Monday, March 19, 2018

A Week of Food

Its 18:00 right now and I only got a few hours of sleep last night because I was dropping off groups of Elders at the airport so I will keep this short.

This last week was transfers week so we spent an absurd amount of time driving missionaries to and from their areas. We also had Zone Conference, which we don't really participate in, we even do the 'behind the stage' stuff for conference, mainly the food. So we had a lot of food this week.

We also got new Elders from Brazil and a Sister later in the week from South Africa who will stay for a while here during her visa process for Angola. With the group of new missionaries we played babysitters at the mission home because the mission president was traveling for another zone conference in Beira.

Overall things are good, awesome comp and the papaya trees in Mahotas are growing like crazy still. The time is going by one day at a time.

'Step by step'

Elder Howell

Monday, March 12, 2018

'Highway' to H.... Nampula!

Well, as you can tell by the subject of this email I finally did the roadtrip from Beira (the middle of Mozambique) to Nampula (the top of Mozambique).

We flew out to Beira to pick up the car (the same car I drove to Beira from Maputo).... But our flight was delayed (I hate you LAM) so we arrived at about 22:30, President Senna interviewed a Sister who was going home this transfer then we all went off to sleep at about 00:00.... I then woke up at 04:00 to start the drive---great idea Elder Howell, just wonderful.

Google Maps is a wonderful thing, but it makes some predictions about speed that often aren't too true for Mozambique. The map said it would take about 14 hours, cool, leave at 4, get there at 18 before dark.... HAHAHAHA WRONG.

We got going on a nice big road for about 25 minutes then we had to turn onto a dirt road, okay, fine, its 180km (111 miles), give me 2 hours... Wrong again, it took 5 hours or more.

The path (calling it a road would be a straight up lie--I hope you're seeing this Google Maps) was filled with so many bumps, holes, mud pits and such. For the first 2 hours there were men on bikes with sacks of charcoal and men using bikes to walk massive cut logs... Tiny vilas (villages) then it went to not even marked mini mini villages. Just people mainly in tiny cement houses or shacks, communal well being pumped.

On and on, well other than getting 100% stuck in a mud pit, past the top of the tires.... Couldn't even open my door... It was bad. Somehow after a minute of panic we somehow backed out (shout out to the angel that guards my car!)

After that things went 'smoothly'.... Very bumpy but progress. We thankfully didn't get stuck again.

A few hours after the mud issue we got to an area with a ton of monkeys running along the road, that was cool, a nice change after nothingness. To loosely quote a movie 'There is nothing in the journey to Nampula and no man wants nothing'

After a total of 17 hours of driving we got there.... It was a long long drive (but making it to California from Utah on a good road will be easy now!). I got a bit of sleep then flew back to Maputo after a day to get back on top of things with the Medeiros.

Other big news from the week---Transfers! Elder De Paula will be serving in the Matola Zone now and I will be going to half stay in the office. I will stay in the mornings, eat lunch (thanks Matilde!) then leave to an area called Zimpeto. Its a new branch that broke off of the Magoanine ward (where bispo Tualufo is). It should be good to ease back into a normal area... Not that there is tons of time, but I've got to try. I will be with Elder Da Rosa, he is from Brazil, Rio Grande de Sul---Cidade Rio Grande. He is awesome, he came here at the same time as me. It will be a fun, but a very hard working transfer.

Ate Ja

Elder Howell

PS: I will try to get more of the drive photos uploaded once I get them.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Child and Grandchild

Só, it’s finally happened—-The couple has finally arrived. As we waited for them to show up my companion explained since I had trained him I was his ‘father’ and he would train Sister Medeiros this making her my ‘granddaughter’. So, that was an interesting thought. After after just 4.5 weeks of training Elder De Paula he would start training someone else.

The Medeiros couple is from Brazil and they are awesome. We are having lots of fun with them cramming our way through all the trainings, paperwork and policies as well as moving them into their home (where I used to live). Anyway, it’s all been an adventure as we get through not only office stuff but showing them Mozambique, how to drive (always scary seeing new people drive but he did well, and just general locations to know).

The plan is “Train them ASAP then I might leave the office”..... So we are training at max speed... until tomorrow at 13:30 I will take 3 days off to drive a car halfway across Mozambique from Beira to Nampula... this should be a fun trip. It’ll be a good test of how well they picked things up this week, because it’s all on them for a few days!

Thanks for the love!

Elder Howell

Até já....

Monday, February 26, 2018

Wedding Week

Hello Peoples,

It's almost 21:00 here for me, so I have to keep this short but this week was a good week.

Two main things happened:

Someone got their car stuck in a mud pit thingy... We got a call to help them out and showed up with some nice towing cables and boots... We got there to about 200+ people all standing around talking, laughing and taking photos... It was great. After about 20 minutes (And me taking lots of photos too) we were able to tug and push the car out. It was a good learning experience for everyone... But an adventure is always fun!

Ujembe (a member from Mahotas and the missions best handyman) got married! To who? A woman I used to teach in Mahotas. The first Sunday she showed up to church he asked if I knew who she was and asked me for her number after I said she was our investigator and said he would ask her out. I told him to do it himself, get the number and ask her out... He did. The following week he said "Elder Howell, I am going to marry her". I wished him luck.... 8 Months later they are married and planning on going to the the temple to get sealed at her 1 year mark of being baptized. Well that escalated quickly! It was a super fun, super classic Mozambican wedding with lots of singing in dialect and 0 smiles from the bride or groom (its bad luck, 'those who smile at the wedding will have an unhappy marriage) but it was clear everyone was having fun!

The big thing is this coming week the couple gets here... My 'trainees' in the office. The challenge is now forcing all the information to them as fast as possible, wish me luck!

Até já!

Elder Howell

P.S.: My Google Drive has lots of photos and videos this week!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Last Week In Triple Digits

Today marks my 222 days in the mission office. Wow. That is a long time, but I have had a lot of good experiences too. My life as an office elder is strange, the hours are weird (example: look at when this email was sent my time....23:00) but I also get to see a side of the mission that few get to see. My day to day life revolves around numbers whether it be rents, missionaries, payments, receipts or baptisms. I have 105 days left in Mozambique which is insane to think I just have to do less than half of what I have already done, just in the time in the office (which is all one giant blur).

This week we had a visit from Elder Miranda (one of the Area 70's) and he got talking about goals and areas and baptisms. It was a good time to look on goals and plans for the mission. Currently I am working on finishing reading the Livro de Mormon then I want to read the New Testament in Portuguese. Hopefully my weird schedule will make it work.

Anyone who I didn't email today (....everyone) I will email tomorrow night. Its been a crazy day. I went to bed at 2 am... Woke up at 6:30, drove people around until 10ish, then got in a car accident (not my fault at all. Still mad about it. I am totally fine. The guy will be paying for it.), then I was  getting lunch for everyone. 12:00-12:30 I passed out for a power nap, then it was running errands (bank, store etc), picked and dropped people from the airport until 18. Then I was picking everyone back up for a family night. I helped make dinner a bit, then had to run others around picking up their stuff. Then we took everyone to one house to pick up mattresses, drop everyone at our house, then I came to the office to email for a few minutes to say I'm not dead, just a bit sick, but I still have an hour of stuff to do here before I go home and sleep. Then get up at 6:30 to start the whole thing all over again.

Thanks for all the love.

Elder Howell

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fast Update

Well, once again it was a boring week, arguably more boring than last week. Not much to comment on...

....It rained a lot?

We did have a few nice visits this week with our recent convert Pedro and his sister, Latia... They gave us mafura and sweet potato puree thingy to eat.... That was, well, unique. Imagine baby food but with seeds you had to spit out.... It was  a fun time though.

That's pretty much the biggest thing of my week. Hopefully this coming week has more to comment on!

Love you all,

Elder Howell

Monday, February 5, 2018

I think I can I think I can

One more week completed here in the office, one more week of transfers over with everyone correctly documented and in their areas. Pretty much transfers week is me just driving a ton to the airport and to peoples areas to drop off and pick up people without sleeping enough *yawn

Thankfully that mess is over and there aren't many of them left for me!

In terms of what I did other than driving this week, Elder De Paula and I are figuring things out, things are going well there. There's always a weird phase as you get a new companion like 'Hi, someone emailed me and said I will now spend 24/7 with you for the next 6 weeks, is that my bed?".... Cool. Thankfully its going well though.

Elder De Paula had to do interviews for a few young woman getting baptized so we went to get those done, I got to sit around and just talk with people, learn some dialect. It was fun. Those same girls picked me to baptize them, not sure why, I dont know them, but that happened on Saturday as well, hence the baptismal photos in the Drive.

We also had a family night on Saturday night with a recent convert of the Sisters which was fun to go to, the totally standard mozambican food and weird games. Good times.

That's all for this week!

Elder Howell