Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 20 letter to Colin

Colin asked "What do you do for service hours?" Response: We usually don't end up having time for any service. We try and occasionally we have time to do a service project but I think I've done a total of 3 on my mission. We try to do unplanned acts of service a lot though. We cleaned a school once, painted a shop and cleaned up a street is all. We are going to try to get our ward going with service projects this week though with helping people finish their houses. Here people build their house and then add on to it as they get money available. In my current area, which is a little bit richer, there are a lot of houses were people live in one part and then have the skeleton of the rest. Hopefully we can muster a bunch of people in the ward and maybe missionaries to finish a bunch of houses kind of like a sod party type deal.

There are 5 types of houses here really:
1) straw hut - this is the poorest type and usually is a temporary rental called dependencias
2) stick/rock hut - second leg up and still is one of the poorer types. People with this type will eventually put cement smeared around the edges when they have the money to cover the holes.
3) cement brick house - this usually starts with the family building one part and then slowly completing the house, in time, it ends up painted.
4) apartments - the richest people live here and the quality is usually really low other than the occasional nice apartment such as ours.  
5) Normal houses - These can actually get pretty big because they are the mansions and the giant houses of usually white people from other countries and high up government people although I have seen very few that could be as large as our house.

The average Mozambican lives in either type 2 or 3. In Praia Nova there was only type 1 and 2 with the very occasional 3

My current area is just all type 3 so it's the upper middle class because it is big type 3s. The dream of an average Mozambican is to build up to a well established type three house and then maybe one day buy a car but the car rarely happens. Our investigators and members in my current area of chota are upper 2 and about half have motorcycles but maybe one day after they finish their houses, they'll get a car. But it can take 10 or 15 years of living in a incomplete house before it's done. My goal on my mission is to baptize someone with a car. 

With the ice thing, we have Ice trays that I always keep ready so that I can have ice with my coke (I now love coke because it's way better here and there isn't anything else). Plus I always have my two liter bottles of water in the freezer to be half frozen ready to drink. 

This week was really nice as far as statistics go. For sure it was the best statistical week of my mission (other than baptisms). We got a ton of work done and tons of our investigators came to church. We actually found a couple of new families that are really nice that both came to church this Sunday as well. Finally Elder Wood and I were able to get a normal week and the statistics exploded. Lots of success and hopefully this week we can have a couple more baptisms. Zone conference is also this week which is always a fun time. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 13 letters

So this week we had a really awesome and giant marriage and baptism. We had three families get married and baptized which was really cool. So on Friday we went to the chapel and went crazy trying to prep the chapel for the numerous marriages that there were. We actually had a combined total of 5 with a couple other companionships. It took all day of Friday to prep the chapel and make all five wedding cakes with the help of a member. It was quite the occasion. During the actually ceremony what happened was is that we started in the chapel. The five couples came in one by one with the dads and whatever and then sat down. They each did the pronouncing man and wife thing and the kiss and whatnot in the chapel even though pictures were prohibited. Then we all moved to the cultural hall and had the African traditional wedding. There were so many people there that it was just a massive party which was way awesome. Tons of traditional dancing and singing while the couple signed the marriage papers and kissed again for the cameras. Then there was the cake cutting ceremony also with African singing and dancing. After that we all went and took wedding pictures outside and then transitioned into the baptism. 

The couples changed into baptismal clothes and were soon baptized. It was a wonderful meeting where the spirit was felt and lots of fun was had. I'll send some pictures and I hope I'll be able to get some videos over as well. It was definitely a blessed day. It was a ton of work to prep, have happen and then clean but it was an awesome experience, now I just need to look foreword and make another awesome experience like this happen another time. We are currently prepping another big wedding for May as well so we'll see how that goes. 

the couple on the left, the middle,and the second to right are our couples. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 6

Yes, I am now in a different area which is sad but the new area is really nice, I like it a lot. This area is one of the most fruitful in the mission because it's just a perfect setup. I hope I stay here for a while and just go crazy and get tons of work done. I'm confident that the lord will bless me in that case. Our phone is a cell phone. I doubt there are any missions in the world anymore that don't have cell phones for every missionary; it's certainly an absolute necessity. 

I haven't received my package yet but I'm hoping to get it at zone conference but we'll see. Should be super awesome, getting a package is basically the greatest thing ever at this point when you miss so much of the American stuff, especially food. There are so many simple little food items that I wish that they had here whether it be ingredients or restaurants or other stuff, it's really kind of a funny situation. I'm super excited for the package though so thank you for sending that. 

This week was really awesome we saw a lot of miracles and I'm excited for the upcoming baptism and marriage next week it should be really awesome. I'll send a ton of awesome pictures to you next week along with a lot of great stories and good info. For now I'll just send you a couple pictures this week. Love you guys and have a great week!

these are some of my bffs that will be baptized soon