Monday, August 1, 2016

Weekly Update~ "First Half of My Mission Has Come to a Close"

Dear Family and Friends,

Another transfer in the books…like I said last week, time continues to fly faster and faster for me, especially because Elder Mumba and I were so busy last week. Last week, I was able to go on a few last minute exchanges with Elder Nambale and Elder Shumway so I’ll first start by talking about those.
Figgs and Makka
On Monday evening, Elder Nambale came over to spend the night at K1 and Elder Mumba spend the night at K2 so Elder Brogan didn’t have to drive down from town in the morning. On Sunday, one of the former Elders in the Uganda Kampala Mission, Elder Hoffheins, and his friend Makka  got into town and came to church. He was here in Rwanda back in 2013 and he baptized President Ronald so, he has been staying with him for about the past week and a half. After services, Shumway, Packer, Mumba, and I stayed at the building to talk story with both of them for about an hour. Before they left, they told us that if any of us needed a member present lesson or two throughout the week to feel free to give them a call and they’d come help us. I took them up on their offer on Tuesday and had one of the most fun, spiritual days on my mission. Elder Hoffheins, or “Figgs” as we call him, has been at BYU for a few years and played on the line for the football team last year. He’s a big boy…haha standing by him is one of the few times I have felt small in my life. He is deciding between Rugby and Football this upcoming year. Makka is from Hawaii and used to play football as well but played Rugby for BYU this past year. They met up with Elder Nambale and I at around 3 and they worked with us until about 7:30. They went with us to teach two lessons and we got to split up and go tracting for about an hour as well. Makka and I were let into the home of a family with two of the kids present so we taught them the Restoration.  The Spirit was present as we both bore simple testimony about the Restoration. Though Makka hasn’t served a mission yet, with his knowledge of the gospel, it was like teaching with a missionary who has been out for about as long as I have. I was grateful to spend the day with them because they kept reminding me how lucky I was to be out at this time serving a mission in this beautiful, wonderful place with these amazing people. Seeing Figgs back in the field and seeing how much he loved these people made me want to push myself that much harder to work in sharing the Gospel. He helped me realize the type of person that I want to be as a Returned Missionary. I want to keep the same values and morals and habits that I’m building on mission and take them with me through the rest of my life, especially during these next few years of college. Living the Gospel is cool and it’s the only intelligent thing to do. 

The last appointment of the evening, we met Rosemary, one of Elder Nambale and my former investigators. She returned back from Nigeria after securing a new work visa. She told us about how she told her mom about us when she went back and brought the Book of Mormon and the pamphlets. Her mom LOVED everything and would have been baptized if the church was closer to her home. There is a chance that Rosemary is bringing her mother here to live when she saves more money, so I have my fingers crossed. Rosemary is still wishy-washy about the gospel and feels it’s true, but still struggles with the commitment side of things including coming to church. I know that it’s only a matter of time that she is baptized, it’s all about taking baby steps with her. This experience taught me that you never know what kind of seeds you are planting when it comes to dropped investigators and though they are dropped for now, you don’t know what kind of impact you could have made for the future elders or sisters who will be teaching them. 

On Thursday, I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Shumway. He came on mission when I was first getting to Rwanda. Nowadays, he’s almost 6 months. Even though he’s never been my companion and I’m not his trainer, I feel like he’s one of my mission sons because I’ve been around him since the beginning. Haha we always joke that I’m his “Spuncle” (super uncle). This last transfer, he was moved into my apartment to be with Elder Packer and I was stoked because we have become even better friends over this time. He’s become one of my best mission friends. It’s been neat to see his growth over these past 5 months.  I remember at the end of his first transfer, we were able to be together on a split and go tracting and I was impressed by his boldness for someone so young on mission. Since then, he has become a better teacher, and all around better missionary and it showed when I was able to spend the day with him on Thursday. (If you’re reading this, Sister Shumway, your son is doing a great job.)
Elder Shumway
This morning, we received transfer news and I found out that Elder Mumba has been transferred to Entebbe in Uganda, and I have been transferred to K2 to be the new Zone Leader with Elder Nambale, my former companion before Elder Mumba. I’m extremely grateful for the time I was able to spend with Elder Mumba. People always say that mission prepares you for the real world. Haha I’m not gonna lie, I feel like my companionship with Elder Mumba has best prepared me to understand what marriage is going to be like. Though Elder Mumba will go down as one of my favorite companions, and I love him to death, we didn’t get along all of the time which is how it will be like in marriage sometimes. But, amidst our differences or struggles, we’re still on the same team. I’m nervous to be a Zone Leader but, I’m excited to begin this new chapter on my mission. Pray for me that I’ll remember how to drive manual and that I won’t stall too hard on the hills of Rwanda. 

This week, Issa, Jean Diamour, and Egide were all baptized. Enjoy the pictures of my Sumo suit (baptism suit). 

This week I’ve also been thinking about my mission so far and the things that I’ve learned on the first year on my mission so far as the first half comes to a close. I’ve been thinking about how I still have a lot to learn and how I still need to develop charity and love because it is the driving force of missionary work. I find that sometimes I act selfishly and think about myself before I think about others. At times I feel like Nephi, exclaiming, “Oh wretched man am I!” How can I be a missionary for a year, but still put myself before others? How can I still fall to temptations when I have the influence of the Holy Ghost and other righteous examples all around me? It’s at these times that I’m most grateful for the Atonement because this is it’s exact purpose: to make those who are trying their best become better. This year, I’m giving it all to my Father in Heaven. This is his work. I’m striving to be more mindful of others and reaching out to the “one” who need my service. This is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I love this Gospel and I love being a missionary. Here’s to another year!
Proof for his Mama that he is still taking his Malaria Pills

Happy he can find his Favorite Dr Pepper in Africa

Elder Hazen

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