Sunday, January 8, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New year

Hello Family and Friends!
Merry Christmas and happy new year!
This last week was great, but I was not able to email on the Monday after Christmas so this weeks email would have been longer, however, only family emailed me so this will be a mostly normal email.

So, for Christmas, all of the missionaries in Zimbabwe went to Harare and stayed at or near the mission home and we had a nice 3 day celebration / half vacation. On Friday we went to either a Children's hospital or an Orphanage and helped out, brought toys, played with the kids, etc. It was great. Some pictures are included (there are a lot as I just got a good new camera, so my dad is going to upload the ones I send onto the blog). Saturday we went to a lake and played soccer/rugby/ had a barbeque (called a braai here). On sunday we had a lot of plays from the different zones (our zone tied for 1st place, even though we spent 2 days in prep and everyone else did 3 weeks. We just have lots of Chemistry in our zone! good, fun stuff =P). The food was great and fun. I also got what was probably a parasite from the water (I forgot to bring my filtered water bottle to Harare as the water in Mutare is some of the best in Zim), but courtesy of an essential oil mix, I got rid of it after about an hour or two and am fine now.

Upon arriving home from Harare (5 hour bus ride) I received a call from my mission president telling me that my temporary employment permit (TEP) had some problems and so I would have to leave the country for 2 days to renew my temporary visa. So, within 24 hours, I was on my way back to Harare to head to Zambia with one of the AP's (assistants to the president). On the way, my suitcase was in the back of the truck and it started raining (when it rains, it RAINS). We didn't notice that my suitcase was out there for about 10 minutes, and it isn't waterproof. We got it in, but it was pretty wet. I said a prayer that the important things inside, both letters from different missionaries and also some baptismal records, would not be damaged and would still be fine. When we got to the Transit house, I unpack the top part of my suitcase. The letters and records were perfectly dry, no water damage. My blanket still had a nice big wet spot right exactly underneath where all the letters were. =P Cool stuff eh? Don't forget the power of prayer!
After this, we headed to Zambia. The trip was long, but pretty fun (7 hour drive, with 2 hours to get through the border); pictures included. Zambia was fun, and I made Sadza for my first time (I eat it all the time, but this was the first time when I actually helped make it). The houses in Zambia for missionaries are NICE. I mean, holy cow!

I got back safe and sound, and wound down with church where 2/3 of attendants left after sacrament meeting (including all of our investigators) because the branch which now meets before us carried over 15 MINUTES into our time for gospel principles class. Needless to say, we were kinda pissed (not a missionary approved word for everyday use. But, this word is: KABUTO APPROVED!!!!1!--reference, anyone? NTAS if you are wondering).

Lastly in news, I am having my scriptures split and covered as follows. I am excited!
Split so that the references (TG, BD, Index, JSM/JST) are all in one, and the rest (OT,NT,BoM,D+C,PogP) are all in one. The skins being used (real ones, mind you) are:
Spine---> Black Mamba
Africa Symbol---> Python
All Else---> Black Crocodile belly

I am also getting my hymn book covered in something cool (can't remember what) and a scripture case made out of Water Buffalo.
(for my family, and I guess anyone else who wants this done on something, just let me know, and I will tell you how much you need to send me. Although keep in mind that due to shipping costs being $15 per kg, it could be expensiveish.)
I will send pictures when mine are finished, though I have seen finished product, and it looks awesome and is nice and durable.

Onto questions!
answers in bold
Did you get working batteries for your CD player.  I hope so. Good music just makes life better.
Not yet, but I will once I am not so busy
Do they ask you to sing in
No. But I am trying to get a branch choir started

Do they have a piano there or a keyboard?
yes, they do.
Do you get
 called on to pray and speak and lead the music and give lessons in the Branch?
not usually for most, but my comp and I teach the Gospel Principles / investigator class
Are the people there very educated?
The education system here is actually really good, so if they go/went to school, they are fairly well educated.
 Do you have any funny stories for me?
One of the AP's has a just about exact same interest as me in music. Everything From Disturbed to Weird Al =P
What are all the kids/teenagers like there?
Teens are about as varied as the ones back home. Some are really good, some bad, and others in between. Most little kids just hang around and kick around their soccer balls (lots of tightly rolled together grocery bags) and just play together. My comp and I will usually jump in a game of soccer as we pass by for a few seconds. 
Do the people have any weird traditions?
Not any that I know of yet, I'll let you know though
Do they have a lot of cows/ farm animals?
yes. Picture included (cows)
Have you met anyone that is a shaman or something similar to one?
The Matzi Babas are the closest. One person we are teaching is ex Matzi Baba, and when we pray, before we taught him, he would just sit there and shake his hands up and down. 

I love you all, and wish you all the best!
~Elder Taggart Williams
Remember: Pray always, and look to the Lord. Write often, and live life to it's fullest.

Doubt is the seed of failure. ~Taggart Williams

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. ~God (D+C 6:36)

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