Monday, March 27, 2017

March 20, 2017 - In Which Elder Barlow Actually Understands a Lot of Shona

This week has been crazy!! I hope you all have been doing well. Like most of life, this week was full of a lot of ups and downs but we did our best.
Harare East Zone

On Tuesday we had zone meeting in Mbare. It was super powerful, mostly because our zone is full of amazing and hardworking missionaries. We set a goal for 65 baptisms for March and we're all going to work hard to reach it! It was fun to talk to everyone also.

It was a huge blessing to be able to work with our branch mission leader, Simba, for almost the whole week. He's such a stud. He's preparing for his mission and he's super active in helping us. Plus he loves singing and beatboxing so we get along great haha. We decided to really push and find new investigators this week. Well, we found 16 new investigators this week!! Hopefully among those people, there is someone who will accept the gospel.

Throughout the week I've actually been understanding Shona really well. I still struggle with some things, but I'm definitely learning to understand a lot. Speaking is another story. I was told many times this week that I speak Shona like a Zimbabwean, even though I don't always know what to say what I want to say. The interesting thing about Zimbabwe is that very few people actually speak pure Shona. Almost everyone fails it in school, although they all speak it. We joke that it's actually Shonglish because so many words and terms are adapted from English. On Friday we did baptismal interviews for the sisters and there was a 91 year old sekuru there! He had a conversation with one of the South African sister missionaries (cause Africans pick up other African languages super fast) about the gospel and I understand almost all of it!! However, somehow it seems that I don't understand at the most inopportune times. Guess that's life. 

On Wednesday night I also baked a black forest cake for our favorite less active family, the Zhawapo's, and we took it to them for our visit. It tasted super good, which I didn't expect, and they made us a nice dinner too. We read about Lehi's dream and it was awesome. They also came to church this week!!! We were so happy!!!

Saturday and Sunday were initially pretty rough. We had a lot of lessons fall through and it was a tad frustrating but we kept working. However, Moreblessing and Chantel were confirmed on Sunday, which was awesome. Somehow, none of our 16 new investigators came to church, which was a bit hard, but I'm only motivated to work harder to help them come.

Us with Robin Spencer after our pancakes and basketball

Sunday was also Elder Dixon's birthday, and it was super fun to talk to him and joke with him. We've been super good friends ever since being MTC companions. The cash shortage in Zim continues, so that's a bit crazy. This morning we got up and went to the Spencer's house. They're members that live in Highlands near the mission office. Bro. Spencer is from the US and Sis. Spencer is from Zimbabwe. They have a super nice house and they invited us to have pancakes and play basketball this morning. We went with the zone leaders and it was a blast. We also met their son Robin, who leaves on his mission in a few weeks. It was such a blast and they were so kind to us. It's been a great day!!

As usual, I'd like to conclude with a spiritual experience. Sunday wasn't going very well, until we taught Ms. Chiwairo. We met her last week on the street, where she told us that she had just lost her 20-something year old daughter. We taught her about the plan of salvation, and I could just feel the Spirit working through us. Elder Ray said he could see her heart being touched as we taught. It flowed so well, and we were not the true teachers. She said everything was so clear. As I bore my testimony on the love I have for my family and how I know that I'll be with them forever because of God's plan, I felt the Holy Ghost so strongly. That night, she sent us a text asking us to pray for a few specific things for her. But she concluded by saying that she prayed that we'd meet again, and how she would pray that God would make a way for me to be with my family again after my mission. I was honestly so touched, and it really showed me a greater glimpse into why I am here.

Elders Taloa, Barnett, Bamutesiza, and Barlow
I love you all, my God bless you with the comforting knowledge of His wonderful plan of Salvation. I know it to be true.

Love Elder Barlow

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