Monday, August 25, 2014

Zone Leader Life

Well another week has come and gone. This week was super busy with us driving a ton. Yea, for zone leader life. 

On Tuesday we went to dig in the garden for a guy called Lazarus. We dug for a couple hours then went home. After lunch we taught Peter about Tithing. Then we taught Henry the Ten Commandments using Mosiah 13. After that we went to the church for the Mission Prep class. Elder Latola taught it and he focused on how to teach about the Great Apostasy. The class turned out to be really good. In the evening we taught a less-active called Kita. We talked about Family History and how we can take the names of our ancestors to the Temple for their ordinances and we also talked about the gospel being preached in the Spirit World. It was a great lesson. Usually we need a translator when we teach him but this time we did it all in English and he understood everything! Awesome. 

Wednesday was great. We had our ZDM (zone development meeting). So at around 9:30 am we left to go to the Bugembe chapel. At the same time as ZDM, President Chatfield was there doing interviews for the Bugembe and Mpumudde Elders. Sister Chatfield provided breakfast for all of us! She made dough for homemade tortillas. So we got to cook our own tortillas and we had breakfast burritos. It was amazing!! When President finished the interviews he came and joined us for our zone meeting. It was nice to have him there and we gave him some time to talk at the end. We didn't get back to Iganga until about 3:30. At 4:00 we met a guy called George; he had just showed up at church on Sunday so we made an appointment to meet him. We taught him the Restoration. It was a great lesson and the spirit was there. We also set a baptism date for the 14 of September for him. Our next several appointments we had fell through so we went to the church to be part Institute. After Institute we went to Collins and taught him about the Law of Chastity. 

Thursday we did surprise exchanges in Mpumudde. We left Iganga at 7:30 am so we could go and be a part of the their morning studies and planning. They had planned to do service in the morning so we went with them to do service. We went to a members garden to dig. If you haven't noticed, digging in the garden is usually what we do for service. We had a good time even though the ground was super hard and made digging a challenge. I counted 11 blisters on my left hand and 2 on my right hand. Then I worked with Elder Kasambala and Elder Oliphant. Kasambala is the District Leader and he is from Zimbabwe. Elder Oliphant comes from the same Ward as Elder Latola in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. We had a great day working together.

We stayed the night in Mpumudde and Friday morning we left at around 9:30 am. On our way to Iganga we stopped in Bugembe to do some baptism interviews for Elder Allred. Then went back to Iganga. When we came back we planned our day and then went as a district for lunch at a members house. Then we went on splits cus we had tons of appointments. We ended up teaching 9 lessons for the day. 

Saturday we did service in the Relief Society garden. Yes we were digging! The rest of the day that we had planned got super disorganized and the things we actually did were completely different from what we had planned. But we had several great lessons. 

Church on Sunday was powerful! It was one of the more spiritual set of church meetings that I have been in. In sacrament meeting we had the District President and Elder Casperson there. They reorganized the Branch Presidency! Our Branch President was called to be the second counselor in the District Presidency. The previous second counselor recently moved to the US. Now we have a new Branch president with two counselors. Our closing hymn was "If You Could Hie To Kolob." And, of course, I was playing the keyboard. With all of the testimonies from the leaders and that closing hymn, the spirit was very strong there. I felt so warm and happy inside; I even felt like crying.  Elder Casperson and the District President did the setting apart of the new presidency during Elders Quorum so that the members could see what happens when they set someone apart. It was awesome! After church there was a baptism service for an eight year old girl. The primary took over the whole baptism service; two little kids did the opening and closing prayers and one primary kid conducted the music, again with me at the keyboard! It was awesome! After church we taught Collins and the children to an recent convert called Loy. We had a dinner appointment with the RS President at 8:00. Well we finished the lesson with Loy's kids at around 7:45. When we walked out we found Loy cleaning a chicken that she had just killed. She said she was preparing it for us for dinner! Ahhh. Talk about late notice. We couldn't refuse because she had already killed the chicken so we promised to come back after our other appointment. So we ate with the RS President and then at 8:45 we went back to Loy and had her dinner. Two dinners in one night! I was soooo full. 

Have fun at the fair! Hearing about school starting and sports and the fair and all that good stuff makes me kinda miss it all! 

Mom I already said this to you, but. I have really grown fond of pictures recently. I think its a sign that I have been gone too long but I love pictures! My happiness increases like 79% when I open my email and find that someone sent me pictures. I even have started printing some and I have an album that I keep pics in. It would be nice to fill the album (wink wink)! 

So that's all for Elder LeCheminant this week. As it is said in Lusoga (the local language here in Iganga) - Siba Belungi! (that means have a good day)

Love Elder LeCheminant senior

Monday, August 18, 2014

Playin' in Poop.

Well this week started out slow but by the end things turned out awesome! 

Anyways on Tuesday morning we played with poop for about three hours. Ha ha. I'm sure all of you are wondering right now if I said that right. Yes, we played with poop for a few hours! We were doing service for a family. We were covering the outside walls of their house with a mixture of cow dung, dirt, and water. It made a dark green colored runny mud that smelled really nice! It didn't smell nice.. So we would use our hands and take some and smear it on the wall. We did it for 3 hours until all the walls outside were covered. It makes some kind of protective coating on top of the normal mud walls. Of course I managed to get the stuff everywhere! It was in my face and all over my arms and legs. When we got home I scrubbed everywhere I could but I still smelled like poop the rest of the day. Literally, I smelled like poop the rest of the day. Ha ha, but it was fun. I added a couple pics of it. 

Tuesday night it rained and got super cold! We actually used the heater in the truck as we were driving. According to Alaska standards it was actually pretty warm, but I was freezing! It also made Elder Latola get some flu. All day Wednesday he wasn't feeling good, then in the evening it got bad enough that he decided to go home and sleep. All morning on Thursday he slept and finally woke up at around 10:00 and the flu was gone! So we were able to then prepare to go out. 
We also had interviews with President Chatfield. President and the APs were in Mbale and Busia all morning doing interviews there and on their way back to Kampala they stopped here in Iganga to do our interviews. It was awesome. President asked me about what happened with Jim. So I told him the whole story. He gave me a lot of encouragement and support. President Chatfield is the best! 

Friday we did weekly planning. Then at 2:00 we taught Peter about the Law of Chastity. We are preparing him for baptismnext Sunday. So I hope that by Sunday we will have taught him everything. Its going to be a scramble but I think we will be able to do it. Peter is awesome. He struggles with English but he keeps his commitments and is progressing very well! After we drove to Bugembe to do some baptism interviews. We did one interview in Mpumudde and three in Bugembe. We ended up spending the whole rest of the day there because the interviews were really spread out. 

Saturday was a fantastic day! At 10:30 a sister from Bugembe came here and took us to a family she knows. Then at 11:30we went to a family that was referred to us by a less active we have been teaching. Those two families have a ton of potential. It was awesome to be able to be referred to them. Then after lunch we visited another family that we recently started teaching. So now we have 3 families that we are teaching!! Its so awesome. I have never taught this many families all at once. Its difficult to get families. Usually we teach single people or just one person in a family. In the evening we taught Collins about the Word of Wisdom. At first he had some concerns with Coffee and Tea (just like every Ugandan). But we explained that most importantly this is a commandment from God and he gave it to us for specific reasons. He understood and was willing to start living it. It was awesome. Collins is preparing for baptism on the 31 of August. After him we taught a less active called Kita. We went through the Plan of Salvation with him. When we got to the judgement something clicked in his brain. He then said "So when we are judged God will ask us if we went to church every Sunday, paid our tithing, kept the law of chastity, and followed all the commandments?" I answered and said yes. He then said "So that means I need to repent and do those things so I can go to the celestial kingdom!" Haha we all laughed. It was a surprise to me that he would say something like that. I guess us teaching him the Plan Of Salvation actually worked. Then we taught a family called the Kanyoros. We got there after 8:30 so we only had about 15 minutes to teach. We taught about family history and gave them a blank 4 generation pedigree chart to fill out. I hope it helps them on the path to reactivation. 

So basically that was the week! Things turned out pretty well. We ended up with 10 referrals and 11 new investigators for the week. 

Have a great week everyone! Good luck at school. Choose the right. 
Elder LeCheminant senior

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tons of Teaching and Service!

What a week!

On Tuesday we continued with the bricks for brother David Baffa. There were no snakes this time. It was fun. Later we taught Peter about the Plan Of Salvation. It was a great lesson. Later we taught Kiprotich, who was baptized a week ago. We added an emphasis on obedience as we were explaining each of the points in the POS. It was a great lesson.  We waited at the church for some other people that never showed up. At around 6:30 we went to the market in town and bought two chickens then as a District we went to the village. We visited one of the counselors in the Branch Presidency called Ciprian. This guy is powerful and is a story that you can share about testimony and dedication to the gospel. 

Ciprian met the missionaries a couple years ago in town and they directed him to the church. He went to church on Sunday and they started teaching him, then he invited his wife to come and join the church as well. The catch is that Ciprian lives 20 kilometers away from town in the village. He rides his bicycle 3 hours every Sunday to come to church. He leaves home at around 6:00 am so he can be at church by 9:00 for meetings and then church starts at 10:00. He NEVER fails to come to church even if it is raining. If it is raining he holds an umbrella while riding his bike 3 hours to the church. His wife and daughter take a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) every Sunday to come to church as well. Those 3 hours every week are a testimony to his conversion and dedication to live the gospel.  Even he and his wife are preparing to serve a mission as senior couples. They are just waiting for their daughter to go on her mission first. Are you dedicated enough to ride a bicycle 3 hours every Sunday to church? If not then maybe it would be good to consider where your testimony is and what you need to do to become more converted to the gospel. So there is his story.

On Tuesday night we went and visited him. In the truck it took about 30 minutes to drive there and they cooked dinner for us. It was a wonderful humbling experience. Some of us complain about going to church because we are tired or "sick" or it is far. Most of you can either drive or walk to church in less than 10 minutes. Some of us always come late to church. The only excuse for someone to be late is if they live 20 kilometers away and have to come on a bicycle! But this man always comes an hour early to attend his meetings. Just something for everyone to think about :)

The rest of the week went well. We did a lot of service and taught a lot of new people. Our teaching pool is growing and we now have many great people that we are teaching. Throughout the week Elder Latola and I made a lot of progress and improvements in the way we work. Things are looking good for this coming week. 

Have fun going back to school this week!

Love Elder LeCheminant

Monday, August 4, 2014

Relief Society Garden, Missionary Treasure Hunt, and Transfers

So again I forgot my planner today so I am doing this completely on my brain's very limited ability to remember important things. Haha I should work on that. 

Anyways, On Tuesday we went and did some digging in the Relief Society garden. We were weeding a big section of it. Yea not very exciting, and no mom I don't know anything about gardens so don't get too excited! Haha It was fun though.

Wednesday we had our District meeting. We were asked by President Chatfield to focus the meeting on Elder Ballards talk about 'Follow Up' from general conference. We watched the talk and then discussed the important principle of follow up. That is a great talk. In the evening we went to a member that prints shirts and gave him a design we had for a zone t-shirts.

Thursday we went to the Relief Society garden again. We were weeding in the same area and then got to a place that had some veggies growing so we stopped because we didn't want to ruin whatever was planted there.  There was a member in the next garden over who was harvesting maize so went and helped him finish harvesting the maize. Then we loaded it into giant sacks and helped him transport it home. It was fun. I have never harvested maize before.  In the evening we went back to the member that makes shirts so we could approve the design he made and to give him the money. 

Friday after the morning schedule we went to the church to meet with the Branch leaders to plan out an activity we were going to do on Saturday. Of course the meeting took way longer than it should have. But it was probably the best planning meeting I have ever been in because each of the Branch leaders were actively participating and contributing. Usually meetings have someone talk the whole time and everyone sits there as if they could care less what was going on. So that was great. After the meeting we went out to buy the refreshments that we needed for the activity. We ordered 65 samosas and 65 mandazis. Samosas are delicious triangle shaped things filled with stuff and fried, and mandazis are similar to scones. They are basically just some fried bread. We didn't go home for lunch until 2:00. But we were able to get everything ready for the activity so it was almost worth the time we spent. A member gave us a duck! So for lunch we had a duck. The meat was actually pretty good. 

Saturday we had the activity. We called it the Missionary Treasure Hunt. The name was made to get people interested in coming. Each of us Elders were paired with an Returned Missionary in the Branch. Then we made 4 stations each led by an Elder/RM pair. Each station was given one of the lessons in Preach My Gospel to do a short teaching about that lesson. During the activity we split everyone that came into 4 groups, one for each station. Then every 10-15ish minutes the groups would rotate.  I was teaching about the commandments. We focused it on the Word Of Wisdom, Law Of Consecration, Tithing, and Sabbath Day. It was sooo hard to talk about all of those commandments in just 10 minutes. But we managed to get through it all. Then we took each of the groups out into the field to get some hands on experience doing missionary work. Each group had 30 minutes to go out and get at least 10 contacts. My group split up in the area. I was working with 3 others. I told them that if they see a person or a door they feel like going to, then go there, and I just followed behind and let them do the work. It was awesome! They did a great job. I had to help a few times when they would be at a loss for words but we managed to get many good contacts. One of them even took us to her sisters house and led us down a road that had many people she knew. Then we all met back at the church and had some closing remarks and had the refreshments. We had planned to take an hour and play some minute to win it games but the other two parts went way over time so we couldn't do the games. Then we used all of the people there to clean the church. The activity turned out to be a huge success.  We didn't get home until about 4:00 and were all super exhausted. After some rest at home we went goat shopping!!! Haha, yes we went shopping for a goat because we were planning to use it early Monday and we weren't shopping on Sunday. That was fun. I have never bought a goat before.  We went to see a Sister who had a birthday and gave her a cake that Elder Latola made. She even made it into a little birthday party with soda and popcorn. Then we went and picked up the zone t-shirts we had printed. 

Sunday was pretty good. Church was awesome. After church a member that we work with a lot came over to teach me how to make pilau. Pilau is a popular dish here. It is basically brown rice with spices and meat and it is sooo good!!! I have always wanted to know how to make it. Now I know and I will probably be making it a lot when I come home. Then we went out to the village! We drove to a town called Bugiri and then out to the village. We went there about a month ago. We had a nice discussion with Joshua and were able to answer many questions he had. We even gave him a Bible to use with his Book Of Mormon. Joshua is awesome. He is an older man and is super smart but he is humble and listens to us and accepts the answers and teachings we give him. The only problem is that he is kinda far from Iganga so it will be difficult to come to church. But he is awesome and the seed is planted for the church to reach his area some day in the future. When we came back we stopped at a members home for a quick dinner appointment and had some delicious food. Then we went home and packed, got the goat and went to spent the night in Bugembe. 

Today for Pday we had a zone activity. We slept in Bugembe because we had to get things ready early in the morning. We went to the church in Bugembe at around 9:00 and  cooked some of the goat meat on a charcoal grill and rest we made with some soup. I also made pilau with the goats meat. Elder Lassig and I were the chefs in the kitchen. We were in there for about 3 hours. The pilau took a long time to cook. And then Elder Lassig made an apple pie and I made a chocolate cake. While we were cooking the rest of the zone was outside playing soccer. The chocolate cake was sooooo good! I made it completely from scratch. There's no nonsensical cake in a box type things here so I used a chocolate cake recipe we have. I even made chocolate frosting to go on top!!! Ahh it was so good. When everything was finally finished we feasted. It was fun having the zone together enjoying some good food. It was an awesome zone activity. 

So that was the week. It was pretty hectic and we had way to many things to do because we were preparing for the activityon Saturday and also the Zone activity, but the week turned out pretty good in the end. 

Today we received transfer news. The whole Iganga District is staying the same this transfer. Elder Allred is coming to be the new district leader in Bugembe. So now I am his zone leader! Haha. We heard about what's going on in West Africa. There were 12 or 15 missionaries that were there from Uganda who have been reassigned here. So the mission got a bunch more missionaries! Some of them were sisters. In the Jinja Branch they added a set of Sisters; that Branch now has 4 sister companionships. They also have the Jinja Zone Leaders in that Branch as well. So the Jinja branch has 10 missionaries! Huge. Ebola is pretty crazy. There was an outbreak in Uganda about 2 years ago. Last year I heard stories from some of the old missionaries who were here during it. For now everything is safe here in Uganda! 

Recently it has been pretty difficult for people to get visas to Uganda. For me it was no problem but after my group they have been having a lot of problems.

Have a great week! I love you all. 
Elder LeCheminant