Monday, January 26, 2015

A Whole Lot of Changes

So this week was a week of a whole lot of changes.
First of all my new companion is called Elder Harmon. He is from California in the Sacramento area. This is his second transfer so I am finishing off the new missionary training program with him.

On Tuesday we spent the day going all over the place saying goodbye to people and doing some important things. I really hate saying goodbye to people. I have grown to love the people in Iganga so much and it was almost worse than leaving AK to come to Uganda! Sorry, mom. I honestly felt at home in Iganga. The members are amazing there and I will especially miss the families we were teaching. It was a hectic day trying to say goodbye to as many people as possible. There were even a few that we didn't see. :(

Wednesday was transfer day. I finished up packing in the morning and then we left at around 10:00. We made a quick stop in Bugembe so I could say goodbye to the Elders there and to Mpumudde to pick up an Elder who was transferred. Then we were on the way to Kampala. It was weird knowing that I was driving to Kampala for the last time! After reaching the Ntinda house I had like 10 minutes to talk to some other Elders, then the zone leaders for the Kololo zone needed to go. I quickly threw my stuff in their truck and we were gone. It happened soo fast! I was dropped off in my area with Elder Harmon at around 3:00. It is only he and I in the house; the rest of our district stays in a different house. The District is 6 elders. Our house is sooooooo nice! I feel like I am in a hotel. There is a real shower, sliding doors that go out to a balcony thing, a nice pantry in the kitchen, good water pressure, etc.. I have been in the village for too long! The area is really nice as well. There is soo many people. I can guess probably hundreds of thousands of people in our area alone. We live kinda close to a shopping mall called Acacia Mall. We went in there today and I was shocked out of my mind. It was a real mall with a parking garage underneath, elevators, nice little stores inside, etc. They had a food court at the top with nice fast food restaurants. We went there to eat. I felt soo extremely out of place. My mind was lost and I kinda felt a little sick to my stomach. It was soo strange and foreign to me.

Another crazy thing was church yesterday. The Kololo Ward meets in the Stake Center for the Kampala sSake. It is a beautiful church constructed building. As we showed up for church I expected the chapel to be normal tile on the floor with soft chairs. Haha, well that is normal for Uganda. My mind was blown away as I walked in and saw nice CARPET on the floor and BENCHES. Whoa!!! Carpet and benches were so foreign. I forgot how good it feels to walk on carpet. Haha. Church was amazing and organized and run the proper way that it should. It was so nice for me because most of the Branches I have been in rely a lot on the missionaries because they are so new. I was just there enjoying all of the lessons with no worries at all!

Now I am sure everyone who is reading this is probably laughing their heads off right now. But honestly all of these things are soo foreign to the village life that I love and miss.
We also have to walk every where because we don't have a vehicle! Last night we went to visit a family that took us 1 HOUR to walk to! It was soo far and the rest of the area is massive so we walk a ton!

The lesson in Elders Quorum was amazing and I was inspired. We went through a story from the OCT 2014 Liahona called "Upon the Top of the Waters". It is amazing and inspirational stories about trials in life. The author tells about some personal struggles he has and then finds strength from the story of the Jaredites in Ether chapter 6. The Jaredites had to cross the ocean in barges. The waves and the wind would be so intense that sometimes they would submerge under the water for a while. Then after faith and prayers they were able to come back to the top of the water. An interesting incite is about the wind and the waves. It says that the wind never stopped blowing them towards the promised land. If the wind was not there they would never have reached the promised land. We can compare the wind and waves to our trials in life. Sometimes we complain about our situation and ask God to take away our trials; but for the Jaredites would have never made it to their destination without the wind. For us, we will never make it to our destination of being a true son or daughter of God and to live with him without our trials. So instead of complaining and praying for our trials to go away, we should pray for them to come and for the strength to endure. We cannot grow and progress in life without things going wrong a few times. I love the way the author ends the story. He says "But if and when the tempest returns, I will call upon the Lord and be thankful, knowing that calm seas don’t carry barges to the promised land—stormy seas do." I just felt like sharing that with everyone. Personally it was a life changing lesson. :)

Kale bassebo ni bannyabo. Tulabagana next week! :)

Elder LeCheminant

Monday, January 19, 2015

Transfer #15 (!!!)

So an eventful week went by just like that.
On Tuesday we did an exchange with Mpumudde. I took the DL Elder Oliphant to my area and Elder Mkutswana stayed in Mpumudde. Elder Oliphant and I had a nice day together. Every lesson we had but one was with a family! In the evening we met with the family of Rubanga and set baptism dates with the mom and a few of the kids who were there. So they will be preparing for February.

On Wednesday we had an adventure driving around the area. We found a path that leads from one village we go to to another village. Its shorter than driving back to town and then to the other village. The path cut was just beautiful! Its soo beautiful driving through the villages here. I say path because it wasn't really a road. It was a footpath that has been driven on a few times so we didn't feel bad driving on it. :)

Then Thursday our district leader did a surprise exchange on us. So I was working with Elder Chinunda for the day. He is from Tanzania. We had a good day except I got sick. I think it was something I ate for lunch. It wasn't anything weird. Just plain old rice and beans, but we ate at a local restaurant so it might have not been clean.  I seriously felt like I was going to die. Then after that I got a few hours of sleep. Friday I was super weak and was down the whole day. I just layed on a mattress on the floor the whole day sipping apple juice. It was pretty miserable, but by Saturday I was better. It was the first time I had been sick like that!! I hope it doesn't happen again.

Today we got transfer news. I am now on my 15th transfer. Only three left. The surprise is that I am being transferred to Kololo. I will be finishing up the training of Elder Harmon. This will be his 2nd transfer. Kololo is in Kampala, and the chapel is actually the Stake Center for the Kampala Stake. Its going to be super weird for me being in a Ward and in a constructed building! And in Kampala. I am going to miss the village. I decided that I am a villager. Even at home I am a villager. Where we live in AK is basically the village!!!!!!!!!!! I was also released as a Zone Leader, so that means I wont be driving anymore. Goodbye Kirby!!!!! (Kirby is the name we gave the truck here in Iganga). So a whole new adventure awaits. I feel like I am leaving my home. Iganga has become my home. I love the members and the Branch here more than anything and I am probably going to cry when we drive to Kampala on Wednesday.

That's all for the week!

Elder LeCheminant

Monday, January 12, 2015

Only 3 Months Left!

So this week was a good one with its usual ups and downs. I feel like there's not much to report on though.

One cool thing is that on Tuesday we went with the Branch president to visit an investigator family. We have been teaching a husband and wife for about a month. The holiday season kinda disrupted their progression but now things are back to normal and they are progressing nicely. It is Kenneth and Betty. They have been together for about 6 years and have a cute little girl. The problem is that they aren't legally married. So we took the Branch Pres with us to talk about planning a wedding. We set a marriage date for the 31st of January. They were both super excited about finally getting to be married. The only worry is that Betty's family could possibly come and ruin everything for us, but we are praying that they will endure Satan's attempts to destroy the family. They are great people that found the church just by walking in one day. This will be my first family to prepare for marriage since coming on mission. Every other family I have taught and baptized were either already married before or marriage wasnt an issue. So I am super excited to finally prepare a wedding. The only downside is that the 31st of Jan is in next transfer. I have been here for 5 transfers now so I am doubting I will stay again. I hope I do stay again though to see them get married and also to finish a bunch of other things we got started in the Branch.

One thing my companion and I recognized yesterday is that the Iganga Branch is really growing a ton! When I came to this area back in June last year, the average sacrament attendance was 80. Over the last month the average attendance has gone to 110. Since November, on our side we have had an average of 12 investigators at church each sunday and around 10 progressing. So things are going great. I love this area. I am nervous for what is happening in the next transfer though. This week is week 6 so next monday we will know what is happening for the next transfer. I only have 3 left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyways, another cool thing that happened was with another investigator family. The father is Rubanga and the wife is Irene and they have 7 kids. They were referred to us from the Branch president. Rubanga had a stroke about a year ago and so he has been sick for a long time. The doctors said he just needs to sit at home and let his body recover on its own. Well as the last year went by his left side continued getting weaker and weaker until now he is almost immobile on the left side of his body. So we took our new EQP, his name is Kiiza, to visit this family. He has been working with us a lot recently and is a fantastic fellowshipper. Well he surprised us by saying he was trained in Physical Therapy. He offered to help Rubanga as a service so we took him to Rubanga's house and Kiiza is now doing physical therapy for him to bring strength back into the muscles. We started on tuesday. After Kiiza explained the whole process of therapy we gave him a blessing. He chose me to bless and I really felt like I was guided by the spirit in that blessing. Afterwards Rubanga was extremely grateful for everything we are doing for him to the point of almost tears. I felt soo much pure joy in my heart for being able to a part of his life and to serve him. It is only one individual, but it will affect his whole family and even future generations. The wife and a few kids have been coming to church so we are going to start focusing on them and preparing them for baptism.

Enjoy the week everyone!
Love Elder LeCheminant

Monday, January 5, 2015

Moral of the Story: DON'T LEAVE CHURCH EARLY

Hello once again. I feel like I was just here. Its all becoming a blur. I don't even realize what is going on with the days anymore.
This week was an interesting one. We had a lot of crazy things happen. Today I am just super tired and exhausted from everything we went through in the week. But I endured and we survived.

On Tuesday morning we had a meeting with the Relief Society presidency to start preparing the Branch mission plan for this year. We had an amazing meeting. Those sisters are powerful. We spent an hour discussing different needs and goals and things. The spirit was there. Something that I learned is that men are nothing compared to a woman. I don't want anyone to get offended by that, but you can't deny that a woman's spiritual stature is just enormous compared to a man's! Its amazing how a lot of women in the world just sit back and let the men try and fail at whatever they set out to do; then they offer a bit of advice and watch the men try to do it again. They just sit back and watch when they could just do everything themselves. Men are given the Priesthood so they can at least have a chance to reach the spiritual stature of a woman. I love women :) The world would be even more lost than it is if there was no women!

Haha anyways, that was random. The meeting was amazing.

Wednesday we spent the entire day in Bugembe. In the morning time we had our Zone Meeting. It was a great meeting and everyone participated in everything we discussed. Then we were supposed to have a small new years celebration for like 30 minutes after the meeting, but it failed. We left it up to all the District Leaders in the zone to get it organized. Yea, it didn't work out. So everyone was confused what was going on and we ended up sitting around and then going to lunch. Around 4:00 President Chatfield and the assistants came. President was interviewing all the missionaries. During the interviews the assistants were doing some training on teaching the Plan of Salvation. We practiced teaching in simplicity so the spirit can testify of the truth of the message and so the time in the lesson can be reduced. It was a powerful and spiritual meeting. My companion and I were inspired and put everything into practice immediately.

Thursday was of course New Years! It was an interesting day. In the morning we got a call from a member that our Elders Quorum President died Wednesday evening. That was a shock. He was still young and had many ambitions in life. But he apparently was really sick with internal things for a long time and never told anyone. So it got him this week. The Branch did a fantastic job preparing for the funeral. We went to the church after studies & planning to go somewhere, but the members were busy taking chairs and stuff from the church to take to the family's house for the funeral service. Our plans instantly changed and we helped with all of that for most of the day. We felt it would do more good to help with the funeral than to go about our plans for the day. So it was just a different day.

Friday was the funeral service. It started around 2:00 when it was supposed to start around 12:00. And then it went on for hours and hours. I was amazed at how many people were there. I guessed probably 500 or 600 people attended. Family members, friends, random people that stayed around, and then the members from the Branch. We endured. It was so weird to see him in the casket when just last Sunday he was at church and seemed completely fine. Life is just full of surprises!

On Saturday we did a bit of contacting in the morning at the church. It was nice and we contacted some cool people. Not sure now how well they will progress though. One lesson was with the father of a recent convert family; he is still an investigator and he doesn't' know English very well so we have to teach with a member translating. We taught the restoration, then afterwards the family had prepared some food that we had to eat. When we left the house and looked at the time, we realized that it had only been 45 minutes since the lesson started. We taught the entire Restoration lesson through a translator and ate food all in 45 minutes!!! That was a miracle. I was amazed we were able to do that. It helps so much to just teach simple and basic principles and not deep Doctrine. Haha!!! :)

Sunday was crazy. Church was great as usual. We had a member get a goat for us the previous day. We were planning to go and pick it up from their house after church. Well they showed up to church with the goat! We weren't to comfortable keeping a goat in front of the church, worrying about what people would think. So we decided to just put it in the truck and take it home real quick then come back to the church. So as soon as Sacrament meeting finished we went to take the goat home. When we were almost to the house, there was a boda-boda that turned in front of us. I didn't see him coming, but my companion warned me. It was too late. I tried my best to slam on the brakes and avoid a crash. We slowed down just enough to knock the boda down with its passenger. There was a bit of damage on the motorcycle, not really too much. And the passenger had a few minor bruises from hitting the ground. Luckily it happened right next to a police post, so the police came to help us. What should have been a quick and easy problem to solve turned into something that lasted about 6 hours! A lot of arguing back and forth for hours with everyone trying to get as much money out of us as possible. Eventually we agreed to take the driver and passenger to a clinic to get checked out. We covered their treatment and then the boda left. Only 6 hours later. We got home at around 6:00. it happened around 11:30. So we missed the rest of church and some appointments afterwards and some members got super worried about us. It was stressful and really exhausting. Everything is ok now though! The moral of the story is DON'T LEAVE CHURCH EARLY.

Today for Pday we had a zone activity. The goat that caused all the chaos yesterday was eaten today. We cut it up and cooked it with a bunch of other things. Everyone in the zone participated in all the cooking. It was fun and was a great way to build unity. We had goat, chappatis, pilau, stew with goat meat and potatoes and stuff, then I made some chocolate chip cookies and a cake. it was all super delicious!!!!!!!! We had a great time. But it was also exhausting and I am really tired right now.
BTW, we are not required to kill chickens and goats on mission! That is just a side activity that we wanted to do and we had to sacrifice our own money for it. Most of the other missionaries in the mission don't do it, but its just a cool experience. So I am sorry if I offended anyone with those stories.

Elder and Sister Squire said that they have a blog. They update it every week and apparently I am in a lot of the things from that past couple weeks. Their blog is So if your interested, check it out! They were with us today when we were doing all the cooking and said they would put it on the blog next week.

Congrats to all the returned missionaries and new missionaries. It seems like there was a lot of those this week.

My toe is doing fine. I am still putting antibiotic ointment and band aids on it. I hope I can stop soon. Its annoying to have to do that.

Have a great week all! Love you :)
Elder LeCheminant