Monthly Archives: February 2014

Week 35: Eight months? Trials. Hide the stuffed animal.

I swear I was just here typing the last email. I seriously cannot beleive how fast time is flying by! A month from today I turn 19 and in two days I will hit my 8 month mark on the mission.

8 months. Thats a third of the mission.

 

I found the sweetest African shirt on the side of the road, but I didnt have a lot of money with me, and I managed to bargain for this puppy for 147 Metacais. Or like 5 dollars. :)

I found the sweetest African shirt on the side of the road, but I didnt have a lot of money with me, and I managed to bargain for this puppy for 147 Metacais. Or like 5 dollars. 🙂

Crazy, crazy crazy. 🙂

This week, went well enough. I think it is safe to say that it went better than last week. Still, not the best week I have had on my mission. And honestly, it wasn’t TOO eventful. But I will try to come up with something to at least be entertaining for you guys. 🙂 Last monday, our P-day went really fast. Normally, we wake up a little early, and go and get everything done so that we can come home and have free time later in the day. Well, last monday we were pretty lazy, didn’t get out the door for a while, and basically only ended up having an hour or two to clean and get all organized for the week. Then, later that night, we had a meeting with President Mabunda, our branch president. He hasn’t been at church for a long time, but managed to squeeze in some time, and meet with us. We talked with him that night for about 3 hours! It was a very long meeting. And very needed. The branch has been puttering along for quite a while, but there are some things that desperately needed to be fixed. Many callings were being filled by people who hadnt been to church in months and despite visits and such, refuse to be reactivated. So the main purpose of the meeting was to figure out who would be called to the positions. It went well, and was productive, but we weren’t able to leave the house/church to do contacts or teach, so that kind of threw off our groove a little bit going into Tuesday. 🙂

I FOUND MOUNTAIN DEW IN MOZAMBIQUE!! SO HAPPY!!

I FOUND MOUNTAIN DEW IN MOZAMBIQUE!! SO HAPPY!!

This week was tricky in the sense that we found a lot of good couples, and dropped A LOT of couples. For example, Max and Vivi. We taught them on Tuesday or Wednesday, and the lesson went great. They are a wealthy, young couple with a 8 month old daughter. They understood the restoration well, were excited, asked a lot of good questions, and invited us back. We had really high hopes for them! Then, we go back. And only Vivi is there, and she says that Max hasnt come home in like 2 days, he is out drinking with his friends and wont answer her phone calls and she is going to take the daughter and go live with her parents. Yaay.

We ride bikes like pros.

We ride bikes like pros.

Something similar happened with a couple we were teaching named Ricardo and Nucha. They were working on their marriage documents, and we went to teach them, but only she was there. We said we would come back another time, but she said she wanted to talk to us. So we sat down, and she pretty much poured out her sob story to us, about how her parents died when she was young, and then she got married young to have someone to provide for her, but then he died, and she had 3 kids, and then married Ricardo, but that Ricardo is a completely different person when we are there than he is normally, and he is super abusive and won’t pay for them to eat and they havnt eaten in like 2 days and stuff. And seriously, I was really really sad. I felt her pain, and really felt sorry for her. She basically said that she was only staying with him because she has no where else to go. But then, she started saying how she never really liked our church or our message, but if we wanted her to be in our church for the rest of her life we could pay her 500 Metacais and she would never miss a sunday. And then I kind of got a little annoyed. I don’t know. I mean, her situation is terrible, but sometimes people have trouble seeing that the best way that they can solve their familiy problems is through the gospel. Then, Ricardo walked in! We told him we were leaving but he said he wanted to talk, so we said he could meet us at the church the next day. So the next day, he showed up, and we PUMMELED him. We pretty much chewed him out, but we did it lovingly and pretty much said that if he wanted us to keep visiting him, he needed to change his behavior and come to church on Sunday. Guess who didn’t come to church on Sunday.

So yeah. The rest of our week was pretty similar. We spent a lot of time doing street contacts. A LOT of time. We sat with a lot of new families but none of them really stuck out as being amazing.

The branch here is struggling. There are a lot of inactive members, and while we are working on implenting Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching, as of right now it is pretty much non existant. Which means if we want members to come to church, we have to be the ones who visit them. And we are trying, but it is just really hard to keep the branch running as well as do missionary work. There just arent enough hours in the day!

Then came Sunday. It hadn’t rained during the entire week, but we woke up Sunday to pouring rain. Thankfully, the church attendance was better, with 70 people, and we had two families at church. Still, it is pretty lame. None of the new families we taught came, and we did have a husband of one of the families show up but he was a catholic, and pretty much speant the whole time in Sunday School and Elder’s Quorom trying to prove how our church was wrong and asking rediculous questions to our poor teachers who didn’t have a clue.
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Thankfully, Sunday night went better. We had family home evening with Paulo, Maculada, and their ginormous family. There are two married couples living there, and like 30 kids. No joke! And family home evening went well, the highlight was definitely the activity, where we played a game my family always played, where we hide a little stuffed animal, while someone is outside of the house, then they come back in and look for it while we sing a song, singing more loudly as they get closer and singer softly as they are far away. They loved it. Everyone was laughing so hard and getting really into it. It was fun to see that even on a different continent and speaking a different language, there will always be someone who will sit on the stuffed animal and make the other people look for it while they are sitting on it. 🙂 Then Walter and Dharmin invited us over for a late dinner, I think they could tell at church that we were a little stressed. Dinner with them went well, was much needed. 🙂
The thing that is saving us out here right now is our attitude. 🙂 Elder Vestia helps with this alot. We understand that everything depends on the Lord, and that this is his work and if we are not having success, it doesn’t nessessarily mean we are being bad missionaries. That sometimes, we just need to be tested a little bit. This week is going to be a lot better. I can just feel it. 🙂
Anyways. I’m doing really good. I love it out here. I am excited to keep working hard and watch the miracles start to happen here.
Love, Elder Poyfair
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Week 34: Day of the Boyfriends, Fun with hacksaws, Weight lifting?

Dia Dos Namorados.

That’s how you say valentines day here in Mozambique. Directly translated, its “Day of the Boyfriends”. I like that translation a lot better. 🙂
Last Valentines Day was a pretty big deal, I opened my mission call and found out that I would be spending the next two years of my life in some faraway African country called Mozambique. One year later, here I am. 🙂
This week… well, let me just start off by saying we began the week with big plans. We set off at the beginning with the goal to have 100 people at church and 5 complete investigator families. It wasnt an unrealistic goal; the week before we had 87 people at church and 2 complete investigator families. It was going to make us stretch, but we would be able to get it done. Fast forward 6 days to sacrament meeting, where we have 36 people at church including us and 0 complete investigator families.
A little disappointing, yes. 🙂 But we worked really hard this week, and had a lot of good experiences. We just have a little bit more work to do and a little more patience to learn. 🙂
We are teaching about 6 or 7 families, and they are all inching along towards the finish line of baptism and marriage. We dropped a lot of the families Elder Heaton and I were teaching, and started over, finding new ones. Right now, we have a lot of “ok” families but we don’t have any that we are like “Wow, they are getting baptized FOR SURE!” We are doing a lot of street contacts, and asking for a lot of references. References is something the mission has been really emphasizing lately, asking every single contact for a reference. So this week, I was contacting someone, and he was ok, didn’t appear super interested or educated but was willing to accept a visit. So I was writing down his phone number, and I remembered to ask him for a reference. And he actually gave us one! His friend, who lives close, has been looking for a church. So we wrote down his number and the number of his friend, and I left the contact feeling good about turning a sketchy contact into a reference as well. Turns out, later that week we were trying to call his friend but couldnt get a hold of him. But we called the sketchy guy, and set up a lesson with him. So we were going to meet him, expecting the lesson to fall through like most of them do, and he was there, took us to his house. He was almost a completely different person! Happy, talking, we got there, and he had a nice house and a motor cycle, turns out he has a good job and is well educated, and ended up being a really good restoration lesson! They accepted baptism, and yeah it just went really well. I learned a lot, both about asking for references and about not judging people. 🙂
Funny story of the week, we woke up thursday morning, to find out that we had locked ourselves in. Our house is pretty high security, with lots of cage type things with padlocks. So we had left the keys outside of one of these cages, that was locked shut with two padlocks, and the spares were in the kitchen. We literally had no way to get out, and we had a lesson marked at 8 o clock and at 9 o clock. We found a teeny little hand saw and literally speant the ENTIRE morning, until lunch time, sawing through these padlocks.  Moral of the story. Dont forget the keys when you lock up at night. 🙂
Valentines day went well, we didn’t really celebrate but we both wore pink ties, and went out to eat at a restaurant called Quelimane Acima Do Mundo, or Quelimane on top of the world. They have pizzas there, and I got my favorite, the shrimp and squid pizza. It is legitimately the best. Although we did get a lot of wierd looks, apperantly valentines day isnt the best day to go out to eat with another guy…
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Thursday was where the problems started. It started softly, but it started to rain. And slowly it picked up, and it RAINED. It rained so much. It rained non stop, pouring dumping rain, from Thursday morning until Sunday night. People said it was the worst rain in years here. It flooded BAD. The streets were literally like rivers, with 8 inches of water. On the middle of the street! It was almost impossible to work. No one wanted to sit, no one was out on the streets, no one was even working. Everyone just stayed in their houses. So yeah, It was POURING on sunday morning when we woke up, and right then we knew that our goals for sunday wouldnt happen. We called through all of our families, and they all said that they were really sorry but it was literally impossible for them to leave there house, etc. So yeah. When church started, there were 10 of us, drenched, sitting in the room. By the end, there were 36. But man it was hard!
Its been almost 2 months since our branch president has come to church, he is still out of town, and he wont be here next week either. It is kind of hard, because we are trying to be missionaries, and the entire branch presidency at the same time. But it is good.
I honestly love it. I know that this is MY mission. That it was completely personalized for me. That everything, from which area you are in, to who your companion is, to how many people you teach and how many you baptize, is part of God’s plan to mold me into the person he wants me to become. And I am really grateful for that. Yeah, this week was a little frusterating, but we still were able to teach and contact a lot of people. We are working hard, and Elder Vestia keeps things funny. He is super cool, really helping me develop my sarcasm in portuguese. 🙂
We started working out this week! Elder Vestia is ripped and I still have the muscle mass of a 9 year old girl, but we started and I got WRECKED. I woke up after the first morning and couldnt use my arms to move myself out of bed because they hurt so much. Its pretty funny. I noticed it helps me feel better during the day though, so thats pretty cool.
Anyways, not much else to report. Thanks for everything you guys do.
Elder Poyfair
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Week 33: New perspective and plan for success (Student council style)

Happy P-day to all of you, I hope this week was a great one. Once again we had problems here at this internet place, the internet kept cutting in and out, and the power went out, basically it is impossible to get a normal day of internet. 🙂

So I don’t have to much time, but I am going to try and give you an update on how things are going around here!

This week was largely speant going out with the old and in with the new. Elder Heaton and I had been teaching quite a few families but lately they had all been getting pretty lame, dropping our lessons and not going to church and such. So this week, we speant A TON of time scouring the streets, looking for families who can help out  our struggling branch here in Quelimane. 🙂

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Only problem is, we didn’t have TOO much success. 🙂 We found a couple new families that we sat with, but none of them really stuck out and none of them came to church. So this week will be speant doing a lot of the same, hopefully with better results this time. But Elder Vestia and I have been talking a lot, that really It has little to do with us if we get a prepared family. It is a decision the Lord makes, to put them in our path or us in theirs. All we can do is do our part, keep the rules, work hard, and pray for the blessings to come. Sometimes as missionaries we think it has to do with how awesome the missionary is, or stuff like that. But it really really really is something that The Lord does. This is his work after all. 🙂 So we have a good attitude.

I had a chance this week to use some stuff I learned in student council! I had been thinking a lot about how our past experiences and talents should be used to help the work progress forward here. And I realized, that a problem here in Quelimane is that the church is new, small, in a house, and only has two missionaries in a Giant city. So, we want to make the public here more aware of the church. We came up with a plan, of three things we are going to do during a week to raise the awareness! The first, is we have a giant electronic billboard kind of close to the church. So we want to buy a space there for a week. Next, we have a bunch of helping hands jerseys so we are going to organize a big service project with all the members and investigators, cleaning up the streets here. And finally, something simple, we are going to print out a bunch of small hand outs, to give to people in the streets. So I put this all together in a power point presentation, just like we do to present events in student council, and sent it to president kretly. And he authorized it! Sooooo that was pretty cool, I am excited about that. I don’t know exactly when It will happen but it is going to be AWESOME. 🙂

the electronic billboard we are buying!

the electronic billboard we are buying!

We are teaching a pretty cool family named Paulo and Maculada. I contacted him on the road a 2 weeks ago, and they are progressing well. They are coming to church every week and working on the marriage documents, plus they have a bunch of kids and have given us two other references! We have a couple other families we are teaching as well.

We have been doing a lot of work here with the branch. Really trying to “cleanse the inner vessel”, and make the branch run well so that when we have investigators, they want to be baptized and stay in this branch. It has been going well, we had a lot of people at church yesterday.

I really like Elder Vestia. He is awesome. We get a long great.

I have been learning A TON these past couple of months/weeks here. I feel like I came in an 18 year old and am leaving a 25 year old ha. It is really really cool. Missions are fantastic like that. I don’t really have any cool stories or anything this week, we were too busy working to have anything funny happen. 🙂

But yeah, I only have 4 minutes left. So I best start wrapping up! Thanks for everything you guys do for me. I really appreciate it. I love my family and miss them a lot. 🙂  I hope you all have a happy valentines day.

This is the true church, its the best one in the world. 🙂

Elder Poyfair

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Week 32: Hanging in Maputo with Parker, Back to T3, Welcome Elder Vestia

Dear Friends and Family,

I am sorry I didn’t email yesterday. I am actually writing this from a members laptop on a dirty hospital bed. You see, there was a terrible terrible accident…

 

Haha just kidding. The only reason we didn’t get to write yesterday is because yesterday was a big holiday here in Mozambique so the whole country had the day off. We got a call on Sunday from the APs saying that Pday got switched from Monday to Tuesday, for us to capitalize on the day off. So yeah. 🙂 This week was pretty eventful, so I am just going to start from where I left off last week.

 

Monday night, we speant meeting with lots of members and doing Tithing Settlement, like I explained last week. Tuseday morning, we woke up and went out, visiting other members homes and doing tithing settlement while also visiting investigators and recent converts and saying goodbye, since Elder Heaton would be leaving the next day. During the afternoon, the Elders from Morromeu came, so we went on splits to cover more ground and be able to get more tithing settlements done. I was doing them with some members and Heaton was too! It was insane. But Elder Heaton was able to say goodbye to everyone, and we stayed up until 11:30 that night but we finally got all of the tithing stuff submitted. PHEW.

 

The next morning, we got packed up, and left to go to the airport. Then we flew to Maputo. It was a good flight- they fed us chicken and noodles (yum) and I slept pretty much the whole way. We got there, and the Office Elders took us back to the mission office. We joke that the mission office is like Grandmas house. And it seems like we were just there, like a month ago… haha. So Elder Heaton and I were just kind of chilling there, When the door at the mission office opened and in walked President Kretly with Elder Hamilton, a member from the 70 who gave a talk this past general conference! So we both pick up a copy of the ensign and pretended to read that, until he came over and met us and stuff. I was wearing bright blue socks, but luckily he didn’t notice. 🙂

 

Then, we went on another division, this time with the office elders!! I went with my buddy Elder Douglas and Elder Heaton went with Elder Hales. It was cool because me and Elder Douglas are in the same group in the MTC, and pretty good friends. We taught one of their recent converts, a funny old guy, and then drove to pick up the Tete Elders from the Airport. We went back home, ate some pb and j, and slept.

 

The next morning, we woke up for Zone Conference. The Zone Conference was fantastic, most of it was by Elder Hamilton and I learned alot. There was a lot of emphasis on referrals and getting these families to the temple. Awesome stuff. I got to see Elder Parker Williams, my old neighbor there. It was super wierd!! He seemed so out of place. Not him himself, but like, here I am, 7 months living in this brand new life, and suddenly there is a little piece of my old life there! Not sure if it made sense but yeah, he seems like he is having fun and being a good missionary. That day for lunch, President and Sister Kretly sat at our table right across from me! So that was a little… scary and awkward. I thought I would spill my food or say something stupid. Luckily, nothing like that happened and I think I stayed under the radar, I’m pretty sure he doesnt even know my name. 🙂 And I am FINE with that. 🙂 Then, I got to go with Elder Douglas to take the T3 Elders back to T3!!!! It was so so so cool to drive back to T3 on the same roads and everything. I will always love T3. 🙂 I had the chance to talk a lot with Elder Barroso. He is a brazillian who is serving in my old area in T3. It was way cool, because we kind of left T3 in a rush. But he said that Antonio and Ines, the couple we baptized there, are doing GREAT. He said they help so so much, that they are preparing to go to the temple and that they gave to awesome references as families that are getting baptized, and that they are about to get callings and stuff. I was really relieved. Alot of times, recent converts fall away, so it was great to hear that. Also, they started re teaching a lot of old families we taught, and he said they are coming great. It made me really happy to hear that!

 

After, that night, me and Elder Hillman, one of the Elders from Tete (another outside area), went out in the city to talk to people and get contacts. He is also in my MTC group, I like him a lot. We grabbed some fast food (yes, legit, deep fried pot pie fast food. Maputo is nice like that!) and went to the office, and got put with our new companions!! Like I said before, I am now serving with Elder Vestia. He is a 25 year old Elder from Portugal. We slept, woke up, got ready and stuff, and then flew back to Quelimane!!

 

Our Plane was really delayed and stuff, we ended up not getting there until later at night. We came back and realized we had kind of left the house a DUMP, with tithing settlement and leaving and stuff. So Elder Vestia and I spent the ENTIRE day cleaning our house/the church. All day. But it was good, and necessary. We got to talk alot about our goals and what we want for the next transfer and stuff.

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The next day was sunday, and I am not going to lie it didn’t go too good, pretty much none of our investigators showed up, and barely any members either. It really hurts your area when you are gone for so long!! We had some good lessons later that afternoon, did a lot of contacts and stuff.

 

Yesterday went well, we got a lot of work done and went with Clasmen and Ginesia to teach a family they are giving us as a reference, it went awesome.

 

Anyways, pretty eventful but not the most productive week work wise. I am excited to really get down to business this week with Elder Vestia. I like him A LOT. He is a really good missionary. We dont speak ANY english though, its really helping my portuguesse! He is funny and nice, yeah just a super cool guy.

 

Thats it from me, hope this week went well! Love you all,

 

Elder Poyfair

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