Monday, August 27, 2012

Another great week!

 Oi! Family and Friends,

This week was a good one. We have two baptisms this Saturday with Celma and Juana. Juana is a really difficult investigator because she is always joking around, and it frustrates my companion so much haha, but she is finally getting baptized. 

Also this week is election week for Angola, so its gonna be crazy. The main guy is called Dos Santos and his party is the MPLA, there is like 9 different candidates and parties. But pretty much MPLA runs this country. Anyways, the voting is on Friday, so were stuck in the house all day friday. We also have to be home by 6 two days before the election and two days after.

To make it even crazier, either Tuesday or Wednesday is Dos Santos B Day and his brother owns the major beer company here in Angola called Cuca. So on his birthday Cuca is going to be pretty much free all day, and thats going to be crazy walking around during that day. But yeah crazy week ahead but I´ll live haha. 

Lets see, here are some more things I have eaten recently. One is cow liver, which is alright. Another thing I have tried is Cashew Juice, which is delicious, so good. Also I have been sick the past couple of days which has made it pretty tough. But yesterday one member, Irma Luiza, cooked me this big dinner because I was sick, and the Smedos brough me soup and medicine. The members here are awesome. I am getting better luckily. 

On Saturday we went on Companionship exchanges, so I went with Elder Wilson for the day. Haha it was really cool, and we met some funny people while we were in Villa Park. We taught one of his investigators about daily prayer and scripture study, and although we didn't plan on how it was going to go, the lesson flowed so smoothly and I could feel the spirit really testifying that these things are important in our daily lives. And I have gained such a testimony about how important daily prayer and scripture reading is to us and how through this it helps us against temptation and being spirtually filled. 

Oh random thought, I forget this week when we were moving this table at the church up these tight stairs and narrow hallways and we had to pivot alot to move it. And I couldn't help but think of Friends and where Ross yells Pivot a billion times with the couch. Haha I want all the seasons when I get back for sure. 

Anyways yeah I didn´t get that first package you sent, only the one marked with a 2. So it is either lost in the mail, or I'm never gonna get it. Also tell Laura that I got one of her letters today, the one from August 7th. 

But its crazy that everyone is starting up school again. I'm sorry Kaden that you didn't get Yearbook, but at least you're in a class with Ethan and maybe next year. Everyone is busy busy busy. It's crazy that since 1st grade I have been going to school every year of my life and now for these next two that I wont have school at all. I am also stoked for the BYU football season, hopefully it turns out good this year as well as the basketball team. 

And last but not least Pres. Thompson suffered another setback with his visa so he still doesn't know when he is getting here. Anyways that about all. I love you all and miss you all!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Elder Brown's Airport Picture

Thanks to a post from Sister Walton and a picture courtesy of the Violin's we finally have Keegs first picture from Angola-makes a mom happy!!!

Picture found at:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Another Week Passes

Oi! Family and Friends.

This week went by pretty fast, and were already almost halfway through this transfer. Time does fly here. This week was a pretty mellow week considering Angolan standards. There was this one lady who stopped us on the street who wanted us to marry her and take her to America, haha some people here can be really funny. 

So my day usually is wake up at 7 because for this mission we wake up at 7 rather than 6:30, and studies and getting ready till like 12ish to 1ish. Then were out the rest of the day until about 9ish is when we usually get back. Then we just have planning and then we can go to bed whenever. On P Days we leave at 7:30 and it takes about an hour and a half to get to the mission home. All the missionaries in Luanda go to the mission home on P Days to play soccer and and see each other. Then we leave, shop, and get home. Then we come and email for an hour and then P Day is over at 6:30, where then we go to Family Night to end our day. 

Sleeping is alright, my mattress is way too hard for me, so I wake up a couple times a night, but the net is fine. Its hard to explain but its draped over this contraption that it doesn't feel like I'm sleeping in a net. The bugs here aren't that bad. I have a couple bites here and there but that's typical, there really isn't that much. 

One thing that I hear now and again is American music in taxis or houses and it brings up a random memory of home or friends which I love. Also you see the most random articles of clothing like a Texas Longhorns Hat or an AYSO soccer jersey, just the most random combinations. 

Me and my comp get together fine, like we have no problems which is super good. He is from Wyoming, and lived a pretty different life than I did. The language is coming, I am starting to generally get what people are saying and I can speak alright, it just comes with time.  Money wise, I really dont know about that. We get paid twice a month, and I never run out, and whenever I use the mission debit card for a store and ATM it works fine so it's working out for me. 

President Thompson is supposed to be coming by at least the end of this week so everyone is pretty excited about that. For the Post Office, I never have gone there, the Zone Leaders pick up the mail and packages and such, and I guess they mail stuff as well but I am not sure because I haven't tried sending anything yet. 

I also think about when I get home that I will think I will be living the life of luxury. Some of us missionaries were talking about all the differences that there is going to be when we get back, its gonna be super crazy. 

I am also super stoked on the Lakers right now with Howard and just everyone, and with the BYU Football Season starting up. I can see your pictures mom on emails, and all I have gotten so far through the postal system is package #2, and a letter from Grandpa and Grandma Benham, I haven´t gotten anything yet from Laura or anything else from you guys, so maybe next week. 

With the Kids, I hope there getting super excited for school;) and hope there enjoying there last few weeks of summer. And that's super cool Kaden that your the new secretary! Well I hope all is well from everyone back home, sounds like you guys are having fun at LA and all sorts of places. Love you guys!


Monday, August 13, 2012

2nd Week in Angola

 Oi! Family and Friends,

So week 2 here in Angola down. Crazy huh? I guess that it has hit me that I´m spending the next 22 months living here, it seems like a lot but I know it will go by pretty fast. 

So like I said, we had a baptism on Saturday with Cahilo. He is so amazing and going to be an amazing member in the church. And now we are teaching his family of brothers, sisters, and cousins who live in one house all by themeselves and take care of themselves, its really sad and breaks my heart but I hope that they can gain a testimony of this church as it will bless their lives. Anyways so the baptismal font is in Cassquel which is about a 2 hour trip from Viana. So Friday we had to go there and clean and fill the font, and then on Saturday we had to go out there for the baptism; lots of traveling and tiredness but it was worth it. 

On Friday when we were walking back to the taxis after we cleaned, we were stopped by a man. He was telling us that he was this leader of thieves in Luanda where the Denique, which is pretty much like the SS back in the days of Nazi Germany, is after him and he hides in this vietnamese copy shop with all these different disguises. And he was just spouting off his life story to us, and he started crying because he was telling us how his dad died doing the same stuff he was doing. He told he stopped cocaine and dope and he wanted us to help him. We asked him to put out his cigarette and he wouldnt do it, so we gave him a number for the local elders and went our way, but it was weird. 

Lets see for food, Haha I dont know what I buy really, just what ever looks good. I took up Griffin´s idea and I love eggs and ketchup, it's one of my new favorite meals for sure. And this past week we got some meals with people. So I tried funge, and its this rubbery dough stuff that doesnt taste really good plain, and you make different kinds of sauces for it. The sauce that I had with it was pretty good so it was good. And I had fish, and all they do to prepare the fish is gut a fish and throw in on the grill, so when I ate it, it was just chocked full of bones haha I didn't like that. Other meals we had frango which is just chicken, and I have had this rice which is kind of tomato based which is pretty good. But food wise I am fine, sometimes I starve a little but its fine, its part of the experience. 

Oh today I got a package from my family, the first thing I have gotten. I haven´t been able to open it yet but it doesnt look like its been open, and its the package with a two on the side. Next P Day I will probably get more mail from you guys and probably Laura too. 

But being out here has humbled me alot. These people go through so much stuff in their lives, and just bad things happen, and they don´t live in good living conditions and yet they still just truck along and make the most out of it. Like I said sometimes it feels like I am going to be living here forever and am never going home, but I know that I will someday and that these people won't. Its sad. 

Anyways for this past sunday we broke another record for our branch and had 100 people their, and our companionship had 14 investigators there too. It was super good. And when we were walking up to the church before it started like 50 yards ways little Delson starts running towards us and comes and gives me a hug, and then wouldn´t let go of my finger for the next 20 minutes, it was so cute. I will have to for sure get a picture with him because he is just so adorable. 

Jehovahs Witness are our enemies down here, they always try to bash with us and we just try to avoid it as much as possible but it sometimes comes to a point where we have to talk with them so its alright haha. 

Now for some more random facts about Angola. The girls here hit on us so much. They either say things at us, or whisper to themselves, or just eye us down, haha its a little uncomfortable. And its weird being white here and being the minority. It just has this whole differnent vibe that i cant even explain. 

Oh and the new missionary from New Jersey, Castleton, yeah he got robbed like his second day here. It was him and his companion and another companion. It has only been the third time missionaries have been robbed ever so its really rare, but it just sucks that it happened to him in his first week but oh well. Hmmmm, there isn´t anything much else that I can say or remember. Just know that I love you guys and you all are always in my thoughts and prayers!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Week One in Angola

Oi! Family and Friends

Well I am finally here in Angola. What a week it has been. We got to Angola and like I said we went to the mission home, got orientation, and sent to our areas. My first area is called Viana. This area is such a special place. My companion is Elder Tolman who has about 8 months left, and he is really chill and has helped me out alot. We have so many investigators. This area is booming in missionary work. We have so much investiagtors that we don´t have the time to pick up anybody new or teach people who want to know more about it. Its a little sad, but choices have to be made so we can have the most success. 

One of the goals of the mission is to have the first stake here in Angola in about a year, becoming the fastest area ever to get a stake. There are so many prepared people here its ridiculous. This coming Saturday we are having a baptism for Cahilo, and he is the man. He is already trying to share the gospel with his friends and is so strong in the gospel. I am really excited for him. And I have been trying to get to know all other investigators, but its hard with the langauge. I can´t understand really anything which is really frustrating, I just feel like an idiot. But thats part of the mission experience, and my trainer says that I so far have been the best trying to pick up stuff, so hopefully in a couple of weeks it will be better. 

Our house that we live in is pretty nice... when it has power and water. Randomly we won´t have power or water at times, so its a little difficult but we have patience with it. All I have so far is taken ice cold showers which aren´t fun haha but oh well. 

Church was really good this last sunday. The Viana branch broke their record of attendence with 86 people. It was crazy, and almost 30 of those were non members, so its so amazing here. When we go out and visit people to teach, were just walking in dirt everywhere. Dirt Dirt Dirt. Its fine, I can live with it haha. I have been learning all the day to day stuff like money and things like that. The money here is kwanzas. And one kwanza equals one penny. So the prices for things are always like 399 kw which is like 4 bucks. And also we get around places using taxis. And there not like the taxis back home where you tell them where you want to go and they take you there. These taxis are like buses where they just travel on routes and you take them and switch. The taxis are like these blue and white vans, and they drive crazy. Driving here is crazy, I never want to drive here ever, would be the worst experience of my life. But I will for sure be taking some of their driving techniques back with me haha. 

All I have eaten for food is just stuff that we make at our house, no African meals yet. But they have this thing called funge. Apparently its their staple and I will get it soon, so when I try that I will let you guys know how that is. 

Pictures wise, I havent gotten a ton so far just because if the Police see you taking pictures they will just take your camera, and there it goes. But I will throughout my time here. My companion told me that there has been a couple of times he tried to put his camera card into the computer and it gave his camera card a virus and destroyed all his pictures, so I don´t if I will be able to send pictures or risk to send pictures, you will have to let me know. 

Now for some random facts. All the kids here either call us Amigo or Chines which means Chinese. Haha they can´t tell the difference between us and Chinese people because there are so many here as well because they pretty much are building everything here. These children are wild here and so cute and adorable, haha its a good thing Mom and Laura aren´t here or they would die haha. 

For P Day today we just went to the Mission Home and played soccer, by taxi it takes an hour to an hour and a half to get there so not to bad. Now I am just sitting in a cyber cafe in this shopping center with another week ahead of me. The whole mail and email is still hazy, even to my companion, so we won´t really know until President gets here. All the advice my companion gave was that I could email friends and such like every other week till something gets figured out. And I need to talk to the Zone Leaders how the whole postal office thing works out. 

Other than that, I am all good here in Angola, it hasn´t been too hot yet, but the hot season starts in 2 weeks and lasts until end of April and apparently it gets pretty toasty so we will see how that goes. I will let you also know how our investigators go as we meet with them more this week. 

Its been a crazy experience so far, and I know it will only keep getting better and crazier as the days, weeks, and months roll by. I love you all, and someday in the future, can´t wait to show this amazing country to you all. This is My World now haha.