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, October 29, 2012

Hehe, Yup. Transfers. I told Dad, but here ya go. TRANFERS! Thems was dis past weeeek yep. Yo smert sun furgut ta tel ya bout wat did done go un wid dem. So, it was a crazy big change! (insert sarcastic voice throughout this part) Everyone got switched up! I mean, I'm staying in T3 training with Elder Awbrey. I will no longer be training next transfer. Elder Francicso's Companion, Elder Thacker, went home to be replaced by Elder De Oliveira (translated to Elder Of the Olive Tree-awesome Brazilian guy!). Wow! Such a change. Yup, this was a pretty boring transfer. Elder De Oliveira is an awesome guy, but that's all that changed with our house.
So, to tell ya'll a bit about what I'm doing (and sorry I don't do this more but my stupid brain likes to forget important things) I am going to tell you about some of the people here. Freitas-Ok, this is a big, tall, BUILT black buy. I am not kidding when I say his could palm my head and crush it like a grape. Every handshake his hand just eats mine. And to top it off, he played for the Mozambique basketball team. Pretty much, he's your average "boss of a black guy". We met him contacting. We sat down in his house and he started showing us all the Bible and religion books he has and telling us how he just loves to read, then we spy a surprising addition to his library: Gospel Principles! What?! Sure enough, it's LDS. We gave him a Book of Mormon but he hasn't read it yet; BUT he said he'll read a chapter a day this week!, (He said that before we even committed him) due to being too busy with his work as a protein, muscle builder shake mix(you know, the protein powder stuff) company boss. I think one thing he needs to understand is how there is only one gospel and only one way to return to God's presence.

Everyone here has the same response to "do you want to hear more about the gospel?" and that is "Nao tenho problema. Para ouvir a palavra de Deus e bom." or in English "I don't have any problem with that. Yeah, to hear God's word is good." UG. The problem "God is the same everywhere! And in every church too!" is so frustrating. YES! God loves ALL his children and yes some of the other churches teach good things and are good organizations and do good for the community, BUT! There is only one way whereby salvation cometh! Through Christ and his one true gospel! One little baptism people! Oh, we have no problem with doors slamming in our faces or dogs sent to kill us, but getting someone to change their lives, to truly understand the importance of the gospel(such as authority and why you need that to baptize[or plain old what Baptism actually is]) is so hard. People will let you teach them, but sometimes they just nod their heads and say "exactament" the whole time without actually hearing what you are saying.

OOH!!! Ah, another thing. Tell Isaac Weaver I got his letter from a couple weeks back(The Lego football and basketball fields sound cool!) and LOVE it! 

Turns out that DearElder works here. They just send it over with the pouch mail every Tuesday and Thursday(that's the days mail from the US comes in). That's great here in Maputo, but if I get sent up North then they won't reach me for a long time. It goes to the mission office and sits there (exactly the same as packages) until they can get it to me.

Also, thanks Grandpa for your letter too!
So, you won't get too many letters telling about eating with the members or investigators. As a very big "suggestion"(almost a rule), we are not to eat at anyone's house due to the danger of unsanitariness(a word, dunno). Well, needless to explain, one reason is that some people do not have toilet paper. Therefore, "What else is your left hand for anyway?" So...we have to be VERY careful with the food prepared by others(not to mention which hand we shake). BUT, we are probably going to eat with a member family some time this transfer. We have planned to sit with them tomorrow(cake is promised-the mom says she loves cooking for the missionaries), and later this month we may get a lesson with dinner. They are a well off enough family that we can be assured that the food will be fine, so no worries. I am so excited though! I get to finally try some African food! I mean, I've had some, but not really a meal. Elder Thacker was telling me of two dishes to try before I leave(who's names escape me).

Also, we are working with the branch. They need to grow closer and develop a more welcome atmosphere at church. So, to develop a "Branch family" is something right on our minds.
I had really better finish up. I love you all, know that I am getting better, I am still having some trouble missing all you guys(it is really hard having two big desires at the same time: wanting to be here serving my mission, and being with you guys helping you.) I am getting a lot better. I just need to forget the time, and myself, get to work and love the people. My brain just loves counting the months before I get to see you, but then turning round and knowing I'd miss this place too. Bah!

 Gotta go teach some people!
Elder Christopher Wartena

Monday, October 22, 2012

This week on "The Email Chronicles of Christopher."
O....K....WHAT! Awe! Yah just had to go mention doughnuts didn't you? Psh, yes my mouth is watering and I am going crazy! Well, I guess I'll just have to eat a Bon a Bon and try to forget. Bon a Bons are these wonderful little chocolate thingies that come in either bar or ball form. They are yummy gooshy stuff in the middle and have a layer of chocolate on the outside. The crunch they made reminds me of a Crunch bar and the only downside is the price. Bon a Bons! Buy one today!hehe...unfortunately, they are too much for little ol Elder Wartena this month. Yup, this month has five P-days instead of the normal four, so I have got to budget. This week's dinners will consist of Josh's "specialty rice" (wonderful by the way, and cheap to make) mixed with chicken and other little things that don't cost me a ton. Yup, frugality is good for you, you may not eat like a king, but it teaches you how to pricewatch.
No, really Elder Thacker should have left next month when I had some more money. Why? Because he wanted to go souvenir shopping and so I was trapped. What could I do? Here was a perfect opportunity: already in the shop with an Elder headed to my home town in a few days and willing to take something to my family. Psh, I bought something for you guys. Hope you like it. Actually, three things. Two are the same type-I bought them that day Elder Thacker bought stuff. The other thing I got off an investigator's drunk brother. Story, not horribly exciting, but a story. You'll read that in my letter with the stuff. The point being, I spent money and now I must be frugal with the rest.
Funny thing happened this week: I missed Subway! Don't you dare tell Justin, but I heard a song in the street that used to play all the time at closing and I could literally taste my sandwich of choice. Oh, this is bad...no...actually I take it as a sign that I am improving. If the adversary is using Subway to tempt me then maybe I am getting even closer to finally settling down.
So, this week I got to do something really cool. The picts with me and the hoe are of me digging in a machamba. We did two hours of service there Thursday! A Machamba is, quite simply, a Mozambique style farm. The women who work on Machambas lean over so much that their backs, after a number of years, seem to stay that way: they are called Machamba mommas. There is a picture of one who's back isn't quite all that bad yet, but I have seen some who really need some help. What we did there was clear ground. We walked out into the grass and hoed until we had a descent sized square of soil in the place of grass and weeds. The dirt there is really quite fertile looking, loose and rich. Unlike Utah, where it's dry and cracked in places(love it anyway) here it was quite easy to pull up and hoe. Nonetheless, the work gave me blisters on my hands. AH!
Well, investigators...we had three at church yesterday! AAAHH!!! YES! I was so happy when I saw Gito and Lizia(and their baby girl) come in the door. Also, totally unexpected was Flora's daughter. So happy.
Conference it was(finally got them here). In Portuguese, conference is really hard to understand. I got some stuff out of it, but I will still be watching it over again in English(the missionaries keep the discs after the church uses them).
So, I need help. I am trying to think up good goals for my mission as a whole. Ask the bros, dad, etc... perhaps even a devotional idea (Hey! I can help homeschool out her:. "Goals for my 2 short years") and let me know what ideas you come up with. My first goal is "at the end, when the plane ride home is near, be in the mindset where I will beg to stay. I want to have leaving M. be a hard thing. I want to miss this place, the people, and the work."
Well, I'd better email Dad and pres. so I'll wrap this up. Temple thing? I AM SOOOO DOWN FOR THAT!!! YES!!! Write that down somewhere because we are definately doing that. (I suggested we go on a "serve in a different temple a week" thing when he gets home.) Love you, Elder Christopher Wartena

Monday, October 15, 2012

So, bad news, I only have four picts this weeks and that makes me a bad son.
So, Mom, I love you so much. Thanks so much for emailing me last week. Elder Thacker, I talked to him about the apparently obvious hardship I am having adjusting to mission life, and he told me kind of exactly what you told me- Stop thinking about home, quit counting the months, and make Mozambique your home. This is my home now. As far as everything is concerned, T-3 is my Branch, my home, and my people, so gosh darn it I had better help my home improve as much as I can. So, I would absolutely love your emailing luxury and be able to respond to all the absolutely wonderful things you emailed me, but, you know what I am going to say, why do I bother? So, I will tell you about my week. (I love hearing about your week and experiences, thank you so much!) Wet...wetty wet wet. Chuva for three straight days and it could continue. My Luisiana comp says that is not all that impressive, but to me, well let us just say that the roads turned into mini lakes this week. That was fun. We chose our routes not on what road is closest to our appointement but by how much water we would have to cross. That really was fun. Special or out of ordinary today? hm, well it is Elder Thacker's last p-day in country, so we will probably end up in some shops for him. I have bought some things to send you guys via Elder Thacker(home town is Orem-coincidence?). Laundry is done seperately and dried on racks we have in our enclosed porch. My socks take for-freaken-ever to dry, but, whatcha gonna do? It's fun. Reminds me, I might need to buy detergent this week. Conference...yeah...we get the DVDs sent to us and I personally have no idea. Ope, Elder Ruis says we get it next week. YES!!!!!! I will enjoy watching that. I love listening to the prophets. Hehe, currently our days run quite interestingly. We do a ton of just straight contacting or in other words "knocking" doors. Really we yell doors with a big "Com asensa!" (not spelled right) translated to "with liscence!" All of our investigators need help keeping commitments-especially going to church. We have begun really stressing our purpose to the people so they know that we are not just there to talk about God but to help them change their lives and come unto Christ. Portuguese is coming, it isn't in station but it is on the way. Still, the biggest difficulty is understanding what the people are saying. Usually I can get what i want to say out pretty well, but the accent of Mozambique is killing me. Dad's stir fry this past week was amazing! Loved it. By the way-for Calls home we get to use Skype if we want. So.........get that ready for Christmas so we can see, not only hear, each other. I had a thought. If you want anyone to do anything in the gospel they must understand why it is important for them and why it will bless their life. No one will do anything if they don't for some reason want to. So, when preaching the gospel(or raising children unto the Lord) the people you teach must be taught how it is VITAL for them and if they truly understand they will change. "True doctrine understood changes behavior"-PMG quote. Thanks for the compliments, they helped a lot. I need to do better at this. I tend to only talk about the bad things and how to fix them rather than the good things and how to praise them. Well, I must end this. I love you, I am sending an RM bearing a small gift in a couple of weeks. OH! Package. So, pictures are a BIG MUST! Snacks, candy, non-parishable(maybe a dictionary so I can spell, gosh) items for snacking on(american candy is very nice when one is not in America). Deoderant here I am told is only in the roller kind, so maybe three things of Aqua Reef Old spice stuff(or any other scent you think I'd like-I think you guys have great taste). Also, I think I really would like something to remind me of EACH of you. One of Mom and Dad and Josh and Nate and Matt and Ben and Jo. Something small but that will help me remember you guys I would really LOVE. .....Pens......maybe..... Lastly, and this is most important...NOTHING OF VALUE!!! NOTHING IRREPLACABLE! Keep in mind that this may(probably will if you keep it within reasonable bounds but still might) not get to me and be lost in the mail. So, keep that in mind. Gosh, I am excited. Thank you soooooooo much. You are awesome for sending me a package. I love you more than hot water in the shower, Elder Christopher Wartena

Monday, October 1, 2012

I am now, at this very time, writing to the best family on the planet. AH! Ya'll sent me so much! I love you guys.

So, the recipes, I hope Maputo's stores have all this great stuff. My problem is that I can't A.buy too much with my limited budget (the lesser problem) B.Get it all home. We live out in a beirro (suburb of Maputo) called T-3 and we have to go into the city to get all our food. Hopefully we can get a ride home. I haven't had to ride in a chappa home yet. Oops, vocab, a Chappa is a van looking vehicle that drives around a certain route like a bus. Man, they are FUN! Yah, it's like a bus system (except they have a bus system-we don't use it and I don't know why). The reason coming home on a chappa would suck is that when we return we have all our groceries with us, and my backpack only fits so much). Taxi, though more expensive, is much better and if you get a ride with the AP, Pres, or an elderly couple (the first choice) your day is made. Stick your stuff in the back, climb in, drive home. Easy. Chappa...yep, literally taking home all your groceries in a van packed full of people. Not fun.

So, before I forget, Elder Wilkey. I love that guy. Tell him that his BOM reading was fantastic. I know the Book of Mormon so much better and actually have come to love personal study time as my favorite time of the day. My advice, read the stinking scriptures. Know them, devoure them, if you know have Preach my Gospel, read it! I am out here wishing that I had spent more time finding scriptures and getting to know the great gift that is the scriptures. Don't just know one scripture on a subject(for example, the Law of Chastity or Plan of Salvation), because someone out here will need a different one. I know the scripture where Alma (Port. for Soul...The book of Soul...Kinda funny) is talking to his son........Corianton I think......about the harlot Isabel and how he needs to shape up his life. Yeah, that might offend someone, also, it can be confusing and not really explain the concept of Chastity in a way that will help THAT person. It could help someone, but you must have all the scriptures and knowledge and spirit you can to help ANYBODY. This work is very specific to the individual, so read and know the scriptures. If you know the scriptures you will be able to help others do the same.

Another thing to tell the young men, go with the missionaries, talk to your friends about the church, just don't be afraid to share the gospel. For pities sake, I didn't want to talk to anyone about the gospel before my mission. They'd look at me funny, they'd call me weird, they wouldn't want to be my friend anymore. Just share the gospel! Make sure they understand that you believe that this gospel is the one thing in the ENTIRE world that can bless your life more than any other thing. Love this work.

Also, let them know that this is DANG hard. This is, no exceptions, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life (and I'm only a week from my month mark). Tell them to prepare now for two years of working hard EVERY day. This is not to convince you not to come, but to let you know just how important it is to prepare in EVERY way possible. This work is so worth it. I get ALOT of rejection and at times no one wants to do anything or even try to listen, but when someone decides to listen and do ALL they need to do, then you realize what you are doing. You are out here bringing the spirit to others so they have the choice to gain exaltation. You use your mouth to form the (funky Port. words) words, but honestly, Elder Wartena ain't doing squat, the spirit is what is doing EVERYTHING. Be worthy of it and work your hardest or, yes, this two years will suck. If you do all you can to give them all the opportunities to come to Christ, they will feel it through your crappy Portuguese and they will have the chance to accept it.

A net, it's fine, my bed is actually pretty normal for the bottom bunk. Yup, cooking is fun. I have little time to do it, but I try. I have put chicken with rice, yes, and I tried some very simple spaghetti (eh, no), but I hope to be able to cook at least one better recipe (like the ones you guy sent me) a week (make a ton and eat it for a couple days at a time).

Hm, home, no, I feel very far from home right now. I am having a tough time out here, but I am slowly getting better. My current thing I am working on is accepting the long time I have here. It isn't just a quick thing, two years is a while. Pouco e pouco (little by little). I am getting there, my brain just isn't ready to accept Mozambique as home and always betrays me with thoughts of Utah. Bah. I am improving though. My first month was a rough one, and I hope my second will let up a bit so I can finally concentrate completely on the work. Maybe therein lies the answer. "Forget yourself and GET TO WORK."

Mozambique is, in pretty much every way, on the other side of the world. My house is in the best in our area, but that's not saying much. People here live in houses ranging from brick with paint and a fence with gate(not bad, but in Utah it is rather poor) to grass hut thingy hard to describe in anyway but dang poor with a live stick hedge. All these are mushed into lines and blocks with no addresses, divided by sandy roads. Our house is a step up. Cement with a iron fence and door with large bars and lock. Living room has rather nice tile, a table, chairs, and a bamboo looking couch. The kitchen is really small with one sink, one table, limited cupboard space (spelling ah! I will study that when I return so I don't type like a doof), and a stove. Oops, a fridge. It's nice. Two bedrooms with two beds a dresser and desks (and airconditioner-what?! That was weird to see).

Honestly, I should stop, but I have so much to tell you. I also need to email Dad and Josh something.

I love this time every week to type you guys. I love hearing all about home. Sorry I can't respond to all. If there is something really important for me to respond to in any emails you send, please underline them so I know.

Sorry I cannot answer all. I want to sit here and tell you guys so much, but I don't have time. I have found that, as Josh has, I need to plan time more effectively to get anything done.

I feel this email is a little lacking, Please know I pray for you in every prayer.

I love you guys,
Elder Christopher Andre Wartena

PS. Good luck with school, I hope it's going well.