Things just keep getting better and better. Our zone's progress is going up every week. Elder Berg are seeing the numbers as a whole are going up, the only thing we're worried about is that the high numbers are because of a few companionships that are doing super well. For example, in our three districts there is one companionship in each that is pulling the weight and the others are doing well, but haven't quite caught the vision. Our district, meaning Elder berg's and mine, is made up of 3 companionships. Elder Berg and I. Elder Armand and Mabjaia, and Sister Muhangueno and Sister Smith. These four other missionaries are all in there first transfer, and Elder Mabjaia is in his third. They are just learning. The sisters are doing a very good job. They had a baptism this week. The lady that was baptized was someone that Elder Brogan and I taught about 7 months back. The day before her baptism she backed out and got cold feet, but then 6 months later the sisters came along and she was ready. Also the sisters are teaching a super great family that has been coming to church for the past two weeks. Elder Armando and Mabjaia are struggling in their area and are starting to get discouraged. They live with us in our house so Elder Berg and I are going to do everything we can to spread the excitement and fire of missionary work. (and the brownies we'll make i'm sure will help with that) In the other two district again we see that of the three companionships in each district there is one that is leading while the others are behind. What Elder Berg and I want to see is that every elder and every companionship is doing their part. There are two paradigms that I have seen. One is effective the other is ineffective. The ineffective is: There is nothing that I can do that will affect the world. the effective paradigm is: I have the ability to influence the world. If every missionary were to do their part the growth here would be explosive. The assitants made a chart demonstrating this. The graph showed that if every companionship baptized one family per transfer then we could have a stake in Maputo and a Stake in Beira within a year. Some companionships have already learned to baptize more and are baptizing 5 families per transfer. The chart then continued to show that if every companionship baptized 5 families per transfer then within two years this mission would have the preisthood men needed for 14 stakes. Everything starts with the individual, if he decides to do his part knowing that it will make a change then the Lord comes in and does the rest.
This week was super incredible for Elder Berg and I. We are helping a lot of families progress towards baptism. Three of our families that we are teaching have testimonies that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this is the true church. On Sunday (Fruits Day) we had 4 complete investigating families along with two part families at church. we had a total of 17 investigators at church, twelve of them came for the first time, and the fast and testimony meeting was spiritual and powerful. (also super good news is that the Maputo 2 branch where I served before is doing super well. Yesterday 6 men received the Melchezidek Priesthood. One of those was Armando Chicuele who Elder Largent and I taught.)
On Saturday night we were all the way out in Polana Caniço, our area, when we saw a van on the side of the road. We stopped and talked to the young man who was in their alone. He asked us for help, saying that he had no money and was out of gas, with no one to get a hold of to help him. The nearest gas station was 2 kilomoters away. So we told him we'd push his car. He refused saying that he didn't have any money to pay us or money to buy gas when he got to the station. (we told him we didn't care and told him to get in the car) So Elder Berg and I began pushing the car. We invited others around us to start pushing, and they would ask what they would get out of it. As we picked up speed and were at a steady jog three young men came along and started helping. About a minute later they asked if they were going to recieve any coins for the work. We told them that this was service and if they didn't want to serve then they might as well not waste there energy. Slowly, one by one they dragged behind, but one stayed and continued to help. At this point we had gone halfway and were exhuasted. This completely drunk guy, with a cigarette in his mouth joined us and started belting out that he was a catholic and he was a good man who wanted to serve. We started pushing with us. (he was kind of like our cheerleader, a drunk one) He did not stop talking, he said things like, "I'm a catholic, I don't need money. I don't need anything in return, this is service." As we neared the end he started asking if the owner of the car was going to buy us drinks after, or if he was going to pay us. We told him no, and he again assumed his catholic character saying he didn't care, he was there to serve and he'd push the car another 3 kilometers if he needed to, but as we got closer and closer the drunk man asked again and again, if he were getting anything out of it. The other young boy was still with us in pushing the van. We finally arrived at the station thanked the boy and he went on his way with a happy heart without going up the the drivers seat to try and get something from the owner of the car. We told the driver to stay in the car and relax. We gave the gas man 150 metacais which isn't much but its what we had. (in mozambique you drive up to the station and the workers put in the gas for you.) Long story short, we got a good workout in, and we helped someone.
During the week we taught Jon and Domingas about the power of fasting. They decided to fast with us to help them get their documents for marriage and soften the hearts of Domingas's parents so that they would accept her getting married without paying 'lobolo' the dowery. We started wednesday and ended thursday. Thursday afternoon we went to their house to break the fast with them. When we arrived they were all there waiting for us. Domingas left the room for some reason or other and we took advantage of the oportunity to ask Jon if everything was okay. He went on to explain that their money had run our last week and that they were rationing their food to last through to the end of the month. It was so powerful to me to see that they had been suffering and going without food but were still willing to fast and ask the Lord for help. They looked really tired and weak, but I could still tell that they found peace in following the commandments of God and that the do love their Heavenly Father. (the next day Elder berg and I brought them Chocolate chip Cookies and Brownies) On sunday morning we met up with them at 8:30 to walk to church. They didn't have money for transportation so we offered to meet at their house and walk with them. We met them at their house with their two little kids, put them on our shoulders and started walking to church. There is only one chapel in maputo and it serves for both the maputo1 and 2 branches. The chapel is far away from the maputo 1 branch area. It took us an hour and half to walk all the way to church with them, but it was a beautiful day and we really enjoyed the conversations we had on the way. I know that life can be hard but we exist that we might have joy. To have that happiness is a choice of mind, and need not be dependent upon circumstances. The joy is, and can only be found in Jesus Christ our Lord. I know that no matter what happens if we choose to put our faith in Christ, He will fill us. I love you all!