Monthly Archives: December 2014

Week 77: Christmas Recap, Chinese Buffet, Wedding

Feliz Natal!

Seriously this Christmas on the mission was night and day better than last years! It was SO SO SO fun. And the rest of the week was even better, with a wedding and a family baptism! All in all, one of the best weeks so far on my mission.

I wish you could have been here for it. 🙂
But I guess me writing about the week (and sending pictures of it) is the next best thing.
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The festivities really got going on Christmas Eve. We spent the morning finishing all of the preparation and stuff for the wedding and baptism of Gersio and Marilia. Then for lunch, we went to the chinese buffet! I took everyone out with the money that Grandma and Grandpa Craner had put on my card. I felt like A Christmas Story. “Ra ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra….” Hahahah. The food was so good and I ate so much shrimp and sushi its not even funny. After that, we went to the office to start setting everything up for all of the missionaries to skype their families, and the first missionaries began arriving at 4 PM. It was so fun! Everyone was there, and we had four computers set up and a timed schedule and everything. The best part though, was that Elder and  Sister Kimball had called President Kretly, and asked his permission to show some classic Christmas movies, and he said yes! So we moved the couches in the office in front of the projector, and while other people were skyping, we watched A Christmas Carol and Its a Wonderful Life. It felt pretty weird watching the movies after so long of not watching anything, but both of them were really good. I had never seen “Its a Wonderful Life”, and I thought it was the greatest movie ever. 🙂 Then, after that, I got to skype my family!!
Wow it was so good to talk with them. Seriously, it was the best skype session so far. I got to use President Kretly’s computer and it was so big and my family looked so good and yeah. 🙂 Perfect.
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Then we went home and went to sleep. The next morning was Christmas! We had drawn names to pick a random person in the house to be like a secret santa, and spent about 10 dollars on them, wrapped it and put it under the tree. Plus some elders got packages, so it was fun to watch them open up theirs! My family sent one, but it didn’t get here in time. It really didn’t matter though, I didn’t need a package to be happy. Better luck next year. 😉
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Lucky Charms for Christmas breakfast. Dallin’s favorite – but had to steal them from his companion because his package never showed.

I got an awesome pair of shorts! I am attaching our Christmas video so you can watch it and see the shorts I got. We had a good time opening presents and celebrating Christmas together, away from our families but still happy and in the spirit of Christmas. Then, we got dressed and went out to our area, caroling to all of the member and investigator families! We took two of the senior couples with us, the secretaries and aps, and caroled to 15 or 20 different houses in ours and the ap’s areas. It was so fun, surprising them and singing hymns to them. Seriously was the greatest thing ever. They loved us so much. Then, later in the afternoon, we went back to the office and did a repeat of the night before, watching movies and eating treats and helping other missionaries who hadn’t skyped the night before skype their families. Then at night, Sister Kretly had asked before that we “surprise” President and Sister and their family (sons and daughters and grand kids that had flown in for the holidays) by caroling to them. She was sure to tell us that she would make some extra food.
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We showed up, us, the aps and the sisters, and knocked on President’s door and started singing Christmas Hymns! It was so funny. The family was so excited, and they invited us in and we ate Christmas dinner with them. It was SO GOOD. Brazilian Christmas food was great. We ate so much, and it was fun interacting with President and his family.
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Like I said. It was one of the most memorable Christmases EVER. I enjoyed it so much.
The next night we were invited to eat with our Branch President and his family and it ROCKED, and then  the next day was Gersio and Marilia’s wedding! They looked so good. They are seriously the most beautiful couple in mozambique. Everyone showed up, they made vows and we ate cake and  took pictures and it was so good. 🙂 I am getting to be quite the wedding photographer. 🙂 The whole family was there, and the branch and everyone. It was such a cool wedding! Then, Sunday was the baptism! They were baptized in secret, because their family said if they got baptized they would get kicked out and live on the street. They showed up late, but it turned out well! They were baptized before church, and then we had church and it went well, and that was pretty much the week!
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I was so grateful that they were able to get baptized. Last month, our mission made the goal for everyone to baptize a complete family on Christmas, with the idea of having a “White Christmas”, as a gift to Jesus Christ. For a while, we didn’t have any families that looked like they would work out, and Gersio and Marila had been dropped and really came out of no where. I know that they were supposed to be our gift to Jesus Christ, but I honestly feel like they were a gift to us. They overcame so many trials to be able to be baptized and I love them so much.
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Sorry, so much happened but I am out of time. Transfers were supposed to be today, but they got delayed until later in the week so I still don’t know where I will be going. Either way though, I am excited. 🙂
Anyways! Talk to you next week. Love you all,  happy new year!
Elder Poyfair
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Week 76: Feliz Natal everyone!

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Feliz Natal everyone!

This week has been one of the craziest but things here are going fantastic and I am excited and ready for Christmas.

Tuesday was Zone Conference. It took a lot of work to pull off! We brought in all of the missionaries from the outside areas (Quelimane, Nampula, Tete, Chimoio, and Maxixe), so we spent most of Pday running and picking people up from the airport and doing random last minute errands. It was even worse because President was leaving for his big long year-end trip early the day after Zone Conference, so we had to finish up a lot of things to make sure all was well in the office and we had all necessary checks signed and stuff to smoothly cruise into the new year. It didn’t really feel like P-day, and I didn’t even get to email my family. But hey, I got to go out with Elder Kitchen, one of my best friends who is currently serving in Tete and pick up Quelimane Elders from the airport at midnight in the POURING rain! The roads were all flooded, almost above the wheel of our Ford Ranger. So many cars were stuck and stopped, and we were pretty much driving through lakes to get there and back. Pretty fun stuff.

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The next morning was Zone Conference. We had a bunch of extra elders sleeping on the floor at our house and stuff, and we woke up to see we didn’t have any water!! NOOOO! Some kind of problem, where water didn’t come out of the sinks or shower. I was outside trying to fix it, and one of the neighbors walked by, started helping me and stuff, and then said we could borrow some buckets from him and use his water! We were so grateful for those buckets of water that morning, so we could go to Zone Conference clean. 🙂 Zone Conference was amazing. Seriously, so so amazing. I wish I could have filmed it and showed it to all of you? Too bad. Anyways, you missed out. In our last Zone Conference, we had discussed gospel applications of the first 3 habits (of highly effective people), so this time we discussed the last 4 and how they relate to missionary work and stuff. It was great. 🙂

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It ended at about 5 o clock PM, and we all headed over to the office for the Mission Christmas Party. We ate really good food and watched the mission slideshow and each district presented a skit. Something cool happened during dinner, President Kretly was talking to one of the new senior couples and she asked if we had any missionaries here who had come out at 18 on the mission just out of high school. And I was talking to someone else, but kind of eavesdropping on this, and President Kretly said, “Yeah, where is Elder Poyfair…….. Elder Poyfair?” and I turned around, and he told her, “Elder Poyfair came out just after high school, he is very young, but really mature, and I didn’t even know for a long time. He is one of our Secretaries too! A very good missionary. Excellent missionary. As you can see, the 18 year olds were just as good as the 19 year olds.” It was cool. The first missionary he thought of! Nice. The skits were pretty funny, ours was kind of thrown together at the last minute but it turned out well. After all was said and done, we had to drive ALL the missionaries back to their houses and we didn’t get home until midnight. Luckily everyone got home safe. I did get pulled over on the way back by a pretty scary corrupt cop, but I was able to turn it around on him and started contacting him and talking to him about his family and stuff and I think I kind of freaked him out and he let me go. 🙂 If only that worked in the United States.

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The next day, President left in the morning and we spent all day at my favorite place, the airport. 🙂 Each of the elders seemed to leave at a different leaving time, and we received new missionaries as well. Plus, Elder Cummings left. Elder Cummings was one of the Aps here, and we were together in the same house for 5 transfers (7 and a half months) together. We got super close, he’s like my best friend. Because President had to leave early, we got to take him to the airport! It was cool. He was a really big influence on me, and I’m gonna miss him a ton!

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Also, it was Elder Reinstein’s birthday, but we weren’t able to celebrate at all because the day was so crazy. So the next day, on thursday, we went to a Chinese Buffet. It was a really nice one, and really expensive, but his parents put enough money on it to pay for everyone so we went there, and it was SO GOOD. Like my favorite lunch ever. They had giant shrimp and the sushi was great. Mozambican Wasabi is WAY stronger than american wasabi. It was seriously the best, and I think I am going to take us and the aps out there again on Christmas with the money Grandma and Grandpa Craner gave me. It was so great.

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Saturday, one of the Sister Companionships in our district baptized a family! They are so cool. I got to interview them, they are really a strong couple. They have a cute fat baby and two twin daughters who always always always wear the same things. Their names are Toley and Marcia, and I put some pictures of them in. Then later in the day we had our branch Christmas activity. It went surprisingly well! A fun talent show (one of our recent converts rapped) and good food, the devotional went well and it was a lot of fun with about 80 people there.

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The next day, sunday, was the first sacrament meeting for the Chamanculo branch. It was great! 122 people there, and it all went smoothly. Something funny happened later in the day, we were low on street contacts for the week so we made a little contest that whoever got 8 qualified contacts first would get a bunch of food from the others. I won. I respond well to things like that. 🙂 But I started a contact, stopped the guy and asked where he was going and stuff and held out my hand to shake his, and Elder Reinstein my companion swooped in out of no where, took his hand, and stole my contact! Cut me off! So I was walking away, a little ticked, when I heard Elder Reinstein ask, “So do you beleive in Jesus Christ?” and the guy was like, ” I beleive in the name of ALLAH!! I am muslim!!” and muslims don’t count as contacts, we can’t teach them and this guy was really strong and it was SUPER funny. Serves you right for stealing my contact. 🙂

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Anyways. Next email I will know where I am going, and next week I am OUT OF HERE. My days in the office are winding down, but I am excited for what is coming next. Gersio and Marilia are getting baptizedthis saturday too, I will be sure to send lots of pictures.

Have a good Christmas, hopefully this year is better than last year. 😉

Love,

Elder Poyfair

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Week 75: Zone Conference Hangover, New branches in Maputo!

My life right now is that scene from Elf at the beginning where Santa is like, “We’ve had another very successful Zone Conference!” (Everyone cheers). “And now, its time  to start preparations for NEXT ZONE CONFERENCE” (Even more cheers).

Yeah. Yesterday was Zone Conference, so I apologize for not writing. Things got PRETTY CRAZY!
Last week was a good one. Again. 🙂 Hahaha. The only problem is, today is Wednesday (two days after P-Day) we have LOADS of things to do, so this can’t really be my longest email of all time, but I will try my best to sum up everything that happened this week.
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The highlights were the Noite de Integração (directly translated it’s “integration night” but it makes a lot more sense  in Portuguese. Pretty much it was a Branch Activity), opening the Marriage Process for Gersio and Marilia, and our branch Dividing!
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First off, Note de Integração. It went so well! We had decided we wanted to do more activities in the Branch, to help our Recent Converts and old members and investigators all be able to mingle and have fun and be friends. So we had it announced on Sunday, planned some fun little activities, and hoped for the best. When we went there on Wednesday night, there were 40 people there, recent converts and investigators and members and branch presidency and everyone! It was awesome. We played musical chairs and sang hymns and brought balloons. We played game where everyone tapes a balloon on their back, and gave everyone a toothpick. We told them that whoever is the last person with a balloon still on their back wins. It was complete CHAOS, everyone running around screaming and popping balloons. They loved it. Then we had a projecter and computer and watched a Christmas video. It turned out SO good and we were really excited about it.
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Next, we opened the marriage process for Gersio and Marila! We went over to the Marriage Register and they opened it up. We were hoping to get it for the 20th, but the process needed to stay open for 8 full WORKING days so we had to delay the marriage until December 27th. It will be AWESOME. 🙂 We had a funny experience on Sunday with them, we could not find them at church and we thought that they didn’t come. We were kind of ticked because they would announce the marriage and baptism at sacrament meeting, and it would stink if they weren’t there for it. Plus, they need to be coming to church every week in order to be baptized. So I kept calling them, but they wouldn’t answer. And I was so mad at them! I was sending them messages and everyting, and then one time he answered and hung up on me! I was pretty mad, I thought he was ignoring me,  and I called one more time and this time he answered! “What, Elder?” he said in a hushed voice. “…Heyyyy Gersio, how are you?” “Fine, Elder.” “Great….. so why aren’t you here at church?” “… I’m here upstairs.” and then he hung up. And so we went upstairs (here, gospel doctrine is upstairs and gospel principles is downstairs), and looked in and they were there, sitting next to each other in the back! They wanted to go to the different class this week, so went upstairs and were there the whole time. 🙂 So funny. They are the coolest family ever.
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Finally, our branch divided!! We used to have Maputo 1 and Maputo 2 here in the city (we work in Maputo 2). So this thursday, we had a meeting with all of the missionaries and branch presidents and President Kretly and talked about how the branches would divide! Now instead of 2 branches, they took part of Maputo 1 and part of Maputo 2 and created a third additional branch! Our branch is now called………. THE CHAMANCULO BRANCH!! Yep. The branch is named after our area. Chamanculo is the name of the neighborhood that I have worked in since I got here, Our branch president stayed the same (Our recent convert, Justino Anselmo), and our first counselor stayed the same as well but the new second counselor is one of my favorite members, named Nelsio! As in, Nelsio and Celia. They are an awesome family. We now have the branch of Polana, which includes part of our old branch, and Catembe so we sadly won’t be going there any more. The branch president is the old 2nd counselor from Maputo 2, Anastacio!  It was all so exciting. Now instead of Maputo 1 and Maputo 2 we have Chamanculo, Sommerscheild and Polana. The members were very excited as well. I heard one of the missionaries from Matola ask the members from our branch how church was, and the members said, “Yeah, church was good. They divided the branches and created a stake!” Hahahaha  almost. Not quite. 🙂
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So thats about it. TONS of other stuff happened but that is all I have time for right now. I will write more about zone conference and stuff next week, deal?
Love you all.
Elder Poyfair
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Week 74: It’s beginning to look a lot like A TRANSFER…

Good morning friends and family,

Today is P-day and our time is SHORT!! I don’t have too long to write so I will try to do my best and give some of the highlights from my week.
First off, it was a really good week! Just to refresh everyone’s memory, I am currently serving as Financial Secretary of the Mozambique Maputo Mission. I have been here for 7 transfers, or 10 and a half months, or almost half of my mission.
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We went to the airport today to pick up a senior couple who was finishing their mission, so here is a picture of me there. Notice my new shirt I bought this week.

Well, this Saturday, Elder and Sister Kimball arrive here in Mozambique and they will be REPLACING US! Yep. Thats right. No more Elders as Secretaries! They are coming straight from the MTC and President Kretly is really excited about them. Most of this week was spent in preparation for their arrival, making sure all of our records are organized and everything is ready for a smooth transition for them to begin their work as Secretaries this Saturday. (!)
So what does this mean for me?
President Kretly said that I will be LEAVING this transfer, on December 29th. Until then, I will work on training them. My two companions, Elder Reinstein and Elder Lourenco, will stay here for another transfer or two after I leave, and come into the office for 2 or so hours every day to make sure everything is going smoothly. Other than that, they will be working in area the rest of the time.
WOW! Everything is about to change. My days in the office are winding down, and it is going to go really fast. I’m not sure I’ll know how to be a normal missionary again when I leave. 🙂
But anyways. Cool experiences from the week.
First, Gersio and Marila, are doing so so good. He came and washed our cars to earn  the money necessary to “open the marriage process”. Opening the process is the last step necessary to get legally married. It basically means going to the Marriage Register with all of the documents, and declaring you want to get married and paying some money, and then they tell you to come back in 8 days and pick up the certificate. We are going with them to open it on WEDNESDAY, so they can get married and baptized on December 20th.
This week, we had a Leadership Council with ALL of the Zone leaders in the mission, here at the Office. Normally we do the meetings over the internet, but this time President wanted it in person, so all of them flew in from the various  parts of the country. The good part? Having everyone in person made for an awesome, collaborating, contributing, dynamic meeting. We were, all of them, us, the aps, and President and Sister Kretly all in a circle and it was literally like Jedi Council. The bad part? It was like transfers all over again, going to the airport at midnight and picking people up and dropping off and finding places for everyone to sleep and stuff. We didn’t sleep much at all during those few days.
We had an old family named Florencio and Fayda, they were awesome and had opened the process when I came to the office, but then he went to South Africa and they moved far away. It was sad! But, this week, two cute african kids came up to me and grabbed my hand in the middle of the street, all excited, and I recognized them as Florencio and Fayda’s kids! I was a little surprised, but they said they had moved back! They led me, by the hand, to their new house, and we came back the next day and taught the whole family. They had felt the gap in their lives and want to come back and be married and baptized. The whole family showed up at church as well! So awesome.
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Also, the view of Maputo from the beach is the best.

Lastly, one night this week, I was saying my nightly prayers, just before going to bed, and I felt impressed during the prayer to pray for the safety of my family back in the United States. So I did, and asked for them to be protected. Today, I read the emails from my family, and saw that my sister, Katelyn (who turns 18 this Saturday!) was involved in a pretty crazy car accident! She wasn’t driving, but her friend’s car was totaled. They had to go to the hospital in an ambulance, and her friend was hurt but Katelyn came out practically untouched. HOW COOL IS THAT???? Every one was ok, and I know for sure that God protected them in that moment, and that my prayer and the accident had to have occured the same night.
Anyways. Thats about all I have time for. The work here is going awesome. I love it. My mission means so much to me and I am so grateful for everything I have learned and am still learning. The last thing I want to share, is a quote I found from Preach My Gospel, this morning during personal study. It isn’t a very popular quote, in fact I had NEVER EVER heard it or read it before and it is kind of hidden back in the “Accountability” section, but it says,
“The attitude you have toward your mission experience is a reflection of your love toward your Heavenly Father and His Son and your respect for the preisthood.” -Preach My Gospel, page 151
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Also, we played soccer on the beach today, and there was this fat albino african baby that I thought was pretty cute.

I LOVE this quote. Our mission really is a gift and as we appreciate all of our experiences that have on the mission and have a good attitude about them, we really are showing our love towards God.
Com Amor,
Elder Poyfair
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Week 73: Thanksgiving in MOZ

Goooooooooood Morning friends and family!

Even though they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Mozambique, we had a lot to be thankful for this week.
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Remember Gersio and Marilia? That family I wrote about last week? Well. Things went super good last weekend, they had accepted baptism on Christmas Day and showed up early for church and everything. However, last Monday, after all the P-day festivities (shopping and emailing and random office work), they called us, and said, “Hey, we need you guys to come over tonight. Its urgent.” and we said, “Ok, we can, is something wrong?” and he said, “Well, we will talk tonight.”.
We were pretty worried, thinking that they chickened out and got scared of their family again or something like that. So we went over there, and it was pretty obvious that something was up. They wouldn’t really make eye contact with us, and it was a little awkward at first. So we started with a prayer, and asked them what was wrong. Gersio looked at us, and said, “I just wanted to apologize. I’m sorry we havn’t been baptized yet. It’s all my fault, I let things get in the way, and I was prideful, and I messed up. I’m sorry.” And that meant a lot, because we love them so much but he really has been quite the stinker in the past. He continued, “So, I bet you are wondering why we wanted you to come over. The truth is, we marked our baptism for the 25th of December. And, I don’t know if its too late, if its already in the calender and stuff and can’t be moved, but we would like to do it sooner. We have already waited to long!”
It was seriously the coolest thing. We went in there expecting the worst and it turned out better than we expected! As soon as they get the last documents they will get married and baptized, in secret because if their family finds out they will get kicked out. SUCH A COOL FAMILY.
Speaking of cool families, one of the new ones we found last week is looking pretty promising. His name is Luis and hers is Felizarda. I met them last Sunday, we were doing contacts on the street and I stopped him, he looked like he was kind of in a hurry, and he also looked too young to have a family. But I stopped, and talked to him anyways. He gave me his phone number, and I asked if we could go to his house and teach him and his wife right then. He reluctantly agreed, but the first lesson actually went super well! We went back this week and taught them again, and it was another really good lesson! At the end, we asked if he had any questions of doubts. He stopped, and said, quietly and sincerely, “What do I need to do to be baptized? I really want to change my life and start over, and I want to know what I need to do to be baptized in this church.” So we explained what he needs to do, and invited the whole family to be baptized on December 25th. They accepted! Then, we marked another lesson later in the week. Because of our office work, we were not able to make it to the other lesson, but to our suprise, they all showed up for church on sunday, half an hour early! They enjoyed it and seemed really interested. I am excited to see how they progress.
Thursday was THANKSGIVING! And this one rocked. To start things off, President had returned from his trip to South Africa and brought home BIG MACs for us.
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So we ate those for lunch, and once again they were delecious. I can’t wait until I can go back to eating those regularly… 🙂
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Then, for dinner, we had been invited to the Smith’s house for Thanksgiving dinner! They are a young American couple. he is the Branch President of Maputo 1. They have a two year old son, and have been in Mozambique for about that long. He owns the security company that guards the US Embassy (so they are pretty well off) and SUPER nice. 🙂 They have a border collie mix dog, that reminded me SO much of Mia. We went there with the APs and the senior couples, and ate ate ate ate ate ate ate ate ate seriously one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I have ever had. The whole Shebang. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing gravy, rolls, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, EVERYTHING. There was so much food and drinks and we all stuffed ourselves, and left to go and teach some lessons. They sent us away with a full turkey, so the next few days we made left over turkey-sandwiches just like we would have in the states. Seriously, being Financial Secretary has a lot of perks and this was DEFINITELY one of them. 🙂
Sunday was the Primary Program at church, and it was so awesome. There were like 70 kids there, not even joking. It was surprising close to how a  primary program would have gone  in the United States! President and Sister Kretly were there. I wish I could have filmed the whole thing, it was so cute. There are two identical girl twins and when they would go up for their parts, they said them in unison. Each child had a part to say, but they usually ended up speaking pretty out of order. For example, the theme was The Restoration and it went something like this:
“Joseph Smith was young man who  had a question about what church was true.”
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“John the Baptist came and gave Joseph Smith the Aaronic Preisthood.”
(Next kid)
“I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head…”
SO Funny. I loved it. Our church attendance was really high as well, 285 people were there on Sunday! That is the highest its ever been. Also, in two weeks our branch is going to be dividing! Crazy crazy awesome growth.
Afterwards we went to Catembe, and visited Vasco and Quiteria and family, which included baby Karli.
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I got some CUTE pictures of her, she is very smiley and happy. They had invited another family over for us to teach, which went well also.
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Then afterwards it started to rain, and we got completely SOAKED, like wet wet wet. I loved it.
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That was pretty much the week! Things are going good. Elder Reinstein is getting better at driving, the work in the office is going pretty good, my mission is the best and I love it.
The End.
🙂
Elder Poyfair
PS
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