Monday, September 15, 2014

1 - 7 Sep 2014 Ocean,Rainbow,111Baptisms,AreaMtgPlans,Manuel

Monday I finished the Baptism Pillowcase for Fern who is going to be baptized on Saturday, Sep 6. Her birthday is Friday the 5th. Fern loves kitties, so I embroidered 16 kitties – 8 on the name side and 8 on her baptism date side!

Later in the week, Elder Tidwell and I sent off our email letters to Fern, congratulating her on her decision to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Baptism is the beginning of important covenants required for each of us to return to Heavenly Father with our families.

When you are packing up the car for a trip with your family, invariably you’ll hear someone say, “It looks like we’re taking everything except the kitchen sink!”  Well on our way to the office on Wednesday morning, we saw a man carrying one of those double kitchen sink units!  We wished we could have taken a picture of him, but we happened upon it too fast.  In Mozambique you can take everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink!

President and Sister Kretly are continuing their travels to the outlying independent branches this week. They usually have a special dinner with the new missionaries at their home some time before they go to their areas.  Two of the three new elders flew to Beira and would have dinner in Beira with Kretly’s on Thursday evening.  The President asked us to host the remaining new elder, Elder Hruby, and the new sister missionary, Sister Bluker, for a nice dinner at our home on Thursday evening.  I made Parkerhouse rolls to go with our roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy dinner.  We also had broccoli, green salad, and ended with brownies and ice cream for dessert. 

Then, via GoToMeeting, President Kretly taught his “welcome to the mission” training to all of the new elders.  At the end we viewed the “It’s a Miracle” video. 

One of the things Elder Tidwell and I are responsible for is to check missionary recommendations submitted by Mozambicans who want to serve a mission.  We probably mentioned a few months ago that President Kretly’s goal is to have as many Mozambicans serving throughout the world as there are missionaries from other nations serving in Mozambique, in other words about 110 Mozambican missionaries.  In the first 5 years of the mission, only 35 Mozambicans served missions.  This week we had a total of 63 Mozambicans either serving missions or received their calls to serve, three waiting for their calls, and one in the office waiting for final documents. One of the latest recommendations we received was from a young lady.  She was so diligent to come back, sometimes twice a day to give us the required documents!

One of the secretaries said that he has had a recurring nightmare.  He is home, or traveling home with his family having completed his mission.  He realized his 2-year mission is over and it seemed to go by so quickly!  The nightmare part is he can’t remember anything about his mission, the people, what happened!  It all alludes him, and he is so sad!  He tries, but he can’t remember anything! So, in consequence of this recurring dream, he is taking lots of pictures and writing regularly about his mission.  On the way to the office, he suggested we stop and take some pictures of the beautiful calm water and the stately palm trees along the bay.

In the last few days, I have felt more humidity in the air as we near our summertime, the rainy season.  It has been a very pleasant spring.  The guards and others bundle up in their coats in the morning and evening and Elder Tidwell and I walk happily down the street in our regular outfits and no sweaters - glorying in the mild temperatures.

With the rain comes rainbows, right?  Surprisingly we have seen very few of them!  On Friday morning there was a brief downpour and then we were pleasantly surprised to see a full rainbow in view from our 5th floor apartment.

August baptisms totaled 111!  Friday was busy verifying the last details so the records could be submitted and counted for the August statistics.

This month, Sep 20, our Area Authority Seventy, will be coming to our Maputo 2 chapel.  In October, Mozambique will be welcoming two General Authorities!  They will come for training meetings for Branch and District leaders and missionaries.  

President Kretly asked Elder Tidwell and I to coordinate the list of details specified by the Africa Southeast Area for the meetings which will take place in Beira, Matola, and Swaziland.  These concerns were to take up most of our thinking power throughout the weekend and onto P-day on Monday.  We made a plan, and then started to compose emails to send to the couples in Beira and Swaziland, and District and Branch leaders. 

Another thing I have been working on all week is to get ready for a “Learn How to Crochet” Relief Society activity on Saturday.  I made a sample headband, and finished a girl’s hat with a ruffled brim.  I gathered the instructions, in English, for the beginning projects (a headband) and advanced projects (baby booties, baby/child’s hat, hot pad).  Then, Elder Tidwell helped me get the instructions translated into Portuguese.  We made copies of the instructions and wound skeins of yarn into smaller balls.  I was quite excited for the activity and had turned down a trip to accompany the Hobsons to Maxixe.  Well, Saturday morning I was very disappointed to find out that the activity had been canceled! 

Sunday morning, at Church, I realized there were hidden blessings to not having the crochet activity on Saturday.  The first hour is R.S. and a member of the R.S. Presidency didn’t show up until 9:15 (Church begins at 9 a.m.).  The lesson leader followed a few minutes afterwards and she initiated a discussion on the importance of coming to the chapel on Saturday mornings to help clean. There were only a few sisters who turned out for the Saturday cleaning assignment.  That was one of the reasons why they canceled the activity yesterday. Then they discussed visiting teaching and how important it was to visit each other and give each other strength and help. Then they discussed the importance of activities and how the activity was canceled yesterday because of the chapel cleaning.  It was almost time to dismiss and I decided now was my time to ask if the activity was happening next Saturday.  “Yes, it is!” she responded. So, I asked if I could give my announcement.  I showed the headband that will be the beginning project and many sisters seemed very interested. I explained how if they learned how to chain, single crochet, double crochet and slip stitch, that they would be able to make many things. 

Then another sister, who I had not seen before, asked to see the headband.  Then she asked to make a comment.  She stood and told the sisters that this was a great opportunity for them to learn a skill; they could make things for their families to use, and they could make things to sell to make money for their families.  I see this as a great blessing.  Although last week they made the announcement in Church about the activity, because it was a joint R.S./Priesthood meeting for the 5th Sunday, I couldn't give my announcement or show the headband.  So this week I was able to do both when everyone was thinking about activities.  In the end I think the activity will be more successful than the day it was originally planned.  I am hoping so – next Saturday we’ll see!

Our blind member-friend Manuel was at Church Sunday.  I wanted to go to his home and help him with his Minha Familia booklet.  So, Elder Tidwell escorted him home to find out where he lived.  I stayed at the chapel for choir practice – they are getting ready to have a combined choir from all of the Maputo Zone branches for District Conference in November. 

Since I needed a key to our apartment, and perhaps the key to the Family History Library at the chapel, Elder Tidwell gave me his entire set of keys.  It was maybe a minute afterwards that I noticed I had only 3 keys and the red keeper for the other keys wasn’t in my pocket or anywhere!  I looked all around and didn’t see them on the ground outside where I had been standing.  I forgot all about the keys until after dinner and we were heading out to walk to Manuel’s home.  

I think everyone has their key prayer story – and we added another to our repertoire that day!  Instead of going straight to Manuel’s, we went by the chapel to search for the keys, saying a prayer as we went.  No keys were anywhere (outside or inside the door) and no keys had been returned to the guard.  We were about to give up, when I decided we should check inside one more time.  I hadn’t taken them upstairs to the Family History Library, but just maybe I had, so I went upstairs.  Richard turned on the light to the chapel and there on a chair were the set of keys!  “Come back down!” he called!  Our prayers had been answered!  We had been led to the keys!  We said a “Thank You” prayer and went rejoicing on our way to Manuel’s!

We were warmly welcomed into Manuel’s room in his apartment, which he shares with an uncle.  We visited for a while, and then he anxiously asked us if we could read another article he needed to read in preparation for the Area Authority Seventy’s visit September 20. (Elder Tidwell had read one of the articles upon arriving to Manuel’s earlier in the afternoon.  Elder Tidwell explained that he wrote important points on a whiteboard while he read.  Although he can’t read it off the board later, he asks his uncle to read it to him.  His uncle also helps him to put numbers into his phone.  Manuel has been blind a few years as a result of a sickness, but he doesn’t let that stop him from going places.  He even rides the chapa!  He asks other people for directions, and, simple walking stick in hand, he goes where he wants to go.  He listens to CDs of the scriptures.)  

Back to our visit, we were talking about Joseph Smith, and Manuel asked how old he was when he died.  He was surprised to hear that he died at age 38 and that he had been killed by a mob!  Next week when we go visit, we will bring The Our Heritage book and begin to read him about the early history of the Church!  We’ll also spend some time recording information in his Minha Familia booklet!  As we said goodbye, we gave him the small loaf of banana bread I baked that afternoon.  He was sincerely thankful and patted the sack the bread was in tenderly!  We also are going to bring him a music CD!

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