Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 7, 2016 - "I'm So Glad You Know English"

How's it going everybody?
Happy Halloween from Mkoba District
I hope all is well!! This week has been an interesting week for sure. Monday night we "celebrated" Halloween with our district by taking a goofy picture that you'll find below, which was super awesome!! It's been super hot, lots of long days of walking.
Tuesday was practically like Christmas!! I got the package from the family and letters!! Wow I never appreciated how good American peanut butter is, and I am undyingly grateful for the taco seasoning and pancake mix!! We're definitely going to be eating well this week. I think the Shona books included will accelerate my learning too. Thank you so much for your love and consideration, family!! Love you guys!!
This week, especially this weekend, we had a ton of appointments fall through. That was a shame, but we still managed to teach a lot. I've found that lessons with people who speak good English are so powerful!! I feel like I'm contributing, there's understanding, and the Spirit is there!! It's been a blessing to find people like that. I got another opportunity to teach the plan of salvation, this time to Believemore, and it went way better. With that lesson especially you have to teach for understanding and share a lot of proof from the Bible. Boy, do Zimbabweans love their Bible.
On Thursday we got some drastic relief from the heat. We were teaching Panashe in the evening when the heavens opened and dumped rain for like two hours. We waited it out for an hour before deciding we could try to get home. There were rivers running through the streets!! In primary, you sing about the rains coming down and the floods coming up but you don't truly understand the context until you're in the middle of an African monsoon. We were all the way in village 16 and were soaked by the time we got home. Whew, what an adventure!! It hasn't rained since but we definitely got a taste of what it's gonna be like!!
Friday the Muchemwa family had us over for dinner again which was really nice. They're such a great family and I love how they always invite us over. The food was delicious and they baked us another divine cake!! Nothing gets a new missionary excited like a dinner appointment with cake (except maybe repentance and baptism haha). Douglas, one of the family members, is 22 and in college and we talk with him a ton which is awesome. I love faithful people.
The baptism!
On Saturday we had the baptism!! Ok tiny miracle story: we showed up to the baptism and the branch president couldn't open the chapel with his keys because someone had put a different lock. We waited for like 45 minutes without being to go in, and I started praying that we would be able to find a way to open it. We had the number of the guy who had the keys but we or any members of either branch knew where he was. About 10 minutes after my prayer, a member of the 2nd ward bishopric happened to drive by, called the guy with the keys, and then went and picked them up and brought them so the baptism could go through!! Prayers truly are answered!! The baptism went well for Mollette and her 8 year old daughter Paidamoyo. The font was all the way full this time and there were no problems haha. It was great!!
It was super hot this weekend again and there were many people who happened to be absent or busy. Church was nice. By the way they found the branch counselor's son safely so thank you for your prayers. I had the opportunity to help in the confirmations which was again special. I then had the great chance to bless the sacrament for the first time in almost 5 months. It was so special to me. I read the words of the prayer so carefully, each one taking on new meaning and the Spirit increasing during the ordinance. It was so awesome. We had fast and testimony meeting. There's a sister who's husband (our former YM pres)  passed away the week before I arrived and she finally came back and bore her testimony. It was so powerful and emotional and there were tears in my eyes for sure. The Savior truly does carry us in times of need. We also got to confer the Aaronic priesthood upon Panashe which was also really cool. Definitely many cool experiences. We talked about some ward members about how the branch used to be so different. Now so few people come, hardly any priesthood holders are active, and the joy of the gospel seems to be missing. I'm really hoping that there is hope for change in this area.
We stopped by Sister Takaya's house last night and without planning she made us dinner which was so awesome!! People don't realize that us missionaries don't need special treatment or huge nice meals. We honestly just love visiting and are happy with any hospitality they offer. It was a simple meal but so good and it felt so loving. Her son in law is in the branch presidency of the 5th branch and an RM and we talked to him for a long while which was super cool.
Guess who has arrived
This morning we went to the air and military museum in Gweru. We saw some awesome old planes worthy of a President Uchtdorf conference talk and took some hilarious pictures. It was pretty cool.
Haha I hope everyone has fun voting this week!! I'm sure it'll all be ok, because the Lord will never forsake the faithful!! He'll take care of things if we put in our effort!
Spiritual thought for the week: a guy we teach has this sign in his house that says, "Only God can solve my problems." Immediately, that made an impression on me. That's not really a true statement. The sign should really say, "through God I can solve my problems." Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us so much and are always willing to reach out and help us. However, we have to show our faith by doing our part and putting in our best efforts. Then miracles can occur in our lives. I loved something our high counselor said about self-reliance: luck (or miracles or blessings or whatever) is when preparation meets opportunity. We can truly overcome everything as long as we do our best and turn to the Lord!!
I love you all and hope all is well!!
Musari mushi!
Elder Barlow
My buzz cut haha
My buzz cut haha

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