Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 24: Quick Update and a Few Pix

Hey!

So I'm not left with much time because of computer problems but a few things-

This week has been great, more of the same. Enjoying and loving this time I have here to do the Lord's work.

Wanted to get a few pictures accross to you guys- figured I would start with some from the MTC - Missionary Training Center this week. This email doesnt let me send many at a time so I will try and send a few.

This may be the weakest of all 104 weekly emails but next week I'll have a nice update because of the things we have lined up for the coming week and the time I will have. Headed to Machakos again (3 1/2 hour ride) tomorrow to stock up on food for the month, then a zone training meeting with the other Elders in our zone on Wednesday. We are all coming together for that which will be nice. I'll throw in a cool story next week as well.

Including photos from my early days in South Africa.  A couple were taken at the Johannesburg Temple.  Also Elder Ellingson (from Raymond, Albert) and I playing the dot game on a Sunday in the MTC . . . never too old for that.

Another one is the two of us with our afternoon teacher, Brother Maarman - suuuper cool and funny guy.He is from Johannesburg and served in Australia.  The same guy that relayed to us from his Mission President that language joke I shared a while ago.

Once more here it is --
What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages? Bi-lingual
What do you call someone who speaks 3 languages? Tri-lingual
What do you call someone who speaks 4 languages? Quad-lingual
What do you call someone who speaks 1 language? American

And the last one is of my MTC companion, Elder Kajanda from Zimbabwe and I.

Happy April fools day- you're welcome for the heads up.

Elder Eveson

















Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 23: Life in The Hills Can Make You Live 127 Years!

Another great week.

Being here in this area I have had time to respond to some emails and since I am on early, it is Sunday night there which has been cool going back and forth with some of you.

Might be a bit short this week but here it goes. This week since my companion is a zone leader we headed to Kilili (small village really far away but the Church is quite strong there) for splits with the Elders serving there- both really cool guys, one from 45 minutes South of Phoenix and the other from Malawi. Got there Thursday, missionary work Friday and came back Saturday. It was a good experience and good times. While there, I met a man that is 118 years old- he looked 80! And the other week in their branch they had someone pass away who was 127. Crazy! Anyways- 7 hour bus ride each way- getting the opportunity to see more of the country which has been nice. It is beautiful here. Saw some more giraffe (same ones I have seen every time) and quite a few ostrich on the ride which was cool. Power came back right when we got home which was superr nice after it being gone for a while.
A few questions I got today on my email I thought I would answer for everyone:

Is your running water a container sitting on the roof with a hose attached, or actual indoor plumbing? It is in a big tank above our house on the hill right behind us with a hose coming in. The water gets pumped from the river to there, then from there into our house.

What are your showers like? Bucket style or actual running water? Any water pressure with that? If we don't have power- either a running water cold shower, a bucket shower with heated up water, or there is the popular option of no shower..hahaha. When we shower- plenty water pressure and when we have power it gets plenty hot.

How do you cook without power? Our cooktop thing is propane so we don't have problems. Just some flashlights and life is good.
Super excited for one of my good friends from home, Jonathan W, who is attending BYU-Hawaii, got his mission call last week- He has been called to serve in the Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission! Going to the Mexico City Missionary Training Center on June 18th, speaking Spanish! The mission covers the south/southwest portion of Ecuador and it also includes the Gal├ípagos Islands. Exciting to see a good friend make the decision of serving the Lord, and I'm excited to see the adventures that await him.
Pictures are coming next week.
I hope you all have a great week- those of you on spring break enjoy it, and those of you working, enjoy it as well! Just make the most of every day and opportunity!

Elder Eveson

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 22: Crazy Terrain Paradise & Donkeys

Well - since these last 2 weeks haven't really worked out for communicating - here's an email.

So while in Mwanza TZ, President Hicken (Mission President) called and told my former companion Elder Anderson (from Orlando) he was being transferred to the office (as an office Elder, not an assistant to the President) and I was headed to serve in Kenya. Mwanza will only have 2 Elders instead of 4 because many areas are being closed due to not recieving missionaries. The other Elders there will takeover the area that we were working in- including the 14 people we had on baptism date for March 29th- next Saturday. Not sure how that will end up. 

The last night there though we had dinner (including Donkey meat) brought to us from the Branch President and his wife which was actually really good and nice of them. Anyways - turns out it is Kilungu Hills for me. 

I flew to Nairobi, spent the night with the Assistants to President and the office Elders, then came here to my new area. It is amazing here. We are over 2 Branches (small congregations that meet together), and each have an average of about 100 at Sacrament Meeting every Sunday. Lots of members to see, and we are trying to increase the teaching pool of investigators.

These are The Hills. Crazy terrain - had to pick up a pair of hiking boots while in Nairobi a few days ago. All walking- no chance of using a bike. Sometimes it reminds me of hiking in the Columbia Gorge back home. Beaaautiful.

People have their houses then their shamba- or farm type thing- that they work in constantly that is dug into the side of the hill. Donkeys carry water from the river (we are one of the few with running water) up to their house. I actually rode a donkey last week- something not many people can say they have done on their missions. Enjoying my mission as much as possible.

Here we haven't had power for a while but all is well - it should come back soon.

I'm not sure how I keep getting so blessed with my areas, as well as companions.

My companion- since everyone loves to hear about them - he's awesome. Elder Beacom is from East London which is outside Eastern Cape in South Africa. He lives 10 minute walk from the beach and he surfed every day except Sunday before he came on mission. His only sibling, his brother, is serving in Ghana and left 2 months behind him so they will get back around the same time. We have been able to bond well and he likes cooking for me - how could I say no to that?
The small world story I mentioned - Last week I was on email and was emailing Elder Ellingson (really good friend from Raymond, Alberta that I met at the Missionary Training Center in S. Africa) and asked where he was serving. Last I heard he was in Queenstown- but I told my new companion about him and he wanted to know where he was serving. He replied that he is now serving in East London 3rd Ward, I asked my companion where his home ward was before he came- East London 3rd ward. Whaaat! Turns out Elder Ellingson knows Elder Beacom's family pretty well and has been over to his house for dinner already.
Elder Ellingson is doing well - It'll be a great day when I see him.

This week - went to Nairobi on Wednesday for Zone Conference which was great. It takes 5 hours by bus - not bad at all. Saw 3 more giraffes on the way along with some groups of Springbok. 

In Nairobi I got to see Elder Anderson again and the rest of the Elders that are serving in the Nairobi area- including Elder Moline (from Alberta), Elder Harvey (from Utah) and Elder Bakubamutwe (from Uganda) from my MTC group. 

Our Mission President mentioned there are 45 Elders and Sisters serving in temporary missions until they get their visas- just like what I did. In fact- I am the most recent Elder to come into this mission- I came in the middle of December which is unusual because they usually have a group come every transfer- every 6 weeks. Zone Conference on Thursday was powerful and a good time all around. Friday we came back and saw 11 more giraffes on the way. I am glad I bought those boots- rained here while we were in in Nairobi and everything has been mud here since. It does get colder at night here than when I was in Tanzania which is really nice.

So I have got quite a few questions and I'll answer them on here for everyone...

We stock up on food once a month in Machakos about 3.5-4 hours away by bus. Here they have all the necessities though so all is well. We were also able to get things when we went to Nairobi a few days ago which was nice.

The internet situation here - we use the Branch President's laptop every Monday. He can get internet anywhere so all we have to do is buy credit for his modem thing. When we don't have power, we use it for a bit, then it dies and we have to take it to a guy in town to charge it with a generator. 

There is not much to do on our Preparation Days and the other Elders live a 2 hour walk away, so we get more time to email- which has been niiiice.

It isn't possible to send mail from here where I am, but it is to receive it because someone brings it from the Nairobi office on their pikipiki (motorcycle). I do have more time to respond to emails now which is suuuper nice, so I won't have to write as many letters. The Dear Elders (dearelder.com) have come through- from the Englunds, Patti Peters and Gerrid Vandermolen.  Thank you for everyone's letters!

From my last area in Mwanza to Nairobi we flew, then I had a driver that the Church hired to take me, and another Elder from Nairobi, to my current area, and him to his. When we go to Nairobi and back like we did this past week, we just take a bus which takes a little over 5 hours each way.

The most useful things in packages- ties, Fiji Old Spice deodorant sticks, instant oatmeal packets, raisins, and hot chocolate packets. Those are the things I can't get here (along with candy). Those are the things that would be most useful. I have received a few Pringle's cans and not one has been opened by Customs. Bubble mailers and packages work as well and come through just fine - but are opened and subject to not having all items in them delivered.

The picture - just clowning around on our way to an appointment with my proselyting hat. Hopefully next week I can send more pictures!

Well, that's all for this week.

For me - I'm just trying to make the best of every situation and every day doing the work of the Lord and having fun doing it - even if it may mean taking a bucket shower every now and then or riding donkeys.
Hope all is well and you all have a great week.

Love, Elder Eveson
Much love from the KNM as well- Kenya Nairobi Mission

Just clowning around in my Proselyting hat & Making it the BEST Two Years!

I really liked this.  So true.

With the Famous Bismark Rocks in Mwanza, Tanzania on Lake Victoria






Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Week 21 Part B: Update from Elder Eveson!

Wrote this on our preparation day but the computer died before I could send it........

Now in Nairobi for zone conference but not sure what the situation will be for emailing this Monday so just a heads up.

Last week I wasn't able to send out a weekly letter but to update you all- I have been transferred to Kilungu Hills, about 3 hours out of Nairobi. An amazing and beautiful place. Hills hills and more hills. The closest paved road is super far away. 

My companion is super cool- from Eastern Cape and loves to surf. I have been really blessed with my companions so far. I do have another small world story but will share that later.

We went 4ish hours each way on a bus to get all our food for the month a few days ago- here they have the necessities so no worriesss.

 On the bus ride there we saw a giraffe standing like 10 yards from the road and were like whattt, I thought it was a statue but a minute up the road there were 5 more. Huuuge giraffes in the middle of nowhere just eating lunch. So there you go- a story for this week. I have now seen an 'African Animal' in the wild. 

Time is suuuper short but I'm headed to Nairobi this week for zone conference! 

Next week we might be out with the other Elders in our zone a 2 hour walk away so not sure what the emailing situation will be like.

I loaded a photo and hope it comes through. Will take some more this week.

All is well!!
Love Elder Eveson


Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 21: "Collective" Update from The Kilungu Hills

Brandon is in the "Hills" and although he didn't have a chance to write much, his one line email to me said  Kilungu Hills is Amaaaaaaaazzzzzzzing!  So, there you have it.  :)

The area is southeast of Nairobi: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Kilungu+Hills/@-1.8005555,37.4236111,8z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x18255a55c7758efd:0xc72e0b020d57af21

Brandon had some quick and very short email exchanges with Ray and Tyler.  Here's what they learned:

Once a month, he rides a bus (see link below for pix of buses) for 3 hours one-way to go to the Market for food.  He buys one month of food (hopefully calculating and planning correctly) on this outing.  6 hours on the bus (with live chickens tied to the top -- seriously!) over dirt roads for their "quick trip" to the market, not counting market time.

Hills, hills everywhere.  And the rainy season is just beginning.  Definitely needs shoes with traction -- is purchasing hiking boots when he goes to Nairobi next week for a conference.

Due to the hilly terrain, the last Missionary there was not inclined to actually get out and find people.  Brandon is.  Members in some areas walk 3 1/2 hours each way, over the hills, to get to Church on Sundays.  In other words, they leave their homes at 6:30 AM to arrive at Church for a 10:00 AM Service.  Afterward, it's another 3 1/2 hours home.  And they all walk it.  Even the little ones.

This provides a sense of how vast this area is.  Makes those stories we heard as kids of people walking uphill both ways to school in a snow storm seem kinda lame by comparison. . . .

He and his companion are the only Missionaries in the entire area.  His companion is a White South African from the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and is an Avid Surfer, so the two of them could not be more happy to be together and seem to have plenty of stories to share on their walking adventures.

The reason kids yell "Muzungu! Muzungu!" and run away from whites is because most of them have never seen a white person in their entire life.  AND they were taught from a very young age that white people will kill you and suck your blood, so they are scared of white people.  Pretty sure that is not Brandon's plan.  He said when they yell, "Muzungu" he yells back "Amerkani" which means "American" because "Muzungu" actually means a White Brit.  Nevertheless, they have to develop trust with those they work with.

And speaking (earlier) of the Cape . . . Cape Town is where Brandon's buddy, Kash Ellingson, Canadian from the South Africa MTC, remains.  His paperwork, and the paperwork for all Missionaries that arrived after Brandon - and were called to the Kenya Nairobi Mission - has not been approved, and they do not know if the Kenyan Government will decide to do any more approvals.  The Kenya Nairobi Mission is functioning as best they can on about 1/2 their normal number of missionaries.

Brandon keeps in touch with Elder Ellingson who said he has had some pretty hairy experiences in Cape Town.  Having traveled to South Africa, and visited Cape Town, one can only imagine.  Wish he had a blog.

There are not a lot of English speakers in Brandon's new area, and they do not speak Swahili.  They speak Kamba.  So for those keeping track, this is Brandon's 3rd language of his Mission: Kamba in Kilungu Hills, Swahili in Tanzania, and Zulu in Durban, South Africa.  He is also fluent in ASL (American Sign Language), so we'll see what skills he applies throughout his lifetime.  Guessing he will use it all.  It's Brandon.  :)

We found a great description of Brandon's new digs on a post from an Elder that had served there: 

"Our running water is a water tank on our roof that has a pipe running into the kitchen, our shower is a bucket and cup, our toilet is a long drop. . . ."

That is from an Elder that was there in 2010, and not sure if it has changed much.  Here is the link I mentioned above, with pics of the huts (houses), buildings, oxen pulled carts, and the infamous buses:

http://elderandsisternevin.blogspot.com/2010/06/images-from-kilungu-hills-africa.html

We still don't know about internet access (ie, whether the quick email exchanges were from the town where he travels for their grocery run or if he actually had access in Kilungu Hills) or length of time for mail delivery, etc.

The last thing Brandon said to Ray is, "I'm making it the BEST Two Years!"  He only has 19 months left.

Love to all!

Ginger

Elder Eveson's Mom
mormon.org





Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 20: Transferred! Heading to . . .

the Kilungu Hills in Kenya.

Unfortunately, no time for an update because we have to print our boarding passes and catch the plane.

Here are some blog links my Mom found about my new place -- great pictures to give you a feel for the new area:

http://olsenkenyamission.blogspot.com/2012/03/we-visited-kilili-branch-in-kilungu.html

http://olsenkenyamission.blogspot.com/2012/03/we-went-to-kulungu-hill-area-with-halls.html

And here is a great article my Dad found about the growth of the LDS Church in the Kilungu Hills Mission:

http://www.cumorah.com/index.php?target=view_other_articles&story_id=498&cat_id=30

Not sure about power, or access to the internet in the Kilungu Hills, but I will write and update as soon as possible.

Love,

Elder Eveson
mormon.org