Monthly Archives: January 2015

Week 81: Busy, Big Macs and Karli’s new rattle

Hi!

This week was busy. Busy busy busy. We are trying to get everything organized and set up for our back to back general authority visits! This week it is Elder Ellis from the 70 and then the next week, Tad R Callister the Sunday School President. Lots of things to do! Elder Ellis is coming to visit the office tomorrow so we have been cleaning and organizing everything. Its a lot of fun, let me tell you. πŸ™‚

Flash back to two years ago when I submitted my mission papers, I honestly didn’t think I would be in the middle of africa, cleaning out a mission office on Pday. Its kind of funny how life works like that, isn’t it?

But anyways, this week was good. Monday after emailing our families, we headed out to a family night.Β  On the way, we went to pick up some recent converts planning to walk with them to the family night. Well, we got there and the wife refused to come. The couple had been fighting and she told us, very strongly, “I’m going back to my old church! In my old church, my husband was nicer to me! I’m never coming back to this church.” And she stormed off. We took the husband and daughter with us, and had an awesome family night with another family. We talked about charity, and treating our wives well, and played games and ate this fruit they only have in africa and sang hymns and it was awesome. We were also happy and releived to see the wife who said she was going back to her old church walk in to our church on sunday with her whole family.

So we have this senior couple here, the Kimballs. And they are supposed to take our spots as office elders. So this week we worked HARD on training them, in hopes that they can hold down the fort by themselves next transfer and we can go be normal missionaries. They are doing really good, learning everything and I think they will be ready.
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We had a branch activity on Wednesday, not a lot of people showed up but it was fun anyways. We played musical chairs (which is way more intense with mozambicans), and charades and then set up Elder Kimball’s laptop with the projector and watched “The Restoration” on the big screen in the dark. The spirit was strong, and everyone loved the activity.

We also had a temple prep lesson planned for Thursday night. We had been holding the class during church, but the problem was, the strong members who needed to be attending were in the classes as Presidents or Branch Presidency and such, and couldn’t attend during church! So we decided to try and do it during the week. It was announced in Sacrament Meeting, and we showed up but only found two single men there. Doh! We talked briefly about the temple and then went and made some posters and little invitations to give out at church. Hopefully the attendence is better next week. πŸ™‚

President came back from South Africa and once again, brought us Big Macs. Literally you have no idea how much happiness can come from a cold, slightly soggy big mac. πŸ™‚ It makes your whole day. Don’t any of you back home EVER take big macs for granted. πŸ™‚ Haha.

Our families are doing good. We are teaching one named Goo and Ines. He was once a member, but went inactive and then moved in with a girl, now he wants to come back and she wants to be baptized. Awesome! They came to church again this sunday and while she is catholic and a little hesitant, she is reading the Book of Mormon and seems intrigued by our message, but doesn’t want to jump into anything too quickly. Her husband is funny though, correcting her pronunciation on the names of the prophets and such. They are a cool couple.

Thomas and Dulce are doing good too! This week, we broke the news that for them to get baptized, which is something they really want, they are going to have to get married to keep the Law of Chasity. African Culture is usually pretty heavy against “quick” marriages (next month.), and come to think of it, so is American Culture. Unfortunately for them, Gospel Culture is a little different, and there is no sense in delaying the keeping of a commandment. They had some questions and weren’t quite sold, but assured us they would pray to see what God thinks they should do. With the faith they have, I am really not worried about the answer they will receive. πŸ™‚ We go back there tonight with a member family, so that should help calm some of their fears and help them see that it is possible!

Our Branch President has a son who lives in our area with his wife and kids (they are legally married!!), and he gave them to us as a reference! Unfortunately he has been really hard to get ahold of, so we made a plan with the branch president for a “coincidental” encounter. He was having them over on Saturday for a family get together at 14, so we showed up at 13:45, and when they showed up we just “happened” to be there to meet them and set up a first visit. It was awesome. They look like a really cool family and having our Branch President’s support will make things much easier.
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So yeah! That was my week. My parents sent me a package for Christmas, that had a little rattle in it for Baby Karli (the baby of one of the families I baptized in April, that they named after my mom), and a letter for the family. They are in a different branch now with the divisions, but I was able to give them the gifts this sunday! Karli loved the rattle. She tried to eat it. πŸ™‚
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Also, I am attaching a picture of another Baby and his mom. His name is Jr. and his mom’s name is Graca. They come to church every week. He was born with a problem with his mouth, the kind you see in magazines where they ask you to donate the surgery. I kind of thought it was a hoax, until I saw him. He is the cutest happiest baby ever. And, thankfully, this week he will get the surgery done to fix his mouth, and the surgery is being paid for by one of those campaigns that does it for free. Seeing these things here has really made me grateful for the life I’ve had.
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Sometimes its easy to get sad when you think about all of the problems here. But honestly, the best thing we can do is teach them the gospel. I am absolutely positive that this is true. Nothing else has changed this country for the better like the gospel is. It is truly remarkable! Missions are the greatest. πŸ™‚
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Love,

Elder Poyfair

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Week 80: Hanging with E. Douglas, Dreadlocks guy and the Christmas package finally arrived!

Hello friends and family,

I’ve got five months left until I go home and time is going SO FAST! I can’t even beleive it. The weeks feel like days and the months feel like weeks. Next week, we are having another General Authority visit! Two of them actually. Elder Ellis from the First Quorum of the Seventy will be comiing, and then the next week Elder Callister, the Sunday School President is coming! Elder Callister is one of my favorites. I’m very excited for their visit and the missionary meetings and everything that will be going on. Unfortunately, it also means a lot of planning and reservations and tickets purchased and money on our part. But it will all turn out ok. πŸ™‚

This week, I got to spend some time with Elder Douglas! Love that guy. We were companions for almost 6 months, and then he went to Swaziland and I stayed here. He got transferred again, up to Manga, so he had to pass through here. He came in around noon and left late at night. We went out to lunch after staff meeting (staff eating) and then there was an elder that had to be picked up from the airport, so we left Elder Reinstein in the office with the Kimballs and me and Elder Douglas went out to pick him up and drop him off! It was just like old times hahaha. After that we went and visited Justino and Cacilda, one of the families me and him baptized who got called as branch president a month later. They loved seeing us again! Then we went and taught another family, before dropping him off at the airport.

Also this week, I got my package! There are rumors that there was a mail strike in south africa, and the workers burned a warehouse that had a bunch of packages going to Mozambique. I don’t know if its true or not (Its kind of hard to fact check other missionaries when no one has the internet), but I was kind of convinced my package got burned. NOPE! It got here on friday and I was so so so happy. I got some NICE ties, lucky charms, a really soft Pikachu tee-shirt (that every other missionary is jealous of) and a lot of other stuff. So that was awesome!

Thomas and Dulce, that couple we are teaching, where he has the Dredlocks?? This week was a really good week for them. There are seriously just eating everyhing up. They LOVE everything we teach, and are so willing to act on anything we say. They have a STRONG testimony that the church is true, and are so humble and funny and quirky. They thought the Plan of Salvation was the greatest thing they had ever heard, and came to church again and loved it. He is a professional musician, and he loves the hymns, so I gave him a hymn book, and when we went over to their house one night, he showed us a Jazz version of “Israel, Israel God is Calling.” Like, with drums and bass and guitar and piano and everything. It was so awesome! Such a funny guy. You would picture him, by the way he looks, to be like a druggie, into bob marley and reggae and stuff. But he actually just listens to Kenny G, and hasn’t done drugs or drank or anything in years. AWESOME!

Sunday was good, we had 4 complete families at church! Another miracle. We were standing outside, greeting people who come in, and this couple walked in and were worried that they were 4 minutes late for the 10 o clock meeting. We asked who they were, and they said he was an inactive member and he brought his wife, who isn’t and wants to be baptized. Like, they literally just fell onto our lap. We taught them last night and it went really well.

We had a cool experience this week, we were early to a lesson, so we decided to knock some doors in the area near the investigators house. So we knocked a door, and a little kid answered, he said his parents weren’t home but his sick Grandpa was and he wanted us to talk to him. So we came in, and his grandpa was there, half paralyzed and not doing to well. He started talking to us, but he wasn’t making too much sense and had a speech problem. We talked to him for a little bit, and he was talking but it was hard to understand him. It was time for us to go to the next lesson, and then out of no where, the grandpa says he needs to urinate, and unzips his pants and holds up a bucket and starts urinating, right in front of us! So we were kind of like, “Ok! Wow! We gotta go, bye!” and took off, not thinking too much about it. We went to our lesson, and were leaving, walking out of that neighborhood, when I saw a man carrying a BIG bag of mangos, and he was struggling, So I asked if he needed help, and he said no but I took the bag from him and started carrying it and he was grateful, and started leading us to his house. Well, we keep going, and get to his house, and of course of all the houses, it was the house with the sick grandpa!! He brings us in, and is all excited, and introducing us to everyone. He introduces us to the sick grandpa, who is his dad, and his dad says, slowly and sadly and with his speech problem, something like, “These jerks were already here- they come in, and leave without even saying goodbye. I was talking to them, and they just left.” And the man with the mangos was like, “Yeah, thats my dad. He’s crazy! He thinks you were already here” And we were like, “We were, he’s right..” And went over to him, and put my arm on his shoulder and apologized, and talked to him for a while. I apologized again, and he had been happier, and he said we were forgiven, and we left.I felt bad about what we had done, and felt like we messed up. It didn’t seem bad the first time, but Christ wouldn’t have just walked out when he started peeing like we did. I was really grateful that God led us back to that house for us to be able to correct that mistake we made.

Anyways, that was my week! Everything is good, thanks for your support!

Love,

Elder Poyfair

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Week 79: Growing through Patience and Sacrifice

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At the first MTC Sunday night devotional I went to, just days after being dropped off, the speaker shared the story of when David O Mckay was on his mission, and saw this stone shown here above.

The message really touched Elder McKay, and the speaker at the devotional explained how each of those nine squares has a symbol on it, and each symbol represents a number. For example, the hand has 5 fingers, the “x” is 10, the triangle is “3”, and each of the other shapes represents the number of how many sides it has. The reason these symbols are attached to the quote, is because the three symbols will always add up to 18. If you add up the top row from left to right, its 18. If you go diagonally from the bottom left square, it is still 18! It will always add up to 18.

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The speaker shared how we all play our part in making the Church, or specifically, our mission, run smoothly and add up to 18. Each of us is a number. And sometimes, we might think, “No! I don’t want to be a 3!! I want to be a 7!!” But if you were a 7 instead of a 3, than that row wouldn’t add up to 18 and it would throw the whole picture off.

When I heard that talk then, I had no idea how important it would end up being to me now, a year and a half later.

This week, we found out that with the transfers, Elder Lourenco would be leaving the office and going up to Tete, and that I would stay here in the office with Elder Reinstein, for my 8th transfer. That will be 1 full year of my mission spent as Financial Secretary, here in the office, in the same area and the same branch and the same house and same bed and same everything. πŸ™‚

I was a little disappointed at first, I was really excited to be able to leave the office and work as a normal missionary, especially since President Kretly had told me last transfer that it would be my last in the office.

BUT. Its all good. I got over it. πŸ™‚ I realized that I am not here on a mission to do what I want to do. Even if I really really really want to go to a normal area and be able to work all day and really help the families, if that’s not what the Lord has in mind or what the mission needs, its ok because I am here to SERVE. πŸ™‚ My mission is a sacrifice, and the more that I sacrifice, and the more of myself I give to this mission, the more worthwhile it will be in the end.

So I am here for another one. πŸ™‚

This transfer is going to be really good as well, as we finish training the Kimball senior couple on how to do everything. We will slowly be spending less time in the office and more time in the area. That is what we did this week. We worked really hard in our proselyting area and were blessed with some awesome results.

This week at church, we had 5 complete families at church! It really was a miracle. We started teaching this family, and the husband is named Thomas and he has Dredlocks! He is so cool. Definitely one of my favorite families I have taught. He is a musician and the are very humble, and they came to church on Sunday! They are funny people.

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We had a baptism this week! Her name is Carolina. She is a 23 year old single mom. Her daughter is really cute! She was born in Swaziland, and has been living with her aunt for a couple of years, and coming to church for a while. She was one of the most prepared, easiest investigators that I have taught! She accepted everything and kept all of the commitments. She had a strong desire to be baptized, and our branch president is already talking about a calling for her.

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The work is going really good here! I love this branch and the members and I am really excited to be able to spend another couple of weeks here, and be able to work more in the area. The area definitely needs it. There are a lot of prepared families out there!

Sorry this letter is short. You know how it goes, on transfer day. People to be picked up and dropped off at the airport, running around like crazy until 2 in the morning. It makes for a short Pday, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. πŸ™‚

Love,

Elder Poyfair

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Week 78: New Years, Referrals are cool & Still in the office

2014 was the year I started and finished in Mozambique. And it passed by SO fast! I seriously can’t beleive that I am already in 2015!

At the beginning of 2014, I set a goal that I wanted to baptize 12 complete families (Dad, mom, and any kids). One per month. Granted, I made that goal before I knew I was going to spend a majority of the year working in the Mission Office, but nonetheless that was the goal that President Kretly challanged us to acheive and me and all of my companions worked really hard to make it happen. However, even with the help of the Lord, we came a little bit short. But we were still able to baptize 6 Β AWESOME families! I am really grateful for this past year and for those famlies that were baptized. Hopefully this 2015 is just as good!
And if this week is any indication, it will be. Β πŸ™‚
This week we focused on references. In the MTC, the push was really strong on references and member missionary work. But since I got here in the mission, the emphasis wasn’t quite as strong. It didn’t really need to be- Β where in other places, door to door tracting and street contacts aren’t effective and member missionary work is the only way to do it, here in Mozambique door to door tracting and street contacts work great.
However, we know that investigators found through references have a much higher percent of being baptized and staying strong, and across the world it really has become the best way of finding. It has never REALLY been tried too seriously here in Mozambique, but this week we felt inspired to really try and apply it more in our area. So we made plans to sit with ever single member family in our area during the week, and do as Preach My Gospel says and help them create a list of families to share the gospel with, and help them make goals, etc on how to do it.
We worked really hard this week and saw AWESOME results! Yesterday alone, we sat with four new families!Β  At church, we had two NEW complete families at church, and both families were references! One of them had a cool story: Me and Elder Reinstein were knocking some apartment complexes while Elder Lourenco was out teaching some investigators with a member. And we were focusing really hard on asking EVERYONE for references. I had read a quote earlier from President Hinckley that says:
“We know that missionaries who ask for referrals are far more likely to receive them.”
It seems so simple, right? Haha.
So we weren’t having too much luck, but we were asking everyone for references, and there was this one non-interested single lady, and she was telling us to leave and we asked if she knew anyone else who, unlike her, might be interested. She said, “Well, yeah, I know a guy named Isaias…” and so we asked for his phone number, like, who is going to have a random phone number memorized off the top of their head, but SHE DID! She told us the phone number, and then told us that he was her brother, lived close, had a wife, and had already been to our church! So we left and called him and marked a visit for sundaymorning. So we go there, talked to them about church, invited them to come, and they both kind of shrugged and said, “ok!” So we waited 10 minutes while they got ready and then we went to church together!! ALL FROM A NON INTERESTED CONTACT! References man. Its the way to go.
We have an investigator named Carolina that will be baptized this Saturday, she is 23 years old and had been coming to church for like 6 months and we thought that she was a member because her whole family is but she was never baptized. So we have been teaching her, she is awesome, and this saturday, she will get baptized!
It turned out kind of cool because I WILL STILL BE HERE!! Haha I forgot to say, that President Kretly delayed transfers, so they will not happen until NEXT monday and I still have no idea where I am going. Oh well, whatever happens happens. πŸ™‚
New Years was fun, we had to come home early, so we did weekly planning and then played some rummy kub and speed scrabble, which the tidwells let us borrow. Then we went to bed at 10:30, and still managed to wake up at midnight because a bunch of african kids were throwing these SUPER loud bomb-type fireworks through the fence in our front porch. Like what?? Haha. It was funny though. Lots of drunk people and fireworks during the week.
But anyways! That was, in a nutshell, my week. Mozambique is the best! 18 months in, I am still Β just as excited to be here as I was when I read my call. This really is the Lords work, and being a part of it is such a blessing. Have a good week!
Love,
Elder Poyfair
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