Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13 letter to Mom

So part of the reason I didn't write much last week was because I was a little depressed that one of my favorite families ever (Castro and Ana) wasn't doing to get married because of problems with an expensive dowry. The family would have just done it secretly but the problem was that Ana's dad had registered her at a younger age than how old she is so she is 17 on the register and so the mom had to sign in order for them to get married and so all hope seemed to be lost. However, this week a miracle presented itself and I don't know why but I thought of a random hospital paper that I've occasionally seen but it's fairly rare for them to have it, usually they lose it. Anyway, they actually had the paper and we asked the register to do us a huge favor and let them open the process with this paper and I don't know why but they allowed it. Then the paper on the front had also been changed by the dad and it all came down to the dates on the back that had her vaccination dates which proved her age and they opened the process. So they will get married on friday and baptized on Saturday. It was an amazing moment for me and I'll probably talk all about it next week. This week has been amazing. We found tons of way good families and just went way hard with the work. It really worked out great. Definitely one of the most gratifying weeks of my mission. This will be my last week. We will be super busy in between all the normal visits that we have to do as well as a bunch of parties and other little things that we have to do. It will be super awesome. 

We'll talk for endless hours here in a week so I won't write too much but just know that I love all of you and have gained a powerful testimony of the Savior and his Church here on the mission. I love this work, I love this church and will never doubt what I know because I've felt the power of the Atonement working in me and working in others. Love you and can't wait to see you next week.

June 6 letter

Letter to Dad:

On my last few days we have a lot of really cool parties planned but other than that I'm just working hard until the end. This week we found a bunch of good families and had a really good week work wise. If you send me a letter in two weeks I won't get it no. So this next letter you write will be the last I ever see on the mission. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May 30 letters

To Mom:

This week was seriously way good. We had lots of good lessons and progress amongst the investigators and everything is lining up well for my last day. We also planned several parties with many of the families that I baptized for my last few days where we'll just eat a big dinner, look at pictures and I have a big project of gifts that I'm doing to give to all of them. Costly, but worth it. 

To Dad:

So with the baptisms everything is going pretty well but stressful that's for sure. The money is really tight with them so the weddings are still not guaranteed. It looks pretty for sure at this point but this week has been a roller coaster to know if they are actually going to pull it off or not. Tomorrow we should finish it off with one of them and then the other on Friday. It should be all good for us to get 2 families and three singles baptized on the 18th still which is just going to be so awesome. Honestly, I've been so laser focused on these families and this, my final goal, that I haven't been able to get too trunky. The only day where I find myself thinking a lot about home is on pday. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 23 letters

To Mom:

So there were a few things that I forgot to mention last week that I would have liked to mention. First, I forgot to say that President Koch is going to send our baptism to the Liahona to be an article there. That should be pretty cool to be in the Liahona. Also, I forgot to mention that our Batthroom problem is now fixed which is nice. They had to remodel the entire thing but finally, finally the shower kindof works. However, it's really been sucking with the hot water still and really the house still has water problems it's kindof depressing. Today I didn't take a shower because the water is out. Every time I get bummed about it though I just think of the shower downstairs at home and smile and get excited for unlimited hot water. 

We have been planning my last week in Beira lately and there are a bunch of families which will be throwing parties and stuff for me to go home. It should be super nice. I'm sad to leave all of them but at the same time excited to see everything at home. 

We have two men who have been coming to church for several weeks and are super cool and way good investigators and their wives finally came this week for the first time with them and seriously loved it so it's looking like after I leave there will still be lots of good stuff rolling in for Elder Huffaker and his future comp. They are really prepared families and will definitely get baptized. Things are really going well in the area. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16 letters

To Mom:

ok so sorry about last week, unfortunately none of the internet places were working. Half way though reading the emails they all shut off and we were going along and trying all the internet places and none of them were working. Honestly it was really making me angry so sorry about that. Either way, I'll try to write a long letter today to make up for last week. 

So last week, like you know, was the wedding. It was a crazy week of wedding/baptism preparations and it was just so crazy and passed by incredibly quickly. On Thursday, I spent all day inside making cakes. literally from 7 in the morning until 11 at night I was just going crazy with making cakes. It was fairly tiring. Then, on Friday, we went to set up the church, eat Elder Carvalhos final lunch in Beira and then came home to decorate the cakes (seven of them). Saturday was awesome as you can see by the pictures and by my explanations in skype. After the wedding, I parted with Elder Carvalho, like I said on skype and went to a bunch of wedding parties which were awesome. I don't know if I've ever said this but I've just fallen in love with coke since coming to the mission and I must have drank 8 cokes that night haha. They just brought me whatever food or whatever I wanted because I was one of the guests of honor. It was way cool.

On a random side note: so for the cakes they only require egg whites so when we were done with the cakes and frosting and everything we had 100 plus egg yokes in a bowl. What we did is make this massive pan of scrambled eggs using only egg yokes and it was the greatest serving of scrambled eggs that I have ever had. It was so creamy and good. My cholesterol probably rose a ton though.

The next day, of course, was skype, which I loved. Then on Tuesday morning we headed to Maputo for a special zone leader council. It was all the zone leaders in the mission with President in the mission office. I felt like some way special business man flying to a meeting to fly back the very next day. It was a good meeting and spiritual. I enjoyed the meeting. I also got to meet with this Chinese family in Elder Donker's area (who is currently serving in Maputo) who they are teaching. They are way interesting and the questions they ask are just ridiculous. They have absolutely no knowledge about God so they ask questions like "why did God not kill Satan?" or "why did Christ choose Judas if he knew that he would betray him?" It was definitely a cool and fun experience teaching them. 

So we are currently teaching this amazing family named Castro and Ana. They also have a little boy named Rei. They are so amazing and will be incredible members but I just thought I would share their story a little bit here. So I just contacted him on the road and we visited them without realizing that he was the bishop's cousin and the very best friend of our young men's President. He is also next door neighbors with the young men's president as well as the three families that we just baptized and a bunch of other members (That area is like a mini Utah just tons of members). All of them are really good friends with him and had invited him many times to church but he always just blew them off. I contacted him in an entirely different area on the road and it was clear that the lord guided him to us. He accepted a visit and when I asked him where he lived he just told us to ask Ossumane (young men's president) so we asked him he explained how he was his best friend and the bishop's cousin and everything else and we were way excited and asked him to visit castro with us but he said he wouldn't. We asked some of the others but they were all afraid to visit him because he had denied them several times already. So we just visited them and it was a great first lesson and they really felt the spirit. That night, Ana, who was a very strong member in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, had a dream that this was the true church after asking the lord in prayer. It was quite the experience. A few weeks passed as we taught them and then the day after the baptism (the day I skyped right before actually) we visited them and taught the law of Chastity saying that they needed to get married in order to be baptized. She accepted great but he had a few doubts about the wedding. Then, he said that really he didn't want to be baptized because he didn't know if the message was true. At that point I was walking with Elder Brown (my old trainee) because Elder Carvalho had left. So, I gave a nice reading assignment in Alma for him to read because he hadn't been reading that well. Also we gave this reading assignment to all the people present in that lesson who were: two of the couples that we just baptized, the bishop and the young men's president. I then went to Maputo leaving this reading assignment with all of them to read together and also charging the members with the duty of going to his house and following up and bearing testimonies and whatnot. Anyway, I got back with Elder Huffaker, my new companion, and we visited them on thursday. We learned that the night after we left, his wife and he were praying to know if the church was true and she had like a Joseph Smith experience were she like seized up and couldn't pray so he was afraid and just kept praying for her and for help and stuff and all of the sudden everything stopped and they had a great sense of peace. He then immediately went and started reading The Book of Mormon and he said that he just knew it was true since then. When he told all of us that he wanted to be baptized and married we all just cheered and were so happy, it was great. They are always are going to church, she sang in the choir this week for ward conference and will be baptized and married on my last day in Beira the 18th of June. 

So this Sunday we had a pretty miraculous thing happen. We had ward conference and all the stake people came to do it and stuff. It also happened that tons of members showed up and we ended up having an attendance of 300! That is a number that has never been seen in the history of Mozambique. it was a massive frequency and really just incredible. When I sent in the zone stats to the Aps they texted back just kindof saying haha yeah right what was the real frequency of Maraza. It was pretty awesome. The whole Choir wore matching outfits and really it turned out great. One funny story however, is that when I got there they asked me to play the piano for the choir. I of course said yes but some of the songs I didn't know how to play. I had little time to practice but was able to pull it out well in the end. One song however, I am a Child of God, the director had arranged it a little with the choir to jump around a little in the hymn instead of just singing the verses normally. Unfortunately he said nothing of this to me so I'm just playing along and all of the sudden they just hop to the beginning and then to the middle and I was just frantically trying to find where they had gone and follow. Also, because none of them really understand rhythm too well, the timing on all the songs was terrible. They would draw out notes they shouldn't be drawn out and I would just have to try and follow even though I had never practiced with them. It was a bit of a disaster but after, everyone thought I was amazing and was complimenting me and stuff, haha. 

So two of the families that we just baptized are just killing it in the visits that we do with them. Honestly we take them to every visit because they just do all the work and then we will leave and the family will just say like yeah, I know it's true because their testimonies are so strong. We'll just sit back as they just all bear their testimonies and talk about their experience and it's great. Especially the two wives just kill it with the wives of the current families that we are teaching. They are best friends with Ana who I mentioned before and she should enter in to do the same thing as well. All in all, a fantastic two weeks. 

To Dad:
That's awesome that your choir worked out so well when my experience was very all of the sudden and less than excellent. The ward conference really was incredible though. We are also planning a ward activity where I will show all the relief society how to make "bolo de Elder Heald" or Elder Heald cake, haha. I'm pretty much famous for my cakes in this ward. They are always begging for the recipes and stuff so I figured we'd just do an activity to silence all the begging. 

Everything is going fabulously, we are getting everything lined up for one last big baptism before I leave on the 18th of June which will be so awesome. Two seriously way awesome families, one of which I spoke about with mom, Castro and Ana. The other one is Castigo and Luisa and they are way awesome as well. Along with some younger single people. 

It's crazy being so close to the end. How was that for you on your mission? Especially knowing that you would go home and get married right away? something that I certainly am not thinking. My last week many of my recent converts are playing several parties and stuff that I will be going to in my last days to say good bye so it should be amazing. Capping it all off with a large marriage/baptism on the last day. 

Anyway, love you dad, have a great week, I'll only be emailing 4 more times and then I'm home, haha, it's crazy. 

The picture of the couples in the wedding picture goes like this the far left is Felix and Fatima then the couple from Munhava ward, Jovenal and Elia, Paulo and Luisa and then the couple of the other elders in Maraza on the far right Fernando and Joaquina. The couples of Paulo and Felix are the ones that are just killing it.

 this next picture that I'll send is all of us with our matching capalana ties.
Then the other pictures are the baptism, clearly, the brides and in the end the matching Relief Society women who just kicked butt. 

Here are some pictures Sister Koch sent me from leadership training meeting that Daniel mentioned in his letter.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 3 letters

To Mom:

Capulana is this material that is basically just some cloth with cool designs that they do. For example the suit that I have is made of Capulana. We bought the cloth and then brought a bunch of crappy ties to this lady who sews stuff. There are tons of those here in Moz and they are way cheap. Anyway, we brought them to her and she then sewed us a bunch of ties! We already have them and they are way cool. I'm really excited for the weddings this week and we will be having some crazy preparations that will be time consuming but it should be the best wedding I've had on the mission so far. 

I will be skyping on Sunday at 18:00 my time so plan accordingly. They want us to say that if there is a conflict with church that you should just go to another ward. I would like to have a doctors, dentist and eye appointment all fairly quickly yes. The doctor just to make sure I don't have any weird diseases that are killing me or something. 

So I decided to send a few pictures to you that were a bit funnier haha instead of just the usual boring ones. 

This week was really good and I'm super excited to talk with you this Sunday. 

To Dad:

It really is crazy that I'll be home next month. I never thought that the day would come. It honestly still feels that way but sometimes I actually think that it's actually close. 

This week we had some really cool lessons and good work done. We gave a zone meeting to our zone which went well. We did a family home evening last yesterday with all of our best investigator families and a few other families. It was way good. We watched a church film on the big screen at the church and Elder Carvalho and I bought cookies and soda for everyone. We also gave out our ties to the grooms and padrinhos. It was really fun and everyone loved it. We are getting close to ready with the preparations with the baptisms and wedding so it's pretty good. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 25 letters

To Mom:

South Africa is really very dangerous from what I've heard. I've actually heard many stories of missionaries getting mugged and stuff to be honest. Saying that, I will also say that I'm sure the mission is very careful and Adam won't be put in any serious danger. Also, I think that Cape Town is the safest of the three missions in South Africa but I'm not 100% sure. 

So this week we had a couple of fun experiences. So Saturday we were visiting two of our families (they're neighbors so we were all together) and we got the idea that they should officially ask their wives to marry them. They did this whole ridicously funny ceremony to ask their wives on the spot to marry them (This was the day after we had finalized the documents)and it was really funny. They got some fake flowers in their house and went and bought a little chocolate from a street vendor and knelt down and everything, it was pretty funny. The second guy put the chocolate in his mouth and had his wife eat it for like a cheesy chocalate kiss hahaha. 

On Saturday in the morning we all went to the chapel and got all the brides set up with their dresses and shoes and everything as well so everything is coming together well for the wedding. Elder Carvalho and I are going to make 7 identical ties from this cool Capulana that we bought so that the grooms, their padrinhos(best man type deal) and us can be matching at the wedding and other preparations were also made. All in all a really good week. 

To Dad:

So this week was super nice. We had many spiritual lessons and noticeable growth in our investigators. We had three families finalize their documents for marriage in the register on friday and so the triple marriage/baptism on the 7th of may is a gaurantee unless someone drinks or something which won't happen because they are seriously very good families. Their names are Felix and Fatima, Paulo and Luisa and Jovenal and Elia. The family of Felix and the family of Paulo are best friends and we often visit them together because they are also next door neighbors. We actually had a really fun experience with them this week but I'll put it in my email to mom. Jovenal and Elia are just really quite and humble but also very faithful and nice. Their obviously not as fun to visit but They are equally as good of a family. There are also a bunch of youth that we will be baptizing that day so it should be pretty insane. Our area combined with the other area will make so many baptisms on that day that I think it will be a record. It should be really nice. 

To celebrate the awesome week with the 3 document finalizations we went to a really nice restaurant and ice cream afterwords (Elder Carvalho and I) which was way nice and now it's all just wedding planning and baptism planning from here on out. 

To Aunt Sabra:

Certainly I feel like a wedding planner. There are several other companionships that are preparing baptisms and marriages but for some reason the responsibility of truly planning it all seems to land on me but it's all good I think that it's a lot of fun and really no other missionary really knows what they are doing. I've done enough by now that I at least know how to provide the necessities. However, I can say that a quick Mozambique marriage to be baptized is an entirely different matter than a Utah wedding. Way more planning would go into that. That fact aside I think it would be fun to help organize some weddings, haha. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18 letters

To Mom:

The people from Chimoio will be visiting here in a couple of weeks which will be way nice so I'm just waiting for that to happen but it has yet to happen. The work with week was absolutely fabulous and we are seriously destroying it. Statistically, these are the best weeks of my entire mission. Our goals for next week are just absurd. 

Here in our mission we are actually very familiar with the south african missions especially because a nice chunk of missionaries in the mission were called to the durban mission but were later transferred with Swazi. Swazi is basically the exact same thing as South Africa so I have basically lived and served in SA. The only difference is that South Africa is a lot more dangerous than Swazi. Everything else is basically the same though. I also have spoken with many South Africans. 

I like all the plans and schedule and everything so thanks for all of that. Can you please ask Bishop what my topic will be or if I can just choose, which would be nice. 

Also on Mother's day we'll talk for only 30 minutes. Elder Carvalho and I are in charge of scheduling it so maybe I'll get to squeeze in a little more time though. Who knows. 

On the 7th of May we are having a huge marriage and baptism. 13 from our area and another 8 or so from the other companionship in the ward. 5 couples in total. It should be a way sick day and then mothers day the next day will be nice. 

To Dad:

So this week was super awesome with the work. Statistically, this week was absolutely crazy. We had so many lessons and so much work and tons of people at church and stuff. I actually have a book where I keep my records of  all the different stats of my mission and this week will definitely enter the record books in several different categories, however, I only enter it in at the end of the transfer so maybe this next week will surpass it which wouldn't surprise me. We actually have a goal for 30 member present lessons this week which would be way dope and break my record haha. Stats don't really mean much but they are pretty fun sometimes, haha. 

We found two really good families this week that I can almost guarantee will progress to baptism. They both have tons of family in the church and came to church and loved it and the spirit is incredible in every lesson that we do with them. With one, the husband is the cousin of the bishop and his best friend is the young mens president. With the other, the wife is the sister of a missionary serving in Brazil, and he has tons of friends in the church. The cool part is that the first family I just randomly contacted the guy and he turned out being so well connected in the church. 

We also walked with President Koch in our area this week which was nice. It was actually yesterday and he came and did a few lessons with us. 

I forgot to tell mom this so I'll just tell you but I actually knew of Adam's mission call on your Thursday because Sister Koch called me on Friday and told me all about it. She saw it on face book and just couldn't resist telling me. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11 letters

To Mom:

I'm way happy to be here in Beira, it's seriously so nice here, it was like coming home. President and I didn't make any deal but I think that was maybe his line of thinking. I asked him several weeks before coming if I could come here and he probably put me as zl as kind of the price. Honestly ZL is way better than DL though. 

Elder Carvalho and I get along great and he is definitely a great companion.

So what day does school start? The problem that just came up this week is that Elder Keck (my old companion) just got engaged. Really I'm not that surprised I even told him that he would get engaged within the first 6 months and here we are 4 months in and it already happened. Anyway, he has asked me to come to the wedding and be one of the groomsmen. The sealing will be on the 26th of August so I will definitely have to go to it. It will be in the Seattle Washington temple.

Sorry I won't be able to send any pictures I forgot my camera at home. Honestly, as the mission has gone along I've lost the desire to take many pictures. I'll try to take some this week.

Some people from Chimoio should be visiting this week which will be way awesome. 

To Dad:

This week was super nice. We worked way hard this week and had tons of lessons and new people found. We also got the majority of the work done for our three weddings that will happen on the 7th. Everything is pretty much set and we should be having 14 baptisms that day which will just be insane. I will be way busy making cakes and doing all manner of preparations for the weddings. We also have to get the dresses set up and all of that good stuff. We are seriously working way hard though. 

We also had a way nice family night at the church on Saturday night. There were about 100 people there and we made three cakes and juice and stuff. It was really good and everyone loved it. The ward is really growing and should split here in the next few months. It's truly ready as well. I wouldn't be surprised if one of my recent converts from last year became the bishop as well which would be super cool. He is doing way good and honestly I think it will be him. 

To Aunt Sabra:

Our house and bathroom are currently flooded right now as well. Also the water is barely coming out because some people came to fix it and messed up so we take freezing cold showers every day. The living conditions are bad news right now. Also, every night I wash a mountain of dishes while my companion cleans surfaces and then we fall into bed exhausted because we are working so hard all the time. It's kind of frustrating but good because the time is flying.

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4 letters

To Dad:

I will live in the same house and the same room and everything as before. It's pretty crazy that I'm really back after such a long time being away. The area is going awesome and we should be having tons of baptisms. The attendance of the ward shot up this week and I believe that I can do a lot of work these last two transfers in the ward. The members here love me and will pretty much do whatever I ask so we are getting tons of references and tons of member present lessons. We get like 6 per day, haha. It's way nice. We are planning a wedding of three couples and the baptism of like 10 people at the end of this transfer that will happen for sure so it's way good. It was seriously such a glorious moment to see the old families again. We were so happy to see each other. 

The reason I was never leader is because I always told president that I didn't want to be one. I never wanted to be a leader. To me it's just added work on top of what is really important which is the actual missionary work. I certainly never wanted to go to the mission office as AP or anything. All you do is sit inside and do nothing. It would be the worst area ever. Fortunately I never ended up having that fate. Elder Hruby, one of my good buddies is AP, though and he hates it. He has asked to leave several times but the mission president keeps rejecting him. He will stay there until the end of his mission. He goes home with me. 

I haven't ever taught anyone who smokes. If they do I pretty much always drop them. It's a big enough fight with those who don't smoke let alone someone with that bad of an addiction. We teach a lot of people with drinking problems though. People are mostly just kind of too poor for smoking or maybe it's just not the culture, I don't know. In Swazi, the biggest challenge was bible bashes in every lesson. At the very least you would have to back up absolutely everything that you said with some scripture in the bible. I actually really loved teaching in Swazi. I really miss it to tell the truth. They understood so well and sharing the message was challenging but really fun. The success we had in my second transfer was really nice too. 

To Mom:

If Adam goes to Brazil then I will definitely be able to talk with him. I have now had 3 straight Brazilian companions. First was Elder Barros, then Elder Goes and now Elder Carvalho who is the old assistant yes. He will be going home at the end of this transfer yeah. I will then be getting one last comp and go home. I never talk about how many people I baptize to anyone. I really actually don't want anyone  to know. I will never tell anyone including you guys. If I get recognition and satisfaction from what other people think of me then I wouldn't get any of the blessing that God can give me. He will just say that I already have my reward. I don't want any of the credit to go to me. Really it shouldn't, the lord is the one who gave me any baptism that I already have had. We are just mere instruments. Do we compliment the pen when a wonderful author writes a way good book? No. So it is with the mission. That's why I admire the sons of Mosiah so much and enjoy reading their words and comments about missionary work. 

Seriously I'm way excited to get home at this point. The pictures that Adam sent of Caleb made me miss home a lot.  Also what you and him wrote about with Caleb made me feel so happy and thoroughly excited to see everyone again. 

Everything has gone super amazing this week really. The area is doing wonderfully. I love this area with all of my heart. We are working so ridiculously hard it's nuts. We are going to have tons of baptisms, honestly the lord is touching this ward. I wrote a poem last week but another missionary is helping me revise the poem so when it's done I'll have to send it to you. It's got biblical references and a clear theme and whatnot so I think you'll like it. 

Anyways, I love you and am way excited to see you,
(Yes, he signed his letter to me "Heald".  What? :))

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March 30 letters

To Mom:

So this past week was really good. We worked really hard and had a lot of success. There are several families that are progressing incredibly. One family came to church which was really exciting. The wife didn't come but the dad did and the 4 kids so that was really nice. The wife was at her parental home taking care of a family crisis. I believe, however, that next week she will be at church. We also visited several new families that are really progressing well. We taught one family that is the richest I've ever taught. We actually have sat with him twice now, I don't think he'll progress but it was kindof fun to sit with him. Another family that we sat with are really cool and pretty rich as well and they are progressing super well. We visited them twice and taught the restoration which they took really well and then on my last day which was monday, we went to their house so that I could say good by and they were crying saying that I had inspired them to visit the church and even be members of the church so they really are progressing fabulously. He had a stroke about 3 months ago and while he was in the hospital, he felt like God was telling him to come closer to Christ and especially to pay his tithing so I think that will work out great into his acceptance of the gospel. He also said that our coming was kindof like a sign to him of what he had felt in the hospital. It was quite the week with them. One time when we were teaching them my companion, Elder Goes, fell asleep during the lesson, haha. He doesn't understand English so he always gets sleepy because he isn't understanding and can't talk or anything. All of the sudden, (I was teaching at the time) we just heard him snore and we all looked over and he was sleeping in his chair. It was really funny. 

My official guess for Adam's mission is the Portugal Porto mission. I can say that that is the mission really that I want him to go to as opposed to where I think he's going but isn't that what we all do with our guesses anyways. Or I could just go with the Grandad guessing scheme and just guess an entire continent so I choose Europe. Just kidding, I want him to speak Portuguese with me and since the people who speak the best Portuguese in the world are from Portugal I want him to go there. 

To Dad:

So this week I was transferred to Beira again which was my dream to end my mission there. Not only was I transferred back to Beira but back to my old area in Maraza A!!!!!! I will be returning to the promised land. It will be the greatest transfer ever. I am seriously way excited. I will be with a Brazilian companion named Elder Carvalho so three straight Brazilians. I am seriously way excited. My flight to Beira leaves today at 12:30 I think so it's pretty crazy. I'm also going to see many of my friends on the mission that are all there in Beira serving right now so it's kindof like a dream come true. Several of the members from Chimoio also said that they would come to Beira to visit me and that they are so excited for me to go to a place where they can see me one more time. I'll be in the same zone with Elder McAllister so maybe I'll get to do some divisions with him but we'll see. President told me of where I was going and everything last week at zone conference in an interview and I was seriously way excited. It's been a long time since I've emailed though haha. We also didn't have pday on monday because it was a holiday in Swazi so we all went out and worked. 

It was really sad leaving my last area because it was really starting to pick up with families that we were teaching and other investigators but it is all worth it in where I am going now. 

Zone conference was really nice as well. I got to see Elder Hruby, a good friend of mine who is also one of the APs because he came down to Swazi to give a training in zone conference. The training were all about faith and really very good. I enjoyed the day for sure. I had to translate of course for Elder Goes and my other companion Elder Silva. I don't know if I already told you this I was walking with another Brazilian for the past two weeks who had to go to Swazi to wait for a visa issue. It was pretty comical to be walking with two companions that have absolutely no knowledge of English and teaching lessons by myself. 

Seriously I have been going all out with working lately and am really excited to go to Beira to continue the hard work there. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 21 letters

To Mom:

So this week was a good week. We found a few more really nice families and now we currently have a bunch of really nice families to really work with and try to help progress. I'm really excited for the progress and the area has a lot of potential right now. Unfortunately, no one came to church but I'm confident that in the next week or two we will see some real progress by one of the families that we are currently working with and bring someone to church. 

Also this week, I got pretty sick on wednesday and Thursday we had to stay in. Ever since I've been a little shaky with my health but by now I'm close to normal so this next week should go along normally. I'm excited to really dig into the work with no health problems to hold me back. 

That's exciting about Adam getting so close to getting his call and turning in his papers. I'm sure we'll all start guessing the place that he'll go and such. I'll send my guess next week when the call has been sent. It's crazy to think that Adam, my younger brother is about to go on a mission. I still haven't gotten past this stage in my life. 2 years is a long time. It's good because it gives you a long time to serve the lord, get your priorities straight and basically just learn and grow. 

To Dad:

I'll tell one interesting story that happened this week. So we contacted a family last week and just the wife was there. We talked to her for a bit and she said her husband wasn't there but would be home in the next saturday(the day before yesterday) because he was in California (which was pretty crazy). So we went Saturday and he wasn't there yet and then we went yesterday and he was there but it turns out he is a straight up American white dude. He came out of the house and just said "you got nothin here we have our own beliefs so get outta here" It was so blunt and honest that it was just hilarious. Here in Swazi and Mozambique, you will never here a person say that they aren't interested or go away. They will always just make up some excuse of time or work or something. It was kindof refreshing to hear someone just say no haha. I imagine that that is what you probably went through a lot in your mission all the time but for me it was so alien. We just said thank you and walked away.

I love you and can't wait to see you and the rest of the family. To be honest, when I went on the mission it hurt more to leave my friends but you were right when you said my priorities would straighten on the mission and I realized that the thing I miss the most is you guys. I love you and have a great week. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14 letters

To Mom:
This week was a really good week. On Tuesday we sat with a really good family. They are understanding the message terrifically and reading the Book of Mormon a lot. This week will probably tell if they will truly progress until baptism or not. I'm super excited for them and keep them in my prayers constantly. They have some serious potential. We also found another 2 really good families that have a lot of potential as well. We have a lot of potential in the area right now but nothing is really set yet. They could all work out for baptisms or all not so it's a crucial time of faith, prayer and careful teaching. 

At church we had the husband of a family come to church but his wife stayed back. Unfortunately, we are redrawing the area boundaries (my idea) and will be giving this family to another companionship. It's ok though because it should help them and I'm sure they will love and help this family progress. He even stood up and bore his testimony in Gospel Principals and said that he wan's to be baptized so they should be pretty good for the branch. I'm excited for their progress. 

To Dad:
At the beginning of April we have transfers and I actually asked to be transferred to Beira to spend my last 2 there with all of the families I baptized. President said that he would see if it was possible but who knows. I could be transferred or just stay. I'm hoping to get transferred to there though. Not because I hate Swaziland, in fact I love it here and the area is picking up. We have several pretty good families that are currently progressing but I want to see those people again before I finish my mission and live in Beira again (I love it there). 

Don't worry about the whole role of Christ in my life. I've gained such a powerful testimony of Christ since being here in Africa on my mission. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is his church and that he loves and cares about me. He wants to help me and is always at my side. I could never forget about him for even one second, whether I'm here or there. Some missionaries are excited to go home to not have to do church things all the time anymore or not have a calling but I'm really excited to get a calling and magnify it with all my ability. You remember how I used to say that I would never be a bishop because of the work being too much but now I would be excited for the opportunity to help the lord and others. I don't know what will happen to me in the church, job or elsewhere but I will always have Christ at the center of it all. Truly my duty to him is more important than any other that I have, have had or ever will have in my life. 

Getting back into sports will be super nice. I'm excited to follow them again and have a blast watching march madness, NFL, NBA and City action. It's going to be amazing. I wouldn't say that it is at the top of the list for things I am excited for. I thought about that the other day and made a top 5 things I'm excited for (not the best use of my time but it was one night when I was thinking about home a lot, haha) 1. family 2. freedom to do whatever 3. friends 4. good American food 5. movies. 
last night

Daniel and Elder Barros

Elder Barros, Sister Dudu, and Daniel

Daniel and Elder Goes

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 7 letters

To Mom:

This week was good on the work. We got fairly good numbers but unfortunately didn't get any families at church again. However, one new investigator of ours came. Shes a girl who's about 16 years old I think but I don't know her name because we only sat with her one time. She's a referral from a member family so that's good I guess. We're getting closer to some families but swazi is harder than Mozambique. It's ok though because it just means that we need to work harder and teach better and have the spirit more.
We had one really fantastic lesson with a family where we taught the book of Mormon. When we read in the introduction I really saw that the spirit just struck him and he felt a witness that it was true. Then we talked more and it was a really nice and spiritual lesson. I really saw the spirit working with them but unfortunately they didn't come to church which really depressed me but we'll just keep working with them and hopefully they'll come next week.

I cannot believe that Rachel, my baby sister, is going to be in Junior high. I still remember my seventh grade year and being the first in the family there and how I felt so old and whatnot and I can't imagine Rachel being anything more than just a little albeit spunky girl. 
To Dad:
Usually on Pday we are just all too lazy to go and play soccer and end up just taking naps. These days I've just worked out a little bit. Everyone wants to play but no one really makes it happen. I never taught this guy that was the richest guy we just got his contact and he said we could visit another time. Unfortunately it didn't end up working out but it was a cool story nonetheless. They are wealthy because there house is pretty nice it's probably about a fourth the size of our house or 1 sixth or so, and they have a pretty nice car and own a bunch of little flats that they rent to people. The house wasn't insanely big but it was really nice so that was cool. Unfortunately they weren't that great at actually having time for us to visit.
For my diet and exercise let me explain. I work out every morning and night. Monday through Saturday. In the morning I alternate from arms and chest to abs. At night I alternate between 2 cardio work outs. One night burpies and mountain climbers, the other is running up and down the stairs of our apartment complex. Diet-wise, I cut out most all chocolate or treats. In the morning I eat 2 pieces of toast and an egg or two, a really big lunch and then nothing at night. In this mission we don't eat dinner. So missionaries usually eat at night right before bed which puts on fat so I completely cut that out. At lunch I just eat a lot knowing that during the long, hot day, I'll work it all off and then my nightly cardio. I drink one coke while we are on the road to keep me going and then that's it. I used to eat out more at restaurants but these days I cut it down to only Pday and tuesday after district meeting. Pday is usually KFC and tuesday is a pizza place. Its ok because usually no matter what I eat for lunch I'll work it all of during the afternoon at work. As I get even closer to the end I will probably start waking up even earlier and running as well to polish everything off. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29 letters

To Mom:

So the area is going well this week. We worked insanely hard and the area is improving a lot. Elder Goes doesn't speak any English like I said so I've been teaching him pretty intensively. Unfortunately, he's got a long ways to go. Elder Barros and I spoke Portuguese exclusively. They want to work but you really can't do anything if you don't speak the language where you are serving. Elder Goes actually has a really big fire to work but can't do anything because of the communication barrier.
One day this week we were contacting in a new area and we just got totally lost and ended up coming along side one of the queens palaces. It was pretty interesting. We flagged down a car for a ride and they said "you're lost Manzini is the other way" it was pretty funny. We had a really good time this week whilst we worked like lions.

So I've also started a stringent diet/exercise plan and it's going pretty well. I'm really increasing my health. I'll be going home soon so I'm at the end of my time to really increase my fitness here on the mission. It's going really well. My self discipline has really grown from being a missionary. That should serve me really well in the real world as well. 
To Dad:
Honestly this week I worked harder than I think I ever have before so you don't have to worry about me slowing down. Last transfer I was kind of in that mode a little bit but with the new transfer came fresh motivation and now we are working just insanely hard. The area is going well. I hope to be able to get a few of the new families that we found last week at church here in the next week. We have a few really promising prospects. Also, yesterday we knocked a house and got the number of I think the richest person I've ever actually contacted on my mission so that was pretty cool. 
I absolutely cannot wait to come home and see the beautiful new house decor and bask in 1st world country goodness for the rest of my life. I'll tell you dad that you are the only one who kindof understands coming home from a mission like me because you did of course but you have no idea the infinite additional aspects of coming home from a third world country to the United States. Ok maybe a little because you've gone on trips there but not for 2 years. I feel like Iron man when he gets back from being imprisoned in the cave and just demands an American cheeseburger. I am just absolutely pumped to eat at McDonalds or Wendy's, let alone some way nice restaurant. Not to mention the thousand other things about America that make it the best country in the world. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 22 letters

To Mom:

The work is going well. Transfers were actually today and I now have a new companion his name is Elder Goes. He is from Brazil as well and is fresh out of the MTC. He speaks absolutely no English so I will need to teach him. It's going to be a transfer of doing all of the talking in the lessons and all the work etc. Elder Barros was transferred just to the next branch here in Swaziland making this 3 different areas in Swaziland in the last 4 transfers. I hope that I leave after the end of this transfer. My whole mission I've basically been transferred where and when I want which is super lucky so I wouldn't be surprised if I left Swaziland this transfer to finish off the last two in Mozambique. 

I'm assuming that I will get the flight information of me coming home towards the end of this transfer so at the end of March. They will call me first and ask what airport I will be going to and stuff as well. I will be coming home with a bunch of other missionaries and they will buy the tickets together so I don't think I have much of a choice as to the layovers and such. I'm almost positive I will be coming home on the 21st of June to arrive on the 22nd but I'm not 100 percent sure. If you want to know I'm sure you can email President Koch and ask. Elder Woolley's parents did the same thing and he said the 21st which is why I'm pretty sure it is but it was kind of a roundabout way of getting that info, through the grapevine kind of thing, so you can ask just to confirm if you want. 

This week was kindof rough with tons of lessons falling through but it's ok. This coming week and transfer are going to be awesome. I'm sure Elder Goes and I will have good success. Elder Donker left my house which is a bummer just because he was a good friend of mine.

To Dad:

With our mission we have a big number goal system that President Koch just instituted but the numbers are all off quite a bit. It will take a bit of adjusting but I'm sure it will turn out pretty good. Here in Swazi we've been getting fairly low numbers. Usually we only get 15-20 lessons per week. In most of my past areas we averaged around 30 lessons per week. On a good week 20 to 25 lessons in Swazi 30-35 in Moz. With contacting we used to have the goal of 35 qualified contacts per week (a male that believes in Jesus Christ, has a wife and a phone) but now each area has a specific goal for it. In my area the goal is 24. 

Here in Swazi the climate is a little colder than Mozambique but  it's a lot like Chimoio. Colder and Dryer than the rest of Mozambique. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

February 15 letter

The doctor was from Ethiopia and he is really good. It went great and I am now fine. It wasn't a surgery it was just kind of a mini surgery. He numbed my foot and then dug around in there and what not and yes it was here in Swazi. Everything was very sanitary and they thought that it was a corn when they first went in. Basically a foreign substance that got in there and then got infected. I got the worm two Thursdays ago or something. It took like 4 days until we went to the doctor because it was hurting too badly. It's called a sand worm. It's white. It's not really a common thing no but I've had a really fortunate mission health wise in comparison to the other missionaries here. For example the same day that I was at the clinic another missionary was there who has been sliced by a knife in a robbery, had two ingrown toenails, a giant spider bite and a serious eye infection. We wear shower shoes to stop all sorts of funky diseases from getting to our feet.
This week was better. We got an investigator at church and have a few other fairly promising options for next week so the work is definitely picking up.
I got my Christmas package yes, it has been super nice and I still have tons of candy to munch on. I'm actually currently chewing on some of the gum that I got so thank you. It was a magnificent package.

Monday, February 8, 2016

February 8 letter

So honestly this week was the most uneventful week ever. 

Last Saturday my foot started hurting really bad and by this Tuesday it was really swollen. I went to the doctor and he put me on some pills to take out the swelling on Tuesday. Then on Thursday he performed a mini surgery on my foot to remove it and it turned out to be a worm in my foot. When he removed it it hurt so flipping bad but it's basically better by now. I hope that I will get to work tomorrow. we go back to get the bandages off tomorrow morning. It's unfortunate but I have not been able to work even once this week.

Saturday and Sunday were district conference so I got a ride there and that was pretty good I guess. 

I ate out every single day this past week because I couldn't get up to cook so the other companionship in our house would pick me up kfc or pizza every day, haha. It was pretty nice to be honest. 

No one came to church unfortunately but this week I hope to be able to actually work with them and I think next week we'll get them to church. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1 letter

This week was kind of disappointing with the families no one came to church but I'm sure that next week we'll get some families at church. Swaziland is just definitely slower going that Moz as far as missionary work goes. 

It's getting difficult to find things to write about these days just wait 4 months and a little and I'll just be home to talk about everything extensively. No I'm kidding but it really is difficult. This week we found a couple of cool families. 

Here in Swaziland and especially right now we do a lot of just walking around and trying to find people, it can be really discouraging but we just need to keep trudging forward. I don't have any pictures for you but I'll try to take some this week to send you something that matters.

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25 letter

We have yet to go to the capital city or the palace. I really like the house. It's good. Elder Barros is a good companion. By interesting I mean that it's weird having an african, brazilian, brit and american. I've never had such a diverse house. Also, my current zone is made up of more africans than white people. It's really weird. It's the only time I've ever heard of that happening on this mission. 

(In response to some news I told him): That's crazy about all the people so angry with these policies and whatnot. People will fall for stupid reasons but Satan is powerful. Honestly If our conversion is superficial then we will be blown away by the superficial temptations of the devil like disputes over church policy. People are converted to the church and not to the lord, but it needs to be the other way around.. In order for that to happen we must have experiences with the power of atonement. These people have never felt the moving power of the atonement and therefore don't have a truly deep conversion. 

This week was really pretty hard. We now have our first really solid family though. Next week I expect to have a really productive week. It's harder to get the fire to work here in Swaziland because people are much ruder. contacting people on the road is hard because people just make fun of you and stuff. It's fine though, the work is the same. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18 letter

So Swaziland is definitely a new animal. You can look up the city of Manzini that's the city where I serve. The language is probably the hardest part about Swaziland. Their English here is honestly really bad. They only speak their dialect language of Swaziland. It actually has clicks in it and many names of people and places have clicks in them so that's interesting to get used to using clicks. It is really frustrating not being able to speak normally. You have to talk way slow and not use big words in order for them to understand. It really sucks because I feel like I can't get real relationships because I'm talking to them like a robot. Mozambiquans speak way better Portuguese than Swazis speak English.
Next week we might got to the capital which is about 30 minutes away and see the kings house. It's weird being in a country ruled by a king. They literally call it the Kingdom of Swaziland on the news and stuff it's really pretty funny. It's definitely more rich here though than in Mozambique. The infrastructure and general wealth is much higher, and I work in a poor area.

Zone conference was really good. Nothing of note to mention though. Also, let me say that the restaurants here are better too. We are going to play soccer today which will be pretty nice. Elder Donker and I are trying to see how many headers we can get back and forth so we've been doing that at nights and stuff which has been fun. It's really weird living with more than just my companion again. It's been pretty wild and I really like it. Although, Chimoio will never stop being my favorite area I am enjoying my time so far here in Swaziland. 
These are pictures from the safari on the way to Swaziland.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Letter from the mission office on his way to Swaziland

The Baptism on Saturday was really so spiritual. Honestly probably the most spiritual and reverent baptismal service that I have ever had. The family loved it so much and were just talking about how much they felt the spirit and how they have an assurance that the church is true because of what they felt and stuff. It really was awesome. We are currently in the office and getting ready to head over to Swaziland so that's why I am so early in writing.

That's the first and second counselors with the family.  They were baptizing. The first counselor (the one next to Elder Brown) was actually the Padrinho o witness kindof thing of the marriage. I was really happy with who they chose because I always like them to choose members first and Elder Brown had never baptized anyone so it worked out pretty well. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4 letter - answering questions from Mom

The Swaziland zone was the biggest zone in the mission but they are now dividing it into two zones so they will be average sized zones now. I don't know many missionaries anymore seeing as that I've been in isolation for so long and honestly I don't really care who my companion is anymore. I feel like I can get along with anyone especially now that I'm on the final stretch with only 4 more transfers left.

I don't have a favorite baptism but my favorite wedding would either be the 5 couple one in Maraza or my wedding when I wore the crazy suit coat with Elder McAllister. My second favorite area after Chimoio is definitely Maraza and then Baixa with Magoanine way behind. Magoanine was way strong when I was there (the strongest in the mission) but has since split. The baixa is by far the weakest branch I was ever in and struggles to date. Maraza is really strong and Chimoio is pretty strong as well. The leaders are learning but solid at the same time. The best leadership was Magoanine for sure because a lot of them are returned missionaries but in my other places there weren't any returned missionaries in ward leadership. The biggest problem of new members of the church would have to be that they are more converted to the church as opposed to the lord. They are converted to the visits or missionaries or activities or any number of other things when their conversion should be founded upon Christ. The vision of the mission as far as families go is the same yes.

I have grown exponentially in the spiritual spectrum. My understanding of the gospel and the significance of it in the life of anyone, especially me has drastically changed. I feel like my humor and personality is the same though. Some missionaries get weird on their missions and shy away from media and whatever and I really just don't see that being me. Things that I wished I did before the mission would be to have read the book of Mormon and understood it before the mission. Honestly I think those people who just go crazy and wake up early every day and do all sorts of weird things for months before the mission are just wasting their time.  I promise you'll do fine without all this crazy nonsense.