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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Elder Rebollo-Feb 28 !

Week 41 2/24/2014


“I feel so blessed to know this special family and to help them follow Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that the Gospel blesses families and brings true happiness to them like nothing else in the world can.”

Hello everyone! 

Thanks for your letters this week, they were really nice. I can't believe that this Friday is my birthday either! Last year on my birthday I already knew that I would be out here by this time, but last year that seemed so far away, but now here I am 9 and a half months into the mission. It's pretty crazy!  

This week was really good! Tuesday and Wednesday were good days of lessons and contacting. I walked with our district leader, he does one division with each elder every transfer. We went to Alfredo and Laura's so he could interview them for baptism. It went well, Alfredo and Laura, and Chaquito (whose real name is Ken) all did great! The rest of that day we taught lessons and did contacts, it was a really good day. 

Friday we had a zone meeting in Matola. Afterwards Elder Reed and I decided to stop and get lunch before going home. So we went to KFC-Yeah, I said KFC- it's the only fast food chain in Mozambique. It was pretty good, like KFC back home. I got chicken sandwich and fries and a drink for 275 meticais ($9, kind of expensive, but it was good).

Saturday was the big day of the wedding and baptism. It was a really special day. It was a double wedding and baptisms it was a really good ceremony. Alfredo showed up first in his really nice blue suit. Shortly after, Laura arrived, driven by the couple acting as the witnesses for the wedding. Her dress was really nice too. They were a great-looking wedding couple. 

They had a lot of family there too; half the people in attendance were their family members. The wedding ceremony, done by the branch president, President Mulungo, went well. There were some of the relief society sisters singing as the couples signed the marriage book and kissed. Then we went outside to take pictures before they changed into the baptismal clothes. 



After the baptism, we sang and had a prayer to close the ceremony. Then the couples cut the cake. There was just one cake there for the two couples, but it was a huge cake. There was more singing and presenting of gifts, then it was pretty much over-But not for me and my companion. There was a party afterwards at the house of Alfredo's father, and we were invited. There were tables and chairs and lots of music and of course food. It was nice. We ate, had more cake, and watched some people dance, and congratulated the couple again.

Yesterday (Sunday), they were confirmed in sacrament meeting. They asked me to do the confirmations, so that was a really special moment. They were both super happy that finally the day had come and they are now married and baptized and confirmed members of the church was super happy for them too. I had the opportunity to be with this family from the first time we contacted Alfredo in the road, to the first lesson (almost exactly 3 months ago) until their baptism and confirmation. I feel so blessed to know this special family and to help them follow Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that the Gospel blesses families and brings true happiness to them like nothing else in the world can.   

We are continuing to help other families get to baptism as well. Yesterday, five of our investigator families came to church, the highest number since I've gotten to T3. The work in this area is going really well. There are miracles happening every day. 

I'm glad to hear that things are going well with everyone at home. Elder Reed and I are getting along well. He's pretty laid back and easy to get along with, he is also a hard worker.

Mom and dad, I am glad to say that I am thankful that I haven't gotten really sick so far on my mission and also that I haven't gotten bit by mosquitoes lately, it hasn't been a problem, only once in Quelimane it was really bad, but it seems like mosquitoes don't like me so much anymore haha. Mom it’s fun that you are always curious of things that I don’t even think of, but since you asked, I use Colgate toothpaste and dove shampoo. You can find brands like that here in Maputo, but not in smaller cities or towns like Quelimane- at least not while I was there. The weather here has been pretty good. It's been hot, but not too bad. It should be cooling down more here in the next month or so.

Well, I hope you have another great week. I’m sure you will be thinking of me this Friday for my birthday. You know that I love all of you so much, I  thank you for all you have done for me and all you continue to do for me! I know I will also be thinking about you and Dad and Jacob a lot on Friday. I look forward to hearing from you all again next week!

Love,

Josh 

Elder Rebollo’s birthday is this Friday Feb. 28,

If you would like to send him a birthday greeting here is his email address:

joshua.rebollo@myldsmail.net





Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 40. Maputo District Conference


Week 40 - 2/17/2014 T3 

“The branch here in T3 is growing rapidly. When I arrived on the mission I heard … T3 was… a difficult area with little success... But we're definitely seeing miracles here, big and small. Every day I see the hand of the Lord in this work. I know it is in large part because of your prayers...I thank you for your faith and constant support...” 

 Hello!

Thank you for your report on the stake conference. I was looking forward to reading about how it went. It sounds like it was a very uplifting conference. I'm glad that you guys had a good seat. Remember when Elder Bednar came and we had to sit all the way in the back? And we even got there one hour early. I'm glad it wasn't like that this time. And you got to hear from some general authorities too, that's cool. Dad Congratulations again! I wish I could have been there. But I'm sure I'll be around to see you receive other callings and responsibilities in the church. Thank you for being a good example to me.
Mom, I hadn't realized until last week that the Olympics had already started. I actually like watching the summer Olympics better, so I don't feel too bad missing this one this year. I haven't finished those vitamins you sent me. I actually haven't been taking them for the past few months, to be honest, but I should probably start again. For the next package you can send some snacks, candy and other stuff that you can thing of would be fine.  There is basically everything here that I really need. I know it's too bad that I never got my Christmas package. I guess we'll have to try again and hopefully it will get here that time.  Now I'll tell you about my week.
This past week went by pretty quickly. We didn't find as many new investigators, but we taught some good lessons to the new ones we found the week before. Also, everything is right on track with Alfredo and Laura, I'm super excited for their wedding and baptism. I just hope it doesn't rain. Either way, it will be a great day for them.
Gerson and Candida, are also doing well, they will be married the first weekend of March. Candida will be baptized right after their wedding- As I mentioned last week, Gerson is already a member. 
We found two new families in the past couple weeks that are progressing well. One of them is Antonio and Anita, they are a young couple with one child. They came to church yesterday for the second week in a row.  They have started to read the Book of Mormon and are showing a lot of desire to follow Christ. This week we will continue to help them and hopefully get them started with the process of getting married. The other family, Daniel and Zaida is another young couple who are friends with Alfredo and Laura. They came to church yesterday also; we are excited for them as well. 

The branch here in T3 is growing rapidly. When I arrived on the mission I heard how other missionaries spoke about the different areas of the mission, T3 was regarded as a difficult area with little success. So I wasn't sure what to think when I got transferred here. But we're definitely seeing miracles here, big and small. Every day I see the hand of the Lord in this work. I know it's in large part because of your prayers for me every day and the prayers of many others as well. I thank you for your faith and constant support. It helps me more than you can imagine, even though you're so far away.

The district conference went well. We went to the session on Saturday, where President Kretly gave a talk about temples and family history; this is something that needs to be emphasized more here in Mozambique. The Sunday session was packed! There wasn't even enough room for all the members to sit in the main chapel. They had an overflow room with video and sound. Even that room got overfilled. There was no room for us missionaries to sit anywhere inside, so we sat on benches outside the chapel and just hung out there, hearing some of the words through the window. So I didn't really get anything from it yesterday, but that is ok because it is so cool to see how fast the church is growing here in Maputo and Matola. I'm guessing they will have to have district conference in a bigger space next time, because by then the number of members will have grown even bigger.

I hope all you guys have another great week!

I love you

Josh

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Week 39 - Monday, Feb 10 2014 –T3

"... if weºve done our work diligently, they (new members) will be able to help themselves stay on the path, and in turn help others who are struggling stay on the right path. That is the vision we need to have as missionaries. It is something that I try to remind myself every day."

Dear family!

I’m glad to hear once again that you’re all doing well.  I’m surprised that it has been raining over there, I thought it was still winter, haha. It’s been pretty hot here lately, but hasnºt rained too much. It’s always super-hot in the morning and early afternoon, but by the late afternoon itºs more tolerable. Mom, I’m sure you donºt mind that it hasn’t snowed too much haha. What movies have you seen lately? You better be making a list of good movies you watch while I'm here.  Since I will have missed two whole years of life in the US, it will be a culture shock all over again!
You probably remember that Thursday marks 1 year anniversary since I received my mission call; and on Friday, a year ago, I opened and read it in front of our family and friends at home


 

 Joshua opens his mission call. Feb 14 2013

I can’t believe it! What I find amazing is that sometimes I think about home and wish I could be there with you guys, those times, I feel that time stands still; However, since I am always working and being so busy, time seems to be flying. I always keep that in mind and try to make the most of every day. I don’t want to look back on my two years and have regrets of things I should have done; I wonºt be satisfied with less than 110% of service Iºve given, and more importantly, I want the Lord to be satisfied with the service Iºve given to Him.

Mom, thank you sooo much for those words you shared about your conversion. I think as missionaries we run the risk of having too narrow of a vision of where we want to lead our investigators. We may sometimes think that leading them to baptism is the ultimate goal. But it is much, much more than that. Baptism is only the door to the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life. We are leading them to that door. But if they donºt experience a true conversion, they will not stay on the path to exaltation. Thatºs why we have to help them read the scriptures, pray daily and come to church every week, things that will keep them on the path after their baptism. We canºt continue to visit them forever after theyºve become members. But if weºve done our work diligently, they will be able to help themselves stay on the path, and in turn help others who are struggling stay on the right path. That is the vision we need to have as missionaries. It is something that I try to remind myself every day.

I enjoy hearing about your conversion story, it really inspires me. I think it would be cool if you sat down and actually wrote out the story of how you came into the church and decided to get baptized and the conversion that you have experienced. It might take some time to go back in time in your mind to sort it all out and express all your feelings, but I think it would be a worthwhile experience. I think it would help me see how coming into the church is from the point of view of someone who wasnºt born into the church- Anyway, just a thought.

Mom, I agree, Dad is a really dedicated father and priesthood holder. If all priesthood holders here in Mozambique were like him, the church would be growing even faster here. Unfortunately, we found out that many priesthood holders are not faithful to the law of tithing- we know it may be difficult for many for them who don't have jobs- there are only a few full tithe payers. We are going to really start focusing on teaching our members and investigators the importance of tithing and all the blessings they are missing out on by not obeying this commandment. I know that obedience to tithing has blessed us a lot as a family.

******

Dad, thanks for your letter this week, I really enjoyed it. I always enjoy all your letters, they are really personal and I can tell you put a lot of thought into what you share with me. First Iºll tell you about my week.
This past week was really good it went by quickly, with P day being on Tuesday- It was a good P day. We went and did internet to this new place (little weird symbols show up instead of apostrophe for some reason),  then went shopping, as always. There is a pizza place by the store we shop at, and we bought pizza and took it back home with us to eat for lunch. It was good, almost as good as pizza back home haha. The rest of the week was pretty normal. Weºve been teaching a lot of new families lately, so that is really good!  Weºre also continuing to help our other investigator families move closer to baptism. Alfredo and Lauraºs wedding and baptism will be in less than 2 weeks. Elder Reed has a set of gold rings (inexpensive metal painted gold) to give to couples getting married who cannot afford buying real ones for their wedding. Unfortunately, none of the rings he has fits Alfredoºs finger. So today we went to the place where the rings came from to buy a bigger size for him. It feels good to help them out in any way we can with the preparations for their wedding. They are also helping us out a lot, they have been talking about the church to their friends and family and neighbors; weºve already sat with some of them, and they seem to have good potential to progress as well. They are definitely getting into missionary work, itºs pretty cool.
Gerson who is LDS, and his girlfriend, Candida, a non-member, are also getting closer to their wedding on March 1, she will be baptized right after. We are thinking of letting him baptize her- we are looking into that possibility-that would be nice. The only problem with them is that they live far away. It takes a 30 minute chapa ride and then a 45 minute walk to get to their house; but it would be worth it- oh almost forgot to mention, that on the way to where they live we can see the huge national stadium and market, ill send you pictures next time. 

Church was very good yesterday. We had some of our new investigators that we started teaching this week show up, so that was very encouraging. We visited Alfredo and Laura afterwards for a get together with some of their family, to get to know them. On the day of that wedding, the 22nd, there will also be another couple getting married, it should be really cool. Overall, the work in our area is going really well. I think it will just keep getting better from here. We just need to continue to work hard.

Having callings in church help us stay actively involved in serving others, they also help enrich our lives. I believe that, every calling we receive prepares us for the next. My mission is preparing me for future church callings, as well as my future calling as a husband and father.  

Thatºs funny that stake conference is this weekend over there; because this weekend we will have district conference for the Maputo District as well- Iºll let you know how it goes here, and youºll tell me how stake conference was there and who was called as the new stake president.

I’m glad to hear youºre doing well and that youºre always helping Jacob in school work and spending a lot of time with him.  I’m sure heºll always remember you for that.  From my part, I appreciate all that you and mom did for me when I was growing up, taking me to cello lessons when I couldn't drive and going to every one of my concerts regardless where they were. And I appreciate all that you continue to do for me now, providing for me temporally and spiritually.  
I hope that everyone there will have a good week. Thank you for your constant prayers and thoughts for me. They are definitely making a difference for me out here.

say hi to all my family and friends if they can not send paper letters they can send me emails any time, I will read them on my P-day, I will try to answer  back even if just a few lines.
 
I love you!!

Josh

 

 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

This week P-day was moved to Tuesday

 Week 38-- 2/4/2014


“…They were super happy to be finally done with all the documentation and now they are set to get married and baptized in about three weeks.”


Dear family

Our Pday was moved to Tuesday this week because of Heroes' Day, a national holiday here in Mozambique.  I'm glad Sister Hobson offered to email you guys so you wouldn't worry about me. The Hobson's attend church at T3, so I was talking to her and mentioned how P-day was moved to Tuesday because of the holiday. Then she offered to email you so you wouldn't get worried. She emailed the other parents of the elders here in T3. She obviously knows what it's like to be in your guys' shoes.  Yeah, I guess this holiday is kind of a big one here; but I didn't see any celebrations, at least not in this part of town, maybe because it rained the night before. But it wasn't raining during the day, so that was good for us; so yesterday we had a normal day of work. It didn't feel like any day out of the ordinary, except it was weird to go from Sunday to another normal day instead of P-day 

This past week was pretty good. The zone conference was really great. I'm sure you saw the pictures on President Kretly's blog with all the missionaries in Beira and Maputo. I think my face is partly covered in the picture haha. It was actually a relatively short zone conference. It was over by 3pm, usually they go until the evening. So afterwards, we were still able to go teach lessons and do contacting. Elder Hamilton gave a really good training. He is in the Africa area presidency, and lives in Johannesburg, so he visits the missions of Africa very often.



He says that Africa right now is by far the fastest growing area in the church and is ground zero for the spreading of the gospel right now. He said that in comparison with the rest of the world, there really aren't many missionaries serving in Africa, and we're really lucky to have the opportunity and privilege to be serving here at this time. I really do feel lucky to be serving in Mozambique.

The mission has the goal to create 8 new branches by the middle of the year, and divide the 2 districts by the end of the year, in preparation for the creation of 4 stakes. I honestly don't know if I'll be here to see the creation of the first stake, but either way it is really cool to be here at this time when we are making a strong push to grow and strengthen the branches here.

Elder Hamilton asked us to list all the challenges and issues we face as missionaries in Mozambique. Then he went through the list and gave his thoughts on how we can deal with these issues. It was really an effective training because he tailored it to our needs as missionaries instead of bringing something pre-prepared. It's similar with us teaching lessons. We have to tailor it to the needs of our investigators instead of sharing something rehearsed. I learned a lot from what he shared with us.  

On Friday, we went to the Civil Register in Matola to submit the documents for marriage for Alfredo and Laura. They were the ones that went in to the register and did the paperwork, but we accompanied them, in case they had any questions or needed any help. They were super happy to be finally done with all the documentation and now they are set to get married and baptized in about three weeks. I'm really excited for them too! We'll continue to work with them to make sure everything will go well on their wedding and baptism day. They will be a really strong addition to our branch.

There is also another family, Gerson and Candida that will be getting married and baptized the following week, on the 1st of March.  So it will be nice to see two families married and baptized in the next few weeks. We have other families we are working with to get them to that point. We're trying hard to set baptismal dates and get them started with the document work. We're also trying harder to work with members to accompany us to lessons. I'm excited for this upcoming week, it should be pretty good. 

That is true what you said about the experience I'm having here in Africa compared to other missions. I think being away from a bunch of stuff for these two years will make me appreciate everything back home a lot more and I won't take it for granted. 

Dad, thank you for bearing your testimony on Sunday, I'm sure it was a beautiful testimony, like Mom said. It's great that you guys all feel very close while I am away and that the Lord is keeping you safe at all times. Before you know it, we'll all be together as a family again. But these two short years are a great opportunity for spiritual growth for all of us.

I hope you all have a good week. I love you so much and hope you all continue to stay safe and healthy.


Love

Josh