Well, week one is over and it feels like ages since I've had a P-Day! The flight over here was super draining and long and boring! Everyone keeps telling me that I'm super lucky to have been to London, but all I could see was an airport from the windows, plus I flew in the middle of the plane, so I didn't even see anything, but whatever! But anyway! We flew to Johannesburg with a whole slew of other missionaries, 14 of us in total, I think! Some were going to Angola, some to Madagascar, and then there were the 5 of us going to Mozambique! We were supposed to have 3 more Elders with us, but 2 had some minor Visa problems and one had to get a surgery, but they should get here within the next two weeks!
Okay, So I'm serving in Matola!!!!! Matola 2 Ward is the ward that we are assigned to! Our area covers Units G, H, and F in the Matola units on the outskirts of the main city of Matola! It is awesome!!!!! I found out where I was going, and who I was going to be with about a few hours before I went to my area. My companion is Elder Badger and he's from Missouri! He is super awesome! He's got 4 transfers left on his mission and he speaks Portuguese super well!
The language isn't as much as a barrier as I thought that it would be! I can actually speak pretty well about quite a number of things, but it is just difficult for me to understand people on my own, so a lot of the times, Elder Badger translates or handles the conversations, but I do participate quite a bit in the discussions! But I'm actually learning quite a bit of the African Dialect that they speak in Matola and Maputo, its called Chongane! In fact, we've both started to pick up some Chongane! Chongane is the dialect that they speak in Matola and Maputo! So it is super cool! We know a bunch of greetings and salutations in Chongane, and the older generation thinks it’s hilarious when Mulungos (White Guys) try speaking Chongane!
So pertaining to this, last night we were walking to an appointment, and we were walking past a group of Elderly Men outside of some hole in the wall bar (They are literally holes in the wall- It is a little room, tiny, like, smaller than my bathroom back home, with a bunch of beers on shelves that the "bartender" serves. These "bars" are all over the place here!) But as we were walking past them, I said, "Xipelele" (Zipayleelay) which means goodnight, and one of them just lit up with a big smile and walked over toward me! I was so happy! I had said it right and they were all laughing that I could speak Chongane! So he walks over to me and grabs my hand super fast to shake it. He caught hold of my index and middle finger in his hand and latched onto me! He would not let go! Elder Badger was on the phone a few feet ahead and didn't even realize what was going on! So this man (they were all probably in their 60's) starts trying to drag me into the alley! Now it is night time, its dark, I have no idea what he's saying to me, there are 5 strange old men pulling me into a dark alley, and my companion has no idea what is happening!!!!! You can imagine my fear! I've only been here for a few days, and I'm thinking that a bunch of 60 year old drunk men are going to kill me! So I keep trying to pull my fingers out of his death grip and I suddenly realize that his buddies aren't trying to grab me, but are trying to pull us apart, and I'm suddenly aware that one of them is speaking English, primitive African English, but is telling me to be careful! I was trying so hard to think in Portuguese and trying to understand what they were saying, that I couldn't even understand him when he was trying to use English! So eventually, his buddies pull him off of me, and I go walking away to try to catch up to my companion that has no idea what just happened!!! As I'm walking away, I shout back, "Canimambo!" Which means thank you, and they all just laughed again! So yeah! I thought I was going to die!!! Haha! So that was fun!
So yeah, we landed in Mozambique on Wednesday at around Noon and were greeted by the AP's, the Mission President and his Wife, the office Elders, and a couple of Sister Missionaries (to pick up Sister Chunga who came with us)! So we jumped in the cars with all of our luggage and I thought that we were going to die. Everyone drives so crazy. We drive on the left side of the road here, and the roads are terrible by the way- pot holes everywhere- and there are really no traffic laws! People drive wherever they want and hope that they don't get hit! The way I had it explained to me is that everyone is such a bad driver, that it just works out! You'll be flying through traffic, dodging cars and people by only inches between life and getting in an accident! Plus all of the cars are stick shift, which just adds another level of suspense to it, because the stick is in your left hand, because the car setup is backwards, so yeah. Needless to say, it is crazy, but it works!
So we got to the Mission Home/Office and they told us to go take a nap! I didn't feel tired, and I really just wanted to go out proselyting, but they insisted that we go to bed. So reluctantly I struggled to get into bed because of the Mosquito net, and was out within 2 minutes! I took and 8 hour "nap"! We slept from 2 in the afternoon until 10! We woke up, had dinner, and then went back to bed again!!! So we got something like 15 hours of sleep or something like that! But we stayed in the Mission Home/Office for Wednesday, Thursday, and we left to our areas on Friday afternoon! So the field is awesome!
Last night we committed a family to baptism and marriage! They are a new contact that last night was our first meeting with them! They have come to Church the past 2 weeks BY THEMSELVES! Apparently they had met with a couple of missionaries a long time ago and believed everything, then something happened and they stopped getting taught! But within 5 minutes of our lesson the Husband said that pretty much he knows that our church is the true church of God and that he wants to get baptized!!!!! Whoa!!!!! That floored us! So we said that we can definitely do that, but that we had to talk about marriage with him... So Labolo is the dowry that the husband has to pay his father-in-law to marry his daughter! The father in law can ask for as much as 10,000 Meticais!!!!! This is ridiculous money here! Just as a comparison, One US dollar is 40 meticais, here! We bought a pineapple the other day for 25 Met, so it was like 60ish cents! And so everything is super cheap here! A choppa ride, which I haven't had yet, but will have today, is only 7 Met, and they take you pretty much wherever you need to go, Choppas are their bus system, and I'll send some pictures hopefully sometime next week! But the theory is to cram as many people as possible into the rickety van, they can seriously cram 30 people into a 15 passenger van, don't ask me how! But yeah!
Well, I'm just about out of time, so I'll finish up by saying that I know that this Work is the work of the Lord and I am honored and privileged to be a part of it!!! I love you all! Have a wonderful Week!
Elder Ryland Rash
|Elder Rash with President & Sister Koch|
|Missionaries being greeted by President & Sister Koch|
|Elder Rash arriving in Mozambique|
|Instruction from President Koch|
|A Brazilian Dinner in Mozambique|
|In the mission home|
|Elder Rash's Trainer - Elder Badger|