Well, to start out, I’ve almost made it… Six weeks until I go home, and I have malaria… great…
It’s not too bad, but I’m super tired. I’ll explain some more in a bit.
Ok, so Monday! After we finished up with our P-day stuff, we went to meet with Dionisio, a branch missionary, who was going to go with us to visit Ana Cristina, a new investigator, and her family. Dionisio lives really close, so it worked out well to go with him. We went and had a great lesson with them (Ana Cristina and her kids) about the Book of Mormon and its importance. Dionisio bore an awesome testimony on the truthfulness of the Book. It was a good and very spiritual lesson. I’m quite impressed with the progress Ana Cristina is making. She’s a very smart person and really wants to know the truthfulness of our message. After our lesson with them, we marked with Dionisio to walk with us on Tuesday and then we went home to pick up the other elders and go to visit Sister Mila. We had dinner with her (for Elder Nascimento’s farewell) and taught a short lesson. We talked about the same scripture I shared with Leandro. It went well and I hope to see her make some more progress in the coming weeks and months.
Tuesday was an interesting day for sure. the first person we visited was Felizardo. He had his baptismal date scheduled for this last Saturday, but due to unforeseen problems, he wasn’t able to… oh well, next week! (More on that when I get to Saturday :P) We were a little late showing up to his house and so our lesson didn’t turn out the way we had expected it. We went over some of the questions he had about his reading and the baptismal interview. He’s ready, but he was making a bigger deal out of the interview than need to be. We talked about everything and left him with some research to do in the scripture guide on tithing, fasting and sacrifice. After Felizardo we had scheduled to meet with Adelino at a Catholic church that we both knew so that we could get to know where his house was. The last time we tried to meet with him, it didn’t work out, and we were waiting there for about an hour before we decided to leave. This time, we only waited a few minutes before he showed up. The four of us (Dionisio, Adelino, Elder Bigelow and I) walked to Adelino’s house. I talked with Adelino and Elder Bigelow talked with Dionisio. I heard them every now and then, but I was super impressed with Elder Bigelow’s Portuguese! He speaks better than he thinks and doesn’t have the confidence he should, but when he does speak, he does really well. I got to know Adelino a bit while we walked and then when we got to his house. He is currently studying at the Universidade Pedagogica, near his house. I talked about me wanting to be an engineer and he told me that he had wanted to, but if he went that route, the only job he would get is teaching a drawing and design class in high school. So, he’s studying maths. I also found out that he has been sick for a long time and has been trying to get rid of it. When we got to his house, we met his mom and then went and sat down to have a lesson. It was… interesting… to say the least. It started out very very weird. He started out telling us about his sickness. He’s had it since October of last year. He then went off into a long story involving evil spirits, superstitious fertility rites and an invisible snake (which is wrapped around his neck, choking him when he tries to eat). Other than this, though, he seemed super normal and he even had a lot of really good questions about how to find the right church. He was really concerned about the priesthood and how he could know who has it. We went into the whole restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but started at the Plan of Salvation and showing how there’s only two choices we have in life, Christ or Satan. We tried to help him realize the importance of a Restoration and how he can know and what it can do in his life (specifically we talked about this superstition without killing it. It’s a false tradition, but we’ve got to see what he’s willing to do before we give up). Interesting, to say the least. But, like I said, he was super interested and had some really really good questions. Anyway, after him we went to go visit Maria. Awkward. She’s a relatively new mother (her baby is a few months, tops) and to keep it quiet, like all the rest of the Mozambiquans do, she just fed it every time it started to cry. So, Elder Bigelow and I are doing everything we can to not look at her. Dionisio isn’t even fazed, and he led the lesson. I’ve been here for a long time, but that’s still super weird… We talked about the restoration with her but she was really unresponsive. It was hard to get very far with her in terms of teaching because she wouldn’t participate… It was tough, to say the least. But, once again, Dionisio was a champion and kept it going. Maria has a husband who’s only home on the weekends, so we marked to try to come back later to talk to the both of them. He’s Muslim and wants her and the baby to be. Our intention was to talk with him and see what we could do (if he was adamant, we couldn’t do anything…). so we marked for Saturday. After her (we’re already a little late at this point) we talked to Dionisio about going home because it looked like it might rain soon and he had a long walk. He decided to go home, and we went to our last lesson, with Anapaula and Pascoal. Pascoal wasn’t there, because of work, so we told them we would call them later to set up a time to visit. We went walking around for a little bit longer, doing contacts, and then went home and went to bed…
Wednesday! We had said we wanted to weekly plan, but it didn’t work out and so we moved it to Friday. We got a lot done, but we didn’t plan enough time to do everything we needed to… so we had three lessons planned on Wednesday and English class. First, we went to go see Pedro and Atija. we planned a lesson with them about faith and the Holy Ghost and how to recognize him. We used a lot of scriptures and a few quotes from preach my Gospel. we did all this with the purpose of trying to get them to read and to pray (Atija already has, but Pedro is having some problems). I think it helped, but we’ll see how it goes in the future. After them, we booked it over to the church to teach Ingles class. We marked with Joseph to meet us right after English class at the church to talk with him. Wow, we had a really nice lesson with him. We talked about and read with him Alma 42. As he read some of the passages, he wept. He was truly sorry for some of the things that he has done in his past and really wanted to know what he needs to do to be forgiven. He thought that his sins wouldn’t be (or couldn’t be) forgiven him. We shared some scriptures with him on the miracle of the atonement and the wonderful feeling that we can get when we truly repent. Joseph is a stud. He’s doing super well. After him, we booked it to William and Prisca’s house. We had a great lesson with them on obedience and prayer and the blessings that come from them. We left them a talk by D. Todd Christofferson, entitled “Recognizing God’s Hand in Our Daily Blessings.” It is a super good talk that focuses on paying attention to the daily things that we receive and that we need. As we ask for the things we need today, we will be able to support our afflictions easier.
Thursday. We had a few lessons fall through at the beginning of the day, so we spent two and a half hours just contacting. We found a few people that might be interested, but no bites so far. Afterwards, we went to go visit Leandro and Angela, but when we showed up, Agostinho and Teodosio, two of the branch missionaries were already there! So, we decided to wait a few minutes and go to visit Felizardo, who lives close by. When we got there, Dionisio and Egidio were already teaching him! I was a bit surprised, but very happy to see our investigators being visited by the branch missionaries. We went back to Leandro and Angela’s and we saw them talking to the branch missionaries still. So, we sat down and waited for a few minutes for them to leave. The few minutes turned into 40 minutes and it wasn’t until Angela came over to tell us that they had already left that we realized what happened. We showed up the first time and told them we’d be back in ten minutes. They left, and we came back. Because there was a wall where the missionaries were sitting, I thought that they were still there and didn’t even go look. Silly me We shared a few scriptures with them about King Lamoni’s father and how he was willing to give up everything for the gospel, but the most important thing was his sins. After them, we went to go visit Ana Cristina again. When we showed up, her son, Helder, was there. (His name is said just like “elder”) We started talking about the Plan of Salvation with them and at first, Helder was a bit apprehensive and a little hostile. But as we talked and shared with them, I could see him softening and even starting to smile. It was a good lesson. We used 2 Nefi 2 to talk about all of the plan of salvation up to our life on earth. We left them Alma 42 to read while we were gone and when we go back we’ll talk to them about it. After them, we went and had a quick lesson with Dioniso about preach my gospel and how important it is and what he can be doing to study it better.
Friday! We had two lessons, one with Adelino and one with Felizardo. we asked Adelino if he had prayed about our message to know if it was true and he said yes. He then recounted to us a dream about two angels which was basically the first vision. I’d like to believe him, but I don’t really know. We talked about the importance of the holy ghost and how he testifies of the truth of all things and how he is a much more powerful witness of these things than a vision. (I got an inspiration from sacrament meeting yesterday to talk about the story of Corihor with him.) We gave him a book of Mormon and talked about it and left. It was a weird lesson. After him, we talked with Felizardo about tithing and fasting and sacrifice and the principles thereof. He is one of the first people I have met who truly understands that Tithing is not about money but about faith and sacrifice. It was a super cool lesson. We asked him about how he was feeling to be baptized the next day and he said, “My heart is boiling!” We laughed a bit and then focused on how that good, warm feeling comes from the Holy Ghost. We then went home and had a ridiculous (awesome) weekly planning for three hours.
Saturday, I woke up feeling a little weird, but we went to the chapel to help with the cleaning at 6 am. By the time we got there, I was feeling pretty bad, so I sat down and tried not to sick everywhere. On the way to the church, I had a interesting experience with the spirit. I was remembering an inspirational quote from a movie I had seen a while ago when I felt the feeling I normally associate with the spirit. I thought for a second and realized it couldn’t have been, because the quote, while inspirational, was quite inappropriate. I thought some more and came to the conclusion that they are similar feelings, but not the same. As I decided this, I felt the spirit, which was the same feeling, but a little bit more. It’s very hard to describe, but it was a confirmation on top of the inspiration that I felt. It was a cool realization for me. After the cleaning, we went to the pool where we normally do the baptisms to watch the baptism of Felizardo and Benidio. We got there and found out there was a conference for Frelimo, the governing party of Mozambique right now. They were taking up the pools, so it was a no go on the baptisms. Felizardo just laughed and shrugged it off, telling us “I guess God wanted it to be on the 4th of August!” which was his original date we had chosen for him, but felt we needed to move. After the botched baptism, we went home to get things ready for Elder Nascimento to leave. We went to the airport at about noon to drop him off and to pick up Elder Paxman’s new companion, Elder de Oliveira. (He’s from Brasil). We eventually got home, and I started to feel a little worse. I had a headache and some body pains. So, I took some medicine and we went out. We talked to Anapaula and Pascoal about changing their baptism date (it was supposed to be this week) because she’s about to give birth and they still aren’t married. We talked about goals they can work towards to get married. After them, we had our meeting with Maria and her husband, but he wasn’t home, so we told her wed come back alter. Rofl. Misspelling, but it’s funny. We want them to get married and I accidentally wrote wed and alter 😛 We also went to go visit William and Prisca. They weren’t there. I was feeling pretty bad at this point, so we decided to go eat dinner and call it an early night.
Sunday I woke up feeling pretty bad. Achy body, headache and I thought a fever, but when I took my temperature, it showed 96.8. So I was a bit weirded out by that. I decided to go to church. It went great and I learned lots. I’ve started taking notes on all of the talks and I have noticed a lot of spiritual promptings that have started coming to me because of this (including the one to teach Adelino). We went home, ate and got ready, then headed back to the church for correlation. By the time we left I was feeling pretty bad, so I decided it had to be malaria and not just my allergies, like I thought. I took some coartem (the anti malarial) and then went to sleep. It’s definitely malaria. I’m doing better now, but my body still swings from hot to cold every few hours(I’m cold right now) and it’s not getting worse. I’m super tired, so I don’t know how much this email is going to make sense. I’m pretty sure it’s gotten worse the more I’ve typed 😛 but I’m doing well and getting better. It’s just going to take a few days for me to gain my strength back. Ooh! Fun fact: malaria attacks your red blood cells and kills them, so after the initial wave, your urine turns brown, filled with dead blood cells. That was a bit of a shocker this morning 🙂 We had 11 investigators come to church this week! We’re working our brains out and I’m having a great time. This week will be interesting with the malaria. Well, love yous all!!
Elder A. Spencer Leake