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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 23-- General Conference in Quelimane - Oct. 19 & 20


Week 23--10/21/13 

“...Everyone was listening intently to the words of President Monson during his talk, and afterwards the choir sang We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet, and people here were singing along in Portuguese. I really felt their testimonies as they sang that song, the spirit was really strong

Dear family, 

As always, I'm so happy to read your individual messages for me every week. Do the days go by as fast for you as they do for me? Haha. Anyway, it sounds like everyone had a good week. 

Jacob: I'm glad you had a good week at school. Those animals that you saw sound really cool. You would think I see snakes and crazy spiders all the time, but I don't actually. There are roaches from time to time, many lizards, and small frogs. I think I've seen a snake once, and it was a small gardner snake, like you could find back home. I haven't seen any crazy animal or bug here, but when I do, I will let you know and send you a picture. Halloween is coming up soon, it's in 10 days. Did you decide what you're going to dress up as? People don't have Halloween here. Unfortunately, there aren't really good holiday traditions here that I know of yet. 

Our new house
I imagine you guys were surprised to hear that we're living in the church complex now. I will send you pictures. It is nice living in the church. The only thing here that isn't very nice is the water pressure, which is really weak. But this is Africa, and this house is really-really nice in comparison to other houses here, including our old one. It is a lot safer too. There is a guard here at the church. And if someone wanted to get in, they would not only have to get past the guard, they would also have to get past three other doors with deadbolts and padlocks. I definitely feel very safe here.

Our investigators
This past week went well. Our families are still doing well. Marcelino and Aida will be getting married and baptized on November 2. We wanted to do it this coming Saturday, the 26th, but we had delays with a few documents. But now, we have obtained all the documents necessary to submit to the civil register here. After submitting them, there is a certain waiting period before the marriage can be performed, that is why we will be doing the wedding on the 2nd. We are hoping that the other two couples can get married and baptized in the month of November as well, but they still do not have firm dates. Hopefully in this coming week, we can get them to commit to marriage and baptism. As always, the members have been a great help as they accompany us to lessons during the week. I hope my other future areas will have members that are so willing to help like we have here in Quelimane. 


General Conference in Quelimane
This past Saturday and Sunday we watched General Conference. We had about 40 people come on Saturday, and 110 on Sunday.  I really enjoyed it! This conference had many talks with similar themes. I really enjoyed talks about missionary work, of course. I wanted to share one thing that I learned from watching conference. I will share it in Portuguese. 
O Elder Ballard disse que se queremos compartilhar o evangelho com mais pessoas, temos que falar com mais pessoas cada dia. Isso e verdade. As vezes, enquanto andando na rua, eu deixo uma pessoa me passar sem falando com ela, porque eu penso que aquela pessoa nao estaria interessado em ouvindo nossa mensagem. Mas eu nunca vai saber sem primeiro falando com aquela pessoa, dando-lhe a opportunidade para ouvir a mensagem. Eu sei que se falamos com mais pessoas cada dia, vamos encontrar aqueles que estao prontos para aceitar o evangelho. 
The members and investigators who came really enjoyed the conference as well. At the end of the Sunday morning session, everyone was listening intently to the words of President Monson during his talk, and afterwards the choir sang We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet, and people here were singing along in Portuguese. I really felt their testimonies as they sang that song, the spirit was really strong.

I know that we have prophets and apostles in our day who speak the things the Lord would have us hear and I know that following the words of our prophets will protect us from temptation and enable us to have happy families. I'm so very grateful that I'm here in Mozambique sharing the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is a huge sacrifice, leaving behind my life back home for two years, including music. I'm grateful for you guys and the sacrifice this mission has required of you too, letting me come all the way out here for two years, not to mention the financial sacrifice as well. I love you guys sooooooo much, and I can feel your love and your prayers for me every day. I know you are always thinking of me. Thank you. 

 I hope you all have a fun, happy, healthy week!!! Until next week!

 Obrigado!

Elder Rebollo


P.S You guys can still send me handwritten letters from time to time; it will be a nice surprise when they finally get to me. I would encourage others in the ward to do the same. It may be weeks or months until I see them, but it's always nice to have a hand written letter.  You will still need to send any package to the mission office, and they will get it to me.

Friday, October 18, 2013

We moved to our new house, which is a lot closer to the church

Week 22 -- 10/14/2013

"Church was great! Once again, about 120 people were present. When I got here a little over 3 months ago, the number was constant at about 70-75, so it is really cool to see the growth that has happened."

Bom dia, Familia!!

I LOVED the pictures you sent me! I always love fall in Utah. The pictures you sent of the mountains are so awesome. Not until I saw those pics did I realize how much I miss seeing the mountains so close by. There are no mountains in sight here. But its ok, Mozambique is also very beautiful... And very hot lately too! Yesterday was 40 degrees Celsius or about 105 Fahrenheit, plus humidity! Luckily all the classrooms in the church have air conditioners or fans. 
I'm glad that you guys had fun this weekend. I was laughing hard when I saw those pics of Hunter! I'm surprised you were able to take so many pictures of him without him running away. He looks good, I hope he stays healthy. It's kind of sad to see dogs here, most of them are in pretty bad shape. People here don't treat their animals very well. 
Dad, thank you for keeping me updated on the football. I was so happy to hear that Utah won that big game! I'm glad that BYU is doing well too. I do hope the weather will be good enough to go to at least one game this season.

Transfers are three weeks from today. Last transfer I felt 100percent certain that I would stay in Quelimane. This time, I'm not so sure. I think I will be moved to another area, sadly. I have really loved Quelimane, the city, the people, and everything. I love my mission! I can't believe I've already been out for 5 months! I'm almost 1/4 of the way through, and I feel like I just barely started! 2 years really is not a lot. 

Moving to a new place
So on Saturday, we moved to our new house, which is a lot closer to the church. That's because we now live IN the church complex! On Monday we called President Kretly about changing houses and he directed us to move into the church and live there, as the Osborns had. So on Saturday we made the move, taking everything from our house to the church. It was definitely not easy. There was a ton of stuff we had to move between the house and the church. Thankfully, our old house was only a few minutes- walk away from the church, plus we had the truck to haul things, two people helped up, Rocha and Marcelino, our investigator. It took all day on Saturday to move all the things (including all tables, beds, shelves, etc and put them in the church. It took a lot of work to get to the point where church could be held the next day without a bunch of our stuff in the way. We are still not done. There is still a lot of organizing to do. But most of the hard work is done. Living in the church is definitely an upgrade, though. The bedroom is bigger and nicer, the kitchen is nicer, the floors are tile and wood, instead of just concrete. Plus, we are right in the church, which is convenient for everything that we have to do. Unfortunately, the move made it so we couldn't go out and work on Saturday or Sunday. I'm hoping this next week will be normal without any surprises that will take us away from working for a whole day.


Church attendance
Church was great! Once again, about 120 people were present. When I got here a little over 3 months ago, the number was constant at about 70-75, so it is really cool to see the growth that has happened. Sacrament meeting yesterday was the primary program. They did really good! The kids sang three songs, and there were three little talks given. I played piano along with them to help them with their singing. They sang I am a child of God, A child's prayer, and another one I forgot. I'm sure Jacob knows these songs too. It reminded me of my primary programs back home that I participated in. Jacob, enjoy and appreciate all the time you have in primary and all the great things you learn and get to do. I wish I could go back to that time haha. Next week we will be showing General Conference on Saturday and Sunday. Luckily, since we are living in the church now, we will be able to make sure throughout the week that everything is set up right. We are planning on each of the days to show 2 sessions, with a little break in between where we'll have something for people to eat, so they don't get too tired. I'm looking forward to watching it. 

Our investigators
With our teaching this week, our investigators are still moving along well. We have three families with really great potential: Marcelino/Aida, Gertulio/Antonia, and Paulino/Fatima. All of them need to get married before baptism, but I believe all of them will within the next month or two. The thing we really need to focus on this next week is finding even more families with potential like them. I really believe the secret is in the members;  out of the three couples I mentioned, only one was a family that we found by knocking doors. The others came to us, by references or by having some other sort of contact with the church previously. We believe that every member here knows at least one family, whether it be friends or family members, who is ready to receive the gospel. For this reason, we always ask for references from the members and ask for their help while teaching. I believe having the members help us in teaching appointments has made all the difference and it is the reason that we have so many investigators with strong potential.

When sending a package whether it’s you or anyone interested in sending anything, it should be sent to the mission office in Maputo. They will get it to me from there, wherever I may be. 

Well, have a great week, everyone!!! I love you so much!!!!!!!!!! Thanks again for the pictures; I'll try to send you some next week!


Elder Rebollo


 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week 21--Zone Conference in Maputo . President Kretly in Quelimane


Week 21—10/7/2013

 
"We were worried that the attendance at church would go down because of heavy rain, but it didn't, we had 107 people present. It's the third week in a row with 100 or more people, so it looks like a pattern that we hope will hold"

Hey Family! 

Wow, this week went by really fast! It was a good week though. After I had emailed you last Monday, we learned that we would be getting on a plane to Maputo that same afternoon. They wanted to fly us to Beira, but there were no flights. The same zone conference happened in Maputo and in Beira; the one in Maputo was on Tuesday. So we flew down there on Monday, and came back on Wednesday. Flying there takes an hour and a half. We stayed in one of the missionary apartments in Maputo.

I have already been in Quelimane for 3 months serving with just one other missionary, so it was weird to go to the conference and see so many missionaries. There were 50 missionaries there at the conference, including 10 sisters! It's still kind of weird to me that sisters are serving in Mozambique, but apparently they're having good success too. I saw everyone from my MTC district there, except for one.  They are all doing well
 
Elder Rebollo and Elder Bender

 
Elder Rebollo and Elder Toyn

 
My MTC district most all of them serving in Maputo and sorrounding areas
 

It was a nice little trip and the zone conference was amazing! It took place in the brand new chapel in Matola which was recently opened. That chapel is super nice! I'd say it's even nicer than a lot of chapels back home.
 
 
The conference lasted from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon, with lunch in between (they ordered pizza, it was really good). President Kretly gave us great training and outlined the goals of the mission going forward. He really expects a lot out of us- and I like that.  He wants each companionship in the mission baptizing at least one family every month, not an easy task, but definitely possible if we work hard. The goal is to be able to divide most of the branches in Beira and Maputo and split the districts there (a district is a group of branches), in preparation for them to becoming stakes. Right now there are no stakes here, but we're hoping to be able to establish 4 stakes in the next 2 years. The goals of the mission are definitely focused on growing the church in the Maputo and Beira areas, but I still learned a lot of things that can apply here in Quelimane. We learned many things to help us in our contacting and teaching.

While in Maputo I bought a new camera and backpack. We went to a big nice store there in the city. It's basically like a Wal-Mart (I felt like I was in the US for a few hrs.-ha ha). We also stopped by a supermarket that was connected to the mall (once again, super nice, looked like any mall back home). Maputo is actually a really nice city, but really divided. If you have money, the quality of life is really good, but there is also a lot of poverty there, like the rest of Africa.  

Anyway, we returned on Wednesday and got back to work. We were worried because since last Saturday with the robbery, we hadn't been able to visit many of our investigators. We were worried that they might have become weak. But that wasn't the case, thankfully. Marcelino and Aida are doing really well (I know I had referred to her as Inez, but she actually goes by Aida). They had been living in separate places, but just a couple weeks ago moved into a house together and are excited to get married. We gave them the day of the 26th for getting married and they accepted, so now we will be working on getting their documents together. They are progressing really well and are really accepting the gospel into their lives. We also found another couple, Gertulio and Antonia. We taught them first a couple weeks ago and this past week they accepted to get married and be baptized as well! Both of these couples came to church yesterday too. We are hoping to get both of these weddings done within a month. There are a two other couples we are teaching that have just as much potential, but we are still early in the teaching process with them.  

It also has been raining this week. On Friday, it RAINED! It was the hardest rain I've ever seen, it was like the water couldn't come down fast enough! It didn't get too bad to where we had to use our boots, though. The worst of the rainy season will come in December and January. It rained on Saturday and Sunday also. We were worried that the attendance at church would go down, but it didn't, we had 107 people present. It's the third week in a row with 100 or more people, so it looks like a pattern that will hold.
Church yesterday was super great, President Kretly was here. It so happened that after zone conference on Tuesday, he flew to Beira to do their zone conference there, and from there he flew up to Nampula (north of here). He had left his truck there earlier last month when he got sick and had to fly down to Maputo. So from there, he drove down to here to Quelimane, and was able to be at church. It was fast and testimony meeting. All the testimonies that were shared were powerful, and President took the opportunity at the end to say a few words also. During sacrament meeting, a few were sustained to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, including Candido and his son Igor (whom we baptized at the beginning of August). Igor is now the first deacon in Quelimane!
The next hour during Sunday school, President Kretly taught all the adults, and then he taught the elder's quorum in the third hour. He showed all the adults the video "It's a miracle (E um milagre)". Have you guys already seen it yet? If not, you should, it's an amazing video. I saw it the first time at zone conference this week. All the members and investigators loved the video too. 
 

After church, he took the time to talk with a lot of the members and met with our investigators that were there too. Everyone felt the spirit really strongly at church yesterday, it was a good day. I'm looking forward to this next week of teaching and contacting.  

Anyway, I'm glad you all had a good week. I'm glad you all watched conference and enjoyed it. We are 80K missionaries in the world now, it's amazing! And 15 million members too! I'm sure with so many more missionaries the rate of growth will be going up even more and faster. 

I liked those parts of conference that you shared with me. We are planning to watch general conference here at church in a couple weeks. We are expecting to be able to hook up the projector here to a computer and watch the conference through LDS.org.  Also, I received the ward newsletters from August and September. The Adams' have been sending them to me, and President gave them to me yesterday. Tell them thank you for me! It was nice to read the updates from the other missionaries in the ward, it seems like they're all doing well.

As far as a package that you will be sending me, I would like you to send it by the end of this month. I will put together a list of all the things I would like and put it in my email next week. 

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for me! I know you miss me, and I miss you too. It would be nice to be able to talk to you face to face, but at least it's nice to talk to you through email once a week. And here in a couple months we'll be able to talk through Skype for Christmas, so we'll be able to talk face to face then.  

Until next week!! LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Elder Rebollo


 

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Week 20—9/30/2013
 

"Yesterday church was great! It was so exciting to see ten of our investigators come to church. And we had a total of 120 people there, the highest number in almost 6 months!"

Well, this week was interesting. It was pretty normal for the most part, but then something happened on Saturday that I'll explain in a minute.

I'm glad that you all sent me pictures of back home. It's weird to remember how close the mountains are. Here there are no mountains in sight, not to mention snow haha.

It will be getting even colder over there soon I'm sure. I always liked fall. Is the corn maze already open? You guys should go. I was wondering why you guys had fast and testimony meeting, but then I remembered that General Conference is next week. Since we don't get the discs here for a month or two, fast and testimony meeting will be next week here, as normal. Don't forget to watch all the sessions of general conference.

Yesterday church was great! It was so exciting to see ten of our investigators come to church. And we had a total of 120 people there, the highest number in almost 6 months!  Up until about 6 months ago, Quelimane had 6 elders and a senior couple, the Osborns - Elder Osborn was the branch president. So back then the number of people at church was really high because all the missionaries were working in all the areas here bringing a lot of people to church. Now that there are just two of us here, it's impractical to work in all the areas in and around the city, even with our bikes and car. But thankfully the members are stepping up and many of them are inviting their friends, family, and neighbors to church and those people are inviting others. The members who bring a person for the first time to church are making sure to introduce them to us so that we can take their contact and set up a time to visit them. Elder Heaton and I are making a Branch mission plan to further help the members know how they can help us in all the stages of the work (finding, teaching, baptizing, strengthening new converts, etc.). I am seeing that Quelimane has the potential to grow a lot in the coming months and years. If the members are determined to help the church grow here, they can make miracles happen.
As far as the work this week goes, we were able to continue teaching lessons with members present and we got contacts. It was a pretty normal week.
Now this brings me to what happened on Saturday. Before I say this, I want you to know that we're safe, healthy, and the Lord is watching over us. The point of me writing you letters every week is to tell you of my experiences, good and bad. On Saturday early morning, about 4 am, I woke up to go to the bathroom. I immediately noticed that the door of our bedroom was open, and we always close it. But I didn't think too much of it. On my way to the bathroom, I looked into the dining room and saw the fridge and freezer wide open and many papers and other things scattered on the ground. I ran back to our bedroom and turned on the light. I then noticed that things from our room were also gone. I woke up Elder Heaton to tell him what happened. We both went around the house to see more of what had happened. It turns out that someone broken into our house in the middle of the night, and we got robbed. All the main doors in the house were secured well, as always. And on the outside, rails (like jail bars) are around every window and entrance. However, we have a small window in the kitchen that also has these rails. But these rails weren't placed as deeply into the concrete. So the thief (or thieves) was able to chip off the concrete enough to rip off the guard rails and get in through that small window. Between the both of us, they stole almost 4000 MT cash, our cameras (which had ALL of my pictures), and our cell phone. They also stole my backpack with everything that was in it, and my mp3 player and speakers. Thankfully they left my wallet with my cards still intact. They didn't take any of our documents either. The things in my backpack included my Portuguese scriptures that I use during lessons, a small hymnbook, a dictionary, and a flashlight. Being that the window they entered through was small, they didn't steal our bikes. Other than the guard rail that had been ripped off, there was no other damage to the house. The most amazing thing was that they had entered our bedroom in the night without us waking up.  I know that the Lord was watching over us and protecting us, making us sleep very deep so that we didn't wake up while the thieves were inside the house.  After looking over what had been taken, we went to Walter's house (he's the member that lives the closest to us) to use his phone to call President Kretly, since our phone had been taken. We then went to the police to file a report. There were some lights on the outside of the house that had burned out, so we replaced those and the house is now better lighted on the outside. We weren't able to do any teaching or contacting that day, we just spent the whole day securing the house. The members helped us a lot during this time. One of them found us a guy to replace the guard rail, another gave us one of their phones for us to use temporarily. We were able to get the house secured to the point where we felt safe to continue sleeping there. We know that the things they stole have already probably been sold, but they are all replaceable. The most important thing out of all this is that we are safe and unharmed. I know without a doubt that the Lord was there in our bedroom that night protecting us.

This coming week we will be going to Beira for a zone conference that will happen on Thursday. It's uncertain if we will still be going by car, though. It now seems likely we will fly down there instead. While there, we will get a new phone and I will buy a new camera and backpack. We anticipate that we will most likely be directed to find a new house immediately or sometime in the near future. It is unfortunate, considering how close our house is to the church (just a two minute walk down the road). But for now, the house is secure. And now we deadbolt our bedroom door in addition to the outside doors. While we are gone this week, a couple of the members will take turns being guards to make sure nothing happens while the house is empty.
Anyway, I really hope I didn't get you guys scared by telling you what happened. You need to know that we are safe and being extremely cautious to make sure it continues to be that way. I definitely saw the Lord's hand in this experience, being that even though some things were taken, we can still continue with our work of bringing the gospel to families here.

I thank you for your constant thoughts and prayers for me. I know that even though you can't see me or talk to me at all times, you can know that I'm safe at all times through the comforting power of the Holy Ghost.  

I look forward to this next week, and hope to be able to send you more pictures soon when I get a new camera. Thank you again for your letters and pictures. I love you guys so much!!

Have a fantastic week,

Elder Rebollo