Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Finally - Pictures From Lubango!!

We haven't been down to Lubango for many weeks, so we haven't been able to post any pictures of our missionaries serving there. But we finally made the trip to Lubango and the missionaries surprised us with a Thanksgiving feast (after all it was Thanksgiving day!). Elder Perry took the lead and went and purchased all the food. It was a comfort that all of the food was very familiar. They waited for President Walton to carve the turkey and then we all dug in and enjoyed a little slice of home.

As President Walton carved the turkey, Elder Allison made sure that no good meat was being wasted and literally ate from the discarded bones. He had been sick, so it was great just to see him eating the delicious food. It all tasted so good!

Elders Guente and Richter have a good companionship and learn so much from each other. And they both enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner so much!

Our Thanksgiving feast in Lubango was a very pleasant surprise when we arrived for a 4 day visit. Elder Perry had found a turkey and, with Sister Violins help, had cooked us a delicious dinner. At the table we had (starting at the left) Balanga, Elders Guente, Richter, Casal Violin, Elder Allison, Sister Walton, and Elder Perry. Of course President Walton is behind the camera. It was a great evening!

Zone Conference in Lubango

Every zone conference we practice and re-practice ways to be better missionary teachers. Elders Guente and Richter took their turn teaching about the Book of Mormon. Since we have to practice teaching, we need some "investigators" to teach. Casal Violin and Elder Perry took their turn being the investigator "family". Then Elders Perry and Allison took their turn teaching about the Book of Mormon. When we practice we have the chance to say things out loud and fine tune the way we present or say things so when we are really teaching it is well presented and the Spirit can help us since we know what we want to say.

Every zone conference we celebrate the birthdays that have occurred since the last or before the next conference. This month we celebrated the birthday of Elder Guente in November and Elder Perry in December. Parabens and Feliz Aniversario!

Our Visit to Tundavala Near Lubango

Very close to Lubango there is a volcanic fissure that created beautiful narrow slot canyons. The view from above is fantastic and the green rolling hills along the way are stunning, not to mention the unique rock formations. It is a very memorable place and the missionaries serving in Lubango are always happy to visit and see the vistas. Our 4 missionary sons in Lubango include Elders Richter, Guente, Allison, and Perry.

Elders Allison and Perry work very well together. Being a missionary in Angola, and in Lubango, is a very happy thing as Elders Richter and Guente demonstrate!

Cuidado meninos! Be extra careful, it's a long way down.

Elders Perry and Allison are serving as companions. And Elder Richter is enjoying his time in Lubango as a companion with Elder Guente.

And here you have our small but effective group of missionaries in Lubango. Elders Guente, Richter, Allison and Perry with Casal Violin.

Oh the joy of a beautiful view and being a missionary in Angola. Elder Richter has a great attitude about everything he does in Lubango!

Elders Richter and Perry entered the country together and we sent them down to Lubango together for their first area. They have enjoyed the slower pace of life in their area, but the work is going well!

Without this great couple, the work in Lubango would be a little more difficult for our 4 missionaries there. We are so grateful to have the Violins serving exclusively in sourthern Angola.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our little band of missionaries in Lubango is doing well. With the Violins to hold it all together, things are happening and the branch is very unified and well taught. Elder Violin is now the 1st Counselor, and Elder Guente the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency. Elder Allison is the new Priesthood Leader. It is a good place to be serving. Sister Violin and Sister Walton are the only 2 sister missionaries serving in all of Angola. The only missionaries in southern Angola include Elders Violin, Allison, President Walton, Elders Perry, Richter, and Guente.

One of the highlights at Tundavala was throwing rocks off the edge and waiting for them to hit bottom. One rock took 7 seconds and then because of the cliff walls it echoed loud and clear. Here we have (just in case you can't tell, in fact, I'm not 100% sure if I'm right, I don't normally look at our missionaries from this angle) Elder Guente, Sister Violin, Sister Walton, Elders Allison, Perry, and Richter.

After having a full day of zone conference and driving to Tundavala we stopped for a nice buffet dinner, and boy did we get our money's worth! Missionaries can really eat. They all have at least one hollow leg!

Church in Lubango

The missionaries all know that they need to be early to church to make sure things are ready and to greet the members and investigators. Elders Guente and Richter are ready and waiting. Being a missionary also means being ready to teach at a moments notice. Sister Violin taught Primary with the help of Elder Guente. She also taught a Sunday School class, spoke in Sacrament Meeting and led the choir in two numbers. That is why we always say to be a missionary is to always be tired!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Happy Thanksgiving in the Luanda Zone!

We decided to postpone preparation day until Tuesday (a little closer to the real date of Thanksgiving) so we could celebrate a traditional American turkey day with all the trimmings. First we had the missionaries come to the mission home for games of soccer, football, billiards, ping pong, foosball, and chess. After the games we had the traditional turkey dinner. Then we ended with a gratitude testimony meeting. It was a wonderful way to celebrate such a family oriented holiday with our family in Angola! With both a pool table and ping pong, Elders Arrington, Bauer, Kelsey and Davis were kept busy for a couple of hours. Another game going on at the pool table included Elders Kelsey, Eckman, Rainbolt, Arrington, and Harper. The foosball table was always loud and fun with Elders Bene, Marcelino, Schioser, Sande and Manuel. And the ping pong table was a group favorite the entire time with Elders Davis, Rainbolt, Tolman, Harper, Kelsey and Arrington.

One of the things that the missionaries enjoyed playing was a quiet but intense game of chess. Elders Kelsey, Marcelino, Tolman, Arrington, and Bauer all had to help with the moves. Then their was Elders Eckman and Arrington at the pool table. And at the foosball table we had a loud and exciting game going on with Elders Sande, Schioser, Manuel, Bene, Anhanha. Elders Marcelino and Manuel always play fair when it comes to competitive games!

Our native Portuguese speakers understandably love to play soccer. Elder Schioser from Brasil, Elder Manuel and Elder Sande from Mocambique all play a good game of futebol! An action shot of Elders Manuel and Bene show how good they really are. President Walton joined Elders Manuel, Sande, and Bene for a quick game. Because of the heat and humidity, they all had to cool off by hanging their feet in the pool.

After fun and games, it was time to get down to business and eat. I have forgotten how much missionaries can eat! Elders Kelsey, Borden, Sande, Davis, and Manuel look like they are ready. We served the food from the kitchen island so there was enough room for it all. Elder Walker ate his fair share. Looks like Elders Walker, Eckman, Bene, Sande, Arrrington, and Bauer are really focused on loading up their plates.

Elder Schioser must really like mashed potatoes and gravy. They picture doesn't show how really high his pile of potatoes was! Elder Anhanha made a really good cake for dessert.

Since we had 18 people, we had to set up 3 different tables so everyone would have a place to sit. Luckily the mission home has a fairly large living room. One table included Elders Sande, Eckman, Manuel, and our branch missionary Marcelino. Another table included Elders Schioser, Davis, Bauer, Anhanha and President and Sister Walton. And the middle table included Elders Bene, Rainbolt, Tolman, Kelsey, Borden, Harper, Arrington, and Walker.

Dinner was done and it was time for dessert. But we all had a little too much to eat because it all tasted so good. I was amazed that Elder Rainbolt could still have three different helpings of pie. He has a hollow leg for sure! Elders Marcelino, Tolman, and Kelsey had to rest and stretch their stomachs before going in for more. Elders Arrington, Walker, Eckman, and Harper were happy that it all tasted a lot like cooking from home. And Elders Schioser, Bauer, and Borden had to pace themselves. But in the end, it was worth it!