So as of today I have been out for two transfers or 3 months. Time has flown here in the field. The days feel long but the weeks go by quick. Today was our transfer day and luckily I am still here in the Matola 1 ward and am still with Elder Abel. The rest of the house stays the same except for the fact that we have 2 more Elders who are joining the house so we will actually have 8 missionaries in the Matola 1 ward.
Just so you guys want an insight into my life here, since I have left home I have currently lost 50 pounds. I went on a division with Elder Reinstein one day this past week and he decided to carry a pedometer with him. We took 25,000 steps in one day of work and walked a little over 15 miles in the boiling hot sun. So if you want to drop weight fast do what I have been doing. Eat only 2 meals a day and walk 15 miles a day in 100 degree weather.
I am extremely happy that everyone is here because for the past two weeks we have been planning a huge wedding. I don’t know if you have all seen the pictures of the big group weddings that they put on here but we are about to do one on the 17th of May. Elder Abel and I will be bringing 3 couples who will be getting married and baptized. Elders Jarvis and Schacterle are bringing 2 couples, and Elder Reinstein and Bourne are bringing one. Then there are 3 couples coming from the missionaries in Matola 2. So the two wards are working together to put on this huge party for the 9 couples and then a huge baptism as well. You will all definitely be seeing pictures of this.
So for a couple to get married each person has to have these 3 documents that are all done at different places. They all cost a decent chunk of money. THen once they have the documents they have to go to the register and open the process, which also costs money. Then they have to wait 20 days before they can actually get married. So the huge deal here is making sure the process is open at least 20 days before they are scheduled to be baptized.
Also Elder Abel told me that I will be doing the baptizing of all the people we are bringing so you will get to see those pictures as well. I am extremely excited about it and can’t wait to be here for it. I am extremely grateful for all that we have been blessed with this transfer. I hope that I will continue to have this much success. We are going today to take care of documents for 2 of the couples. Its going to be a crazy busy week for us but I am super excited.
I am also happy that I am staying with Elder Abel. He and I are super good friends and we are able to work extremely hard together. He has been a trainer since his 3rd transfer in the field (he is going into his 8th) and has been a district leader since his 4th transfer. I have no doubt that he will be going ZL by next transfer. He is great to learn from and I am loving it here. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures to send this week but I hope this email was detailed enough.
I love all of you and think about you often.
So as the subject line says this will be my last P-day before we find out if we get transferred. I really hope I don’t. I love it here in Matola. Everyone is super nice we have a ton of families that we are teaching and that have accepted to be married and baptized. It’s a huge blessing.
So luckily the rainy season is ending not beginning. The way the seasons work here is the hot rainy season are about September-March and the cold dry season is March-September. But a rain jacket is not needed. We carry around all our pamphlets and books and planners in plastic bags inside our backpacks so that when it starts to rain everything stays dry. We also make sure we have an umbrella whenever we leave the house as well.
There haven’t really been any crazy stories from this week that I can think of. One cool thing that happened was that since my companion Elder Abel is the district leader of the Matola 1 district he has to go on a transfer with one of the Zone leaders once a transfer, which means I go on a transfer with the other one. On Tuesday night we met Elder Peterson and Elder Gomes at the chapel in Matola and we switched. I was with Elder Gomes for the next 24 hours. He is a native Portuguese speaker from Cape Verde. It was a very good learning experience and I felt that it helped me grow in a lot of different areas.
We were able to learn how to do cement like garden statues earlier today. I forgot my camera so I didn’t get any pictures of that but it was still a cool fun thing to learn.
I think that might be it for this email. Next week we get to watch general conference and I get to try and understand that. Hope I can.
Love Elder Keck
Are you getting enough to eat? Yes I get enough to eat. I eat toast or pancakes every morning for breakfast and a peanut-butter banana shake. Then at lunch I either cook top ramen or a burger or a grilled cheese or something like that.
What kinds of things do you eat for dinner? I don’t eat dinner. Only breakfast and lunch. This is because we work through dinner. Our schedule is breakfast, leave at 8, work till 12, eat lunch till 13, do our studies, leave again until 21 or 21:30.
Do you cook yourself? Yes I cook for myself.
Do you need any recipes? No I’m good on recipes for right now.
How much does it cost to take the bus to Maputo? It costs 10 met a person to get to Maputo from here. Thats about 30 cents a person. The real cost is in time.
When you went to Maputo for “immigration” what does that mean exactly? We got our visas certified and approved I think. I don’t really know.
What kind of “training” did you have to do? It was a new missionary training about some of the rules unique to our mission as well as some things we should focus on during the first 12 weeks.
How often are transfers? Transfers are every 6 weeks.
Do you only speak Portuguese – even in your apartment? We try to only speak Portuguese outside of the house but inside the house we don’t. Because by the time we are in the home everyone is to tired to try.
P.S. I met an elder going to Armenia in the MTC [referring to Steve Gallardo’s call to Armenia]. I believe he was there for either 9 or 12 weeks. All I know is it is a very long time. Also that’s awesome that Alayna is going to Paris [referring to Alayna Hudson’s call to Paris, France]. It’s no Africa but oh well, not everyone can be lucky enough to be called here.
So the reason everyone is getting emails on Tuesday and not Monday is because there was a holiday yesterday in Mozambique and so the store was closed and the internet cafe was closed so we couldn’t do anything so yesterday was a work day and Tuesday is P-day. But only for this week next week will be back to normal.
A few cool things happened this week but they took us out of our area for a lot of time which kind of sucked. The first was zone conference. On the Wednesday of last week all of the Maputo and Matola zones along with the Elders from Chomoio and Maxixe all met in the chapel in Matola for a zone conference from President Kretly. It was extremely good. As a mission we all had a goal of: 1 family baptized, per month, per Dupla. Now along with that goal like President Kretly said we are trying to help families go to the temple and get endowed. So now another goal for the mission is: 1 family prepared to go to the temple, per month, per Dupla. We also had a training from a Brother who is in charge of all the church security for I think all of Africa. We learned a lot during that too.
Reunion @ Zone Conference: Elder Keck, Elder Dustin, Elder Badger & Elder Hunsaker
Elder Keck, Elder Jarvis & Elder Reinstein before Zone Conference (captured from Elder Reinstein’s blog)
Speaking of security, one of the families we are teaching were robbed last week, but not in a conventional way. They had their window open to help cool off their house, and while they were sleeping a man crept up to their window with a pole and a hook and reached it through the window and started picking up their things and slipping them through the window. Luckily the family woke up and caught him before he could steal to much.
Then the next night we were out working and we could tell that it was about to rain. Luckily we were able to finish out the night, and then we are in the chapa (for those who dont remember they are those 16 seater vans they cram 30 people into) it started pouring outside. We get to the pragina which is literally a two minute walk from our house. We sprinted home at full speed. We were in the rain for 30 seconds. All of our clothes were soaked from being outside in the rain for 30 seconds. Washington rain has nothing on Mozambique rain.
Then the following night we had personal interviews with President Kretly. They were very uplifting and a good motivation booster. He just asked how I was doing, how I was eating all of that good stuff. He also gave me some advice on learning the language that has already helped me a lot.
This past week was a very good week I look forward to reading everyone’s emails next week.
Sorry – I forgot to post this message last week so these are out of order:
This may not be my best email because I am crazy tired. Elder Abel decided last night that in order to help two couples we are teaching get married quickly we had to wake up at 5 and go do their documents with them. So we did. It was also super hot today and I had to wear the tie and all that good stuff. We currently as a district have a goal to get our sacrament meeting frequency at 250 a week. SO if you are reading this please pray for the Matola 1 district and the matola 1 branch. We have had two terrential rainstorms in the past two weeks. We’ve been caught in both of them. In the last one we had to help a drunk guy get home and that was a struggle. It’s been fun though. We walk a buttload and sweat an even bigger buttload. I think I’m getting used to the heat finally which is good. We now have 20 people marked for a wedding and baptism date. And thats just the parents of the families not their kids as well. I love you all and look forward to more of your emails.
After pleading with Nate for a detailed email, this is what we got:
I’m glad that you all want to hear more from me but its hard. Just be grateful I’m not like Elder Abel (my companion) who hasn’t gotten to email his family for the past 3 weeks because he is the district leader and has to write about every single Elder in our district to President Kretly. I will try my best to be more detailed but its hard.
This last week was extremely hard for us. We were out all day Monday helping our two top families get their documents done for their wedding. Then Tuesday after getting rejected by everyone and having all of our lessons drop, we decide we are gonna go see Daniel and Rosa. These two are our number one couple that we were teaching. While there we found out they are moving, but only one road. Unfortunately that road is the division line between us and a dupla in the Matola 2 branch so we lost them to another set of Elders which was hard. Then Thursday we went and saw our former number 2 now number 1 family Sale and Janet. They informed us that they are moving from Matola to Mussumboluco, which is also in a diffirent area. So we lost our two top families to other Elders this week. This made both Elder Abel and I a little grumpy and we started snapping at eachother. Normally we get along super well but those two days were rough. We have 4 other couples right now that are currently working on their documents for marriage and 3 more that we are preparing to teach the Law of Chastity to. Hopefully they accept the marriage and baptism we propose after that.
This week I went on a division with an Elder named Elder Bourne and saw his area. To give everyone an idea of the Matola 1 area Elders Bourne and Reinstein [from MTC] proselyte in Matola A and Matola C. Elder Abel and I have Matola B, Matola D, and Taxalom. Elders Jarvis and Shachterle have Malhampsene (pronounced Mashwanshenie) and Tchumene. So Friday I got to see Matola A and C with Elder Bourne. I don’t have any pictures of the area I’m serving in but I’ll try to find a way to take some. I do workout every morning in our house. We have a few metal bars that had cement harden around the ends to make dumbells so we use those. We also have a stata to lie on while we do sit-ups and stretches. In other news a dog showed up in our yard one day, and it won’t leave. Its extremely nice and is always excited to see us but it never leaves. We’ve tried everything. We haven’t had any storms since the last one just a few minor showers.
We get to watch conference the 19th and 20th of April in Portuguese. we do have a zone conference this Wednesday which apparently always have a ton of food so that will be nice. Brian will get excited once he gets to his mission. It seems like the time out here goes by super fast. I’ve already been here for a month and it seems like its only been a week. I’m sure I’ll have some times when it goes by super slow but from what everyone says the first and the last transfers our the slowest so if this is slow than I guess it will go by even faster.
I’m all out of things to write about, but I hope this was detailed enough.
Our makeshift closet:
Maputo Zone Conference on 4/2/14 (from President Kretly’s blog)
Maputo Zone Conference on 4/2/14 (from President Kretly’s blog)