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Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 101. My Last Week Here!! The First Mission call In Quelimane!


Abrao read his mission call. "He was called to the best mission in the world, the Mozambique Maputo Mission! He will report to the Brazil MTC on May 27. He was so happy when he read it and all the members present clapped afterwards and congratulated him. It was a historic moment for Quelimane, the first mission call and the first missionary called from Quelimane.”


Dear family!


I love you so much! Thank you for your letter this week. I realize I'm sending letters pretty later than usual. That's because we went to the beach today! It's called Zalala Beach and it's 30 km outside of the city, it was really cool. The beach is sooo beatiful. I took a lot of pictures. I can't wait to be able to show you ALL of the photos I took during my mission. I was only able to download a portion of them during my mission.
On the way to Zalala Beach near Quelimane

Monday-Friday were good days, they went pretty normally with lessons and contacts and such. We've been working a lot to find new investigators through references from members and investigators and Its working really well. This week we received 14 referrals! We were able to find a new family through these references and a couple young men who are really interested in learning about the gospel. We also found a new family that were investigators in Beira then moved up here to Quelimane. They are really nice as well. The people that will be baptized on Saturday, Estevao, Tina, and Manuel, are all doing well and progressing. If nothing changes, they will be the last people that I baptize here in Quelimane, and on the mission. Saturday and Sunday we watched General Conference. It went really well. I loved the conference this year and I can't wait to watch and review it again when i get home.
Another very special thing happened this week. On Saturday, we received an envelope from Maputo, which came from Salt Lake. It was Abrao's mission call! We set up a nice surprise for Abrao. On Sunday after the conference ended I got up to make the announcement for the branch, as would usually happen during a sacrament meeting. Then I called Abrao to come up to the front, along with President Mabunda (we hadn't told him beforehand either). Then Elder Souza pulled out the envelope, which President Mabunda opened then he gave it to Abrao. Then Abrao read the call letter. He was called to the best mission in the world, the Mozambique Maputo Mission! He will report to the Brazil MTC on May 27. He was so happy when he read it and all the members present clapped afterwards and congratulated him. 
Abrao in the center,  holding his mission call

It was a historic moment for Quelimane, the first mission call letter to arrive. I felt a very special spirit in that moment. I remembered vividly the moment when I opened my call letter. I knew when I read the words "Mozambique Maputo Mission" that this was the place the Lord wanted me to serve. And I know that Abrao felt that same thing as he read his letter. I was so grateful to be able to share that moment with everyone here. Now I'm entering into my last week in Quelimane. I plan on making it a week full of hard work, as usual. Of course I will spend time visiting people for the last time and taking pictures. But I want to make it as normal of a week as possible. My companion, Elder Souza, is very very good at helping me stay focus. We get along super well and he's helped me sooo much during this transfer. He will take over as 2nd counselor in the branch when I leave, and he will do an awesome job! I will miss everyone here, of course. I know I'll return again someday to visit these amazing people. 
It's cool you've been able to see so many returned missionaries speak during these past few months. I'm a little nervous for my talk already. It will be weird to give a full length talk in English again. But I'll try my best. But first I need to prepare a talk for this coming Sunday, my "farewell" talk to Quelimane. 

I'm glad you had good experiences this week with the family. I hope you have another great week. I love you sooo much and can't wait to write to you again next Monday! 

Love


Josh

Message to my family from Zalala Beach!!!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 100!! Pretty Exciting Week, A Lot Happened. Zone Conference in Maputo in Two Weeks.


“I can feel excitement growing in the branch because of the increased attendance and recent baptisms. This is helping the members be more active in inviting others to come to church and reaching out to friends and neighbors and the less active. I rejoice in Christ when I say that I'm super pleased with how things are going here in Quelimane. The Lord is blessing the people in this part of the world. I will be sad to leave here, for the second time.”

Hi family!!

Thank you for your letter this week. Everything here is going really well. We had a really good week here and it went by crazy fast. I think I've mentioned many times when weeks went by fast, but this one was something else. I literally feel like I was sitting here writing to you all yesterday. I thought my last month would drag on, but it hasn't at all. 
As I said, we had a good week. Tuesday was a holiday here, Dia da Mulher Mocambicana. It's a pretty big holiday; there was a parade in the city and everything. When I say parade, I mean just a march of people. There are no floats or balloons or anything haha. We bought a box of chocolates and gave one to every woman we taught.
Wednesday was a pretty normal day for the most part. Then something happened that at first seemed pretty funny but after considering the situation, we were fortunate! It was night and we were heading to our last lesson, but then it started raining a lot. So we stopped on a street corner for a minute to find cover. We leaned our bikes against the side walk and stood near a store. We decided to call to the guy we were on our way to visit to confirm that he was home (you have no idea how many times lessons fall because people aren't home, even though they previously said they would be home on the agreed hour). So the guy confirmed he was home. It was then that we got another witness that the Lord is watching over us, keeping us safe, A big truck came around the corner to turn. The driver misjudged and turned too tightly and went right up on to the sidewalk and over our bikes. Nothing happened to us, and my bike somehow was fine, but Elder Souza's bike was pretty damaged. So long story short we didn't make it to our lesson that night. The guy that ran over the bike paid to get it fixed. Although it made most of the next day on Thursday a little difficult with only one bike we thank the Lord that we were fine.
We had some good lessons on Friday. We walked with Santo, a recent convert. Saturday there were the normal activities at the chapel, but we got to teach a few lessons still and taught a new investigator.
Yesterday was really good. The attendance at church was 80 again, and some new investigators showed up too. We had a branch council meeting after sacrament service. All the organizations are doing better and fulfilling their responsibilities. 
In the afternoon we did a division. Elder Souza went with Abrao and I went with Omargi so we were able to do a lot of visits. The recent converts from the past couple weeks are doing good, they're all staying active and a couple have already received the priesthood and a calling.

We're planning our next baptism on the 25th. We're looking to have 4 people baptized that day: Tina, her son Manuel and a nephew who lives with them. Also we're planning on baptizing Estevao, a man who started investigating the church in Tete, but then moved here to Quelimane. if everything goes as planned, these will be my last baptisms on the mission. We were able to sit with a good number of new investigators, thanks to the members who give us references. I can feel excitement growing in the branch because of the increased attendance and recent baptisms. This is helping the members be more active in inviting others to come to church and reaching out to friends and neighbors and the less actives. I rejoice in Christ (Alma 26:36-37) when I say that I'm super pleased with how things are going here in Quelimane. The Lord is blessing the people in this part of the world. I will be sad to leave here, for the second time.
I have two more weeks here in Quelimane. In two weeks, we'll be flying down to Maputo for zone conference. After that I will just stay down in Maputo for the rest of that week until the day I go home. I am taking advantage of every moment I still have here. I will try to take a lot more photos as well; I want to remember every single person here and everything about this area. 

Anyway, I love you sooo much and hope you have a good week. I'm excited for these next 3 weeks. I hope to see many more miracles still while I'm here. 

Until next Monday!

Love, 


Josh


Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 99 – Happy to Say That One More Family Joined the Church Saturday


Querida família!!

I'm glad to hear that everyone back home is doing well.
I'm glad you had a good conference weekend and Easter Sunday. We're planning on watching conference here in Quelimane in 2 weeks. I read some of the highlights on LDS.org.  I'm excited to have the chance to watch and read and study all the talks more thoroughly when I get home. I'm excited to see all the extended family as well. It seems like you guys get together a lot, that's good. There's nothing better than spending time together with family.
My companion is doing a good job, he's helping me to stay focused and not think too much on things at home. It's difficult, but I'm glad that I still have the next 4 weeks to work and fulfill my purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ.
This past week was really good and we were really blessed. One of the hardest things about the work is finding new investigators, especially here in Quelimane. Doing contacts in the road doesn't work as well here as it does in the other areas I've served in. We have been really blessed though and have been receiving referrals from the members and other investigators. Through a referral from Marta, the Relief society president, we met a really, really nice new family. They live right behind the church! We had a really nice lesson on the Restoration with them and I can tell they really have a desire to know if the church is true. I'm excited to see how their progression will be in the coming weeks. We had the baptism of another family this past Saturday! They were both baptized along with two of their children. 

The baptismal service was really good, the Spirit of God was present and the family was really happy.



Church yesterday was really good. Since there was no conference, it was a normal fast and testimony meeting. Paulo and Maculada's family was confirmed and a couple of our recent converts received the Aaronic priesthood and a calling. The attendance was 81! There's definitely been growth since I've got here; it's really nice to see more and more of our brothers and sister come to worship every Sunday. We've been focusing a lot on helping the elders’ quorum organize the home teaching program and the Relief Society organize the visiting teachers. We were able to get all the companionships and families organized and the members were excited to receive their assignment and start working on doing their visits.
I taught a class yesterday for all the priesthood holders explaining how they can be good home teacher and fulfill their priesthood responsibility. It went well. We've been working a lot with the members and I can see things are starting to get going. In this transfer we've had 9 baptisms so far and hopefully we can have more before I leave. That was some of the highlights of the week.
I am writing in my journal every day so I can remember everything that happens. What I wrote isn't everything that happened. There are so many other little funny stories and crazy things that happen that I don't have time to write about, but you'll hear all about them starting next month!
I will continue to take pictures these few more weeks. I also walked around the city and I looked for things to buy to bring home. 
I wish you all a great week. Stay healthy and safe. I love you soooo much!!

Until next week

Josh