Saturday, December 20, 2014

Week 23

Another successful week! We baptized and confirmed 5 people. We finally got Felix e Marina married and baptized with their 2 daughters. Elder Ipsen and I found them my first week up here in Chingassura. Super nice. We also baptized Catiza who is the sister of a super strong memeber in our branch. I got to baptize the 2 daughter Nela e Zelinha. I guess the little kids just love me. I dont know why, though, I am super imaptient with them haha. I can only take being a human jungle gym for so long until I shake the little africans off my arms.

This week went by really fast so its kind of a blur and I am trying to remember things I wanted to write you about. Lets see... oh its been insanely hot and humid this week, but we had the craziest thunderstorm Saturday night. It started raining at like 730pm and withing 30 seconds I was completely soaked and so were my shoes, my bag, everything. Withing 5 minutes the roads started flooding, and we decided to head home because we werent going to get any work done in that storm. It took us about 10-15 minutes to get back to the house, but we were only about a 3 minute walk from the house. It took so long because almost instantly the road turned into a river. By the time we got to the house we were walking in knee high water... EVERYWHERE. It was os OSUM! The best part was the power was out too haha. Also saw the brightest flash of lighting ever with the loudest thunder crack that set off like 4 car alarms. I was just giggling like a kid I thought it was so cool!

The area is still going good. Since we have had 9 baptisms in the past 2 weeks were are losing a lot of investigators so we are kind of starting over finding new families to teach. The good news is we still have 2 solid families that are already progressing really well. Joao e Zinha are just trying to get all the marriage documents together for their wedding and baptism on the 27 of this month. They are working super hard and are a really great family. My golden family is Jeranimo e Suzette. They are so freakin sweet. They are already super strong and love coming to church. It helps that he is loaded and has cars so they can drive to church. And its nice that they are our neighbors so we can walk 10 seconds to our lesson. They have accepted everything super well and just have good hearts. They are working for marriage and baptism on Jan 10.

Yesterday we had a Xmas devotional for all the member here in Beira, well actually yesterday it was for Beira and next week itll be in our chapel here in Manga. It was nice. They played the First Presidency devo from last year and then all the missionaries sang like 5 songs. I kind of just mouthed the words since I cant sing haha. X mas definitely has a different feel here. Honestly, it doenst really have a feel. Its just another day since no one really has the means to make it a special day. Thats why we really just try to focus on the message of Xmas here instead of the holiday itself. I guess it helps me not get so homesick during the holidays. But I am super excited for my Christmas Eve present of skyping you all! So my time slot is Christmas Eve and 7pm here so 11 am there, I think. Skype is pretty reliable, but if worst comes to worst they have a land line I can use to at least talk on the phone! We will have 45 minutes- an hour so not too much time but itll be osum. President Kretly is coming up to Beira for Zone Conference the first week of Jan so thats when I will get my package. A little delayed Xmas:)

So that was my week. The transfer is almost over and I am almost at my 6 month mark! Crazy. Well I love you all and love hearing from you. Happy Holidays from Africa. Hey cool Im in Africa! Alma 37:44-46.

Much Love,

Elder Hruby

Pictures of a marriage and baptism of a family Elder Hruby and Elder Ipsen have been teaching!

A video of the insane Mozambican rainstorms 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Week 22: Beira

Dear Everyone,

Another one down. This week went by fast and I expect this whole month to do the same since we have so much extra stuff going on. We got 4 investigators baptized this last week, Rudolf and Dercia (who are siblings), Lucia (whose 2 olders siblings were baptized last year), and Moda. I got to personally baptize Rudolf. It is a really good feeling being in the water and baptizing someone you found, and taught from the beginning. It was a good week. Always nice to see the "fruits" of your labors ya know? This upcoming week should be even better with 5 more baptisms, inculding our fmaily Felix e Marina and their 2 daughter Nela and Zelinha! Elder Ipsen and I are really enjoying ourselves right now.

For how good this week was I dont have much to tell. We have sat with drunk people before and they are always a bit entertaining but we usually just invite them to church and leave pretty quickly so we don't waste our time, but this week we sat with this drunk guy who was too funny not too talk with. We sat with him for 15 minutes and the whole time he just kept trying to hold my hand and kept getting in a staring contest with me say "I can read your eyes, dont lie to me." Pretty good laugh. Also there is the new lady we found in our area who I guess just really doesnt like the missionaries. I figured that out after she walked by a laid a nice solid smack on my arm. I just laughed it off cause in all honesty its pretty funny, but she did have some force behind the hit. 2 days later we saw her in the market and I looked and Ipsen and said "oh joy, here comes another one" sure enough as we passed here she laid a nasty slap on my shoulder. It hurt, but the thing that made me mad was she only swung on me, she just walked right by Elder Ipsen. I dont know why her disdain is only for me, but she is getting stronger and the hits are getting closer to my face, so maybe next week I will have an even better story for you!

The area is going really good right now. The Lord definitely has His hand in our work. Super grateful for that. Like I said we had 4 baptisms this past week, 5 more to come this week, and 6 more by then end of December! So lucky! We sat with a new family this week Jeranimo and Suzette. They have 3 boys; Michelle 15, Shelton 4, and Jeranimo 2. We had two super solid, spiritual lessons with them, which is actually kind of rare because we always have so many noises and distractions and have to teach so simply that for me at least its hard to feel a strong spirit, but it was present with them. They came to church and loved it. Suzette even bore her testimony during Sacrament Meeting. We passed by last night and Michelle was telling us how much he liked church and then asked if Elder Ipsen and I are going to come over and celebrate X-mas with them at there house! It was super sweet.

This week I read a lot in the book "Jesus the Christ." I don't know exactly what to share from that, but I learned a lot. I think it is a book that you just have to read yourself because it makes a lot more sense and means more, but I will say that it was nice. I am super thankful for our Savior and all that He did for us. It is impossible to comprehend exactly what He did, but good thing we dont have to. All we have to do is recognize that He did, and follow Him. Life is so much easier with the Savior on our side. I cant imagine trying to go through the trials life throws at us without having someone like Him to carry me through them.

Thanks for the love, prayers, and emails. You all are the best. I love you. Until next week!

Much Love,
Elder Hruby

Elder Hruby and Elder Ipsen with a family they baptized

This is Elder Hruby and some other Elders with Rudolf. Elder Hruby got to baptize Rudolf :)

Elder Hruby and Elder Ipsen with a family they are teaching

An inappropriately large caterpillar 
A picture of the "19 year-old boy version of Thanksgiving dinner when you are living in Africa"

Thanksgiving dinner

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Week 21: Beira

Your emails this week were OSUM! You guys had me laughing in front of the entire internet cafe haha. Thanksgiving in Mexico sounded like  quite the week. Im a bit jealous, but it would be hard to top the Thanksgiving we had here. We went crazy and took 2 hours for lunch instead of the usual 1! Haha but seriously it was actually nice. The 6 of us at the house made a bunch of fried chicken, pre-packaged mashed potatoes, pudding pie, and home-made pizza. It was actually a super tasty meal, but super unhealthy. Also we made a pact at the beginning of the meal that all the food was going to be finished before we went back to work unless we threw up. You know the typical 19/20 year old boy thing to do. Well apparently I am the only one in the house that is good for my word because I am the only one that went hard enough to throw up haha. Everyone was complaining that they were too full to help finish all the food so I put the team on my back. Ended up throwing it up but I have never seen the Elders in the house laugh so hard as when I was throwing up haha. So I guess it was worth it... none of us will forget this Thanksgiving now.
Other than that the week was pretty normal. The only other notable thing I can really think of is I got in a dance battle with a drunk guy the other day. Everyone we pass in the road is basically drunk so usually I dont pay them any mind, but this guy was just too good not to join in. I cant even describe to you how redicuouls this dude looked doing his little African dance, but I just hopped in and started being outrageous too. Ya I know probably not the best representation of a missionary in the moment, but we are all human right? If it justifies it, I got a standing ovation and you know they will never forget went the aozungo (white boy) dance battled the drunk guy!
The area is going. There is always more work to be done and never enough time in the day/week. Sad news, our best family, Armando e Graca, arent going to get married and baptized this week. They had some super wierd family issues pop up with his ex-wife and what not, I still dont understand the situation very well, but they have to wait until July to get married. That means we stopped teaching them because we can use our time with them if they arent progressing. It sucked a lot doing that because I legit love them. They are such a great couple. They promised to keep reading, praying, and coming to church every week , which they did this week, but then again every family says that. I hope they prove us wrong ya know? Joao e Zinha are doing great. They are in the middle of all the marriage documents right now and look good for a wedding on the 20 and baptism on Christmas Day! 
This Saturday we should have 5 baptism. No families, just 4 youth, and one 23 year old woman. It will be nice to see some of our investigators finally baptized. This month is looking good. After this week the baptism should just keep coming with at least 2 scheduled for each of the next 3 weeks! The Lord is working Miracles.
I am reading in Alma as part of my personally study lately. It is super fun to read about Ammon, Alma, Mosiah, and all the other missionaries that went and preached the Gospel. They had some pretty sweet experiences and reading about those as a current missionary is nice. I really like Alma 30. Alma goes off on Korihor. What stuck out to me was verses 8/9. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. It is our choice who we are going to follow and if we want to receive the blessings of the Lord or not. Also he talks about how serving God is a
privilege, it is a privilege to get to believe in Him. It really is
because through that He just continually blesses us and lets us enjoy serving Him.
Thanks for the great emails this week! I love you all and am getting super stoked to skype on Christmas!!!!!!! Until next week.
 Much Love,
 Elder Hruby

Elder Hruby with a new convert at his baptism :) 

Elder Hruby has been doing some major walking...his shoes are all worn out!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 19: Beria

Sorry for no post last week. While Grant was emailing the power went out and so he was unable to send his email. Although we did get an email from the mission president informing us that Elder Hruby was called to be a senior companion! He has one more transfer left with his current companion and then he will likely be with a new companion and be the senior one. He is doing great!!!

       Dear Everyone, 
Sorry about last week! Literally as I pressed send on my email to you, lightning struck the building we were in and shorted all the computers haha. Sounded like a bomb... I thought it was sick! The weather is better today so I think we shoulld be good.

Monday and Tuesday it rained all day. It was super nice to cool down, but it flooded the roads pretty good. Monday night we didnt have power in the house so we had to take bucket showers again, but we had forgotten to fill up the water tank so we all just showered in the rain haha! Freakin Africa. Also we ate lunch at a recent converts house this week... it was sooo good. So good that I didnt even mind that much when I found a staight up chicken foot with toenails and everything in my bowl of food:) 

So transfers were last week, Elder Ipsen and I are still together in our area for 5 more weeks now. I am super stoked about that. We have been putting in work and he deserves to stay and see these families be baptized. 

This week was solid. We always have kind of an off week to start the transfer with meetings and stuff, but it was all good. I go sick yesterday night with I dont know what, but woke up at 4amand threw up then threw up again at 7. Had a fever and was super achey but started feeling better at church and was fine to go out and teach in the afternoon. Im pretty much back to normal already! 

President Kretly has made a Mision-wide goal this transfer to have a "White Christmas." Every companionship in the mission is going to baptize one complete family on Christmas Day! It is an insanely lofty goal, but thats why we are all so excited for it. To find a family and start teaching them and get the documents done and them married before Christmas is quite a task. Well, Elder Ipsen and I have already got our family. Its Joao and Zinha. They are literally the most elect family I have ever seen. Heavenly Father just did all the work on them and passed them off to us saying dont screw this up. Literally all we have to do with them is show up, thats how prepared they are. They came to church as a family with their 2 little, adorable girls. They started on the documents this morning to be married on Dec 20 and baptized on Xmas with their 8 year old daughter! Can only say its honestly a miracle!

Even before we found out about White Christmas we were super excited for this transfer because we have a lot of investigators that should be ready for baptism. We have 3 families now scheduled for the 6, 13, and 20 of December! Gonna be a great transfer.

During studies this week I had this thought come to mind. I dont really know where I was reading or what made me think this, but it was intriguing to me. Jesus Christ did His part. All we have to do is ours. We know He did everything He needed to, but what was weird to me was to think about the people born before Christ. They had to have faith not only to accept Christ in their lives and His sacrifice, but the had to have faith that He would actually do what He said He would. They didnt have the knowledge like we have now. They just had to trust in Him. Which also tied into our White Christmas goal this transfer. We all know it will be a miracle if we accomplish this, but thats the point. We just have to put more trust in the Lord and do our part, then the blessings and miracles come!  

I love you all and hope this makes up for last week! Have fun in Mexico! Until next week.

Much Love,
Elder Hruby

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 18: Beira

Yesterday was 4 months exactly since I started the mission! Super weird. Things are starting to move quickly, but there are still times were it feels like time crawls by. I remember my goal was to make it to Christmas so I could Skype the family, and now that is just a transfer away... super crazy. This week was nice. We worked a lot and the Lord is really blessing our efforts and our area.

After emailing last week we went shopping in the "Go-To." As you can tell from the nickname its the missionary go-to spot for shopping. I bartered and got a pair of nice, comfortable new shoes and 5 sick, and I mean SICK new ties all for under $17! Gotta love Africa prices right?
Wednesday was Elder Ipsens 21 b-day. B-days aren’t really a big deal here and not that celebrated among the Elders, but I did buy him some cupcakes and made him a boss breakfast of eggs, sausage, and toast haha. Just working with what I got.

One of our investigators, Jenny, got mad at us this week because we hadn’t visited her in a couple days because her husband was super busy. I was trying to smooth talk her and get her to laugh but it wasn’t working. In a last chance attempt to get her to smile I jokingly offered her the ice cream cone I was eating. Freakin through me for a loop and she took it. She took the ice cream I had been licking and said she forgave me and walked off! Didn’t see that one coming at all haha. The little kids have also been loving me too lately. Every once in a while if I see a kid without a ton of other kids around I'll call him/her over and ask if they want some candy. Kinda like a creepy old man, but culturally I think its acceptable here haha. Its super funny because I call them over in cena to get there attention "eeway" just means hey you, then they get super confused when they see that it was
the white dude that said it, and even more delightfully confused when I offer them candy as long as they promise to keep it a secret. I feel like I’m buying the love of the little kids in my area haha.

As far as the work went this week it was great. It was our most successful week yet. We taught almost 30 lessons and we started the documents for marriage with 2 families, Felix/Marina and Armando/Graca. They are super SUPER osum families. They all just have great hearts and just want to do what is right. I especially love Armando and Graca. They are a really sweet couple. They actually show that they love each other, which is rare here. She is super funny. She is quiet, but always answers questions, and she is also kinda sassy with us. It’s pretty funny. We had 14 investigators at church this Sunday too! The most we have had yet. Next Monday is the end of the transfer so Elder Ipsen may be leaving, but I hope so bad that he stays so we can baptize these 2 families together next month!

I have been studying one characteristic of Christ a day for each personal study this week. The one thing I think I have figured out from this is that it doesn’t matter what the attribute is, whether its Charity, Patience, Humility, Knowledge, Diligence, etc, it all boils down to ACTION. The only way we show and prove these attributes is through our actions. And if we don’t have them and are trying to gain them, the only way to do so is through practicing, by acting. This is one thing we have been trying to get across to our investigators; that its not enough to just say you have faith. Faith is different than believing. Believing is dormant. Faith is believing enough to act and trusting that Heavenly Father will come through for you, which I know He always does, just maybe not in the timing or manner we wanted, expected, or thought. Christ set the example for each one of these attributes through actions, not through just talking about them or acknowledging that they are there. Same needs to apply to us right?

Well that’s all I got for this week. The A&M/Auburn game sounded insanely fun. Super jealous, but I love getting the low down on all the games! I Love you all and appreciate the support, emails, and prayers.

Until next week,

Elder Hruby

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 17: Beira

Dear Everyone,

Super fast week! Probably because we got 2 P-Days haha. On Thursday we got a call from President Kretly saying we weren’t allowed to leave the house all day. The results for the presidential elections were coming out and people get a little crazy if their candidate didn’t win. We played probably 5 hours of monopoly and then some phase 10. Not going to lie I definitely enjoyed an extra chill day.

After emailing last week we went and had a zone football game. It was super fun, but made me realize two things. First, Elder are really unathletic and out of shape. Second, I miss football. Probably the things I miss from home the most, other than all of you of course! But
it was a good time and I didn’t even get hurt (I know rare right?)

My comp, Elder Ipsen, is a district leader so we had to go to a leadership training on Tuesday. It was pretty solid. President Kretly gives great trainings. He talked about where the Church was 2 years ago here in Moz, and where it is now. The church has grown an insane amount. Since President has been here the mission has baptized over 400 complete families! He told us that it won’t be easy to keep this pace up, but we can definitely do it. He gave us two bits of advice that I liked. First, Never forget the basics. Applies to anything in life really. A lot of the time we get so caught up in things and tend to overcomplicate life. If we just remember the little things, attention to detail is what they called it at the Academy, everything is simplified and we can keep progressing. Second, You get what you go after. Whatever we set our goals at as a mission is what we are going to work for and achieve. We have to have a vision or the end in mind if we really want to see results. Same thing in life, I think. You can only do as good as you hope to. If you lower your expectations your results are going to drop too. Like I said, President gives sweet trainings.

It was another good week of lessons and work. We had 11 investigators at church this week and 4 complete families. That was a major step up from the previous weeks. Our main family we are focusing on in Armando and Graca. They are super sick. The first Sunday she had to work, but we taught about the Sabbath Day and she said she would ask her boss for work off on Sundays. Her boss said yes, and for some reason gave her a new stove too. Kind of random, but what a blessing. They recognized that and promised to come to church this week. They did and we watched the last 2 hours of conference. By the way the 70 that you had at stake conference was the same one that spoke in Conference. Also how sick is it that they spoke their native languages!? When the one Asian 70 was speaking I could help but think of you Courtney. I know we would have been dying together haha. But I actually understood the Elder that spoke in Portuguese, that was sick.

Anyways, we sat with Armando and Graca last night after church. It was super osum. In her opening prayer she asked Heavenly Father to make sure they could make it to church next week too! They told us how much they like the meeting and how when they heard the talks they just knew they were true words. We had a great lesson on the Holy Ghost and how he was testifying to them at church. It was nice, especially since we have been struggling to get people to church. Armando and Graca are going to married and baptized hopefully December 6th!

As always it was super osum to hear from you all! I love you tons and always look forward to hearing about your weeks. Just a heads up I may go do some shoe and tie shopping today so if I take money out of my account don’t freak out. Until next week!

Much Love,
Elder Hruby

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 16: Beira

Dear Everyone,

I remember sitting at home after I got my mission call reading some of the blogs of the elders already here. One of them was in his 16th week. I remember thinking that is a long time and I will be a veteran by that time... well it has been a long time, but it hasn’t at the same time. It’s difficult to explain. And I am not even close to veteran status, but I am learning! Its crazy how time drags and flies by at the same time here on a mission. I am having a good time!
Apologies in advance because this email isn’t gonna be all that exciting. This week was pretty routine. We put in a lot of work and
Elder Ipsen and I are starting to see our area grow. When we started the transfer I think we had 2 investigators with baptismal dates. Now we have 11 and probably a couple more to come this week!
We started getting a little more from and bold in our lessons because we had a lot of people flaking out on us. It seemed to pay off during the week. The lessons were a lot better, and the investigators seemed to be understanding the significance of it all. That was during the week, but yesterday was a bit of a let down. We only had 1 complete family at church and 5 total investigators. Elder Ipsen and I were pretty bummed out. And our patience was running thin again. It stunk too because we watched 2 hours of Conference this Sunday and we barely had any investigators there to see it. Watching Conference in Portuguese is pretty different. First, I still only understand about 60% of what they are saying and when they translate its even worse. Second, the translation doesn’t capture the emotion of the speakers so there is something lost there. BUT it was still nice and I am super stoked to read the talks in the Ensign!
Elder Ipsen and I were talking trying to figure out how we are going to get our investigators to church, because if they don’t come we cant keep teaching them. Obviously we want them there but we really want them to have a desire to come to church for themselves, not because the Elders asked them to. We read the talk by Elder Holland called "Missionary Work and the Atonement." It was sick! All about how this work isn’t supposed to be easy, but we need to focus on the Savior and His Atonement and help our investigators do the same. Every single thing we teach is just an appendage of the Atonement. So that’s our new focus this week. Christ and His sacrifice. We want them to develop a love for Christ and a desire to follow Him out of love, not obligation.
That’s all I really have this week, like I said a pretty standard week. The language is coming along. The house is great, except for the bucket showers when the power goes out or waking up in the middle of the night dripping in sweat cause the AC is out haha. The elders here are osum. My area is sick and all is well. I love you all!! Until next week.
 Much Love,
 Elder Hruby