This has probably been the slowest week in recent memory, but it was a pretty good one! I'll do my best to describe it.
This week was full of a lot of singing. We actually planned to do a musical number for zone conference until they told us it wouldn't be included in the program, which was a bummer. We promised an investigator that Elder Ray would bring his guitar and we would sing for their family, so we did that on Wednesday. They were pretty pleased and kept filming us. American songs are pretty popular here, FYI. Haha I also just love singing around the house. Music is a great outlet for me and I really enjoy being able to express feelings that way. I also love how it relates to the gospel (see later in the email).
On Wednesday we also taught Mike, a father in his 30's. He's struggled with drinking for years and it's really destroyed his work and affected his family. He's never gone to church and we are trying to help him understand that Christ is the only one who can help him change. It was my first time teaching the Word of Wisdom to an addict, and I couldn't help but feel this desire to help him change. However, I realized that isn't my role, it's the Savior's. That was a new experience for me. That evening we cooked American burgers and fries for Sister Dzapasi and her daughter Millicent. I'm not sure how much they liked them, but it was a great evening. Elder Taloa and I went on exchanges on Thursday. In our companionship study we studied about virtue and self-mastery and our desires to be pure in heart and mind. I opened 2 Nephi 4 and read about Nephi's struggle with his temptations and his enduring trust and love for the Lord. We made a pact that by the end of our missions, we would read that chapter as if it were our own words. That was really awesome. Elder Taloa is a good missionary and he learns more every day. He also loves to have fun, which is powerful. We taught some pretty good lessons, even though we seemed to have a ton of appointments fall through.
I'm learning more and more Shona and speaking it gets easier every day. However, understanding is a little bit more a of a challenge. Again, deep Shona is pretty tough and requires study, which we don't have time to do. There's no way I'd be able to learn this language without the Spirit.
Elder Ray was sick on Friday and Saturday, so there wasn't much going on. We did have another YSA activity on Saturday. We taught them to play telephone, mafia, and musical chairs and they absolutely loved it. It was fun to play games and tie it back to the gospel. The YSA's here are so powerful. Sunday wasn't too eventful either, but it was still nice. Mai Mondwa brought her daughter Maybe to church, and she's adorable! She's 10, and will be baptized this Saturday. We were able to visit with them in the evening and teach them about Christ's visit to the Nephites. I love the Book of Mormon so much and it's my favorite thing to be able to teach people about it. We experimented with cooking fried chicken last night, and it actually turned out pretty nice. One thing about Zimbabweans, they really know how to cook chicken.
|Birthday presents are the best|
I just wanted to add an extra thank you for the birthday packages that I received!! I know it's not my birthday until next week, but it was super awesome to be able to have a little taste of home and to feel the love and support of my family and friends.
Alright, back to music. Most of you know me pretty well, and know that I love to sing. It wasn't always like that though. Growing up, I was always afraid or embarrassed to sing in front of others. It wasn't until my best friends got me into choir that I realized how much I loved music and sharing it with others. Now I can't imagine getting through the day without singing a song here and there. It's the same with our testimonies. We have such incredible knowledge of our Heavenly Father and His plan for us, but sometimes we are too subtle or even secretive about it. Alma calls the joy of Christ's Atonement "the song of redeeming love" in Alma. We should be singing this song freely and joyfully, not bottling it inside. Elder Holland, in this past general conference, talked about the songs that we cannot sing and how the gospel relates to singing in a choir. Not all of our voices are the same, but there is room for everyone and each voice does make a difference. As much as I love to sing songs, the song of redeeming love brings far more joy than any other tune I or anyone else could conjure up. I'm learning each day as a missionary that we help others hum that same tune as we bring them to the Savior, who Elder Holland says has "absolutely perfect pitch." As we show others charity, our voices become more than just a "sounding brass" or a "tinkling cymbal." I love music, but more than that I love this gospel and the opportunity I have to share it with the people of Zimbabwe. These faithful people love the Savior and desire to know Him, and I feel privileged to assist in guiding them to the right notes.
Have an amazing week everyone!!
Love Elder Barlow