Monday, June 30, 2014

Hello, Iganga!

Well this week was long. 

On Tuesday we spent the day going around saying goodbye to my people. It was really hard. I only made two people cry though! So that was pretty good. Haha ;) I loved the people in Gulu especially my RC's. I hated having to say goodbye and not knowing when I will be able to see them again. Being transferred is not fun sometimes. Then I spent some time packing. I managed to get all of my things into both suitcases and my other bag. It had to pack really carefully so it could all fit. My big suitcase weighed at least 100 pounds!! Haha it was sooo heavy. It took two people to carry. Its a good thing I'm not taking all of that stuff home with me. 

Wednesday morning I woke up at 6:00 am. I finished up packing and then we left at 7:00. The Moore's drove us to Kampala. We arrived in the Ntinda house at around 1:00. The Ntinda house is where the AP's and all the Senior Couples in Kampala stay. I was expecting to stay there for the night and then leaveThursday morning, but of course that didn't happen. As soon as we arrived they told us we were leaving in 30 minutes. Yay for no rest after 5 hours of driving. We then left at around 1:30 and I didn't arrive in Iganga until around 4:30. I was soooooo tired from sitting in a car ALL day. But now I am in Iganga and I am driving!

Thursday in the morning we went and did some service. Iganga is about 85% muslim so tracting is not really effective and mornings are really hard if we don't have any appointments. So we went and did service. We just spent the day going around visiting people. My comp is Elder Latola. he is from South Africa. He is a great guy and is really fun to teach with. Iganga is municipality. So it is bigger than a town and smaller than a city. But it is still considered a village. If you go anywhere outside of town then it is pretty villagey. 

Friday morning at 9:00 we left to go to Kampala. It takes about 3 hours to drive to Kampala from Iganga, depending on how bad traffic is. It was fun to drive in Kampala. It is insane. There's a million vehicles packed on the roads and Boda-Bodas (motorcycle taxis) literally flying by everywhere. Its pretty crazy. We went to the mission office to get some supplies and do some stuff, then we went to the distribution center to get requested things from the elders in the zone. Then MLC started at 3:00 at the mission home. it was with all of the Zone Leaders in the mission. The ZL's from Rwanda come every other month. In Ethiopia there are two zones so each zone switches every month to come for MLC. The meeting was awesome. We discussed about how the mission is doing and talked about some changes. There is one big change. The first presidency sent a letter to all church leaders saying that Lesson 5 in Ch 3 of Preach My Gospel now must be taught before baptism, not only after baptism. So now we teach people about eternal families, service in the church, priesthood/auxiliaries, etc before they get baptized. There was a lot of other things we discussed. The meeting ended around 7:00 and then President Chatfield took all of us out to dinner. We went to a buffet at this super super nice hotel. It was so nice that I felt like I was in a 5 star hotel somewhere in the US, not in Uganda. The food was soooooooo good and we got as much as we wanted. I loved it! Haha Im excited for next month to see where they take us for dinner. We stayed at the Ntinda House on Friday night. 

Saturday in the morning we went to do some things and get the truck serviced. Then at around 1:00 we left to go back to Iganga. The drive was really really long. It took like 2 hours to get out of Kampala because traffic was ridiculous, but we arrived in Iganga safely. At night on the way home we stopped at a Supermarket to get some shtuff. The people that owned it are Muslims from Pakistan. One guy was talking to me for like 30 minutes about Islam and things they believe. He really wanted to tell me about Islam; it all started when I told him that we were missionaries teaching people about Jesus Christ. So that was an interesting experience. Muslims have a lot in common with us regarding beliefs. 

Sunday church was pretty good. It was really weird though; I felt so out of place because I didn't know anyone at all. But it was a good set of meetings. One crazy thing is that a lot of the primary age kids could speak like perfect English!!! That never happened in Gulu. The kids loved me though and were always hanging on me and talking to me. Last night we had to take the weekly numbers for the whole zone and then report them to the AP's. I was the one reporting to the AP's and I read the wrong numbers THREE TIMES!! Haha I was laughing pretty hard because we had to start over so much. Of course I had to mess up on my first time reporting. 

So that was my adventurous week of constant traveling.

I got my box!!! Thanks so much. I ate the whole package of goldfish in like 10 minutes. It was soooooo delicous. My shoes are still doing good but some of my socks are starting to get worn out. They are the ones from missionary mall and they are awesome! 

Enjoy the 4th of July! I probably wont do anything to celebrate because I am literally the only American or white person in all of Iganga!!! But in my heart I will celebrate :)

Enjoy the week! 
Here is a cool sunset picture that I took in Gulu before I left. I also saw Elder Mgijima for the first time since I left Lira forever ago! 

Elder LeCheminant

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Zone Leader of Iganaga!

This week was awesome! We did a lot of great things

On Tuesday morning the whole zone went and did service for Beatrice. We were digging in her garden and were preparing it for planting potatoes. We were working for about 3 hours. It was fun. 

Wednesday we had our District meeting. I felt like we needed to focus on D&C 4. So I assigned every Elder one verse and they each gave a small training based on that verse. It was really awesome. I learned a lot and I think everyone else did too. I also showed a video quote from Elder Ballard. It is found on the D&C and Church History DVDs. The quote was awesome and is perfect for "almost" missionaries or those already serving. I recommend everyone watches it (especially Joey). Afterwards we had a zone lunch at a member's house close to the church. Her family is pretty wealthy and they have a really nice house. The food was soooooo goooood! In the evening we were teaching Jackie. She had borrowed a copy of Jesus the Christ from Elder Allred. She was actually reading it!!!! I was so happy. 

Thursday we taught Joel. He was preparing for baptism. So we were reviewing and everything was good. Then on Friday we had his interview and he passed!! His baptism on Sunday was awesome. He chose Elder Mukengeshayi to baptize him; he did a great job! After church we had a farewell lunch at the Moore's house for our Elders Quorum President who is going on his mission to Ghana. Sister Moore made taco soup. It was sooooo good and reminded me of home way too much. Later we went to visit Joel. The first thing he said was that he is really really happy and he is not sure why. I just told him it is because he was baptized. His mom and sisters even came to the baptism so we are going to be teaching them now and they will probably be baptized in July. 

Today for P-day we went to Chobe. It was sadly my last time there :( We got our transfer news today. Guess what?!?! I am going to be the new Zone Leader of the Iganga Zone. So my days in north Uganda are over. Also my days of walking are over. As a Zone Leader I get to drive. My companion will be Elder Latola, he is from South Africa. He doesn't have his drivers license so that means I am the designated driver! Yay. I am pretty excited but I am sad to be leaving Gulu. I love Gulu. The missionary work here has been amazing and I love the people here. But I am sure I will love the people in Iganga as well. 

So that is the exciting news for the day. Chobe was amazing as always. I got some sweet pictures. 
Tomorrow I will be spending the day saying good bye to people. Then Wednesday the Moores drive us to Kampala. Then Thursday I will be taken to Iganga. Then Friday I will have to drive back to Kampala for MLC. MLC is Mission Leaders Council. It happens the last Friday of every month at the mission home. It is all the Zone Leaders and Sister Leaders. 

So  I'm sure next week I will have something new to talk about! 

I miss the boat dad!! But thanks for keeping me informed. I like it. The pictures are awesome as well. Thanks! 

Yay mom for your new calling! Ward YW President. Looks like both of us got new callings :) And happy birthday! Sorry but I completely forgot :) At least you and dad were able to go out and do something

Have a fantastic week! 
Elder ME

Monday, June 16, 2014

Commitments and One Giant Snake

This week went much better. I forgot my planner today so I'm doing this completely by memory! 

Tuesday we went on exchanges with the zone leaders. It was a great day and we did a lot of finding. We found several really awesome families. One guy has a huge house and a car and he was very humble and willing to learn about the gospel. We found out on Saturday that he is actually the uncle to our branch mission leader. Yay for instant fellow-shipper! I love it when that happens. 

Wednesday in the morning our District meeting was really awesome. We did some role plays and talked a lot about Chapter 11 in Preach My Gospel which is all about COMMITMENTS. I love our district meetings, but not being in charge of them. I always forget to plan it out until like Tuesday night. In the evening we met with my RC called Jackie. I love her family. She is amazing. She had gone to Kampala the week before for a teachers conference because she is a high school English teacher. So while there she went to the Stake Center which has the distribution center. She ended up buying a bunch of movies and books. One of them was Our Heritage. She read the entire thing in like 2 days. It made me so happy inside. Her husband Patrick is also the best guy ever. 

Thursday morning we did some service for about 3 hours. We went and worked in the garden of a member in the Gulu Branch. 

Saturday we started teaching the children of Beatrice, who was baptized last week. She has 3 kids staying at home right now. They will be baptized the first week of July. So we are now working on completing the family. At night we had a zone dinner at a recent converts house in the ZL's area. It was soo awesome! The food was amazing. Before we ate we sang hymns for like 30 minutes. So 8 missionaries plus the family all singing hymns. It was powerful. The hymns always bring the spirit stronger than anything else. 

Sunday at church, we had the confirmation of Beatrice. When she came up to the front and sat in the chair they were asking her who she wanted to confirm her. While they were doing that I got up to hold the microphone because nobody else was doing it. So I was just standing there holding the mic waiting for them to confirm her. Then the Branch Pres turned to me and said she wanted me to do it. I was really surprised! But I couldn't say no in front of everyone. It was the first time I have ever confirmed someone. It went great and was a good experience for all of us. :)

Today for Pday all of us went to a trade fair that is in town this week. They also had a little animal exhibit from the ZOO in Entebbe. It was pretty sweet. They had a lion, leopard, crane, monkey, ostrich, and snake. The snake was HUGE. It was at least 15 feet long. We asked if they could take it out and let us hold it for a zone picture. They said yes. So 3 workers were taking it out of its box. The snake got super mad and struck and bit the arm of one of them. Blood was flowing everywhere and the even some skin on the snake was taken off from it struggling in the box. Haha we were all standing there watching and kinda getting freaked out. But the workers were awesome and didn't even flinch. It took all three of them to carry it out. Then the one that was bit went and took care of his wound. All 8 of us put it on our backs and took tons of pictures. I even held it by myself. :) The whole time a worker was holding its head so it couldn't do anything. It was pretty dang exciting.. Haha I thought this would be a cool story to tell. Dont worry. We were completely safe and the guy that was bit is ok. 

This week is the last week of the transfer :) yay!!!!!

Thats pretty cool about the YW camp. I remember when we did the YM camp. It was a great experience!

Mom I want a family pic with all of the stuff that I sent you. The ties, bags, paintings, etc. You can send it through the email. Thanks! :)

Dad you make me miss the boat. I tell people about it here and they are all super jealous of me. haha :)

The world cup is going on now in Brazil!! Everyone here watches it. Good thing is that all the games are during the night here so it doesnt interfere with the work. I am starting to like Soccer a lot. I am terrible at playing it but I like to watch. Every once in a while we walk by a shop that is showing a game and I just want to stop and watch. Haha sometimes missionary life sucks. TV and music are so hard to stay away from! Today USA and Ghana are playing each other. That's one game that I really want to watch :( oh well

Have a great week everyone. I love all of you. The church is true. 

Elder LeCheminant

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Hard Week With Lots of Blessings!

Well this week was a bit of a challenge. At least things have settled down in Gulu so we can now work until 9:00 again. It was soo hard to have to go home at 7:00! I felt like we didn't have enough time to do anything. We would go out, visit a couple people, then teach a lesson, then only have like 1 hour till we had to go home. It was kinda frustrating. But we did the best we can.

On Tuesday in the morning the whole zone went and did service. We went and helped a member finish the walls of his hut. It was all made of mud. Mud bricks and mud "cement". We had a great time playing in the mud and building his house/hut.

Wednesday and Thursday we were only able to visit a couple of people then had to go home, so nothing happened. On Friday we did exchanges. I went with Elder Allred into his area and our comps worked in my area. It was an interesting day and a lot of the plans fell through.

Saturday was a bit better. In our area we taught an investigator called Joel. He is awesome! He has been living in a village about 15 kilometers away. But he rides his bike for two hours to come and let
us teach him and also to go to church. Then rides his bike back another two hours. Pretty awesome! 

In the evening we taught a new family. They are Job and Kathy. They were super humble and willing to listen to us. They enjoyed the Restoration and were willing to continue to learn more. I hope that they will progress! One funny that happened. Usually here people always like to feed us or give us
something after we are done teaching. Its a cultural thing. A lot of times people just give us some soda. The normal soda is in 300 ml glass bottles. So Kathy went to get us some soda. When she came back I was expecting the little 300 ml bottles. She puts two 1 Liter bottles of soda on the table. One for each of us! I was confused for like thirty seconds and then my brain finally realized that I was going to have to drink the whole thing. I felt like it wouldn't be good to ask them if we could take it home. So we sat there until we each finished our 1 Liter of soda. Holy cow it was soooo much to drink all at once. Me and my comp were just laughing about it afterwards.

Sunday was a hard day. Nothing went right except for our baptism. It seemed that everything was working against us. Church was a huge struggle and even afterwards things were just not going good. I felt like going to bed and crying myself to sleep! But now I have moved on and I am happy :)

Our baptism service was pretty awesome! Beatrice was soo happy the whole time. She went in the water so well and wasn't even afraid at all. I was the one that baptized her. It seems that everyone always wants me to baptize them! Its ok though. :) After the baptism she was given some time to bear her testimony. She did it in the local language because she isn't very good with English. The gift of the interpretation of tongues is real!!! Even though I cant speak Acholi, I was able to understand bits and pieces of her testimony. Even better was that I could feel the strong spirit of her testimony and I knew that it was sincere and true.

In the July Liahona there is a part where it talks about the apostles traveling around the world. It mentions Elder Bednar speaking in Uganda! Haha I was there way back in January!!!

Thats awesome that you were all able to go to the temple with Jose. Every time you talk about going to the temple I get super jealous. I kinda miss the temple a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!! Uganda needs a temple.

Time is up! Have a good week. Enjoy the surprise at the post office! ;)
Elder LeCheminant

Monday, June 2, 2014

Security Alert in Gulu

Wow it seems like a lot of crazy things happened this week!

This week was good but not much happened. In one of the parts of our area kinda most of our investigators were dropped and we were not able to find anyone at all.We used to have tons of people but we have basically stopped teaching them due to not being serious. So it made our teaching pool suffer a lot! We have two people we are currently preparing for baptism in June. Then we have about 5 other investigators.  So our plan for this week is to start working in a part of the area that I have never worked in.  Missionaries haven't been there for at least 5 months. I hope that we will be able to find some good people and build up our teaching pool again.

There is one cool experience that happened. One of the people we are preparing for baptism is called Beatrice. She is an old momma that is amazing. We are preparing her for next sunday. She is like 49 years old and a super humble and fun person to be around. Every time we show up she just gets super happy and has the biggest smile ever. Even at church she is just always happy and smiling. So on Wednesday we taught her the Word Of Wisdom. She understood all of it and was soo willing to give up coffee and tea. Tea is huge here. Its kinda a cultural thing that the British brought to Uganda.
 Everyone drinks some kind of tea and they are always super stubborn when it comes to the word of wisdom. Most people have no desire to leave their traditions. Anyways, Beatrice was really good about it. When we finished the lesson she got up and went to her little kitchen hut and came back with a container of Tea. She gave it to us and told us to take it. I was actually really surprised. Then we promised to bring her a plant called Lemon Grass that she can put in her garden to use instead of Tea. Lemon Grass is a special kind of grass that grows really tall. You pick it and just boil it in water and it makes the water kinda sweet and lemony flavored. Its sooo good!! So on Saturday morning we took her some and now it is planted in her garden. I love that momma.

This week the missionaries in Gulu were put on a security alert. We have to be home at 7:30 at the latest every night. Over the past week there was a huge group of thieves that came up in northern Uganda. They have been causing a lot of problems. I wont go into details of whats been happening. :) But the military and police are doing patrols everywhere starting at 8:00 every night and they arrest anyone who is out. This is in order to catch the thieves. So we go home early now until it settles down. But don't worry!! During the day we are safe and there is no real danger.
Yesterday in the evening when we came home I made a ton of No Bake Cookies. They were soo good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And also last week I made a bunch of banana cookies. They are also amazing. I am going to make some this week but try and add some cocoa powder because there are no chocolate chips here. All the missionaries in Gulu love me because I can bake delicious stuff. :)

Church yesterday was awesome!! As usual I played the piano in sacrament meeting. I have been doing that every week since being in Gulu. Well last week I decided to actually practice a bit. I know ,crazy idea to practice!! Haha I found out that I can play a lot of the hymns two handed just after like 5-10 minutes of practicing. Usually I just play one hand because two hands is super hard. But the hymns for Sunday I practiced and was able to play them two handed for sacrament meeting. It was pretty cool!! I never knew I could do that!!!!! It helped the spirit to be there so much more during the hymns when I played two hands than just one hand. So that was a cool thing that happened. I am still learning a lot of the hymns.

I'm glad that nothing too serious happened to the B-road Trip. Only just tires falling off the car and the car being parked in the side of a building. Haha that sounds a lot worse than it actually was. Life is just moving on! Things are gonna be so different in a year.
Everyone is getting all grown up. Its exciting to hear about what is going on with everyone in the fam. I love you all :)

The pictures are just some that we took at the church yesterday while we were waiting for people to come.

Dad I want some pics of the fishing trip last weekend so I can show everyone what life is like for us Alaskans. And also of home and the mountains and places around. I don't have any pictures from home. :)

Love ME