Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 37: No e-mail letter, but a quick e-mail with EXCITING news!

Hey Mom...

So I have exciting and sad news...

I have been transfered! I am now in Manga which is pretty much part of Beira. My area is Masscareinha. I am white washing, training, and I am also the District leader... So, I'm very nervous. My companion will be Elder Perez. He is brand new but he is not up here yet. So for now, I'M WALKING WITH ELDER NIELSEN!!! We're back together for a day or two until our comps get here. Elder Nielsen will also be a District Trainer! So it is going to be very interesting! I am in the same house as Elder Nielsen as well!

Unfortunately I don't have any time for email today. But I'm doing alright. It is super humid here.

But I love you Mom. I'll let you know a lot more next week!

The mission had a visit from Elder Neil L. Anderson.  So glad Sis. Koch posted this picture!  Not sure if Ryland was able to take one or not since he is in this picture!

Visit from Elder Neil L. Anderson

Elder Walton and Elder Rash

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 36: Happy Valentine's Day!

Feliz Dia Dos Namorados!!!

Happy Valentine's Day! I am currently in a committed relationship with the Lord for two years, and He has been giving me the best Valentine's day gifts EVER!!!

Highlights of the week:

We had a man almost die in our arms (more explanation will follow...)

We went to the Zoo.

More exploration in our area (Which we discovered is massive- we don't know exactly what the borders of our area are... Or if we have them...)

More choir practices.

Valentine's Day!

Ward Conference.

So yesterday on Valentine's Day, we had Ward Conference, and the best part is that we had 14 Investigators show up and 3 FAMILIES!!! I was so excited! We had Vasco and Ana, who will hopefully be married and baptized next month. We had Olimpio and Beatriz who will hopefully be married and baptized next month as well. And we had Mauaie and Eliza (he is the excommunicated member and his wife is not a member) So it was so exciting to see all three of them show up and stay for the whole time!

We also had some more choir practices that went pretty smoothly. For only having 2 practices under our belts, we are sounding pretty good! Elder Lorimer is a very good singer, and was actually somewhat successful on Youtube as a singer! So we are blessed to have him with us.

So as for the man almost dying in our arms. After choir practice we went to the church distribution center in the attic of the chapel in which we practice. As we were walking down the stairs afterward, we saw and elderly member of the church walking up the stairs. I actually have a picture of him that I sent home a while ago. he is a white man with long white hair. Probably the only white man that I have sent a picture home of, but he began climbing the stairs. He shook our hands, looked up, his eyes rolled into his head, and he collapsed. Elder Lorimer and I quickly grabbed him and prevented him from falling down the stairs, and in that moment, I seriously thought he was dying on us... But after a while, he was fine. We helped him up, got him water, and after a while he was fine again. But he is 86 years old! Born and raised in Mozambique! He is a living Miracle!

Well, I don't have much time left.

I know that this church is true. I know God lives. I know he loves his children.
Big PIG!!!!

A soccer stadium they discovered in their area

"Elder Rash" the piglet is getting so big!

Visited a zoo on his P-Day...  Elder Rash felt right at home!

Fed an alligator at the Zoo a WHOLE chicken!

This is the man who collapsed in front of Elder Rash...glad he's ok

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 35: Why his area is called T-3 and a new companion

So another good week on this side of the world, also a very strange week! So I am now serving with Elder Lorimer from Texas! He is a super good guy and we get along really well! He is in his 2nd Transfer, so technically I'm his trainer! Yay. But I love this guy! He is super fun and we have a great time together.

Also, some more exciting news! So as many of you already know, Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is coming here on the 21st. We will be having a special meeting with him as are all of the missionaries here in Matola and Maputo. The news is that Elder Lorimer and I have been asked to participate in a special choir to sing for him at the Conference! The down side is that we have to go to the city two times a week in order to practice... But "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven," as the hymn goes. So that will take up sometime this week, but I'm willing to make the sacrifice!

Oh, so I've been wondering for a long time now, and I'm sure many of you have been wondering as well, why my area is called T-3... Well, this week I found out! So a long, long time ago, this area was renowned for the beer company called Tom Tom Tom. This company was centered in this area, and over time, it got shortened to TTT, or T-3. So my area is named after a famous beer company that existed years ago. Yay. Exciting.

So our area is MASSIVE and got even bigger when another area in the other zone closed down, and there are large parts of our area that have not been touched by missionaries in the past. But over the past couple of weeks we have been receiving quite a few of references of people who live in Khongolote (The area that no one has entered). So on Saturday, Elder Lorimer and I went there. We had a couple of lessons marked, but for the most part, we were going in blind. We went out there and found that it is a gold mine! So many families! And not just any families; families that are pretty well off! And the best part: They are receptive to our message! We encountered numerous families that let us in, listened to our message and were excited for a second visit. Unfortunately, none of them came to church yesterday, but I have faith that the spirit will work within them and they will make the decision to come to church next week! So we will be making it a priority to work out in that area at least once a week. It is about a 45 minute choppa ride to get out to the border of the area, and from there, it goes on for about another 45 minutes to make it to the next area/city. So there is huge potential. Pray for us (1 Thessalonians 5:25).

Yesterday in church I had a very spiritual experience that I wanted to share with you all. So I've been sitting on the stand lately as the Chorister (My Unofficial Ward Calling), and during testimony meeting, I noticed a woman that I had never seen before struggle to stand up from her seat in the back. She slowly started down the long pathway to the pulpit, stopping at each row of chairs to keep her balance and support herself. As she approached, I could see tears welling up in her eyes and the look of despair on her face as she realized that there were steps to get up to the pulpit. I felt prompted and compelled to help her the rest of the way. I braced her arm, as I have braced Nanny's arms in the past, and helped her up the couple of steps that I'm sure felt like a mountain to her. I assisted her to the pulpit and watched her deliver one of the most powerful testimonies I've ever heard on the power of a priesthood blessing. It turns out that she has been bed ridden for quite some time now due to a house that partially collapsed on top of her, breaking ribs and parts of her spine and that she had been unable to walk for a long time.

*Elder Brown called me on Saturday to tell me that an elderly woman had asked him for a blessing, but that she lived in our ward boundaries. She had been getting permission from the Stake President to attend a different ward. But Elder Brown informed me that he would enter our area very briefly to give this blessing to her because she asked specifically for him.*Elder Brown gave this woman a blessing, and she walked to church the next day. She bore pure testimony that the power of God is on the Earth today and that Worthy Young Men can possess it to help and bless the lives of others. Tears filled my eyes as the spirit testified to everyone in the room of the truthfulness of her experience. After her beautiful testimony, I helped her to her seat, thanked her, and returned to my place on the stand.

I too testify that God is still a God of Miracles. That we have His power on the earth today. I know that God lives. That this is His true church.
In the Sacred Name of Jesus the Christ, Amen.

Faque is on the far left. Ryland taught him, but when area lines changed he didn't get to teach him anymore.  He was baptized 2 weeks ago!

The kids love Elder Rash

This fruit is called Marracuja - Passion Fruit....SO GOOD he says!

Going to war....well kind of

Leo and Little John

On exchanges with Elder Walton

Saying good-bye to Elder Nielsen who left for Beria

African Sunset in Matola

Welcome Elder Lorimer to T-3

P-Day activity Gator Ball - it's a mix of Soccer, Handball, Football, and ultimate frisbee

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 34: Planting the seed and seeing the fruits of your labors.....

Crazy things happen while you're at church on Sundays! You see miracles, you see families keeping commitments, you take the sacrament, are spiritually edified, and then you come home and realize that your house has been broken into and robbed!!! Haha! Yeah, while we were at church yesterday, someone broke into our house and stole some things from all of the missionaries. I didn't lose a whole lot of stuff (some batteries, a flash drive, and my old camera). We didn't lose a whole lot, but it was more of a blow to our morale. So that was probably the most exciting part of the week.

 On Wednesday I received some of the best news that I've ever received on my mission up to this point! I went on a division with the Zone Leaders in their area. So I stayed the night in the old house that I used to live in. While there, I was speaking with the missionaries that are now working in my old area. We were talking about how the work is going, and I found out that this past week they baptized 3 of the investigators that I was blessed to find in my time there! Investigators that I had come to love so much, and I had no idea what was going on with them, but they were all three baptized and confirmed! It brought so much joy, and made me feel like my time there wasn't wasted. That right there is what makes the mission worth it! Knowing that you are helping others come unto Christ. With one of these investigators, we initially taught his brother and his sister in law- Bento and Edilta. (They are the couple in that picture that mom sent to me) The young man that was baptized was Esdor. Even after we dropped that family, he continued coming to church on his own. He would walk for 30 minutes and carry his nephew to come to church to feel the spirit. He developed such a strong testimony of the Church, and I was so excited to hear that he was baptized!

 This month we will have the privelege to have Elder Andersen come to our Stake Conference and also he will have a special training with the missionaries for a couple of hours! So I am super excited for that. He will be coming here on the 21st of this month.

This month, we should be having 6 baptisms at the end of the month. Marcos and his 4 Sons (Antonio, Sergio, Cezar, and Junior) and the older son of Jose and Felicidade (Juaquim). Juaquim is the son of Jose and Felicidade- I've already told you guys a lot about them. But Juaquim is super smart, and the gospel just makes sense to him. He makes so many connections, reads the scriptures any chance that he gets, and is extremely humble. I believe that I've already explained about Marcos and his 4 sons, but they are that miracle family that sought us out while we were in a meeting. This family loves the gospel and things spiritual. Their testimonies are developing and are progressing very well in their conversion.

I believe that is all I've got for now.

I love you guys!


Elder Rash
P.S.  I forgot my camera at our house, so I can't send any pictures today... Sorry. As for the surprise, you'll know within this next week I hope!