Monday, June 30, 2014

Baptism of Water Kone- Daniel loves this guy!  Elder Dick is on the left

The essential wazee of Mautuma-
From the left:  Christopher who was a less active but now active member, Daniel, Edward Opiayo- Branch President, Brother Kisamba -former Branch President and Brother Songa

On the way to Eldoret, Elder Eveson went night-night

Ben served with Anziano Eveson in Italy now his brother Elder Eveson is in Daniel's mission

Elder Griffiths riding an ostrich - Kenya Nairobi Mission

Gotta be ready for anything when you are out in the bush - Kitale

June 30, 2014

FIRST.  HAPPY BDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU MOM YOU ARE THE BEST!!

So this week has probably been one of my best weeks in Kitale so far!
This week we had MLC (missionary leadership council) with President Hicken in Eldoret.  It was a lot of fun and a great experience.  On Tuesday we drove from Kitale to Eldoret, and had some extra time so we all got to play soccer together.  I have to say soccer has become one of my favorite sports now.  So I'm excited to get back and play with Emmy!! haha.  But on Wednesday we had the meeting with President Hicken.  We just discussed things that we need to teach our zones about, that will help the work to progress a lot better.  The 5 topics 1). Overcoming pride/ selfishness 2). How to budget your funds 3). Learning how to solve your own problems 4). Racism (unfortunately) 5). Getting over negative feelings about areas.  Some of these have become  a problem in the mission, and President Hicken wants us to help solve them.  But all of these i feel like are life long skills.  One thing i like about president Hicken, is that he is really trying to help us a lot as missionaries, but also that he is teaching us life long lessons and skills.  Also after the meeting, we got PIZZA! ya.
Also this week, we got a ton of help from the members.  So every week, we go out to Sikhendu twice a week.  And both times we went this week, we got to go on splits so we were able to get a lot more work done.  We mostly visit less active members there.  Apparently there used to be 600 members there.  But only 40 come to church every week... haha so not sure what's goin on.  But we are working on it! Also contacting a lot there looking for people to teach. 
The big thing tho this week was on sunday.... BAPTISM! This week we had the baptism for Walter Kone.  He is such a great guy, who has gone through a lot.  He first heard about the church in 2009, and became really interested in learning more, but could never find the church.  Since then, he has been going on the internet, looking up information about it.  Then 2 months ago we found him on the street and contacted him.  Since then he has come to church every week (by the way he walks 2 hours to get there). but has had a lot persecution coming his way.  A lot of his friends have been saying a lot of negative things to him about the church, and even his wife has been giving him a tough time.  She didn't want him to come, but he told her that he knew the church was true. For while, she would not talk to him if she saw him reading the Book of Mormon and was totally against everything he did.  But overtime she really softened up to the church because she saw how Walter was changing.  Even on Sunday, she agreed to come to the Baptism! It was great to have her there and the members did a good job of fellow shipping her.  It was a great service though, Walter asked me to perform the ordinance and it was a really wonderful experience.  After the baptism he got to bear his testimony and bore a great testimony.  I'm really grateful for the opportunity i have had to help out Walter come unto Christ and look forward to continuing workin with him.  Such a powerful guy, truly converted!
But other than that things are great! Elder Dick and I did a 2 hour presentation of the "Work of Salvation" dvd in Kitale branch for combined 5 Sunday. It was great, and a lot of members came up to us after and said that they had an increased desire to do missionary work.  So that was great! 
Have a great week!  LOVE YOU ALL!
PS happy 4th of July.  and if you already didn't know that holiday is not recognized in Kenya ;(

June 23, 2014

Pretty good week.
What was really great about this week was that i got to go on exchanges with Elder Utonga (Tanzania) back to MAUTUMA! It was really cool to go back to my old area! I was able to see a ton of old members! I thought that most of them wouldn't think much of seeing me again, just because i was only there for 3 months, but all of them were super super excited to see me again! A lot of them said wow elder Thomas, you look a lot healthier and bigger now, Kitale must be treating you good! hahah ya something like that.  Its just that i don't have to bike 15 kms up hill to get to DDM's anymore haha. Although, we did get fed by just about every person that we went to see.  They were like ohhh Elder Thomas is back! Lets make him food!  there was Ugali, Skuma wiki, potato stew, chapati, cocoa, mandazi, eggs, ground nuts, and other Kenyan goodies! But it was really cool to especially see President Edward while i was there.  Also did a bapt interview there, which turned out really great. Super great being back in Mautuma tho!!!!

Had a pretty cool experience this week. On Friday after our street contacting activity, elder Dick and I had scheduled some 3 appointments at the church. So while we were waiting at the church, it started to rain really hard! So we waiting for a long time, waiting for our investigators to come, but we thought for sure that non of them would come because of the rain. It started to get late and we were really getting discouraged that no one was coming. So we decided that it was probably best if just go and go visit other people. But just right before we walked out of the church, one of our investigators showed up! His name is Tony, and he was a guy that we contacted on the street. Even though it was getting late, we decided to talk with him and see how interested he was. We began to ask him about himself, and he went on to tell us how he was really looking for something to fill the "hole in his heart". He talked about how he has gone to different churches, and how even he is going to one now. But as he has gone to all of them, he is just confused about their teachings and just feels like something is missing. So he told us that he was hoping that maybe something our church, and in our teachings could help him. So we decided it would be best to talk about the Restoration. Had a really great lesson with him about it. At the end i asked him how he felt about the Restoration and about Joseph Smith. He said that he felt confused... and i was like ohh no did we not teach clearly enough? But he went on to say that he was confused because it was just new to him, but that i did make sense that God would call a prophet to restore the fullness of His gospel. He said that he would really need to pray about these things, but thats all that we ask of, to find out for oneself. So it was a really cool experience, and what made it even better was that he even came to church on sunday! So we really hope to keep working with him and see if we can fill that hole that he has. And i know we can!
Things are still going great will Walter, we will most likely have his baptism next Sunday!! He has really been progressing well, in spite of all the challenges and difficulties he has been having, especially with overcoming word of wisdom and dealing with his family.  Whats been great though is that his family, especially his wife, has been softening up.  Before, she would not talk to him at all if she saw the Book of Mormon or anything like that.  But now, she is actually really supporting him, praying together as a family, and even all of them are living the Word of Wisdom together! They threw away all of their tea and coffee!! YA!!  So we will visit with him a lot this week and just really prep him for Sunday.  I really pray that all will go well! He is such an awesome and sincere guy. 
Did a zone fast on sunday, just for all of us to find more people to teach and members to work with.  Answer kind of recieved immediatly.  Show up to church in Kitale.  Branch president sees me and says "oh elder Thomas, i hope your ready to be the concluding speaker today in church.".... Ya president why not! had 10 minnutes to prepare a 35 minnute talk.  hahahaha its ok, i talked about the restoration and apostasy.  I did ok, but not as good as i would have liked it to be.  But if i helped at least one person, than its worth it! But it was pretty interesting haha. 
But things are great!!!!!! I love serving a mission, and being in Kenya.  I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!
Elder Thomas

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD!!!! Your are the best!!
Well this past week did not start off well at all.  Tuesday and Thursday were pretty bad to be honest.  Lots of bounced appointments, but i probably shouldn't complain about that because its the name of the game! Ha but just pretty disappointing, but both me and Elder Dick did our best to try to make the most of things.  Not a ton accomplished as far as numbers, but it was pretty productive.

 One thing that was cool that we did is that we were able to visit one of the members, Sister Rhoda who was in the Hospital for her son. PS sis Rhoda is super cool member who sometimes washes our clothes for us!  Anyways her son who is less than a year old got malaria and pneumonia at the same time, so he was super super sick.  So we just decided to stop by and see what we could do to help out at all.  She said that there was nothing really we could do, but we could tell she was really grateful for us coming to visit and cheer her up. Mourning with those that mourn, comforting those that stand in need of comfort!! Just showed me how much it means to those who are in distress when someone goes out of their way to help or comfort them. Serving and helping others is key to happiness. Also I learned how bad Kenyan Hospitals are. 1). 4 people to one hospital bed. 2). the doctors here do not know how to find a vein. They just poke randomly. 3). Smells like old people. 
Friday was super super great!!! We did our street contacting finding activity, and had 3 branch members show up, President Kwendo, Cosmas, and Silah.  And all of them were on fire talking to people.  They were really setting the example for us! All of them were chasing people down trying to talk to everyone! I was really amazed by their efforts.  Within one hour we talked to/contacted 200 people.  So hope something comes from that.  After that we went back to the church where we had some great lessons there with three of our investigators with a baptismal date, Bernard (25), Josephine (18), and Walter (40).  All of them are doing great and we hope to have some baptisms within the next 3 weeks if all goes well.  I especially like Walter! Super great and powerful guy. We gave him a word of wisdom pamphlet last time and told him to read it during the week.  As he read thru, he noticed it said not to take tea.  At first he said that he was really taken back and even kind of offended, but then he read and saw that this was a revelation from God to the prophet Joseph Smith.  Once he saw that he said he knew it was true! So he has been living the word of wisdom, even though it is difficult for him. YA! Conversion in the process!
Also on Saturday we went to Misikhu to do bapt interviews for 5 people! Took up most of our day though.  We left at 8:00 in the morning, didn't get back to kitale till 3:00!! Most of the time was taken up by riding in matatu's. Spent like 3 and a half hours just traveling! But it was ok, the interviews went great and that's all that counts.  Great to see people changing their lives to draw closer to the Saviour. 
But things are great!! Hope that Dad had a great day!! Love you all!!!
Elder Thomas
PS this week i was talking to some members, trying to use what little swahili i know, and i tried to say 'This boy wants to be a doctor' and they all started laughing. I was like what is going on?? Then they told me i said 'he wants to be a witchdoctor' ... they all thought it was funny but i didn't!! hahahaaha.
Kitale District/Zone
Elders Molosankwe (Botswana), Makazi (Mobasa), Mwashi (Nairobi), Utong (Tanzania)
Back row:  Elder Dick (North Carolina), Daniel, Moline (Canada), Eveson (Oregon)

Kitale Fun - Best zone ever!

At a less active members house with Bro Anthony. 
Working + Working with members =  Victory!

Candle light at dinner - No Power, No Problem!

June 9, 2014

Powerful week! Really starting to see some of the fruits of our labors!
Had a really...really interesting day on Wednesday. So our branch president in Kitale, President Kwendo, wanted to start going with us every Wednesday to go out an visit less active members in the branch.  Of course we were all game and excited for that. BUT! This past Wednesday, he did not tell us where we were going. He said "ya there are a few people i want us to go see, it ONLY takes 1 hour to get there." So we thought well ya that's kind of far, but hey if its where he wants us to go to help someone out so be it! Unfortunately, me and elder Dick forgot where we were.... in Africa more importantly Kenya! So if someone tells you and amount of time, you need to multiply it by about 5 and then you have the real answer haha!  Lets just say we ended up biking 40 MILES that day.  No joke! We went all the way out to a place called Moi's Bridge, which is super far almost the half way point to Eldoret.  Then we went all over into the bush area trying to find where this family lived.  It actually ended up being a great day, but super super tiresome!! Even one of the people we saw came to church! Victory! Also while  we were biking, some crazy guy started chasing after us full speed like foaming at the mouth. I'm not sure what he was going to do if he caught up to us, but hey nothing bad happened so I'm pretty sure its ok.  That's why we have the word of wisdom ;)
Thursday we got to go on splits in Sikhendu, so I got to go and work with a member named Sammy Simiyu.  He is 21 yrs old and is preparing to serve a mission.  He was really powerful! he was really helping out with teaching and talking with people.  Especially because as we were out working, a few of our appointments got bounced, so we had to start tracting.  And i don't know what it was but no one that we talked to knew English, at all! And my Swahili aint good enough to teach, so Sammy just did all the talking. Ya! That's how missionary work is supposed to be done. By members! Even we found some new investigators from it, who were super interested in the Book of Mormon! They were from Tanzania so that was cool i guess ha. 
Friday it rained super hard, but did street boarding anyhow.  Contacted 200 plus people in 2 hours, so that was great.  Our branch president and mission leader help a lot with it! They do half the contacting and teaching as well! Again, members doing the missionary work.

Saturday and Sunday were probably the best two days of the week! Super awesome!! It was just cool to see some of the people who we were visiting really start to progress and change.  In Sikhendu, there are 2 less active people that we have really been visiting and focusing on, one is Joseph Barasa and the other is Arnet.  Both have been less active for a long time, but recently have been really changing! We caught Joseph reading his book of Mormon in his shop while he was working, and Arnet was inviting friends over for us to teach!! It was super powerful! And its been really cool to see how much happier both of them are, just by living the gospel.  Then in Kitale on Sunday, had a powerful lesson with Walter.  Its been a while since we have been able to meet him (he lost his phone), but he came to church and we taught him there.  We reviewed the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. He went on to tell us how he reads the Book of Mormon everyday and has already prayed about it and received an answer from the Holy Ghost that it is true! YAAA!! Victory again.  He is really really one who the Lord has prepared.  He has been looking for the church for 3 years, and said that he is super grateful that he has finally found it.  Things are really starting to look up in our area now. 
Great week.  I love missionary work.  Although sometimes it is not easy or enjoyable, more than not it is super great!  Grateful for all the Lord has blessed me with, especially this opportunity to serve him and to have a knowledge of this restored gospel. 
Love you all.  HAPPY EARLY FATHERS DAY DAD!!!!!! Your the best!
Elder Thomas

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Baptism for Emmanuel Nyongesa.  Such a great day.  Brother Paul Mukusi baptized him. 
Daniel and Elder Dick

Sister Cook and Elder Carl B. Cook of the Seventy and Daniel

Zone Conference

Missionaries at the zone conference

June 2, 2014

Powerful week!! A lot of great things happened this week!
So first off, we got transfer news this week.... and I'm staying in Kitale with elder Dick! But the rest of the zone basically got transferred out. We have a lot of new elders in our zone now so it will be interesting to see how things will be now with the new zone. 
On Tuesday and Wednesday we went on exchanges, so i went to Misikhu to be with Elder Mwashi.  He is just been out for 6 weeks, but he has a pretty good understanding of how missionary work should go already.  So also while I was there i got to do an interview for one of their investigators to be baptized, Bernard.  Super powerful guy! Those guys did a great job of teaching him and the interview went super well.  Really cool so see how the Lord prepares people!  After that we got invited to go to a homecoming party for a guy returning from a mission in Ghana. It was really cool.  Didn't understand a thing because it was all in Kibukusu, but it was nice ha! They treated us like kings because we were missionaries, and they gave us a ton of food! Chapatis, rice, chicken, ndengu, and all sorts of good stuff.  Also got to contact and visit with a few people.  But it was a great exchange, had a few other great and spiritual lessons. 
But the big event of this week was on Sunday in Sikhendu.  BAPTISM!!! For Emmanuel Nyongesa! He is such an awesome guy! We have  been teaching him for the past 2 months, and he has really progressed well.  He has come to church every week, kept all his commitments, and constantly reads from the Book of Mormon. He was super prepared! The service was great, but it was also just a really Kenyan baptism, and I will tell you why.  First! the opening hymn was 201, Joy to the World.  Ya i guess its cool, but then again its only June and Christmas is still 7 months out. But a good song for a bapt i guess .  Then! We have to fill up the bapt font (iron box) by hand  by getting water out of the well which is like 40 feet deep.  So our branch pres did not fill it up all the way.... so in order to baptize Emmanuel (tall 18 yr old guy), he had to kneel down in the font and get baptized like that!    The priesthood was there so its all good and it was done in the correct way.  Then we had to tip over the font and it was like 800 pounds, and almost killed someone in the process.  Took ten guys to tip it haha.  Beside those 3 things a super spiritual service! Emmanuel was super happy the entire day! During all of church he was smiling and just super eager to be baptized! A really great experience. I love being able to see and help people bring changes to their lives to allow them to begin the path that leads them back to our Heavenly Father.  Missionary work is da best!!
Also. After church we gave a sister in the branch a blessing, which was really cool.  She said she wasn't feeling well, and that she wanted a priesthood blessing.  I was like wow, that's awesome! The faith was defiantly there for her.  And the blessing was great, i love helping out in blessings. BUT. Here is where things get interesting.  After church, we were walking around the market going to an appointment.  So as we are passing by, all the sudden something catches my eye in a shop. It was the sister we gave a blessing to! She was buying some food! ha i was like well... i don't know what to do at this point.  Its a very common thing for people to buy stuff on the sabbath.  Even after that, we went to visit with the 2nd counselor in the district presidency. And while there, we were about to share a scripture and ask him about a referral when he said "oh just wait elders!" so we did as he went out side. Ten minutes latter he returned with a bag of food, which i think he bought.  Hmm.  So looks like we will need to be teaching sabbath day observance this week!
But a great week!!! I really love missionary work and Kenya!! Hope that Summer is great back home.  Love you all! Talk to a friend about the church and invite them to learn more.  Help the missionaries out back home with people to teach! YA! LOVE YALL!
Elder Thomas

May 26, 2014

Great week for sure out in Kitale.  But actually only spent 3 days in Kitale the whole week.

This week we had a mission tour with Elder Carl B. Cook of the seventy.  So on Tuesday we went up to Eldoret.  We got to play soccer that day and once again Kitale zone dominated Kisumu and Eldoret zone.  So we spent the night in Eldoret, and none of us had mosquito nets so we all got destroyed by mosquitoes.  Probably the worst night of sleep ever hahaha i don't know what was going on but i swear the flat we were staying in had like a mosquito nest in there or something!!  just kidding but really, so many mosquitoes.  Good thing i take my malaria pills ha.

But on Wednesday we had the conference, and it was powerful kabisa! President Hicken and Elder Cook were there, so we had the all star line up.  We first had a zone leaders meeting before the conference, just about being obedient leaders and also just doing better with dealing with problems and issues that arise in our zones rather than just relying on the mission president to handle them.  So it was really cool.  

The conference was awesome.  A lot of it was based on a talk by Elder Bednar "Converted unto the Lord." Powerful talk, i would recommend everyone to look it up and read through it. He likened a lot of it to how the gospel of Jesus Christ works, how each step leads to the other.  But more importantly about enduring to the end.  Just a lot about how there are a ton of less active members, and that we as missionaries need to do our best to fully convert people.  The talk by Elder Bednar talks a lot about the difference of testimony and conversion.  How testimony is a starting point, not the finish.  Anyone who has a testimony can fall away and be deceived.  But those who are converted are always ready and can overcome anything.  Even Elder Cook talked a lot about how we as missionaries should be progressing missionaries, always improving, and not settling for where we are now.  At the end, we did some role plays of teaching and got assigned some random companions. So we had only 5 minutes to prepare, and i was with a new missionary elder Mwashi.  So when it was time to teach, we had to teach Elder Cook.....   It was cool teaching a general authority! He even came up to me after the conference and told me that he could tell that i knew what i was doing. YA! Great day tho, super spiritual.  

We did get some work done tho! Thursday we were in Sikhendu, and we have finished all the discussions with Emmanuel and have been able to review the restoration with him.  So we will be having his bapt this week!!!! So excited for him.
Things are still kind of slow in Kitale, but we are getting there. We are getting more help from members.  Like when we did street boarding/ contacting activity, we had Bro Cosmas (who i knew in Rongai) help us out.  He is also a return missionary.  He was amazing us for sure, he was talking to everyone, and even chasing people down talking to them! haha all of us were working hard, but really cool to see that kind of enthusiasm out of a member! Great example to me.  

So we worked for 2 days, then went back to Eldoret on Saturday....  There was a special conference there for the Eldoret district, about families, and they wanted the missionaries to come.  Elder Mkabela from the area seventy was there and presided.  Cool conference about overcoming local cultural beliefs to conform to the gospel culture.  Pretty cool.  BUT. The entire time i was sick.  And i didn't get sick from any bugs or nothing like that, but it was because all of us missionaries wanted to "treat" ourselves to some good food.  So we got PIZZA! oh my goodness.  it had to much flavor and cheese.  It destroyed my stomach.  hahahaaahaha I'm going back to food with no flavor.
On Sunday, we were in Langas branch in Eldoret, to have interviews with Pres. Hicken.  He is super! I love him a lot and he really is trying to help us a ton to be the best missionaries and men we can be.  

But a fun week!!! I'm really loving my mission.  Even tho it can be super difficult and frustrating, things just always seem to turn out right.  I can really see the Lord blessing me for just trying my best.  We are so blessed to have a full understanding of the Gospel and especially about God's plan for us. 

 I LOVE YOU ALL! Congrats to all those lil ones who are steppin up in school!! Especially Hailey so happy for you!!!!!

Elder Thomas
Happy Mother's Day from Elder Thomas and the Sikhendu Relief Society

Daniel, George, and Elder Dick.  George helps them a ton.

Daniel- the fastest thing on 2 wheels!

This is what happens when you leave a window open..  you get tasty grub tho. 

Githeri and hot cocoa, Kenyan cuisine.  Perfect for any 85 degree day!

Sikhendu rainy season

May 19, 2014

Habari zenu,
Not a bad week. A lot of good things are starting to happen in our area which is great!
But really this week was all about less active members.  We dominated seeing all the less actives that we could. They have been more of our focus lately just because of the way that things are going with investigators for us.  But i really enjoy visiting less active members, not because they are less active, but because most of them are awesome people.  And its super crazy because every week we find out where more and more less active members stay. Just randomly we will find a less active member and ask the branch president about that person and he will say, "oh yeah that guy glad you guys found them again." hahaha crazy how many less active members are in Kenya, even Africa. Out of all the members in the Africa Southeast area, only 36% percent are active. So we got a work to do out here!
Also we have been seeing some of the blessings that have been coming out of our fast to find new investigators. Had a super powerful lady show up to church. Never saw her before, so i just thought she was a less active members. She was even giving awesome input in Sunday School, quoting scriptures, so for sure i though ya she is a member. BUT! After church we saw her sitting around so we went up and talked to her for a little bit to find out who she was.  Turns out she is not a member! Gosh nobody wanted to tell us that tho ha.  So we got her phone number and scheduled a return appointment. He name is Josephine, and she was almost baptized like 3 years ago, but had to travel and go to school somewhere so she wasn't able to be. But now she is back and said that she is ready to be baptized! yes!!!!!!
Still planning on having 3 Baptisms soon in Sikhendu for Emmanuel, FLora, and Mercy.  We will have to postpone Maricle for some time but its all good.  Kitale, we are hoping to have a Baptism for Walter sometime in June, and he i doing super great. Brought his kid to church which was great (he lives pretty far from the church so its difficult to get fare to come to church with the whole family). But it was great seeing him bring his son with him. 
Other than that just another week in Kitale.  Loving the work and really know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ.  Came across D&C 123:12-14 and thought that it was really powerful. Its the truth! I like how it says that we should waste and wear out our lives to bring the light unto those things that are in darkness. 
But i love you all! Glad to hear that Prom was good for Hailey and that Joe is hitting home runs and that Emmy does not have a boyfriend. YA!
Elder Thomas