Monday, September 2, 2013

Matola - Week 72

I am super grateful to hear about Morgan's baptism. Glad to hear that it ended up being a good experience for all those who were present. After hearing about the details, and seeing pictures I feel like I was actually there. I am so proud of Morgan!
I had a very interesting week... I wasn't planning on having the week that I had, but it was very necessary and it ended up being a great week! I ended up doing a division or a "split" with another Elder in the zone for a whole week. I didn't get to walk in my area any day this past week, but I was able to help in another area. I have talked a lot with the other zone leader here in Maputo, and we have both decided that one of the biggest problems we have encountered down here with the other elders, is being excited about the work. A lot of Elders, especially here in Maputo, get very discouraged when the area isn't going as they would like. We are trying to help the Elders gain the Faith to do this work. If we believe that all of our lessons will fall through, they will all fall through! We need to have faith that The Lord will place the prepared people in our path.
So I did a split with an Elder that was feeling discouraged and depressed about the way things were going in his area. He didn't know why he wasn't seeing results. President Kretly gave us authorization to do what we thought was best, and we thought it was best to do the division. We definitely learned that the Lord doesn't bless us until we are diligent and do all of our part. So we work hard from 8 am- 20:30 which is when we need to be home these days because of the theft going on in Matola. We ended up having a great week! We found over 100 new families! That sounds a little extreme, but I'm serious. We talked to, and took the phone number of more than 100 men who have a wife and kids. Some of them were from the area where we were working, and others were from other parts of Maputo. With those phone numbers, we were able to mark new lessons with new families. In our zone we are trying to pound the contacts. Preach My Gospel teaches, "Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach." Lots of missionaries complain that the have no investigators, but they do nothing about it. If you want people to teach, you need to go find them! We ended up having 18 new investigators during the week from that area. All of which accepted the baptismal invite in the first lesson! So the week ended up being a miracle. The Lord blessed us for the hard work we had done. Those 2 Elders who work in that area, are no longer discouraged, but are excited to work and they realize that they really do have a super good area. Our attitude really does change everything! I realize as well that the Lord put all those people in our path. It's Him who makes these miracles. Not us.
We saw lots of miracles, but that doesn't mean that disappointments don't happen. After doing all those street contacts, we had marked a total of 11 lessons marked on Saturday. We were excited for the day, because all 11 lessons were with new families. Well, the first 10 lessons all fell through! It was a little disappointing, but the last lesson was a great family that accepted everything we said. The Lord doesn't bless us until we have endured something challenging. And if we endure it well, he blesses us. We saw proof of that on Saturday.
I did get to spend a little bit of time with my companion this week. We went to participate in the 2 district meetings of other districts in our zone. It was good to see the needs of each individual missionary, as they talked about their areas. It was also a good chance for us to give trainings to those districts. Hopefully we see a change in the amount of finding we do as a zone. We are not finding or teaching as nearly as much as we should. The Lord expects a lot more from us. Some Elders aren't working as much in the area as they should, and like staying home for longer than we need to be. The Lord doesn't bless us if we do that! I hope me and Elder Brandao were able to help a little bit in those trainings that were given.
Me and Elder Brandao also had one lesson that we taught together, which was taught to Geraldo and Emma. We taught them at 7 am on Friday morning. The first lesson, they had rejected to get married. But we had been praying a lot about the direction to take with the lesson, and we ended up having a very powerful lesson. We taught the plan of salvation, in a very simple, loving way. But we also taught it so clearly that they would understand that no unclean thing can dwell with God. Emma almost started crying because she felt so bad for living with her husband without getting married. She realized her soul was at stake. At the end of the lesson we asked if they would cumprir (fulfill or comply) with this plan by repenting of their sins. Gerald said, "what is necesary to get our documents ready?" It was a miracle! Just a few days after rejecting the law of chastity and repentance, he decided to live it. The Spirit was so strong. We are 20 year old kids, and we can't convince people to do things. But the Spirit can! I'm so grateful that we were inspired to teach the lesson the way we had taught it. Emma will be traveling in two weeks to get some documents where she was born. In the meantime, we will be taking care of his documents here in Matola.
Elder Brandao did a good job with the area while I was working in the other area. I missed our investigators a lot, and I'm excited to get back to work. But we won't be working in our area until Wednesday, because here in a few hours me and Elder Brandao will be heading out to T-3 again to do a division. Because of traffic and distance, we will both be working out their tomorrow. We will double mark the area of the district leader and we will get to visit all of the families that are getting taught out there. They have good Elders out there, so I'm excited to get out there and work.
Yesterday, I got to do something that I really enjoy doing. I had that chance to teach Principles of the Gospel at church! The topic was 'Work and Personal Responsibility.' I have grown a true love for teaching, especially the gospel. I hope I am able to teach the gospel for the rest of my life.
So, we had a good week here in Matola! We had our hard times like usual, but the good times overshadow the hard times. It is starting to warm up as well! I'm excited to work through another Mozambican summer. I can't believe we are already entering September. Time is going by way to fast. It is so scary. I appreciated the reminder that Dad gave me about my journal. My first 7 months, I never missed a day. Since then, I haven't been so good. It really is hard to have time. I use that hour at night to eat dinner since we don't eat lunch. But I am making a promise to write in my journal everyday starting today, until the end of my mission. I needed a good reminder like that. Thanks a lot.
I am happy! It's amazing how happy I am. I love each and everyday. I feel like a part of this people. I dread the day when I need to leave this country, and leave behind everything that has changed me. Sometimes I feel like I want to press pause on the time! It seems like each day has only 12 hours instead on 24, it seems like each week has 3 days instead of 7, and it feels like each month has only 2 weeks instead of 4. This really is the best two years. I love you all! 

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory in myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea,and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance, AND THIS IS MY JOY." -Alma 29:9