Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quicama Park for Preparation Day

We first visited Quicama Park back in January with the missionaries who were serving in the Luanda area.  Since that visit, we have more new missionaries and they had the opportunity this week to visit the wildlife park for themselves.  It was quite a surprise when we entered the park to find this beautiful giraffe off to the right side of the road quietly munching on the tree leaves.  We were ecstatic and took more than our share of pictures of him eating.  The giraffe let us photograph him as long as we kept our distance.  Elder McAllister quickly handed me his camera for a more personal picture.  We were hoping this was a good sign that we would be seeing lots of animals in the park that day!

Ready or Not, Here We Come!

Once we got past the electrified fence (just like Jurassic Park) Elders Kearney, Hansen, and Perry rode in the back of the truck, driven by Elder Richter, to be the lookouts for more animals.  It was Elder Hansen's sharp eye that had seen the giraffe off to the side of the road.  Funny thing though, the dust from the vehicles turned Elder Hansen's hair a lovely shade of red.  All was ready and waiting for us, so Elders Perry, Tilley, Richter, and Hansen climbed aboard for the window view.  Little did they know that they would constantly be whacked on the arms and legs by passing tree branches.  And off we go with Elders McAllister, Chandler, Wilson,  Hobbs and our son, Matt, who was visiting with us from California.  What a ride!

Animals in the Wild

 In addition to the giraffe, we saw two different herds of zebras with some giant sable antelope, and two elephants that were throwing mud on their backs to escape the heat of the sun.  The truck we rode in was noisy, but we were able to get to places remote and choked with vegetation to find all the animals we saw.  It was the best preparation day yet!

Fun Times After the Safari Tour

After the safari tour, we stopped and ate our lunch with a view to die for.  We were up the hill from the Kwanza River.  The blue of the water and the green of the surrounding fields and trees were all stunning.  Elders McAllister, Tilley, Wilhelm, and Hobbs relaxed and enjoyed the view.  Elder Kearney and Elder Hansen successfully got the monkeys to eat out of their hands.  Elders Chandler, Richter, and Perry had the best seat in the house.  All the missionaries had a great, memorable day including (back row) Elders Wilson, Wilhelm, Perry, Hansen, (front row) Elders Kearney, McAllister, Richter, Tilley, Hobbs, and Chandler.

Adeus to Quicama Park

After a full morning of touring the park, we left the animals behind and stopped at this huge Imbondeiro tree.  It towered over us and is the icon tree of Angola.  Elders McAllister, Chandler, Tilley, Wilhelm, Hansen, Perry, Kearney and Wilson all had a great first safari in Angola!

The Huambo Group

Last Sunday, President Walton organized the first official group in Huambo.  We had 26 members and investigators in attendance at this historic event.  This is a special city.  There are many people who are going to have the privilege of hearing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time because we now have missionaries and a group in Huambo.  The Lord has heard their prayers and the work is beginning with full-time missionaries, Elders Harper and Guente.

For the First Time Ever - Missionaries in Huambo

Elder Guente was serving in Luanda.  Elder Harper was serving in Lubango.  The Lord called them to open the city of Huambo together.  So Elder Harper traveled up with the Violins and Elder Guente traveled down with President and Sister Walton.  We met in Huambo to officially open this wonderful, prepared city.  The Lord has His own timing, and the time is now for Huambo.

New Huambo Missionaries and Group Leader

Elders Harper and Guente will make a good missionary team.  While Elder Guente talks with the investigators, Elder Harper writes down all their contact information.  They are slowly building their investigator pool.  Brother Ilidio de Barros is the new group leader in Huambo.  Now that they are an official group, the little group should grow rapidly to become a branch, then a  ward.  Somewhere in the near future there will be a stake in this beautiful city!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Looking at Apartments

The time has come to find some new apartments for our missionaries.  They have all been on the lookout for a place to live away from the chapels.  Yesterday we went with the Cassequel Elders after district meeting.  Elder Bene, Hobbs, Wilhelm, and Walker have found a couple that are potential places.  One was brand new on the inside with a brand new kitchen that has yet to be installed.  The other place had some nice selling points to the missionaries.  It came with 3 leather couches and this lamp and fan that Elder Hobbs was excited about.  Which to choose?  

Cassequel District Meeting

This past Wednesday we were lucky enough to attend the Cassequel District Meeting.  Elder Perry, the district leader, had them begin with a fun get to know you game followed by a great training on the attributes of Christ that we need as missionaries.  Elders Wilhelm, Hobbs, Walker, Richter, Perry and Bene enjoyed the time together.  Afterwards Elders Richter and Perry showed us the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal that they found at a gas station store.  You never know what treasures you will find (or where) in Luanda!

Mother's Day Phone Calls

Mother's Day in America is  always a special day for missionaries around the world.  It is one of the two days (the other is Christmas day) that they are allowed to call home to talk with their families.  Companions, Elder Sande and Elder Kearney talk with the Kearney family back home in Utah.  Elders Wilson and Bula came to the mission home for an interview and the next day, Elders Guente and Bene called their families in Mozambique.  Hopefully all the families are happy for the time they got to spend with their missionaries! 

New Elder and Baptismal Fichas

Elder Bula is Angolano and has been called to serve in the Cape Verde Praia mission.  Since he is having delays with his visa, President set him apart  as a full-time missionary to begin serving here in Angola before he heads to the MTC in Brazil.  Those in attendance were Viana Branch President Pedro da Silva, Elder Bula, Elder Wilson (his temporary companion), Nataniel and President Walton.  Glad to have him aboard!  Meanwhile, over in the Luanda 1 branch, President Pedro Baptista and Elder Kelsey go over the baptismal ficha of one of their recent converts.  The work is going well in Angola!!

Another Visitor from South Africa

This is Sarika.  She is helping us with our banking woes.  Once things are in place, the missionaries will be able to know who is actually in their branches and get lists printed up to help them.  It's all very complicated, but progress once again in Angola!