Serving February 4, 2015 - January 16, 2017

Serving February 4, 2015 - January 16, 2017



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nosso Lei e Trabalhar / Week 10 (May 25, 2015)

Bom Dia,

This week has been a good one, hard, but good.  It started out last P-Day after we did emails.  I needed a haircut and so Elder Mataveis decided to take me to one of the random shacks on the side of the road(barbearia).  I don't know why, but there are like a billion of them here.  The first one refused to cut my hair because he wouldn't succeed.  Finally we found one that was down.   He asked what I wanted, and I explained, basically my learning experience from this is that black people do not know how to cut white people hair, at least not african black people.  You will be pleased to know that my pre mission haircut was reborn.  It was the best the guy could do without cutting it all a 1 which white missionaries can't do, so I ended up like this(pictures in bottom).  Basically everyone in the house made Mackelmore references because that is the only person they remember with this hair.  I am really excited because I think the sun will bleach it with it this short, so we will see.  Anyways, we were able to have a great week this week.  We worked a lot on being more efficient and ended up having 29 lessons in 5 days.  We lost a day because of a training and I don't count sunday as a full day because of studies.  Anyways it was a miracle.  The biggest difficulty was that with all of these new families and other we were teaching (about 9)  we had 0 complete families in church.  It is really frustrating because we are teaching two families, one is catholic, the other old apostle.  and they both told us that they prayed and received an answer, but that they cannot leave their church because they have been there for 20 plus years.  We are praying really hard for them, and it is so hard to have someone tell you that they received and answer that the church is true, but would rather stay in their own church which they know is not true.  It makes no sense to me.  We have also fortunately had a lot of people commit to baptism and went from about 6 with a date marked to 19 with a date marked.  If this week goes well, we should have between 25-30 investigators with a date marked.  Unfortunately none of these people will be baptized for at least 2 and a half months because of the difficulty to get married.  And a common problem here is that in this waiting period many people will start to weaken because of how hard satan is working on them.  I don't like to admit it, but of these 19 people we will be fortunate if half get baptized.  It is a serious problem, because during this waiting period they struggle because the ward doesn't support them because they are the "responsibility of the missionaries" and it is super hard to go to church for 10-12 weeks without making a friend.  We are really trying to work with the ward to get better support, and figure out a way to help the ward see the importance of their role.  We had the sower training as well this week, which was a lot of fun.  Unfortunately we lost an entire day in our area, because that night we had a devotional in the city as well.  It was well worth it though, the devotional was with a former mission president and 2 of the first 4 missionaries that served here in mozambique.  I was really grateful to attend, and we got to witness the first lds choir ever in mozambique perform for the very first time.  The spirit was so strong.  We also all received copies of the dedicatory prayer for the country of mozambique.  It is a powerful prayer, and I am so grateful to get to serve in this country.  We went to a zoo this morning and played with monkeys, I will try and send those pictures and well, but thank you so much for your love and support.  

Elder Anthony Holt

I will send the pictures in another email
New Haircut!

Lunch on the Beach

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Parabola de Dois Pastores/Week 9

Bom Dia,

For those of you who don't speak portugues, the subject line says.  The Parable of Two Pastors.  So yeah, I had an interesting week.  It started out with working like normal.  A lot of knocking doors, which is very inneffective.  And frustrating because my comp is determined to knock every single rich house in our area.  Our president in a zone conference a few weeks back said that we should try to find people that are wise, rich, learned, or noble.  It is so frustrating because my comp took that as we should only teach people who have all 4 of those traits.  Which means we have knocked a lot of doors, and had basically no success.  Of about 13-15 hours of door knocking this week, we sat with 2 families, one of which I think may have potential.  They also were probably the only door we knocked that didn't look super rich.  It is super frustrating because there are a lot more efficient ways to find and we haven't been doing them.  We have also had a huge problem with marked lessons dropping.  We had an average of 5 a day this last week.  I finally had enough and this morning during personal study spent the time analyzing this transfer and last, and drawing differences and made some rules for marking lessons.  My comp wasn't very happy about that because I am a Junior Companion in training, but our current efforts are yielding nothing.  He agreed to try it for a few weeks to see if it would work, so we will see if we have any success.  I will definitely pray that it works, not necesarrily because I want to be right, but because I feel completely inefficient and ineffective right now.  

Anyways for the story of the two pastors.  This week I learned a big lesson about intent.  Especially when it comes to the book of mormon.  We sat with two different pastors this week: Pastor Davi and Pastor Pedro.  They are both trained in theology at college and have huge knowledge of the bible.  The first pastor we sat with, Davi is set on proving us wrong.  I didn't want to sit with him in the first place after the contact, but we did anyways.  He likes to cut us off and throw in random things that have nothing to do with what we are teaching.  He has a book of mormon and says he has read it, but he will never reference it, and spent the entire visit trying to disprove priesthood authority.  I felt like it was a waste of time because he just wanted to argue, and it didn't matter what we tried to do.  It was really funny though that after 3 and a half years of seminary, and 2 and a half transfers I have a better knowledge of the bible that someone who is university trained in theology.  I think people should focus on being university trained on thinking and common sense, because basically no religious person here has any.  Now for the other pastro Pedro.  We sat with him the same night.  He is serving a mission for his church with his family as a pastor.  When we entered the home, there was just a different feel.  We talked and followed up on the book of mormon that we gave him last week.  Then when we asked if he had any questions or doubts he stopped us, was silent for a few minutes and then looked me square in the eye and said.  "I have read some of the book of mormon, and I have read the bible, and in my house, they are one book."  I was taken aback and we talked to him about how that was the real purpose of the books and he stopped us and said: "I know, now what do I need to do, because if I give up my mission, the church will take my house, I have no job without the church, and I have to provide for my family"  We shared 1 nephi 3:7 and told him that he must choose, he is completely willing to lose everything, because of the fact that he had,"Read the book of mormon, and received revelation from God that it is true."  The Lord truly knows our hearts, and he touched the heart of this man because he had real intent.  If we have real intent, I know that we too can recieve revelation from God.  It truly was a miracle and a tender mercy from the Lord to help make a really hard week a little better.  I know that God knows each one of us individually.  I know that he cares.  I am so grateful for the little miracles I see every day.  This mission is so hard, but I have yet to have a day that wasn't so worth it.

Thank you for your love and prayers,

Elder Anthony Holt

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Week 8

Bom Dia Tudo,

This has definitely been a great week, but like my subject line, it has definitely not been without trials.  The week began with transfers, which I talked about las week. I was very excited to have a native companion, but also very nervous.  It has definitely been difficult.  I love speaking portugues, but having to speak it all day every day is very frustrating beacuse naturally my tongue wants to switch back to english.  So it ended up that we had a lot of quiet times on the road, which I feel bad for, but my head heard really bad and I was learning a new area which just made it more difficult.  We have 3 families right now that we are working with to prepare for marriage and baptism.  One has the process open, to be married at the end of this month.  Unfortunately, the mom of him has severe mental problems, and the fiance left the house.  Elder Mataveis and I were really nervous about them going through with the marriage, but we think they will now after they sat down with the Bishop for counsel.  The other recieved their certidoes (basically a birth certificate, and when they get two more documents will be able to open the process as well, they are an amazing family, and we are trying to move their wedding date inside of this transfer.  The other family has not started douments yet because we have not taught the Law of Chastity yet.  They are very wealthy and should have no problems.  The wife is the sister of a member family in my old area that I loved.  They have a ton of support and 5 children over 8 who are all very interested and also very smart.  I have very high hopes for them.  We had a huge problem this week with lessons dropping unfortunately.  We would mark the lesson, confirm it, and about 15-30 minutes before the lesson they would call and say they weren't in house or we would get there and no one would be home, I think this happened with 10-15 lessons which meant we would spent the time between 19 and 21 door contacting.  I hate door contacting because I don't find it effective at all, and it is very time consuming and monotonous.  Basically it produces very little results for they amount of work you put it.  My companion is determined to door contact as many houses in our area as possible before the transfer ends, and so because I am still in training we ended up door contacting.  For 5 nights we spent around 2 hours a night contacting and didn't have a single lesson from it and maybe 5-6 contacts.  I was really annoyed and on saturday I just said a pray while we were contacting that if there was a reason all our lessons were dropping that I might see some success with our contact.  Almost immediately of course, God reproved me and the next door contact was a whole family that sat with us in a lesson.  I like the family a lot, I think they have good potencial.  I really hope something comes out of it, and I am still not a fan of door contacting.  I am going to try and stack lesson this week though, now that I know the area a little better, so that we can not door contact.  Yesterday, I got to skype my family, it was really good to see them again.  Granted it was early morning for them so I am not sure that they were themselves 100%.  I was honestly scared before hand because I don't want to get trunky in my 2nd transfer, but it wasn't bad and I think I missed the trunkiness a little bit.  This morning we played gator ball with the rest of the zone which was a blast, and then we went shopping.  It was really funny becuase these two girls came up to us, and asked if I spoke portuguese, they were mocas so I should have said no, but I felt guilty about lying.  There was a really dark one and a really clear one, and the really dark one explained to me all the reasons I should give my number to the clear one.  I love all the attention I get here from the mocas(young women) it is really helping my self esteem, granted it might just be that I am the only white person here.  Hopefully when I come home black I get all the same attention from the white girls.  I'm not gonna worry about that now though, I still have to work on my skin tone.
Com Todo Amor em Minha Coracao, Obrigado por todas as oracoes e apoia,
Elder Anthony Holt
Both Pictures-Elder Holt and some members and investigator
we had a family night with last night.
Dinner Time

Monday, May 4, 2015

And another transfer begins...Week 7

Bom Dia tudo,

All is well here in Mozambique, I am still alive, and for the time white, I pray every day though that I will be able to inherit the dope skin tone everyone here has.  I am not sure why it was ever a curse, because black people are my family.  Like the other day I had Zone Conference, and it was the first time in 4 weeks I had seen a white girl, and I won't lie, I was a little intimidated.  So I guess I will start at the beginning.  On monday elder keck and I spent a family night with mercia and her family.  She was baptized a few months ago and here children are also going to be baptized pretty soon.  For this family night, I got to learn how to cook Frango Zambeziano, it is a chicken recipe that is unique to one province here in Mozambique.  Mercia told us she knew how to cook it, and we set up a time to learn.  It is delicious, and here people don't eat just a breast or a thigh.  It is either a 1/4 chicken, a 1/2 chicken, or a whole chicken.  We paid for more chicken than we ended up needing, and I was lucky enough to get to get to eat 1 1/2 chickens.  I probably could've had another whole one, it was just to die for delicious, but because zone conference was the next day, we had to return to house early.  Mercia is basically my mozambiquan mother though, and I am so sad that I am leaving her area.  The next day was zone conference.  It was a blast, I am still young, so I get a translator, which I didn't really need, but trying to process everything in portugues and english gave me a gnarly headache, but it was an amazing conference.  President Kretly is an amazing presenter, and he is super entertaining as well.  So even though we were sitting for like 8 hours, the time passed super fast.  The lunch was also delicious, and so when wednesday came and it was time for rice and beans again, it was kind of depressing.  We also watched a BYU devotional video by Brad Wilcox called "His Grace is Sufficient"  it was a phenomenal talk and I encourage all of you to read it or watch it if you have time.  The rest of the week passed by pretty slowly, as it was the end of the transfer and everyone was anxious, but wouldn't talk about it.  We lost 15 missionaries, and only got  3 so we knew that we were going to lose 6 areas and we were really nervous that our area was going to be one of them.  Anyways, this morning we got transfers, and I am staying here in T-3, but I will be moving areas.  Elder Keck is leaving to Beira, so it was really sad to see him go, my new companion is elder mataveis.  He is from Beira.  I am super nervous, but super excited that President trusts me enough to be with a missionary who doesn't speak english. in only my 2nd transfer.  It will be hard, but it will also be worth it because I know that it will make my portugues a lot better, hopefully my accent too, I need to stop sounding so much like a mulungu.  I hope this letter finds you all well, and hope you have a wonderful dia dos maes this sunday.  I will keep sweating and trying to get black, and not get too fat.  

With Love,

Elder Anthony Holt
Elder Holt says he just loves the kids in Mozambique...
I think I can tell by how big his grin is!

Mercia & her family