Monday, March 26, 2012

New Missionary and New Assignments

Elder Chandler arrived a few weeks ago. He has settled in nicely with Elder Kelsey in the Luanda 1 branch. You can tell they've had time in the hot sun, but Elder Chandler says he likes being out among the people. Keep up the good work Elders! This transfer President Walton called office elders for the first time in this mission. Unusual since we have no office. But Elders Eckman and Borden are going around to each of the branches helping them get MLS functioning, getting them excited to really know who their members are, and showing them how to do it. They are learning all of the church systems to teach to a new acting mission president once he arrives in July. They have been busy creating their own work for this transfer, but they also have been doing traditional missionary work as well. These are the tools of their trade right now. Good work Elders!

Slow News Week - So Pictures of Luanda

A lot of the buildings here are not what we would call pretty. They rarely paint them and then when they do it's usually with unbelievably bright colors. Everything has multiple layers of dust and dirt on them. But sometimes if you really look at them, no matter what stage of construction they are in, you see progress, you see hope, you see joy, you see improvement, you see wonderful Angola. Since the people are packed together in the bairros, there are always groups of people standing on the streets or in the alleys conversing, playing, selling things to make a living and just living their lives for all to see. They love children, they love their families, they like to laugh and sing and talk. They are religious and like to talk about religion. And although it is not like home, it is a great place to live and serve.

Pictures of Luanda

I realize that the families of our missionaries love to see pictures of what your sons see everyday. This woman is sitting on a main street with her little grill cooking up some bananas. They look and smell delicious, but they never have tools to turn the bananas, they always use their hands. We repeatedly tell the missionaries never to buy food on the streets or they will be sorry. Education here is not free. People have to pay, but you still see a lot of children and young people heading to school with their backpacks or white lab coats that they wear once they get to the school ground. The typical path to the homes in the bairros are dusty and uneven. There are always people milling about and children playing. The noises and smells will forever be etched into our minds and hearts.

Just What Is This Building?

Believe it or not, this building has all the missionaries in a buzz. It is scheduled to open April 15. It is the first recognizable fast food we have seen anywhere in Angola. Who cares that it is a KFC, it is going to taste so good. We already have plans to have zone conference at the Cassequel Chapel so the missionaries can go down and buy us all some Kentucky Fried Chicken. As you can see, missionaries are so easy to please!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It was a good day for Elders Tolman and Schioser as Manuela follows her brother's family by becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joao is joining the church like other family members too who have preceded him, such as his father Monteiro. Elders Bauer, Rainbolt, member Adao, and Elder Anhanha, along with his father are happy for this day. As usual, the energy was lacking when we were supposed to start the baptismal service. With no power we can't pump water and we swelter in the heat. So trusty Elder Borden went out to try to get the generator going, and he was successful!!

These are the 3 baptisms we had last weekend in the Cassequel chapel. Joao, Manuela, and Judite were supported by Elder Schioser and Alfonso, a member and husband of Judite. Judite and Alfonso have a wonderful extended family. Interestingly, the daughter holding the baby was reading the Book of Mormon, as an investigator, and she loved the name Moroni. So guess what she named her new baby? When she joins the church her son will already have a small part of the Church with him.

Another Great Zone Conference

Yet another zone conference finds us focusing on things we need to learn from Preach My Gospel and directions from our area leaders. We are getting better organized and really trying to be obedient, faithful missionaries so the Lord can help the work grow here. With some good training sessions from President Walton and the Zone Leaders, Elders Bauer, Anhanha, and Richter, there was good participation and discussion. Elders Sande and Bene shared their thoughts while Elders Arrington and Anhanha enjoyed a good discussion during the conference.

We love to see our missionaries at zone conference. Elders Guente, Rainbolt, Schioser, and Tolman were glad they came to learn and grow by participating in Elder Richter's training. Elders Chandler, Perry, Arrington, and Bauer loved the ice cream sundaes, and Elders Borden and Eckman are serving a special assignment this transfer as office elders/MLS experts. They are going to help the branches find their members and get them into the computer so we won't lose anyone here in Angola.

New Missionaries From Angola

We figured it has been at least 4 years since there have been any Elders called from Angola to serve full-time missions. We've had 4 Sisters return recently, but there have been no Elders. Not anymore! This past week 2 young men received their mission calls with more working on submitting their papers. We started the Missionary Preparation Class on Sunday and there were 8 in attendance and we know of many more who will be coming in the future. Elder Celestino Bula was called to serve in the Cape Verde Praia Mission. He leaves in April. Elder Maer Carvalho will be serving in the New Zealand Wellington Mission come July. Our zone leaders, Elders Bauer, Anhanha and Richter are just as excited for these two missionaries as they were for their own call! This is just the beginning of faithful Angolan missionaries called to serve throughout the world!

Luanda District Relief Society Birthday Party

As most of the Relief Societies around the world, we also had a birthday party to celebrate. Each branch here took a different province in Angola and offered a presentation of their unique clothing, customs, people, land, and food. There was traditional music and dance. It was all a display of pride and joy in their country.

This is what is so wonderful about serving in Angola. The differences in culture and things such as food make it an enjoyable experience. After each branch finished with their presentations, they had set up tables and tables of traditional foods. The most interesting offering for sure, was the cooked caterpillars. Elder Tolman was brave enough to try one, but Elder Schioser took a whole plate full and chowed down!

Monday, March 12, 2012

They're Here! Four New Missionaries for Angola!!

Tired, but ready! That's how our four newest missionaries arrived in Angola at 4:30 am last Saturday. Welcome Elders Wilson, McAllister, Chandler and Hobbs. We are so excited to have 23 missionaries now serving in this wonderful mission!

We have a tradition in this mission that we have quite a welcoming committee. President and I come (of course), the zone leaders come, and the trainers come. We had more greeters than we did new missionaries arriving. But it is always a fun morning, although a bit early, as we welcome these chosen servants of the Lord to the best mission region in the world. In the back row: Elders Perry (trainer), Anhanha (zone leader), Kelsey (trainer), Bauer (zone leader), and Richter (zone leader). In the front Elders Bene (trainer), and our newest Elders Wilson, Chandler, Hobbs, and McAllister.

We made it safely to the mission home and didn't lose any luggage along the way. Now it's time to haul all their luggage up to the third floor while we have breakfast, lunch and training. Then we'll have to haul it all back down again as they head off to a new location. Seems like missionaries are always hauling something!

Once we arrived from the airport at the mission home, Elder Richter helped make pancakes and then everyone was ready for training. Elders McAllister, Perry, Hobbs, Chandler, and Wilson waited patiently while we talked about the schedule, the rules, health, working with the spirit, companionship study, and anything else we felt they needed to hear before being assigned their new trainer and area.
Long plane rides, longer layovers, and time differences leave the new missionaries exhausted. We have to do a little training with them before we send them on their way, but as Elders Chandler and Wilson demonstrate, it is hard to keep those sleepy eyes open for all of it!!

After over 24 hours on the way from Salt Lake City to Luanda, Elder McAllister is understandably exhausted. I know Elder Kelsey can remember how he felt when he arrived, so he's glad that Elder McAllister is finding a little time to take a rest. Take it while you can get it, because we have a full afternoon planned for you new arrivals!
This transfer we have only one native speaker trainer, so that is fortunate for Elder Wilson. The missionaries all say that it is always good to be companions with a native Portuguese speaker because it really helps with the language. Elder Bene is from Mozambique and wants to learn English, so their language study with have 2 parts to it! Have fun in Viana!!

Things were a bit hectic since we had other meetings at the mission home the day our missionaries arrived, so we didn't get any other photo's of us with the new arrivals. Elder Wilson stayed around for a while so he could get his interview and while he waited for the zone leaders to come back for him and Elder Bene to take them to Viana, so he got his picture taken with us. The other 3 new missionaries pictures will be posted next week.

FINALLY - A New Zone Leader Truck!

It seems like we have been waiting a long time for a new truck for our zone leaders. Their old truck was limping along and they were driving around long hours every day in the summer heat without air conditioning. Not any more!! Elder Anhanha was most happy about the cool air blowing on them as they conducted missionary work and Elder Bauer said it was much easier to drive, no grinding gears or shaking transmission. So off they went in their new Nissan Hardbody 4-wheel drive truck.

Our Awesome Office Elders

We have office elders for the first time ever!! Elders Eckman and Borden are on special assignment to help the branches with MLS and to learn as much as they can about running the office side of the mission so there will be a smooth transition in July. They are always optimistic and have a light sense of humor, which is needed in an office setting. We discovered after they left the mission home after one of their trainings with President Walton that they had covered up the word "Office" on the transfer board and had left us with "Awesome" Elders. So true!!

Headed to Lubango

Elder Davis and new missionary, Elder McAllister, are headed to the south of Angola to serve in Lubango. It was time to say goodbye to the Cassequel branch for Elder Davis. This has been home for him for the past 6 months, but change is always good. The members are definitely going to miss him. Since they are only allowed one suitcase with their carry-on, Elder McAllister had to choose and repack his stuff for another plane ride. Poor guy, he got in on Saturday, only to be put on another 2 hour plane ride to Lubango (at least we didn't make them take the 20 hour bus ride). And he had to leave a lot of his things in the mission home. Oh well, he'll love serving in Lubango with our only missionary couple, the Violins.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


This past Saturday we had the baptisms of Maura and Nadine. Elder Bauer, Elder Davis and Elder Perry were there to help and support these newest members. Because water is a precious commodity right now, Elder Borden got resourceful and recycled the font water back into the water tank so they have water to use for bathing or washing in their house. Good thinking Elder!

Missionaries Teach More Than the Gospel

Elder Bene had an opportunity to teach one of the youth in the Viana Branch how to tie his tie. Once again, if you need something done, call a misisonary! We always love to help.

Getting Ready for the New Missionaries

We have 4 new missionaries arriving this week (2 more are coming from Cape Verde but are having visa issues so we're not sure when they will arrive). President Walton and Elders Anhanha and Bauer had to buy beds, mattresses, closets and study tables. When we delivered them to the Luanda 1 house they had no energy, so Elder Walker was studying and having a banana break by the light of his lantern. This is a common sight in Luanda!