Monday, June 25, 2012

Transfers & Lost Packages

Hello Family,

Glad to hear that everything has been so busy back home. I want to see the temple thingy you did in RS! Send a picture! Sounds like the Zumba is taking a nice role in your life there. I want you to know that yes, I did receive the two packages! So amazing to see such wonderfully junky food in there. I was pretty excited. It's too bad I haven't been able to have any of it yet...

So my big news for the week is that we received transfer news early and now I am in Kenema! Yup. This past Thursday they told me I was getting transferred to the Sembeck branch in Kenema and I would be leaving early Saturday morning. So Friday night I packed up all my stuff and Saturday morning I rode with President and Sister Roggia, and the Assistants to Bo and spent the rest of the day Saturday and Sunday with some of the Elders in Bo. Then this morning I was picked up by the Couple missionaries in Bo and was dropped off in Kenema this morning. So it has been a pretty eventful last couple of days. My new companion is named Elder Richards. He's an African American from Utah and he's HUGE. I'll send a picture next week. Oh and I'm the new District Leader in the Kenema too. It'll be a pretty fun learning experience. It's cool because Kenema is just out in the middle of nowhere. They have a little town area that we're in now. I'll get to see more of the area throughout this next week though. The branch is pretty new as it just split from another one, and it should be a lot of good work being done during my time here. I'm looking forward to everything that will go on here. Oh, and the packages you sent me are currently somewhere in Liberia. The way the did the transporting was weird. I left all my luggage in Freetown and they packed it up to go with the group heading to Liberia and they were going to drop it off as they passed. They dropped off my stuff at a different apartment so I wasn't there when they unloaded my stuff to go into the car going to Kenema. So, long story short I got everything here except a big box filled with amazing and delicious American food. I've been trying to contact the people in Liberia but it's been having problems. So hopefully I can tell them and I'll get everything back. I'll be pretty upset if I don't... I didn't even eat an Oreo yet. Man! We'll see though. Anyway, everything else is going good and I'm excited to get to work here! Keep me updated on everything going on! Mail pretty much only comes here once a month! Talk to you all next week!

Elder Stewart

 This is the amazing lady from the last email! I was sad I won't be able to be there for her baptism but it's okay. I'm just happy it's happening!

More pictures from Super P-Day

These are from the Mission President's blog-

Monday, June 18, 2012

African Names, Super P-day at the Beach & The Lord will ALWAYS come through

Hello my people,

So first of all- Dad, Happy Father's Day! I'm sure it was pretty great. Yeah, don't worry, I too wouldn't mind getting to call home again for Father's Day, but I guess everything has it's purpose. Bree Bree and Dev Dev dae go meri na de tempel. kusheio! That's weird that you said in those old videos I had an accent. Those motorbikes were so great. Man... I miss them. They have them on this side of the city but we're not allowed to ride on them because it's too dangerous. Definitely understandable, it would be nuts to get on one of those things here. Marvin. I'm jealous you guys are going to Door County. It's weird because I was actually just thinking about that place the other day. It would be kind of sweet to have a reunion with Clayton and Mikey there. Ahh so sweet. I miss those guys. I got a letter from Clayton the other day. I'll do my best to write you back tonight! And make it June 27. You know. I'm glad to hear about Cassie! Crazy she's in Spain. I would try to write her but... yeah I dunno how to get mail to Spain from here. Only America. So to answer your questions real quick: 1. Everything with my companion is going pretty good. This week for the training he gets to take the lead over everything, so I'm pretty excited to follow him around all week. 2. Anything weird lately? Hmm. There isn't too much that seems weird any more. But I guess it was kind of funny the other day- a dog got driven over, like it was laying down in the road and the car passed over the top of it. I guess it was like terrified to move after that because it just kept laying in the road. So then a guy came over and started poking it with a stick until it ran off the road. Oh and a couple times we've had to stop in a car so a guy could grab his goats out of the road. 3. See the pictures for sweet football on the beach! 4. Typical African names for women- Zainab, Fatamata, Musu, Kadiatu, Rugiatu, Tadiatu, Poopoopoopypatu (not really), and for men- Foday, Musa, Mohammed (you'd be surprised how many Mohammeds are members of the church), Alie, Saidu. Popular last names- Kamara, Kallon, Bangura. 4. Definitely no movie theatres like the ones we know back home. So I would just say no. 5. Yes, Justin Bieber's reputation has indeed spread to Africa. But I've only heard his music played like two or three times. Most is local stuff. Coolest African I've met? Hard to say. But I would have to say some of the people we've baptized. Or those random guys that smoke weed and shout at us. Or talk about how the rocks have craters that fell from the stars and revealed the juju secrets of the Book of Mormon.

So spiritual story of the week! There is one sister that lives in our area that comes to church every week and has a very strong testimony and loves the church. The reason she is not baptized yet is because she has been cohabitating. She was first taught by the Elders just before I came here so I have had a good three transfers now of getting to see her and seeing her own frustration with her situation and her inability to be baptized. Her boyfriend would sit down with us and listen to what we had to say, but he never had a desire to act on what we invited him to do. The woman wanted to leave but the reason she could not is because she and the man have a small child together. For four months now I have seen her come to church and as we would go see her she would always express a desire to be baptized and to improve her situation. We always invited her to pray and fast and promised that in the Lord's time, he would definitely make it possible for her. About a month ago she was blessed with a job and since then has been making money. Things seemed to be going well until she had some serious problems with the person she was working with. As her time working for that person came to a close, another job opportunity opened up for her and they even don't make her work on Sundays. Just this past week she told us that she had arranged for her son to live with the boyfriends mother and she is moving out to live with her mom. This Sunday she told us she had moved in with her mom. Being able to see the blessings of the Lord to those who are faithful to his commandments strengthened my testimony so much. She went from sitting around in a small shop every day to getting a job and the opportunity to move out from a place that was keeping her from receiving the fullest joy of God’s blessing. I know it’s very true that the Lord will ALWAYS come through with his side of the deal, as long as we do all we can to choose the right. I pretty much freaked out when it all came together. So I'm hoping that I'll be able to see her get baptized!

Everything is going well and I'm doing great! We had a super P-day at the beach today but I'm out of time so enjoy the pictures! Those creepy missionary wood men are unfortunately not mine. But they're pretty stinking cool. I'll talk to all next week!

Elder Stewart

Monday, June 11, 2012

Junk Food, Elder Curtis & It's so simple!

Hello family!

First off, I jumped out of my chair and hugged the Grecian man sitting next to me when I saw Breeann was getting married. Okay not really, but it was pretty exciting. Second of all, I needed to get a hair cut so we went to try out this new internet cafe some other missionaries go to and the place disabled all their USB ports so no pictures this week. Sorryyyy. I hope the flash drive will suffice. Don't worry, my foot has been healed in every way since that picture has been taken. So don't stress. But seriously. I'm not just saying that because I don't want to tell my mom and have her worry. So yeah. That cut was actually from baptizing people in the river. They had some sharp rocks in there. I can't tell you how excited I am to receive those packages. There's something about rice every day that just kind of gets to you. Like only rice. No junk food nothing. I mean I guess that's actually probably a good thing. But you know. I'm still American, gotta have food that might kill me.

Well this week was a pretty good one. We checked out some cool places in our area and met lots of new people. Today will be kind of cool because Elder Curtis from the first Quorum of the Seventy will be coming to see us today. So that's exciting. They said we'll be able to get pictures too. So next week we'll be sure not to come to this cafe and I"ll send them. Oh, if you guys want to read Carson's letter it's cool. It's kind of neat to hear what's been going on in Brazil while I've been in Africa. He said he tried to mail me a letter direct but I haven't gotten anything yet so we'll see if that letter ever shows up. Haha.

This past week we met the mom of the branch mission leader of my old branch in Kossoh Town. It was pretty crazy. The entire family are members except for her, and she's just kind of living over on this side of Freetown alone with some small small children. We were asking about her family and she almost seemed proud of the fact that everyone in her family were members except for her. I don't know why that was such a great thing. One thing I don't know if I'll ever understand is why people don't understand the gospel. It's so simple! The gospel is so easy to understand- Have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of your sins, baptize, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and continue to keep the commandments of God until you die. That's the gospel we believe in and talk about. I think people can get these crazy ideas about what we believe in, but that's the basis of everything. It's okay though. Because it's cool to be able to sit down and talk to people and just get to share what you know and believe in. I wish I would have known that more before. It's just brings joy to be able to talk about things you know and love. Anyway, everything is going well. Glad to hear everything is going well back home as well! I'll talk to you all next week!

Elder Stewart

These are a few old pictures that Hunter sent us on his flashdrive that haven't been posted before.

Elder Stewart and Elder Symons

 Hunter on the futball field- nice grass

Some things never change!  Hunter was caught walking on our cinderblock wall when he was 3 years old!

Not sure what that fruit is called

Humans aren't the only ones who like bacon!  The rats got to this one :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dirt Roads, City Living & An Area Seventy


Well another week has passed by. Everything is going well of course.  Sounds like Girl's Camp was pretty stinking successful. A trip to the ER and everything! Wow! Haha. Oh! Man I'm so excited to hear that Carson sent a letter! I'm thinking that maybe you guys can scan it and send it and then just throw it in the package anyway. I'm pretty excited to hear about how he's doing. I miss that guy! Anyway, I also hope the Zumba instructing goes well tomorrow. Sounds pretty exciting.  So when you finally do look at those pictures I want to hear which one is y'all's favorite. I hope that there are actually pictures on it.  Haha.

So this week was pretty busy. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Well, nothing that is out of the ordinary to me anyway. Haha. My companion often points things out that I don't even think about anymore. There's a paved road right outside the mission office compound and it was always full of potholes. Yesterday they tore the whole road up so now it's just dirt and mud. When we walked out today I turned to him and said, "Man it's so satisfying to be walking down a dirt road when you leave the apartment isn't it?" He was just like, "Oh, I was actually wondering when they were going to finally pave it over again... I guess I'm still in America mode." Haha, it was kind of funny. Living in a house in the middle of nowhere was pretty exciting. But it has still been pretty cool to see what it's like to serve in the "city."  Something that was kind of exciting that happened this week was that we were planning to go see one of our investigators but were unable to get in touch with him the night before because his phone was off. So we decided to just swing by his place the next day. When we arrived at his shop where he sells he had someone else sitting there with him. At first I was like, "ah man he looks busy so we won't be able to sit down with him." As we walked up I looked at the man who was sitting with him and it turned out that it was one of the Area Seventies named Elder Mensah. Haha. So that was kind of exciting. He's the contractor for the new chapel they're building near there so he sat down and was talking with our investigator. Unfortunately, we didn't get to teach a proper lesson with him there helping us, but he did start talking to him all about the church and the gospel and it was pretty cool to see him bearing testimony about how it's blessed his life. It was a surprise and I hope that it helped the man to feel the Spirit and have a desire to know more about the gospel. We'll see. Anyway, it was a busy week and we're excited for next week! I hope everyone will continue to do well and feel free to send me any pictures you want! I love you all and will talk to you next week!

Elder Stewart

This is an old picture but it's a cute little kid. So. Enjoy the cuteness.

P.S. If you wanted to add pop tarts or anything else in that kind of junk food category to the package I wouldn't mind... and I think I said cajun seasonings the last time... You can also send pictures in it... or any kind of food you can make easily with water and other basic ingredients... some quality toothbrushes and toothpaste wouldn't be too bad either... you can get them here but it's just expensive. Man I sound so needy now. Okay well, I can't think of anything else. So thankssssssssssss.