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Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 59- Young new members helping us in the Work



Dear family, I am always overjoyed to read your letters every week and read how the Lord is blessing you all.

Things over here continue to be fantastic! We had a really good week and are excited to continue to work. Monday went really well. After internet we went to the 'baixa' (downtown) and looked around some stores. Maputo is really big and nice. Walking down some of the streets I feel like I could be in San Diego or Los Angeles. But then again, I've been outside of the United States for over a year, so my perception could be wrong haha. On Thursday 6/26 I completed one year in the country of Mozambique. I really can't believe it's been a year already. On Friday I went to the city again to immigration to renew my diri (residence card). I went with Elder Thurston from my district (we were at the MTC in the same district there too) and so we have been here the same period of time. After doing the immigration stuff we went to a restaurant to kind of celebrate our one year in the country. We ate at a place called Mundo's (Google it).  I got a super good burger with fries and a soft drink, we had a great time, it was fun, haha.

The other days of the week went really well and we got good work done. Our investigators are progressing nicely and we had success in finding new families to teach.  Every day we talk with people on the road all the time, We try to find complete families, husband, wife and children who are interested in learning more about the message of the Gospel. We experience some rejection, of course, but it doesn't discourage me from talking with even more people. My companion is a really hard worker and we always motivate each other to continue on, particularly when things are difficult. We are planning on the marriage and baptism of Antonio and Anita on July 12th. They are an awesome couple; they have a sincere desire to follow Christ. We are excited for them. The three young men (rapazes) we baptized last week are doing great and are well integrated with the other young people in the branch here. A couple of them went with us to our teaching appointments during the week -They really enjoy working with us doing missionary work.
On Sunday four young men asked us if they could work with us contacting and teaching lessons. That was great!  
Soon we will have a zone conference.  The missionaries from Swaziland will be here. I'm excited to hear about the progress our mission is having and about the progress with our goals, I’m also looking forward to the training sessions with President Kretly. I will tell you all about it next week. 

I'm so glad  that you guys went to see the Utah Symphony concert at Sundance,  It must have been great.  I remember when we went to see them a couple summers ago in Park City.   I remember that dad and Jacob had to go inside because it got so cold . it was a great concert; we had so much fun. We will go to one of those concerts under the stars again next summer, for sure.
Anyway, I hope you have a good week. I love you and I always pray for all of you

Until next week!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 58 - 6/23/2014  

I'm soooo grateful to be here on the mission, there is nothing else like it and nothing better that I could possibly be doing than what I am doing right now. Some days are difficult and require a lot of patience. But every difficulty and disappointment is worth it, because this is the Lord's work that we are doing and He will … bless the people here for our diligent efforts”

Dear family,
Just as you're happy to hear that I'm happy and healthy every week, it makes me so happy to know that you guys are too. You guys had a fun week. I loved those pictures you put up! I went to go look at them before I read your letters and when I saw the pictures of the carnival (Strawberry Days) I said to myself "No!… Already?" I couldn't believe that time of the year had already come. Being on the mission is really messing with my sense of time haha. I remember last year when you wrote to me telling me about Strawberry Days while I was in the MTC. Speaking of that, one year ago today was my last day in the MTC, and on Wednesday I will complete one year in the country. It’s time to renew my visa for the next year.  
Mom, I wish I could have been there to see you on the big slide. People probably heard you screaming from a mile away! LOL!

Yes dad, I’ve been keeping up with the World Cup here. It's kind of hard not to haha. Im glad the US moved on to the next round, even with that loss to Germany.  I got emails from a couple of my friends, serving in Brazil and in Costa Rica, they tell me that it's basically impossible to work when a game is on, so they just return to their apartments and study. It's not that bad here, because most of the games don't show until late, like 9pm, 10pm or midnight, because of the time difference. Some games are on at 6pm, though. That's when it gets difficult for us, because the streets are empty; a lot of people are all in their houses or somewhere watching the game. 
We are doing internet right now, but after we're done we'll be going to downtown Maputo to the shops.
I'm glad everything is going well at church. I will probably be asked to talk in other wards and stuff when I get back, huh? Everyone's going to want to hear about how was Africa and stuff haha. For me, it's normal here, but I forget sometimes how different and foreign this place is compared to back home.
Anyway, our week was good and a little difficult too. On Monday when we got home from internet and shopping, we discovered that we didn't have our phone anymore. We figured out that it happened on the chapa coming home. It either fell out of my pocket in the process of getting off the chapa or someone pick-pocketed me. Either way, we were without a phone on Monday and Tuesday. We called the office for them to arrange a new phone for us. In the meantime, it was kind of difficult to set up lessons without a phone, but we were still able to get a few.
On Wednesday we had a crazy day! Up until that day my companion along with another missionary in our district who is from Beira, Elder Cambarame hadn't been officially set apart as missionaries and didn't have their nametag.  

So, on Wednesday we went to the mission home; there, President Kretly gave a training on leadership… The training was done from the office and there were about 25 of us missionaries there. There were also missionaries watching from Beira and Swaziland, through GoToMeeting. Since missionaries in Swaziland don't speak Portuguese and the majority of the missionaries here in Mozambique are American, the training was done in English but  some of us translated for our companions who are native Portuguese speakers. 

Anyway, back to where I was. After the training, my companion and the other missionary were set apart by the President and they received their nametags. Going forward, my companion’s name is not Elder Zeca, he now goes by his middle name, Elder Conde. Im explaining this so you don’t think I have a new companion, it’s the same person,  haha just a new name, that’s all.   After the setting apart we also got a new cell phone.  As we were getting ready to leave the office, President asked us if we wanted to go eat something. We said yes, of course. So he took us to a restaurant a few blocks away from the mission office.  The four of us, me, Elder Conde, Elder Cambarame, and his companion Elder Matezo, each had a plate of Chicken, rice and potatoes, it was really good,

It was nice to sit with President and talk with him a bit. He asked me about you guys.  It was nice of him to take some time to be able to get to know me a little better. It must be difficult to know every missionary well; he is the leader of the church for two countries and is in charge of 30+ branches and 100+ missionaries. So it was a nice treat to go out to lunch with him. He then gave us a ride to the chapa paragem (stop) and we went home.
The rest of the week went better, since we had a phone. But it's difficult these days to sit with new investigators, especially when a World Cup game is on. We've already watched parts of games a few times at people's houses before we have them turn it off so we can teach a lesson haha. But it's all good, the World cup will pass. 

The baptism on Saturday was great. The three young men passed the baptismal interview. I baptized one of them, Naftal. Elder Conde baptized the other two, Pedro and Elidio. They were really excited for their baptism. The next day in sacrament meeting, I confirmed Pedro. These young men are great. They are intelligent and really understand the scriptures.  They all desire to serve missions. Church yesterday was good, as usual. In the afternoon we walked with David, the young man who was baptized last month, on the 17th. He walked with us to our teaching appointments. He too has a strong testimony and has a desire to serve a mission. We will continue to work with all these young men so they can make plans to serve missions and start saving now.
I have this before, and I say it again: I'm soooo grateful to be here on the mission, there is nothing else like it and nothing better that I could possibly be doing than what I am doing right now. Some days are difficult and require a lot of patience. But every difficulty and disappointment are worth it, because this is the Lord's work that we are doing and He will bless me, bless you, and bless the people here for our diligent efforts. 

Thank you for your letter this week and I hope you have another good week at work and spending time with Jacob at home! I love you sooo very much!!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 57. The work goes on-- Four new branches in Beira

Week 57-- 6/16/2014

"...many are being blessed because they accept the message that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives today."

Dear Family,

Thank you for your letter this week. I actually had no idea that Sunday was Father's day until I read your emails. As far as I can tell, they don't celebrate that day here. June 1st was children's day, though, and they have mother's day (sort of), but not father's day.  Dad, I hope you had a great Father’s day!  I wish it was easy to send things home from here, or else I would be sending you guys things for these special occasions.

Oh Yes! I know very well that the World Cup is going on right now. Mozambican love futbol! It seems that everyone is paying attention to the games, and for the most part people here would like Brazil to win.

Things in the mission are going well. We learned today that four new branches were created in Beira. The church is growing very rapidly there! In Maputo not as fast, but it's still growing. 

We had a really good week. One of our investigator couples, finally finished their document process for marriage and submitted them at the civil register. They will be married and baptized on July 12th!  They are excited of finally being able to set a date for their wedding and baptism; they are making great progress. We are very happy and excited for them as well!
This Saturday we will have the baptisms for three young men, all are 17 years old. They are very excited to be baptized. These are very smart young men who will have the power of the priesthood and the potential to serve full time missions. We also have two other couples in the document process and they are doing great. We are trying to have one more couple get baptized on the 12th of next month as well, if everything works out that way. We also found a couple new families this week that we have started teaching and have good potential to progress.

Things with my companion, Elder Zeca, are going great! He is an awesome missionary and a great companion. He is helping me to perfect my Portuguese more and I'm helping him learn English.  He likes singing church songs and sometimes we sing hymns in English using the little hymnbook that you sent me. We are working really well together and the Lord has blessed us soooo much in our area with many people who are willing to listen to our message and in turn many are being blessed because they accept the message that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives today (click here). We do what we can to reach out to as many people as we can every day and The Lord rewards our efforts.

The weather continues to be cool, but it's nice because I don't get super sweaty from walking around all day.
Anyway, my health is good and I'm happy. I know that you are always happy- I can tell by reading your letters every week-- I'm so grateful to the Lord for how he is blessing you guys back home as well as He blesses me out here.

I hope you guys have another good week. Enjoy your next trip to the temple.

Love Josh

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 56-- Colder weather. Enjoying my time and the work here


Hello family!

It’s great to be writing you again today, I like all those pictures you uploaded, everyone looks great!

Tell everyone in the ward that I said hi and hope they are doing well. I probably won't recognize half the ward when I get back, there are always people moving in and out of the ward. I want to thank the Adams for sending me the ward newsletter every month so I can keep up with what's happening and read the updates of the other missionaries in the ward.

I can't believe how fast the time is flying by. But I feel like I've been enjoying the work more lately. Each day I realize how short my time in my mission really is. So it doesn't do any good to dwell on the disappointments that happen. Being more positive really makes all the difference.

Anyway, this past week was really good. And I really can't believe I'm sitting here writing to you again already! On Monday night, Elder Zeca arrived along with another new Mozambican elder from Beira, Elder Cambarambe. He too was called to Angola and is waiting to go to the Brazil MTC. But yeah, Elder Zeca recieved his call back in December, but because of the visa problems for Brazil he got delayed in starting. Monday was his first day on the mission. He still doesn't have the visa, but it should be coming soon. He hasn't even been set apart yet because President Kretly was traveling this past week. So he doesn't yet have a nametag. But things are going super well with him. He is from the Beira Manga 1st branch. He helped missionaries a lot back at home so he already knows how to teach pretty well. I'm helping him get used to missionary life and things like that. We both like music a lot, so we have that in common. We are getting along great!

We had a good week of work. Sergio and Cecilia are starting their documents for marriage and hopefully will get married at the end of this month or beginning of the next. Manuel and Tina are doing well. They were having some problems last week, but are doing better now. They too should be getting married in the coming weeks. We found a good new family too, so we're happy about that. This past Sunday not many of our investigators showed up to church, the attendance in general was lower this week; maybe it was the weather.  It has been cold this week. It's not a good excuse to miss church, but it was probably a factor. It's especially cold at night.  These past few days I've been sleeping with the air conditioner off. I didn't think it was possible to feel this cold in Africa. At night it's probably about 50 degrees, but with the humidity it feels colder. I might have to start putting on my sweater; I haven't used it yet on my mission. But I definitely am enjoying the lower temperatures more so than the heat of a few months ago. You can actually walk outside for 10 minutes without sweating haha

Anyway we are also teaching a member family, Armindo and Adelina, to help them prepare for the temple. The lessons we had with them were really good. They really want to go to the temple within the next few months. We had an FHE at their house yesterday night. A lot of the youth were there too, it was nice. I just wish I would have taken a picture. Speaking of that, I will try to upload more pics today, if the computer will let me. A lot of times it's a hit and miss with these computers.

Just want you to know that I'm doing super well here and I'm feeling really great about the work in this area

I love you soooo much and wish you a great week!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 55- Another round of transfers and I will continue to work in my same area

June 2 2014  T3 

“Jesus Christ brings true happiness to families, and if they read the scriptures and pray as a family, they will get through whatever challenges they are having. “ 

Dear family, 

I was so happy to read your guys' letters this week.  

I had thought that our missionaries wouldn't get transferred to Swaziland, but I was wrong. Four elders and two sisters got transferred there. Swaziland now has 20 missionaries, and a senior couple. This mission is now Portuguese and English speaking. So at some point in the future it is possible I could go there, how crazy would that be? 

Now, you're probably anxious to know about the transfers. It was crazy! The mission had so many changes! But despite all those changes, the Lord had decided that I will be staying here in my same area for yet another 6 weeks --Yep, that's transfer number 6!! I cannot tell you how happy I was to find out that I am staying here even a little longer.

My companion, Elder Alfredo left this morning to the airport. He finally got his visa to travel to his assigned mission of Angola-I was excited for him. My new companion will be Elder Zeka, and just like Elder Alfredo, he is Mozambican, from the same city of Beira; he was also called to the Angola mission. This will be his first area serving his mission.-- I am happy that I am called to serve and teach the people in this area and at the same time help train new missionaries like I did with Elder Alfredo and now with Elder Zika- I love this work! 

For the time being, I'm companions with Elder Matezo (also Mozambican); I don't know when Elder Zeka will get here, but I'm guessing it won't be any later than tomorrow. But yeah, I am excited to be able to stay here in T3 for another transfer. I think as of now, no other elder on the mission has been in his area longer than I have been in mine. It's pretty cool. Obviously the Lord is telling me I haven't yet accomplished everything that I'm supposed to do here. 

This past week flew by super-fast and it was a good week. We helped many of our current investigator families. For the most part they are doing fine, but some are facing challenges that are keeping them from progressing towards baptism. One of these families is having financial difficulties and that is making difficult for them to obtain their marriage documents, but they'll eventually get them as they keep working and saving as much as they can. Other couples are facing some challenges in their relationship. We are working with them, teaching them that only the gospel of Jesus Christ brings true happiness to families, and if they read the scriptures and pray as a couple and as families, they will get through whatever challenges they are having.
We have a few families that could be baptized within the next 6 weeks. But it will depend on their desire to follow Christ.  We will continue to teach them and praying for them that they will make the right choice. 

Anyway, I'm doing really well here, I'm staying healthy. The weather here has been nice. We continue to head into "winter", so it will keep staying cool for the next few months. I'm glad all you guys are healthy and happy. 

Have a great week!! I love you!

Until next week!