Monday, June 5, 2017

May 1, 2017 - Gift of Tongues, Fresh Milk, and 19 Years

Hey everybody!! I hope your week was good. The end of April absolutely flew by and now we are into May!! Thank you to everyone for wishing me a happy birthday, I finally feel old enough to be on a mission when people ask my age!

Haha so funny story: last week we went shopping after we finished emailing and we were on our way out of town when the car died. We pulled over and discovered that one of the cables was broken and we later learned that there was water and dirt in our gas tank. Yikes. We waited on the side of the road in the rain for an hour until the senior missionaries brought us another car to get home. If you asked me 2 years ago if I would've been pulled over outside of Harare, Zimbabwe in the pouring rain, I would've called you crazy. On the bright side, we had fresh milk this week for the first time in almost 9 months!!! I can't tell you how good it tasted or how excited we were. Missionary work helps you appreciate the little things.

 On Tuesday we had zone conference with the Marimba, Mutare, and Bindura zones. Over half of the mission was there; so many missionaries in one place. We were given great instruction from President and Sister Mkhabela on having the fire of faith burning within us and using that to find new investigators who will accept the gospel. We had a lot of great counsel, even though the meeting took absolutely forever. I found another new missionary who enjoys beatboxing, so we had a little fun with that after the conference. We didn't end up getting home until late, so we went and visited a member and taught a nonmember cousin that was there. Of course, we had to teach about the gift of tongues. You can't really go anywhere in Zim without teaching people that the gift of tongues isn't a made up gibberish language that you use to speak to God when you feel the Spirit. (It sounds silly when I put it like that, but it's a legit concern here) I think we must've taught about/clarified the gift of tongues at least 5 times this week, and we were a little tired of teaching it. Oh well, when you have the truth, you need to share it!

We spent most of the week preparing Maybe and Tanaka for baptism. Maybe is Mai Mondwa's daughter and she's been taught well by her mother. She's only 10 and super shy, but she reminds me lots of Brooke. She knew all the answers to our questions, which was so awesome. Tanaka has been taught by several sets of missionaries and was disallowed  to be baptized by his father. However he persisted and was granted his request! He's 16 and quiet, but powerful.

This week Elder Ray and I worked hard. There was never a time where I felt we had idle time. We were rushing all over the place, and the days seem to fly like crazy. We started creating more detailed and organized lesson plans, which was really interesting. I studied a lot in Jesus the Christ and in the scriptures and learned so much. The scriptures bring such solace and knowledge to me and I love having the opportunity to study them each week.

On Saturday, Elder Barlow the Baptist made a return. 10 people were baptized - 5 for the other elders, 2 for us, and 3 more children of record. I baptized 8 of them, and wow, the water was frigid! Haha I also got in the tub/font and found a little frog swimming around in there. Only in Zim... (fun fact, frog in Ndebele is ixoxo - seems easy until you know that the x's are clicks) One of the other elders' recent converts baptized his friend, which was really cool. Overall, it felt so good to have another baptism. Hopefully another one will be this weekend!! We taught one of our investigators about the importance of attending church and Elder Ray and Simba bore their testimonies on how church has blessed their lives and it was powerful. I was feeling Spirit!! That night we had dinner with Tanaka's family. When we walked in he was studying his scriptures: powerful. We were given sadza and fish (I think we ate sadza almost every night this week...yo) and of course, you are supposed to eat the head. So what did I do? I ate the fish head in one bite. It wasn't too bad either as long as you didn't think about it too much. Sunday was tough because only a few investigators came to church even after all that we did. However, I know that success is measured in different ways and that the Lord is the one who gives us success.

It was Elder Taloa's birthday yesterday and it was mine today, so we played some basketball and ultimate frisbee today. It was so much fun to enjoy a little bit of sports. Like I said, on mission, the little things make a huge difference.

Fun fact, in April:
Mission baptisms - 234
Zone baptisms - 70
District baptisms - 23

The work is rolling like crazy here and it's so fun to be a part of it!! Also, I'd like to invite you all to read Alma 29 about the joy that comes from sharing the gospel!! I love you all and hope you're doing well!!

Love Elder Barlow

will send pics next week!!

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