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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week 19 – 9/23/2012

Church yesterday was great! Seven of our investigators came, and there were almost 100 people in attendance, the highest number I've seen since I've been in Quelimane!”

Hello Everyone!!

First of all, transfers were today and, I found out that I will be staying in Quelimane, thankfully. I feel like I got off the plane in Mozambique a couple weeks ago, not 12. It hasn't felt like I've been in Quelimane very long, so I'm glad I'm able to stay here at least for the next six weeks.
I was very happy to hear that Utah won again!!  I remember the game last year where Utah barely won and almost blew it because the fans rushed the field early haha. Wow, that was a whole year ago

We had been planning on going to Marromeu this coming weekend and attend church there
, but our plans have changed. Instead, we will pick up the elders there, and then we will drive down to Beira to attend zone conference. After zone conference, we will go back to Marromeu, drop off the elders, and then return to Quelimane. The whole trip will take us away for 5 days, and we will be staying the nights in the missionary houses in Marromeu and Beira. We don't know exactly when that will be, but most likely it will be the first week of October. General conference is that weekend too, I think. We will get the CDs of general conference in Portuguese a few weeks later to show at church, in case you were wondering about that.

Church yesterday was great! Seven of our investigators came, and there were almost 100 people in attendance, the highest number I've seen in the branch  since I've been in Quelimane!
Something nice that's been happening is that members are inviting others to church. And almost 100 percent of the time, if they come, they like it and want to learn more. We're really blessed to be in a branch with members that care about missionary work and growing the church here. They want a chapel of their own, and know that in order to achieve it, we need more members here.

This past week was really good. We didn't have anything out of the ordinary happen to us, so we were able to focus on teaching lessons and contacting. We had more success this week in teaching investigator lessons with members present. Having members present at a lesson is really helpful. When an investigator has doubts about baptism or marriage or the Book of Mormon, the member is there and can answer, knowing what it was like to be in their position. For example, we were teaching an older couple about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. We had a member, Augusta, there with us. This couple likes the church, but they have been catholic their whole lives and don't want to leave their church. Augusta, who used to be catholic, too, was able to testify to them how she was able to follow what she knew was the truth and get baptized in the true church. But we'll see how that couple progresses. I told you last week about Marcelino and Inez. They are still doing well. They currently live apart, but are looking for a place to rent to live in when they get married. We are going to try to find him work to do so he can earn money to pay for the marriage documents. We hope that they will be getting married and baptized this coming month.

The car has turned out to be a big blessing for us recently. We've started teaching a few member references, and most of them live a bit far. If it weren't for the car, we wouldn't be able to take the time to go teach them. With the car, we are also able to give the member a ride to go to the lesson with us. The bikes have been a blessing too. Without them, we would be late to most of our teaching appointments. Everything here is flat, there are no hills to climb up, thankfully, and so riding the bike here is pretty easy for the most part.  

I love you all, and hope you have another week of health and happiness.  

Elder Rebollo

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 18-- Another great week in Quelimane

Week 17-- 9/16/2013

Hey Everyone!

This past week was pretty good. Not as many crazy things happened, and we've been having more success. I'm glad to see that you guys are doing well again this week. I realize that when I mentioned our monthly trip to Marromeu I forgot to mention the reason for the trip. There are two missionaries down there, just like here. The church has been there for a while now, has a couple hundred members, and a chapel. Marromeu is a small jungle town and when the missionaries need supplies, they have a hard time getting them but since Quelimane is the closest major city, those supplies come here. So we will bring those supplies to Marromeu- things such as Books of Mormon, pamphlets, sacrament water cups, etc. They are also having a problem with their internet, so we will be taking a new internet modem down to them. When we go down there, we will be staying in the missionarries’ house. Elder Heaton served in that town before, so he is excited to visit the members there. We are planning to go the last weekend of the month, and stay for church on the 29th. You have probably already looked on the Google maps to see where it is. The route to Marromeu is about 300km, but a good part of it is on dirt road, so the drive will take about 7-8 hours. We will make sure to take necessities like plenty of food and water with us. We will be taking the car in for a maintenance checkup this week to make sure everything is good. I heard that on the way there we will cross a cool bridge over the Zambezi River.
Things with the bikes are going well. It's nice being able to get to places faster, and not having to spend money on the bike taxis.
Yesterday I taught the music class for the first time and it went pretty well. There are only 3 members coming, but that's because we only have 3 keyboards. I hope I'm here a little longer so I have time to keep teaching the class for a while. Transfers are next week, so hopefully I don't get moved. 
About me trying to find a cello in this city- sadly- I probably won't find one. But if I find myself in Beira or Maputo next, I will for sure try to find one and put on a recital. President Kretly would help me for sure, if I needed it. He was actually supposed to visit again this past week on his way back down from Nampula. But he got pretty sick up there and had to fly down to Maputo. It was something he ate, apparently. But when he gets better, he plans on returning to Quelimane for another visit, most likely before the end of the month.

Last week on P-day we took the car out and went to a place 30 minutes outside of the city to see crocodiles. Walter went with us since we didn't know exactly where it was.  We went there also to see how the car was running, but it was cool to see the crocodiles. 

We took a couple chickens to feed them to the crocs.

Here are a few pictures I took along the way

So it was a pretty good P-day. Other than that, we just worked contacting and teaching lessons this week.

We had a lot more success this week teaching lessons and finding new families. One of the new people we're teaching is Marcelino. We contacted him on the street in the past and invited him to come to church.  It took a few weeks but he finally came last Sunday. This is what we found out about him, he started investigating the church about 8 years ago, in Beira. He went to church down there and the missionaries gave him a Book of Mormon. Unfortunately they weren't able to teach him because his job took him away from the city and into the jungle. While there, the company he worked for fell apart and left him without a job and stuck out in the jungle. After a few years, he got enough money to get out and moved to Quelimane. 
During that time away, his wife had left him for another man. Then a couple weeks ago, we contacted him in the street and invited him to church, and then he finally came by last week. We started teaching him this past week- he really likes the church. He still has the Book of Mormon given to him by the missionaries back in 2005. It's in bad shape, but it was marked up. He had been reading it. We gave him a new Book of Mormon also. He has a girlfriend, Inez, and they both came to church yesterday. We already taught them the law of chastity and they accepted that they will get married. So this next week we will be starting on that process, and hopefully they will be baptized sometime next month!
It was really cool to see that he still had that book that missionaries gave him so long ago. I'm sure that at the time, those missionaries had no idea how much this book would affect this man’s life and must have been disappointed that he was not able to continue with the lessons at that time, but they did a great thing by planting the seed of the Gospel in this man’s life that is now starting to grow

Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic week

I love you guys so much!!

Elder Rebollo

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BIG changes for us in Quelimane

Week 17 – 9/9/2013
" We learned that (in our mission)  there were 92 people joining the Church in the month of August, and almost 400 since April this year "

Hello Familia!!!! 

We had a very unusual, crazy but overall a great week! Our mission president came to visit! Here is how it went:  Started Monday after we got home from using the internet and shopping, we made brownies to take over to Walter and Darmin's house, because they were making us lunch. And they had never had brownies before. So we made them and took them over to Walter's, along with the game Risk. 

They made us some crab, which were really, really good! They really liked the brownies too! Then we played Risk, it was really fun spending time with them, it was fun hearing them express how much they like those brownie, we were having a great time with them playing the game, when all of a sudden we got a call from the APs.
They said they we needed to book a hotel for President Kretly up here in Quelimane and asked us which one would be good. Then we asked when he planned on coming up here. They said that he would be here that night! He was visiting Marromeu and driving up to Nampula, but decided at the last minute to stop by Quelimane. So we had to cut our visit short with Walter and Darmin and headed back home.  As we were cleaning the bathroom we got a call from Maputo again. The APs said that President was an hour away. At that very moment, the buoy in our toilet broke! So water started coming out, so we had to just put a temporary stop on it because we had to leave the house immediately to go meet President Kretly at the church.

Meeting President and Sister Kretly
When he got there, President said that he wanted to meet one of the families that had been recently baptized. We hadn't planned on meeting with any family that night! And hadn't set anything up with anyone, so we called Candido and Marcia to see if they were at home. Luckily they were. So we took President to visit them. The visit went well. President Kretly got to know them and shared a short message with them. After that, we went to dinner at a restaurant. We had pizza, which was pretty good (but still not as good as pizza back home). President told us we were doing good work up here. And among other things he also said that we needed to continue our efforts to find more families like Candido and Marcia. After lunch he dropped us off at our house.  The next day, however, was even crazier! We got up and met the president at the church again to help him set up a meeting through the internet there. This was a weekly meeting that he has with his assistants and the senior missionary couples. It was cool to sit in on the meeting. They talk about the weekly stats from throughout the mission and what needs to be implemented to help bring more success.  We learned that there were 92 people joining the Church in the month of August, and almost 400 since April this year! After the meeting President drove us to his hotel to pick up Sister Kretly and we went to lunch together. It was nice to get to talk to them. President and Sister Kretly mentioned that they saw my cello videos on Youtube, and that they were impressed. President said if possible I should try to find a cello here and put on a little program for the members. So this coming week we will try to find a cello somewhere in Quelimane, I'll let you know how that goes.

New bikes, a car and Marromeu
Also, he told us to start using bicycles, so this past week we bought bikes and have started using them to go to teaching appointments. Using bikes has been nice; we are able to get to places so much faster now! I'm glad President made that decision.  

Also, another thing; A couple years ago there was a senior missionary couple, the Osborns assigned to work in this city, they used a car or pickup to get around and to drive to other towns; they left earlier this year and since then the car has been sitting at the church, President told us that the car belongs to the mission.
He told us that we will start using it and we will be making a trip to Marromeu once a month. Marromeu is a town south from here, and is about 6 hours away. He also told us that we should take the car around the city a couple times a week to get used to driving it, and to make sure the its running well and to take care of whatever maintenance it might need.
So now we have new bikes, a car and Marromeu city added to our assigned area, these are definitely BIG changes!

After lunch with President and his wife, we went back home. At that time we discovered that we had locked our keys inside the house, so we had to kick in the door!
As if that was not bad enough…As soon as we got in though, we heard water flowing. We rushed to the bathroom…and sure enough, we found that the temporary stop we put had failed and water was everywhere! The water reached our bedroom, which got flooded with a couple centimeters of water! So we spent the next few hours scooping and mopping up.

Later that night, we met the president again. He wanted to test out the car. So we went driving around the city a little. Then he had Elder Heaton get behind the wheel. President wanted to give him some tips and instructions on driving here. It was like we were back in driver's ed. Ha-ha. Some time after that, President  and Sister Kretly said goodbye and left. 

It was nice to spend a couple days with them even through all the chaos at our house.  Before leaving, President gave us helmets and told us to make sure to wear them. Since then, we've been enjoying going around on bikes.

The rest of the week was more normal. We got a guy to come over and fix the toilet, so there's no problem with that anymore. He also fixed our water heater. I don't think I mentioned that we had a problem with that, but we hadn't had hot water for the past week. We were heating up water on the stove to take showers. But we have hot water again, thankfully.
We continued doing contacts and teaching lessons. We've had more success with it lately. We are teaching more lessons and finding more families. We'll just have to see how they progress. We were so happy to have five of our investigators come to church yesterday, which was great! Hopefully this next week doesn't bring any more surprises and we can focus on the work here.

But anyway, that was my week! Oh, I almost forgot. President brought up some letters that the mission office received. One was from the Adams; they sent me the ward newsletter from July. The others were from children in the primary.  Tell them all that I received their mail and I really appreciated it!

Well, I hope you all have a good week! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for me! I'm doing well, I'm staying healthy.

I love you all so much!!

Elder Rebollo

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Week 16 - 9/ 2/ 2013 

The following is the message Elder Rebollo sent to the members of our ward
Dear ward family,

I thought I'd personally take the time to share a thought with you. I'm currently serving the people of Quelimane, Mozambique, in the northern part of the country. The church has been here for about 2 years, and the branch here has about 70-80 members. The gospel is still new for the majority of them, but they are willing and eager to learn more.
Church members in front of their meeting house in Quelimane, Mozambique
The members are particularly interested when learning about the story of the early latter-day saints. The pioneers lived in a very different time and very different place than the way people live here in Africa, but the members identify with the virtues of faith and sacrifice exercised by a people that didn't have many material possessions. Church meetings here are held in a house that has been converted into a chapel. But the members desire to have a chapel of their own someday as the church continues to grow here. They know that in order for this to happen, they must pay their tithing and pray for those who don't know about the gospel, that we as missionaries may find those who are ready to accept it into their lives. They also have an interest in learning about temples and the sacred significance of what happens there. Right now the closest temple is in South Africa, a trip which, for most families, would require the sacrifice of a few years’ worth of income. But many families here still plan to make the trip there eventually, to partake of the sacred ordinances and seal their families for eternity. A few families have told us that they pray every day that the church will continue to grow here so that there might someday be a temple in Mozambique. I know with absolute certainty that that day will come, and many families in this country will be able to be sealed for eternity and have the promise of living together forever in the celestial kingdom, as they continue to live according the gospel. I am so grateful for the temple and the eternal blessings it brings to families. I know this topic gets stressed a lot, but I hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity you have to be so close to a temple, and enjoy the blessings that come from going there often. 

I appreciate your thoughts and prayers for me and all the missionaries in our ward!

—Elder Rebollo