Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekly Update~ "Back to the Motherland!"

Dear family and friends,

Well, after a long 9 and a half months, I'm back to the motherland...UGANDA!   After stepping off the plane and feeling a cool breeze blowing in off Lake Victoria, it felt so good to be home. I am currently serving in the Nsambya ward, which is neighbors to the Kololo ward I began my mission in. I drive by the old area I proselyted in nearly every day and it brings back sweet memories. It hasn't been easy adjusting to driving on the left side of the road, but I'm slowly adjusting. Our area has every restaurant desirable to a missionary including another Mexican food place, the American Embassy, and a gym that I've hit up every morning with my companion. My new companion is Elder Chifamba from Zimbabwe. 
We actually began our missions the same day and went through our new missionary orientation together so, we are stoked to be serving together. He is incredible at finding, I have never met new investigators so easily in such a short span of time. With his skills in finding and the skills I developed in teaching for commitment in Rwanda, I can already tell we are going to have success and have set some pretty ambitious goals for our transfer together. We are serving in a long-established, organized ward. It's been a unique experience for me because I haven't served in a ward since my second transfer.  On Thursday, one of the ward missionaries spent all day working with us and was teaching with us in unity and wasn't missing a beat. I was absolutely astounded and couldn't be more excited moving forward.

I have been overwhelmed at meeting all the missionaries I haven't seen in a year and that I have never met. I had a sweet reunion with the Lugazi district at Mission Leader Conference and Stake Conference. Long story short, things have been wonderful. 

Yesterday, I had the unique experience of being part of another historical step forward in the church here in Uganda, as I witnessed the Uganda Kampala Stake be split in two. Elder S. Mark Palmer of the 70 was the presiding general authority. 

Throughout the day, I was so impressed and amazed at how quickly the church continues to progress and grow in this mission. It has been less than two years since the Jinja stake was organized and there could be additional stakes coming in the future. Though I have not met any of the men who were called by the Lord to serve in the Stake Presidency, after hearing them and their wives bear testimony, I know the Kampala South Stake is built upon a strong foundation of members who understand their covenants and what service really is. There was a particular line from someone's testimony that stuck out to me and clicked in my head, The gentleman said, "The best way to learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ is in the service of others". This made so much sense to me because truly, I haven't seen my testimony grow more than in the time I've spent serving others on my mission, especially in leadership responsibilities. I know the Lord knows each of us personally and gives us the opportunities to serve so we can learn the things we need to to become like our Savior. Truly there is no better way to become like the Savior than do what the Savior dedicated his life to do. Once again, and forevermore, I am grateful to be a missionary. 

I love you all,

Elder Hazen

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