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Monday, December 26, 2016

A Little bit From Cayden's Skype on Christmas Day

(He didn't send a long email today since we were able to skype yesterday so here are a few bits I typed up from our skype conversation yesterday.)

Today was one of the harder days of my mission cause no one here celebrates Christmas. They treat it just like every other day. The people are just roaming the streets and it's hot. No one even says Merry Christmas to you, it is just another day.

A Video of Cayden Speaking Ndebele 

So I did get a haircut. The hair cuts are about $2- $3 for an African and they try to charge the white guys $5.  I got a guy to do it for $3 and it was horrible. It was so bad. They don't know how to cut white guys hair. When they shaved my hair they shaved it going from back to front! The area around my ears didn't even get cut and my side burns were about two inches different in length. My new companion Elder Guajardo bought a cheap shaver in Harare and I buzzed all my hair off because it was so nasty.

The African missionaries serving in Zimbabwe are very old.  It's so weird, my first companion Elder Ngobi was 24 and one of the guys in my area is 28. Most of the African missionaries are from 24 to 28, they are adults serving with us 18, 19 and 20 year olds from America. I'll go to a member's house and talk to the guys our age and I'll ask how old they are and they say, "I'm 25 and I'm thinking about serving a mission. But I'm not sure, I might send in my papers soon." And I'm thinking, "man I hope to have a kid by then!"

We don't hand out free Book of Mormons here. If you hand out Bibles or Book of Mormons people will take them and then sell them for money so we aren't allowed to hand them out. We can only give them to recently baptized members or super progressing investigators that are getting baptized.

You find everything here is made by American companies but they are made here. Like the bottled water Ivan is a Coca Cola company made here in Zimbabwe so it isn't really American. The water is OK.  They say the water in Harare is really bad but here in Bulawayo it is fine. But if you look in the water you see little things floating in it and you just ignore it and drink it anyway.

A 100 Billion Dollar Bill.
I am now on the search for the One Trillion Dollar Bill.
None of them are worth much.

Things are cheap here unless you buy American things and then it is very expensive. Like if you buy American Chocolate it is very very expensive like $5 and they only have it at the really nice stores. When I buy lunch I spend 50 cents on sadza, soup and vegetables. The place we go to eat is literally called "Restaurant"

This mission is so different.  There is no organization in any of the churches. My last companion has served 18 months and he said that the ward I am serving in now in Entuname is probably the most organized ward in Zimbabwe. The last three weeks no speakers have shown up. It's like they literally get up and ask, "Is Titemba here?  Is Brother Rogina here? Is Rogenoh here?" and  it's like Nope.  Nope. Nope.  It's crazy, it is so different. No one can play piano so to start out one person sings "I am a child of God." Then they go "1, 2, 3 Start."   And then everyone starts singing... but no one really sings.  It's just me and my companion. And all the kids are laughing at us just because they think we are funny.

We have ants of all kinds. There are small ones like we get at home, then medium, then big and then big big. Bugs are huge. Triple that size and you get these one beetles with pinchers that are ginormous. And they are everywhere and I almost got bit by one and a member was like, "don't get bit by that or you will have to get your finger cut off." and I  said "Oh OK I won't touch that then."  On some days that are really hard I'm like "Hmmmm is loosing my pinkie finger worth coming home?" Haha

They eat mice here... I'm really scared.  They serve it a lot and they literally just fry it and then eat the whole thing bones and everything.  I don't want to eat the bones. They will finish their chicken and then chew up the bones and and swallow them.

 I have already had 11 baptisms. Everyone here is religious.  About 95% of the people already know how to pray,  they know who God is and they know who Jesus Christ is. The biggest problem here teaching people, they all believe that all religions are true. If you believe in Christ then your church is true.  You can't get people to be serious. We've taught people every single lesson and they agree with everything we say, everything we teach but  they won't be baptized because they believe every church is true so they will just stay in their church.

 Cool Animal Statues.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rainy Christmas Season

This week went by very fast, and man did the rains hit us!! It was hard to be effective this week cause when it rains Zimbabweans go inside and sleep! But we had 5 baptisms, which was really nice! They are awesome, powerful members.

 Getting drenched in the rain...

There were some "cool" experiences that happened that you only see in Africa lol. I ate ox tongue this week. It was.... alright I guess haha. It isn't too bad, just very gamy. The hardest part is thinking "this is cow tongue." But if you get over the thought and texture you can eat it just fine!

 We were visiting a member outside, and we heard the door open to the house, and this super drunk guy tripped out of the house and walked tipsy over to us. He was so drunk he could barely walk. He tried talking to us but couldn't even get any words out so he just kept walking. He had about 4 empty bottles in his arms, and had his 3 year old son carrying the rest behind him, following him. It was very hard to see a child so young carrying his fathers empty alcohol containers, that the boy has to grow up dealing with that. We see things like that all the time here in Zimbabwe, but you can't really every get used to them!

A fun yet hard thing about Zimbabwe, is the children. There are children EVERYWHERE. All over the streets, in houses, literally everywhere. We have had problems with children going into our yard and stealing mangos off our tree. And lessons, man, when we teach lessons they do all they can to distract us. One incident happened this week where during a lesson in the streets, a young boy came up to me and tried to grab my private area. I kept telling him no, but he wouldn't stop. He tried twice and then the third time he got me and pulled and I about died. I lost my temper for a split second and had to cool off for a few minutes. There were a few of those instances, like when a kid poured sour brown milk all over my pants and shoes haha.

I think back to memories and even how hard I had it here in Zimbabwe when I first got here, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. And how hard I had it here at the beginning, I am happy I have those memories now, cause that was almost two months ago, it's crazy!! Even hard times we can be grateful for!

The days tick by slowly, but oh so fast! At the end of this week, the transfer will be halfway over! It's crazy, time flies!!!   I am in a district of all sisters. The Cowdary park elders moved out, which made me sad, but I hang with them every p-day.  To celebrate Christmas in Zimbabwe they sing and dance and eat more expensive meals like cow intestine and things like that. We are invited to a dinner where that is what they are serving.

And about staying healthy... for some reason this week starting last Tuesday I have had a never ending appetite. Like even after a big meal, I am hungry. I can't stop eating. I've tried so hard to not eat, but my body and brain like make me. If I continue like this I will definitely put on weight. I don't know what to do, and what would cause this. It kinda scares me.  My companion thinks I have worms, cause he's been amazed at how hungry I am and how much I've been eating too. I'll ask President on Friday cause we have interviews with him!

And yes me and Elder Guajardo get along very well, He's super chill and super cool and I am so thankful for him.

I love the goldfish Ryanne sent me, those are super good, and also the beef jerky is very good as well! Cinnamon graham crackers sound really good, or chocolate. Candy is always good too! The mashed potatoes mom sent, things like that are amazing!!  So that's my week! I'm sure I forgot something. Elder Cazier

Larry Jr Strikes again! We were playing hide and seek! 


 Can you find the chameleon in the  pics? :) 

 Dear Branson, Not very many people have cars, and if they do, they are not good cars and the people drive very bad! I ride in a thing called a comvy, which is like a big van which packs about 18 people in it, super close! It is a little scary sometimes, but I just smile and it's all okay! Love you buddy
 - Cayden

Monday, December 12, 2016

Things are Getting Better!

**Cayden couln't send pics this week but I found some on the Zimbabwe Mission facebook page with him in it!

Another week has gone by! This week has been one of the best weeks of my mission. My new companion is awesome, and things are going a lot better! Some days are still rough but that is just how a mission is so I am working through it!  My companion is half Mexican! He's a cool guy and pretty chill!  My week was good, it went by fast! I learned some new indabele words!  Things here are getting better!

Cayden and his new companion photo bombing in the  center.

We are at another computer lab this week cause the other one is down, so I can't send pics this week ugh.  I got my Christmas packages and haven't opened them yet, I was gonna wait till Christmas but I will probably will open them tonight!

You know you are serving in a third world country when people/teenagers, ask you what Netflix is haha. I had to explain to some members and they couldn't quite grasp the concept of Netflix. Another thing I learned, is people kept saying, "over by the robots" I never could figure out what people meant by robots until today when I realized they call traffic lights, robots. Lol.

This week was nice, we had a Christmas devotional in Gueru 2 hours away from Entumbane, where I serve. It was a devotional with 3 zones!! I loved it, it was awesome! Meeting all the missionaries is super cool, it is guys like that that keep me out serving! We spent the day there and had "good" food and talked and had a white elephant gift exchange. There are some sweet American missionaries in Zimbabwe, and I always love talking to them.

We think we see Cayden in the WAYYYYY back... 
at least we think we see his forehead, eyes and nose.

My indabele is getting 'better' you could say haha. The clicks are SO hard to learn. I try to click and I think it sounds right but the members laugh and say noooooo don't say it like that, that's wrong. Click like this hahah. It's fun though! And during church people here do say "amen" a lot. No one knows how to play hymns so it is just acapella and it sounds really bad haha.

One fun fact about Zim. People here will do ANYTHING for money. Everything here is bargaining. Just bargain with people and you get things for cheap. If you start to walk away and tell them you are going to spend the money elsewhere they panic and just take your money haha!

We are having lots of success. There are 7 baptisms this Saturday, hopefully, if everything works out.

Man the trinkets here are soooo cool. Found an AWESOME one for 15 bucks, but it was so big I couldn't get myself to buy it. And sending it home would be about $50 so I passed. And I don't want to carry it around in my suitcase for 22 more months.

I am still getting bit by mosquitoes but the bites aren't as itchy! The food is getting better and easier to eat, somethings are still hard though! Some members are making corn mixed with watermelon and sugar... I am not sure how that will go, but I will try it! I had cow butt hole this week haha... I just tried to eat around it lol. There were so many tubes and stuff it was gross.

I got a haircut.... it is so bad😂 Luckily you can't see how bad it is in pics. Other missionaries said I only have to get bad haircuts for 2 more years!

Tuesday was hard just because I was with a brand new companion, and I felt awkward! You have no idea who you are sleeping next to, like I literally met him and then we went to bed! So it's all part of getting used to each other! Things are good now! But Tuesday was soooo hot and there were no clouds in the sky. And I walked a ton cause I had to show two new missionaries a huge area, and show my companion all my area. And I ate some nasty oily meat...

December is already almost half way over! I'll be skyping in 13 days!!! I'm feeling over all, pretty good about things. I'm working hard, 2 years seems like forever sometimes but I take it a day at a time. Out of all, I'm having a 7/10 time! The homesickness is hard but Mondays always make it sooooo much better!

Elder Cazier

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I'm Getting a New Companion

What a crazy week!! The best week of my mission so far. I have so much to tell, so I will try to say as much as possible!! To start off, my companion is getting transferred. My new companion is Elder Gujardo, from Texas, so I am super pumped!! I haven't met him yet, but he's super chill and short but a quiet guy elders say, so me and him will get along really well!

So this day I have spent the day as a zone leader with Elder Baldwin, and it's been really fun! My companion will arrive at around 8 tonight. I went on exchanges on Wednesday with Elder Bollinger from Utah, man that day was fun!! That has been the best day on my mission so far, we have so much in common it was so nice just to talk.

 It's been incredibly hot here. I hear Christmas hymns every Sunday and I look outside and it's super hot, and it's just hard to get into the Christmas spirit! During the week we went to Bulowayo center, and I met "Santa." Some random white guy had dressed up as Santa and was walking around taking pics with kids! So he saw me, and us being the only two white guys anywhere near he walked over to me and started talking to me! After talking for a min, he stepped back, looked me over and asked where from the states I was from. Amazed that he knew I was from the states I said Washington state. About to tell him that Washington state is not Washington DC (no one here knows the difference), he responded "wow that's awesome! The capital is Olympia correct?" I was shocked, and told him I lived in Tri-Cities, which he said "That's pretty near to Spokane correct?" I was amazed that some man in Zim knew where Spokane Washington was. I was in shock. He then went on to say "Yah where you live is hot like a desert, not rainy like Seattle! A lot of people think Washington is all rainy but not where you live! You border Idaho and Oregon pretty close to you." Absolutely blown out of my mind I asked him how he knew all this. He smiled and said he's lived in Zim his whole life, but is a geography freak. That he loves the world and just studies the globe and it's climates. He said he can name all 50 states and their capitals, and almost all the cities.  So it was crazy but we had an awesome conversation!!

This little boy LOVES me. He follows me around church all day, and his mom said he talks about me all the time at home lol. If I could steal him or adopt him I would lol.

"The food is getting better, I had my best meal on Saturday!!! It's because it was catered by someone so I got to pick what I liked😂 It's super rare to eat catered food, so it was a huge blessing! This is a "salad" in Zimbabwe lol. Like no lettuce, just weird stuff that Dad and Ryanne would probably eat! When I ordered a salad with my food, I forgot I was in Zimbabwe and expected a salad, not... this.

But the food is coming along, still difficult but I am learning to eat stuff I hated back home! I try to eat the food I hate the most at the beginning  when I am most hungry! The only problem with that is some people think I like that the most so they give me more 😂 When we go shopping, I buy just juice, milk (which is not like ours), and corn flakes! But with my new companion I am hoping he will like the same stuff I do.

Forgot to mention that the lightning and thunder storms here are INSANE. The thunder is 10x louder then at home, almost to the point you have to cover your ears. The lightning is crazy, like insane. There is so much especially at this time! It's so cool to see, (Mom you would be in heaven.) The lightning is so abundant I could stand and take repeated pics with my camera and get a pic of lightning in about a min.

This next week will be interesting with my new companion, I'm excited to see how it goes!!
Elder Cazier

Monday, November 28, 2016

Duck Lips, Baptisms & Super Cute Hair

This week was tough! I'll admit, mission life is way more difficult then I thought it would be. If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to go home I would be a millionaire, but I keep fighting and praying so so hard. This week we had 3 baptisms, and I got to baptize which was cool! They were all young children, the oldest being 15 and the other two being 9! There was no water all week again, but it is something you start getting used to. You get used to having all the bugs on you too! Sort of ha ha. After Monday's rain, it brought out this bug, I don't know what it is but it is the size of a small Caterpillar and fly around until its wings fall off and then it burrows into the ground. They are disgusting. If you had 1 in your house in America, you would freak. Let alone 50+ and they are all hitting you in the face ha ha.

 A few fun facts about Zimbabwe

1- Everyone has a 6 foot tall wall around their house with either barbed wire, broken glass, or spikes on top to keep thieves out. Even the church has barbed wire around it. And everyone's windows are barred too, also to keep thieves out. Never thought I would see an LDS church with "prison" gates inside and barred windows.

2- Hand washing your laundry STINKS. Every missionary here wears the same clothes multiple days in a row. Hand washing takes so long, you would rather wear dirty clothes then wash them. I wear the same underwear and clothes 3 days, then switch. It is super gross, but its what you have to do or you will spend your entire P-day washing. Even doing that, I spent 2 hours this morning washing clothes!

3- Woman here spend all day every day either plowing in a field, or selling things out of their little cart. Like all day. I feel bad for them, cause I helped plow for some service, and after 30 min my back hurt and I was drenched in sweat. And they all do it with a baby on their back. Those are just some fun facts. Life here is very hard to adjust to but I am trying. so so so hard. I know the Lord is helping me.

I asked a member about the caterpillars they usually eat and they said that they aren't in season! Around April, when all the corn grows, that's when they are in season! So I am sure around April I will be eating those! It scares me, but I heard if you don't look at them they are actually good! I will be having intestine soon.... Scared to death to eat it. I may have already had it, I'm not sure.

Forgot to mention in my group email that I helped slaughter a chicken.. That was gross and not fun. It's worse then gutting a dear cause they grab the chicken alive and slice it's neck open. and the blood like squirts all over cause the heart is pumping it out. Then they pluck all the feathers. Watching it made me a little nauseous, just cause watching something struggle as it's neck is sliced open makes me feel bad. Apparently cow is much much worse though. They tie the cow to the tree and just start hacking its neck with an ax... I couldn't watch. And I will definitely go hunting after my mission. Weeds don't really bother me anymore ha ha. Neither does dirt.

MOM: Did those sweet little girls do your hair?
CAYDEN: Yes!! They love white persons hair cause they have never felt it before

It's funny cause here I will see people with TV show shirts on, like Walking Dead, and I will ask them if they watch that show and they have no idea what it is!! It happens a lot, people just wear what they can get! I think they just buy from hand me down shops. A lot of the little boys where girls clothes cause that's all they have.

Questions Answered:
What is the food you most the mess from home?
I really miss cold milk and cereal, and clean dishes and a clean kitchen. Any food will do as long as it is all clean and not bug infested.

What major learning from the Scriptures have you experienced recently? Anything jump out at you that has been really valuable?
I am close to finishing the book of Mormon. I just finished 3 Nephi, and just learning about Jesus is so so powerful. I love all His teachings.

 Are you still required to do service projects every week? If so how many hours and what kind of service are you doing?
We are supposed to spend a day a week doing service, according to the missionary handbook, but we don't do it. That's been hard for me, cause I want to be a service oriented missionary.

Have you found any food item that you actually really enjoy in Zimbabwe?
I really like sadza and beef, if it is cooked right. When I am really hungry and we get really good beef stew and sadza it's amazing.

Do you guys actually have wards where you are serving or are they branches? How is the activity rate of the members?
 Where I am serving we have wards! We have a "nice' church building, with wards, so i have 5 hours of church every Sunday. There are tons of in-actives here. Like I've taught at least ten lessons, where we will get through the lesson, then the person will tell us "yeah I was baptized in 2007" or something like that. People here have nothing to do all day, so if they don't come to church, its cause they are skipping. People here don't like that there is only 3 hours of church. It's opposite of the USA. People here want their to be more church. they are like 3 hours?!?! that's way to short!! Christ's church can't be only 3 hours!! compared to the USA where 3 hours is way too long. All the other churches here are like 6+ hours and people go all day!

Are you able to understand the people? I know when you first got there their actions were so strong that you had a hard time understanding them. Has that cleared up? Is there any truth to the clicking language?
 Ha ha ha funny thing is I am actually trying to learn the clicking language! The place where I am serving is the only place in Zimbabwe where they speak it!! I practice every day, and when we Skype in a month I will try to talk to you guys in it! It's a really cool language, and I enjoy learning it! And accents are easy to understand now. I prayed every day that I would be able to understand people and it just sorta happened! The Lord blessed me very much in that manner. The people love teaching me it and I practice it with members every day! They love teaching me and think it is hilarious!

Love Elder Cazier