Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Homeboys, Ibo Town & Krio Proverbs

Hello family!
Hey there, I don't know how I felt about that little line about my
crazy African accent! Haha, sometimes when I'm sitting there I find
myself thinking about things in Krio. It's kind of weird. Glad the
Relief Society enjoyed the little bit about me teaching it. Lets just
say I never want to teach Relief Society again! Haha. There are no
pictures attached of Savannah from prom and I'm a little upset about
that. Not gonna lie. But it's her birthday today and HOLY COW I CAN'T
BELIEVE SHE'S 17. WHAT THE HECK IS THAT. Doesn't she still have her
braces? Sometimes when I show people a picture of all you guys they
ask what's on her teeth in the picture. I tell them it's her grill. No
not really. I just say she fell down and they had to use iron bars to
get her teeth to stay in her mouth. Okay so usually no one ever asks.
Anyway, happy birthday Savannah! Sorry I can't send you a present but,
I'll do my best to find something cool for you. Speaking of those
kinds of souvenir things- what are you guys wanting me to find for
you? Any ideas? There's this big trend that has caught on with the
missionaries and that's to "make homeboys." A homeboy is what they
call hoodies here. But what we do is we buy some sweet looking african
material and bring it to a tailor and have him make a hoodie out of
it. There's this expensive hand woven cloth called country cloth that
my companion and I are going to make some out of. Everything together
costs about 100,000 leones to make one. So around $23 or so. They have
other cheaper African looking material to make it out of though. We'll
see. So I can make those, or any other kind of clothes out of african
looking material. Kind of cool. Then they have like other handwoven
bags like purses and lots of football jerseys for cheap and I guess
right before they take missionaries home from their missions they take
them to a wood market where there's lots of hand carved statues and
stuff. So yeah. Just keep some things in mind and if you think of
anything I can try and find it for you. They have all that cliche
African stuff here too. So just let me know! Maybe you can tell me
when I call home.
Anyway, so this week was flipping sweet because we had our first ever
meeting inside our new building inside Waterloo! It was great. There
were 3 pairs of senior couples there so it was kind of exciting. We
had a successful meeting and there was no problem there. We also had
this one investigator come who is the mother and the boss of this one
household. 3 of the people in her household are interested in the
church and want to be baptized, but she keeps telling them they need
to wait first. She came to church for the first time and she had a
really good experience. She's a super smart lady and went to
university in England. Which is close to impossible for someone from
here to do. When she had first met the missionaries teaching her
family I guess she was kind of rude and totally uninterested in them
but something has changed and she's agreed to start taking the
lessons. We've been having some sweet lessons with her and we're
really looking forward to seeing what happens with her. All I know is
she would make a great Relief Society President (so that way Elder
Stewart wouldn't have to teach!). Anyway, the church is sweet. My area
is sweet. My companion is sweet. The district is sweet. No problem. I
just want to work hard and finish everything strong! Oh and I don't
think I told you but the name of my area is officially called "Ibo
Town." Anyway, I love all of you and will talk to you all next week!
Elder Stewart
P.S. I haven't seen anything too wild other than the mammoth moth that
attacked out apartment (about the size of my open palm), and the crazy
people who dress up as "debuls." Nothing too crazy!
 Here are some Krio proverbs
God won't give you a load you can't carry.
If they carry you on their back, you won't know that the road is long.

Monday, April 22, 2013

First Meeting, New Teaching & Back in the River

Well, first off the whole Boston Marathon thing is terrifying. I'm
just glad all of our family members are okay. Definitely could have
been a lot worse. If they ever find out why the people did that I
would be interested to know. Anyway, the world can definitely be
pretty sick and twisted at some points, trust me.
Anyway, on a happier note, something you could put inside a package
would be some Slap Ya Mama and Tony's. Ohhhh yeaaaahh. The thing here
is that there's just no flavor. Also some propel drink mixes and
toothpaste would be nice.
Well, on my side of the pond things have been a little crazy.
Yesterday was the first meeting of the new branch and because of that,
there are no people called into any leadership positions. Haha. Which
might not be a big problem if 90% of the branch wasn't baptized in the
last year. So it meant that the missionaries were doing a lot of
teaching for the day. And you'll never guess which class I taught....
Relief Society! Haha. And guess what I taught them about? Marriage!
Hahaha. It was pretty lame not gonna lie. It's just hard because we
only have about 3 manuals for the class and most of the women don't
know how to read anyway. So I just tried to bring up a lot of
discussion questions. Definitely an interesting experience. We're
supposed to be getting a building this week inside the town of
Waterloo itself (right now we're a 20 minute drive down the highway to
the next town), so hopefully this guy we've been trying to meet with
will answer his phone so we can seal the deal! It's definitely an
adventure working with a new branch but I really like it and just want
to do all I can to get everyone off to a good start. We have transfer
news next Sunday as well... I'm thinking I won't be going anywhere or
getting a new companion, but it's almost impossible to tell for sure.
We had a baptism last Saturday and it was back in the river! It was a
nice service even though the only people that were able to go were the
6 missionaries and the lady. Since the branch was new everyone was
involved with this other activity and weren't able to go to the
baptism. It'll be better in the future though. Anyway, everything is
great here! Just waiting for General Conference to arrive! First
weekend in May. I love all of you though and can't wait to talk to you
on Mother's day!
Elder Stewart

Monday, April 15, 2013

No Packages, New Branch & God loves you no matter what

Hello family!
Well, I guess I'll start with the bad news first. I haven't gotten any
packages... I talked to a couple of other guys and they both said
they've been waiting on packages since like January... looks like
there was a big thiefing festival at the post office in January or so.
I was pretty depressed to see people walking in with lots of packages
and letters on Sunday and not having a single one be for me! It's
alright though I guess. I could definitely go for some Oreos right
now, but I guess I'll just have to bear it.
Good to hear about the housing situation though! It's pretty weird to
have almost everything set in place now. Just have to find out when
I'll be getting home. I guess that one is pretty important. I thought
it was pretty funny that Charlie came back on his own. That old fart.
Wow, so this last week was pretty crazy. The biggest thing that
happened was this last Sunday. Like I said before, I'm serving in
Kossoh Town branch again. When I was in Kossoh Town the last time,
about 3 months after I had been on mission the branch split because of
the growth in the area. This last Sunday I was priviledged to see the
branch split again and see the creation of the Waterloo branch. So I'm
no longer serving in the Kossoh Town branch but the Waterloo branch.
It's pretty sweet because we got a new branch president, new
everything. It's all people from Waterloo running the show now. The
proselyting area of Waterloo was opened up a while ago but
missionaries didn't really start focusing on it until around August
2011, right when I came. It just goes to show the rapid growth of the
Church here. It also means that all of our converts are going to be
the big leaders in the branch! Pretty sweet. It also means that we're
going to have to be doing lots of helping to make sure there's correct
doctrine being taught! Haha. It'll be nice though. One neat experience
happened this week. There's this one man we're teaching who is around
30, lives alone, works construction every day, and has a pretty bad
smoking problem. We're were talking to him about his smoking problem
and discussing what he can do to help him quit. He's kind of one of
those guys that has like a really rugged appearance, gravely voice,
and is always wearing dirty clothes. We told him what he has to do to
quit smoking and he agreed to do it. As we were winding up the lesson
we asked him if he had any questions. He kind of thought about it for
a minute and said, "If I quit drinking and smoking....." We were
expecting him to ask about some material benefit or something, and
then he said "...will God love me?" Man! See our hearts melt like a
girl watching The Notebook. We were so shocked that my companion even
muttered a quiet "Wow..." after he said it. I told him he said that
later and he said he didn't even remember saying that. So that was
kind of funny, haha. Anyway, We told him that God loves him even
though he does those things, but because of that love He has for him,
He wants him to quit those things so he can bless him more. It was
pretty sweet. The guy came to church Sunday too. Things are going
pretty good, we just need more investigators. Small small. Anyway,
Thank you for everything and I'll talk to you all next week!
Elder Stewart

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference, Perfect Investigator & Harry Potter

Hello Momma!
Sounds like everything was a success! I'm glad to hear about all the
adventures though. Haha. I've been doing pretty good though. I haven't
seen conference yet. We always get it and watch it the first weekend
in May. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to teach over the radio
but man! Those guys are doing super good. Well, one of them. The other
one is still excited but he's been traveling tons so we haven't been
able to see him at all. The other guy is literally the most perfect
investigator I've ever met. We met him on a Saturday, he came to this
family home evening group we do that evening. Then he came to church
Sunday. A member invited him to begin attending institute, he went on
Wednesday and Friday. We invited him to the read the Introduction to
the Book of Mormon, he read it. We invited him to watch a baptism, he
came. He also came to church yesterday. Man. It's crazy. He's
definitely like the most prepared person I've ever met. Haha. Oh, and
yeah, we had a baptism this past Saturday. One of the guys we baptized
is super super smart and he's actually read all 7 of the Harry Potter
books! I know that might not sound very weird to you but here, half
the people can't read at all, half of those people who can read,
don't. And the ones left read simple books that they're forced to
read. And then there's this kid who loves reading novels. It's crazy
because he said he heard about Harry Potter because he got a hold of
the 7th book. He read the whole thing and decided that he had to track
down the other 6. He started getting them slowly and would track when
shipments of books would come in so he could be the first one to
search through it and try to claim the books for himself. After a year
or so he finally got all seven and said he's read them over and over
since. He's also read all the Narnia books. Pretty sweet kid. It's
crazy how hard he had to fight to get books though. We just drive down
the road and can get the book the day it comes out. He said something
about a book that just came out, and then said "so probably I'll be
able to read it in about 10 years." It was funny but I guess really
it's not that funny. Haha. Anyway, about that camera business, I'll
try and find a cheap one to buy here. Also, the package hasn't come
yet, but we haven't gotten mail delivered in about a month. So.... who
knows. Haha. Okay, well I'm so happy to be here and I can't wait to
talk to you next week! Love you!
Elder Stewart
P.S. Momma HAPPY BIRTHDAY! again. The big 2-9! Man you're getting old!
Haha. Love you!
P.S.S. Ryan Nielsen- happy late birthday to you too!
P.S.S.S Can you send me Clayton and Big Black's email addresses? Thanks.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Waterloo, Tons of Missionaries & And the Gospel on the Radio?

Where we baptize

         From the top of this big hotel overlooking a place just outside my area
                                    called Rokel.

Sounds like a pretty great trip! The only problem is that (and you
guys do this a lot) sometimes you'll mention something and say Dad
will send me pictures or talk more about that, and then I'll read his
and he'll say the same thing about you. Haha. So next week send me
some pictures of the trip! Anyway, I really liked that bit about the
missionaries there in Hawaii and the old church building. I've been
trying to teach a chief my whole mission but I haven't been so lucky
to do that yet. Haha. I met one and took his contact in my last area
but he was always busy so we never saw him. I haven't gotten your
package yet... but mail hasn't really come in a long time now. I'm
hoping and praying though. Haha I want those packages bad!
Well this week was super sweet. The best part was definitely on this
last Saturday. This one guy that I saw get baptized when I was in
Kossoh Town has become just this solid rock to the church here and is
really a big example to me of how much the gospel can bless people's
lives. Side note about the area- Waterloo is still super new, so new
that there's not even a branch in the town. We have to take a 15/20
minute ride to reach the chapel on Sundays. They're hoping we'll have
the first branch out here opened before the end of April, but we'll
see. With the change in mission age, tons and tons of people have been
getting poured into the mission so we've been able to put heavy focus
on areas such as this. There's 6 elders in Waterloo and 10 total in
our branch. That's quite a bit! Haha. So in short, we're literally
building the church from ground up, because when the branch finally
opens, who will be all the leaders inside of it? All of our brand new
converts. Anyway, we were talking to him and told him we were looking
for people to teach and on Saturday he told us he had set an
appointment for us. We went and met two men at the radio station where
they worked. We sat down and taught them the Restoration. We helped
them to see and understand why there are so many churches today and
about the priesthood and how everything as it was before is the way it
is today! The member we had brought with us just started bearing his
testimony about how much his life has changed. When I met him a year
ago he literally had nothing. He was having problems with his
marriage, he was going to get evicted from his house, and just a lot
of other problems. It was pretty sweet. The two guys we were teaching
were just really touched and said that they had actually had it on
their minds for a long time that they needed to join the Church. And
guess what, they came on Sunday! It was pretty cool. But are you ready
for the coolest part? They were so excited they asked us that, if they
chose to do so, would it be possible for us to come once a week for an
hour and have discussions with them over the radio so that thousands
of people can hear? We don't know if we're allowed to do that so we
said we'd have to ask first, but wouldn't that be crazy? It was pretty
sweet. Anyway, the week was great! I'm really loving this area and
really hope that this is where it will end. There's so many great
people and I don't want to leave this place. Anyway, I love all of you
so much and will talk to you next week!
Elder Stewart