Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014... Swaziland!?

Ouyo Ouyo!

Been a while since I've directly written a blog post... desculpe! (sorry) 
("My Brothers!")
But man, have we been busy. Most of our efforts in these last for weeks have been concentrated on preparing our families for baptism (and for two, marriage). Next week I have permission to carry my camera to these events so I'll definitely be making up for the last six weeks in pictures. Prepare to be overwhelmed with Africa. 

Before I continue, I want to share an email I recieved this morning that may affect the course of my mission:

Dear Elders Sisters, Parents and Leaders, from Mozambique Maputo Mission,

We are very excited to announce that we have receive from the First Presidency of the Church the have anounced that our Mission have been realingned.

Starting effective today, besides the Country of Mozambique, the beautiful country of SWAZILAND was added in our mission. Located on the south border of Mozambique, and about 1:40 min by car from Maputo (130km ).

This country have 1.2 million people, it's is a Monarchy  and a very safe and stable place. We have there one District with 4 branches and one group. About 1350 members. Two beautiful chapels, 14 wonderful  missionaries and one incredible Senior Couple Missionaries. We have been there this weekend and we were amazed with how kind and special are the members and the people in general.

Our goal now is, work hard and help the Lord to do Miracles there like He is doing in Mozambique. We will work for a Stake there. Please, let's pray and work hard to make that happen. The Lords wants families to be baptize there and the leadership and the members are all very exited about this news.

Thanks for all your prayers and support, we love you all,

President and Sister Kretly

We're not sure how this influences the missionaries already serving in Mozambique, but time will tell. Excitement!

Just random tidbit's I've noticed about Mozambique these last few weeks:

- Africa is cat heaven. They thrive here. The world is just a giant feast for them. Everything is for the hunt.  I saw a mouse (or rat or mammal or whatever) get DEVOURED mid-lesson. No one else batted an eye. I got queasy.

- The chickens here are of a different breed it seems like. They have the coolest colors (black, cow patterned, spotted, yellow and dotted) and they actually sleep in trees. Yes, they fly up to the trees and sleep. I don't even know if the ones in America are capable of gaining altitude.

- You can spot the teachers from the students in the schools because they sport LAB COATS. Even the P.E. teachers. I wish America would institute this. 

- If people were wondering what the kid's do for fun in Mozambique, the answer is tires. They play with tires. Rolling it up and down the dirt roads all day and then when white people walk by they throw their favorite toys at you so you get the opportunity to put your agility on display in an attempt to perserve your life.

- If girls fancy you, they hiss. Literally hiss, like a snake. Missionaries are warned to avoid both varieties of serpents in Mozambique.



Monday, May 19, 2014

More Q & A With Elder Mortimer // May 19th, 2014

My dad got to talk to Elder Mortimer over email again this week, and asked him the following. Please keep praying for my brother! We love him a lot, and we know he's helping make a difference in Mozambique.

Q: What's the biggest issue people suffer from over there?

A: Well, everyone is suffering temporally. I'm teaching someone who lives in a house the size of a closet. Another (without embellishment) lives in a straw hut. Not everyone gets to eat everyday. You can see the malnourishment in the kids as they play in streets. It's a different world, man.

Spiritually, the Law of Chastity and the Words of Wisdom are our biggest concerns. People here tend to live together (and by tend I mean always) without getting married. On the weekends, the alcohol is cheap and there aren't that many ways of having "fun" so it's usually what the people resort to. This also leads back into the problems with the Law of Chastity. I guess they go hand-in-hand here.

Q: How have you seen the Gospel help people there? Tell me about one of your investigators?

A: I've seen it change lives. I'm not sure if you remember my post about the drunk guy we walked home that ended in him charging me at me with a hug? The cartoon levels of drunkenness? 

He's three weeks sober now.

He used to drink everyday, for years. But since we've been meeting with him and teaching him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he is a completely different person. As it turns out, he's a physics teacher at a university in Maputo. He's actually very scholarly- it's such a contrast talking with him now when thinking about how we met.  I'm not aces with the Portuguese yet, but God let me understand him when he told us last visit that he feels more at peace and so much closer with his Heavenly Father. He has a baptismal date on the 31st.

Q: What is your address?  (We should be able to try to send at least post cards and airmail letters (thin envelopes).)

A: I actually received your postcard (FINALLY) this week. Along with other letters people wrote a month ago. On average it takes about 25ish days to get to me. 

(Dad's note: I sent the postcard the week before Morgan left the MTC, as did a few others. Morgan still hasn't provided me with his address, so here is the address of the Mission Home:

Elder Morgan James Mortimer
Mozambique Maputo Mission
Avenida Josina Machel, CP 1667
Maputo, Maputo, Mozambique

Letters and postcards take about a month. Packages should be sent several months early to arrive at Christmas time. Small items like photos or CDs can be sent in padded envelopes. Do not send anything of great value in a package as it will probably get stolen.)

Q: What's something you've learned this week that has impressed you?

A: I can do hard things. You can do hard things. 

I've always believed where there is a will, there is a way. 

Now, I know this.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Q & A

My dad emailed Elder Mortimer last week a few questions in Q & A form, and he replied with the following. Since there wasn't a group email this week, I'll just post this! -Bret


I thought I'd list a bunch of questions for you, and hope you can take the time to answer them.
  • Q: Who is your companion and where is he from?
    • A: My companion is Elder Peterson and he is absolutely awesome. He is from South Jordan. (I didn't  realize how many missionaries were from Utah until I got to the MTC. In my house alone, the only people not from Utah is one other missionary from California and the foreigners.)
  • Q: Are you getting along with him?
    • A: We do get along. We joke around a lot to lighten the mood and though I can't understand everything that's happening our investigators really like us. The rules and customs aren't the same here as they would be elsewhere, so a lot of our visits go around for about an hour. It's a ton of fun, I'm glad I got him as a trainer.
  • Q: What's the strangest food you've eaten so far?
    • A: We aren't allowed to eat food from members because a) it's not safe b) it's all that they have. So every p-day we run to the grocery store and buy groceries for the entire week. I haven't lost too much weight because of this.
  • Q: Have you had Feijoada yet?
    • A: I don't know what that is. I think you explained it to me once, but not remembering real well right now.
    • (Dad's link, after the fact: Feijoada)
    Feijoada Is Basically The Best Food On The Planet
    "This is a dish of bold temptation and prompt surrender for carnivores" as told by chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz! Leticia hails from Rio de Janeiro with an experti...
    Preview by Yahoo
  • Q: Can you send more pictures of the animals you've mentioned?
    • A: We can't carry our cameras with us anywhere unfortunately...
  • Q: Have you had a chance to baptize yet? (Everyone here was grossed out by the green water!)
    • A: Not yet, but we have 18 potential baptisms by the 31st.
  • Q: Got testimony? :-D
    • A: Yes. And it's growing.
  • Q: Hardest part?
    • A: Realizing any problem I have with my mission stems from me being selfish. I always seem to come to that realization when a negative train of thought enters me.
  • Q: Best part?
    • A: The people. I absolutely adore my investigators. It's a privilege to watch them spiritually progress and change. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

No Email This Week // Week 4 in Mozambique

Hey everyone! Morgan didn't send out a group email this week because he Skyped my mom this past Saturday (for Mother's Day, or he would have skyped everyone else as well!). My mom was kind enough to allow a group Skype, so my sister Sami and I jumped on for a bit.

Guys, he sounds SO great. His Portuguese is coming along. He prayed for us in the language, and we all felt the spirit strongly. He LOVES the people - his stories of his investigators were beautiful, and felt right.

He knows he's where he is supposed to be.
He loves the people being placed in his path with everything he has,
and he's letting his passion for the gospel interlace with his passion for the people.

And it's making him the best missionary I've ever seen.

I'm so glad we got to talk to him for a bit. He has grown so much in such a short period of time, and it's going to be awesome to Skype him again come Christmas.

Keep sending him emails! He loves to talk to all of you.

I did talk to him briefly over email on Monday morning (his time), so I'll include a snippet of what we talked about. There was no group email because he had to write the Mission President, but there should be a good one this coming week!

"Don''t know if I mentioned this before but my life is Legend of Zelda. Everyone makes the freaking strangest sounds here.

EEEEUUuuuuuu (dissappointment)

GEEYAAAHHhhH (contacts on the streets that are happy to see us)

BOO / DEE (told that story before I did)"

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5th, 2014 // Week 3 in Mozambique

Why hello hello.

Oddly enough, I feel like I'm getting pretty adjusted here. I may not understand everything that is spoken, and many things are still blaringly foreign to me, but I think I'm hitting a groove of sorts.

Life is simpler here, but it also allots for time to focus on things that really matter. I feel our Heavenly Father's love, speaking to me in multiple ways as my companion and I try our best to invite others to Christ. Things may appear tumultuous and overwhelming sometimes, but there is a constant peace I've discovered that comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

As one of our investigators, Joao, put it after attending church for the first time: "Well, I like it! I feel different here, and I like it."  Amen, Joao, amen.


-For everyone wondering what ""Baby in a wheelbarrow"" meant: it means that instead of a baby stroller, sometimes you just make due with what you got. And no one's "got"' a baby stroller here. I've seen it plural times now, so it wasn't an isolated incident.

- Sometimes I just stare at the critters around here. I don't know what species or even category half these fellas fall under, but they are sights to behold. 

- While making contacts this week, there was a particularly small, particularly old man we bumped into. We said "' Boa Tarde!"" (Good Afternoon) and he simply turned to us, gave us a look, and squealed "BOO!'' We did the same back, so he came closer and repeated his chosen word. We once again returned the favor, and he came closer and started pointing at us, shouting ''BOO'" even louder. We ended up in a circle taking turns shouting ''BOO"' and ''DEE'' at each other. I thought we were speaking in dialect.

We weren't. 

He spoke perfect Portuguese and we got his number after.

 -  For some reason, people have started calling me Spider-man here. And because it's near impossible for the people of Mozambique to say me last name, their attempts at saying my name always ends up being "'Elder Mormon.'' That works.

This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but it is by far the most fulfilling too. I am so grateful to be here. 

Pray, friends. It works. Ask you Heavenly Father if he loves you. You will receive and answer. 

- Elder Mortimer

Sunday, May 4, 2014

April 28th, 2014 // Week 2 in Mozambique

When attempting to reflect and relate my time here to everyone, I get the greatest opportunity to remember all the moments that culminate my week.

I love it here. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the people here are my favorite part of Mozambique. I am so grateful that God sent me to where I am. I know that, for me, I am in the best mission in the world. 


- I carry around a notecard with me now so that I can better remember the activities of the week. Unfortunately I'm always moving while writing and some notes were written in the dead of night so I can't read some of my notes. 

- One of my notes just says, "Baby in a wheelbarrow"

- There are no street signs here. My zone where I tract extends to about an hour and half out in all directions from my house. If you knew me before the mission, you would know that I was born without a sense of direction. This is a problem when wandering the streets of Africa aimlessly. 

 - Once I tell people I'm am an Americano, depending on their disposition they either get really excited or immediately decide they can't understand me.

- The ones who do know where America is ask where I'm from in the United States, and once California comes up their response roughly translates to: " THE LAND OF THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE"

- Someone asked me if Arnold Swatchernager (BRET FIX THAT PLEASE) (*editor's note*no it's too funny to fix) was still the President of California. 

 - People like to drink here. Yesterday I walked someone home that was cartoon levels of drunk. By the end of our arrangement OUT OF TIME WHAT DON'T SEND THIS YOU DO SOME HIGHLIGHTS FIX THIS UP I LOVE YOU 
*editor's note again*: obviously lil' guy ran out of time, but he seems to be doing great. I got a personal email with the above story, which I guess ended up in him learning how to hug like a Mozambican...
"put out your arms and have a man charge at you."

Oh, and here's a picture of the blisters on his hands after doing a service project. There's no question he's working hard.

Prayers for Elder Mortimer are always welcome. I don't have an address for him as of now, but I've heard from him it takes too long to get over there anyway that it may not be worth it. So email away, friends!
Thank you all!