Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

Hope that everybody had a wonderful CHRISTMAS!! I really enjoyed calling home and talking to you all!!
So this week was really a lot of fun. Right after DDM on Tuesday, our entire zone got on a Kangaroo (taxi car thing) and took off to Eldoret to spend Christmas day there.  We went there because here in our zone we don't have couple missionaries... and the closest ones are in Eldoret, about 1 1/2 hours away. But it was awesome! We were able to have a Christmas Eve battle royal.... Kitale Zone vs. Eldoret Zone in a friendly game of soccer.... and lets just say that our zone DOMINATED. Ha but it was a lot of fun. After that we went out to a really nice pizza place (and yes it actually was really nice) and got pizzas. I wanted to get Chinese food as a part of our Thomas family tradition, but Chinese cuisine is not so big in Africa haha.  So that was a lot of fun, and even at the end as we were about to leave, the owner of the Restaurant, who was a Muslim, came up to us and was like hey can you guys sing the Christmas song for us??  so all of us Elders started singing we wish you a merry Christmas in the Restaurant!!  it was pretty funny, but the owner was really nice and then brought us out a free Christmas cake and then asked us if we could say a prayer. It was really cool, and i liked how the guy really respected our religion. Then Christmas day was really cool, we had a awesome Lunch at the Couples home, the Andersons. They made it really nice and the food was awesome. Tasted like American food!! haha. But the highlight was calling home!!! LOVE YOU ALL!!!
As the work goes, we found an awesome investigator this week! His name is Titus and he is about 22 years old. His father has been a member of the church for about 1 yr, but was baptized in Naivasha by himself. So when he came back to Mautuma, his son became really interested in the Church. He has already said that he wants to be baptized and that he enjoys coming to church. And what's even better is that he really participates a lot at church. Not only asking questions, but also answering them!! Some members would ask questions, and then he would answer them, and i was like oh my goodness... that's kind of scary... hahah but he is awesome and i am really looking forward to teaching him and helping him come unto Christ. 
Also this week, we were able to watch the Video "Hastening the Work of Salvation", and had to do a 2 hour presentation at church about it. President Hicken is really  trying to get members more involved with the missionary work here, so all branches thought Kenya watched this video with the missionaries leading the discussion about it.  Me and Elder Griffiths had to improvise a little bit because our branch president had the dvd, and when we got it from him it was all scratched up, and only half of the dvd played.... haha so we just had to roll with it! But it turned out to be pretty successful, and we hope that it will motivate the members to be more proactive in helping with the missionary work.  Because it is our duty and responsibility as members of the church to help others come unto Christ and the Restored Gospel, and missionary work is how we do it!
But i hope that every one has a great new years night/ day!! Don't do anything stupid... like shooting your eye out. Maybe that's not funny because its not Christmas anymore but any who i love you all!! Keep doing what is right and be that light to others!! CTR
Elder Thomas

December 23, 2013

This week was a great week in Mautuma!
So i am still adjusting to things here in Mautuma. Like for one thing the weather. To be honest i don't like it that much... its cold... hahah. Darajani was really hot and sunny so it reminded me of home, but Mautuma is like pretty high altitude and cold and i don't know what else. But other than that i love the area! haha. This area actually reminds me a little bit about Pindale... a little bit. But its cool. The members here are really awesome and love missionaries! We get fed about 2-3 times a day... and i mean FED! People love to stack food for us its pretty nice. and yes mom the Food is safe, good, and i have not got sick yet.  But what is also cool is that the members really really love helping us do missionary work. We have had a ton of referrals and member present lessons here which is really nice and something that didn't really happen in my other areas.  But i am already super excited to work here!
So my new comp is elder Griffiths, from Centerville UT. He has been out for 3 months now so its cool and i really like him a lot. 
We had a lot of awesome lessons this week. One of them was with an investigator named Evance.  He is a 30 or so yr old guy who has a family with 3 kids.  So we went to visit with him and kind of follow up with the Restoration. So he was really interested in the Priesthood, which is awesome because that is something that really sets our church apart from others. he began to tell us how he is really big into his church, and how he wanted to go and have his children be baptized there. So when last Sunday came around, his wife was like hey lets go to church so our kids can be baptised. He turned to her and said, I don't think we should have them baptized.... our church doesn't have authority. I was like YESSSSSSSS! HE UNDERSTANDS!!  it was really awesome and turned out to be a great lesson and super spiritual.  Really glad that we have the authority and power to truly act in the name of God.
But I am so grateful for the Christmas time that we have. I truly know that Christ is our Saviour and Redeemer.  I know that only though him we can receive grace and mercy to be forgiven of our sins, as long as we have faith in him and repent always. I love Christ and hope that we can all have him in our thoughts always, not only just at Christmas time. But what a wonderful time of the year!!!!
I love you all and look forward to calling you all on WEDNESDAY!!!!!!
Elder Thomas

Sunday, December 22, 2013

3rd Transfer - Mautuma

Famalia yangu,
Well this was a very interesting and unexpected week for a lot of
reasons.... haha ya!
So this week we got transfer news. I had just finished training so i thought
there was a pretty good chance that i could get transferred. But to be
honest i really wanted to stay and be in Chyulu longer. But that was
not the case. So actually right now I am in Western Kenya... in
MAUTUMA. Its another really bushy far out there area close to Kitale.
It was crazy because i really wanted to stay in Chyulu, but the Lord
needs me else where now. So i only got one day to say goodbyes to
people in Darajani, so i was able to see the people who i really
loved. It was sad to say goodbye, and i really hope one day to go back
to Chyulu.
So on Wednesday it was my birthday! haha so the Couple missionaries,
the gotchers, made me a cake!! and it had 6 candles on it.... not sure
why 6 but its ok! it was really nice and we also had the rest of the
zone there and we are all like super goood friends so it was really
cool.  The Chyulu zone was like the best zone i have been with on my
mission... we all loved each other and had a lot of fun together. It
was really sad to all go our separate ways.

So after that i took a 5 hour bus ride from Chyulu to Nairobi. Then we
got to stay a day in Nairobi, and then took a 7 hour bus ride to
Kitale, and then a 2 hour ride to Mautuma! Ya so Mautuma is awesome.
Its very green, jungle-tastic, and rainy.  Its another really bushy
place but its cool.  The branch is awesome, they really love the
missionaries. But a funny thing that happened at church. so in the
middle of the church is like a little court yard thing. so we were
waiting for the sunday schoool class to end in the sacrament meeting
room, when we see this little kid come waltzin out of the room. he
takes one step out of the room, pulls down his trousers and  starts
peeing all over the courtyard. It was very interesting for sure. i was
kind of in shock at first... but then again i have seen that so much
here now it wasn't really that big of a deal. It was super funny though
and the kid just walked back into the church like nothing happened
hahh.  but the kid had no shame.

Another cool thing about Mautuma is that they speak a lot of Swahili,
so that is really nice so i will be able to learn it faster now! But i
am really excited to be in Mautuma now and it seems like a sweet area.
But yeah hope that all is well back home and that things are good!! I
had a good birthday and its crazy that i am 20 now... wow! haha but
love you all.

Elder Thomas

Monday, December 9, 2013

Daniel found Santa's little helper!

90 year old woman wearing her CTR ring.

Daniel killed and ate this chicken.  He said it was pretty good.

December 9, 2013

Another really fast week! a lot happened and it was a great week.
So this week we mostly met with and visited less active members, we got to see about 16 different less active families. we have recently seen a pretty good increase of attendance with less active members in our branches, so we are happy that the spirit is working within the members here! We also did a lot of service, mostly working in the shambas doing some weeding and plowing.  It was kind of funny because some people passed by and were in disbelief... seeing 2 white men out in the fields working! ha so many people were staring. But it was good doing the service, the people we served were very grateful and happy for us helping them.  Really got me thinking of Mosiah 2:17.
Two pretty cool experiences we had this week in two of our lessons, both about going to the temple.  So on Sunday we went to go visit one of the really old, strong members of the branch, Brother Jeremiah.  He was baptized in 2004 with his wife,he and his wife are both in their 90's, and they only speak kikamba and a little swahili ha. Also  They both walk to church every week and have super strong testimonies about the Church and gospel.  So we were visiting with them for a while and then it got about time for us to leave. Before we left, i asked him if he needed us to help him with anything, like working in the shamba or just with anything else (we had a member there with us to translate.). I thought he was going to want us to help in his shamba, but instead he said " I want you missionaries to continue to visit me and my wife, so that you can help us to one day go to the temple and be sealed." At first i didn't even know what to say, i was just  super taken back. I had never thought that he had even ever thought about going to the temple. But to be honest i teared up a little ha it was just way to awesome that he had that desire to go to be sealed to his wife! I really don't know if he will really be able to go to the temple with his wife because of his old age, but i know that he really does have that true desire to go. But its ok because God judges us based on the intents and desires of our heart. So if he doesn't get the chance in this life, i know he will in the life to come! It was really spiritual experience, and i look forward to continue to visit him.
So right after that visit with Jeremiah, we went to go see James and teach him the after baptism lessons, funny enough we were able to teach him about Temples and eternal marriages.  So we taught and discussed about temples, and he was really interested  and in-tuned to what we were saying. After the lesson we asked him if he had any questions or any anything to say. He didn't have any questions, but he talked a lot about how he cant wait for the day for him and his family to go to South Africa to be sealed in the temple there.  He says that's one of his biggest goals right now. He also talked about how grateful he was that we were able to help him come unto the truth and to lead him to the path where by his family can be together forever. It was such a powerful and awesome lesson! Got me to think how truly blessed we are to be in the true church with the fullness of Christ gospel. What a blessing it is to be able to go to the temple to be sealed as families for all time and eternity.  I am super grateful for temples and the things that we can do and perform there.  I really hope one day soon, a temple will come here to Kenya so that the wonderful members here can enjoy this blessing more often. 
Also this week we had district conference, which was nice. Hopefully Chyulu will become the next stake in Kenya! (which would be the 2nd stake in Kenya). there are enough members, but still needs to be more active Melchizedek priesthood holders. So we will work on that. 
Also this week i got to kill my first chicken! ya it was pretty interesting, and it tasted pretty good.  We just got together as a zone and had like a bbq kind of thing. it was nice! But killing a chicken is pretty weird... and they do run around after you kill them.
But things are good! we have transfer news tonight so we will see what happens... i think i might stay tho. but we will see. I love you all and have a super week!
Elder Thomas
James Mutisya and family

Ninalima Shamba!  Plowing the fields like a true Kamba.

This kids was crusin for a brusin

Mombasa beach where they got to play soccer

Mtukufu

December 2, 2013

wow this week went by super fast. But here is what's good!
this week we got to go to Mombasa for zone conference! it was really nice, and a nice change to be in a city. It was weird seeing so many people walking around hahah nothing like Darajani. But anywho it was nice.  We were able to talk more about the "Work of Salvation" video that we will be watching with all of the branches thought the mission soon.  President Hicken is really pushing for members to become more involved and active in missionary work. So on 29 Dec all missionaries will be leading out a discussion on how members can become more involved in the work.  So we hope that members start to help us out more with this!! But the conference was nice and really spiritual. Also we got to go to the beach and play soccer!!! It was a lot of fun, we dominated some random locals. 
So after the baptisms we were kind of at square one because other than James and Carol we had zero progressing investigators.... a few other investigators but no one really who was too interested. But the Lord loves us here in Darajani and has blessed us with a new awesome investigator! Her name is Agnes and she was recently married to one of the strong members in the branch.  Its crazy becuase she is not even a Mkamba (the main tribe here), but is actually a Kisii (from Western Kenya)! So its nice because she hasnt heard any rumors or anything bad about the church, so she is really interested.  She has come the past two weeks and has asked a lot about baptism, so that is good to see.  It was funny because I asked her how she liked church yesterday, and she said 'it was good this time'. So i was like what do you mean this time?? And she said, 'oh well today there was actually English being spoken instead of Kikamba, so  actually understood some of it'....... hahahahhah i was like join  the club! but yeah things are lookin good with here, we hope to teach her again this week.
Also this week a little miracle happened on Sunday! So the entire day i had a flat tire on my wonderful Chinese made one speed bike, so i wasnt able to get it fixed because it was sunday. So i was just doing my best to get around on it, and it got me through most of the day. Finally it got time to head back home for the day, and at the time it was POURING rain. So we were probably still 25 mins away on bike from home when my bike went in self destruct mode. ha just kidding but my tire did rip in half haha so i was like what am i going to do now. So i went under a tree to try to fix it (while it is still pouring), when all the sudden the first councelor in one of our branches pulls up on his piki piki (motorbike). He asked if we needed help and i was like yes please!! ha so he was able to carry me and my bike back to our flat! it was super great because i would have had to basically carry my bike for 20 mins in the pouring rain, but instead we got back super quick! It was a real blessing and miracle though!!
Also this week i ran over a Black Momba on my bike... it was pretty scary haah i thought it was going to bite me!
But things are good! I love you all! 
Elder Thomas

Monday, November 25, 2013

Baptisms, Village meeting, and Miracles

So not much time this week to write because the power has been really bad because of the rain and stuff! but this week was soooo fast it was ridiculousness. 
First off me and elder Tebbs got invited to a village meeting... hahahha it was pretty interesting. At first we went to the branch presidents home to go on splits with some of the priests in the branch.... but non of them showed up. So while we were there were a lot of old people there and it was kind of weird.... but then they called us over to sit down and join them, so we were like ha ok sure.  Turned out they were having a village meeting and they wanted us to be apart of it! ha we didn't really do much because it was all in Kikamba so me and elder tebbs were just sitting their, but we did enjoy some tasty goat meat! ha they cooked everything in a huge pot, and they told us to eat as much as we could, and to also drink the juice from the stew.... lets just say it tasted very interesting.... but non the less we ate!!!!
So the big thing this week was the baptism of two of our investigators, James Mutisia and Carol Juma (a little 11 yr old girl we have been teaching for a while). It was so awesome and spiritual.  James was super happy the entire day and was super grateful for all we did to help him, so it was such a nice baptismal service it was awesome!! Although we had a close call when it came to filling up the baptismal font.  So we have to fill it up with a hose from outside because the facet inside doesn't work, so we had to start doing it like 5 hours before the service to make sure the font was filled enough.  But after some time i noticed that the water turned off... so i was like ohh no the water tanks are empty! and they just about were.... so we had to rush around and turn off all the water pipes and stuff to try to conserve enough water to get the water in the font. So i just said a quick prayer asking to get enough water to fill the font. So after a lot of running around we finally got the water flowing and the baptismal font filled! It was pretty crazy, but i know that God helped us to have the baptisms. But it was a great day full of simple miracles that will have huge effects in eternity! Especially for James, because he really wants to go to South Africa to be sealed with his family in the temple as soon as they can, so that's the goal for them now!! So it was a great day!!
Also got to go on exchanges this week to Nthongoni again to be with elder Turner, so that as fun. Lots of big crazy bugs in their area and flat hahaha it was cool though. Also got to plow a shamba (garden) with oxen, so that was fun to.
But love you all have a great week!! Enjoy seeing Ben!!
Elder Thomas

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Impala on the side of the road looking to get road kill

Bush, buck in the distance

Daniel's home.....beautiful Kenya

Tsavo National park.  African elephants

Ostriches

November 18, 2013

Just another great week out in Darajani! but a little frustrating as well.
So from Monday to Wednesday I was on exchanges in Nthongoni with Elder Diodati! It was a lot of fun and we mostly did service the entire time.  We helped a family fetch water on our bikes which was actually pretty fun, and we also helped another family basically a cut up tree to their home so that they could make charcoal to sell.  Both families had big trials and problems that they were going through, so it was great to help them.  Especially the family that we moved wood for.  The father is really really sick and in Nairobi, the mother is caring for 4 kids under 6 yrs old, one of which is a new born and another has a mental disability and needs lots of care.  It was a really dismal scene for the family, and i felt really bad that we couldn't help out more.  But we were able to share from the scriptures with them and we really did our best to help them out and lift their spirits.  Just got me thinking about how blessed we are back home. Of course many of us will and do have huge difficulties and challenges that really try our faith, but at least we don't have to go through them in complete poverty living in a 10x10 house with 7 people living in it.  So although we might have difficulties, always know that we are blessed beyond comprehension. 
Well on a more positive note we are planning to have 2 baptisms this week!! YEAH! It will be James and also another little 10 yr old girl we have been teaching named Carol Juma, so it will be very exciting for sure. 
Unfortunately, we did get bounced a lot and were running around all over the place trying to meet with people, but its ok because that's how the work goes! But one funny thing this week was that we had the primary program in Darajani 1 branch! it was awesome the primary kids did the whole thing by memory and without any help from the leaders!! haha but after the presentation, the branch president came up to give some final remarks about the presentation. I love him kabisa, but he is known sometimes to say some things that are pretty interesting... haha. So the entire presentation was done in English (i was happy i could understand for a change), but after he said "Its wonderful to hear the children speak English..... Speaking English is pure Mormon."...... hahahah i was like what????? not really sure how that is true or if it makes sense but i couldn't help but laugh a little bit ahahahahahh!
But things are great! love you all have a super week!!!
Elder Thomas, Daniel.... in case you forgot.
ps- its crazy that this is Ben's last week of mission...... what!?

Monday, November 11, 2013

9 months out!

So this week i don't have much time to write so ill just give some of the small details of the week!!
We are still working hard with our main investigator, James. He is doing really well, but still struggling with smoking a little bit, so we will move his baptismal date back a few weeks, which is ok.  There is no need to rush into baptizing him because we just want to make sure that he is truly converted and ready to be baptized. Unfortunately, some missionaries just rush into baptizing people, which is not always good because most people need time to become fully converted.  Even it took the prophet Brigham Young a full year until he was fully converted!! So we are just taking it one step at a time with him. But he has already reduced his smoking from 2-3 smokes a day to the past 3 days none at all!!! the Lord is truly helping him, but it is also according to his faith as well. But he is soo awesome and i love him kabisa!!
This week we also kind of got pushed around with a lot of our appointments... people have been busy lately with the rainy season coming so most people are busy preparing their shambas (fields) for the rain. So we will also be helping a lot of people this week with service, helping to cultivate and plow the fields hahah so it will be interesting for sure.
Also another weird thing as of late, i don't know what it is but i seem to be seeing more and more naked kids walking around.... and its not like they don't have clothes... they are just naked..... i don't know but it sure is interesting. The kids here have no shame!!! GO KENYA!
Also this week i reached my 9 month mark.... WOW. I can say it has been the fasted most jam packed 9 months of my life! its sooo crazy.
Today i got to go to the Tsavo National Park. It was sooo awesome!! We went with the senior missionaries and they drove us around the park, and i finally got to see Elephants, ostriches, and hippos!! it was cool seeing the animals in their natural habitats.  They are wayyyy bigger than you would expect them to be... especially the elephants. They just move all over the place breaking trees left and right!! hah but its cool. I LOVE GODS CREATIONS ESPECIALLY IN KENYA.!! But yeah it was super fun.  
But i know that we can all be missionaries. One thing that i have seen is that members are SOOO important in missionary work.  Full time missionaries can only do so much... and we are mostly foreigners to most people we meet. So members are sooo key to the work! every member a missionary!! D&C 18:10-16 read it and you will know.
But i love you all. Remember to do what is right and God will provide the rest!! 

Elder Thomas

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rainy season in Chyulu

The senior couple missionary's dog.  They finally got rid of it.

Darajani

Chyulu  Zone.  Don't get mad at the short ties... it's a Chyulu Zone tradition.

This random lady jumped in the picture they weren't sure who she was.


Dusk!

9 months Serving

Mnaendalea je?
Just another great week in Darajani!
This week was really weird as far as transfer goes. So this transfer, we had 10 missionaries going home, and 14 were suppose to come in, so there was suppose to be an increase of missionaries. Unfortunately, Kenya is having some issues with visas, so 12 of the incoming missionaries did not get visas to come into the country... so they were reassigned to other missions.  So within the entire mission, only a few missionaries got transferred.... and they had to close some areas because of this. We are really praying that the government will resolve its visa problems and allow the new missionaries into the country so that they can continue with the work. But for now its just a weird thing going on but hopefully it will be resolved soon so the work can continue to progress. But me and Elder Tebbs will be together again and i will finish out training with him.
But as far as the work goes we did have a few great lessons though! A few weeks ago we contacted this lady who said she was interested in learning more and that she had a few questions for us. She also mentioned she was attending a Bible study institute to become a pastor.... yeah. So this week on Thursday we got invited to visit with her and her teacher at the Darajani Bible Institution ha.  When we got there we started talking to them for a little bit, but once we introduced what church we were from the Head Teacher/ Pastor started to bomb us with questions! so i was like ayye take it easy! So i basically just gave him a summary of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.  But for sure when i bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon i knew that he felt the spirit! It was awesome! he just got real quiet and started thinking. Then he continued to ask more questions, for all of which we had an answer ha. He was definitely trying to get us to mess up or something, but we were not confounded! Not really quite sure if anything will come from us meeting with him, but i know for a fact that he felt the spirit, and i know we did our part in giving him that chance to hear the message of the Restored Gospel. So we will see.
Also this week we had a very interesting lesson with James Mutisia. He is still doing good and progressing so we were able to continue on this week with teaching the commandments.  So the first one that we started  with him was the Word of Wisdom. And to be honest, i thought that this lesson was going to be a breeze, because both me and elder Tebbs thought that he really had no problem with the Word of Wisdom.  When we got there though this was not the case. All was going well with the lesson,  and we told him of the things that we have been commanded not to take. So when we asked him do you take any of these substances, he told us that he did.... i was like what!? I was really taken back.  So we asked and he said that he smokes and takes tea.  I really never expected it. Every time we met him, i never once smelled it on him or ever saw him like irritated or anything, so it was a total surprise.  I was just like oh snap what do i say! But before i could even say anything, he went into talking about how much he wanted to stop. He told us that his father has been smoking his entire life  and is know having some serious health problems because of it.  He said that he didn't want to end up like his father with all these problems. He also told us that one day he was going to buy some cigarettes, feeling like he really shouldn't get them, when he said that he heard a voice in his head say "you can stop this". YEAH FOR THE SPIRIT! But he really has a strong desire to quit, not only for the sake of his health, but also because he really wants to be baptized!! YEAH! So it was a total testimony builder to me, really seeing how Heavenly Father is working within people helping to change their lives for the better. We will continue to work with James to help him with this concern, but things are looking great with him.
But this was a really good week! Got a ton done. Training is getting along well. I also got a new bike this week! its awesome it goes sooo fast hahah i haul up hills now.  But yeah things are good. I'm really coming to love my mission and the days are flying by now! But i love you all have a great week!
Elder Thomas

Monday, October 28, 2013

As far as Daniel's Italian alliance goes....
He is all about AC Milan!  He and Elder Diodati.

Call him Rafiki.  Daniel up on pride rock like Lion King.

Elder Ndaba.  He is EXACTLY like our Spencer Martin Murphy.  If Spencer was an
African this is who he would be.

October 28, 2013

So this past week was pretty slow as far as the work goes.
But the main event this week was the funeral of our district president Steven Mwangangi.   Even most of the week we were doing service at his home moving stuff around just trying to help his wife out as much as possible.  The service was on Saturday and started at the church at 11. It was crazy to see how many people were there! One thing in Kenya is that weddings and funerals are like totally opposite to how they are in the USA. Where many people come to weddings back home and like nobody goes to funerals.... its the exact opposite in Kenya. Funerals are packed! There were 700 people in attendance...people were standing outside of the church looking in to see what was going on.  But the service was good... at least i think so. Most of it was done in Kikamba so not really quiet sure what was being said but it was good i think.  Even President Hicken and Elder Usi (area seventy) were in attendance and spoke.  One thing that was cool though was when his mother went up to speak. A lot of people said that pres Steven died because the devil took him (people have really dumb rumors about the church). So when she went up to speak all she said was "I know Steven lived a good life, God put him on this earth and now God has taken him back." Oh yeah! That shut up the rumors real fast.  But after the service at the church, we all (700 of us) went back to his home for the actual burial. And  there were more speeches and talks, mostly from members of the church and family. But Then this one guy came up who was somebody from the community, who I'm pretty sure was a pastor. So he heard that Steven was once a missionary and has seen us missionaries around, so he started to talk about us. He said he was happy for our work, but then went off about how we should be paid for what we do......... i was like oh no this is not good! He then turned to President Hicken and said "So we have the boss here today so i hope he can listen and do what i say"..... i was like man this guy is a fool! ha so that made things weird... but yeah after he spoke the guy conducting the service (who is member) said "yeah we aren't going to return to that topic again" hahaha! But other than that the service was good... really long but good. But its good to know that we will see Steven again, and he did a wonderful job of getting the Chyulu district moving towards a stake. He was an awesome man.
But Kenyan funerals are crazy.
other than that the week was ok. We were able to find some other new investigators this week which was good... and one of them is a family!!! so that's really exciting, we hope to continue to work with them.  Also got to go around with one of the members to visit Less active members. It was funny because he wanted to carry me on the bike (i would just sit on the rack), so people were staring at us so much! Gosh they thought i had 5 arms or something hahah but it was pretty cool... getting all that attention haha. 
Other than that things are good. We will get transfer news tonight, but ill probably still be here finishing training elder Tebbs. Sorry not much else for this week.  But Darajani is great! I love you all!!
Elder Thomas

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Funeral

Mutu Wata,
haha hope you enjoy that Kikamba gretting! but this week went by fast and was a little sad.
To start though, we had another awesome lesson with James Mutisia! He is doing very very good. We were able to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. He was very attentive and focused. The spirit was strong and it went well. He really enjoys meeting with us and has come to church the past two weeks in a row!! He loves going and especially likes seeing his family there as well with him.  He is also doing really well reading the Book of Mormon. That's a big struggle we have here is getting investigators to read, but James is very motivated and enjoys reading it. And the Book of Mormon really leads us to have a lasting conversion, both for new members and old.... remember that! Its also kind of funny because we were talking to his wife at church (who is a member) and she was telling us about his reading. She said she found him one day kind of hiding and reading the Book of Mormon, and as a joke asked him why he was reading it. He said because he wants to know as much as he can, so that if the Elders ask him a question, he wont disappoint them by not knowing the answer!! haha he is great.
We were also able to work with a few of the priests and prospective missionaries this week, Kelly, Eric, and Brian. We actually had a lot of fun with them. They are all crazy guys, but are really strong in the church and are all planning to serve missions.  Even with Brian he is starting his mission papers. But it was great being with them. They were super helpful, with the language and just being able to connect with people in a way that we really cant (because we are foreigners). One funny thing that happened though was i guess that around here lately there have been weird things in the sky.... like random glowing clouds that are moving around all over the place.... not sure if its true but i have heard this from multiple people, including my companion hahah. So someone we met said that the meteorologist were saying it was some sort of weird thing going on with the clouds lately. But in response to that, Kelly said "Umm I'm not sure about that. We are all Christians right?? So yeah Christians and Meteorologist don't get along.... so i don't buy it" ahahahaahhahah it was super funny and random! but yeah help the missionaries out please!
Also this week we really got some sobering news. On Tuesday night, our District President, Steven Mwangangi, passed away. He was the man that i gave a blessing to on Saturday. He apparently had super super high blood pressure, that apparently lead to a stroke and a brain hemorrhage, so it was too much for doctors to do to help him.  I got to be really good friends with him, he was a return missionary so he knew what it was like to be a missionary. He was living in Darajani and attended one of the branches, so i pretty much saw him just about every other day.  He was one of the happiest and most humble person that i have ever met.  Its sad that he will not be with us anymore in this life,but then again we know that this is not the end of our lives. I truly know that Steven is in Spirit Paradise now, probably preaching the gospel to those in the Spirit World who are in need of the knowledge of the gospel. So this week we were really doing a lot of service at his house helping out his wife and kids. It was great to see the support of the members and community in helping out the family cope with this difficult time. I was also asked to give a talk about comforting those in comfort and a fellowship meeting at his home with his family and about 80 members of the branches. so it was pretty cool, Mosiah 18: 8-9 and 3 Nephi 12:4 were two good scriptures. So his funeral will be this Saturday, and there are expected to be 700 people in attendance, as well as the President Hicken and a member of the area seventy. But I'm glad we have a understanding of the plan of salvation in our church.... knowing that death is really only the beginning for us. That one day we will be able to see all who have passed on.  So thank goodness for the plan of salvation... it brings true peace and understanding.
But things are continuing on.  Still looking to help Chyulu become a stake and helping the less actives back to church. Also trying to avoid all the drunkards that roam the streets here... one of them basically ambushed us and started hugging elder Tebbs and singing some crazy song smelling and drunk and such.... it was super annoying. And then the guy got smacked around by another drunk guy.... pretty crazy but yeah that's Kenya for you!!!
haha but i love you all!
Elder Thomas

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

Mambo Vipi!
This past was pretty crazy and went by super super fast! Some awesome experiences and some sad stuff.
So the main highlight this week was on Alhamici (Thursday) with one of our investigators, James Mutisia.  He has a family of 3 little awesome girls (one of which I've baptized) and his wife Anastacia. They are all members except for him, so his wife has been praying for a long time that he would accept the gospel and become a member. So on Thursday we got to visit with him and were able to share about the Book of Mormon, and also about prayer. And it was such a awesome spiritual lesson! He told us of how sometimes he takes his wife's Book of Mormon and reads it on occasions, and that he feels like its a good and true book. Also felt like Elder Tebbs and I did a good job of teaching by the spirit, and James was GLUED to us. He was sooo focused and was asking lots of good questions, which is sooo great because that shows that he is actually concerned and interested in our message.  But at the end of the lesson I invited him to be baptized.... and he accepted!So we are aiming for the 10th of November for him, but that could change if it needs be.  But it was such an awesome lesson with him.  I really feel like God has prepared James to hear the Gospel at this time. He is an awesome guy and we will continue to work with him and help him. But things are looking good with James!
Also this week i got the chance to give a blessing to the District President, Steven Mwangangi. So this past week he was having some health problems and was just feeling really tired and sluggish. We got to see him on Thursday, and he seemed ok. But on Friday he got super super sick, and was throwing up all night and was having some major problems. So they took him to the "health clinic" to be tested, and there they diagnosed him wrong and gave him wrong medication. No surprise there. So Saturday he was not doing good at all, so the Couple missionaries came to me and Elder Tebbs and asked if we could go with them to help give him a blessing. So of course we changed our plans up and went with him. When we got there we could obviously tell that he was not doing good.  This is a guy that usually has a lot of energy, always smiling, and always talking. But when we got there he could barely even smile and was pretty incoherent.  So i was able to give him a blessing, and it was a great experience.  Felt good that i was ready and able to use the priesthood authority that i have. The blessing went well and i felt like i was directed by the spirit in the things i said.  So after that the couples took him to Nairobi, 4 hours away, to take him to the hospital. Turns out that he had super high blood pressure, and actually had a brain hemorrhage and had bleeding in his brain... so it was a pretty serious thing. If they would have not taken him to Nairobi, he most likely would have died at his home.  So we are still hoping that he gets better, he is a awesome guy who is really helping Chyulu to one day become a stake. So that was pretty crazy.
But things are looking good here in Darajani. We are still doing a lot of contacting and finding, but we are also being blessed with unexpected opportunities. On Sunday we were on our way to an appointment when it started raining really hard! So lucky for us we were close to the branch presidents home, so he let us inside. So when we got inside his home, he had one of his friends over, Jones. Jones is a pastor for a local church around... hah so at first we were a little skeptical about talking with him for fear of a bible bash! But he started asking us a lot of questions about our church, because he had heard a lot of things about it (all of which were not true). But we were able to briefly teach him about the restoration and the priesthood. He was especially interested in the priesthood, which was great. So we explained how in our church we have the same  priesthood that Jesus Christ himself had. So he was really interested and we plan to meet him again this week. But if it wouldn't have started raining we would have never met him... so yes God works in mysterious ways.... which is good!!!!
Other than that things are coming along slowly but surly. Unfortunately we found out that our white investigator (who we had lost total contact with) passed away. I was really really saddened when i heard this. I really liked Jack, he was an awesome guy. Its sad to think about him leaving this earth, but then again its good to know the plan of salvation. That he will continue to have the opportunity to hear the gospel in the Spirit world and accept it there and still be able to have all that our Heavenly Father has in store for us. The plan of salvation is perfect, and I'm glad that we have the full knowledge of it!
Also on a more positive note, i bargained big time once again to get 3 jerseys for 1000 ksh! so 2 awesome Kenyan jerseys and one Ethiopian jersey all for just about 10 dollars hahahahha yeah for KENYA!
But i Love you all! Have a super week!
Elder Thomas

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

So this past week was pretty nice with a few cool things going on.
On Tuesday we got the chance to go out with the Branch President (President Ngui) of Darajani 1 and go visit some of the less active members who we didn't know about.  It was awesome because the Couple missionaries, the Gotchers, we able to come with us as well and we got to use their car!! One of the first cars I've been in on my mission that has working AC, seat belts, and proper doors!! so it was fun.  It was cool visiting the members though.  They were very welcoming and happy to see us and one member even gave us some passion fruit! first time I've ever eaten it and it was nothing like I expected it... super sour.. haha.  But it was good being with the Branch President and seeing him involved and ready to help us with the work.  It was funny on Sunday at church because when he was conducting Sacrament meeting, he talked about how he went out with us to help us, and then he said " I want Darajani 1, to be number one."... haha i couldn’t help but laugh a little bit, it was just funny how he said it but it was cool to hear him say that! Even this week we will go with him again to find some more of the less active members. 
Also this week i got to go on exchanges with Elder Diodati! It was really cool to be with him again and it was just like Rongai all over again! haha We were able to do some service for some members by cutting some firewood up for them and they seemed to really like it.  Even one of the less active members who we cut firewood up for came to church on Sunday! Service is good, it shows people you care for them and that "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God!" (Mosiah 2:17). And that's the truth!
But when i was with elder Diodati, we had one of the best lessons I've felt like I've had so far on mission.  We went to go teach one of our investigators, James. He is the only one is his family who is not a member and he is the Father.  So his wife Anastacia came to us and really asked us to do our best to help him because she wants her whole family to be members of the church.  So before we met with him i really prayed hard that we might be able to have a good lesson with him, that we might be able to really help him see the light and truth. We were able to teach him about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was AWESOME. The spirit was super super strong and i know that he was able to feel of it. He was really into the lesson and was, no joke, on the edge of his seat! It was so great, and I'm especially glad that i was able to teach him with Elder Diodati, because the lesson just flowed great and the spirit was totally there. So we are really going to focus our efforts on James, so that he can become a good example to his family and one day be able to go to the temple with them. 
Also another cool thing was that this week i got to confirm a little girl at church and give her the Holy Ghost. Yeah for the priesthood!  It was weird though because nobody from the branch presidency told me about it until the little girl got up to the stand, then the Branch president whispered to me and asked me if i could do it. I was a little taken back because i had never confirmed anybody before! ha but i felt confident enough to do it and it went well. Really felt the spirit as i confirmed that little girl, and it was a great experience for me. If ye are prepared ye shall not fear!!! hah.
But things are getting there here in Darajani. Still looking for those prepared to hear the gospel, but i know that the Lord is helping us. I love you all have a great week!!!
Elder Thomas

Monday, September 30, 2013

Daniel wearing the tie that his Grandfathers, dad, and brothers also have.
 

Daniel living large out in Chyulu

September 30, 2013

Habari,
This past week seemed to have flown by! Ha it really seemed like we were all over the place this week.
So the work right now in Darajani seems to be doing ok.  We visited a lot of less active members this week.  We are really trying to get these lost sheep back in the fold! Its just sad to see these good people who once had that solid testimony of the True church but have seemed to have lost it somewhere... so we are just trying to be friendly and kind to these members and help them see that we love them and hopefully get them to remember and retain that testimony that they once had! It was good to see on Sunday that one of them did come! He seemed to have a great time at church and seemed to make a real impact to the branch.  But the really cool thing that we are seeing here is that in Darajani 2 the members are really stepping it up! This past week we saw a lot of the members going out to do Home Teaching as well as visiting teaching.... and  at church we had the biggest attendance I've seen since I've been here! Just showed me how important it is for members to do these things that might seem small.... but truly bring about a great good! BY SMALL AND SIMPLE THINGS GREAT THINGS ARE BROUGHT TO PASS!  its true for sure.  It was awesome to see the members doing their best to help out their brothers and sisters. 
Also on Thursday we had made plans to go visit some members of Darajani 1 with the branch president.... unfortunately at the last minute he said he couldn't go with us... so that was a big bummer.  So because of that, we decided that we could go explore our area.... because our area is GIANT! ha i haven't seen half the area just because it is so spaced out.  But it was actually pretty nice, we were able to contact and talk to a lot of people and see the far reaches of our area.  But man.... we were deep in the bush! hah we were biking along and we came past a sign that said "Muthesye village 1 km south"..... ummmm yeah so we were out in the villages! it was cool tho.  So we hope that some good comes out of our time there and that we can find some more people to teach there!
Also this week, we were at market day on Saturday to look for some things that we needed when this guy called us over. At first i thought that he just wanted us to buy something, which is typical because when people here see two white guys walking around.... they think that we have money stacked up.  But once we started talkin to him, he started to ask us some questions. Then i was like ohh yes this guy wants to hear the truth for sure.... turns out tho that this guy wanted to bible bash us kabisa..... haha he asked my comp to take out his bible and then he went crazy, started to read all these scriptures trying to tell us why our church is wrong and how the Book of Mormon cant be true. Ohh my goodness it was soooo ridiculous. This guy was taking all this stuff out of context and misinterpreting things.... ayyye it was bad new bears! It was really frustrating and sad, i tried to be as nice as possible when talking to this guy... but i about lost it with him so i told my comp that we had to go. But crazy enough, my companion got him to accept a Book of Mormon! haha so that was kind of a miracle. But pretty crazy thing. Bible bashing is dumb. 3 Nephi 11:29.
Anywho things are ok! Really trying to find some new investigators, especially families. Elder Tebbs is doing well, seems to be loving mission, not homesick at all, so he is doing a lot better than i was when i first got here so that's good! Got to watch the movie "On the Lords Errand", about Thomas S. Monson. Really came to see and feel that he is truly a prophet of God. I'm grateful that we have a living prophet today who can help guide us and give us revelation from the Lord!
But i love you all!
Elder Thomas

Friday, September 27, 2013

New Companion!

Daniel's new companion from Queen Creek AZ!  Elder Tebbs
The car is the taxi they took from Mtito Andei

Daniel's new jersey - he bargained like a champ to get it.  Started at 2700 ksh
but got it down to 450 ksh.  Yeah it pays to know a bit of Swag-hili!

Westgate Shopping Mall shooting in Nairobi.  Luckily Daniel was far from this.

September 23, 2013

Famalia na marafiki,
So this week was pretty crazy and unexpected! So on Monday night we found out that Elder Dimingu would be leaving Darajani and be going to Dar es Saalam.... and i would be staying and TRAINING a new missionary! So president Hicken called me and told me that my new companion fresh out of the MTC would be Elder Tebbs! So it was sad to have to say good bye to Elder Dimingu, but the work moves on. So Elder Tebbs arrived on Thursday afternoon and i got to pick him up at the Mtito Andei bus stage.  So he is from Queen Creek Arizona! So that was cool to find out, i guess he played football for Queen Creek high school and won state there, which is good. But he is a big guy! He is about 6'3" and maybe 220 lbs! so he is the first companion that i have had that is bigger than me!  But he is a good guy with a great spirit and is ready to work hard!  So the next few weeks will be pretty interesting to see how things go with my new companion! But i hope and pray that all will be good.
As far as the work goes, we were able to visit a lot of less active families and individuals.  One problem that we are running into tho is language.  Most people here only speak either Swahili or Kikamba... so i know zero Kikamba and only a little bit of Swahili, so its a little difficult at the moment.  But it was great to see both branches concerned about our situation! We have received help from a few of the young men who have been able to go with us and visit with people. And even the people we visit see our sincere desire to meet with them and help them, and many of them thanked us for coming to visit.  One thing that i have come to see here is that sometimes people just want to be visited and talked to... its an obvious thing but people light up when we come to visit and see them! It has really shown me how important Home and visiting teaching are.... so remember that! haha. 
Still doing our best to find people to teach.  We have a few investigators, but seems like our teaching pool is slowly decreasing.  But its ok because i know that as we do our best the Lord will continue to help and bless us for our best efforts. 
Also I'm continuing to learn Swahili pole pole...(slowly slowly).... haha but i have already seen the Lord bless me, because i am speaking a lot more than i really know how to speak.  Even tho its really not that much, its enough to help people in some little way!
Things are good in Kenya tho! I love the people and love being able to serve the Lord.  I have come to learn that no effort is wasted... and that the Lord will bless us as we try our level best to do what is right. I love you all. Have a super week!!
Love Elder Thomas

Kenya Shooting at Westgate Mall

Ambulances were lining up outside Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall, and helicopters circled overhead. When I arrived Saturday afternoon in the mall’s parking lot, policemen, AK-47s and pistols drawn, were running around, speaking into walkie-talkies. The crowd of journalists and onlookers was growing.
People were reporting that a dozen or more assailants, armed with automatic rifles and grenades, had stormed the mall around lunchtime. After a series of explosions, they had shot, it seemed, whomever they could—men, women, children, the elderly. Estimates of fatalities kept climbing; the siege would last through the night, and by Sunday the Kenyan government would claim fifty-nine dead, a hundred and seventy-five wounded, and dozens missing. Among them, according to news reports, were not just Kenyans, but Americans, Europeans and Canadians.
“I heard an explosion—at first I thought it was a transformer exploding,” Zulekha Abass, who lives directly across from Westgate with her family, told me. Then she heard another, and another. “Thud, thud, thud.” Then shooting.
As we talked, sporadic gunfire reverberated within the mall, and a group of people rushed out. Medics led them to a triage center that had been set up by the Red Cross across the road. In the group was Caroline Fowler, a woman from Washington, D.C. She was shaking, and had what appeared to be bloodstains on her pants. She had been waiting for a taxi at the front entrance, she told me, when the shooting started. She ran inside, into a tapas restaurant. “We hid under the bar for a little while. Then the shooting was louder and I saw a man and I saw a gun,” she said, struggling to catch her breath. They snuck from the bar, and then “we all hid in the kitchen.”
Westgate is a large building in Westlands, Nairobi’s upscale commercial district and its expatriate social hub. On Saturdays the mall is full of families from around the world. It’s a symbol of Kenya’s status as the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan country in East Africa. And Kenyans and expats alike have long observed—until yesterday, often enough with a laugh—that with its worldly crowd and lax security, Westgate is also an ideal target for terrorists.
Another group rushed from the mall. Some had their hands raised, to show they were unarmed; many were crying, others hyperventilating. A woman whose hands and forearms were covered in dried blood told me that she and her husband had left Westgate and were getting into their car when two men with AK-47s approached it. One pointed his rifle at her. “So I do this,” the woman, Sangu Shah, said, putting her hands together in prayer and lowering her head, “and closed my eyes. And I don’t know what happened, I’m not even very sure what has happened. The next thing I hear is his phone ringing. And I just opened the door to see he’s lying there.” Her husband had been shot. “I think it’s in the head,” she said.
A man yelled at her to stay still. All of the traffic in front of the mall had stopped. There was gunfire all around her, and she saw people climbing under their cars. Shah’s husband lay on the ground, bleeding badly. She slid down in her seat, trying to grab hold of him through the open door. “All I could see was just blood and I couldn’t do anything,” she said. He struggled for an hour. “He stopped breathing at, like, one thirty-five,” Shah said, matter-of-factly, looking at her watch.
In the triage center, Shah sat next to a Kenyan woman named Maggie. They did not know each other, but Maggie held Shah’s hand. Maggie had been parking her car inside the mall, she said, when she heard gunfire. “They sounded really loud and we didn’t know if it was bombs or whatever so people ran out of the basement towards the exit,” she said. But, when they got to the exit, they heard more shooting from outside. So they ran back in. Maggie found a pair of large decorative rocks, and hid between them. “I heard a lot of shooting so I just stayed there,” she said. “On the outside was absolutely quiet but on the inside was gunfire, gunfire.”
When the shooting ceased, Maggie ran from the mall. Outside she watched as two gunmen, whom she described as young and light-skinned, approached a man. “He lay down,” she said. “And at close range they just shot him.”
By four o’clock in the afternoon, the crowd outside Westgate was in the hundreds. Ambulances were backing up in a steady stream to the entrance, as bodies were carried out and loaded into them. The death toll was rising. One Kenyan photographer I spoke with, who’d made his way up an exterior car ramp to an upper level of the mall, said he had counted forty-two bodies along the way. A medic told me that he removed fifteen corpses just from the lobby. Some were still clutching cellphones to their heads. “There was a pregnant woman on the floor, dead” he said. “She was hugging a man. He was also dead. I guess it was her husband.”
When he heard the first explosions, Zulekha Abass’s husband ran from their house and into Westgate. He was one of many Nairobians who risked his life to try to save people. He’d been inside for hours when she and I spoke, calling her when he could. I asked her how she was so calm. “He went in to do the right thing,” she said.
Survivors were claiming that after entering stores and restaurants, the gunmen told Muslims to leave. A police officer told me, “I heard these guys, they came in and asked, ‘Are you Christian?’ They shot you. ‘Are you Muslim?’ They let you go.” Maggie claims that as the gunmen shot the man on the ground, they yelled, “Allahu Akbar!”
Immediately, suspicions turned to al-Shabaab, the Somali Islamist group. These suspicions seemed to be confirmed when Shabaab’s Twitter account lit up Saturday night. Lately, the main sponsor of Somalia’s ongoing civil war, Shabaab is believed to have sponsored a campaign of terrorism and kidnapping in Kenya. In 2011, the Kenyan Defense Forces invaded al-Shabaab’s base in southern Somalia in an effort to eliminate the group, which has been vowing revenge since. Shabaab refers to itself on Twitter as H.S.M., an abbreviation of its official name, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen. “HSM has on numerous occasions warned the #Kenyan government that failure to remove its forces from Somalia would have severe consequences,” the first tweet read. Then: “The Kenyan government, however, turned a deaf ear to our repeated warnings and continued to massacre innocent Muslims in Somalia #Westgate” And: “Since our last contact, the Mujahideen inside the mall confirmed to @HSM_Press that they killed over 100 Kenyan kuffar & battle is ongoing.”
As the afternoon wore on, Kenyan military units arrived. A group of soldiers in camouflage made their way toward the mall, leading German Shepherds. They were followed by a body-armor-clad team with high-powered rifles and riot shields that made its way up the exterior ramp and inside. Later, an armored personnel carrier pulled up to Westgate’s front entrance, and soldiers emerged and took up positions outside.
President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the country Saturday night. “We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get them,” he said. “We shall punish them for this heinous crime.” Meanwhile, an unknown number of hostages were being held inside the mall, by an unknown number of assailants.
Seven hours in, with an end to the siege nowhere in sight, it had grown dark, and a light drizzle was falling. There hadn’t been any shooting for a while, and the crowd was inching closer to the mall. Suddenly, a burst of loud volleys and explosions—this time not from inside the mall, but outside it. The crowd ran for cover. I ducked behind a Toyota S.U.V. After a minute, I poked my head up. A security guard smiled and beckoned me to the other side of the Toyota. There were fresh bullet holes in the doors and windows. “See how close we came?” he said.
Photograph by Simon Maina/AFP/Getty.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Septmeber 16, 2013

Habari,
Ayyye its crazy now seems like the weeks are flying by and time is moving fast! ha another week has come and gone here in Darajani and things are pretty good here.  This week was awesome because we got to visit with a lot of the less actives here in the branches.  It was good to find out where some of these people live, but it would have been impossible to have found these people without the help of the members of the branches! ahh its a huge testimony to me on how important members are. Missionaries come and go, but its the members  that stay in these areas and are the ones who really help the work of God to progress! So family..... help the missionaries!! hahah.  Even it was cool to see at church 2 of the less active individuals that we had been meeting over the past few weeks! it was good to see them at church and partaking of the sacrament.  But the only problem that we have come to face with when meeting these less active members is that like 90% of them don't speak any English.... and I'm like ummmm errrr what??? haha but good thing Elder Dimingu is here to help! Ha he knows Swahili kabisa so he is able speak and talk with the people.  ha but this has really shown me how much i need to know Swahili..... so I've really been trying to study lately! so i hope that i will be able to speak it one day! haha but of course with the help of the Lord anything is possible. also still working on my Kikamba... don't think I'll ever know it but the people here love it when i greet them in their own language! Especially the old mama's! Haha they get all excited and always smile. 

Also we had a great lesson this week with Cosmas teaching him about Temples for the after baptism lessons.  It was awesome to see his interest in Temples.  He really has a desire to learn more about Temples, and even asked when he can go! ha so we were able to talk to him about it, ha the only thing was that he was a little sad that the closest temple is all the way in South Africa... but one day there will be one here! Haha but it was funny while we were talking about how temples are really holy and spiritual places were you have to be really worthy to go, he said "ohh, so the temple is the place you fear most if you are not worthy".... ummm yeah i guess so?? haha it was funny but good to see that he understood the sacredness of temples. 
Still working on finding some new people to teach, we have a lot of potential investigators but we are trying to see if they are serious.  Still dealing with the drunkards that like to follow me around and shout "mzungu" every time i pass by.... haha.  But things are good, mission is great, and the church is true! i love you all!
Elder Thomas

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Indian Ocean

Mombasa raha!

The beach with Elder Dimingu

While Daniel was emailing us his companion says "hey elder Thomas go look outside."  So Daniel went outside
and saw these monkeys, yeah for Africa!

Mombasa!

Mambo
This past week was super awesome!!! Probably one of the most enjoyable weeks of my mission so far!
So on Tuesday, me and my companion and all of the elders from the Chyulu zone got on a bus from Mtito Andei to MOMBASA for the mission tour with Elder Renland from the seventy !! It was a 4 hour bus ride, but it was nice because the bus had AC, and because we also got to see some zebras and monkeys on the way there!! so that was cool.  Ha it was crazy to be in Mombasa because it was weird to be in a big city like that with a lot of cars and people!  I'm just used to my quiet life here in Darajani!  but Mombasa is really nice,super super humid, and lots of Islamic people  so that was really interesting. Also we got to take some took-tooks to get around which was really fun! Those are the little 3 wheel car things that the people in India use a lot... they are pretty common here as well.  those things love to go fast and weave in and out of traffic!  But on Wednesday we went to the meetinghouse in Mombasa and got to see Elder Renland and his wife and also pres Hicken and sister Hicken.  It was a super awesome conference! We were able to have a question and answer session with Elder Renland to be able to ask him some questions, mostly about how we can deal with some of the challenges and issues in our areas.  So it was cool to have him give us some advice and help on how to deal with and better our areas.  Pres Hicken also gave a training on obedience.  This is something that he is really pushing for in the mission, becoming exactly obedient to the commandments and also mission rules, which is good!  Really spiritually uplifting experience and cool to see one of the Seventy.  After the conference was over, we got to go to the BEACH!!! it was awesome! So we got to go with a few of the other missionaries there and it was awesome! The Indian Ocean is soooo nice! The water was super warm and very blue! Ha i also got stung by a jelly fish which really hurt... but it was still cool.(Daniel picked it up off the beach)  It was weird because there was like nobody at the beach... where I'm used to being in California and the beaches being packed!  but it was a super great time in Mombasa! I hope to serve there one day! Also in Mombasa, me and Elder Diodati bargained big time to get some ties that we wanted from 2,200 ksh to 1,500 ksh.... yeah for no price tags!!
But once we got back to Darajani, we were back to square one.  We are now looking for more people to teach and baptize.  But lucky for us the members are being awesome in helping us with the work.  We are getting a ton of referrals of people to teach, the thing is though that most of these referrals are little kids from about 9-12 yrs old... so we will see what we can do with them.  Also one thing that i have come to see here in Darajani is that EVERYBODY here knows about the church! when we introduce ourselves to people they usually say "oh your the missionaries of that big church right??" hahaha. Also one big problem that we have come into is that a lot of the less active people that we are visiting right now are now members of other churches.... ha so that is really frustrating but something that we will have to work through.
Other than that all is good here in Darajani! The people here are awesome and i love them a lot! Love you all and have a great week!!!
Elder Daniel Thomas

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

So this past week was pretty good.  Ha man we have been super busy though, which is good!
So the big highlight for this week was that we were able to go to Masonagoleni, an area on the way outskirts of our area.  We used to go there with the Couple Missionaries because they had a car, but since then we haven't gone in a long time.  But we were able to take one of the leaders in the district presidency with us and he was able to show us around. But man it is super far! ha we start by taking a 25 minute matatu ride, then drop in a little town, and then get on a piki-piki and drive for 45 minutes... hahah our area is huge.  But it was awesome to be in Masonagoleni.  We were able to meet with some of the leaders of the group that they have there, and it was good.  We also found out that there are a few people there who are not members of the church, but have been attending the group and want to become members! so we will try to continue to visit the members there and also teach the investigators that are there as well.  We hope that if we continue to visit there and are able to find and baptize people, we hope that maybe a branch will be able to be established there. So we will be working towards that. 
We are still continuing to visit a lot of the less active members here as well.  Its sad because a few of these less actives that we have found said that they have no more interest in coming to church anymore... mostly because they have joined other churches.... ahhh its soo sad to see.  Its frustrating but we will just have to keep visiting these members, and hope that we can help them feel of that spirit that they once felt at baptism.  But we have had some success with a few of the less actives, we had a few come to church this week and it was awesome! we had 2 priesthood holders who came for the first time in a while and it was awesome! That is one thing that the district is really pushing for here, having 15 active full tithe paying Melchizedek priesthood holders in each branch so that the district can become a stake! So that is what we are aiming for in Darajani. 
Also this week Cosmas and William were able to be confirmed! It was awesome. Cosmas was especially happy, he was glad to now be an official member of the church and to have the Holy Ghost! We will continue to work with him and help him to receive the priesthood, so he can really start to help the branch here. 
So this week we will be going to MOMBASA!!! we will have a conference there with Elder Renland from the seventy, so i am excited for that. I'm also excited to go to the Indian Ocean!!!! ;)
Things are good here though, i love Kenya!!!!! Love you all have a super week!
Elder Thomas
p.s. i got to wear my tie for fast Sunday! hope someone else wore it as well!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The little helpers of Mormon Helping Hands!
These kids are awesome!

Working hard at Mormon Helping Hands day.
Cutting down thorn bushes to make a fence....  Kenyan style fencing!

Just an example of what I have to deal with on a day to day basis.
These kids were staring at me for a solid 10 minutes.

Monkeys!