Sunday, December 28, 2014

15 - 21 Dec 2014 KimballCouple,Armindo,LastZoneConf,MissionParty

The new office couple, the Kimballs, arrived on Sunday and they spent the afternoon and evening with us!  We took a walk and showed them where the nearest ATM was, and showed them the chapel.  Richard went with the Kimballs to Premier to buy groceries.  They are living at President and Sister Kretly’s until right before Christmas.  Then they are moving to the Mission Office until we leave – then they will move into our apartment.
I needed to finish baking for Zone Conference.  I baked and put icing on 26 cupcakes for the missionaries who have had birthdays since the last Zone Conference.  With my countertop oven, I could only bake 6 at a time!  I also baked Cornstarch Butter Cookies – the last of the homemade cookies I made for the missionaries.

Armindo Mazivila, from Maputo 1 branch, came to our apartment, and I helped him put his Minha Familia information on   He joined us for a roast beef dinner, complete with a chocolate cake to celebrate Kimballs’ 42nd wedding anniversary! 

A terrific thunder and lightning storm began that evening.  Richard and Elder Kimball had to go with the elders to Matola to pay for the pizza for tomorrow’s Zone Conference – they wouldn’t accept the order without payment.  By then it had started to rain, so they had to navigate some pretty sizeable puddles.  While they were gone, Sister Kimball helped me a lot!  We put Christmas tree tags together with the elders and sisters names who have had birthdays since last Zone Conference. Then we put together the cups of homemade cookies with a new pen and a message about fichas together for the missionaries for the evening of Zone Conference.

Didn’t get a full-night’s rest that night as we had to be up early to get to Matola to set up for Zone Conference.  The next wonderful thing was that the elevators weren’t working.  Apparently with the huge rain storm, the elevator shafts had filled with water so they had to turn off the motors!  Yes, that meant that we had to take all of our boxes down the 114 steps to the car – we had boxes of water, tablecloths, bananas, and other things for Zone Conference.  Since we couldn’t take it all in one trip, each of us (us, the Ponds, the Kimballs, and the sister missionaries) took multiple trips up the 114 steps to our level 5 apartment and down again!  Lovely! 

Even though we arrived late, we were “early” because the doors to the building were still locked!  The elders arrived with the keys and we got everything set up.

Pictures first!  The rain stopped enough so we could have the picture taken outside!

We enjoyed all of the messages of Zone Conference very much; we had a couple of elders translate for us!  President Kretly reviewed the progress of the mission, gave an overview of 2015, and taught the missionaries about seeking to understand others, how to be covenant-keepers and how to encourage others to keep their commitments, and explained the importance of celebrating differences, having unity, and working together to create new, better alternatives.  

Sister Kretly reviewed a challenge she gave the missionaries last year:  to read the Book of Mormon underlining the characteristics of Christ.  (I have followed through with this challenge and I am now in 3 Nephi).  Sister Kretly also talked to the missionaries about following mission rules, including keeping apartments clean.  

Sister Castro Deus shared the Inspirational story about the conversion of her father – the missionary who baptized him thought he had been a failure because he had only baptized one person.  However, that one person, Sister Castro Deus’ father, started a multi-generation family with strong testimonies, many missionaries and leaders of the Church.  

Since this was our last Zone Conference, at the end of the meetings President Kretly invited us to share our testimonies.  Richard and I have had both challenges and successes during this mission.  We will miss our association with the people - the missionaries (especially those who have served in the office), the marvelous couples, the members, and many other people we have met in our neighborhood!

During the course of the day, the missionaries enjoyed their break, a pizza lunch, birthday cupcakes, and the couple missionaries shared their “Call to Senior Service” song with everyone.

Each of us received a Christmas gift – a collared knit white shirt with the Mozambique and Swaziland flags embroidered on it and a temple recommend cover – the sisters also received lotion and hand gel.  

At the conclusion of the conference, the Swaziland missionaries traveled home, but the rest of the missionaries traveled to the Mission Office.   Just getting into the building from the road was a challenge because the rain storm left the street full of mud.  Next to the curb was a wide mud puddle.  The silty mud is super slippery, so it was pretty tricky going from rock to rock to cross the puddle. 

Here is the Mission Office Christmas Tree with pictures of all of the missionaries and a unique wire and bead nativity I found in the back of a closet!

We had a catered dinner from the Portuguese Restaurant located nearby.  We had rice, feijão, roast beef in gravy, pork, chicken, and mixed vegetables.  Ice cream and toppings were for dessert.  Then the districts put on skits.  It was a super full day!

We had busy days at the office the rest of the week.   We put things away from Zone Conference, welcomed 3 more missionaries, and trained the Kimballs in a few things. The majority of their time this week has been to be trained by the secretaries about the finances of the mission.  Richard has finally found some time to work more earnestly on MLS training!

Saturday morning we attended the baptism of a family.  They have a baby and 7-year-old twin girls.

That afternoon was the branch’s Christmas party.  It began with a short spiritual meeting featuring messages and testimonies from the District and Branch Presidents.  Then we assembled outside under the car canopy to protect us from the direct rays of the sun. 

One of the members read a poem he had written about Christ, three of the young single girls presented a dance, some of the Relief Society sisters presented a capulana fashion show, and one of our very good friends sang "Sempre que Alguém nos Faz o Bem" ("Each Life That Touches Ours For Good").

One elevator was working when we got home from the Branch Christmas party!!!!  The other one…

Hurray for one functioning elevator!!!!  We were not looking forward to taking our groceries up 5 flights of stairs.

Sunday was the first day the 3 newly formed Maputo branches met.  The new Polana Branch, which meets from 8-11 a.m., was very sparsely attended.  By the Sacrament Meeting time, there were about 70 present.   The branches will go through a time of transition as everyone learns which branch they should be attending.  President Mateus, from the Mission Presidency, spoke about unity.  What a surprise, Esperanca, from Johannesburg, arrived and sat next to us.

Elder Tidwell and I taught the Temple Preparation Class.  It was our last of 3 Family History lessons.  It was on beginning your life history.  In this lesson I share the miracle of finding our Seeger relatives in 2010.

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