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Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 67-- Another transfer! I'm staying in Matola


Hi family!

I really liked all your emails this week, it sounded like a really good week! I like hearing about all your new church assignments. It's a lot of responsibilities, and on top of that your job and home responsibilities. But like I said before you balance it all really well. That is something you will have to help me with when I get back and transition back to "normal" life.
I like that ice bucket thing you did with Jacob, it was really cool. 
 
So anyway, today (8/25) was a transfer day-Transfers! The most exciting day in a missionaries’ life.   Your prediction for me was right. I will be staying another transfer as district leader here in Matola 1 and I am getting a new companion. I will be training a mozambican missionary again, his name is Elder Caetano. I don't know anything else about him right now, but I'm excited to be working with a local or native companion again.

I'm happy to say that I am staying another transfer in Matola 1. T3 is also part of the city of Matola and the Matola zone on the mission, so that means that this is my 8th transfer serving in the Matola zone and living in the city of Matola. I wouldn't have ever thought I would stay in on area of the mission for so long. But I really love Matola. There are good people here and the church is growing. I'm excited to be working here for at least another 6 weeks.

Elder Keck got transferred to my favorite place on the mission...Quelimane! I'm excited for him to be able to go there and get to know the people I knew and baptized. There is also one more Mozambican elder to my district, but other than that the district didn't change too much. I'm excited for this transfer and the opportunity to train again. I can't believe how fast time is going by. Not to be counting down or anything, but I basically have 8 months left until I return. And 4 months from today is Christmas! And we'll get to talk one more time while I'm out here. 

This past week was pretty good. We worked and walked a ton and had some good lessons and we have good investigators. Daniel and Rosa are almost done with their marriage documents; they should be finishing up this week. We are teaching a few good investigators who are single, one is a single man whose wife recently left him, and the other is a single woman who is a university student. They are both very intelligent and excited for the Gospel and they should be getting baptized here in a few weeks. It's a little hard to find good new families and people to teach, but we're going to keep working hard at it. The branch here in Matola 1 is really strong. The attendance yesterday was 204. The district presidency is working with president Kretly and the area to divide the branches here in Matola in the coming months, so that is very exciting. 

I'm excited that Dad has the awesome opportunity to be on the high council and serve the whole stake. I know that you and Jacob support him so much and that is what helps him to be able to take on all his responsibilities. And all you guys support me so much too, and that is what keeps me going. The family is such a great support system; there is nothing else like it. I’m happy to have such a wonderful family you guys are great! Thank you for always being there for me. 

I hope you have a great week.  I look forward to next week when I hear more from all of you

Love,

Josh
 
 
 
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Week 66 -- Working with othe elders this week


8/18/2014

Hello again!

This past week went well.  I worked three divisions this week-More than usual for an average week. Working with the other elders in those divisions was very rewarding and it was very productive; it was nice to meet the investigators in their areas. The areas where they work is very beautiful, it has a large river with a very nice bridge. I forgot to bring my camera, but I will take pics next time I go out there. 

On Tuesday, I walked with Elder Van Leuven in his area. He is from Idaho and has been out for about 5 months. On Wednesday, Elder Gomes, the zone leader here in Matola did a division with me in my area. Elder Gomes is from Cape Verde and will be going home next week. It was a very good experience. He is a very very good missionary and taught me a lot about the work and how I can be a better district leader.
On Friday, I did yet another division, this time with Elder Jemuce. He is from Marromeu, Mozambique, somewhat close to Quelimane. This is his first transfer, and he is here waiting for his visa to serve in Angola. It was also a very good day. Each time I do a division I learn something new and get new ideas about how to do the work. So because of all the divisions I only ended up working with my companion for about 3 days this week, which was kind of odd. But we got done a lot of good work in our area this week. We found two new families. One of the families, Daniel and Rosa, are a very nice couple and they want to get baptized. They just need a few more documents so they can get married; they agreed to be baptized the first week of October.

Transfers begin next Monday again, so we will see if there will be any changes for Elder keck and I. Only God Knows where he want us to be doing his work.  One thing is sure, this new transfer came very fast and we have done a lot of good work here these past few weeks. This area is good. It's a little difficult to find good investigators here, but we have been very blessed to find some success here. I hope the work continues to improve as it has been.

I love you a lot and I wish the best for you at work this week and getting Jacob ready for school. I always pray for all of you and the Lord always blesses you guys with health and happiness as a family, and I am really grateful for that. I can't wait to hear from you again next week!!


Love 

Josh




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Week 65-- A Great Normal Week in Matola



Hi guys!

Thanks for your letters this week. It looks like you guys had a nice week, even though not much happened. Time is really flying, summer is over and Jacob will be back in school soon. Wow, I will be there before the end of his school year…hard to believe that I have been here for more than a year but it doesn’t feel like it.

This week was pretty good. On Tuesday I did a division with an elder from my district, Elder Palu. He is from Oakland, California. It was fun walking with him in his area and getting to know him and the investigators and members in his area. I think doing divisions with the other missionaries is my favorite responsibility of being district leader. I get a chance to know each of the elders in my district individually and be able to help them if they need it. On Wednesday we went to the mission office for a leadership training given by President Kretly. It was a really good training, he and Sister Kretly answered questions that we had about different topics. I always love hearing trainings from President Kretly.
For the remaining time  this week we did a lot of contacting and setting up lessons, and teaching lessons, we had appointments fall through, just all that normal stuff. We had a few problems having lessons with members present because every time we set up a time either our member or the prospective member was not able to attend. But it's all normal stuff for us. It could sometimes be tiring and frustrating, but we can't get too frustrated. We are still being very blessed. We have a good number of families that we are currently teaching and they are progressing well. We have the goal as a zone here in Matola to find and teach 5 new families every week. It's definitely not an easy task, but it's possible. I'm really enjoying the work here in Matola 1; it's going very well overall. And time is absolutely flying by! We have transfers again in 2 weeks from today! I'm pretty sure I'm staying here, since I just got here, but anything can happen. For now, I'm enjoying my time here.

Anyway, I love you and am super happy to hear that everyone is doing fine.

Have a great week,

 

Love,

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 64 – Another week in Matola


Dear Family,

This week was good and it was normal in comparison to last week, which was nice. We didn't have any wedding or baptism, so we had a lot of time to just focus on working and finding new families to teach and helping the ones we currently are teaching and are who are showing great progress. And we had a lot of success!  Because we found 5 new families to teach this week, which is really great, and we were happy that all of them came to church yesterday.
On Friday we had a training given by our zone leaders and we were reminded of a lot of good things.  We should work to find those who are truly interested in hearing our message, and if they aren't, we should move on. We need to find those who are ready to hear and accept the Gospel now and there aren't very many of them out there; this is why we have to talk to as many people as we can each week. I really like the Matola zone (T3 included), I have been serving in this zone since November (Maybe longer than any other missionary in it right now) and I've seen the growth that has happened and continues to happen. 
As district leader, I have to do a division with each of the missionaries in my district. On Wednesday, I walked with Elder Thomas in his area. It was pretty cool to be his companion again for a day. As you remember, we got along super well in the MTC and it was great to catch up a bit and also teach together. He is a really good missionary. We had a good day walking the streets in his area, we taught a lot of lessons. The other days of the week were filled with more contacting and teaching appointments, many of which fell through, but that's just part of the work, it's normal.  My companion and I continue to get along and I feel that the Spirit of The Lord is with us. The branch here is doing really well too. We had 185 people at church yesterday. I attended a meeting of priesthood executive committee on Saturday and there the branch president, President Aires, mentioned plans for the division of the Matola branches, which is planned for this November. Right now there is Matola 1 and Matola 2. In November a 3rd one will branch out. It is really exciting to see the growth of the Church down here!  They have talked about division for the Matola branches since I arrived in the country, and now it's about to happen.   This city has so much potential, so many people live here and still It's not easy to find a good family that will easily accept the gospel,  that’s  why we're here to help the people overcome the obstacles  that keep them from coming unto Christ, This is what the Lord wants us to do
Anyway, I'm excited for this coming week and hope you guys also have a good week.
Love, Josh
 
 
 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Week 63- It Was A Great Week, We Had Another Wedding and Baptism

7/28/2014  Matola


…our work went really well this week too, even though we spent a lot of time with this wedding. We had to work extra hard to reach our goals for lessons and contacts. But we reached them. Even with all the challenges, I was really happy with everything that happened this week.”

Hello everyone
This past week was really good and also really busy. The wedding and baptism on Saturday went super well. It was a small ceremony, and not many people were there, but it didn't really matter. The couples, Inacio and Efegenia, were extremely happy. She was crying almost through the whole ceremony. After they were married by the branch president, they cut the cake and everyone got a piece. It was a good cake, but we went through a lot of trouble to get it, which I will explain late in this email. After an interval to take pictures in front of the church, they changed from their wedding clothes into baptism outfits and were baptized. A member, named Mario, baptized them. Also a 9yr child son of a member family was also baptized. It was a beautiful service, and it was a very nice day too. The weather has been great these days, no rain, and mild temperatures. After the wedding and baptism, the couple went home and there was a lunch for them and family and friends, and we were invited too. Four other elders from our district came along too.
Afterward, we went to this restaurant called Meggi's. it was so good. We had grilled piri piri chicken with potatoes and salad. It was probably the best chicken I've had in Mozambique. We will definitely have to go back another day. Also, on Friday, (I knew we could not resist for too long) after district meeting, most of us went out to KFC. KFC here is really good too. And it's not too expensive compared to other restaurants. Being an American franchise, here in Africa, it's cool that it's only a 5 minute walk away from our house. It was fun to spend time with the other elders going out to eat this week. 
Now more about what we went through to try to help with the wedding.  We had to make arrangements to get a wedding dress for Efegenia. The church here in Matola and Maputo owns some donated wedding dresses from the US that are used for wedding ceremonies so couples don't have to spend money on them. The only thing was that we didn't know where exactly the wedding dresses were being stored. We called around and found out they were in T3 (my previous area), because of the weddings that happened there the past couple weeks, including Antonio and Anita's wedding. So on Thursday Elder Keck and I went out to T3 to get the dresses. It was nice to pass by my old area again; it felt like coming home haha. So later that afternoon we brought the wedding dresses to the chapel for her to try on. A sister from the relief society was also there to help her. But it turned out that none of the 4 dresses that we had brought fit her well. So we called around again and found more dresses in Maputo. So on Friday morning we went out to the office to get them. Thankfully, it didn't take too long. So we got back with the dresses and called the bride to come and try them on.  But it turned out that Efegenia's godmother (here, couples pick godparents for weddings) had already rented a dress for her.
So after all that work and time invested running all over town, we found out that she didn't need to check all those dresses after all! And that's not all, haha.  We were also in charge for the wedding cake. Elder Keck said that he had made a wedding cake before for another wedding and it turned out well, so we decided to let him make the wedding cake. So on that same day, on Friday we stayed in in the afternoon to make the cake. Elder Roberts and Elder Palu were helping us out too. We wanted to make a two layer cake, one layer white and the other chocolate, and we made frosting also. Things seemed to be going fine until…they tried to stack the cake layers. Yeah, the whole thing fell apart!
Elders Keck and Palu tried frantically to save it, but it was no use. So they ended up having to run to Shoprite, the local food store, and bought a cake from the bakery. Finally, a nice looking cake.  But it was nice of Elder Keck in trying to do this for the couple, too bad, it didn't turned out right.  
During all that time, I was on a division with Elder Roberts in his area so I could interview the 9yr old that was going to be baptized. It was the first baptismal interview that I conducted. It went really well. The young boy was really smart and excited to be baptized.
So yeah, we had a crazy week getting ready for the wedding; our patience and will to succeed was tested, but in the end it was all well worth it. I felt so good to see that the couple was very happy.
The rest of our work went really well this week too, even though we spent a lot of time with this wedding stuff. We had to work extra hard to reach our goals for lessons and contacts. But we reached them. I was really happy with everything that happened this week. We have a couple other families that are progressing well that we'll be helping with marriage documents this week and hopefully they can get baptized by the end of August. The area I am in has a lot of potential and a lot of families. We just need to work hard so we can find the ones that are prepared to hear the gospel. Things in my district are going well too. Everyone in the house is getting along and all the other companionships are working hard. Church yesterday was good; there were almost 200 people there. This is a strong branch with good leadership. I'm super happy to be here in Matola 1. And I'm excited for this coming week of work.
Thanks for your letter and for your encouragement. I can't believe how fast the time is going by. I try to do my best every day, since I know my time here is getting shorter. I hope you guys have a good week

Love you!!

Josh