Monday, January 4, 2016

Weekly Update~ "Goats and Hoes"

Dear Friends and Family,

   This week was a very busy, productive week. We were able to welcome in the New Year (by being home by 6:30 and not sleeping), we were able to visit many members and new investigators, Elder Dowdle threw a few kids, we were able to give a few hours of service, and we were able to have a few baptisms. But I'll explain everything in detail in a second.

   I'd first like to start off by saying Happy Birthday to my beautiful mother and wanted to let her know I'm sending all my love from here in Uganda.

   This week was much-needed because Elder Dowdle and I were finally able to see some of the fruits of our labors these past few weeks. I was very thankful to see the Lord's help. On Wednesday, we got invited over for food by a RM who got back from the Johannesburg South Africa mission a few years ago. He is a cook at a local guest house in Lugazi.  We didn't know what to expect. We were absolutely blown away. He made us rice, beef, and potatoes covered with an amazing gravy. It was amazing! 

   On New Years Eve, there wasn't much clebrating on our part in public due to the fact that we had to be home at 6:30. However, we had a bonfire in our driveway and we burned our Christmas ties in.  I was getting a bit tired of mine...wearing the same tie for a month straight can get boring. At around 9:30, the power went out in the house, so we thought it'd be a good idea to go to bed... or so we thought. For all you wondering, yes, they definitely celebrate New Years here. They celebrate by blasting music in their houses until the early hours of the morning... there were at least 4 trucks driving around our neighborhood playing music so that definitely didn't help things. At around 3 in the morning, the noise began to die down…but then, our guard Steven took it upon himself to keep the party going. So, he took a pair of sticks from the remains of our bonfire and began smashing them together and screamed from time to time "HAPPY NEW YEAR". On Friday, we woke up with a grand total of 4 hours of sleep…so yeah basically I hate New Years now haha. 

   We were able to go to one of our recent converts, Sunday Toko's farm and dig in his yard for a few hours.  Digging in yards and gardens for people in the branch has become my favorite thing to do for service lately. 
A few other miscellaneous stories from this week:
  • Elder Ray bought a chicken and slayed it in our back was a bit entertaining to watch him attempt to chase it down before beheading it.
  • Elder Dowdle was swinging kids around while we were waiting for an appointment at someone's house and jokingly asked one if he wanted to be thrown…he said yes, and tossed him into a patch of grass a few feet away...hahaha he didn't like that very much and needless to say, I died laughing. 
   This week, we were able to baptize 3 of our investigators this Sunday. (Pictures will be sent next week…sorry I apologize).  Samuel and Clement moved to Lugazi recently and one of the branch members, Francis, built a great friendship with them, which made teaching them very easy. They have accepted everything we taught them from the very beginning. I'm excited for the contribution and strength they'll add to the branch. The third investigator we baptized is named Jackie. She, like Samuel and Clement, was very accepting of everything we taught her. Her sister, Susan, is already a member. We had a wonderful baptismal service, and I'm so thankful for the Spirit that has helped us teach them.  I'll talk more about the area and our investigators next week. 

   This week, I've been studying the Atonement more in depth and I've learned that my Mission is a lot like the probationary state of testing and progressing that our Earth Life provides as part of the Plan of Salvation. I've come to realize that submitting my will to the Savior is not only the intelligent thing to do, but it's the ONLY way that I can progress and become what he wants me to be in this life and the life to come. If I lose myself for these two years, I'll be able to develop into the type of man I want to become, one that can answer to each of the Lord's calls, one that can be a supportive husband and father, and priesthood holder. 

I love you all. Have an amazing week! Have fun working on your New Year's resolutions,

Elder Hazen

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