Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 12: Maputo

Dear Everyone,
I guess we can consider this 3 months down! Another week of hard work for sure. This week was better than last week, but of course as a missionary every week has its troubles. Last monday we just emailed, bought groceries, and sat around at the house. I did fall asleep for about 45 minutes which was really nice! The only bummer is no one a my house likes to do anything athletic, so they just sit around. However, today I am making them go play Gator Ball (kind of a mix between soccer and lax) because I cant do another day of sitting in
the house haha. Tuesday was Zone Conference all day. It was great! A nice break from routine, and we got to learn from President Kretly for 8 hours. Oh and the lunch they fed us was umpteen times better than the lunches I make myself;) Pres talked about how we are working really hard, but we need to work more effectively. I was stoked when he said that because sometimes with my comp I want to say "I like that you work hard, I really do, but we should work smarter, not harder." Pres went through 3 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people. It was cool because he used to get paid bank for giving that presentation to CEO's and now he is giving it to us for free!

So when I got to this area there were 5 elders in the house. Me, Carvalho, Barroso, Mistola, and Khumalo. Mistola went to Angola, and now Carvalho got transferred to another area, so its me, Barroso, and Khumalo as a tri-panionship. It has been a bit frustrating. When it was just me and Barroso he had to let me talk and help teach in the lessons, but now with three elders I am basically left out. Elder Khumalo has only been here a month longer than me, but he is, how can I say this.... very confident in himself and his portuguese.  basically the past 3 days I havent been allowed to talk in the lessons which has been really frustrating. Obviously I am continually learning patience and how to work with people I dont necessarily get along with. his week I could not escape the terrifying fried fish. We had 3 families make us eat at there house this week! The first was just fries they had made, and bread, no biggy. the second was the fish. First of all this house scares me. It is fly infested and the wife doesnt speak a lick of portuguese, only dialect so idk what she is saying, or what she is making for food. I decided to be brave and try the fish. It didnt taste bad, the problem is it is only about a 6in fish and it is cooked whole, scales,eyes,fins,bones and all. that part freaks me out and I hate looking it in the eyes haha. The second problem is there is hardly any meat so idk where to start? And I will not eat the scales and bones like they do so...? The third family fed us rice with some stew. It was pretty good, but again I just try not to look at the food. Afterwards Elder Barroso told me it was frog. I was super sad because I love frogs! but he was just joking!
Saturday we had the wedding and BAPTISM of Domingos and Christina. It was nice. Very simple and focused on the baptism. I didnt baptize either of them. I took a lot of pictures and a couple videos of everyone singing and shouting. I will send them sometime this week! It was cool to see someone I had actually taught be baptized and start their life in the church and towards the temple. Really cool. 
We have Celso and Teresa who are super close to their wedding/baptism on october 11. At least thats the day we are shooting for. Then Arlindo and Anastancia hopefully the 25 of October. The rest are a working in progress, but we did have Americo and Eva accept to live the Law of Chastity and get legally married so thats another we are working on. We met two new families this week who were just osum! They are both just beautiful families that have immense faith and love for the Savior. One of the little 2 year olds girls, Francisca, held my hand the entire time we were at the house teaching, and that was the first lesson we had ever had with them! It made my heart melt haha. I read Jacob ch 5 this week. It took me the whole hour of personal study because I was really trying to understand it. It is a sick chapter! It really makes you realize how much work the Lord puts into His people. If you think about it, we are soooo small in this world. We occupy just a fraction of space and just a blink of time in Gods plan, but He is still completely, fully invested in each one of us personally! Pretty sweet if you ask me!

Well thanks for all the prayers and help this week! Until next Monday!
I love you all!!!

Much Love,
Elder Hruby

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 11: Maputo still

Dear Everyone,

Another week here in Maputo. This week was hard for me, not necessarily bad, but easily the most trying week I've had on my mission so far. I have decided I don't really like p-days. They make me homesick and when we sit around I get bored and think about home. And the worst part is when I try to take a nap I never can, I get super bad anxiety like at the Academy if I hear the slightest noise my body freaks out. But of course throughout the week I am dying for naps haha. Last p-day was pretty tough and so was Tuesday. I was just really struggling to not be homesick and focus. And because I am such a baby I kind of broke down and just said a silent prayer asking Heavenly Father for a little help. I didn't need to be super happy or anything, I just didn't want to be on the verge of tears anymore. Its funny how I got exactly what I asked for. The rest of Tuesday I wasn't sad or homesick, and by Wednesday I was good, happy, focused and ready to go. Funny how that works huh?

A lot happened this week! I met a white family at church last week. He graduated from Meridian High!! Small world! He works for the world bank. Before Mozambique they were in Rwanda. They don't speak any Portuguese so they have like family primary during church its great. We also taught a first lesson to a man we contacted in the street. It was a super weird, off lesson. He was saying weird things and just slow and out of it. Figured out he was drunk haha. Everyone is drunk, all of the time here. The good news is there are so many people that the Lord has prepared to hear the Gospel that we don't even waste our time with anyone that is hesitant because we know that there is someone ready close by. 

I have never seen so many cool American Flag clothes in my life as I have seen here. Its so ironic to me, but they have some sick red white and blue gear. I'm jealous. We always walk by all the old ladies selling veggies on the street and they love talking in chengana to us because they think its funny that we don't know it, but Elder Barroso does know it! He has learned a lot of it here and can say stuff back to them and they always are so surprised and usually embarrassed:) I am currently learning it, and I already know how to sing a wedding song in chengana! Speaking of singing, hymns here are hilarious. They don't quite grasp the concept that words are broken up on certain notes and drawn out on others. They just try to read it in a different pitch voice haha. So I feel like a boss singer here. A lot of the time Elder Barroso and I will sing for our investigators to start a lesson. A beautiful duet I might say. They also say osum prayers. Its either one of two ways. First, barely audible and I have to keep my eyes open to watch when they lift their head so I know when to say amen. Idk, they act embarrassed to pray so they do that I think. Second, they like yell and praise every living thing on the earth. I think I prefer the quiet ones because they don't last forever haha. At church this week we had an Area 70 come and speak. I cant pronounce his name so I wont try and spell it. I wasn't able to really pay attention much to what he was saying because I was babysitting the kids during sacrament. they thought it was hilarious to push on my skin and see the color change as the blood rushes back in. They were having a ball with that. 

This upcoming Saturday I will have my first 2 baptisms!!!!!! Domingos and Christina are getting married and baptized this Saturday. I will be sure to send a lot of pics next week. Elders Barroso and Carvalho started teaching them 2-3 weeks before I got here, so I have been teaching them for half their time, but I still feel like they are my investigators. This morning we finished another marriage process with Celso and Teresa and will hopefully be having their wedding/baptisms sometime in October!!! We also are close to opening up 2 more marriage processed for Erlidio/Aideilide and Arlindo/Anastancia! Lots of miracles happening here in Maputo 1! Heavenly Father definitely has
His hand in our work and I am very thankful for that. This week I had a really cool experience that I hope will turn into something I will never forget and cherish forever. While we were just doing contacts in the street one day I had the thought pop into my head to turn around and start contacting back the way we had just came from. Because I'm stubborn I ignored the thought for about 3 minutes and kept walking but we found no one to contact. The thought persisted and I couldn't get it out of my head so I told Elder Barroso I thought we should turn around. About 45 seconds after we did that we ran into a manned named Aogosto. We started talking to him, and turns out he is already legally married and has amazing faith in Jesus Christ. He accepted a visit for the next day. That felt good, but a lot of people accept visits but never actually happens. Well the next day we did visit him and his wife Fatima. We talked about our purpose as missionaries and asked if we could come by another time and continue teaching them. Again the accepted. Well last night we went and taught them the Restoration. It was OSUM! He, his wife, and they 3 boys sat with us. You could really see the light turn on in Aogosto's eyes and how excited he was when everything started to make sense. The Spirit was strong and they felt it. We committed all 5 of the family members to be baptized on October 25!!!! I hope so dearly that, that actually happens. But what a blessing from Heavenly Father for that prompting. And for His patience in my ignoring of the prompting at first!

So like I said this week was hard, but it was honestly good. I learned a lot. I learned (again) the power of prayer. We can pray in any place and anytime for any good cause. Also, a mission is not supposed to be easy. Neither is life. That's why its a test. A time to prepare to meet our God. I read a quote about this, it was something like "Missionary work isn't easy, its not supposed to, because the Atonement wasn't easy." Also I have felt very inadequate at times as a missionary. I get angry at myself for thinking things I shouldn't or wanting things I shouldn't as a missionary, and then I get mad, for getting angry haha. But I read 2 Nephi 25:23 and it says at the end that it is by grace that we are save, AFTER all we can do. The last part hit me. I am definitely inadequate to represent Jesus Christ alone. But because of Him this work is possible. I cross referenced that scripture with Moroni 10:32-33 which talks about this. And the last thing I learned this week is how grateful I am for the Temple and being sealed to my family. The work here is all about bringing families into the Gospel and eventually getting them to the Temple so they can be together forever. Every time we talk about that I always think about how osum it is that I already am sealed. That I know I can always live with you
guys forever!

Well that was a bit of a rant, but I felt I could share. I love you
all and loved the emails this week! Thanks for everything! Until next

Much Love,
Elder Hruby

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 10: Maputo

Dear Everyone,

Double digit weeks! Finally... but already at the same time! So my papers got held up in San Fransico for 4 days so they still haven’t made it. Therefore, i am still in Maputo 1. Thats ok i am loving it still! I am with Elder Barroso now because one of the other Elders in the house got his visa to Angola so Elder Carvalho and the other Elder have paired up so now its two and two again. When I leave itll be those three together. I think I should be getting my papers this week and as far as I know President Kretly still wants to send me to Beira. Regardless Moz is an adventure and this area is great. I had another solid week!

So first some of the noteworthy, funny, weird, etc things that happened this week! So last P-Day we went back out to teach a lesson and contact at 6pm. For contacting we have some pretty strict standards and qualities we look for to count it as a qualified contact. We look for men over 25 years old, that are married, have faith in Christ, want to learn more about our message, and give us their phone number. We aim for 40 contacts a week! So we talk to a lot of people in the street. Anyways last P-Day where were contacting and these two mid-twenties girls came up to me and started talking to. Elders Carvalho and Barroso were occupied talking to other people so I was all alone. Luckily, I was able to understand these two and converse with them. They wanted me to talk about what I was doing so I did. After, out of the blue the one girl, holding her brand new baby, asked if I would marry her!! I was so taken aback I had no idea what to say. Thankfully, Elder Carvalho had just gotten over there and bailed me out haha. So maybe it wasnt such a good thing that I understood them haha! We have a couple that is getting maried in 2 weeks so we have been trying to help her find a dress and have been struggling to do so. While talking about it at the house during planning the three of us Elders decided to make the dress ourselves. We wrapped Elder Barroso up in a white comforter and then wrapped a white mosquito net around him like a veil. He was beautiful. I was dying because of how femmy I already think he is! Last night we were teaching a lesson and they offered us dinner, which we arent allowed to take but they got like pretty heated about it so we took some of the rice because thats pretty safe. But the whole time I was terrified because she was cooking the fish in front of us. All they do here is cut the belly and let the guts fall out then thats how they cook it. Gills, skin, scales, fins, eyes and all!!! Its insane and I had no idea what I was gonna do. In my head I was thinking "Oh just try it you baby it'll be hilarious and a great story, this is what you always wanted. Oh ya but it probably wont be that funny when you throw up all over the place!" so then I was trying to figure out a way out of it so I was gonna tell them I was allergic haha! Luckily, we ate the rice fast before the fish was done and made an excuse to get out of there!!! Early this week we had a new missionary training at the mission home so I got to see Elders Ence and Couch again, and speak some English which was osum! We got to hitch-hike home too which was great cause its like a 3-4 mile walk.

Some things about the culture here. There is no sense of time. We make appointments and wont actually be there teaching them until 45minutes-an hour late. No one cares and you just get there when you get there haha. The women are very very very reserved in the homes. It is definitely a male dominated society. But the grandmas in the street never shut up haha. They yell all sorts of things and are always laughing. They all speak dialect so I have no idea whats so funny. There is this market area we have to walk through sometimes that's insane! First, everything is dirt cheap. Second, there are a million people there but there is no room. Third, everyone is screaming for customers attention so you cant even hear yourself think. Its sick:) The kids here are great, but sometimes annoying. They have been taught to beg white people for money. The also love to slap and punch so its hard not to just throw them a quick bow when nobody is looking... jk jk! They are awesome and make everyday fun. The only frustating part is at church, especially sacarment meeting. The culture is to let kids do their own thing and survive and be back home for meals. So at church the kids never sit with their parents so we have to babysit and there isnt much reverance. Other than that its osum!

The week before I got here we had 1 family come to church. Last week, my first in the area, we had 4 investigator families attend church. Yesterday we had 8 COMPLETE families and a total of 19 INVESTIGATORS at church!!!! It was freakin osum possum! Domingos and Christina are our closest investigators to baptism. They will be married and baptized on the 27th of this month. They are great, and will be very faithful members and I know they will make it to the Temple in a year. Atenazio and Amelia are another family. He is very interested and working really hard to prepare for baptism. Amelia is very shy and quiet. She is 15 years old and pregnant with their child! We didn't know she was that young when we started teaching her. She looks 30! Arlindo and Anastancia were completely Muslim a month ago, but have committed to a baptismal date and to getting married! They have 2 kids that are really great too. They are very respectful and have great attitudes. Celso and Teresa have already opened to marriage process. Teresa actually talked about me in Gospel Principles class yesterday. She talked about how even though I’ve only been here for a little she was grateful I was sharing my testimony with her and her family and that I tried my best with Portuguese. She said she always understands me. That was a great feeling! Ernesto and Aida... I like them. Ernesto has a soft spot for me because he likes to try to speak English. He asked for an English Bible. We don’t really give out Bibles because we want them to read the BoM, but I gave him one on the condition that for every verse he read in the English Bible he read 2 verses in the Portuguese BoM. My favorite family is Moises and Idalma. They are so boss! They are both super intelligent an with it. Which can be rare around here sometimes. They both talk during the lessons, and have committed to baptism! They each have come to church, and are just perfect investigators that will end up being great members!

Well I love you all and am sorry if I left out anything. I don't have many pictures from this week, but maybe I will be able to send the couple I have later. Thank you for your love, support, emails, and prayers! Until next week.

Much Love,
Elder Hruby

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 9: Pictures

These pictures came a little later from Elder Hruby and I have slacked at posting them. These are from last week. They are just so adorable!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Week 9: Maputo

Dear Everyone,

This week was crazy so i am bound to forget somethings, but i will tell you all i remember! It has been soooo much fun here! It is really impossible for me to explain all that has happened and what this place is like. it is the most eye-opening, unreal, crazy experience. this place is like one giant party all the time. there are always people everywhere always doing something, but then there are always a ton of people just sitting around doing nothing. its literally insane in Mozambique... but i freakin love it! The people are welcoming and happy. they are dirt poor and still smile. it is so weird to see which things they have and what they don't. they have to prioritize what they want so its funny to see what they choose to have. a phone or chairs for the house? pots and pans or shoes? after a week here my mindset has completely changed. cultural stereotypes are soooo off most of the time. I am convinced that God sent these people here, to these lives, to this poor, dirty place because He knew they could handle it... unlike if He had sent me here for my whole life. greatest mission in the world because we have the greatest people!

So i am still in Maputo. Tuesday we went to the embassy and found out about my missing papers. when they called you mom, i was upstairs and you were on speaker phone so i heard your voice and heard you talking with elder Poyfair. it kind stunk, because i knew i couldn't go down there, but i wouldn't close the door cause i wanted to hear you. Wednesday i moved into the Maputo 1 house. there were already 4 elders living there, and i joined one of the companionships. NONE of them are American and only one speaks English, but he is from South Africa so i honestly understand him better in Portuguese haha! needless to say my Portuguese has been forced to get better this week and luckily the big guy upstairs has been helping me out. I got to see elder Ence on Wednesday as well! he come to the mission home to do some paperwork too. that was great. he is loving it here too. The rest of the week i have been a real missionary! WE WALK SOOOO MUCH!!!! the least amount we have walked in a day has to be around 10 miles. good thing my shoes are comfy and you hooked me up fatty style with 4 new inserts. thanks for that! luckily we get to ride in chapas sometimes. they are just van taxis. it is hilarious how many people we pile in those. its meant to hold 11 people and we easily pack 20+ in at times. i'm laying all over people and people on me. getting rid of my personal bubble real quick here. oh my comps names are elders carvalho and barrossa both from Brasil. elder carvalho is a stud and really fun to hand with. elder barrossa is hilarious. he is sooo femi and always is fixing his outfit or hair or washing his face or brushing his teeth for the 6 time that day or putting gel in his hair. its so funny. they are both good guys but again they don't speak a word of English so its fun trying to communicate, but its getting better. i love teaching lessons, because we walk so far to teach them its nice when we actually get to teach and talk about the gospel. i don't say that much because there are 3 of us and both of them are obviously fluent, but i have been able to say a little more each day and lesson and its fun for me. our investigators are osum! we have one family who was literally full up Muslim 3 weeks ago but has thrown it all away and committed to a baptismal date and have prepared to get legally married! this morning we opened the marriage process for another one of our families which was great! it is really amazing when families commit to following the law of chastity and get legally married, because it cost so much and is not an easy process it shows how much faith and dedication they have! Saturday we had family night. we held it at a members home and invited all our investigators. we ha 34 people there! most of the pics are from there! the kids are so osum. and they love missionaries. every we walk you here little kids say two things. 'chou' which is like a whats up but you have to say it with a thumbs up so we return it the same way, and they all love saying 'molongos! molongos!' which means the whites! the whites! haha its great. we had a short spiritual thought for family night then we played games. they are crazy! Sunday was a good change of pace. church is cool here. obviously the same things happen but it is different here at the same time. a lot more kids just running around, its hot and stuffy, but the singing is osum and the people are so happy to be there. especially cause some walk like 4 miles to get there. when we were walking back from chruch it was us 5 elders and 5 other young men like 15-22 years old. we were walking in the street and we took up basically all the pavement. it would have made a perfect missionary postcard. we taught 4 lessons Sunday afternoon/evening so we were busy, but again its really fun teaching.

Lets see what other fun stuff...? i tried to teach my comps what lax is in Portuguese and show them how to use the fiddle stick, that was an outright mess haha! i got punched in the back of my legs by a mentally challenged guy on the street, but it was no biggy just funny really. the people here either love us or are afraid of us. some people like to pretend they aren't afraid and act cool or tough in front of their friends so occasionally we have someone be dumb and yell at us or whatever, but most everyone is soo kind and welcoming.

Maui sounds really nice! good use a dip in the ocean or pool or whatever haha. the mission home has a pool but no one uses it. joao the turtle lives in the mission home yard. we make all our own food, so i eat decently haha. its just like being a college kid. lots of pasta, eggs, pb&j, cereal, and burgers;) i ate this weird stew at a restaurant though. found out it was just like chopped up pig and veggies. i ate the ear which wasn't awful. but elder ball ate the snout! like you could see exactly what it was and he just went for it!!!! siblings, the week sounds fun and eventful! love hearing about all the football games! miss that, but the reports from you all will suffice! well that's all for this week. sorry i am emailing today. yesterday was a holiday so everything is closed so we are able to talk and teach a lot more people so we moved pday to today, but its back tomonday next week! much love everyone. thanks for the emails, love, support, and prayers!

Elder Hruby

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 8: Mozambique (finally!)

Dear Everyone,

CRAZINESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am really in Africa!! There is so much to tell and you all have so many questions. I will try to answer and tell all but i am bound to forget somethings. 

so first the travel. that was quite an adventure in itself! most everything was normal and routine travel through dallas and london. we got to joberg pretty late, liken 90 minutes late so we missed our connecting flight to moz. ya i thought we were gonna drive because on our itinerary we had no flight showing from joberg to moz, but luckily we checked to flight receipts in london and saw the church had indeed bought us tickets for a flight to moz! but we missed it anyways so i had to play Dad and run around sweet talking these south african women into helping us out. we had to call the church travel office but we couldnt get the payphone to work so i had to go buy a new calling card but that was through security so i had to persuade the secuirty to let me through without a boarding pass. they let me and i bought the card and we couldnt get through to the office and president kretly´s phone was out of service. so we had to get the airline counter to let us use their phone and finally we got through and got tickets for 2 hours later! got there in one piece and all our luggage made it!

First impressions... the Ap´s and 3 sisters picked us up. we went back to the mission home driving through maputo. we dropped our bags off, washed our hands (which we do a million times a day here) then went to dinner. we went to like the nicest restaurant missionaries eat at in moz called mundos. Got a huge american style bacon cheeseburger. figured that might be my last  for a while so i went for it! then we went back and just went to bed at like 745 local time and didnt wake up till about 830~9 local time. we are 8 hours ahead here. then in the morning we went to a baptism the sisters had scheduled. it was osum 3 people were baptized! then lunch at another really good restaurant then naps until about 5. after that we went out to work. i went walking with elder hamrick. he is one of the Ap´s and super great. we taught 2 lessons and contacted some randoms in the road. the lessons are great!!! elder hamrick basically did all the talking and some translating for me. i understand close to nothing here hahaha. they understand me perfectly and i can say my thoughts or whatever and thats no problem, but actually conversing with others is basically non existent. our whole mission vision is to teach and baptize families. so every lesson is with a couple and for us to qualify talking to randoms people on the street as a contact they have to have a wife, be over 25, have faith in christ, and give us there phone number. no matter how poor, everyone has a phone! so anyways the first lesson we taught the law of chastity and they accepted to live it and committed to legalizing their marriage. most people here just live together and say they are married because they cant afford a marriage but part of living the gospel and law of chastity and preparing for baptism is getting legal documentation of marriage. so that is our main lesson with each investigator. the second lesson was a cute little family that already has a baptismal date. in the middle of the lesson the wife just whipped out her bare boob and started breast feeding!!! it took everything i had not to bust up laughing in the middle of the lesson! just writing this it is so hilarious. but everything here is crazy and osum and great and poor and dirty and beautiful and exactly what i thought and nothing like i thought and i love it!!!!!!!!!! 

Yesterday we went to church and i got to greet everyone as they came in. that was so much fun! they are soooo nice and loving and especially when they knew it was my firstsunday here they were even that much nicer! some ladies were talking to me for a second and then started talking really fast and i told them in portugeuse that i didnt really speak much and couldnt understand them and the busted up laughing. elder poyfair laughed to and told me they werent speaking portuguese they were speaking dialect just to mess with me! we had 216 people attend church yesterday... thats amazing!!! they are ready for a stake to be formed here its just a matter of time. in the evening we went out walking again i went with elder lorenco. he is brazilian and osum. we went with a member named irmao rock. he is a recent convert and is 25 years old and loves going out with. he is soo crazy and funny! he never shuts up but its not like i understand 95% of what hes saying anyways. 90% of what  understood him saying was he just kept saying i was big and strong and asked about sports i played... self esteem booster for sure haha! we taught 2 more lessons last night and again i was able to understand a little in the first but a good amount in the second. it really depends on who is speaking for me. some people i can really understand, others not one word. we probably walked close to 6 miles last night in 3.5~4 hours! we walk through the craziest places and alleys and everything. it is impossible to really explain this place but i have not felt scared once, expect when these to women grabbed my arm and their hands were wet that grossed me out so i pumped out the hand sanitizer haha. i still havent gotten a mosquito bite yet either! 

other fun stuff... the area i will be going to in the next day or two is called chingasura its up in beira!!! its supposedly more jungley up there but really osum. my companion will be elder ipson or ipsen idk. heard a lot of good things about him! the mission home is really nice but found out the shower head shocks you pretty good if you touch it while showering hahahaha. also last night i locked myself in the bathroom for like 10 minutes because i could not get the key to turn all the way to unlock it! twas a blast. today we went and played gator ball with all the other 20 missionaries in this area. its like a mix between soccer and lacrosse so it was a blast! met a bunch of cool elders and sisters and got to see elder couch!!!!!! he is doing great and looks healthy still! welp i know i left something out that you wanted to know but hopefully i can get to it next week. mondays will be my p day from now on so if you want me to read your email on pday youll have to send the email by  sunday night your time! I love you all and am so pumped to be here it is the best mission in the world and ive barely even seen it!!!!!!

Elder Hruby

The Mission Home in Maputo

Joao the turtle (which means John)

Just some P-Day turtle the world's greatest t-shirt ;)