This past week was so sunny, except when it rained almost every day.
You’ll remember that last week I mentioned Charles and Judite, and how he had a major addiction to alcohol. I’m pleased to announce that he has been alcohol free for 9 days. He is doing so well. This family has been investigating the church for a little bit more than 6 years. The only thing stopping them from getting baptized and receive the blessings from God that comes with baptism by someone holding authority is following the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. They have 5 kids as well, who began investigating, but in this 6 year process have stopped coming to church. Charles works for the city police department and works in an office. He is set on getting married and baptized on oct. 26th. He is doing so well as far as alcohol goes. He has become a new man. We are working on the marriage documents with him now. One problem that we’ve come across is that he does not have his B.I. or Identification card. Why? Because he gave it as collateral for his drinking debt to man that lives in a neighboring town. He has racked up 2500 meticais in debt. For some people that is the equivalent of what they would earn in a full three weeks of labor. In our money it is less than 100 dollars.
Many obstacles are being thrown up against the date of oct. 26th. But Charles and Judite are so ready to enter into the waters of baptism. Charles told us last night that we are the first and the last. That there have been so many missionaries that have passed by his house trying to convince him but that we were the first that managed to do so, and that we would be the last missionaries to teach him. We told him that it wasn’t us who convinced him, but that it is a blessing for us to be the ones to serve and help him. So that is one of our success stories. Another happened on Wednesday night. We had a goal to get four member-present lessons that day, and by lunch time the members we had planned to teach with started dropping like—something that drops very quickly. We knew President Kretly was in Beira so we called him and asked him if he would have time that evening to drive to Manga and come teach a lesson with us. He said he could. We ended up getting 3 member present lessons that day and they were wonderful.
We are currently teaching two families that are referrals from other members. The two families happen to live near each other. They are, Joao and Luisa, and Joao and Amelia. (I sent a picture of Joao and Amelia's family two weeks ago) On Wednesday night we taught the day of the Lord to both families. The member that taught Joao and Louisa with us was President Elias, a counselor in the branch presidency. The lesson went well. We needed to teach it because Joao had not yet come to church, but his wife always would. After the lesson ended we hurried up to the Manga Chapel where we would meet with President Kretly to teach our last lesson, Joao and Amelia. We got into his car and drove most of the way there, then took a small path on foot that led to their house. We needed to teach the day of the Lord to this family as well for the same reason, the husband has never come to church, but the wife has been coming for 6 weeks now. Their family is so special, but it’s going to be hard. The father, Joao, always lets us know that he is very catholic. (the thing is, is that he never goes to church, he only goes once a year in January.) We had one of the most powerful lessons with this family. They have four kids. Arculette, who is 18, Cristina who is 16, Samo who is 11, and Gerson who is 5. Samo has been coming to church for three years, he is such a responsible young boy who helps around the house. His mother Amelia says that she has started coming to church, because of the difference she sees in her son, and she desires all her kids to be like Samo. In the lesson we talked about that, and helped them recognize that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can really change people. The lesson was intense, and powerful. Joao was still saying that we was catholic when we committed them again to baptism, but at the end we helped him recognize that all we were asking was that he would ask Heavenly Father if this is the path he needs to take. It was an edifying lesson.
The next day we had Zone conference…..wow! Mind is blown. President Kretly has been working closely with the area seventy to get Mozambique ready to have stakes. The area seventy took the matter to the twelve and Elder David A. Bednar prayed and thought a lot about Mozambique and the direction it needs to take now. The plan that was presented is that we would have 4 stakes ready by march of 2015. Elder Bednar said that we can go ahead and divide our two districts and get things ready but as far as stakes go, they will become stakes when the districts are functioning properly and well. So for now we don’t have a date on when we’ll have stakes but we have a few mission goals. By Jan 2014, here in a couple of months, our mission goal is to have 8 new branches. Three of those eight will be in Manga alone. So we have a lot of work to do here in manga. The three branches in Manga are reaching the frequency of 200 each. The Manga 3 branch had 233 people yesterday. Back home, can you imagine a branch with that many people? That is a lot of load and responsibility for a branch president. They will be split soon, but shhhhh, the members don’t know yet.
I’m very excited for what is coming ahead. I have a wonderful Mission President who is so good at giving us a vision for what needs done. He helps us know what is our part in getting that vision. I really feel like our mission is a team and are all working towards the same goal which is establishing the church here in Mozambique through real growth and by becoming extraordinary missionaries. We are working hard to get stakes here, and working hard to find the elect. We are laying the foundation for the church here in Mozambique for the years to come. Right now, we are specifically looking for leaders, and the Lord is putting them in our path.