Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 26: Flooded streets and tiny pineapples

Its been a pretty standard week of missionary work with a few random things that stuck out. The internet cafe's power is on the fritz so I will keep this more of a list of events than a paragraphed email.

1. We did a service project on Friday. We chopped down a tree. With dull saws and an ax. It took the four of us almost 4 hours to cut it down then apart. I bet with a chainsaw it would have taken 30 minutes or less. Anyway, it was nice to help our neighbor, they are very old and wouldn't have been able to do it alone. Plus they always share their avocados, oranges, limes and other fruits with us.

2. Pineapples here don't give me canker sores and they are amazing. You can buy them everywhere right now pretty cheap, and on a stick to just eat!

3.This week I learned that hitch hiking (bolaia-ing) is in fact dangerous... Hmmmm who would have known.... We are fine, and still hitch hiking.... just more carefully :)

4. Update on a family: A member family we sometimes visit called us because one of the kids couldn't come with us to a lesson. We asked why, they said he had malaria... So, we went by to check up on them. ALL 3 KIDS HAVE IT. So, that really sucks to be them, but they're on the mend already. Bug nets and doxy are my friend here.

5. We figured out how to get Zilda's marriage documents for her. She is from way up north in Mozambique so it is really expensive (2000 metacias) to get there and back for the documents needed to get married. That's a ton of money. But we called in some favors with some missionaries up there in Gasa to bring them down when they come down this week. That will save the couple tons of money and hopefully they can get married/baptized quickly here!

That's about it for the week. I hope everyone is doing well and having a good time in Utah. I love getting your emails and letters (if they make it here). I sent like 13 letters to people who've sent me one. So keep an eye out for the response!

Elder Howell

Baptism from two weeks ago in T-3.

Tiny pineapples on sticks, yum, no canker sores.

Tons of water flooded the road, we go very American Ninja Warrior to get around, but usually end up with wet shoes ....

Xamusa, fried fish stick triangle thingies. 5 Met, yum

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 25: Mahotas Area

Well, like I mentioned last week I got transferred. I am with Elder Nunes (from Orem Utah, studied computer science at BYU before his mission, super smart, we get along well). We live near Mahotas which is like 15 minutes outside of Maputo city. We live in a compound like the house in T-3, but we don't have a guard. Why? Because we have a really high fence with broken shards of glass on the top and an electric fence :) Yay. Does it feel/look like prison--yes just a bit. But! I have a little garden going with Elder Nielson (Zone Leader for my zone--'Maputo Urban', comps with Elder Evngalista). We have an orange tree, two papia trees growing.  Also, the neighbors avocado tree and orange tree come over our fence so we get those too! Plus a we have a full grown mafura tree (I think the fruit is gross).

Lets see, the area is very strong, solid ward. We had 128 people at church with 14 investigators there (4 of which are families). We have a family taking a trip up north next week to get the final paper for marriage, and just gave 3 others baptismal dates in February.

We literally hitch hike all day between lessons. I find it very entertaining and fun to see/talk with random people for 2-10 minutes.

Random facts of the week:
1. There isn't butter here, just "Fat spread" (margarine)
2. The tv show Everyone Hates Chris is super popular here dubbed in Portuguese

I don't know our investigators very well yet, but next week I'll pick a few to talk about!

Thanks for all the love and support!

Elder Howell

P.S.  Computer issues, I can't send photos this week. I will try again next week. I should have the baptism photos from the week before then too.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 24: Transfers

So, I got transfered. To Mahotas (closer to Maputo city). Anyway, as I got there the missionaries were working on getting the water running because someone literally cut our water line. They unburried it and cut it open so we wouldnt have water. Clearly a loving neighbor. Good start to my new area. I am with Elder Nunes. He is from Utah (the 'missionary factory' apartently). Not sure really anything else about him right now... So, yah. I will find out over the next 6 weeks or so :)

Before leaving T-3 we had a the baptism of Sebastiao on Saturday. All went well and he, Celso, Justino and Guteres are all buddies with the youth in the ward so all is going well there. He is having a good time with things. Did I mention that the talks didn't show up? I had the "opportunity" to give a talk literally last minute at the baptismal service. I tried to explain to the bishop that he knows I don't speak Portuguese but he didn't understand, which is exactly why I shouldn't have talked! Anyway, it went okay and people understood, but still, not nice.

Other random news:
Celia (an investigator) finally had her baby... In mid Jaunary... It was due the first week of December. She was big. Nice little baby though, so thats good.

The sentence "No, my wife can't sit with us tonight, she has malaria" has now been said to me twice, both times they literally had malaria. Oh Africa.

With the craziness of transfers I have to get off quicky, but will write up an update of Mahotas next week!

Love you all,

Elder Howell

Elder Feliciano, some members and Elder Howell at the church. 

Elder Martins and Elder Howell

Recent converts.

Outgoing mail.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 23: Deadliest Catch

I have decided that people only read my emails for one real reason---The hope that something insane, painful or just overall crazy happened. Its like the title says ´Deadliest Catch´ . No one watches that show because they like watching a bunk of bearded guys pulling rusty crab nets up with X amount in them. You watch that show in hopes that a boat sinks, someone dies or get mamed. This week we did have storms! Blood! Stitches! Sickness! But no crabs... But yah know, some weeks the crab nets are just empty.

Getting right into the more boring side of the week first, they mixed up our daily schedule a bit. We get up at 6:30 still, get ready, eat, workout until 8:00. Do personal study until 9:00. Then this is where it changes, we plan the day for 30 minutes then go out for 3 hours. What. We get back, eat. Do studies and leave again. Its kind of nice because it cuts out a few of the really hot hours during the day, but it will be weird to adjust to.

Now back to the Deadliest Catch analogy! Elder Bennion (the new guy in the house getting trained by Elder Martins--From Portugual, super funny once he opens up), well neither of them have keys to our main gate. So, he jumped it (over the flat, none spiked part) and sliced the back of his hand open on the knuckle. He walked to cut through the back to find the home owner. He started getting upset at Elder Bennion for ´Getting blood all over this nice concrete´. Thats when they realized how much it was bleeding. I bandaged him up while the AP´s came to take him to the hospital.  Don't worry, he is fine with 6 really ugly stitches holding him together.

I was the one who checked the ´Sick Box` this week. Yup, I took my first sick day. I wont go into the details, but suffice it to say I was unable to leave the house all of Saturday after about 10:00(am). If the 110 degrees and endless miles of walking didn't make me lose some weight earlier in the week I sure made up for it Saturday and Sunday when I literally ate one piece of toast. I made it to church Sunday but that was all. Once again, don't worry, I too am mostly better. Well enough to do internet and get shopping done. Big shout out to those who have babied me as I have been sick during my life at home (Thanks Mom!) or up at school (Thanks Hannah!), because being sick really is not fun at all. Ugh.

On the random Africa moments side of things:

1. We were contacting and found a house of 3 witch doctors... We aren't supposed to contact them or teach them if they aren't references, but stuff happens right? Anyway, we didn't know that until after we promised to visit them, so that will be fun this coming week...
2. A kid from the ward --Inacio was showing us less active/part member families out in the middle of no where. Well beyond anywhere I had ever been. We ended up finding a couple--who had been baptized several years ago, went inactive a year or two ago. Not uncommon. Here comes the crazy part. They have 14 kids. Yah, 14 children. The oldest in their late twenties, youngest is 1.5 years old.... 12 people live in their tiny 2.5 room house. Super awesome family. I will update as we visit them more.

Thats about it. We didn't have any deaths this week which is good. As far our ´crab count goals´ for next week, 1 caught and kept (Sebastiao´s baptism this week).

Love all of you, love hearing from you!

Elder Howell

No photos this week. It was too rainy and I was too sick the other days to go out. I´ll try to get a bunch this week.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week 22: Good exits and good entries

This week there isn't a ton to talk about. We didn't get to do much teaching or anything done this week. Everyone was busy with their parties... So, we did tons and tons and tons of contacting. Which probably sounds like the average missionaries email, but not for me.... I try to squeeze in 30-60 minutes of contacting a day. Usually we have lessons (25-30 per week) and don't have to contact all that much... I´m very thankful that the partying time is over. ´Holidays´ here are special. They have a 2 day before and 2 day after buffer of sorts where no one is expected to do anything (mainly because everyone is too hungover to do anything anyway). Its a bit confusing and tricky to get stuff done. Hence why I am doing emails on Tuesday not Monday like usual.

New Years Eve was definitely the most interesting part of the week. As you can tell from the above paragraph people here like to drink, but on big holidays it gets insane. So crazy that at 18:00 we weren't even allowed to leave the house. The neighbors, all of them, were playing music as loud as I have ever heard music (Imagine IMAX theater next to the speaker, but your house filled with the speakers). Anyway, it was SO LOUD. The house was literally vibrating from it. I am honestly impressed with how loud it was, until about 23:00 when I really really wanted to sleep. Finally I passed out at some point (no way to fall asleep when its that loud), but was woken up at 00:00 by the fireworks all going off and general insanity. The music didn't stop until about 8:00 the next day for an hour, followed by more music until who knows when...

On the topic of other cultural things everyone here says `Good exits` responded to with ´Good entries´ for the New Year. Today people are all still ´Good entries!`. Its interesting.

On the topic of investigator stories, I have been challenged to chess by Belito/Laura. We will do a family night with them and play. I have been practicing all week, 14 wins, 2 ties, 2 loses in my house right now. I will also cook Pennsylvania Dutch cookies for them (Thanks Mom for the recipe!). They are a really awesome family working hard on documents still.

Random note of the week. The magic glowing thumbs I got for Christmas have continued blowing minds of kids and drunks alike this last week. We came up with a new ´act´ on the way home from family night. We ´took the soul´ out of Elder Bennion (who them crumples to the ground)... We then ´share the soul´, eat it and then calmly walk away with him just laying there... People all just stare in terror and then freak out. It is super funny. Once Elder Bennion gets up they know its a joke, but that 20 seconds before he does is so hilarious.

I hope everyone had Good Exits and Good Entries!

»Elder Howell

These photos are of the list of each day something that I'm thankful for.  A tender mercy, small thing or happy moment.  230ish.  Its a really good idea (from Hannah of course), no repeats.