This week we prepared for next week’s Zone Conference. All of the missionaries from Swaziland (22, including one couple) are coming to Maputo for Zone Conference, and we are all helping to house them for the 2 nights they are here. We will have 5 elders staying with us. On Monday we arranged the 2 double beds and 3 single beds in our extra room. Since this room has only had makeshift curtains, Richard put up brackets to hold a curtain rod and I hemmed curtains. During the evenings the rest of the week, I fashioned curtains for the other windows. On Saturday Richard put up brackets for curtains in the new sisters’ apartment, so there will be a few more curtains to hang and hem.
Each missionary is to bring their completed Minha Familia booklet to Zone Conference. I formatted a certificate to give to them. We copied some on Thursday, but then the color printer started putting colored streaks on the pages! Now what to do? Well, the next day the color printer worked perfectly, and we printed out the rest of the certificates.
Richard worked during the week to prepare lists for each branch of members who have been confirmed in the last 24 months. These lists will be given to the missionaries at the Conference so they will know which families are eligible, time-wise, to go to the Temple. The APs have been working hard on the PREZI presentation for the President.
We are glad that the Zone Conference lunch will be catered by Restaurante Marisqueira a Cataplana, which happens to be located a few blocks from the mission office, as 74 are expected to attend. We are still providing snacks and water for the morning and afternoon breaks, and we also needed to get food for the missionaries who are staying here in Maputo.
Friday evening we purchased 3 shopping carts full of water, soda and juice, milk, oatmeal, apples, candy bars for Zone Conference. We’ll purchase the rest of what we need on Monday during our regular shopping.
June is a record month for baptisms and confirmations: 131 as of Tuesday. This includes 31 families whose lives are being blessed by the gospel.
Fall is an interesting time here in Mozambique. The weather is much cooler, especially in the mornings and evenings, but it feels so good to us. The guards bundle up in coats and hats. The guard is going to be cutting down the banana plant so the bananas will go through their last cycle of ripening. Some plants are going to seed like this bush with leaves with the fancy white edges that look like they’re been cut with pinking shears. The large cacti in the corner of the garden now have colorful orange spikes of flowers.
We saw this interesting tree with a smooth trunk (because the bark naturally peels off) and it had tiny little yellow round balls, probably seeds, which carpeted the ground.
President and Sister Kretly attended the Maputo 2 branch Sacrament meeting Sunday. He asked us: Why do you attend Church? Is it because we have comfortable chairs, air conditioning, good missionaries, friends in the Church? The main reason should be that we believe the Church is true and we can learn to return to God. We come to recharge our batteries so we can meet the day-to-day challenges of life. With 15 million members of the Church, people all over the world are meeting in their places of worship. We need to be committed to the gospel. Every member is a missionary. Many will accept your invitation to learn more about Christ. Elder Nelson said that we not only want members to come to Church, but we want them to prepare for missions, to go to the temple, raise their families in the gospel. President Kretly noted that many members in Mozambique are first generation members of the Church. The 4th of July marks 60 years since his parents joined the Church in Brazil. President Kretly has read the missionary journal of the missionary who taught them the gospel. At that time his family had 3 children. He is child number seven. His parents have 40+ grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren. It’s been 60 years, but see how many lives the gospel has impacted! President Kretly said this will happen here in Mozambique. Imagine 20-30 years from now and what will happen with your children and their families in the Church. An apostle admonished us all to stop “pretending” to be a member of the Church. We have one foot in the world and the other foot in the Church. We must have both feet in the Church. We need to have a vision of the future and see with the Spirit. The only way to have full happiness is living the gospel. Prepare to go to the temple; if you have already been to the temple, prepare to return again and again. This is the Kingdom of God on the earth.
We invited the Gimo and Laura Mabaea family from the Maputo 1 branch, over for dinner on Sunday after Church. They attended Maputo 2 with us and after the meetings we walked to our apartment building. It was the first time their children had been in an elevator!! It was nice to have them in our home. We enjoyed a nice meal together of chicken over mashed potatoes, corn, cucumbers & tomatoes – dessert was rainbow jello and chocolate chip cookies. After we did the dishes, Angela, Landão, Laura and I played a match game with gospel pictures and looked at books together. Their baby, Antonia, is walking now and all the kids enjoyed exploring everywhere!