"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,