Quem e o Muzungo? Muzungo indiwe! (dialect meaning, who is the white guy? YOU are the white guy! lol they laugh really hard at that)
So it sounds like there is a ton of news going down back home! People are just busy busy busy!
So just a few things first. Let's get some Africanisms and Spiritualisms out of the way!
You might be in Africa if...
1. All of the soda bottles are glass. It is super smart. You pay for the liquid and then they just wash and reuse the bottles. It is a little inconvenient because you have to give the glass bottles back but really. Less waste. Even though there is just a ton of trash here anyways. But ya. We should adopt that idea. Too bad America thinks its too inconvenient.
2. Ants climb ALL OVER the trees. You can't really see them because they are really small but ya. They are there. You put your hand on a tree and all of the sudden IIISSH!
3. A sign on the road has stop written profesionally over a yield sign and then go spraypainted over that...... You tell ME what to do!
4. People sell peanuts and bananas and almost everything you need on the street. Quite personally, I like the peanuts and cashews. They are super good!
5. You can play soccer with a cockroach. It is kinda fun really. Those things just don't die! One day, we were in a building and a cockroach stepped out in front of me (it was pretty big) and my comp Elder Hendrickson said, "kick it!" so I gave it a really good kick. It hit the wall and wasn't even stunned! just got up and tried to scurry away! So we played soccer with it for just a few minutes until it scurried down an elevator shaft. That was sure interesting!
So anyways, ya. Here are some Spiritualisms I learned the other day from the Scriptures.
1. The Sacrament (which also implies other ordinances) was performed long long before Christ came to the earth. In Genesis 14:18 It talks about Melchizedek bringing bread and wine to Abram and in the Joseph Smith Translation at the bottem, it said "And he brake bread and blest it; and he blest the wine, he being the priest of the most high God." So that's interesting. Things only changed when the Children of Israel couldn't handle those things anymore. Pretty cool huh?
2. The name "the Tower of Babel" actually uses word play in hebrew. Balal, the hebrew word means 'mix' or 'confound' and so when God said "Therefore is the name of it called babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth..." in Genesis 11:9, it means that God would balal the tower of Babel. Interesting eh? it is in the footnotes. You learn a TON from the footnotes.
3. The name Adam is very interesting in hebrew too. (I know, I'm on an Old Testament Hebrew roll today). Adam in Hebrew is a common noun, meaning man or mankind. Just interesting. Footnote of Gen 5:2
So just that for now. So this week I experienced alot more interesting things. Creeking floorboards that I thought I was going to fall through the floor. I don't know if I already told you about the giant Baobab tree. They are huge. The trunk is about the size of our family room. Oh and we got some good pictures of a really crazy looking bee! They are huge big ol nasty things! haha. they look pretty scary. Pretty much right now, I am just trying to learn how to simplify my life. I have SO much stuff that I am finding out I really don't need. I am finding out more and more, that sometimes inconvenience is not a bad thing. I almost feel better being inconvenienced with less than I do having a plethura of everything. What does this mean? Well, I mean first off in diet. To eat less is better than gorging yourself with food. I don't know if gorge or engordate are words in english. In portuguese to get fat is engordar so that's where I am getting it from. So I am changing my diet to try to be more like that. Eating healthy just feels so so so so so so SO SO SO SO much better than not. I have more energy and I feel better. Pure natural stuff and not too much sugar or preservatives or anything. Just feels so good. Anyways, ya. I am changing my eating habits. Natural is the way to go. That's how President and his wife are. They are super health nuts. And it pays off. They are old but they still look really young healthy and strong. And they don't just look that way--they are that way. So ya. Anyways just one example. Another example is the watch example. Just living without time controlling you. An inconvenience to not have the time on your wrist (I still have to know the time I just keep my watch in my pasta (not spaghetti--portugues for handbag/backpack/briefcase)) but ya. You just need to let go of what is more convenient sometimes and live a little out of your comfort zone. Kinda like running. It may not be convenient but it feels so good! But it is a different kind of good. I don't know. Anyways, sometimes denying yourself pleasure is the thing that brings you the most happiness. Ironic.
As far as "Small and Simple Things" epa! I am learning so so much about that myself. Everyday I get the message Simplify Simplify Simplify!!! I always like the quote "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step" or something like that. Step by step, inch by inch, brick by brick, investigator by investigator, we are building the church here in Mozambique. Little things are just so wonderful. And here. I can't tell you how much joy I find in just eating a banana on the street. Or just talking to a friend. A new pair of socks!! Those are a few of my favorite/would be favorite things. But ya. If you think about it, that is just the way the Lord works. Small and Simple. Through the small whisperings of the spirit. The simplicity of Jesus Christ himself as a carpenter's son. I'm sure when Lehi and his family journeyed in the wilderness, it was really a time for all of them to find out what simplicity meant. In all reality, I am realizing that the greatest and most simple thing here on this planet and the thing that would potentially give us the most happiness is given to us as a gift. The Family is an inherent gift from God. We didn't pay for it. Everyone has a family--whether immediate or as a family of God's children. That is why the family is in my opinion, the most important part of the gospel. As I see it, the gospel centers entirely on family. This has been a pretty big topic for me this week as we teach broken dysfunctional families. Truly the family is the fundamental fighting unit of God's army here on the earth. The gospel is not just for individuals. That would be selfish. We perfect ourselves so that we can learn to live together as a family. I cannot stress the importance of family time enough. How much our families need to be our best friends! If Satan can break the family, he is already winning. How do we strengthen our family? By small and simple things. Little notes or actions that communicate love. Family dinner together. Family prayer. Family scripture study. These things build up a strong wall of unity and protection around the family. Do you remember Michagan? I don't remember a whole lot but I do remember one thing. I remember making candles. Ironically, this memory is very vivid. I remember taking a regular piece of string and there were two buckets of hot wax some distance apart. I would dip the string in one bucket of hot wax and then walk over to another bucket of hot wax. By the time I got there, the hot wax had cooled and I would dip it again and the process continued. At first, the candle was so small, but time after time and dip after dip, the candle grew. I feel it is the same with everything in the church. We aren't born perfect. We work little by little. Even the Son of God had to grow as a child and from the most humble circumstances in the lowest setting he now reigns in glory above all things. See the Hymn "Jesus Once of Humble Birth." Little by little, he grew too. Through the most basic teachings in parables, he taught both learned and leper, sinner and saint. His call to us is the same as that of the Young man who had many riches. Come, Follow Me is his plea. Turn aside the world. Take upon me my name. Enter into my family. Truly, I am learning that the best mission prep for me was not a class or learning, but just the daily diligence of praying and reading scriptures and spending time with my family--all of which I did not nearly do enough of! Truly, we are the light of the world. We are each given a seed, or a candle if you will, that we have to make great. When our seed has grown to be a tree, it will produce fruit. When we have built our candle, we can light it. When we build our testimonies and our families, we truly can confound the wise and as it says in D&C 1:19 "The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones" Just another interesting symbol. In chemistry, what is the universal solvent? Meaning what is the universal substance that is used to break down material? Meaning, in any given circumstance, what chemical, or substance could potentially break down virtually anything? The answer is suprisingly simple. Water. Just look at the Grand Canyon. The weak things of this world truly do break down the mighty and strong ones. Just one other story. It is an old Chinese folk tale.
Once upon a time there was a stonecutter who would leave his house every morning to cut stones from the mountain and sell them for a meager living. Then he saw a genie who told him he would grant him his every desire. He told him he wanted to be a rich man and have a large home. It was given to him. Then he saw a governor with a large palace and a huge garden. He told the genie he wanted to be that governor. His wish was granted and he had a large palace and a large garden and he controlled lots of men. Then he saw how the sun scorched his flowers and he said, "I wish that I was the sun!" So his wish was granted and he used his power to scortch the earth. But then the cloud came between him and the earth. He said "I wish I was that cloud!" and his wish was granted. He went around blowing his wind and causing floods on the earth and blocking the rays of the sun. Then he saw a mountain and the mountain would not bend or move at his will. He said, "I wish I was that mountain!" and his wish was granted. And so he stayed as the firm mighty mountain for a long time. Until one day, he felt and heard a little chink at his base. He looked down to see none else but a small, humble stonecutter, slowly but surely cutting away at his side. He then told the genie, "I have given up so much for something so little. I wish I was that small stonecutter!" and his wish was granted. He lived as a mighty and humble stonecutter for the rest of his days.
Truly the Lord needs such stonecutters in our midst.
I love you all! Stay strong with all that you do! Read scriptures, say prayers, and be with the family EVERY DAY. That's all we truly, truly have.
Love you from Africa!