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, September 24, 2012

Dear loved ones,
Chris is doing well.  If you have a simple recipe or two that you'd be willing to share with him, that would be great.  Recipes that only call for the most basic of ingredients, don't take a lot of time, and cheap would be best.  They do not eat in the homes of the members in his mission.  I don't know why, but as a result the missionaries are cooking all of their meals for themselves.  What great husbands they are going to be someday.  

Enjoy the letter.
So I have discovered that this computer thinks that everything I write is WRONG! Biased against English it is.

So, to start. I will try and answer all your questions and a few more. I am trying to figure out dropbox to send you all my pictures every week because flickr isn't working. I don't have a yahoo account and I can't set one up because everything is in Portuguese! AH!

This computer won't open the SD card to get the pictures from here to you guys. I'll figure something out. The frustration is that I only have a few hours a week to email and send pictures and all that Jazz, so it is ten times as frustrating when I can't do what I want to do. I don't know why this computer doesn't open the card.

How have I been? I have been having a hard time. Not gonna lie. Don't worry, Mom, I will be fine(just need to work through it and trust that the Lord knows what he's doing). I couldn't have imagined this either even a month ago.   I have been walking around Africa talking to people just begging that they listen to something that will save their soul. It's really hard when no one wants to listen to this vital message, or say they do and blow off the meeting you set up with them. Ah! It's hard to see so many people who JUST DON'T KNOW how important this is and how I cannot get the message across with my limited Portuguese.

Elder Awbrey is great. He is only six months into his mission (transfer number 5), but he is really good with Portuguese. I being his first greeny is a little hard for him. He doesn't say anything, but I know that teaching almost by himself(I try, but it's hard then you don't know what was said for the past thirty minutes) is a hard thing.

Az vezes, or sometime we eat together. Mostly we have our food and just eat what we have. Which reminds me. I would like the recipe for tater tot casserole. Also, any other recipes that are easy, take a short time to make, and not too many ingredients would be great. I am eating rice alot-it's cheap to buy. So, you were right. I am not ashamed to say that I should have listened to all you said, especially cooking. I am fine...but I would like to have known more about how to cook. Simply eating is what you could call it.

I live with three other Elders-Elder Awbrey, and Elders Thacker(from Orem! Finishing his last transfer in four weeks) and his comp Elder Fransisco(Native to Mozambique and doesn't speak English well...at all...on his fourth transfer). (ps. a transfer is every six weeks. I'll be with Elder Awbrey for at least two transfers for my training then one of us will ship off elsewhere).

The members...all right...Nice people. Can't say much else because I don't understand Portuguese well.

Aha! Pictures are showing up at last! I hope dropbox works. If not I'll figure out something else like Flickr or who knows. Maybe I'll limit my picture intake and send them via email. I wanted to send you some videos but they aren't working at all.

Man, this is going to take forever to download to dropbox. I need to take fewer pictures. I have a ton of MTC pictures still and only a few Mozambique. I might end up deleting all my MTC pictures but a few and try to take only a few here so I can get you guys something. AH! I don't want to do that though, I want a ton of pictures!
Ok, what might happen here is I will send a few pictures a week, you take them off dropbox every week, and the rest will stay on my SD cards for forever. Elder Stuart, a Mozambique RM we met in the London airport, did that. He had a ton of SD cards. My only worry with that is that they could be stolen. I will figure it all out. We'll see how this picture thing goes. As for videos, I might someday figure out Flickr. As for now, my time is ticking.

I miss the temple already. I am jealous. Another temple dedication. We are so blessed. I hope it was as great as the Draper dedication was for me.

Tear up that dance floor Nate! Yay! I am so excited you get that opportunity. It is such a fun sport. I love to hear about it.

Enjoy that Wacky Wednesday. I miss things like that, all cheesy and fun. You are great and made my schooling so good. Yep, that's Ben, he is on top of knowing and remembering all things for you. Jo, snacks, hah! Love it!

Sorry I don't respond for very long. AH! This one day for two hours email thing is hard.

Go Matt! I am all for you getting that job! I know you'll do great. Love it and work hard.

Soda machine. Ah! That thing was cool. Nate told me he has fun with that and that Wendy's is now his favorite restaurant in Orem. I would probably concure.

I'm praying for you Dad. I know you will do great. I know the Lord is with you and will help you find a good job to support the family. Thank you for being the example you are to me. I look up to you in all things. I love you.

Mom, you are doing great, I know it, you always are. Make sure to do your best, but trust in the Lord and make sure you get your rest. Hehe, I love unintentional rhyming.

Yup, I have my watch where I can hit a button and say, like I am now, "It's ten minutes to one in the morning for them." Weird. Like I said, Jet lag is pretty much gone, but while it lasted it was harsh.

Tell Pres. Jensen thanks. Tell him I will do my best to live up to my title of missionary and to the help I receive because of their prayers.

Charles Berger! AH! I wanted to know where he was going. Malaysia, wow. That'll be something for him. I am excited for him. He and Tanner Mueire(sorry about the spelling, I suck at it) are best friends.

Hopefully you can figure out which picts are Africa and which are Mozambique and hopefully this idea works and that SD cards are horribly expensive. Hopefully you guys know I am fine and won't worry(but still pray-expecially for the people).

Oh, two things.

Concerning packages, yup, they take roughlyish kinda a month to get in country (to the mission office) and then a while more to figure out how to get them to me. In Maputo I can get packages quicker because of how close I am to the mission office(roughly a month). Elder Awbrey had his family send one at the start of his mission six months ago and has not got it yet and may not get it. So, I will be here for at least twelve weeks. They don't have M&Ms here (thank you Josh, brilliant, though I am almost out. poo). American candy, apparently, is a luxury. I am not sure what I want though. So, it is pretty expensive for you. I don't need too many, plus I think it is only two packages a year for us due to cost and other stuff(like time and effort to get it to us-the Elderly missionaries drive them around).

I miss you sooooo much and wish I could hug you all and tell you that right to your faces.

I will love you for all eternity(top that! kidding.),
Elder Christopher praying his head off for the Lord's help Wartena

PS. Hey booger! Bigger booger loves you.

PPS. Matt, How bout we call you Mortermashnerd instead of bigger booger? Hehe. Love you man.

PPPS. Have fun, give everyone a hug for me (that is for everyone, not just Mom), and trust the Lord. We are soooooo blessed.

Again we are thankful for modern communication technology.
Signing off for now,
The Mama

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Email from September 17

We began Monday morning by reading email from Christopher.  What a fun way to start the work week.  And since his email is already in the inbox by the time we gather for scripture reading in the morning, we started our time together with a feeling of him there with us.  On to the email.  Enjoy!

My Mother is a silly goose. You need your sleep. Trust me, I am tired enough for the both of us by way of jet lag. In fact, I have found out two things about airplanes: A. They are crazy fast and the best way to get from Utah to Africa. B. Going north to south is fine, but going west to east screws up your internal clock. In other words, jet lag sucks, and I swear it wasn't my fault when my body decided it needed to sleep during church.

So, to get it out of the way, you are going to hate me. Psh, I am not too proud of it myself, but I left my camera back home. Yup, your wonderful little boy cannot send you pictures this week because he's a scatter brain. So, I am so sorry.

Well, ya'll probably want to hear about how I'm doing over here in this completely insane place, so I might as well tell you a bit about my last few days.

Well, after two days of flying and sitting for 12 hours in London, I arrived in this little airport in a little place called Maputo Mozambique. Wow! I can definately say culture shock is getting to me. I came off the plane, went through customs and security, found out my big suitcase was on the next flight(don't worry, I have it now), and left to find Pres. Kretly and his Wife along with the APs waiting so patiently outside. Pres is great, his Engilsh is good.  I had absolutely no problem understanding him(in English).

Pause. My watch just sang for me. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope it's great! I sent a card from the MTC(one for you and one for Jo[by the way, Happy birthday Jojo!]) I hope you got it. You are a great guy. You deserve a great birthday.

Well, I spent my first day here completely wasted from jet lag(so forgive me if I don't remember right). We went to the mission office, in the picture of us with pres, then to the mission home. Pres has a NICE house, and we got to stay there the first night.

Hm. My first meal. Ah! That's right. We went out to eat at this little chinese place. It was good. They had shrimp in the rice(not so impressive. I don't get why people go crazy about shrimp). They also served noodles and chicken in some yummy sauce. Twas good.

Anyway. Most of the first day is lost to my tired mind(once again, I hope jet lag wears off quickly.). The second day we went to the store.  Wow, like a small Walmart like thing. Just a normal store. A lot of the products are in English-they get a lot of stuff from South Africa.

Speaking of which, you probably want to know what we have over here by way of food. Well, we have yet to go to ShopRite today, but I have been told they have mostly the same stuff as the US does with a few exceptions(like sour cream). THEY HAVE PEANUT BUTTER! Didn't you say, Josh, that Argentina didn't have peanut butter? Oh, but they don't have root beer(so thank you, I will enjoy that bottle of concentrate later on in my mission when I am missing home). They have 7 up and Fanta. In fact, they have more than just orange fanta. They have grape fanta and pineapple fanta and coca cola. It's all in different packaging(tall, not wide bottles), but it's the same stuff.

Speaking of food and stores, the Medico is weird. That's our money. Nosso dinheiro. The medico or plural medicais. Weird. I walked into the store(called game) with pres and saw sign advertising stuff for only Fifty medicais! Wow! ONLY! Hah! I saw a sign for baby bum powder and I think it said 150 medicais. It's worth a lot less than the dollar.

Ah, probably would like to know about my home. Well, we have running water and electricity. The water is cold. So if I want a hot shower, boil some and mix with the cold.  And, yes, we have a washing machine. It's nothing fancy, but it cleans clothes.

Come to find out, it rains a lot in my area. Or at least it has the whole time I have been here. My umbrella has become very precious to me. My comp...oh...I haven't even talked about him yet. Yup, me comp is named Elder Awbrey. He is from Luisiana! He told me that I am his first companion that speaks English, so he was happy about that. He's a great guy. He is a little taller than me, white, and has an american accent. Normal. Except for the fact that he won't let me share my unbrella with him. Psh, he's getting one today.

The area I am in is called T-3 B. The little town, or bairro, is called T-3 and me and my comp are in charge of half (the B half). The only paved roads are the main roads, everything else is sand. The people live very poorly. I do not know how they do it. They live in these little huts usually made out of gray brick and would be considered run down and unlivable in utah. I feel bad. My house isn't stellar, but it is enough. These people are crazy poor. There are so many funky things I see here that I would never see in Utah just because people are SO poor here. We live amongst them, but our house is alot nicer.

Psh, everyone has commented on my orange bags. "You might want to tie something to that so you can find them!" or "OH, you'll lose those in two seconds flat" or "I'll buy you a satellite so you can see them from space." Which reminds me. I have to consolidate down to my one big suitcase for my whole mission. We fly for transfers and the planes only let fifty pounds and a carry on. I will be fine.

Yes, recipes would be great. I could probably find all the stuff to make them here. My only problem, make them simple and quick: we don't have lots of time just to cook and our kitchen is rather small.

I love you and hope I don't sound too weird(I am still suffering from jet lag-nine hours is a lot).

Give each other hugs for me.
Yo bro and crazy boy on the other side of the globe.
Elder Christopher Andre Wartena

P.S. My name is hard to pronounce for the people. They usually say Watena. They delete the R. Even then, they slurr it. The accent is so weird. I can't differentiate one word from another. I'll get the language though. It's coming slowly but surely.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Almost to Maputo

Well, as of this writing our dear son/missionary (and his three traveling missionary companions) is almost to his landing in South Africa.  Yeah!!!  It has been a long two days.  Traveling from SLC to Texas to London to South Africa.  After a layover of a few or so hours he will board another plane which will deliver him to Maputo, Mozambique.  Four different planes in two days.
    The country hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and now they have a cool decoration in the front lobby.

Once Chris arrives in Mozambique, we have no idea what travel plans President Kretly has lined up for him.  He could have at least one more complete day of travel.  I just hope they give the four new missionaries a good meal, a shower, and night's rest before sending them off for more travel.  One can hope.  We must always hope; but . . . he will most likely be sent right to work, which is good for 19 year old young men.

I would like to tell you about two wonderful websites:  www.flightstats.com  and flightaware.com.  Both sites made it possible for us to follow Chris's fights all the way to South America.  We will watch what we can of the next flight, but that may not be very much.  We are exhausted from staying up watching last night followed by a 6 a.m. phone call from the Heathrow Airport.  Sleep is calling, and I want to respond in the affirmative.

UPDATE:  The missionaries have landed!
 Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sleep well, All.

Signing off for now,
The Mama

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dear Friends and Family (for that is how I think of you),

Chris is at last off on Monday headed to Africa.  Please enjoy his last MTC email.  You know we have.

Minha familia!

To start, WOOHOO! A package!

The Mp3 is great, speakers too(side note-I should have read the letter first. I turned it on to make sure it worked and had batteries. Thanks a ton!

Second: The space bags will be my salvation. I have found that space is an issue as well as weight(weight-I'll figure out what to send home) so they were a welcome gift!

Proximo: Gum. Thank you. I love gum. Thanks for the plane advice.

Whatever number you wish: PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BLAH!!!!!!!!!!! Hehe. I love em. Oh, and Josh, I loved those Avengers picts. Sweet! I am sending home the package(so you can do whatever with the tops[that were genious by the way]). But, I love all the photos. I will enjoy every one of them.

Water flavorers: Hm. good thinking. Might need some the first bit. Plus I love them anyway!

THANK YOU SO MUCH! (Caps lock-fantastic-like a megaphone to the ear).

Letters: NATE! AH!!! I love you! I love your letter. I'll have to respond in a longer email when I'm in Africa (my time is very limited, sorry). But, A. Sorry about band. B. Good luck with Ballroom (I loved it) and WOW with the shoes. C. Dr. Who is definitely interesting. Good luck and enjoy!

The tie fish-hook: I love it. I have always looked at Uncle Travis's hook and thought how much I would like one. No lie. Everytime I saw it I wished I had one. And the Fishers of Men symbolism, Mark 1:17, Ah! Thank you so much! Thanks for sharing the same thing your mission pres did for you.I will wear it everywhere.

Backpack: Yay! I can go to Africa now because I now can fit all my stuff nicely. Like I said, I am sending home one of my suitcases (you should get a call about it Monday or Tuesday). As the Baggage Situation stands (take into account that I have not yet packed all my clothes and a few other coisas[things, sorry]) I think I will be able to fit all I need and only send home...ok, yes, it is a lot, but I think I can fit all I think I NEED and am just sending home extras and a few other things that I forgot what they are and aren't run-on sentences wonderful, want to hear a story?!

So, I was teaching this investigator (teacher playing investigator) and I wanted to tell them that it was great that you are "excersising your faith." Now, I don't remember the exact words, but I did not say that. I said something along the line of "it is good that you perform exercism on your faith." Needless to say, I was corrected. Moral of the story: if you don't know that verb it is better to use other verbs than to try and "make it up on the spot." The risk is high. Ok, I don't exactly mean, never try to use new verbs, but be VERY careful.

Sorry Uncle David. I would absolutely LOVE to visit with you in London. I would LOVE it!!! But the handbook specifically states not to set up meetings with family so as not to distract from the work. Twelve hours is a long time, and I would welcome with open arms a familiar face, but I can't. It is really hard to say this, I wanted it to be the other way SOOOO bad, but it is a world-wide rule. Sorry. I MISS YOU UNCLE DAVID. I havn't seen you for...dang, I can't remember. PS. I love your Kilt. I kinda envy the fact that tonga, samoa, scottland, and those other places have such cool alternate pants (kilts and lavalavas) for missionaries.

I am unsure what else to write. Oh, thanks so much for the phone card info. I look forward with insane quantities of excitement for that moment (like my discriptions?).

The MTC has been a fantastic experience. I'm sending you a few things with my extra luggage that might be interesting for you: my daily schedule, for example. I have loved the spirit here. The devotionals and firesides are fantastic. The temple is within an easy stroll. I am fed, for free, a good meal every single meal time. Teachers that are there for the specific purpose of helping you learn the language and become spiritually ready. I don't have to worry about so many little things every day here, I can concentrate on the gospel and teaching completely. I have loved the MTC, it has been hard (I mean REALLY hard) at times, but it has been so worth it.

2 Nephi 22:2 explained as Elder Staples explained it: "Jesus is my best bud"

I love you all. Trust in the Lord in EVERYTHING you do. Don't any of you dare fall away or I might just have to come home and kick your butt.

Loving you always and praying ever more for your happiness,
Elder Christopher Andre Wartena

P.S. I am so excited for Africa. I can't believe I'm done at the MTC. The days have dragged on but the weeks flew by. AHHHHH!!! AFRICA!!!

Love you all, too much to express in words. XOXOXOXOXO

Happy day to all.
Signing off for now,
The Mama

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chris is leaving for Africa!  Oh, it the time passed soooooooooooo fast.  I am nervous, excited, nervous, thrilled for him. He flies out of Salt Lake City International Airport Monday, September 10, 2012.  He will then travel for a couple days, arriving in Maputo, Mozambique, on September 12, 2012.

Let's hope and pray he likes airplane travel.  Having never been on an airplane before, the Mama is just a bit nervous about him being on one.  He will be fine.

Of course, he would love a ride on this plane.  

Perhaps this one.    

Yes!!!  The ultimate ride. Space, the Final Frontier.   

Africa feels like the final frontier to the Mama today.

Prayers for the pilots and their staff would be appreciated.You know, prayers for good sleep, alert minds, and cooperation aboard would all be wonderful.

Today we are off to deliver one final package of necessities and pictures to the Elder.  He has to downsize to one suitcase, a carry on, and a backpack.  Apparently in Mozambique they are only allowed to travel with one large suitcase.  It will be quite a challenge to consolidate stuff and to decide what to leave.  Here is a shout out to Post Mart in our town. They not only deliver packages daily to the MTC for a mere $2.00, they also provide a local return service from the MTC for free.  The extra piece of luggage and it's contents will be coming back to us via Post Mart.  We just have to go to their store and pick it up.  What a blessing.

Happy day to you.
Signing off for now,
The Mama

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I just want to tell everyone I'm sorry for the lack of updating this blog lately.  I have been reluctant to share all of Chris's emails.  No reason other than I'm feeling a bit stingy.  Just wanting to sit and savor his emails all to ourselves and enjoy the part of him we get each week.  We have been feeling a bit vulnerable and pulling in tighter to one another as a family.  

Without further ado, I happily share this week's email with you.  He is happy and doing well.  Only about 2 weeks and he heads off to Africa.

Dear Family,

FLIGHT PLANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!! Whoop!

So, I am sending you a copy in the mail, but I'll give you something here.
Salt lake to Fort worth Texas. Texas to London Heathrow. London to Johannesburg. And, finally, Johannesburg to Maputo.
Four flights. The longest one, from dallas to london, is 4:55 pm the 10th to 7:50 am the 11th. Do the math. Then there's the 12 hour one from london to africa. That doesn't even mention the other two flights and layovers...like the 12 hour layover in London. So...I've got some time on my hands when I get there.
And, then we found the little peice of paper about the Africa airways. So, one peice of checked luggage, but now only 44 lbs allowed. Yes I can have a carry-on but it can only be 15 lbs. The backpack? I'm pretty sure they allow one. It didn't specifically say. Oh, when you get the peice of paper it says Cape town on top...that means that all that applies to me is the luggage and airline stuff not the other stuff.

So there's the gist, I'm sending the copy today of the actual itinerary.

So, starting from the top of you email:
No problem. I love getting mail in any form. The dearelders or email. I logged in and there you were! Horray!
A PACKAGE! Whoomp! I feel like a celebrity. I don't have it yet, but I can hardly wait for mail time after lunch.
My brothers are the best brothers in the entire universe. I LOVE YOU GUYS! You would give up your own MP3 players?! For mean old Chris?! I'm honored. Whatever you send, I will love it.

Speakers? Don't send anything special. They need to be small and light. And DO NOT spend tons of money. Last thing I want is you spending loads of cash on me when I will just A. go to africa with it. B. Send it back and tell you to buy yarn or school supplies. C. Squeeze it into a back pack. D. Love you no matter what you do because you are so awesome to take time out of your day to do this for me!

Quick experience.
So I was getting my itinerary copied to send to you and the girl there asked me how to say "Thanks for your friendship" in portuguese. So, I said "Obrigado por sua..." then I didn't know the word for friendship. So I went to my pocket dictionary. But I couldn't find it........until my comp said "Friendship is spelled 'f-r-i-e...' not 'f-r-e-n-d..." Yup. I have forgotten how to speak and write english even before becoming fluent in portuguese. YAY! I consider that a good sign.

Tell, Dad I feel his pain. I can't wait until he's done. I am so sad. I will miss my own father's graduation! WHY?! POR QUE!?!?! Eu morreria.

I think that I heard that every member of my zone has said at least one thing about that game. There are Utes here and some Cougars. Most of them expressed a wish to go. I'm excited for Dad and Nate though! They will LOVE it!

How is Josh's grammer anyway?

Matt babysitting. Weird. He is getting so old. Nuff said.

YAY! Go hair! That stuff is fun to hear about.
Well, I found out that my hair will not part if it is crazy short. This last Sunday we put tons of crap in it and it barely made it(it was parts and paislies[ties] day). Even then, the cowlick tried to take over.

Enjoy that party. Tell Luke happy birthday for me!

MR. SUMMERS LEFT?! NOOO! Crud. Well, good on Nate for not spending a bijillion dollars on mallets. I am so happy for him. I loved dance. I can just see him now. Red cape, mustache, pretty girl in long red dress just a Paso Dobleing up the floor. I think he would fit well in Paso Doble.(yes, I know I can't spell) And being swamped with stuff you love certainly is the best happiness and stress one can have. GO NATE!

Aha! An assignment for personal scripture study? I'll do my best.

I can't wait for all those pictures. I miss you guys. It's weird. I have lived my whole life almost always with at least one member of my family within speaking distance. Now, I don't have that. I love you all. I'm not coming home-you couldn't pay me enough-but I love and miss and pray for you every day.

Yup, postmart is great. I'll get it there with about...oh...HALF of what I brought. That's the one thing I'm worried about when it comes to packing.

Finally, no, I cannot believe I am actually going to Africa in two weeks. I think I'll get to Johanessburg, step out, then it'll hit me. Then I'll step out at Maputo and the fact that I will be living there for two years will hit me. Yup...It is nuts. I got a little of it with the flight plans, but the reality will hit me like a brick wall when I actually get there. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... excited! One week is too long! Augh. And too short. AUGH!

Well, I'm not sure what else I could say. Oh, my mission pres said I will get that letter telling me more of what to bring soon. Hopefully before wednesday. I hoped it would be in my email today, but no dice. We'll see what happens. It'll all work out in the end.

Well, I have to stop, my computer is mad at me.
Love you more than toilet paper(quote from someone "Don't shake Mozambique people with the left hand...they don't have toilet paper." which I hope is false.)

Elder Christopher Andre Wartena

There you have it.  Another week in the life of a very happy missionary.
Signing off for now,
The Mama