Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Maputo - Week 94

The past week has been so crazy. I think it was by far the busiest week I've had on my whole mission! But I had some experiences that I will never forget as well.

The trip to Beira and Zone Conference there went very well. Elder Hamilton taught us so much in the leadership meeting and in his training he gave during Zone Conference. Sister Hamilton also taught us the importance of having companionship unity. It was like a General Conference, but all about missonary stuff! It was good to be able to be up in Beira to help President Kretly and Elder Hamilton with all the preparations. And it ran super well.
Zone Conference - Maputo (Elder Williams is 2nd row far right)

Last Monday Elder Greenman and I were able to visit come people that we had taught up in Beira and in Manga. We weren't able to visit everyone because of the time, but we were able to visit Lua and Recy, Nharingue and Lucinda, Sabado and Laura, and Samo and Mimi. All 4 families are doing really well! Lua and Recy now have a new house which is a lot bigger (blessings of tithing), Lucinda is the second conselor in the relief society presidency, and Samo and Mimi had a big surprize to share with me. They will be going to the South Africa temple in April to be sealed for time and all eternity. As you could imagine, that made my day! Ever since the beginning that family has been so willing to follow Jesus Christ and they are now almost ready to make the biggest covenant of all! They invited us to be present during the sealing as well... but it depends on what day they go. They will keep me updated, so we'll see if it will be possible! If I were present for the sealing, I would have witnessed the whole process of conversion with them.... from street contact, to baptism, to the temple. That would be a very special experience. I feel blessed and humbled to be apart of this with them. I will send some pictures of last weeks visits with these families.
Zone Conference in Beira (Elder Williams is 2nd row, 2nd from the left) 
Zone Conference here in Maputo went good as well. President Kretly's training was about the need to recognize the hand of the Lord in all the miracles that have happened until now. He used the example of two Bible servants, Gehazi and Samuel. Gehazi saw many miracles, but saught the glory of the world and didn't rocognize the hand of the Lord in the miracles that had happened. He was cursed with leprosy because of it. Samuel on the other hand, was an obedient servant from the very beginning, and was extremely blessed by the Lord. Me and Elder Greenman put together his training for him, and it was amazing to see how President Kretly presented it. He is such a good speaker and teacher. I've learned a lot from how he teaches.

One highlight from Zone Conference was getting to know Elder Hamilton. Elder Greenman got to know him especially well and that was a neat experience. He gave me so much life advice, and taught me a lot about the church. He is a a man full of wisdom, and full of the Spirit of the Lord. He was without a doubt, called of God. I already had a certain respect for him after hearing his General Conference address from October. He said it is an unreal experience giving a talk in front of the whole world. But I couldn't even tell that he was nervous. I will never forget Elder Hamilton.

I have been thinking a lot about what Elder Greenman and I can do to help other missionaries fulfill their purpose as misisonaries. The idea of referals kept coming back to my head. As a mission, we focus so much on street contacts that we forget to ask referals from everybody. So Elder Greenman and I put it to test, and then Elder Hamilton had us share our experience during Zone Conference. We ask for referrals from everyone! We saw that lots of people were willing to invite friends to here the Gospel, even if they weren't interested themselves. That is a new mission focus... ASK REFERRALS FROM EVERYONE. Elder Hamilton promised that ''the missionaries who do this will have so many investigators that they won't be able to handle them all.'' We are excited to see the number of new investigators and progressing investigators go up. 

Because of all the things we had going on this week, we weren't in the area very much but we still found a good amount of time in the area. That was another thing that Elder Hamilton made clear to Elder Greenman and I... That we need to be the best missionaries statistically and spiritually. I am trying so hard to live up to that so that the missionaries in the mission have a good example to look up to. But the one family that was progressing last week, started having a lot of marriage problems and looks like they will seperate. We tried so hardd to help them, and we taught them everyting that they needed to do to have a family, and successful family. But we need to respect the agency of people as well. It was very sad to see. It didn't help that the wife was only 17 years old…

But the Lord blessed us with 2 new families! Paulo and Elsa and Augusto and Rosalina. They were a street contact, and we taught them for the first time on Saturday night at about 9 o'clock. Because of the time, we talked to them about our purpose and made plans to come to church together the next day. They are so humble that they accepted without any problems. When they were all at church, something very bad happened.... their oldest child got lost! After Primary, he got confused when the Maputo 1 Branch left so he left the church by himself. We looked all over the church grounds and we even drove around and sent search parties to go look for him in the city. After a few hours, he was found! This 6 year old boy was able to walk home all by himself. A little over an hour of a walk. Because of this experience, many members were able to comfort them and they already made lots of friends! So it could be a good thing. Plus, President Kretly wanted to meet them as well so he taught them the Restoration with us last night. It was a very powerful lesson. We are very excited about the progress of these two families. We feel like they will both get baptized sometimes next month. 

So that pretty much sums up my week! It was so crazy, but I learned so much. I'm so grateful for the many experiences that I had and the miracles that I saw. I thank you so much for being such a good support system during my whole mission. I really have been so blessed. I know this is the Lord's work. If it wasn't, so many good things would not be happening! I know He loves each and every one of us. Have a good week!

-Elder Williams