Monday, July 01, 2013

Week 2 - Not in Kansas anymore!

Holy moly this week has been crazy.  Well I'll go over the last ten days or so.  
P-Day!  I got to email everyone.  Pretty much a great day and super chill.  After I emailed, I walked off the MTC campus with about 10 elders and we went to get stamps in town.  I was straggling and I was literally 2 inches from getting smushed by a van speeding at well over 30mph.  He started yelling at me in zulu (South African language).  Zulu is also the language used in the Lion King opening scene when they do that crazy song WAAAAAAAAAAAA NE BWENYAAAAAA.  It means something like bring all the animals together.  Let me say this.  My prayers have definitely gotten stronger and more frequent and more begging since I got to my mission.
I finally worked out.  I woke up at 6 so I had time to work out and I used my exercise bands.  Later on we taught a mock-investigator.  Something really bad happened at sport time today.  We were playing basketball and keeping score of course because there were a lot of competitive Americans and some guy (not to be named) pushed me hard.  So, still being military minded, I turned around and about as hard as I could I shoved him and was about to hit him when I heard my buddy Elder Hiltbrand say "Woah man, missionary!"  And at that moment I felt about 2 inches tall.  I felt so bad and I apologized to the elder that I pushed and it was all good but I still felt terrible...  I really need to work on love...
Today was definitely a spiritual high.  Actually it was rough until after dinner.  During the day I kept thinking about how long 2 years is and how that is kind of a huge sacrifice.  But after dinner, our district read Mosiah 2.  And let me tell you.  I was humbled beyond belief.  I have never felt more humble or more sure that I am in the right place.  While reading, I thought to myself "Who am I to say that this is hard?  Who am I to say that 2 years is long?  I am in the service of my King, my Lord.  I should be beyond honored."  So that pretty much fixed me right up and ended my slump.  Elder Ojok (Uganda) came to our room and we all started singing hymns right before we went to bed.  It was actually pretty cool.
(I forgot to put this in my journal so I don't know if it was Sunday or Saturday) We woke up at 5 to watch the Leadership Broadcast about missionaries.  I am pretty sure that Kai was able to attend in person, so I am jealous, but the broadcast was awesome.  It talked all about how members need to work more with missionaries.  
We had a lot of in-field orientation briefings.  Also, we had testimony meeting.  It was so humbling to be in a room full of some of the greatest and most humble priesthood holders on earth.  I felt the least among them and I was so honored and blessed to be in that room.  I would consider all of the Elders I spent those 12 days with to be complete Men of God.  Also, I got a 25 Billion Zimbabwe dollar bill from Elder Matoropito.
I finally got to Nairobi.  I got assigned to the Kitengela, Upperhill, Nairobi area.  Elder Ledwaba will be my father (trainer).  I am quite excited.  I miss so many things but I am ready to serve.  I talked to some missionaries that are getting released on Wednesday and asked them their best advice.  They said things like "It is hard, but that does not mean you need to suffer."  "Make it fun."  "You can't change your companion, but you can change yourself."
So Elder Ledwaba is pretty cool.  But HOLY MOLY I have never experienced poverty like this.  Dirt roads (even saying road is a stretch) everywhere, feces in the streets, it's eye opening.  And according to a lot of missionaries, Kitengela is one of the nicest and most built up places.  This is where the "Big people" live (as in making big money).  Elder Ledwaba's old companion, Elder Patten, had his last transfer here so his family was able to visit to get him.  I met all of them and they offered to take a picture and send it to my mom and call her.  It made me quite happy and relaxed.
FIRST DAY ON THE JOB.  I love it.  We met with Jairus and then with Collins.  Collins is a mild alcoholic and works for a brewery, and when we met with him he was already buzzing.  So I showed him and his girlfriend a card trick and they pretty much treated me like a god.  They thought I was a wizard but hey, we all know it is just the power of the priesthood.  For dinner we went to a Sri Lankan family's flat.  At first I was disgusted because there were bugs on the wall and they just seemed like dirty people.  I didn't want to eat there.  But they showed me so much love, welcoming me to Kenya, and after a while I just loved them as God's children.  It was an experience that was certainly not subtle to me, and from that point on it was easy to love all of these people in Kenya.  The food was AWESOME.  I am pretty sure I won't lose weight here.  But the Sri Lankans are an awesome family.  It is neat how I am starting to develop a crazy unconditional love for the people here.
Every time I see a kid they stare.  So I say "Mambo!" (How are you? informal) and they sometimes are just so surprised that a muzungo (white person) just spoke to them in their own tongue that they just drop their jaw, but other times I get them to smile really big and say "Poa!" (I'm good, informal)  To all the older people I just say "Habari" or "Habari ma" "Habari mzee" or "Habari zenu."  They always reply "Nzuri."  But back to my crazy muzungo story.  We went down into the slums (I mean, everywhere is the slum, but this was the slum of the slum so it was quite slummy).  There were all kinds of little Kenyan kids.  We were visiting a member, Jeffrey.  He gave us little stools to sit on outside while he went and made us some ugali, which is like tasteless mashed potatoes that you eat with your hands.  Three kids sat about 20 feet away from me and every time I looked at them they'd look away, but they were definitely staring.  So I went and touched one and they laughed.  Long story short:  10 minutes later about 20 kids under 10 years old were swarming me and touching my hands and pulling my arm hair and rubbing their hands through my hair and up my arms.  It was so interesting...  They don't have the opportunity to touch a white person much so it is a neat experience for them.
So most of the time in our lessons are spent just getting to be friends with people, which at first I thought was terrible, but now I realize that for the area it is so necessary.  People here don't want you to force the gospel on them.  They need to trust you first.  So we have a ton of appointments where we sit and hang out and chat and make food and then share a spiritual thought.  I have realized that it is actually quite effective in getting our message across.
Today was neat.  Church was cool because these people can't sing a lick but they have such spirit.  Then we went tracting and one of the first houses we stopped at was an Italian Catholic muzungo who married a black girl.  So he invited us in and he started going on and on and on about how Mother Mary is the bomb and we don't ever pray to anyone else.  But then they gave us juice that was the best I ever had.  Then I had a strengthening of my testimony of service.  We started helping this guy pull weeds and we ended up sharing with him the entire message of the Restoration.  Then he started bible bashing so we sat and listened for about an hour and then we left...  But it was still neat.  On our way home, we got swarmed by a herd of cattle that was led by a Masaii, a tribesman who lives in a hut.  It was sooooooooo interesting and 6 months ago I never would have guessed that I almost got maimed by a mean bull on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of Africa.

**Below are a few of the pictures Jacob was able to upload today.  Please email me at if you would like me to share the entire album.  It can be shared via Google plus.  Letters sent through are free to send and Jacob gets a hard copy that he can look at throughout the week.  Please write him when you get a chance! Directions are on the right side of the blog.  Thanks!

Jacob's shoes and tag at the end of the day.
Kitengela, Kenya
This is a "good" road in Kitengela.
Love the bedding!
Overview of the town.
A favorite scripture!!
Love the face!!
Companion in the MTC

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