Je Bale Family and Friends!
(That's Luganda for hello). I'm currently writing from Uganda! Sometimes I wake up and have to remind myself that and it's the weirdest feeling ever. I absolutely love it here. So much has happened so far it's hard to believe i've only been here less than a week! I guess I'll begin from when I got here.We got in to the Entebbe airport at around 10PM local time and were greeted by President Chatfield, his wife, a senior couple, and one of the AP's. Elder Hatch, Packer, Owen, and I hopped into a truck with the AP and he drove us to one of the apartments in Entinda, which is a short way from the mission home. On our way there, we were pulled over by a Cop on a Boda-Boda (which is basically just a motorcycle...they're so annoying i've been almost hit so many times). Elder Peterson, the AP, pulled out the restoration pamphlet and bore quick testimony to him and gave him the pamphlet and he let us go! Super cool experience. That next morning, our group and the group of elders from South Africa got up and we had training at the mission home. President Chatfield is a powerful guy. I'm so excited to be able to work with him for the next year until he's released. After training, we got our assignments and our companions. I got assigned to the Kololo area which is closest to the Stake Center. Just a short walk from our apartment which is nice! That's where we meet for church Sunday. The biggest ward in the stake is in my area which is pretty sweet. My companion's name is Elder Oliphant. This is his last transfer before going home so im going to be trained by two elders. He is somewhat quiet but he is such a powerful teacher and is so patient and kind to me. We white-washed our area so after we dropped our bags off and consulted the area book, we began getting to know our area. Our area in Kololo covers the regions, Naguru, Kololo, and Kisugu. The living conditions range from relatively nice to very poor. There's not really a middle class in the area. We spend most of our time proseltying in the slums because that's where all the families are. My first lesson came that night. Haha I was so nervous at first but then when I began teaching, the spirit of peace came over me and I felt very calm. The work is progressing very quickly here. This weekend, we have two baptisms with many more to come in the following weeks! The people in Kisugu are unbelievable. Every day we have two young ward missionaries named Henry and Julius working with us and showing us around the area and they sit in on our lessons. They're preparing for missions as well they're going to be unbelievable. This week we had dinner with Bishop. He only got back from his mission in 2010 and has a young family. He is an amazing man. I can't stress to you all how amazing the people are here. Without fail, everyone invites us inside their homes and I can walk down the street and wave to anyone and they'll wave back with a smile. The food here is awesome too haha im not gonna die of hunger. I havent had too much authentic but the street food is amazing haha they have these thick tortilla things called kikomando that is amazing. It's mostly fending for ourselves at night. I come home at around 9:30 every night beat tired haha. I've been working hard. Tonight we have appointment with relief society president. shes from utah. We dont know her story yet. Shes making sphagetti for our district so we're super pumped. In my area of Kololo, and in my apartment/district there is 2 companionships so its me my comp and 2 oither guys. one from logan utah one from zimbabwe. theyre studs I love them. Elder Hart, the logan guy, played baseball. He's helped me so much. I had a really hard time the first night. only slept 2 hours and I just sat and talked to him and it made me feel a lot better.
I want to tell you about an experience I had last night. At around 6, Oliphant and I went tracting. We taught a good lesson to a family, then made another appointment with another family for later this week then we went to a house and were invited in by a family. We got midway through the restoration then the father began asking doctrinal questions about baptism and marriage etc. We thought we were having a good conversation and I was getting really excited and then he began asking about the monetary benefits he'd get if he joined the church and literally went on and on about how he was a business man and he wouldn't join the church unless it had other benefits. We wasted literally two hours there because of how much the guy was talking and we couldn't get away. So we left feeling really discouraged. We decided to knock on one more house and a guy answered and let us in. His name is Bennett and he is a father and is separated from his wife and family who life up north. He told us how much he was stuggling because he wasnt with his family and because his wife is always at work, the kids are on their own and aren't making the best decisions. We then shared with him the Plan of Salvation and midway through the lesson I felt prompted to tell him that all his struggles he was going through, his Savior and Heavenly Father are both mindful of them and of him and his family and I just reassured him everything would be okay. I can't describe how relieved he look. As I looked into his eyes, I could see his burdens being eased. The spirit was the most powerful I've felt in a lesson so far. After we left, I began to cry and just said a prayer of gratitude. It's times like these that make me so grateful I made this decision to serve. I really do love it here.
There are so many other things I want to say but I don't have much time. I love you all so much! If any of you have questions throughout the week feel free to ask I'll have more time next week!
Love, Elder Hazen
View from RJ's
The Mess the Previous Elders Left