Monday, September 24, 2012

Baptism, Zone Leader & Transfers

Hello people!

Well, it's been a pretty crazy week this past week. I liked that email you just sent though. There's always a work to do! Like setting up a lot of fans to blow out the linger longers... man I was pretty much about to crack up really loud around all these people. Then I would be a crazy white man with a devil inside him. That would be weird.

Anyway, this last week saw some pretty crazy stuff. We'll start with last Saturday. Saturday Elder Richards and I woke up feeling good and starting the day off with a nice baptism. The guy was really excited and he'll be a great member of the church. He even did everything in the face of opposition. Pretty sweet. Saturday afternoon we swung by some investigators houses and invited and reminded them about the Book of Mormon class we were starting up that evening. Five o'clock came and we weren't met by people but instead by a torrential rainstorm. Well it started up around 3 and was still going on. Around 5:30 it had died down small enough and about 4 people showed up- 2 investigators, a recent convert and a member. about 20 minutes later we got a phone call from the assistants and, since I was the one teaching the class, Elder Richards grabbed the phone and went outside. Suddenly I heard him from outside going "WHAT???? NO WAY!!!" I tried to keep my cool and finished the class around 6. Turns out we had gotten small of transfer news early and it was just to tell us that he and 2 other people in our district were all getting transferred to Freetown. He packed all his stuff up that night and we celebrated his last night in Kenema. Sunday the guy showed up on time and was confirmed no problem. At the end of church Elder Richards bore his testimony and the couples came and picked him and the other 3 people up. So it was left with me and two other guys, Elder Mills and Elder Weller. We were now all waiting for the evening time to come so that we could hear who our new companions would be. The phone call came and I was told that I too was going to be transferred to Bo and would be the Zone Leader for the Zone. What?? I was pretty surprised and actually kind of sad about it. Haha. I've only been in this area for two transfers and so I was still looking forward to a lot of good work and experiences here. The district is also receiving SIX people to the apartment so they'll be eight. They'll enjoy doing lots of dishes. Haha. Today the three of us went crazy and completely cleaned the heck out of the place though. Like Mom, you would be so impressed. Like I know how my cleanliness standard and yours are very different but I promise it would have passed yours. We all just kept sitting there saying "holy cow this place is so clean..." Anyway, so I'll now be living in Bo and my new companion's name is Elder Dyngee. He's Liberian and I've gone with him on boku exchanges because he was the zone leader and I was the district leader so it happened a lot. I'm looking forward to working with him though. I'll be coming back to Kenema every two weeks to do interviews and trainings and stuff so I don't have to completely kiss this place good bye (I'm so relieved). I think I'll be leaving here on Wednesday or Thursday so we'll see how it goes by next week. I feel better about it all now and I'm looking forward to all the new learning experiences (I'm so cliche)! Oh, and Elder Richards got transferred to Hill Station! So he'll enjoy that place. And Elder Symons got transferred to my zone so i'll see him around now. Also Elder Asiedu (my third companion) is coming to Kenema. So I'm getting to see lots of old faces. Anyway, I love all of you and am happy to know you are all safe and well! We'll talk again next week!

Elder Stewart
 This random huge empty place in the middle of our area. So much grass!
  If you look off in the background you can see a mosque with blue tops. I always see this place and imagine it being like the sickest paintball course ever. That's about it.
 Dae sabi pak pak motocar dem

Monday, September 17, 2012

Zone Conference, Highest Baptisms & If you lack wisdom, ask of God

Hey Family!

The week has been pretty great as always. No take the chicken episodes this week, we've been trying to avoid that place as much as possible. Haha. Don't worry, I know these people so well now it's kind of ridiculous. So I wasn't nervous or scared or anything. But like really. I know these people so well now it's crazy. But what's even more crazy is that story! So nuts that those 10 minutes on the street led to so many things and how many more it could lead to. It kind of makes me want to make a movie about it. Haha. Keep me updated on that one for sure. Who knows, it could be a sweet opportunity some day! That would be pretty cool. I never imagined myself going to Denmark one day but hey, I never saw myself coming to Sierra Leone either. Well that's mainly because I had never even heard of this country, but still.

Anyway, this week was pretty normal. We traveled to Bo for a Zone Conference where one of the Seventy, Elder Sitati, came to instruct us. The instruction was pretty good and he talked a lot about our purpose here on this earth. I talked about it a little bit more in the email to Dad but we also found out that we're the highest baptizing mission in the world! But I won't let that get to my head because there are SO MANY people here that are ready so we can't slack off. This upcoming week is the last week of the transfer so next monday I'll be telling you what happened. I'm thinking Elder Richards will be going so there's a good chance I'll be getting a new companion. We'll see though. Something sweet this week was with this one kid we've been teaching seemed to be really struggling with the decision to be baptized. The reason he was struggling with it is because he is scared what his dad would think if he was baptized. His father is Muslim and he's not sure if his dad would approve. It was something he was bringing up when we first started teaching him but we continued to tell him to pray and to read the Book of Mormon and the pamphlets we gave him. The thing that made him different is that he read EVERYTHING we gave him. Like that never ever happens. This last time we saw him he told us that whether or not his dad agrees he knows it's the right thing and is going to do it. I mean obviously it's preferred for the dad to be happy for him, but it's cool to see the change that happened within him. I know it's because he was reading and studying and searching for himself. He's a great guy and is supposed to be baptized next Saturday. Should be a great day! So the moral of the story is if you lack wisdom, ask of God. Seek and ye shall find. Pretty simple! Anyway, I'll talk to you all later! Have a good week!

Elder Stewart
  Playing around with the focus. My tag has gotten kind of dirty
  Do these guys look familiar? When we took this picture it was EXACTLY one year later. I haven't seen them since I left the MTC! (Elder Liufau- the one i met through that guy who's hair Breeann cut in the MTC who is his best friend- and Elder Nickle. They've been in Liberia this whole time, just came to Bo)
 Our latest friend.
  The front of the Simbeck chapel
  The back of the chapel
 We looked sweet for Zone Conference
 At the back of the IDA chapel. (I'm in Simbeck)
 One to make your hearts melt
 Jersey fever caught on in this apartment too...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Take the Chicken!

Hey family!

Everything is going pretty sweet, as always. It's got to be getting pretty boring to hear me say that every week but it's true! The good news of the week is that I got the tie and wedding announcement! I wore the tie to church last Sunday. I stuck out quite a bit wearing such a nice flashy tie, but it's all good. When you dress up really nice people here call it "bluffing." So a lot of people at church were like "Ayyy elda stewat! Yu de bluffo!" Yeah. Anyway, I dig the tie and will be wearing it to the Zone Conference we have this Thursday. Elder Richards will wear the pink one. We'll look pretty sweet. Gotta say I loved the pickle story. Man that kid is funny.

Anyway, you were asking for a cool Africa story so here's something pretty exciting that happened. It's not very spiritual but it's pretty funny. Just try and picture it in your head. So a few days ago my companion and I decided we wanted to go and buy some chicken to fry at the market. Now, you need to be reminded that going to the market and buying chicken is very different from driving to wal mart and going to the frozen food section. Basically the place that we buy chicken.. it's like a really big warehouse filled with a HUGE amount of people with lots of tables with fish and chicken on top of them. It stinks like fish and there's flies and dirt and all that nice stuff everywhere. People are shouting and the area to walk is so skinny you're just brushing against people trying to get to the place you want to go. There's little kids weaving between you trying to sell plastic bags and other random objects on their head. Anyway, we made our way to a lady selling chicken and told her we wanted 4 legs. Four legs costs 10000 leones and we said that before she began to cut them. There's no like official prices of anything so you kind of have to talk all of it and negotiate a price to get it. People always try to charge us missionaries ridiculous amounts for things because they think we have lots of money. We usually have to always talk plenty to be able to get it down to the right price. Anyway, we had already settled on the price with this lady and she started putting everything into a bag. When we went to pay she saw we were only giving her 10000 and said that we were supposed to pay 14000 for everything. We told her that wasn't right and said we knew the price and wouldn't take it if she wouldn't give it to us for that price (this happens like every day) she refused to bring it down so we just told her we wouldn't take it. I guess she really didn't like that so she started yelling at us and saying we had to pay for it because she had already put it in the bag or something. A lot of people started staring and it was making a big commotion so we started to just walk away and leave it. About 10 seconds after walking away we heard a scream and turned and saw the lady SCREAMING and running after us shouting "TAKE THE CHICKEN, TAKE THE CHICKEN" (this part doesn't happen every day) We walked out of the place and the lady kept yelling and was trying to grab us and force us to pay for them. By now we had gotten onto the main street and the lady was standing in front of us yelling and shouting and refusing to let us pass. Being a white guy in Africa makes me stick out a little bit so when everyone saw something going on literally 50 people came out of nowhere and surrounded us. The lady was going CRAZY and shouting and saying we're terrible people and everyone around was saying they wanted to settle the dispute. Some guy told us we were rich so we should just pay the lady the amount. We said no (if we took it then everyone would rip us off and we'd have no money... they all think we get paid to do missionary work.). People flipped out. We finally managed to push our way out of the crowd and just walked away. I don't know what the big ordeal was about but it was kind of exciting. But we had no chicken. So the next day we sent some other missionaries and they got it no problem. Anyway, I guess you kind of had to be there but it was pretty crazy. Anyway, I'm out of time. Love you all!

Elder Stewart

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pink Tie, Obnoxious Music & Eternal Marriage

Hello family! And newly extended family!

Glad to hear that the wedding went so well! I enjoyed that quick recap very much. Haha. Definitely was a miraculous week for sure. I'm very happy for the both of them and can't wait to meet everyone and see ALL the pictures from the day. I wore my pink tie because I know Breeann likes pink and that tie I actually only wear it for special occasions. So this totally counted! Anyway, there's this super obnoxious music playing in this internet cafe, pretty much just imagine the same song being played over and over again for an hour. That pretty much sums it up. I don't have a lot of time though because their computers had some major problems and now we don't have time to go do a lot of stuff. So here are some pictures. Also, on September first we taught someone about eternal marriage and how families could be together forever! In honor of the special day. Everything is going good though!

 We somehow found ourselves walking up this dense forest trail and found a waterfall hidden up in the mountains! We took some sweet pictures. That place was so cool!

 Super dorky picture but CONGRATULATIONS to the Allen family! Still sounds weird. Sorry
More sweet pictures. Africa is sweet!

I love all of you and can't wait to see more pictures from the wedding!

Elder Stewart