Monday turned out totally different than we had planned, but everything that needed to be done fell right into place in the end. We were on our way to shopping with the Hobsons and just barely out of the parking garage, going down the street and turning into the busy toward town traffic when BAM! Out of nowhere, a chapa rammed into the right back bumper of the truck!
Tualufo arrived (he devoted his whole day) and accompanied Elder Hobson and Elder Tidwell to the police station, to the hospital (to see that 3 of the people in the chapa who were injured in the accident were cared for), to the “judge”, back to the police station to make the final settlements, then to the insurance place to assess the car damage.
While Elder Tidwell was out and about, I kept busy by training Elder and Sister McEwen about FamilySearch, formatting stories Elder Tidwell had written for his Minha Familia booklet, decorating cupcakes for the elders and sisters who have had birthdays since last Zone Conference, and making final preparation for the 5 elders (Elder Rakotonarivo and Elder Frischknecht from Swaziland and Elders DaSilva, Jarvis and Kanaga from Maxixe) who would be staying with us.
Although we didn’t necessarily need to go shopping for us on Monday, we did need to do the final shopping for the “break” food for Zone Conference. So, after finding out the office elders’ schedule, Elder Tidwell and I decided that we could save a little time by walking to Premier (about a ½ hour walk). The traffic is horrible beginning at 3:30 p.m., so we figured that we made it quicker than if we had been in a car! We quickly gathered the things we needed and then saw the office elders, checked out and loaded up the truck. Off we went to the airport to pick up the Chimoio elders, took them to the Mission Office, and about 6 p.m. left to travel to the chapel where Elder Tidwell and I were to teach a Family History class about FamilySearch. As we were leaving we got a text and the person we were going to teach canceled – so all turned out fine! That evening we joined President and Sister Kretly, the McEwens, and the Hobsons for dinner at a nice restaurant.
In addition to the McEwens, all 20 missionaries from Swaziland came via big vans to Maputo for Tuesday's Zone Conference – 74 were expected to attend. The APs accomplished a major feat to get coordinate getting everyone here, make sure a Mozambique missionary is paired with Swaziland missionary for divisions on Monday evening, and find places for everyone to sleep Monday and Tuesday nights.
Thanks to Hobsons we arrived in Matola early for Zone Conference on Tuesday morning to arrange the “break” food on a table in the back of the chapel. We also readied the tables for the catered lunch. Bananas were delivered by a woman who had carried the heavy bag, containing 150 plus bananas, on her head.
The Conference began at 9:30 with a group photo. What an amazing group! I remember the first Zone Conference we attended we hardly knew anyone. Now I can look and I know almost everyone!
The morning break: before and after!
President and Sister Kretly both taught the elders and sisters to develop not only into extraordinary missionaries, but extraordinary individuals with eternal life skills and values. Sister Kretly reminded the missionaries that cleanliness in apartments and houses is expected. As admonished in Philemon 1:20, we should each be willing to do more than our share of the work.
A mission gives you the opportunity to become a new pro-active person (see D&C 58:26 and Alma 18:10). What will you do today to be what you want to be tomorrow? Will you dream, or transform your dreams into reality? Will you ignore the needs around you, or will you contribute to their solutions. Will you fade away in a crowd, or will you find a purpose and pursue it? Will you isolate yourself from others, or will you create connections? Will you admit defeat, or will you prepare yourself for victory? Will the mission change your life for the better, or will you return home and go back to the way you were before?
Lunch was delivered and Sister Kretly helped me put the food boxes on each place.
During lunch we also celebrated missionary birthdays since last Zone Conference and the 2-year mark for President and Sister Kretly.
Conference continued after lunch. An extraordinary missionary uses his completed Minha Familia booklet to invite others to learn more about the plan of salvation. 50, out of a possible 74, brought their Minha Familia booklets and received a Thank You "Obrigado" certificate at the afternoon break.
Five missionaries attending this Zone conference will be going home next transfer. In their testimonies, they challenged the other missionaries to make their time count. Challenges are to fortify us; the Lord is always with us! I love the people; I am converted to the Lord and His service. Jesus was a friend to all. When there was no one else to comfort me, He was there. Those who shook my hand, you are part of me. Thank you.
We had a record number of baptisms in June – over 150! It may sound like it is easy to baptize in Mozambique. On the contrary, it is a lot of work! The missionaries focus on families and they have been working very very hard this month.
It seems strange to be the first part of July and not having dozens of 4th of July activities to choose between. The United States Embassy came through for us, though, by having a 4th of July celebration on Saturday July 5th. We went with the Hobsons. It was so great to know that the “native” language for the activity was English!
The celebration was held at the American International School, a private school, located near the Mission Office. It has a staff of about 70 and has almost 500 students. It’s really expensive, though. Tuition ranges from $9,000/year for a preschooler to almost $17,000/year for 11th and 12th grades.
The activity began with free popcorn!!!
There were art booths where you could purchase things, a blood drive, group games for the children, a chili cook-off, a dessert competition and group games of volleyball, tug-of-war, and soccer.
One of the things we purchased was this painting by the artist A. J. Kulomba, and we watched as he worked on another painting.
The food was purchased through tickets we obtained with our pre-registration. You could also purchase tickets for food there at the event. We had hamburgers, and Elder Tidwell also had a hot dog. At the condiment table there was REAL American mustard and sweet pickle relish. There were fruit and pasta salads to choose from and Fritos, Cheetos, and other American snacks to purchase. You had your choice of canned soft drinks and/or water. At the dessert table there were Rice Krispie Treats, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.
Another highlight of the afternoon was the group of Great White Pelicans which circled around in the distance.
About mid-way through the activity, we sang the United States National Anthem, led by a volunteer with a beautiful voice. Then, an enthusiastic group of Mozambican children was quickly gathered and they sang the Mozambique National Anthem. Elder Tidwell made a video of it and we’ll have to post it on Dropbox.
The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. We loved hearing how the family was celebrating their 4th of July back in the United States! The families participated in Family History escapades, had picnics, watched balloons launch, went to parades, and watched fireworks.
We ended the day with a beautiful ½ moon. I don’t think we ever see a ½ moon at this angle in Utah.
Sunday was Fast and Testimony Meeting and I was determined to bear my testimony.
Eu tenho o testemunho o evangelho restaurado por Joseph Smith. Eu sei que Jesus é o Salvador. Eu sei que Deus ouve e responde as nossas oracões. Ele nos deu o Espirito Santo se guardamos os mandmanetos. Eu sei que o Livro de Mormon é verdadeiro. Eu sinto o Espirito quando eu ler e entender mais. Cada um de nos tem a responsibilidade de aumentar o testemunho e fé no Jesus Cristo atraves oracão, guardar os mandamentos, e ler as escrituras, em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amen.
I like testimony meeting, because I can understand most of the meeting. I am thankful for the notes that Elder Tidwell takes so I can catch all of what is being said. Before the meeting I had the privilege of holding little David, Crislerio and Joanna's son, in my arms. He snuggled right down on my shoulder and it felt so amazingly wonderful!!!!! Thank you, little David, for reaching out to me so I could hold you!