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Monday, May 28, 2012

The best was zebra!

Dear family,

Cool! Yeah I checked my blog up here. Thanks for doing that daddy. It is pretty sweet. I didn't go on a safari quite yet. We for sure will though. Maybe even go on 2 up here. Yes, I get grandmas letters, and you better believe I would be keen to go on a cruise!! Sign me up!

And yeah mommy last email I did send it at night cuz we had just flown up from Cape Town, but normally, like today, we email in the morning after we 're done studying. Ohhh yeah, big Derek is embarking on the greatest adventure of his lifetime. Tell him I say what's up and good luck. I know he's gonna be one heck of a missionary.

So as for the week, it was amazingly fast and fun! I cant believe that last week at this time I was in Cape Town. Its good to be back in Namibia. That made the week go by very fast. The AP’s were here all week and just left yesterday. They just stayed at our boarding cuz it is soo massive and we have tons of matresses for them to sleep on..but bad news cuz we would just stay up late every night talking…and one night wrestling! Man, that was fun. It was nice to have Elder McDonald up here cuz he knows where all the cool places are and showed us around. That guy is soo funny and fun to be around. I love that guy. And Elder Doxy is super sweet as well. Both powerful elders.

So we went to the legendary Joe’s Beer House. That place is awesome! Don’t be deceived by the name. the place is legendary. Its like on the top 20 things to do/visit in the country of nam. There was only one thing we got on the menu. Meat!! I ate chicken, kudu, zebra, crocodile, ostrich! Serious! Crocodile tastes like fishy chicken (nice) but the best was zebra!!! Soo delicious. But it did cost N140…so im gonna be eating like bread an peanut butter all week haha. But it was totally worth it. Then , we sock wrestled. It was epic! All you do is try and take off the other persons sock. Simple enough. I wasn’t very good, but I did beat Elder Giles. Haha I was sore and tired the next day. The other guys were too tired to go home, so they just slept over! Haha.

Then, the next day, a member invited us to this place called Capanas. Its like a big braai place! I ate soo much meat. It was delicious. And free for us. Haha.

On the spiritual/missionary side, the real reason I'm here, the work is just rollin’ along. Busy busy days. We have 2 solid people prepared for baptism and will have their interviews this Saturday. They both come to all the activities and institute, read the Book of Mormon, and just know its true and desire to be baptized. So we are excited for them.

Our next 2 days are booked with people to see. I love when missionary work goes like this. I just feel a lot more effective and its just more fun that way! The spirit is pumping in your veins, people are learning and accepting the gospel, and you know the Lord is pleased with your service.

I feel like sometimes don’t include all of my spiritual experiences that I have. If I did, I’d have to be here typing for like 5 hours. We teach so much. We visit so many people. Each day, Elder Morris and I record the various maricles we’ve witnessed and been a part of. And trust me, there are many! Mission is the best. Straight up!

Sorry for no scriptures to feast on last week. Heres some from this week…1 Timothy 4:16 and D&C 123:17

I got a “special” email today. The sisters in the office needed to know my information for my departure..ahhhh!! not good. Haha. That means that soon enough I’ll get what we call our “trunky papers” basically, its our flight plans for when we go home. Nooooo!!  I’ll be home soon enough. Until then, I will labor and work! And just enjoy every second of every day!

Miss you lots! Think of you often!

All the best!  LOVE,

Your missionary son,

Jet ‘aime!! (I love you in French)
Sock Wrestling!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Now it’s back to work!

Dear family!!
View from above of Namibia
Thanks for all your help daddy getting my visa so I could experience Nam! I guess you never complained or told me about all that stuff you did..only my mommy! Haha. The chapel is near the map you sent, we work mostly in Khomasdal, look up that haha.  No safari yet mommy. But you better believe we’re going to go on one, or two, or three! Haha I’ll keep grandpa in my prayers, he’s tough as nails!
Cool picture…made me so homesick!! Haha and tell sister Sexton thank you for such a lovely note she wrote to me. Loved it!
Sorry I couldn’t email you on Monday. We were at zone leader council! We flew down Sunday night, and just got back tonight. All the zone leaders from the entire mission came, so there were 18 in total, along with president wood and the assistants. We stayed at the mission home. I love that place. But basically, to be short in writing, we had an epic p-day together, and went on a hike with president, then came back, ate lunch and played sport, ate again, then that night watched some church clips together, and oh yeah ate lots of dessert. The next day, we had an amazing breakfast, and then mainly talked the whole day about cool stuff. President did some training and taught us cool things. The assistants did some training as well. But we also had time to talk like about mission policies and problems and lots of things. I took tons of notes, and now we have to report back to our zones about the things that were spoken about, so that will be fun. Then, last night, we all stayed up late and wrestled! We did it in a room furthest away from president’s room in the mission home so that he wouldn’t hear, but he so did! Haha we put mattresses down and tried to take off the other person’s socks. It was very entertaining! And of course, got fed out of our minds! An amazing lunch, but dinner was the best…stakes!!! Ohhh yeahhh. And dessert was out of this world.  Breakfast this morning was good, and so was lunch before we left. President had some funnyyy moments. I love that man. Basically, as you can tell, zone leader council is pretty much a time to relax a little bit, and is a reward to us for all of the hard work that we’ve done in our mission. Hard work does indeed pay off. I had soooo much fun! Just flying to and from Cape Town was sweet. But now it’s back to work in Zion! 
Our FHE we had
Things here are still powerful! The week was just a blur. I can’t even remember what occurred.  We taught and taught and taught! Days go super fast when you teach and testify the entire time. We had an awesome fellowshipper to help us.

We did some training for the branch missionaries to help them understand their role in the work and how we can help them improve their skills. That was fun. Have I told you that elder Morris is freakin' powerful. Such a master teacher. I've learned a lot from him. He’s good at what he does. Our companionship studies have been amazing sharing insights with one another and learning together and planning how to take this area to new heights.  This Sunday was a good day at church. It was packed! they had to go to other rooms and get more chairs for the chapel cuz it was too full!! you don’t see that every day. Then I had to teach gospel principles class on the gifts of the spirit. It went very well I thought.

Well, I could just go on and on and on about how much I love this, my last area...or how much I freakin' loved zone leader council! I think I might get to go to another one before I leave. That would be sweet. The assistants are up here for a few days, that’s going to be fun. I love those guys.

Man, I am still soo full. I ate a lot of food the past 3 days. I still am at the same weight though..90 Kg' 200lbs. I really cannot wait to go home and gym! Really looking forward to that...and going to the temple, but most of all, seeing my mommy and daddy and sister and the rest of my family!!! but until then, gotta work!  Talk to you next week!

LOVE always,
Elder Haws

"You're not much to look at, but you're all the Lord has"  -President Wood

I was cleaning the dishes at the mission home, and president came up and said "If I’m ever poor, I’m going to take you out with me to dinner so you can do the dishes for our meal" haha
'Mormons are full of rumors'

Hike at zone leader council

Monday, May 21, 2012

Back In Cape Town.....Zone Meetings

Sorry, I'm in Cape Town and we're too busy having funnnn to e-mail. I'll e-mail you on Wednesday when I'm back in Namibia!
Elder Haws

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Man, can’t get any better!


Yesterday was so great! Skyping wasn’t so bad after all haha. The Smiths did take great care of us. Heck we're using their internet right now...for free!! That’s a blessing cuz I am out of money at the moment. Man, it was so embarrassing today when I was buying 3 times in a row it said "Insuffient  funds" awwww!! haha it all worked out though. Things here are more expensive. Mostly cuz they just sent everything up from South Africa, so things cost more. They don’t use Rand, like in SA. They use Namibian dollars. The exchange rate is the same though. Like I told you, that 5K run was fun! Running in the Namibian desert...once and a lifetime experience.

I’m serving in the Katatura Branch. There are 2 branches. The one I’m in and Windhoek (the w makes a v sound) which is the capital city, but super small. It’s a college town, with lots of native Namibians and also Angolans.

Whats up queen size bed!
The branch missionaries are unbelievable! They’re worked soo hard in the absence of missionaries. I am so impressed. The branch has a lot of YSA. And have lots of activities, which are great finding opportunities. We watched the movie Fireproof, which was way good. You should watch it sometime. Some of the branch members just left for Jo-burg to go to the temple. Yeah a 24 hour bus ride! Aren’t we spoiled in San Diego and Utah...

Sitting in church yesterday, I felt like I was really in Africa. Just a small little shed/container that is called the chapel, with fans like right above our head, a little bit unorganized, all black people, etc. It was a cool feeling. What a sweet place to be a missionary. But yeah we plan to do some sweet safaris and get our scriptures covered in some cool skins.

Looking ahead to this week, we're booked! Even teaching people in the morning, and then having a fellowshipper with us the entire day! That is unheard of.

It was funny, before we left Cape Town; President Wood called all 6 of us into his office and just told us about our new assignment. Right before we left, it was weird, he said, Elder Haws, do you have the rope?  I wasn’t sure what rope he was talking about. Then he said the one to tie you down so you don’t get translated! hahaha it was funny.

2 scriptures I liked this week were:

1 Nephi 14:11
And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many awaters; and she had dominion over ball the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

Alma 17:11
And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be apatient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good bexamples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.

Well, I just wish we could Skype every Sunday! I have a feeling this last 4 months is going to just FLY by! Eventually I’ve gotta decide what to do with my life once I get home, but I’ll worry about that later. I’ve gotta learn this sweet area and remember who's who.

Elder Sheppard said something profound in district meeting. Out of the 50,000+ missionaries in the world, I am one of the lucky 6 that get to serve in this great country. How blessed and lucky am I!

Next week we're flying to Cape Town for zone leader counsel! We’ll be there for like 3 day! Can’t wait! Man, can’t get any better!

Gotta go to work! Love you guys! Talk to you next week!


This is the place where that picture in the Ensign was taken

Our new boarding. nice!

A Namibian sunset!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Tale of Two Saints

On April 18th we received a surprise announcement that six work visas for missionaries were approved!  The prayers of many were answered and the Lord once again intervened to ensure that His important work continues to progress in Namibia.

The notice from our agent was especially surprising because it came only four days after the applications were delivered to Home Affairs, shattering our expectation that the agency requires several weeks to make a decision.
The other unexpected result was that Elder Farley’s work visa was approved with a “fuzzy” application.  Elder Farley was a favorite in George and we included him in the group even though the ink on his paperwork was smudged from spilled toilet cleaner.  It was a sort of test to see if the reviewers at Home Affairs really cared about neatness.  Smeared ink seems to be OK and the question of whether the reviewers actually read the applications remains.

The chemical spill occurred several days earlier in the boot of the car.  I was trying to protect the applications by hiding them in the boot where they wouldn’t get stolen, until we could deliver them to the agent.  When I sandwiched them between two boxes I compressed the trigger of a hidden spray bottle of cleaner that slowly siphoned out and saturated the bottom edge of the documents.
At first the damage was minimal.  Just the edges were wet.  The cleaner did not dry quickly.  It continued to wick up the pages and dissolved colored copies, ink approval stamps and signatures. 

The destruction continued overnight.  We were horrified to find that by morning some color images had disappeared completely.  The passport copies could be replaced.  Of particular concern was Elder Twitchell’s Police Clearance and Elder Haws Medical report.  These documents are both difficult to replace and some Police Clearances require the Elder to appear in person.

When I called Sister Twitchell, she informed me that she had originally mailed multiple original Police Clearances to the Mission Office.  Sister Oldham discovered that only Elder Twitchell had a duplicate Police Clearance in the Mission files.

Two days later Brother Shegena called for help with a “dead car”.  Brother “Sunny” Shegena is 1st Counselor in the Katutura Branch and Sunny and his car are valuable branch assets.  I spent the next couple of hours with Sunny and his car.  We also had a branch temple trip to organize.  In our conversations I mentioned that I had ruined some visa applications that were ready for submission further delaying the arrival of much-needed Elders in Namibia.
Sunny became very interested in our efforts to apply for visas and he related his experiences of the night before.   He was at the scene of an auto accident immediately after it happened. When faced with a potential head-on collision, the driver swerved off the road, hit a utility pole and flipped the vehicle. The thirty-year-old driver, Jonas, was admitted for a skull fracture and a female passenger suffered minor injuries.
Sunny called the ambulance and accompanied Jonas to the hospital. Jonas is a relative of the Katutura R.S. President, Sister Povanhu. Sunny lives in her rental, knew about the relationship and informed Sister Povanhu of Jonas' condition.

After several hours at the hospital, Sister Povanhu and Sunny met Jonas' close cousin, Mr. Valombola.  Sunny talked with Mr. Valombola and described the accident, the instigating driver that fled the scene and Jonas' condition. Mr Valombola was very impressed with the efforts of both of these church members and their “long-suffering” for his cousin. It was also discovered that Sunny had tutored (as a volunteer) Valombola's 14-year-old son in computer science. Valombola informed Sunny that he was a Director in Home Affairs and will return the favor any way he can.

I was very excited to hear about Mr. Valombola;s offer and suggested that Sunny call him immediately and arrange for an appointment to, “counsel us on how to get visas for missionaries”.  Valombola graciously accepted the offer to meet a few days later.

Marius von Mollendorff came from the Area Office to accompany us at the meeting with Valombola.  He brought with him formal approval to remove the “stand-down order” for visa applications.  If we were not waiting for replacement documents (arrived two days later), we would have submitted our group of applications immediately.
Mr. Valombola is a very busy decision-maker.  During our visit, he took several interruptions to give directions to subordinates.  Our agent (Emce) noted that she observed Valombola once in the lobby “directing traffic”.  He was organizing people in columns and then demanded that the security guards take responsibility to ensure that people stayed “in cue”.

Valombola’s only significant advice was that we should add bullet points and graphics to our motivation letter that accompanies the visa application. He said that the reviewers don’t read detailed text and they need information that is simple to read.  Our motivation must show the results of our training efforts.  “You are here as trainers so show what your training is doing for Namibians.”

We submitted the six applications with colored photos of humanitarian efforts, Helping Hands projects and returned missionaries that are now leading the Namibian branches.  I don’t know if we received visas because we followed Valombola’s suggestions for our motivation letter or if Valombola just “directed traffic” when our applications arrived.  Either way, it seems that Mr. Valombola was the key to our success.  Spilled toilet cleaner connected us with Sunny’s story and, eventually with Mr. Valombola.  It also delayed submitting of applications long enough to have Valombola’s intervention.
Did Valombola complete his perceived obligation or will he continue to intervene with future visas?  Did Valombola permanently “fix” the review system so that future visas will be approved without his intervention?  I suppose the outcome of future submittals will answer these questions.

What we know for sure is that the service of Brother Shegena and Sister Povanhu mattered in getting missionaries back to Namibia.  These two are key in the on-going functioning of the Katutura Branch and selflessly serve in many ways.  In their minds, what they did for Jonas at Katutura Hospital and the impression they left on Mr. Valombola was just routine for them. They are the true heroes in the story of Namibian visas.  They don’t yet know that missionaries have visas and will be here soon.

As footnotes I must mention that Jonas was released from the hospital and is recovering at home.  Doctors expect a full recovery.  Brother Shegena received an appointment from The Ministry of Education for a much desired internship the same day that visas were received.  Sister Povanhu is generously taking care of the nine-year-old daughter of Jonas while he recovers.  I keep a spray bottle with toilet cleaner in the bathroom cupboard and use it often.

The Lord is watching over Namibia.  His influence is evident in many ways and his kingdom continues to grow.

Elder Smith
28 April 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

If you don’t know or can’t tell...IM REALLY EXCITED!!!

Alright, first things first...IM GOING TO NAMIBIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought you guys would guess or something hahaha. I'll tell you more later in the email. Umm, that’s way sad to hear about Junior Seau :( but I’m glad to hear Logan is awesome! Ah, I miss that place soo much, maybe even more than San Diego? It’s just so pretty and peaceful up there. I guess I need to comment on my thoughts about the new logo..its Okayyy. The school is still the greatest ever, can’t be bothered how the logo looks.
Before I forget, tell Aunt Julie that I always get everything she sends me! I’m just bad and don’t reply all the time. I haven’t written a letter or send a postcard in a long time. Maybe I’ll send some from the land of Namibia!!  Hope you like the pictures I sent this week. I thought they were powerful.
As for my week, it was fantastic! Last one in South Africa...never thought I’d say that so soon haha. Last Monday we helped this family move, and oh my goodness, it was bad. haha we got there at round about 12 and didn’t leave there until 6:30pm...and on top of that, it was pouring rain! Man! All the other elders were playing volleyball, but in all honesty, I enjoyed doing that service. They would have suffered if we would have had not helped them out. They only have 1 small kid, but dang they had lots of stuff. I was soaked, and so was Elder Brereton! It was fun though. Also during the week we did service at the library! We stacked books and put the returns back on the shelf. Nice way to be in the open for people to see, and it was secretly fun haha.
Jo Mari and Elders
I went on 2 exchanges. I left my area both times cuz president wants Elder Brereton to learn the area and people. He was and is a champ. I’m gonna miss that guy.  He really loves cars and has a dry sense of humor sometimes that just cracks me up! But I cannot wait to serve full time with elder Morris, because I was robbed of my time with him when we were together for like 6 days! Now we'll be seeing a lot of each other haha.
This week we set up like a nice mini activity. We invited 2 recent converts, an investigator, and 2 members to eat some food and watch a church movie. It went perfectly! I was soo happy. We watched the testaments and they all cried at the very end. Aww.

Also, I started reading the Book of Mormon for the 3rd and last time on mission. I plan; I will finish it before I go home. I really do love that book with all my heart. I would be so lost without it. Lucky me I get to share it with all the people I meet up in Namibia!
Alright, so it basically it every elders dream to serve in Namibia. I don’t know what I did to be so lucky and blessed, but it’s happening! Mommy, you deserve a massive hug for all the stuff you had to do! You always say how you went to get this paper signed, or did something for my visa! Guess what, all your hard work paid off! THANK YOU :) only 6 missionaries are going up...and I know all of them very well, almost too well! I’ll be companions with Elder Morris, but also Elder Giles and Twitchell (past companions) are going up, then 2 other stud elders; elder Sheppard and Farley are going up. All Americans. All super epic! You couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. all hard working, obedient, and just fun in general to be around and serve with. look out Namibia, that’s all I’m going to say! There has been an awesome senior couple up there teaching and I heard like they had 8 baptisms or something, so there are lots and lots of work to be done. Bring it! I’m going to work my tail off. ahhhh!! We fly out on Wednesday. It can’t come soon enough!!

Mowbray has for sure been a tough area. I feel proud of the work I have done here, and also in Meadowridge. 7 1/2 months in Cape Town. This place is indescribable!!  I absolutely love this city..soo much!!  I’ll miss it, but I’m flying back in like 2 weeks for zone leader council, which will be a blast.

As for the phone call next week (can you believe it) I have no idea! I’m sure the senior couples will sort things out for us, and let you know. Let’s plan on having you call me, like usual. It seems like we just spoke! haha I can’t wait!!!

This weeks scriptures:

D&C 31:9
Be apatient in bafflictions, crevile not against those that revile. Govern your dhouse in meekness, and be esteadfast.

1 Nephi 4:6
And I was aled by the Spirit, not bknowing beforehand the things which I should do.

Well, the next time I talk to you, I’ll be in another country! International flight baby! It’s like over 3 hours! Namibia is like real Africa. Sand dunes in certain places. Lots and lots of sweet game parks. I can get my scriptures covered in animal skin! Home account credit card! hahaha. 
If you don’t know or can’t tell...IM REALLY EXCITED!!!

Talk to you on Sunday!!

Elder Haws

Elder Pearson, Brereton and I
Sun Down

It means like having a good time or something

Fun with Jo Mari