Monday, October 16, 2017

Quick Update

Hello people,

This week was, well, just another week honestly. No big or exciting events.....

Lots of organizing documents, payments, records and contracts. We got some new filing cabinets.... yay. That took way too long to organize all the 2017 stuff, but now it's easy to keep up.

We got a new Sister from Angola this week- Sister Silva. That was a bit of a random thing because it's mid transfer but she finally got her visa. Now we have 7 sisters, odd numbers are bad... but it will all work out.

Pedro is doing well and his sister is still happy as ever to have her brother along for the life journey on the straight and narrow path. We still owe them a "cake for maheu" trade... No idea how to spell that Xangana word, but it's this white fluffy drink. Anyone who knows me knows I love trying all new drinks. This one scares me. It's kind of like semi fermented corn flower, sugar and water..... in a reused soda bottle. If done wrong it's alcoholic. Thankfully the member is a pro.... updates to come.

António and Esmeralda's baptismal date is getting pushed to the 28th because we will be out of town this week. They are actually getting the lessons down a lot better than we thought. Third times the charm for each lesson I guess!

Have a great week! Enjoy the cold for me!!

Elder Howell

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Again?

This email will be really fast given that it's 23:20.... We just got home from dropping off 10 elders in 4 different cities.... it was a long drive.... I only got pulled over twice, so that was a tender mercy. Things are always hectic when 'plans' get made last minute. But learning to deal with last minute changes will be a good skill to have I guess.

We got to watch Sunday's General Conference this week which was cool. Elder Koch's talk was especially fun to see and he hasn't really changed at all! The rest of the talks on Sunday were also really great. I also saw Elder Uchtdorf's talk from Saturday which I also enjoyed. Pedro was a trooper and was at all of Conference! Our newly weds were also there which is great. They are marked for baptism on the 21st, hopefully all goes well!

That's all for this week, I really need to sleep!


Elder Howell

PS: oh, we went to Swaziland which was.... unique.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Another Week Another Transfer

This week was a bit of pure insanity as all starts of transfers are for us. The list of things to do just doesn't fit on a page anymore and we are constantly bouncing around. There was a nightmarish mix of transfers and 3 zone conferences this last week which made our lives overly hectic. But it all worked out in the end (even though the to do list is still 2 pages long and growing). I am alive, my comp is alive and I had an ice cold Fanta today so everything is okay.

My time in the office has probably been the fastest 3 months of my life. The time is flying by (sleep deprivation, tons of work, stress and still lessons to mark and teach seem to make the time disappear). This week a lot of that sleeplessness and stressing paid off with the baptism of Pedro :)  His sister has been a member for 7 years going strong by herself, but now part of her family is there with her. She was SO excited and happy at the baptism. Many many tears of joy for her.

Hopefully here in a few weeks that couple that got married will be getting baptized with their kids. The parents are pretty much ready but they want their older kids to learn everything and get baptized at the same time so we pushed things back a month but it should all work out great!

Thats all for now. Thanks for all the love, emails and letters.... I just got a letter and package from July :0 Yay African mail!


Elder Howell

Monday, September 25, 2017

Another one down

Today we had transfers.... That means that this last week was virtually totally devoted to getting all the flights and other travel arrangements made for everyone to get to their new areas and companions. We had a bit of an insane night Sunday running back and forth between cities and the airport to get all the missionaries who were leaving to the mission presidents house. We were supposed to have a dinner at 16:00 but one Elders flight kept getting delayed so finally at 01:00 he arrived.... We drove him to the mission home, took the "tchau photo" for all the leaving people, dropped some people at home then went to bed..... for 3 hours before waking up to take that same group to the airport to all go home. Thankfully all of those flights went well and we had no problems. With the messed up "night of sleep" I took nice 2 hour unconsciousness on the floor at the office then got back to stuff.

As far as our area:

Pedro will be getting baptized this weekend! He is doing super well and we are excited for him! His sister is helping a ton given his reading problems.

Antonio/Ezmarelda + family will be waiting just a bit longer. We had trouble getting enough time to visit them enough last week to get them prepared but hopefully next week our schedule and their work schedules will work out better.

All for now! Until next week,

---Elder Howell

Monday, September 18, 2017

Another Week Complete

Well.... kind of like last week it has been another week here. We had a rough start to our week with a missionary going home for family things but the rest of the week was very calm.

I had a mountain of paper work to get done this week... and about 8 months of backlogged print outs, contracts, payments, bank documents and so forth to file away..... As you can assume it was extremely fun and entertaining!
I get asked a lot:

1. Do you even do missionary work?
2. What is your normal day like?
3. What's going on with your investigators-if you have any

Here are the answers:

1. We try to split working in our area (finding, teaching, reactivating) after 17:00 or 18:00 each day. That gives us 4-5 hours in the office to handle the logistics of the mission and 3-4 hours to handle our area. So yes, we do "missionary work". But we also do the "behind the scenes" stuff so that the other 96 missionaries get to their areas, have a house, water, gas, energy, items and supplies to work without worrying about all of that.

2. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA normal day. That's funny. We never have 2 of the same day. I work mostly with finances: finding/vacating houses, repairs, dealing with house owners, doing anything with money for missionaries or the Mission President and I do all the medical, running a "missionary taxi service" of moving everyone around to where they need to be. My companion does the logistics (flights, schedules, record keeping of baptisms, numbers and so on)

3. Our main focus is on those who progress really well because we have about half (or less) time in the area than the normal Elders. Our main focus is Antonio and Ezmarelda (the couple who just got married) and a jovem (young man) named Pedro. We are working to get the couple, their three kids and Pedro ready for baptism on the 30th of September. We plan on using the mission offices pool. The only issue is making sure they are solid before we baptize them. They all have been coming to church for months but we want to really make sure they are ready. I will give updates on them each week.

Hopefully that answers the general questions. I enjoy your emails and such each week!

Love you all,

Elder Howell

Monday, September 11, 2017

Weekly Email

Well, my P-Day is kinda over, so this email will have to be really quick today (an email was sent to my Mum, the most important weekly email sent).

This week the real highlight was the wedding of Antonio and Esmeralda. If you flip through the photos they both kind of looked like they hate their lives during the wedding.... It was super hot, crowded but the choir was super awesome. Thankfully they both really cheered up once we got to the house party. The music once again was super African, loud, and upbeat. The food was pretty typical but the atmosphere was awesome. The strangest part of the wedding was the cake though.... Once the newlyweds fed each other they then went around feeding every single person... Well over 100 people.... It was strange and the fork contamination was insane, but when you are there you just kinda have to eat the cake.

Now that they are married things will keep moving along well for them. They are marked for bapitism (and 3 of their kids of age) for here in 2 weeks. We are trying really hard to get out and work with our people these weeks. We are hoping that the work pays off for them and a few other people in the coming weeks!

Today for P-Day we got to do something awesome.... SAFARI!!!!!!!!!!!! I got to be one of the drivers which was super fun. We had a guide leading us all around this massive reserve to find giraffes, elephants (one kinda almost ran over my car, that would have ruined all the fun), hippos, monkeys and a bunch of other animals whose names I didn't know in English let alone Portuguese. It was a blast! Like 11 hours of driving to, around and back but super super worth it! All the photos are in the Drive!

Love all of you people,

Elder Howell

Monday, September 4, 2017

Weekly Email

Well........... This week has been just another week here. It is super hard to write an interesting email about a week that feels exactly like the last week... I will just go over the highlights:

1. We did another South Africa journey.... It really does make logical/economical sense. Its not just for the McDonald's (I have decided to not eat there again. It just isn't worth the nasty feeling after eating it. Its all about the flavorless xima for me these days!). We got all the purchases we needed to done and even got a few references for the Elders in South Africa--Who we ran into at McDonald's which was super awkward for everyone.

2. We had Zone Conferences this week. I gave training on the missions finances and such which is always fun to just talk about money and use a super boring looking PowerPoint hoping that people just kinda fall asleep and let you move on.... Thankfully it went well overall and I had prepped well enough to have numbers to back me up on the changes we are making.

3. We are teaching people. I know everyone thinks that we are just sitting at computers all day (slightly true) but we do actually go out and teach people. We inherited several super cool people from the Sisters when they switched areas. We are working with a couple and their kids. They are getting married this weekend and if all goes well baptized the following weekend! That means I have something to take photos of! It was super nice to get back to teaching people. I enjoy the change of working in the mission office, but teaching people has its own special  "vibe" to it here in Mozambique.

That's pretty much it! I hope all of you have a nice "hot and humid" week!

Elder Howell

PS: In the picture it was a bad hair day for me, a tired day for the parents, and a "do we really have to quietly sit around again while those white guys talk" thing for the kids. Awesome family though.