On two evenings this week we had lightning and thunder storms. It flashed a lot and sometimes was quite noisy. Friday evening the lightning and thunder were particularly impressive.
This week Sandy welcomed 11 people to the family history class on Wednesday night. Some are repeat attenders, but many were new. This week we talked about interviewing relatives about gathering family history information. We took turns during the presentation explaining the lesson. Next week we are making a PowerPoint to talk about preparing to take their families to the temple. To do so, families here have to complete family group records and be spiritually prepared as well as obtaining passports ($85 each) and prepare for the travel and lodging costs of the trip to Johannesburg (327 miles), South Africa. Johannesburg is the closest temple, making it a great financial sacrifice for families when the national average annual family income is about $300. Such families may also be assisted by the Temple Patron Fund through the church. One can contribute to that fund through ward donations along with tithing.
We have also learned, as we have prepared for and taught this class, that locating existing public and family records are significant challenges in a country that became independent only in 1975 and then experienced a civil war that lasted until 1992.
For example, many births in the past have not been recorded because it costs money to do so and parents must come to the government building to register the birth. We understand that in the most recent years, the recording of births is free which has encouraged this practice. It has even been a challenge to determine where to find a birth record even if it exists. We hope to help them prepare their records so they can be input in the Church’s Family Tree system and be ready to help them when they go to the temple and when they are ready to link other family records for the temple work of their ancestors.
On Saturday, Solomon and Tammy Smith and their 1 year old son, Mark, who we mentioned before, took us to the beach north of Maputo. The Maputo Bay is very large and when the tide is out there are miles and miles of seashore exposed, and there is where we walked. We saw little crabs and lots of shells and various under-the-sea things. Last Saturday it was 108 degrees, but this Saturday at the beach it was overcast, a little rainy, and about 65 degrees. When the tide is out there are a lot of stranded fishing boats that are parked on the sand as well as a lot of fishing boats that are no longer useable. We thought it was wonderful to be out in the fresh air, feeling the wind in our faces, and being away from all the city noises!
One of things that the locals do is dig clams/oysters when the tide is out.
Here are some crabs, from the very tiny one in a shell to the larger one hiding in a hole!
The city of Maputo, where we live, is seen here south of the beach.
The beach that overcast windy day reminded us of an Oregon beach.
Our most exciting find was a flock of flamingos.
We love getting emails and pictures of and from grandchildren. Here is a special letter from Taebria hoping we will “come home from that world.”
General Conference, though accessible here live over the Internet, is not available to most members since they do not have Internet access. So, two weeks later they watch a DVD of conference in Portuguese at church on Saturday for 4 hours and Sunday for 4 hours. Priesthood and General Women’s Meeting are kept for special Priesthood and R.S. lessons. Unfortunately the Sunday viewing today had to be delayed until next week because of a power outage. They had a sacrament meeting without electric power instead. Of course, that meant that we were also without power at home today. Near the end of sacrament meeting, the power was restored. It rained all day.
Last week Dad was working on a PowerPoint presentation to be given to branch presidents to help them complete the paper work and preparations for young men and women to serve missions. Our mission president is teaching the branch presidents the importance of missionary service for Mozambican youth in their personal life as well as for the future growth and strength of church leadership. Missionaries called from Mozambique can serve in Mozambique, but also have served in the United States, Angola, Brazil, Madagascar, and other countries. Financial challenges also face such youth and their families who are asked to sacrifice to meet mission expenses. They are often also assisted by the General Missionary Fund to which you can donate along with your tithing.