Elder Derek Miller's Mission Site

Happy New Year!

Date: January 03, 2011
Area: Maxixe, Mozambique
Companion: Freire

 

Happy New Year!
 
Well to say the least, Christmas here pales in comparison to the New Year. Basically this whole week was one huge eat-cake-drink-beer fest. It was exciting and rather pathetic to say the least. For Christmas we went to the beach etc. had some fun. Ironically, I passed into the new year by coming home early to escape any run-ins with the loco locals, having a meeting, working out, and sleeping. Haha. Yes. You heard right. The missionary slept through into the new year. Lol. It doesn't even feel like the new year anyways. It's too hot. The next day was good though. We decided it would be good to visit the only two members here in "Maxixe." I say Maxixe because in reality, they live in another town call Homoine that takes an hour chapa ride to get to. Anyways. We went there and basically spent all day. We did some pretty cool stuff. We ate good food. They played some music (plus video) from Celene Dion, Michael Jackson, and Simple Plan. Haha. Quite the spectrum if you ask me. Michael Jackson sure was weird, but he was very talented and visionary. He also had some good messages in his videos. Anyways. It is really cool looking at the world from the perspective of a missionary. I feel like I can see clearly....now the rain is gone! I see the good in everyone and the evil in every sin. It is so much easier to hate the sin and not the sinner. It takes some getting used to but it can be done. Oh ya. And then we watched this band from Brasil play some pretty nice songs. It was an epic band though. Everyone looked like someone else. Let me tell you who starred in this band-- _Band name-- Ropa Nova (new clothes) starring my high school drama teacher, Mister Smith, Ronald Reagan on the guitar, John Lenin on the piano, Spock on the organ, Ricki Ricardo on the other guitar, Prince Humperdink on the drums, Marilyn Monroe on the shaker things, and Professor Snape on the Harmonica. What a band eh?
 
Speaking of my comp. Things are getting better. He came to me to study one day and to plan the other day! Anyways, things are normal and are being worked out. No problems there. Speaking of our house--that relationship is a little more difficult. Our fuse shortcircuited and so we lost energy in half of the house--namely the chapel part of the house. So one more reason not to go to church for them! Lol no electricity which means no piano to help us sing and no air conditioning. On the other hand, our washer is working which means we don't have to fill up like 6 or 7 buckets of water to feed the machine from a faucet that dribbles at 1 cup an hour. Haha. I feel like we are living in a leaky boat and we are doing all we can to keep it from sinking. We fix one thing, another breaks. Things are just not perfect here! And I love it this way quite frankly! I actually feel really good when things aren't perfect 'cuz it gives me somethin to do. This might sound crazy but I almost feel like life is easier when it is inconvenient. I am actually afraid of the time when I come back. I'm afraid that life is going to be virtually perfect compared to what I will have come from. Lol.
 
Ok. As promised I will tell you about 3 of my investigators so that you can follow along in their spiritual journey--
 
1. Jafar. Our wonderful muslim friend. We found him when we were thirsty and stopped to buy a beverage at his house. We then told him our message and asked him if he would be interested. He said yes. He is one of our most kind and friendly investigators. He told us that he has been interested in Christianity but because of the pressure inside the small muslim community he hasn't explored much. So up until this point we have taught him the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. He has come to church a few times--all of which he liked and has bonded with the others that come as well. After the first time that he came to church, he had names and faces memorized of all the missionaries and had bonded with some of the other people there. He really is incredible. However, during Christmas, we had an activity at the church and he said he would come. He was at another person's house and he said that he had to go at a certain time. They asked him where he was going and he said an activity at a new church. The rest of the dialouge we are not sure but he didn't show up. We think that they may have said something bad about us or the church which made him think that we are just trying to convert him. He explained to us very tactfully (he is one of the smartest, and most tactful people I know) that he cannot leave Islam and he invited us to the mosque to observe prayers etc etc. Anyways. So what we did this week is we are building a bridge between Christianity and Islam. Using the Koran that my comp has and the knowledge that I had from the classes at BYU we gave a lesson on the similarities between Mormonism and Islam. Quite frankly, Islam has more similarities to the gospel than probably any other religion in the World. For example, we explained that there are basically only two religions in the world that believe that Adam was forgiven of his transgression--Islam and Mormonism. We read some verses from the Koran and from The Book of Mormon, tying the two together. Basically in this way we separated Islam and Mormonism from all other religions. Our plan now is to keep building bridges between us and expound on the truths that we both share. Then when the time is right, we can show the added truth that can be received through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and extend an invitation to change. We are very clear when we say that we only make invitations. We are not here to force people to change. We allow them to make the decision for themselves. So that is what's up this far.
 
2. Rofina. She is an older lady with an amputated leg which makes things a little more difficult for her to get around. She used to be a teacher in Maxixe and has taught many many people--Some of whom are our adult investigators. She is very well known and respected. She is a member of the United Methodist Church and has a secretarial calling there. She loves that book of Mormon and the lessons that we give. Elder Freire does a very good job and his gift and talent of giving good study-type lessons comes in very handy with Rofina. Up to now, she has learned everything with the exception of a few commandments and we want her to be baptized. She is afraid though. Not just because of her leg but also because of the social pressure to change. She doesn't want to leave the Methodist congregation. She loves this gospel and the messengers that "bring the word of God" to her. But she is afraid to change. We are working with her to give her good spiritual testimony building lessons so that she can work up the courage to change. She has come to church only once.
 
3. Suzana. This woman in basically a member. She has not been baptized though. Elder Wilson and Elder Freire came to her house but didn't even talk to her. They talked to her husband about the message and basically left. Well dear Suzana heard when church was. So surprise surprise! That Sunday she just showed up to church! Wow. Ever since then, she has rarely missed a week of church and when she did, she has a good excuse (out of town etc.). She knows the doctrine and accepts the gospel in leaps and bounds. The problem now--We have taught almost every thing but she can't be baptized because her and her husband are not yet civilly (civil-ly spelling?) married. So now we need to get with the husband to teach him a little so they can get married and she can be baptized and maybe in time, he will as well. Difficulties teaching--her son. Haha. He is hilarious and annoying. He calls any "thing" that he wants a bebe or baby. Haha. And he wants whatever is in her hands, Book of Mormon, Liahona, fruit, whatever! Give me that baby! haha. So we have to treat the kid otherwise he just complains and whines for Suzana's attention. So I bring some toys to try to help with that.
 
Well hopefully that gives a little insight into missionary work here in Africa. That gives you a good idea of the stuff we run into. People with two wives or not married or sicknesses or ailments that set up obstacles. But that is why we are here. It is hard work, but worth the while! Anyways love you tons! Keep the Commandments!
 
Love
 
~Elder Miller

 

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