Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 // Week 1 in Mozambique!

My mission in Mozambique has officially begun.




If I tried to condense these last six days into a sensible account I would be on this computer for another six days.

This place is nuts. Absolutely nuts.

I'm going the usual route with the highlights because I don't know what else to do. Be prepared for the barrage of sporadic thoughts coming.


- I will never, ever complain about Utah driving again. There is one rule while driving here: survive. There are no lanes ( at least that the people of Mozambique care for), there are no speed limits, and there is no restraint. People just want to get where they're are going and that's all there is to it I guess. Think of the most thrilling roller coaster you've ever had the opportunity to ride. Every time I step in the car I experience very similar sensations to that

- In my life I have never met nicer people. Even though I slaughter their language, they accept me and hear our message. My favorite thing about Mozambique is the people.

- Everyone here is black. Well, I mean, other than the black albinos. But yeah, everyone else out here is black.

- Sometimes when walking down the streets, the kids will swarm me and shout CHING CHANG CHONG because for some reason they think all white people speak Chinese.

- Speaking of languages, this week I got to use English, French, Portuguese, and CHIGINA (yeah don't know how to spell it. It's a dialect here mostly used by the older generations. If you don't speak Portuguese here in Matola you speak Chigina) while talking with people. They get the biggest kick out of it when white people speak their tongue. A family here after we taught them how to pray prayed entirely in Chigina. 

- The people tend to get plastered here every weekend. Even though I can't speak the language my companion will hide behind the drunkards when they approach me and just let me get yelled at because I don't understand anything that's happening. 

- How's the water look over here? Check out our baptismal font. It'll clean you of your sins but it won't do much else.

- I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with the kids. This weekend for church we received General Conference in Portuguese, so everyone and their families came and watched it at our chapel. Since I had already watched it in English in the MTC, I stayed in the back and tried to contain the children. Black babies everywhere, man. Just clinging to my limbs as I try to walk around. Clutching my head hair and arm hair because it isn't normal to them. They are honestly just so loving. I made a lot of new friends on Sunday.

- Our house is rad. We make due with what we have like everyone else. Check out our crafted exercise equipment.

- Because of the rules, I can't take pictures unless I'm at church, on my p-day, or at baptism. My companion, Elder Peterson (who is the greatest, by the way. Spiritual giant and very patient with anything that arises) had an old investigator that got baptized this Sunday. He asked me to be in the picture with him  and his previous companion. As for the other guy on the right I'm not sure who he is but he wandered in there and no one said anything about it.

- The rule also explains why I was only able to snatch one photo of my area. I'll be taking more pictures of Matola this next week.

I'm so grateful to be here in Mozambique. I love learning everyday new things about the people, the culture, and myself. I know that though it is difficult, it will be oh so worth it to share the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is on the earth today, and it is a Gospel of love and miracles. I am so grateful for our Savior and our Heavenly Father. They love you. I love you. 

Until next time,

- Elder Mortimer. 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12, 2014 // MTC Week 6 (Final Week in the MTC!)

As per usual with the contradicting feelings that arise from living in the MTC: I feel like I just got here.

Like the prior weeks, this one was brilliant too. But it was different with the knowledge that it was our last here. I've grown to love my district. I feel like they were divinely inspired to be in my group as we prepared to leave for Africa (and Florida, for Elder Gooch). They are good men. They each have had their own beautiful experiences which have culminated in them deciding to give two years of their life to the Lord. Getting to know every one of them has been humbling, and I'm so glad Heavenly Father let me serve with them. 

Tomorrow we leave. Tonight is the last night I get to look at the North American moon for a long while. It's a foreign concept that I'm going to be *living* in such a foreign land - really, Mozambique is just about as far away as I can imagine I can get from Fresno. I think the 41 hours of our travel plan can attest to that. 

Soon I'll be in another world. Dealing with problems of a variety I haven't even begun to grasp.

I have the distinct impression that this mission thing - it's going to be tough. For a good while, I've been in the MTC wondering, "Am I really ready for this? I don't know how to speak the language well, I don't know how to live off the fatta the land, I don't know how to...((a lot of things, thinking about it again))" In conjunction with this thought process, I found a certain amount of anxiety inside of me.

So, I prayed. And Heavenly Father answered. Someone, not even directly talking to me, quoted Joshua 1:9.  It reads:

"Have not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage;be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the aLord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." 

I know it's going to be okay. After hearing that, I felt it in my core. Through God, all things are possible. Even things like boys heading over to exotic lands to help the people in anyway they can. God loves me. God loves them. God loves you. He wants all of us to be happy and return to live with him one day. If you need comfort like I did this week, I invite you to get on you knees and ask Heavenly Father for just that. He hears you, and he will answer you. 

--- I'll be posting pictures of the impending adventure come next, next Monday (my P-day). Thank you to all that have been sending the Dear Elders! Unfortunately, they don't have that service in Africa (weird, huh?). So if you want to contact me, EMAIL is the only way to do so now. Love you guys!

- Elder Mortimer

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 5th, 2014 // MTC Week 5

Ola! Oi!

That's about all the Portuguese I'll throw at you guys this week considering once again I'm low on time. The emails will get better when I'm in Africa I promise.

 - We got our travel plans for next week! I'm heading to Africa next Sunday, but I won't be getting there until Tuesday night. Yup, It's 42 hours of traveling. First to Chicago, then to London, then to South Africa, and then finally to Mozambique. Total time in the air? 31 hours. Yeah. Gonta get a lot of reading done.

- I'm in a very exclusive group of missionaries that can Archuleta Five. What does that mean? It means last week I asked, "How long has David Archuleta been serving now?" And this week he was the speaker/singer for our Sunday devotional. It was brilliant. He had been home for less than a week and was slaughtering English - but it was beautiful hearing his testimony both through his spirit and song. My favorite hymn he sang was "Be Still My Soul."  There's nothing better than hearing someone share something they *truly* believe. (POST THAT SONG BERT) {OKAY, BRUDDER}

- This week some executives from the Boy Scouts of America came down to observe our study of Portuguese and ask us some questions about how missionary life is going to be in Mozambique. My hands have this affinity for getting sweaty when I'm nervous... and coupled with the situation and the driest climate that ever existed (darngert Utah)... not a great combination. Sorry for whatever visual popped in your mind, but it definitely happened. Still, besides when they shook my hands we all had made a pretty stellar impression and answered their questions pretty well. It was a good time.

I'm heading off to Africa this next week. THANK YOU ALL FOR SENDING ME DEARELDER LETTERS, it's made my time here so enjoyable and those days which seem a little tougher than they should be are alleviated when I hear from friends and family. I want you all to know that Deus and Jesus Cristo love you all, and know you each individually and intimately. If you feel alone, just pray. Deus ouve.

- Elder Mortimer

Thursday, April 3, 2014

March 29, 2014 // MTC Week 4

I only have around ten minutes left today so I hope no one feels gypped by the length of my weekly report.

I suppose the best way to handle the current situation is to do highlights again:

 - This week seemed so short. One day it was Monday and now it's Saturday. Some of us are going kinda crazy being holed up here for so long. You can find my body's streak marks from running into windows all over building 18M. We just want to roam Africa already, you know?

- Elder Tuigimala made the grievous error of telling our Branch President that sometimes he falls asleep during personal study. Now every lesson we have revolves around praying for energy.

- Oi! We hosted this week. "Hosting" is taking care of the new missionaries that come in. I only had enough time to host one missionary, but of course his name was Elder Morgan. So Elder Morgan and Elder Mortimer toured the MTC campus trying to get Elder Morgan settled in.

- I had a dream partly in Portuguese this week. It was the strangest thing. Something terrible happened to someone, and as they told me their problem in English, I could only respond in Portuguese. I kept trying to tell them, "seu Expicao vai ajuda voce, Eu prometo." (Sorry if that wasn't proper I don't have my verb card or dictionary so I can't pretend to know what I'm talking about today.) 

Anyway, I love you guys. I hope everyone is doing alright. Thank you all who sent the riddles this week. I can't actually respond to Dear Elder letters unless you send your email address with it. So please do that so I can respo- time for lunch I have to go thanks for love

 - Elder Mortimer