Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

Dear Family,
We finally came to a good internet place so this week you will receive a good email and pictures!!!!!! So I will answer all the questions first and then go into the happenings of the week. My birthday... My birthday consisted of us running over and eating a hamburger from a little restaurant and then the rest of the day was just normal haha. Birthdays on the mission aren't much of anything special. So the stupid thing about those hair clippers is that they have never worked. I got here and they just never worked and so no I have not used them. Instead I just go places to get my hair cut and it depends how I want it cut. If I want a really cheap quick buzz, then I can just walk out of the house into the area and get it cut for 75 cents haha. Or there is a super nice place in the city that we can go to and they do good hair cuts and wash our hair and everything but that costs about 5 dollars so we don't do it a lot. 5 dollars may seem very cheap but here we can do a lot with 5 dollars!!! No I never got anything from the young women, I just got a card, i think it was from them at least haha. But before I forget, I wanted to tell you that whoever sends packages should send them through just normal shipping. Don't use like express or anything cause that will cost more and it will actually get here later. Just a little advice. No I am not overwhelmed at all with all the emails. I love getting tons of emails but I got a couple emails from people saying that they would like a response if possible and so I just don't want people to be offended. I want as many emails every week as I can get! I love emails! Ok on with the week.
So this last week was really crazy but really awesome. We spent all last monday pretty much in the clinic for Elder Lake cause he had a cough that wouldn't go away, so we never got out to our area last monday. But then ironically, I got sick the next day and so last tuesday, wednesday, thursday and friday I really didn't have a voice cause I lost it from coughing so much. I am pretty much better now but the cough is still lingering, it could be like a bronchiitus thing. Anyways, Friday was zone conference!!! It was incredible. The missionary work here in Mozambique is really about to change!! So we have a new program called "My Family." Here in africa, first of all people don't know how to use computers, and secondly, they are horrible at keeping records of family. But the church came out with a program to get family history started here. It's a little booklet to help the people find names and dates of family members so that as they prepare to go to the temple, they can also prepare their family history to take with them. I have truly gained a new appreciation for this work. Honestly, family history is not only for those who receive the ordanances but us also. Because, true happiness can not be attained, unless our family is at our side and not just our immediate family. This is truly a grand work that needs to be done and I feel that the flood gates of family history work are about to be opened up here in mozambique. But have a new goal to use family history work in our every day work, in contacting people, in teaching lessons, just in everything, and after two days of work, I can testify that its extremely powerful. We were talking to a man, and he was very firm in his catholic religion, but as we talked to him about how he can do work for his ancestors and help them also gain salvation, he stopped and said, "I would love to receive a visit from you one day, because this is a wonderful thing that no other church offers." This really is a wonderful other proof of the truthfulness of this wonderful church. Our church is the only church that can offer such a service to the people! So in wanting to help them, I also need your help! I need you to send the names of : aunts and uncles, children of great grandparents, pretty much all family members through great grandparents and dates for all of them! Also, pictures of you and dad, grandparents, and great grandparents are very needed! This way we can show them how to fill out their family history! What a wonderful work! The spirit of Elijah is filling Mozambique!
Then, we come to sunday. So Elder Lake gave a huge training to our whole branch on the family history work so we wanted all adults to be there so I taught primary! Normally, the kids are so irreverant and I get very impatient, but I realized they are very capable of being reverant and we had a great lesson on obedience! The senior couples help out with music also, and they had taught all the kids "head, shoulders, knees and toes," in english hahahahahaha. But we had a great primary, we got them to be so reverant and then during sacrament meeting they were obedient and quiet!!!! What a blessing! It was the best sunday by far I have had here in the country. We also received the new branch presidency and so Elder Lake is no longer branch president. It will be really good for the branch to go over to the members. And then after church we had the wedding! I will send lots of pictures! Her name is Felicidade which translated means Happiness and his name is Marcelino. The wedding went super well! But they will wait to be baptized on the 13th of April with our other two couples who are getting married next weekend on the 12th. So it was a really great week! I will send lots of pictures and I love you all! I hope you all have a great week!!!
Felicidade and Marcelino

With the bride's father.  Maybe her mother too?  I'm not sure.

With Elder Lake and Elder Lynn

Throwing the bouquet

Elder Lake catches it!
So we were helping an investigator do his family history work last night and he found an identification card of his Grandma. This shows kinda how out dated things are here. Only now within the last five years have they switched from writing everything by hand. This was from 1974, the year before mozambique gained its independence from Portugal and so you will see that its an identification card from the Portuguese republic! Thats like unheard of to find because to be black and get an identification card during that time was extremely hard. You will also see on the back that it says, Nao sabe assinar. That means "doesn't know how to sign his name". Not many people here really know how to read or sign their name, especially older people. Its pretty funny because if you talk to older people here, Portuguese is also their second language. Honestly even the women that are like 18 and older, most never finished school and they only learn portuguese if they go to school so a lot of women here dont speak good portuguese, they speak dialect. Most women here only speak dialect also when we aren't around. They only speak portuguese with us because we don't speak dialect. Just an interesting fact for you guys haha

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014

Hey! Sorry this is gonna be a short email. I have been here for like over an hour trying to get the email to work and it wouldn't work so now I don't have time left to write! Sorry the internet stinks here!!!!!!! Well just wanted to let you know I am alive and that I am doing well! I guess I am just gonna have to wait till next week to tell more. Tell no one to be offended about not getting a response. I am trying as hard as I can to answer everyone but the internet just isn't the same over here. Its not fast and good like it is at home so I do as much as I can . I will try and send more next week! SORRY SORRY SORRY.. love you all!!!


* I am so glad that Justin is obedient to time restraints rather than justifying that things didn't work so it's ok to stay longer.  I feel fortunate that this is a time when we can hear from him weekly and not wonder how he is.  When Danen served in Ukraine we got to communicate some of his mission with e-mail but it was not available his entire mission.  Hearing about him and knowing how he was a month earlier still left us wondering how he was right then.  So I am grateful that the Internet worked long enough for him to let us know he is well.  :-)

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

Thanks for the birthday wishes! Ya I will first say that I will try and respond to everyone else but don't be offended if I don't email this week cause I will get to everyone next week, but I got over 40 emails today and that doesn't leave much time haha. anywaysssssssssssssssss...

This marks the 5th year in a row that I will not be at home for my birthday haha and two years in a row outside of america! Unfortunately, the assistants in the office think  they lost that little package that the auditor brought over.  I hope they keep looking.........

Inhamizua is awesome!!! I love love love it! You pronounce it Inyamizwa pretty much. Elder Oryang is just from like south carolina or something hahaha. Everyone thinks he speaks portuguese but he's just as american as all of us white people over here. Umm so Inhamizua is a little bit more spread out than Manga... like a little bit more open. But the people in my area are a little bit more wealthy and so they have a little bit more money. But I seriously love them!!! In my house right now is Elder Lake, Elder Thurston and Elder Biddulph and me. So its a super nice house. We actually live in this little orphanage. We live in a place where they have built houses for homeless kids and stuff. Its an extremely nice place and super safe so I really love it there. Nothing better than brushing my teeth in the morning and looking out the window to a little african kid just giving me a thumbs up hahaha. I love it :) So there is only one branch here in Inhamizua but we don't actually have a chapel here so we have to bus everyone to Manga so I am still at the same chapel haha. Inhamizua is in the process of getting a chapel within the next year or so hopefully. I haven't had the chance to go to the monkey cemetary yet but I will pretty soon. Ummm... Elder and Sister Dille live up here in Beira but the Hobsons live down south in Maputo. But Elder Lake is super cool. He is a super hard worker. He is a farm boy from Burley, Idaho and I am really enjoying my time with him. We have three families for sure that will be married and baptized on the 12th of april! And then on the 27th of this month we will have a family married and then the wife will be baptized. The husband wont be yet because he works too much and cant get off enough time to come to church every week so we will wait with him. Then we also have a lot more families preparing for the end of april and the beginning of May. Inhamizua is honestly just awesome! I really love it so much!!!!!!!  Elder Lake is probably one of the best people in the language here on the mission. His vocabulary... is incredible. Like i thought i was speaking well but I am really learning a lot from him! But I am really confident still with the language. Church was also really good yesterday.. Crazy as always but good haha. Inhamizua actually only has church for 2 hours, we dont have sunday school because of travel and everything so that was different but it was good! Well I apologize to everyone I didn't respond I love you all but 40 emails was a lot!!!! I love you all and hope you have a great week!  

I love you lots mom and hope you have a great week also!!!


Mom's note:  We invited Justin's friends to e-mail him for his birthday so that is why he had such an overwhelming number of e-mails.  We couldn't think of a better birthday gift than to hear from so many people that he loves. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014 Inhamizua

Yes today was transfers! And I will be being transferred out of the Manga area for the first time on my mission! I will be going to a place called Inhamizua. My new companion will be Elder Lake. He is going into his last transfer so he will be leaving at the end of this transfer. At the current time he is the branch President of Inhamizua but he should be being released fairly soon. He is an extremely hard worker and so I am really excited to learn all that I can from him before he leaves. It should be a fun transfer full of success! I am so excited! I am guessing I will be staying in Inhamizua for a while now. Elder Galland and I will be living in different houses for the first time now on my mission. He is flying out tonight and heading down south to a place called Matola. He is very excited to but it will be sad not to see him everyday now. 

I feel re energized now. I am super excited to see where this new transfer takes me. I will have lots of stories next week! But this week I will just leave with a testimony that the church really is true. And the book of mormon really will change lives. It changes mine every single day. I hope you all take advantage of this wonderful book. I love you all so much!


Mom's note: Inhamizua appears to be about halfway between Dondo and Beira and is a jungle area.  It will be interesting to find out how it compares to Manga.  It looks like they have their own meetinghouse.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

I was able to meet up with Mrs. Johnson on tuesday and get the stuff from them. Thanks! The clothes still smelled like home too and so we were all smelling it cause it reminded us so much of our homes haha. It was really nice. The snow looks wonderful over there... I am missing that part of home! But I am loving the heat... the good ol heat that never stops haha.
Well I thought maybe this week my email could include a little about my thoughts and experiences from this last week specifically. So out here in Mozambique, many missionaries are baptizing. This truly is a blessed mission where we always hear how its so possible to baptize families to the point where President has asked us that our standard of excellence be to baptize one family a month. Many missionaries are doing that... And then as I look at myself, I am trying my best to be obedient, I am trying to work hard and yet I am not seeing as many baptisms as many other missionaries. And so I have thought a lot about this, wondering why it is that I haven't been baptizing. Is it cause I am just not fit to be a missionary who baptizes? Is it cause I am not obedient enough? And I finally came to the conclusion that it has nothing to do with that. On the mission, I really have come to see that the Lord has a plan for every single one of us. I won't even pretend to act like I have been through grand trials or anything like that, but I do know that the Lord has created a plan for every single one of us. I am not anywhere close to where I want to end up as a person. But thats alright because the Lord has prepared a whole life for us to progress. He has created specific trials for each and every one of us to help us get to that point where he wants us. One of my favorite scriptures is the one that talks about the refiners fire. Because who in their right mind wants to be burned and hurt and melted down to nothing? No one. But who wants to be stronger and better? Everyone. Unfortunately there is that one measly step inbetween that impedes our progress and that is the refiners fire. Its not fun and no one wants to go through it, but we can all take the console of the Prophet Joseph smith when he was in carthage jail and he too asked heavenly father for help and what did he respond? He said peace be unto thy soul. Thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.... More or less that, I dont have my scriptures with me right now to get an exact quote. But I really do believe that. I always remember an example from a long time ago. Two sister missionaries, I don't know if you remember them or not, Sister Duncan and her companion.... It was a long long time ago but I have always remembered the example they gave us. They had a big string, and they asked us to see if we could see anything weird about it. We couldn't. But in the middle of this white long string was a tiny tiny black dot signifying our life on earth. Its a small time compared to eternity and then we can break that down into individual trials. If we can keep an eternal perspective on our trials, they often seem to become a little more easy.

Well this past week. So one night we were on our way home and this guy came up to us and says hey hows it going? and then before we can answer he says why didn't you answer me I just talked to you.... and I was like sorry but you didn't give us time to respond and then he just starts laughing all weird haha. So he is just standing with his shirt off at night time kinda doing this funny little dance thing and I could see that something was wierd so I was like, are you doing drugs? and he was like yes I do drugs but only by myself so dont worry!! and then a drunk guy comes up and they start talking to each other in dialect and just having quite the conversation. So finally we make our way out of the conversation and then just go home as quick as we could haha. Ummm.... I did some simple little funny magic tricks to some kids out in our area the other day and now when we pass by they always say look! Its the one that has the power... so now kids in our area think I have a power.. hahaha.

I know lots of things happen during the week and that I have good stories but I just cant think of any once I get to internet haha. Umm right now we have a couple good families progressing. We are helping one family where the husband is already a member but the wife is not and they are working towards the marriage and baptism for her right now. We also found a new family that is doing super well. He is reading in the Book of Mormon a lot and understanding really well. The wife doesn't know how to read so we go there almost every day for just like 15 minutes to read with her in a picture book so she can understand the book of mormon also!
Well its the last week of the transfer now! I have been here in Manga 1 for 5 transfers so we'll see if I stay for a sixth or if I am finally moving to another place... who knows! I hope all is going well at home. I love you all lots and wish the best for all of you! Until next week!


This is our next door neighbor, Pam Johnson.  She and her husband, Phil, are in Dondo.  Dondo isn't too far from Manga and they were able to  meet and she gave him a small and humble package from us.  They couldn't carry much weight because of all the things they needed to take.  He wanted a shirt and pair of shorts that he had here at home and some "american" wash cloths.  We also put in letters that we had written during Family Home Evening and some pictures.  I am constantly reminded of all that we have when I think of how little it takes to brighten his day!  Johnsons are in Dondo with Children's Relief International.  Though their religions are different, both Justin and the Johnsons are in Mozambique on the Lord's errand,  helping the people and trying to help them Come Unto Christ.