Sunday, August 4, 2013

29Jul-4Aug2013 Kretlys,Shopping,HelpingHands,T3Branch

On Monday afternoon Kretlys took us to the airport to pick up our last suitcase. We also went to the American Embassy, the short first step in the immigration process; Wednesday we went to Moçambique Immigration, a longer (almost an hour and a half) process, and obtained visas good for our first year.

We had an interesting Family Home Evening with the District President, Brother Castanheira, who brought his wife and children, and Samo, one of the counselors in the Mission Presidency. After a light dinner we watched “It’s A Miracle” a video about the success of the family approach to missionary work here in Moçambique referred to by Elder Anderson’s April 2013 conference talk.  Hopefully this video will eventually be available on YouTube; we’ll let you know when it is posted.  We also watched “A Pioneer Miracle” a short video about a child’s prayer for safely being answered and we highly recommend it!

On Tuesday we attended our first staff meeting in the Mission Office with President & Sister Kretly, Assistants to the President, Office Missionaries, and we also met Elder and Sister Hobson, Humanitarian missionaries.  President Kretly is an amazing leader and the elders are exceptional.   Mission growth was reviewed:  June - 156 baptism (38 families); July 42 baptism (12 families).  In August they have projected the additional of another 40 families!  The meeting also reviewed plans for the District Conference in Beira (August 3-4) and the District Conference in Matola (August 10-11).

Elder and Sister Hobson, who have already been here almost 3 months, have been wonderful to help orient us to Maputo and how to get around. We’ve gone to lunch with them a couple of times and we enjoyed, along with four elders, a delicious Sunday dinner after Fast & Testimony meeting.

This week we have been able to use Sister Kretly’s car, as President and Sister Kretly have been out of town most of the week.   This has been a great challenge because driving is done on the left-hand side of the street!  Also, the streets are narrow and most streets have no lines delineating lanes.  Vehicles weave in and out of traffic in a seemingly random fashion and horns are honked to warn people and cars to move out of the way.  People are always present on the roads and they jay-walk everywhere – few intersections have crosswalks and there are no pedestrian light signals.  The Matola chapel is about 7 miles away; the mission office is about 5 miles away. Both places will require driving, which in this crazy driving world will be problematic for us.  Public transportation exists in the form of "chapas," vans that cram people in, and open-bed trucks, which are off limits for missionaries.

The Hobsons live on the 2nd floor of a 5 story apartment building as do the four sister missionaries.  We will be living on the 5th floor (the far tallest building on the left in the picture below - 3991 on Avenida 24 de Julho); the latest is that we’ll be moving in on Tuesday, August 6. 

One day this week we went shopping with Sister Kretly to purchase some things for our apartment. There are two main stores that carry groceries and other items that we might need: Premier and Shoprite. They carry some American brands but most of the products are supplied from South Africa, Europe, or Brazil. You can get most of what you want, but the brands are different. Food is quite expensive. For example, milk is about $2 per liter that's $8 per gallon. Ice cream is about $10 a quart. Guess Dad will be eating less ice cream here!

New things we’ve seen this week:  children selling dogs by the side of the road; sparrows (yes, they look the same as the sparrows in Utah!); first “Laughing Doves” (remember the common doves in Utah are called “Mourning Doves” – guess birds are just happier here :); Pied Crows – Dad calls them crows in white  t-shirts as their chest is white; selling beautiful fabric called "capulanas" which the women wrap around for long skirts; actually there are people selling everything from oranges to dog collars!  It's like a walking convenience store!

Our most diverse day so far was Saturday, August 3.   Hold on, here we go! We helped with a service project in Maputo, cleaning up garbage on the streets.  If we had known beforehand what the service project was, we would have dressed more appropriately :).  We had dressed for the baptism which was happening after the service project.  Over 80 branch members, including missionaries, came to help with the project. There was at least one man who saw us working and helped us, too!  This country has a real problem keeping up with garbage and litter; we picked up candy wrappers, cigarette butts, bottle caps, broken glass, bottles, metal lids, plastic bags, paper, cardboard, etc.  The next time you unwrap a piece of candy, remember if you have ability to remove the wrapper from the candy, you have the ability to put the wrapper in the garbage, not the ground!

On the way "home" we got stopped by the police (very official green uniformed police armed with rifles with bullet magazines) who detained us for a while (we had made a left turn from the wrong lane).  After calling his "boss" the police gave back Dad's international driver's license and sent us on our way.  After getting Dad's credit card back at the Kretlys, because we thought we needed more than 500 Meticais for groceries, we headed out and missed the street where the Premier grocery store was.   We got lost! We were on streets which were off of our map and we were "driving blind" dodging cars and people.  Word to the wise – don’t go driving on Saturday!!  We finally got back to the city and thankfully Dad saw our soon-to-be apartment building on the right and we knew we were on “Avenida de 24 Julho” and we got our bearings to get to Premier.  We purchased only a few things – spent 313 Meticais.  So, we didn’t really need the card, but we used it :).  Almost got lost again going "home."  We were very thankful to be safe here at the President's house.  Just think, all of this adventure happened before 3:05 p.m. (or 15:05 as they refer to it).

The weather here is very moderate.  One morning the clouds rolled in and it rained a lot, but by 10:30 a.m. it had cleared up.  During the service project it also rained for a while; by the time we were walking back to our car it had cleared and was getting hot.  We've seen lots of palm trees and other tropical plants.  This red flowering plant grows outside (in Utah this plant is only an indoor plant).


For our 2nd Sunday here, we attended Church at the T-3 branch with the Hobsons. On the way there we passed many women dressed in white coats and white hats.  We didn’t know what Church they were going to, but it showed that this people are devoted church-goers.  There was an accident on the main road to T-3 which backed up the traffic.  We noticed the huge well-kept gardens at the sides of the road.

When we arrived at the church building, Sister Hobson whisked me off to help in Primary while Dad went to Sunday School and Priesthood Meeting.  There were no Primary leaders, so Sister Hobson and I began singing with the children and I got to play the keyboard!  Elders Oyarzun (soon to be going home to Chile) and Bender (from Las Vegas) came in and helped teach the children the words to “Families Can Be Together Forever” and “Book of Mormon stories.”  It was fun to help!  Then, one of the counselors came and taught the group of children (about 15) a lesson on forgiveness.

There were 7 confirmations in Sacrament Meeting – children from member families.  This shows that the families who are in the Church are teaching their children the importance of covenants.  Testimonies were steady and the meeting went late – I wished I could have understood what they were saying!  After Church we talked to 4 of the elders:  Elder Hall (from Richmond, Utah); Elder Bender (from Las Vegas); Elder Oyarzun (from Chile); and Elder Proksch (from Las Vegas).
Joseph, pictured below with his Dad (Paulo), was one of the children confirmed today.  The rest of the Solomão Family are Mother (Alzira) and daughters Liahona and Arco-Iris (rainbow).

We miss our family!  There is an 8-9 hour difference between us; when we wake up our children’s families often have already gone to bed; when we are sleeping it is afternoon for our children’s families.  Although it is pretty tricky to arrange, we are really enjoying Skyping with our family! 

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