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Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 87 – Transfers-- Good bye to the wonderful people of Mascarenha , Beira

“I have been transferred to Quelimane!!!! I am going back to my first area and I will be a member of the branch presidency!”

Dear Family!!

Thanks for your letter this week.  It's hard to accept that I only have a few more months left in the mission.  I love it here and I will have mixed emotions when I leave, there is a part of me that wants to continue serving the Lord and the people here.

This week went by really fast and as always we had some successes and some disappointing setbacks. This Saturday, the 17th, 6 people will be getting baptized. They will be a good addition to the youth group and to the Relief Society here. The setback is that there should have been 2 other families getting baptized this Saturday as well, but that will not happen. One family has run into a problem. Although they have been living together as a family with their child and would now like to legalize their union so they can get baptized into the church, the bride’s father found out about their plans to get married and will not allow it because the groom has still not paid Lebolo or dowry which is a traditional Southern African custom whereby the man pays the family of his fiance for her hand in marriage. And the amount is very high and he doesn't make much money at all. He is barely able to support his family. So paying Lebolo won't be possible for them anytime soon. They can still get married if they decide to do it against her father's wishes, but it is a difficult decision and she is scared to go ahead with the marriage and go against her family. I imagine it must be very difficult for her. She wants to get married and be baptized, but she's just afraid.
I know that one day she will join the church and will follow the traditions of Christ and not the traditions of men. For now, we're continuing to teach and help and pray for them. 

The other family or couple has decided not to get married yet because they are not able to have a big wedding party for now. They could choose to get married and baptized now in a simple ceremony, and later throw a party when they can. But for now, they don't want to do that. It's a little sad because they are putting off their repentance and all the blessings that will come from baptism. But they are still a good family and we'll continue to help them.  Despite these setbacks, we have been super blessed this week. We have many good families with the desire to get baptized.

Church yesterday was really good. The attendance was a record high 142! And we had more than 20 investigators at church. Not only do our investigators have a desire to hear our message, they also act on it and keep their commitments, such as receiving us in their homes and continuing to come to church every Sunday. We also continue to find new families that are showing a desire to follow Christ. One amazing thing that's happening is that the majority of our investigators live in one spot in our area, and everyone seems to know one another. Every week some of our investigators refer their neighbors and friends who live close by and we end up teaching them also. We have built a section in our area with a strong investigator base. I'm super excited for what will happen in this area in the weeks and months to come. But I will not be here in this area to continue to see the miracles of the conversion of so many.

I just found out that I am being transferred out of Mascarenha today. And you will not believe where I am going! I have been transferred to Quelimane!!!! I am going back to my first area and I will be a member of the branch presidency! I couldn't believe it when I got the news this morning. I will be leaving on a flight to Quelimane tomorrow at 4 pm. My companion will be Elder Khumalo, from South Africa. 
I am sooooooo super excited to go back and be with all the members that I love there. I have never forgotten Quelimane, it's always been in my thoughts and this is an unbelievable opportunity I have to go back and help the branch as a member of the presidency. I can't wait to write back to you next week after my first week back there. I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity. 

Anyway, I love you sooo much and hope you have another good week at work and at home. Stay healthy and warm and happy.

Until next Monday!

Josh




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