Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Scenes from Angola

Angola is definitely unique, but it is also a wonderful place to serve a mission! Even during the dry season there are dirt roads and puddles to negotiate. The kids don't have many toys, but they have fun with what they can find or create for themselves! The dirt street neighborhoods tend to be on the narrow side and the homes are right on the road. When women have big loads to carry, they always put them on top of their heads. Then they sling their babies on their backs with the most colorful fabrics. Elder Christofferson came last October to dedicate this land for the gospel and this Imbondeiro (Baobob) tree was the spot chosen for this historic event. It was on a beautiful hill overlooking the bay and ocean beyond. The Lord truly wants the people of Angola to have the gospel.

Scenes from Africa

I have a lot of people ask me what it looks like here in Angola, so I've gathered a few pictures for you to see what this great country is like. They have very interesting plants. The traffic is terrible and unpredictable. The major streets are paved, but most of the other streets are dirt with big pot holes and bumps. Most of the people run small shops or even sell things on the road. A lot of people live in small homes with only the barest of necessities, but they are so humble and happy. I've only seen one mall that happens to be right near the mission home. It is an exciting place to be on a mission!


After more than two years on the mission, Elder Nequetela was ready to be released. But since he is awaiting a visa to Portugal, he will be available to help our young group of missionaries out in Viana. Thank you Elder Nequetela for all you've done and continue to do for this great mission. President and Sister Spendlove came for one last time from Mozambique to hand over the responsibilities of the mission in Angola to President and Sister Walton. They also came to say a fond farewell to "their missionaries" whom they welcomed into the Mozambique Maputo Mission, but who will leave from the Angola Luanda Mission. Here is the final picture of that small group including in the back row Elder Allison, President Spendlove, Elders Manuel and Nequetela.And in the front row are Elders Schioser and Sande, Sister Spendlove, and Elder Bene. It is now official, the handoff is complete. President Walton now has the keys to oversee the growth of the church in the country of Angola.

Three More Arrive in Angola!

Just as we were getting back to normal in the mission, 3 more arrived to join us. This time they came to us straight from the MTC in Provo. Elders Eckman, Arrington, and Harper join our little band of pioneer missionaries in the Angola Luanda Mission. When they arrive we hold a training to introduce the mission to them and have them find out where they will be serving and who their trainer be. Some of our new trainers look at pictures from their Mozambique days including Elders Sande, Schioser, Manuel, Nequetela and Bene.

Getting Settled in Angola

For the new arriving missionaries, there is a bit of time to settle in and get used to this different country and culture. We also take them to the American Embassy to register them. Here we have some photo's of that day. Elders Perry, Richter, and Bauer share a light moment. Then we had all 8 of the new missionaries pause for a quick picture before they all separate to their various areas. Back row: Elders Kelsey, Walker, Davis, and Borden. Front row: Elders Tolman, Perry, Rainbolt, and Richter. All of our missionaries must use a treated mosquito net like the one Elder Walker is using on his bed in Viana. Finally, Elders Kelsey and Call pause for one last photo by President Walton before entering the gates to the compound of Luanda 2.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just Another Sunday

As all missionaries know, Sunday is the day to be the most prepared with visiting investigators, teaching lessons, and working with the members. The Elders in Angola always get to the chapels early to make sure that they are clean and ready for the day. Once our new missionary, Elder Kelsey, made sure the chapel was clean, it was time to meet and greet the members. Elders Richter and Perry attended the Luanda 2 branch with President and Sister Walton.

Eight New Missionaries in the Angola Mission Region

Saturday, the 17th, brought us 8 new missionaries! They arrived in the dim light of a new day in Luanda. We fit them all into two vehicles, but President Walton had to tie down the mound of luggage in the back of the zone leaders truck. After arriving at the mission home they ate breakfast, got to know the other missionaries, looked at the map of Angola, showered, and tried to stay awake during the day long training. Finally President Walton assigned them their new area and trainer. After taking pictures and a quick dinner, they all headed to their new homes. Elders Richter and Perry stayed behind for a day or two before they caught a bus to their area in the south, Lubango. Our little band of pioneer missionaries include, back: Elders Call, Manuel, Nequetela, Bauer, Allison, Perry and Borden; middle: Elders Tolman, Rainbolt, Schioser, Richter, Kelsey, Davis and Walker; front: Elders Ventura, Bene, and Sande. The Lord has truly blessed the work here with these special missionaries.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Farewell to Elder Tomocene

We had our first farewell this past week. We had a dinner and testimony meeting at the mission home with the zone leaders, Elders Manuel and Allison and his companion, Elder Sande. Then at the airport Elders Bene and Schioser, as well as member Esperanca, came to wish him well. Elder Tomocene served long and faithfully and heads back home to Mozambique. Adeus com amor Elder Tomocene!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Very Memorable Baptism for the Waltons

Saturday President Walton and I attended our first baptism since we arrived in Angola. Andrea was so happy to be baptized by Elder Schioser in the Cassequel Branch. Elders Manuel, Bene and Allison along with her youngest brother, Junior, and many of the branch members were also there to support her on this important day. Parabens to Andrea!!

This week in the Angola Mission Region

Last week found us visiting the Viana branch. Their new chapel is beautiful and will serve them well. We stopped for a picture with some of the members and Elders Nequetela and Bauer. Also this week Elders Manuel and Allison stopped by the mission home for a meeting. Elder Manuel immediately took off his dusty shoes to relax in his stocking feet. Elder Allison, however, left his worn shoes on and I really like the contrast of these missionaries feet. To missionaries, feet are everything and they need to treat them well so they will be ready at any moment to get out for some teaching and finding. While these zone leaders were here, we put together the very first transfer board in Angola. With 11 missionaries arriving over the next two weeks, we have a lot of planning and adjusting to do to accommodate the doubling of the Lord's workforce here in Angola. Exciting times are ahead for this mission! Tune in next week for pictures of the comings and goings from this very busy week in the mission.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Preparation Day at the Mission Home

For last Preparation Day, we had the missionaries come to the mission home to play basketball, soccer, foosball, and billards. It was great to be with them for a good workout. Life as a missionary can be difficult, so some good physical activity is a welcome thing!! Elders Bauer and Nequetela weren't able to come because they were helping the Viana group/branch move into their new building. Elders Guente and Anhanha down in Lugango weren't there either, too far away! But otherwise, here is our Luanda Zone which includes Elders Tomocene, Manuel, Call, Schioser, Bene, Sande, and Allison. All of our missionaries are heroes to us because they are doing the work of the Lord here in Angola! We will be visiting the south part of the mission soon, so I'll include pictures of our missionaries serving there.