Monday, February 13, 2017

February 13, 2017 - Nothing Surprises Me Any More

I hope everyone's week was fantastic! Ours was certainly interesting with no shortage of odd and fantastic experiences!!
So I guess we'll start off with the strangest story of the week. So Elder Ray and I were in Unit O (the far end of our area) and we needed to take a comby to Unit L to finish for the day. This guy guided us and set us in a comby that he said was going there. Long story shot, said comby proceeded to take us to downtown Harare, a 25 minute drive away. Face palm. We were able to get our money back, and even though we were frustrated because they wasted our time, we had a good laugh because it was so dumb. Haha you've gotta love Zimbabwe.

Elder Ray and I eating sugar cane that we found in our backyard

Our companionship unity was on point this week. There were several times that Elder Ray handled questions or taught lesson points the exact way I was thinking and he expressed that vice versa also happened many times. It was so cool to have that harmony in teaching because it's something we've wanted to work on. He's been an awesome companion. We taught some nice lessons this week and found a couple of new investigators with potential.

On Friday
 we had exchanges. I went with Elder Barnett to part of his area. It's always fun to be with someone who came with me on mission. Our awesome day comprised of 11 lessons, 32 contacts and some strange experiences. 
Our district left to right
(zone leaders Elder Luvuno and Elder Allen,
Elder Mkhaliphi, Elder Barnett,
me, Elder Ray, Sister Hopkins, and Sister Walbeck)

Those include teaching an abandoned bus full of marijuana smokers, playing with some kids, and getting really tan in the hot sun. The coolest part came at the end of the day. We taught this mama and her daughter for the first time. As we opened with the Godhead, she seemed a bit defensive and such. However, as we transitioned into the Restoration and Joseph Smith, her body language and everything changed. She was hanging on every word and we could tell the Spirit was working with her. She was very eager to learn about Joseph Smith and we left her with a solid commitment to read the Book of Mormon! We also read 3 Nephi 10-11 with the mdhara (old man) who owns our favorite tuck shop next door. He said everything was so so clear and that he was enlightened. I love the Savior's words in the Book of Mormon and how direct He is. God never leaves us in confusion and it's so comforting to know that.
Yeah I have some of my mom in me, haha!

On Saturday we baptized some investigators for the sister missionaries and visited a few people before attending an activity at the meetinghouse. The activity was on couples and strengthening marriages and I really enjoyed hearing some of the counsel that was given. Big shout out to my parents for being a great example of a loving marriage!! Love you! For most of it though we kept the kids busy for all the parents.This included soccer, handstand contests (see below, yeah I have some of my mom in me haha), and watching some acrobat contests. My highlight of the week came that evening. So there's this 3 year old kid named Shane and he's adorable!! He speaks Shona in the cutest little voice and is just so friendly. I started showing him little "magic tricks" with rocks (ya know, the make a bunch of hand motions and then hide the rock behind your back type of thing) and he was laughing so hard. It was basically the greatest thing ever. Long story short, Zimbabwean kids are the greatest.
Shane 😄😄😄

On Sunday it was a little odd. They decided to have a Scout centered sacrament meeting, which wasn't really appropriate. Anyways, in third hour Elder Ray gave everyone fire for not doing their home teaching and so I think they will improve. And we spent the rest of the time encouraging the young men to fulfill their priesthood duties and to be mindful. There are a lot of good young men in this branch and it's so cool to see them get excited and help each other.
Today we found a football!!! We threw that around for awhile and enjoyed some soccer and basketball as well. I still miss volleyball a ton but it's ok. It's been a pretty good week and we're going to work even harder next week!
Love you all!
Elder Barlow

Our house (yeah it kinda looks like a prison but it's safe)

The streets of Seke

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