Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 21: Christmas

This last week was a bit interesting given that we didn't have all that much time in our area to work this week, but it was all good. The week started weird when last Monday at the store a lady walked up to me and asked where `the bull tongues usually are`... I told her I had no idea, I´d never bought bull tongues in my entire life... She apologized and explained that she thought I was from here so I should know. I found that hilarious because I´m white, very white, I´m clearly not from around here, people remind me of that daily!

Tuesday night we found another mouse in my room, still no idea why we get so many (closest room to the kitchen is my only guess). Anyway, Elders Feliciana and Bennion screamed and ran away as per usual but Elder Burchett and I calmly set things up, hurled it though a door to the executioners shovel. All of which took less than a minute, we are getting too good at it.

On Friday we had a Zone Meeting in Maputo which was nice to go to and see tons of other missionaries I´d never met before. It was also our Christmas party which meant pretty good food-win.

Saturday was the highlight of the week though. It was stupid freaking hot though. We are talking 110-115 degrees depending on the report. As people kept saying ´heat, just heat´. The baptisms still went smoothly in our little redneck white cage ´baptism font´ though. Guteres, Justino and Celso. Justino was the 1000th baptism that has happened since President and Sister Koch got to this mission. Justino is awesome, especially given that his father is a pastor for his own church.

Christmas Eve (which doesn't exist here but it did in our hearts) after the baptisms we ate lunch, then it started to storm. A nice huge sandstorm. Thankfully our taxi showed up quick and we were off to the office. Once it dropped us off and we got inside it started to pour rain, totally flooded the streets with over a foot of water. Thankfully the mission office is a nice place, so we stayed dry. We also go to Skype home. Best 45 minutes of internet of my life, and probably the fastest 45 minutes of my mission by far---naps included. It was awesome to call home an see that everything was as it should be :)

Christmas was quite uneventful for the most part. I had little wrapped presents to open which was awesome though. Church was 1 hour with a killer 95 people. We then ate Christmas dinner which was literally beans and rice (later junk food from packages though). We went out for a few hours but had to return to the house at 18:00 for our safety given its the 3rd biggest drinking day of the year here. The amount of parties and drinking was insane, we could clearly hear all of it all night. But I still took the opportunity to try and minimize my ever increasing sleep debt. 

That's it for the long update of the week. I hope everyone had a great, and cold Christmas! Love all of you. Thanks for the love and support you send my way in any form.

Elder Howell

 Christmas Eve Baptism of Guteres, Justino and Celso.
Elder Bennion and Elder Howell.

Zone Conference at the Mission Home.  Can you find me?  

Christmas Goodies from the USA.  

7 people in 1 small taxi to save money? Of course!

Elder Jesus, what a man to have around  on Christmas.

Heading to Zone Conference....mmm  coconuts. 

Elder Howell figurine. 

Again, Skype was awesome!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Eve Skype!

Elder Howell was able to Skype us on the morning of Christmas Eve. It was the best Christmas present EVER!  There is a national holiday today in Mozambique, so we should receive an email on Tuesday this week.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 20: Tis the season to sweat

This update will be a short one as I get to skype my family this week and not all that much happened really.

On the 16th I got a nice little surprise of Elder Chipman (my Zone Leader, from Utah) and his comp came by with an attempt at cake. It was somewhere between cake and brownies? But what counted was the hour plus they took in the heat to bring them to me. Really cool of them. At 11 we tried going to lunch, but a storm rolled in and we couldnt leave for an hour. Finally we got to a pastalaria to eat. So, I went with feijuada again, bad idea. The meat was once again hairy, but at that point I was just hungry so I pushed it aside and ate the rest (you could say missions change people a lot I guess). It was nice overall though. The total for all 5 of us was 1155 Met (75 Met to a dollar). After that it was a normal day, but it ended up with me face planting it into a lot of mud while trying to jump over a stream (which should have been a road). Overall interesting, unique, special, different day.

We didn´t have any really cool stories in my area this week. We did finish 3 baptismimal interviews. Justino, Guteres and Celso will all be baptized this week. One nice update is that SibastiĆ”o decided he wants to be baptized (we think its watching his friend Celso finally taking the step made him really think about it). It will be exciting to see if we can help him get ready for January.

Random Fact of the Week:
1. Elder Feliciana is really scared of: Frogs, toads, cockroaches and mice.... We walk around all of those all the time. There is some serious entertainment to be found in watching him scream and jump off the path when a frog is spotted.

Merry Christmas to everyone, I wish you all the best!

Elder Howell

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 19: 106 degrees and lots of rain

Shout out to Caitlin and her Birthday on the 10th!

The big thing of my week is Elder Feliciana, my new companion. We thought we knew what was going to happen at transfers, but due to some contention in the house over the broken shower stuff seems to have been changed. Anyway, the shower is still so freaking cold. Elder Feliciana is from Brazil. He is `The coolest Brazilian in the mission´ as everyone told me. He deserves the title. He is 19 and the happiest person I have met on the mission. He is the Energizer Bunny of happiness, well when he isn't taking a nap at lunch. He was in Swaziland for 6.5 months so his English is actually really pretty good. We still need to carry dictionaries around to talk about random stuff but it´s fun. We bonded very quickly when we got smashed into he back row of a chappa with 2 very, well "fluffy" ladies holding tons of cabbage. He fell asleep for the entire ride on my shoulder. Nothing shows more trust than falling asleep on a chappa with someone.

The other big moment this week was getting 3 packages at transfers. Stuff for Christmas from my awesome Mother and from Hannah´s mom. It´s always a thrill to get mail. I am trying to be very patient and not open the wrapped stuff, so far I am still succeeding. I know one of them is gummy sharks, I can smell gummy sharks from a mile away, sorry kilometer away. I've been sugaring up our investigators kids with all the sweets I got. Candy bracelets seem to be a bit too complex of an idea here though... The kids who just want to come and chat with me get candy. Those that yell mulungu or ´me da´ (give me) get nothing. I am also way too entertained by ´Balloonies´ the weird gel balloon things that you can play with after blowing.

Random Facts Time:
1. It was 106 Degrees here on the 9th.... Then within an hour or two it was storming and dumping rain--Thanks Mum for the raincoat, just in time!
2. We got to watch a Christmas Devotional singing thing. So nice to hear good English songs, but man Utah is WHITE.
3.  I forgot to mention that we finally killed a mouse this week. Elder Feliciana is VERY scared of them and we found 2 in our room multiple times (no food even goes in the room -.-) Anyway, we finally all teamed up and went Lord of the Flies on that mouse. With war cries and shovel throwing, literally kicking and finally just smashing we got the mouse. Our neighbors probably think with all that noise that we opened a new church next door.

Family Update:
Mosias and Vitoria are this awesome family that will be officially opening the marriage process this week. It´ll take another 30 days until they can get married, but thats okay! Super cool family. David and Ana are slowly collecting documents but its really hard for them. Haven't gotten my ralador(grater) yet but hopefully this week!

Thanks for the emails, have a great week everyone!

Elder Howell

Helped dig a trench to help fight off mosquitoes, which cause malaria.

The Christmas Devotional

Everyone happily taking photos of the dead mouse.

This peanut snack is good.

This is literally just sugar and coconut. I thought ´mmmm I like toasted coconut´. It was sooooooo bad. Lol
Is it candy, or a bracelet?  Actually....its a candy bracelet!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 18: Transfer Day

Since there wasn't a baptism this week I can just enjoy the little random things about this country, like the fact that we went to a less active members house for a lesson (5th or so time since getting here) and we noticed for the first time that the neighbor literally had a monkey. A MONKEY. Suffice it to say I was thrilled out of my mind. No idea how we never noticed it before, but what matters is that we did this time. We tried to feed it, but its a racist monkey that wouldn't take food from white guys... I will befriend him if its the last thing I do in T-3. We wanted to know how much they cost, we got laughed at. `You just go into the jungle and grab one`... Next P-Day maybe (totally joking don't call PETA on me)!

We had no power all night for the first time since being here. Never have I been so hot, and I enjoy steam rooms :) Not to mention that the airflow from the fans usually keeps the bugs down. It was a rough night. The next day we didn't have water, which made everything even better. That continued for 3 days.... Once we got water, I got one hot shower, before someone (who will not be named, but isn't an American) broke the shower head.... You could say it was a week about patience and not freaking out :)

Today is transfers, again (crazy to think I've been out over 4 months). That means that this email will be shorter than usual. I've been told I´m staying in T-3, but moving areas... again... I´m.... Ummmm accepting of it. I will get a new companion too, which means I have to switch rooms. My new companion is a native Brazilian and apparently really amazing--I will make my own opinion though :) Thankfully I get to stay here to see how everything works out. We have 10-12 baptism planned for Christmas Eve now which would be really cool to see!

Random Facts of the Week!
1. Elder Brown is going to Beira, Elder Mayeya is leaving too.
2. The members have been drowning us in lychee and mangoes , yum.
3. Fanta/Coke 300ml drinks are now 17-18 Met #RIP15MetDrinks
4. English Class is going strong and ending well with a `spiritual fart` or as a native English speaker says `spiritual thought` :)
5. Hopefully the ralador is ready this week for purchasing!

Update on a family:
Less of a family update and more of a fun chain of events. The older man Morse I mentioned several weeks ago (who invited lots of people over to hear our message) invited a man named Denis. We have since sat with him a lot (he and his daughter are set for the 24 of December). He then showed us his sister and brother who are both actively coming to church. Very exciting to see what one, very unique, person can lead us to!

Off to find out who I will be around for the next 6+ weeks of my life!

Elder Howell

Selfie with the gang.

Sharing the candy love.

First monkey I've seen.

This is how long letters take to arrive.

Lychee fruit.

One of the Christmas presents was open, so I ate them... so good.

Massive mango.