Saturday, April 5, 2014

17 – 24 Mar 2014 Storm,PresSmith,TetePlan,ManuelBaptism,Crochet

It’s the 5th of April and we’re 2 (almost 3) weeks behind in updating our blog.  We started getting “Are you guys OK?” and “Have you moved?” emails, so Richard and I decided that this weekend (5-6 April) we’d try to get caught up!

On Monday, 17 March, Richard and I got the organized clothes, from the combined R.S./YW activity, put back into the Distribution Center.  While Richard and the guard (every building has a guard here in Mozambique) moved the boxes from the storage room up the 4 flights of stairs to the Distribution Center, I started going through the clothes which were on hangers.  I discarded some clothes and put some white shirts aside so could take them home to wash them.  There is no air conditioning in that part of the Distribution Center, so going through the clothes and organizing the boxes on the shelves was really sweaty hot work – but it needed to be done and it looked so much better after we were finished!  On the way home we stopped off at the store and bought some cold Sprite and orange soda.  Sprite never tasted so good!

We continue to have some magnificent thunder and lightning storms!   The thunder is very impressive and the streak and whole-sky lightning is magnificent.   Within a few hours after a storm is over, the streets are dry, and most of the big puddles are gone in our area of the city, but neighborhoods with dirt roads are almost impassable on foot.  In case of such weather, missionary apartments are equipped with knee-high boots, so the missionaries can traverse the deep muddy puddles of water. The front display at the Premier store was right on!

This week’s special dessert was fruit pizza!  Instead of the traditional mandarin oranges, I used lots of crisp apple slices, bananas, pineapple, and maraschino-like cherries.   Thought we’d taken a picture, but guess not.

Life in the city begins early!  As early as 6:15, uniformed school children are on their way to the school on Av. Josina Machel, the same street as the Maputo 2 chapel.  Many mornings I see the Sister Missionaries returning from their morning run.  Sometimes the Sisters are on their way to their area to do a scheduled visit and/or street contacting. 

There has been a full moon at night this week.  When I get up in the night, the moonlight shines brightly through the window.  We took a few very beautiful photos of sunsets this week.  The one with the palm trees was taken on our way home from the office.  The elders stopped so we could get this pretty view of the sun setting and the light reflecting on the water.  The other picture is from our apartment balcony.  What a beautiful world!

Zone Conference this time was to include Minha Familia training.  For the Beira District, Zone Conference was planned for Friday, 28 March, but the President was leaving on Thursday, 20 March.  So, we worked hard to prepared Minha Familia booklets for the about 50 missionaries in that district so the President could take them with him.  The President wanted the booklets personalized, so on each booklet was a missionary’s name, and inside, on the “About Me” page, we glued their picture.  We also personalized booklets for the Maputo District missionaries for their Zone Conference, which was to be 2 April.

We found out that last Sunday the Maputo 1 branch presidency was changed.  The new Maputo 1 Branch President is our friend Solomon Smith!  One of his counselors is Angelo Jamine, the husband of the family who recently went to the Temple!

When we went to teach our Family History class on Wednesday evening, there were 3 people already there waiting for us!  That was a first!  We took a picture of the class and also individual pictures of the students so could prepare small pictures for their Minha Familia booklets, like we did for the missionaries!  One of our new students is Manuel Panganane (front row in the red shirt), who has been blind for the last year and a half.  The Sister Missionaries have been teaching him about the gospel and he was scheduled to be baptized on Saturday.  Back row (left to right): Sister Tidwell, Daniel Nunes, Ananias Chiruze; Front row (left to right): Francisca Jacama, Hagira Piemontese, Vanessa Tember, David Jambane, Manuel Panganane.

As we were finishing the last of the Minha Familia booklets for Beira District missionaries, we learned that the President wanted us to go to Tete for their Branch Conference (March 29-30) and help with the Saturday training sessions and Sunday meetings.  We were so surprised!  I was to give Minha Familia training and Richard was to give Temple Patron Assistance Fund training.  (All in Portuguese, of course!)  President Samo Gonçalves would be training on Public Affairs!  Tete is about 1,000 miles to the north.  The secretaries bought tickets for our early Saturday morning flight and started getting our accommodations figured out!   On Sunday afternoon, we found out that in addition to helping with the training meetings on Saturday, President Gonçalves asked me to teach Relief Society and Richard to teach the Young Men!  He also asked us to speak in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, the branch’s conference.  Yikes!  Even more to prepare!!

Saturday we attended Manuel’s baptism.  It was very touching to watch him being guided into the font and carefully led down the steps into the water.  Here he is with Daniel Nunes.

I attended the District Relief Society Birthday Celebration on Saturday.  For the “spiritual part” we listened to a short talk by one of the District R.S. leaders and then testimonies, a sister from each of the branches.   Individual and groups of sisters participated in the “talent part” of the celebration.  One sister shared a poem she had written, a couple of sisters shared recipes, I showed the crocheted hot pads like my Mom always made, and a young woman showed beautiful beaded necklaces and bracelets she makes.  A couple of the branches’ R.S. choruses sang, and then both groups of women did a “fashion show” demonstrating creative stylish ways a capulana could be worn.  I wished I had had the flip camera, or at least the camera!  You’ll just have to imagine the fun! 

I taught the last lesson to both of the sisters who are training to teach Family History in their branches. 

Maputo 2 branch conference was Sunday, March 23.  Here are the highlights:

  • 2 Nephi 9:28-29 “…O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not.  And they shall perish. To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”

  • D&C 88:77 We should be learning about many things:  the heavens, the earth, history, countries – we can be prepared.

  • President Monson said we all need a testimony of our own.  There are levels of testimony:  small, medium and big.  Some people have small or weak testimonies; we need to reach out and encourage them to come to Church and nourish the seed of the gospel they have planted (see Alma 32).   We are the hands of God.  If we don’t help, their testimonies will get weaker. 

  • If parents have a testimony is that enough for the children?  No, each child needs to develop his/her own testimony.  Testimony and conversion happen fast in some people’s lives, but for others it is a slow process.  Put Christ first in your life, and your testimony will grow.  Be converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to a particular church program or a missionary.

Here are my 2 friends, Lucia and Jessica.  They are very happy young ladies and are delighted that I am trying to remember their names and beginning to express myself more in Portuguese.

After church we talked to David Jambane.  We told him we wanted to see his plants, rabbits, and birds.   We asked him where he lived and he said it wasn’t far away.  He gave us his telephone number and we decided we’d go at 5 o’clock (17:00) to see him.  We said we’d walk home with him so we wouldn’t get lost later on.  As we went on our way, we asked if it were OK if we visited him “now” rather than “later”.  We’re glad it was OK with him, because as he turned off Av. 24 de Julho and walked through the market area, we knew we would have had a hard time finding our way by ourselves later on.  

His house had been there long before the roads and shanties; it used to be in a forested area.  He had been born in the house and so had his father!  Entering a metal door, we walked into a secluded patio area with a table and chairs.  There were lots of doves in the patio area and 2 peacocks were on the roof when we first came in.  He explained that the birds were all wild birds that liked to stay around his home.  David showed us his rabbits and 2 baby bunnies.

David showed us his plants and picked 4 huge avocados for us!   Now, if I have questions about plants or trees, I know who I can ask!

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