Friday, April 6, 2012

Week 96

Hello Family,

One day this week, we were using the GPS; to find a member’s house and we get to this pretty nice house and we think some Muslims live there but the GPS said these members did. So we knock and this kid about 9-10 years old comes out and we ask him if this member lives here in Portuguese and he has a tough time understanding. He then proceeds, in English, "No these people don't live here" and we ask him where he is from and he says " Canada" and I ask what city and he says "Winnipeg" and if you are from here you wouldn't know of that city. So we leave and the next day we decide to talk to his parents. So we go back. And we start talking to the family in English. They all studied in Canada and learned English. There is a father, mother, and 2 sons. They are a golden family.

Something I forgot to say last week. Not yesterday, but the week before in sacrament meeting, we were singing "How Great Thou Art" and in some parts this women and some others were throwing in some solos and singing extra notes. At the end of the 3rd verse, the elders were laughing and Elder Smith had to leave since he was laughing so hard. It was so funny. People who already don't know how to sing, busting some solos. Mozambique nossa terra gloriosa!

We met this member at a school to get to know his house and oh boy did we walk. I would say 4-6 miles of walking. He said "It's a little far" and we just started to walk and walk and walk. We walked for like an hour and a half. I don't even know if we were in our area or not. Ha-ha. But we had some good exercise though.

I have a question. Mom, do you want me to call on Easter or mother’s day. If I call on mother’s day, I go one like 2 weeks after but it's up to you.
Well that's about it. Have a great week.

 I love you all Elder Sirrine

Week 95

Hello family,

Things here in Mozambique are going well. These past few weeks have been kind of slow. The work is going well. We have been working a lot with the members helping them with family night, reading the Book of Mormon and all that good stuff. We do have some good investigators going well and hopefully in the next few weeks we can have some good old baptisms. But we will see what happens.

This past week, we were at a members house and Elder Smith was asking her some questions to get to know her a little more and he asked "do you have a boyfriend" and she said "yeah I do" so he started to ask some more questions. We got some fun stuff said to us. What we learned is he is an American, named George, was a missionary who passed by here a year ago. It was so funny to hear the responses. Ha-ha

This past week, another Elder who goes home with me, Elder Chamberlain, who is the tri-cities region of Washington, is flying all the way to Seattle with me. Yep, I fly from Mozambique to home with someone. Score for us. We are going to have some fun on the way home. I am going home with 8 other elders and we separate in London. I was supposed to go home with 17 (13 Americans and 4 Africans) but they split us up. 4 Americans and the 4 Africans go home before us and we will have fun coming home. Ha-ha!

There was something else that was pretty funny. We were walking around to go to a lesson and this drunken guy that came up and me being me, I started to talk to him, kind is of provoking him. And sometimes he would look at me, staring at me then he would call me, in English, "duck" and he would start cranking up and it was so funny. Now the other elders call me "duck". Ha-ha

That's about it. Not a whole lot of excitement this past week. Well have a good week and I love you all

Elder Sirrine

Week 94

Well, what a crazy week this past week. The work this week has been a slow process and health wise, it has been a dozy. So last week, Elder Miller started to get flu like symptoms, weakness, headaches that kinds of stuff. Then later in the week, Elders Colvin and Smith start getting the same things but worse. Then it hit me. On Friday after a lesson I just got a wave of sickness over me. So all 4 of us were sick with a virus or something. Saturday morning we all slept in because of how sick we were. Oh yeah. Friday night on the way home we see these big clouds coming towards us and we thought "oh great". As we get near home it starts pouring down rain like buckets of water hitting us. So we run to this little shack and we are covered by metal as the rain is coming down. So we wait for like 30 minutes and the rain calms down and we walk home. We get home and we learn the others room has a leak and it got water over everything, their beds, scriptures, I mean everything and we had no power. Our room was fine and so they grabbed cushions and slept on the floor in our room that had mo energy because the power was gone. So 4 grown wet sweaty men sleeping in a room with no air conditioner. It might have been one of the worst nights ever.

I was thinking of some stuff I want to do when I get home. I want to go to Seattle, ride the ferry, and go to a Mariners game. I also want to go to the Woodland Park zoo and Northwest Trek. I know I have to get my wisdom teeth pulled out and I was thinking it could be done the Monday after I get home. But if it has to be done right after I get home, it’s no big deal.

That’s about it, this week was very boring. Have a good week and I love you all

Elder Sirrine

Week 93

Hello family!!!,

This past week I got who is most likely my last comp before I go home. His name is Elder Smith from Tucson, Arizona and he is in the military. He is a sniper and has served a tour in Afghanistan, so he is pretty hardcore. 3 of the 4 people living in our house go home with me (elders Sirrine, Miller, and Colvin who is also military). Elder Smith is in his 13th transfer and so our house is full of veteran missionaries. T-3 is going to change. Before my comp got here from Tete, I walked with a Luis. He is the newly called branch mission leader and was able to walk with me Thursday and Friday. It was a good time.

This past week was alright. On Friday, we lost our best investigator, Jaime. He told us he had unfortunate news that his dad didn't want him to come to our church and that he had to continue going to the Catholic Church with the family. So it was a bummer but in the end we did find a new investigator that could have some potential, Laura.

Last p-day, elder Astle (who has been in Maputo for like a year) knew where a really good burger joint was and so we went, and it was so good. It was pretty expensive but it was so worth it. When you would bite into the burger, the smoky flavor of a good burger was in your mouth and the fries were great. So well worth it. We went to another Chinese restaurant that was alright but I had to use the bathroom a ton because of it. I don't plan on going back there anytime soon.

Oh yeah. Last week we got on a bus with all the elders, I was the last person to get on the bus so I was stuffing in and I had my arm smashed by the closing door. I then to proceed to take my arm out and I pull it out and I think I broke the door. Ha-ha. But my arm is fine by the way.

So I have been trying to make the house somewhat better looking by purchasing some plants on the side of the road and planting them here at home. So I brought some home and in the morning I planted in some places right outside of our house. Soon after we all leave to teach and by the time we get back, the plants were gone because someone had stolen them. Yes, a mozambiquan stole our plants. They resorted that low and stole plants. I was pretty mad about it.

Other than that, that’s it. I love you all. Have a good week.

Elder Sirrine

Week 92


Good news for you all. We have an excellent member here in T-3. This guy has a 100% home teaching record and knows where every member lives from our branch. He is the only member in all of Mozambique to accomplish this. He even brings people presents, in fact the last present he brought to a members house was a Bowie knife. Isn't that great? He is very nice; he's always smiling and he laughs at everything. He loves making sure we're safe and passes by our house every morning and every night making sure we have food and water. His favorite service activity is cleaning and he's so detailed that he'll take your stuff home to take care of it. Remember the knife? Well, it and his mother have a very friendly relationship. Also, he's super healthy. He loves to drink water and he carries around a bottle with him just in case someone gives him some. He definitely shows his love, and in fact he always wants us to get close with him so he can introduce us to his friend 'Bowie'. So things are really good here. Can't you tell?

So here at our house we have a place, not a hole, to put our garbage. Every once in a while we burn it so we can pile trash on it again. Yesterday, after church, we decided to burn it. There was a mattress that had been eaten and chewn through by rats that had to go. So after the fire started, we put the mattress on the fire to burn. The mattress is a big foam pad with covering. So we thought it would burn pretty small. Oh, we were wrong. I am already inside and I hear "Hurry, get water!” I look outside and I see the mattress in engulfed by the fire. The fire was as tall as the wall here. We even heard our metal gate popping and moving from the heat. So we fill up buckets of water and try to put the fire under control. We are filling up water buckets and running to put the fire out. We finally got it under somewhat of a control. Just think there is tons of black smoke from the mattress and the garbage. We let the pile of stuff keep on burning. After a few minutes this one black guy comes up and says stuff like "You're poisoning us, the smoke kills" blah blah blah. It doesn't make sense. Every other person in this neighborhood, even this country, does the same thing. Here there really are only 2 ways of getting rid of garbage. Either a hole or you burn it. They have a garbage service here but not where we live. But the fire was fun!

Yesterday, the Maputo district had district conference. We were told to get to he church by eight because that's when we had to go to Matola. Matola has a really big amphitheater and its right next to T-3 and the city of Maputo. And of course we get there and only one member is there. After like an hour more people get there and the bus to take us isn't there. After a huge mess and lots of waiting, we piled onto the bus and went to Matola where we got to met Elder Soares, from the area presidency, who recognized me from the conference we held in Beira back in November. The amphitheater was very well taken care of and was great for the members to see what the church here in Maputo looks like.

This week we got the names of some family members of one of our newly baptized members, Maria, who I've mentioned before. That was the first time I've received names to send to the temple for ordinance work.

Also, we have an investigator named Zito who finally acknowledged his own responsibility in the gospel he's learning. He told us that he has a choice to make now or really that he only has two choices. We hope he'll do what's right.

Also, this week my companion, the lovely Elder Bradford, and I got to work with reactivations hardcore his week. We did some work! We've already helped bring back several people and they came to district conference yesterday.

Well, that's about it. I love you all. Have a good week.

Elder Sirrine

Week 91

Hello everyone in the Promised Land!

Things are going good here in T-3. The work just keeps going on. We have been working a lot with the branch president. He has given a lot of people that we need to reactivate and so that will be keeping is busy. Yesterday at church, President and Sister Spendlove came to church. It was raining here so not a whole lot of people came. During the classes, President Chamba came up to us and asked if we could help with the primary. There was no problem with it. So we get to the classroom and the teacher had put a movie in. I thought it was a church movie so it was whatever. But it ended up being a movie about Christmas. It was all in English. During it, President and Sister Spendlove came in. After, Sister Spendlove, who doesn't really speak Portuguese, said "Well that was a good movie. What are you teaching English"? President asks "Are there no subtitles in Portuguese". It's not like the little kids would have been able to read them.

We had a funny thing happen. We have rat problems and so we needed a way to get rid of them. So we found and bought a kitten for 50 meticais. That is like 2 dollars. At home it was freaking out. The next night we see a rat in the kitchen. So we put the kitten there. It did nothing. Later that night, my companion, Elder Bradford, found out the kitten had fleas. So we take it outside and we give some random guy a new kitten for free. Now we have to be men and hunt some rats. Wish us luck.

We traveled about for hours on Saturday trying to find people. That is our travel day. We have people who live far away in Zimpeto and Kongolote. We teach like 2 lessons and that's it. But there are members there. We found a member who lives the teachings of another church. So we talked to her. If you were already baptized in our church, and then if you go to another church and live its teaching, you get excommunicated. It's considered apostasy. She said she would leave the other church and come back to ours. We are giving her a month to come back and leave the other church. If she doesn't come back, she is a goner.

So we had zone conference last week. We had to go into the city. We had a Book of Mormon class on more proof why it is true. If you look at the English, it's not real English. The Book of Mormon was written in Egyptian and eventually in reformed Egyptian with a Hebrew background. That's what Nephi and they were taught. Written in Egyptian and thought in Hebrew. Cool stuff.

The church hired people to fix the church. The energy got fixed and there were little farms on the church grounds. The hired man took out the entire farm and the weeds and is going to put grass, trees, plants, and rocks down. This is the same people who take care of the nice real looking chapels in Beira and Manga. So he will do nice to the chapel.

So what's the news on the school stuff?

That's about it. Have a good week. I love you all.

Elder Sirrine

Week 90

The work here is going good. This past week the area has gotten better. We have been finding new people to teach. We are working with the branch president, President Chamba, on how we can help the branch more. He gave us work to do and we are going to do it as best we can. I don't know what to say about my comp. It seems sometimes we get along but at other times we don't. He is kind of down on himself a lot and I don't even know why. I live with a Vegan, a vegetarian, and my comp is lactose intolerant and is trying to eat meat. But I'm still going strong and being a man. It's kind of hard to live here with these people. Life is so bland I am not really enjoying the work right now. I heard a certain Elder here when I was in the shower talking about the faults I have. Why would you do that? Talk to me first. Good grief. I am fed up with a lot of stuff right now. Just three and a half months and I am home.

So we had a great lesson with a newer member that is 60 years old. We were talking about temples. We tell her that her and her dead husband and three dead kids can be together forever and she starts pouring her eyes out. Both of us thought "No one has ever taught her that." She keeps on saying "Thank you". Once she stopped crying she told us of some dreams she has had. She said since her husband died, she hasn't really thought of him. She loved him. And after her baptism, she said "My husband has come to me in my dreams. She never told us what he has said but she wants to send the names of her dead family members to the temple so in about a year they can be sealed in the temple. It's amazing to actually see when someone loves another person here. It’s not common.

We are working with another couple, Armando and Fatima. They aren't married but Armando is the type of person that gets things done. So we talk to them about marriage and how they have to be married in order to be baptized. He tells us ''I was worried about that, what about parties and lebolo". Leola is pretty much the dude pays the girls dad in order to start living or marrying her. It’s a big thing here and sometimes you pay tons of money for this. It's the biggest factor in stopping marriages here. So we told him he doesn't have to do lebolo and if he wants a party, it doesn't have to be right at the wedding. The most important thing is getting married. We made a goal for the first week in March, they should be married by then and the Saturday after, they can be baptized. I actually think this wedding might happen. Armando actually makes good money.

So we teach a Zito. He is a tennis player that played in the African X games that happened here in Maputo. I don't know how far he went in it, but he is a cool guy.

So I dug a hole for the first time since I was in Magoanine. It was so hot I drank almost 3 liters of water in like 2 hours of digging. It wasn't a super deep hole but it works. Also, while in a chapa this past week, going to our farthest area, we see this huge storm cloud and we think “There is a storm coming". Within seconds, the wind picks up all this sand and it's like a tornado of sand. No matter where you are, you are hit by sand. T-3 is like Magoanine, just full of sand. Within like 5 minutes it's pouring rain. Once out of the chapa, we are soaked. We went to a really crappy member’s house who argued with us about America. Use less lesson.
Well that's about it. I love you all

Elder Sirrine

Week 89

Things here are going pretty good. The new area....well there is a lot to be done. We only have like 4 investigators so we are working on getting more. T-3 has a really bad rep here on the mission. There have been hundreds of crappy missionaries here that have done lots of bad things here. So the area and the branch here are down the drain. My comp is Elder Bradford. He is from Allen, Texas which is near Dallas. He is in his sixth transfer. I think this is the only transfer we will be together. He has been here 3 already. We teach a whole lot of sack members here to try and have them come back to church. I am kind of stressed out about everything. I need to rely on the Lord more and not on me.

So I had a very..... interesting visit to a hospital. So I have had stomach problems for my whole mission and I have this bad cough. We thought I could have asthma. We bought an inhaler to see if it would help. It didn't get better. So we decided to call Sister Spendlove to see what we should do. She says we should go to this private clinic, ICOR, and she would meet us there the next day. So the next day we go and catch a chapa that took 90 minutes to get there. We get there do some paperwork. And pretty much here is a summary of what happened: An x-ray taken of my lungs, I get my blood taken, and I pooped into a little plastic cup. Yes, I did all these things. I had to get test done. I got the results the same day and nothing is wrong with me. The doctors were a little confused. These were doctors from all over the world. I got some medicine to help make the things go away. I am feeling better already. I don’t want to go back. I am just amazed at the love of Sister Spendlove. She was there and left and even brought us food to eat. There are not a lot of missionaries who can say they hung out with the mission president’s wife for a few hours.

We were at a market this past week. We saw some stuff from korondaros, or the witch doctors. They have all this herbal "medicine" and stuff. It was weird to see. I did not feel good there at all. We also met Luis there. He walked with Elder Masterson, my second comp, for a few weeks before I was with Elder Masterson. He still knew who I was after 25 months of not seeing him. Some guy told us he thought we were jokes and we were here just to have sex with the women here and have babies. We made sure he knew what our real purpose was. I got kind of fed up with him.

 We also had a rat hunt. Well, my comp was who killed him. I was in the corner with a mop, acting like a little girl. I hate rats. They are so nasty. My comp felt bad for killing it but I was sure happy when he did.

That's about it. I love you guys and have a good week.

Elder Sirrine

Week 88

Hello everybody,

Well I don’t really know what’s going on at home. No emails. It’s a little wack. I think I will have to cry myself to sleep this week.

Ha-ha. There is not a whole lot to say this week. I learned that a few weeks ago when it was pouring, it was a typhoon. Yep I worked through a typhoon on my mission. Not a whole lot of people can say that.

I am finally back in Maputo. Well, I work right outside of the city.

T-3 is like Manga to Beira. I took a 16 hour bus ride from Beira to Maputo. I left at 4 in the morning and got here at about 8 pm. For about 6 hours I was alone. Another Elder coming down from Beira with me, got off in Maxixe in the province of Inhabane. So it was very weird to be alone. In 20 months, it was my first time really alone.

Awkward!!!! The area of T-3 is..... How can I explain it.... pretty messed up. It has been run over by hundreds of missionaries who didn’t care about here at all. There are so many problems. I am a little stressed about it. I don't know what to do. There is a lot of gossip here. I wonder why President Spendlove put me here to finish my mission.

That’s about it. Have a good week and I hope some emails next week.

Elder Sirrine

Week 87

I wish I could have snow and ice hear. All I got here is unbearable hotness and monsoon rains all the time. Not fair!!! Ha-ha. But those are still some crazy stories. Ha-ha.

But it is transfer. I am getting transferred back down to Maputo to the branch of T-3. I will finish my mission there. I will be with an Elder Bradford from Dallas Texas. I got to know him a little bit. Instead of taking a bus, I get to fly. There was a major rainstorm and flooding that wiped out a major bridge. And now we can’t take a bus down there. I get to fly for the first time since I got to Mozambique. I will tell you more when I get there.

I am pretty sad to be leaving Munhava. My first 2 transfer I really wanted to leave from here. I wanted to go home. I didn’t like my comp, we hardly taught, and the work sucked. I think it was the down point of my mission. Then my comp got transferred and Elder Homer got here. That’s where everything got up. 6 weeks later, the work is great, we have 14 people marked for baptism, there coming to church, I'm happy. Just as the work was getting bad, I wanted to quit and go home, I get help from the lord. Elder Homer changed my attitude. I actually wanted to out to work. I didn't dread going out to work every day. He and I may not be very common, but he has helped me a lot in these past 6 weeks. I don't want to leave Munhava. I love it. It is the biggest success story of my mission. How a missionary is in the slums and how he got taken out with help from the Lord and a missionary.

I had some funny stories happen. At a lesson, we were sitting outside. There drunk neighbor started to come over, and he stops, bends down, and does that cross thing that the Catholics do. I tell him “If you want to talk to us, you don't have to do the cross. We are just normal people that are here helping mozambiquan." Then he started crying. So the blue came out in me and I actually felt bad. I got him to stop crying. After he left, the people we were teaching explains his whole family abandoned him a few years ago, and now he is alone. He has no family near and since then he hasn't been the same.. We went on an adventure. We were using the GPS and looking for a member. With the rain, there is mud and puddles all over the place. So we go walking all over the place. By the time we are done we are filthy dirty. It was pretty funny.

We taught an investigator the word of wisdom. She had problems with tea and coffee. After, she said "I will not drink anymore of this stuff.” I was like "sweet!” We also taught another investigator "21" and "war" with cards. Every time she would lose her say pretty much "crap" and whenever she would win she would say "what a blessing". I thought it was funny and as we were leaving, you have to cross a bridge over a little ditch. As I was leaving, I break the bridge. You only have to take 2 steps at the max. Hahaha. We are going to help fix it this week.

We ran into a place that said "Bairro dos Americanos" or " the neighborhood of the Americans". It was painted on a sign. I took a picture of it.
Well that’s it; wish me luck on my flight to Maputo. I love you all. Please don’t forget about the school stuff Mom

Elder Sirrine - The one and only