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Monday, March 31, 2014

Branch conference

Week 46 - 3/31/2014

“I know the Lord is blessing all of us so much, we have to make sure we express our gratitude in prayer and by the things we do every day”
Dear family
Yesterday was branch conference (Just like ward conference). It was really great! There were 230 people at church! That's the most people I've seen at our branch yet. We had eight of our new prospect families show up, so that was very exciting!. I don't have any specific responsibility during church, but as missionaries we're always supposed to be aware of what's happening, making sure people that come for the first time are in the right classes, that they have a hymnbook, a good place to sit, things like that. The Hobsons come to church at T3 too, so it's nice to have their help in the branch. Sister Hobson made a chocolate cake and gave it to us after church to take home. It was super good! They are always willing to help us out in whatever way they can too. After church yesterday we had a family night at the home of one of the members. There were about 15 people there in total. Everyone had a great time while learning from the Spirit; we played a few games, had a spiritual thought, and made popcorn. The members here love family nights (FHE).

We had a good week overall. There's not a day where everything goes the way we planned, but we always end up having a good day. We found a few new investigators and the families that are closer to baptism continue to do well. Antonio will be traveling to Inhambane this week to take care of one of his documents for marriage. Their baptism date is for the first week of May. Daniel and Zaida are doing well too; they brought one of their friends to church yesterday. Alfredo and Laura, who have now been members for over a month, are doing well. Alfredo sometimes has to work on Sundays, but other than that they are at church every week.

Mom, I don't need new shoes, they are starting to get a little beat up, but they still have a lot of life left in them. I don't think I'll be getting another bike anytime soon; if I'm not mistaken I think the only area in the mission that uses bikes is Quelimane. The ground here is too rocky and uneven and gets super muddy when it rains, it would be too much of a hassle to use bikes here. Plus, (speaking from experience) they would probably get stolen, haha.

You guys are so lucky to be going to general conference. Tell me how it went. I know you won't be able to share every talk, but write down things that stood out to you, take a little notebook or something. That way you can share some stuff with me next week.  
I like the pics you sent of Kimberly and the whole group. Tell her I say hi and wish her all the best; 18 months went so fast, it seems.  I know that when I come home, you'll probably be camping out at the airport the night before haha. 
Anyway, I loved hearing about your week. I feel the same way you do,  knowing that you guys are safe and healthy and happy week after week. I know the Lord is blessing all of us so much, we have to make sure we express our gratitude in prayer and by the things we do every day. I hope you have a good week and enjoy general conference!



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Another week serving the wonderful people here - It was a good week!

Week 45 March 24, 2014 T3 

” Things with my companion are going well. We teach well together and are finding new investigators with potential to progress” 

Hi Everyone, 

It sounds like you had a great week. It went by super-fast for me. I guess that's what happens when you have a routine every day. I know every day here is not exactly the same, but we do basically the same things, so the days kind of blend together. That's why I write in my journal every day, if I didn't I wouldn’t be able to remember the details of any given day of the week.
I'm excited to talk to you guys on Mother's day. I haven't thought too much about it, actually. Mom, I know you can hardly wait- haha- you already know you're going to cry when we talk. Just try not to cry too much, I want to talk to you guys, not see you cry haha. 

The weather here has been nice. There were a couple days last week where it was cloudy, but didn't rain, it was nice and cool, must have been in the 70's. I'm hoping as the weeks go on it will continue to cool down and rain less often. I liked the weather back in July and August when I first got here.  

My week was pretty good. We found new investigators and our existing investigators continue to progress. Things are going super well here. There are always things that we are trying to improve, of course. But I'm happy with the growth that we are seeing in this area.

Dad, thank you for your advice for me. I often think about the experiences you shared with me at home about your mission and compare them to the experiences I'm having and see what things I can learn from the experiences you had. Things with my companion are going well. We teach well together and are finding new investigators with potential to progress. We have two families that are progressing a lot right now. One will get married and baptized next month, the other in May. Our goal is to have at least one family baptized every month. So we are working hard to always find new families to teach. We have been teaching more lessons lately, and are trying to work with the members more and get references from them to find more people to teach. 

It’s great that you will go to general conference; it will be a good experience especially for Jacob. I can't wait until I can watch general conference with you guys again. 
Here in the mission we will be watching conference probably about 3 weeks later.

I love you guys so much and appreciate how you are always thinking of me. I always love your letters; I'm constantly smiling as I read them. Thank you. 

 Until next week!

Love, Josh

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 44 - Called To Be A Trainer

Week 44 – 3/16/2014  T3

Hi guys,
Those pictures that you sent me of the family get-together are great; it looks like it was tons of fun. Seeing the pictures and hearing about the food that dad cooked on the grill makes me miss home so much! But not in a bad way, I'm happy to be here of course. But there really is no place like home. Speaking of which, when I talk to you guys in two months for Mother's day, I will have 1 year on the mission! Time always flies by, but I've never seen it fly by faster than on the mission.
Things here are going well.  That's nice that President Kretly sent that email to you guys telling you about my calling as trainer.  I gave you some wrong information last week about my new companion; I think it was a miscommunication thing or whatever. But here is the correct information: my new companion is a Mozambican, from Beira. His name is Elder Alfredo. He started his mission in December, went to the Brazil MTC, spent a couple months in the Sao Paulo mission, and is now back here to serve. His assigned mission is the Angola Luanda mission. So he will only be here in Mozambique until he gets his visa to Angola, which he will most likely get next month. So he will only be my companion for this transfer. He's a nice guy. I will be doing the training program for new missionaries with him this transfer. We will both be helping each other out, me helping him with missionary work, he helping me perfect my Portuguese. He is my first non-English speaking companion.
It's a lot different now, talking Portuguese most of the day, I really like that. Our district now has 4 native Portuguese speakers: Elder Alfredo, Elder Ndala (Angola), Elder Matezo (also from Beira), and Elder Barroso (Brazil). The only Americans are me and Elder Dustin, a new missionary. He, just like me, went to the U of U and lived in the honors students housing also. So I probably saw him before the mission, even though I don't remember. Anyway, my companion didn't arrive from Brazil until Wednesday night, and then had to stay at the mission office to take care of immigration stuff. So he didn't arrive at our house until Thursday night. In the meantime while I was waiting, I tripled up with Elder Barroso and Elder Dustin. It was nice walking with them and meeting their investigators.
Since me and Elder Alfredo only had Friday-Sunday this week in our area, we didn't get a lot done, but it was still a good week. We had 2 families come to church yesterday. They are the families that are making the most progress right now and we are going to try to help them get married and baptized next month. We are also teaching other families that have potential to be baptized either next month or in May. The work in this area continues to be blessed. This is my 4th transfer here, so it's very possible I'll get transferred out next month, so I'm enjoying the time I still have here to help these families.
The weather has been fine. Once again we got a nice soaking on Wednesday. As we were walking home the power went out in the neighborhood so the only light we had was the lightning, and there was a ton of it! It was a pretty cool storm. But since Wednesday, it hasn't rained again. And I hope it stays that way for the next little while.  Mom, to answer your questions: Yes the rain boots are rubber, like fishing boots. We have a washer, no dryer. Each elder has his day to do laundry during the week, my day is Tuesday.
I’m glad Jacob always is hanging out with his friends. That's nice that he always has someone his age to spend time with. I'm sure he had fun at the family reunion as well. Why didn't you set aside any of the food to save for me? Haha.
Anyway, I'm so glad to hear that you guys are happy and spending time together as a family. Even though work can be draining, it's nice to let go of all that and spend time together, that is what's most important.
I love you all very much and pray for you guys every night and every morning. I hope you have another great week!!

A short video from one of the weddings



Monday, March 10, 2014

More rain than I've ever seen. I will stay in T3 training a new companion

Week 43--  3/10/2014 T3

"The roads were filled with huge puddles. We were walking in water past our knees most of the way home”
Dear Family,

I'm glad you liked the pictures I posted on the website. First of all, I'll tell you about transfers: I will be staying in T3 another 6 weeks! My companion, Elder Reed, is getting transferred to Tete. My new companion is Elder Alfredo, from Cape Verde. He is new to the mission, and I will be training him. My district changed a lot. Out of the 6 of us in the house now, 4 are native Portuguese speakers; the only ones that aren't are me and Elder Dustin, another new missionary, from Bountiful. It should be an interesting new transfer. I'm excited for the opportunity to train a new missionary. The next six weeks will be great as I continue to work with the wonderful people here in T3.

This past week was awesome, but extremely rainy! It was by far the rainiest week since I’ve been here in Mozambique. On Tuesday we were teaching a lesson when it started pouring and because of the metal roofs that are on most houses, the rain hitting it makes a lot of noise, which made it impossible to teach a lesson. We decided to reschedule with the family for another day and run home before it got dark. The roads were filled with huge puddles. We were walking in water past our knees most of the way home. Of course, we changed into dry clothes when we got home. The family we were visiting was super nice; they lent me an umbrella to take on the way home, since I didn't bring one with me. The next few days we walked with boots.  In the house here we have tall rain boots, so I used those instead of the ones I have. The ones I brought are better for walking in the mud, not in lot of water. Anyway, it rained again on Sunday, just as hard. And again, thinking it wasn't going to rain, I didn't take an umbrella. We were about a 40 minute walk away from the house and the roads were like rivers. I got completely drenched, everything was wet! But it's nice to come back to a safe, dry house and put on dry clothes.  One bad thing about this weather is that the power and water go out. It doesn't last for too long though. Thankfully, we have a good supply of drinking water stored up in the house.  Today we are going around with boots again. I hope it doesn't rain anymore and the water will start to dry up. Besides the weather, the work went really well this week. We found a few new investigator families that have potential. I've seen a lot of growth in this area since I got here. At the beginning, we only had 2 families that were progressing. Now we have 10. I'm so glad that I will be able to stay in this area for another 6 weeks. I hope and pray that the miracles will continue in this area.

I'm glad you guys all had a good week. It's nice to hear that things at church are going well and you are enjoying your calling.  Mom, to answer your questions, yes I do set an alarm every day to wake up. And we get up at the same time on P days too, 6:30 every morning. I've gotten pretty used to it. I still think sometimes how it would be nice to sleep in, but I'll have plenty of time to do that when I go home.  So you went forward one hour right? So you lost an hour of sleep on Sunday, I guess you must have been tired all day. It's always hard to get used to that.  Thank you for the picture of hunter, I love that dog. I hope he's still healthy; I want him to be there for me next year.

Thank you for sending me those care packages, I really hope that at least one make it here. Especially since you guys put so much effort into sending me something nice from home, I would hate to see them all get lost. There are missionaries here that have gotten every package sent to them. And there are others that like me have not received any of their packages. I think it's just a matter of luck. But with those ones you sent last month, they should be getting here at the end of this month or the next. I will let you know when I get any of them. 

Anyway, I hope you have another good week and you guys continue to have chances to relax and be together, even though work can be demanding.

I love you so much!!!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A wedding and baptism this past Saturday

Week 42  3/3/14 

Dear family, 

I thought a lot about you on Friday and of how you guys might have celebrated my birthday if I was there. I hope you weren't too sad, that day was a great day for me here.

This week was good. On Tuesday I had another division, this time with Elder Herd. It was another good day of lessons and contacts. I was thinking that Wednesday marked 8 months since I arrived in Mozambique-amazing how fast it is going by! On Thursday morning we went to help a member, Jose, on his house again. He is the same one we helped a few months ago and I sent you pictures of it. We helped him do basically the same thing, but on a different part of the house. It's always nice to do service like that, opportunities for it don't come around too often. Friday was a good day. It was pretty normal day of work, and throughout the day elders wished me happy birthday.  Alfredo did too as we walked with him that morning to teach one of his friends, and wife-It was a good lesson with them, that was a nice way to end the day- the nice thing is that they came to church yesterday.

Saturday, once again, was a wedding and baptism day. And again, it was supposed to start at 9am, but due to some delays, it didn't start until noon! The ceremony was short, and the baptism that followed was good too.

Elder Reed baptized her and I confirmed her the next day in sacrament meeting. After her baptism there was food and cake, of course. It was hot inside the church because the air conditioners had stopped working, so they brought the chairs and tables outside. It was actually pretty nice. In the end, we left the church at 5pm, 9 hours after we had arrived. It went for a long time, but I'm glad that there is now another couple making covenants to live the commandment of the Lord. Overall it was an awesome week.

A week from today I will find out if I get another 6 weeks in T3 or if I will get transferred. I've already had the same amount of time here that I had in Quelimane. But I hope I stay here, because this area is seeing success it hasn't seen in a long time, and I'd like to continue working here. But of course, it's up to the Lord; I'll go where he wants me to go.

Dad, that is so cool how you got that message on Facebook from that lady you baptized while on your mission. It will be great to hear from the people I teach and baptize here years after I have finished my mission. I want to keep in contact with them.  
I want you guys to know how happy I am to be serving the Lord here in Mozambique. I can say that of all the choices that I've made thus far in my life, this is the best one yet. I can’t' imagine how my life would be right now without my mission. I wouldn't have such love and understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ if I didn't serve. My testimony wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren't for my mission. Of course I still have a lot to learn and my testimony still has a lot of room to grow. But if it wasn't for this precious time I've had to serve the Lord, I wouldn't have such a desire to deepen my understanding and strengthen my testimony. I wouldn't have such a love for God's children and a desire to share the true and restored gospel with them. Without a doubt, this mission has changed my life forever.

Thanks for all your love for me and happy birthday wishes! I love you sooo much and hope that you have a happy week. I love you sooo much,