Sometimes I think I have it hard, then I think of the pioneers. This week the breaker in our house kind of blew up. So we have been out of power for a few days (hello hot sleepless nights). Oh, and bucket showers as well.
This week has been pretty exciting. This past week I did a total of 33 baptismal interviews (including the 17 I did last Sunday). This past Saturday 21 people were baptized and our zone still estimates another 23 people being baptized this next Saturday and Sunday. We'll have the collective marriage this Saturday at 11. You are all invited. We will have a total of 6 families married that day and then baptized on Sunday after church. Three of the six families are from Dondo; the other three come from my district. Each companionship in our district will have a new family, even Elder Galland and Kanaga who opened up a new area this transfer. Their family is Titos and Ana. They were found my first day here. Elder Galland was waiting for his companion so he walked with Elder Thomas and I in our area. By the end of the day we decided to go to Elder Galland's new area and knock some doors. We found a man who said he was a traveling pastor. He let us in and we had an okay lesson with his family. At the end of it, Elder Galland was a little doubtful on coming back, I told him it was worth a shot. And now, that family is getting married and baptized this Saturday with 4 of their kids.
This week I've been slammed with a lot of things in preparation for the collective marriage and also the baptism we had last Saturday. Last Saturday the majority of the baptisms were of young men and young women who did not have family in the church. President Kretly's focus is Families. But many missionaries are now scared of baptizing anybody who doesn't fall into the category of mother, father and kids (a full family). The missionaries feel as if they will get judged if they baptize anybody out of that category. Because of that, there are so many jovens (young men and women) that have been coming to church for 1-3 years and have been wanting to get baptized. When I got here I thought to myself, who am I to say that they cannot be baptized because they are not considered a full family. Well…..they were baptized this past Saturday, see picture. I told my zone that the focus is still families, that we shouldn't be looking and contacting single young men and women but if they come to our church invite them lovingly to continue learning. Our solution is that they will be taught by the ward missionaries until they are ready. I'm glad that those young men and women were able to be baptized. It is kind of sad that in the case of some missionaries they are too scared to baptize someone who may be totally ready, just because they aren't a family. In my eyes they are still children of God, and their worth is great in the sight of Him that created us all.
This next week we'll probably have the same amount of baptisms we had this week but they will be families so that is another miracle. Can you imagine having 3 or more marvelous families being baptized all at once into your ward?
This week I went on a division with the Dondo district leader. I wanted so much to go to Dondo and see my first area but I felt that I needed to stay in Manga while Elder Thomas would go walk with Elder Ndala (from Angola) there in Dondo. I would walk with Elder Fernandes. This was my second division with him, because when I was in Maputo and he was in magoanine, we also went on a division. On Thursday afternoon Elder Thomas and I went to Dondo to do 13 baptismal interviews. After the interviews I left Elder Thomas there and showed Elder Ndala some families in the area book worth going back to that had fallen through the cracks in the past year.
Elder Fernandes and I then headed to the chapa stop to head back to Manga. Good news bad news….. Good news is that on our way to dondo Elder Thomas and I hitchhiked and saved 40 metacais. Bad news…When Elder Fernandes and I got to the Chapa stop it was full of people but empty of chapas. It was getting late and we knew it would still take 40 minutes to get to manga. We walked to the highway and started using our thumbs. Nobody would stop. I glanced at my watch. It was 8:53. We needed to be home by 9, or at the latest 9:30. Finally a big semi truck stopped. The driver was kind and let us in. On my way, I felt we shouldn't go in. I went in anyway (how many times does that happen? When the spirit tells us to do something, we hardly ever heed it the first time). The feeling came again and then we stepped down and off the semi apologizing to the driver, saying that we had forgotten something and that he could go his way. I don't know why we were told to go in there, especially because semi drivers don't drive crazy, they drive slow and safe. Well, then we went back at it, asking for other rides. It was almost 9 and we were convinced that we would have to stay in Dondo for the night and go to Manga early early the next day. Then out of no where came this Speeding car and actually stopped several yards further. We asked for a ride to manga and he said to get in. I don't know why, but I felt the impression that we could go in. As soon as the doors were closed he sped off at an insane velocity, especially considering the terrible roads and fog that hid the potholes. He was going 150 km per hour. Long story short we got to Manga in 14 minutes instead of 40. And we made it home in time with even more to spare. To this day I still do not know why we were told not to get into the safe semi, but were told to get into the speeding car. If anything God just wanted us to get home on time (and boy we did).
The division went well with Elder Fernandes; we were only able to teach two lessons because the rest of the time we were running around with our heads cut off fixing the baptismal font and getting things ready for the baptism and collective marriage. Thanks to the Snelson's, we were able to actually have enough towels. With over 20 people getting baptized, 4 towels were not going to cut it.
Elder Fernandes and I had a great lesson at night with a member. We Taught Jose and Julia the Law of Chastity. They are a new family that we found this week, that are progressing rapidly. Julia has 5 children with another man who has since died. The lesson went well. They understood, but were a little skeptical about getting married since they had only been together for 5 months. Then our minds got blown, the next day, Saturday, we called and invited them both to church, he said he would come but he wasn’t sure about Julia. Later that evening we got a text from him that was very interesting. It said, "Good evening missionaries, I confess that I have sinned before you and before God Almighty, for not having revealed to you, that knowin about adultery and its dangers, I have been with Julia who is a widow with 5 kids, to be my secret lover. But I have a wife and two kids and it will be with them that I will be at church" We were truly surprised by the message he sent us. We were so happy that he had decided to change and repent of his sin. I'm so glad that we taught the Law of Chastity and that he's decided to be honest with us. He and his true wife and two kids did come to church, and they loved it. Sadly his real home is not in our area, so we have passed it on to the other missionaries in another branch and with the Best to Jose and Maria (his wife). The Lord works in mysterious ways, I believe that the Lord put us in Jose's path to be able to teach him the Law of Chastity to decide to follow it.
Alexandre is starting to go more downhill. He has begun avoiding us, but his family continues stronger, ever stronger. I'm so saddened because Alexandre hasn't opened his eyes to see the wonderful family he already has. He continues with his mistress and he's drinking.
This is the last week of the Transfer and I'm determined to make it the best. I've decided to make it the best. More next week on the collective marriage. Stay tuned…….