Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Ok I will send that letter to your Momma. Also, I will be sending Daniel's package tomorrow. I think he is gonna like it, it was made specifically for him, courtesy of Sister Sitati.
Also, I can try and find sturdy envelopes. Actually, send me some if you could. Because pretty much all things Kenyan-made are bogus man. Send me some ALL AMERICAN ENVELOPES!!! Just in the package, if you could.
As for the SD card, we can try. I think it might work well. It doesn't have to be something high quality, but something little to try. And if it don't work then... I don't know. I could hang on to the SD cards or something. Eh. Or just send it.
But guess what? The Lord is prospering us man. We baptized another woman this Sunday named Elisheba. She is Karin's mother. We have another baptismal date for May 27th, and we got like 3 new investigators this week. Also, the branch presidency loved the branch mission plan I created, and I am presenting it to the branch this coming Sunday. The Lord is prospering our area so much :)
Me and Elder Arineitwe are like brothers man. BROTHERS!!!! He never had a supportive father, and so sometimes I feel like I am filling a gap. In fact, he wants to write every member of our family a letter. Haha, we are becoming close :)
Also, I sent some letters home that are addressed to Hillcrest Seminary and Crestwood Young Men. Can you bring the Seminary one to the seminary main office for the seminary teachers and the other to Bishop Landers? I would very much appreciate it.
Anyway, thanks for your parenting. We just watched conference this week and there were alot of messages in there about being good parents and being good to children. And it made me think of you and Mom and how awesome you are. You are PRIME parents. Elder Arineitwe even says sometimes he can tell what kind of parents I have because of how I act. And it's good, not bad. But you are awesome. You are inspired! And I love you with all the energy of heart :)
Love you forever Daddio :)
With tons of love, Elder Your Son
p.s. feel free to email Elder Arineitwe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use simple English haha :)
Conrad mailed us an 8gb SD card, and his letter has never arrived. My guess is someone wanted the SD card so they stole it. The sad thing is, all those pictures and videos are lost. I'm going to send Conrad an SD card reader and see if he can upload his photos and videos from the cyber cafe's. Otherwise, we'll just have to risk sending them through the mail or not send them at all. So..I'm bummed.
I love long emails! I'm a fast reader and it's nice to hear your thoughts and feelings Mom :) As for rain, oh ya. Every day!! LOTS, too. We even got hail, and it hurt haha! We were soaked. But it's cool because the people here, the Luuyas (that's the main tribe, the subtribe is Bukusu) just invite you in their home if it is raining. They are so hospitable and sweet. I MUST come back to Naitiri after my mission. There are many people that want me to return and visit. People even ask me to live here haha! They are so great. and I got my galoshes. The mission's working fund paid for them, so it didn't cost me a shilling! They are heavily used :)
My Easter dinner was the best, but you forgot the BEST part - sunflower seeds!!!!! Man, that made my Easter. I really like Apricot jam, alot now. In fact, it's funny what being hungry will do to you. With no Mommy around, and very few things to cook with being so far out in a rural area, I LOVE tomatoes now!!! Yes, tomatoes :) As well as onions and fresh meat. Onions and tomatoes are in just about every meal. We also like to make smoothie things with paw-paw (native fruit), mango, avocado, banana, oranges - ya, it's nice :)
Quick request - in the package with the CD, can you send some candy? Haha, not too much tho, enough that I can share with Elder Arineitwe. Also, he needs a good watch. If you could, at Walmart there are cheapo $5 watches that have a stopwatch, the date, the time, an alarm, etc. Can you send 2? One for him and a backup for me? Just those cheapo $5 ones please :)
Ok now for my companion - Elder Habibu Arineitwe. He comes from a Muslim home. His grandfather started Islam in his village in Uganda, and he investigated the church. At first, he hated it. Then, he prayed and for the first time felt like he was praying to someone. Muslims pray recited prayers with hand signals and junk. When he prayed for the first time, he knew it was right. From there, he joined! In Muslim tradition, if you convert to Christianity, they stone you. However, due to his grandfather's prominence in the village, they spared him. His mother is the only one who supported him on coming on a mission. His father was originally very angry, but now is just apathetic. I am trying so hard to be like a big brother to him, and we are really growing close. He is so intuitive about missionary work I don't even need to train him. He is awesome, teaching me incredibly much, and we are getting along so well, better than my last companion already. I love my last companion though for sure.
Jessie emailed me and was just ecstatic!!! I am so glad she is happy :) I want her to be happy. I realized how much I love her when I came out here. She is a princess, and any man that wants to marry her better realize how lucky he is. If I EVER hear of mistreatment.... wow.... it will not be well with him. Jessica is so special. She deserves to be happy because she works so dang hard!! Please tell her she has my utmost love, and she better be happy, cuz I am :)
Mommmmmma, I am happy. This mission is flying by, and I already want to stay. I am going to miss this mission life, and ESPECIALLY Naitiri. It is home to me! People know me, we talk and smile and laugh, and it just feels like home. Whenever I return home, the Spirit is there. I am happy and healthy, and everything is wonderful. The work, now that my companion and I are giving it more attention and structure, is progressing. Things are about to turn up :) I am even creating a Branch Mission Plan which I am handing out and presenting next Sunday :) Life is great Mom, and I am sooooo happy you are great. Give Laurie and Franny my love, and tell them they are both in my prayers, even from all the way over here. Mom, I will talk to you in 4 weeks :) Yes, 4 weeks. Get ready to plug up those tear ducts so you can talk to me ;)
With truly eternal love from your forever-son,
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Life here is flippin awesome too!!! Just like you love your new roommate (and tell Kelsey I said hi and I love her and I am thankful for her support she gives you and I am so proud of her for serving a mission... whew that was a run-on...), I love my new companion. We are so dang close, and only in 3 weeks. His name is Elder Arineitwe from Uganda, and he is incredible. He comes from a Muslim home, and he totally converted. Over here, if a Muslim converts to Christianity, they are usually stoned for it. But his grandfather started Islam in his village in Uganda, so he was spared. I pray that his family will change too. He came out without any support whatsoever (except for kind of his mother) and at first it was hard for him. But now he is awesome. I am trying so hard to be like a big brother to him, and it is paying off :) You could send him a letter, it would cheer him up. Same address as mine, just address it to "Elder Habibu Arineitwe" instead of me ok? I showed him your pic, he said you were beautiful and that you deserved to be told that. haha!! He is so great.
Your apartment looks AWESOME!!!! And of course I would love to see pictures! I can easily tell you are excited beyond measure about it, and I would love to see more pictures :) I will be sending you personal emails now, no worries. My typing speed has increased dramatically from this weekly workout so I usually have time to send sufficient emails.
Hey, but have dad send you his email so you can read the little snippit I wrote about "desire". It is kinda cool, and it just came to me during personal study one day. It may not be cool, but I thought it was... maybe... oops...
By the way, I am writing a letter to you soon. Stamps are expensive tho :P
Well.... not much else to report on... except that I FLIPPIN LOVE YOU!!!!! Oh ya, and the other night, due to the loss of power, I washed my clothes by candlelight, then showered by candle light! hahahaha I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!! no sarcasm, I really do :)
With so much love that I have to use the bathroom,
I heard about Romney. In fact, I am probably more updated than you! Our Elder's quorum President is obsessed with American politics, and gives me regular updates on the race :) hahaha!!!! I'm more informed than I have ever been on politics, and I don't even have to do anything.
I am glad life there is good. My Easter dinner was the BOMB man... those sunflower seeds hit the spot all the time. By the way, what is Grandma June's address? I gotta send that letter.. but I lost the address. Oops! Also, is it possible to send "The Other Side of Heaven" in a package? It's for a Nigerian elder here. He really wants it. He can pay us back... I think.
Ok I want you to share this with the fam, it's something I realized in my personal study. It really came in the form of personal revelation though. It just flowed out of my mind as I was studying the scriptures, and it kinda scared me how fluidly it came. Here it is:
Read Alma 48:16. Ok so you see how Moroni is a hero? Well it is because of his desires. Anybody can pretend to be a hero, but he was a hero for real because his desires were so pure! And I realized, what makes a powerful man? Pure desires! And then, as I began to write in my study journal, I just wrote this. Ha ok, "Desire is one of the strongest forces, if not the strongest, in the Universe. All actions stem from desire. All results come from a root of desire. If one can plead with God and exercise self-discipline to purify desire, one becomes a natural, uncharactered Saint, who instinctively saves the world by doing what they FEEL to be right, not just KNOW to be right. To do right by knowing can be rote; to do right by feeling means the Godhead is there with you, because at that point, your desires are pure and so are you. Pray to purify desires, then live as though they are. God will work a miracle inside of you." WOO!!!! Now read Alma 48:17. I have no doubt that our family can achieve that. I love you all so much! Remember, "coincidence" and "convenient" are bad words. They diminish our awareness of God's involvement in our lives! He is there Dad, and He is alive and well :)
STORYTIME!!!! We were riding a piki piki to an area called Tongaren, about 20 to 25 minutes from Naitiri. On our way, the rain (becoming notorious) picked up. At first, a light rain with big rain drops. Then in a flash, hail and HARD rain. Within seconds, literally seconds we were soaked and getting pelted. I yelled at the driver over the torrent, "We need to find cover!!!" Then I remembered, "Oh ya, he probably doesn't speak English." Well my Swahili isn't that good yet, so I just yelled and laughed like a mad-man and so did Elder Arineitwe. hahahah we were having a blast and it hurt!! The driver was smart enough to pull into a yard and we just ran in the house. Because Luuyas are so nice, they let us come in and we just chilled there (literally) for about 30 minutes, then decided that we were already wet, and the rain had died down, so we went! We got to Tongaren, went to our appointment, and this guy was prepared by the Lord. He and his family we are meeting again. Our teaching pool and branch referrals are growing Dad, all because of the mercy of the Lord :) "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting", right? Well, prayer and fasting are powerful. Geez, everything is just so real out here. I can't wait to get home and just do good. And I mean it, this is not empty talk. When I get home, I am going to be involved and active, and get Ben totally ready for his mission.
With tons of love for you and the fam,
Monday, April 9, 2012
Conrad sent this interesting article to us.
Die Boek van Mormon
By John M. Pontius
I was searching through my books in storage a few days ago and
came across a first edition of the Book of Mormon in Afrikaans. I
served a mission in South African from 1971 to 1973. It was an
interesting and challenging experience.
I attended the Stake Conference in Johannesburg on May 14, 1972
when the new translation of the Book of Mormon into Afrikaans (Die
Boek van Mormon) was presented. It was an electric moment. People
wept. Some had waited all of their lifetimes to read the Book of
Mormon in Afrikaans. Many people had learned English for the sole
purpose of reading this scripture. The Spirit was strong among us as
Remembering back more than 50 years, I can still remember Professor
Felix Mynhardt [not a member of our church] as he spoke of his
experience in translating that sacred book. I will retell it as best I can
Professor Mynhardt was invited to come to the stand and speak about
his experience in translating the Book of Mormon. He recounted how
he had been given a gift of languages from God from his youth. He
said that he was fluent in many languages, including English,
Afrikaans, Hebrew and Egyptian, as well as many others. He was
presently employed as a language professor. He said he had been
praying that the Lord would give him some task, some divinely
important task, that would justify his having this gift of language from
He said in about 1970 that he had visited with a group of Mormon
leaders, who sought to commission him to translate the Book of
Mormon from English into Afrikaans. He said that he knew of the Book
of Mormon from his religions studies, and his initial reaction was that
he did not want to be involved in translating it.
However, that evening, as he prayed upon his knees, as was his habit,
he said the Spirit of the Lord convicted him. The message was
something on the order of, “You asked me for a great, divinely inspired
task of translation, I sent it to you in the form of translating the Book of
Mormon, and you declined.” Professor Mynhardt said he could not
sleep through the night because he knew that translating the Book of
Mormon would get him into trouble with his university, which was
owned and operated by the Dutch Reformed Church. When morning
came he telephoned Elder Clark to inform him that he would begin the
He stood at the pulpit and described the experience. He said, “I never
begin translating a book at the beginning. Writing style usually
changes through a book, and becomes more consistent toward the
middle. Accordingly, I opened to a random place in the middle of the
Book of Mormon, and began translating.” He said, “I was startled by
the obvious fact that the Book of Mormon was not authored in English.
He said, “It became immediately apparent that what I was reading was
a translation into English from some other language. The sentence
structure was wrong for native English. The word choices were wrong,
as were many phrases.” He said, “How many times has an Englishman
said or written, ‘And it came to pass?’” We all laughed, and knew he
was right, of course.
He continued, “When I realized this, I knew that I had to find the
original language, and translate it back into the original language, or a
similar language to the original, and then proceed to translate it into
Afrikaans. He listed a half-dozen languages he tried, all of which did
not accommodate the strange sentence structure found in the Book of
Mormon. He said, “I finally tried Egyptian, and to my complete surprise,
I found that the Book of Mormon translated flawlessly into Egyptian,
not modern, but ancient Egyptian. I found that some nouns were
missing from Egyptian, so I added Hebrew nouns where Egyptian did
not provide the word or phrase. I chose Hebrew because both
languages existed in the same place anciently.”
“I had no idea at that time why the Book of Mormon was once written
in Egyptian, but I can tell you without any doubt, that this book was at
one point written entirely in Egyptian.” I heard him say this over and
over. Then, he said, “Imagine my utter astonishment when I turned to
chapter one, verse one and began my actual translation and came to
verse two, where Nephi describes that he was writing in the language
of the Egyptians, with the learning of the Jews!”
He said, “I knew by the second verse, that this was no ordinary book,
that it was not the writings of Joseph Smith, but that it was of ancient
origin and was in fact scripture. I could have saved myself months of
work if I had just begun at the beginning. Nobody but God, working
through a prophet of God, in this case Nephi, would have included a
statement of the language he was writing in. Consider, how many
documents written in English, include the phrase, “we are writing in
English!” It is unthinkable and absolute proof of the inspired origins of
He paused, then noted, “I am one of the few people in the world that is
fluent in ancient Egyptian. I am perhaps the only person fluent in
ancient Egyptian who is also fluent in Afrikaans and English. And I
know for a fact, that I am the only person alive who could have
translated this book first into Egyptian, and then into Afrikaans. If your
church ever needs an Egyptian translation of the Book of Mormon, it is
sitting in my office as we speak.” We all laughed.
Professor Mynhardt spoke of many other things regarding the
translation of this book, and then said, “I do not know what Joseph
Smith was before he translated this book, and I do not know what he
was afterward, but while he translated this book, he was a prophet of
God! I know he was a prophet! I testify to you that he was a prophet
while he brought forth this book! He could have been nothing else! No
person in 1827 could have done what he did. The science did not
exist. The knowledge of ancient Egyptian did not exist. The knowledge
of these ancient times and ancient peoples did not exist. The Book of
Mormon is scripture. I hope you realize this.
“I will keep promoting this book as scripture for the remainder of my life
– simply because it is scripture, and I know it.
I haven’t studied your doctrine or your history since Joseph Smith. The
only thing I know about the Mormon religion is that you have authentic,
ancient scripture in the Book of Mormon, that your church was begun
by a living and true prophet of God, and that all of the world should
embrace the Book of Mormon as scripture. It simply can’t be denied
With my new companion, I decided enough messing around. We had a 4 hour weekly planning and organized the area book so dang well. We accounted for every soul we have made contact with and we are going to get each one of them to be there at church. I seriously think our area is about to prosper. This week we have to go to Eldoret for zone conference on tues - thurs, so our area will suffer a bit, but the future is bright. Send some blessings our way for our area ok? I want these people to prosper, but sometimes there's so much responsibility it is hard. Actually, it's always hard. But in the... October 2011 Conference report I think, there's a talk by Pres. Eyring in the Priesthood session. And wow - General authorities work hard. Especially the prophets. He mentioned how they worked hard even when they were tired. And it inspired me to get working, harder and harder. I won't burn out, don't worry. But I gotta become more than I am. And the Lord can help me!
STORYTIME!!!!! I was talking to a lady with my companion, and she was trying to convince us of some weird nature of the Godhead. My companion is new, and doesn't realize that if we try and use scripture they turn it on us, even if we mean not to bash. So I took the lady aside, and looked at her and told her "Mama, we are just missionaries. We respect your beliefs, but we are not here to convince or argue. We are teachers, and we don’t want to argue over the scriptures or the Godhead because they are Holy. Now if you want to learn, we'll teach you." We have a return appointment, but we will see how it goes. I told my companion lovingly to not use scripture or doctrine against people. We just teach, and when they argue we need to keep control of the situation.