Elder Derek Miller's Mission Site

1000 Members in the Jungle

Date: October 17, 2011
Area: Quelimane, Mozambique
Companion: Bonds

 

Dear Family,
 
Well this past week has been a little rough. I ended up offending one of our main investigators this week so that was a bummer. We were trying to have a lesson and she was being a little distracted (I gotta give her a break. She's 19 years old with 2 crazy children) but I lost patience a little and asked her to pay attention. Anyways. The end wasn't so happy. We fixed it but it will still be a while until things fully settle down. So... This is just kinda one of those weeks where ya say "Puxa vida!" and just keep going!
 
on the positive side...
 
Our air conditioner in our room started working! Yay! I can actually have a room now. Previously we have all been sleeping in one room because we didn't have a working air conditioner. Sound familiar? (Maxixe). So ya. Finally with a working air conditioner I can settle down a little. Another thing that might sound familiar is I'm trying to teach Primary again (yay!....) with the help of some members this time. It's a disaster but we are working on different motivational tactics to help the children behave. We really gotta bring the thunder. African children are incredibly undisciplined. Children openly rebel and parents just let it slide. Not . Good. So that creates all sorts of problems. But anyways. We are working with that.
 
Funny story for ya. Elder Derrickson (my son) and Elder Humphries had a fun experience. So I met a man on the road and he asked if we were from the Church of JC of LDS and I said that we were. He said that there was once a RM from Mozambique who moved to Quelimane and wanted to share the gospel alot so he just started getting people together and, if I heard correctly, baptizing people and making his own-ish branch out here. So supposedly there are close to 1000 people in the jungle that have been baptized and are meeting in mud shacks holding their own meetings. The RM died so they were left to themselves. We met with the man and on Sunday we marked a time to go visit their meetings. Well long story short, we couldn't make it so we sent my son and Elder Humphries to explore the supposed jungle church meetings. Oh my. The story just about made me die. I guess they walked for miles and over a river and through the woods until there was nothing but dirt path and mud and trees--houses only every once in a while. Then they started hearing singing in the forest and they thought "oh no..." Well they brought them to this mud house and people were singing and playing their drums and shaking their instruments and dancing and stuff welcoming them to their "chapel." No one spoke portuguese so they had a translator there to help them. They said that the two missionaries were going to teach them some stuff. So my son looked at Elder Humphries as if to say, "I ain't doin it." So Elder Humphries got up and basically shared a brief testimony with them. Then Elder Derrickson did the same. Supposedly it went fairly well. There were all of about 30 people there. Then they left and said, "so is it usually like that there" and the Francisco (the name of the man) said, "Oh no, there are alot more but the meeting starts in an hour. Those people just came early." So they walked a little bit more thinking that they were going to our church. nope. They started hearing singing and drums again. Oh no..... haha. So they walked into this mud house and said that there were over 100 people crammed into this little shelter with some mud cross on a mud pulpit and people sitting at the front. They went and sat down amongst cheers of 'Hallelujah' and 'hosana'. Francisco got up and talked to them and every time the missionaries were mentioned or told that they were going to speak to them, the crowd went wild! Haha. Francisco then started saying things like, "God sent us two prophets today to give us the word of God" *cheering* "Let's hear from them!" So both got up and shared brief testimonies--by this point both were numb to anything that was going on. They were in another world. Then Francisco got up and told everyone that they had to go to the great meeting on the other side of the river and as they walked out, everyone was cheering and singing and beating drums and everything. 
 
Meanwhile back at the branch...
 
Elder Miller is wondering where Elder D and Elder H are--especially because Elder D has a talk to give! After the sacrament, He sees them walk in from the back. Grateful that they were finally here, he called elder D to come give his talk since he was firstk, unaware of the startling, frighteningly outrageous experience they just had. Elder D, without sitting down, walks to the pulpit with his back pack and sunglasses still on, unloads and pulls out his scriptures, takes off his glasses and says "Sorry for being late. I just went on a LONG trip." Little did we know.
 
Both of them said it was the most frightening, terrifying, and coolest experience they had ever seen. In the words of my son, "The Elder was scared out of his freaking mind. The Derrickson was thinking 'This is SO COOL!!!'"
 
I guess we will have to see what we are supposed to do with 1000 members who where baptized without authorization and whose church services... are a little apostate... haha.
 
Questions:
 
What is going on in your area? Well it's getting hotter, people are getting better, and I've been feeling a lot of racism lately. haha. We found a man who found the church online (wow!) and he has been doing really well. We committed him to baptism if he came to know the Book of Mormon was true.
 
What is new with your household?  Do you all get along? Pretty much same old same old. We are all the same. Of course that will drastically change next transfer.
 
How was church and the investigators? Church was alright. I was in the primary. Record day though. Almost 60 people. Oh my comp says 60. So ya. A good turnout.
 
What has been your least favorite part of your mission? The inability to communicate and connect with people who are 100% opposite of who I am. Trying to deal with a culture and people that I don't understand. And actually I like doing that but I just don't like doing that alone. Here you just kinda have to figure out stuff on your own. You learn a ton but it would sure save a lot of time if we had some help from somewhere. It was the same way with Maxixe. Just 6 Elders out in the middle of nowhere Africa. I rely on the Spirit a ton. That's the only thing you can do. However we do have a little more contact with people here than we did in Maxixe. In maxixe I felt completely away from anything. Haha. I don't know. Occasionally you just feel out of touch with everything. Quelimane is way behind the mission because it is far away from any city or any church branch or organization or couple or authority. The Mozambique Maputo Mission is way behind and far away from anything that any of the other missions get because we are so far from SLC. We usually don't get conference until about 3 months after it happens--and that's usually just the Liahonas. So I just kinda feel like I don't have a lot of learning resources. So you do your best with what you have. Fortunately we have a couple coming here in 2 weeks so that will help a ton. Also, the church sent portable DVD players to all missionary companionships throughout the world and we finally got ours--after everybody else. haha. But those help so much. I have already learned a ton about what I need to do better by watching some training videos and stuff. Anyways. ya. A little help would sure be nice I guess.
 
What has been your favorite part of your mission? Seeing progress--especially in myself. My mind is maturing and though the learning process is rough, it is well worth it. I actually heard a quote this week and I can't remember which apostle said it but translating from Portuguese it goes something like this: The gospel was sent to comfort the aflicted and to afflict the comfortable. Haha. All of this has a reason and I'm growing because of it.
 
 
Well wish me luck on another week. Pray for my comp. I've got a plan to help him come out. Pray that I can be patient, peaceful, simple and that I won't forget to smile! haha.
 
Love you all!
 
Elder Derek

 

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