Monday, March 31, 2014

Daniel and his companion Elder Maduna
Sisi ni safi sana


Bushy Kitale


March 30, 2014

Sasa wiki hii ulikuwa si mbaya. Sawa tu. Lakini Shida wengi!
Another interesting week in Kitale, full of wonderful and weird things. Some guy called me a devil this week, many times actually. It was quite interesting, but hey i just brushed off my shoulders! Also, our Ugandan investigators told us that if they came to church and took the sacrament, then their first born child would just die. Spontaneously com-bust.  There are some very interesting beliefs that people in Kenya have about our church, and its sad to see.  And what makes it worst is that most of the rumors come from pastors of other churches...  they don't like it when their members start coming to our church, mostly because those members aren't paying them anymore.
But ya! Unfortunately, we had to drop a few of our investigators.  They were just having a really hard time to keep commitments and come to church.  Frustrating to see, but everyone has their agency and others just need time.  So this next week we will be doing a lot more finding, really trying to find those who God has prepared to receive the Restored Gospel. 

This past week most of our lessons were with less active members. And there are lots of less active members in Kitale and Sikhendu! But they are all really cool people, but are just struggling with some commandments which makes them feel like they are not worthy to come.  Like Mama Daisy! This mama is awesome! But coming to church is a problem for her, and she wont tell us why.  But me and elder Maduna had a great lesson with here about being obedient to Gods commandments.  We kind of blasted her hah but she understood.  We really talked to her about being a good example to her small kids and also her husband, who is not a member.  We told her that he would never join if she was not setting the good example for him. It was really nice lesson and the spirit was there kabisa.  Hope we helped her to get back on track.  Also we have this Less active guy named Anthony who is super funny haha not sure if he is all there up top but hey he thinks that i am a red Indian, so that's pretty cool i guess.   Just thought i would throw that out there. 
Sunday was good.  Elder Maduna gave a 30 minute talk,  first two speakers spoke for 7 minutes combined so he had to take the rest of the time.  Also got a awesome new investigator, Pamela.  She was brought by her friend who is a member and is new to the branch.  We had a super great lesson with her about the restoration! She had lots of good questions and really wanted to know more about the church! So we are really excited to continue to teach her. 
Also saw President Edward (from Mautuma branch) this week! it was really cool to see him.  He had to go to Sikhendu for a meeting and we saw him and got to talk to him for a while.  He was mad that i hadn't gone on exchanges with the elders in Mautuma  i was like umm I'm not sure if i can do that but ya ill try haah.  It was really nice to see him, one of the most genuine guys I've meet in Kenya.
But the work is going well, still looking for those prepared by the Lord. But i love you all!! ALSO HAPPY LATE BDAY TO MY LIL SISTER EMMY!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU!
Elder Thomas

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Daniel's old zone before transfers

Daniel and Elder Simcock

Looking swag-tastic at zone conference in Eldoret and
No that is not their car, they have bikes:(

March 24, 2014

Familia yangu,
Really nice week! Lots of gooood stuff.
So this week i got packed with stuff i had to plan for!! last Sunday i had to prepare a 15 minute talk, Tuesday i had to give a training for our district meeting, then on Wednesday me and elder Maduna had to prepare a training on Diligence for zone conference!  pretty overwhelmed but i learned a lot of things from preparing all this stuff.
But really the big highlight of this week was zone conference in Eldoret! Super spiritually uplifting.  President Hicken is sooo awesome! He is really trying to make this mission the best, by really focusing on Diligence and Obedience, 2 of the biggest aspects that make a missionary truly effective.  So me and elder Maduna were assigned to speak and talk about diligence.  I really focused on 3 attributes of diligence, being steady and consistent, earnest with the efforts, and begin energetic.  One scripture that i really liked that i came across and shared was D&C 127: 4.  Really felt like it applied to missionary work (even though its referring to temple work), and was just an awesome scripture.  But it was cool and me and elder Maduna did a good job, at least i felt like.  The rest of the trainings were focused on how to become better more effective missionaries.  President Hicken is a powerful teacher! really gets us motivated as missionaries to work harder and to do better.  I really respect him.  Also it was cool to see some guys i haven't seen in a long time, like Elder Nyambita, Ndaba, Simcock, and just some other missionaries that i am good friends with.  But it was a great conference and i really enjoyed it!
The work this week was ok.  A lot of appointments that got bounced, but also we had many good appointments as well.  Found an awesome new investigator named Kilpax! weird name but its ok because he is awesome.  We randomly got a text Tuesday night asking all sorts of questions about the book of Mormon and what it is.  So we called him and he said he was interested to meet with us and see what our church is all about. Had an awesome lesson with him the next day and he was super interested! He also came to church and said that it was really great.  Such a blessing that the Lord has blessed us with! We have a lot of investigators here in Kitale, but its awesome to really have one now who is so interested and energetic about the church.  Such a blessing!  Also had a baptism for one of our investigators, Derrick.  He is a cool 14 yr old kid who i got to help teach the final lessons to.  Both of his parents are members, so they really helped with the teaching.  He was really prepared and it was cool to see him get baptized.  We are also hoping to have some more baptisms by the end of this transfer, really working towards that. 
Two interesting stories.  On Friday we were in the Kitale market visiting some less active members at their veggie stands.  So we were just visiting, when we hear this guy making this big fuss off to the side.  At first i just thought it was just some drunk or crazy guy, because its such a common thing. But then we looked over and this guy selling some other things was trying to get our attention, so we started to walk over to him to see what was up, and as we got closer, we saw a Book of Mormon in his hands! So we speed up our pace towards him hahaah.  The guy told us that he had been given the book of Mormon 6 years ago and wanted to learn more about the church! so we talked to him for a while and talked a little bit about it and he asked some good questions.  BUT as we were about to leave, he started laughing, ha it was kind of weird so we just kind of looked at him, but then he said "haha I'm a pastor"...... what?? haha he said he was a pastor for some crazy name church i have never heard of before. Ya it was weird. Not sure if he was serious or just trying to make us say something bad  but hey at least he knows what the Book of Mormon is now!
Also. Some random guy showed up at church in Sikhendu.  Didn't speak a lick of English.  So when we went to visit with him after church, he told us why he came. He was told by his employer that our church could help him overcome some of his difficulties.  Which is true, we have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it will fix anything! Except for his concern... I'm not sure what could fix this.  He said that his problem was that while he was living in Uganda, a witch came to his family and bewitched all of them so he was wondering if our church could pray for him and un-bewitch him..... ummmm yeah.  I had no idea what to say to him.Ha wow! But don't worry this is a very common thing here in Kenya! People no joke believe this stuff. Its crazy!
Other than that all is good!

But a great week! I love you all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Elder Maduna - Daniel's companion from South Africa

Breakfast with the Elders and the Missionary couple from Utah, the Flakes.  They are his next door neighbors.


Another wonderful week in KITALE! but not much to say this week.
But this week the rains came... and didn't want to leave!    But we had to cancel a lot of our appointments this week, just because of the rain.  When it rains here its almost impossible to do work.  The roads turn into strait mud and its impossible to get around.  And even if it looks like its going to rain people will cancel the appointment on us because its too difficult to get around in the rain (we set most of our appointments at  the church). But its ok because rain is a blessing!
But the work was good this week.  We were able to get a lot of work done out in Sikhendu.  We were able to go on splits again there this week, so i got to work with one of the members, Maxwell. This guy is so awesome! He is 22 yrs old and is preparing to go on a mission, so its really helping him a lot to be out working with us.  But he helped a lot with the work.  He was going for it! hah he wasn't shy or timid at all about teaching. If i would ask him to teach a principle or something, he was ok with it and really taught well.  It was fun working with him.  He wanted to talk to everyone and get numbers to meet with them again!!  it was cool to see him really engaged in helping and doing missionary work, i wish i would have been more like that when i was back home.  But i know he will be a great missionary. 
Sunday was my first week attending Kitale branch... so i was assigned to give a talk and be the concluding speaker. Ha the branch president told me that he assigned someone else to give a talk in the branch, but he said ''Ya so elder Thomas I know that this guy will not come, so can you prepare a talk?''... Yeah why not!! hah i was assigned to talk on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I felt like it went really well.  I just taught on the basics of it, Faith, Repentance, Baptism by immersion, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the end.  I thought i would just teach the fundamentals of it because a lot of the members are still really new and are learning, so i just wanted to talk about it enough so everyone had an idea of what it really is! So it went well and i felt like i did a pretty good job. 
One funny thing, but then again not funny.  So we have really been working with this less active guy named Benard lately.  He is a  security guard who works pretty close to the church.  We have visited with him a lot and have really tried to help him come back to church. We have been able to read the Book of Mormon with him and had really good visits with him.   We were really anticipating him coming to church, but he did not show up.  So we were sad about that.  BUT! right after church we came out of the meeting house talking with some members, and we see this guy walking out the front gate with a jembe (hoe) in hand, and its Benard! SO he came to church.... or i should say he came to the church.  At the church is a church shamba (farm/garden), for all of the members to use to grow things.  So he went to work in his shamba.... at the church.... on Sunday... not even coming inside to take the sacrament or to go to the classes.  When Elder Maduna saw him he was like ''HEY, STOP THERE!!'' ohhh snap he was mad!! haha then Benard tried to hide around the corner, but we went to talk to him.  We asked him what he was doing and he was just like super confounded haha. elder maduna said ''Now God is going to curse your shamba for sure!'' i was like ohhh snap.... haha but its true.  If we are not obedient, we can receive no blessings.  It was both funny and sad at the same time.  But afterwards i felt really bad, just that he was working on the sabbath, at the Lords shamba, not even coming to church.  Weird experience. Sometimes i don't understand people.  But we all have agency... but we need to use it very wisely!!
Yeah sorry nothing too interesting this week.  Our investigators are doing ok, having difficulty getting them out to church but we will work on it. We will have Zone Conference this week in Eldoret, so I'm excited for that! Love you all!! Have a great week!
Elder Thomas
Daniel and Brother Chogo.  Probably one of the funniest people Daniel has ever met, super cool guy.

President Edward - best guy in all of Mautuma

The Lion never sleeps #winning
Sign for a school

March 10, 2014

First week in Kitale!
This week was pretty good.  On Tuesday i had to pack my things and get ready to leave Mautuma.  I also got to visit a few of the members, a lot of them were really shocked that i was leaving, because i hadn't been there for that long.  Even for me i was really sad to go. I really loved the members of Mautuma!!!! Such awesome people who really love the Gospel and also loved helping us missionaries.  But I'm happy I'm still in the same zone as Mautuma, i hope to go on exchanges there sometime in the future. 
But I'm enjoying Kitale!! I'm my area, we cover 2 branches, Kitale branch and Sikhendu branch ( Sikhendu is about a 45 minute matatu ride away... so its far!). But both branches are really awesome. President Kwendo, the branch president of Kitale is super helpful and is always going around with us to appointments.  In Sikhendu we have awesome members! We have about 6 or 7 guys who are always willing and wanting to help us do the work.  Like on Thursday, we went on splits, so i got to go with Tall Paul!! haha oh my goodness his name says it all! He is about 6'7" or  so and his hands are like a foot and a half long!!! man if this guy was from back home you would be seeing him posting up on Lebron James or something!! haha but it was awesome working with him.  He was really time conscious, trying to get in as many visits as possible, always asking "ok elder who we seeing next?". Such and awesome guy and I am happy that there are a lot of people like him in this area. We were able to get 40 member present lessons this week and hope to get 50 this next week.
As for investigators we have about 10 or so pretty good investigators that we are working with.  One of which is from South Sudan and also 4 sisters who are from Uganda, so we are getting international out here in Kitale!! Ha just kidding not really.  But we are really hoping to be having some baptisms soon within the next month and a half.  So we will see how things with that go! Just need to make sure that they are really prepared and ready. 
But i am loving my mission.  Really love helping others come unto Christ through his restored Gospel.  We are so blessed to have the fullness of the Gospel, because there are still so many people out there today searching for it but cant find it.  So its upon us as members to do our best to share the gospel with our friends and those around us. And obviously as we do so our Heavenly Father will bless us with joy and happiness!
But i love you all and have a great week!
Elder Thomas

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Daniel's awesome new bike, in front of the church.  His mountain bike was finished so he got a fresh new ride - the iron horse.

Elder Griffiths feeding a monkey that almost attacked them.  He is giving it a banana.

Transferred to Kitale

Crazy week......... wow.
So to start we received transfer news this week.  I thought for sure that i would stay in Mautuma because i haven't really been here that long... but the Lord has other plans for me now! President Hicken called me Sunday night and said that i am going to Kitale! So I'm still in the same zone, but now i am also a Zone leader here with Elder Maduna from South Africa.  That was a real surprise but hey its all according to the will of the Lord, so its all good!
Even the entire week was pretty crazy and just interesting. Has to be one of the strangest weeks probably of my mission... and also life.  I think people were taking crazy pills around here.  But none the less we got a ton of work done!
One Tuesday we went on exchanges, so i went with elder Simcock. Me and him are really good friends, we were transferred together to Chyulu and also out here to Kitale zone.  But unfortunately he got sick so we weren't able to really see anyone at all... so we were mostly just at the flat. That kinda stunk.  And then it became difficult to exchange back, so elder Griffiths and Maduna had to come all the way to us  to exchange back.  So the exchange was a bust, but not much to do about it. 
So one of the things that we decide this past week as a  zone was to get 100 member present lessons total! we have 4 companionship's, so all of us had to get at least 25 each!   So me and Elder Griffiths put the pedal to the metal and worked kabisa!  We got a ton of help from the members as well! At all of our lessons we had a member there to help teach us.  The members of Mautuma are soo awesome.  They are super willing to help and love seeing new people come to church.  Its a great attitude that they have about the work and it really helps me to work harder to help the branch grow and become better.  Satan was trying to hinder the work by sabotaging my mountain bike! But no worries one of the members, actually our land lord Bro Busolo, lent us his Indian made iron horse bike!! I was sooo excited! Haven't ridden one of those bad boys since chyulu. But the hills did dominate me haha. None the less the work continued on! We were able to get 35 member present lessons in Mautuma and the zone got 107 total!!

We were able to split again on Saturday and really taught a ton of lessons. We have a super super awesome Investigator now, Josiah! Man he is one truly prepared of the Lord.  We have really been struggling to get serious investigators lately. But the Lord has blessed us with Josiah.  He is 25 yrs old and is a great friend to Bro Daniel from the branch.  He is really loving the  Book of Mormon, and has already prayed and received and answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God!! I was sooo happy when he told us that! Just shows how really motivated he really is to find the truth, because we did not even tell him to pray about that, he did it on his own.. ohhh yeeeeaah!! Really wish i could continue to teach him, such a cool guy.
But ya a lot of crazy things happened this past week! I'm excited to get to work in Kitale and help the people there to find the truth and come closer to Christ. I know without a doubt that this is truly the church of Jesus Christ.  We truly have his authority and the fullness of his gospel.  What a blessing that it is for us as members, that we don't have to worry about being lost in this world looking for the truth.
But i love you all!! Have a great week and CTR!!!
Elder Thomas

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Another Amazing Week

Another awesome week out here in Mautuma!
This week we got a lot done with the work.  It was awesome this week because EVERY lesson and visit we had, we had a member present to help us to teach! Its pretty amazing how much help we are getting from members.  The members out here really are trying to step up in the work.  They are really starting to see this as their work, and that we as missionaries are just here to assist them in doing the work, just in teaching and baptizing.  But they are the ones who should be doing most of the work, like retention and finding people to teach and giving referrals.  We have a lot more people we are teaching now because the members are more involved.  Even we got an awesome referral from our first councilor, which is a family!! It is super difficult to teach families in Kenya.  A lot of the time the Husband and wife live in different places, like one lives in Nairobi for work while the other stays at their home area.  But now we have a family to teach! The husband is Hudson, and his two sons Brandon and Dixon came to church which was awesome.  Unfortunate the wife didn't come.  That's another common problem.  Its like a cultural thing where someone always has to stay at the house... so they alternate coming to church. Which really isn't that good... but at least we have something to work with! But the work is really picking up right now which is awesome!
But this week we did run into a big problem... my bike is finished! ha just that the front rim like completely broke in half.  it was kind of bad.  Like metal parts were sticking out and stuff but i don't know it was a definite safety hazard.  but nothing bad happened to me.  It made it a lot more difficult to get work done, just because we had to walk a lot more, but every thing seemed to work out pretty well.  Its been a long time since i have walked so much hahah just like back in my days in Rongai! So my legs were sore... but the Lord gave me strength enough to do his will!
But we did have a pretty cool experience this week with visiting on of the less active members, Akman.  He was really active for a long time but within the past 3 months he hadn't been coming.  We have tried to see him for a long time but has always been out, but luckily we were able to find him this week.  So we went out to see him and had a good lesson with him and asked him if he needed any help with anything. He said that he was ok with everything, but then went on to tell us why he had been not coming for a while.  He said that he really got offended by someone in the branch, and that the person really said some bad stuff to him about something that he did out of a good desire to help the branch.  He even got emotional and started to cry, which is something that you hardly EVER see in Kenya, so we could tell that he was really hurt.  It was really sad to see him like this, that he was really hurt.  But he said that he was very grateful that we thought of him and cared enough to visit him, and that he would be able to make is way back to church.  And he did come!! It was just a cool experience, just being there for someone that really needed some help and love.  Really made me think of Mosiah 18: 8-10, kind of the covenants we make at baptism, especially morning with those that morn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.  Really cool experience and glad that we had the opportunity to help someone in need. 
Other than that nothing else to interesting this week.  I was able to do baptism interviews for 2 people in Kitale, which went well.  Also we saw a really crazy ADC (African divine church) rally/church meeting/ mosh pit/ march thing.  ahahahh i don't even know how to really describe it. All i know is that some of the churches out here in Kenya are super crazy.  Like the people had drums, flags, batons, and all sorts of other crazy stuff.  They were marching down the road singing crazy songs beating the drums and going crazy! Me and my companion were really scared! they weren't going to do anything to us (we think) but it was pretty crazy! People on the side of the road were just jumping in and joining in on the fun! hahah ohhhhhh kenya.
But things are well.  I'm really loving my mission and loving the time i have to share the fullness of the gospel with others!! I love you all!!!
Elder Thomas