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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Week 37   1/28/2014

"It rained on Saturday and yesterday, and this morning. Right now though it cleared up and it's sunny. So I'm hoping all the large puddles will dry up quickly so we can get around our area easier. Walking around last night was difficult because many of the roads become impassable"

Hi guys!

I'm glad you guys had a good week and you've stayed healthy so far this winter. It is always great to hear that you go to the temple I'm really glad you guys do that, especially since the temple is so close. It's nice that you help Jacob  with his school work. Wow, I didn't realize some of those math problems are a little complicated especially for 4th grade. I don't think I would be able to do it by now, I bet I've forgotten a lot of stuff. Hopefully I won't forget how to play cello haha. But I don't think so, that's something I can never forget.

My week was good. It went by fast, as always. Things are going well with my new companion Elder Reed. He is from Logan and graduated high school in 2013. He plays piano, so he'll be playing here at church. We still have a little electric keyboard at the house, so I still practice every once in a while.

Our investigators are doing well. Alfredo and Laura will be getting married and baptized on the 22nd of next month, along with a few other couples. It should be a nice big wedding on that day! I hope the weather will cooperate as well. It has been raining lately. It rained on Saturday and yesterday, and this morning. Right now though it cleared up and it's sunny. So I'm hoping all the large puddles will dry up quickly so we can get around our area easier. Walking around last night was difficult because many of the roads become impassable. But it wasn't too bad; we just visited a couple of members. 

The area we have to work in is huge! There are many parts that I've never walked in. There are also parts that Elder Bender never went to, and he was here for over 7 months! We went out to some of those parts this week. It was kind of fun getting to know the area better, even if we didn't always know where we were. But by doing so, we taught a couple new families this past week that have potential, so I'm excited to visit them again this week and see how they will progress. Church was good, we had over 170 people there, even though it was raining, so that was nice. The branch here is definitely growing! I hope soon we will see 200 people at church consistenly. I hope I can be here to see that.

I'll send you a list of things that you can send me on your next care package next week. Yeah, I think if you send it around the middle of February, it will get to me in about 3 months. But I've heard that sometimes they get here in a month, or even less. It just depends if you're lucky or not, I guess. But I don't really mind. I've basically forgotten that you've sent a package that I'm still waiting for. It'll be a nice surprise when it finally does get here, though.

I love you and miss you too, with the work always going on, I don't always think about back home, much, but I always miss it. But if the next 15 months go by as fast as the last 8, I'll be home before I know it. 

I'm glad you liked all the pictures I sent last week. I liked those pictures of Jacob, in his nice new suit!
Anyway, I hope this week will be a good one for you guys. Have a great week!
I love you sooo much, and miss you too! Until next week


Monday, January 20, 2014

Transfers today. I'm staying in T3 and getting a new companion

Week 36  1/20/14

Thanks for those nice letters,  I really like that scripture passage from D&C dad. I know that passage well; it is one of my favorite ones about missionary work, not just for missionaries like me, but for regular members too.

I liked those pics you send of the frozen Deer Creek Lake, they were pretty cool! It's weird to think how cold it is back home, and how different it is here. The good thing is that it hasn't rained much lately. It's just been hot, as usual, but I've already gotten used to it. 

Mom, it’s cool that you guys went out to see that ice castle thing. I remember seeing one there in PG one year, across from the junior high, remember?
This past week has been good. My companion was feeling better, and I didn't get sick either. We had a more normal week of working, so that was nice. There was a wedding this last Saturday, the name of the couple is Sabao and Rosa, they were investigators of Elder Allen and Elder Ndala. It was a nice wedding ceremony, followed by the baptism right afterwards. President Kretly showed up too. It took a while though. It was supposed to start at 9am, but started at 10. Then it ended at 3pm. So it was a little longer than we were expecting, but it was good. They had rice and beans and chicken, and of course cake. There was some traditional African singing as well. I took short little videos of it. I really hope I can send them! Right after I send this message I will start uploading them. 

Our most progressing family, Alfredo and Laura, are doing well. Laura is pretty involved with the Relief society and helped with preparations for the wedding. We have another family, Joao and Katarina, they are also progressing well. They live kind of far, we have to get a chapa to get to where they live, but it is worth it. It's looking like the next wedding will be on the 22nd of next month, or the 1st of March. 

Church was also good here. There was almost 200 in attendance! One of the goals for the mission is to divide all of the branches. And if T3 continues like this, the branch should be divided this year.
 Next week, Elder Kevin Hamilton, of the Seventy is coming to visit the mission. He will do a tour of the mission and meet and walk with some of the missionaries, then there will be a zone conference with him at the end of next week. Because of his visit, the transfers which were supposed to happen next Monday happened today. We found out late last night that they had been moved up, so the whole mission was taken by surprise. Elder Bender will be flying up to Beira tomorrow and later today, my new companion, Elder Reed will arrive from Matola, the neighboring city, just a short taxi ride away. I've enjoyed my time working with Elder Bender, he has been a good companion. I'm excited to getting to know my new companion, I know he's from Utah, other than that, I don't know too much about him, but I'll let you know next week. So yeah, this transfer was definitely a surprise. But I'm excited that I get to stay here and continue helping the families we're teaching, and finding new ones as well.
I hope you have a good week everyone. 
I love you sooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Patience, Endurance, Faith

Week 35-- 1/13/2013

“…All days aren't difficult like that, but I know that we have to work just as hard every day and do everything we possibly can to help our investigators and find new people to share our message with. If we do that, the Lord will always bless us for our efforts, but it will always be on His time, not ours”

Dear family! 

I enjoyed your letter this week. I'm glad all you guys are doing well getting back to the normal routine of life after the holidays. I'm glad I'm able to email you today. We went to our normal internet place this morning but the internet wasn't working. In fact, it was down in all the internet cafes in the area. so we decided to go do our shopping and go home and relax a bit. Then we went out to a tiny little internet place close to our house (when I say tiny, I mean it's pretty much like a little shack, and has 3 computers), hoping they would have internet, and they did. But the internet here is not very good, so I will probably not be able to sent pictures this week, although I do have a few I would like to send. I'm sorry :( It seems like we have bad luck with slow internet almost every week. But I'm sure next week we won't run into as many problems.

I liked your story of how you found that one golden family on your mission. Whenever I read or hear stories about missionaries finding people prepared for the gospel, it always seems to happen when the missionaries are out working in the hottest heat or in the pouring rain, late at night, and it always seems to be the last door they knock on. I know it doesn't always happen like that, but I think many times the Lord tests our patience in this work. I know, I've learned a lot of patience so far on the mission.

I'll give an example from this past week. On Wednesday, I was doing a division with another elder in my district (Elder Herd, from Wyoming). Since we were walking in my area for the day, and not his area, I was responsible for marking all the lessons and deciding where we should do our proselyting for the day. I tried marking lessons for that day, but most of our investigators and new contacts were too busy to sit with us. After calling literally everyone I could, I was able to mark a few lessons for that afternoon and evening. I was hoping and praying that we would be able to at least teach two lessons that day. It had rained really heavily in the morning and early afternoon, but had stopped by the time we left the house. But the roads here get full of water when it rains. So that made it impossible to make it to our first lesson for the day. We continued on to the next lesson. Each time we would go down a road, we would run into water that made the road impassable, so we would make a detour down another road, until the same thing happened. Eventually, I got a little lost. We continued walking around until finally we made it to a main road that I was familiar with. We started making our way down the right road, until we were almost at the lesson. I called to confirm that the person was at home, and found that he wasn't. That lesson had fallen through. By that time we had to go to the church to attend a meeting with the branch president, so we turned around and made our way to the church. When we got there we found that the meeting had been cancelled. So we continued again to walk, with no other lessons scheduled for the rest of that day. As we were walking, we ran into on of our investigators. He was on his way home. I asked him if he had a few minutes to sit down right then. We walked with him the rest of the way to his house and sat and had a good lesson on the Book of Mormon. After that lesson and continued walking, it was soon getting late. We as missionaries have to be home by 9pm, or 9:30pm, if we're in a lesson. It was 8:30pm. I decided to start making our way back home, a little disappointed that we hadn't gotten the two lessons I wanted. Then I got a phone call from Dercio, a young man who was baptized last month (I sent you guys pics of it). He is usually busy working and taking care of his younger brothers, so he doesn't have much time for us to visit him. In fact, we hadn't gotten the chance to visit him since his baptism. But he called saying that he had time and that he was on his way home. So we went to his house and sat down outside, waiting for him to arrive. But it soon became 9pm, and we had to leave to go home. Right as we were getting up to leave, he got home. So we had a short lesson with him. He brought a non-member friend with him, so we taught a short lesson on the Restoration, it went really well. We ended up getting home on time right at 9:30pm. So we ended the day with a good number of new contacts, and those two lessons that I was hoping for. But I know the Lord was testing my patience and my diligence by having us get lost and having lessons fall through. But because we continued on working and doing everything we could, we were blessed to reach the goal we wanted. All days aren't difficult like that, but I know that we have to work just as hard every day and do everything we possibly can to help our investigators and find new people to share our message with. If we do that, the Lord will always bless us for our efforts, but it will always be on His time, not ours. 

The rest of the week was slow and we didn't get much work done. On Thursday, my companion, Elder Bender got sick, so we stayed at home. The next day, he was still sick, had a fever, and was feeling weak. The mission health advisor told him to go the hospital to get tested for Malaria. So we made our way to the city, waited to see a doctor, they gave him the test, and we waited there for the results. It took up our morning and most of the afternoon. After we got home, he still wasn't well, so we stayed at home the rest of the day. We stayed at home most of Saturday too, but we were able to get out and work for a few hours in the evening. During that time, we taught a good first lesson to a new family. I felt the Spirit very strongly during that lesson. Right after we left that house, Elder Bender started feeling pretty bad again. He had a bad headache and body aches. We got home and he found that he had a high fever. We have medicine here at the house, so he took some medicine and went to bed but before that, me and another elder gave Elder Bender a blessing. Right afterwards, he said he was already feeling a little better. --I'm grateful for the priesthood and the ordinances and blessings it enables us to do. It really is God's authority that has been entrusted to us to bless the lives of others. I'm grateful that Dad is a worthy priesthood holder, I know it blesses our family a lot. Remember to take advantage of it. I'm talking to you, Mom and Jacob, If you're feeling sick and would like a blessing. Or if you are feeling worried about things or overwhelmed, and would like a blessing of comfort, ask for it. The priesthood is here to bless our family.--  Any way, the next day. the medical advisor told us it would be better to stay home, which meant we missed church.
When the other elders got home, they administered the sacrament to us, so I was glad I didn't miss that. But basically from Thursday through Sunday we didn't do any work. So that was kind of difficult. But thankfully today he is feeling better, so we will be going back to work as normal tomorrow. I guess he had the flu these past few days. But anyway, I'm hoping we are able to sit with all our investigators this week, and make up for the lost time we had last week. I know the Lord understands all our situations, and many of them we can't control. I know the Lord will make up the difference and we can have a successful week.

It's already the middle of January! It's going by pretty fast, isn’t' it? I will hit 8 months on the mission on Wednesday! All my friends are already at, or past, their year-marks. It will be weird when they start coming home. I went to all of their farewells, and none of them were there for mine. I won't be able to be at any of their homecomings, but they'll all be there for mine haha. Anyway, I felt like it was just a few days ago I was talking to you guys for Christmas. And we'll be talking again in just about 4 months! I am sorry to say that I still have not gotten that package. I wonder what could be talking it so long! Oh well, it'll probably be here in time for my birthday in just a little over a month from now.

As far as my journal writing goes, I've been doing it. Sometimes I will let a few days pass without doing an entry, but I try to write in it every day. I'm on a streak right now, I've written every day since Jan.3rd. I'll try to keep it up!
We will be having another zone conference at the end of the month and a member of the Seventy, of the Africa Area presidency is coming to speak to us at that zone conference, so I will try to get a picture with him and president to send to you. It should be a good conference, I'm excited for it.

No mom, I haven't eaten any crab or seafood since I've gotten in this area. But I've still eaten some good food here. I have been cooking a lot of chicken lately, usually with rice and beans or pasta. A lot of times we make tortillas and have burritos, they are pretty good. This week we bought some peri-peri and chopped it up and put it in the beans for our burritos. It was good, but pretty spicy! I definitely think I've gotten better at cooking. I don't think I'll have any problem cooking for myself when I get home. As far as fruits, I usually eat apples and bananas, and also lychee, If you've never heard of it, look it up. It's a really delicious fruit! It's small, and kind of looks like a kiwi on the outside, but you bit off the peel and eat the fruit inside, and spit out the big seed in the middle; It kind of tastes like grapes, but better. There are lots of mangos here too. I like them too.

Everyone in the house is getting along fine. It's true, the mission gets you used to many different types of personalities. But it's good, I've learned a lot from it. Me and my comp continue to get along well too.  As I just mentioned he was very sick, I thank the Lord every day that I've continued to stay healthy. You might think that maybe I've already gotten sick and just not mentioned it so I didn't worry you.  But, honestly, I've had some digestion problems a few times for food I ate and a headache every once in a while, but other than that I haven't gotten sick so far on my mission. I've been healthy enough to go out and work every day so far. Even back home going 8 months without getting sick is pretty good. I know that as I continue to do all I can to keep myself healthy, the Lord will help me.

Thank you Mom and dad for your testimony, I know too that the gospel is keeping our family united, even with me far away. What's amazing is that whether you're a convert or a life-time member of the church, we all have to do the same things to keep our testimonies strong: pray, read the scriptures, attend church, go to the temple, etc.  I've seen my testimony grow so much here on the mission. I'm so grateful that you guys are strong in your faith, and that has strengthened me.

I hope and pray that you will be able to reach your goals. I hope all of you have a good week. Dad and mom, I hope you have a good week at work. Thank you for working hard every week. I know it's not easy some times. But I really appreciate your sacrifice for Jacob and me. I pray that the Lord will bless you in all things, at work, at home, and at church and school
Anyway, I'm excited for a new week of work out here and am excited to tell you all about it next week!

I love you!!

Elder Rebollo

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Week 34

Week 34,  January 6, 2014 in T3


Thanks for your letter this week. I'm glad you guys had a good New Year's and a good vacation with the family. I remember our last trip to California was a lot of fun too. That means you guys went to California twice in 2013! I can't believe we're already in the new year. I know I still have a long time out here, but I can now say I'm going home next year! haha. That's nice that you were able to stop by the Las Vegas temple. I looked at a picture of it on LDS.org. It looks nice. It was super nice going to the LA temple last year, just a month before I left. That was nice what that couple said about me. And it's nice that you guys got to go inside and sit for a minute. I still have not received your package. It's possible it might have already arrived in the mission office. If that's the case, I'll get it the next time the office secretaries or assistants come out to T3. But don't worry too much about it; I'll get it sooner or later.
The work out here is going slow. This past week was a little difficult with New Year's and all the parties and drinking that people was doing. Everyone was with their families on the 31st and 1st, which made it hard to sit with anyone. Then on Friday, we lost our phone. I think I may have dropped it on the ground accidentally, thinking I had placed it in my pocket. We were walking on sand, so I wouldn't have heard it fall on the ground. But not having a phone the past couple days has made the work hard also, because we can't call to set or confirm lessons. But we should be receiving a new one today, hopefully. Because of all these difficulties, we didn't really find any new investigators, or even sit much with our existing ones. The good thing though is that we had 3 investigator families show up to church yesterday. And there were almost 200 people at church. So yesterday it was probably the best day of this week. I'm thinking this next week will be normal, since there are no holidays. Hopefully the weather will agree. It's been pretty hot here lately, but it's a lot better than being hot and rainy. I am a senior companion now, but I'm not the leader of our companionship. My companion is also a senior comp. It's kind of weird. We both take an equal role in finding and teaching and making decisions during our day. I like it though. I feel like we have a pretty good balance in our companionship, one is not taking over the other in decision-making. 
Thanks for your encouraging words. I know sometimes it is hard when we work hard and see little results. But like you said dad, the seed will sprout and bring up fruits sooner or later. All that I have to do is make sure I'm putting forth by best effort in bringing others unto Christ, and I can feel satisfied with the work I am doing, whether or not it produces many baptisms. Speaking of baptisms, we will probably see another one here in a month. And it will be a wedding also. It's looking like another couple that another companionship is teaching will also get married on the same day, so it could be a double wedding. We are planning this for the 7th of February. We're working hard to make sure it happens.
That's nice that you are able to see our Skype conversation again whenever you want to. That's cool that you showed a lot of my videos to the family. It's nice they can feel close to me too. I probably will not even see a cello while I'm here in Mozambique, but that's okay. That will just make it so much sweeter when i finally do get to play it again. I cannot believe that it has been about 8 months now. I know I still have a long time, but at least it's going by. I know some days are probably harder for you to have me away than others, but at least time goes by still. Every day is just closer to the next time you'll see me.
Thank you for your advice also. I always try to share my testimony every opportunity as I'm teaching, talking to others on the road. I know that my testimony has grown so much here on the mission already, and I'm not even halfway through. I do miss home and all you guys and everything that I used to do. But i know that these two years will give me so much more than anything I could be doing at home right now. It helps not only me,and not only those I teach, but it blesses you guys too. I hope you have felt the blessings that have come from my service here. I always pray for you that you can have a good day at work and that you are protected at all times. I hope you guys have a good start to 2014 and back to life as normal! I can't wait to write to you again next week!

Hey Jake! Wow, from what you say in your email, it seems that your vacation was a lot of fun! You guys went to a lot of cool places! I want to keep seeing pictures of your vacation. Send more next week. I bet Hunter was super excited to see you haha. I wonder how he'll react when I finally get to see him again. He might not even recognize me! I saw the picture of you on the beach. It looks sooo nice! I really wish I could have been there. When I'm walking around in a shirt and tie in the hot and humid weather, I think it would be nice to be at the beach instead. Or maybe back in Utah, with all the snow. Is there still a lot of snow over there? Tell Mom and Dad that you should all go sledding together. Anyway, I guess you're starting school again this week. I hope you have a good time being back with your friends and playing in the snow.
I love you sooo much! I miss you a lot and think about you!
Until next Monday,

With love Josh

PS: tell hunter I said hi!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Week 33  12/30/2013

Dear Family, 

I'm glad the whole family has been having fun in California. It sounds like things have worked out pretty well. It's nice that you've been going around, to the beach and other places. I remember our last trip to Cali in April, it was really fun. 7 months without seeing someone is a long time, so I can understand why Mom cried when she saw me during our Skype call. I'm glad some of the family there was able to see me as well. It's nice that they are learning about missionary work and the church because of me serving a mission. I hope you are able to continue talking to them about it. I hope they continue to be interested in learning about the church in any way possible. I have still not received the package. But it will get here sooner or later and hopefully in one piece.
Skype with Josh on Christmas day

This past week was nice. As you know, we had that Christmas party on Tuesday which was fun seeing old companions from the MTC, elder Heaton from Quelimane, my first area. Then I talked with you on Wednesday which was of course the highlight of this Holiday season

Mom, it was so nice to see you on Christmas Day! I'm glad I made you happy, even though you cried haha. I didn't know you guys would still be in California by now. It's one of the longer trips you've made, almost 2 weeks. It's nice that you spent Christmas there and will be spending new years over there. Especially for you, since you don't like the cold and snow of Utah. I would love to see some snow right now! When we talked, the weather was extremely hot and humid 
The rest of the week was work as usual, although it was a little difficult to visit people with the celebrations and get together that were still continuing. It will be like that until after New Year's, then things should go back to normal. New Year's here will be a normal day for us missionaries. These past few days have been really rainy also. There was about half the usual number of people at church yesterday because of the rain. Many of our investigators and members have to walk kind of a long way, and with all the water and mud in the roads, some roads are impossible to pass through.  We are in the rainy season officially, so it's to be expected. The boots I have are working nicely, my feet aren’t' getting wet. But today I need to buy a new umbrella. I had one, but forgot it in Quelimane. Our investigator families are doing well. We'll probably have our next wedding/baptism at the end of January. We're hoping other families will begin to progress faster as well so they can get baptized within the next month or two.

There won't be another party for us here for new years, it will just be a normal day for us. But I'm guessing a lot of people will be drinking out in the roads, which might make working a bit difficult, but it should be fine. 

 Anyway, I love you so much and thank you for your prayers for me all the time. Have a good New Year's! I hope you guys spend it well with the family. Thanks for those pictures, by the way. Have a good rest of your vacation!

Elder Rebollo