"I am the happiest that I have ever been."
Taking a photo with President and Sister Koch. They are from Brazil and will be serving as the Mozambique Mission President for three years.
Monday, September 14th, 2015
So I am in Africa and boy do I have a lot to say about my first full week here. I will quickly tell you about some things that happen here.
First off we walk a lot and the people are great. One thing I have noticed is that someone will look super mad or upset then we will say "Bom Dia" or something like that and they will smile and be super happy. These people are very happy! For not having a lot at all they are able to find joy in just living their lives. Which I think is something alot of people struggle with.
The mission President, President Koch, is good and seems to have a good direction from where the old one left off. I have had no bad food yet so I am very happy. They eat a lot of rice and corn here, everyday you will see a woman cooking corn on a grill or people selling you bread fruit. They sell alot of stuff. There are a bunch of random stands selling things from shoes to traffic cones or those yield signs you put on your car. The good news for my family, I have never felt unsafe since I've been here.
My area is very nice, nicer than most. My official trainer is Elder Keck! He is great. His Portuguese is probably one of the best I have heard out of everyone here and he is able to explain complex concepts and make them super simple. We get along very well and we have fun when we are doing the work as well as when we have small breaks.
A few stories about the people here. There are things here called Chapas and they are like van-sized taxis. People just pile in to these things and they run a route to help people get to different places. When it's too far to walk we take a chapa. One of the chapas I was in I counted 28 people. haha! It was pretty crazy. People were standing up hunched over to fit. It is quite an experience. So as you may already know the currency here is the Metical. 40 Metcais are worth about 1 US dollar. There is a 10 met coin, 5 met, 2 met, and 1 met coin as well as 50 centavos which is 1/2 of 1 met. I was told there was a 50 met coin. I was misinformed. We have this tradition here that once a night we'll get a drink from one of the barakas which sells sodas, rice, and a bunch of stuff. This is usually when we are done contacting or teaching, or when we really need a drink. Anyway, I found a fifty centavo thinking it was 50 met and the drinks here are about 12 met so after having a great lesson with a new family I offered to get the drinks. "Drinks are on me boys!" I offered up and when we got our drinks it was a centavo and the man working there looked at it and luckily my companion said it was a joke. Then Elder Mortimer who was my trainer had to buy the drinks because Elder Keck and I didn't have enough money.
Anyways down to the good stuff. So that family I talked about teaching in the story above. That was a tender mercy if I have ever seen one. We stopped at a fork in the road and the two Elders asked me to lead the way. I looked down this darkish alley and said lets go this way. They said sure, and we left the main road to go down this alley. We contacted a man named Zeca who we actually taught a lesson to on Saturday and we are very excited to teach him again. However that isn't the cool part. We kept going for a while occasionally making a turn and then we took a left and came to a dead end with one house right next to us. Elder Mortimer turned and started heading back but Elder Keck and I looked at each other and we both knew we had to go and teach the people or at least talk to the people in this small home. We said, "Com licenca", which means excuse me, and a man came to the door. His name is Joao. Which is John in English. We told him who we were and if we could share a message with him. He invited us in. Something crazy that we discovered was that he was legally married! That does not happen often here. Also, he had 5 beautiful children and an older daughter who has a husband who wants to be legally married. We taught them the restoration and they seemed very prepared to hear the message. We are so excited to go and teach them again. I am hoping this will be the first family I will help bring to the gospel, from day 1 until I'm finished with my mission. I have had a few more since then but that tender mercy was enough to fill my heart and give me the knowledge that I am doing what I should be and that I am here to help these people. And in order to help the people I am supposed to I have a lot of work cut out for me. But I know I can do all things through Him because He strengthens me every day.
I am doing great here and I am taking things in big strides. I want to let everyone know who is reading this to know that I love you and more importantly that God loves you and is always watching after you. He is here for all of us, all we need to do is come to Him. My testimony of this Church, and of this Gospel grows each day. I think of the Grinch and how his heart grew 3 times that day. That is how I feel. Each day I feel my heart grow. Not only my capacity to love but my capacity to be loved. I receive so much love from my Savior and my God that if my heart didn't grow it would burst and overflow more than it already does. I have a testimony and a knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. He loves us enough to do what no other person could ever do. And He continues to love us infinitely and eternally. I pray that you all might be able to feel the same love that I have just described. I am the happiest I have ever been. I thank each and every one of you for the impact you have had in my life. I love you all. Talk soon!
Zone conference a couple of days after I arrived. Area Presidency Elder Hamilton presided and gave great instruction.
In case you can't see me in the group shot, I'm in the back.
A bunch of Elders on our 1st P-day, (personal day) We played soccer with a bunch of kids and afterward went to eat at KFC!