The “Learn to Crochet” activity is going very slowly. The sisters seem to be very interested, but they do not come on the day! Celeste wanted an extra day to come, so we met on Monday. She learned how to make flowers for her headband. Then she showed me another project she is going to tell the sisters about. She took out an empty heavy plastic bag which used to hold rice. She cut the ends off and then poked holes in it with her scissors. Taking a piece of fabric from an old capulana, she poked the fabric through the holes and tied it off – much like a hooked rug, but using fabric instead of yarn. The finished product will be a very sturdy rug!
This week we discovered that the Africa Southeast Area will accept scanned missionary applications. Usually we send the original paper copy. Using scanned images, as you can imagine, will greatly speed up the process.
At Staff Meeting this week, Elder Poyfair shared a spiritual thought that each of us can take to heart. He explored the meaning of the phrase “waiting upon the Lord.” We are repeatedly admonished to “wait upon the Lord” and we associate this with patience and trusting in the Lord’s timing.
Psalms 37:3-7 “Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass… (v.34) Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land… (v. 40) ”And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.”
When we are waiting on the Lord we put our total trust in Him. When we are waiting on ourselves to solve a challenge or trial we have, we become worried about it and try to make our own way in solving it. In contrast, when we trust in Him to provide a way through our challenges and trials, we totally trust in Him and the responsibility of the outcome becomes His. He explained that when he was a Jr in High School, his father lost his job and it was hard for them as a family. Their home teachers came and shared the story of the Brother of Jared from Ether 6. This story helped his family see that the people waited upon the Lord (v. 4-6). They set themselves “forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.” Even when they were buried by the water (v.6) they were always brought up and “the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters.” Even in our trials, God is always directing us to our “promised land” - eternal life. As we wait upon the Lord, the Lord will take care of the outcome.
I had the privilege of giving a women’s manual to a lady at the bank who had requested one from the missionaries a while back. She was very thankful to receive it!
For Zone Conference this time, I wanted to bake the muffins instead of buying the muffins at the store which have a "Best Before" date that is 2 or 3 months in the future! One of the secretaries had told me that one of the near-by stores carried Pillsbury Lemon-Flavored Poppy Seed Muffins, so on Monday, we went to that store with the Hobsons and purchased the mixes we needed. Wednesday was baking day. First, Matilde and I made two dozen Surprise Muffins to go with the breakfast for the Swaziland missionaries. Then we baked 72 poppy seed muffins! We also made 16 heart-shaped cupcakes for the missionaries who had had birthdays since the last Zone Conference. It was all-day job and I got lots of exercise going up and down the stairs to check them as they baked. Elder Tidwell fashioned boxes so we could freeze them for next Tuesday’s Zone Conference. It earned me a royal headache the next day as I hadn’t kept myself well-hydrated – the kitchen was so hot!!!
This week I also volunteered to make a cake for a Friday wedding. The APs were very grateful!
Other Zone Conference preparations this week included purchasing water and other beverages and apples for the breaks. Matilde was so helpful in washing the apples. We wrapped the plastic utensils in sturdy blue napkins and tied them with green ribbon!
On Saturday we attended the baptism for the couple who were married on Friday. Their oldest two children were also baptized. During the baptismal meeting which preceded the baptism, I got to hold Celia’s little baby girl so Celia could give her talk about the Holy Ghost.
That afternoon we attended the special meeting with Elder Khumbulani Mdletshe which was held at the Maputo 2 chapel. I was happy to see members from Maputo 1 branch as they came in, since they meet in a different building than ours now. We were all to have read specific articles for the meeting: “Trial of Your Faith” by Elder Neil L. Andersen; “The Gospel Culture” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, and “More Diligent and Concerned at Home” by Elder David A. Bednar and the “Family Proclamation.” Elder Mdletshe asked members to share what they had learned from the articles.
- In our relationships: Express Love and Show it; Bear Testimony and Live it; Be Consistent. “In these important pursuits we will never be left alone. Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son live. They love us and know our circumstances, and they will help us to become more diligent and concerned at home.”
- “Every [person] eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there…must make his stand.” (President Ezra Taft Benson) Elder Andersen said, “Don’t be surprised when it happens to you!” To “remain ‘steadfast and immovable’ during a trial of faith … immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith: you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and you serve others. … Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view.” See also Ether 12:6; D&C 122:9
- Elder Oaks taught: Rely on the Holy Ghost, Lead a distinctive life by keeping the Commandments: “Many African traditions are consistent with the gospel culture and help our members keep the commandments of God….strong African family culture … love and loyalty … modesty.” Others, such as the husband expecting his wife to do most of the work at home, that children are servants to the father, and Lobola “bride price”, should be discontinued. He continued: Pay your tithing, Build up the Church where you live, Love One Another.
After the meeting, Sister Hobson and I helped the Maputo 1 sisters in a Relief Society activity – making scripture bags. We were kept busy at our sewing machines as the sisters cut out the fabric and handles for their bags.
Our visit to Manuel on Sunday afternoon required him to do some hard memory work as we helped him fill out his Minha Familia booklet. What would you remember about your first four generations of ancestors if you were in his situation: blind with no family documents to consult?! We also started reading the Our Heritage book to him.