Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 19: Official East African Resident, It's a Small, Small World & Christmas in a Box!

Quite a week.

Our Mission President has planned 3 individual times to come to Mwanza to interview us 4 Elders here but each of those times the flight was canceled or something happened. We have to do interviews with him every so often and the end of this transfer is Mar 2nd and had to be done by then. He was going to come this past Sunday- again that didn't work out. 

Friday night we got a call from the Assistants to the President and said since he couldn't come to us- we're going to him. Saturday morning we printed out itineraries and Sunday morning after sacrament meeting headed to the airport. 

Had a 5 hour layover at the Kilimanjaro airport and while I was writing a letter and my companion was reading 'Believing Christ', two Caucasian girls traveling together in their young 20's came up and introduced themselves as members of the Church. 

They were there volunteering at an orphanage outside of Arusha for a month and a half to finish up a requirement for school at BYU-Hawaii before graduating. On their long flight over from the States they had mentioned to each other how cool it would be to see missionaries while they were here- and they met us the last day of their trip, an hour before their plane took off. Turns out one was from Georgia, and the other said she was from Portland, Oregon. I was kinda like wait whattt.... 

I said I was too, she asked which part, replied Beaverton, and then she mentioned she went to Westview High School - rival to Sunset HS which I attended. She is in the Bethany ward and lives like 10 minutes from me in Portland. Small world huh? We were able to give them some Swahili Church materials we had and they were thrilled.

Got to talking to an elder couple while waiting for the plane who were from Reno, Nevada- they have been on Safari for a few weeks and they loved talking on and on about it. I was thinking- I hope that's me one day sitting in this airport having done that. 

A younger couple started talking to my companion and I, and asking questions about our Church and Missionary Service. We were able to answer them and it turns out they were from Concord (San Francisco) California- and I have family in Lafayette and Sausalito, CA, which are all near each other. Small world huh? 

I love talking English and being able to know and understand and participate in the conversations. Swahili is slowly coming along.

Got into Nairobi Sunday night, and Monday morning we went to the Mission office and us 4 Elders had interviews with our Mission President, which went great. He is an awesome and powerful man. 

It was really nice going to Nairobi- I was able to get everything that was sent to Durban. Thank you to everyone who sent things- I got more mail (from a while ago) and the other Christmas things that were sent there. Thank you sooo much to everyone and their generosity. Christmas in a box. 

It was great to be back in Nairobi and at the mission office even if I was only there 2 months ago. I was able to use the washer machine at the Assistants to the President's apartment- what a luxury. I was also was able to take things from my suitcase that is there and put things in there that I didn't need here in Mwanza, which was very nice to do. 

That was my Monday, then this morning at 6:00 am we headed for the airport, and am now emailing from Mwanza, Tanzania. Busy few days- and added a few more stamps to the passport. Oh- and now that my Kenyan visa and work permit are endorsed, I am an 'East African' resident. Now that's pretty cool to say. The Tanzanian work permit is coming along and I shouldn't have any problems- I have been really blessed.

After this transfer we will have 69 missionaries total with all the ones that are leaving and even more (last count was 36) that will be serving in temporary assignments while waiting to come to the Kenya Nairobi Mission. I was the most recent missionary to be allowed in. 

Crazy thing is- as a mission we're doing the same amount of work as when there were around 120-140 missionaries here. The Lord is Hastening His work.

Last thing- turns out zone conference is next transfer- not this transfer. We will be traveling to Dar es Salaam for that.

So that's why I didn't email yesterday- sometimes things just happen. All is well here. Making these the best two years.

Take care.

-Elder Eveson
Kenya Nairobi Mission

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 18: It's the Little Things that Mean So Much

Another week down.

I was able to reply to a few emails before the internet went down yesterday - it happens sometimes... or a lot of times- so I wrote my letter and saved it on my flash, got approval to hop on here and send it today.

Sounds like you all were able to enjoy the snow while it lasted. An investigator was walking with us after an evening appointment at around 7:30 pm to the main road since the people here are all so nice and we were just talking, he asked me if the weather was cold for me wearing my short sleeve shirt. It was easily like 70 degrees. I then went on to tell him that back home there is a foot of snow- which the people here have never seen, but have faith that it exists.

That same investigator- he is one of the ones that we found that had been taught by previous missionaries and then lost contact as missionaries were changed. He has turned into a very nice progressing investigator that has a big desire to share the gospel. Very knowledgeable about the Bible and fluent in English which is sooo nice. He probably knows English better than me- and I'm the one who grew up speaking it. My guess is he is about 30-33ish years old. He has already given us referrals and says he has plenty more. He mentioned he loves gospel music and I referred him to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir - the next day he was playing it in his home.

I can't say enough good about him and how powerful he is along with his wife. He was able to make it to church and loved it. I will keep you updated on him.

Every now and then we get afternoon rains which last for 10-20ish minutes and just pour like crazy then it's sunny again. My companion and I finished visiting with a family and had to ride half an hour back on the bikes to teach English Class at the church. We left as the storm was coming to an end to get there on time and part of the path we have to ride on turns into a little river when it rains really hard. More of a trail for the water when it rains/walking path when it's sunny than an actual constant river. So my companion and I had to ride our bikes downstream in super muddy water not being able to see the bottom- being anywhere 3-12 inches deep. That was super fun. Then we were having fun cruising downhill in the rain in the river on our bikes and we forgot we had to turn off and just kept going. 100 yards later, we turned around and went upstream. Hopefully when it rains again we will be able to go back and do it again and get some cool pictures.

Few other things- I saw a meerkat and it took me a second to realize what it was because I'm not sure I have seen one before in real life. Also, occasionally we have monkeys just hanging out in our yard- no big deal.

My companion and I found a place that imports A&W Rootbeer and Dr Pepper from New Jersey here in town- although super expensive- one a week keeps me happy and going. Amazing how shocked and happy I was when I saw those- and you guys are around it everyday... .

Also found sweet chili pepper Doritos which I got hooked on while serving in Durban, South Africa. Easily my favorite chips of all time- can't believe I had to come here to try them and they don't have them in the States.

It has been fun to have the Mathers- the senior missionary couple from Arusha- here again this weekend. Dinner with them was great once again.

On the plane from Arusha to Mwanza, where I am at now, they met a guy who is here for work- working with the hospitals regarding eye surgery. He is a member of the true Church- returned missionary, maybe like 30 years old. They ended up staying at the same hotel and invited him to come to church this past Sunday and he did- even though it was all in Swahili and only like 8 members know enough English to converse with him.

Talking with him- he lives in Sugar House (Salt Lake City) and graduated from the University of Utah. I can't explain how nice it was to be able to talk normal English with someone (besides with the others in the mission and the one investigator I mentioned above)- and especially to talk college football. Had a nice conversation about U. of Utah's football season along with Oregon's, and other things going on.

Sad to hear about one of my childhood friends' older brother passing away in combat in Afghanistan this week. I always looked up to him when I would hangout with his younger brother. Knowing the Plan of Salvation really helps in situations like these. Also a few weeks ago- one of my friends I graduated from Sunset High School with passed away. The last words he said to me, the last time I saw him a few days before I left on my mission were "Have fun in Kenya" -AG. Will do.

Hope you all have a great week and thanks for the letters and emails.

Elder Eveson

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 17: Power Surge Swipes Update - Quick News is Great News

So-- I typed out a long nice email, then the power cut, but came back immediately, causing me to lose everything. Next week I will have the nicest weekly email - yes, with pics- but for this week I'll share something from Mission President since time is short, and I can copy and paste..

"We have 36 missionaries who are Visa waiters. They are assigned to the Kenya Nairobi Mission, but are temporarily serving in South Africa, Cape Town, Durban, Zambia, etc.

Also the Kenyan immigration officials have refused 6 permits for missionaries who are already here.  They will need to leave Kenya for now until we can get it changed. This will cause an emergency transfer this week. We then have 14 missionaries ready to depart for home on Mar. 4th

You are doing a wonderful work even though we are short 36 missionaries. The Lord is making up the difference with those of you who are here now. Do you know that the missionaries here now are bringing more souls unto Christ than we did when we had 115 missionaries. ..." 

Currently only 75ish missionaries here and with 20 leaving it will be quite small. Although- we're doing more than when we had 115, so the Lord is really blessing us. 

I know it was nothing that had to do with my week but some interesting info.

Will write more next week and probably won't have time to respond too much, but this time it actually isn't my fault the letter is short.

For those of you family and friends at home and in the Northwest- enjoy the foot of snow. I definitely miss it. 

Have a great week!
Elder Eveson

PS:  Package update - The packages from Durban are with the Mission President, and he will either bring them to me next week when he comes for a visit, or the following week when we meet in Dar es Slaam for Zone Conference.  Thank you again to everyone that sent a package.  I really appreciate it!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 16: 109 New Contacts & Bucket Showers

This might be a bit short-  but wanted to send a few pics to let you see a bit more of my everyday.

This week was a good week with lots of contacting. 109 contacts (not investigators) to close the week. Teaching pool is slowly increasing. We ran into three individual people this week who had previously met with missionaries in the past year or so, but hadn't seen them since. Two of whom have read the Book of Mormon and know it is true and say they have been taught a fair amount- but when the missionaries that were teaching left, contact was lost. My companion and I are excited that the Lord put them in our path this week and hope to start teaching them soon.

This week the power has been on and off, along with the water. Bucket showers and cooking in the dark- I'm finally getting a taste of Mwanza. We do have a 500 Liter reserve tank, so no worries. Just disappointing when we came home one of the days this past week and walk into the house and can't turn on the light or wash your hands. My companion said it happened all the time before I got here, and he has been surprised it's been very steady since I arrived.

One thing we do to find people is teach English class- which even helps me with my Swahili.

The photos got a bit messed up- resulting in wasting a bunch of email time, but next week I'll send quite a few. Not one has loaded.

Anyways thanks everyone for the continued support- have a great week.

Love, Elder Eveson