Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 11: Happy New Year!

Well, it's about that time huh? Time flies.

As far as Christmas goes- we were able to spend it in Arusha with the senior couple and the Sisters that are serving there.

Christmas Eve we had the privilege to help out filling a foundation for a very nice humble man who runs an orphanage.  He is building a new one that is 3 times the size. That night we had dinner at the senior couple's home which was great.

Christmas morning was nice- actually felt a bit like Christmas at home with the stockings and presents my parents sent- so thanks for those!

Went to a member's place there in Arusha for Christmas lunch which was so nice of them to have us all over.

The day after Christmas (Christmas evening in the States) I was able to Skype home- that was awesome. Best Christmas present.

Not much productivity to report on- glad to be back here in the area for a new week.  I tried sending lots of photos, but the connections here are too slow, so can only send one or none at a time.  A few are posted below.

I have been informed the one way you can send a package to me without customs opening it and checking it (and taking things on occasion) and without me having to pay an insane amount of money to receive it.

You take a Pringles chip can and clean it out and stuff it full of whatever you want inside- Ties and candy and home baked goods all fit really well- Then you put the lid on, wrap it in brown packaging paper with my address written on it, then tape it really really good, then take it to the post office and ship it to the Kenya Mission Home address listed to the right or below my blog.

Thanks for all the support and hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and have a Happy New Year! I do have a story for you guys but I'll leave it for you to look forward to for next week.

Take care

-Elder Eveson

President & Sister Reber from the South Africa MTC

PS - As far as packages go- I will get the ones that were sent to the Durban mission office along with that mail sometime so don't worry! Thank you for sending!

As far as letters and packages go- it is all to the same address here.

Kenya Nairobi Mission
Elder Brandon Eveson
PO BOX 46162 - 00100
Upper Hill Road next to Citigroup

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Highlights from Christmas Conversation with Elder Eveson

Happy Holidays!

Thank you so much for supporting Brandon.  He really appreciates you.

Christmas was wonderful.  Elder Eveson skyped us and we really enjoyed the opportunity to visit.

Pictures are tough to send due to internet connection issues, so it was great to see him for a little while.

Highlights from the conversation include:

- Typically he would have a companion that is native African and knows Swahili, especially since no English is spoken in Tanzania.  His companion is a nice white "Mazungo" from Florida, and he has only been out for 3 months.  So everywhere Brandon and Elder Anderson go, they have people stare, point and yell, "Mazungo! Mazungo!" which is Swahili for white boy! white boy!  They think it is pretty funny and look forward to picking up on a few more Swahili words.

The next day, he saw T-shirts that said, "Mazungo! Mazungo!" Yes, I am white.  Hahaha!

- He said he really enjoyed Church, but had no idea what anyone was saying.  There was no training on Swahili in the MTC, so it is learn as you go.

- Food is completely foreign.  Brandon existed on PB & J's (every meal) for a week until Christmas Eve dinner.  I sent him some Tanzanian recipes with the ingredients translated into Swahili.  I hope that works out well and he learns to cook in the HOT weather, and enjoy eating curry and local cuisine.

- Power is on occasionally.  It is sporadic.  Never know if they will or will not have it.  Shower is better than in Durban, though, so that is nice.

- No indoor washers . . . or dryers.  Brandon washes his clothes using two buckets - one to wash, the other to rinse, and it is all done with his own two hands.

- They cannot hire help for cooking or cleaning, and they are not allowed to visit others for meals.  No missionary dinners in this mission.

- Brandon is in an all walking mission.  That's it.  He has already worn through one pair of Ecco's and is looking for a shoemaker to re-sole them.

- If they need transportation, it is on a 3-wheeled type tricycle taxi.

- Their monthly stipend is $100 US to cover all expenses.

- While there are a TON of challenges, Elder Eveson is LOVING it and Making the Most of every single day!

Thanks for your love!

Ginger  =)

(Elder Eveson's Mom)

MERRY Christmas!! + Swahili for You

Merry Christmas!! Hey greetings from Tanzania. Hope all is well and you all had a great day. So far so good on my mission. Here's some Swahili for you:

Nina furahia kufanya kazi hapa Mwanza. Ninajua kanisa ni la kweli, kitabu cha Mormoni ni cha kweli, nabii Joseph Smith ni nabii wa kweli nina sema haya kupita jina la Yesu Kristo, Amina.

Feel free to write me anytime!

My address is

Kenya Nairobi Mission
Elder Brandon Eveson
PO BOX 46162 - 00100
Upper Hill Road next to Citigroup

Love, Elder Eveson

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 10: MERRY CHRISTMAS from Tanzania!

What a hectic week it has been, and unfortunately time is short. Always seems to be that way. I flew to Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday from Durban, South Africa to the mission office and mission home, then Thursday to Mwanza, TZ which is where I have been assigned to and where the Lord needs my help. Mwanza is on Lake Victoria in Tanzania. It is a walking area- as is the whole mission. Super excited to be here. 

My new address is:
Kenya Nairobi Mission
Elder Brandon Eveson
PO BOX 46162 - 00100
Upper Hill Road next to Citigroup
Nairobi, Kenya

Don't worry if you already sent mail to Durban- they will forward it to me and you will get a response from me! Ask me as many questions or tell me things- I actually have time to reply when writing letters compared to emailing.

The day I arrived I was exhausted and the other Elders wanted to take it as a chill day for me to rest. I was like there's no way. I unpacked and off we went to our area spreading the gospel. Definitely an area where hard work is needed and I'm excited to be here for it. They only speak Swahili here and I cant wait to learn it. My companion is from Florida and has been here in the area 3 months so I'm relying on him to translate for now. Church was great even through it was all in Swahili and I only could catch a few words. Although we only had 3 short days to teach while I have been here, we had 7 new investigators. The work is already progressing.

Today we flew to Arusha - using the Mt Kilimanjaro airport. Yes- I have now seen the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro- or as they call it here "The roof of Africa" and hope to be there one day. We are here in Arusha for Christmas then head back in a few days. I will be on email on Christmas day as well. Not much else to report on here at my end of the world but hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Elder Eveson

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Serving in Nyakato & Speaking Swahili!

Was able to hop on for a few minutes just to say I got here safe from Durban- got to Nairobi on Tuesday, spent the day at the mission office and with the assistants to the mission president Wednesday and this morning I flew here to Mwanza, Tanzania which is south of Lake Victoria. 

We serve in Nyakato. All of Mwanza is Swahili speaking and Ive been told the best place to learn it because there's no English spoken here. Pretty excited to learn it.  Such a difference in the culture.

My companion is from Florida, super nice guy. We fly to all our zone conferences and Monday we will be flying to Arusha, Tanzania for the week of Christmas with all the elders who are serving in Tanzania (only 3 areas). 

Not sure when we'll email - maybe monday morning or Tuesday. We'll see. 

And thanks for the packages- Durban will forward them; but don't send any packages here. 

The Mission home asked that all mail through the next 2 years (actually 22 months now) be sent to this address:

Elder Brandon Eveson
Kenya Nairobi Mission 
PO Box 46162-00100
Upper Hill Road next to Citigroup

They courier it to the Missionaries all through Kenya and Tanzania once a week.  

Love you guys and Ill email when I can. Can't wait to talk on Christmas!

Love, Elder Eveson

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Arrived in Kenya & off to serve in . . .


Mwanza, Tanzania that is. Mwanza is the second largest city situated in northwest Tanzania. The city acts as a port on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Here is the letter received from Brandon's Mission President:

"We have welcomed Elder Eveson, who has arrived safely in the Kenya Nairobi Mission. He is a choice young man and eager to be an excellent missionary. I was very pleased to note the preparation, worthiness and commitment of your son to be obedient and to serve the Lord honourably. This is the first generation of church membership of the people in this mission, in the huge and diverse continent of Africa, and I know that as he serves the people, he will learn to love them and they will love him. His testimony is strong, and I am honoured to have him serve in our mission.

Elder Eveson is laboring in the Mwanza Zone with an excellent trainer, Elder Anderson. Sister Hicken and I will see him at least every four to six weeks at Zone Conference, and I will have an interview with him on those occasions.  Excellent doctors and medical care are available here, if health problems occur. We pledge to take good care of your son. This is a great mission and we know he will be successful."

President Gary Hicken
Kenya Nairobi Mission President

President Hicken, Elder Eveson & Sister Hicken

More about Mwanza, taken from "Maps of the World - Mwanza City Guide":

"The geographical location of Mwanza is such that the weather remains favorable all throughout the year. The beautiful Tanzanian city is surrounded by awe-inspiring landscape features. The Bismarck Rocks are wonderful to look at with large deposits of granite. The Victoria Lake in the backdrop enhances the beauty of Mwanza.

Mwanza Airport is close to the main city and there are daily flights from Dar es Salam and Dodoma. Roads also connect the city to Serengeti and Musoma.

Cultural heritage off Mwanza is also well developed. The city has a long historical background and the impact is reflected in the art, culture and architecture of Mwanza. Sukuma, the largest ethnic tribe of Tanzania has its cultural hub in Mwanza.

Many industries have developed in the commercial hub of Mwanza, which include fishing, textiles, soap-manufacturing and meatpacking. There are several internet cafes in Mwanza.

Health care facilities are also improving in the Tanzanian city of Mwanza. There is the Mwanza Medical Institute of Medical Research [joint partnership program with Cornell University in New York], which does regular researches on tropical diseases.

There are several nearby places of attraction in and nearby Mwanza."

Photos below from around the Web via Google image search of Mwanza:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Call from Jo'Burg + New Mailing Address

[Editor's Note]:

I had the pleasure of hearing from Brandon last night while he was on his layover in Johannesburg. His heart is full of love and appreciation for everyone that is writing to him, thinking about him and praying for him.

He misses his family, friends and home . . . A LOT!  He is doing exceptionally well given all the new situations and big transitions.  He is staying focused on the work and that helps him to not dwell on being homesick.  He is excited about Kenya and will miss the people he met in South Africa.

Please continue to email, send letters, send prayers and good thoughts his way. Thank you again!

Here is his new address:

Elder Brandon Eveson
Kenya Nairobi Mission
PO Box 46162-00100
Upper Hill Road next to Citigroup

(no zip or postal code)  No packages may be received in this mission.  They will forward the packages and letters already sent to South Africa.  Thank you again to everyone that sent a package.  And thank you for continuing to mail letters!

More about the Kenya Mission:

Lots of Love,

Ginger  =)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 9: The Press Release

Thursday we were doing community service at the library when we got a call from President Zackrison. Right then & there I knew. I am headed to Kenya tomorrow (Tuesday) morning! What a bittersweet feeling- with Christmas nearly here and just getting to know the area and I leave. I know coming here to Durban has been a huge blessing to say the least. There was a bigger reason for it. I learned so much and am loving the work. I'll miss Pinetown/New Germany but am very excited for Kenya. One cool thing- There is a young man in the ward whom I have gotten to know well, Lwazi. Great guy and loves to come teach with us missionaries. He enters the MTC in a few weeks and then is headed to Kenya. I'll definitely be seeing him soon.

As far as the Nelson Mandela week has shaken out- there was over 100 countries represented by authorities at his memorial on Tuesday- and the cheers here were louder for President Obama when he spoke than for their own President. His funeral was yesterday and this week every house we have gone into with their television on was something about Mandela. All except for one which is a less active watching a cooking show. The news reports are non stop on the tv and in newspapers. As far as publicly- not much I have seen happen. I had the chance to sign his Condolence Book that will be given to the family which was neat. With approval, today our zone is going to see the new Nelson Mandela movie that came out just before he passed. Should be neat to learn a bit more about him.

As far as this picture goes of Elder Moline and I- this is the traditional Zulu outfit they wear here for special occasions and gatherings, the shoes are made out of tires and the headband is made out of spring buck hair. 

More pics to come in the near future.

Anyways- Love you guys and take care- my next email will be from Kenya!

-Elder Eveson

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

From the Mail . . . More about my Durban Mission

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and thoughts.  I do miss you.

Africans are always cold which is why you see them wearing sweaters or cardigans in pictures.  Anything below 80° is freezing to them.  We had a Zone soccer game on Pday and while the white guys got burnt, one of the Africans had a beanie on.  My companion wears a cardigan when I am just fine in a short sleeve shirt.

As for Church members, the majority are Zulu.  The white South Africans live in Westville/Reservoir Hills, and due to security it is much harder to contact them.  But we do have a few white families in our ward, with a total of about 80 people in the ward that attend regularly.

Here is the link to Elder Daniel Thomas's blog:  He is already serving in the Kenya Nairobi mission.  It gives you a good idea of how things are there.

The Kenya Mission has their own website and was recently in the news for the water project they created to serve four schools:

Here is the Kenya mission website for checking anytime:

Okay, they have these candy bars here called Bar One made by Nestle, and they are my weakness.  Also Sweet Chili Pepper Doritos.  The best chips I've ever had.  If you come across either - try it.

My email is through the roof.  It is amazing to see everyone's support for me, and it is well appreciated and encouraging for sure!  Sorry that I have not been able to respond to each one.  I am trying to get through them.  Without being able to print, it's difficult to read and respond because time is very limited.  Super grateful that you are writing though!

We don't have any Sisters in the Durban mission.  All Elders.  There are Sisters in the Jo'Burg and Cape Town missions, though.

Miss you all very much,

-Elder Eveson

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 8: Matchmaker, Dog Chase, Elder Cook, Mandela, Kenya & More


Sorry about last week- We had zone conference Monday and were busy Tuesday which was our Pday and didn't get the chance to email. I think it is week 8 now? Time is flying.

Thanksgiving was great- Had a nice dinner with members with your typical American food. We go there every Thursday night and that family eats nice. Then went to bishops and they fed us some Zulu food- so it really did feel like home, stuffed beyond belief and there is no way we were going to say no to bishops offering or say that we already ate so that was how my evening turned out. 

One Ma and Bubba (Mom and dad) we met tracting invited us in and we were discussing about the church and they wanted to know if we believe in marriage and looong story short the Ma wanted me and my companion to marry her daughters that she raved about, the traditional Zulu way- called La Bolla- Not sure if it's spelled right but it was a bit interesting.

Zone conference was amazing- had Elder Cook from the quorum of the 70 here with us and it was powerful. The Church can't handle the growth here in the Africa southeast region, our stake is going to be split sometime in the near future and they are busy building chapels, leasing buildings, renting out space and finding land for the Durban Temple. They want to keep membership at 120ish max in each ward which is so different from back home. 

One thing I've noticed here is everything here is shut down on Sunday. Everyone goes to church and then stays home. Very Christian area where I'm at.

Had my first dog chase experience- that was one for the books. All is well. 

So the big news- Thursday night Nelson Mandela died. Crazy that I was here when he passed. Only way I found out was because of the leadlines the newspapers put up on the street as advertisment. Sunday was a day of prayer for him in remembrance and not much I have seen here where I am except for when we go into peoples homes they are watching the news about it and memorials etc. He resides in Eastern Cape- which isn't in our mission. I thought I would see more, but I'm sure it's a whole different story for the Cape Town Missionaries. 

As far as the Visa goes- 2 of the 4 of us that came here to Durban their work permits went through and they leave tomorrow. Wouldn't be surprised if I get the call any day now- it's only a matter of time. They had a 10 day notice so we'll see. Just a waiting game but i'm still focused and working hard. If I leave I leave but I do love it here. Enjoying the cloudy cool days here as there may not be many left in my future.

Thank you for all the emails. I am sorry if I haven got back to you as I have been overwhelmed by your support which has been much appreciated. I am working on it! Remember if you write me- although it may take longer, I have a lot more time to reply. 

Take care and God Bless
-Elder Eveson

Found this little chameleon while doing service.
Will send more pix next week . . . finally!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Temple Thoughts from the Mail

Hey, so just a thought -- it's amazing to see how excited everyone here is about the coming of the Durban Temple in the near future.

Although, they have already figured out it's going to be more of a test for them.  Now that they don't have to travel 8 hours each way to the Johannesburg Temple, will it be so convenient (after it opens and the hype dies down) that they end up not attending regularly?

Most Ma's and Bubba's here (moms and dads) have never been to the Temple to receive their endowments, but have been members for 10+ years easily.

Are we taking the Portland Temple for granted is something that I think we need to ask ourselves.  10 minutes away -- and attending how many times a month or year?  Whatever the number is, it's probably not enough or what it should be, for how lucky Portland is, and being able to live so close and perform sacred ordinances as often as we want.

It is just a thought I had.  I know there are people who have waited all their lives to do the things you are able to do on any day or time of the week you choose.  Think about it.

Love you,

Love, Elder Eveson

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 7: Pday Cancelled this week

A note from the Editor . . .

We did not hear from Brandon this week, so I contacted the Mission home to make sure he was ok.

President Zackrison mentioned that he is fine and doing well.  Yesterday was a Zone Conference where Brandon's missionaries in his area all met together. This pre-empted Pday, but the President thought Brandon would have Pday today.

Apparently not.  I received an email from the Mission office that it is likely Brandon will not have a chance to update us until his next Pday on 12/9.

This has to be tough on him to communicate so seldom.  An extra special thank you to those sending cards and letters to Brandon in the mail.

President Zackrison did mention that the Work Permits for 2 of the other Elders, whom Brandon arrived in Durban with, came through.  So, those Elders are heading to Kenya next week.  Another Elder that was waiting in Cape Town went to Kenya last week.  So it looks like only 2-3 of them (Brandon included) are still awaiting their passage to Kenya.  The President thought this will likely happen soon.

If that is the case . . . it may be even longer until we hear from him.

So, please take a few minutes to send a letter in the mail, which is only $1.10 (not $1.20 like it states in his info section).

Thank you again for your love and support!!!

Wishing you the Happiest Holidays!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 6: Indians, Significant Growth, Car Washes & Bible Study

Hey - 

Been catching up on emails and not too much to report on - but I went on an exchange to Chatsworth, which is an Indian dominated area.  Man it is true that they are so nice and just offer you, and offer you, and offer you more food. Enjoyed it though for sure - it was with my zone leader who is super cool who is getting transferred to Swaziland tomorrow. That and Lesotho are in the mission. 

Stake conference was this week- and man is the church growing. This was the last time they will meet in the Pinetown chapel because there are too many people- they will probably have to rent out a University hall for it next time. 

In a few weeks we will be starting a Bible study class to try and find people- and we also do free car washes on Saturdays, rotating areas, which is cool and a good way to find people to teach. A bit hard to find people  here because every house has a gate surrounding it.

As far as heading to Kenya goes - one of the Elders I came through the Training Center with is from Utah.  His work permit went through, so he is headed there in the morning.  So, assuming within the next month or two we should be there, but a bit of a hectic time to switch - will definitely be bittersweet.

The members here are so nice and have such strong testimonies. It's great to be around them - and most are converts.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving - and Black Friday as it will be a normal day here. Feel free to write me or let me know any questions you have about anything from location to culture, etc. - I would be glad to answer it.

Take Care

Elder Eveson

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Real Update via Snail Mail - because I actually have time to Write Letters!

Hey All,

Just a few things I wanted to note down that you may be wondering about that I haven't had time to share or email.

First, I love your emails, but I would also love to get handwritten letters as well.  I only have an hour to go through my full inbox and lots of times, I don't have time to respond.  And I cannot print out the emails to take with me, because we don't have paper or a printer to use.  I only have an hour to go through my full inbox and send my update.  Lots of times, I just don't have time to respond, but I want to!  Please write me and I'll respond in writing.  I promise!

The boarding:  Boarding or flat is what we could call an apartment.  4 of us stay in here, me and my companion, Elder Rajonarison, and Elder Calwell (who is a huge Utah Utes fan) and his companion who is from Zimbabwe I believe.  2 rooms.  2 baths (our shower is very unreliable) and a full kitchen - besides dishwasher.  So, it's just like the cabin.  You use a dish, you clean the dish and whatever pots/pans you used to make it.  Also, we have a washer, but no dryer, so everything is hung in here to dry.

Quite a few days so far we have had nice mornings, but thunderstorms/rain in the afternoon.  That Nike jacket is doing me nice since it's not cold when it rains.  Thanks Dad.  We have had a few HOT days.  i mean 90-100°'s.  I guess I'm slowly easing into Kenya weather.  Oh man.

There are 2 other Elders that stay in the same complex as us, Elder Weston, from Cardston, Alberta, and his companion.  And 2 more that stay across the street, Elder Sandburg who went/goes to Utah state, and Elder Moline from Alberta, whom I came from the MTC with.

We all get together at 6:30 Monday - Saturday mornings and play soccer together for half an hour on the field that is above the street from our complex.

8-9 AM is personal study, 9-10 companion study, 10-11 training since I'm new, then since we are already home and it's lunch time, we make something then go.

My companion loves to cook lunch.  He doesn't eat much dinner or breakfast, but always cooks me a nice lunch.  We have dinner appointments with members every Wednesday with the same family, Thursday with the same family, then lunch after Church on Sundays rotates.

Food here is alright, only things worth mentioning are that I have eaten beets (no, that doesn't mean I like them), but it's an eat everything on the plate because it's food, I am a missionary, and also it's respectful.

The 2nd largest concentration of Indian people in the world reside here in Durban.

The Claremont area Elders brought some extra food over (our Zone leaders) the night I arrived, and man was it hot.  They said it was pretty mild and they were just chowing down.  They said it only gets hotter.  Starting to think they may have given me a different dish than they were actually eating . . . .

As far as people go -- everyone from President Zackrison (Mission President) to Bishop to other Elders and Members have been very welcoming and nice.

As far as driving goes - I mentioned it in an email - but I love it, driving on the left is just natural and I don't even think twice about it now.  Really helps that it is an automatic and I'm not trying to learn standard and shift with my left hand, since the driver's seat is on the right.

Trying to think of what else you guys may want to know . . .

Yes, the date is written first when you write it, so today is 10th of November, 10/11, not October 11th.  (October 11th I was still home).  So it was a bit weird yesterday was 9/11/13 when you write the date.

Soccer is the biggest sport here - many people play, watch, talk about it and wear jerseys.  Rugby is talked about a little, but I personally haven't seen much or heard much about it so far.

Houses are tiny and the township of New Germany is super humbling.  You can't even comprehend.  Makes me grateful for our small boarding (apartment) and you cannot compare to the houses in America.  All I can say is be grateful with what you have.

These kids live in tiny things and play with a super old ball or toy and have tons of fun together outside -- where as in America, people are waiting for the next video game to seclude themselves from the world even more.  Crazy the things I've seen this week.

So grateful for this experience and being able t oshare the gospel with those willing to listen here in South Africa.

Love You All,

Love, Elder Eveson

ps - If you have any questions, please ASK.  Write me so you get more than a quick one line answer, like on email.  I actually have time to respond to written letters - so plese do.  Although it may not be the most convenient - it is appreciated!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Special Request to My Family & Friends: Be a Member Missionary

Hey Guys,

Been in Durban a few days.  Pinetown is awesome.

Missionary work is hard, but I'm liking it.  You all can do it as well -- take a few pass along cards from your ward's Missionaries and give them to those you come in contact with.  You may think this letter is cheesy, but do it!  You can change their lives.

Read 1st Corinthians 2:6-8.  By giving them a pass along card, you are planting the seed -- then the missionaries will water it.  You will receive a reward for your labor in bringing others to come unto Christ.  Such a simple thing to do that doesn't get done enough.

Missionary work by every member changes the world.  Bring light and salvation to others.  3rd Nephi 12:14-16.

Love you All,

Elder Eveson

Friday, November 22, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things ~ Wish List for Christmas Packages

Hey -

Thank you again for all of your support!

If you are planning to send something, here are a few things I've been craving or could really use:

Peach Rings
Reese's Pieces
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Scripture Marking Crayons
Ties -- a missionary's only fashion statement, so kind of a big deal.
Plan of Salvation teaching aid from Deseret Book
Flash drive to store photos on
Home cooked goodiessssssssss!!!!!  Things like Brownies, Texas Sheetcake, etc. sound delicious.  Cheesecake is a favorite, but not sure it would survive the journey.
Old Spice Fiji Antiperspirant and Deodorant
Taco Bell Sauce packets (seriously!)
Twizzlers -- strawberry kind, not filled or twisted or cherry kind
Chocolate Covered Blueberries
President Hinckley's Stand a Little Taller book

Even if you just send one thing, I will appreciate it more than you know!

Thanks again!

Elder Eveson

[Editor's Note:  Funny how a Wish List changes over the years . . . from wants and desires to simple needs and hopes when perception and circumstances change. For example, I don't see any Nike Doernbecher's on this list.  :) ]

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 5: Machetes, Mongeese and KFC

Hey -

So first off thank you everyone for your support of me being here on my mission. Your emails and letters have been very appreciated. Although I can't respond to every email the way or length I would like. If you mail it to me, I have time to reply.  There is no paper for me to print emails on and take with me, so I have to breeze through everything as quickly as possible and it makes it very tough to read and reply.  I am so grateful you are writing though.  Please keep it up!

Couple of interesting things- People in the township cut their grass with a sharp machete if they don't get paid enough to hire someone, There are lizards and geckos here, alone with mongeese- yes I have seen them and at first had no idea because I had never seen one in real life. 

This week our district went to the Liverpool vs Kaizer Chiefs game at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, so that was pretty fun. Although, we didn't know until we got there it was the 'Legends' teams playing- aka the no name guys who played for the team a long time ago kicking around the ball, not the young Liverpool current team in Europe.Great game none the less and fun day. 

Traditional Zulu weddings might be worth reading about. KFC & McDonald's are here - one McDonald's in town and 5 or 6 KFC's on the main road within a mile.

I know I haven't touched much on the missionary work - but more the culture.  One thing I have found though is Africans have a hard time when we explain the Church's headquarters are in America, and that if they ask we have to tell them there are no black apostles currently.

Teaching lots of lessons and staying busy, hope all is well in the States with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas coming up.

Thanks for the support!! 

My address is
Elder Eveson
South Africa Durban Mission
P.O. Box 1741
Wandsbeck  3631
--- South Africa ---

Take care

-Elder Eveson

Friday, November 15, 2013

Exciting Info About Sending Packages in South Africa

From the Editor:  Helpful website I found to avoid shipping charges to South Africa -- and quicker deliveries. . . .  This is part of the letter I sent to the South Africa MTC and Durban Mission President.

Great News!
I searched online and found an company in South Africa that delivers anywhere in South Africa for free.  They have all kinds of goods to choose from (not candy or cheesecake though - Elder Eveson's main requests).  This could be a great alternative to shipping from the States -- especially for the Holiday Season.
For the website, use the following address:

Elder Brandon Eveson / South Africa Durban Mission 
Derby Downs Office Park
2 Derby Place
The second "Westville" is because a region is required, and this was what their system realized as a correct address.
Deliveries take about 7-10 days standard. No shipping charges! They have warehouses in JoBurg and CapeTown with hubs all throughout South Africa (including Durban) and will deliver anywhere in South Africa. 
I found the prices to be extremely reasonable.  When there are lots of options for a product, sort by price lowest to highest, and use some of the helpful filters on the left hand side to make selections easier.
Note, they bill in Rands, the South African currency, so depending on your debit/credit card company, there may be foreign transaction fees.  Check with your bankcard issuer.  

Still seeking a candy and cheesecake delivery service in South Africa . . . .  

Thanks for all your love and support!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 4: It's a Small, Small World . . .

Hey alright time is short but a few things--

For those who don't know, I am still here in Durban serving until the work permit gets sorted out to go to Kenya, which is where I was called to. It could be next week, next month or a year. Nobody knows.

No pictures until I get to a different place or a card reader. You'll see the super humbling places I've been soon hopefully.

A guy in the Pinetown ward which we serve in got his mission call to Kenya leaving Jan 9, so we'll see who gets there first or if he will have problems as well. He has come with us a few times and is super cool.
So of those Elders and Sisters we flew from Dallas to London with on the way over, turns out one of those was my current Zone Leader Elder Bowman's little brother.

Even crazier-- Ty Davis (Elder Davis) went to Sunset and is in our stake in Portland, now we are in the same zone in the South Africa Durban Mission. Pretty cool to see him. Picture coming whenever I can send them.

Yeah we do drive on the wrong side with the drivers seat opposite to you in America. Pretty easy to get used to for me. 

There are over 800 languages in Africa. Here they speak about 5, the main ones being English and Zulu. Yes, Zulu has a few clicks in it which I'm kinda getting down. Zulu names are hard for me to pronounce and remember, but when someone prays in Zulu.. it's awesome. I have no idea what they're saying but it's cool to hear.

The largest concentration of Indians is here in Durban- their huge holiday Dwalandi or however you spell it was a huge thing this week with fireworks a few nights. 

There are 4 of us in the apartment (here it is called a boarding) and the main differences are we have to wash dishes by hand (like the cabin) and hang our clothes to dry, but we do have a washer.

We were tracting and came to this house and the guy had a brand new Lexus IS 250 parked next to his house, and it was as long as his house. And worth waaay more. The township is crazy with small houses. Most people don't have transportation. Houses are tiny and super humbling.

Almost forgot- long story but basically I got asked to pray for a lady's possessed daughter who is at the local hospital so they can try to stop her from leaving her body and casting demons out in different worlds.

The mission has 144 missionaries, and 55 companionships have cars.

Just as I was writing this, I met Elder Wallace, from Vernal Utah.  He knows QC Testing (my uncle's company where my brother worked while he lived in Utah).

Lastly, thank you for all the emails. Sorry about the short responses, or lack thereof.  I have a lot more time to respond to written letters than email. 

I am pretty backed up on my email inbox, as these last 2 prep days have been cut short and I had to miss the one so I'm still catching up on things from the end of Oct. 

It may not be the most convenient, but please, please write me my address is: 

Elder Brandon Eveson
South Africa Durban Mission
PO BOX 1741
Wandsbeck  3631

If I am transferred to Kenya before your letter/package gets to me, don't worry they'll forward it on.

Also - feel free to check my blog whenever or read my past updates --

Take Care, and God bless America
- Elder Eveson

[Editor's Note:  Brandon's Uncle Ryan Goodspeed collects old Atlases of the World.  Here are a few pix from the 1909 and 1919 Atlases -- quite interesting to review.  Thanks to Brandon's Granddad, Keith Goodspeed, for sending these along.]

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Important Info for Sending Packages and Message from Mission President

Dear Eveson Family,

Please find attached a photo of your Elder with Sister Zackrison and me at the Mission Home in Durban. We want to assure you that Elder Eveson is safe in his first area and appears to be adjusting well.  We are confident that he will be a great asset to the mission and would encourage you to write to him weekly to keep him encouraged and strong.

Just a reminder that all letters and packages can be sent to:

Elder Brandon Eveson
Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
P.O. Box 1741
Wandsbeck 3631
--South Africa--

Address for FedEx packages:

Elder Brandon Eveson
Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
2 Derby Place, Suite 4
Derby Downs Office Park
Westville 3630
-- South Africa --
If you are sending a package to your missionary, please mark the contents “missionary supplies”.  Do NOT list all the goods contained therein.  Just a headline stating "Missionary Supplies" without an estimated value. When you list all of the goods contained therein, the consequences are large duties and taxes charged to your missionary which he must then pay when he receives it. 

[Editor's Note - Missionary supplies fall under a separate tax and if listed as such, the Missionary does not have to pay the high customs taxes on each individual item -- as long as it has been properly labeled.  It also helps to take products out of packaging to avoid the "new" or packaged look.  Putting a note inside that says "Missionary Supplies" also seems to be helpful.  Thanks to Jan White for his input on this also.]

Thank you for lending this young man to the service of the Lord. May you and your family be blessed for his labor.

President Zackrison
South Durban Mission

President & Sister Zackrison with Elder Eveson

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 3: Durban

So as a few might know - I have been temporarily reassigned to the Durban South Africa mission until problems with the Kenya work permit get sorted out. We were notified Monday, and flew to our separate places Tuesday morning. It was a bit hectic but I'm glad to be here. Check another stop of the bucketlist I guess.

Few things from the Missionary Training Center before I hop into things happening here - My teacher Brother Maarman shared this with us: What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages? Bi-lingual. Speaks 3 languages? Tri-lingual. Speaks 4 languages? Quad-lingual. 1 language? American. Got a pretty good kick out of that especially after seeing everyone at the MTC speaking multiple languages except for us. 

There were some crazy cool/wicked thunder/lightning/rain storms at the MTC which was fun.

Met a lady who is a member of the Church in the airport in JoBurg - it was nice to visit, and then got on the plane and arrived in Durban.

Elder Bednar was here for 4 days, and left the day before we got here to go to Johannesburg (Yes to where I was at) so that's all the buzz around here. Bummed I missed him but cool to see how that changed peoples lives by shaking his hand and hearing his words. 

[Editor's Note:  Who is Elder Bednar?  A Member of the First Presidency's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He is very well respected with great influence among the LDS community.  Learn more about him here:  He teaches many great truths through his talks and visits around the world each year.  The link above also has links to his talks.]

Got to the Mission house where the president and his wife stay.  After an interview I was taken on a driver's test. In South Africa. On the left side of the road. And yes - the driver's seat is on the opposite side as well. It was actually pretty easy - 2 of us 4 who came to Durban passed - and I'm the only one who has driven out of us 2. So easy I enjoy it. When it comes to the road everything is different. Explaining the transportation is another story. People walking on the side of every freeway, in the back of pickups, and crazy taxis everywhere because they have no public transport system. Many people don't have cars and that prevents some investigators from coming to church. 

Today we did Visa related stuff to get a South African Visa. At the police station waiting to get fingerprinted with Elder Moline (came with him from the MTC - he is from Grand Prairie, Alberta) and this local guy sitting on a bench by us had a seizure out of nowhere. Its hard to explain the situation and details but we were the only ones who watched the whole thing go down - crazy to watch it happen before my eyes. That might stick with me for a while. 

On a better note - we saw 11 monkeys today, including two tiny newborns, just hanging out on the side of the road.

Oh - and there's an Elder here from Cardston, Alberta, and a senior couple serving in the mission office is from Raymond, Alberta. So many connections, small world.

You're probably wondering about my companion and the food - I'm living like a college student and he's great, from Madagascar. Just kidding about the food. Well, kind of.

The bishop's wife served her mission in Kenya and said it gets to 42 degrees Celsius (108° F). I'm burning up here - might take a bit of getting used to. 

I'm serving in New Germany and living in Pinetown. 

Gotta run but take care and here is my mailing address

Elder Brandon Eveson
The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
PO Box 1741
-South Africa-

Send whatever you want - letters and packages get here fine, and if I am sent to Kenya before whatever you send arrives they will forward it on.

I'll have more time next week to answer emails and respond to things but the visa ordeal took up the day. No pictures yet - possibly next week. Sorry about that, but send me a letter in the mail!

Elder Eveson

PS from the Editor:  Brandon connected with Elder Dalton Tebbs from Arizona prior to serving his mission.   Elder Tebbs is about 5 weeks ahead of Brandon, and is serving in Kenya.  He had this to say today:

"Oh I am just loving it here.  So sad to hear about the work permits.  Because 8 missionaries left and only two arrived, they had to close a lot of areas.  But not to worry.  Everyone was asked to fast on Fast Sunday for the work permits.  Hopefully he gets here before the rains come!" -- Elder Dalton Tebbs

[More about the South Africa Durban Mission:]

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Your Missionary has Graduated from the MTC

[From Sister Janet Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Know that President Reber and I loved your missionary and have high expectations for all of them.

Love, Sister Reber

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Into Durban and Off to New Germany

[From President & Sister Zackrison of the Durban, South Africa Mission]:

We are delighted that Elders Hammon, Moline, Eveson, and Scrimsher have arrived safe and happy in the South Africa Durban Mission.  President Zackrison and I have enjoyed being with them at the mission home today.    We would love to have them here for their whole missions, but we understand visas are a factor.

I want to send this quick note so you hear something before their next Pday, Monday, November 4.  Today the office couples gave them a driving test and an orientation.  President Zackrison interviewed them.  And they met their new companions.

Elder Eveson is with Elder Rajaonarison in New Germany

Click here for link to Map of New Germany, SA

Here is the best address for letters and packages.

Elder Brandon Eveson
Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
PO Box 1741
Wandsbeck 3631
South Africa

We thank you for helping your sons prepare for their missions.  They will be strengthened and supported by your prayers.  President Zackrison and I are happy to be here to support and work with them.  Their purpose is to follow the prompting of the Spirit and invite people "to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel)   As they do this they will be blessed in joy, growth and wisdom during their mission years.


Sister Zackrison

This photo was taken today in the back yard of the mission home.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 2: The Only Constant is . . . Change ~ Durban, SA, Here I Come!

[From Sister Janet Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Guess what!  Things have changed.  Tomorrow, instead of going to Kenya....your missionary will be going on a temporary assignment to another mission.  This is due to a visa (temporary work permit) issue in Kenya. 

Following is their new assignment and where they will be flying tomorrow.

It has been a real shock to all of us!  However, we put our trust in God and His plan for us.

We sang as a group "I'll go where You want me to go Dear Lord"...and that was healing.

Tomorrow morning....they will all fly out.

Love from me and ALL of your children,

Sister Reber

Elder Brandon Eveson is heading with 3 other Elders to Durban, South Africa.  They are Elder Tyler Moline from Canada (5 hours north of Edmonton), Elder Travis Hammon from Utah, and Elder Jener Scrimsher from Utah. 

Elder Eveson's buddy, Elder Kash Ellingson from Canada is heading to Cape Town on the other side of South Africa, with Elder Kody Harvey from Utah.  [Hopefully Eveson and Ellingson will serve together at some point after they finally arrive in Kenya.]

Brandon's current companion, Elder Bakubamutwe, does have a permit for Kenya and is flying there tomorrow.  3 additional African Missionaries are heading to Zimbabwe temporarily, and 1 to Zambia.

It is unknown how long they will be in their temporary area.  The work permit visas can take time to process.

I also do not have an updated mailing address for his temporary assignment.  As soon as I receive one, I will forward and post it.  

Life is filled with change.  Looking forward to hearing from Brandon ~ guessing his P Day is still next Monday.

In the mean time, here is a news clip and article on the LDS Church in Africa:

A temple has been announced for Durban, but the exact location has not been determined.  Currently, their closest temple is 350 miles away in Johannesburg.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Before & After

Sister Janet Reber of the South Africa MTC asked for a "Before" photo of Brandon.  Photo credit to Jamie Pearson, as she shot the "before" picture below while we were in Tahoe this summer.  Thank you Jamie!

Sister Reber surprised all of the missionaries with a Going Away presentation.  Here is the slide she created for Brandon:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Study Time . . .

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

This is a great photo of Elder Eveson studying in his room during personal study.  Note his new scritpure case.

Elder Eveson is a fine young man and we are so blessed to have him at the MTC.

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Service Time . . .

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

During the missionary's stay at the MTC, they have one opportunity to do service....for 30 minutes.  Here are the photos I took during this morning's service time.

If they look happy, it is because they are!

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Little Bit of R & R

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Seven times, while the missionaries are at the MTC, they are given one hour in which to go outside and play some type of sport.

Here are the missionaries who participated in soccer, ping pong and volleyball.  There are some very talented athletes in this group.

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Elder Scrimsher's Bday Party

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Tonight we celebrated Elder Scrimsher's 19th birthday.  It was really exciting.  He was sung to in: English, Shona, French, and a couple of languages I haven't heard before.  

The candle was neat and the cake and ice cream superb.  Everyone enjoyed the party and Elder Scrimsher said he will never forget it.  

Now, several Elders and one Sister came and told me that their birthday is tomorrow.  I have their passports, so I know better!

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Week 1: First P-Day / Note to self: No Hippo Teeth

So - this email might be chopped up but I've written down a few things to share as the week went on. No crazy conversion stories yet - Kenya on Tuesday morning though! 

Sorry I can't send any pictures from here - will have to wait til I'm in Kenya to do that, but the wife of the Mission Training Center President has been emailing photos to my parents, and if I understand they are posted on the blog my mom is updating for me:

Contrary to previously believed - I'm not learning any English, they speak it pretty close to us Americans but the main change is when saying the time they say 25 past if it was 3:25, half past for 3:30 or 10 til for 3:50. Oh and the date is written first then month- so I'm writing this on 24/10/2013

All the Missionaries from Zimbawbe want to shop here in South Africa because the huge port is here so they have all the good fashion things, but it is a very sketchy place. Where there is poverty, there is crime. 

I got asked if my Tiger Woods Nike pants were my pj's, haha. As we are eating breakfast the USA is going to bed. My evening class teacher refers to missionaries from Utah as from 'The Factory'. Hahaha. 

Elder Bednar comes here to speak the day after we leave.

A missionary was just locked up the other day here in Africa for having 4 Hippo teeth in his backpack and it cost him $4,000 to get out the next day. Man what a story that would be. 

Lambos are $350,000 US dollars here.  World cup tickets in 2010 were 5-20 US dollars for a decent seat- which is why the mission president here took all the missionaries here to a game.

Anyways gotta run. 

Love you all and I'll email next week with better content.

- Elder Eveson 

ps. My P-day will be on Mondays - which means [write me by] Sunday evening in the US

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Temple Trip to Johannesburg South Africa LDS Temple & What That is All About

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

We had a wonderful day at the Temple yesterday.  11 missionaries were able to receive their endowments.  They loved the Temple.  Comments I heard:  "I don't want to leave."  "I can't believe I am in God's House." "I feel such peace."  "I'm so happy, I can't explain it."

I'm blessed to be a part of it.

Sister Janet Reber

[Editor's note:  What is the Temple?  Endowment?  Why is it important?  Those answers below the photos.]

A quick overview about Temples:

What is an endowment? -- note that D&C references the book of scripture known as the Doctrine and Covenants.  It may be read and referenced here:

The D&C is a collection of revelations received from God while the Church was being restored upon the earth.  It is answers to the questions asked throughout the process of the restoration, which is how the Prophet Joseph Smith knew how to re-establish the Lord's Church upon the earth after receiving the commandment to do so.

When Joseph Smith prayed at age 14 to know what Church was true, trying to determine which Church to join, as they all claimed to be the true Church, he took the words from James 1:5 to heart and decided to ask of God.  Initially he was overcome by darkness while attempting to pray, then received what is now referred to as the First Vision.  Here is a quick 2 1/2 minute video that explains this experience: 

The Church of Jesus Christ had been taken away from the earth during the Great Apostasy (after the death of Christ and then his apostles) due to the lack of faithfulness on the earth at the time.  More about that here:

Through Joseph Smith's faithfulness in following the divine guidance he received from the Lord, he received many instructions over the next several years to restore The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the earth.  This included unearthing and translating the plates now known as the Book of Mormon, which were written in a foreign language and had been buried thousands of years prior in the Hill Cummorah.

Buried with the plates was the Urim and Thummim, special interpreter that he used while interpreting the Book of Mormon into the English language.  LDS reference for the Urim and Thummim:  The use of a Urim and Thummim to receive revelation dates back to Israel, before the scattering of the 12 tribes.  Here is a Jewish reference for a Urim and Thummim:

The Urim and Thummin was only useful in translating and receiving revelation when commandments were being kept.  Also found buried with the Plates, was the Liahona, a compass which guided Nephi, his father Lehi, and their family from Jerusalem to the American continent in about 600 BC, part of the scattering of the tribes of Israel.

Lehi is a descendant of Jacob who was sold as a slave in Egypt.  Lehi is a Hebrew Prophet.  As wickedness spread throughout the land, Lehi was commanded to take his family and leave everything they had behind, fleeing into the wilderness and go to a promised land, which we know as America.  Lehi's family was wealthy and left all they had to follow the commandment of God.  A little more about Lehi is found here:  

Their experience is recorded in the 1st book of Nephi:

The Book of Mormon is the record of the descendants of Jacob on the American continent, and the Bible is the record of the happenings in the Old World.  After Christ was resurrected, he appeared to the descendants on the American continent.

This is why the Mormons read the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible, to have a full understanding of Christ and what was happening throughout the world rather than just the record from one continent.

Alma, a Prophet that follows Lehi, testifies that Christ will come to the earth.  Korihor, an anti-Christ who asks for a sign from God is struck dumb and left a beggar:

Christ comes to the Americas:

At the end of the 3rd Nephi, we are commanded to repent and come unto Christ and be numbered with the house of Israel:

Through further revelation received in D&C, during the restoration of the Lord's Church and after keys of the Priesthood were restored to the earth, we learn the importance of building and visiting Temples to receive the endowment (for ourselves and for those that died without the opportunity to do so).  This is where the person going through the endowment learns further light and knowledge for returning to God's presence through Jesus Christ:

Many people wait a very long time to receive their endowment after becoming a member of the Church, because temples are far away from them and it is difficult to travel or have money to visit.  This is why the Church is building Temples as quickly as possible throughout the world, to make it possible for those that want to attend to be able to do so.

Members are encouraged to visit often to remember the covenants they have made and the blessings that are promised to them.  By visiting often, they also bless the lives of others who have died, as they go through in proxy each time for someone that passed away without receiving their own ordinances for salvation.

The ordinances received at the Temple, and through the Temple sealing to their companion, one can gain exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom and be with their faithful companion or family forever after we die.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the LDS Church, fill in the form located here: and you will be visited by missionaries serving in your area, just like Brandon is doing in Africa.