Friday, October 31, 2014

20 - 26 Oct 2014 AreaReviewMtgs,KeyProject,Crochet,TempleClass

Monday shopping at Shop Rite and Premier went smoothly.  We had many items to purchase for ourselves and for the Area Review Meetings Tuesday. 

We were super prepared for shopping.  Not only did we have our lists, but we separated the lists so that at each store we knew which person would be looking for each item.  We made record time!  It was the first time shopping for the Lopes’.  We remember how daunting Premier was to us the very first time!  Since Lopes’ haven’t mastered driving in Maputo yet and the truck only seats 5 people, Sister Hobson stayed home and prepared breakfast casseroles for the Swaziland missionaries to eat when they arrived for the Area Review Meetings.

Monday afternoon I baked banana apple muffins for the Swaziland breakfast.  We got everything else ready we had to bring with us the next day.  Elder Hobson loaded up many of our boxes and our fans (for Matola 2’s R.S. room because it has no air conditioning) so that we could leave at 7:30 the next morning.

Monday afternoon we also went on what turned out to be a long walk.  We needed to buy plastic plates for the Swaziland breakfast and District Council Meeting lunch and brackets for a curtain in the sister’s apartment.  Since we found ourselves at the far-away Chinese store to find a bracket Elder Tidwell thought might work, we decided to check on the stores where I had purchased crochet hooks before. I had already given out the first 15 crochet hooks I had purchased.  The Fakir store hadn’t received their new shipment of size 4.00 hooks.  So, we went to the Casa de Paris, which is quite a walk from the Fakir store.   Senior Missionaries walking hand-in-hand must be a unique sight for Mozambicans, because we sure got a lot of looks!  Whenever we would connect with someone’s eyes, we would say “Boa tarde!” and their wondering expressions turned to smiles.   One interesting grey-haired and grey-bearded sixty-year-old gentleman stopped us.  He explained that he was an artist and had been to the United States – Washington, D.C; New York City; Silver Springs, Maryland.  He thanked us for stopping to talk with him!  Elder Tidwell told me he was a little drunk!  No matter, he was friendly!

Monday, Beira had their Area Review Meetings.  It was reported that 143 brothers attended the Priesthood Leadership Meeting, 99 sisters attended the Women's Auxiliary Meeting, and 505 members attended the member meeting!  Elder Clayton was astonished, especially noting this was on a Monday afternoon during the regular work-week.

Tuesday morning we left on time and arrived in Matola to set up the meeting rooms:  the Chapel for the Missionary Meeting (10:30 a.m.  – 12:00 p.m.) and Priesthood Leadership Meeting (1:30 – 3:30 p.m.); R.S. room for the Women’s Auxiliary Meeting (1:30 – 3:30 p.m.); YW room for serving the Swaziland missionary breakfast (9:00-10:00 a.m.); the District Council Lunch (12:30-1:30 p.m.); and Cultural Hall for the Missionary Lunch (12:00-1:00 p.m.).

We did last-minute cleaning, too!  Sister Maria Betania's sister Ida arrived, and they arranged a beautiful flower arrangement for the pulpit in the chapel.

When the Swaziland missionaries didn’t show up as planned, we began hearing about delayed and cancelled flights!  The APs informed us that the initial flight for the visiting authorities had been delayed.  Then, when the party arrived at the airport, they found out that the delayed flight had been cancelled!  Another flight to Maputo was leaving in a while.  It was a small plane and there was only 1 seat available.  Who should come?  Elder Clayton? Sister Clayton? Elder Ellis? Sister Ellis? the Security Officer?  the translator? President Kretly? or Sister Kretly?  Elder Clayton decided that Elder Ellis would take the seat since he spoke Portuguese and didn’t need a translator!  

Elder Ellis was to arrive in Maputo about 11:30 a.m.  Instead of an early Missionary meeting and separate Priesthood and auxiliary meetings, the new plan was to begin the District Council Meeting (and lunch for the visitors) immediately after Elder Ellis arrived from Beira.  The combined Priesthood Leadership and Women’s Auxiliary Meeting would then take place in the Chapel.

So, we began to put the new plan into action!  We asked the “missionary early-bird arrivers” if they were hungry and, of course, they said yes.  They were glad to eat the “Swaziland Breakfast” as we called it!  They enjoyed an unexpected delicious breakfast of Cheese Custard Casserole, Banana Apple Muffins, and Bananas.   We decided on serving the District Council Lunch right outside the District President’s office.

Elder Ellis arrived from the airport about 12:15 and, after the blessing on the food, he and the  District leaders got their lunch and held their meeting for the next hour.  In the meantime, the pizza which had been ordered for the missionary’s lunch arrived and it was served in the Cultural Hall.

When Elder Ellis came out of the District Council Meeting, he requested that the missionaries gather for a short meeting with him.  Elder Ellis’s aura is of total commitment to the Gospel.  He is a seasoned confident leader.  He was calm, unhurried, and gave a powerful message to us missionaries:  God has prepared and will continue to prepare the way for his work to be accomplished here in Mozambique and throughout the world.  Remember, missionaries always go in 3’s:  the Missionary, His companion, and God.

The member meeting began with "Graças Damós, Ó Deus, Por um Profeta" ("We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet").  Elder Ellis’s message:

  • When the saints are gathered together, God promises his Spirit will be with us. (D&C 44:2) This is a glorious promise because the Spirit inspires, teaches, reveals truth, testifies of the truth of all things, witnesses of the Father and the Son, guides us, gives us the gift of discernment, helps us remember truth, consoles and comforts us.  When we meet, not only take notes on what is said, but also make a list of the spiritual promptings you receive while you are listening. 

  • When we are gathered together we need to instruct and edify each other. (D&C 43:8-9) We teach the Doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31: 17-21).  By doing so,  we are helping God accomplish His ‘work and glory’ – “the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).  He knows the end from the beginning (Abraham 2:8).  Teach:
o   Come unto Christ
o   Have Faith unto Repentance
o   Establish the Church with real growth – retention of members.  Converts need a Friend, A Calling, and Nourishing with the Word of God
o   Gather Israel
o   Service – in the Church we Serve Others!
o   Priesthood administers the ordinances through which we become sanctified (D&C 84:19-22)
o   Help members endure to the end, preparing to meet God (3 Nephi 27: 13-20)
  • How do we keep ourselves on the Path back to Heavenly Father – one step at a time
o   Sacrament Weekly  - remember the Atonement and apply it in your life (D&C 59:9-12)
o   Personal and Family Prayer
o   Study and Ponder the scriptures
o   Attend the Temple

·         When you have questions, what do you do?
o   What do the Scriptures say?  Read, Study, Ponder the scriptures
o   What does the Manual say? Read and apply what the Manual says.  The manual isn’t a decoration!
o   What is the counsel of our Leaders?  Refer to the words of the living prophets and apostles.
o   What does your Council of Local Leaders say?  There are many councils:  branch, district, family, etc.
o   Pray always
  • Missionary callings are inspired and confirmed by God before they are extended to an individual or to a senior couple.
  • The Church is financially stable. We should follow the Church’s example:  live within our means and save something for the future.
·         The Church is concerned about:
o   Are we really converted? Are you walking in God’s ways? (Joshua 22:5) 
o   Are we strengthening our families, especially the new generation. 
o   Are we willing, as the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, to bury our weapons of war for peace (Alma 23:6-13) Anything that deters us from going to Church and following the commandments is a weapon. 
o   What about the poor?  Is there really “enough and to spare”? (D&C 104: 13-17) Are we fasting and praying and paying our tithes and offerings? (Malachi 3:8-12)
One of the specific blessings for tithe payers is:  “for ye shall be a delightsome land” (v.12)
Specific blessings for fasting:  Isaiah 58:8-12

For the closing song, Elder Ellis asked all of the missionaries to come up and sing "Fé a Cada Passo" ("Faith in Every Footstep") for the congregation.  That was a thrill!

Missionary recommendations continue to be submitted to us to check through.  Of the 5 recommendations we received on Tuesday, 2 were ready for scanning and sending to the Africa Southeast Area office and 3 were ready for their interview with President Kretly.

I was able to work more on the Key Project this week.  It is almost complete.  Can you believe that we collected over 250 keys in the Mission Office?   I had identified and labeled about 30 keys.  

I used our labeler to make adhesive labels to go in the metal key boxes to show where the keys were to go.  The next day I noticed that the labels were not sticking to the metal box.  So we used wide see-through tape to adhere the labels.  Well, we saw that they weren’t sticking either.   If we had industrial-duty sticky Velcro, we could use that, but we haven’t found it in any of the store here.   As a witness that Heavenly Father helps us to solve even small challenges, I had prayed that we would find a solution to the key label problem.  As I prayed I remember the “Sticky Stuff” we use to put up pictures in our apartment walls.  Yes!  That was the answer. It was the perfect solution!  I am grateful for inspiration! 

As a final check, Matilde and I went from room to room and tried the untagged keys in very lock!   5 more keys fit!  A total of 36 were identified and labeled!   We mounted the key boxes in the office on the main floor and in our office upstairs.

We tweaked and sent out the final plans for the Couple’s Conference which will be held November 4-7. Friday morning, Elder Tidwell installed brackets and a curtain rod in the sister’s apartment.   I sewed a quick casing in the pink fabric and now the sisters have curtains on all of their sliding doors.

To celebrate Elder Tidwell’s birthday, we had the Secretaries drop us off at Café Sol!  Elder Tidwell had a new beef, vegetables, and rice dish and I had my regular favorite:  veggie burrito.

On Saturday there was a blood drive at the Maputo 2 chapel garden.

We planned Sunday dinner and a special Family Home Evening on the Tree of Life Vision for the Mabaea family who were going to join us. 

At crocheting on Saturday, I had a nice small group.  I made the mistake of showing to the sisters the cute little baby shoes I had recently learned how to make.

When they had finished the bandolete and had learned how to crochet flowers, they wanted to learn how to make the little baby shoes!  It was challenging going from sister to sister instructing them at their unique places in the directions and at the same time helping one sister learn how to make flowers and another sister to begin another project.  The sisters were pleased with their first baby shoe!!  Next week, shoe number two!

Although we didn’t have a visible sunset on Saturday, the beautiful sun’s rays peaked out from the black clouds.

On Sunday it ended up that our visiting family didn’t come to our branch for Church.  Sunday lessons included "Using Our Talents to Build the Kingdom of God"; "Temple Interviews & Promised Blessing of Temples" (see D&C 107).  In Temple Preparation Class, Elder Tidwell took a picture of the class after the closing prayer. Back row: Rufino Chivite (his wife is Celeste), Sister Bernardo, Sister Naehu, Agostinho Azevedo Inácio, Egues Armando (his wife is Luisa Azarias Húo Armando), Fernando Cossa; front row: Sister Tidwell, Justino Anselmo, Cacilde Anselmo, Nilva Cossa  and her son Richard, Felizarda Cossa and her son Yuri.

Sacrament Meeting speakers talked on the Importance of family history and temple work, life as a time to prepare to meet God, and the importance of the prayer of faith.  After Sacrament Meeting, I talked with a recent convert who had questions about family history and temple work.  I learned a lot that afternoon and evening researching his questions and writing an email to him.  Elder Tidwell and I met with Manuel in the chapel after the meeting, too.  He wanted to review the lessons on the gathering of Israel, so we read the lesson to him again and answered his questions. 

We had a huge rain storm on Sunday afternoon!  But our kitchen balcony remained dry!  It was nice out, so I went outside to write in my journal.  As I sat there, I “heard” the next wave of rain approach!  It was very interesting.  I’d never “heard” approaching rain before!  I went inside, but realized that, because it wasn’t windy, I would have stayed dry if I had remained on the balcony.  So, I went out again until it started getting dark and a misty rain enveloped the neighborhood.

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