Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 13: Hail

Well this week started off quite wet for us. We were about 30 minutes walk from our apartment when it started to downpour. Not rain, but sheets of water. Biggest, craziest rainstorm of my life. The wind shifted and it was like it was raining sideways. We got maybe 5 minutes back toward the house when it started to hail and massive lightning flashes. HAIL in Mozambique, what is the world coming to? We ended up sheltering next to a building but were still getting pelted (and welted) by the hail. Finally we just ran for it. Thankfully we all made it back to the apartment safely. Elder Stegman took a really amazing photo of the sunset right before it even seemed like it might rain. He has a waterproof camera that he took a mid-storm video with that I will hopefully forward on. This weeks shout out goes to my FILSON waterproof bag. It is waterproof, that storm was the best possible test. Everything in the bag was dry (everyone's cameras and phones). My scriptures were totally dry, sadly the other Elders can't say the same.

Apparently today is Halloween, but that isn´t really a holiday here. The store is already decked out in Christmas stuff and playing carols. Yay -.-

We taught an old, very old gentleman  by the name of Morse last week and he not only promised to come to church, but he would invite all his friends. Mind you, everyone says they´ll come, but he really did! So we show up to his house and he has chairs all set up in a semi circle with 7 friends sitting around. We´d teach a little in Portuguese then he would pretty much repeat it just way more animated in Portuguese, then Xichangana (no idea on how to spell it) for the older visitors. Really crazy and kinda fun experience.

Last week was transfers and there was a bit of confusion. Elders Stegman and Griffeth did leave ;( but they didn't get replaced.... Elder Griffeth and I got `transfered` kinda to T3 A/B.... We now have 2 areas. I mentioned our area was huge before, now its freaking gigantic. When we tell people where all we work they don´t believe us. On the positive side of things, we ´inherited` some really cool families. We had 15 investigators come to church, and we have 9 with dates marked (lots working on marriage papers) Each week after this I´ll try to highlight a family and whats going on with them.

Random facts of the week:
1. We average 11-12 miles a day of walking, this weeks high was 14.1 miles in one day.
2. Frozys (330ml soda things) have increased in price from 12 Met to 15 Met on average.
3. I found a baraka that has super cold, kinda frozen, water bottles for sale. Way nice (30 Met though, but its 1500ml).

Yes I do look super tan in the photo with the family. That is because I have gotten a bit darker, and have fried a bit because I have no sunscreen... but my skin doesn't really burn anymore, so that is good. I have a pretty gross looking watch tan line, and neckline, and worse than a farmer tan farmer tan. 

Ward Activity

These are some investigators kids that like running around us. They call us Tio (Tea-oh) which means uncle. I feel old. The record for someone guessing my age is 37... Like a serious guess by an adult.

Until next week!
Elder Howell

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 12: First Transfers

Well the really big thing of this week is Transfers. Elder Griffeth is
climbing the ladder and is going to be a Zone Leader in Swaziland now.
Elder Stegman is also leaving us for another city. Elder Burchett and
I might be "white washing" (two new missionaries to the area) Elder
Griffeth's and Stegman's area. That will be interesting because we
will be in the same house, but just  walk to a new area, but the same
ward. I foresee 3-4 transfers in T3.

As far as photos this week I wont be sharing many because I lost my
camera on Monday last week, I'm quite upset about it. We had a fun
activity on P-Day last (H-Day) Monday where two Zones met up and we
played sand volleyball and soccer on the beach. It was super fun until
I hopped off the coffin (chappa) at the store and realized my camera
was missing. I think it just fell out of my pocket, but I'm not sure. I
will have to get a camera this week to be able to send cliche Africa
photos for my family to post on Facebook and such :)

On to other random things, I have taken 1 cold shower, 1 hot shower
and a stupid amount of bucket showers the last 3 weeks. I pretty much
refused to take cold showers, so I boiled water to take bucket showers
all the time. They finally fixed our sketchy breaker box in the shower
heater thingy, but it broke after my first shower, back to the bucket
I go!

I was able to send 5 letters home via bribing other missionaries with
candy that I got in a package. Mom, you are getting a letter--if it
ever shows up.... The other 4 are to DC #Priorities.  Letters cost
300ish Met a piece to send, but is well worth it to keep a promise :)

In other cool/random news:
1. I saw my first malaria case this week. I will be double checking
that I take my Doxycycline each and everyday, plus spray down in bug spray
2. I also saw my first actually black person this week. We aren't
talking chocolate milk, or 85% cocoa chocolate dark, but seriously
black--It blew all 6 of our minds to see.
3. It's virtually mango season here. As it heats up (SO HOT) nature
here gives us mangos, still not sure if it is a fair trade yet, but
it's not too bad. The mangos aren't totally ripe yet, but a member
gave me one and it was really pretty good--not Costco dried and sugar
covered, but good all the same. Being all natural, grass-fed, organic
was probably what made it taste good.
4. My Mom has asked for me to include scriptures in my emails, I really
liked these two this week: Jacob 6:12 and Alma 26:29-30.

I look forward to the emails I get each week, and the fun photos of
normal Utah/American life. I can't wait for the snow pictures to float
in while it heats up to 40+ Celsius  here!

Elder Howell

Elders Brown, Mayeya, Burchett, Howell, Griffeth, and Stegman.  This was taken right before Family Home Evening.  

 Typical streets in T3 (Matola).

Fries with sauce.

Typical little boy.

Our District right before we lose Stegman (being held up by me and Burchett) and Griffeth (on the far  left side).

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 11: ...And They're of God

I have more time to write this week, but I left my paper at the apartment with my list of things to include in this email so it might be very randomly written as I remember stuff to include.

Before I go into the week, Happy Birthday to Tate! Ah 17, one more year and you can be drafted, how exciting! Go on a fun date for me :)

This week nothing super exciting happened. We do have one person who said yes to being baptized, but like the last person, I feel like I was at the end of the teaching. It will still be fun to see how the next few weeks play out while we finish teaching her.

I have found a new source of entertainment while walking around. Lots of kids run around pushing tires, so I have started having kids hop in the tires, then I push said tire until they can't handle it anymore and yell for me to stop. It's very entertaining each and every time. I will try to get a video of it this week.

We did get to take part of Elder Griffeth/Stegman's area this week. It's super nice because it is a 15-20 minute walk from our apartment, no chappa riding needed! It is also close to the church, which should be good for sacrament attendance. It's hard to see under 150 people show up to church with the amount of people who should be there, but then I realized this week that some of those members are literally hours and hours away by foot, and they don't have cars.

One last thing....... I GOT LETTERS AND A PACKAGE. Yah, super excited about it. They ranged from the start of September to September 19th. I don't know how long they'd been in the office though (all mail goes to the office). The package was my birthday one, I'm saving the treats... Other than the skittles :) #GoneAlready Plus I wore the tie :) Thanks Mum!

Random story this week. In a lesson (that had been going very well) when one of their sons (19) starts asking about "black magic" and possessions, talking to demons and such. Elder Burchett very quickly shut him down with the Bible (he knows his Bible super well). But the kid kept asking the same stuff. The mom finally yells "THEY DON'T KNOW, BECAUSE YOUR STUFF IS OF THE DEVIL, AND THEY'RE OF GOD". It was a super funny moment to me (it helped that I understood it in Portuguese).

That's all for this week! Thanks for the emails, and physical mail!

Elder Howell

We took a chapella (mini coffin) back from shopping one day, more room, but just as freaky :)

There are massive (this one isn't that big) flying, *clicky clicky* noise making cockroaches. 

My first crock pot meal made in Mozambique.

This child was trying to take my watch at church... No luck however.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 10 Only 12 Minutes To Email Today

Things are going well.

The kids are great here.

 Family Home Evening with a member family.

 Dinner out to celebrate Elder Griffeth's birthday.

 Elder Burchett made me a Conference BINGO card.

 Pizza Hut in Maputo, Mozambique :)

 Random Tree.

Typical Mozambique food.

I have 12 minutes to write this this week so it´ll be a bit short.

First some responses to questions I´ve received:

1.  Can you tell me more about your companion, and all the elders in your house?

2.  Do you eat the coconut meat...or just drink the liquid?

3.  Did you eat anything unusual this week?

4.  How do transfers work there and do you anticipate being transferred in a couple of weeks?

1. I am in a house of 6 Elders (plus one 24/7 security gaurd in a house thingy outback).    Elders:Burchett, Stegman, Griffeth, Brown, and Mayeya.  Griffeth´s from Idaho, Stegman's from Arizona, Mayeya´s from Zambia and the rest of us are from Utah. Brown and I have been here less than a transfer, Burchett and Griffeth have been here 14 months, Mayeya a year this week.

2. Yes, I drink the water, eat the meat and sometimes pour a drink into it to drink.

3. Yes, we ate with a member because we couldn't say no again... We´d run out of excuses. Still not sure what it was on the rice... Not too bad after I got past the leaves and interesting taste.

4. Transfers happen every 6 weeks. On transfer day you learn if you are staying with your companion or in your area in general. We are pretty sure Elder Griffeth is leaving, maybe Elder Burchett too this coming transfer (two weeks from today). I will probably get a 0 English speaking companion.

This week was Elder Griffeth´s birthday. We made him pancakes in bed and went out to dinner. It was fun, he is a good guy.

We had interviews with our Mission President this week, so we got to go into the city (4 hours of chappa riding -.-) I was able to get another pair of shoes from my other bag. But after interviews we got pizza at Pizza Hut... So it was worth it. One of the Elders in my house got super sick from it though, they will remain unnamed.

This week was General Conference for us. We had 13 people (including us 6 missionaries) show up to the Saturday session... and 10 at the Priesthood session... So yah..... It was only in Portuguese so sadly I understood virtually nothing. Elder Burchett made me a Conferene BINGO card though which was awesome. I never finished it though.... They never said Pearl of Great Price... Cheap word for BINGO. Sunday session we had 116 people at though.

That´s about it this week because I´m out of time. Best of luck to everyone! Send me any questions and I´ll do my best to answer them!

Elder Howell

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 9: All the rain

Well, the high point of last week was my first Baptism, the low point of the week was a week without soda, but its worth it :) Edson got baptized this week, but I don't really feel like it counts because he already had a baptism date planned before I got here. I just helped run through the last of the lessons he needed. But all's well that ends well. Quick shout out to Hannah for my awesome mug, and Tate for always putting glass cups in the freezer- which I now do with the mug :)

As far as my daily* schedule it goes like this:
6:30-Wake up
8:00-Personal study
9:00-Comp study/calling for appointments
10:00-Language or 12 weeks (beginning of mission training-guess for how many weeks?)
11:00-Language or 12 weeks
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Walking to area
14:00-20:00 Lessons/Contacting new people (door "knocking")
20:00-21:00 Walk home
*P-Day we wake up at 6:00 clean for an hour, then half an hour of personal/comp study then go do internet, shop and get back home. FHE with a member family at 18:00. Tuesdays we have training in the morning in Matola until like 12:00 or 13:00.

Into the weeks randomness. First off, I tried a few new drinks during my "pit stops". Pit stops are 15ish minute breaks during what I assume is most missionaries hour for dinner. Our area is a 30 minute walk to the edge of it, and probably another 2ish hours to really get deep into our area, but thankfully we get to ride in coffins, I mean chappas, to the far out areas. During the pit stop we get something to drink and sometimes a snack. Coconuts are awesome (7-15 Met depending on size), a small water bottle is 20, large is 30 or 40 (depending on who you ask, and if you're a white guy who doesn't really speak Portuguese), and soda is 15 for a bottle to 65 for a 2 liter. We eat and take a breather. I plan on pouring a coke into my coconut this coming week. No sodas at home (now letter money), but for pit stops its probably the safest cheapest option when I'm not feeling like a coconut. Anyway this week I tried a "Creme soda flavored yogurt".... Just how you'd think it tastes.... The strawberry version wasn't bad though :)

As far as food: Breakfast is usually cereal or toast. Lunch one of the 6 of us makes it for everyone. Lots of chicken, pasta etc. We usually shop at a place called Shoprite which is like 45 minutes of coffin riding away after a 40 minute walk to the chappa stop. It feels like a strange version of Fresh Market, but missing random stuff. Hard to explain. Then we do our pit stop whenever we need a rest between 14:00 and 20:00. This week I discovered "podareas" (probably spelled wrong). Its a small bakery 15 minutes from our apartment that has hot bread at 20:45! It's awesome, and only 7 Met for a whole hot loaf.

Currently I'm in a different internet cafe than normal because the entire area of Patrice (where we usually do internet/catch a chappa to Shoprite) doesn't have power... for literally no reason. The internet is usually "good" enough to send and get pictures without any issue. It costs 40 Met an hour, we get 2 hours.

The last big thing from this week was on Friday. We were teaching a lesson at 20:30, just wrapping up when it started to pour rain. Not cats and dogs, but elephants and freaking hippos. Thankfully we were inside (usually we sit in little sketchy plastic chairs out in front of the house. Most houses are like a fence, small dirt/sand yard, then the house) Thankfully were inside, but virtually all of the roofs are just tin roofs, so it was deafening. We finished our lesson, and walked into the storm. Tons of lightning, wind and endless sheets of rain. I quickly gave up trying to use my umbrella because I was getting soaked anyway. Maybe 1% of the "roads" in my area are paved, so the streets turned into rivers up to mid shin. Took us almost an hour to walk home in the pouring rain. Everyone was inside, or hiding inside at bars. They all thought us two Maloongoos were crazy walking in the rain, which we were. My feet loved me for it...Not. The blisters that were already there kinda exploded, yay.

Overall it was a good week though. One pit stop with a coconut, and one hot loaf of crunchy outside, warm soft inside bread at a time!

Elder Howell

This is a family we teach, they are kinda progressing, kinda not. People are quite flaky here if you don't really really keep up on them. The house is cement, tin roof. But they have a couch and small tv which makes it the second nicest investigators house I've been in. I look terrified because the power went out mid-lesson due to the storm, so we took it with a flash, always freaky.

Most of the people we teach are in houses made out of concrete, or concrete blocks. Tin roofs. 1/4 houses  we don't go in though. Usually we sit in the yard on sketchy chairs. The kids mess with our hair/arm hair. Usually the houses are really small, like living room and maybe kitchen in our house. Sometimes the family has a small fuzzy tv. Some of the houses have no electricity. Most cook with charcoal.

Elder Burchett and I after getting home in the storm, 100% soaked to the bone. Crazy wet, shoes totally full of water. I literally poured water out of my shoe when I took it off, a lot of water.

 We are drenched. 

 Smiling and wet Elders Howell, Mayeya, Burchett, and Griffeth.

 Missionaries and members.

 Five baptisms!

 Pit stop snack.

 Typical game, like checkers.

 Elder Burchett, Edson (soon to be baptized) and me.

 Lots of soda.

 Strawberry flavor is better than cream soda flavor.

 Lots of walking.

 Lots and lots of walking.

 Yummy fresh baked warm bread at 20:45 (8:45 pm)

 Favorite pit stop snack.

Lizard/gecko in my kitchen.