Today was my Birthday and it was fantastic. 🙂 A great end to a great week.
This week really was a good week. But to start off, I feel like I have to say (even though you guys have probably already noticed) that most of the time it is really easy to fill up a weekly email, except for two times: The week you get transfered, and your first week in a new area. So, I apologize for the rather lack luster letters of last week and the one before, there is just always a ton of stuff in your head and it can be hard to write. But I am in, and I have had some time to really calm down and get in to the groove here, so here’s to a better weekly letter! 🙂
First off, I got a lot of questions this week from people still kind of confused about what the Office Elders do. To be honest, I’m still learning. 🙂 Most missions have a couple of “Office Assignments”, usually filled by senior couples. They include Financial Secretary, Mission Secretary, Housing Coordinator, Vehicle Coordinator, etc. Well, here, we have two Elders who do ALL of those. 🙂 We stay really busy, and while the idea is that we work in the office in the morning and afternoon and then go to our area, which is a pretty good sized neighborhood named Chamanculo close to our chapel in the city at night. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. But it is always the goal. 🙂
The week started off with my first staff meeting Tuesday morning. It is a meeting with President, Sister Kretly, the AP’s, Senior Couples, and us. We go through the stats and numbers for the whole mission, and discuss lots of other issues relating to the mission. Its a pretty long meeting. 🙂 There is so much stuff that goes on behind the scenes in a mission, I really had no idea. Then after that, we go to “staff eating”, or out to lunch together after. This week we went to a GREAT chinese restaurant. And you know how much I love chinese food. 🙂
We went to the Airport parking lot that night (since the regular spot, chuch parking lots, are pretty small here) to learn how to drive stick shift. Yeah. It was a struggle. 🙂 🙂 It took a long time. I killed it a couple times. A lot of times actually. It just makes no sense to me, its like, why do people do all this when they have cars that do it for you? It is definitely like learning to drive again, I feel like a 15 year old who sucks at driving. But slowly, I drove more and more, around the office and little errands and stuff, (we almost died many times, and almost killed other people a couple times too), Until yesterday, drove from our house through the city to the office and home, at night through traffic. 🙂 I am slowly starting to get the hang of it! I feel so lucky to be learning from Elder Douglas. He has got A LOT of patience. 🙂
I definitely feel a little spoiled here in Maputo. We have a dryer in our house! Its the only elders house in the mission with a dryer. Sooooo nice. 🙂 We also have WORKING hot water, which is a first for me on my mission. There is a store here called Premeire, and its literally pretty much walmart. It is SUPER nice! It feels a lot different than life in T3 and Quelimane. I’m a city boy now. 🙂
Our GOLDEN investigator family, Justino and Castilda, finalized Justino’s divorce this week. It has been such a long process and they are tired from it. But man, our lessons with them are unreal. They have finished the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, as well as the Pearl of Great Price. Right now they are reading Doctrine of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith, and they had some questions about what ended up happening with Joseph Smith’s kids. They are nuts man, we end getting taught so much every time we go over there.
This week we were really really blessed on the missionary work side of things. On sunday of last week, we sat with a family named Vasco and Katelia. He has been a member for about 8 or 9 years, but fell into inactivity pretty quickly. Then, started living with a woman (Katelia) and breaking the law of chastity. He has slowly been coming to church again, but feels really unworthy and wants to feel the spirit again. He refuses to wear a tie to church until he can use his preisthood worthily again. So, we went over (and he lives SUPER far away!) and taught them the restoration. The lesson went… ok. It was nothing really special, they didn’t appear too interested. We also talked a little bit about marriage, how it is the way to get him worthy again, and they said they would think about it, maybe next year. So we marked a time to come back, but weren’t really feeling too confident. A couple days later, the return appointment worked out, and we felt inspired to watch the “E um milagre” video with them, the one that talks about marriage and has Elder Andersons talk and such. So we brought a little portable DVD player, and went to teach them. It went so well! One of the best lessons I’ve had, We connected really well with them, and they both opened up and stuff. She was crying at the end of the video. The spirit was way strong! They accepted marriage and she accepted baptism, for the 19th of April. They also told us they had another family they wanted to show us, so we marked to go back a couple days later and teach the refferal with them.
So funny story here. We had decided that we wanted to make Burritos for sunday dinner. But Saturday night came, and we realized we didn’t have tortillas. So we had to decide if we would go into our area to teach this reference, or go to the store and get tortillas. (which we are not really supposed to do.) I’ll be honest, we were pretty close to choosing go to the store. But, at the last second, we decided to be good missionaries and forgo our tortillas. It was an extremely good choice. 🙂
We showed up, and there was a HUGE party going on, with all of Vasco’s family. We waited for him, and as they were coming out, an older woman came out and started talking to us. We went to shake her hand, and she, rather embarrassed, showed us that she had a beer in her hand and apologized. She introduced herself as Vasco’s aunt, and it didn’t take long for her to start to get extremely rude.
She said that Vasco and Katelia had announced to the family that they were getting married on the 19th of April, but that the family rejected it. She started going off about a whole bunch of things, telling us that here in africa, things are different, and you cant just get married. (as if we don’t spend 99% of our time dealing with african traditions and marriage!) And how they need to wait a year and do all these rituals and stuff, and about how she has faith but if they get married, God will curse their marriage since the family denied it, and how she doesn’t let her kids pray to God, they pray to her and then she sends their prayers to God. She was just pretty much rambling, but really angrily, and then she started saying that if we help them get married on the 19th of April, she is going to summon the devil right then and their. We were a little scared, but my companion told her to go for it, and that kind of caught her off guard. So yeah, we left with Vasco and Katelia, to try and assess the damage and see how they were feeling. And it was great! They said that They had already informed Katelia’s family, and they accepted with no problem. She was really excited, and he said his family was always weird and stuff. It was a really really good talk, this family has literally come out of no where and now is one of our strongest families. They were both registered here in the city, and he used to be a “cheffe do bairro”, so that will make their documents go really fast. It was a blessing we were there, to really get all of their doubts and stuff out now. I love that family so much. Then we went and taught their referal, but the husband wasnt there, so we taught the wife a quick little lesson about coming to church, and then left. We were really glad that we chose to do that instead of going shopping. 🙂
Sunday? Was probably one of the best Sundays I have had here on the mission. First of all, one of the Statistics that is important here is Families at Church, which counts as the number of complete families you have at church with both husband and wife. The most I have had was 4: one time in T3 and twice in Quelimane. Well, this Sunday, we were blessed to have 5 Families at church! It was awesome. Vasco and Katelia, as well as that reference family we taught showed up, and 3 more! It was sweet. We had 16 investigators at church. Office Elders don’t really get things like that often. The APs had 2 families at church. Also, our Branch had a record high of 256 people at church!! Miracles man. Super nice.
Anyways. Today was my birthday, and it was great. I needed a new watch (since the one I have currently is a little bright colors and not really professional and I have to take it off every time I am around president) and also wanted a new tie, so we went shopping down town a little bit, then decided to go to the nicest restaurant in Mozambique (arguably), Rodizios. Which is literally Tucanos, but better.
It was the greatest meal I’ve eaten here, and the best birthday present. 🙂 Then we went to the office and took a big nap, and now we are doing internet. 🙂 I checked my email to 56 new emails!!!! Thanks a lot guys 🙂 Its going to be hard to respond to all of you!!
So that was my week. I can’t beleive I’m 19. I can’t beleive I have been out for 9 months. But I am having the time of my life out here and wouldnt be spending my life any other way right now.
Thanks for the support.