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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fom Elder Rebollo in Mozambique, Africa: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Week 32--12/23/2013

Hey Everyone! 

I'm excited to talk to you guys on Wednesday. I hope you make it to LA, which would be fun for you to be around more family.
Jacob, I can't wait to see and hear you on Christmas! That's cool that you had a recital for piano. You're on Christmas break now, I hope you have a good couple weeks of being at home. You've been singing a lot this Christmas, haven't you? We all sang for a Christmas program yesterday too. It was pretty good.
I know everything will work out fine on Wednesday with Skype, I wouldn't worry about it. I guess you guys already know, but 19:00 here is 9:00 in California. I wouldn't want you guys to get confused with the time haha. 
It has been snowing a lot this winter! That's nice, I wish I was there to see it. Make sure you go sledding or tubing sometime, take advantage of the snow. I'm guessing it's probably been pretty cold over there too. It's super-hot here today! It really does not feel like its Christmas time. 

The Christmas zone conference is tomorrow in the Matola chapel. The missionaries from some of the outside areas, like Quelimane are also being flown in to be at the conference. It should be pretty fun. I hope to have a chance to see my old companion elder Heaton and ask about the people, and how things are going over there and all the adventures!  The conference will be all day from 8am until 8pm, and lunch and dinner will be provided.  

On actual Christmas day, there isn't any gathering planned, but on that day we will just relax at home all day until night when we'll go to the office to do Skype. So the first three days of this week is pretty much like a little break for us, it's nice. I can't believe we're at the end of the year already! And my birthday is just a little over 2 months away. I'm thinking, maybe you could hold off on the next package until May, which is my year mark and also the next time I get to talk to you guys.

On Saturday there was a church activity for the Matola and T3 branches, sort of like a big ward Christmas party. There was singing and dancing presentations given by the different branches, and there was food too. It was pretty cool. I took some videos of the dancing and I will try to send them after I send this email I hope it works!(note: Uploading video didn’t work) If not, I'll just send whatever pictures I have of it. Then the next day on Sunday we had the same Christmas program with the missionaries.  

Anyway, I hope everything goes well with your trip this week. I hope to see you guys from LA. I will see you all on Wednesday!

 Merry Christmas!!

Elder Rebollo

 Video link: Oh Holly Night
A Christmas recital in 2011 prepared by Joshua


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Very hot, lots of rain and tons of mosquitos

Week 31--Dec. 16 2013 from T3

"On Saturday we had a baptism of one of our investigators: Dercio, a 16-year old boy who lives next to a member family"

Hey everyone!

I'm glad you guys had a nice week. Wow, it has been cold over there! Yesterday was really hot and humid. Today is cool and overcast, which is nice. We are now in the rainy season. It rains about every other day, but not usually too much. Today was transfers. Nothing changed for me. I and Elder Bender will be here for another transfer. I'm glad about it, it's always a hassle when there are changes and you have to start over in a new area or a new companion.
Next week is Christmas! I still do not know the details the call to you guys, but I know it will be on the 25th, Christmas day. I will be calling from either the mission office or president's house. I will probably be calling in the morning, like 9 or 10 Utah time. We will have about 40 minutes to talk. I still need to give you more details. I will know all about it maybe later today or next Monday for sure. Just make sure you have a good setup with a computer and webcam that works.
This past week was fine. Our investigators are doing well. Alfredo and Laura will be getting married probably in about a month from now. We have another investigator family that has potential to get married and baptized next month. 

On Saturday we had a baptism of one of our investigators: Dercio, a 16-year old boy who lives next to a member family. Elder Bender baptized him and I confirmed him the next day at church. Another young man got baptized the same day. It was a nice little service. It was hot that day that I joked saying I wish I was the one who baptized so I could have gotten in the water haha. We are doing alright with contacts and we are still finding new investigators, the work is good. I'm excited for this next transfer, I really want to find more 'golden' investigator families, and this will keep our success rolling in this area.

This is our church building in T3

There was the Christmas program yesterday in the Maputo chapel. It was pretty good. The first hour we watched the first presidency devotional and the second hour the missionaries sang and President and sister Kretly did a narration. We just sang normal Christmas hymns, but in Portuguese. President Kretly told me that they tried to find a cello for me, but they didn't find one. It's fine. I've already accepted the fact that I won't touch a cello again until I go home. At least I get to play and practice piano, this keep my music skills sharp.

Jacob, that's great that you're doing so good with piano and your choir. You've been singing a lot this week! I remember when I played cello at the old folks’ home and they fell asleep too haha! I hope you get most of the things you want this year on Christmas. That will be fun if you guys end up in California, you'll play with our cousins.
I still do not have your package, unfortunately. Hopefully by the time I talk to you next week, I will have received it. I pray nothing happened to it. Ok mom, I will answer all your questions now. at the grocery store I usually buy bread, meat, milk, pasta; normal stuff really. On the road I sometimes get bananas or apples. I haven't bought any clothes here so far, they're all holding up well. I wash my sheets every other week. My shoes are holding up well still. I don't see lizards in our bathroom. There are just a ton of mosquitos in the house. We do have clean up assignments in our house that we rotate and do every Monday.

Dad, thank you for always writing me encouraging words every week, I always like your messages to me. I would like to write a message to the ward, but with the other letters and pictures I have to send, I don't think I will have time. But tell everyone in the ward who asks about me that I'm thankful for their prayers for me and all the missionaries.
I hope you guys have a great week. I'm excited to hear from you guys next week on Monday and then talk to you on Wednesday! I have  a couple more pictures for you guys this week. I hope you guys like them! 

Ate logo,

Elder Rebollo

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 30  12/9/2013 From T3

Hey Everyone!!

Our house in T3
My sleeping quarters. I use that keyboard to practice the songs I play on Sundays in church

Thanks for your nice letters and pictures this week. I really liked seeing those pictures of all the snow back home. It hit me that it's actually Christmas time. There is only like 16 days until Christmas! Over here though, it doesn't feel too Christmas-y. I guess it's good though, I would probably miss home more, especially if it snowed here. Looking at those pictures back home and comparing it to here, it feels like I'm in a completely different world. The house looks really nice. You did a good job with the lights. I'm excited to talk to you guys in a couple weeks! We both need to think of things we want to talk about so we don't waste the time we have to talk (I think it's an hour).

I'm glad you guys didn't wait too long to put up the lights and the tree. I like how you put a picture of me on the tree haha. With that and the cello, you have plenty of me with you at home. I was laughing when I read about what Hunter did. I guess it's a Christmas tradition haha! I miss that dumb dog. That's cool what they did for the ward party. Of course you would sit at the table with my picture on it haha.  Jacob, when do you start your Christmas break? Do you like doing that choir, have you had any performances? What do you want for Christmas this year? You haven't mentioned anything about that yet. That's cool that you went sledding too. You guys should all go sledding sometime, or go tubing up at Soldier Hollow, that's a lot of fun. You guys might go to LA? It would be nice for you guys to spend Christmas with more family. It's up to you, but I think it would be fun for you guys.

I hope you guys have a snowy winter. It's true, it wasn't fun walking around in all the cold and snow to get to my classes in the morning, but I wouldn't mind it now haha. It will be a while until I see snow again, since I come back in May 2015. I only get to talk to you guys on Skype a total of 3 times on the mission: This Christmas, mother's day, and then the next Christmas. It's true, I hit 7 months this coming Sunday. It has gone by really fast for me too! Next Monday is transfers. I'm pretty sure I'll be staying here, considering this is my first transfer here. But Elder Bender has been here for 4 transfers, so he might move. We'll see next week. 
A street on our way to church. 

They had the primary program in church this day

This was during This past week was pretty good. Our best investigator family is Alfredo, his wife Laura, and their 3 children. They are a really nice family and are progressing really well. They’ve come to church 3 weeks in a row. And they live very far, so it’s a long walk for them to church. It is great to see their faith in just their effort to make it to church. Back home we have cars and on top of that church is not far at all. This week we will begin working on their documents for marriage. They will probably get married and baptized in the next transfer. Our main goal is to find more families with potential like them. It isn't easy though. We do contacts and teach new people, but most of them do not progress. It's okay though. To find those that are prepared, it's a hard process, that's the way it's supposed to be. So whenever things go wrong, like lessons falling and investigators not progressing, I don't get discouraged. If we did, it would just make the work harder.

Helping Jose, one of the church members 

This Sunday, we had the rehearsal for the Christmas program. I haven't heard anything about the cello. I'm guessing they weren't able to find one for me. Thanks for that link you sent me about it. But they already have the program planned out, and there will not be enough time to rehearse with a cello. The program will be presented next Sunday in Maputo, and then the Sunday after that in Matola. It's being done for members and anyone else who wants to come. President and Sister Kretly are doing a narration and all the missionaries are singing. We will also be watching parts of the First Presidency devotional, which you mentioned.

This week has been a bit rainy, but not too much. It rains like every other day. It hasn't been too hot, thankfully.

I also hope that the package gets here with no problem. It should get here before Christmas. But I'm patient for it-most of the time I forget that there's a package on the way for me.

Wow, how old is grandma now, 85? (Grandma just turned 84) She looks different in that picture. That's amazing that she has so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She's probably almost a great-great-grandmother!
Anyway, that's about it for this week. I hope you guys have a good week in winter wonderland! I love you all soooo much!! Until next Monday

 Elder Rebollo

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 29--12/02/13 From T3 

Obrigado, Familia! 

Eu sempre fico feliz quando recebo suas mensagens. I'm glad you guys had a good Thanksgiving!  I can't believe that it is December already! November went by super-fast! This transfer is also flying by. There is only 2 weeks until the next transfer! And later this month, we'll get to talk over Skype. I don't know if it will be on Christmas day or Christmas Eve, or what time it would be. I don't know any of the details yet, but I will tell you as soon as I know. Jacob, I'm glad that you are doing well at piano and you are practicing. I know I have told you this before, but I'll say it again: Please keep up with playing piano! You will not regret it, especially if you go on your mission to a place like Mozambique, where very few people know music. I'm learning piano here on the mission, but I wish I could have started before. But it's been nice to use my musical ability on the mission, so I don't forget stuff.

There will be a Christmas program later this month where all the missionaries will sing and President and Sister Kretly will be narrating a story. It will be presented for all the members and the public that may want to attend. We will all get together next week to practice the program. I heard from the Hobsons that they are trying to find a cello so that I could play in the program too, but so far they have not found one. We'll see what happens with that.

This week was pretty good and went by incredibly fast. Monday was a good p-day. We went shopping after internet then went home and cleaned up a little. Then we just relaxed at home until we started working again (on p-days we go out proselyting at 1800h). Tuesday had divisions. So I walked with Elder Herd, one of the new missionaries. He is from Wyoming. It was nice to walk in a different area that day. He still doesn't speak Portuguese very well, so I was doing most of the talking, but it was cool. I feel like I'm continuing to improve with the language every week. Maybe when we talk over Skype, I will talk a little in Portuguese, and you can talk a little in Spanish. ha-ha, I bet we would both understand each other. Wednesday and Thursday were 'normal' days of contacting and teaching. We have an investigator couple, Alfredo and Laura, who are progressing really nicely. We taught them about the law of chastity this week and how they have to get married in order to be baptized, and they accepted. They also have been coming to church for 2 weeks in a row now. They really have the desire to be baptized. Hopefully as we start working on their documents for marriage, we won't run into too many complications. We are still working hard to find other families that have potential. Thursday passed by like a normal day, even though back home it was Thanksgiving. It rained a lot that day. It rained like nonstop all day. And it was cold too, at one point; I actually saw my breath, which was super weird! It made contacting almost impossible. But it was still a good day. As we were walking, we saw a couple guys pushing their car that had run out of gas. We stopped and helped them push the car back to their house. It was a nice workout, but it was even nicer to be able to do the service. Others were inside, hiding from the rain, we were like the only people walking around, so we stopped to help. After, as we were walking back, a lady stopped us and asked us what church we were from. We told her and invited her to church. It was a lesson to me that a huge part of missionary work is the things that you do, not what you teach. Each member can preach the gospel without even having to talk about the church. Just taking the time out to help someone, even if it's inconvenient, goes a long way. People are watching us and know that we represent our church. The rest of the week was rainy. On Saturday,
 we were in a lesson and an amazing! Lightning storm started. There was soooo much lightning and thunder! The lightning was so bright that it was almost like daytime for a split second; It was pretty close to where we were. As we were walking back, it started to rain. And we were about a 30 minute walk away from home. We got back completely soaked haha. But we were thankful that we got back safely. Church yesterday was good too. Me and Elder Bender helped out in the primary since the women called to work in the primary weren't there. So we helped sister Hobson with the children. It was kind of fun, but also a little bit of a hassle. 

Anyway, I think that's about it for this week. I'm glad you guys are doing well! I hope you guys have a nice week.  

Love you!! 

Elder Rebollo 
P.S. Sorry I don't have more pictures-computer problems. This one was from a p-day  a few weeks ago with the other missionaries in the area


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Week 28—11/25/2013 — T3

“Church yesterday was great. There were 165 people there! … But the amazing thing was that a large portion of those present were investigators”

Hey Everyone!!

I really enjoyed your letters this week. They were a little longer, but I liked it. Jacob thanks for telling me all about your week. I'm glad you're having fun with your friends at school every day. It is funny how you get into little arguments and get mad at your friends sometimes, but you go back to being friends almost immediately after-that is awesome.  That's pretty cool that you got to do the pinewood derby, I remember doing that. I liked those pictures. Your car looks really cool!

This past week we have been working really hard at finding new investigators. Last week we basically dropped all of our existing investigators and have started over on the area. We had a lot of people who had been investigators for a long time, and still have not made progress towards marriage and baptism. We never want to stop visiting investigators, but it is necessary to do when they are not progressing. They want us to continue to visit them and be their friends, but we are looking for new families who are prepared to accept the restored gospel and do everything necessary to be baptized. We have already found a couple families who have potential, but we are still in the early stages of teaching them, so we can't tell yet. But we would like to have a family baptism in this area before the end of the year. I know it is possible with the guidance of the Spirit. Elder Bender and I have been getting along great! I really enjoy having him as my companion. He's a super funny guy! I feel like we balance each other out pretty good.

Living in the house with all the elders isn't too bad like I might have made it sound in my last letter. I've already gotten used to it. Each of the companionships has its own schedule of when we go out, study, eat, etc. So we're not always heading out of the house at the same time, but sometimes we do. We usually go to church at the same time though.

Church yesterday was really good. There were 165 people there! The branch here is pretty strong. It has a lot of members. But the amazing thing was that a large portion of those present were investigators. There are actually a lot of members that are inactive or less active. It would be nice for the branch to work harder to bring these people back through home teaching and other visits. But I think I'll be here for a little while, I'll have opportunities to work with the branch a lot in the time I will be here.

It's funny you mention the elections here. We actually did stay home that day. President had all the missionaries in the mission stay in house that day to avoid any trouble due to these elections**. But staying home was not so bad, it was pretty nice. I read a lot and just relaxed. We have a little electric keyboard, so I practiced piano too. I choose the hymns every Sunday and play them in sacrament meeting. I'm glad I didn't have to stop playing piano when I left Quelimane.

There is a senior couple, the Hobsons, who attend church in T3 and make visits to our house sometimes. I mentioned to them about me trying to get a cello to see If I can play for Christmas, they said they'll look for any place that might have one.

I think this Thursday (Thanksgiving) will be a normal day for us. We're planning on having a nice meal on Sunday to break the fast, and the Hobsons will be coming over to our house to eat.  So there won’t be a traditional Thanksgiving Day for us, it will probably be pretty a regular day.

Christmas will be different. President always has a Christmas party at his house for all the missionaries in the Maputo area, so that will be fun. Christmas is only one month away! In one month, I'll get to talk to you guys through Skype! I'm sure you guys are excited for it, I know I am. I'm also excited to get your package. I'm sure it will get here without any problems. The majority of packages sent to missionaries here arrive without any problem.

I hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving! I'm glad you're spending it with family instead of just the 3 of you. I really hope you guys stay healthy this winter. I remember last winter all you guys got sick –that was no fun at all. I'm always trying to stay healthy. I haven't gotten sick at all so far, I feel very blessed.
I look forward to reading your letters again next week! I love you guys so much!

Elder Rebollo

** News reports talk about civil unrest and some level of violence in some parts of the country on this day of municipal elections between supporters of the contending political parties and police.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Adjusting to a new area, etc

Week 27 - 11/18/13

“I’ve already hit my 6 month mark on the mission this past week--Not much time left, only 18 months to go- Time has seriously flown by”

Thanks for your letters everyone! This week has gone by SUPER fast. I know I say that a lot, but this week really has gone by fast. I'm already in week 3 of this transfer, I feel like I was still in Quelimane just a few days ago. 
Things in T3 are going alright, but it's getting really hot here! It's getting colder over there, but here it's just heating up. I think most days are in the upper 30's (Celsius, so that's like in the 90's F) and it's humid! But I'm making sure to drink water, don't worry. And it's nice that we have AC in our house to come back to after walking around all day; although this week the power went out in our house for more than 24 hours. That night was pretty hot. But everything's good.

As far as the work goes, everything's fine. We don't have too many progressing investigators, so we really need to work hard at contacting and teaching new families. It's a little harder here, it seems like people don't have time during the week a lot, and lessons fall through a lot. But we're not getting discouraged by it.

It still is a little weird being around so many other missionaries.  I like it, but it's only annoying during lunch, because there's not too much room in the kitchen, and I have to wait longer for showers haha. We mostly make meals individually, but many times my comp and I have made lunch together. No mom, we don't have bikes or a car here, like Quelimane, unfortunately. But it's not that bad. We only use the chapas on P days to go do internet and shopping, and during the week if we're going to a part of our area that's too far to make it there in time walking. It costs 7mt for places close and 10mt for further places. They're more expensive than the bike taxis. And they can get super crowded. I don't know if you've seen pictures of them on google, but they really pack the people in there. You could be sitting in the chapa and it stops to pick up more people and you'd think that there's not enough room for more people, but they fit them in anyway -haha.
I don't really know how to describe my area. I've already been in Mozambique long enough; the only thing I can say is that it looks 'normal' haha. The difference here is that there are no mud huts, as I would occasionally see in Quelimane. All the houses are made of concrete or bricks. Only the main road is paved, all the others are dirt.
I don't think I mentioned this in my email last week, but I'm playing the piano here in this branch too! I got here and they said that no one plays piano during sacrament meeting, so I started playing. I didn't think I would continue playing piano after I left Quelimane, but I'm glad I am. I will probably start teaching it like I was doing over there too.

Wow, it is thanksgiving next week!  I can't believe we're already in the second half of November. I've already hit my 6 month mark on the mission--Not much time left, only 18 months to go. Time has seriously flown by. I hope it has for you too.  I will try to see if I can somehow arrange for me to get a cello somewhere in this city, and see if I can play some Christmas music.  I'll mention it to Mission President this week.
Anyway, I think that's about it for this week. I hope you guys have a good week, stay warm! I will try hard to stay cool -haha.
Have a good week! Love you all!!!!
Elder Rebollo

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm now in T3 (An area near Maputo

Week 26—11/11/2013  T3 (A suburb between Matola and Maputo)
“I was surprised to find out of my transfer out of Quelimane and was a little sad to say goodbye, to all the members, investigators, and Elder Heaton. I have a lot of good memories there. I hope to return someday”
Hello again family!!!
I was so happy to read your email letters this week. I thought you guys might be anxious to hear back from me, considering I'm in a new area now. This past week has been a little crazy with the transfer and all, but it was a really good week.
Elders Rebollo and Heaton

I was surprised to find out of my transfer out of Quelimane and was a little sad to say goodbye, to all the members, investigators, and Elder Heaton. I have a lot of good memories there. I hope to return some day. I found out on Monday morning and left early Tuesday afternoon, so I didn't have time to see all the people I wanted to before I left or take all the pictures I wanted, but here l have a few for you guys.  

Saying good bye to Joaquina and daughters, unfortunately her husband Gomes and older kids were out
There was a family night that same Monday night, so it was nice to see a lot of the branch members there and a couple investigators and say good bye to them. 

Here I am saying good bye to Walter and his family

Then on Tuesday I packed up my stuff in the morning, went to Walter and Darmin's house to have lunch. They made rice and beans and crab for me, it was really good. Then we went to the airport and I got to say hi to the elder coming in my place before I got on the plane.

Elder Bender, my new companion, met me at the airport and a member gave us a ride to the house in T3. The house here is really nice! I'd say it's definitely one of the nicest houses on the mission; I will be sending pics next week for sure. T3 is like a suburb between the city of Matola and Maputo. Maputo and Matola are like one big city pretty much. Things here are definitely a lot busier than in Quelimane, there are tons of cars, chapas, and people. (“Chapas” are mini vans that go all over the city, it’s basically the mass transit system here) The next day on Wednesday we went shopping for groceries, after all the elders in our district had arrived.
There are 6 elders living together in this house and all of us are our own district. The other four are Elders Allen, Ndala (from Angola), Barroso (from Brazil), and Herd. Everyone seems like a cool bunch. My companion has just about 3 months more on the mission than I do, and he started out in Quelimane too with Elder Seoane. So we've had fun talking about all the people in Quelimane and how things are going there. We get along super well. He likes to have fun with the work and likes to joke around, so we've been having a pretty good time so far.
He has been here in T3 since July, so he knows the area really well. I'm excited for this week I can hardly wait to start working. This area we work in is really big and has a lot of people, but we need more progressing investigators than we have now, so we'll get to work on that right away.
The church meetings are not held in a church-built chapel, it's a building that the church is renting out, but it's pretty big. There are individual classrooms for primary, relief society, elders’ quorum, young men’s, and young women’s, and the sacrament meeting room is really big too. There were about 100 people that came to church. I would have thought it would be higher, though. President Kretly came to visit the branch yesterday and gave a talk. He told the branch how they have to help re activate the inactive members and help the missionaries more in finding and teaching investigators. I can see that a lot of the things we did in Quelimane might help here, so I'm excited to start working with the branch here like we did there.

I'm glad you sent my package out. I do hope that it will get to me in time for Christmas. I can't really think of anything else that I would want at this time. Don't forget to send me a small calendar, like I mentioned in my email last week.
The weather here was hot for a few days but the past couple days has been cooler and cloudy, which is nice.
It's nice that President sent you guys that email- I definitely feel safe here, and feel that President and Sister Kretly really care for our safety. I already have that biosense lotion, President gave us a bottle when he visited Quelimane. You can send some hand sanitizer, if you want though. I haven't had any health problems, except weight loss, but it hasn't been unhealthy (By the way, I lost 20lbs so far) I have been really blessed; I can honestly say I've not been sick once so far on the mission, not even a little bit, besides being tired sometimes, but that literally happens to everyone. I'll make sure to be keeping myself as healthy as I can.
I hope you guys are making it through the weeks alright and not getting too tired. I'm glad you're doing well too, Jacob! Not too long until Christmas break already!

This P-day has been pretty awesome. We went to the Matola chapel and played basketball and soccer with a bunch of other elders and some sisters. It was nice to meet and talk with a lot of them. It's weird to be around so many missionaries after 4 months of being far away with only one other missionary. Then we came here to do internet. We do internet in Magoanine, which is another area near Maputo. After this we will go do shopping, and then get on a chapa to get back to T3. The grocery store here is like ones in the US, there is so much selection, and it was kind of overwhelming when we went there on Wednesday haha. But overall it hasn't been too hard adjusting to the new environment, I like it a lot. I'm super excited to have a normal week and get to work.
I love you all so much. Thank you for your letters again and for all your thoughts and prayers for me. Always know that I'm safe and happy and having a great time here. I wish I had time to write more, but I kind of had a long wait here for the computer, and we have to go shopping for the week soon. We are getting our house sprayed with permethrin today so we have to go shopping and drop the food off at home and get out of the house before they start. (We have a senior couple, the Hobsons that are based in the T3 branch. Elder Hobson is the one coming over to spray our house.)
Anyway, have a happy week everyone, until next week!!

Elder Rebollo

Monday, November 4, 2013

Leaving Quelimane and transfering to the Matola/Maputo area

Week 25-- November 3 2013

Hello again, familia!!

Wow, thanks for those pictures!! I'm glad you guys had a good week and a good Halloween. Jacob, your costume was way cool! You are going to be eating candy all month! haha, since I'm not there, there's no one to steal your candy when you're not around!

Mom, I'm glad you had fun with Jacob on Halloween. I like your costume. Dad, you will have to remember to find a good costume next year haha. You should have taken Hunter out in his Yoda costume haha. I hope he is doing well too. It's nice that the weather was nice to go out. Elder Heaton and I were both surprised to open our emails and see pictures of our parents together. Ha ha. I'm glad you were able to meet them.
About the package you will be sending, If you still have time to put other things in there, I do have a request. I would like a calendar for 2014, a small calendars though, one that I can keep on my desk. It can be church themed, like pictures of Jesus or temples or something like that.

Last week I didn't mention the bike robbery thing because I had to re type my email. After I sent it I realized I didn't mention it. But it didn't mess up our day like the last robbery; it was just annoying, especially since we just got the bikes and moved to a new safer house. We left the bikes outside chained together, but behind the church, within the walls. We thought since there is a guard it wouldn't be a problem. But the thieves came in by climbing over the wall in the back. The guard was in the front of the house, and probably sleeping. They also stole a couple lights on the outside of the house. But the house itself, the inside is still super secure. I don't feel unsafe or paranoid. This week we did use the car for the most part, until Friday.

Earlier in the week, some elders in Beira called us and asked us if we could get a birth certificate for them. It was for an investigator of theirs that is getting married. In order to get married you need a few documents, including a birth certificate, which you can only get in the place you were registered. This investigator of theirs was registered in Nicoadala, 30km outside of Quelimane. We decided that since we had the car we would go there to get the document. Walter went with us, since he knows the area better. On the way there we got stopped by transit police. They looked at our documents, which all checked out, except one. They said Elder Heaton's driver's license, which is his Utah one, isn't valid, and he needs to get a Mozambique one. The weird thing is that in Maputo, where other missionaries drive, they use their American driver’s licenses and it's no problem, it's valid. Not here, apparently. The cop let us continue on, but gave us a fine of 3,000MT ($100).  President advised us not to use the car anymore. The reason for that is that we will no longer be able to make the trip to Marromeu. The reason for us receiving the car in the first place was for us to go to Marromeu once a month. Now that we will not be going, there is no reason for using the car, not to mention the fact that Elder Heaton doesn't have a valid license in this region. The reason that we cannot make the trip is because of conflict in the central part of the country between the government forces and the opposition party.
So since Friday, we are without a car as well, which means we are back to one mode of transport: foot. It's funny how within one week we went from having 3 ways of getting around, to one.  Oh well, it was nice while we had it.

It has been super-hot here this week! Three days this week, the temp was over 40C (105F)!! The heat here is also humid. I am so thankful that we have air conditioners in our house. Don't worry; I've been drinking plenty of water.

The wedding and baptism didn't happen on Saturday as planned. It had to be moved to this coming Saturday. There were a couple things that they wanted to buy for the wedding, and there were a couple other random reasons as well. But it will still happen. The sad thing is that I will not be there. This morning I found out that I will be transferred.

I will be getting on a plane to Maputo tomorrow and will go to my new area, T-3. It is a city in the Maputo/Matola area; it is like a suburb of Maputo. My new companion will be Elder Bender, from Las Vegas, NV.  He has been on the mission only 3 months longer than me, and started out in Quelimane as well. I'm excited to get there and start working in my new area.

It will be sad though to say goodbye to Quelimane. I've been here for 4 months, and have met so many wonderful people! Today and tomorrow before I leave, I will try to take pictures with the members and investigators. Elder Heaton will be staying here and getting a new comp. he has been a very good companion and trainer and was great working with him for a while here in this city.  I will ask him to sends me pictures of the wedding and baptism. Even though I won't be there, it was really great to play a role in their conversion. There are other couples here that aren't married yet that I hope to hear about their marriages in the coming months. I really learned a lot in my time here.  Quelimane is not an easy place for missionary work; it's a really big area for only two elders. But there is a way to make it work here, and the members and everyone here make it easier.
I hope the members in T-3 are as awesome as the ones here. I will always have a special connection with Quelimane, it being my first area on the mission. I hope to come back here one day and see how the branch has grown. 
Sunday was a pretty good day; it was fast and testimony meeting. I took the opportunity to bear a small testimony. I told them how a year ago it was when I read the Book of Mormon for the first time cover to cover and how I know with certainty that the book is true, that this church is true, that Jesus Christ is my savior, and how following him is the only way to have happiness in our lives and with families. I mentioned how you guys are converts and how grateful I am for missionary work and the chance I have to share the gospel. I am so grateful that I grew up with the light of the gospel in our home. I hope and pray always that you guys will be blessed and have the spirit at home.

I have a suggestion for you all (my family, my friends and everyone who read these pages): Read the Book of Mormon as a family every day. You should pick a time at night, before bed to read a few verses, and then do your nightly prayer as a family.
I also encourage you, to read it individually too. Take this Book to work, read a few verses when you have a moment with nothing to do. These are things we suggest for our investigators so that they develop a habit of reading the Book of Mormon. We always promise blessings if they do so. And I promise you, that you will receive many blessings if you will read from the Book of Mormon every day. It will help you at work, at school; in every aspect of your lives you will be able to feel the spirit of the Lord more fully.

I always knew the church was true, but it was not until I read the book and prayed to know if it was true that I received a testimony of my own, where I can say without a doubt that this is the true church and true gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I love all of you so, so much! Thank you for your words of encouragement and advice. 

Have a great week, everyone, until next Monday!

Elder Rebollo

Friday, November 1, 2013

Week 24-- 10/28/2013

Dear family,

This week was good. We got all the documents together for marriage for Marcelino and Aida, and they will be getting married and baptized this coming Saturday! Aida's 11-year old cousin will be getting baptized the same day too. It's nice after a few months without a baptism; another family will be getting baptized.
The members of the branch always get excited when another wedding comes up. The Relief society is helping a lot; they are collecting donations from the members to pay for the wedding cake and drinks. During the week in addition to our normal work, we will be making sure everything is set up right for the wedding and baptism.
Other couples are doing well too, but they don't have firm dates for marriage and baptism yet, although we hope they can do so in the month of November. I'm excited to send you pictures of the wedding/baptism next Monday!
Also, next Monday is transfers. I will find out if I will be staying in Quelimane for the next 6 weeks, or if I will be moved somewhere else. I've been here since the 1st of July. I really like serving here in Quelimane.
Church yesterday went well; we had most of our investigators show up.  It is a great feeling when we see them come to church.  This week we will do all we can to find new families with potential so we can baptize them before the end of the year? Sometimes it is hard to do so because many lessons we set up with new people end up falling through either because they forget or we can't reach them to remind them because their phones are turned off or something. It's kind of annoying, but we'll keep working at it.

Anyway, I hope you guys have an awesome week! You know I love you all, as always! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers all the time for me. I look forward to your letters next week!

Until then, with love 
Elder Rebollo

PS: sorry if this letter is a little shorter than normal. I had typed up another, longer one, but it didn't get saved for some reason (usually it saves automatically as I'm writing) so when I closed the window for a few minutes, I came back and saw that my email hadn't been saved, and I didn't have time to rewrite everything over again.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 23-- General Conference in Quelimane - Oct. 19 & 20

Week 23--10/21/13 

“...Everyone was listening intently to the words of President Monson during his talk, and afterwards the choir sang We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet, and people here were singing along in Portuguese. I really felt their testimonies as they sang that song, the spirit was really strong

Dear family, 

As always, I'm so happy to read your individual messages for me every week. Do the days go by as fast for you as they do for me? Haha. Anyway, it sounds like everyone had a good week. 

Jacob: I'm glad you had a good week at school. Those animals that you saw sound really cool. You would think I see snakes and crazy spiders all the time, but I don't actually. There are roaches from time to time, many lizards, and small frogs. I think I've seen a snake once, and it was a small gardner snake, like you could find back home. I haven't seen any crazy animal or bug here, but when I do, I will let you know and send you a picture. Halloween is coming up soon, it's in 10 days. Did you decide what you're going to dress up as? People don't have Halloween here. Unfortunately, there aren't really good holiday traditions here that I know of yet. 

Our new house
I imagine you guys were surprised to hear that we're living in the church complex now. I will send you pictures. It is nice living in the church. The only thing here that isn't very nice is the water pressure, which is really weak. But this is Africa, and this house is really-really nice in comparison to other houses here, including our old one. It is a lot safer too. There is a guard here at the church. And if someone wanted to get in, they would not only have to get past the guard, they would also have to get past three other doors with deadbolts and padlocks. I definitely feel very safe here.

Our investigators
This past week went well. Our families are still doing well. Marcelino and Aida will be getting married and baptized on November 2. We wanted to do it this coming Saturday, the 26th, but we had delays with a few documents. But now, we have obtained all the documents necessary to submit to the civil register here. After submitting them, there is a certain waiting period before the marriage can be performed, that is why we will be doing the wedding on the 2nd. We are hoping that the other two couples can get married and baptized in the month of November as well, but they still do not have firm dates. Hopefully in this coming week, we can get them to commit to marriage and baptism. As always, the members have been a great help as they accompany us to lessons during the week. I hope my other future areas will have members that are so willing to help like we have here in Quelimane. 

General Conference in Quelimane
This past Saturday and Sunday we watched General Conference. We had about 40 people come on Saturday, and 110 on Sunday.  I really enjoyed it! This conference had many talks with similar themes. I really enjoyed talks about missionary work, of course. I wanted to share one thing that I learned from watching conference. I will share it in Portuguese. 
O Elder Ballard disse que se queremos compartilhar o evangelho com mais pessoas, temos que falar com mais pessoas cada dia. Isso e verdade. As vezes, enquanto andando na rua, eu deixo uma pessoa me passar sem falando com ela, porque eu penso que aquela pessoa nao estaria interessado em ouvindo nossa mensagem. Mas eu nunca vai saber sem primeiro falando com aquela pessoa, dando-lhe a opportunidade para ouvir a mensagem. Eu sei que se falamos com mais pessoas cada dia, vamos encontrar aqueles que estao prontos para aceitar o evangelho. 
The members and investigators who came really enjoyed the conference as well. At the end of the Sunday morning session, everyone was listening intently to the words of President Monson during his talk, and afterwards the choir sang We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet, and people here were singing along in Portuguese. I really felt their testimonies as they sang that song, the spirit was really strong.

I know that we have prophets and apostles in our day who speak the things the Lord would have us hear and I know that following the words of our prophets will protect us from temptation and enable us to have happy families. I'm so very grateful that I'm here in Mozambique sharing the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is a huge sacrifice, leaving behind my life back home for two years, including music. I'm grateful for you guys and the sacrifice this mission has required of you too, letting me come all the way out here for two years, not to mention the financial sacrifice as well. I love you guys sooooooo much, and I can feel your love and your prayers for me every day. I know you are always thinking of me. Thank you. 

 I hope you all have a fun, happy, healthy week!!! Until next week!


Elder Rebollo

P.S You guys can still send me handwritten letters from time to time; it will be a nice surprise when they finally get to me. I would encourage others in the ward to do the same. It may be weeks or months until I see them, but it's always nice to have a hand written letter.  You will still need to send any package to the mission office, and they will get it to me.