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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Playing music...but not a cello. Our families making progress and more

Week 10— 7/22/2013--Quelimane, Mozambique 

“We found Candido and Marcia (a new family) while knocking doors last Saturday night. They let us in, we taught the restoration, and they came to church the next day with their two children, age 7 and 11. The next day when we visited they said that they prayed and knew that the church was true…”

Dear Familia, 

Wow, it's been pretty hot over there, hasn't it? I forget you're right in the middle of summer. The weather here has been nice, not too hot or cold. But the people here think it’s cold ha-ha. This is some of what we did this past week. Earlier this week, we visited a member family and they gave us dinner-chicken and rice. They eat a lot of chicken here. We don't always cook lunch; we usually go out to a restaurant a few times during the week. There are quite a few places to eat here that are safe and don't cost too much. Today, we will be going to a member's house for lunch and have FHE(Family Home Evening, a church program that helps bring families closer). Last week we had FHE with two families combined. We played UNO, it was pretty fun. We don't always do FHE on Mondays, though.

Our surroundings
Among other things...the grocery store is pretty close. Quelimane is not very big, so nothing is super far away. The store is small, but has all the basic necessities. They have a few American brands but all are expensive ($5 for a box of cereal, Pringles, etc. all expensive. This week, we bought ground beef and had tacos for lunch on Saturday, it was really good.

My shoes and feet are doing fine. It's a lot of walking, but I've gotten used to it by now. Having bikes would just make things more complicated, and would probably get stolen anyways, so being on foot is easier.

You can see food vendors on the street everywhere; there are people all over the place selling just about anything they can find to sell.  We can't buy food stuff from the streets; it's not safe. But the food from most restaurants is fine and safe for us to eat. We usually get a chicken and rice plate or a hamburger (yes, they have hamburgers and fries here!). 

This from the blog kept by the senior couple working here before Josh arrived, they wrote this back in April as they were about to leave: “Debbie (Sister Osborn) however, on the keyboard (among other contributions), is where the pain will be felt.  The music I fear is going to fall into serious decline.  We have no one here who can carry a tune.  She alone has kept our services from bedlam”

The music during Sacrament
Church yesterday was great. There were about 80 people at church yesterday, which is a pretty normal, the members are great, some travel long distances to be here.  Oh, I almost forgot, I play the piano during sacrament meetings. I play from the Simplified Hymns book, and I make some mistakes, but people don't really notice. Nobody else knows how to play piano or knows anything about music, so I'm the only one. We just use a small electric keyboard that's at the chapel. I practice the hymns during the week so I don't do horribly during sacrament meeting. So I'm grateful that I am definitely using my musical talent here--so to speak.

Our Investigators
Our investigators are doing well. We have a couple families that are progressing nicely. One of them, Candido and Marcia are doing really well. We found them while knocking doors last Saturday night. They let us in, we taught the restoration, and they came to church the next day with their two children, age 7 and 11. The next day when we visited they said that they prayed and knew that the church was true.  We invited them to be baptized on August 4th, and they accepted. It happens to be the day when their daughter turns 8, so she can be baptized too. They're already married and have accepted to live the word of wisdom. We still have a lot to teach them, but they'll be ready for their baptism.

There is another couple, Gomes and Joaquina that will be getting baptized on that day along with their children. Other missionaries started teaching them, and they wanted to be baptized, but they weren't married and didn't have money at the time to get married (the documents required cost money, not a lot, but this family doesn't have much). They finally got the money together and will be getting married on the 3rd and baptized also on the 4th. So in total, there will be 9 or 10 people getting baptized on that day. There is yet another investigator, a widow that might get baptized on that date also. So that's going to be great! We are very excited for all of them!

Other than that, we have a few more families that are moving along, and will probably be baptized later in August or September. We also continue to do a lot of door to door contacting. A lot of people around here work for the government and travel a lot, so it's a bit hard to find time to meet with them, but we continue to work on ways to teach them.

Every day I continue to improve in the language and in teaching. I'm being patient with that and it is working out fine.  Anyway, that's about it for this week.

I think of you guys in my prayers. Thank you for your advice and words of encouragement.

Have a great week everyone!!!
With Love,

Josh (Elder Rebollo)


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lizards in the bathroom, bike taxis, and a 4-yr old correcting my Portuguese "nice"

Week 9--7/15/13 Quelimane, Mozambique

"Walter and Darmin(new members), have a little boy named Mauro, about 4 years old. He loves when we come over to visit. I was talking to him and he was correcting me on my Portuguese, it was really funny!"

Dear Familia,

 Thank you sooo much for all your letters! I'm glad you all had a good week. I miss going to church in our ward. Church here is good too, but it's different.  Jacob, it sounds like you've been having a lot of fun this summer. Did you catch any snakes? I haven't seen any snakes here so far. There are a lot of lizards, though. They're pretty much everywhere. I've found lizards in the bathroom a couple times already. They're pretty small, though. Wow, I guess it's been pretty hot over there. Every day this past week has had rain on and off. Thankfully we haven't been caught walking around in pouring rain. The temperature has been nice too; it hasn't gotten too hot yet. That will change around September/October.
I forgot to say this last week, Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!
It's weird that it's already the middle of July. In fact, today's the 15th, so that makes two months that I've been on my mission! This month especially has gone by soooo fast.

 Elder Seoane, will be leaving for home in less than a month. That means that I will be getting a new companion next month. We get along well. He's been a good trainer. It's been a little hard still because I don't know the language that well. But I'm getting better each week, which is good. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but people here say "nice" a lot. You can say nice for pretty much anything.

This is what public transportation looks like
Also, here in Quelimane, they have bike taxis. They're people with bicycles and you sit on the seat behind them and they'll take you where you want to go. It's really cheap, only 5 meticals, which is less than 20 cents. There's more bicycles than cars here it seems. Only  few can afford buying cars here.

We go everywhere to contact new people but lately we have been teaching and contacting in the city, not so much on the outskirts. The reason for this is that in the city, people are more likely to already be legally married. And if they aren't, they most likely won't have a hard time paying for the necessary documents. In addition to that, most people in the city are able to read. It's difficult to teach and have investigators learn if they can't read.

 We haven't had any meals at member's houses, but sometimes they will offer some fruit or a soda or something. We can't drink water they offer us, of course. I haven't had any stomach problems so far, I've been careful. There are mosquitos everywhere, but it's not a big nuisance. Yes, I've gotten bit, but not too much. We do sleep with mosquito nets. The repellant works well. I still have quite a bit; I don't think I'll need more for quite a while. 
There is milk here, but it's not pasteurized, so it tastes a little different. But I like it; it's not too different than at home. We were contacting one day and found a lady cooking crabs. We bought some from her and had them for lunch earlier this week. We had it with tortillas that she made and some beans. They were really good!

Work this week has been good. We have a couple families that are progressing and will most likely get baptized early next month. We also visit recent convert families they are really nice too. One of these new families, a couple, Walter and Darmin, has a little boy named Mauro, about 4 years old. He loves when we come over to visit. I was talking to him and he was correcting me on my Portuguese, it was really funny! 

Thank you for your words of support, it really helps! I miss you guys too! Continue to have fun this summer. I look forward to your letters next week!

 I'm doing well here. I'm really enjoying everything! Have an amazing week!

I love you all!!

Elder Rebollo




Sunday, July 14, 2013

First Few days in Quelimane

Week 8— July 8, 2013 - Quelimane, Mozambique

“The church was started in Quelimane only 2 years ago, so all the members and leaders are really new in the church. These new members are really helpful with the missionary work. Already this past week, we taught quite a number of lessons with a member present.”

Hey Family!

 I was so happy to get the pictures from the 4th of July from you guys! It looked like a lot of fun! Thanks for the letters from each one of you also. I was looking forward to today since I didn't get much time to write you last week. Anyway, I'll start off from last Monday: I worked in Maputo in a trio companionship with a couple other elders on Monday night and Tuesday. It was pretty good. I rode in chapas (a minivan stuffed with people) a few more times while I was there. The public transportation in Maputo is pretty crazy.

 Flying to my first area and meeting my first companion in the field.
On Wednesday(7/3/13), I was picked up from there and taken to the airport to go to Quelimane [Kelly-money]. When flying within Mozambique, you can only check one bag, no heavier than 20kg (44lbs). So I rearranged my things to fit in one bag without being too heavy, and left the rest in my other bag, which will stay at the mission office. It wasn't too bad; I didn't have to leave too much behind. The flight was about an hour and a half. Quelimane is a lot smaller than Maputo; it's like a mid-sized city. My companion and trainer is Elder Seone. This is his last transfer of his mission, so he will be going home next month. He's a really good missionary; he's had a lot of success during his mission baptizing families. I've already learned a lot from him about contacting and teaching lessons. He's in the branch presidency here. The branch here is pretty small. The average number of people that come to church per week is about 70. The church was started in Quelimane only 2 years ago, so all the members and leaders are really new in the church. These new members are really helpful with the missionary work. Already this past week, we taught quite a number of lessons with a member present.  

Arriving in Quelimane and the church here
One of the members with a car, Firmino, came with Elder Seoane to the airport to pick me up on Wednesday. The residence is fine. My perception of what a 'nice' house is has already changed a lot. So to me, the residence we have is not bad. My living conditions are pretty good. We went to the grocery store when I got here on Wednesday. I have just cereal in the morning, and we usually make pasta for lunch. We don't really have dinner, but I'll have a snack when we come back for the night. We don't have bikes, so we go everywhere on foot. In fact, most missionaries in the mission don't use bikes. There are only a couple areas, maybe.  Elder Seoane and I are the only missionaries in Quelimane. Usually, there would be 3 companionships here, but since the mission is placing a huge focus on the cities of Maputo and Beira, most of the missionaries are being concentrated there.  So it's a lot of work, but it is fine.

Church on Sunday was pretty good. We live on the same street as the church, so it's only a 3 minute walk which is nice. But in the morning we go to pick up investigators for church. This Sunday, most of them didn't make it. The sacrament meeting was really good. It was testimony meeting, as you know. It's a small branch, but the meeting went over a few minutes with members bearing their testimonies. The second and third hours were good too.  I didn't understand a lot of it, but I still felt the spirit of what was said.

 The Language
It's hard to understand people's accents and their fast talking sometimes, so it's a bit of a challenge. I guess it will get easier with time. The language is coming along alright. I'm still expanding my vocabulary. Anyway, I really like it here in Quelimane. I've only been here less than a week, but I'm starting to get to know the members and investigators, which is fun. Maybe next week I'll be able to tell you more about our investigators, since for now I don't know them too well.

Keep sending me pictures, I really enjoy seeing them. I haven't taken too many pics yet, since we can't have cameras with us when proselyting, but today we'll take pics, and I'll send them all next week for sure. I hope you had a good weekend and a good time at church. I hope you're having a great summer! I can't believe we're already into July! Time goes by so fast. I hope everyone is staying happy and healthy!

Don't worry about me, I'm staying healthy, eating safe food and water, Have a fantastic week, family!! 

I love you all so much

Elder Rebollo

Friday, July 5, 2013

First impressions, Five days in Maputo Mozambique

Week 7- July 1, 2013 Maputo Mozambique


For the most part, the people here are soooo nice and friendly! You can walk up to pretty much anyone and just start talking to them… they'll take the time to talk.”


Olá família!


Arriving in Maputo Mozambique 6/26/13 
It's great to finally write home. Right now its 3:30PM, so it must be like 7:30am over there. I'm doing really well! I'm glad you got that email from the APs. Well, a TON has happened since last spoke to you in London. The flight to Johannesburg was good; I slept through a lot of it. There were a few snags getting our boarding passes for Maputo once we got there though but we figured it out.  The flight to Maputo was nice and short, just a little under an hour. Landing into Maputo was crazy! It is a HUGE city with A LOT of people! We landed and got our bags. Thankfully I picked up both my bags with no problem. I was lucky, A few elders and sisters had their luggage misplaced or missing, and some bags were still in Johannesburg. Sister Kretly showed up a little while later, and helped us with the luggage problems. President Kretly was in the northern part of Mozambique at the time, so he didn't greet us at the airport. So 2 hours after we arrived in Maputo, we finally got to leave the airport. The APs came with their cars to load up our bags and give us rides to the mission office. The drive was crazy! There are basically no rules on the road over here, it seems. People walk out into the roads without looking and other cars get really close to you and turn without warning.

We had a little lunch at the mission office, but we were mostly tired and dirty from the long trip. Half of us elders slept in the mission home and the other half went to another missionary residence in Maputo. I was one of the ones sleeping over in the office. It has a kitchen, a couple bathrooms, a bedroom, a living room, and of course, offices. It's a really nice place. That night after we showered and relaxed, the APs took us out to eat in downtown. We ate at a place called Mundo's. It was really good; I got a cheeseburger and coke. They love coca cola here! It’s everywhere, on all the signs and walls all over the place.

Anyway, I slept really well that night, I was sooooo tired. They let us sleep in a bit, thankfully.  

The next day we went to the US embassy to sign some paperwork so we can stay here legally for the next little while. After that we went back to the office. We got the chance to walk around the area a bit. We walked out to the road that goes right along the coast. It was really nice. The view is really amazing. That night, we went to president's house for dinner. So that was the first time meeting President Kretly. I really like him, he's nice, funny and really goal oriented. He has great expectations for the mission over the next two years. Right now there are 0 stakes in Mozambique. By June of 2015, he wants 4 stakes. So there's definitely a lot of work to do here. We were able to learn more about the different areas of Mozambique and the goals of the mission, as I mentioned.  

The next day was a Zone Conference for missionaries Maputo and Matola. Matola is the neighboring city of Maputo, it's really big too. The conference was at the chapel in Maputo. It was great. We were all new to the mission, but it was good to hear the training from President Kretly to all the missionaries on how to accomplish the goals of the mission. President Kretly is the CEO of Franklin Covey in Brazil, and he's really good at giving motivational talks and getting the missionaries energized and on the same page to accomplish their task. I love hearing him talk, he's really passionate about the work here, and it’s great! This mission REALLY focuses on baptizing familias, because it builds a good foundation for the church here, and families are more likely to stay active than single people. I couldn't understand everything in the conference though; it was done all in Portuguese. It was still good, though.  

I am guessing that you're probably wondering when I got out to my first area to start working with a new companion. Well, we arrived on Wednesday, and transfers were today, so for Saturday and Sunday we were put into divisions with other missionaries in the area. I was sent to Matola and worked with Elder Williams, on sat and sun. It was a lot of work, but it was really good. He is also from Pleasant Grove, believe it or not.  He graduated in 2011. When I saw him, I thought he looked kind of familiar. So yeah, that was really cool to work with him for a couple days. So I went along with him as he did baptismal interviews and other responsibilities. We did contacting in the streets too. That was pretty interesting. I have a hard time understanding the people here a bit; they speak Portuguese different than I've ever heard it. We also went and taught a lesson to a couple. We taught about the plan of salvation. I didn't say anything until the end, when I bore my testimony about our Heavenly Father’s plan. For the most part, the people here are soooo nice and friendly! You can walk up to pretty much anyone and just start talking to them. They don't all want to be taught, but they'll take the time to talk. 

On Sunday we went to church, it was great! We took a chapa (a van stuffed full of people) and a bus for 40 minutes to get to the church; there is a closer chapel that is still under construction. Church was really good. President and Sister kretly were actually there, and they spoke. The chapels here look very different than in Utah, that's for sure. I wish I could send pics, but I'm on a computer in the mission office, and we can't hook up cameras here.  I will send pics as soon as I can. Anyway, after church and lunch, we went out contacting and teaching lessons again. We taught a lesson on the restoration to a couple, and I spoke a lot more during it. It was really nice. The houses are super small. One of them was basically four pieces of metal and a roof. But the people are happy, so that's nice. I really like it here.

I don't have time now. But I needed to say that I got my transfer today. My first official area: *Quelimane!! It's up north. I get on a flight to there on Wednesday (7/3) and in the meantime I will be on a division with another elder in Maputo. But today has been good. We did more visa work and stuff. But I need to go now, sadly. I wish I could have said more.....I know you're all doing well, thanks for the pics! You all look great as well! Don’t worry about me, I'm healthy, and eating right! Have a good week!!

Love you all, Josh (Elder Rebollo) 



*Quelimane (pronounced "kelly-monney"), is Mozambique's 4th largest city and seaport which serves to be an important trade centre for Mozambique. Situated approximately 20km from the Beautiful blue seas of the Indian Ocean