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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