Monday afternoon I had an appointment to meet with Celeste, one of the counselors in Relief Society. She wanted to learn to crochet before the activity on 6 September, so she could help the sisters better. As we were getting ready to leave, the thought came to me (via the Spirit) how good it would have been if I’d brought from home to Africa my “Learn How Book,” a booklet with basic instructions and pictures for crocheting, knitting, tatting, and embroidery. Then, I thought, maybe I did bring it…and, if I had brought it, it would be in the red folder in the bookcase in the kitchen here in our apartment. So, I went there, pulled the red folder off the shelf, opened it, and there was the booklet! In addition to the booklet, I had directions for the headband I used to teach the Primary children, directions for another headband. I am so thankful for this blessing to find the book that I had forgotten that I had brought from home over a year ago!!!
Celeste and I had an interesting time together as I taught her to crochet for the first time. I had a list of English/Portuguese crochet terms which came in handy, as the vocabulary for crocheting isn’t part of Elder Tidwell’s repertoire. The hardest part of learning to crochet is teaching your left hand to hold the thread properly so the yarn will slide easily through your fingers. When the yarn doesn’t slide easily, the tendency is to make very tight stitches. I taught her the basic crochet stitches: chain, single crochet, and double crochet. Celeste has a happy personality and it really was a lot of fun to teach her.
This teaching session helped me to decide that the single crochet hot pad, like my Mom used to make, was too advanced of a project for a beginner. I decided that the project should be a simple headband, as it repeats the basic stitches.
Saturday afternoon I picked up my 2nd repaired slipper (I had two pairs of slippers and both left ones were broken) from the shoe man. He agreed to be in a photo.
When I got home and put the slippers with their mates, I found that the right slipper of one pair also needed to be repaired! The shoe man laughed as I brought out yet this 3rd slipper to repair! I’m sure that these men (the shoe man usually is there with one of his friends) have something to talk about – the white-haired white lady who brought her slippers one at a time to be mended!
In the afternoon the traffic in the city gets even crazier than the morning. However, we needed to encounter it anyway, because I needed to buy yarn at the Fakir store. It is kitty corner from a round-about and the cars are coming from all directions. We made it safely across the busy streets and the store clerks were very helpful. The store clerk had to climb on a step stool to reach the yarn – I needed one of each of 8 different colors for the headband project. They had 10 size 4.00 mm crochet hooks and so we bought them all!
Looks like I’ll be helping with a scripture bag project with the Maputo 1 Relief Society sisters on September 13. Sister Olander came down and we talked about what the sisters needed to bring. Sister Hobson and I will both bring sewing machines. The sisters will bring a capulana for the bags. They will do some of the stitching by hand.
Monday was transfers. The process was complicated by the fact that the newly arriving missionaries came on two different weeks instead of all together and the Mozambique elders who could begin had not all been set apart.
Before the new missionaries leave for their areas, they each get a pillow and a set of sheets and a package of pillowcases from the mission. Many of our Mozambican missionaries begin their mission here in the Mozambique Maputo Mission while they wait for their visas for the country to which they have been called to serve. When 5 of these Mozambican elders came up to get their linens from me on Tuesday, I was struck with their humble gratitude. When I asked one elder if he needed shirts (we also have a supply of white shirts I can give out) he said that he didn’t need shirts, but he needed a pair of pajamas! I wished that I had a pair to give him! These young men come from very humble circumstances. They are ready to serve. The mission will give them not only an adventure (many will experience their first airplane ride) but also they will learn important life skills while being successful emissaries for Christ.
The work volume of a senior missionary has its ebbs and flows and you experience constant changes of plans. Add the language barrier, and it is very challenging!
Every month, beginning October 2013, except for last month when we made our video for all to view, we write an email to each of our grandchildren. We share with each grandchild something unique we have seen or done or heard and attach at least one photo to our message. We are hoping that this practice has kept us in the minds of our twenty-five grandchildren. Most of the grandchildren don’t have emails of their own, so their parents (our children) have had to be involved with passing on the messages to their children. We thank our kids for the time they take to relay the messages to their children!
Another sister missionary, Sister Lopez, is going to Swaziland. Hobsons had a get-together for her on Wednesday evening, the night before her departure.
We enjoyed chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream and we brought the Massala fruit to share. When you eat it you have to be careful because it has big masses of seeds in it.
Before Elder Douglas left, he had Naldo clean the binders which were in the garage and bring them upstairs onto one of the tables. I was supposed to go through them, as I had time. Well, when elders arrive, the elders use that area as a kind of living room and place to put their suitcases. So, since more elders were arriving on Friday, Elder Tidwell and I took time on Thursday to move the big table and all the binders into our office! They were hard to ignore there, so I have been working on them when I get a chance.
Friday we got a ride to the office with the sister missionaries. We had a full day there! Half-way through the morning we decided to walk to President Kretly’s house with the transfer cards and the new vinyl map for the Transfer Board at his home office. I put up the transfer cards while Richard got the map ready to install. It was trickier to do it without taking the panel off. We just about had the map sticking at a wrong angle, but we pried it off, started again, and hung the map successfully! Since it was nearly noon by the time we walked back to the Mission Office, we decided to have lunch at Café Sol. Richard tried a new item: Beef Lasagne. It was delicious!
Four more missionaries, one sister and three elders, arrived on Friday afternoon. All but the sister will be leaving next week for the Beira/Manga area. It’s springtime in Africa – even the weeds have pretty flowers. The plants are getting new leaves; some are multi-colored. Even the trees which were mercilessly pruned to stubs a few months ago are showing lots of new growth!
We purchased the rest of the supplies I needed for the Relief Society activity on Saturday. The Casa da Paris fabric store way down our street had 6 of the 4.00 mm size crochet hooks! Then we hurried over to the chapel for a baptism. We often walk hand-in-hand. On the way, a man stopped us and explained that it made him feel happy to see a couple like us walking hand-in-hand. He asked us our ages, and again thanked us for our example!
We arrived just in time for the baptism meeting to begin. After the talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost, we went to the baptismal font. One couple and a single brother were baptized.
After the baptism Elder Tidwell was asked to give some remarks. "I welcome you as new members of the Church (BemVindo a Igreja de Jesus Cristo Dos Santos Dos Ultimos Dias). The day of your baptism is one of the most importamt days of your life. Through baptism you are clean from your sins and are beginning a new life. From this point forward your life will get better every day because you have taken this great step. The Church teaches the complete plan for your life not only for here on the earth but also for the eternities. All of your family and your descendants will be blessed because of your baptism and activity in the Church. I bear you my testimony that this is the true Church and that we have a living Prophet today by the name of Thomas S. Monson. The Prophet Joseph Smith really saw God and his Son Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith restored the true church of Christ upon this earth. The Book of Mormon teaches the truths that God would have us know..."
Then the three shared their testimonies. One brother said that before he knew about the gospel he felt like he had an empty sack. He said the gospel has filled his sack. He has felt a big change in his mind and is thankful for the Book of Mormon. He prayed about it and received his answer. The other brother explained that he had called the telephone number on the sticker on the APs car. He accepted the invitation to come to Church and he began to study and grew in understanding. The first brother’s wife said she was very thankful to know of the true path back to Heavenly Father. She wished she had been raised in the Church. Now that she is here, she wants to share it with others. From the beginning, she explained, she felt the gospel was true. She told her husband “This is true. We need to look forward to participating in the Church, the true Church." They are ready to stay the rest of their lives. They are beginning a great journey today!
Before Church I talked with one of the families and they asked how my family and my grandchildren were. I took the opportunity to tell them I had a granddaughter named Fern who was 7 and has a birthday Friday, 5 September, and will be baptized Saturday, 6 September. Fern is so excited!!!!
During the Principles of the Gospel Sunday School lesson, which was on Obedience, Brother Castel-Branco made a comment, but I couldn’t hear what he said. He was very emotional as he shared, though, so after Church I asked him what he had said. He explained that about 3 years ago when the missionaries came to his house and taught him for the first time, he didn’t understand very much. They were telling him many things. The next time the missionaries came, they explained the Word of Wisdom: that one shouldn’t drink whiskey or other alcoholic liquids. These were not good for the body, were harmful to your heart and your spirit. They invited him to go to Church and when he went to Church he told the missionaries that he had stopped drinking alcohol. They said that was very good! He heard the talks and lessons and understood more. The missionaries explained that a year after he was baptized, he could go to the temple if he did everything the Branch President said he needed to do. So, he got baptized and prepared to go to the temple. He went to the temple the first time, then a second time, and then a third time. “I am so grateful!” I told him that his life is a life of obedience and faithfulness!
One of the Sacrament Meeting speakers was the High Councilman, João Melo, from Matola. He is a tall distinguished looking brother with white curly hair. He talked about the pioneers who suffered to allow the Church to be restored and relocated to the Salt Lake Valley where they could be free from persecution and enjoy unity. These early members of the Church sacrificed what little they had by contributing to the Perpetual Emigration Fund to help others travel the 1600 km to Zion. He likened the distance to traveling from Maputo to Nampula in Mozambique! We, too, can enjoy unity in our congregations by loving one another. We can be strong families. In our homes we need to respect for each other and to make sure kind words are spoken between mother and father and between children and parents. We have the responsibility to bring the message of Christ to others.