Week 51: Zone Conference planning is worse than getting malaria

Hi everybody,

Sorry for the lack of a weekly letter. Things got CRAZY around here,
and while I had written about half of this letter, I was unable to
send it. So now, even though its Thursday, I will just finish the last
letter and send it, and next week write a little bit more about these
past couple of days. SO. You just have to pretend its monday right
now…..

Tomorrow is Zone Conference. All of the missionaries from Swaziland
(22) are coming up here to Maputo to join us. 5 missionaries are
flying in from outside areas as well. = 74 total missionaries who all
need places to fed and food to eat and to make it to Zone Conference
tomorrow!! Needless to say things have been a little stressful around
here.

But its ok, I like it. 🙂 It reminds me of being back on Student
Council in High School, just like I’m back to planning the senior
dinner dance or something. It is fun having so much control over an
event like this, and making sure everything works out perfectly and
everyone has a good Zone Conference. Unfortunately, P day gets shafted
a little bit, but what else is new here in my life as an office elder?

Last thursday was my 1 year mark! Me and Elder Douglas woke up at 5:30
in the morning and went to the beach, where we watched the sun rise.
It was pretty cool, but we were pretty tired for the rest of the day
as well. Still can’t believe its halfway done. It goes so so fast!

On Tuesday, we went to Justino (our recent convert and branch
president)’s house. His wife is Cacilda, the sassy black lady who
ripped me off with the ties. She was pretty smart in getting us over
there to her house. At church last week, she said, “So when are you
guys coming to visit us?” and we said, “Oh, we don’t know, we have
been SUPER busy and this week is going to be pretty difficult (plus
they are the greatest family and don’t even need visits) ” and she
interrupts us and says, “I’ve got some shrimp I want to make for you
guys on tuesday and you HAVE to come!” A pause, and me and Elder
Douglas look at each other. “Yeah, tuesday works for us!”Hahah smart
lady. I really do love that family though.

We sat with quite a few new families this week, the first one was
named Antonio and Lurdes, and they were a reference from a member
named Chevite. He called us, and told us he wanted to show us this
family, so we agreed. Chevite is a pretty… interesting member. He is
really smart, but he has helped us teach in the past but tends to kind
of ruin lessons by talking WAY too much and going off about why the
catholic church is from hell because they baptize children and all
this extra stuff like that, that would be really funny if it wasn’t to
investigators hearing about the church for the first time. It is
usually kind of a turn off for them. So we teach this family, and
things are going pretty good, until Chevite starts talking and all
this stuff that isn’t too important, all these extra details about
Emma Smith and all this stuff (right?) and the investigator kind of
cuts him off and says, “I have a doubt about tithing. Does your church
pay tithing? I have gone to churches before, and they ask a ton of
money, and I don’t even have money to pay for shoes for my kids!”

So we open our mouths to begin answering the question, when Chevite
starts talking, and says, “Yeah, in our church we pay tithing. Tithing
is really important. For example, here we have these missionaries,
they have to leave America to come here, and the airplane ticket costs
money, and they need food to eat and a house to live in while they are
here, and tithing pays for that…” And at this point, you can just
kind of see the excitement drain out of the investigator’s face. I
pretty much smacked the member at this point, cut him off and said
“Actually Brother Chevite, tithing doesn’t pay for any of that stuff.
We as missionaries pay for ourselves to be here…..” And turned it
around into explaining about tithing.

Again, it would be a funny experience if it wasn’t a brand new,
impressionable investigator. Needless to say, they didn’t come to
church on Sunday. Its hard, like…. we want to teach with members and
stuff, but sometimes they complicate things. Its like you are teaching
the memeber and the investigator at the same time. 🙂 Oh well. Life
goes on.

On Friday, we had district meeting, and I thought it went pretty well.
We talked a lot about attributes of Christ and his character and
stuff, and I shared about how President Lyman challenged me to carve
his name on my heart so that when I take off my nametag, it doesn’t
hurt so bad. 🙂 Anyways, it was good and crazy that that happened a
year ago.

Well, I should probably wrap up, don’t have too much more to say about
this week. Transfers are on July 14th, so that will be interesting to
see if I get a new companion, or if me and elder douglas will stay
together for 6 months of our missions!

Anyways, love you all,

EP

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