"Vale a Pena" It is Worth it!

With Elder Dredge and new converts

Hello Famlia!! I wasn’t able to get on the computer yesterday and I was sorry I could not let you know, I hope that you did not worry too much.  Yesterday Nov. 11th was Angola’s Independence Day and no internet café was open so all of the missionaries weren’t able to email home.  I loved all the emails you sent... also Mom I finally got the Birthday Package…I loved it...especially the letters. Elder Dredges Birthday was on the 28th of October and Elder Banta is tomorrow we are all in the same house so we are going to celebrate tomorrow night
 I sent you all letters today so hopefully they will get their soon.  It is expensive to send letters about 3.50 per letter.  Sorry there are not many pictures we are advised not to bring our cameras because of the dangers of being robbed.
 I always think about the times mom, that we would go on walks when I could not sleep at night, and you would always say let’s go for a walk.  While I was serving with Elder Hannay I had several nights where I wasn’t feeling well and we would go on a walk outside the condo, and I would look at the moon and think those same words you said to me about seeing the moon from the other side of the World. It is so refreshing to go on walks, I walk a lot but on the mission you walk with purpose and its usually fast so you don’t get much time to relax, anyway I miss you so much and I can’t wait to look at the moon from the same side of the world. So Mason you are the 1st counselor again for the second time that is great!  I have been losing a lot of muscle and endurance on the workout side so we will have to workout when I get back.  Jensen I love your short emails they are uplifting and make me smile, keep being wonderful!  Riley you are doing so well in School and Track! Ashlyn, I miss you so much! I miss you guys like crazy, I hold onto those last memories when we all spent together and I think about it a lot.  So Dad, you have to cut down the best tree at the Christmas tree farm this year!
The mission is tough and the days are long and the hours are planned, but things fall off course here in Angola, they live a very sporadic life here, one moment there in their house and the next they are at the praca trying to sell food on a blanket.  They don’t have any routine, anyways I am learning so much and trying to keep up with the pace here. This week was wonderful, we had many great new experiences.  So we have these two investigators who have become the best of friends Mateus and Bula.  Both of them have wives/girlfriends but are not legally married.  Bula lives with his wife but Mateus’ wife is in the province of Luena.  They are both trying to get their documents taken care of so they can be married. Mateus says that since his wife isn’t here and he wants to be baptized, she is coming back in 2014.  We asked the Mission President and he told us that it would be better for him to wait to be married, than to be baptized and risk breaking his covenants with the Lord.  I know the Lord is preparing him for that which will come, he needs to live all of the commandments before he can be fully prepared to be baptized. They are both wonderful people, I love them.

With the Missionaries in the Zone and the Mission President

I also love teaching families.  I can truly say that I have been blessed here in Viana , we are teaching so many families and it is wonderful.  We are also teaching Alberto and Claudisse and Norberto and Elisa and Luis.
Norberto is working on getting married and their documents ready hopefully by the beginning of next year.  I cannot wait to see all these families blessed by the Gospel and to see the weddings, miracles and Temple sealings that will follow afterwards.  This week was rich with the spirit.  We also taught a new family from Namibia who want their kids to grow up in this church and with the standards and guidance of the church. I felt prompted to share a passage that I had read that morning out of the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi Chapter 17:55 at the end of the verse it says.  Honor thy Mother and thy Father that thy days may be long upon the earth. As the kids were sitting there, they heard the message and the desire of the mother’s heart.  She was touched and wants them to become members but also we hope that she will feel that desire also to join the church and become a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Super cool experience! So we had a Zone meeting and we talked about a basic principle that God is our Heavenly Father and has a body of flesh and bones.  Most people here believe that He is a spirit. So this week we focused every lesson with our families on helping them to get to know their creator.  It is very important for them to know who God is and knows that He loves them and wants them to be happy, so that they can become closer to Him and understand His doctrine and Gospel. We referenced Genesis 1:26-27 which talks about how God created us in His own image.  We saw the change in each one of them, it was a very touching experience to see someone’s view on God change completely. Something that they never knew, planted into their minds and see them accept this principal.
One lady Celestina , a Professor who knows the Bible, said she liked how the Book of Mormon  and that it was clear and easy to understand so we gave her the scripture Mosiah 7:27 which talks about how God has created us in His image as well.  You could see the calmness in her as she realized it was true.  I then asked her if she believed the Book of Mormon to be true and she said she did and then she said a duvida esta esclarecido agora…the doubt is clarified now. I love the power of the Book of Mormon, you can read the scriptures and the words are so clear and you can truly feel the spirit. So we are teaching 4 families now, it is a family boom right now in Viana.  Bula is the happiest man on the planet and always has a smile and is always looking to contribute, he came to help clean the church on Saturday, not even a member yet...what an amazing person!  We are also teaching Mateus and Norberto and Elisa.  We are also teaching the French family from the Congo and his brother Michele and they have stopped drinking and are preparing for Marriage, and looking towards Dec. 20th to be baptized.  I hope that I will still be here in Viana to go to the wedding and the baptism! They are my favorite family right now and I love them so much.  So we are also teaching 3 avos (grandmas) it is surprising to me because I have never had much success with Grandmas here, but these women are so humble and ready for the Gospel.  I just hope that they can make it to the Baptismal font! There is one that lives right across from the chapel, we stop by everyday to see if she needs anything, she is such a sweet lady.  She has come to church a few times. She has stopped drinking and has read up to Second Nephi in the Book of Mormon, she gave up the wine on her own!  Super awesome!
So Saturday we had to stay indoors, because there was a riot in Viana and President told us the police were going to be out in full force making arrests.  We had a great day of study and cleaning up the house which was needed.  These past 2 weeks were wonderful the Branch is doing fantastic and is growing immensely, I love this work, it isn’t always easy but as they say in Angola “vale a pena” it is worth it!

Showing our silly side!

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