Monday, February 17, 2014

3 - 9 Feb 2014 HeroDay,MinhaFamilia,PublicAffairs,HelpingHands

Hero’s Day, Dia dos Heróis Moçambicanos, is a holiday celebrated on 3 February.  It commemorates the soldiers who fought for the country’s independence from Portugal, a struggle that lasted from 1961-1974 and ended in Mozambique independence on 25 June 1975.  It especially honors the assassinated leader of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), Eduardo Mondlane, and Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique.  

In consequence of this holiday, P-day for the missionaries was moved to Tuesday and we went to the office to work on Monday.  The African Lilies along the Mission Office road are in bloom!!!

The Smith’s invited us to go to the lunch with them and we went to Café Sol which is not far from the mission office.  Their son Mark had fun playing in the sand and on the small playground they have.  Staff Meeting was still on Tuesday, so this week our P-day was going grocery shopping on Wednesday morning.   

The huge bank building downtown is being equipped with huge windows!

School Started on Tuesday Feb 4.  There are three sessions during the day.  Some children go early in the morning and are out about noon.  Another group starts after lunch and a later group attends in the evening

At Premier last week, we saw this push lawn mower.

We are not sure where it would be used as most homes and buildings have no lawn.  At the mission office, the grass they encourage is what we would call crab grass.  The guard cuts it with hedge trimmers and it looks very nice.

This week we finished a lengthy document we compiled for President Kretly on the use of the new "Minha Família: Histórias Que Nos Unem" ("My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together") booklets that will soon be arriving in Mozambique.  We are so impressed with the many inspiring videos the Church has put on about Family History.  You can find them under “Resources / Family History” and “Resources / Youth / Youth and Family History.” 

An interesting program that now connects to FamilySearch is The “Puzzilla Descendant Viewer: Research Patterns in FamilyTree Collateral Lines” is explained on the website as follows: “Looking for new relatives? Is your pedigree picked over? Is there really no work left for you and your family to do? The Descendants Viewer lets you see hundreds of descendants from an aerial view. Compact symbols reveal patterns of incomplete research. You can start where prior research left off.”  Most of the family history research I do lately is descendancy research, so this is very interesting to me.  I am anxious to try it out!!! 

Although our core of Family History students on Wednesday evenings is very small, we have “quality” students.  One student shared this week that when he was baptized he knew there was something that he needed to do for his ancestors, but he didn’t know what it was.  Since learning about family history and temples, he knows that what he is to do is to provide temple ordinances for them.  He said that when he one day sees them, he wants to be happy he has done for them what they couldn’t do for themselves.

This weekend was the Public Affairs visit of Elder and Sister Humphreys.  They live in Zambia and are over the Public Affairs of 4 African countries:  Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, and Zambia.  This is their 3rd mission for the Church.

The elders are implementing different approaches to teaching the gospel.  In this week’s training meeting, they were teaching with analogies.  They asked the guards to catch a lizard for one of their lessons.  They caught a black and white one, the striped kind we have seen in all sizes.  Then the next day they reported that they had caught another one – a white one.  They had the lizards in a bottle with the lid (with holes, of course, so the lizards could breathe) on securely.  The analogy:  Lizard represents Satan or bad thoughts.  When the lid is unscrewed a little bit, that means you are letting bad thoughts to enter into your mind; if you keep unscrewing the lid, the bad thoughts will take over and run rampid, just like the lizard.  The elders who had been in Beira said that they also used this analogy, but they put huge hairy spiders, which lived in the trees there, into the bottle.  I think the spider idea is way more effective, but I am not anxious to see those spiders!!!

Friday morning we decided to begin our day with a walk to and along the beach.  The weather was perfect – not too hot.  The barn swallows were swooping over the dune that separates the road from the ocean.  I found some interesting shells along our walk down to where the car usually turns to go to the office.  I hope that we can take more walks like this to begin the day.  I’m going to take the flip camera next time and see if I can video the barn swallows.

A few weeks ago there was talk of a service project that was coming up in our area for Helping Hands.  They talked about a drainage ditch that was full of weeds and debris.  Well, Saturday was the first day of the project and we went to help out.  It turned out to be a very long drainage ditch that runs along a very busy street next to the grocery story where we shop on Mondays.  Attached is one "before" photo of the drainage ditch to the south of where we were working - we didn't think to take a picture of the actual side we were working on before we started, but you get the idea from looking at this photo.  You could hardly see there was any water in the ditch and the weeds were super tall and dense. 

Well, we started in.  There was a great turnout of members to help!  A very large group of members from T-3 arrived in one chapa! The young men used machetes, long knives, and hoes to cut down the weeds.  Elder Hobson found an old spoon and I used it to pry weeds away from the edge of the sidewalk.  Little by little we made progress, as you can see in the photos.  All the debris was put in a trailer which was pulled by a tractor.  It was hard work - and it was so hot and sticky out, but we persevered.  Elder Tidwell and I had a meeting to prepare for back at the chapel, so we got a ride with the sister missionaries, who also needed to get back to help with a wedding.  The next time we go grocery shopping, we hope to take pictures of the ditch to see how far along the group got in the project.  We understand that we’ll be continuing to work on the ditch, perhaps its entire length, as the project is supposed to culminate in a closing ceremony In August.

Elder Tidwell went to his Public Affairs meeting with the Humphreys.  They taught the Public Affairs Council for Mozambique about how Public Affairs is responsible for informing the world about the Church and to make friends for the Church. They talked about the Southeast Africa Area plan for 2014 and how Mozambique can be involved.

While he was in meetings, I attended 2 weddings and a baptism!  There was lots of singing and dancing and a couple of the little girls were carrying white satin pillows as they led the wedding party into the chapel and to the garden afterwards.  The couple who were married got ready to be baptized!  Since the chapel was being used for the second wedding, the baptism meeting was held outside in the garden behind the chapel.  One of the missionaries was asked right on the spot to give a talk about the Holy Ghost.  Although had no preparation time, he got up and explained that the confirmation process and the reception of the Holy Ghost completed the baptismal covenant.  He emphasized how important the Holy Ghost is in our journey back to Heavenly Father.  Thinking about Elder Tidwell’s experience a couple of weeks ago and then this experience, I think I should prepare talks on Baptism and the Holy Ghost "just in case" I am called to participate!!!

Highlights of the week are when we talk to family via Skype.  Paul’s family is doing better after the last of their 5 kids have had their tonsils out.  Here is a picture of Peter and his family via Skype.
Many of our families tell us that they are ready for warmer weather and some sunshine - we wish we could share some of ours with them!  We are thankful there is usually a breeze. 
Recently we talked to the missionaries who have been in the Beira/Manga area and they said there are no breezes there!
I learned the first name of another sister in Maputo 1 branch, Ermandia, and she speaks beautiful British English, having been born and raised in Zimbabwe.  I had made a comment in Sunday School class and she complemented me on my Portuguese [I had written down a comment beforehand and read it].  She encouraged me that, even though I didn’t know how to say everything I wanted to in Portuguese, I should make the comment in English and speak via a translator.  She said, the Portuguese will come!!!

We should always have faith that we are making a difference, even though we may not know when and with whom.  Sunday, Elder Tidwell was talking to one of our family history students.  He had the opportunity of doing splits with the missionaries. In one lesson, they were talking about the importance of families.  This young man reported that he was able to contribute to the lesson, telling about the opportunity families have, through temple covenants, to be an eternal family, all because he had attended our class and it was fresh on his mind!
Susie, Sharon and Karen - do you remember the oriental gentleman who ran the vegetable stand in Fruit Valley?  I remember going there with Daddy to buy vegetables and the man was always happy and very kind.  As we walk up and down our street, to and from Church or to and from the store, we pass this gentleman. 
We stopped one day and Richard helped me tell him the happy memories I remember when I see him smiling.  I think we made a friend!
We end this week with a picture of the afternoon sky and a sunset!

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