Monday, December 1, 2014

10 - 16 Nov 2014 Beach,Lucia,Hobsons,BeiraTrip,MLS,SemGrad,Manjala

Monday was the last P-Day for some of our sister missionaries.  They invited us to go to the beach to have a party.  I asked what they wanted me to bring. “Something sweet” was the replay, so I brought peanut butter bars.  This is the same beach where the sister missionaries had found some sand dollars, and so I was excited to look for them.  The low tide was apparently not low enough!  Dad and I had a nice leisurely walk on the beach while eating the sandwiches and apples we brought for our lunch.  Monday was a holiday, so the beach was crowded with families wading in the pool and playing together in the ocean.  After the missionaries played soccer, everyone ate the “sweets.”  The peanut butter bars went fast!

Elder Lourenço's spiritual thought at Staff Meeting was applicable to all of us.

“I had times in my mission that I did not see the results of my efforts. … I thought that I was not a good missionary.  I saw missionaries baptizing people and I felt sadness because I did not.  When I was praying I received this answer by President Henry B. Eyring’s talk (Rise to Your Call, 2002 General Conference). …
First, you are called of God…He chose you… You are called to represent the Savior… your calling is to bless lives….There will be times when you will feel overwhelmed … inadequate.  Well, you are inadequate to answer a call to represent God with only your own powers.  But you have access to more than you natural capacities, and you do not work alone.  The Lord will not only magnify the power of your efforts.  He will work with you Himself….when I remember that the Lord promised that His power would go with me, I begin to look for evidence of what He has done in the lives of the people I am to service.  I pray to see with spiritual eyes the effects of His power.  You can have the utmost assurance that your power will be multiplied many times by the Lord. All he asks is that you give your best effort and your whole heart. Do it cheerfully and with the prayer of faith.  The Father and His Beloved Son will send the Holy Ghost as your companion to guide you.  Your effort will be magnified in the lives of the people you serve.”
                D&C 58:2-4
2 For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
 3 Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
 4 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

After Staff Meeting it is not unusual for us to feel overwhelmed.  December has many events for which we are planning:  Zone Conference; Christmas Devotional, which Sister Lopes will direct this year; and a “White Christmas” on Christmas Day.

Invariably as we are waiting downstairs for the Secretaries or AP’s to pick us up, this dear little lady will come by and greet us so warmly.  Her name is Lucia!

We are beginning to receive another round of mission calls for the Mozambique/Swaziland missionaries.  The most recent 3 have been called to Florida Tampa Mission, and 2 to the Cape Verde Praia Mission.  We have been slowly whittling down the 9 recommendations which are needing specific documents from the prospective missionary.

We also started packing for our trip to Beira (November 14-19).  On Thursday we said “Goodbye” to the Hobsons.  Their last day would be November 19, the same day we return from Beira.  I made 2 hot pads with yarn the color of the Mozambique flag and gave them the following “Odds and Ends: A Mozambique Experience,” which includes many shared memories with the Hobsons.

On Friday morning we left for Beira.  Elder Hobson drove us through a terrific thunder and lightning storm, hoping that our flight wouldn’t be cancelled. By the time we boarded the plane, the storm had passed by.  The clouds were so beautiful.

The Snelsons welcomed us and when they showed us the bedroom, there, on the pillows, was a little chocolate bar, reminiscent of our stay in Summerfield, Swaziland!  In Beira you don’t have the luxury of going to a big store like Premier to get the food you need.  You need to go many places to find what you want and sometimes you even barter to get the price you want.  We went with the Snelsons to buy hot dogs, apples, catsup, drinks, and order rolls for Seminary/Institute Graduation, which would be held on Saturday.  They planned to feed 160! At one of the stops, we met Armindo Manjala, a brother from the Inhamizua Branch.  He and his wife each had filled out their Minha Familia pamphlet and wanted to have the information put on Family Search. We made arrangements to meet with him so I could do that for him.

That evening Richard traveled to Dondo, where he began attending MLS training sessions which would be held over the next couple of days.  Brother Given came from the Southeast Africa Area Office in South Africa to give the training relative to MLS, Member Leader Support software of the Church. Elder Tidwell had used MLS for many years as Executive Secretary and Ward Clerk in his home ward, but that had been a number of years ago. The training covered all of MLS membership, financial, and reporting functions.

Training focused on the Branch Presidents and Branch Clerks as well as the District Clerk. During the training over 30 received the training.  The training was focused on the 12 branches of the Beira District of which 4 were new ones and there had been a number of new Branch President sustained. Elder Tidwell was there to learn how to teach  the 6 branches in the Maputo District about MLS.  

Brother Given gave excellent training and took time to respond to questions and concerns of the participants. There was great interest in learning MLS and how it could help the members and support the leaders of the Church. 

On Saturday, Richard and I split ranks.  He went to the MLS Training (Palmeiras in the morning and at Manga in the afternoon).  I went to the Seminary Graduation.  Beira has two nice chapels!

Beira Chapel

Manga chapel  

Seeing the Snelsons teach and greet the young people who had gathered at the Manga Branch for the Seminary Graduaton, we realized first-hand the great impact they are having with the youth and families in Beira.  Elder Snelson, in the teacher training session, which was held before the graduation, stressed the importance of Love. Sister Snelson reviewed teaching techniques and stressed the importance of being in tune with the Holy Ghost. (Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 - And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.)  It was apparent in both of their presentations and testimonies they shared that they truly loved the young people and would miss them when they concluded their mission in December.  Sister Snelson brought out the chocolate marble cake she’d made.  In the group of teachers was Sister Rosa, who would soon receive her missionary call.

Seminary Graduation was amazing, with 154 qualifying for certificates.  Sister Snelson, as part of her talk, showed an avocado plant she had grown from an avocado pit.  It was about 2½ feet tall.  She likened the pit to one’s testimony.  If you nourish your testimony with prayer, weekly church attendance and partaking of the Sacrament, scripture study (especially of the Book of Mormon), keeping the commandments, and regular repentance, you will have deep gospel roots that cannot be shaken.  As the certificates were passed out, I recognized many names from the Excel spreadsheet of Mozambique missionaries.  It was nice to put faces and names!  I met President Bueno for the first time.  He spoke on the importance of Remembering.  (There are 240 times the word, or forms of the word, "remember", in the Book of Mormon! (Lesson 33: A Sure Foundation, Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 146–49).

I also met Sister Ferinho who had served a mission In the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission, the mission we might have been sent to.  The Temple President is President Warthen, one of Elder Tidwell’s missionary companion.  Sister Ferinho is now married and has a baby – Warthens remember her. After graduation, pictures of the group were taken. Then, lunch was served! 

When we ran short of food, Snelsons had to ask those who were not seminary graduates to wait until after the graduates had been served.

That evening we had dinner at Luna Mar, the cleanest restaurant in Beira with the other couples and Brother Given.

Sunday we attended the Palmeiras Branch.  Sister Snelson and I went to young women where the lesson was on Chastity.  Sister Snelson shared this adage, “He won’t buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.” For the second hour, we attended Primary and it was so fun to sing with the children.   I met Elisabeth, one of the leaders, and she was very sweet with me.

These young people are either waiting for this mission calls or are in the process of applying for missions:

Sunday afternoon I started entering Brother Manjala’s Minha Familia information on FamilySearch. 

Since I wasn’t able to sit down with him to go through his booklet beforehand, I had a lot of questions I needed to ask him.  An appointment was made for Tuesday evening, in Manga, to meet with him and his wife.

I went with Kim to a choir practice for a group of young people who would be singing for their District Conference the next Sunday.  I helped by playing the alto and melody parts on the piano as they sang.

We had dinner with the Dilles, Castro Deus’, and Snelsons at Castro Deus’ apartment.   We had delicious shrimp, rice, potato salad, pasta salad and delicious peach cobbler for dessert.  Sister Castro Deus reported the success she had had with the Relief Society training she had given Saturday afternoon.  Attending were the entire presidency from 6 of the branches!  During the evening, we received 2 calls from members in Maputo, who missed seeing us at Church.  That was so thoughtful of them!  That evening we Skyped with Peter and his family.

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