Monday, August 26, 2013

Matola - Week 71

(Parents note:  Occasionally we see words appear in Elder Williams' letters that are in Portuguese.  This week is no exception.  Look for a couple of words that should have been in English).

Baptism of Sara, Jessica & Joao
Well, the weeks continue to go by at a scary pace. I never, in my whole life, thought that time could go by as fast at it is going by. I recgonize how short a mission is, and that I need at make the best use of my time as possible. I'm definitely trying to do that!
We had a good week done here in the zone of Matola. A lot of positive things are happening, but we also need to get a lot better in the way that we do missionary work.
The week started of with a training given by President Kretly. It was the trainers training the he always gives to the new missionaries and their trainers. He talked about how the trainers need to treat the new missionary like a seed, and we need to make sure we plant them in good ground. The role of the trainer is so important. President has been traveling to South Africa, so he gave the training using go-to-meeting. There were four different groups on the meeting, Beira, Manga, Maputo, and Matola. It ended up being a super nice training, and the internet at the new chapel worked out great for us in Matola! I did have a headache after the meeting, because I had to translate for the new Elders... usually it's better to switch translators halfway through. haha
Another thing that happened this week, is I got started doing divisions with the Elders in the district. I switch back and forth from the roles of Zone Leader and District Leader. I didn't know it was possible to be both at the same time... but it definitely is possible. I grateful that I have even more of an opprotunity to serve the fellow Elders of the mission. 
Our investigators are doing very well! It is unbelievable to see the growth that has happened in our area just over the past few months. We can't even keep track of all our investigators at church anymore! We've had over 20 at church the past 2 weeks now. We have found families over the past few weeks that are fighting to open marriage processes so that they can be baptized. Antonio and Arminda were going to open it, but after getting all of his documents ready, he needed to do them again under his other name. He legally has two names that are completely different... long story.
Pedro and Olga continue to do well. They are by far my favorite. We have taught them 3 times now, and the Spirit in their house in amazing. They are by far the poorest people I have taught on my mission. They have one open room, made of straw and sticks. I have never met a person with a sweeter spirit than Olga. It is crazy. She is going directly to the Celestial Kingdom. Everytime we teach them, they accept everything so willingly. The Plan of salvation lesson this past week was so powerful. She got a little emotional as well. We made plans finacially to get her a new identification card so that she can get these marriage documents. It was necessary, because they litterally have nothing. But they sacrificed, and we went this morning to show her where to get a new card. As I was talking to her, somehow I got out of her that she hadn't eaten since before church, and she was feeling a lttle bit sick. We ended up buying some cookies to share with her. She wa so grateful. As we've been teaching them, I realized how grateful we are. I don't know why I deserve the things that I have in my life. If anybody deserves them, it's Olga. All she cares about is following God. My life would be a success if I died half the person that she is. She was so excited to tell us that she was chosen to pray next week in relief society.
But with all these good things that happened, we also had some rain. We caught 3 progressing families in sin this week... 
Sara, Jessica, and Joao, are now baptized! We had a good baptismal service, and they were confirmed on Sunday. The branch presidency of Matola 2 was also reorganized yesterday. We are excited to work more with them. Also, Feliciano and Manuel received the priesthood yesterday!
We found some new families this week that came to church as well! Marcos and Leila, and Geraldo and Emma. Marcos and Leila have tons of potencial. But the law of chastity lesson didn't go well with Geraldo and Emma. Emma almost started crying when Geraldo said he didn't want to marry her. It was a very awkward moment as you could imagine. 
Our district continues to work hard. As I've been doing divisions with the Elders, I realized that one thing we need to focus on is teaching simply enough so the investigator understands. There is a whole section on this in Preach My Gospel. We focused on that for district meeting, and we did pratices, teaching the restoration with clarity and simplicity. I believe that will helpout the work a lot.
So we had a good week! The work continues to go on, and it will go on strongly.
My testimony is getting tried each and everyday. I have seen the difference over the past few weeks. Satan is trying to stop this work. But he won't stop. Porque (Because) everytime that my testimony is tried, it gets strenghtened. And I'm grateful for that.
We will continue to work hard to see more growth out here in Matola. I am especailly happy to hear about Morgan's baptism. I want pictures from the baptism! I have grown a true love for baptisms, as these people are making promises with God. Congratulations Morgan!
I will send that talk in photo form... hope you can read it fine.
Elder Williams

Monday, August 19, 2013

Matola - Week 70

I don't even know where to start this week. It is very possible, that this was the most miraculous week that I have ever seen on the mission. The Lord continues to bless us, and wants His kingdom to grow here in Matola.
But we also had a few Gadianton Robbers try to stop the work of the Lord. Matola has been under close guard over the past few weeks with robbers. There is a group called G20 going around and wreaking havoc all over this side of the city. It is a gang of 20 people that target house and beat, rape, and even kill them. Over the past few weeks, there has been rapes and killing by this group, but it looks like things are starting to slow down. The area seventy has asked us to be home an hour early because of the situation. One night, we did a prayer as a distict with us 6 Elders in the house. It was very powerful, and I know for a fact, there was an angel on ever corner of our house watching over us. The Lord will obviously protect us, because his work needs to, and will go on!
So obviously, Satan is going hard at Matola. But i is nothing compared to the power of God. The week that Satan tries hardest, the Lord works more miracles than ever.
So at the beggining of the week, me and Elder Brandao sat down to redivide some areas. Elder Carl Cook said that he doesn't want us working more than 30 minutes from the chapel. And the beginning of Liberdade is a solid 30 minutes walking by foot. So we needed to make some changes. Me and Elder Brandao decided to focus on the two roads that are closest to the chapel in out area. And holy cow.... we found people like crazy. It just so happens, that Manuel e Linda live the 3rd house closest to the chapel in our area. And Luis and Linda live on the same road. So we figured there would be more families in that area that would accept the restored gospel. We ended up teaching lots of families in that area.
One of them, being Antonio and Arminda. This is an absolute miracle... We taught them for the first time on Monday. They accepted to read the Book of Mormon, and ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and they accepted to be baptized. Wednesday, we taught the Law of Chastity and invited them to get married. They got almost all of their documents already! We are opening up their process this week. Within less than 2 weeks, they will have been found, and open up the process of marriage. That is crazy. We recognize the hand of God in finding a family that was so prepared. They loved church yesterday!
This week, we also taught Mario and Nilza the Law of Chastity. I love this family. He reminds me of Dwayne Wade. Haha. And they have two little girls that are just adorable. So they accepted the Law of Chastity and everything, but they said they wanted to talk to their parents. They talked to the in-laws, and they rejected the idea of getting married. Mario has yet to pay Lobolo, which is the tradition of paying the in-laws for the daughter, and they can't get married until he pays. He will not be able to afford to pay lobolo for years... So yesterday, we went over there, praying hard about the direction to take with the lesson. We invited them to get get married without telling anyone so that they can be baptized and keep the commandments of God. They accepted. If that isn't Faith, I don't know what is. That is why this country is seeing so much growth. They know they will be blessed by the Lord if they keep their commandments. It was a testimony builder to me on the power of obedience. That was a hard decision that they had to make. But that is the only way they can truely be happy!
The marriage and baptism Manuel and Linda went well. After the baptism, it was amazing to see them bear testimony on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. As I saw them in the water, I could only picture the moment when me and Elder Lake contacted him one June afternoon in the market. It is amazing to see the change in people. One more proof of the truthfulness of out message.
The baptism of Sara, Jessica, and Joao will be this saturday at 10:00. Ever since the open house, we have filled up the baptismal font every saturday. The church is going to have to pay a pretty high water bill out here in Matola! The best part is, they are families! 
We started teaching another family as well named Pedro and Olga. They are unbelievably poor. She is the skinniest women I think I have ever seen. But they have such a desire to live the commandments and do what is right. They also made it to church yesterday, and really enjoyed it. We will see how they continue to progess throughout this week. We other families as well that are progressing and working towards baptism. Most of them, are brand new families who came to church yesterday. In just mine and Elder Brandao's area, we had 7 complete families at church, and 3 that came imcomplete. A total of 23 investigators at church yesterday. Real growth, is starting to happen. But thiss is just the beggining.
We are doing our best to help the other Elders in our zone catch this wave that is starting to catch us. Many Elders are struggling to find new families. In district meeting, (I'm also the district leader) I gave a training on "Having Faith to Find." If we don't even believe the God will put these people in our path, then he won't! We need to be obedient, patient, and obedient in order to see these things happen. I think the district learned a few new principles. We will also start divisions this week as well. With the elders in our distrcit, other DLs in the zone, and the APs. It should be a good week of learning for me and many other Elders.
Me and my companion get along great. He is a recent-convert and teaches powerfully with the Spirit. He was baptized about the time I graduated high school. He has a very intressesting conversion story, which includes him making the Sister missionaries cry during lessons because he tried to prove so many things wrong with the scriptures. He knows the scriptures so well. It's crazy. But a lot of people look up to him on the mission, and I know we will do good thhings together. The Lord is starting to bless us know more than ever!
Well I could go on all day about our week, but I still need to email President. I'm trying to load pictures, but I am having a hard time. The internet is so slow. So we'll see if you get any pictures.
I am preparing my talk for Morgan's baptism, don't worry! You'll get that next week. I was also excited to hear this week that Jane and Adelina from Manga, (A family I had found and taught) just got baptized. So exciting! I still frequently talk to people I've taught from up North, and they are all doing well with callings in the church! Such a blessing. Well I hope you all have a great week!
-Elder Williams

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's a Miracle!!

President Paulo Kretly, President of the Mozambique Maputo Mission, posted this on YouTube about the miracles that are happening in the Mission.  Truly a Miracle... 

It's a Miracle!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Matola - Week 69

Well another transfer has blown by! It is amazing how fast 6 weeks can go. Back in high school and college, 6 weeks never went by this fast! Time flies when you are having fun!
I´ll start off by giving you the transfer news. I am staying here in Matola as the Zone Leader. But I will not be serving with Elder Lake. He is being transfered to Maputo to be a district leader. My new companion will be Elder Brandao from Cape Verde. Elder Brandao is a great Elder. He did a lot of good things up in Beira, and we came down to Matola at the same time. He was a District Leader, so I have been doing divisions with him for the past 2 transfers. He will come work in my area, starting tonight. I will also have the chance to show him the ropes as far as being a Zone Leader, so I am excited about it. I know that the zone will grow even a lot more as me and Elder Brandao work hard to train the other missonaries.
We had a good week here in Matola! Except for the fact that I picked up fleas... that was not fun. My legs were covered in bites! But we sprayed everything down in the house, and now we are fleas free! Two other elders in the house also got fleas.
But other than that it was a good week! Last P day we palyed basketball at the church with other Elders in the zone. It was my first time playing in a long time! I have lost almost all athletic ability that I had kind of had before. I felt so uncordinated! My legs were super sore for the next 3 days as well. So I dont think I will be playing basketball again soon. It did not allow me to play at the top of my game as far as missionary work is concerned. And that is the only game that is important.
The baptism went super well! Feliciano had a hard time getting all the way under the water, and I thought he was going to drown for a second when Joao, (our recent convert) dropped him while he was under the water. Joaquina got scared, and was terrified to get into the font. But she was baptized fine as well, so its all good! Miquinho was also baptized.
In preparation for the baptism, me and Elder Lake made a cake with the help from the Relief Society President in the branch. It turned out super nice. I will try to send a picture. And know we know how to make frosting without using brown sugar. 
The best part of the week, was by far seeing Feliciano and Joaquina in the waters of baptism. It is a family changed forever. I know that their daughter, who past away was defintely present at their baptismal service. Feliciano had a big grin on his face all day! It was a miracle.
We will see more miracles this week, when Manuel and Linda get in the water! That will be a good day as well. They will be batized on saturday.
It was good to see Elder Cook at the new chapel this week as well. I honestly believe that Elder Cook is one of the most Christlike people on the earth. He is so nice! Geoff had a darn good mission president! He gave a good training in the Saturday session of District Conference. He talked about Real Growth. Real Growth happens to be our focus in this mission as well. And we are definintely seeing real growth.
More than 700 people showed up for conference yesterday! We filled up the chapel, the overflow, and we had about 50 people or so watching conference on a monitor in the relief society room. So I would say it wasa hit! We watched the mission video as well. i hope it helped Aires and Jurema! 
The area is coming along good! Mario and Nilsa are progressing nicely, and we also found an very young couple named Ossifu and Fatima. We will see what happens with them. I think today me and Elder Brandao are going to sit down and redivide the areas. Some companionships are having troubles, so I think we might try to give some progressing investigators to some other Elders. We need to pray about it and decide what is best for the zone.
Other than that, nothing to crazy going on! We are just working hard to find, teach, and baptize here in Matola. The snowball is starting to roll. Matola is now the zone where people want to be at to work in. I am so excited to see the growth over the next few transfers. 
The family looked great at Bear Lake! Everyone has grown up so much! I am glad everyone had a fun time. i am especially excited for soon to be Elder Anderson who will be serving in Madrid, Spain. I know like 2 or 3 people who are serving there! Jarrett, you will love your mission. Best thing that will ever happen to you.
I love you all so very much, and I hope you have a great week. I have found my camera cord, so I promise that the family will get at least 10 pictures next week. I will get back into the habit of sending pictures. Have a great week! The church is true, and dont forget to do daily scripture study and prayers as a family!

Elder Williams

ps. Dont worry, I wont forget to write a talk for Morgans baptism. It looks like she is getting tall!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Matola - Week 68

Tempo voa

I was so excited to see pictures of the trek. I read that you guys were going this past week, but with the busy week that I had, I had totally forgotten! I was grateful to read the experiences that everyone had, and the miracles that The Lord gave. Clearly, the trek was something important enough for the Lord to make some miracles so that everyone could make it there. I'm not surprised at all that He prepared a way. Our God, is a God of miracles.

I was also glad to hear that you watched the video! We watched it at Mission Leadership Council, but a majority of the missionaries haven't seen it yet. It is a proof to the rest of the world of the miracles that are happening in this country. It is cool to have such a close up view on these things. I think I take it for granted, but I'm still grateful! They showed that video at the Beira district conference yesterday. Over 1,000 people showed up at the chapel in Beira. That is unbelievable. One more miracle! We will be having district conference down here in Maputo this Sunday, here at the new Matola Chapel. I am going to predict, that the Matola chapel is not going to have enough space for everyone! Which would be crazy considering it is brand new and has tons of space! We'll see what happens. Elder Carl Cook of the seventy (Geoff's mission president) will be presiding in the meeting.

We had a good week in our area and zone this past week! Me and Elder Lake decided that we wanted to have a meeting with a few districts in our zone to pass along some information that we received in Mission Leadership  council. Elder Lake passed on the information from the meeting, which includes that we need to start teaching teenagers in the afternoons, and if someone asks to be baptized we baptize them. We have focused so much on families over the last few months, that we are not teaching teenagers and single people who want to be baptized. Including myself!

President said that we have learned how to baptized families, so now we need to spend time with other people as well. But that doesn’t mean that we lose our focus of families! Since we have recieved that council, this past week we almost taught a man for the first time, and baptized him on Saturday. HIs name is Miquinho, he is about 30 years old and lives with his parents still. He has been coming to church for about a year now, but the missionaries have been so focus on families, that they never went to go teach him. We went to his house on Wednesday to see what he knew. He knew all the baptismal questions! We invited him to be baptized, 3 days later. But because of work, it didn't work out. But he will be baptized this Saturday with Feliciano and Joaquina.

At that little zone meeting as well, I gave a training on traditions. I kinda followed the pattern of a training the APs us a few weeks back. Most missionaries think that these African traditions are bad and we need to avoid them completely. But some of these traditions are great, and show love of the family the importance of the family. We invited Heriqueta, our recent convert, to talk about some of these traditions and how we can understand them better as missionaries. If we as missionaries, understand these marriage traditions better, we will be able to relate better to the families we teach. It turned out to be a positive training, and the Elders really liked it.

Our progressing families are doing well! Feliciano and Joaquina will be baptized this week, Manuel and Linda next week with Sara and Joao and Jessica with them. Three more families baptized over the next 2 weeks. We are excited! Luis and Linda will be traveling this week to get documents so that they can get married. They are a couple that is progressing thanks to the open house! We contacted them, walked over there with them, and they loved it. They were at church yesterday with their 2 kids and their neighbor also came! 

We had an interesting lesson with Leonel and Celeste this week. We taught the law of chastity. He, is a Melchizedek Preisthood holder that is living with a women. She, needs to get married in order to be baptized. We figured they would accept it without any problems considering the way they have been progressing. Well, they said they won't get married until next year. We explained that Lionel can’t afford to wait until next year to get worthy. Sunday at church, we discreetly set up an interview with him and the branch president as we “just introduced" Lionel to the Branch president in his office. It went well, and the branch president said that Lionel will rethink his wedding date. So we will see what happens.

Sara, Jessica, and Joao didn't show up at church yesterday, so we were a little worried. We went over there after church, and Sara said that they didn't go because she had sold her car during the week. They didn’t want to walk over there. It is only about a thirty minute walk over there. They are currently reading in 1 Nephi, so we realted the two situations. Nephi, didnt complain when he had to walk all the way back to Jeruselem twice. He did not have a car either! Sometimes, the Lord wants us to show our Faith. It was never easy to live the commandments!  But we can live them willingly like Nephi, or we can live them willlingly like Nephi. Sara, Jessica, and Joao all felt bad and they said they would repent and not miss church again. Their baptismal date is still the 17th of Agosto.

I am definitely excited to work this last week. I will need to show a lot of patience and we need to work diligently in order for the Lord to bless us. It is the last week of the transfer. Who knows what will happen! But I feel like there are way more people in Matola that I need to meet. I hope I stay here in Matola for awhile, and I expressed that to President. But ultimately, it is the Lords decision. So we will see what happens.

I love you all, and I hope you have a great week! Brittany criticized my English this week, so I hope my grammar and puncuation was a little better. If not, sorry! Happy Anniversary to Britt and Geoff this week! Also Mom and Dad! 25 years together. That is crazy. Thanks for everything you do for me!

Love, Elder Williams