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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 15 --8-26-13
"One of the members, .. has accompanied us to lessons a couple times this week. The spirit is always strong when a member who is living the Gospel testifies of how it has blessed his life"
Bom dia, familia! 

Once again, it's nice to hear that things are going well back home.
I see my cello in one of the pictures you sent me. I do miss playing it. But at least I can play piano and still use my musical abilities. As far as the music class goes, I'm planning on doing the first class this coming Saturday. Many in the branch have expressed interest. So we'll see how it goes. It will be nice to have other branch members know how to play a simple hymn or two on the piano for sacrament meetings. 

Thank you for sharing the messages from the Stake Conference; as always, it seems that all the messages were great. Yesterday we spent a lot of time at church in meetings. After church was branch council. Then later on was the first correlation meeting, which is a meeting between the missionaries (us) and the branch mission leader and branch missionaries. We are Hopeful that working with the young men in the branch called to be branch missionaries will help us grow the branch faster. Then in the evening we attended the weekly branch presidency meeting. I've learned a lot about church organization in the time I've been here. The main thing that needs to happen is communication among the presidencies of each organization and the branch president. Also there are many callings that are empty that need to be filled. Our branch president here, President Mabunda, is a really good leader. He's only been a member for a little over a year and branch president for only a few months, but he takes the initiative to learn how to magnify his calling and  to know how the branch should be running. I think a lot of the members are learning that being called to serve in the church requires sacrificing some of their time, but it is how the church operates, and it's the Lord's way. 

The weather here will be getting hotter and more humid.  It's still nice here, though. Probably in the mid 80's to 90, but I don't know what the temperature has been for sure. It hasn't rained lately either, but that will change as the weeks go on. I've heard that when it rains here, it rains! I'm still good on mosquito repellant for the next little while. I still haven't finished the lotion repellant, and I haven't even touched the spray yet. But definitely you can send more when you send me a package. At first when I was here, I did get a blister or two on my feet, but they weren't that bad. By now, I'm used to the amount of walking we do and my feet don't hurt. The shoes I have are really good. I'm glad we found good ones.  

So, this week the work was still slow. In fact, it was slower than it was last week, unfortunately.  We mark many lessons, but the majority of them fall through. We do contacts house to house and on the street. When talking to people, many say they are willing to sit and hear the message, but then we show up to their house at the time they agreed on and they aren't there, and then we call and they make an excuse for why they weren't there. We've gotten a few false numbers as well. We have one couple we are teaching that has potential, but they are slow in progressing. But we are not getting discouraged. We will keep working hard this week and hopefully we can find that next family that is prepared to hear the message and apply it in their lives, and make it a priority. I'd say that this is the number one problem. We invite them to pray and to read the Book of Mormon, but most do not make it a priority, so they forget, and their hearts don't get opened to accepting the gospel because they aren't doing the things necessary to gain conversion. The good thing is that the members are helping us, especially one member, Walter. He is always giving us references of people he knows that would be willing to sit with us. He is a driver, but his truck is broken, so he is currently out of work and has a lot of time during the day. So he has accompanied us to lessons a couple times this week. The spirit is always strong when a member who is living the gospel testifies of how it has blessed his life.

Thank you for your prayers for me. I really appreciate them. I know that many members of the ward are praying for me and all the missionaries too. 
I love all of you sooo much! I pray the Lord continues to bless you all with health and happiness! Until next week! 

Elder Rebollo


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week 14 - 8/19/2013

I will start teaching a music class here in the next couple weeks. We announced it yesterday, and many members have already shown interest. It would be nice to leave Quelimane with at least a few members who could play a hymn or two during sacrament meetings

 Hello everyone!    

It sounds like you had a fun week. I'm glad that you are having a fun summer. Time really flies, I can't believe Jacob is going back to school this week. 
It's nice to hear good news from the ward; it’s amazing that we will soon have about 10 missionaries from our ward out in the field.
About sending me care packages. It is difficult but not impossible mostly because it could be a little expensive to send and it takes a long time for me to get them. But I think it's best to wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I'll keep thinking of things you can send me.
My new companion, Elder Heaton, and I are getting along well. He went to AF high school. He was involved in band and choir, so he knows about music too. This is the second transfer that has taken place since I got here, I wouldn't mind staying here for two more transfers. Quelimane is a nice place and I’ve started to know the city and love the people here. There have been a lot of baptisms in all the areas of the country where we have missionaries. Also the number of missionaries here has been growing pretty fast. Last week the mission received 22 more missionaries; most of them have been put in the Beira and Maputo areas, where the church is growing the most. If the rate of growth continues like this, it seems that we will be able to organize the first stake in Mozambique, in Beira, by the end of the year. It's cool how fast the church is growing in this country.

It's weird to think that exactly one year ago I was starting school up there at the U and moving out of the house for the first time.  Jacob, as we walk around we hear people listening to all kinds of music not just African music, but from other countries as well, including America. In our house, we have hot water for showers and sinks for washing dishes. In case you’re wondering, I haven't eaten anything unusual this week. People eat a lot of rice, beans and chicken, so I don't eat anything out of the ordinary very often.
The weather is starting to get hotter here. I heard Quelimane is one of the most humid places in the mission, and I can definitely tell; it's starting to get more humid, and it'll only keep getting hotter and more humid. But at least we have AC in the house.

Church on Sunday was good; I gave my first talk about enduring to the end. I though it went well. I read a few scriptures and talked about them a little and in the end I bore my testimony. Members came by to congratulate and said that they liked it. I haven't taught a class in church yet- thankfully. I don't think I would be able to do that yet—but maybe soon. There is primary here, and elder's quorum and relief society and young women's. But no young men's because there's only one young man that is 16, the rest are 18 or older or younger than 12. But the branch here is really strong, considering how few they are and how new they all are to the church.
I will start teaching a music class here in the next couple weeks. We announced it yesterday, and many members have already shown interest. It would be nice to leave Quelimane with at least a few members who could play a hymn or two during sacrament meetings. I'm still not very good at piano because I don't have much time to practice, but I know enough to teach the basics. I'll let you know how that goes.

This week was filled with contacting and trying to find new families to teach. We found a couple good families, but we need to find a lot more. Several appointments fell through this week so it was a little tough, but I’m confident that as we keep finding more people to teach, we'll get the ball rolling again with progressing investigators. We are also getting references from the members whom we are keeping involved in the work. For some lessons, we invite member couples to come along with us, so investigators can see that members are people just like them, and that they had similar concerns about getting married, keeping the word of wisdom, etc. Other than that, nothing much happened this week. Just work.

Well, I think that's about it. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for me! I really appreciate it!
Have a good week everyone! I love you all!

Elder Rebollo


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The best week so far, two weddings, ten baptisms.

Week 13  8/12/2013

"We'll have to work hard this transfer to keep up the growth that has been seen here in Quelimane. We feel the Lord is helping us find people to teach, but there is another force behind our success here in Quelimane and that is the members here. They are very supportive and interested in our work and are willing to help out in any way they can." 

Hello everyone!! 

I'm glad all is well again this week. It's good that you guys are spending a lot of time with family and friends so it doesn't get too lonely around there.  I forgot to mention this last week, but one day we went to visit a member couple, Walter and Darmin. Darmin had me try some goat intestine and goat ear. The intestine was ok, but I wouldn't eat it again. The ear though wasn't very good at all--I spit it out immediately!!!. Elder Seoane and everyone else were laughing pretty hard!  Seriously, though, I've been careful with the food I eat. I haven't gotten sick so far from any food and I want to keep it that way--I do eat a lot of chicken, fish, rice, and beans. 

But anyway this week was pretty interesting. Elder Seoane left on Thursday, so the first part of the week we spent visiting members to say goodbye and take pictures. A lot of them fed us too. Then on Wednesday we had the wedding of Gomes and Joaquina, that was awesome! Everything went really well. Here are some pictures of their wedding

Like many families in our areas, Gomes and Joaquina had to wait for some time
to be able to legalize their union and be baptized. They got married in our church building 
on Wednesday and on Saturday their whole family, a total of six, got baptized.
The cake was pretty good, it was made by one of the members


I got my new companion early. He came on Thursday, just before Elder Seoane left. My new comp is Elder Heaton, from American Fork. He's been on the mission for a little over a year. I can tell we'll get along pretty well. Since he got here, we've been contacting and I've been showing him the area.

Baptisms and confirmations
On Saturday, we had the baptism of Gomes and Joaquina's family, a total of six people. It went pretty well. I performed all their baptisms. Church yesterday was interesting. The branch president was gone and so was the first counselor. Elder Heaton is the new second counselor, so he conducted and taught one of the classes of Sunday school. I played the piano, as always. We also did the confirmations of the two new families. It was a total of 10 confirmations. I did about half of them, so that was a new experience too. But yeah, overall, it was a really good week.

It was great to have Gomes and Joaquina and the whole family join the church today. They have strong testimonies and will be great members. What a privilege to play a small part in their lives.

You can tell by her reaction that the water was a little cold, but she was fine!

Today is the first day of the new transfer. The mission has received 22 new elders, so it's definitely growing. We'll have to work hard this transfer to keep up the growth that has been seen here in Quelimane. We feel the Lord is helping us find people to teach, but there is another force behind our success here in Quelimane and that is the members here. They are very supportive and interested in our work and are willing to help out in any way they can.

Here you can see  most of the members in the branch of Quelimane. Within the last ten days, ten people have joined our church.
What a miracle!

Now to answer some of your questions.
Yes, each companionship has a cell phone. It has the numbers of the mission president and his wife and all the other missionaries as well. We use it to communicate with them and to call contacts and set up lessons with them. Everyone here has a cell phones. And most people have TV's too, even in the houses made out of mud they usually have TVs.

There are a lot of schools here. There are a lot of colleges here too. Many people here are students. A lot of the members have college degrees too. Quelimane is interesting in that you have really poor people who live on the outskirts and in the city and surrounding areas you have richer educated people.
As far as things to do here, there isn't many. The city sits along the Zambezi river, but there is no beach here. Usually on P days we play board games at home or as a family night in the homes of members. If more elders were here, we would probably play soccer or something, but there's only us two here. But we still have fun on P days.
It's crazy that Jacob will be starting school again so soon. Time is going by so fast! It sounds like you all have had a good summer. That's good that there are more missionaries going out from our ward. 

I hope everyone has another good week! I love you all soooo much and am grateful for your thoughts and prayers!

Elder Rebollo

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My first baptisms in Mozambique

Week 12—8/5/13

“These were my first baptisms in Mozambique!!”

Hello Everyone!!

Once again, I'm sitting here to write you all a letter. It feels like just a couple days ago I was writing you a letter last week. Time is going by super-fast here too! 

Yesterday was really good, but not exactly as we had planned on last week. Gomes was called to work in Nampula for the weekend for an emergency (he works for the power company), so the marriage didn't happen on Saturday. But they will be getting married on Wednesday and baptized either right after, or on this coming Saturday. They have 3 children also getting baptized. 

My first baptisms
So yesterday we had the baptism of Candido and Marcia and their two children, Igor and Milena. I baptized Candido and Milena, and Elder Seoane baptized Igor and Marcia.

These were my first baptisms in Mozambique!! This past week has been pretty rainy, but it was nice yesterday, thankfully. And the water in the baptismal font wasn't too cold. We did the baptism in the afternoon, after church, it was still nice. The pictures were taken by Rema, one of the young men here. He's a ward missionary and he walks with us on Sundays as we contact and teach lessons.

Milena and Igor with Elder Rebollo 

Elder Rebollo and Candido

Our newest members in Quelimane 
Elder Soeane and Igor

The family and some church members

Marcia being baptized

Anyway, everything else this week was pretty average. The upside of this is that we have our 2 families getting baptized here at the end of the transfer. 
The downside is that now that they're getting baptized we have no families that are really progressing well, so we need to find a lot more. That means that we'll have to do a lot of contacting this week and visiting families that we've taught before that aren't progressing and seeing what can be done to help them.

Church yesterday was great, I enjoyed it; testimony meetings are always nice, I get to hear the amazing testimonies from many here in the branch. The members here are really strong and have strong testimonies even though the majority of them have been members for less than a year. I'm glad to hear that more missionaries from our ward are going out pretty soon.
Where are Kyle and Evan going?

It's nice that you are having fun there. To answer your question Jacob, yes, I do see cockroaches sometimes. But not too many this time of year since it's cooler. I'll be seeing a lot more bugs when the hot rainy season comes.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that all is well back home! You know I love you all and can't wait to hear from you again next week!

Elder Rebollo

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Another week in Quelimane and our families are making good progress

Week 11- 7/29/2013--Quelimane, Mozambique


“It’s nice to see our members here do FHE and read from the Book of Mormon and pray together as families.  I have also noticed that the members here are really strong in their faith.  This is a good example to all particularly to our investigators”

Querido Familia,

First of all my week: Things are going well still with our progressing families. Our two families are definitely on track to get baptized this next Sunday (8/4) after church.  In total 10 people will be getting baptized, the largest single baptism so far in Quelimane!

We have other progressing families, but their baptisms will probably happen later in August or September. I'm glad we are able to have this baptism coming up; it will be the last Sunday in Quelimane for my companion, Elder Seoane. He will be leaving on August 8, and I'll be getting a new companion.

Today we will be doing an FHE with Candido and Marcia together with a member family. We will be watching the Joseph Smith movie, in Portuguese of course.  It should be fun to spend time with them. We were going to do it yesterday, but the power was out for most of the day.

Sunday at church was great.  I'm getting better at the piano (keyboard) little by little. Like I said, I play from the simplified version, so it's not too difficult even for me that I never played piano. Other than those things, this past week was pretty normal. We spend most of the day either teaching our families the lessons or contacting. The weather has been really nice lately which is nice since we walk every were we go.
I've gotten a lot more familiar with the area; Quelimane isn't very big, so it's not hard to remember where things are. I have also been getting a little better with the language, so I'm not too worried about it; besides, I've only been here for a month.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you are all doing well! The summer is going by so fast, it's already August! Tell everyone in the ward I say hi and that I'm doing well.

One more thing, it’s nice to see our members here do FHE and read from the Book of Mormon and pray together as families.  I have also noticed that the members here are really strong in their faith.  This is a good example to all, particularly to our investigators.

Love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Elder Rebollo