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!