Christmas is in two days and my six month mark is in three.
It really is a strange thought. I don’t know how I feel about it 🙂 To answer a lot of questions from the get go, Christmas out here is not really a big deal. It is technically not even a officially recognized holiday, because one of the founders of Mozambique was athiest or something. So the 25th is “Dia das familias” . And the way my companion describes it is, “When all the parents lock the kids in the house and go out and drink all day.” So yeah, not the most uplifting view on the holidays but I guess its just the culture. Every once in a while you will see someone who has a christmas tree or something, but for the most part, it goes pretty much uncelebrated. I think the members are going to do a little potluck party tomorrowthough, so thats good at least. 🙂
This week started out pretty rough, we were out doing street contacts at about 8 in the morning on tuesday when we got a call letting us know that the son of a really strong member had died. He had been sick with an infection type thing for a while, but it had looked like he was getting better. I had given him a preisthood blessing even, and we had both felt like he would get better. So that was pretty bad, and that started us in on a crash course in african death traditions. I don’t know if deaths are a super big deal in all of africa, or just all of mozambique, or just all of zambezia where we are at. But I do know, they are HUGE here. And this was the first death in the branch here, and logically the branch president is out of town and the 1st counselor is inactive, so 100% of the responsibility falls on my companion. Who isnt even african. But yeah.
Most churches have a huge set of rules and what you can and cant do in stuff. So lots of members were calling us, trying to figure everything out, and we are reading through the manuels and stuff, and yeah, 🙂 Basically when someone dies, all of the family and friends go and live at the house of the deceased, singing and crying with the family for like three days. They like sleep there and everything! And all of the members kept stressing how important it was that we are taking part in all these random events and stuff, or we would offend and it would not be good. We had a couple visits, and then we had to be there when the body left the hospital for their house, had to be there for the viewing, and then had to be there at the actual funeral, at a cemetary WAY far away. We had to take a ride in this huge truck for like 45 minutes to get there. So yeah, that was crazy!! But we made it through ok.
It was pretty funny though, I think I have already said this but it is a really new branch here, only been around for about a year and a half to two years. And one of the big problems is that NO ONE knows like any of the hymns. So all of the members at the whole funeral and visits and stuff, would sing the same 5 hymns that they knew. Which may or may not have been SUPER appropriate for funerals. (There is sunshine in my soul today?) So during all of this, 2 different investigators suggested that we should do a class on saturday afternoons for members and investigators who want to learn the hymns. So we decided we will be doing that from now on, it is a super big need. 🙂
This week, because a lot of our time was devoted to the funeral and stuff, we didnt have the best time finding new people. We sat with a couple of new families, but a lot of them were pretty lame, active in a different church, or things like that. Its funny. We ask in the contact if people are active in their church. If they say yes, we usually dont bother. But if they say no, we will mark with them. So we had like three different cases this week, where finally towards the end they decide to tell us they are active in their other church. LAME.
Most of our investigators are doing good. Clasmen and Genesia continue their march as the 100% perfect family. We met them a little less then two weeks ago and they literally have read a chapter from the book of mormon each day since the get go, and understood everything. They came to church both times with their entire family, they participate more in church then most of the members do, came to all the funeral stuff and it was him who suggested the hymn class because he says we have awesome hims, he has read through a lot of them but doesnt know the tunes and really wants to. They accept everything, they are humble and nice and seriously my favorite family I have taught so far. They are so so so so so cool. 🙂 We should be opening their marriage process a couple of days after we get back.
Lindo and Filamena continue their crash and burn. It has been pretty sad. They were so good and so ready, they were scheduled to get married on christmas day and baptized on the 28th. But it is honestly like they forgot everything. Then they kept blowing off our lessons, making up excuses, etc.So we are are waiting on them to kind of figure out what they want to do, but we are not really sure. They didnt come to church yesterday either. Its sad. We had high hopes for them. So that was pretty depressing!! They have ALL their documents, we even paid for some of them because they promised to pay us back. But now it is all looking pretty sketchy.
I ripped both of my pairs of black pants this week. In the same place. Lets just say all the bike taxis put a lot of stress on the crotch area of my pants. And both ripped, I had to be careful with the way I sat for the rest of the day. 🙂 🙂 Its fine though, I took them to a guy who lives down the street, he fixed them both for like 30 cents. Gotta love that. 🙂
However, our sunday went great. Our frequency was the highest it has been since I got here. (83), and we had 15 investigators at church and four full families.That was pretty cool. We had a new complete family show up out of the blue, it was someone my companion had contacted but hadnt even written down his phone number because he lives too far away. But we decided that if he will walk with his family for over an hour to come to church off of an invite on the street, he was worth our time. 🙂 So we went out there later that afternoon, they live pretty much in tanzania and are really poor but they are a really sweet familyl, who are really excited about our church. 🙂
Thats about it. I have to go, we have the elders from morromeu here and we all have to use this computer to email before our flight leaves at 3. We are flying down to maputo for christmas, for a zone conference and a party. We will leave today and fly back on christmas day. We are all pretty excited. 🙂 It is a two hour plane ride!
I’m doing good, super excited to skype my family tonight. 🙂
Thanks again for everything, and merry christmas from Quelimane. 🙂