Monday, August 12, 2013

4 - 11 Aug 2013 NewMissionaries,Driving,Beach,MoveApt

Last Sunday evening we ate dinner at the Hobsons with the office elders.  The Hobsons, if you haven’t gathered already, have been our lifeline on many occasions! 

The office elders told us that 11 new missionaries were expected on Monday evening.  Since President and Sister Kretly would be out of town until late Tuesday evening, Dad and I we were asked to host the new missionaries until they returned.  Monday morning we found out our role would be a little more extensive.  We were asked to plan, buy and make Monday evening snack, 2 breakfasts, and 2 dinners for 16 missionaries. So, we made menus and we were off to Premier again, but this time following Elder Hobson, who volunteered to lead us there, as he also had to go to the store for a few things.  Our shopping took a couple of hours, which was great, because it helped us become really familiar with the store. We returned safely from the store and were surprised that Isabelle Guilamba, the Kretly’s maid, had prepared a dessert and bread. She helped me bake a chocolate cake for Tuesday dinner dessert, too.

The missionaries in this group are exceptional!  Susie, Karen, and Sharon, do you remember the Poyfairs from Vancouver?  Well, one of the missionaries was Elder Poyfair from Spokane, Washington.  His uncle is Ed Poyfair and his grandmother is Penny Poyfair, who is married and lives in Utah!  Small world!  Another Elder in this group is Elder Boone Christianson, grandson of Helen Christianson and Moreno & LaVinia Robins in our ward.  Here are a few pictures of our group of missionaries at the Mission Office on training day, at Mundos Pizza for lunch, and later enjoying the spaghetti dinner.

After much agonizing over driving, Richard talked to President Kretly. President Kretly offered that the mission could find an on-call driver to take us in our vehicle where we needed to go. He also said that instead we could have the Secretaries or the Assistants to the President give us rides as they were available. Rather than managing a driver and a vehicle, Richard preferred for us to take rides as available from the missionaries.

We walked down to the water near the Mission Office and found a little stretch of beach.  We’ll be going back soon, I hope, to find a longer beach front to walk.  Of course, I found a few shells!!

I am loving seeing the different flowers and trees they have here, including Bouganvillea Hibiscus. 

At the end of the week we got into 5th floor apartment on Avenida 24 de Julho.  We have been doing lots of shopping, moving furniture and other possessions, the missionaries moved furniture and other possessions and cleaned the apartment for us!  Friday the office elders moved our suitcases to the apartment and we were “home” to stay.  It was like being newly married, unpacking the new pans and silverware and other things the mission purchased for our apartment.  Making meals here feels like I am playing house.  After lots of organizing, but we have most everything in place, except for hooking up the washer and dryer.  Electricity has been pre-paid, for we think about 2 months, and we’ve signed up for the Internet, which is supposed to be installed Monday morning.

This is a country of contrasts; and it is very humbling.  Here we are in a large apartment building and as I wash dishes and look out of our large kitchen windows, I see other families.  One woman is also washing dishes outside of her tin-roofed home next to her clothes line filled with clothes.  Another woman is adjusting the blanket of a toddler who is on the ground being tended by an older child.  Three geese waddle around; children play in and out of the pathways in between the shelters. Several times a day we hear the Muslim call for prayer, on Saturday evening this week we hear loud music way into the early morning hours, and we’ve also heard bells, but we don’t know where they are coming from.  Most stores and apartments have security guards (government buildings have armed guards).  Some streets are neatly covered with pavers all in place and the street is immaculately cared for; on other streets the pavers are broken, missing, and they are littered with garbage.

President Kretly realizes it is quite the culture shock for Western young people and couples who come to Mozambique to serve missions.  He emphasized, when talking to the new missionaries:  We are not here to help the people materially; we are here to help them spiritually. It makes no difference, eternally, if you have dirt or tiled floors, what makes a difference is how you live your life.  Are you following Christ, his gospel and his example of how to treat each other? Are you applying the principles of faith and repentance? Are you preparing to live again with Heavenly Father?  He urges us not to look at the trash or poverty, but look at the people as Christ would look at them. 

Saturday & Sunday we attended Maputo District meetings.  The front of the chapel was draped with colorful capulanas.  We feel we are very blessed to have been here for a district conference, since they aren’t held very often. President Kretly spoke about not needing to be commanded in all things and not tiring of doing good.  President Cook of the South East Africa Area Presidency talked of the purpose of physical facilities:  (1) provide places of worship and feel the Spirit, and (2) present the image of reverence and dignity in the community.  He reminded us that we should bring people to feel the Spirit at the Church rather than to just visit the Church. He said the growth of the Church in South East Africa is greater than the traditional plans for buildings can keep up with.  He described a modular approach for temporary church buildings in 2014 that would allow more flexibility and put more churches in areas close to members’ homes.

Sister Kretly gave 6 points to strengthen our families: (1) make our homes like a temple; work towards making covenants in the temple; (2) refrain from arguing; it takes 2 to argue; don’t be a part of it and it will stop; (3) a child who sings can feel the gospel; (4) be generous with our hugs – sometimes we only need a hug to feel support; (5) read the Book of Mormon; live what they teach, not just know them; (6) our home can be a piece of heaven.

In the Sunday youth meeting, President Kretly said that the future of the Church is in the hands of the youth.  Youth need to prepare now to serve missions, gain education (including Seminary) to be able to support a family, marry in the temple and serve in Church callings. The only thing you keep is what is in you; you can’t take your cell phones, your video games, or headphones and music with you.  Use your time to do important things that matter eternally.  He also emphasized the importance of understanding and following the standards outlined in “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet.  You can’t live with one foot in the world and the other foot in the Church.  You reap what you plant.

In the general session, there were about 1,000 people present – the large chapel room and two over-flow rooms which had video and audio.  The District President told about the growth of the district since the last conference in February.  Almost fifty men were sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.  He also said that soon there would be 13 full-time missionaries serving from the district, the highest ever for Mozambique. The gospel is going forth like the rock cut out of the mountain (Daniel 2:44-45).  He encouraged members to share the gospel and put their arms around the new members.  We heard the confident testimonies of selected youth and newly married and newly baptized couples.

Sister Kretly spoke about raising families unto the Lord.  We don’t want any empty chairs (cadeiras vazias) in our eternal family.  President Kretly gave a strong testimony of the growth of the gospel in Mozambique.  Twenty missionaries were added to the mission this week, the largest number ever.  Moses parted the Red Sea for the children of Israel to escape from the Egyptians. Some people explain away this miracle – that it was only a huge wind that parted the waters.  Satan tries hard to deceive us; we must try harder.  The Savior will win!  We need to recognize the miracles in our lives.  The eyes of the Lord are on Mozambique and we are experiencing miracles here.  President Kretly closed his talk by showing the “It’s a Miracle” video we shared with you earlier this week via email.  This video is also linked on this blog and on President Kretly’s blog.

We felt the Spirit in the talks, testimonies and music in the meetings. The saints and the choirs, which for the conference consisted mostly of young people, sing the hymns with vigor and enthusiasm.

Here are some pictures of missionaries and members in the Maputo District.  The women in purple capulanas were one of the choirs. The little girl in the last picture was dressed in a Cinderella shirt and a red tutu.  Here name is Melody and her Mom is Angelina.

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