Nothing is Going to Stop the Lord’s Work

Elder Reinstein
Week 99 – from Dec. 14, 2015*

*Editor’s Note: One month ago on December 19, 2015, Elder Reinstein returned to the United States from his mission in The Mozambique Maputo Mission. This was his final report from Africa that I never sent out. Better late than never!
He is going to the Incwala ceremony

He is going to the Incwala ceremony

There may be water rationing and energy load shedding here in Swaziland, but nothing is going to stop the Lord’s work and a baptism.

Yep, we were a little stressed when the water was not working at the Chapel yesterday for the of Prayer and Ventura. We prayed and the assistance came as we traveled all the way to Mbabane for the baptism to occur. It was a beautiful service and Francisco did a great job in his first baptism of his kids.

I am denying the fact that all this might end soon. How can I rid my mind and my heart of the faces, the beauty, the feelings and the love I have felt here with the people of Mozambique and Swaziland?

I am eternally grateful that the Lord has granted me such an opportunity to be edified and uplifted by them.

 

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‘I Would Never Go to a Party Like That’

Elder Reinstein
Week 98

vlcsnap-2015-12-16-22h33m58s231 (640x360)The sun may be beating down harder than ever, but I still believe Ezulwini means heaven.

Well, the highlight this week came when we were teaching Prayer and Ventura about the Word of Wisdom. I just want to point out that Prayer is the sweetest 9-year-old I have ever met, and Ventura is a 15-year-old genius.
Anyway, we taught them the Word of Wisdom and I asked Ventura. “So Ventura, what would you do if you went to a party and one of your friends offered you alcohol?” I was expecting a response along the lines of, “Oh, I will tell him no.” But he pleasantly surprised me by saying, “Well in the first place I would never go to a party like that.”
My mouth went agape for a few moments, “Well Ventura, I couldn’t have said it better.”
I have a ton of amazing and adorable stories from teaching them and their family, but time does not permit for now. I just feel so blessed to be able to teach, and be edified by such and elect family. I am sure they will do miracles to establish the Lord’s kingdom here.
And that is our goal, establish Zion, a stake here in Swaziland. We are preparing for the Second Coming of Christ right here, right now. We are fighting hard, and the Lord has been pouring out his blessings. The change and the progress is palpable. It reminds me of the coming of the stakes in Mozambique.

Darn it, Elder Ence stole my camera.

Darn it, Elder Ence stole my camera.

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My favorite soda Vimto, specially brought from Mozambique.

My favorite soda Vimto, specially brought from Mozambique.

The Family, Although A Bit Hungry and Thirsty, Are Happy

Elder Reinstein
Weeks 96 & 97

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At Francisco and Elsa’s house. I am not sure why he is dressed like this

Week 96

I think Elder Ball felt right at home this week as we met with and taught the Khumalo family. Elder Ball is from a family of 8 children, and the Khumalo family was the same.

Can you imagine our pleasant surprise when 7 out of the 8 sat with their parents, outside in the shade of their mud-brick house, patiently, intently listening to every word we said? They not only listened, but understood that Christ only established one true church and that Priesthood authority was a necessary part of that Church.

We then helped their son fetch water from the river. I am not sure if they have running water, but if they did, it would have run dry with the crippling drought hitting the region. But the family, although a bit hungry and thirsty, are happy as can be as they worked hard to support one another and as they were uplifted by the message of the Restoration.

In other news, Thokozani Shongwe again helped us this week as we were side-by-side with him on Saturday. I only picked up parts of most of the thoughtful, loving conversations in SiSwati he had with those we met. I love and am edified in how he treats everyone as a longtime friend. Also, I worked with Elder Souza this week in his area of Ngwane Park.

 

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Elder “Noah” 

Week 97
This week I saw some revolutionary innovations in the running of the “Primary Program.” Innovation #1 Who needs adults to direct the music, when you can have a different child direct each song? Innovation #2 Master feats of memorization, including the 13 Articles of Faith and the 10 commandments. Innovation #3 Sketches by the children of scripture stories, including Raising Lazarus from the dead.

But seriously, the program was sweet, brought a smile to my face, and I have never seen the Chapel more packed.

This week we had some changes, Elder Souza is now walking in a trio with us. We were blessed to have a lot of help from the members this week.

The greatest blessing happened on Thanksgiving (although it was just a normal Thursday here.) We went to visit Francisco and Elsa, and found two of their children back for school holidays. Ventura and Prayer have been to church before, but were at school for their parents’ baptism. We taught them and invited them to be baptized. “Definitely” was their response. It is great to see the Gospel blessing the whole family. It really has brought a light to their home.

We got the visit Hlane Royal National Park today on our way to Mozambique and back for visa stuff. Swaziland has so much packed into such a small country.

I love it here, and I love the people even more.

Many great photos here from both weeks:

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‘Désolé, désolé beaucoup!’

Elder Reinstein
Weeks 94 and 95

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I also met the American Ambassador Makila James

Week 94 was a short update: We took the long journey to Nhlangano this week, and it was a wonderful experience to get to know a more isolated part of our mission. It is beautiful and has a lot of potential!

Week 95
So studying French for 13 years might have appeared to be a waste of time when I was called to a Portuguese speaking mission, but this week I saw a glimpse of the Lord’s purpose in this thing.

After Elder Bindanda, a new Elder, missed his connecting flight from the Congo to Swaziland in Joberg, we were blind about when he would actually arrive here in Swaziland.

Well, we called, and called and tried to find out, but it wasn’t until 9 am the next morning that we found out that he had already arrived at 7:40 am that morning, an hour and a half earlier.

Normally that would not be a huge deal, but Elder Bindanda, being from the Congo, only spoke French, a few words of English and a few words of Portuguese. Oh, and the Airport was 1.5 hours away.

So we rushed to the Airport as fast as we could and ran through the doors, and we found Elder Bindanda, surrounded by Airport Employees and Police as he lay sleeping on the Airport benches. It was then, after 13 years of French training, that I managed to remember one phrase, “Désolé, désolé beaucoup!” (Sorry, very sorry!)

But don’t worry, Elder Bindanda is happy and healthy. We stopped the Police from taking him to the Refugee Camp. We ate a great lunch, and his companion speaks more French than I do.

[Side note: 13 years of French also helped me learn Portuguese much faster]

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‘I See That God Is Trying To Tell Me Something’

Elder Reinstein
Week 93

Elder Oliveira worked with Elder Maughan before leaving Brazil.

Elder Oliveira worked with Elder Maughan before leaving Brazil.

I guess you have to swallow your pride a bit in order to cross a river on piggy-back, but sometimes in Ezulwini, there is no other way to get around.

With the flowing streams, scattered gullies and pine-covered mountains, it is always a scenic hike as we go from lesson to lesson in Ezulwini. In fact, we might have had the most picturesque lesson imaginable as we sat with our Investigator Innocent and a member Sizwe on the boulders that line the bank of the Buka River. The mountains overlooked us in the background and adjacent was a pen full of peacocks, pheasants and small fish ponds. It is nice as God’s creations can back up our testimony of His love for us.

I know I repeatedly mention how gorgeous Ezulwini is, but the sight is truly breathtaking. But also breathtaking are the miracles we see within the lives of the residents here.

Francisco and Elsa were baptized this week, and it was a beautifully service. I have seen mighty changes in their lives these past few months because of their mighty faith. I remember the night when they decided they needed to make any sacrifice necessary to come to Church every week. He said, “You missionaries have been sent to us over and over again. I think this time I see that God is trying to tell me something.” We found them as an old teaching record in our area book. His whole life has been blessed enormously as they have begun to keep God’s commandments.

(Just a small side note, Francisco surprised us this week when he brought out a guitar and began signing a love song to his wife. He might be the coolest Mozambican I know.)

We had Zone Conference in Swaziland on Friday, the first time it has been done here in the history of the mission. It went very well. I was also shocked when they told me to that this was my final Zone Conference and that I had to bear my final testimony.

But my testimony is not done, I know that this is the Lord’s work and I will continue fighting for the Cause until the last hours of my mission.

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‘Well, I Guess That Means We Have To Get Married As Soon As Possible…’

Elder Reinstein
Week 92

Elder Reinstein and Bongekile (Yes, that is a #peedoc shirt!)

Elder Reinstein and Bongekile (Yes, that is a Peedoc shirt!

Normally as missionaries, we are the agents of action, inviting, committing and teaching investigators to come closer to Christ. Well this week, I had three experiences where the tables were turned as investigators, not just received us, but actively pursued us.

The first was came with a new family, a referral from a member. We visited to this mother and her two children (21 and 18) teach about the Restoration. Well soon we found ourselves kicked out of the house as the mom tearfully rejected the Book of Mormon. So we left and before we knew it, Trevor, her son, had run after us and wanted to learn more. Well, he came to church by himself, and loved General Conference (I mean who wouldn’t love such powerful sermons?) As the first session was ending, suddenly his mother appeared, forceful took her son away and returned the Book of Mormon. We are praying he will come back.

Next Nomen and Nobhle. He called us during the week and demanded to see us as soon as possible. When we arrived at his house he told us, “I’ve decided to join the church.” We taught him about baptism and the law of Chasity. “Well I guess that means we have to get married as soon as possible to get baptized, right?”

Well, yes that is exactly what that means!

Finally just to top it all off, a senior couple from Johannesburg showed up at the Church as we had a meeting there on Saturday. They insisted on giving us all KFC. Who could say no to that?

It was a good week, we couldn’t resist another shisa nyama (see last week’s blog) today!

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‘So How Many People Did You Fish Today, Brothers?’

Elder Reinstein
Week 91

Shisa Nyama!!

Shisa Nyama!!

When you think Swaziland, you should think think Shisa Nyama, which basically translates to “Hot Grill”, called a Braai here or a BBQ in the US.

Swazi’s love their Braai’s, and we went to day with Nathi Shongwe to quite the feast. Beef, pork, pap, and salad. All eaten with your hands.

But of course I can’t forget the spiritual feats we had the day before in General Conference. And we were alone, with two new families (well one returning) at church. The talks were powerful, and as I sat next to Paulos and Nokhtula, I could feel the Spirit strongly confirming the truths to them.

Another new family that came to church was Nomen and Nobhle. The funny thing about Nomen is that he is always asking how our “fishing”, or work, is going. “So how many people did you fish today, Brothers?” “How many people have you fished so far in your mission?” and the questions continue. But he seems perfect content to be “fished” himself, because he knows that he is joining the true pasture.

We had the privilege to pick up eight new missionaries that flew directly into Swaziland- seven of whom are Brazilians. The zone is expanding rapidly, almost double of the size when I came to Swaziland.

New Brazilians!

New Brazilians!

The work is hastening!

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We Continue To See Many Miracles and Progress

Elder Reinstein
Week 90

Picture at the Heritage Site, where it all started.

Picture at the Heritage Site, where it all started.

We got to visit the historic Ngwenya Mine today– the oldest in the world, where mining operations began some 43,000 years ago. The whole scenery, culture and history was stunning. Have I mentioned how beautiful Swaziland is?

Again, not too much to report for this week, we continue to see many miracles and progress in the branch and with investigators.

Francisco couldn’t make it to church this week, but right after he gave us a call to greet us and get a full report on what he missed. Don’t worry Elsa loved it, and our lesson on Eternal Marriage (The member gave it all in siSwati. I am not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing since all the investigators understood much better)

We have a knack for find Mozambican families, this week we followed a referral chain where one family referred us to another and another and another, in all finding four families. Eish, do I love Mozambicans and Portuguese.

But we are preparing for many new Elders coming in this week–directly to Swaziland.

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After 20 Years of Estrangement, and 1 Hour Before We Walked By, Tony Returned Home

Elder Reinstein
Week 89

Photos from Ngwenya Mine, the oldest in the world - photo borrowed from "Week 90"

Photos from Ngwenya Mine, the oldest in the world – photo borrowed from “Week 90”

Well I just wanted to share the story of Tony.

As we were walking to a find a house Saturday afternoon, we stopped on the road, next to another house and asked a man if he knew the Maseko family.

“Well I don’t know the Maseko family, but I do know that you are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Well we were a bit surprised, and entered to speak with him, and his mother. Tony had run away from home at the age of 14 to escape his problems at home. His family thought he was dead. He went to Johannesburg and still faced many difficulties.

He life was changed when he met the missionaries for the first time and he became a member of the Church. He feared for years to go back and face his family.

Well after 20 years of estrangement, and 1 hour before we walked by, Tony returned home to Swaziland, to see his family again and help them build themselves up.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you guys, I have prayed for this day for years. I can help my family financially and physically, but the greatest thing I can give them is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel that changed my life.”

He was nearly in tears, we traded contacts and will help his family. Some may doubt why we come all the way to Africa to preach the Word of God when there seems to be so many greater problems. But the Gospel is the solution to all these problems, the panacea, the Great Uplifter, because of our Great Redeemer.

I am so grateful to be able to act as the Lord’s instrument here in Swaziland.

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He walks 1.5 hours to church each week

Elder Reinstein
Week 88

With Babe Shongwe. Swazi Pioneer of the Church!

With Babe Shongwe. Swazi Pioneer of the Church!

Oh boy, it was an exciting Sunday at Church. The missionaries entered our PEC meeting at 9 am, and left moments before Sacrament Meeting began, so we had no idea that the meeting would be packed.

But the attendance at Sacrament Meeting is not made all at once, it is made by the individuals and their faith and sacrifice to attend church and keep the Sabbath Day holy. Angel called us and told us that she had to go to an engagement ceremony, I told her to pray about it and see what God wanted her to do. (Swazi and even Mozambique are known for constant ceremonies: weddings, funerals, engagement, Lobola or dowry, family councils and many more.) Well she came along with many others.

The members we extremely excited, the Church hadn’t been that full in ages. “I can smell a stake coming soon!” said one.

Another family who had the faith to come was Francisco and Elsa. They are preparing for baptism, and their biggest challenge is her learning English since they are from Mozambique. We and her husband are teaching her, and I believe the gift of tongues will become manifest!

We were able to help Brother Shongwe build a rock wall to prevent erosion at his Fishery. Elder Ball literally was wrestling boulders, I felt helpless as I could only shovel dirt. This week multiple thunderstorms hit the Ezulwini valley, so the wall proved very useful.

Another member, Gift (18) won his golf tournament this week. We visited his house on the top of the mountain. He walks 1.5 hours to church each week. He showed off, driving golf balls hundreds of meters down the slope.

It was a good week, and a testament of the Lord hastening his work here in Swaziland.

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As We Waded Through The Dewy Mornings and Misty Evenings

Elder Reinstein
Week 87

Yep, the sign says it all.

Yep, the sign says it all.

Well there is not too much to report this week, other than the fact that we worked hard.

In the midst of hiking the rolling green mountains, it does give us a chance to appreciate the utter beauty of Swaziland. This week was cold, rainy one, but it was amazing to see the clouds so low, rolling along the landscape.

As we waded through the dewy mornings and misty evenings, we sat with some beautiful member families and helped them realize their role in the missionary work.

This week we had some leadership training, and brought the whole Zone together for more training. Although the trainings do get repetitive, we hope that the repetition makes the difference as the Lord hasten his work here in Swaziland and we establish a Stake.

We are seeing these fruits, Angel was confirmed yesterday. As Preach my Gospel states, “The Spirit of the Lord is strongly manifest as we perform the ordinances of Salvation” We just have to get her over her fear of water so she can do baptisms for the dead!

If Mozambicans are known for the genuine kindness, I would say Swazis are known for their sense of humor. An hour doesn’t go by where I am not cracking up!

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By The End of the Week We Had Sat With 5 Bembe Families.

Elder Reinstein
Week 86

Did I mention Vilile was my favorite?

Did I mention Vilile was my favorite?

It was a busy week as President Koch came to visit Swaziland. Elder Dustin left and Elder Ball came in as my new companion.

On Sunday Angel was baptized. It was a beautiful service as most of the branch attended. There was just the small issue that Angel and the other lady, Nonceba, were both deathly afraid of water.

We continue to climbing the blossoming mountains, and this week we found the Bembe homestead. Many extended families live together here in Swazi. One Bembe family referred us to another, and by the end of the week we had sat with 5 Bembe families.

President Koch gave some incredible trainings for the Zone and District leadership, but one of the highlights of the visits was the safari that the Zone went on. Not only was the Savannah/Mountain backdrop stunning, we also were also excited to see Hippos, Wildebeest, Zebras, and more!

With the nature, wildlife, the weather and families, Swaziland has truly become one of the most beautiful countries in the world in my eyes. Truly one of God’s magnificent creations.

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The Lord Keeps Blessing Us in Little Ways

Elder Reinstein
Week 85

To Mozambique and Back This Week:

Nathi took us to a buffet to celebrate Elder Martinho

Nathi took us to a buffet to celebrate Elder Martinho

We visited Maputo for the Mission Tour by Elder Hamilton. It was a great experience with a lot of spiritual highlights, but it sure was a long day. Awake by 2:30, four hours of driving in a bus, six hours of conference and another four hours back on the bus. But of course I would do it again!

I do miss Mozambique, but as evidenced by today’s transfer, I will be staying in Swaziland for the rest of my mission. However, I can’t complain. We keep seeing miracles. This week we put together a talent show for the branch, and to our surprise, Paulos and Noktula came and loved it! Then at church, when we thought no one would show up, Francisco and Elsa come filing in with their four children. (Don’t worry, they are Mozambican!)

The Lord keeps blessing us in little ways. It is interesting, I feel powerless in my own efforts, but as I keep working hard, people are being put in our path that are prepared to strengthen the Lord’s kingdom.

The rainy season is starting up, and the rolling hills are becoming green again!

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‘Dozens of dump trucks filled with girls passed on the street…’

Elder Reinstein
Week 84

UMHLANGA!

Elder Martinho

Elder Martinho

Yep this week was the Swazi Reed Dance, culminating yesterday in the national holiday.

The Reed Dance is a big deal. It’s a really big deal; as in the biggest cultural event in all of Africa, with 90,000 girls signed up. Throughout the week we saw hundreds of men, women and girls dressed in traditional attire. Dozens of dump trucks filled with girls passed on the street during the week, and then yesterday (Aug. 31) the whole country congregated here, in Ezulwini, as the King chose his new wife.

We also got a nice view into the culture as we went to the National Museum last Monday. I particularly enjoyed the section on the cattle cycle that describes how wives and children are equivalent to cattle and thus, wealth.

But the work has seen great miracles this week as well. we were able to do multiple divisions throughout the zone/country this week. After we struggled to help them progress for weeks, Paulos and Noktula finally started diving into the Book of Mormon. It made a difference, because after they told us they weren’t going to attend our church, they called us Sunday morning as we were heading to the chapel to tell us that they were coming. That was an unexpected, but welcome miracle!

“Marriage is like a toilet– everyone wants to get in, and those who are in want to get out.”– Swazi Proverb (I’m trying to convince every man I meet that he needs to get married younger, but these cultural beliefs don’t help)

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A Big Yes!

Elder Reinstein
Weeks 82 & 83

Week 82

Tanned and tired.

Tanned and tired.

We went church this week and Make Shongwe pointed out to us a new face that I had never seen before. “You should go visit her, Elders.”

Well last night we sat with Angel and Nathi and I have never before met such a prepared family. Nathi is a part of the strong Shongwe family, but has not been to church in a while. They recently got married and she told us, “Swazi law says that the wife must go to the church of the husband, fortunately I loved the church service today.” It is a good thing we believe in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

Angel truly wanted to find out “why there are so many different churches today” and how to follow our Savior. She accepted baptism and a date last night in the first visit, and they will be a beautiful family to go to the Temple.

We got to do Helping Hands this Saturday, Babe, the Prince, Dlamini came to church this week (I love that man so much…) and I got to walk in Manzini on Sunday.

Oh and check out the newspaper headlines they post everywhere. I find them so hilarious…some even have to do with the missionaries/church.

Week 83

“A big yes!”

Yep, that is how Angel responded after we asked if she had received an answer to her prayer. She came to church with her husband this week and it has been such a joy to see them learn and grow.

We have been working hard, climbing mountains and running from visit to visit to help and find the many prepared souls here in Ezulwini. The landscape and the people are so different and fascinating, it is like I am in a completely new mission, and I love it!

The leaders here in Swaziland have such an incredible maturity. We met with the District President this week, President Nthalinthali, and boy does he know how to get work done.

Little by little we are preparing this district for a stake and preparing more families to enter the Celestial Kingdom.

 

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In SiSwat, Ezulwini Means Heaven

Elder Reinstein
Week 81

The Mabuza family

The Mabuza family

In the SiSwati language or SiSwat, Ezulwini means heaven. And that is no coincidence.

I’ve been putting some effort in to learning SiSwati, but boy it has been hard enough trying to relearn missionary work in English. Don’t worry, I still know a few SiSwati words.

We have been working hard in building the kingdom of heaven here Ezulwini this week. We say many incredible members come back to church this week. Also we had the chance to visit Brother Mabuza, who is a member of Parliament, and his beautiful family of seven. We hope that he can help us meet the King.

Sorry, time is short, the work is great, we are very busy!

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‘Guys, He is a Prince, Brother to the King’

Elder Reinstein
Week 80

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Some woman made me do a traditional dance. I am not sure if I have unknowingly become betrothed

Swaziland is thriving with culture, animals and the growth of the church. It truly has been an eye opening experience this week as I have made the transition of 18 months in Maputo to my last six in Swazi. Turns out Afirca is far more diverse than I ever thought.

So let me describe one visit we had a few days ago. He goes by Babe (say it like Bobby, it means Father) Dhlamini (good luck saying that one). We brought Brother Shabalala with us to talk to him about the Book of Mormon. As we approach the sprawling homestead and enter, we see a 70 year old man on the couch. He is dressed in traditional african cloth, no pants and a small headwear. Behind him are gigantic paintings of King Maswati III and the Queen Mother.

Almost immediately, Brother Shabalala says, “Oh I know this family! Guys, he is a Prince, brother to the King.” They converse a bit in SiSwati and the lesson begins. His wife being a member, Babe Dhlamini is very familiar with the Book of Mormon, and in fact believes it is true. He is just not so agreeable with having another baptism. I know the Spirit will guide him as he works to make this decision.

It has been experience this week, we had a leadership council, did some last minute budget prep. Today we went to a cultural village. Some woman made me do a traditional dance. I am not sure if I have unknowingly become betrothed. The whole ordeal was a little traumatic.

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To Top It All Off, We Are All Amateur Volunteers

Elder Reinstein
Week 79

IMG_0318When you think about it, the Mozambique Maputo Mission is an international organizational miracle. We have so many missionaries going to and from different countries. Within the mission, we have missionaries transferring between Swaziland and multiple cities in Mozambique. We have to organize the logistics, the visas and finances of all these international doings. To top it all off, we are all amateur volunteers.

Yet we still see amazing work take place – families united, individuals healed, and hope brought to thousands. I know that sounds very idealistic, but that is truly what happens in the Lord’s work. I have had the privilege to be a part of this administration, but this week I will be blessed to go back into the ministry. Yep, I am out of the office and into the field – Swaziland!

Today was one of the more chaotic transfers I have seen. However, I am sure everything will end up well. We have been working on all the details this week, but have been privileged to work with some new, truly meek families.

One family, Danilio and Fatima, truly just wants to find the correct path and to follow it. Luis and Felizarda got almost all of their marriage documents this week. They are so close I can almost taste it. The marriage process will be opened in the immediate future.

Otherwise, I was asked to serve as chauffeur (ok, maybe I volunteered) for a little Safari for the departing missionaries and the President. It truly was an adventure, in the middle of nowhere.

I am excited for the changes in store, the families to meet in Swaziland. (Not so excited about speaking English). I will be serving with my MTC comp, Elder Dustin. Let’s see what excitement there is in store for these upcoming months!

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Well I just could not wait to get to Church to thank the Lord!

Elder Reinstein
Week 77

At Luis and Felizarda's house.

At Luis and Felizarda’s house.

We are back in Maputo and boy do I love it here.

We were in Swaziland until Wednesday (July 8), but don’t worry while we are not in our area, the Lord is working 24/7.

Yeah, we saw an incredible miracle this week. Luis (of Luis and Felizarda) finally got his birth bertificate. Sure it is just a piece of paper, but it is a paper that we have been fighting to get for over six months and means they can get married and baptized.

They told us that last Saturday night they began a fast and on Sunday morning they received a text that the documents were ready. Felizarda said, “Well I just could not wait to get to Church to thank the Lord!”

President Koch continues to inspire us with his new style. We have a new Secretary who flew in today, Elder Stanley from Utah. I am excited to work with him!

Elder Reinstein
Week 78

Central to this week was the meeting and brunch with President Koch– where he could give his first teachings and vision to the missionaries. We had missionaries fly in from all over the country, and all were pretty surprised and what President Koch taught.

What was surprising was not the doctrines or principles he taught, but rather how he taught – simply, yet powerfully with the Spirit.

One thing that President Koch spoke about was the strength behind the church in the United States– the generations of members that continually grow and strengthen the church. It was his vision that we could do that with the Church in Mozambique — strengthen the families that we have so that they could go to the Temple.

Well we were blessed to see that this week, when Liza and Taça were baptized on Saturday– a baptism in which we had little to nothing to do with. Their parents, Toley and Marcia were baptized in December and now their 8-year-old twin daughters were baptized, fulfilling the exact vision of President Koch of creating generations in the Church.

We are praying, fasting, studying and think of how we can help the members understand the importance of the Temple and the sacrifice necessary to make it there. We not only want multi-generational baptisms, but multi-generational sealings.

I had my second interview of mission this week, and it was quite the uplifting experience. Elder Stanley is training hard to be the new secretary. Luis and Felizarda’s documents are going great. They will open the marriage process this week and be married and baptized soon after!

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Reminds Me of A Small Midwestern Town That Is Run By A King, and Monkeys

Elder Reinstein
Week 76 – Swaziland

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Well when people ask about a trip to Africa, what are the two most common questions?

  1. Did you see any animals??
  2. Did you hear any clicking??

Well after this week I can say yes to both of these questions.

Of course the heart of Africa lies in its people, and my mission is no way defined by animals, clicking or clicking animals. This week was filled by defining experiences as I have taught the people here, experienced the departure of a beloved mission president and the arrival of another.

Unfortunately, it will be impossible to cover all that happened this week, so I will give just a couple brief highlights.

We were blessed to spend a lot of time with president Kretly before his departure, up until his last moments. I was nearly bright to tears as he locked his house for the last time and entered the airport to a chorus of missionaries. Truly; he left a legacy.

President Koch is the polar opposite to President Kretly, and I love it. An old Area 70, he is very calm, very smart, and very good at English. I have been to three of his his training sessions already, and my mind has been blown.

Two of my favorite quotes from the week are, “Some have been called to influence many people a little, while others are called to influence a few people a lot”

And the next, after making fun of me, “Sorry, you can lose a good friend, but you can’t lose a good joke” I was dying of laughter…

So we are in Swazi as he waits for his Mozambican visa, which should come this week. We went on some adventures. Swazi is gorgeous and completely different. Reminds me of a small Midwestern town, that is run by a king, and monkeys.

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He Received It As If It Were the Most Precious of Gold; Have I Forgotten the Value of the Book of Mormon?

Elder Reinstein
Week 75

Bishop Matteus!

Bishop Matteus!

It is amazing how often we take things for granted. It is only when these treasures enter or leave, do we realize of their great value.

This week has been truly special as we have been able to relish the last few moments with President Kretly. I cannot imagine this mission; this country, without him. He truly has been inspired and brought forth the miracles of the Lord on this country.

As we have been able to counsel with him, meet with him, converse with him, and most definitely eat with him, I find myself astonished for the opportunity I have had to learn and work with him.

It was said this week, “During the course of the three years of President Kretly’s service, Mozambique has changed from the country where an Apostle of the Lord was almost killed to the land where families are baptized, the land where stakes are made, the land where miracles continue.” I, too, testify of that.

The leadership and love from President and Sister Kretly will be sorely missed and cherished.

Another lesson learned of taking things for granted came from a new family that we taught this week, Genson and Anaisia.

They were completely touched by the message of the Restoration, immediately accepted baptism, and a baptismal date. But then Genson did something I have never seen before.

We taught them about the Book of Mormon, and at the end of the visit, we gave him his very own copy. He received it as if it were the most precious of gold, and immediately bowed his head, and burst into a prayer of gratitude.

I was so touched, and thought to myself, have I forgotten the value of the Book of Mormon? Do I treasure the words of Christ like I should? Do I thank the Lord for having given us this scripture with the full doctrine of Christ?

Well the work continues, we have a busy week planned with the new mission president coming in and lots of excitement, as noted in the photo below from the Mozambique Mormon Newsroom.

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Today We Had the Opportunity to Visit The Assembleia da Republica, or Mozambican Congress

Elder Reinstein
Week 74

Zachary with a photo of Samora Machel, the first president of independent Mozambique

Zachary with a photo of Samora Machel, the first president of independent Mozambique

I am not sure what happened this week, but it is already gone. Everything is starting to blend together as the routine of the mission and the office has been ingrained in my mind.

We had transfers this week, which went as smooth as ever. We found new families this week, many from successful references.

It has been interesting as we have worked with Bishop Mateus. He has asked for our help in the “rescue” of less active members of the church, generally a work we don’t focus too much on.

Yet these past two weeks, we have seen a surge of old members retuning to church as we have prayed and acted according to his vision for the ward. Thus we have seen an increase in sacrament meeting attendance and union with the bishopric.

Today we had the opportunity to visit the Assembleia da Republica, or Mozambican Congress. They let us into the historical records of the country, and right on the chamber floor.

We are making history!

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‘We Wanted To Walk with You to Church Today, I’m Already Ready!’

Elder Reinstein
Week 73

At the end of Zone Conference with Pres. & Sister Kretly

At the end of Zone Conference with Pres. & Sister Kretly

I’d like to tell the story of one of the little miracles we saw this week (June 8-14).

Two weeks ago, we began teaching a new family, found by door contacting, who were named Shadraque and Arminda. They are both a bit older. Shadraque has a heart condition; I believe Arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathy (AVC), which makes it very difficult to walk. And, Arminda is a Muslim. They have children ranging in age from 15 to 25, approximately.

Well we began to teach them, and they received us in a positive way, but he was a firm Catholic. The teenage children were generally too cool to finish an entire visit. But, we invited them to Church and they said first of all, Shadraque cannot leave the house, and she was working. At that point, we decided to move on to other families.

This week was extremely busy with incoming missionaries, Zone Conference, and exiting missionaries. So, we simply had no time to visit them again along with the other families we had been teaching. However, on Saturday, we decided to invite them again to Church. When we arrived, only the children were there. So, we left the invitation with them to pass along, but we did not have high hopes.

We decided to show up again Sunday morning to see if they would walk with us to Church, and to our surprise, Arminda opened up the door already dressed for church.

Arminda: “We wanted to walk with you to church today, I’m already ready!”

Elders: “What about Shadraque?”

Arminda: “He is almost ready!” We were astonished at this point, but then two of the children also got ready and we all went to Church, in fact they had a car! (There wasn’t enough room for us, so we had to run.)

They came, were well received and loved the meetings. I couldn’t believe my eyes, but the Lord worked a miracle. We are very excited to see their faith.

Elder Poyfair went home (June 14).  I’ll miss him, but I know he’ll do great.

And that is a highlight of the week.

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Speaking of Mozambican Growth ‘World Report’ Was Here This Week

Elder Reinstein
Weeks 71 & 72

 

At the Museum of Natural History

At the Museum of Natural History

Brief Report from Week 71
We had a blessed week.

We were able to work with the members really well and found some great new families. At the same time we saw great progress and pure faith form the families we are working with.

I am so grateful for this chance to serve and learn from the Lord.

 

Week 72

Here in good ole Chamanculo (well in the native tongue it is spelled Nlhamankulu) the weather is getting brisk, so all the Mozambicans put on their arctic jackets.

Generally, I am not one to go about sharing stats to the whole world, but we were truly blessed with many new families this week, 18 new investigators. That is 18 new sons and daughters of God who get a chance to hear the Restored Gospel. That’s amazing. Unfortunately some will not accept the commitments to continue and others are not fully prepared, but I honestly believe that within these families are some elect and ready to help build the Church here in Mozambique.

Speaking of Mozambican growth, World Report was here this week to do a segment on the incredible growth of the church here. We got to help a bit, and meet some of the Pioneers from Beira (Bispo Mounga, the first Mozambican Missionary; and President Dickie, President of the Beira Stake).

We continue to work on the documents for two of our families Luis and Felizarda; and Ananais and Aldencia. We pray that the Registrar will work with us this week so they can open the process for marriage.

We walked in a tripla with Elder Wolley for part of the week, he was here in Maputo getting some medical treatment. Thus, I also learned a new word, verruga.

Photo Slide Shows – NOTE There some “interesting” photos here from the Natural History Museum – showing dioramas of the circle of life in action… Think “Wild Kingdom.”

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The Church Has Truly Risen Out of Obscurity Here

Elder Reinstein
Week 70

In front of Televisão de Moçambique,

In front of Televisão de Moçambique.

We were blessed with a lot of unique experiences this week. Unfortunately this did not leave a lot of time for traditional proselyting but we were able to continue to do the Lord’s work in other ways.

The first interesting experience was Elder Herd’s foot surgery. He has been having chronic problems with ingrown toenails. So that meant no walking for the week!

The same day we had an amazing devotional with some of the Pioneers of the church on Mozambique. Ex-Elder Tedjamulia and Ex-Elder Martins, the first missionaries in Mozambique, told us what it was like open a whole new country to the Gospel, in 1999. My jaw stayed dropped as the described what those first few years were like, the dedication of the country and more.

But what truly impressed me, was the development the country itself has seen, and the church. In those 15 years, we now have two stakes, a district and many other branches. Just yesterday, (May 24) my old ward Magoanine split into two wards. The growth looks to continue at an unprecedented rate. Ex-President Packard (2006-2009) also spoke.

President Kretly mentioned that since the creation of the Stakes, the leadership has truly taken their place and done miracles. One of these small miracles was the Stake Choir. When I first came to the country the District Choir was a handful of youth who could barely hold the melody.

We got to practice with the Stake Choir this week, with beautiful four part harmonies, and then we performed on national television, while President Kretly, Sister Kretly, Ex-Elder Tedjamulia and Ex-President Packard were interviewed.

The Church has truly risen out of obscurity here and has made a difference in the lives of thousands and thousands. I am so grateful to do my small little part in this enormous miracle.

‘Don’t Just Teach Them So They Understand, But Teach Them So They Can’t Misunderstand’

Elder Reinstein
Week 69

I love Elder Oryang! (And, I've grown a lot!)

I love Elder Oryang! (And, I’ve grown a lot!)

It was an interesting change of focus in our work this week. Unfortunately we saw many of our investigating families stop in their progression throughout the week. Not coming to church, not handling documents (for marriage), etc.

So we sat down and thought what we needed to do to help these families come closer to their Savior. I’ve heard it said before, “Don’t just teach them so they understand, but teach them so they can’t misunderstand.” So we boldly went forth and “cried repentance.’ We told many of these investigators that they can’t stay in the state of sin they are currently, repentance is urgent and explained the consequences of sin.

It was definitely a different experience, being so direct and frank. I am so used to being as loving as possible and avoid anything that could offend someone. Yet, we stilled followed the counsel we learn in D&C 121:43, and showed a greater outpouring of love at the end of each lesson.

And we do love them so much. We do want them to be happy, to experience the joy that we feel as we live the Gospel, receive baptism and one day make it to the temple. We felt it was the right thing to do, and we pray they will understand and not misunderstand.

And one interesting story this week. We were teaching one of our newer families, Benjamin and Açussena. They have moved from church to church, but currently are pretty committed to their latest church of “God and Miracles.” They have a charismatic pastor, but was truly confounded we he heard about the Book of Mormon. He then wanted to show us a magazine that had an article about the leader in his church.

The Magazine was titled “Famous People” and the main article was about the leader of this church, who is from Nigeria. The only pages he showed us were the faces of many “famous” people, with a blurb. Most were famous religious or scientific figures from the renaissance to the present day. And the back was the picture of their pastor and the very last picture was a man named “Tomás Monson– Leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day

We tried to explain to him that this was the living prophet, but he just assumed that we must be all from the same church. Funny, but a little frustrating. We hope to focus on the book of Mormon.

Great week, had a great division with Elder Poyfair again, and he introduced us to great family that he taught a long while ago!

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And That Is When We Met the Amazing Family of Benjamin and Elvira

Elder Reinstein
Week 68

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No images this week… here’s a photo from Zachary’s International Drivers License!

Although the stress does keep things exciting, we definitely had a more relaxed week this week in the office, and thus more time to spend in our area. It was very nice!

The big thing we had to coordinate this week was the Skype schedule for all the missionaries. It appears everything went well. I mean we almost messed it up for all the Elders in Beira, but besides that I got to call home and have a pleasant conversion!

Yesterday we needed to find some new families to teach. After we knocked doors for about an hour, we knock the door at an apartment, to be greeted by a full on fiesta. We offered to teach them all, but they respectfully declined.

So went to the next door, and that is when we met the amazing family of Benjamin and Elvira, and their 3 kids. Right after we sat with another family of 5. It was truly an answer to our prayers. The Lord is working in our front preparing the way for us.

Otherwise not too much to report. After transfers, we have a new Elder in the house, Elder Oryang. He is from Virginia, but his family is from Uganda.

Something That Really Stood Out To Me This Week Was The Power Of The Comforter

Elder Reinstein
Week 67

IMG_1415Remember last week how I said we had a great balance between our work in the office and our work in the field? Well that went out the window this week.

This week was one of the busiest weeks in the mission, but it was all the work of the Lord.

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference, which meant getting missionaries from all over the country and Swaziland to here in Maputo. (Not all of them, just half). Then on Wednesday we received three more missionaries. Then we also had to do a bunch of financial reports for the end of the month and then had 15 missionaries going home and then to top it all off we had transfers today. So there was a lot of coordination and logistics involved. It was really exciting but it really pushed us to our limit.

But the Zone Conference this week was incredible, as they say a spiritual feast. The focus was the high expectations that the Lord has for His missionaries to become completely dedicated servants unto Him. At the end President Kretly put the cherry on top and showed us “His Grace is Sufficient” by Brad Wilcox. I’m sure most have read it already, but there is a completely different spirit in watching the talk. I highly recommend it.  https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/brad-wilcox_his-grace-is-sufficient/  and https://www.youtube.com/embed/yLXr9it_pbY

Something that really stood out to me this week was the power of the Comforter. This week was extremely stressful (if that hasn’t been made clear already). We had to spend long hours in the office, and there were days where it looked like we would spend just a little bit of time in our area. I remember driving to our area multiple times this week, after a long day at the office, feeling completely stretched thin.

Then, almost instantly when I got into my area, got to teach our families, got contact and invite people on the streets (even if they were madly drunk), an unimaginable peace came over me. I knew I was doing the Lord’s work. And I drove home that night completely happy and relaxed.

I may not be confronting huge tragedies, but even so, the Lord remembers His missionaries. His Grace is sufficient to give us the divine help we need when all our human strengths are nowhere near enough.

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‘Wait! So That Means Joseph Smith Must Have A Second Bible Then?’

Elder Reinstein
Week 66

This is not a lobster!

This is not a lobster!

I don’t have to much to relate this week, but I was really glad how effective and diligent we were able to work this week even with our commitments in the Office. I know that might not sound like much, but when the assignments of the Office come pressing down, it can be easy to forget our proselyting area and our families that we are helping. This week we had a good balances and we are to be successful in both fronts.

I think this unique mission experience will be good training for the future as I try balancing my professional life with my family life. But something I have learned is that all things are spiritual unto the Lord is spiritual. Even putting a petty cash receipt into the correct account code.

This week we had a lot of help from the members. We taught a new family yesterday. When we got the the part about Joseph Smith, Julião, the husband, told us to “wait a second!” as he went to grab a pen a paper to take notes. After teaching of the Restoration, he explained, “Wait! So that means Joseph Smith must have a second Bible then??” Immediately the member teaching with me, Egus, grabbed the Book of Mormon from my lap and proclaimed, ” Yes! and here it is!”

Also this week, we watched General Conference, and it was great! (In case you haven’t already heard) We had another cook off with President today. This time it was fresh shrimp.

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A New Light Of Hope Was Ignited Within The Family

Elder Reinstein
Week 65

The T-3 Elders invited us to Rodizio's

The T-3 Elders invited us to Rodizio’s

I honestly can’t see doing missionary work in any other way than the focus we have on families.

Families are self-supporting units, and the only unit that can be together for eternity. So when we focus on families, we are really only focusing on exaltation, and thus fulfilling God’s purpose as explained in Moses 1:39.

I see examples of this importance almost daily, but I would like to highlight two that happened this week.

First I would like to talk about Orlando and Graça. Graça has been coming to church for months now, thanks to a strong neighbor who is also a member. She has been desperately seeking knowledge and to keep the Lord’s commandments, but can’t reach baptism without the support of her husband to get married.

After months of trying to sit with them both, we finally were able to sit with Orland and his wife a few weeks ago. It was not a perfect start, but we had a successful family night where he opened up a bit. The next week he came to church. Graça started to look happier and more hopeful these past few weeks, but unfortunately Orlando did not come to Church last week.

This Sunday we showed up to their house about 30 minutes before Church to make sure they both would come. When we appeared, Orlando came out, already dressed up in a full suit, and looking sharp! We left together with Graça and I have never seen her beaming more brightly.

The next family I’ll call the Silva family. They were baptized in 2009, with two of their six children, and we just baptized two more of their children recently (the other two are too young). Unfortunately due to some temptations, Brother Silva was excommunicated and left the church few years ago. They have already been to the Temple. The rest of the family, especially Sister Silva, has remained strong.

Well, I can’t tell you have surprised we were when we saw Brother Silva come to church three weeks ago, after years of inactivity. And then he came again, and now a third time. Well we asked permission and were able to visit the family for the first time last night.

And it was amazing. A new light of hope was ignited within the family. They have not had the missionaries for years, and the spent an hour telling us about their conversion, and everything they have been learning. They told us about their goals to return to the temple and one day travel to Salt Lake to see the Prophet in person. Their faith is strong.

Few things bring me greater joy than seeing a strong family come back into the church.

The message of the Restoration is a message of hope for the family, that one day they can enter together into the presence of God. And to me, there does not exist much on this earth that is more important than that.

Photos:

‘Steaks to celebrate the new Stakes!’

Elder Reinstein
Week 64

???????????????????????????????There are many faces to missionary work, and one does not get to know that better than by working in the Office. We get to run all the little logistics that many missionaries take for granted, while at the same time receiving the blessings of working in the field each day.

One example was the baptism of Arminda this week. Arminda has been coming to church since November, and since our focus is families we have taken her preparation process a little more slowly to help her be fully ready for the baptismal covenant that she will have to keep for the rest of eternity.

But she truly has proved her faith and repentance, and after her interview, Elder Coelho told us that she was one of the most prepared candidates he has ever interviewed. She gave her testimony after her baptism and told us an incredible story of her first Sunday coming to church.

Arminda was contacted by the Sisters on the street in November, who then invited her to Church. Many of these invitations go unheeded, but Arminda took it very seriously. She came to Church, but she was not informed that it was District Conference, and that all the members had already left on a bus. Instead of giving up, she grabbed a chapa and went all the way to Matola. She was very confused by the whole conference, but intrigued about what she heard.

Well she came back the next week, and Sisters taught her, then we began to teach her and she was baptized and confirmed this weekend. She couldn’t be happier and she will truly help build up the Kingdom of God.

Sorry for the long story, but it was touching to hear. She was just another elect, prepared soul whom we had the privilege of teaching. We have some other families approaching baptism as well.

In other news this week, we had a great Member Missionary Work activity at the church on Saturday. It was the highest attendance I have seen for an activity, and we have already seen the fruits, with three references received on Sunday.

We had an amazing Zone Activity today (April 13), Volleyball on the beach, with our new Zone T-Shirts. President came to play, then after the Sisters had all left, “Elders, I think we need to have a BBQ, steaks to celebrate the new Stakes!” and boy was it quite the celebration.

The facets of the work are rewarding, from being able to help people come closer to Christ, to being able to help the missionaries get the money they need to survive. Working in the office is hectic and stressful, but it flies by so fast and it is so fulfilling.

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‘Elder, I tired the cake, and I like it. We’ll be back next week!’

Elder Reinstein
Week 63

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From last week’s slide show… no new photos this week. I think that’s Elder Reinstein, not sure 🙂

I have grown to love the Maputo so much in my time here. I think I might be the only missionary my age or older who has never left the city, but it has been such a blessing. I get to know all the amazing members so well. I see miracles every day. And I know the city and all of its surroundings like the back of my hand.

Luis and Felizarda got one more document for their marriage this week. They can’t wait for their upcoming date.

We met a new family, Luis and Felicidade, who had actually known the church decades ago in Portugal.

Speaking of miracles, we were blessed with several families at church yesterday, including two new families.

I had been telling one of the families, Ivair and Fatima, “We can talk and invite you to church all you want, but let’s imagine a cake. I can tell you how great it is, you can even smell it, but not until you try it for yourself will you understand how amazing it tastes.”

Ivair told me as he was leaving Church yesterday, “Elder, I tired the cake, and I like it. We’ll be back next week!”

The gospel changes lives, each family we teach testifies of that daily

Elder Reinstein
Week 62

 

 

 

Everyone baptized! Joana, Taynara, Vilma and Gerson (another young child was baptized from the Polana Branch!)

Everyone baptized! Joana, Taynara, Vilma and Gerson (another young child was baptized from the Polana Branch!)

The week was hectic, overwhelming at some points. But, we were blessed with the baptism of Joana, Taynara and Vilma.

 

They are incredible and will be a strong addition to the Stake here in Maputo. Joana and Taynara will soon be joined by Crislerio. They currently live separated but will be married here in a month. They are a great family who has gone through a lot of ups and downs to get to this point, and have waited for over a year.

I was so happy to see the joy on their faces as they have begun their long awaited journey as members of the Church.

The gospel changes lives, each family we teach testifies of that daily.

 

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‘Wow that was incredible! You have to teach me how to do that!’

Elder Reinstein
Week 61 (March 23)

No photos of Zachary, but here is one of Elder Herd.

No photos of Zachary, but here is one of Elder Herd. Or, is that Elder Bryan Nelson?

The coming and going of missionaries has a much larger impact on the Elders in the Office than other missionaries, for good and for bad. Yes it is true I have barely slept in the past three days with all the runs to the Airport, I have also been so inspired by the work of our new Elders who have stayed with us as they wait to go to their own areas.

Imagine spending most of your life talking, learning and preparing for a mission. You get your call to a far off land, and after a 20 hour flight you finally arrive. You get to talk and spread the joy you have gained in this lifelong process with other people and families. I can imagine the joy and excitement of these first few moments as I remember my first few weeks in the mission field. It is unfortunate that missionaries with six months, a year or more, sometimes lose this fervor.

This week my excitement and understanding of the Work was rekindled. I was walking with some new Elders and after doing a simple street contact, he commented, “Wow that was incredible! You have to teach me how to do that!” Woah…he was right. It is so incredible that we have this power and authority to bring souls closer to Christ. It is so incredible that we can find some many prepared families. It is so incredible that the creation of two stakes in Maputo this transfer all began with simple, little street contacts like that. (The Beira Stake was formed yesterday)

I hope I can continue to keep my enthusiasm strong throughout my entire mission. I was blessed to say goodbye to three incredible missionaries today who served such honorable missions and brought many to Christ.

Anyway the week in the office was busy, with transfers. The time in the field was gratifying. We had a chance to lead one of the most successful Family Nights this week, which helped two new families come to Church on Sunday.

Elder Herd, my new comp has been a blast and continues to teach me every day.

‘Help me out here, Father, a car hit me and fled away!’

Elder Reinstein
Week 59 (March 16)

Saying goodbye to Bernardo and Cacilda, with the whole family.

Saying goodbye to Bernardo and Cacilda, with the whole family.

We have stakes, we have wards, we have bishops here in Maputo, so what more do we have to work for? I have been so impressed as almost everyone, the missionaries, the members and the leaders have already changed their vision to the temple– getting members to the temple and building a temple in Mozambique. I have seen the faith and the works here in Mozambique. I know this is very possible in the near future.

But the biggest news this week was an emergency transfer! I have been put in the office again, with a new companion, Elder Herd. He is three transfers ahead of me in the mission and is from Green River, Wyoming.

I think I’ll be here for a while. It is a bit weird to come back to the same area/ward, but it reminds me how much I love the people and the members here. There is already a lot of potential.

Speaking of the people, I forgot how much character they had in Chamanculo. I was contacting on Sunday when a man comes up to me, “Help me out here, Father, a car hit me and fled away!” Well he seemed fine, and was walking, and no, we can’t give money, so I invited him to church. Well, I soon found out in our conversation that this was not the first time he had been hit, it made 7 times! Well looks like he has got a few more problems than just cars. Gave me a chuckle.  (Note: Per Elder Reinstein the man was just fine, physically.)

We had a nice Zone Activity today, a waffle party with games, and have a new Bishop in our ward, Bishop Matteus. This will be a nice transition!

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They didn’t seem nearly as excited as I was

Elder Reinstein

Week 59

???????????????????????????????Another week passes in the Work of the Lord. Even with 2 days lost this week with work I needed to do in the Office, we were still blessed with success in our teaching and finding. Now we have to translate the effort into helping our investigators to act. A lot depends on their agency and all we can do is properly prepare spiritually and work diligently. We had some difficulties this week in having families at Church, but I know the Lord will bless us as we continue with our diligence, obedience, and always asking for inspiration.

Some other excitement this week… Taco Night! President Kretly came to Magoanine on Wednesday to work with one companionship and then we celebrated with Taco Night! We live with 2 Mexicans, Elder Lara and Moreno, so the food was authentic and delicious. I was quite surprised that authentic Mexican food does not use cheese. But we ate, laughed and learned with President.

We got to visit the Zoo today, and there are only 4 types of animals (mostly monkeys), But we got to feed the monkeys and crocodiles.

Another funny story: While we were teaching a new family this week, I hear some strange music coming from the TV in the other room. It was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! I tried to explain that our church has a large, talented choir in the US. They didn’t seem nearly as excited as I was.

We look for new exciting ways to work this week! Magoanine continues to be as sandy as ever! Really works the legs!

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‘Audit, Marriage, Baptism and Funeral’

Elder Reinstein

Week 58

It took the effort of a lot of missionaries to get here!

It took the effort of a lot of missionaries to get here!

If you forced me to describe my week in exactly four words they would be the following: audit, marriage, baptism and funeral.

Put that all together in one week and any normal person would be stressed. Since I am a normal person, I was very stressed. But the nice thing is that all of those events were directly part of the Lord’s work, and He tends to give a hand when He needs things to run a certain way. So even in the midst of this seemingly chaos, I knew that the Lord would help, and everything turned out fine.

Johanna from the Area Office came from Johannesburg on Monday to do an audit and training, so Elder Poyfair and I were brought back in and live at the Mission Office for three days. Everything went well!

During this, in the back of my mind was the wedding that we had to finish planning for Saturday. Thankfully, Bernardo and Cacildo have so much faith. They didn’t need a car. They didn’t need a fancy cake. They didn’t need Padrinhos (Godparents). They just needed baptism. So the marriage was simple, sweet and beautiful. They were immediately baptized and then confirmed on Sunday.

Also we were blessed to help out with the baptism of Gerson.

We also were able to comfort another member family, Sebastião and Lina when her father passed away, while both also were ill.

Otherwise Elder Johnson has been doing great adjusting, learning the language and loving the people. We had a great Zone Training this week and played soccer on the beach today (March 2).

 

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Two Stakes in One Transfer – The Miracles Keep Piling On!

Elder Reinstein

Week 57

Just chilling with the first Bishop in Mozambique. Bispo Tualufo

Just chilling with the first Bishop in Mozambique. Bispo Tualufo

Well with stakes also comes wards and Bishops, and yesterday (Feb 21)  we were blessed to see the call of the first Bishop in Mozambique in the Magoanine Ward– Bishop Tualufo. I’ve had a chance to work closely with Brother Tualufo in the office and so I am very excited to continue working with him in the field!

This week we focused on preparing three investigators for baptism this upcoming Saturday. Bernardo and Cacilda will be married and baptized, accompanied by Gerson, a young adult. It was really amazing to see the Lord work through us this week to help them tear down the barriers Satan had put up as they got closer and closer to baptism. I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of that.

But the work continues, I am in the office for a couple days this week to tie up some loose ends.

And, we just got news that the Beira District will also become a stake on March 22nd! Two Stakes in one transfer. The miracles keep piling on!

‘The First Presidency… [has] approved the creation of the Mozambique Maputo Stake’

With Elder Keck!

With Elder Keck!

Elder Reinstein
Week 56

“The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have approved the creation of the Mozambique Maputo Stake”

When Elder Ellis read that statement yesterday (Feb. 15), overcome by emotion, he could barely finish saying it. I too can testify the Spirit was palpable and incredible present in yesterday’s meeting. I can’t describe the joy I felt in seeing this district I have been working in for a year, become a stake of the Lord. President Castenheira (the old District President) was called as Stake President, with President Massango (the former Branch President of Magoanine) as First Counselor and President Ancelmo (our recent convert in Chamanculo) as Second Counselor. So incredible to see these wonderful members take on such an amazing responsibility!

Man, I know my language is super flowerly and extravagant, but this is an historic mark for Mozambique, and as President Kretly has said, “The Miracles Continue!” He was so happy yesterday. He brought every missionary down to Maputo from Beira, Tete, Chimoio, Quelimane, Maxixe, Nampula and Swaziland to watch the formation. We gathered and busted out singing the Mozambican national anthem together. (See video)

But in other news, I have been transferred! And I am “white-washing” an area, with a new missionary fresh from the US, Elder Johnson (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). We are serving in the ward of Magoanine. It is a little intimidating to start in a new area, with a new missionary. We both have no idea how to get around, and don’t know the members. But we do know that the Lord will help us. In fact yesterday we found a new family, Libra and Celia, who were about to get baptized three years ago. I think as we both enter the area with fresh news eyes, the Lord is more able to use us as instruments in His hands.

The area is pretty similar to T-3, still in the Maputo area. There is a ton of sand, and it lies directly behind the airport. That means during lessons, we have to stop, look up, and wait for airplanes to pass.

I’ll miss working in the office, working with President and the other incredible missionaries, but I know the Lord has a lot in store for his in Magoanine (and Malhazine)!

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‘Finally Elders… I am sooo happy to hear this’

Elder Reinstein
Week 55

President and Sister Kretly went with the Callisters to visit one of our recent converts!

President and Sister Kretly went with the Callisters to visit one of our recent converts!

Well I don’t have too much time, so this will be brief.

The highlight of the week was the visit by Brother and Sister Gibson, and Brother and Sister Callister. We already knew that Brother Callister was an amazing doctrine teacher, but his Plan of Salvation blew my mind! [I have the notes in Portuguese, if you want]. At the end I got to translate a little for him! The coolest part of that was being able to read his scriptures together and see the notes of inspiration that he had put.

The award for the most entertaining lesson of the week goes to Gu and Ines. We began to teach them the Law of Chastity, so they could get married and he burst out, “Finally Elders, I thought you were delaying teaching us this! I am sooo happy to hear this” They accepted well. I wish I could tell you all the memorable quotes from the lesson.

We continue teaching Idelson and Susana (the son of our Branch President) and the Spirit is strongly testifying in each lesson. It really is a unique experience to teach them. I think they learn and accept in a very different way than other investigators, but have a deep hunger to truly understand.

Anyway we have been truly blessed. I think I am out of the Office and full time in the field on Wednesday. I can’t believe I have come to love this area so much.

 

 

‘The District of Maputo will be Formed into the First Stake in Mozambique’

Tiago at the Church this week!

Tiago at the Church this week!

Elder Reinstein

Week 54

The district of Maputo will be formed into the first stake in Mozambique on February 15th, 2015. What a miracle!

Well this week we found out this news in the midst of our Mission Tour by Elder Ellis of the Seventy. We had to help organize a lot of the logistics of the conference, but it went really well and I learned a lot. I especially enjoyed the leadership training meeting he had after the conference for mission leadership.

Throughout the week, we had a lot of blessings with some of the families we are working with. Gu presented his mother to us. She is very old and handicapped, but I was so humbled by his love and care for her. He insisted that she sit and hear from us too.

We met another family named Idelson and Susana. Idelson is the son of our Branch President, and he recommended that we start teaching them. Wow. We knew our Branch President was Elect, but we didn’t expect it to run in the family so strongly. They are truly prepared to relieve the Gospel. They told us they could feel something completely different in our lesson and promised God in prayer that they would come to church. They fulfilled that promise yesterday. I can just envision what a great support they will be to the Church here and how good they will look in White Temple Clothes.

This week as we passed through Matola, I happened to see Tiago. I can’t express my joy to know that he and his entire family are still strong and active in the Church. It looks like they all have callings that they are faithfully fulfilling!

Also this week Tomas and Dulce committed to marriage!

After all of this I am reminded that it is by these small and simple miracles that we see daily, where a great thing could be brought to pass.

A Stake!

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‘Wait, is this how you guys feel all the time?!’

A photo rerun, since we didn't get any pics this week! My favorite from the mission so far...

A photo rerun, since we didn’t get any pics this week! My favorite from the mission so far…

Elder Reinstein Week 53

The week passed well, and a lot of it was spent in the office in preparation for some special visits we have coming in the next few weeks. Yet, amidst all the work inside, we still had some spiritual gems in the field.

We visited Gu and Ines again this week, and I am humbled by the excitement he has to come back into full activity. (As a side note, I found his teaching record from 2009, on his record of his reading it said he read all of Exodus because he was curious to learn more about Moses.) We taught the Book of Mormon, and before we finished, he brought the entire family to the table, opened the all the copies of the Book of Mormon and said, “We have to start reading as a family right now!” We quickly closed the lesson so 1. We could get home on time; and 2. So they could have that opportunity.

We got to do a division with two young adults in the branch yesterday, and I spent the whole evening with Roque, who is quite the character. After we taught a new lesson, he was exclaimed how his whole body was bursting with the Spirit. “Wait, is this how you guys feel all the time?!” Yes Roque, it is how we feel all the time.

I can’t believe how imaginably blessed I am to be able to serve the Lord and this people with these missionaries and this President 24/7. There really is no other mission like Mozambique. We work our tails off, but the blessings are exponentially returned. It’s just one small testimony of the veracity of this Work.

One Year – In the Words of Samora Machel: ‘A luta continua!!’

New Office Staff!

The new Office Staff!

Elder Reinstein Week 52 (aka “The Hump”)

(Back to being caught up)

We had a great week, most of the excitement and entertainment still comes from our new family, Tomas and Dulce. When we visited him on Tuesday he was complaining that it was taking too long to get back to Sunday so they could go back to church!

This week we taught them the Word of Wisdom, and him looking like a Rasta, unfortunately gave us some fears before entering the lesson. As we asked if they had any problems with the 5 prohibited substances, Tomas told us that they only drank black tea, but that ran out a week ago! Turns out he had decided on his on will to give up alcohol, drugs and smoking about a year ago. Wow, the Lord really did send us back at the right time! (Elder Poyfair had contacted him in April).

We also had a new family appear at church on Sunday. Gu has been inactive for four or five years and he brought his girlfriend Ines. They absolutely loved church. When we went to visit him, happily, his testimony is still strong! “Yeah Ines was baptized in the Catholic Church, but I was baptized in the Only True Church!”

Otherwise we had a nice leadership counsel this week, a new housemate and lots of preparations for the upcoming Mission Tour/Special Visit!

******************************************************

“A luta continua!!” – translated: “the struggle continues!!”

If you are interested who Samora Machel is click his name. 

The Jungle Court after Gatorball

The Jungle Court after Gatorball

He is a rasta musician and she is an accountant

Proof that I was in Malanga.

Proof that I was in Malanga.

Elder Reinstein Week 51

It was a sad day today as our tripla became a dupla when Elder Lourenço left to go and serve in Tete. (Just as a side note, this makes for Elder Poyfair’s 8th transfer in the Office, or almost a year.)

The most exciting news this week was the baptism of Carolina! Now, more than ever, I truly understand that we are just tools in the Lord’s hands to do His work. We met Carolina just two weeks ago, and quickly found out that she was more than prepared for baptism. She already had been coming to church on her own for 6th months, already had family in the church and already knew almost everything we taught. So we just fulfilled our role- teaching, to bring to pass the Lord’s work. It was amazing to see her face after the baptism and confirmation, the Light of Christ.

Another interesting new family is Thomas and Dulce. He is a rasta musician and she is an accountant. Literally polar opposites, but they love the message of families and the union the Gospel brings. They have been eating up the Book of Mormon and described their first experience at church as “phenomenal, fantastic, incredible!” Looking at their faces (well especially his), it appears they are watching a Blockbuster film when we teach them or at church.

When we went to pick them up for church, we sat down and there on the couch was Dulce’s wig. (90% of Mozambican females have fake hair). We kind of stared at what appeared to be a guinea pig, when Thomas came by and realized that she had left it there. Instead of making the situation really awkward, he just said, “Well it looks like Dulce forgot her wig again! She’ll be needing that!” and then proceeded to put the wig on top of his dreads. We had a good laugh.

Speaking of fake, we found out the women that came with Isaias last week was not actually his wife, but an visitor who for some reason decided to impersonate her. Also had a good laugh on that one.

Great week as we get to spend more time in the area!

“Well I just married her during all these holidays, give me a break!”

Elder Reinstein Week 50
(One Week Behind)

???????????????????????????????I think this means I am half-way done with my mission. Well there is still a lot of work to do then!

New Year’s came with a bang. Literally hundreds, if not thousands. Everywhere we walk in Chamanculo for about three days, there was some explosion going on. Needless to say, we could not sleep when 0h (“zero hour”/midnight) hit.

This week we really focused on finding people to teach. Unfortunately after the baptism of Gercio and Marilia, our other investigators stopped progressing. We had to work a ton, but we were blessed for it.

One occasion occurred Saturday night when Elder Poyfair and I resorted to knocking apartment buildings. To be honest it was a bit discouraging as we spent quite a while trying to sit with people and get references. But still we continued, knowing this is what we had to, when finally a woman didn’t allow us to come in, but gave us the number of her brother, Isaias who lived nearby.

We sat with him on Sunday morning, and he right after came to Church with us after (we also had another new family at church). Almost immediately after coming into the chapel, he was greeted by the Branch President and Sunday School President, Olimpio. Well Olimpio asked Isaias a little background about his work, family, etc. Before I knew it, Olimpio had offered him a job. I stood with my mouth agape. Apparently he picked Isaias up this morning and now he is employed. The Lord blesses the persistent and faithful!

Quick funny story to close. I was contacting two men on the street, when I asked the first for his phone number. “Well I don’t have a phone!” “Does your wife have a phone?” his friend said she did. “So what is the name of your wife?” “Oh I forgot.” “What?! How could you forget??” “Well I just married her during all these holidays, give me a break!” I don’t think we will be visiting him in the near future.

 

Christmas in Mozambique was without snow, but it sure was white! 

Elder Reinstein Week 49
(Christmas Week Update)

??????????????????????????????? We were able to help Gércio and Marilia get married and baptized this Saturday and Sunday, what a blessing! Unfortunately the Relief Society did not decorate the chapel as planned, so last minute, us Elders had to throw together some decorations. It felt a little bit out of my capacity, but it turned out fairly well.

The wedding was great, and the party was a blast as well. The couple sat us at the table as the guests of honor. We sat, conversed with the family, ate a great Mozambican lunch. Just as we were about to head out, another lunch was brought in from the groom’s family, and we repeated the process all over again.

The next day, we had a small baptism, and the couple was baptized moments before the start of the first church meeting.

Christmas was the hottest day of the year so far. We spent several hours in the morning visiting investigator and member families singing Christmas carols. We went with some of the Senior couples, although sweaty, it was still quite satisfying.

Christmas is fairly tame here…but I’ve heard some crazy rumors about New Years!

See below for several photos from the baptism, wedding and Christmas.

 

 

The Lord is keeping us busy and blessing us abundantly

Elder Reinstein Week 48

Elders Keck and Reinstein, together (briefly) once again!

Elders Keck and Reinstein, together (briefly) once again!

The week was fantastically busy. We had Zone Conference, we sent a missionary home, and we have a baptism and marriage this week.

The Lord is keeping us busy and blessing us abundantly, thus I have no time to write more.

See the pics of a baptism we attended, Zone Conference and the Branch Christmas Party.

Also check out the cool photo Elder Poyfair took of us in the area.

 

The following is an excerpt from a year-end letter written by President and Sister Kretly, from the Mozambique Maputo Mission:

“I’m glad to announce that by the end of this year the mission will achieve the land mark of 500 complete families baptized.

Besides that we have sent the paper work to the Church Headquarter to apply for the first two stakes in Mozambique. One in Maputo City (Capital)  and another in Beira City (central of the Coutry and second largest city in our mission). Please, we would like to have your prayers and if this is the will of our Heavenly Father,  this miracle can happen in our mission and finally Mozambique have their first Stake.

As you all know, in order to that happen, many miracles happened and your missionary are part of that. A lot of hard work, faith and obedience has made this possible. I believe that in other missions there are also great missionaries but not greater than the ones in Maputo Mozambique Mission. They are really extraordinary missionaries! We love them and we are blessed to have them here as a part of our lives.”

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“…Gersio picked up, and in hushed tones said, ‘Elders, I’m up top!’”

Elder Reinstein Week 47

 

IMG_0002This week we were able to see the fruit of much labor, personally, in our companionship and from all the missionaries in Maputo. On Sunday, the branches of Maputo 1 and 2 divided into the Branches of Chamaculo (our area!), Sommerschield and Polana. This will be a great opportunity for the work in Maputo to go even faster; to have more missionaries serve in the mission, and to pave the way for a stake in the near future.

Also, Gersio and Marilia opened the process this week! It has been amazing to see the sacrifice they have made, and the act of faith to continue forward. It was really funny on Sunday, around the second hour we began stressing out because they weren’t at church. We kept calling, and calling only to have them busy us. Finally Gersio picked up, and in hushed tones said, “Elders, I’m up top!” We went up to the top floor, only to realize that they had been there the whole time, in the Gospel Doctrine class with all the members.

Some other good news this week…We watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional and the missionaries gave a nice musical presentation to the members after. We also had a great Integration Night, where we had over 40 members/recent converts/investigators gather, play and enjoy the Spirit. See the pictures of the crazy balloon game we played.

As we sat in a circle, I could not help but think of the Jedi Council

(Weeks 45 & 46 Combined)

???????????????????????????????Elder Reinstein Week 45

It is interesting work here, work here in the office. We don’t get nearly as much time in the field, but I feel about 100 times more effective.

Let me tell you about two miracles that happened this week, even with our limited time (events that would often take several weeks to occur in Matola or T-3). The first happened with a family I wrote about last week, Jersio and Marilia (we had marked a baptismal date for the 25th of December) They really enjoyed District Conference (it was a transmission from President Uctdorf, Bednar and others for all of Africa) and they spoke to some member families. Well last Monday they gave us a call that they need us to come over that night. I’ve gotten that call many times before…and it has never turned out good. We went there in the evening and he began by apologizing – apologizing that it was his fault that they weren’t baptized sooner. They then told us that December 25th was just too far away, and they needed to get baptized as soon as possible. Well we were more than happy to help, as they finalize all the marriage documents.

The next miracle happened with a new family, Luis and Felizarda. We had a great Restoration lesson with them, and we asked at the end if they had any questions.”Yes, I have just one question, how can I get baptized, I really want to turn my life around.” Wow. And this desire was empty either. The couple arrived 30 minutes to Church on Sunday, by themselves, and they loved it.

I got quite the taste of America (last) Thursday. President Kretly brought the office staff Big Macs from South Africa. Lunch was heavenly. Then an Ex-Pat American family invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner. It was unbelievable delicious. Real American Turkey, Apple Pie, Mashed Potatoes. I have not felt that stuffed in a very long time. And then they asked us if we wanted to bring the extra Turkey home. I nearly cried with joy at the invitation.

In other news this week… We went to a part of our area called Catembe, which is only accessible by boat. It is so weird to be in a part so undeveloped when most of our area is very urban. But it is gorgeous, and especially fun to be caught in the rain there. Had another Primary Program this week, and the Branch had record attendance this week.

 

Elder Reinstein Week 46

???????????????????????????????You might think that working in the office would not have nearly the excitement of working in the field (by the way, we still work in the field), but you would be grossly mistaken.

This week President had us fly in all the Zone Leaders from the entire country to have a Leadership Council. On Tuesday night we picked up Elders from Beira and Nampula and all day Wednesday we all gathered in the office in counsel. As we sat in a circle, I could not help but think of the Jedi Council.

Anyway, we discussed several topics that I really believe will have a very positive effect on the mission. I learned so much as we followed the Lord’s way and counseled together; the Spirit was strong.

In other news, Jersio and Marilia/Luis and Felizarda are still progressing well towards marriage and baptism. They are families that are just so easy to love. But we have a great miracle this week. As we were waiting for another lesson, three random kids came up to us and grabbed our hands. They started leading us down sketchy alleys until we reached a house. We met a family name Florencio and Fida. They were investigators six months back, but had moved away. Well it turns out this family already has the process open for marriage and want to get married/baptized as soon as possible. They came to church yesterday and we have a lot of hope for them!

Photos from Week 45  (See below these photos for Week 46 pix)

 

 Week 46 Photos

 

 

 

 

“Já não há espaço pelos Santos aqui na Moçambique”

Week 44

The Assistants, Elder Mason and Hamrick

So, I think I might have changed missions, because working here is nothing like I have experienced before in Mozambique. We have a car, we have a computer, we have almost constant power and water. What more could you ask for?

So in the midst of taking Elders to and from the airport or bus for transfers, we actually got to spend a lot of time in the field this week. We work in part of the city of Maputo called Chamaculo, and it has a lot of character. As you walk down the main road, there is a man selling Lichi by the kilo, another trying to rip us off to buy a “Jesus” belt, while groups of drunken men call out our name. The best part is that Elder Poyfair has been here for 7 transfers (since March) so he knows almost all these people.

Working in a triple (companionship) is an entirely different dynamic, but luckily Elder Lourenço and Elder Poyfair are extraordinary missionaries. We had a lesson this week with a non-progressing family Gersio and Marilia. He had some questions about the story of Enos in the Book of Mormon. We taught about faith, and as we followed the promptings of the Spirit and by the end of the lesson they accepted baptism and marriage again, on Christmas! As I learned after how they had just rejected both a couple weeks ago, I was baffled how powerfully the Spirit worked with all three of us.

This week was the District Conference for all the branches in Maputo and the surrounding areas. As we packed people into the Matola Chapel, there still was 150 people who had to stand outside. The District President, President Castanheira, began the meeting saying, “Já não há espaço pelos Santos aqui na Moçambique” or “We no longer have space for the Saints here in Mozambique.” Wow, the church is exploding.

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