Since it was only a few days before Christmas, there were many people shopping at Shop Rite and Premier on Monday! Afterwards, we went to lunch at Café Sol, and discovered a new mall down on the marginal road. At Woolworth’s we found a small container (125 g) of “dark chocolate drops” for 165 MT (that’s about $5.30!!!). The mall had some interesting art pieces. This “Guitarist” was for sale for $8,000.
That afternoon the missionaries came over to play games. We played Rummikub, Scrabble, and Phase 10.
We had Christmas Eve dinner at the Ponds. Four the sister missionaries and Naldo, who has been the translator for the Ponds, gathered for Christmas Eve dinner at the Ponds. The Ponds purchased a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and cooked ham and candied carrots. I made funeral potatoes and brought some of the fruit for the yummy fruit salad. I also made 2 pies for dessert (chocolate cream pie and cream cheese pie) to go with the chocolate cake and ice cream from the Ponds.
Since some of the sister missionaries were going to Skype on Christmas Day, we were able to have our family Skype on Christmas Eve. So fun to connect with family!!!
On Christmas Day the missionaries called and asked if we wanted to join them Christmas caroling to member and investigators. Yes!! The Kimball and us followed the Secretaries and APs in their blue truck and we went to quite a few families.
We chose the hottest day of the year! It was 97º and later in the day it was 100º and very humid! We parked our cars and then followed the elders on dirt roads and narrow pathways to get to the homes.
The families were very surprised, but pleased, too, that we would come to sing to them. Here are some of the families we visited: Ernesto & Claudia; Justino & Cacilde Anselmo (Chamanculo’s Branch President); Laura & Francisco; Alito & Precious; Nelsio & Celia.
With Zone Conference over, training is under way for the Kimballs. The Secretaries are training them on Mission Finances. We will also be training them on some of our duties.
Both of us are busy with major projects. Richard is concentrating on finishing MLS training PowerPoints and documents so that he will be ready to give the training to the Maputo District branch presidents and clerks on Saturday January 3. As for me, in the 4 weeks we have before we leave, I am trying to write the 2014 Mission History. I am using a list of major 2014 events, which Sister Hobson compiled, Staff Meeting minutes, my journal, and information from the President and the APs.
Many of the missionaries had baptisms this week, fulfilling their desire to have a “White Christmas.” Sommerschield Branch a had wedding and baptism on Saturday and confirmations on Sunday. In the Chamanculo Branch there was a Saturday wedding and Sunday baptisms and confirmations.
It was a rainy Saturday afternoon and evening and the rain continued Sunday morning. The cute couple who were married Saturday, were baptized Sunday morning. The witness couple at their marriage was there, and another newly baptized couple gave the talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost. They both gave excellent talks, sharing their personal experiences with gaining a testimony of the gospel.
The main speaker at the Polana Branch Sacrament Meeting was President Mateus. He spoke about enduring to the end, despite temptation. He said Satan doesn’t bring the rain, but he does tempt us to stay home and not go to Church because of the rain. We are like the seeds planted in the Parable of the Sower (see Mark 4). Let us be like the seeds planted in the good soil and grow and progress in the gospel. Satan tells us that religion doesn’t matter and that the Church isn’t true. We need to be prepared to meet the challenges of life and not buckle under the stresses of life. We need to be built upon the firm foundation of the gospel to persevere (see Matthew 7:24-27). Yes, it has been raining, but what of it? What if it rains for the next 30 Sundays? Will you stay away and risk your eternal salvation? If it rains again on Sunday, just get an umbrella! Live the gospel, receive the blessings, and endure to the end.
In the little break in between rain storms, we walked to Manuel’s to visit him, as he had not been to Church for a couple of weeks. We sang him a few Christmas songs and brought him some Christmas cookies. He sang along when we sang “Silent Night.” When we explained that we would be completing our mission in a couple of weeks, he said that he was already feeling homesick for us! I told him I was compiling the stories he has been telling us about his life, and explained that I needed a few paragraphs about him becoming almost blind. He recounted how his vision has steadily become worse, beginning in 1994. I will add this to his history, add it to FamilySearch, and give him a copy before we leave.