Monday, May 21, 2018

1 More of These Left

The second to last weekly email. Nice.

This week was, interesting. We started 2 more activities at the chapel during the week: English Class and a Choir. English Class had a nice starting frequency of about 20 or more people, everyone wants to learn English. The choir had a good turnout too.

In other news something happened to the electrical system of our chapel (we will try to not blame anyone, like the person who started messing with wires then it all broke *hint, it wasn't the missionaries) but thankfully we turned off the fluctuating power before more than the printer and a bunch of cables melted/caught fire.... So, Sunday without energy is fun but we survived.

I was asked to talk given it was my last Sunday in Marromeu..... Crazy. That was a unique, first time in Portuguese experience to give a talk, especially with no power in the chapel. But, we make things work the best we can here.

In news of our area: We have been mainly working on reactivation here. With so many in-actives what the branch needs is people back at church more than new people, which is a two steps forwards, one slide back game a lot of the time but we are trying. We do however have an amazing investigator--Armando. He is awesome, going to church each week, coming to all the activities and even going to seminary everyday. He is excited for his baptism this Saturday and hopefully that baptism will be the little push that his brothers wife needs too.

Well, I am off for the day to try and find something fun to do in Marromeu. The sugar factory was a mess of paperwork to try and get a visit because we are foreigners... Okay then.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Howell

Monday, May 14, 2018

Another week has passed by.......... Thankfully ​this week was Skype which means I don't have to write an actual email this week! Yay. That is good because I slightly lit myself on fire this week and it hurts to type :)

This week we just mainly were teaching lots of inactives in the branch which is always an interesting time. But we had some success in getting a few inactives back to church on Sunday and some investigators to church too, so that is a win in our book.

We had Mother's Day Skype which was awesome to see the fam all together. Its weird to say "See you in a few weeks" but that time is coming! For now its just work until the end, pray for no war to break out :)

Have a great week!

Elder Howell​

We have to burn all of our garbage.

I got a little close this time....

I scorched my arm hairs and some of my head hair. 

Pet monkey.

My drinking's filtered :)

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Train Week

This last week we mostly spent in Beira, Mozambique. Its the closest big city to Marromeu and there are 2 stakes there. We had zone conference and then spent the rest of the week hunting for all the things we couldn't find in Marromeu:

1. Webcam, Mothers Day Skype is coming soon
2. Shower Curtain, because who needs those in Marromeu
3. Mattresses, because they dont sell them in Marromeu
4. Food that isnt insanely overpriced.

That list took us way longer to find than it should have but in the end we found everything.

The train tickets however caused us a lot of grief... Do to some, shall we say, cultural norms we werent able to buy train tickets on the Wednesday train and almost missed the Friday train but made it on. The train ride was better with 4 of us and for the most part the trip was smooth, that is until the trains tire popped. We had a 4 hour delay due to this. Turns out all that loud smashing grinding noise that woke me up was the train falling off the track then them trying to force it back on for hours.

Anyway, we made it and are in full swing of things here. Its great having an extra dupla of Elders here to help (Elder Bentley Cox and Elder Kolditz). It makes things here fun.

Well, see you all soon and I thank you in advance for all the invites to eat American food with you here in a few weeks, I accept them all :)

Elder Howell

Monday, April 30, 2018

Week of..... Messes

This email will be short for 2 reasons:

1. I am typing this in an 'internet cafe' in the back of a gas station and don't want to stay here long.
2. Skype is in less than 2 weeks and I need to save content for that.

'What did you do this week?' 'How are your investigators?' 'Do you have fruits in America?'

The first two questions are what I mostly get in my emails, the third is a genuine question people here ask Americans....

The week was a bit of a mess, but we survived. We spent a lot of time organizing the branch's membership records (baptisms, priesthood, deaths, tithing etc), but we also had 3 activities this week. We did 2 movie nights and a family night with the 'ama sue proximo' game..... Oh man that game, someone loses every round and they have to dance in the circle. I lost twice, like a boss. Thankfully Hitch taught me how to dance. The members had a blast.

The last 3 days of the week we spent getting materails for making soccer goals and roofing supplies... We tried paying a crew to put in the ceiling in the other room.... They did not know what they were doing (fact) and we had to take it all down. Elder Da Rosa kindly asked them to leave and never come back, look at me 'AQUI BRASIL MANO' I took that as 'LETS DO IT'..... 3 days later we had cut all the wood (without a saw.... kitchen knife and hammer.....), placed the supports, cut/put up the main wood then painted it. THANKS DAD for teaching me how to be a manly man, that would have been super embracing to not know how to nail stuff or paint.

Last thing, before heading to zone conference I cut Elder Da Rosa's hair (its not worth getting AIDS from a road-side shack), then he started cutting my hair. Key word, started. He cut the sides, we went to find scissors to cut the top... No luck, we started talking to some members by the house and then after 10 minutes of small talk "Aren't you going to miss your train?!" NO.... It leaves in over and hour.... "No, here it leaves at 17:00, not 18:30"............. Me with a nice bowl cut then went running to the train station. We stepped onto the train and it left. Nice. We made it..... With half cut hair, but we made it. *I think there is a photo of said 'hair cut', if you find it, burn it.

Love you all,

Elder Howell


Monday, April 23, 2018

Marromeu, First Full Week

This week has been another week of organization. We spent most of the week at the chapel. It started with the idea of having an actually functioning library in the chapel... We thought 'oh that'll be quick, just organize the books and supplies'.... Nope. There were 3 separate rooms crammed with old supplies, books and materials. After about 2 days we had gotten everything moved out, cleaned up and put into 1 room.... Why there were bags of cement and massive jars of glue in the library cabinets we will never know.

The rest of the week we spent working on organizing the paperwork of the branch, what fun. A bit over 600 baptismal records to work through. Pretty much no one had updated anything for at least 3 or 4 years which meant a ton of people had been born, died, given new callings, gotten the priesthood etc.... It is still a work in progress to say the least.

We did however put on a movie night with the Restoration movie on Friday night and had a really good turn out of members and non-members which was fun.

On Sunday we finally got to our area to visit some inactive members. It was nice to escape the compound of the chapel/house for several hours and just visit people.

This week was transfers, it didn't change anything for me specifically but we will be getting one more companionship here to even out the work. We will leave on Saturday to Beira, have Zone Conference (MY LAST ONE!) on Monday then come back with the other dupla on Thursday. Then I have 1 month left here... Craziness.

Thanks for the emails!

Elder Howell

PS: Still no camera.....

Monday, April 16, 2018

Marromeu Week .5

This was a strange week mainly because I spent the most of it in Maputo again. We had several days at the start of the week with Elder Stevens and Elder Thornton to go over last minute questions, tips and then just tell them 'Well.... good luck!'

We also spent a large amount of time shopping and getting supplies collected for the branch such as printer ink, manuals, books and so forth.... Which came out to about 80 kilos..... Great, its not like we have to fly to get close to there.

This also gave us time to pack our bags. The definition of trunky was found... All my stuff packed into my suitcases waiting to go to the airport, exactly what I needed :)

However once we finally got going to Beira things went super smoothly to get to Marromeu. False.

We arrived a bit late due to us having to beg and plead to bring 130 kilos of baggage when we should have only had 46..... Ooops, but it was needed. Then we tried buying train tickets. HAHAHA nope, we were supposed to buy them the day before (thank you for the person who didn't tell us who gave us the 'guide to how to use the train'). We were told to come back, so we went to get lunch at 14:30. Then the Sisters called (Dofelmire, Mabaso, Dart and Kefu).... They had gotten their 4 wheel drive truck stuck, in the city. Parabéns. Second time Sister Dofelmire/Sister Dart.... Second time. It was pouring rain and after 40 minutes we got it out thanks to Elder Da Rosa. We had 2 minutes to buy food then got dropped off again at the train station to try again for tickets, thankfully this time it worked.

We loaded all our baggage up without problems and got into our train car... It was 1st class, how fancy... But it had spots to lay down. It was 19 when the train left and we had a long journey to go. We didn't however really get to sleep. The cabin had 4 beds, we were only 2. We had people going in and out of our cabin all night, the train had loud annoying music playing in the hallway all night.... Thanks train people.

At about 6 am we got to Marromeu, unloaded all the stuff then it rained on us and our stuff. Great start Marromeu. After an hour the branch president showed up and we paid 3 motorcycles to hall all the stuff to the chapel (150 MZN, super cheap)... We wanted to ride too, but its against the rules. Dang it.

Once we got everything in the house, we slept a bit, finally.  Then  we set up for General Conference. On Saturday and Sunday we watched all of General Conference, which is always fun in Portuguese with the translation, but there was a really good turnout of members (over 120). Sunday night we got going on organizing the paperwork of the branch (membership records and so forth).

We have a ton of work to do here, but it will be good for my last area!

Love you all,

Elder Howell

PS: No photos, I am waiting for my camera to get repaired... But I did find a film camera... I'll use that a bit!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Luaha 'The Jungle'

This week and the last 12 days have been a bit of a mad dash that have felt more like 3 or 4 days... Very long days, but still only a few, not 12 days for sure.

We had planned on spending a week in Maputo to get organized, do laundry, get supplies, make sure the office was in good shape and then go to Luaha.... But due to some other needs we decided to switch and go straight to Luaha (Nampula).... Sorry Elder Stevens and Elder Thornton, you guys got this!

This meant my 5 days of packed clothes weren't going to make it, and I didn't have a washing machine, so, I hand washed all my clothes. Why not. That's always a fun experience. I am super glad that washing machines are a thing.

Anyway, after a day or two in Nampula we headed out with two members from Nampula as our guides, the Nampula Zone Leaders (Elder Chugg and Elder Cordy). We were told the drive would be around 8 hours.... I wasn't feeling great so I switched out of driving and 2 hours later we had arrived. Way way ahead of schedule. The Luaha group welcomed us with singing and hugs. It was great. We had a welcome meeting then got to setting up our tents, the kitchen thingy and checking out the area. After lunch, still feeling awful I went to take a nap around 14:30....... and woke up at 23 :) It happens. Still feeling sick I quickly wrote in my journal (gotta keep that promise) then fell sleep again.... Until about 11:30. Yup, a solid 20 ish hours of sleep. I finally was feeling 70% though!

That day we mainly just explored the area, talked with members and enjoyed nature. There was a group of members who traveled 50 km (31 miles) to meet President Senna and have him officiate a wedding. The stars in Luaha were incredible because there is no energy, lights or anything for miles and miles and miles. Beautiful at night, super bright. The members just live day by day farming and eating and working and sleeping--repeat day after day.

The following day I woke up and got going on the day because 'Hey, lets try and climb that mountain before the baptism' seemed like a great idea..... So we went off to check out the river then try hiking a bit. The river was a bit busy with people bathing and washing clothes so we moved onto the hike. This however took a TON longer than we thought and by the time we got to the first main ledge it was 10 minutes until the baptism (not that like anyone in the village has a watch or a phone to tell time), and Elder Cordy was half dying of his allergies so we headed back though the jungliness to the village.

Once we got back we got all ready for the baptism, took photos and started the walk to the river. The baptisms was the 'dream baptism' look for an African mission. Lots of people all dressed in capulanas, river for baptisms and singing in dialect on the way back. It was great.

That night there was a wedding of two of the people who came 50 km to get there, it was nice, lots and lots of xima and little fried dough thingies.

Sunday was an interesting church meeting as each of us did 2 of the confirmations for the baptism and all the talks were translated into the dialect. I also was asked to bear my testimony, which got translated. That is a weird experience. The English native speaking Utahan speaking portuguese to get translated into dialect. Its a mess for the brain.

We drove back on Sunday and flew out Monday morning at 01:00 (Thanks LAM for pushing back our flight 9 hours. Love you and your customer service!). We got into Maputo at about 3 am and I got to take a real shower. Ah showers. Magical thingies. Now we have a few days to pack, make purchases and get ready to leave on Friday to catch a Saturday early morning train to Marromeu (avoid wrecking another Toyota truck).

Thanks for all those that emailed me. Another long email, crazy week!

Elder Howell

 Happy Birthday Hannah!