Favorite Scripture

Alma 36:21-22
21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.

22 Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon His throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Yup, I am on here 2 hours later than I normally am. Why? You ask. Well, you see there is this thing called a water bill, and in Moçambique there is no option to pay it over the internet. No, the way to pay your water bill is to go down to FIPAG store (FIPAG is the water company) and pay over a counter. Well...do you know how many people need to pay water? Or how many places there are to pay water within the city of Tete? Answers: there are MANY people who want water and must pay. there is 1 place to pay...and when did this intelligent missionary decide to do it? The last day possible...the due date...which was today...a p-day...AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

Families getting ready for two weddings.

Well, here, after waiting for 3 hours in line, we have our water paid (and paid ahead of time for next month to save us the pain of waiting in line then) and now 3 hours of our p day is gone.

Hi, it's me.

The Tete chapel is the upstairs, red part of this building.

This is the line we are standing in today waiting to pay our water bill. We were here 3 hours.
That is not something to make a missionary happy. I did contact a guy in line though. He didn't seem super great, but perhaps he has some possibility. We'll call him this week.

Baptisms in a pool

OOH! Luke, ow. Man, that had to hurt. Yeah, to fix his nose was the right decision. To grow up with your head slightly on sideways would not be a good advantage...especially dating wise.

Nate nate nate...how could you forget Nate? I can't believe you. Oh, yeah, a wedding, graduation, youth conference...good excuse. BUT 18 YEARS OLD! You forgot! kidding.
hehe...yeah, I get really embarrassed when I am flooded by all sorts of things over here on the mission and then I forget someone. Their name or where we met them on the road. For example, in our phone there is a "Daniel" and a "Dani" under Investigators. I wanted "Dani" to call and mark a lesson for that day. Well, I marked with "Daniel" thinking it was who I wanted to sit with. That was interesting. We show up at "Dani"s house for a lesson, he's not there...in the meantime "Daniel" thinks the missionaries lied to him because he waits for an hour for them to show up and they never do. Ug...NAMES!!!

I hope Nate liked his belated party though. I am sure is was great. You made me drool again talking about food, so it must have been good.

This past week we found three families with some good potential. Elder Anderson and I get together pretty well and we are working together well. We started doing something they were doing in Beira that was working.

A. Contacts have become more focused on the "quality." We try to get 35 a week, but we try not to take the number of anyone who has been baptized into another church or are strong in their church. They are children of God and their day will come, but we are looking for those who will be ready NOW to change their lives and get baptized. Those most likely to change sooner than later are those who have no church and are looking for one. It is just that much easier for them to join the church than others. The ZLs in Beira said "it is easier to find the investigator who is ready than to make one." The Lord is preparing people. The field here is ready to harvest, not ready to put down fertilizer and wait for next year. Anyway, just how we are working.

B. We commit the people to Baptism, a baptismal date, and marriage in the 1st lesson. Restoration...baptism...to be baptized you need to keep the commandments...one is the law of chastity. Bam. that's how we do it. The field is white like I said.

We found those 3 families last week, all accepted baptism and marriage. The only thing they didn't do was come to church. 2 had work. UG! They need to get that off. 1 said he'd come. Why he didn't we shall ask tonight when we stop by his house.

Other than that we have 3 other families who we are trying to help get baptized in September. Couple #1 came to church and are committed to JUST SIGN THE PAPERS!!! Don't pull all known family and friends from the four edges of the globe to have a blow out party type of wedding (African tradition that no one can afford, so no one is married.) Just get your documents (Birth certificate, ID card, and a paper saying where you live) open the process (marriage licence) and we'll get you married.

Couple #2 committed to that type of marriage too, but he was sick this Sunday and she didn't come because he didn't. He's actually a member but she isn't.
Couple #3 -- He is committed but she has been at his parents house for a month and we are just waiting for her to return to get them moving.

I am going to ask for a shirt in that package, the same kind we bought when I left. Those from Mr. Mac. Size 15 short sleeved. The ones more fit to size. You know, they skinny out more near the bottom. Take from my account for the money. I know it is a hassle but it would be amazing to have. Here in Tete there are only shirts I can buy off the street and I cannot seem to find one that is my size nor of very good quality. My shirts I am using right now are all turning yellow and the collars are starting to fray. Eeh. They work fine and are holding out but here in a few months they should be switched out. I just want one. I don't need 3 or 4 or nothing, just send one nicer shirt for me to start using here when the package comes. Thanks for the packages by the way. I have loved them all. Just send the things I have asked for and any small, cheap things you think I might like (food is always is fantastic). Honestly, if nothing I asked for is there I will still love whatever it is that comes from you.

Ah, I feel like I am ordering things from you. Sorry. I love you.

Study times huh? Well, I am happy to report that I have been making an effort to improve those. In Comp study we have begun to study better how to teach together and have the spirit in the lesson. In personal study I have been studying the Power of the Priesthood like Dad suggested a while back and other things. It is going well. Having a topic or a question more in mind helps.

The best advice I can give on studying and life is to listen for the Spirit. I have discovered that if one wants the Spirit to direct their life or just plain wants to feel it more, one needs to actively seek it. You go through life and get impressions at moments, but if you want more you must

A. Seek the Spirit

B. Expect the impressions to come.

This includes examining yourself and your activities to find those that distract or remove the Spirit and to remove those things from your life. This includes actively listening for the Spirit in study or throughout the day. This includes having faith that the promises "to always have the Spirit to be with them" and that "it will show unto you all things what ye should do."(2 Nephi 32:5) are real and to expect the Lord to direct you in that manner always.

There you go. My little advice for the week. Listen actively during study for the Spirit to speak. He is there. you have the gift. If you are worthy and especially if you pray for him to come he will be there. All that remains is to listen and follow him directing you through your study.

Another thing I would ask of you...more recipes! Yeah! I love making good food. Granted I am lazy and would rather make Top Ramen and have lunch hour freer to eat then rest as opposed to laboring over a meal. BUT I LOVE GOOD FOOD!!! Man, I have come to appreciate just how good Nate, Matt, Ben, Jo, Dad, and even Josh have it. You cook so well. I am sure Hannah cooks well. I am sure Josh and Hannah have taken advantage of your good cooking too(living so close helps).

Cassoroles, cakes, brownies, simple recipes, fudge(man, you said ice cream and now I want fudge. Elder Anderson is a chocolate maniac btw. Noodle casserole, top ramen salad (yes, this one). Anything. I may not be able to make them all but at least having ideas helps tons.

Have you been reading my Patriarchal Blessing? That comment last week on bearing my testimony makes me think you have. Go check out just how inspired you were with that comment by reading paragraph 4.
Well, me mom, I have got to go. I love you so much. I will think of you later on as I sit next to a mud hut this night teaching a lesson in Tete's heat or as I stop a man in the street to contact him.

I am going to reattempt tater-tot casserole today for a nice treat.

I love you more than air conditioning and paid-by-internet bills,
Elder Christopher Wartena

PS. Fun thought. Elder Anderson has started telling me some stuff he finds odd about Americans. For example: we call everything by their brand name. iPod, top ramen, kool aid, rice krispies, tater tots, etc... watch yourself. It's weirdly true.

PPS. I believe myself to be a momma's boy (a good thing, means you did your job well). I tend to be super self-judgmental and worry a lot too. hehe...2 things we share.

PPPS. Not many Photos this week, but there is something there. Tete's chapel. The water bill line. me.

PPPPS. I love you. Um abraso.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Note of interest--The Cahora Bassa Dam is listed as the 5th largest dam in the world.

I have taken loads of pictures today. This answers the why I am on here so late as well.
I told you something along the lines of 4 weeks ago that we were going to the dam but for a number of weeks I have written that it didn't work out...well, today it did. Whoomp, can you say missionary P-day field trip! It was fun.

We didn't actually get to go down inside the dam. The issue being security. Apparently during the war one of the sides tried to destroy the dam and so now not any old jo can enter in. But anyway it was very fun. We spent forever in the car driving through the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (that land where resides only mud huts and those villages everyone thinks of when they think Africa-yeah, that's awesome.
Anyone want to fish or go swim where this fishy lives?
Yep, the Matola chapel has been a HUGE announcement for the last year. Unfortunately I left Maputo before it opened and will not be seeing it any time soon it appears. It sounded NICE!!!

Well, there wasn't much out of the ordinary else this week. I do think my shoes may last me 2 whole years. If they happen to achieve the feat I may just write Doc Martins and tell them they won themselves a lifetime customer.

I got to attend a birthday party this week. A member, Felicidade, turned 46. His wife, Paula, makes a great orange cake.


Man. I am about ready to wrap this up. That is pathetic. Man, it would be soooo much easier to just tell you all face to face about my week.

Well, I love the news from home. Tell Aunty Kari hi for me (I ran out of time to write everyone-but I love her so much anyway). Tell Justin he's awesome. Tell President Herring thanks for the letter, I loved it.

Tchau minha familia!
Elder Christopher Wartena

PS. Tete is getting hotter.

Monday, July 22, 2013

So, yes, once again I come bearing bad news. Well, it's not bad news. It's actually good news. the point is that I feel I need to write my mission president better weekly letters. Yeah, I feel as though I write everyone else first and then write a stupid, short, get it out because time is nearly up letter each week. So, the bad news is that he is going to be written first things every week.  Yeah...I know, that means I will probably end up with less time writing here, but I feel this is right. I know I will see you guys again (less than a year!)but I only get this short time to be a missionary and I want to do it the best I can. but! I will still write you. I will try and spend good time on you guys. I love you guys. I hope you know that.

Ah, My mommy's dreaming about me. Just so you know, I am perfectly fine and still in Africa. We did not end up going to the dam and this week either(they have no gas apparently). Bummed out :( but still happy nonetheless :)

The river we cross every day.
Hehe. Hot...you don't even know hot. Nah, actually we have been having nicer weather with clouds, so I still am saved the SCALDING DEATH SUN OF TETE!!!!!!! or so that's how it sounds like. I am going to have FUN in September. But, I feel for you guys in the heat. Enjoy and love the swamp cooler.
This is a picture of me crossing the river.  We walk across this bridge twice every day.
Favorite thing about Africa. That's a pretty vague question there. It's a big place. Hm...the people. They are so nice. You can be tromping through the neighborhoods(which to an American's eyes looks like tromping right through people's yards) and pass a family eating lunch, they will tell you "Your plate is served, come eat." A lot of the time. This is a family you have never even seen in your life. Those who you know, your investigators for example, will constantly try and feed you. If it is anywhere near lunch or dinner they will try to feed you. AH! I feel bad sometimes. They are so poor and they constantly try to give you all they got. STOP! I sometimes want to cry. I love them.  Besides that, there are some pretty sick trees called Bomdeiros here in Tete. I sent you a shot. It's the giant gnarly tree.

Baptisms? Not yet, but we have a good number working towards the first weeks in August. Getting people baptised is one thing, getting them married is another. Add the two, WHOO! A challenge. But, a challenge from the lord, so he helps a lot. It takes a ton of faith(from you and you investigators) and a lot of work, but this is the Lord's work and glory and he will succeed and the people will feel and see the lord's miracles begin to work in their lives as soon as they start. (RUN ON sentence can you say? gotta love it. ;)

I LOVED the missionary broadcast. We finally got it here in Tete. Oh! It got me all fired up and I just had bear my testimony afterwords to the branch leaders about how excited I was for them and for the work. The spirit was SO strong. While all that they talked about(ward council and all that) is not yet in place here, I know it isn't far and miracles are in store for this country.

Funny thing. I showed a member here the picture of all you guys posing at Dad's graduation and she thought Matt was me! She almost couldn't be convinced it was my brother. She said you look exactly like me.
Chris and his new companion, Elder Sorenson.  We think the fingers are indicating how much time they have left on their missions.  1 year for Chris and we think eight months for Elder Sorenson.
Well, I love ya but once again I gotta go. Say hi to all in Utah for me! I love You all.

Eating lot's of dust and sunshine,
Elder Chris Wartena

PS. Grey suits and Khakis. Got me. I have heard nothing. All I know is that I have worn my suit about a grand total of 4-10 times since I got here in Africa. hehe. It is rather hot here and a suit would be murder. SHORT SLEEVE THE WHOLE WAY!!! WHOO!!! XOXOXO

Monday, June 17, 2013

Me Mum,

First off to start the email. I sent y'all some shots through Dropbox. Yeah, they are from last week-your missionary forgot to email them a week earlier-but I'm sure you'll be fine with that.  The first is Elder Bender(who came down last week due to illness) with returned Mozambique missionary from 2008 Brother Lott. He talked to the guy before the mission and so it was cool that he got to see him out here.  The other pictures are of President Kretly's birthday party. We had a "stake" party. Take a plate, one says Beira another Maputo another Manga and lastly Matola, and decide where to stick a stake first. Haha, twas' funny. He got a certificate for being an "extraordinary President" a parody of his "extraordinary missionary" certificates we can earn. twas' fun.

Yeah, the companionship is going along pretty fine. The area? Now that's a different story. We had 2 really good potential investigating families last week that we were really excited about and this week they both said they weren't coming to church nor working towards baptism. AAAAAAHHH!!! They do not realize how much they are giving up! They have such opportunity at their door, exaltation isn't a small word, and they tell us they aren't interested. Ug. So, this week we have 0 investigators. We have a few people we will visit this week to see how they are but other than that Elder Bigelow and I shall be walking quite a bit looking for people to teach.

I love conference! I do believe the conference Liahona is here. I'll get one soon. Obedience is a theme you say? Hm, maybe I should put that to the test and see if there is anything I am not being 100% obedient about. Worth a shot and wouldn't hurt trying, we can always be more obedient.

You make me so jealous with Dad's gifts you know. A 3 hour nap? AH! That would be sooooooo nice. I'm sure he loved it.

My missionary plaque is up...hehe...that reminds me of Josh's missionary plaque. I remember that it, too, didn't go up until I felt he was nearly home. hehe. Thanks Callie.

Summerfest! What was I doing Summerfest last year? I think I worked one of those days. Was Nate at work? I remember that Subway was always 2,000,000 times busier those days.
The rides...I remember looking at the ferris wheel and saying to myself "never." Ben would love the fast, dizzy rides. Love that kid.

Hah! Yeah, July of next year will be just a little too late. Well, shirts huh? I did ask and Elder Burg said that Maputo shopping has shirts. They rang from 500 meticais to 1000. Translate that to dollars and you get $17 to $33 per shirt. So, I will look into that. Long story short: don't send the shirts after all. I'll tell you how much to stick in my account. I might just use my church fund card to buy them and then just refund it when you send the money from home. I think I shall buy 3 shirts.  I heard you get a deal when you buy 3 instead of just one.

YEAH NATE! Go getting raises and scholarships! Dude, Justin loves you man.

Well, I don't have much news this week. Kind of a boring email, but hey.

Love ya'll, Khanimambo maningue,
Elder Christopher Wartena

P.S. Health? What?! ok, I guess you aren't way off, I have been around some sick people lately so I might be at risk for obtaining some type of sickness but I feel alright.
Speaking of eating better, you'd be proud, I made an effort to eat more veggies this week.

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Companion--Elder Bigelow
An African wedding in Africa followed by 2 baptisms.  That is for you to get all jealous about. HAH! Strawberry cheesecake ain't got nothing on Africa.

So, due to many other letter and all the photos I took, I will try to type rather rapidly here so I can get out all I  want to say.

In a day by day format

Friday-- last week: get a call- "That wedding that was supposed to have 8 or so couples now only has 2 and Maguanine is doing there's alone...so, now it is up to you and your branch to plan and carry out the whole thing instead of the district doing it." Panic. Call the 1st councilor in the branch presidency and set up to meet Saturday. Stress some more.

Saturday--Meet with the 1st councilor (president was out of country) and tell him what's up. Suggest that the wedding doesn't need to be huge, something small, maybe a Chamusa or two and a nice refreshing drink to celebrate the union of the two. Stress more. Have the 1st councilor keep a cool head and agree to help. Thank the Lord above. Stress.

Sunday--Meet after church with the branch leaders. Learn that they aren't nearly as optimistic as the 1st councilor is that it can be done in a week (this meeting actually had the couple in it too). Set up a meeting for Monday night.

Monday--Have a meeting with the same leaders, our Zone leaders, and us. Get lost in all that everyone is saying (too many talking and too fast, this time it wasn't Portuguese that messed me up). They set up a Wednesday night meeting. Stress. Doubt that it will be possible. Stress. Call the young men to ask for help too. Stress.

Tuesday--normal day. Stress.

Wednesday--Go to the meeting. Hear the willingness of the members to help. Stress.

Thursday--Normal day. Stress.

Friday--Stress because no one shows up to the church in the morning except two youth who help set up decorations and the like. Wait and call, wait and call. Groom shows up with some family. Stress. Call. Stress. Food shows up. Marvel at how much they brought (the plan was not to have a full on meal but rather just something real small). Hear that they have a cake coming. Still keep stressing because the wedding is taking a while to fully get organized. 
The Beautiful Wedding couple
Well, the whole thing worked out wonderfully. I sent you some photos on dropbox. The wedding turned out to be bigger than we expected. Apparently, no one told me that the groom, Aderito, had friends who sang who were coming...so, we had African singers there. OH! It was like gospelish style(the best way to describe it) mixed with the dialect Changana. It was sick. And the FOOD!!! was great. These people make some dang good beans, rice, and potato salad. 

Then, Saturday we had their Baptism. I baptized Adérito and Elder Bigelow baptized Fatima. Truly it was a great day.
The baptism--Yeah!!!

I love you all, sorry I didn't have too much time to write you today, the photos took a lot of time and I had a few other things to do.

Tchau á familia mais ótimo de tudo no mundo,
Elder Christopher Wartena
Stylin' a new rogue look. 

New stove

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ho hum ho hum. what to write such a great ol' mum.
Would a poem make her smile or cring?
Would a song bring smiles to her lips?
Maybe I'll make her good eye twinge,
Or make her dance and shake her hips.
In any case I know she'd love,
A little email from an African bud.

Well, cannot say that I want to write poems for a living, but I thought that was fun.

It is a grand old day here in good old Maputo. I am sitting in the mission office with the APs to my left and the secretaries behind me. What that means is that I was officially the first missionary in the entire mission minus the APs and the Secretaries to find out what happened with transfers.

Random trivia for yall today. Maputo city wasn't always called Maputo. When the Portuguese were ruling and a few years afterwords the name was "Lorenço Marques". Bet ya didn't know that.

Are any of my investigators interested in the big B? Well, actually now that you ask...we had a really good, unplanned lesson with N. and L. last night. Guess what N. asked. "So, how long does it take to get Baptised in the church?" *finger snap thing* We have only taught them both the 1st lesson and he is already reading great. N. is a crazy humble guy. She usually stays quieter during lessons like most women(that is due to the idea here that the MAN is the big boss of the house) but when she talks she is smart and has a strong opinion. The good news is that church had a good impression on her and she also had lots of questions about how things work, where kids go during church, can she take the sacrament before baptism. So...I am excited to see if they continue firm. We need to teach them about how they need to get married before baptism next time. One thing, if you don't let them know about that early on then getting them married takes FOREVER. Also, a lot of couples get dropped cause they aren't willing to get married without the big party or the Lobolo (that dowry Elder Anderson talked about in his talk. It's stupid. Tons of cash and a bunch of stuff like a suit for the Dad and dress for the Mom, beer, wine, etc...)

So, PRAY! Yall pray for them and for us to find more families like them. Our biggest challenge right now is just getting them to make the time to sit with us for the first few lessons. After the first few you kinda know whether they're ready or not and if they are ready then remarking is really easy once they are used to you coming by.

Well, I promised myself I would try to make this shorter so Josh and Dad don't get crap tiny things any more.

Enjoy the hamburgers. To respond to the question what is my favorite talk you know I have to pick Elder Anderson's where he talks about us over here. Besides that...

Don't worry about short emails. Like you said, I love any letters yall send.

Well, love ya'll, I think that's about it...not sure WHAT I AM MISSING(BWAHAHAHA!!!),
Elder Christopher Wartena

Ps. scroll down...





I'm a doorknob


love ya


PPS. Oh yeah! I think you might want to know what happened with transfers right? Well, I GUESSED RIGHT! HAH! I'm a staying right where I'm at and getting me compy tomorrow. His name is Elder Bigelow. I met him in Beira, but I didn't really know him. I guess that'll change though. I and my entire house are excited for him to come. Elder Ostler served with him before and everyone else says I'll get along great with him.

PPPS. I love you.

PPPPS. Nate is graduating seminary, that is WEIRD. I refuse to believe it. AHH! Next thing I'll be hearing about his mission call or getting into a college.
And Jo getting Baptised in September, Josh and Grandpa's marriages, getting halfway through my mission in July, Dad is graduated, the list goes on...this is really odd how my family is all growing up so fast.

PPPPPS. Love ya.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

Here is a little note we got today.  After the Skype call yesterday for Mother's Day there is just not as much to share on P-day.  We surely did enjoy seeing and visiting with him.  He looks extremely good. He is happy, loving working as a missionary.
Elder Wartena is wearing the tie dye shirt.  Aunt Nancy, a.k.a. the best tie dyer in the world, made it for him.
 If you like it let us know.  She sells them and you could own one just like it.
 You know what I ate right after getting off the phone with you guys? Nope, ya don't. 
I ate that "bon o bon" I showed Josh and then a PB and J and then a rice krispy treat. Uh huh. Then today, if the plan flies straight, we are going to eat out for Elder Coomb's last p-day in Africa. That guy is really great. Honestly, if he hadn't told me that he was leaving in a week I wouldn't have guessed it-he really isn't all that trunky. Besides the occasional comment, he is really focused on the work.

So, the picts in dropbox...most of them I was there. The dusty picture of the African kids with an Elder giving the Thumbs up-I have never been there. I just thought you'd enjoy it. It is Elder Cyrier in Luaha.
Luaha is in the middle of nowhere and only has a few members there. Missionaries used to go out there every transfer or so, but, because it really wasn't helping the work and just used up time, President stopped having them do that. Most people out there don't even speak Portuguese but a dialect called Macuah.

Well, like I said last night, not sure all that much what to say. Love ya. During the call I was just all nervous for some reason, not sure why, and I couldn't think straight, so I hope no one got unhappy or offended. I really wanted to talk to Hannah a bit, get to know her somewhat, but when she got on I was at a loss for words. I hope she wasn't offended or anything.
BUT, loved the call nonetheless, and of course I feel supported by you guys.

Pizza, I might be eating some of that today. good idea with the roll thing, I may be trying something like that.

Just out having some bowling fun on P-day.  Did you know they bowl in Mozambique?  
Hi Nate, love ya man. Tell Justin hi for me. Enjoy the PUSH-BROOM! HAHA!

Nice scriptural thought. I will try and bring one for you guys next week from my personal studies.
With Nephi we must agree: we all have our worries and we have good reasons for them usually, but the thing one must remember about worrying is that they must not be seen as excuses to not obey the Lord. "Dad said to abandon all we own and flee to the wilderness." I don't think Nephi was too crazy getting slightly worried about that, but like you said, he did not complain nor rebel, but instead asked the Lord. The same with praying about the Book of Mormon of Joseph Smith. It is a new thing that requires giant changes in one's life, so, people raise the eyebrow. What the good follower of Christ does is put it to the Lord's test and not discount it as some crazy teenage kid's odd ideas. Like Nephi they, and we, can receive answers to our prayers and it is ABSOLUTELY NECISSARY TO PRAY!!! One of the ways I thought I'd get rejected was by people yelling at me denouncing Joseph Smith, but more often over here people tell me that they already know it's true and don't need to pray. AH! The idea is that "anything that says it's from God is true." But that is a cancerous thought.  Just trust the Lord.

Love you all, enjoy life and follow the Lord and his servants the Prophets.
Elder Christopher Wartena

May the Lord bless you all and keep you in his care this week.

Signing off for now,
The Mama