February 24, 2014

Wonderful, Hot, Week

Internet Cafe 5'x5' Elder Montgomery, Stewart, Garcia, Hannay

80 Weeks in Angola                                                                                                                 Feb. 24, 2014
Ola minha familia!!!!!! 
This week was wonderful and awesome and amazing and all the other good things you can imagine. Besides hot. This was the hottest week of my mission by far!!!! 
So me and Elder Garcia are doing work. We have 8 or 9 baptismal dates, and one of them is this Saturday!!! His name is Luis. He is a married father of two and just a champ. He is the one who found the elders while he went looking for toothpaste. he is awesome 
Me and elder Garcia are loving our area. We’re having a lot of success and literally turning it into a new area. We have a goal of 6 baptisms before I leave and are way above that in our planning stages so far. It’s gonna be awesome. 
I have been able to focus on the work and studying so much this week it is amazing. When I put aside distractions like the heat, hard living conditions and all that, I have really gained some awesome study habits and I’m loving the learning.
Sorry this letter is way short, but my time is almost up because my computer is broken and scrolls up and down on its own, so I can’t even read your emails, or know if I’m typing right . I love Angola, so much. I mean that seriously not sarcastically. This country is truly my home, and I am so excited that I still have time left here to work with elder Garcia. This next transfer is gonna be the best of my mission. I love being a missionary. Hope this letter finds you all happy healthy and serving the lord. 

Quote from a prophet this week, I think David O. McKay "The Kingdom of God or Nothing. " that’s my motto, I give the people here the opportunity to have the kingdom of god, or I’m doing nothing. That’s the way I felt when I read it. Love you all! Have a good week. 
com amor,   Elder Montgomery

**Hey mom this is from Sister Merrill, and whoever wants to send packages( like for my birthday )  if you could just forward it to them. But I don’t need anything so tell anyone who would send stuff save the money and give me the cash when I get home! haha joking of course. 

February 23, 2014
Dear Parents, Relatives, friends, ward members and anyone else!! 
We have a bit of a problem here with the receiving of mail and of packages. I am asking for your help in this area. We have two methods of receiving letters and packages from home. First let me begin by explaining the problem and then I hope I can offer some solutions pertaining to each method. 
We recently had an incident with a new postal worker who demanded a receipt for the contents of a small package. Inside the package the sender had emptied a bag of candy. The Elders were accused of trying to hide the contents with the candy. They were accused of lying and being thieves. 
May I suggest that if you have anything of value, please include the receipt. Also please leave any candy in the bag. This will prevent any distrust. 
Please remember that any small package does have a cost to retrieve it. Sometimes a small fee of $1 to $3. Only two missionaries have the responsibility and authorization to retrieve any small package. They sometimes are tight for money when it comes time to pay for each package. Please put a small not in your package reminding your Elder to pay back the fee for his package. A dollar isn’t much until it is multiplied by 40 and every week!!!!!

--When a package is sent that weighs more than 2 pounds it goes to a central Post Office.
--Only a few people are authorized to receive any packages that are there because they are addressed to the church (as they should be). 
--This office is in a downtown area that is congested and difficult to get to. The wait to receive the packages has been up to 6 hours—without counting the 2-3 hour trip to get to the Post Office. 
--Each package is opened and inspected for contents in our presence. Then a duty or custom fee is imposed. We recently received one package that cost more than $50 to retrieve. The missionary that receives the package must pay the fees back to the mission out of his personal funds. We are also charged a fee for the length of time they sit at the Post Office before retrieval. The retrieval fees can be quite ridiculous. Unfortunately, it is sometimes impossible to find someone who has an 8 hour day to retrieve a package. 

--Any package weighing less than 2 lbs must be mailed as a letter NOT AS A PACKAGE. Example: My daughter sent some things that we needed. The US Post Office convinced her to send it in a flat rate box. The box did not weigh more than 2 lbs. However, because it was in a box, it was considered a package and the USPO labeled it as such. It cost her $27 to mail it and was going to cost me $25 to retrieve it!!!!!!!!! Solution –The problem was not the flat rate box. The problem was that the USPO labeled it as a package. If you use a flat rate box, please send it “registered” and there will be no problems. It will come to the regular mail system.
--We have had the best success with the regular padded envelopes. These come with no problem and you can send several. Please follow the suggestions above for small packages.

--If for some reason you need to send a package weighing more than 2 lbs, please label it as follows. 
Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos S.U.D.
Caixa Postal 18404
Luanda, Angola Telefone 926617677

Please do not put the Elder’s name in the address box. 
Include the telephone #. If we add the telephone # they will call us as soon as the package arrives and this will save us some extra fees. You may put the name in the return address and also inside the package if you wish. Every package must be opened in our presence so there is no fear of things being taken out.

We receive DHL and Fed Ex at our home and at the office. I do not know their restrictions or the cost. 

May we remind you that we love your sons dearly and we would do anything we can to help them have a good experience on their mission. We love them and worry about them as we do our own children. We pray for their safety and success daily. 
As a mother I know how it feels to want to send your loved ones a token of love from home. We are not asking that you quit sending packages and gifts to your sons. We are only asking you to follow these instructions. Please be sure that your “receiver” is aware that he must pay for the imposed fees on a timely basis. 
We are in a third world country with all the challenges of mail delivery. We love the Angolan people and their efforts to do better. It is our hope that we follow the laws of this land and appreciate their efforts. 
Thank you for your help in this matter. Please remind others who may want to send a package of love. Sometimes the Elders are just as happy with emails from friends and ward members. 

Thank you again for all your love and support, 
President and Sister Merrill

February 17, 2014

Tender Mercies

Recent Convert and her darling girls, 
Elder Montgomery and Elder Clifford taught in Cassequel
this is at the Mission conference held 2-16-2014

Elder Garcia and Montgomery p-day at the boardwalk
 in Luanda area Mutamba the city center. 2-17-2014

79 weeks in Angola                Feb 17, 2014 
I love you all and hope your weeks were marvelous! COURTNEY!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON THE 21ST!!! love you sis!
This week was a stressful one for sure! Elder Garcia and I are struggling to keep our investigators progressing, but at the same time we have seen some very tender mercies form the lord. I think the highlight form my week was Saturday. We had come from Wednesday through Friday with only one lesson each day, and stress levels were hitting through the roof. Saturday morning studies consisted of a lot more prayer than study, and I really was looking for the lord’s hand to help us out of the slump. All of our baptismal dates had disappeared and left us hangin all week, so things were looking pretty dim. i was brought to some self reflecting about my personal worthiness, what have I don’t this months and week and lately to make it so the lord could influence my investigators. I read a talk by elder Bednar about what it truly is to be a preach my gospel missionary, and he said one way we know we are worthy is when we can feel the spirit working in and through us. I thought it had probly been a while, so I did some hard praying and pleading the lord could show me where I stood with him. 
During our lesson Saturday afternoon with a 16 year old guy named Josemar, who previously had been off the map for two weeks, I think I got my answer. We asked him how his book of mormon reading had been, and he said he had read a lot. We asked him how he felt about it and to my surprise he said  " as strange as it is, I think it’s true. The spirit hit me super strong, probably the strongest I’ve ever felt in a lesson in my whole mission, and told me to read with him Mosiah 18: 8 through 109 when Alma asks the people to be baptized. He understood the scripture perfectly and got it that if he had his answer,  he needed to act, so the holy ghost could help him in his life. It was the strongest feeling I’ve felt of the spirit in a long time, and we set a baptismal date with him for April. I knew in that moment that I was truly a servant of the lord, doing his work, and that for at least that small moment, he was pleased with me. I love the Savior with all my heart, and know that is his work, and that only through the spirit can we accomplish his missions for us. I love this work! and I love being a missionary. 
Sorry this email is short, just know me an elder Garcia are workin our tails off, and are having a blast. He is an awesome elder. I’m loving our time together. 
I’m super excited for the Gilbert temple and hope it’s as beautiful as you all have told me. I can’t wait till there’s a temple in Angola. I’ll be coming back for that. 
Have awesome weeks, hope the lord blesses you as he has me. 
com amor,
Elder Montgomery

February 10, 2014

Happy Valentines, Anniversary and Birthday

Elder Montgomery, Nomar, Elder Banta

78 weeks in Angola                                                                                Feb. 10, 2014
OLA MINHA FAMILIA!!!!!!!!!!! i love you all and wish the most Happy Valentines day to all, the most happy 32ND ANNIVERSARY TO My mother and father and a happy healthy wonderful happy birthday to Grandma Cluff! the big 92!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! woohoo! everyone have awesome weeks celebrating your celebrations. 
This week was awesome. Lots of work,  lots of learning and lots of improvement. Elder Garcia continues to help me learn and grow each and every day. He is an amazing missionary!  
Our area is doing good, and we have some awesome baptisms lined up for march. One of them is named Luis, he’s married and has two daughters, and is a champion. He found the missionaries one day when he couldn’t find his toothpaste so he went to buy more and met the elders, went home and found his toothpaste right on the sink. So later he called the missionaries and they taught him once and then since then me and elder Garcia have taught him. He is so so prepared! and he is super excited to be baptized. It’s cool to teach him because even though his wife isn’t totally prepared yet to commit to follow the gospel, he has a desire to share his spiritual experiences with her and for her to have the same experiences. It’s been really cool for the last two weeks teaching him. 
 My favorite part of this week though, was Nomar’s baptism on the 8th, which was also elder Garcia’s birthday!!!. He (Nomar) is a 19 year old kid me and Elder Banta taught in Benfica.  he was awesome prepared from the start and was baptised Saturday. We became great friends from the start, and it was so cool to see him enter the waters of baptism. He is half Angola half Pilipino. 
Well. That was basically all my week, just working hard. We’re in the very middle of the hot season and it’s for sure is hotttt, and dusty. I can’t sleep at night if I don’t shower first because of the dust and dirt that gets stuck in my hair. This area is pretty safe actually, it is basically the same as Cassequel, just alot dirtier. 
  Well counting down on nine weeks now, but I’m doing my best to work as hard as I can to the end. Which will be very easy with Elder Garcia as my companion, he is a great elder. 
Sorry if this letter is really boring! But I love you all and hope the best weeks for all!
com muito amor,
Elder Montgomery

February 3, 2014

Working hard is Good

 this blog site is being really crazy it wont let me center anything !!! 
 Elder Garcia and Montgomery in Terrra Nova, Luanda 1 area
Elder Montgomery on a cut down Imbomdero Tree

77 weeks in Angola                                                  Feb 3, 2014
Ola minha familia!!! so this week was Awesome, for a few reasons. 
1 me and Elder Garcia both worked really hard and grew as companions and spiritually,
2 we set some more baptismal dates and had some really cool experiences that ill share in a sec, and
3. We were able to reach our goals for doing the lords work. It was hard work, and like I always say, hard work is fun!
 So this week me and Elder Garcia made some very challenging goals as to our personal growth to have the spirit, and to our numbers of people we wanted to find and teach and all that stuff. It was a very fun week. i was exhausted last night an really in need of pday today to rest up for this week. 
During the week though Elder Garcia and I had some really fun experiences and really awesome lessons where the spirit was present and it was because of our preparation and the seeking for the spirit- it was so fun. 
We set three more baptismal dates this week too, so that was cool were teaching a homeless guy who lives in an abandoned house, by our member friends the Rasta guy Dani. Joao the homeless guy has been trying the last two weeks to give us smoking so that he can get baptized, but it hasn’t been super successful he goes four days and then smokes, but were praying really hard and have such spiritual lessons with him that I  know the lord will give him strength to over come the addiction. 
One cool thing we got to do yesterday was take the sacrament to an older lady  in our branch who is blind. I felt like I was a priest again in our ward taking the sacrament to people. It was a very cool experience to take it to her. She hadn’t received the sacrament in over a year, because the branch thought she still lived in Portugal, but as we blessed the bread and water and helped her take it, the spirit was super strong and in her unseeing eyes I could see that she was feeling the spirit and she was deeply grateful for the opportunity to take the sacrament. I love helping older people. As we left her house she was very quiet and just looked so peaceful and happy. It was a great experience. 
Other than that, we just worked our tails off the whole week. The Lord is helping and blessing us so much. I love this gospel so much I love teaching it and seeing the spirit work in people. It truly brings great joy! I love you all and I’m grateful for you! Thanks for all the love and prayers!
till next week! loves!

Elder Montgomery