Enter your email address to get updates

Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 93- Back in Quelimane After 1st Stake Conference in Maputo


2/23/15

Dear Family

Thanks for your letter. I'm glad to see that the week was good. Haha that's funny that you couldn't do laundry for a week just because the dryer didn't work. I have completely forgotten that dryers even exist. No one that I know has a dryer here; I've never seen a dryer in anyone's home.
About internet, I also forgot that at home the internet can be slow sometimes too. I guess I just assumed that in America everything works perfectly well and quickly all the time. I've been away for too long ha-ha.

This past week went pretty well. On Monday we returned from Maputo, as you know. On Tuesday we had a mini P-day. We just did internet, the rest of the day was normal. On Tuesday we also walked with Rafael, one of the young men who are preparing to go on a mission. I really enjoy working with him; he's smart and has a really good understanding of the gospel. On Wednesday we had some lessons, but a lot of time got taken up by our branch presidency meeting. It was a good meeting, though. It's nice that President Mabunda is back. It makes things easier for us to focus on missionary work. 

We got to visit a nice family I baptized here in Mozambique. They are inactive right now, due to a number of factors. They are always really busy with work so it is hard to sit with them often. But we had a good visit. Hopefully in the coming weeks they will start to come to church again. We'll keep working with them. Friday was a good day; the work went pretty well that day too. Saturday and Sunday were good, but we didn't have much time at all to go out and work. On Saturday there were the usual activities: English class, institute, and the youth mutual activity. On Sunday church was good, but the attendance was low. There's still a lot of work to do to help get that up. The meetings were good, though.

After church, Abrao and Cornelio hung around to take care of some branch things. They also made lunch for us, it was nice. Then in the evening there was another little youth activity. They made cake. I mean to say, they burned cake haha. They left some behind for us, though. It was pretty good, the parts that weren't burnt.
At night we visited President and Sister Mabunda at their home and had a little dinner with them. They are a really nice couple, I enjoy conversations with them. We talked about ideas and things to put into action to help the branch grow.

Our investigator family that is progressing the most at this time is coming to church every week. We're working with them to get them baptized this transfer. Elder Mutombo, my new companion likes Quelimane a lot so far. We're working well together.
That’s all for now, enjoy your week! I love you

Josh



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 92-- Maputo Stake organized on February 15 and Beira Stake was approved for March 22, 2015!


 2/17/15 Tuesday


Hey Family!

On Friday (2/13) we were told to get on a plane and go to Maputo to attend the historical first stake conference in Maputo.  So on Saturday night (2/14) we flew down to Maputo and stayed in the apartment of the Lopes' a senior missionary couple from Brazil. The conference on Sunday was like a dream come true! President had every missionary in the mission gathered in one spot for the first time ever. It was really a one in a life time event, it was so cool to see everyone there.


All the missionaries of the Mozambique Maputo Mission with visiting Church leaders at the conclusion of the first stake conference in Mozambique in the newly organized Maputo Stake. Feb 15, 2015


 I saw a lot of the members and people that I had baptized while I was in T3, and Matola, many of them were at the conference.  
Two years ago we would only talk about this day, in that it was a goal for all of us missionaries. We were promised that if we were obedient and did our work as the Lord commanded this day would come when we would be witnessing the first stake in Mozambique being established here in Mozambique. And now here was the fruit of all the hard work and dedication that every missionary past and present had to do to make this a reality.  The work is not done yet, it has only begun for us and for the future missionaries to keep the momentum going.  Here is part of the message from our mission President regarding this great blessing:

“Dear Missionaries,
Last week, we all experienced unforgettable moments in our lives. The first stake in Mozambique was organized. It was a memorable meeting where we had the presence of Elder Stanley Ellis and his wife. We also had the presence of Elder Mdletshe. It was exciting when all heard the presiding authority read the letter from the First Presidency approving the organization of the Maputo Mozambique Stake, the Spirit was very strong.
What a wonderful blessing it was to see all the congregation; the meeting was attended by more than 1050 people, all enjoying the sweet Spirit of that meeting. What seemed like a dream two and a half years ago became a reality. We felt the spirit of thanksgiving and joy to the Eternal God that we have a stake in Maputo! In addition, for the first time the entire mission was gathered together, all the missionaries were invited to this sacred event. It was a spiritual feast.
But the Miracles continue! Last Thursday, I received a call from the Area Presidency (Elder Ellis), announcing that the First Presidency of the Church approved the second Stake in Mozambique, the Beira Mozambique Stake. The new Beira Mozambique Manga District was also approved. So in a period of only one month two Stakes will be organized and one new District in the country. More miracles!
We can never deny the hand of God in this sacred work, the Lord has guided us since the first day we arrived in these blessed lands. I remember that upon arriving here, I thought about doing and carrying out a lot, but these thoughts simply vanished from my mind. The Lord was guiding us quickly in a few days giving Revelation, giving us the vision and thereby He made us see clearly what His will was. Our vision is: "To establish the Church in Mozambique and Swaziland, through Real growth, becoming extraordinary missionaries", our goal is: "To establish the first Stakes of Zion" our purpose is in Preach My Gospel on page one, and it's wonderful. So with this vision, Purpose and Goal, we walked in a direction that few believed in at the beginning, it was to find, teach, baptize, confirm and help complete FAMILIES to find eternal happiness. We speak of qualified contacts, how to become an effective missionary and work in all the phases, 100% obedient, then 100% PMG, do not do stupid things, focus on families that are progressing, the "snowball", helping youth to serve a full-time mission, help the leadership to mature through training and monitoring.
As missionaries, all of you, those who have passed here and also the current ones, to previous Mission Presidents, to the wonderful local leaders, to all, my sincere thanks for all the work done, and especially to God who made it all possible . These are the first results: Two stakes formed, a district, more than ten new units, 95 local full-time missionaries called, over 500 new holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood, 525 complete families baptized and more.
I believe that today, I, Sister Kretly, you and all the missionaries who have gone through this mission feel as Ammon and his brethren felt and related in Alma 26:31, 35-37

Family and friends, I’m happy to serve our Lord Jesus Christ here in Mozambique at this very special time, when we are experiencing the Lord's blessings towards his children here in this beautiful land. 

Elder Joshua Rebollo




Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 91 – Back in Quelimane after Zone Conference in Beira



Dear family,

This past week went pretty well, nothing too crazy happened, but it was a good week. On Tuesday we had a meeting in the morning with Elder Tad Callister, the Sunday School general president, and Elder Larry Gibson, 1st counselor in the Young Men's general presidency. It was an amazing meeting! Elder Gibson talked about helping the young men preparing to serve missions here in Mozambique and talked about our priesthood duty to share the gospel with others.
Elder Callister spoke about the Atonement and repentance. I was amazed at his knowledge of the scriptures, he really knows them inside and out. The way he explains things is so clear and thorough. I've never had an explanation of the atonement like the one he gave. It made me realize that there is so much about the Atonement and about Jesus Christ that I have not yet learned or that I don't yet understand. We had a chance to shake their hands and talk to them a little afterwards, but I didn't get any pictures with them, sorry. 

A few hours after that meeting we made our way to the Beira airport to go back to Quelimane. The plane ride was nice, smooth and no delays. We found everything back at the house just as we had left it. On the Sunday we were gone we had Abrao, our branch mission leader, conduct sacrament meeting, and he said everything went well and many of our investigators showed up. The rest of the week went well. We visited all our investigators and worked to find new ones. 

What we really did well this week was visiting the members who we felt would benefit from our visit. Many of these are members who I visited regularly the first time I was here, when they were newly baptized converts. And now some of them, not all, are not as active and participating as they could be. We visited a family that used to live pretty close to the church the first time I was here. Now they live really far. But they have a car, so this week they took us to their house and we had a nice lesson with them. We also visited another family, who've been members more than 2 years. We also continue to visit Walter and Darmin. We are working with these families because they have been members for well over a year and have not yet made preparations to go to the temple. We also visit many of the youth in the branch; they amazing! I really love them all.

On Friday it was the opening day of Carnaval here in Quelimane. Some cities in Mozambique put on a carnival festival, like the tradition in Brazil. In Mozambique, the Quelimane carnaval is the biggest one. The opening day had a big parade in the streets. We weren't expecting it, and it made it a little hard to get to some of our lessons. It was cool to see the huge crowds though. People dress up, paint their faces, wear crazy clothes, and dance a lot. Carnaval here will continue through this week and end this coming Sunday. The bad thing is that in this festival there are a lot of people drinking, women with revealing clothing, and a lot of other temptations, that we encouraged the members specially the youth to not attend this festival. Instead, we organized some activities at the church this weekend for them to come and be together so they didn't stay at home and get bored and go to that festival.

On Saturday I taught the English class and afterwards there was institute /seminary- a member teaches these classes. On Sunday afternoon there was another youth get-together, with food this time. Since the chapel is our house, we have to stay there with them while they have their activities. It's fun to be with them and converse and have fun with them. The Sunday meetings went well.
President Mabunda has still not returned, so I led Sacrament meeting once again. He'll be back before this coming Sunday, though. 

A few more missionaries went home today, including my former companion Elder Bender. It's really weird that he is going home today. I was companions with him over a year ago in T3, back then he still had a long time left, as did I. But now that he's gone, I realize that my time is quickly coming as well. 
I'm so grateful that I'm here in Quelimane at this time. I can't think of a better place in the mission to be.

I love you sooo much. Have a great week!!


Josh

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 90 - Later this month, The First Stake in Mozambique!!!

“…There was a light in their eyes that wasn't there when I first contacted them on the road almost 2 months ago. I can see the joy the Gospel in bringing into their lives. It was a really inspiring moment for me and I felt rewarded by the Lord to see the fruits of my labor 

Hey Everyone! I am in Beira today attending Zone Conference

This past week everything went well. Monday through Wednesday we worked our normal routine out in the field and in the branch. There was a zone conference in Beira and we were instructed to attend. So I had to assign the mission leader Abrao to take care of Sunday meetings here.
On Thursday evening we got a chopela to take us to the airport there we waited a few hours to take a flight to Beira for zone conference.
Upon arrival in Beira, the senior couple, Elder and Sister Castro Deus, picked us up and took us to one of the missionary houses near the Beira chapel. This house is pretty nice; it has an extra room, so there was enough space for us. We got there late so we just went to bed almost immediately. The next day was zone conference.
The church leader attending was Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the Seventy and his wife, along with President and Sister Kretly. The training was really good. It was about the gospel and the whole purpose of the work that we do, and what we can do to help strengthen the church here. He made an awesome and exciting announcement:
On February 14-15 there will be a special conference in Maputo in which, the Maputo Mozambique district will become the first stake  to be established in Mozambique!!
We were all very excited when we heard this. And most likely a stake in Beira will be established a little later this year. Since 2012 when President Kretly started, over 500 families have been baptized in Mozambique! It has been really cool to be a missionary here and play a part in the progress of the church here. I am a witness that this is a mission of miracles!
After lunch there was training, for missionary leaders, like district and zone leaders, I was invited to be in this training meeting also. It was another great training.
After the conference we had a little time to go out to do some work. We went over to Mascarenha, the area I just left 3 weeks ago and visited a couple people. It was really nice to see them again. I visited 2 families, who I with Elder Christiansen found not long ago. In fact when we got there we ran into him along with his companion, who had just finished giving a lesson to them and were getting ready to leave. The two families were really surprised and happy to see me. I was overjoyed to learn that their marriage docs are almost complete and will be getting baptized in a couple weeks.
I really can see something different in their faces, in their eyes as I talked with them. There was a light there that wasn't there before, when I first contacted them on the road almost 2 months ago. I can see the joy the gospel in bringing into their lives. It was a really inspiring moment for me and I felt rewarded by the Lord to see the fruits of my labor here. It strengthened me and has given me more motivation to continue working hard until the time I go home.
On Saturday, the Beira district conference started with a couple sessions, first for the priesthood, and then a general session. I learned a lot of things about the importance of the organization of the church and counsels in the church; a lot of these things will help the Quelimane branch.  
On Sunday was the general session of district conference. It was packed, there were over 1000 people there! I got to see more people from Mascarenha too, so that was nice.   
Anyway, that was my week. It is really nice to be here in Beira again. Tomorrow (Tue)before we go back to Quelimane, we will have another zone conference. Elder Tad R. Callister, the Sunday School general president will be visiting, along with Elder Larry Gibson, First Counselor in the Young Men general presidency. I'm excited to hear them speak to us! 
I’ll tell you about that conference next week.  

Have a great week!

I love you all!!
Josh 

(This email from Josh is from 2/2/15)