Today was transfer day and I am finally leaving Matola. The surprise is where I am going though. I am going to Quelimane!!!! It’s in the province of Zambezia. It’s an outside area so it’ll just be me and my new companion Elder Sip. I am really excited to go and my flight leaves tomorrow afternoon. My former companion Elder Rebollo worked up in Quelimane for 3 transfers and he is kind of jealous that I get to go. He told me that it is one of the most African areas in the mission. It’s covered in bike taxi’s and giant spiders. So that’s what is happening this week. [By “outside area” he means 975 miles to the north of Maputo – I didn’t know they had missionaries that far north.  Also, I am assuming that his new zone leader will be his trainer, Elder Abel, who he really liked.] 

As for some crazy things that happened this week. We are teaching a woman right now called preciosa. It was originally her and her Husband that we found but the other night we were teaching her and she told us she doesn’t want to marry the man she is living with. We found out that it’s an arranged marriage and that she is only with him because she can’t afford to leave him right now. She has no job and no income because she is going to college, and her parents can’t afford to rent her a house. Her husband is aware that she has no place to go and no way of leaving him and so he is not the nicest to her which makes me a little mad because she is one of the nicest people I’ve met and she has been really prepared by the lord. We along with the branch presidency are looking for ways to help her leave him so that she can be baptized.

The other crazy story is about a family called Pedro and Antoinheta. They were both really good and they have a two year old son named celoid. He has been coming to church for the past couple weeks now and we went to visit them and found out that his wife out of the blue took their son and abandoned him in the house. Our goal is to have Pedro and preciosa baptized on the same day so that they can meet eachother and fall in love and get married. Thats all thats going on here for now. UNtil next week!

Elder Keck

Other tidbits from Nate:

Most of the time, the items people donate are sent to some guy in Mozambique who just turns around and sells the donated items, which I hate. I actually came across an Everett Aquasox tshirt that someone had donated that someone was selling on the street for 150 metical, I was going to buy it but decided against it. I find it very upsetting. Starvation isn’t a real problem there, mostly what Mozambicans need is education and a break in the cycle of rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. Right now the church in Mozambique is focused on spreading the gospel.  The parts that need the kind of work like Mike and April are doing in Liberia/Ghana are too dangerous to send service missionaries, so they can’t help the country out too much in those ways.   Mozambique has a really high retention rate, so we don’t do much reactivation work.  I think Mozambique will probably be getting it’s first stake by early next year. 



Divisions (8/18/14)

This week was packed full of divisions or splits or whatever you call them. On Tuesday I walked with Elder Thomas from Utah. He and I have been living together for the past 5 months in the Matola 1 house. He is one of my favorite people on the mission and it was a blast to walk with him. On Wednesday I did a division with Elder Charoa, from Mozambique. He is in his first transfer here and is waiting for his Visa to go to Angola. I also really enjoyed walking with him and I got to spend the night in Matola 2 house which is where Elder Hunsaker is living at the moment. It was a lot of fun to talk to him for a good while again at night and during lunch. Then Friday I did a division with Elder Reinstein who I’ve known since the MTC. We taught a lesson in English to a South African guy and I was really uncomfortable the whole time. I’m used to sitting on plastic lawn chairs outside of tiny grass or cement block houses speaking Portuguese. The lesson with the South African was completely opposite. I was inside, on real furniture, using his Ipad to find scriptures because I don’t carry my English scriptures with me. It was a weird experience and I don’t think I’d be interested in doing it again soon. 

 Elder Rebollo and I have been getting really blessed this week with our Families. Daniel and Rosa are going to do all of their documents for marriage before Wednesday so that on Friday they can open the process to be married on the 4th of October. And Pasqual and Luiza are going to start their documents as well so that they can be married on the 11th of October. The Lord is really blessing us with finding prepared families in this area. It’s been a really good transfer.  Next week is transfers and it’s very likely that I will finally leave Matola, since I’ve been here for 4 transfers or 6 months already.

[The following are a series of questions I sent to Nate with his responses:]

Tell us about the other missionaries in your apartment.  The missionaries in my apartment are Elder Roberts and Elder Palu, Elder Reinstein and Elder Jemuce, Elder Thomas and Elder Van Leuven, Elder Rebollo and I. We have 2 from Utah, 2 from arizona, 1 from california, 1 from Idaho, 1 from Washington, and 1 from Mozambique.

How long has Elder Rebollo been out? Where is he from? Elder Rebollo has been out for 15 months.  Utah.

Any word on the package I sent [in mid-June] to the Johannesburg address?  I got it this past Tuesday.  [That was his birthday!  So glad it finally got to him and with such perfect timing.  I hadn’t realized that I had been sending his packages to the Johannesburg mission and there was an address for the Maputo mission, so this package took two months to get to him.  I sent another package to him a week ago; we’ll see how long it takes to get that one to him.]

Is Elder VanLeuven any relation to the VanLeuven’s here? I don’t think so.

How did your training of the branch missionaries go?  Not well. Not very many showed up.

One of the sister missionaries in our ward has a friend who is serving in the Mozambican mission, Elder Hales?  Does that sound familiar to you?  I do know Elder Hales. He is the nicest guy on the mission and he is leaving next Monday for home. 

This week’s pictures: 

"Elder Palu" a fake missionary the elders made one night.

“Elder Palu” a fake missionary the elders made one night.

Elder Reinstein and Elder Keck at lunch on a division

Elder Reinstein and Elder Keck at lunch on a division

Elder Charoa and Elder Keck on a division

Elder Charoa and Elder Keck on a division

Elder Keck and "Elder Palu"

Elder Keck and “Elder Palu”



Big Email (from 8/11/14)

So once again we had kind of an uneventful week again here in the Moz-Swaz mission. At least uneventful for Elder Rebollo and I. We had to go to Maputo again on Wednesday for a leadership training which sucked away most of our day. But it was a very good leadership training and we were able to ask President a lot of questions about the mission and after the mission and things like that. It was really good and I learned a lot.  After that we had to get on a packed bus with a bunch of machamba mamas (old African woman that are ridiculously strong and work in gardens all day) and so we were pretty squished in there.

I think the only cool thing that happened was Yesterday, we did a mini division with another dupla in our house to go pick people up from church. I woke up at 5:45 with Elder Thomas and left the house at 6:15 to walk out to Matola Rio and pick up some people and walk them to church. We got there and no one was ready and we ended up walking into church by ourselves. But my companion Elder Rebollo went with Elder Thomas’ companion Elder Van Leuven and picked up a family. Anyways I was sitting in Gospel Principles with some other investigators when I look in the back and Daniel and Rosa came in! Daniel and Rosa are a family that I used to teach with Elder Abel but they moved out of our area and ended up being dropped. Turns out that they moved back to my area and we are going back to teach them on Tuesday. I always liked them and it was really nice to see that they are still interested in the gospel.

Now this week Elder Rebollo and I have been asked to give a training next sunday to all the ward missionaries about what they can do to start helping out the missionaries in our branch.

Matola Rio Neighborhood

Matola Rio Neighborhood

2014 08-11 Matola Rio

Matola Rio


A cappoana.  A lady in Mozambique turns these into shoes and blankets.  I wear these like a sarong when I am home.

A cappoana. A lady in Mozambique turns these into shoes and blankets. I wear these like a sarong when I am home.

"Star Wars" house.   The things on top are not cameras and no one lives in it yet

“Star Wars” house. The things on top are not cameras and no one lives in it yet


Elder Keck


A Normal Week

Nothing really crazy happened to us this week. Just regular missionary life. Waking up at 6:30 and coming up completely exhausted at 21. We found a new family this past week that are neighbors to Inacio and Efigenia that we are teaching now. They have a lot of promise and they are both excited to come to church next Sunday. She was sick this past Sunday and couldn’t come. Anyways we took Inacio and Efigenia with us to teach the Book of Mormon and the Law of chastity and they did so well. Inacio testified of the importance of reading everyday and Efigenia told them about how the Book of Mormon changed her life. Then they both talked about how because they had faith and a knowledge that the law of chastity was a commandment of God they knew that they would be able to get married. And it was one of the best lessons I’ve been to.

Nothing else super noteworthy happened this week. Just the usual drunk people that try and talk to us in English and end up failing. One funny story about this is we were in a chapa going home last night and I sat by these two drunk dudes who explained to me about a church out in Mozal started by this Italian dude. After we all got out they ran over to us and asked for our number and I gave them the number of another companionship that lives in our house. One cool thing that happened is that yesterday at church this random dude just showed up and we found out he lived in our area. Then we get a call from Elder Ujembe up in Beira who says that this guy just moved to our area that is supposed to be baptized this Saturday. So now we have a man and his son getting baptized this next Saturday and he’s really pumped. Elder Ujembe says that this guys golden and he has already received all the lessons.

[from a separate email to Mom & Dad]:

Sounds like trek was a way different experience than what I had. Instead of just one person dying from each family everyone died. (You can see my humor has improved.)  I can’t believe it was that hot. You guys probably look like me now. Did Stacy have any problems this time around? I actually don’t have a whole lot to say about trek. But I do have this. Any of those kids could probably come serve here now. All they have to do is learn Portuguese. Which is really, really, really, hard. I’ve actually gotten really good at it and it’s more fun to speak in Portuguese than in English in my opinion. It just flows so much better and it all rhymes and its musical sounding. At least to me. Probably when I come home and I speak Portuguese to you, you will think it sounds ugly. But it isn’t.

Also just a cool story that happened this week that I forgot to put in my weekly email. There is this South African guy named JP and he is an owner of a restaurant called mimos. Anyways he has been talking to Elder Reinstein almost every day and ended up inviting us all over for dinner. We all went and when we got there he threw these giant steaks on his grill along with one of those long swirly sausage things. It was the best food I have ever tasted in my life. And he has invited us over one more time before the end of the transfer for one more dinner. He is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and he is extremely prepared to hear the gospel. He had a very spiritual experience with the temple in Johannesburg and he really wants to learn more about the church. I don’t really have any other stories from this week. All in all it was kinda boring. At least for me. I feel like so many things that I see and experience here I take for granted but anyone else that would have just arrived here would be astounded. Also I am pretty sure I have forgotten what America is like. Hopefully I don’t become like Elder Abel and forget what my family looks like. (just kidding I have photos of you guys) Love you guys I’ll see you in 4 months when we skype!