Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Daniel and Brother Denson, who is the newest member of the Ongata Rongai Branch

Baptism font

The Ondiego family.  The are members of the branch and always cook for Daniel and his companion on Fridays.
They are so awesome and Daniel loves them!

Yeah for packages!
Daniel loved the cookies and also the chocolate.  He says they don't have such goodies there.


I asked Daniel about his short haircut this is what he said:

one of our investigators cut it! ha his name is mark and he is from Uganda, he is a barber and works and a nice salon! it cost 850 kenyan shillings, so its kind of a lot

Daniel later asked me what the conversion rate is in- 850 kenyan shillings is like $9.90 so his haircut was cheaper than Mike's barbershop he used to go to in Mesa!

Happy Easter

Hey Everyone!
And a Very Happy Birthday to Emmy this week!! 13! ha Emmy i love you!
Pretty crazy week. On Tuesday we had to go to Upper Hill to do some immigration stuff so that they don't deport me... haha. But we got to walk around Nairobi, and it is a beautiful city! Lots of cool buildings and parks. But while walking around we ran into Sister Mackenzie again! haha its crazy, i didn't think that i would see her that much but i seem to see here every once in a while, which is nice.
But one tough thing this week was that our Baptism for Ruth and Rose got pushed back another week or so. We were planning on teaching them the final lesson this week and clearing everything up, but we came to find out that their mother had to go to the hospital, so they were with her the entire week. It was to bad because their mother is a really good member of the Branch, so we prayed for her and she has gradually gotten better. But we are hoping for their Baptism this week. Its also been kind of tough because a lot of our investigators seem to disappear. We have good first lessons with them, but we never seem to find them after that. so that's been tough but we are working through it.
This week i was also blessed with a really awesome spiritual experience. One of the Sisters investigators was ready for baptism this week, and he asked me if i would be able to baptize him. His name is Denson, and he is in his 50's or so. He is such an awesome guy. I have got to know him over this past month and have talked to him a lot and sat with him at stake conference. He has also been telling us how prepared and ready he is to be baptized. So he asked me if i would be able to baptize him. It was such a great experience!! The Spirit was really there and I know that Brother Denson will be a great addition and help to the Ongota Rongai Branch. This has probably been the highest point of my mission so far, and i am hoping to use this as a base for the rest of my mission.
Also saw some animals this week! (i know Emmy might like to hear this). Kind of random though. While tracking one day, we saw a column of about 30 CAMELS walking down the street! ha it was super weird, me and my comp were like what the heck?! Also, while coming back from Langata in a matatu, we saw 3 BABOONS sitting on the side of the road! they were just chilling there eating some grass or something. They were pretty big though. It was weird to see them so close to town though!
But all is well here in Rongai. Things are getting better and I'm starting to enjoy my mission more. Glad to hear all is well with you all. I laughed at the pictures Joe made at church hahah pretty funny. But make sure to go to lots of Spring training games! especially Angels games! that's something I'm going to miss.
But love you all. Have a great Easter and always remember how important the Savior is in our lives. He Brings Comfort!
Elder Thomas (Daniel)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Daniel and Sis Mackenzie- Stake Conference in Nairobi.  She is from Kenya but served a mission in Arizona.
She finished her mission the same day Daniel left for his.  She has been a good friend to our family!  We love her!

Daniel and his mosquito tent in his apartment.  He says it is a lifesaver. I'm not sure how he fits on that bed?

Mom's questions answered

Thanks for all the letters and pics, i love them. So to answer your questions:
I am doing well. A lot of people here speak only Swahili, so its hard to communicate some times with people, but i usually can. And Swahili is hard to learn hah. People have weird accents as well but its all good.
Members make food sometimes, but we usually cook for ourselves. My comp is a great cook! he doesn't each much though hah.
My asthma is all good, only used my puffer once so far.
My clothes fit and are all good, just have to hand wash haha
My companion is 21 yrs old, has been a member for 3 yrs. but has been taught gospel for entire life, church was not in his area until recently (Mwanza Tanzania). He is good, we get along fine, he likes music a lot, especially country! George Strait and Allen Jackson and all the oldies! haha so funny

I liked Ben's letter, crazy experience. And he is going to transfer to Milan so he can get me and AC Milan soccer jersey haha.
Tell joe thanks for the updates! he is awesome tell him i love him and also to drink water... hahah and to keep playing baseball. He can play whatever sport he wants
Emmy is a litter stinker! she is so funny. tell her to keep playing soccer! and go arsenal! hahah
Oh and i got your letters! thanks so much i love the updates keep them coming! please send recipes in mail. basic ingredients.
I love you mom and i love you updates, you are the greatest!
Love you so much
Elder Thomas

March 18, 2013

Good week in Kenya, its good to be out of the flat and out working again! Ha although its been a tiring week, a lot of work! We have been teaching these two girls Ruth (16) and her sister Rose (19), and we will be baptizing them this Sunday the 24th! The missionaries have been teaching them for a while, and i got here just in time to help teach the last few lessons to them to help them prepare for baptism. They both love the gospel, and wanted to get baptized a long time ago but had to wait to get all of the lessons. Both have shown interest in going on missions! ahaha they aren't even members yet and want to serve already. Shows how much they enjoy and love the gospel. They will probably be baptized by their father who is also a recent convert of 3 months, so that will be good. We are also teaching their younger sister, Edith, who also wants to get Baptized, but needs to receive the lessons. so that will be good.
This week we have also been trying to get a lot more referrals from everyone we talk to, which has been really helpful. Everyone seems to give us at least on referral we can contact, some people more. It has really helped us just find more people to talk to and teach.
Also this week me and my companion were able to attend the Nairobi Stake Conference! It was awesome. We arrived early and were able to greet all of the people who came in. Everyone was super excited and friendly. Many people came up to me and asked me some questions about myself, so that was really nice. Although while I was greeting people, i was looking to see if sister Mackenzie would show up, but i didn't see her which was too bad. But it was also really crazy to see how many missionaries showed up as well. Turned out 40 missionaries came, all serving in the bounds of the Nairobi Stake! ha it was crazy to see of the the missionaries. I got to talk to most of them and a lot of them were really nice to me and also gave me some good advice. Also got to see Pres and Sister Broadbent as well which was awesome! Once the meeting began the entire chapel was packed! Soo many people came, i didn't realize there were that many LDS people in the area! But it was good to see all of the members from the Nairobi area. It was a good meeting, Elder Cook from the seventy spoke and it was really good. He talked about missionary work, and invited everyone who had ever served a mission or who is currently serving a mission to come up to the front. I was just expecting to see a few people and all of the current missionaries come up. Turned out about 120 people came up to the front! it was amazing! I was soo surprised. Then after the meeting, one of the investigators that came with us, Denson (probably around 50 or so), told me that he wanted to be a missionary now too. It was a really touching experience. He is not even a member, and already he wants to serve the Lord. It was an awesome experience.
As we were getting ready to leave, guess who i saw? Sister Mackenzie!!! hahah it was crazy. I guess she came a little late, but was also looking for me as well. It was good to talk to her, and she told me about how she called you and she says hello!
But all is good here. I enjoy seeing the pictures of everyone, looks like a good time in Pinedale! And tell the Ethingtons I say thanks, ill write them. Thanks so much for all of the letters and pictures, i really enjoy them, keep sending stuff! I love you all so much!
Elder Thomas

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Daniel walking through a maize filed looking for people to teach

Daniel can make a mean chapiti.
He says it is a cross between Indian Fry bread and tortillas.

This is what happens when you are stuck inside your apartment (flat) because of unrest in Kenya.

Johannesburg Temple

Daniel said the temple was so beautiful.  He was able to go there right before leaving South Africa
for Kenya.  Most the missionaries in the MTC went through for the first time. 

Pictures from the MTC

Daniel's MTC district with Elder Carl B. Cook & Sis Cook and President & Sister Reber
Daniel, Elders Kawira, Marz, Nyanhamo, Owour, DeCarvahlo, Chilumba, Tshongoyi, Au-Fua, Hlashwayo

Soccer could be Daniel's new favorite sport

Hello to everyone!! It is soooo good to be out of our apartment now! Ha we had to stay in there for a full week... it was tough! It was hard because i had just started to get used to the missionary schedule, used to getting up and going somewhere. But during elections, we would just sit home all day! It was kind of nice though because it gave me a good opportunity to read my scriptures a lot, which was a blessing to me. But so far it seems as if all is well now in Kenya, elections are over and it seems like it is pretty peaceful, so hopefully it stays like that! haha. But before elections, it was kind of crazy around here. There were always political rallies going on and a lot of campaigning. People would hook big amplifiers up to their cars and go around and campaign for their candidates. There was one crazy rally where people were jumping up and down in a huge mosh pit blowing whistles and just going crazy! Haha i thought it was pretty funny, but we had to hurry and get out of there. Ha it was a pretty crazy time but made things fun around here.
But so far the work seems to be doing really well! We have 4 people with baptismal dates set up, and at least 6 other really good investigators that seem to be really enjoying the gospel. There are a lot of people who are curious about our religion and show a lot of interest in learning more. We recently got 15 referrals from members of the branch! its awesome. The only hard part about teaching people here is that a lot of them say they will come to church and make other commitments, but usually don't, which is sad. We also loose a lot of investigators as well because it is so hard to keep track of people around here because people are constantly moving. There are also no addresses in Rongai so its hard to find where people live! hah. But People love religion here in Kenya. On Sundays, most shops are closed down and everyone is usually dressed in their Sunday best. So its nice to see such religious people.
One thing that i have really notice so far is the attention that i get. People are always looking at me!! haha probably because i am the only white guy in the entire town. But its also nice because it helps us stand out and people are kind of drawn to us because i stand out ha. Another thing that is funny is that all of the little kids here like to follow me around. They will get all excited and say "how are you mzungu, how are you how are you?!" (mzungu is white guy in Swahili). hahah. I usually respond and say "good how are you!?" They usually just look at me and don't respond, because most of them only speak Swahili! Ha everyone here speaks Swahili. ON the streets that's all i ever hear. Most people do speak English, but not very well and prefer Swahili. So i have a feeling i be learning a lot of Swahili! haha.
I am also learning how to cook a lot of food! The first week i just ate a lot of bread.... hahh it was not good. But recently, I've been cooking beans, rice, spaghetti, and have just learned how to make chapati's!! They are my favorite food to eat! My companion showed me how to make them, and they are a mix between Indian fry bread and a tortilla, but really sweet and you can add bananas in them! Ive also eaten a lot of fruit here, mangoes, bananas, apples.
But So far I am starting to love Kenya! it was really hard at first to get used to the culture (and still kind of is), but i feel like i am adapting well.
Good to hear that everyone is doing well! I loved the picturess! Ha that's crazy that you had your 25th wedding anniversary!! Looks like you had fun and had some good food! Hailey keep up with track, gotta be able to contend with the Kenyans! Emmy keep doing well with soccer, people love soccer here, everyone wears soccer jerseys hear. Joe i cant believe you are on the Dodgers and not Angels... hahha its ok though i still love you. And mom thanks so much for all the letters, they are sooo good. And the Scriptures you told me to read were awesome! Love you all soooo much! Keep staying strong in the gospel and remember how blessed you all are!
Love Elder Daniel Thomas

March 7, 2013

Dear Parents and Families of missionaries serving in the Kenya Nairobi Mission:
It is Thursday 07 March in Kenya and we are currently awaiting the final results of the election. All missionaries have moved safely from hotspots to safe areas and flats; food and water storage is in place and all missionaries serving in Kenya are staying in their flats.
Most communities have been calm around the country. Although there has been some chaos and violence in remote areas, all the missionaries are safe.
We will send another e-mail when the missionaries have returned to their areas of service. The Lord has answered our prayers as we have followed his admonition “...if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” D&C 38:30.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
President and Sister Broadbent
March 12, 2013
To:  Parents, Families, Branch, Stake and Mission Presidents of Missionaries serving in the Kenya Nairobi Mission:
We are grateful and happy to share with you that the Kenya presidential election was peaceful.  There were very few disturbances throughout the country.  All missionaries were safe throughout the week and spent the time studying, building relationships with each other and preparing for the time when they would again be able to resume missionary work. 
Missionaries are returning to their areas this week.  Transportation is now available; the roads are safe and traffic is moving well.  All areas where they serve have been declared safe.  We will continue to monitor all areas.   Food and water storage will continue to be readily available and missionaries know what to do if there is a need to ‘stay in the flats’ once again.
Thank you for your support, your faith and your prayers.  We have received a great blessing of peace and safety.  The Lord’s work continues to go forward with greater zeal and purpose.
Best regards,
President Steven H. Broadbent
Kenya Nairobi Mission

Fasting & Prayer

When the mission president sent us an email that Daniel and the Kenya missionaries would be inside for a week during the elections he asked that we fast and pray for a peaceful result.  Our family did fast and pray and we are so grateful all is well and that the mission president is inspired and the missionaries are all safe. 

Kenya Presidential Elections

To: Parents, Families and Branch Presidents of Missionaries serving in the Kenya Nairobi Mission
As you may know, Kenya is preparing for a general presidential election on March 4, 2013. In order to ensure the safety of missionaries serving in Kenya, we have implemented an Emergency Action Plan which will begin on Friday, March 1.
Missionaries serving in areas that potentially may have political disturbances will be moving to safe areas. Those serving in Mombasa will transfer to Chyulu area for the election week and will be teaming up with missionaries serving there to continue missionary work. Missionaries serving in Kisumu/Busia, Naivasha and Nakuru will transport to Nairobi and stay with missionaries in safe flats on Friday or Saturday, March 1st and 2nd . Missionaries serving in outlying areas in Kitale and Eldoret will stay with other missionaries in town and close to each other beginning March 1 or 2. After arriving in their assigned areas, all missionaries will be staying inside for 4-6 days beginning Sunday after church or before if needed. Preparations have been made for extra food and water for each missionary. During these 4-6 days, we will all have the opportunity to study the gospel in depth.