Monday, September 23, 2013

16–22Sep2013 Gifts,Premier,Dionisia,Shopping,Furniture

Last Sunday evening our friends, the Hobsons, visited with us and brought us some “treasures” from South Africa where they had been to celebrate Sister Hobson’s birthday.  We had asked them to look for a few things that we can’t find here.  They brought us chocolate chips, cooking spray, and regular-tasting (we hope) mustard.  They also brought us, as a surprise, a couple of chocolate bars and a package of colorful sewing pins for me.  Hobsons thoroughly enjoyed listening to English speakers and being out of the big city; they offered to take us with them on one of their future trips!  That would be wonderful!

We usually shop at the Premier Store which is like a Walmart.  We are slowly adapting to the different ways food is presented here.  Milk, for example, comes in 1 liter containers and costs about $2 (65 MT).  The milk is UHT processed, so the shelf life is way different than our milk.  At first we were a little taken aback when we read “best before 11/02/14 (11 Feb 2014)” on the top of the container.  You don’t need to refrigerate it until after you open it and then you need to use it within 7 days.  That’s no problem with us!  There are a myriad of fruit juices, also in 1 liter containers, which also cost about $2 each.

At the grocery store, we always have lots of fruits and vegetables to choose from:  oranges, grapefruit, apples, bananas, pineapple, coconuts, lemons, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, butternut squash, onions.  Some of the produce (usually broccoli, cauliflower, grapes, lettuce, carrots) are already packaged.  The others you need to bag and an employee with a scale prices it for you.  The employee at that post on Mondays, when we shop, has the prettiest smile!  Her name is Dionisia.

She puts the bag full of produce on the scale, ties the top of the bag, punches in the code for that particular fruit or vegetable, and a little machine uses the weight and the cost to compute the cost.  The machine prints out a sticky label with a barcode and the employee puts the label on the bag and off you go.  At the check-out stand, the bags are scanned like everything else.  This saves the check-out person from having to memorize all the produce codes!  Pretty nifty!  Last week I was so hungry for a lettuce salad that we purchased a head of lettuce.  It is pretty tricky to do the wash/rinse process to sanitize each leaf, but the crisp leaves have been very delicious – we had a yummy tossed green salad, lettuce on sliced turkey sandwiches, and a chicken salad.

Brown sugar is coarse, granulated and light tan in color.  I’ve been using the same amount of this for my recipes which call for packed brown sugar, and for most things I don’t see a difference.  A lot of the difference I see in my baking is the “oven” we have, which is a little counter-top oven.  Baked goods don’t brown on the top like a regular oven, but they seem to brown (almost burn) on the bottom!  So far I have been most pleased with the cake, banana bread, and cinnamon rolls I’ve baked.  Cookies and pies just don’t turn out the same, but I keep trying to get it right!  I purchased some “white margarine” and I will try that the next time for pie crust.  They have a good selection of spices and flavorings.  We found Heinz ketchup, but we’re still searching for a good flavor of salad dressing; we think we’ve found the kind of mayonnaise we like!

The raisins are huge! 

We’ve had to get used to little specks on the yolks of eggs, which I remove carefully.  Today, however, we had scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast and there were no mysterious specks on the yolks!  The egg shells are all brown in color.   Premier is a little like Costco, as one week you might see one thing and another week you’ll find another brand of the same food or a similar product instead of the same item.
Every day we have been to Premier they have fresh bread to purchase, or you can choose regular sandwich white or brown (different than home, but they call it brown) bread.  The Portuguese rolls are a good hard roll which is really delicious with melted butter and garlic seasoning.  Their French-looking bread doesn’t have the same flavor as home, but it is fresh and tasty in its own way.  Sourdough French bread does not exist. If you want sliced lunch meat, you go to the meat counter and they slice the amount you want and package it for you.  We haven’t found any ham or bacon where we shop.  In Matola we stopped briefly at a SPAR store and they had a fat hunk of unsliced bacon, so we know it exists.  You can get small whole chickens and cut up chicken pieces, ¾ of Kg for 160 MT (a little over $5 USD).   Hamburger is 290/kg; the first small roast we bought cost about $12 USD.   Hmmm, haven’t seen cottage cheese yet and I’ve purchased a few things I think are like sour cream and cream cheese, but haven’t used them yet.  Am I making you hungry?

There is a huge mango tree behind our apartment building.  The little mangos look like ornaments hanging from the branches.

These pictures were taken in the garden at the Matola Chapel.

Last Monday Sister Hobson and I went on a little walk and visited the two near-by lojas (stores).  I found a box of colored thread (the other boxes were all white thread) and it only cost 25 MT, which is less than a dollar.  When I decide on a sewing project, I’ll have thread to choose from!

Last Saturday we waited at our apartment all day for a MoviFlor delivery.  At 4:15 p.m. we got a call that they weren’t coming!  Totally frustrating for us, as you can imagine!  Well, on Monday, I was down at the Maputo building at the Distribution Center getting things together for the new family kits and I got a call from MoviFlor.  I gave my phone to Vanessa and she talked and found out they were coming in 30 minutes!  What a surprise, as Saturday they didn’t give us much hope of a Monday delivery; in fact, they said it “might” be not until the next Saturday.  We like those kind of surprises!  They delivered a cabinet for our bathroom, two chairs (one for Richard and one for me to sit on while we work at our computers) and a small computer table for me.  They had to put together the computer table and Richard’s chair with wheels.

With 5 new sister missionaries arriving that week, we had to give up the one desk the Hobsons had loaned us.  Richard usually works at his computer at our kitchen table, but we may be deciding to purchase a desk for him.

We had Staff Meeting at President Kretly’s home this week; afterwards he took us out to eat at the Chinese restaurant.  We sat in a separate room with a round table that I gathered they used when they’d come there before.  They ordered many dishes and put them on a giant glass turntable in the middle of the table.  Everything was so delicious!!!! At the end, Elder Hall, a tall thin missionary finished off the last plate of rice.  “Elder Hall finished it all!”

On the way to the office on Wednesday, we went to the post office with Elder Tanner and Elder Cyrier to get the mail.

The post office is located next to the “bat” park, and I sure wanted to go inside, but there wasn’t time.  After our office work, we finally got two boxes of Distribution Center orders sent off to Quelimane (look on a map) through DHL.  We’d been working on getting these orders together for weeks, so it was nice to cross something off the list!!!
On Wednesday the 10 new missionaries arrived:  5 Elders and 5 Sisters. 

Dad and I joined with them for our mission training done by Elder Cyrier and Elder Tanner.  Even though we were supposed to have received this training weeks ago, I think the timing of it was just right for us.  A lot of the things, such as the geographical layout of the mission, we’d learned already by asking questions, but by hearing it again with visuals made it all fit together.  They explained the mission vision, the goals for the proselyting missionaries, and we felt the spirit very strong.  Both of us bore our testimonies.  Dad told the new missionaries that he had served in Brazil when the first stake was organized there.  He said he was planning on being here in Mozambique to see the organization of the first stake here!

·         Bem Vindos á Melhor Missão do Mundo – Welcome to the Best Mission in the World

·         23 million people in Mozambique

·         40% illiterate; 2/3 of children drop out of elementary school

·         We are part of the spiritual development of this country; We are here to help and serve

·         End of 2012 – 6,029 members of the Church; 140 families have been baptized so far in 2013

·         18 Branches; 2 Districts; 4 Missionary Zones; Centro de Força (Centers of Church Strength) = Beira and Maputo (look at map)

·         Maintain the spiritual change of heart that Alma challenged the people to retain (Alma 5:26)

·         This is a Preach My Gospel mission – your anchor is Chapter 9

·         Missionary success is measured by their commitment to find, teach, baptize and confirm converts

·         Every day:  Find 5 qualified contacts (Belief in Christ, has a family, wants to learn more); Teach 1 family

·         Concentrate on Families

·         Every Month: Baptize 1 family a month

·         Find Qualified Contacts; Teach with Power; Baptize Many; Help members Endure to the Endowment – Let the Spirit take control

·         Real Growth is the important thing – we not only have a Quantity of new converts, but a Quality of new converts – we retain them and they regularly attend and participate in Church

·         Milestones:  Desire (Alma 32:27); Repentance & Baptism (Mosiah 18:10); Ordinances & Covenants (D&C 84:19-21); Conversion (Alma 23:5-6)

·         “You get what you go for” – Elder Boyd K. Packer

·         Be an Extraordinary Missionary

·         “Don’t live your life without miracles!” -  Elder Neil A. Anderson

After the training, Dad and I got to go with everyone to Mundo’s Pizza for lunch.  

We shared a ½ chicken!!!  Even though it was 98 degrees out, our tables were in the shade and we had a good time getting to know the missionaries who were seated next to us.

On Friday, we knew it was going to be another hot day, so we went on our errands in the morning to prepay electricity and to look for a television set.  When we had gone looking on other days we could only find huge flat-screen tv’s which were way out of our price range.  Going to the little shops on a street not too far from us, it seemed every shop had television sets in all price ranges.  We chose to go back to the shop run by a very friendly English-speaking Muslim lady.  When we explained we didn’t have any way to get a tv home, she said, “No problem!  You can have my boy!  He will carry it to your home!”  This “boy” she had hired from the north bush country and she explained how she “kept” him, meaning that he was part of her family.  She was teaching him many things, because in Mozambique without education you can’t go anywhere in your life.  Since we also purchased a table to put the tv on and both items together were too heavy for her boy to carry, we were driven home by her son in his car!  We felt that her friendly smile and English “How are you?” when we went by her store the first time, brought us back for these purchases.  She also gave me a shell-shaped silver butter dish as a gift! 

Friday we attended a double wedding and here are some pictures of the event.  The brides were beautiful and it was touching to see the couples stand across from each other holding hands to make their marriage promises.  When the couples kissed, there was a loud cheer and high-pitched trilling noises from the ladies.  Later, individuals stood and led the congregations in a traditional “Obrigada Deus” and “Hallelujah” songs.  We recorded some on our flip camera.  The couples who were married are:  Feliziana & Fernando (they have a little baby boy Yuri); and Victoria Filipe Feliciano & Carlos Militão Estevão (they have a daughter Selma Carlos Militão, age 8).

After the marriage, there was one brother who said to us and Sister Hobson how he had hoped his wife would have been there to share that afternoon.  He said she had said she would be there.  He said she had not been very active in the church lately.  He showed us his wedding ring and said he wanted to work toward temple marriage/sealing, but then said, “How can I do that if she does not come to Church?”  Sister Hobson counseled him that he needed to “love her back to church” and not be pushy, be patient.  I added that he needed to show her his love by being kind and helping her and showing her that her needs were his needs and they could work together.  He thanked us both for the advice.  Then, talking to Dad and I, he said, “I see you walking together every day hand-in-hand.  That is how I want it to be for me and my wife.”  Even unbeknown to us, we are teaching and impacting lives! Remember, each of us has influence on others even when you may never know.

Looks like we’ll be sending pictures of the baptism pillowcases I am embroidering for the grandchildren who are turning 8 and being baptized while we are gone.  Richard went online to see the cost of sending a one pound package from here to Utah through FedEx.  How about $117 with delivery in 4 days.  There are sure to be slower deliveries, but, then again, they might not be delivered!

After a couple of days of really hot weather, Saturday was overcast and quite windy.  We had planned to attend a 12:30 wedding in Matola and then a 2 p.m. baptism in Maputo.  While at the Matola 1 chapel waiting for the wedding to begin, I met Edina, age 8.

The wedding was delayed so we had to leave before it happened to get to the baptism in Maputo. [I heard later that the wedding finally took place about 4 p.m.  The groom was really worried that his bride had changed her mind!]

Brother Machoie, second counselor in the Maputo 2 Branch Presidency, conducted the baptism.  He speaks distinctly, deliberately and loud enough for all to hear and I could understand just about every word he said!  I said to myself, “It’s happening!  It’s happening!” This continued with most of the talks about baptism.  It is such a good feeling and blessing to hear and understand entire sentences!

There were 11 baptisms, including the two brides from the previous day and one of the grooms and the 8 year old daughter of one of the couples.  We both felt the overwhelming feeling of joy for these converts who went one by one into the cold water of the baptismal font and were baptized.

After the baptism, we went home for a few minutes and then returned to the chapel to put some signs up about the Women’s Conference Sister Kretly has organized for next Saturday, September 28.  Sister Hobson will be speaking on Visiting Teaching and I will be speaking on Relief Society and how every sister needs it!

After putting up the posters, we were about to leave and Dad, seeing a light in one of the rooms, wondered down the hallway.  There he saw Brother Machoie and Dad asked him if the branch president was in town.  [I had been given the go-ahead to contact the branch presidents of Maputo Branches 1 & 2 to get a date to speak in their Sacrament Meeting about family history.]  When Brother Machoie said the president was in France, I knew Dad had been led to go down the hall so we could talk to Brother Machoie.  He speaks English and he asked us to sit down and I explained what we needed.  He was grateful that I wanted to speak and responded by telling me I could speak “tomorrow”!  I explained that the week after would be better for me, since I wanted to practice my talk in Portuguese so I could say the words correctly.  He then said something very touching.  He told me ‘You can practice if you wish, but if you decide to do it tomorrow [even if you would say something incorrectly] we respect you as you have come to help us keep the commandments of the Lord.  That was so humbling.  The Lord prepared the way so we could accomplish what he wanted us to do! [Now I have two talks to prepare for next weekend!  I am excited!  The Maputo 1 branch will be contacting me with a date to speak.]

On Sunday, Brother Machoie conducted Sacrament Meeting and he even announced I would be speaking next week and that I had a very important message! There were 8 confirmations in the Maputo 2 Branch and 3 in the Maputo 1 Branch.  Sunday was Elder Cyrier’s last full day in the Mozambique Maputo Mission. He talked in the Maputo 2 Branch and his advice to the members is great advice for all of us:

1.  Keep the commandments and you will be blessed spiritually and temporally. (See Mosiah 2:41)

2.  Help others keep the commandment; share the good news of the gospel.

3.  Have Faith in Miracles.  Don’t live your life without miracles.  Every day, recognize the miracles which have happened and recognize the hand of the Lord in your life.

We can’t get enough of these beautiful sunsets!

No comments:

Post a Comment