This week has been pretty tough. It has just been extremely irregular, and not as productive as we would like, but we did get some pretty cool new families out of it! So on Monday we went down to the beach and had a multi Zone Activity, and we got back so late, that we weren't able to get out the night to work. On Tuesday we had to go down to Matola for a "Zone Chat". Every week, the Matola zone wants to get together to just have a little chat/fireside together to build Zone Unity. For the T-3 district, it is quite inconvenient because it is extremely difficult to get out to Matola because of the Choppas. They are always full, and very few travel down to where we need to get. So that took up a lot of precious time on Tuesday. Wednesday was just rough because our typical routine had been thrown off and it was difficult to get back in the groove. Thursday we had a Missionary Farewell of the First Missionary to leave from the Ward of T-3! He will be serving in Capo Verde, and he leaves tomorrow. So we spent a few hours there supporting him. Then the rest of the week was just as tough with lessons falling, people not being receptive, people not coming to church, etc. But just to update you all about this new area, I'll give you the details of the investigators, ward, members, and the area! So as far as progressing investigators go...
Silva and Tereza and their 4 kids-
Silva is not a member, Tereza was baptized a long time ago before they got married. None of their kids have been baptized. They are in their late 30's, early 40's. They have been investigating for a long time. They have been taught all the lessons, they have testimonies, they come to church just about every week, they want to be baptized, want to get married, but the process to get married is a little complicated for them. Silva has to get registered again up in Chimoio. Which is up in Beira. This is quite the expensive and long process, so it will take some time before they are able to get married. But they are a super cool family!
Olimpio and Beatriz
They have testimonies, come to church most of the time, have all of the documents ready for marriage, and they want to get married and baptized, but they have been having marital issues. They just argue and don't express their love for one another. So we have been working with them to better their relationship, but it is kind of difficult. But I've definitely seen their relationship improve. *Husbands- Cherish your wives. Come on guys. These beautiful women have to put up with all of our mistakes, arrogance, crazy ideas, and all of the other flaws that we have. Your wives/girlfriends/mothers/women in your lives have to put up with all that crazy stuff, because they love you. Don't take them for granted. Show your love for them by the way that you treat them. That's my relationship advice for the week. I know I'm only some 19 year old kid, but I've seen succesful marriages here, and I've seen absolutely terrible marriages here. Read the Family; A Proclamation to the World. Build your family off of the principles that it teaches. Alright, I'll step down off of my Soap Box.*
Juaquim and Alicinda
They are a new investigator family that we have. We met with them one time, they came to church, the wife came up to me at Church and asked me for a Book of Mormon! She said that all of the women were bearing their testimonies about how reading the Book of Mormon every day had strengthened their relationship with God, brough peace into their lives, and improved their families. Alicinda was so touched by their testimonies, that she had to read it for herself. They are progressing super rapidly and have a baptismal date for Jan. 16. They have two adorable daughters. One is 6 and the other is 8.
Shelsea is a 20 year old genius woman that reads everything that we throw at her. She understands the message, remembers what we talk about, has yet to attend sacrament meeting, but has seen general Conference and a baptism. She has a baptismal date of November 28. She was a reference from one of the Ward Missionaries, Claudio, that walks with us quite a bit.
We have quite a few other investigators, but these are the most progressing at the moment. As others start keeping commitments, I'll keep you guys informed.
As for the Ward.
Our Bishop is from Kazachstan? I have no idea how to spell where he is from, but his parents both are Portugese, he returned from his mission 3 years ago in South Africa, he is 24, has a little daughter with his wife, and he is ALWAYS busy. He is a 24 year old guy, going to school, working, AND a bishop. He lives on the edge of our ward boundaries, and a ward in Matola will split soon, and he will probably become the bishop over that new ward. But the ward is super cool! We have a lot of recent converts that are about my age. They are super fun to be around, and they are always willing to walk with us. I've just fallen in love with this ward, especially all of the little girls! I love the kids here! The little girls, with the beads in their hair, and they just are so darn cute. then the little boys just love playing with you, and chasing you around and hanging out! Man, I love the kids here. We typically have a frequency in church of about 130, give or take a few. We have somewhere around 350 Members in this ward, but only that 130 come frequently. We have a bunch of recent convert families that we absolutely LOVE! They love the missionaries and love having us over! Jaime and Kachyta are a young family that just had their first baby 4 weeks ago! He is an accountant with a Super Nice house and like 5 cars! They are a super cute family that loves having the missionaries over! Jose and Felicidade is the other family! They have 6 kids ranging in ages from 2 to 25! They have a few Machambas, and the missionaries always love going down to the Machambas to do service for them. In fact, our district is going down there on Thursday for some service. A machamba is pretty much a swampy farm. But yeah, that family is SO much fun. We're going over next Tuesday to have family night, kill some chickens, and cook the chickens with them! I'm stoked! But they have some of the most adorable little girls! Jose is also super into tailoring and sewing. he does a lot of shirts, bags, pants, scripture cases and stuff like that for the missionaries. So we are all super tight!
As for our area, our area is pretty massive. We haven't even been everywhere in our area. We typically work in only 1/3, and even that can take 2 hours to walk end to end! But our area covers all of T-3, all of Zona Verde, Unidade D, a part of Machava, Kongolote, and a bunch of other areas that I don't know the names of because I haven't really been there yet. I don't really know what I can compare it to just because I haven't been everywhere yet, but I think it is safe to say that our area is the size of the city of Mesa. Maybe a tad bit smaller. And the other area in our District is even bigger, just because it doesn't have a set border. So the areas here are massive.
There is one thing that I would really like to stress to everyone this week- The Temple. You all are so extremely blessed to have Temples so close by. The families here have to save for YEARS to pay all of the necessary fees for passports, plane tickets, bus tickets, and all of the other nitty gritty details of traveling to another country to receive the blessings that come from the temple. For many, if not most of you, the temple is a 30 minute drive away, maybe even closer. And all you have to pay is the gas to get there. The Lord has blessed you more than you know. Please don't take the Temple for granted. People are waiting for You to help them make the sacred covenants and ordinances in the Temple. Go to the Temple. Partake of the countless blessings that God is just waiting to give you. These people are willing to give all that they have, and a whole lot of time, just to go once. All you have to sacrifice is a couple of hours a week. Please. Go to the Temple. I promise you that doing so will bring a peace and happiness that you can experience in no other way. Go to the Temple. Go with your family. Go with your Spouse. Go as often as you can. You have no idea how blessed you are.
I would just like to close with my testimony. I know God lives. I know that he loves each and every one of us. He is our Father. He sent the Only Begotten of the Father to set the example, suffer and die for You, for Me, for the whole world. Repentance is real. We can be forgiven of all of our sins through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that God has once again called a Prophet. We have evidence that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is real evidence that you can read and pray about. If you do this with real intent, God will tell you in your Heart that these things are true. I know that this is the work of the Lord. If I did not know with all of my heart that this work is True, I would not have left my family and loved ones for 2 years, to go to Mozambique, to bring this Gospel to everyone I meet. I leave this testimony with you all in the Sacred Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Com Amor,Elder Rash
* No pictures this week....computers where being slow and wouldn't let him down load from his memory card!