Wednesday, July 2, 2014

16 - 22 Jun 2014 NewBranchNames,6thFloorSisters,Maxixe,Stelio,Aquino

The Mozambique Maputo Mission is progressing toward its goals.  Over the weekend in the Beira District, all of the names of the Beira and Manga branches were changed, 4 new branches were formed, boundaries were announced, and new Branch Presidents and other leaders were called and sustained.

Beira District
Baixa (New Name for Beira 1 with changed boundary, 15 June 2014)
Chamba (New Formed from Manga 1, Manga 2, 15 June 2014)
Chingussura (New Name for Manga 1 with changed boundary, 15 June 2014)
Dondo (no changes, 15 June 2014)
Inhamizua  (no changes, 15 June 2014)
Macurungo (New Formed from Beira 1, Beira 2, Munhava, 15 June 2014)
Maraza (New Formed from Beira 1, Beira 2, Munhava, 15 June 2014)
Mascarenha (New Name for Manga 2, 15 June 2014)
Munhava (Changed boundary, 15 June 2014)
Nhanconjo (New Name for Manga 2 with changed boundary, 15 June 2014)
Palmeiras  (New Name for Beira 2 with changed boundary, 15 June 2014)
Vila Massane (New Name for Manga 3 with changed boundary, 15 June 2014) 

Every week we are getting closer to solving the problem with Internet access in the Maputo 2 chapel.  On Monday, Elder Tidwell met the mission’s computer guru at the chapel and they discovered a wire that was improperly connected!   Well, that evening we went confidently to our class to teach our Magoanine consultant how to FamilySearch “live” – and what did we find?  We were able to connect to FamilySearch, but when we signed in, it went to the “Internet not available” message again.  So, we trooped over to our apartment with the Salvado Family and used our Internet!  We accomplished so much together.  We feel that if we can have one more week online with Milo that he will be fully trained and able to help the members of his branch entering their Minha Familia booklet information on FamilySearch.  When they left, we found out they were headed to the hospital to get their baby checked by the doctor.  Here they are at least 45 minutes away from their home in Magoanine and they need to still go to the hospital so their little girl will be able to feel better.  When they are finished there, they will need to ride on a crowded chapa to get home.  There are so many things these people go through as a matter of course that if we walked in their shoes would find it extremely difficult. They are a humble, accepting people, full of faith.

Sister Woodman came by so I could take her picture in the dress I had lengthened for her a couple of weeks ago.

A highlight of this week was Mission Leaderhip Training on Wednesday. 
  • Have a Vision Beyond Baptism.  See the people dressed in white, not only for their baptism, but for the temple.
  • The biggest contribution to society in the 20th century were things, machinery, equipment.  The biggest contribution to society in the 21st century is knowledge and the ideas of the people.  Our ideas and knowledge are more useful than any “things” around us.  We can create ideas to make the work go better.
  • Being a Missionary is a High Complexity Job.  Some of the things we do are: maintain a relationship with 20-30 people at a time, keep the Area Book up-to-date, learn a language, follow the rules exactly.  If you learn to do it well, you will be able to have the potential of having infinite productivity in all your future endeavors.  In high complexity jobs, there are more opportunities to do better.  What you do now will affect the kind of husband, father, and leader you will be in the future.
  • A Good Leader Follows Through with the Small Things which Make a Difference.  Look ahead to the time you are a Husband and a Father.  Will you do the small things that will help your wife feel safe?  President Kretly told the story of a young man who was dating the love of his life.  On the first date, the car ran out of gas.  On the second date, again, the car ran out of gas.  And the girl, the love of his life, told him:  “This won’t happen a third time!  Good-bye!” 
  • Great Leaders Inspire Others to Make Good Decisions. He gives them vision and then let’s them go in the direction of the vision.  Some of the visions of our mission are:  Teach Families; Find, Teach, Baptize; Establish the 1st Stake; We Get What We Go After; Obey Exactly; Train Leaders; Help Families Go to the Temple; Be extraordinary Missionaries; Work with the Members; Real Growth; Quantity and Quality; Inspire Youth to Serve Missions; Get Qualified Contacts.
  • The number of Mozambicans serving missions is increasing.  In 5 years, 39 missionaries had been sent out.  Currently we have 69 who are serving or have received their calls to serve missions from Mozambique.  They are being called to Brazil, Cape Verde, South Africa, Columbia, the United States, Portugal.
  • See people as a Total Person:  mind, heart, body and spirit.  We teach people, not lessons.
  • Have a Clear View of Your Goal.  Work toward that goal; Help others use their talents; Ask others’ opinion and inspire their trust.-
  • Surround yourself with Trusted Friends. Erik Alexander Weihenmayer was the first blind person to climb to the top of Mt. Everest.  Why did he succeed?  He surrounded himself with a team of trusted friends; they had a clear goal; they believed in each other; each was eager to help Erik achieve; each person was a leader in their own way; they used the methods that worked for the terrain they were in.
  • Leadership is not a Position – Leadership is a Choice!  You don’t have to be the designated leader.  Find the hidden power within you to work hard and lead others.
  • This is the work of God.  We are here to learn to do our best.  It is a short time, but we will harvest during the rest of our life.  President said that when he arrived he had others tell him that it was impossible to baptize families in Mozambique. The Church was weak and the members showed no commitment, he was told.  There were many myths and bad paradyms.  However, strong missionaries were able to change that scenario.  They had ideas and caused us to think differently and they obtained different results.  365 families have been baptized in the last 2 years!  We have doubled Sacrament Meeting attendance.  Newly baptized members are being called as Branch Presidents.  The work is true.  God is watching us and helping us.
We began Thursday morning helping the elders and the sisters move part of the sister missionaries from their 2nd floor apartment to an apartment on the 6th floor.   It was nice to have some of the furniture we had been storing in our apartment move up to the 6th floor for the sisters to use. 

Friday morning at 6 a.m. we began our adventure to Maxixe, 362 km northeast of Maputo.  We drove with President Gonçalves. There is only road to get to Maxixe is EN1 (Estrada Numero 1).  There is long stretch of road construction you have to get through first.

Then it is 2-way paved road that was clearly marked when it was safe to pass.  Speed limits varied from 120 km/hr (70 mph), to 40 km/hr (24 mph).   The President was a very safe but speedy driver.  I loved the long trip through the different landscapes of northern Maputo Province and into Gaza and then Inhambane Province.  I wished my eyes were like cameras so I can have snapshots of the many unique things I saw.  There were lush dense forested areas, sunshine streaming through the clouds, flat plains, valley gardens, lakes, forests of palm tree, glimpses of the beach and the ocean. 

Wherever we were, whether near or far from a village or city, there were always people walking on the sides of the road.  There were turkeys and puppies for sale - children would hold the puppies up in their arms as people whizzed past in their cars.  We saw oxen, bulls, cattle, goats, hens and their little chicks, roosters, geese, and donkeys.  We saw round straw-thatched roofs built on top of various huts:  square huts made of thin reeds; round ones made of thatch, lumber, or cement. 

Along the road there were booths with people selling wood carvings, wood, sticks, oranges, tangerines, coconut, manioca, onions, and apples.  I had wanted a detailed map of the trip so I could see the names of the small villages we went through, but I had to settle for a map which only had main cities on it.  In addition to the main cities (Marrocuene, Manhica, Palmeira, Macia, Chissano, Xai-Xai, Chidenguele, Zandamela, Quissico, Inharrime, and Lindela) we went through lots of tiny towns and villages – some did not have posted names.   Some of the unique names of small towns were: Chimondzo, Nhamovila, Chizavane, Matemula, Matimbine, Inhancoonga, Cumbana.

We stayed at the Farmar’s Motel, which is located on the main road and from our room it was only a short walk to the beach.

President Gonçalves left for other business and he was to return on Saturday.  After we had lunch, we contacted the missionaries and asked if the Branch President had decided on who we were to train for Family History.  Since no one had been called to that position, we offered our help to the missionaries, but they said they were fine.  We walked down to see where the Church was, and then proceeded down the street to the pier that had a walk-on ferry to Inhambane.  It was a beautiful day, so we walked down the beach. 

To our surprise, we saw a flock of flamingos!!  (On Saturday evening we confirmed they were Greater Flamingos!!!)  We met Acquino, a Muslim fisherman who lives right next to the beach. 

We worked on our Sunday lessons before we went to dinner.  Richard ordered shrimp and I had red fish – a whole one!

In the course of the evening we got a chance to do some missionary work.  We had taken our lesson papers and our scriptures with us, so we could work while we waited for our food.  Our waiter, Stelio, asked specific questions about why there was evil in the world, why we are here on earth – essentially about the plan of salvation.  He wanted to know if there were passages in the Bible which could help him understand about the War in Heaven.  It was fun to find the passages to share with him.  He was very interested in the gospel principles we were teaching.  We told him that many precious truths which are no longer in the Bible, but they are in the Book of Mormon.  He was interested in having a Book of Mormon, so we said that we would give him one the next day.  (President Gonçalves had the missionary supplies in his truck.)  We talked to him of other things that evening and the next day.  He enjoyed talking with us very much.  (He knew English quite well and that helped a lot!) Alda, another worker, when she saw our scriptures that first evening, specifically asked for a Bible – but I said we could give her a Book of Mormon.  She said OK! On Saturday evening, before dinner, we put together messages and wrote them inside the Books of Mormon.  At dinner we gave them the books .  Both agreed to have the missionaries contact and teach them!

Saturday afternoon we participated in Family History training with President Gonçalvez.  The President talked openly to the members and invited their responses to his questions about the Plan of Salvation and the part that Family History plays.  Elder Tidwell and I gave our messages and testimonies about Family History.  President stayed after the training to conduct interviews.  We took a quick walk to the beach before dinner.   The pathway to the beach is just to the right of the cement wall

That evening we were glad that our room wasn’t right next to the dining room – as there was a huge wedding party with bright lights and loud music which lasted way into the early morning hours.  Most of their workers, worked all night long!

Richard took these beautiful pictures of the sunrise over the palm trees by the beach. 

When we had our breakfast on Sunday morning we met Maria, a member of the Church, who works at the Motel.

On Sunday I had a great experience in Relief Society.  I met wonderful women who helped read passages from the manual and scriptures on tithes and offerings.  It was evident from their comments that they understood the law and were obeying it.  The unique class consisted of 8 women, six of them with babies! 

Elder Tidwell taught the Moças about the blessings of the Priesthood.  He would have also taught the rapazes, but the branch currently doesn't have any young men in this age category.  There were 4 attending.  During Sunday School, all members except the Primary met together for President’s presentation on the importance of preparing to make covenants in the Temple.  Elder Tidwell and I added out messages and testimonies about Temple Work.  There were about 31 people there.

Attendance at Sacrament Meeting was 58.  President Chambal expressed his feelings about looking forward to going to the Temple and also doing Temple work for his deceased parents.  He said that the happiest part of his life is the gospel. God loves each of us. I gave my talk about the importance of teaching the "rising generation" to believe in Christ; Family Home Evening is one of the times we can teach our children.  As we sing, pray, learn, listen and teach together we have a family unified by gospel truths.  Elder Tidwell's talk was on obedience.  He used examples from the life of Samuel, the prophet, Joseph Smith, and President Monson and how each, when they received a commandment or prompting from the Lord, they followed it without question. President Gonçalves talked about the importance of following the plan God has given us.  Will the Lord, when he comes, find us in the Church? Will we be found on the left side or the right side of the Lord when he comes. President reviewed Jesus' life, teachings, atonement, and the preaching in the spirit world and read passages from 3 Nephi. We need to have Faith; great things will come to pass if we have Faith. Small things will lead you to great results. Spread the gospel to your friends so they, too, will know Heavenly Father's plan for them.

Here are two of Maxixe Branch's future missionaries.

After Sacrament Meeting we had a Branch Council Meeting to evaluate the branch conference.  They felt the classes were well received and taught the gospel principles.  They said they knew that going to the Temple was one of the things they could do; but because of branch conference they came away realizing it was a significant part of membership in the Church and their eternal progression. Going to the Temple wasn't just something to do, as an option.  Rather, going to the Temple is worth whatever sacrifice you need to make. It is important for ourselves and for our deceased ancestors.

About 1 p.m. we left Maxixe to travel home to Maputo.  It was harvest season for oranges and tangerines and we stopped at one of the roadside stands.

Again, I enjoyed the 7 hour road trip back to Maputo.  Some of the hilly roads reminded me of driving along 39th Street in Vancouver on our way to Church when I was growing up. We’d go down a hill into a valley and then up the other side.  As you neared the top of the hill it looked like you were going to soar off into space, but when we got to the top, there were other hills ahead.  In Chidenguela I saw what I thought would be a perfect spot for a temple.  It was on a hill overlooking the ocean! 

We arrived home about 8 p.m.  Greeting us was a "Welcome Home" sign from the Hobsons! 

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