The pictures of Alaska were absolutely beautiful. But I can promise you, that you will be way more blown away with the beauty of the country of Mozambique. I have been here for a good amount of time, but that is something that will never get old. Especially the sunsets. I'm excited for you guys to see this place.
But it sounds like it was a good week back home! I throughly enjoyed the missionary experience on the cruise ship. It was to bad that lady has been having some hard times. WITHOUT A DOUBT, you guys were supposed to be there to help her. Our Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways, but he knows exactly what his children need. I'm glad you were able to have that experience.
As for me, the week was very hard. I had probably the two hardest days that I've had on the whole mission. But at the same time, it ended up being a very successful week, and good things happened.
First things first, we have 2 marriages processes opened! Feliciano and Joaquina as well as Manuel and Linda. After opening the process, the government makes them wait 20 days before the can legalize the wedding. (In Beira it is only 10 days) So both of these couples with be getting married and baptized on the 10 of August. So they will have the same anniversary as my parents! Kind of excited. Both families are doing well, and have developed friends in the Branch. All 4 of our complete families at church yesterday, sat next to another family that we have taken over to their house. We gotta hold onto these recent converts!
Ok, let me tell you a little about Thursday, which might have been the hardest day of my mission. We started the day off doing weekly planning. We were very excited about our area, and the way direction the the zone heading. We had 7 lessons marked for that day, including Aires e Jurema, 5 new complete families, and a couple named Helder and Fatima. We had planned to teach them the Law of Chastity. We left the house that day just pumped! Ready to take on the day. Well, all 5 new lessons fell through, we sat at Aires and Jurema's house for 2 hours while they complained why they didn't want to get married, then Helder and Fatima straight up rejected the Law of Chastity and said they wouldn't get married til next year. But we did have a good 8 hours of street contacting.
We walked home the night pretty depressed. But it's ok. We have good days and we have harder days. I have no reason to complain.
But that was the progress of Aires e Jurema this week. We were praying, trying to figure out the best way to help them. We called them every night, reminding them to read and pray together, then we sent over a recent convert family that has recently become friends with them. We didn't go over there until Thurday. But when we went over there, what a change! They had read in the scriptures each day together, and prayed daily together. Their relationship changed a ton! Jurema said, "we are finally friends again." I was so excited when I heard those words come out of her mouth. It was their answer that the Book of Mormon was true. Something false, would not have had such a positive influence on their family. That night we talked about the beginning of the plan of salvation, and when we got to the part about our lives on earth, we focused on the family proclamation. Thank you mom for arranging that nice copy in portuguese for me before the misson. It is now in the home of Aires and Jurema. We read through it together and talked about how we can have a successful family, but that it is necessary to be married legally. They loved the lesson, but don't want to be married. It was a tough pill to swallow considering that have already recieved an answer to the Book of Mormon. So they are semi-dropped. We will see what happens as the continue to come to church and strengthen their testimonies. They said they won't stop coming!
Now it is time for the miracle story of the week! One day, during companion study 2 weeks ago, me and Elder Lake were talking about ways to strengthen our branch. We decided to do something we don't do very often. Call inactive members. There are no complete families in our area, but we saw a man that lived in the area of Machava that was baptized in the year 2000. Machava is close to our area, but has no missionaries. We talked to him on the phone and invited him to church. He said he would come and that he would bring his wife. This man's name is Lionel.
We didn't think much of the calls we had made, but when sunday came around, sure enough man named Lionel introduced himsellf to us! He was with his wife as well! The members knew who he was and helped him feel welcome again. His wife, is a non-member so we marked a lesson to go teach the family.
Friday came, and it was time for the lesson. He picked us up in his car. (he is a very successful lawyer.) We went to his house and got to know a little bit more of his story. He has such a strong testimony, but for the past few years has gotten lazy in the church. He was one of the first 10 members of the church in Maputo. His father was converted in Portugual many years ago, and he sent a copy of the Book of Mormon to Lionel here in Mozambique. Lionel read the Book of Mormon, and wanted to be baptized way before the missionaries were here in the country. When he heard the missionaries were coming to Mozambique, he went to the airport and waited for them. He was baptized shortly afterwards.
He told us that he "just needed someone to call him and invite him." He said he will never miss church again! Plus, his wife Celeste accepted baptism the first visit. I know that Lionel will be a great leader out in Machava in the future. We just need to get them married so that he can get worthy and so that she can get baptized. We are so excited about this family! It's amazing, we are able to follow the Spirit without knowing! We didn't know the Spirit was telling us to call Lionel. We just did what we thought was best, and the Lord guided us. The result, is a strong family the will pioneer the area of Machava. So cool!
Well! I'm excited for this week! We will have the open house all week! It ran so smoothly last night for the first day. The Spirit is so powerful in the tour. Just so you have an idea of how strong it is, let me tell you an experience. The VERY FIRST PERSON to do the tour, was an older single lady. By the end of the tour, she was in tears. I was a witnesses of it. It was a very special experience. ONE MORE PROOF that these things are true.
I love this Gospel, my testimony is getting tried so hard! But at the same time, it is building so much. I ove you all. Have a great week!
"We do not preach and teach in oreder to 'bring people into the church' or to increase the membership. We do not teach and preach just to persudade people to live better lives... We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism in order to open the doors of the Celestial Kingdom to the sons and daughters of God."
-Elder Dallin H. Oaks