lord's work. Sister Mkhabela talked about mothers and the stripling warriors in stake conference, and I'm so glad that I too can say that I can't doubt, my mother knows it. I'm so grateful for my mother and her wonderful influence on me and also to everyone else who's helped me become a better person and a better missionary! I love you all!!

Elder Barlow

The View Though

4. Elephants!!!

5. The view though

6. The elders of Gweru

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