Monday, August 25, 2014

Johannesburg, South Africa and Maputo Mozambique 54th week - August 25, 2014

This week was full. Monday after emailing we met up with a couple of other missionaries and went to Snake City. It was really cool. They had 12 of South Africa’s most deadly snakes.

The rest of the week was full of lessons and tracting. Honestly tracting in Johannesburg is harder and more discouraging than Mozambique. People turn you down in a hard way. “Hey we’re the missionaries and want to share our message with you” – “Well good luck with that but not at this house”.

Some of the highlights of the week were:
  • Emailing with super fast and cheap internet
  • A P-Day visit to Snake City
  • Lxxxx, a 17 year old member helped us teach, and man was he POWERFUL! I was amazed at the things he knew and his maturity. He will be an awesome missionary. 
  • Sing with the residents at a retirement home. 
  • Dinner appointments with some really incredible families

I am so thankful for the time and experience in South Africa, Johannesburg.

I flew back to Maputo on Friday. Here is something that is comical to me, from Johannesburg to Maputo - we took off, finished our ascent, they serve a little lunch, collect the lunch trays, then start the descent. We were in the air for only 40 minutes. 

The office elders “fetched” me from the airport, I quickly unpacked and we got to work. I will be honest, I loved the “car” treatment in Joburg, but I like walking better. I am also overjoyed to be speaking Portuguese again. I really did miss it.  

Sunday after church I did some baptismal interviews for Rxx and Nxxxx. They are solid investigators and will be a huge strength to the branch here. Their knowledge and testimonies are so strong and full. It was a really nice experience for me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Maputo, Mozambique and Johannesburg, South Africa 53rd week - August 18th 2014

P-day was crazy We ran to the office and did a very shortened email. Then the assistants dropped me off at the airport. I check in and waited for my flight. It was a nice quick flight to Johannesburg. President Dunn, who is the mission president of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission, was there to pick me up. We drove back to the mission office. I helped Sister Dunn do some filing, then Elder Wilkerson and Elder Edayoach picked me up. We went shopping then to our meal appointment/Family Night at the Pienaar home. It was a lot of fun. They have a very nice “flat”. One hard thing here is the accent. I have a really hard time understanding.

Elder Edayoach, Elder Kanaga, Brother Pienaar, Pienaar brothers and Elder Wilkerson
Tuesday we spent seven hours at the hospital waiting. I had to get another ultrasound. By the time we left the hospital, I had been without food for 15 hours so we ate a really good meal at a place called “Mexican Fresh”. Wow, so good. Then we headed to a lesson where I realized that I really miss speaking Portuguese. I was having a difficult time speaking the missionary lessons in English. I had an especially hard time praying aloud in English. I kept wanting to switch to Portuguese, but what a great time.

We spent the rest of Tuesday “knock” doors which consisted of buzzing and speaking through the intercom system and getting 100% rejected. That was sad but I really ejoyed getting to serve with Wilkerson and Elder Edayoach and it was a really cool experience of serving a little bit of my mission in South Africa. What a unique opportunity. Tuesday evening we had a dinner appointment and then some visits including a man from Zimbabwe. I now have friends all over the world.
Before Surgery

 Wednesday I was checked into the hospital and waited a good six and a half hour before getting going into the operating room. This was my very first surgery and I was unconscious before I knew it then just as quick I woke up with extreme pain in my abdomen. The nurse was so kind and kept telling me they had given me painkiller, but it wasn’t kicking in, I smiled, and then grimaced as for no apparent reason my muscles tensed inflicting fresh pain. They gave me a meal but I wasn’t hungry. By the time I ate it had been over 24 hours.

After Surgery
Thursday I woke up, slept, woke up. I didn’t feel like I had very good sleep the night before between the pain and the nurses checking on me. Doctor Mirzo, the kind surgeon came to check on me and told me that I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital today and heading back to Mozambique Friday as planned. I was surrounded by good people. The Muslims on the one side of me were very concerned, always asking if I needed anything. The Australians on the other side of me were just as kind. 
Elder Kanaga so grateful to be drinking non-shelf-stable milk!
Friday I was released from the hospital with a follow up visit planned for the 25th. So that would be another week and a half here. Oh well, come what may and love it! I went to district meeting with Elders Wilkerson and Edayoach. Then lessons and visits and stuff. We had dinner with a member family. I was having pain from the surgery. I was so sore!

Saturday we started the day off with some service at an orphanage. Through Mormon Helping Hand, the ward here put on a little fair for all of the children. I manned a spot at the “face painting” booth. It was such a shock between Mozambique and here. It was raining and really cold.

Mama Editor: Sister Pienaar sent me this link from the service activity. You can see Elder Kanaga for a few seconds at the 3:14 mark!

Helping Hands: Randburg Ward

After the service activity we got dressed in proselytizing clothes and headed out. One lesson was up three flights of stairs which was hard but, worse than the stairs (on my incision) was the hilarious remark made when I reached the top of the stairs. Laughing was so intensely painful that it took me to the ground.

Sunday I felt like I was in church in the states. After church we had a wonderful lunch with a member and her married children. One couple had a little girl named ILo (not sure of the spelling) who was so cute and funny. It made me think of Eisley. It was probably the closest I will get to meeting EIsley Monster before I get home. Then we had a couple of appointments. We had dinner with a recent convert which was a wonderful meal of chips and cookies, sorry mom J

Monday, August 11, 2014

Maputo 52nd week - August 11, 2014

Ahhh… I do love Preparation Days. This one was a bit hectic though. We did studies in the morning, then we left to email.  The internet was super slow and got cut off at the end, so sadly I did not get to say good bye to my dear mother. I am sure she is probably worrying about me. I hate leaving her hanging like that. But, on the interesting side, the decision has been made to do the “operation” to take care of my hernia. That will be real nice to have it out of the collection of things I have to worry about. We went to Axxxxx & Mxxxxx Jxxxxx’s house. That was pretty fun. We played a lot of games and had a great time. Everyone had fun. Axxxxx is a huge muscular guy that is super serious. I have never seen him laugh or joke. But tonight he was, and he was quite funny too. It was nice reminder to always have fun, and to not judge people on first impressions.

Tuesday we started the day out solid with personal study and a lesson. The lesson however, was not the world’s best. This dear son of God was more interested in having a debate about where the Garden of Eden was than learning about the Lords Restored Gospel. Luckily for us we were with Vxxxxxx, a returned missionary in our branch. He helped out a whole lot! After that we had lunch, the rest of our studies, and headed back out for the rest of this scorching hot, bone-dry day. I will admit it wasn’t as hot as it was in November and December in Manga, but those months are still coming. The rest of the day went quite well in all honesty. We had four more lessons, two of which we had our newest member Dxxxxx Mxxxxxx with us to help teach and testify. And man is he powerful! He has quite a background in religion, meaning he has been through the gamut of many different churches, and he knows a lot. I can see us asking for his help in lessons a whole lot. So something I have been trying is to be more sincere. Actually too go deep down into my heart, individually for each person I contact and teach, instead of just contacting or teaching (which happens sometimes out of tiredness). But wow does it truly make a all the difference.

Wednesday we left the house right at eight to walk to the Mission Office for the Mission Leadership Training. The training was incredible. President Kretly taught a lot about how to leave a legacy. He taught about hard work, loving service, and kind acts. He talked about persevering and adapting through change and trials. He shared the stories of two people. One was an amazing Brazilian surfboarder, who at 14 or 15 years old lost one of his legs. He still wanted to surf but couldn’t take his prosthetic into the salt water. He worked and worked and developed a method of surfing with one leg and one hand. The other story is the founder of Jet Blue in America and its equivalent, Azul, in Brazil. He is a member of the Church and is never afraid to bring up the church at every opportunity. He also isn’t afraid of work. As the owner of two huge airlines, he serves passengers and helps clean the plan after the flight. Needless to say it was a super good meeting. After that I went to talk to President about the hernia situation. I’ll be going to South Africa Monday to get my hernia taken care of.

Thursday really early I had to go to the immigration office with nine other Elders, Lynn, Ebmeyer, Roberts, Christiansen, Gage, and Hatfield to renew our “D.I.R.E.S” and Elder DeSouza and Carvalho to apply for theirs. We got to immigration at 8H and had to stay there until about 12:30H. Ugh. So it was a lot of sitting and waiting, but in the end, was good. It was nice to talk to a lot of the Elders from my group; none of us could believe that we have (almost) been in the country for one year. For me one year will be on August 11th.

I thought Friday would be a normal day in the area, joke! Ugh. First off we had District Meeting. That went well. Then we came home for lunch and studies. Then Nxxxx Uxxxxxx came over with an electrician and a plumber to more or less make a quote and a list on the things that the house needs to get fixed. That took a whole bunch of time. Ugh. Finally at about 16H we got out to the area. Unfortunately to be very sad, pretty much all of our lessons fell through so that is pretty depressing. I am super tired of having everything fall through, especially when we have a member with us! I mean what the heck! But is Bem. I guess I can’t stress too much about it. I can just do everything in my power and trust in the Lord for the rest.

Saturday we had a day packed full of lessons, however, they all fell through. I just don’t quite know what to do about that. I feel like Elder Mistola and I are doing all the things that we are supposed to, but everything is still just crashing down. I don’t know but I hope that it gets better. But, something interesting happened today, as we were sitting on rocks trying to call a lesson a young woman walked up to us. She said she wanted a Book of Mormon. After asking a couple of questions, we found out that she is an investigator from Magoanine that is visiting her brother. So we got the reference of her brother and gave her a Book of Mormon.

Sunday church went nicely, after church we had lunch and some studies. Then we went out to have some lessons and guess what? They DIDN’T all fall through! Glory Halleluiah! We had two pretty good lessons today with Jxxxxxx was with us, it went nice. However still two of our lessons fell through. But I would much prefer to have half of the lessons fall through as opposed to all of them.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Maputo 51st week - August 4, 2014

On P-day we went bowling. It was only really inexpensive. I am not positive, but I am pretty sure that it is cheaper than in America. It was so fun, I found out that I am not a super good bowler but it was really fun. After grocery shopping, Elder Carvalho and I played a lot of checkers. I actually like checkers. Elder Mistola and I had a family night with Rxxx and Lxxxx and their family. It was good to have the chance to help them #1 know how to have a family night and #2 help them start the tradition.

Tuesday in all honesty was a miracle. We had a nice full day with some really good lessons and contact. I finally was able to get a hold of the Private hospital to make my appointment with the surgeon to check out my hernia. We had one lesson marked in the morning that fell through so we contacted for a couple of hours, ate lunch, had companionship study and got out to the area. We sat with Sxxxxx, a contact. Turns out he is single, no wife or kids. It was a great lesson.

We were waiting for  Cxxxxx, a “youth”” in our branch (who is leaving on his mission to Cabo Verde soon) when a really old Machambo Mamma walked up to us. Her back was bent at a 90° angle. She spoke flawless Portuguese and told us “My son, do not walk at night!”

Cxxxxxx went with us to teach a lesson to  Dxxxxx and Ixxxxx. That turned out to be an incredible lesson. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dxxxxx is astounding. He hit everything on the head. He knows exactly what faith and repentance are and how baptism has to be done by the proper authority. Cxxxxx bore a super powerful testimony. Then we sat with a new family Mxxxxxxx and Fxxxxxxxx. They were very nice. We asked Mxxxxxxx to say the closing prayer; he was really nervous but did. It is amazing how just  1 step of faith can lead to a path of confidence, trust and love.

Wednesday I started out a bit pessimistic, our first lesson fell though and I thought “It’s going to be another one of those days” but I am grateful to say Heavenly Father proved me wrongJ. We sat with Mxxxxxxxx again, we had a great lesson with him. Later we had a quick lesson with Dxxxxx. We were so blessed to have Axxxxxx sacrifice 4 hours of his day to walk with us. He is truly an awesome young adult. He just put in his mission papers. I cannot wait to find out where he gets called.

The best part of the day came at the end. We were on our way home, walking down the road. When a man stopped us and asked “I am sorry, but could I talk to you for a couple of minutes?” His heritage was not Mozamabiçan. He explained that he and his wife of 12 years had an argument. They hadn’t heard from each other in a week. He asked our advice on how to fix it. We shared our counsel and the Gospel. I hope it works out for him. You could really tell how much he loves her and wants a happy family again. It was a very special experience for me.

I had oddest experience. As we were walking by a car mechanic shop, I saw my brother Dallin. I had to look TEN times because this man looks EXACTLY like Dallin. (just with olive skin). He had the same build, features and everything. Talk about being made trunky in a split second… but hey, life!
Thursday, we had district leader meeting/training in Moagoanini. Elder Poyfair offered us a ride. It was a really nice meeting. We went directly from the meeting to the hospital Privado. President and Sister Kretly met us there. I had a “consultation” with Doctor Polacios. President Kretly sat in on that, which I am so very grateful for. So the breakdown is this, my hernia is still “small” however, it can be just as problematic as a large one. The doctor told president and I that it could become a problem tomorrow or in 5 years. It is an unpredictable thing.

Friday, What a day! First thing in the morning we ran to the Registro and got the procecesses started. I am so happy that the governmental bureaucracy part is finished. Now we just have to plan to make sure the wedding and baptisms go well. After the Registro we had district meeting then baptismal interviews with Dxxxxx and Ixxxxx then again with Dxxxxx and Mxxxx. That all worked out nicely. Then we ran with Dxxxxx and Ixxxxx to a member couple’s home (He is American she is Brazilian, he works for the US Embassy) to see if the wedding dress she has would work for Ixxxxx and thankfully it did. I was so grateful the crazy search for a dress for Ixxxx is complete. We found out that one couple has a cake but the other doesn’t so we tried and failed to make a cake it was horrible. What is important is that they are being married so that they can make sacred covenants with God.

July flew by way to quicky. Saturday was a wonderful Wedding/Baptism day! Whoo-Hoo! It was awesome. Both couples looked great, and it all worked out very nicely. It amazed me how with our limited perspective, we cannot see how in the world things can work out, but God has a very different way of looking at things. He already knows the end from the beginning. And we just have to do our best and simply trust in him and his wisdom. The weddings went great! The baptism also went great. It did take a super long time though. A wedding that was supposed to start at 12H  didn’t start until 14H and went until 16:30H. Bem Vindo á Missáo (Welcome to the Mission).  But it was good. After the wedding Elder Mistola and I came home for our studies. We made a goal to do studies every single day. It is a commandment. Not to mention very very important to study daily.

Holy smokes! Another one bites the dust! The weeks are just flying by. Today was good, whoop! Sadly our number of investigators at church dropped by 4. But I would much rather have them as members than investigator J. We had a whopping 189 people there today, so many people that I, Elder Mistola, Elder Carvacho, and Sister Merkley ended up standing for all of Sacrament Meeting, it went real well. The rest of the day was nice we walked with Irmão Reis for three pretty decent lessons. The first one was interesting. We decided on the spot to talk about the Law of Chastity, in the first lesson. I don’t know, I felt like it was right, but I don’t know how well it went.