Monday, November 28, 2016

November 28, 2016 - Ndichadzidza Shona!!

Hey y'all!! I hope everyone's week has been fantastic!! This week's title basically means, "I will learn Shona." I've definitely made some progress with the language, although it's small, and I am understanding more and more each week. Man, learning a language is tough, but I know the Lord will help!!
It's been a pretty good week. One of the days we had lunch with Sister Mugwagwa, who's less active but has a son on a mission. She's so nice and I love visiting their family. They fed us sadza and fish. The whole fish. Head and all. It tasted good, but I have very little experience eating a whole fish, especially when it's looking back at me. Also, if you have sadza for lunch, you are in trouble. It makes you so sleepy!! My companion and I were void of energy and we kept yawning for the rest of the day. Haha it's so funny, so many people ask if I'm ok with eating sadza or if I even eat it. We laugh because it's just normal now and I eat it all the time.
Thanksgiving!! (ignore the awful look on my face)

Thursday was Thanksgiving!! After a hard day's work, the other Gweru elders came over and we made mashed potatoes, chicken, and gravy. Wow it was so good, especially the potatoes. It was a very different thanksgiving for sure and a little hard, but I was so grateful to be with friends. We spent the evening eating, laughing, and telling stories. I made pudding for dessert too, which I figure is just pie without the crust. We all went around and said what we were thankful for, which was sweet too. I truly have so much to be grateful for!! My wonderful family, the best friends, the restored gospel, my Savior, my mission, and more things than I could possibly type in this email!! When we count our blessings, we truly realize how much the Lord has given us!! honestly from the time I've spent in Zimbabwe, I don't feel inclined to complain about anything. I've truly been so blessed for which I am so grateful.

On Friday I went on an exchange with my District Leader Elder Tsongora to his area. Man we marched!! We were speedwalking the whole way, which was awesome!! We didn't have a single lesson that wasn't good and we saw some seriously powerful people. It also gave me a chance to see a new area with new people and a new companion. That was pretty refreshing and I enjoyed it a lot. It rained pretty hard in the afternoon which cooled everything down. That was really needed.
   Brother Makora after the marriage and baptism!

 morning was hectic. We were trying to make sure that Brother Makora's marriage could be performed so that the baptism could go through, but the two marriage officers that we planned on were not available. We were about to cancel, but we were able to contact the bishop of the 2nd ward to do it. It took some stressing and some scrambling, but the very simple marriage was performed and I was able to baptize him!! It was sweet to see him and his wife happy and to be able to help him make covenants. He walks super far every Sunday and is really faithful. It was really awesome.

On Saturday evening we taught Believemore about the Book of Mormon and he committed to read it! He understands a lot and I really have faith that he can receive his own testimony! His family is super nice and I'm hoping that we might be able to teach them too. It was really great.
Yesterday we had almost 50 people at church!!! It's mostly because of the holidays, but it was so awesome. Although our numbers were still few, the hymns had a little more strength and the Spirit felt a little stronger. We also had 9 investigators come!! It was super awesome!! It gives me hope for this small branch.

We had dinner with Sis. Fadzai and her fiancee last night and they invited Elders Barnett and Bamutesiza. It's so great o be in such good company, especially an RM and my first companion. It was awesome! Also last night, I was reflecting on the pioneers and their sacrifice and their faith. It touched me very deeply. There are so many who came before us who suffered and endured to provide us with the lives we have now. How can we not honor their legacy by enduring in faith? I love that so much.

To conclude, a couple more fun facts! Most women go by Mai (meaning mother) and the name of their oldest child. So if a woman's oldest child was Tadiwa, she would be called Mai Tadiwa. Also, Zimbabwean women are magicians! I can't believe how they carry so many things on their heads. It blows my mind for sure. There are going to be an eternal supply of mangoes in about a month because of the hundreds of trees in people's yards. Oh, and it's not uncommon to see a firewood cart being pulled by a couple donkeys up and down the streets. That's Zim for ya!

I hope everyone is doing well!! Thank you for all your love and support!!

Elder Barlow

Elder Muzenda and I with Brother Khumalo our branch clerk

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