Elder Keato's Address

Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos S.U.D.
Caixa Postal 18404
Luanda, Angola

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekly Letter!

WOOOOOO!! It was a really good week. And a really fast one. We had a lot of cool experiences!
I forgot to mention it in my last email but last Saturday we did a service project for "Moãs que Ajudam" (Helping Hands). It was really super cool. We went to some schools that needed some help with clearing out old metal desks and overall really just needed to be cleaned. So we stayed at the first school for a little while and got dirty and then made our way over to a little nicer school and were supposed to paint it. But, we prepped it and everything and got it all ready but then the people that were supposed to bring the paint never showed... Africa... Haha there´s no real sense of time here. Everyone kinda just goes with the flow. But, it was still way nice to be able to get out and serve! It was really cool to see how once people saw us working they all wanted to jump in. Service is contagious!
This week we had a really cool opportunity to go to an orphanage and play with the kids. Elder Richter knows someone from back home that is here for her husbands work and voulunteers at this orphanage everweek and invited us to come and help.  It was the coolest thing, the kids were so awesome! They did a little program for us and sang and then just hung out and played games and stuff with us. It was actually a fairly nice orphanage there were probably about 30 kids, ranging from 5 to 18. Individually they don´t have families but together they are all definitely one big family. They invited us to come back and do it every week and we were super excited about that:) We´re going to help teach them English and stuff out the Book of Mormon and our Pamphlets. Haha. They are already very happy but I can´t imagine how happy they would all be if they had the gospel in their lives. It was a really super cool experience! I love the kids!
So Elections are going to be this week and we are the first set of missionaries here for elections so we don´t really know what to expect quite yet so we´re going to be very cautious. Elections happen every 5 years. The actual election day is Friday and President Thompson (Who still isn´t here) has decided that we´ll all stay in our houses that day just to be safe. And a few days before and after be inside at about 6. You´re probably wondering why elections are so crazy haha. And frankly I don´t really know all that much. But, we´re just going to be safe because all of the different parties like to get together and drink and you never know when a riot could start or something crazy like that. I´ll update you on how it went next week:)
Elder Hobbs and I had a really good week. Yesterday we taught a Portuguese man named Sebastião, and he comitted to be baptized  so we were pretty excited about that!
My Portuguese is still comin´. I get frustrated at times but I just need to remember that all this is done in the Lord´s way and in the Lord´s time. I think that kind of applies to everything in life. I truly have fallen in love with this country and its people. I can´t wait to be able to communicate with them in the way that I want to:) I mention it in all of my letters, but these people are so ready! There´s not a single person that I´ve met that has been rude to us or shut us down. We´ve just need to build a strong foundation before we can let this country explode with the gospel! Which it will!
My testimony has grown a lot this last week. I have been studying really hard and found some really awesome, eye opening things in the scriptures. I love the scriptures! We are really blessed as missionaries with a lot of time to study, it is imperative that we take advantage of the time that we have.
This place is home now. All of the weird things are starting to be not so weird. I´m loving every minute of it!!
Thanks for all of the updates and pictures! I love you all!!
Shout out to Mom and Dad on 25 years!!! Yall are the best!!!!
Elder Hyde
Lukie! For 6! Nice work brotha!
Con good work onthe first week! Keep it up bruh.
Sam, good to hear that your killing it in Tennis!
Syd, good to hear about your friends! And stop flippin people off.
Love you guys!!

1. This one is of Rebecca and Peugar. They were baptized about 2 months ago and are awesome. They moved here from S. Africa about a year ago, so they speak English, which is really nice.:)
2. Elder Davis and I at the Helping Hands project.
3. Elder Davis, Richter, Hobbs, and I at the helping Hands thing.
4. Sweet view of part of Luanda
5. Most of the mission playing some soccer!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 3!!

Another awesome week over here in Angola! It´s almost summer so the weather is starting to warm up... The weather really hasn´t been bad at all yet, it actually gets kinda chilly at night. haha. But from what the other elders have told me is to prepare for extreme heat here in the next few months. I´m good with it though, I still need to lose a few pounds that I put on at the MTC. :) And either way that shouldnt be a problem because of how much we walk. I wish I had a pedometer so I could tell how many miles we walk a day. Fun stuff!!
So let me talk about my week a little bit. First off, it was way fast! It feels like I was sitting here emailing 2 days ago. This week Elder Hobbs and I had some really cool experiences. I made my first contact all by myself. Let me tell ya about it. So we were sitting on a taxi, Elder Hobbs was on the bench behind me and I was on the one in front of him next to the window. This man got in and sat next to me and I noticed that he was reading some book about the Bible so I knew I should probably talk to him. But I wanted to see if I could get him to talk to me first. haha. So I pulled out a Restoration pamphlet and just started flipping through it and kept noticing that he was glancing over at it. So eventually I just sat it on my lap and after about his 5th glance at it, I felt prompted to nudge him and ask him how he was. (in Portuguese). Then he answered me and after a sec asked if I spoke English and I very hapilly responded YES! It´s pretty rare to get an English speaker here, so I was pretty stoked. Haha. We talked for a bit and then I gave him the pamphlet and exchanged numbers. Who knows if it´ll go anywhere but I was proud of myself for doing a contact alone:) So that was cool.
The other day on Friday we were riding another taxi out to an appointment and met this guy named Gabriel on the taxi. He´s a super cool guy. He´s part of like the Angolan SWAT team. Pretty legit. He´ll be a good guy to know, haha. They ride around on motorcycles with big guns. Gnarly. We talked to him the whole ride and then gave him a pamphlet and our number. Before the day was even over he had already texted us wanting to meet. This guy is Golden! We ended up meeting with him last night and probably had one of the best lessons yet since I have been out on the mish. Not only because the spirit was so strong but also cause I was able to speak fairly well. The language is comin´! I´ve just need to be patient. And realize that I´ve been here for 3 weeks.
We taught an awesome lesson to a man named Carlos. He´s a really cool Angolan guy that actually speaks English as well, he learned it in S. Africa. But his girlfriend was there so we did most of the lesson in Portuguese. We committed both of them to be baptized on the 22 of next month, and they both agreed and were excited! He is so sincere and really does have a desire to follow Christ, he just says that everything he does he puts his all into it, so he just wants to make sure that he wont be dissapointed 2 years down the road. We obviously assured him that he wouldn´t be and all was well. I´ll keep you updated on him. We had another women named Ida set to be baptized this next Saturday but we had to move it back a bit cause she was given an ultimatum by her boyfriend that she needs to pick him or the church. ugh.... We have faith that she´ll make the right decision.:)
So our house is absolutely awesome like I´ve mentioned:) One thing I hvent mentioned though is all of the blessed cockroaches...They´re everywhere haha. I have one that I find every night by my toothbrush. I always kill it but I guess his friends are just hiding waiting to fill the next slot. It´s all good though I´m totally used to it. And don´t get the wrong idea, I know I´m in Africa so you´re probably thinking that theyre like the size of my fist, but theyre actually pretty small little buggers. They keep it fun:)
We had 111 people at church yesterday! The room that we meet in was packed! I sat on the stairs cause there weren´t enough seats for everyone. That´s definitely a good problem to have!
The kids. They are absolutely awesome! No matter where we are, without fail, when we walk by kids they always yell "Amigo!", and flash a thumbs up to you. Most of the time they run up and want a high five too, which I am more than happy to give. Ah... I love it here. The work is hard, but the results heavily outweigh how tired I am or how stressed I am. These people are ready for this Gospel in their lives. We´ve just gotta give it to them! And that we´ll do!
I love you all so much! Enjoy your last few weeks of summer and live it up! Thanks for all of the emails and support!
Elder Hyde
LUKE congrats on making weight my man! You´re going to kill it this season. Just make sure your makin´good decisions so you can go out and score all them touchdowns!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week Two!

What is up!!??

Two weeks down! It was another really great week. I feel like I´m finally adjusted and used to this crazy/amazing culture. 

So I forgot to mention it in my last email, but on my second day I went to my first Angolan funeral! Crazzzy! It was for one of the member´s mom. So basically how it works is you wait at the gate to the cemetary and then they carry the casket in while they´re singing and crying until we get to the grave site. (I wish I had a picture of the cemetary, it was super crowded and nuts). So we got to the grave site and a little Angolan man jumped out of the hole with his shovel so we could start. A few people spoke, including Elder Richter, and then they lowered the casket into the dirt hole while everyone was singing and stuff. Then we all sat there and watched them fill the dirt in. Definitely a little different than how they do them in the US of A. 

So this week, like I said, was awesome! The language is definitely coming a long, slowly but surely. This week we taught quite a few lessons and I´m starting to help more and more. Lessons are pretty stressful because I´m focusing so hard the whole time just trying to understand what´s going on and then when Elder Hobbs looks at me it´s time to rock and roll. I can definitely see progress though. :)  It was also a really good week because the Elders waiting in the US waiting for their visas, Elder Montgomery and Castleton, got here! And Elder Clifford got here on Saturday as well! We have a pretty awesome mission, all of the Elders are so solid. It was nice, I got to see all of them today while we were playing soccer. It´s so cool that we can all get together at President´s apartment and hang out together for a few hours. In Luanda right now there are like 20 Elders or so, and all of us get together on P-day. I still don´t know everyone but I´m getting there. Oh yeah, another great experience this week. We met a man on a taxi and gave him a pass a long card and he ended up calling us a few hours later and wanted to get together and talk with us, so we made an appointment to meet at the chapel. When the apointment came around we realized he was quite as interested in the Gospel as much as he was in us. Yeah.... He was gay.... We ended that lesson pretty quick and probably wont be having another one.. haha. There´s a little bit of everything here!  My second Sunday was awesome! I love how the church truly is the same even on the other side of the world. Even though we´re having sacrament meeting in what used to be a houses living room, we still renew the same covenants and feel the same spirit. 

These people are so amazing, I´m growing to love them more and more everyday. They are all so humble and for the most part really nice! It´s election month so it´s kinda crazy and going to continue to get more crazy. The President right now basically has a monopoly on Angola, he owns all of the major Angolan companies. His campaining strategy is make"Cuka" the countries beer dirt cheap two days before the election to make every like him and vote for him. Crazy. 

I´ll just kinda talk about the city for a sec. It´s crazy how trends transfer so fast. It seems like every Angolan boy is rockin´ the mohawk and dressing like kids from the US. haha. Also, like I said in my last email, there are extremely rich people and extremely poor people. Parked next to a shack with a tin rook you´ll see an 60 thousand dollar Range Rover or BMW. It´s pretty interesting. 

Sorry this one isn´t quite as long as the past ones... I sent some pictures so that took some time. 

I love you all so much! Thanks for everything!

Elder Hyde

Monday, August 6, 2012

Was I Called to Angola or Heaven?

Was I called to Angola or Heaven? This place is so awesome and absolutely crazy! I hope that I`ll be able to get some pictures off... well see if I have time :)
So let´s see, we arrived in angola at about 4 in the morning and then waited in line to get through customs for about an hour and then were picked up by Elder Violin and his wife and the zone leaders. Elder Violin and his wife are a senior couple that are kind of doing all of the president´s stuff before he gets here. They´re super cool. The zone leaders are awesome too! Elder Richter and Davis. And the best part is that Elder Hobbs (My companion) and I live with them. I´ll talk about all that good stuff later. So when we were picked up we wwere taken to the mission home where we were given some breakfast (we were told it would be our last real meal in a while which scared me haha.) But, we ate and then were given some instructions and training. I was told that Elder Hobbs would be my trainer and that he is super cool. And he is!
So the zone leaders took us to our house and I met my comp. He´s a really cool kid. He´s been here in angola for 5 months or so and is already really good at the language. He is from Idaho Falls. Our house is basically what you would expect in Africa. I´ve been showering out of a bucket and have only had power about half of the time so far. The power is really weird. Sometimes it will work and others it won´t. There hasn´t been a day yet where it hasn´t gone out for at least a little bit while I´ve been here. But thank goodness for candles :) So yeah the four of us live in the house together and it is awesome! We have so much fun together. We all get along really super well.
So let me talk about what the city is like... Nuts. Haha it is the craziest thing ever. Cars flying everywhere, everyway, and people dodging cars at the same time. It´s so cool! Angola has the two extremes, super rich and super poor. We teach the poor:) All of the roads are dirt except for the main ones which are "paved". I don´t really know how to explain it haha. I´ll try to send some pictures that will give a little visual.   So the kids... They are the best thing ever. Mom you would be in heaven. Even though I can´t really talk to them all that well, they are so fun to play with. Elder Hobbs and I taught like 10 kids one night because their dad didn´t show up for the lesson. It was sweet. Oh another thing about Angola, beer is practically cheaper than bottled water. Haha there are so many drunk people! We kinda stay away from them, but I´ve had some fun run ins with them already.
Now let me talk about my week. Wednesday was a monumental day, I had my first coke in almost 3 years.. It was great! haha I figured there was no better time to break my streak. Haha but now to the stuff you actually care about. I walked with Elder Hobbs and his old companion Elder Chandler who flew to Huambo the next morning. We taught a solid 4 lessons and it was awesome. These people are so ready. It was nice to see how good Elder Hobbs and Chandler were at port. after only being out for 5 months. There´s hope for me :) It was a great day. I was in shock the whole day because I was walking the dirt roads of Luanda and not really knowing what anyone was saying but it was stlll super sick. It hit me that night that, the actual mission had started and that this was home.  Crazy feeling. It´s definitely taken some getting used and definitely still need to get used to a lot but it is awesome. Thursday was Elder Hobbs and I´s first full day together and it was great. I was super tired the whole day though, and I´m still tired haaha but it´s just something that I´ll need to get used to. If were tired were doing it right. Thursday we taught a few lessons and I tried to contribute as much as I could, basically just bore my testimony on whatever we were talking about. Elder Hobbs has been great, he´s super patient with me and answers all of my questions. At this point I´m probablu understanding about 65% of everything which is good I just need to get to the point where I can say what I want to say. haha but it will come fast I´m sure.
I don´t have a whole lot of time so I´l just talk about a few things that have stood out. (Even though everything has). So on Wednesday the very first lesson that I was in we set a Baptismal date for a women named Ida. I don´t really know her at all but it was cool that in my first lesson we already had someone ready for baptism. The taxis are pretty crazy. Theyre little toyota vans that they cram 10 people into and it´s a dollar a ride. There´s a guy with his head out the window yelling where theyre going and if it´s where you want to go you just signal them over and then cram in. They´re a good place to meet people. On one taxi ride we made 4 contacts which was cool. Usually we just give them a pamphlet or a pass along card and then see if they call us. That kinda filters out the "Elect". Since we are pretty busy we are only focusing on focusing on families, priesthood holders, and the elect. That keeps us pretty busy. Let´s see.... Oh yeah drunk people. So we met one guy on crutches as we were walking back to our house and we could tell he was drunk but he wanted to talk to us at his house that was close by so we walked back with him. He was mumbling way bad so I couldnt really understand him. But long story short, after about 10 minutes he pulled out his bottle of whiskey and said that it was his last drink and then chugged the whole thing right in front of us. (It was actually kind of impressive...) He then kinda coughed up, through his bottle, and then fell right towards me, I jumped out of the way (not sure if I should have caught him) and then we helped him get up and talked him into sitting down and then got out of there.  Interesting for sure. It´s sad how many drunk people there are...
It really has been awesome though! Super weird adjusting to everything, but I have had Elder Hobbs and the zone leaders that have helped me a ton. They´re awesome. Sorry this email has been all over the place, I´ve been trying to fit everything in. Today was awesome, ( p-day) we got up early and went and played soccer at the president´s house were Elder Violin and his wife are living. Super fun. It was nice to meet all of the other missionaries. Everyone is super cool! Oh another good thing, since we live with the zone leaders and since they have a truck. We get to ride with them some of the times. President´s house is like a half hour away, which would be crazy in a taxi.
Church was way cool! There are 3 branches here in Luanda. Ours has about 80 or 90 members. 100 people came to church which was awesome. The people are so awesome!~
I´m kinda figuring out where I am and where we´re going now. Everywhere kinda looks the same so it was hard for the first few days but i´m getting the hang of it.
The food, there is some crazy stuff here, but i´ve been able to avoid it pretty well so far:) We went shopping today, and I got some good stuff that I´ll get by on. Oh and we found a gas station with recess puff. So i´ll be going there a lot:)
Letters and packages are getting here. I think it talks about them on the mission blog. Oh and the mission address is on there as well with the directions on how to send stuff.
I´m doing good, don´t worry about me! The church has to be true if picky old Keato can survive a 5 days now in Angola.
Viva Angola! This place is awesome and crazy and new and awesome. It is going to be a fun two years!
Love you family!!
Elder Hyde