Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nairobi Zone Conference

October 27, 2014

Habari zenu,

Well the time is flying by as usual.. another week gone.

This week was ok, not our best week tho.

Tuesday, doctors office all day.  i feel like an ambulance driver sometimes ha.  Lots of people getting sick around the mission. Not sure why.  But oh well.

Wednesday, early start.  We had to wake up at 5:00am to take the Assistants and President and Sister Hicken to the airport.  Later in the day we were able to go one exchanges with the elders in Athi River, so i was with Elder Barasa. He is from Uganda and is a convert to the church.  He is a super fun guy who is always talking and wanting to do something.  We didn't have much planned for the day, so we moslty contacted and talked with people.  We really ran into a lot of people who were not interested at all.  So as we went to this group of guys who were walking, and elder Barasa took a new approach to them and said  ''hey guys wait wait we have a special offer for you!'' They turned around and were all the sudden  very interested in what we had to say.  Elder Barasa then went on and said'' so our offer to you is how to get to Heaven, here is a book that will tell you more (plan of salvation)''.  They seemed a little less interested, but they still took the pamphlets.   it was pretty funny.  Then around 8:30pm we went back to the airport to pick up President and Sister Hicken and the Assistants. a long day.

Thursday, we got to go to Kibera, which is the biggest slum in Africa.  And i can definitely testify to that.... its super big! Its part of our area, and we have not really had time to go there.  We had some appointments set up... but all of them fell through.  So we just contacted and tracted the whole time.  We were also in a four-some..  Me, elder Barasa, and 2 other elders who we had to take to the doctor earlier in the week, Elder Makazi (Mombasa) and elder Bakubamutwe (Uganda). I  guess it could also be considered a five some if you count the member we had with us.  So we split and tried to find people to teach.  It was not bad.  But being there in Kibera showed me how blessed we are back home... and that we really have nothing to complain about.  

Friday, Zone Conference for Nairobi! It was really nice. The topics were how to use time more wisely and about repentance.  It was really spiritually uplifting.  

Saturday.... .  So we got invited to a wedding for this member named Alex (he works around the mission office), and he asked us to bring some pamphlets and talk with people. We thought it would be a good idea, that afterwards we talk with people and see if anyone is really interested.  SO! It was planned to start at 11:00am, so we got there early to set up.  But obviously, we were still working with African time... so what does that mean?? It started 3 hours late..... .  ahh it was frustrating. Interesting wedding tho.  

Sunday was good. First week with the 2 new wards, and president has assigned us to be in Upper Hill, so the sisters will cover South B ward. But a nice service. after church, we had a great lesson with sister Nifred. She is one of our investigators who is really progressing well. She is about 30 years old or so, and was a referral that we received a while back. Since then she has been coming to church just about every week. This past week, when we met with her we taught her about the Word of Wisdom. Before this lesson, we gave her the pamphlet and told her to read it. Before the lesson, I had a pretty strong feeling that she probably drank coffee and tea, so i was worried about that. So as we discussed about the Word of Wisdom, we discussed about the substances we should not use or take, like coffee and tea. We asked her if she uses any of these things and she said yes she does. But before we could go on anymore she went on to say'' When i read this pamphlet, i saw it said not drinking tea. I was really concerned about that because i love tea and take it everyday. But then I just got a feeling that it was probably best if i give up drinking tea. So i did and i haven't drunken tea in the past two weeks. Yeah i've really been tempted to drink it, but i haven since.'' Wow! I was really blown away and really happy for her. It really took a lot of faith for her to give up tea, and its amazing how quickly she did it without anyone telling her. Even with her she is doing a great job of reading the Book of Mormon, and she shared some scriptures that she read that really meant a lot to her from 2 Nephi 4. She is really doing well. We also have Brother Kevin who is doing great, he should be ready for the 16th as well.  

But the work is going on well.  Still trying to find new investigators and trying to help those we already have.  But things are going on well.

Love you all!!

Elder Thomas

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In Nairobi at lunch with some of the Elders

Sister Gathaya's home, she is a really great member

October 20, 2014

HAPPY B-DAY BENNY!!  the big man is getting bigger.... 22 years of greatness.... something like that hahah.  But hope you have a great day! 

Sooo... this past week was not the best, but it was still ok.

Tuesday and Wednesday were taken up by driving all over Nairobi.... taking some missionaries to the doctor and different places. The only bright side of driving so much is that i'm getting better at it...

Thursday we had a really nice day planed out.  Lots of appointments and people to meet with.  Unfortunately.... almost all of our appointments got bounced. We were able to find one new investigator, David.  He tried to find the church last week but got lost, but this week he got our number and called us and we scheduled an appointment.  He is a nice guy, doesn't speak a lick of English though  so Elder Nyambita did most of the talking.  I could understand just about everything said... but not quite able to give much input in swahili.  But its ok, he came to church though to see conference! It was in English so i don't know if he understood anything.... he stayed for both sessions though so maybe he felt the spirit.  Ok, i should say he DID feel the spirit.  Its hard not to feel the spirit watching conference! 

Also this week we were not able to meet with any of our investigators with a baptismal date.  Almost all of them had some weird miss-happening or something going on preventing them to meet with us or come to church.  I was really unfortunate.  We will have to move some of their bapt dates back... we hope to have some baptisms for Kevin, Jackson, and Nifred the second or third week of November if all goes well and if we are able to help them get back on track. But its no rush... cant rush conversion.  We also have an investigator named Gerrald.  He is a powerful guy.  He has a great understanding of the gospel and is really progressing well.  He is definitely ready of baptism... but the only problem is he wants to be baptized with his family. Don't get me wrong that is FANTASTIC, but the problem is his family lives in a place called Kyambeke, and there are missionaries there.... but his family lives an hour and a half away walking (there are no matatus or buses that side) from the church.  So its difficult for them to come.... and the missionaries there are not able to meet with them unless they come to the church.  So it could take a long time for them to be ready for baptism.  But Gerrald is set being baptized with them... so it might take a LONG time.... possible until next year... but we talked to him  about it and that was his decision.  So we will still be working with him.  

Saturday was really nice! We were able to do some baptismal interviews in Westlands for the Elders there... which went very well.  Then we got to watch some of the conference.  Unfortunately, we missed the Saturday morning session because of the interviews, but the afternoon session was POWERFUL! I especially liked Elder Oaks, Anderson, and Callisters talks.  Then the Hickens invited us to go to dinner with them, to Spur.... its super super nice.  I got RIBS.... im pretty sure this is the only place in kenya you can get ribs... haha it was sooo nice.

Sunday, more general conference!! I love conference so much.  I feel bad because back home, to be honest, i could really care less for it. But now that i really understand how much of a blessing it is to hear the words of the prophet and the apostles, ohhh man its a treat! What they speak is really what the Lord wants us to hear. D&C 1:37-38.  I think that Elder Scotts talk was my favorite... about the 4 Tools that lead us to a happier and more prepared life.  All 4 were small and simple things, daily prayer, scripture study, weekly FHE, and going to the temple often.  But like it says in Alma 37:6-7 ''by small and simple things are great things brought to pass''.  I have learned that to be very true on my mission.  The small things make all the difference in who we are.  After watching conference, we went to Sister Gathaya's home.  She is a really really strong member of the church who's husband died a few years back, and now she is taking care of her little 6 yr old boy, and provides by making food on the street.  So she was really happy to have us over and we enjoyed being with her. We also had one of our Ward missionaries with us, Emmanuel, who will also be serving in this mission in 2 months!!! so its cool to be with him. 

But things are going well.  I love my mission and love being here in Kenya!!! Have a good week and know that i love you all!

Elder Thomas

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bishop Alumonde and his family

Elder Nyambita makes some waaay good food.  Some nice sossi with cabbage ugali.  It was one of the best things I've eaten in awhile.

October 13, 2014

Another week down in the books. As usual it was nice!

Tuesday was pretty rough... couldn't find anyone to meet with and we got bounced a lot.  But we were blessed with a few good lessons and we also got time to go visit Bishop Alumonde at his home.  We were able to discuss a few things about the work, and we also got to know him better and hear his pretty cool conversion story.  He is a really funny guy, and in a way, he reminds me of an African version of Bop.  So that was nice.  

Wednesday and Thursday were similar, a few good appointments but a lot of bounced appointments.  

One cool thing on Thursday tho is that Pres Hicken called us and the assistants into his office and we got to watch the Priesthood session of conference with him!! It was sooo nice, its the only part of conference I've seen so far.  But i love watching conference now, all of the talks are very inspired and the spirit is always felt really strong.  I really liked Elder Christensen talk about testimony/conversion, and also President Uchtdorfs talk about ''Lord, is it I?''  Both of them really meant a lot to me.  Grateful that God still reveals his word to us today, it is such a wonderful blessing.  (D&C 1:37-38).

Friday the whole day was taken by taking some missionaries to the doctor.... so nothing interesting there.  

Had some great lessons on Saturday.   Met with one of our progressing investigators, Juvenah.  He told us about how he has a concern about being baptized, because he was afraid about leaving his church that he attends at his rural home.  So we talked to him a lot about the need to pray and find out for himself, and especially for him to read the Book of Mormon and see for himself it is true.  So he said if he receives and answer that the church is true, then he will be baptized and even bring his family from Meru so they can join the church as well.  So we are really trying to help him to receive an answer for himself.  But he is a great guy and is doing well.  

Also, on saturday, we went to Westlands to do bapt interviews for the Elders there.  So we showed up at 4:15pm, 15 mins before scheduled time for the interview.  Unfortunately we forgot that were in Africa... dealing with african time. So what does that mean? We waited for an hour and a half, then had to leave because of the cerfew time, and as soon as we were leaving the church.... the guy showed up.  we had to reschedule for next week..  Its a normal thing tho.  

Sunday was interesting.  We show up to church and find out the ward is splitting.... haha i had no idea.  So there will be an Upper Hill ward, and now a South B ward.  Both will still meet at the same building until Dec. when the South B ward moves into the building there.  So that was pretty interesting.  The South East Africa area presidency is trying to create more smaller spaced out ward/branches so people don't have to sacrifice as much money for transport and time to get to church, so that's the main reason why they split the ward. So we will be working with both wards for now.  

After church we were able to split and meet with two of our progressing investigators, Kevin and Nifred.  Both are progressing really well, and we hope for them to be baptized in Nov.  Unfortunately with Jackson, he had an emergency with one of his kids, so he had to go upcountry to help out with him.  So we will have to move his bapt to next month, so we can finish the lessons.  But he is still doing good.  

Sunday concluded with a dinner appointment at Bishops home, he invited us and the sisters to come over to visit with him and his family.  They made us some super super super nice food!! Fried rice, veggie stew, and nice nice nice chicken!! I ate soooo much hahaha pounded that food down! But i really think one of my favorite things as a missionary is visiting members.  There is always a special spirit felt at members homes, and especially here in kenya, members love missionaries sooo much.  Probably because most members are converts.  

2 funny things: we met some crazy drunk guy.  he told us his name is simba and that he comes from Cuba.... to prove he is from Cuba, he ''tried'' to speak to us in Spanish.  he didn't, but he did say the word for Church in spanish is ''churchisa''... I'm not spanish major, but i don't think that's right.  Better luck next time Simba, you aint gunna fool me!! haha.

Then, Bishop said some super shang this week... while visiting him, someone knocked on the door, and he said ''come in'.  they didnt come in, so he was frustrated and said  ''ahhh nani anaknock knock''.....  (who is knocking... he didnt know the word for knock in swahili hahahahahahhaaha). it was funny to me and my comp.  

But I love the work!! I'm grateful to be serving the Lord here in Kenya.  One thing I was thinking about this week was how reading the scriptures daily provides protection and hope for us.  As we read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, we fortify ourselves and become spiritually stronger in the Gospel.  And as we read, we also learn of what God needs us to do here on earth, in order to return to his presence, and we find hope that we can overcome difficulties and trials through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I'm grateful for the scriptures our Heavenly Father has blessed us with.  Its upon us to take advantage of them and gain all we can from them.  

But love you all!!! kwa hereni!! Mpaka wakati mwingine....

Elder Thomas

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sister Macheti, she is a less active member but is starting to come back to church.  She loves the missionaries.
Bro Emmanuel and Elder Nyambita with Daniel

When you only get 7 hours of sleep in 2 days... this is what happens.  Sipendi Transfers!

this is what i love most about Nairobi.. shang.  let me explain this advert. 
So its a promotional thing for an alcohol company.  So what it is suppose to say in english is ''The game needs you'', or if they wanted it to be in swahili it would be ''mchezo inakuhitaji''. 
BUT! due to the fact this is nairobi... Shang is needed.  So what do they write.... ''game inakuneed''.  two english words (game and need), and then they added swahili verb/prounoun markers (inaku).  

ninalove place hii

Lots of Driving


Transfer week. The worst week of the transfer.... haha.

Super, super busy this past week. And it wasn't even like with normal missionary work (like teaching, contacting, visiting members etc), It was driving and taking people all over Nairobi.  

Tuesday I was still with elder Maduna and also with Elder Uma (from ethiopia), we drove 2 sister missionaries (from Kenya, one of which lives in Darajani branch) to the bus stage for them to go home.  Only problem was the bus stages were right in the middle of town... so the traffic was super bad.  At one point we pulled over and like 4 drunk guys came up to the van and started going crazy.  I had no idea what was going on.... but it was pretty funny.  They wanted me to move the car for some reason not sure why. I just laughed tho.  Then we had to drive to Kasarani to pick up some sisters who where getting transferred.  We had some extra time because we had to wait for them to pack up all their things, so we went to this place called Thika Road Mall.  Probably the nicest place i have ever been to in Kenya.  It had pizza there, so we ate pizza.

Wednesday was super rough.  We woke up at 4:00am to pick up a new elder at the airport.  His flight was suppose to land at 5:40, so we arrived at 5:30 just to be on the safe side.  So we waited... and waited.... and waited. Then over the intercom, they said that the flight from Accra (he was at the Ghana MTC), had some technical difficulties so it would be delayed.  So we kept waiting... 8:00 pulls around... nothing... So we ask customer service what the heck is going on.  They say that people from that flight are still coming out.  We keep waiting.... 30 mins pass by and we ask again.  She calls someone and says that all of the passengers from that plane have already passed customs.... so we wait a little bit longer, and nothing.  Turns out the Elder was never on the plane.... the Ghana MTC sent us his itinerary for the wrong day.  So that was really,really unfortunate.  The rest of the day was then packed with picking people up from Eastlands, picking people from the bus stages, and then finally finishing at 11:00pm driving from Westlands to Rongai.  Long day to say the least.  

Thursday, woke up at 4:30. first full day with Elder Nyambita. more driving.

Friday, more driving.  Dropping off Elder Ndaba at the bus stage, then we realize at our apartment that he forgot his ticket in the car, so we have to drive all the way back to the bus stage.  Then the rest of the day was spent at the doctors office, we had to drive a few sick missionaries there.  

Saturday. Finally get to proselyte! Unfortunately, we planned to go to part of our area called Kibera, but the members who were suppose to show us the place canceled on us at the last minute.   But we made the most of the day and ended up with a few appointments.  

Sunday was POWERFUL! One of the best Sundays I've had in upper hill.  Nice service, and all four of our progressing investigators with a bapt date came!   Javenah, Nifred, Jackson, and Kevin.  We were able to split and meet with all of them after church and teach them.  All of them are doing really well.  Jackson will hopefully be baptized soon.  I was able to teach Javenah, and we read 2 Nephi 31 with him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He then asked a lot of questions about baptism.  He had a concern about if he was baptized into the church, he wasn't sure if he could leave his church that his family attends back in Meru.  So we talked about how he needed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and the church, and if he finds out it is true, make his decision from there. He is a super sincere guy and I love him a ton, i just hope he really does his part to know the truth.    But he is still doing well and enjoys coming to church.  We then finished the day by visiting a less active family, the Macheti's.  They have been members for a long time, but for some reason or another, they have just gone less active.  But the mom came to church, so we wanted to follow up with her. She was super excited to have us over.  We also had the ward mission leader, Emmanuel (who just got his mission call to this mission!) come with us and he helped a lot.  She fed us food and we broke our fast there, Rice, beans, and potatoes.  

Crazy week, but it went by fast.  I have recently started reading Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.  Its awesome.  I like the different perspectives it gives and the way it explains more about who the Savior really is and more about his role in our lives.  Its definitely expanded my knowledge about the Savior, and also my English vocabulary.  But one of my favorite scriptures about the Savior is found in D&C 76:22-24.  

I love you all!! Remember to CTR always, and be an example to those around you!! Also hope you all enjoyed conference! haven't seen it yet.... but looking forward to it in a few weeks!!!

Elder Thomas