Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29 letters

To Dad:

So my companion was in Maputo for zone conference because his companion was going home. He flew to Beira with the rest of the people getting transferred up and them him and I took a four our long bus ride out to our area. I've never seen any cool African wildlife but we did see the sticks there really is very little city in all of Mozambique so if you travel 5 minutes from any city, you're in farm land. Here in Chimoio though, there is a wildlife park that missionaries are allowed to go to that has giraffes so we'll be going there in the next few weeks for P day. I'm not yet sure what will happen when the new mission president gets here but he is apparently getting here on the second of July.

We are part of the Outside area zone so I don't know how that will work with the new mission president. I would imagine he will do a full mission tour in his first few weeks so he should come to Chimoio. When president Kretly used to come here he would usually come, stay in a hotel for a day or two, eat with the companionship there, do some trainings for the branch and then move on so we'll see how it is with the new mission president I guess. My comp has been out for 6 more weeks that I have been.

I'm excited to see the changes that are about to happen and really have been working hard.

To Mom:

This week has been plagued with one difficulty: we don't have a phone. It was lost or stolen last Monday and it has been just a nightmare trying to run an area in a city all by yourself with no phone. The stats certainly dropped and every aspect of the work has gotten so much harder. It is also a lot more difficult for us to get a phone because we are out here alone as well. Finding is especially hard because we have no way to contact the people that we talk to on the road.

We also moved the chapel here in Chimoio this week to a place just basically across the street from the former chapel. It is a lot bigger and nicer and should be really awesome as the new chapel. It is also more visible so I think that will give us a little more publicity. I'm really excited and it is a nice step for the church here in Chimoio.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 22 letters

To Dad:
The new area is nice. I am in the city of Chimoio which is in the province of Manica. We are the only missionaries in this province. It is definitely richer than my last areas but still super awesome. It's just weird having an entire city almost as big as Beira as your area. obviously it is a branch and the frequency number is usually around 100ish I guess. I'll send some pictures next week, I've yet to take any of the new stuff. We have an entire house to ourselves and it's pretty big because it has had 6 missionaries there before. Maybe the next mission president will send more. My comp is super nice and we're working super hard. The success is the best of these outside isolated areas but the area isn't going amazingly right now. This week we just did a ton of working with finding new people though that I'll explain more in the email to mom. 
To Mom:
So the first few days of the new house were pretty rough. We didn't have any water and apparently hadn't had any water for several months. The house was very dirty and bucket showers just really suck. I wasn't going to accept that as a way of living, however, and promptly took steps to fix the water situation. We got water on Saturday and I was able to go really hard in cleaning of the house. It's still not done but there is a huge difference. Also, I gained a large appreciation for real showers., although the current showers are super hard to control so I have to be careful not to burn myself.

Also, we didn't have a ton of investigators when I got here so Elder McAllister and I have just gone crazy in really digging in and finding new people. Several new families showed up to church this week with a total of 9 new investigators at church and more still to come. I'm super excited to see the progress of this area because it truly has so much potential. Leaving Elder Keck was a bummer but Elder McAllister is really cool and I'm excited to work here in Chimoio. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15 letters

To Dad:

I'm sorry I don't have a ton to say. We had zone conference this week I guess which was pretty nice. We have one family in our area that is actually almost ready to go to the temple. We have been helping them through these last processes and it really is such an amazing experience that brings so much joy to see a family prep to get eternal salvation. It is incredibly rare for a family to go here. In this ward, they will be the first. We are always supposed to help people with the temple prep, it is one of our focuses but to see so much real progress is amazing. 

To Mom:

The wedding actually ran fabulously and two more families were able to get baptized. I would send pictures but the computers aren't working well right now so I'm not sure it is going to be possible. I will say that the wedding went great. 

So in the beginning we were waiting on the ward to show up and the guests and whatnot but no one was coming. I was super worried because there were so few people there to support and help these new couples for the wedding and baptism. I was praying super hard that the lord could provide a way for the wedding to go well. Just before we were going to start anyways, a big bunch of like 20 women came in from another wards relief society who were there to clean the chapel and that just wanted to come and watch. They left after the first little bit but while they were sitting in a bunch of other people came in and there turned out to be plenty of people. Really it was an amazing miracle and a wonderful experience for everyone involved. 

So today was transfers and it looks like I'm getting transferred out into the boonies to an outside area. It is a super cool area but I will just be all alone with my comp. Fortunately, I've heard good things. The whole process is still uncertain though because it is kind of a crazy situation. The transfer board didn't come out just the guy from the outside area is coming down to get me because he is my comp I guess. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 8 letters

Q: What types of jobs do most of the people you contact have?
A: The most common jobs are gaurds, construction (make cinderblocks and stuff) and chapa drivers/workers. 
Q:Do people move very much?  Do they live by their families that they had growing up, mostly, or move away? 
 A: Most people rarely move and I would say that most stay around the area where they grew up. The majority of the people that I have taught, especially in this area are all from Beira. In my last area, it Praia Nova where it is super poor, many of them were from the province right about ours called Zambezia. They came down to get jobs and make a better life for themselves. But, yeah, people don't generally move. 
Q: Are most people literate?  Do the kids go to school?
A: Most kids go to school but the school system is terrible. They only have to go to school for like 3 hours a day. I would say the majority of people can read alright, not very well though. There is a good chunk however, that cannot read. I have had many illiterate investigators and it is really hard because they cannot gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon without somebody else reading it to them. 
So this week really kinda was disappointing. We were stuck in side from Monday until Thursday because I was sick. Throwing up and whatnot which really sucked but fortunately we were able to get out and work by Thursday which was really essential so that we could get our two marriages for next week ready to go. This week will also be super crazy because we have zone conference and another big wedding to prep for. All in all, a really hectic couple of weeks. During our time inside, we got really good at several card games and bought monopoly to play as well. We played so much hearts that we ended up creating all sorts of different versions to entertain ourselves during our endless imprisonment of different Elders being sick and whatnot.

Yesterday, one companionship of Elders from an outside area came in for zone conference so we prepped a way nice lunch to welcome them. Tacos, lemon bars, key lime pie and coca cola to top it off. It was a super nice meal for us at the house and, because their train broke down, the other elders ate it warmed up but still really good. Fortunately, because I've had to do it so often, I can now make some wicked tortillas. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Jun 1 letter to Dad

Colin asked some questions this week and Daniel responded.

What is your convert retention like?  Do all of the people you have baptized continue to remain active?  Do you spend a lot of time working with them as new members?  Are there enough strong, well established members to provide fellowship to all of the people you are baptizing?

The retention of converts is insanely high because of the family baptism focus. When a full family is baptized, it is an automatic support group around each and every member of the family which is a really good part of the vision of the mission. My personal philosophy is to visit each recent convert once a week and teach the lessons again. The first time through we just teach the basics but the second time through is really nice because we dive in a little deeper, using tons of scriptures and really just strengthen the testimonies of our recent converts. There are good established members but they still have there problems seeming that there really aren't any second generation members of the church. Also, we organize big family nights where everyone gets together and gets to know each other, making friends and whatnot so that everyone feels included and loved. The current ward that I am in also does a really good job of giving callings to recent converts very soon after baptism which is really nice. 

In your last baptism picture, there were 11 people dressed in white (not counting you and your comp).  In the Maningue News scoreboard, it lists you having 8 baptisms for the month of May.  Why the discrepancy?

 In the last picture that I sent, 1 man was actually baptizing his son that is eight, he is the first counselor in the bishopric. Another man in the picture is named ossumane and he baptized his brother (one of our investigators). Both of those men are insanely strong, really awesome members. 

May 25 letters

We had another big wedding and baptism. This one wasn't as big because none of the other missionaries had couples to join in with us which was kind of disappointing but we still got 3 families married and baptized which is such a wonderful blessing from the lord. One of the families actually didn't participate in the the wedding they just signed the wedding papers in the morning before the wedding and then stayed and participated in the big wedding because their parents aren't here in Beira and they didn't want to do it without them. The wedding was awesome and it ran about the exact same way that the other one did. Afterwards, however, we went to their houses and had a big march with African singing all the way to their houses and they had big feasts and big stuff happen. We weren't able to stay for the food because we had to clean the chapel up after the wedding but the music and footage was fabulous. I have tons of videos to show you here in a year when I get home that you guys are going to love. 

We actually did the cakes entirely by ourselves this time and they were actually quite beautiful if I do say so myself. Preparation of cakes, the chapel and all other things however did take up an entire 2 days of our time (Thursday and Friday) which was a fun and crazy experience. I'll send you a bunch of pictures of the wedding and much of the preparation involved for you to see. 

Lots of baptisms

One of the three wedding cakes

Singing and celebrating

Brides and grooms