Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20. 2012

Ola ola,
I know the greeting doesn't make much sense, but Africa doesn't make much sense. This week had a lot of ups and downs. Mostly downs, but we're still pushing on.
We started out this week having to do a deep clean of our tiny little flat. We didn't think it was going to take very long, but once we started noticing all the dirt we realized how much work we were really in for. It was required and took our whole p-day. It was really gross too. We found out that the grout between the shower tiles is in fact, not black, but white. I know, it freaked me out too. I don't think that that place has ever really been cleaned by any missionary.
As far as actual missionary work went, we didn't accomplish very much. I think we taught a total of 8 actual lessons last week, which meant we had a lot of extra time to try and find productive things to do. We went through the entire branch list contacting all the less actives and trying to set up appointments with active members, trying to re-establish trust lost by previous missionaries in the area. I think our efforts are beginning to pay off though. We actually received some referrals this week, which is awesome considering that the branch hasn't given us any up to this point. While we called through the less active members though, I started having flashbacks to APX. We heard so many crazy and stupid excuses as to why people left the church. I couldn't believe that members of the church could be so rude to 2 missionaries just trying to help. Anyway, we had to update the list because the branch didn't want to help us, but we got it done. Next week we're going to be starting to teach lessons in Priesthood and Relief Society on "Every member a missionary" to hopefully get the ward motivated to start creating family missionary plans. All of them really need to study what is meant in D&C 88:81. We hope it works.
These last few weeks have been crazy with emergency transfers. We've had 2 major transfers within this single transfer. I had no idea some of the crazy, stupid things that missionaries do. A lot of the time I think that people think of missionaries as just missionaries and don't realize that all of the same problems that exist at home are the same or even amplified in the mission field. Some of the missionaries here do some really bad, stupid things. We were way sad because one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Crawford, was emergency transferred because of the actions of some other stupid missionaries. He was one of the coolest missionaries I've met here.
Not much else has happened missionary wise this week. We did pick up a new investigator, but I don't know how it is going to turn out. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure he's a drug dealer. We did confirm Markus and Jessica this week which was pretty cool though. That crazy African guy (Felizberto), from Mozambique showed up again this week and while the Branch President was talking at the pulpit, Feliz stood up and grabbed a bug off the President's collar. It was way funny and awkward because the President didn't know what was going on and looked like he was going to punch him in the face. I busted out laughing on accident during the awkward silence and had to leave the room for a minute.
We were invited over to the Branch President's home for lunch after church where we had lamb roast which was awesome, with an awesome dessert called milk tart.
After church we had another appointment with a family in the branch to help them set up a family mission plan, but of course Elder Blake had to get another flat tire. It is like his fifth one. We didn't want to be late though, so he ran alongside his bike all the way to the far end of our area with his backpack on and everything. It was pretty funny, because he was sweating up a storm by the time we got there. We had to have some elders in the next area over with a car come and pick us up afterward though, because it was late and we were a good 2.5 hour walk from our flat.
That's about all that happened this week though.
Thank you again for all the letters, and I love you all.
Peace out.
-Elder Balmforth

What I deal with every time I try to knock on someone's gate

Alberton sign

Alberton sign

A huge spider with all its babies in a web we found in our flat

The source of all my pain and frustration

Alberton sign

Our flat. It's one room except for the tiny kitchen and
bathroom through that doorway

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