To Whom I May Concern:
(that means my family!)
Well, it seems appropriate to answer a few q's from the land of the free and the home of the brave.
#1 Unfortunately I did not get to see, hear, smell, taste, or feel conference. I almost forgot it was happening! How sad is that! The only reason we remembered was because one night a family we were visiting were trying to get on to the internet to listen to it. So I missed it. I want to hear it soooo bad but we will get the conference issue sometime. I'll let you know what I liked!
#2 Dad/anybody who would like to know when I get transferred. Well well. I have a hunch (not on my back--just in my head) that this next transfer I will be transferred to another area. So here is the rundown: Elder Hendrickson has only one transfer left now (he reminds me of that frequently haha) and that can mean a few things. Including this transfer, he has been in this area for 4 transfers. It doesn't make a lot of sense for President to transfer him somewhere else for only one transfer. It can and has happened but we are casting our lots such that he will stay here in Beira 1. As for me I have 2 transfers here. Typically people stay in their areas for 3-5 transfers. With greenies, it is different. Usually a greenie stays in his first area 1-3 transfers as kind of an Intro to Mozambique kind of thing. However that doesn't mean much because people sometimes stay up to 5 so we are not sure. Anyways. I see one of two options: First, I stay and "kill" Elder Hendrickson (kill--missionary term meaning that the last companion sees him through his final stages in missionary life). If I stay, it would almost be guaranteed that I stay for another two transfers-totaling 5 in the Beira 1 area. This is because I would have to show my area around to another person, letting them know where everything is at and stuff. So that is one possibility. Second, I could be transferred to another area, leaving Elder Hendrickson to show the area to someone else for one transfer before he departs. Quite personally, I think the second is more likely but you never know. Transfers are always super exciting. If I do go somewhere else though, it will probably be in the Beira district. Somewhere like Manga, Munhava, Inhamizua, or something like that. OR there is one other possibility. Recently, President has been opening a new area or two every transfer (intentions unsure: some divinations are suggesting he is trying to split the mission into a Maputo/Angola mission and a Beira/Nampula/Tete mission. Just speculation). Typically when pres. opens a new area, he sends a really experienced person with a really new person. So it could be possible that I open up a new area somewhere. It would be unlikely though considering that most of the areas that would be opened would be down toward Maputo and that costs money. But all in all that's a lot of gibberish to say, we don't know. Personally, I love love love the members here but I would like a change of scenery. I'm not a city guy. I like to visit, but not to stay. So it would be easy to leave the area, more or less (climbing 100 stories a day isn't exactly my favorite--yes that is a realistic number) but it would be hard to leave the members. So we will see. I'll go where the Lord wants me to go!
#3 Yes I will get all the packages you send to the mission office in a somewhat timely manner (3-5 weeks)
#4 I use powdered milk here actually. It is quite wonderful. I use powdered and UHT processed milk. Dairy-not a problem!
#5 Hendrickson-you know. Almost done. McCullough has been out about 3 months short of a year. Richardson is right behind Hendrickson but he has since been shipped down to Maputo for medical problems and he probably won't return. So McCullough is with a branch missionary right now.
#6 The Government makes marriage hard for many reasons. For a long time, they wouldn't recognize any marriage performed by religious clergy. Meaning you would have to get some Government guy to perform the marriage and pay him lots and lots of money. The Church got that fixed quickly. So now, you just have to do a ton of paperwork and wait and wait and wait. Paperwork doesn't really get done quickly here. So you turn in paperwork, wait, get results and do more paperwork, wait, and do some other stuff, wait..... It's just a big waiting game. So marriage is really a big hassle and because of that, people just don't get married. It's hard to blame them. But ya. It is interesting when you teach complete families and then you learn that no one is married. It causes problems. but ya. That's the brief run down. I don't know a ton.
#7 Just give me some riddles occasionally. Some jokes. Some quotes. Silly things that happen in the house. Oh! And occasionally, don't forget to include pictures!!!!!!!
Anyhow, I think I just about lost my mind when I heard that Utah State beat BYU. Elder Hendrickson went to Utah State and he couldn't believe it either. Pretty much.... That is so interesting. I wish I was there to experience all the politics of it but ya. It's ok to make mistakes. As long as you learn something from them. So don't ever make mistakes--make learning experiences! That sounds a little better don't ya think?
As far as people out to rob missionaries, there aren't really any. Sometimes it just happens. But in all reality, if you lock up right, it is really hard to break in and steal something. Especially at our house. The reason why some missionaries get robbed is usually just because they don't lock up right. They get lazy. Elder Bingham (Binghams--a couple) told me that it would have been easy to rob them in the states. They didn't bolt the door, so all it would have taken was a credit card to open the door. Kinda just like shutting the door without locking it in the states. Then after that I'm not entirely sure but ya. He said they may as well have hung a sign saying ROB US. That's what he said. I think it is a little exaggerated but I can't say. All I know is that it only took about a minute or less to break in. So that says a little something. Anyways. Wish I could explain all the details but the in reality, as long as you arent lazy about locking up, you are fine. Generally, my stuff is safe. I'm prepared.
As far as coming to Mozambique to pick me up. This is a hard decision. It totally depends on what you want to experience. It is very true that poverty over here isn't pretty but you have already seen some of that in China, Vietnam, etc. So Imagine that. Also, there isn't a ton to experience as far as tourism goes. You might be able to go to a zoo and see some real African animals but ya. I still haven't yet. It is pretty stinky sometimes and very trashy. So here is the scoop. If you want to come pick me up from Africa and you want to do so with a tourist mindset, I would advise otherwise. It isn't exactly a tourist destination--except Inhambane, I hear that has some amazing beaches but that's about it. Mozambique ain't high on tourism exactly. It used to be--it was called the diamond of Africa. But the diamond got dirty. It has a lot of polishing to go through. Anyways. As a tourist destination, I would say it is a no go. However, if you wanted to go having a mindset on the people, there isn't a better place. The people are so so so nice and you would love love love to meet them. I could translate. You could see where I walked. We could visit members homes and talk a little bit. We could experience Mozambique the people. and the church. So it all boils down to whether you want to come here to experience Mozambique the place, or Mozambique the people. Personally, as far as looking at a cost-benefit ratio, I would rather be together as a family and go somewhere rather than just mom and dad here in Mozambique. It just costs too much to come down here right now in my opinion. But if you really want to see the people then you can't pay a cost high enough to come here. That is the scoop. If it changes, I will let you know. but ya.
So I sometimes walk with a watch because I have to sometimes but I just try to avoid time. It can be done in the states too but it is a bit harder. Anyways. I can teach you all the ways when I get home.
So quickly, Africanisms!
You know you are in Africa if....
1. Everybody just watches soap operas all day long. They waste away their lives sometimes. It is sad. Did I already say this one?
2. People hide from the rain like they are deathly afraid of it. It is kindof funny. But ya. No one does anything. ALL work, selling, buying, eating, drinking stops! As if it is the end of the world. Then when it stops raining, people kind of come out again. Funny.
3. Barrack Obama and Micheal Jackson are the best things that ever happened to this world. They are practically worshipped here. Haha. T shirts with Barrack saying We Won! or something like that. It is just funny how they are so idolized. Funny how men turn other men into demi-gods.
4. People steal park benches for firewood. Sometimes you just see random blocks and you ask yourself "why is that?" Then if you imagine a wood board you realize Oh!
5. People are increadibly, overwhelmingly hospitable. They recognize that we are servants of God and that to them demands respect. We are often offered food or drink or whatever to make ourselves super comfortable. It is amazing. And they sometimes don't let us work. We scheduled service with someone this week to do some pilaring, found out we wouldn't make it that day and showed up two days early only to find that they were already doing what we were going to do! They consider us superiors and as a general rule, it is wrong making your superiors work. So that is interesting. It is wonderfully respectful, but at the same time, it isn't quite needed. I don't know. Very interesting. Bless these people!
Anyways, That's about all I have time for today! Keep up the good work! The smallest things are the most important! Don't be lazy. It doesn't help a bit. I am learning that. By small and simple things are the great things brought to pass! Pray Read Study Poder and love every minute of it!!!
With Love Evermore,