Saturday, June 7, 2014

26 May - 1 Jun 2014 Swaziland,ElderBiddulph,Castelo-Branco

President Kretly officially announced to the missionaries in Mozambique that Swaziland, and their 14 elders and 1 senior couple, are now part of the Mozambique Maputo Mission.  Swaziland’s official language is English, so it will be interesting how it will be incorporated into the workings of the mission.  This week the President has been working on transfers, so in that way, it is a timely change. 

Elder Biddulph, who has been staying with us while he has been recuperating from a long illness, shared some of his Marie Biscuits with us.  It is the first Mozambique wafer-like cookie which we’ve liked, so when we went shopping Monday we were surprised to see how easy they were to find.  Here is a huge display of them we saw at Premier.  Elder Biddulph commented, "looks like someone had too much free time!"

If your car gets “booted” here in Mozambique, you really aren’t going anywhere!!!

Our good friend, Yara, has asked me to give a Young Woman lesson about Family Home Evening.  The Young Women would also like some pointers on learning to sing “Press Forward, Saints” ("Firmes Segai") in Portuguese and English.  Sound fun!  Yara and her sister Lumiana would also like to learn about etiquette.  I’ve been reading up!   

Yara and Lumiana are very creative.  I watched them make beautiful beaded bracelets the other day.  They can make one in about 20 minutes!  Yara also makes men’s ties out of capulanas and has given me some material scraps which I hope to make into something useful.   

On the way to the office on Tuesday morning  we went on a wild ride through Maputo neighborhoods to deliver marriage process papers to some families with the elders.  It was, seriously, like the Indian Jones ride in Disneyland – the dirt streets are so undulated.  Hidden away in one of the neighborhoods we saw this beautiful decorated wall. 

The President and the AP’s went to the airport on Tuesday morning to greet four new missionaries arriving from the United States.  Three of them knew the Haka “dance” and they practiced together after they got settled.  Then they took a nap until right before the President returned to the office for their first traiing session.  President and Sister Kretly were greeted right inside the gate by the 3 missionaries performing the Haka.  They were very surprised!

Ficha activity has been pretty constant this month as we finished the month with 71 baptisms/confirmations.

With the end of the school year, we had watched many great videos of the grandkids – everything from dance programs to preschool graduations.  Thanks, kids, for helping us to share in your family activities!

On our way home from the office on Wednesday, the office elders ran out of gas!  They managed to get the car started  a couple of time – enough to turn us around and we literally coasted down the hill to the gas station close to the mission office.  Needless to say we were a half-hour late for our class, but it all worked out fine.  The family who came didn’t arrive until 6:45pm and half-way through the lesson, which was on Beginning Your Life History, another brother joined us.  In that lesson I share the miraculous story on how I was able to be connected to the Seeger Family, who are still living in Sandforde, Germany!

There was a time, at the beginning of our mission, and months before we arrived, that the Distribution Center had no Triplas or Biblias.  Well, times have changed.  On Thursday morning, we helped Maria put away probably 50 boxes of triplas into the Distrubtion Center.  Previously, she has also received many Biblias.  We are now encouraging the Branch Presidents to continue the practice to provide a New Member Family Kit to each newly baptized family.  The kits contain a Bible, Triple Combination, Hymn book; Gospel Principles; recent issue of the Liahona, and The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

I have been making more transfer cards for the 14 missionaries serving in Swaziland.  Also, President Kretly wanted our list of Mozambican missionaries to include the serving and called missionaries from Swaziland  – continuing his goal to have as many native missionaries serving in the world as other missionaries call to serve in our mission.  He’s increased the goal from 100 to 110.  Currently there are 51.  I am also making cards for the President’s board for them.

On Friday morning we made a follow-up visit to the missionary house we inspected last week.  The elders have made some good progress.  Just like most things, prevention is easier than the cure.  The upkeep of an apartment or a home can really get away from you if each person doesn’t do their part every day to maintain order and cleanliness.

Friday afternoon we had a pleasant visit with the two elders, Elder Rameka and Elder Going, who have completed their mission and are going home to New Zealand next week. They wanted to share with us a video of them and other missionaries doing the Haka for the members up in Beira. It was really fun to watch the video.  We have a copy of it and will share it with you soon.  The elders agreed to be videoed as I asked them about where they were from, what their plans were after they got home, the highpoint of their mission, and their testimonies.  It was wonderful to hear their responses and feel of their spirit.  We were so glad they came up; we were so impressed by the caliber of these elders!

On Saturday, a brother from Matola came and gave us estimates for curtains to be installed in the new 6th floor sister’s apartment upstairs.  At the same time, we had him estimate the cost of curtains to replace our makeshift curtains here on the 5th floor and one such curtain in the 2nd floor sister’s apartment.  The purchase must be approved before we go ahead.  We’ll see – it’s pretty expensive to do!

This weekend there were weddings in most of the branches: 22 in all!  81 baptisms and 78 confirmations.  We were going to attend the wedding here in Maputo 2, but  we couldn’t leave in the middle of the consultation about the curtains. 

For our entertainment this week, we watched “How Rare a Possession:  The Book of Mormon.”  It tells two inspiring conversion stories: 1) Parley P. Pratt and 2) Francisco Vincenti.

On Sunday mornings, we often choose one of the archive broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word to view and listen to while we get ready for Church.  I chose the 30 March 2014 broadcast entitled “Just Do What You Can.”  I think all of us are quick to compare what we do with others and when we do we often come up short.  Also, we look around us and see many needs and wish we could do more.  This Spoken Word message related how Elder Neal A. Maxwell displayed the following quote on his wall:  “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.” [from Gift from the Sea, 2011, 116]   It went on to say, “That’s not so much an excuse to ignore the needs of others as it is a perspective statement about pace and wisely doing what we can. [see Deposition of a Disciple, 1976].  So, I need to remember “Just Do What You Can” with the gifts and talents and circumstances with which you have been blessed.

Maputo 2 has a new Branch President, Justino Anselmo. Yes, he’s only been a member for a few weeks!  The outgoing Branch President, President Nihoa, in his testimony, told of a garden he had once visited.  In the garden was a huge tree.  Birds flitted in the branches.  He looked further and the tree was hollow inside.  It was supported by wire cables which helped it to stay upright.  He likened that tree to himself.  He had been sustained by the work of members and the help of God.  Alone, he explain, he couldn’t do anything, but with our help and God’s help he could do all things.  He testified of the truthfulness of the gospel, the gospel was truly of God and not of men.  He urged everyone to continue in their calling and be supportive of the new branch presidency so that the branches in Mozambique could grow and become stakes.

At the end of the meeting President Anselmo shared his testimony.  He told about the people of Israel going to the Promised Land and needing to conquer the Philistines.  When Moses held up his hands, the Israelites prospered and were strong in battle.  However, the battle was long and Moses’ arms got tired.  Aaron got a rock to stand on and he and another man held up Moses’ arms so Israel was able to conquer the Philistines.  He likened this to the need he felt to be supported in this new calling.  He has a strong testimony.

After Church, I showed  Brother Castel-Branco brother his now organized notebook of family history.  I explained that I found he had ordinances which he had reserved two years ago; and, there were other individuals who qualified to have their temple ordinances.  He asked me to share these names with the temple and to also reserve and share the other names of individuals with the temple to perform.

Again, we’ll end this week’s blog with sunsets!

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