Monday, December 29, 2014

Hello, 2015!

Hello everyone! 

This was a great week with lots of interesting things.
Tuesday was just a good day. We met with Elizabeth who was preparing for baptism on Sunday. She is a daughter to Fred who was baptized a few weeks ago. Then after lunch we set baptism dates with 3 other people. they will be baptized in January. Wednesday was also a good day. We continued preparing Elizabeth and met a few other people. In the evening we had Family Home Evening with a family that was referred to us by the Branch President. It was a great FHE. For the lesson part I told the story of the Book of Mormon using a piece of paper. Its a cool story that I learned from another missionary. Then we played games and just had a good time.

Thursday was Christmas of course! We had put our mattresses on the floor in the sitting room so the 4 of us in the house slept there like a sleep over kinda thing. Then in the morning we opened the stockings that mom sent. I gave one stocking to the other companionship and one stocking to me and my companion. I had hung them over an A/C unit that is in our sitting room. I thought it was funny because at home you hang the stockings over the fireplace. Here I put them over the Air Conditioning. :) We are lucky to have A/C though. Most of the other houses in the mission don't have it. In the morning we went and taught Elizabeth again to finish up her preparation for baptism. Then we had 3 food appointments! All of them were right after each other. I tried my best to pack in the food but I was defeated. We ended up taking home a lot of food. It was a great way to spend Christmas.

Then Friday came. I was planning to call at 7:00 am, I put my SIM card in my cell phone and got ready, then tried calling. It kept saying the network was busy. I kept trying for an hour. At 8:30 we had to leave to go to Kampala. So while driving my comp was still trying. at around 10:30 we gave up. I was super annoyed and kinda mad at the phone a little bit:). I didn't know what to do. It was a blessing that the traffic going to Kampala was not bad at all. If the traffic was bad like usual it would have fueled my stress. I just decided to wait to get to Kampala to decide what to do. We reached the mission office around 11:30. I told Sister Wallace that my phone wasn't working; so without hesitating she just gave me her phone to use. I was kinda surprised and didn't know what to do. She let me call and that's when I finally was able to get through. Then Sister Wallace was kind enough to let me use her computer for the video talk thingy. That was cool. I had no idea what I was doing though. Technology has officially surpassed my comprehension! After talking we went to the mission home for MLC. It was a great meeting. i was inspired in many ways. It was a very spiritual meeting. Afterwards we went to eat at the Protea Hotel again. That place is way to nice and fancy but the food is amazing!!!!!

Saturday morning I got my toe operated on at Elder Chabras house. He is our mission Medical Advisor. He is from California but a native of India. He was saying that he is a retired Urologist and originally did General Surgery but after completing residency he decided tIt was done on his couch. I just layed there and he numbed the toe and did some surgery to remove the ingrown nail. Elder Mkutswana took a video of the operation and some nice pics. So right now I have big bandage covering my toe. I havent' been able to wear shoes since then, just my sandals. Yesterday after church I had to sit at home with my foot elevated; that was really boring. I hated sitting at home all day. It was my first sick day since I came on mission!!!!
That was the week.

Now it is almost 2015. I am done with a full calender year as a missionary. Now the countdown begins to May :)

Thanks mom and Andy for the packages!!!! I shared as much as a could with the other Elders in the house. They really appreciated it and said thank you. The football is super nice as well. We are going to enjoy! :)

Say hello to Dillon Hillis for me before he leaves next week. Thats awesome he is going on mission :)

The pics are of Christmas morning and then the family of Fred. Elizabeth is one of the daughters and was baptized on Sunday.

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Happy New Year!!! No Mwaka Omwiaka Gube Gwa Mirembe!!!!!!!!!!!! (Lusoga).

Elder LeCheminant senior

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ndini Fisela Ukisimusi Omuhle

So if you are confused about the subject line, it means we wish you a Merry Christmas in Zulu.

This week was a great one.
Tuesday. Elder Mayeya, our DL in Iganga had an injury in his leg from a soccer game we played two weeks ago. Tuesday the pain was so much that he couldnt' sleep. So Sister Squire recommended that we take him to a hospital to get it checked out. So after studies I got to drive him to Mpumudde to a little medical center. It was actually a nice place with good doctors. They recommended doing an ultrasound. So after the typical wait forever thing in hospitals we finally got in to the ultrasound room. It was my first time ever seeing an ultrasound in real life. The radiologist went up and down his leg to see if there was any muscle damage. He kept trying to explain all the different layers of muscle and tendons and stuff on the screen of the ultrasound. All I say was grey with random lines on it, so I'm not sure what he was looking at. :) Haha, it reminded me of the sonar/fish finder on the boat!!! Anyways, the diagnosis was just a muscle laceration that just needed time to heal. So that was a fun experience.

During the week we started having FHE (Family Home Evening) with different families. on Thursday night we had FHE with the Branch President and his family. It was fun! We are planning to do it with a different family in the Branch every other night to be able to show them how to do FHE and build a relationship of trust. Also so they can start doing FHE regularly in their families, then invite friends to join them, then give those friends to us to teach!!! Haha its a new finding way to get referrals that we came up with. Also during the day we were teaching the family of Joy, a mama that just joined us, said a powerful quote. She said "Knowledge Is Better Than Money." Just think about that :)

Saturday was also our Branch Christmas Party. It was kinda unorganized so really stressful at first. They announced it would start at 10 am. No one showed up until around 12 then it didn't officially start until 2 pm. So from 12 to 2 there was nothing planned for the people sitting there waiting, so we took on the responsibility of entertaining them. For two hours we were running trying to come up with games or things to keep the people busy. It was sooo exhausting!!! At around 2 things started getting organized finally! There was a nice little program that was put together by the Branch choir. Of course I was the pianist for the choir and then the other three Elders were the men voices in the choir because no other men from the Branch were willing to come. The program was nice. We would sing a Christmas hymn, then in between the next song someone would say something from the "He Is The Gift". They would talk about either Discovering, Embracing, or Sharing the Gift. Another cool part is that we sang a few of the Christmas hymns in Luganda! It was cool. Singing in other languages is fun. And the whole time I was at the keyboard; somehow I managed to play all the songs pretty well. The party ended with food. It turned out to be a good party even if the beginning was not the greatest.

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Sunday church was good as well. We have been trying for about 2 months to get an English class started during Sunday school. The church has a beautiful literacy course designed to teach you English through the gospel. So Sunday the class was finally started. We have a lot of people coming to church that don't know English so its hard for them at church. They were happy with the class so that was good! After church we had 3 baptisms. It was 3 of the kids of Joy, the momma that we baptized a couple months ago. The baptism was awesome!!

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Today we had a Christmas party in Jinja. It was combined with Mbale, Iganga, and Jinja Zones and it was organized by Elder and Sister Squire. The party was awesome!!!! We spent the day playing games and having a talent show. Each district presented some sort of talent. For us in Iganga district, we sang Angels We Have Heard On High, but in Luganda! It was pretty cool and everyone enjoyed the different language. It didn't finish until after 4:00 then we had to transport people and then come back to Iganga. That is why I am sending this email so late. I am super tired right now.

Mom - the Squires brought my packages from Kampala so I got them today. I felt kinda bad because most of the other missionaries didn't get any packages. But its ok! I don't hoard everything to myself like other people. So in Iganga we will have a nice Christmas.
I cant believe Emily is going home next week!!! What is happening?

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!!! Enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Remember what Christmas is all about and try not to focus on the industry side of it. Those things really don't matter at all. i LOVE YOU ALL.

Elder LeCheminant

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crazy Hectic Week!

This was just a hectic week! We were super disorganized. Transfers were crazy.

On Tuesday evening we went to Ciprian's place. We left Iganga kinda late so we were driving in the dark going there. Then we killed the chicken and then dinner came out late as a result. We didn't leave his house until 9:30 and got home at 10:00. I was soo tired!

Then Wednesday was transfer day. This time they had all of the zone leaders do the transfers. In the past the senior couples were the ones driving for transfers, but now it was all the zone leaders. So we got to drive to Kampala on Wednesday. We picked up Elder Allred in Bugembe, then Elders Hamlett and Halladay in Mpumudde and then went to Kampala. We arrived at the missionary compound in Ntinda where the Senior Couples in Kampala, the AP's and the Ntinda missionaries stay. Transfers were crazy. There was about 15 vehicles in the compound and tons of missionaries. The place only has room for about 6 or 7 vehicles. It was fun to see missionaries from all over the mission who were being transfered. I saw Elder Mgijima for the last time! He is now home. It was nice to see a few old companions and other missionaries that I have served with in the last year and a half. Then at around 4:00 we finally left with the Elders for our zone. On the way out we stopped at Shoprite and the Distribution Center. We left Kampala at about 6:00  and reached Jinja at 9:00. Traffic was ridiculous. It took us an hour longer than usual to reach Jinja. Then after dropping off the elders we didn't get back to Iganga until about 10:00. I was exhausted driving in heavy traffic the whole day, but we survived and now things are slowing down.

There was a stressful thing that happened. On Saturday it was announced that we were going to watch a Conference broadcast for the Africa Continent. We got to the church and found out that it was supposed to be shown on Sunday. A few families had already come to the church and we didn't want to just send them home, so we tried putting on a movie for them. The dvd player was having problems; we would put in a movie and explain what it was about then start it, then 2 minutes into the movie it would stop working. That happened about 6 times. It was really embarrassing! Finally we realized we had some movies on a USB. That worked so we watched the 'RM!' It was a pretty funny movie. The families were happy and went home afterwards.

Then Sunday comes. We had Sacrament and then went to show the Conference. They had brought another dvd player to use and as we put it on we found that the dvd player didn't work. Everyone was there watching us struggle to get the thing to work. Then we went to the computer at the church and tried copying the recording onto a USB. It worked but took about 10 minutes. They had the congregation just sing hymns while they waited. We put in the USB to the TV and it worked, but as the speakers started talking, the language was not English. I think it was Portuguese. We had copied the wrong language on the computer!!!!!!!!! That was just embarrassing. Then someone offered a dvd player from their house, so we drove to their house like it was need for speed. It usually takes about 5 minutes to drive there. Well, we drove there, got the dvd player, and drove back to the church in 5 minutes. :) Hahaha anyways, the dvd player worked!!!!!!! Only 45 minutes after we tried the first time were we finally able to get it going. That was just a stressful hour. The Conference was amazing. It was Elder Gay of the seventy, Sister Stevens, Elder Bednar, and Pres Uchtdorf speaking to the continent of Africa. The messages were awesome and addressed a lot of problems here. Elder Gay said something cool. He talked about the problem of being too BUSY! Then went on to explain that being busy simply means Being Under Satan's Yoke. Think about that!!! :)

We survived the week through all the chaos. This week will be our first week in about the last 6 weeks where we will be in our area every day! I am excited.
Thanks for the Christmas songs Andy.

Congrats on the new baby Kathryn!!
Also that's awesome that you were able to finally get a moose dad. Hopefully there will still be some left in 5 months :)
Happy Anniversary mom and dad last week!
Happy birthday Jacob. 13 years old.

Have a great week all. Enjoy preparing for Christmas.

Elder LeCheminafrica

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Transfer, Same Place

Today was the beginning of another transfer. The AP's called us in the morning to give us the news. Elder Mkutswana and I will be staying here in Iganga again. This will be my 5th transfer here and my 3rd with Mkutswana. I guess Heavenly Father wants me here. I was used to not staying in areas for long periods of time.

The week was a super busy week. We almost didn't have time to work in our area but somehow managed to see most of the people. On Wednesday we had our Zone Meeting to report about the things we talked about at MLC. It was a really good meeting and everyone learned a lot. After the meeting Elder Mkutswana and I went to visit with Elder and Sister Squire in Jinja for a few minutes. It was nice to be in their house! It felt like home being there. Elder Squire is the person in charge of all of the vehicles in the mission. I wanted to know how far I have driven since I came here in July. So we looked at the mileage records. So far I have driven about 1500 kilometers in the last 5 months. I know that probably means nothing to any of you but it can be one of your fun facts or be a part of your "gee whiz" collection. Haha

After that we went and did exchanges in Mpumudde. It was a great day. I worked with Elder Oliphant and Halladay. We then stayed the night there. In the morning before we left to come back to Iganga, Elder Halladay cut my hair. He has a whole hair cutting set that I am hopefully inheriting from him. He goes home this week!

The rest of the week is kinda a blur. It happened so fast that I don't really know anything important to say about those days, but Sunday was awesome! Church was a great experience as usual. During fast/testimony meeting they had each of the full time missionaries bear their testimonies in case they would be transferred; so the four of us got to bear our testimonies. It was a good experience for me. I haven't done it for a long time in Sacrament Meeting because I usually leave the time for the members to share their testimonies. But it was a good experience and I felt the spirit as I was standing there speaking to the Branch. It helped to give a bit more strength to my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We again had a ton of investigators;  we had 15 investigators at church and the four that were baptized last week were confirmed. Another great achievement is that attendance reached 100!! When I got here back in June/July the average attendance was high 70's. Yesterday we broke 100 and we are expecting it to grow even more in the coming weeks. Another thing I enjoyed is that we started singing the Christmas hymns at church. It was an enjoyable experience for me to even play those hymns on the keyboard. I love the Christmas hymns!!!!

That reminds me, I am desperately in need of good Christmas music. If you have any I would love it if you could send it to me. I think a good way is through the email. Just upload the songs on the email and I will download them here. I want them asap. thanks :)

Today for Pday we had an activity with the Branch. We had a soccer match between the Iganga Branch and the missionaries. We had the whole Zone come to make a full team. We went to a school near the church that has a nice football pitch(soccer field). We played a full game of 90 minutes and the final score was 7-7. I thought it was good to end in a draw because then no one can give fire to the other team for them losing or winning. So it turned out good. I have a nice sunburn coming. In the morning I will feel it!

As it draws nearer to Christmas don't forget to 'SHARE THE GIFT.' This is a perfect time of year to share about Jesus Christ with EVERYONE you come in contact with. He truly did come to the earth. God loved us soo much that he gave his son to be sacrificed and to suffer for the rest of us. If Heavenly Father loved us enough to share his son with us, then we should have no problem sharing Him with everyone else. HE IS THE GIFT, DISCOVER THE GIFT, EMBRACE THE GIFT, SHARE THE GIFT.

Elder LeCheminant - UKM, "The Mission of Missions"

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lots of Service Makes for a Great Week!

Well this was a pretty awesome week! We only had 6 lessons the whole week because we were doing soo many different things.

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent finishing up the lessons for Fred and his two daughters Linette and Christine and also Aminsi who is the youngest son to Florence.
Tuesday morning we did service for the mother to Fred. She is an old women who has a huge garden and needed help becuase she has been having a lot of back pain. So we helped in the garden on Tuesday morning. We had a good time there. Then the amazing thing is that the grandma gave us a huge chicken afterwards to take home and eat! We were really happy about that. So Wednesday morning we killed the chicken and cooked it in the crock pot for several hours with some soup mix. It was sooooo delicious!!!

Wednesday we spent a lot of time as well teaching those preparing for baptism.
Thursday morning we did service in the garden for Florence. Afterwards she fed us sweet potatoes with some kind of really good sauce. I spent the afternoon with Elder Mayeya, our District Leader, because he was interviewing our 4 investigators to be baptized on Sunday. During the interview of Aminsi, Florence was making something called "insenene." That is basically grasshoppers, with the wings and legs pulled off, and then cooked in a frying pan. I took a sweet pic of them that I will send next week. The insenene (grasshoppers) taste soo good. They taste kinda like bacon. I encourage everyone to try it. They are delicious! :)

We left for Kampala on Thursday night around 7:00 pm. We drove together in a line with the ZL's from Mbale and from Jinja. For some reason I ended up being the lead out of the three vehicles. It was dark and driving on the roads in Uganda at night is nice because there is less traffic but it is dark so pretty scary at times. There was one time were there was a big truck just sitting in the road and there was no lights or anything to warn that it was there. Because it was dark, I didn't see it until about 2 seconds away. Luckily I saw it and swerved out of the way just in time to miss the truck. If i didn't swerve I would have run right into the back and probably wouldn't be here typing this email right now. Then another time we were behind a slow truck and as I was overtaking him the road ahead was completely dark so I assumed it was safe to pass. As I started overtaking, the road unexpectedly curved and a car was coming!!! Since I was halfway I decided to just finish the pass and barely barely barely squeezed in just in time. It was a little too close for comfort. We arrived in Kampala safely around 10:00 pm. Friday morning we went to the mission office to do some shtuff then to the distribution center. At 1:00 we were at the mission home for MLC to start at 1:30. MLC was awesome!! We had all of the zone leaders in the mission there this time. So the far away ones didn't have to Skype again. There was a few changes made in the mission. One thing we talked about is that as the second coming of Jesus Christ draws nearer, the world is becoming increasingly more wicked and evil. So in response, the requirements for becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ are becoming a bit more difficult. There are new rules regarding polygamy and Muslims which are both common here in Uganda. After MLC we went to eat at the Protea again. The food was way to fancy and delicious.

On Saturday we spent the morning going to Shoprite and then getting the truck serviced. While the truck was being serviced we ate at a restaurant called Cafe Javas. It was really good. I had a huge hamburger that was too big to fit my mouth over, and it was way to expensive as well, but I was willing to make the sacrifice. :) We made it back to Iganga at around 4:30. I was way too exhausted. The long driving for two days just wiped me out, but I survived and did my best to stay awake.
Sunday was pretty awesome as well. During church one of the recent converts, and prospective missionary, gave a talk in sacrament meeting. He was baptized this year in February but gave a talk like a General Authority. It was powerful! Then during the next two block meetings my companion and I spent the time filling the baptism font with buckets. I think It took over 250 buckets. I tried counting but then lost track because it was soo many. One cool thing about Sacrament meeting is that we had 18 investigators at church. That was really exciting. I have never had that many before. After church we had the baptism of those four that I mentioned before. It was a great baptism service.

Overall this week has been a great week. Even November was an amazing month. This past month I have learned a ton of things a grew in more ways than I can even count. I feel that I am a completely different missionary now than what I was in October and the months before. I am now starting my last 6 months of mission. This is the time for me to be able to do as much good as I possibly can while I am still here. I feel that November has prepared me for the next 6 months and even the next several years of my life. This December we are participating in the event the church is doing about spreading the Gift of Jesus Christ. We will be carrying around laminated papers that basically show the "Share the Gift" message. It is a way that we will be using to find new investigators throughout this Christmas season. I am excited for Christmas this year. It will be a memorable one for all of us as we remember the coming of our Savior to the World. He really did come to the world. It is the greatest gift that God has given to the entire human family. He is the gift. Share the gift.

Elder LeCheminant