The weeks are beginning to fly by faster and faster, it’s hard to believe that I only have one year left, and its only now that I’m feeling like I’m becoming an effective missionary. Things have seemed to kick off since the collective marriage. Many of the non members who came to the wedding are very interested in the church now. We are taking advantage of the references from our recent converts. So far this transfer ( in two weeks) our district has baptized 9 people. (three complete families) Families are the way to go! I have been called to this mission to help establish the church here in Mozambique and the way to do that is by finding, teaching, baptizing, and helping families endure to the end. That’s real growth. In February the Lord blessed us with 16 families being baptized. The church is really taking off in Beira and a neighboring area called Manga. For the month of March, Beira and Manga have collective marriages and baptisms planned for every week. This past week was Beira, the next week Manga and then on. One thing we are trying to do is phasing out the phases of missionary work. Instead of having and area where a missionary would say, “oh, now were just finding investigators to teach,” or “now we’re teaching people so we’ll have to save the finding for later,” or “now we’re just reviewing and teaching our recent converts.” The idea is to combine all of these phases into one. Beira and Manga have got that down, and effectively establishing the church in the north. Within two transfers I’m sure that our zone will also be like that. This week was a week of learning and paradigm shifts. On Friday I went on a division with Elder Bateman, one of the Zone Leaders. I walked in his area, while Elder Berg walked with Elder Ostler in my area. So Thursday night at 9:30 I was dropped off at the Maputo 1 house and we switched companion for the next 24 hours. Elder Bateman and I planned our day for Friday and then went to bed. On Friday, the day I walked with Elder Bateman, I learned so much more about my purpose as a missionary and how to fulfill. I also learned how to become a better leader and missionary in general. Elder Bateman had been the previous Zone Leader up in Beira, and had a large part in helping that Zone progress to where they are now. 9 months ago when President Kretly first came he set the standard of 35 quality contacts per week. He gave us 5 points or guidelines to help us determine who is qualified, and they are:
1. A man older than 25 with a family
2. Believes in Jesus Christ
3. Wants to learn more about Jesus Christ
4. Is married or wants to be married
5. Willing to give his number
In these past months we have learned how to contact people that follow these guidelines, but talking to Elder Bateman I discovered that we need to further qualify the contacts, we need to ask more questions that will help us know if there is anything that would impede their progression towards baptism. For example, many, many men here work as guards. Guards work in shifts and work on Sundays as well. Guards almost always qualify with the five points above, but often times do not have the time or ability to come to church. In Doctrine and Covenants we learn that the Lord wants us to find his elect because the elect will receive us and harden not their hearts. On Sunday, for District Meeting, I gave a training on further qualifying our contacts. This was something that my district needed in general and this is why. “Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach.” –PMG It has been hard to turn those 35 quality contacts into investigators that will progress. Many of the contacts we make will not show up for the lesson, even when you called and confirmed with them 10 minutes ago. Much of our time is taken in teaching lessons, and only finding out in the lesson that the man has no time on Sunday, and is not willing to make time, or that his wife and kids are currently living up north in the middle of nowhere. During district meeting we discussed how these things can be discovered in the contact. It’s hard to explain this, and I hope you are not bored by it yet. The bottom line is….If we are further qualifying our contacts then we will be teaching better lessons, with families that will progress more rapidly, and will accept our message with a more open heart. Another thing that helps us know who will progress is to be very open about the law of chastity and word of wisdom in the first lesson. On top of that, to give the baptismal invite in the first lesson, because by doing this, we will discover sooner who will accept our message and act on it, and who will not. All of this doesn’t even come close to what I learned this week but I know that these things are going to help me become a more effective missionary. I told our district that if we are focusing on families to contact, and contacting people that will progress, and not just contacting to get a number and a statistic, then we will have more success, and the Lord will bless us with more families being baptized. President Boyd K. Packer said, “you get what you go after.” We want families, so that’s what we’re going after.
Laivino and Presalina are doing great! They are doing family prayer every morning and every night. Their two year old daughter is now kneeling and folding here arms as well. Laivino hasn’t been able to go to Gaza yet, because he hasn’t had the money to, but he said he’s going tomorrow. In our lesson yesterday we talked briefly about their marriage and Laivino said that many of his friends and family are asking him about the party. In Mozambique there is a great false tradition to have an immense party along with the wedding. It is unacceptable by tradition to be married without having this party. Laivino told us yesterday that he just doesn’t have the money to throw the party, but He’s just going to get married anyway because he wants to live the law of chastity. He said that he won’t be throwing the party. It’s so great to see investigators do their best to please God instead of pleasing the world.
We found a new family this week that came to church for the first time. They are a younger couple with one daughter that is about 1 years old. Their names are Joao and Nilva. Joao said that he really felt the spirit at church and you could tell that he’s discovering for himself the path he needs to take. Yesterday we left them a Book of Mormon to ready 2 Nephi ch. 31. Then we spoke about the Law of Chastity and they committed to start preparing their documents for marriage. I’m learning so much as a district leader. It is quite the responsibility. Now I think not only of my investigators, but of the members in my district and how I can help them individually to fulfill their purpose as missionaries. I’m grateful for this work and know that God grants unto us our desires as long as we are faithful and it is his will. He is capable of anything, and he, through us, can work miracles. 1 nephi 7:12 Right now, I desire nothing more than to help establish the church here in Mozambique through real growth and finding, teaching, baptizing, and helping families endure to the end.