Elder Derek Miller's Mission Site

Walk with Who?

Date: September 20, 2010
Area: Beira, Mozambique
Companion: Hendrickson


 Hello Family!

Guess what? This week I actually have a "fast"computer! Woot! So technically I can write more in less time. Nice!

Ok... let's answer a few questions from the audience.

Have your received any pouch mail? Yes I have but it only comes every so often. Probably about every transfer, more or less. So I don't get stuff right away. First it goes to the Mission home and waits until transfers or a big meeting with Pres or something like that. But yes, I have received some mail so that's good. I never knew mail could give you such a thill!

What is your typical day like? It appears like I didn't answer this well enough... haha so... I'm not entirely sure what you are looking for. Like what kind of lessons we teach or what are the people like or something. I'm not sure. Because literally it is wake up, exercise, study, teach, eat lunch, teach teach teach, dinner-ish, bed, repeat. Something like that. Throw some specifics and I will reply as best I can. The work here is pretty monotonous as far as schedules are concerned.

What is your p-day like?P-Day!!! The celebratory day of the week. Wake up-eat something and then do internet! After internet for a few hours we usually go to a shop next door and get Mozambican hamburgers or something like that (see Africanisms). After that, we just walk around town looking at stuff for a little bit. For example, if I want capulanas, I buy at this time. Then after doing that, we go to Shoprite and Break the Bank buying food of all kinds. Then we pay for a taxi thing home and put food away. Then the Zone Leaders come pick us up where we cram a bunch of Missionaries into the trucks they have and go somewhere and do something. Some things we have done-- Play futbol (soccer), football (the one you know), frisbee, futsol (indoor soccer), Basketball, watch a movie (we did it last week. Open Season), or just bask (an important missionary word which means to say chilling, or relaxing). We do these things at the church, at a sports place thing, on a field, or on the beach (but NO swimming). After that, we go back home and bask for a little while until we have to go back out at 18:00 (6:00). P-day ends!

Have you thought about any package stuff that you would like to have us send? Yes. Just a few things. First off, you can include as much Enya as you want to the music stuff. Also please send a Rubiks Cube. I want to see if I can solve it without directions. Just fiddle with it while I am basking. I just need a puzzle to solve. PS I would love love love it if you sent me some riddles/jokes/quotes through email. I miss trivia! Anyways. Just that and some good old American Candy (I understand Pierre!) I sure miss a good ol Kit-Kat or a Snickers or something like that. They just don't have stuff here that compares. So ya. Kit kat, Recees Fast break, Snickers, Crunch, Starburst, Jolly Ranchers, you name it! It doesn't matter. American Candy is worth more to missionaries over here than money. To receive a package of Candy is to be a rich man indeed! Oh! and maybe one or two new pair of socks. Not because my socks are worn. Just because they will feel so amazing (no fabric softener of any kind). Doesn't matter what kind of socks either (white, red, brown, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, frilly, cool, manly, girly, it really doesn't matter that much... just avoid the girly).

Do any of the native girls try to flirt with you? I would say yes. The missionaries are well loved you could say. But it is only flirting so far. Hopefully we don't experience anything too crazy. Things could get very awkward.

Do you walk everywhere? Do we walk everywhere? Tell me about it! AT LEAST 4 miles a day but that is a very low number (Sunday. To church and back and appointments) Probably average is 10 miles a day or so. We walk a ton! Speaking of walking, sometimes the boot-wanna-be shoes get a little bulky. I trip alot. But that could just be because I don't know how to pick up my feet. Or the mountains of garbage. Something like that.

How are you with money? I am just fine so far. I get plenty for the week from the church. I only use my other money for buying lembrancas (souveniers).

Does the president usually keep you in one area for awhile? Ya. Typical is 3-5 transfers except in your first. Sometimes he only leaves you in there for 1 or 2 because that is where you learn to speak the language and you need a fresh start somewhere else because people still think that you can't speak when you really can (my problem). Speaking of the language! Talk about the gift of tongues. I can see it so well in the work. The language fast helped me a ton I think. I can already speak Portugues pretty well. I can say anything I want to really (sometimes it is in a round about way but I figure it out) So I am not yet fluent per se but I can definitely speak and understand most anything! Just working on vocab now!

Nice! ( a really big word here--they love it )

the moment you have all been waiting for...


You might be in Africa if...

1) People thoroughly promise to do something, and then never do it. Epa! (Portuguese interjection) People almost never do what you ask them to do. It drives me crazy!!! I am trying to figure out a way to really truly commit them to do something. One successfull way is the guilt trip (I am getting good at that--problem? I dont know). Phrases like, "Do you not have time enough for Jesus?" or "Is it because you don't love God" things like that get at people here, because they are crazy about religion and love love love Jesus. So if somebody sent from God (us) thinks that they don't love Jesus, they will usually do it. But sometimes even that doesnt work. Please! Fulfill your promises!

2) You see guys with nails 1-3 cut nice and crisp but nails 4-5 grow out longer than most girls nails. This is still a peculiar mystery to me. I asked a guy why one day. He said he didn't really know. It's good for scratching. I Imagine its probably good for a lot of different things. They use it as a tool until it breaks. Then they use the other hand. Very peculiar.

3) You take a bite into a hamburger and realize that there is a fried egg added with everything. This is something I LOVE. Genius! So a Mozambican Hamburger is as folows. Lettuce, onions, tomato, imitation ketchup (they just don't know how to make ketchup like home--oo! How long does ketchup last? Maybe that could go in the package), hamburger and a nice fried egg all surrounded by a gigantic oversized roll for a bun. It is actually very good. Try it one day!

4) Your investigators say something REALLY awkward. So we have two wonderful investigators (who wont stay at church! The little stinkers!) whose names are Maria and Valdemar. I love love love that family but things get a little awkward sometimes just because they are pretty classic Mozambicans. I will share many stories about them. So anyways we were teaching the 10 comandments and we get to the one that says"Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and already from the get-go, you know this has a great potential to be awkward. So, seeking understanding on what they knew about this commandment, I asked "What does this commandment mean?" And Maria said that it is because they are married. She said "It means that I can't walk with Elder Hendrickson because I am married to Valdemar" *FYI--to walk with means 'to get around' or you know what I mean. So off the bat, I could tell that Elder Hendrickson felt quite strange. As I was racking my brain with thoughts of how to break the awkwardness, I was given an even bigger and more awkward present than Elder Hendrickson when she said, "And Elder Miller can't walk with Valdemar because Valdemar is married to me." In all honesty, I didn't quite know what to say, think, or do. I wanted to burst out laughing but at the same time, assume the fetal position, shrivel up in a corner, and find my happy place. The result was an awkward facial contortion and me asking what a random word in the scriptures meant. I couldn't really think for the rest of the lesson. A wonderful experience that will be hard to forget.

5) People make soup from a leaf. Leaf of Matapa (Mmmm.... so good!) Leaf of the Pumpkin (I will make it for you when I get home) Leaf of this, Leaf of that. It makes great soup. Anyhow. Some matapa with shrimp or something is wonderful! It looks like something that came out the other end, but tastes like heaven!

So. Just a few other things from the week. Maria and Valdemar were celebratig the Birthday of Valdemar's mom. She requesed our presence so we showed up. It was great! And it was very interesting to see the Champagne. Maria and Valdemar are preparing for baptism so they dont drink anything but everyone else did. It was a big party and everyone got a little Champagne--yes, including the kids. I think the youngest I saw drinking was about Luke's age or so. Somewhere from 8-10. Ages are a little hazy here. So that was interesting. So we wished a happy birthday, took a few pictures and left the scene. Haha. Missionaries at a party with alcohol! Woot!

This was my first time doing splits this week. I had to grow up and show the area all by myself. It was a great opportunity. A little rough but I could do it. I am learning so much. Using GPS to find people and maps that are confusing and climbing who knows how many stairs (members always live on the top floors. Epa! At least it makes my legs strong) Our days in the city, we probably climb over 100 stories worth of stairs because they don't got no elevators! So ya. Splits were fun!

Elder Hendrickson is a great by-the-book missionary. Very patient and understanding. We are working on getting up out of the book though and teaching people. He gets excited about going home at the end of November and sometimes I forget that I am not going home in November. So that is no fun. But it all works out. We are teaching a girl named Celia and we taught the law of chastity to her this week. She has such great faith. We invited her to be baptized a few lessons back and she said she would but she needs more time to prepare. We didn't know what that meant until after we taught the law of chastity. She said that she had a boyfriend in Maputo and that she was already telling him that things were going to change here in a bit because she wanted to be baptized. We didn't even tell her to do that and she hadn't even been taught the law of chastity yet! Wow! Incredible faith. A true person who is willing to sacrifice for Christ. This may not seem big but it is. It is such a HUGE pain to try to get married here and so everyone just has boyfriends and girlfriends and all that. People have families but are not married because of the difficulty of marriage. It is ridiculous (the goverments fault). But ya. Celia has great faith and she is learning so so much! I love it! She is awesome!

I have to tell you about President Bila next week but it is about time to go. So don't forget to remind me!

Anyways, that's a little about what is going on over here! It is great! I love it!

The Church is True!

Keep on keepin' on!

With Love,

Elder Miller


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