Monday, August 27, 2012

One Year Mark & The Best Sunday Yet

Dear family,

So glad to hear the news! I guess Lafayette will just have to get used to us! I'm pretty grateful and can definitely see the hand of the Lord in it. The timing is pretty interesting! I can't believe the wedding is this Saturday! So soon. Hopefully the hurricane won't mess anything up. I'm definitely going to be expecting lots of pictures! I haven't gotten the tie yet and won't get it until September 12th because I'm so far away (sidenote- all you people who have been writing me letters, I promise I've been writing you back, it just takes an insanely long time for them to actually get sent out because I'm in the middle of nowhere). But I'll wear it and take a picture next to a calendar and just pretend. I'll even shine my shoes and wear my tailored shirt and pants (yup, I did that). It'll be sweet. Be safe in the hurricane! Don't let any runaway trampolines come and UFO themselves into the house. I'll be happy to hear how everything goes though!

This last week has been pretty good for me. We had another baptism and are pretty much just enjoying the work and having all kinds of sweet adventures (like killing that chicken). Tomorrow we planned a celebration for my one year so that'll be pretty nice. This last Sunday was pretty much the best Sunday I've had on mission because one, our candidate from baptism showed up on time (the sense of time here is pretty much nonexistent. When we plan to start our baptisms at 11 we tell everyone to be there by 10. Sometimes they're still late. So when church starts at 9 we usually have about 15 people in the building, 60+ by the end of sacrament meeting), and two, EIGHT people we recently started teaching showed up to church for the first time. It was pretty exciting. I mean we usually have around eight investigators at church, but they have usually been coming already and come like one at a time. But it was crazy! So many new faces, I was pretty excited. I definitely felt good because working so hard all week to see none of the people come to church stinks. So it was a nice one year gift. Sounds like this weekend was a pretty great one for everyone! I'm excited for all of you and can't wait to talk next week! Love you all!

Elder Stewart
  Our neighbor boy who likes to speak mende and be annoying. But we like him for it.
  A members fat little kid. But he's pretty sweet.
Binaway! (Sorry, yeah?)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Birthdays, Service Projects & T-shirts from Home

Hello Family!

Glad to hear everything is going along smoothly! I've never been to the Games of Acadiana... people always talked about it but I never went. Sounds pretty cool though! Too bad I couldn't be there to see Ms. Hebert though. She was a nice lady. Haha. That 17 points of the true church thing I'll write it down and take a picture of it. Speaking of pictures, I'm on a computer that works so I'll just talk about a bunch of pictures! The week was pretty sweet and we've been meeting tons of cool people and have pretty much just been enjoying like nothing. Anyway, here are some pictures!
  We played football at the nice big district center in Bo. I scored lots of goals and our team never lost. It was pretty nice.
 The baptism from a couple weeks ago! Those people are super sweet and the guy standing next to me got to baptize his wife! Pretty cool.
 We had two birthdays, Elder Otubu from Ghana and Elder Richards turned 26 and 20. So I whipped out those plates and things you gave me and we had a big party for them
 As you can see we pretty much enjoyed like crazy and bought some cheap ice cream and little sweet debbie cake thing. You have no idea how much fun all that ice cream was for my stomach the next day (it's been awhile with the dairy products).
  Yup, that shirt is exactly what you think it is. A university of Louisiana shirt. And in tiny letters underneath the word "Louisiana" it says "Lafayette." I freaked out when I saw that shirt. So shout out to all my friends at UL. Africa knows you're there. This is the third picture of sweet shirts I've taken, and they've all been at the same house. I should just go through the guys dresser.
 All-African Service project! We "brushed" (did yardwork) for the local prison.
  Kenema District!
 Simbeck branch!
 This is what happens when you don't wash your hair.
Dinner! (but seriously. We'll kill it after we've fattened it up small.)
So everything has pretty much been going great here! Time is flying by and this week I'll hit one year! I miss and love you all!

Elder Stewart

Monday, August 13, 2012

Praying in a Loudspeaker, Walking to Church & Mowing the Lawn

Hello family!

All is well in the village of Kenema. We had transfer news yesterday and the big news is that nothing changed. I'm still with Elder Richards and I'm still in Kenema. One of the elders in our apartment received an American and so it means that we know have 5 Americans and 1 Ghanian. It's pretty crazy. I feel bad for our lone African brother. Haha, he seems to be okay with it though. Savannah is starting school already? Seriously, the summer's going by so fast. The past year has gone by pretty fast! I'm glad that I'm done with all that early morning seminary. Even though I wake up at 6:30 every morning, 5:20 sounds ridiculous. Even though I actually do wake up at 5 every morning. The reason being because the mosque down the road always has their prayer at 5 in the morning and they pray in a big loudspeaker. Like insanely loud. It's really annoying. I think there's actually a video I sent home on that flashdrive when I was in freetown and I'm just like talking about how ridiculous it is. Anyway, the tie hasn't come yet. I'm guessing it will arrive in Sierra Leone this week but the question then is when someone will come out to Kenema to drop it off. So we'll see about that one.

This past week was good because we had a baptism! I have pictures but this computer I'm on is dumb and won't recognize the camera. Sorryyyy. It was good though and everyone was looking good in their whites. It's true what you said about people coming long distances to church. When I was in one of the other Elders areas on an exchange I definitely saw someone who went far. We took a bike from their chapel for about 7 minutes, got down and walked about twenty minutes down a muddy path, and finally we walked up to a house in the middle of nowhere. I asked the girl how long it took for her to get to church and she told me she walks for about an hour and a half. It pretty much blew my mind. People really sacrifice to do what they know is right. It was a pretty big testimony to me about how big of an impact the gospel can make in people's lives. I've seen a lot of people change and it really has shown me why everything I've known my whole life is as important as it is. I've seen people who pretty much didn't want to have anything to do with God completely change their lives and talk about how much happier they've become. I never really fully appreciated everything when I was at home because I didn't exactly realize the difference it can make. Even people that were content and happy with the way their lives were. People who didn't even see a reason to change anything. They have accepted the message we shared with them and found more joy in their lives than the joy they already had. I actually find it really funny that I was like "I'd never walk to church!" back home. Because we walk so far every day. Haha. The church is such a short walk from our house. Oh, side note, we mowed the lawn today. Mowing the lawn means we took machete's and hacked down these big monster weeds and cut the long grass down. Pretty great. Some people on the other side of our compound wall cut down some bushes and said they found like 3 black cobras in the weeds. Unfortunately we weren't lucky enough to find any in our own bushes. Looks like we won't be eating tonight. Haha just kidding. Anyway, the church is true and the restoration of the gospel is true! One of the other elders showed me this list called "The 17 points of the true church" which has like a bunch of scripture references from the bible talking about the church Jesus Christ built back in the day. It was kind of interesting. Anyway, Hopefully next week I can get pictures and hopefully that package will come! I love and miss you all!

Elder Stewart

Monday, August 6, 2012

Football, Mission Music & Miracle for the Week

Hello people,

Glad to hear everyone is doing well. I too am having a very good time here in Kenema. Well, right now we're actually in Bo. We had a super P-day and so all of us in Kenema met some of the Elders here in Bo, played some football, ate some rice, and just had a good time together. I scored lots of goals, it was pretty sweet. Sounds like that dance was pretty sweet. Too bad Savannah wasn't the DJ when I was going to those dances. As far as things I could need, I'm doing pretty good. Obviously, I could also go for some sweet junk food, but on the whole I'm doing really great. I actually was thinking of trying to get some music sent to me. I'll ponder on it and maybe like the next time I send my flash drive home you can put some on it and send it back. The appropriate for mission kind of music obviously. Haha. I'm thinking some Explosions in the Sky would be pretty sweet for mission. Anyway, we'll work on that one. Breeann you look like you're just enjoying like nothing. My companion and I definitely felt you guys were mean for sending that picture of all that food. We both cried a little bit. I guess that was the reply to my delicious picture of rice and cassava leaf though. No problem. I'm wanting to believe that the tie will make it in time though. We get transfer news next Sunday so it means people will be passing over our way soon. So hopefully the package will arrive in time. I'm sorry there's no pictures today, I took some at the Super P-day but I don't have the cord. So next week.

Anyway, as I feel like I've said, everything has been going really great here. There was this one woman we contacted while we were at a recent converts house and she told us where she lived. The reason she had come to our recent converts house was to try and get him to give her some money that he owes her. So she wasn't exactly his friend. But we contacted her anyway. Haha. She ended up living CRAZY far away and we walked really far to find her house. She pretty much lives off in the middle of nowhere and we had to go down all these tiny little mud paths to lead to her house. When we got there we finally met her and sat down with her. She was doing a lady's hair when we came up so she only seemed to be half listening when we were there. Her brother showed up and started listening too. We taught them about the restoration of the gospel, invited them to church and left. We thought that she wasn't going to be serious because she didn't seem too interested. This past Sunday she was one of the first people to show up to church. Just as church was ending her brother came in and joined her. These people came SO FAR to get to church. I guess that something in what we said touched their hearts and gave them that desire to come and see what exactly we were talking about. We'll be trying to go and see them sometime this week, hopefully it will continue to go well! It just goes to show how we aren't the ones who do the sorting but the Lord is. It was definitely a miracle for the week.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that the wedding craziness is going well and me too, I pray that the job hunting can cease! I love and miss you all! Talk to you next week!

Elder Stewart