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Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 74- My First Week in Beira


“It's a miracle that this is happening in his family; all because of the sacrifice (he) made to serve the Lord. It's amazing how the Lord blesses the families of missionaries who are faithfully serving”

Hey family!!

I'm happy that everyone back home is doing fine. My week went well and went by super-fast too! After doing internet last Monday I went home to start packing my stuff. It didn't take too long, the rest of the time I just relaxed at home. I left from the Matola house at about 6 pm by taxi to go to the airport. I got there pretty early, so I just sat around for a while waiting to board plane. It was a very short fight, it left Maputo at 9 pm and  arrived in Beira at 10 pm, I got my bag, then the missionary couple here, the Snelsons, picked me up to take me to my house, which is only a 10 minute drive from the airport. As soon as I got there I unpacked some of my things, and went to bed. I didn't sleep in the next day, but I didn't need to anyway.
There will be six elders here in the house, but right now there are five.  One of the elders, Elder Wood, won’t have his companion here for the next two weeks. So in the meantime, he is working with me and my companion, Elder Mendes. The other elders in the house are Elder Richardson and Elder Woolley. The interesting thing right now though is that our house is currently doubling as the chapel for our branch, the Mascarenha Branch. The branch is new; it was created a couple months ago and doesn't have very many members for now, so our house, while not very big, has sufficient space for the branch to have its meetings. One of the rooms is being used as the branch president's office. The living room is the relief society room. And the front of the house has the sacrament meeting it's not really a room, it's just the front yard of the house, but it has a covering so it's not a problem if it rains lightly. Yesterday church went well; there were about 90 people there. The members that I've met are nice, and so are all the other people I've met here so far. People seem different here than in Maputo and Matola, They seem more approachable, which is nice. But I still miss my old area a lot. Part of me still wishes I was there, but I know as I continue to work here and get to know the area, I will get used to it. Elder Mendes is from Cabo Verde, and has about 3 months left until he goes home. He's a good missionary and it's been nice working with him this first week. Our area is new. It is part of an old area that was split up, but it's still really big. And it hasn't been worked much by missionaries, so it's a cool opportunity to work in practically a newly opened area. There are a few investigators in it already that the other missionaries had been teaching. They are good families and hopefully they can be baptized in the next few weeks.  Our house is good; it's smaller, so it's good there aren’t more missionaries living in it.
I really like Manga, it's pretty jungly and it's very beautiful. I'll have to send you pics next week. Anyway, I had a cool experience this week.  Before being transfer here this week, Elder Mendes had been working in another area in Manga, where he taught one family who was getting married and baptized this past Saturday (10/11). So he wanted to go to the wedding and to attend their baptism. It happened at the Manga chapel, a church-built chapel, very nice, like the one in Matola. Anyway on the announcements board of that chapel they have the pictures of their missionaries who are serving missions and  here is where I got a very unexpected surprise! one the pictures on the board was of  my previous companion Elder Caetano and I!  That's when I remembered that he had mentioned that he is from Manga- this is his home ward or branch!  Elder Caetano's mother and younger brother, were at the baptism. It was so cool to meet them. I was able to tell his mom how much I enjoyed working with her son, and what a good missionary he is. I told her much he would expressed his love for his family. His parents and siblings are non members, but as soon as Elder Caetano left for his mission, his family agreed to have the missionaries teach them the lessons, and started going to church. His parents are currently working on getting their documents and other things ready so they can get married and be baptized; and his younger brother wants to serve a mission just like his older brother is doing now. It's certainly a miracle that all this is happening in his family, because of the sacrifice Elder Caetano made to go on a mission to serve the Lord. It's amazing how the Lord blesses the families of missionaries who are faithfully serving Him. I'm seeing those blessings with you guys as well, and I am very grateful for that. Anyway, it was a really good week and I'm excited to continue working and trying to get to know this new area and finding new families to teach and invite them to come to Christ.

Like I mentioned, this area where I work sort of reminds me of Quelimane my first area, it is mostly rural, not as developed as the areas in Maputo and Matola;  I don't see many cars, or big houses.  However, I still think this is a very beautiful place, and the people I have met are very nice, very friendly, they don't seem to be in a hurry as in my previous areas, so that is a nice change.
In a couple weeks two members of the quorum of the seventy will be here to visit the area, so that's exciting. All  of us (missionaries) up here, have to sing a musical number for the meeting they'll be having. We had one rehearsal this week and will have one more in a couple days. I'm having a lot of fun here, and each day brings new experiences. I'm writing in my journal every day so I don't end up forgetting things.

Thank you for your words of encouragement and  for those quotes from Joseph Fielding Smith. I enjoyed reading about his missionary experience. I know the work I'm doing here is very important and as long as I work my hardest, the fruits of my labors will show, whether it happens now while I'm here, or some time later.
By the way, those numbers you shared with me about the growth of the church in El Salvador are amazing! I didn't realize there were so many stakes and wards there, and approximately 1.2 % of the population is LDS; that's pretty impressive! It will be cool to see how the church will grows here in the near and distant future. One day, a temple will be dedicated here, and that that will be an awesome day for the saints here!
I hope we are able to go visit El Salvador when I get back, it would be so nice to visit the temple there and family who you and I have never met.

Anyway, I know you're starting to get trunky, I guess its ok, but don't shorten the time I have left, I'll have 6 1/2 months left on Wednesday, not 6! Haha!. I can't believe how the time flies. But I'm having a great time here and even though I miss you a lot, I know you guys are doing well and are being blessed by the Lord just as I am.
I hope you have another good week. I'm glad Jacob is doing great and that he is always a fun and happy boy- I miss him!.  Oh, and about you guys being new to the ward- if it is of any consolation, I'm going through the same thing here right now, we are all working on getting used to a new ward and new faces, haha.

I love you so much and pray the Lord bless you always!
Josh 


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