Saturday, June 30, 2012

Penultimate Post Without Pictures!

Dear parents, family, and friends -

I (Sister Walton) will be posting my last blog in the next couple of days.  Sister Thompson will be taking over this blog in a few weeks, but it will be a while before there are any pictures of your missionaries.  Sorry, but it's only a couple of weeks.  I have written to most of you by email and I don't want to post my email on the blog, but if anyone needs to get a hold of me my Angola phone number is +244-939284641.  This has been a great mission.  The Lord is truly here and wants these wonderful people to hear about the Gospel.  The foundation is getting stronger and stronger and things are growing.  It is amazing and we look forward to better things to come.  Until my last post, with much love!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Missionary Moments

The Weggeland's are good at providing the missionaries in Cassequel with a home cooked meal every now and then.  Elders Perry, Adao (branch missionary who will be serving in Cape Verde soon), Wilhelm and Walker all appreciate the time and effort that they put into making it all so good and the support they feel from this American couple.  Preparation day found Elders Richter and Bene at the mission home, so they used the 2 computers there to write their weekly letters to the President and to family and friends.

The Work in Viana

Don't think you can tell, but Elder Hansen was elated with the church attendance last Sunday in Viana.  He kept saying under his breath, "This is the best yet".  There were 99 people there, and that is a record attendance in this small branch!  After church it is great to talk with the members in the outdoor courtyard of the chapel.


It was time to say good-bye to Elders Kelsey and Tilley who are heading down to Lubango.  We will miss these stellar missionaries in Luanda, but the south of Angola will be blessed.  So it was a hug and handshake to them on the street since it was the only way to see them, along with Elders Chandler, Richter and WIlson.  Elder Wilson is headed back to Viana.  He is literally changing places with Elder Kearney who is headed to Luanda 1.  The Viana Elders love the work in their area and their duplex house.  With Elder Hansen's help, the place is the cleanest missionary home in the mission!

Penultimate Zone Conference

We are having a series of zone conferences to prepare the mission and the missionaries for the big change that is coming.  Elders Tolman and Hansen focused on Area Books in the training by our zone leaders, Elders Richter and Bene.  Lunch break is a highlight.  This time they all went for the dessert first.  Our musical number was provided by Luanda 2 district,  Elders Rainbolt, Tilley, Arrington and McAllister.  During President Walton's training, Elders Tolman, Tilley, Eckman, Borden, Walker, Wilhelm and WIlson all listen to some of his last words of advice and counsel.

Random Events in the Mission

Something really good did happen in 1820 (and it didn't have to do with a big advertisement for liquor that says, "Since 1820, from the good and the best").  That is why we are here in Angola.  Because of the Restoration of the Gospel, we have the truth to bring to our brothers and sisters throughout the world.  Lately we've been moving the missionaries out of their substandard apartments in the chapels into new, more normal living arrangements.  The Cassequel Elders (Wilhelm, Perry, Hobbs and Walker) were very happy with their new home complete with leather couch and nice dining table with chairs.  Luanda 2 Elders moved into the nicest apartment we now have.  It is brand new, they are the first to live in it.  Elder McAllister called it the Taj Mahal it is so nice!  But compared with the place they moved from, it is a welcome change for them.


Three of the sweetest young women were recently baptized.  Elders Rainbolt and Tilley dressed up for the day to honor their new member in Luanda 2.

Welcome Home Sister Semedo!

Sister Semedo has been serving on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  She returned home and was met by a huge greeting committee of family, members and friends.  She is the last of the sisters we have had serving from Angola.  Soon a new crop of Elders and one Sister will head out into the mission field to Cape Verde, Zambia, and New Zealand!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Luanda Zone Visits the Island of Mussulo!

One thing President Walton had been wanting to do before we head for home was to visit the island of Mussulo.  Every day we look out our windows at this beautiful tropical island.  So, with help from member John Reedy, we took the whole Luanda zone out to the island for an afternoon picnic and down time to recharge our missionary batteries.  After fighting our way through the throngs of young people wanting to be paid to help carry our stuff to the dock (with missionaries you always have lots of "hauling" power right at your finger tips), we loaded up the boat and headed for the island.  Elders Wilhelm and Wilson enjoyed the ride over to the island.  Once on the island Elders Sande and Tilley played futebol and football.  Elder Eckman buried Elder Hansen in the sand while Elders Perry and Richter walked the narrow island and looked for treasure and enjoyed the pleasant sunny afternoon.

This group needed and little rest and relaxation so Elder Rainbolt played frisbee, Elders Borden and Walker built a sand castle, Elders Hobbs, Wilhelm and Hansen caught a big crab, and Elders Sande and Bene took a walk to look at the unbelievably beautiful scenery.
The whole Luanda zone includes Elders Kelsy, Borden, Tolman, Hobbs, Wilson, McAllister, Wilhelm in the back, Elders Walker, Kearney, Tilley, Chandler, Arrington, Richter, Perry in the middle row, and Elders Eckman, Bene, Rainbolt, Sande, Hansen and President and Sister Walton.  Pretty good group, don't you think?

  One of the best things about the island of Mussulo, was the amount of good shells on it.  Amid all the trash that washed up on the beaches, we were able to find some beautiful shells.  Elders Hansen, Tolman and Wilson became beach combers looking for some good shells to take home with them.  One of the things that Elder Richter and Arrington found was a stuffed horse that quickly became the mascot for the castle that Elder Borden and some of the others were building near the water.  Although he looks quite red, Elder McAllister assured us that he didn't need any suncreen and would be fine, and you know what?  He looked just fine that evening.

One of the best things I get to see as mission "Mom" is how well the kids are getting along.  Elders Kearney and Chandler had a good conversation going and genuinely enjoyed each others company.  Another group that had some fun together included Elders Sande, Richter, and Bene, who took the time to explore this old fishing boat.  The whole group got involved with burying Elder Eckman in the sand.  Elders Arrington, Chandler, Rainbolt, Kelsy, Wilson, Kearney, and Hobbs added to the pile of sand that Elder Eckman asked to be thrown on him.  You should have seen him when they dug him out!  With only a few camp chairs available, Elder Tolman made use of one of the coolers.  I think Elder Tolman's face says it all.  The missionaries were having a very enjoyable day!
Our whole group of missionaries once more including Elders Tolman, Walker, Eckman, Sande, McAllister, Kelsey, Arrington, Perry, Hansen, Borden, Tilley, WIlhelm, Rainbolt, Richter, Kearney, and Chandler in the back row and Elders Hobbs, Wilson and Bene in the front row with President and Sister Walton.

At the end of a perfect, relaxing day, Elders Chandler and Kelsey walked the deserted beach with the city of Luanda as a backdrop.  Elder Kelsey took the time to spell out "ELDER" in the sand for all to see that we are here in force!  Then President Walton gathered the missionaries and had them look at the coast of Luanda, Angola, as he talked with them about the growth of the church here and their role as missionaries in setting the right foundation and creating a solid mission culture for the future of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for this special country.  This will always be a memorable day for these missionaries!

Preparation Day Soccer and Zone Conference in Lubango

It is always tradition to have a soccer game on preparation day morning in Lubango.  Members and nonmembers join the missionaries for a spirited game of futebol.  Elder Violin always sets the pace and takes this game very seriously, but they all know to have fun too.  Once Elders Harper and Guente arrived from Huambo (they traveled by bus for 9 hours to get to Lubango), we started the first session of zone conference.  We finished the first day with our traditional dinner at Freitas.  It was cool enough for Elder Guente to wear a sweater.  These missionaries are so lucky to be serving in cities that are high in elevation so they don't often get the humid heat so common in Luanda.  Then on Tuesday morning we ended with the last session of zone conference in the living room of Casal Violins home.  We will miss Lubango, Huambo and our wonderful, dedicated missionaries serving so far from home.  

More Pictures from Lubango!

We don't seem to make it to Lubango enough, but we go as often as we can.  We always load up our suitcases with supplies and Elders Mariquele and Davis were happy to get just what they needed.  Much to our surprise, Elders Davis and Mariquele had been cleaning their apartment from top to bottom.  It was so clean and nice that it got 2 thumbs up!!  This time Elder Bene, one of our zone leaders, was able to travel down with us for the training in zone conference.  He and Elders Mariquele and Davis made a good greeting committee.  Before church, President Walton was happy to be with two of our missionaries from Mozambique.  They are such good missionaries and help us all with the language!  Elder Davis did a really good job with his Sunday School lesson.  Now that's he's been out for over a year, he's a very experienced and fluent speaking missionary!  The Lubango branch is growing and they have a lot of future missionaries.