Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

Hey there Family!!

Wow it sounds like you are all having a great time with all that snow. Noelle you are already 17! Congrats! Zach, Emma and Caleb!! It sounds like you all love the snow. But while you are all freezing your fannies off over there I am constantly sweating. It is actually getting hotter and hotter every day. But I'm a little pressed on time so this might be a little short.

A few things happened this week. First of all Elder Hamilton of the Seventy and his wife came and did a mission tour! We had a conference with them and I have never been more impressed on by the Spirit. During the entire meeting I was glued to him and what he was saying but more to what he was not saying (if that makes sense). If I had several hours on the computer I would TRY and tell you what i learned. The most important thing was the spirit. I cant even begin to describe what I felt. I know that Elder Hamilton is a man called of God. And because of this I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet on the earth today! I KNOW! I know the gospel was restored through Joseph Smith! I know that the work of the Lord will not be stopped or slowed down. 

We received transferes today. I am going to be serving in Luanda 2A with Elder Pimentel (Brazilian) as Zone Leader. 

Well, my time is almost up. I am really sad to be leaving my area but at the same time excited to get to know another area. I love you all very much and wish the best for you all this week and happy sledding!!

December 2, 2013

I am grateful that we have a reliable postal system in the US. Stephen finally received his birthday package sent 12 weeks on to hear about his experience at the post office in Luanda. His positive attitude and testimony are an inspiration to me.   Stephen's email follows:

Happy Thanksgiving!! Wow, its already that time of the year again!! I've been out here for a long time. So the 6K was a success! Dad you survived and Caleb you ran like a madman I hear. Nice work. maybe when I get back we will do a little running together. Holy smokes 8 pies!! Oh I wish I could have had a slice or two! But it looks like the Dredge festivites are starting up and in full force already. I sent some letters last week that should be getting there in a week or two and the instuctions on them are to not open until X-Mas. Sorry, that's just the way it has to be. Mom and Dad, you two are both turning into quite the creative writers. I love getting your emails! They are lots of fun to read. I laughed out loud when I read the part about Bart (the fish), and about the tree hunting! I think I got a few weird looks from some people here in the Cyber Cafe.
Today I finally made the long trek down to the post office and got my birthday package!! yay!! Ok so we got there and 2 1/2 hours and 50 bucks later I had the package safely in my hands. Whew... mail.... Anyway, Thank you!!!! I loved what was inside! They made me open it in front of them at the desk as to see if I was "packing" anything "special." The lady grabbed the scripture case, looked at it, opened it up and pulled out the game. Then she held them both up and looked at me like I was from outer space. I plastered the best smile on my face that I could muster and expained that this was a package for my scriptures and that this was a game. After a nod of approval she ordered me to open the two wrapped presents. I turned to Elder Dunkley and said "Happy Birthday to me!!" And opened my presents. I was suprised that she didn't even look at the garmets, she just passed them over like they weren't there. Then it was time to pay. I again smiled and greeted the cashier as she treated my documents and package papers. I figured that if I was really nice I could get a discount of sorts. I even had her laughing and smiling. And with a smile on her face she wrote out the final price of 50$. (That didn't work....) So that was an adventure in and of itself. Thanks for the cake mix and frosting! I will cook it tonight if possible and we will celebrate! Or I might save it for late, who knows.

So on Thursday we had a spectacular Thanksgiving feast along with the first annual "Angola Mission Turkey Cup." We had our very own turkey cup, the only difference is that it was Soccer insted of Football. We were divided into teams depending on our districts. We lost in the first round, but we don't need to dwell on that. There is always the hope for next year!!....heh. It was a blast! Then I played a little bit of ping pong in this clubhouse thing that President rented out. It was a blast, even though I got creamed. After that we all gathered together and ate a Thnaksgiving feast! Truly it was a feast!! With pumpkin pies and all!! We had a lot of fun, got a bit sunburnt, and filled our bellies!

Aberto and Glaudice are So close to being married!! Thay have had a few interviews with the branch president and are working left and right to get documents and money for the ceremony. They are perfect examples of true followers of Christ. I love going over there! They always have something new to tell us, a miracle that happened that day or something cool! They have 3 little kids Monica, Bela and Alberto (the baby). The rest of our area is very healthy at the moment. We have several strong investigators one of which is Rosalina. She still hasn't gone to church for a few weeks because of her health. But we have faith that she will get better soon. Or at least well enough to go to church. On Sunday we had several new investigators come to church!! Every time that somebody new comes I get overexcited and want to jump around!! But we are trying hard.

I learned a lot more about the Sprit and how it works. If you want the Spirit with you on Thursday you need to be acting, thinking, and talking in a way that invites the Spirit on Wednesday. He doesn't just come when we want him to. We have to do our part. We cant "go on living" and then in the moment of crisis merely "hope" that He will be there. We need to be constantly working to better our relationship with Christ and constantly trying work BY the Spirit and not on top of, or around the Spirit. Missionary work without the Spirit is not missionary work.

I love my mission and I love all of you and wish the best of holidays to you all!!
Keep the faith!!


November 25, 2013

To the Family of the DREDGE!

Hey there everybody! How are you all doing. I hope everything is going well back home with you all. Thanksgiving dinner sounds like it was really good. Oh I miss moms pies! They are so good!! Maybe you could send me one.... heh, or maybe not. Anyway while you were eating scrumptious food Yesterday I was trying out some good old fashioned rat... yep that's right, Rat. It was cooked and actually tasted like and had the texture of beef jerkey. it was interesting. In response to your question, yes we are safe from the riots, but we had to stay in house again this Saturday because of more riots and protests. But it's all good, nothing happened and we are all fine. Alberto and Glaudice are doing great! Thay are so much closer to being married!! They are receiving lots of support from the Branch and the Presidency. We are so excited for them!!

Wow Caleb and dad doing the good ol home teaching. Way to go! Caleb you will love it! Its a bit strange at first but in a little while you will learn to love doing home teaching. So nice job!! Keep it up!! And what's up with you guys and all these races! You're just like Forest Gump or something, Run run run! Para bens and Boa Sorte!
This week was a lot slower and we had almost everything fall through. It was a rough week, a fighter to get through. But it wasn't too bad. We are teaching a very old woman that lives across the street from the chapel named Rosalina. I don't know if I have mentioned her before but this week we set a baptismal date with her for the end of Dezembro!! And she was very excited to be baptized!! She is the nicest lady and calls us her children, and we call her Grandma Rosa. It's great! Also this week I went on a Division with elder Clifford (our new Zone Leader). It was really good. Since we have been together so long, when we taught that day our teaching just flowed together smother than ever. It was really cool! But other than that not much else happened this week. We are trying to get a hold of all the less actives but it's very hard. They usually don't want to sit with us. But we are slowly sitting with one here and there. Its good progress.

I wish you all the best of times this week and health and happiness as well!!

Love Elder Dredge

November 18, 2013

Hey there family!!

I had a great week thank you!! Thank you for the emails and for the great thoughts about the universe and the grandeur and power of the creations of God. It is truly a vast and inchomprehensible feat that He has accomplished. 

Yes, as you all head into winter we are heading into summer. It is already getting nice and toasty. Every once in a while, we will get into a taxi that doesn't have functioning windows and so our trip turns into a sweat room/steam bath on wheels. Prime time to lose some weight right? Things are warming up here though. Elder Francisco is still here in with us in Viana. I'm not sure when he will be sent to the Provo MTC but I can only imagine soon. 
This week was a bit slower than the rest because of meetings and an incident on Saturday. We had Zone meeting and since we live in Viana ( which is the farthest area) Zone meeting took up most of the day. We travel a little over an hour to get to Zone meeting and getting back is about the same. SO 2 1/2 hours travel time give or take. But it was a great meeting! I learned a lot. We talked about the first article of faith and for those of you who are familiar with the lesson of The Restoration "God is our Loving Heavenly Father." We were tought by our Zone Leaders (one of whom is Elder Clifford) and President Holland. Lots of helpful insights. We were told that we usually skip over this principle or at least don't teach it to its full potential. At first I thought, "I always tell people that God is their Heavenly Father and that he loves them." But as the training went on I realized how much we have all been leaving out. When put into practice we found out that every single one of our investigators thinks that God is a Spirit that you can only feel and not see. It was like a new light in our teaching. Something that President Holland said was that "How are we expected to teach and testify of mortal leaders if first we do not teach and testify of eternal ones?" A penetrating question. But when people know that God really does love them and that we all have a personal relationship with him they will achieve Eternal Life. Through the Holy Ghost we can know of the Sacrifice that our Savior Jesus Christ made for us, and that through the Atonement of Him we are able to be cleansed from our sins and uncleanliness, and ultimately we are able to exist in the presence of God being perfect; returning "to that God who gave us birth." The concept is an unbroken chain of truths and eternal doctrine that once conceived by the human mind opens the doors to teach and testify of The Restoration of this very gospel. Once they know that God REALLY does love them they know our message is true. It is so cool!!!! (I hope that all made sense)

On Saturday we were told to stay home because of a riot/ protest that was scheduled to take place in Viana. Apparently they are trying to get somebody out of jail. But the police were going to be out in full force so we were told it would be better if we just stay at home to not get caught up in anything. It started off well. We did studies normal and then the power went out and then we ran out of gas for the stove. So we sweated the whole day and took out the little electric stove and used the generator to make some food. It took a long time on that wimpy little stove... The energy came back the end of the day and so we did a deep cleaning of the house and moved some stuff around. It looks good. 

Mateus and Bula are doing very well. They both came to church on Sunday. We haven't talked to Bula about marriage yet but we have an appointment to sit with him this week. Alberto and Glaudice ( the French speakers from the Congo) are treating their documents for Casamento!!! The had a meeting with President Pedro (of the Branch) and are working so hard! They are the best little family ever. I sent home a picture of them last week, the one where they are all sitting on the couch and we are standing behind them. Alberto is a member but Glaudice is not. We set the date for her to be baptized on the 28th of December. One week and a day after their marriage!! I am so excited for them!! We have grown very close to them. Glaudice is reading The Book of Mormon like a champ and is already in Helema!! And she only started 2 months ago!! She told us that she wants to teach the gospel with us or to be a missionary!! They are the best little family ever!!

Thank you for all your support and for being such a great family!! I wish you all the best week of your lives!! I love you all very much!! And I know that this gospel is true, without question it is true!!

Love Elder Dredge

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Photos From Angola

A typical home outside the city

The baptism of Antonio

In Huambo

The Mosquito net that keeps him from getting malaria again

Helping hands at the orphanage

With the children at the orphanage

Giving haircuts at the orphanage

Home of a recent convert

The infamous guinea pig roast.  Yes he did eat it!

November 11, 2013

Hey there family. I decided to send lots of pictures. I hope they all made it. So this letter will be a bit shorter because of time sending pictures, but hey, they say a pictures worth a thousand words! And sorry we didn't do email yesterday. Yesterday was Independence day over here so everything was closed. 

Thank you for all the emails I received! You are all the best!! I wish I could have been there to see the end of the giant pumpkin. So its getting cold back home. Its getting hotter here. I am starting to sweat a lot more than I did before, but don't worry we drink plenty of water. Oh, and my package is here and I should be getting it by the end of this week, or so I was told. We shall see. Elder Francisco is doing great!! We printed off some pictures for his visa a few days ago so he should be out of here in no time!! He is so excited and giddy about missionary work!! Ive never seen anyone with such animation and liveliness for doing the Lords work before! Its great!! In response to your question, yes we have a refrigerator in our apartment. We actually have two, don't ask me how but it happened...somehow. Caleb!! Get that Eagle project done. It might be a pain and you might have to do a lot of paperwork but its worth it!! Keep up the good work! NO soda!! wow, way to stay healthy. I love you all family!!

This past week was a really stressful week, I'm not sure why but there was just so much to do in so little time! AHHH. We have so many new people and members are bringing friends and family to church so we are almost biting off more than we can chew. But its great and I love every min of it, maybe not in the moment, but after I sure do appreciate it all.

This week we sat with two of our investigators Mateus and Bula that already consider themselves to be members of the church! Its really funny to hear them talk about how they are going to bring their family members to "their church" I love them so much!! They are both older that dad and Have several kids and one is a policeman and the other a professor at a local school. We talked about marriage the other day and that they need to be married before baptism. Most people here are married traditionally and not legally. They were equally excited about that as well. I was a bit nervous as to what they would say, but Bula said. "If that's what we need to do, that that is what we will do." He was super excited about it actually! The church is true! I know it! There is no other way that 20 year old kids can change the lives of 50 year old men. Through the spirit anything is possible! 

I know the power of the spirit is real and can truly guide us if we just let him. The holy Spirit is always prompting us and trying to help us, We just need to learn how to recognize what he is saying. It is a concept that I have been trying so hard to understand that is so simple but yet extremely dense. I love my Savior Jesus Cristo and for all he has done for me and the whole world. His life and teachings are unlike any other and I struggle every day to understand them better. Thank you all for everything! I wish you all the best week ever!!
Keep the Faith!

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 4, 2013

Thanks for all of your emails and for the birthday wishes! The birthday came and went. I don't really fell like 20 but I guess I am. Its a little strange but ill just have to deal with it I guess. Halloween sounds like it was great!! Sadly we did not get to carve pumpkins because the store in which we saw them no longer had them when we went by. Here they celebrate it on November 2nd and call it Dia dos mortos (day of the dead). Zach, Emma! I love your costumes!! They were great! Sounds like you got loads of good candy! And Caleb, did you scare a lot of kids with that costume on the roof! Heh, That looked like a lot of fun! Dad, I am not a fan of spiders but para bens! You held that nasty tarantula with no fear. Heh, I almost laughed out loud here in the cuber cafe when I read the part about you "showing your new friend to mom."  Hahahaha!! Mom, sorry, but I haven't received the package yet. From what I hear it has already arrived its just stuck somewhere in the process of arriving. In other words. I should get it... nah just kidding. It should be here this week. And thank you for the pictures!! I just received them 2 min ago!! They are all great!! I will try next week to send some photos.
We had a great week. Being in a tripla is a whole new experience. Everything had to be done with three people. It can get annoying at times but at the same time its super fun! Elder Francisco is a great missionary and is so much fun to be around! But the area of Viana is doing great! we have several investigators that are progressing very well and that have baptismal dates or marriage dates. We moved chapels two weeks ago so now it is in our area. We have been doing a lot of contacting around the chapel. Its really nice when someone asks where is it located and we just point across the street and say "Its that house right there." Cool success story, this week we had 11 investigators at church!!! It was nuts, they just kept coming in and coming in! I loved it!! We have a man named Mateus that we just met in the Praca. He is one of the people that have been prepared for years to hear the gospel. He is about 45 years old, is a policeman, and has, consecutively, read almost finishing 2 Nefi in 3 weeks!!! He just wants to be baptised and be a member of the church. We have a few more people like him that are very strong investigators. 

This week we had a nasty rain storm with lightning, thunder, the works! It was amazing! We were very far away from home (it was night and we were on our way home) when it started. There was no other choice. An hour later and soaking wet we finally walked into the house. I loved the rain. There is nothing like rain in Africa, It just has a different feeling to it. I loved it! Well, that's about it for this week. We have been working really hard and its starting to pay off!! I love this work and know that it is the work of the Lord. How else would a 20 year old like me be able to go out to Angola and invite others to come unto Christ! I love it all so much! This is the best time of my life! And I'm almost halfway done with it! AHHHH! Time flies when you blink. I love you all and know that I am praying for all of you!!

Love Elder Dredge

October 28, 2013

First of all I would like to thank you all for the Birthday wishes!! You are all amazing! I'm sure with all your wishes this birthday will be the most memorable ever!! I also received a letter from the Abplanalps this past week! Thank you! I too cannot believe that I am 20 years old. As dad put it, I am no longer a teenager.....a strange thought. I have learned a lot. I heard a quote in the MTC that I liked a lot. " Wise men learn from there mistakes, super wise men learn from others' mistakes" I would have to say that I have learned a lot from my mistakes. But hey, that's life! Thanks for the video, I tried to watch it but this computer doesn't have a "player program" thing. Maybe next week.  A few weeks ago we found a store that sells pumpkins! You know what that means!!! Halloween!!! we are going to carve pumpkins!! Woooohhoooo! Its going to be great! Zach I'm right there with ya! But I don't think my pumpkin will be as good as yours. Send me a picture of your pumpkin and your Ninja costume, ok? I'm excited to see it!! Noelle it sounds like you had a great time at the dance! I miss the good old days! Congrats with one more piano recital under the belt mom!! Your the best mom ever!!

This past week we received a new elder. Elder Francisco. He is Angolan and has been assigned to work with us so we are in a tripla. He is the nicest guy you will ever meet. He is 23 and only wants to do missionary work. He is always wanting to pay for our stuff, clean our shoes and dishes and is just the nicest guy. We are not his trainers because he hasn't even been to the MTC yet so we are just giving him a kick start of sorts. Its really fun! Speaking of Norberto we went over to his house yesterday after church. At church we watched one session of General Conference. When we talked to Norberto he bore powerful testimony of what was said and taught!! He is the best ever!!

Darn! Time is up, sorry its not all that much but I thank you for everything! You are all the best family a guy like me could ask for! Have a great Halloween!!! Don't eat too much candy!
Love Elder Dredge

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Visit to orphanage in Luanda

Stephen and the Elders in his area got to visit an orphanage last week.  Following is from Stephen's email.  Below are the photos and email I received from a worker at the orphanage. 
Today for our activity we went to the orphanage!! It was something that, up until now, I had only seen on TV or read in a magazine about the orphans in Africa. I loved every min of it. There were about 30 orphans there today but on other days the numbers swell to over 100. It was nice though because we go to do a lot of 1 on 1. We got ther in time for the classes, and today they were doing math. So I got put in a group with three little boys and started going over basic math. We were all given a small cup of beans and did small math equations adding and subtracting beans. Then we used packets that had come from care packages. Remember all those packages that we would always put together with the tooth brushes, soap, towels, pencils, chalk, etc...? i never thought they actually made it here. We used small math booklets that had been put together at a youth conference back in the states. And the children here love it!!! It was something that I will never forget. After that we played around in the cement yard for 30 min. I learned a lot of new games and had loads of fun. those kids love the missinaries. They always beg for the men in the white shirts to come back. I loved it so much!! The children here are so much fun and are always ready to have some fun!

Hello from Lovely Luanda!
My name is Kathy Ryan, and I am an American living in Luanda, Angola
I volunteer regularly at the orphanage.
We feel so privileged when the Elders are able to help out with this service project. You will see from the attached photos that Elders Dunkley, Ferguson, Banta and Dredge gave up part of their P day to assist.
The orphanage is run by Irma Domingas. She has 55 children that live in, but the numbers swell to over 100 each day, as school and lunch are provided there.
The picture with Dona Isabella shows the Elders with Sister Domingas' mother. She is the one that donated the property for the orphanage to start, over 20 years ago. The picture with the laundry ladies was requested by the ladies, they knew they wanted a photo with the handsome missionaries:) Think how hard those ladies work, with that many clothes to be washed daily! Note behind them is the water tank for the children.
 Hope you enjoy this little window into the good work that your sons are doing here in Angola. Thank you for sharing them!
Thanks also to President and Sister Merrill for supporting this project!

October 21, 2013

Hey everybody! I hope you are all doing well and that the week was spectacular! Soccer is winding down it sounds like. Yes dad, I had the same thing happen to me with the question about the colors of skin. I didn't really know what to say, and I still don't really know how to explain it, but the scripture in D&C says it all. I will tell you in your mind and in your heart in the very hour. It was a great experience! As far as Lala and Tati, they are doing great and come to church every week. Their older brother left on a mission last week, Just 6 days after he baptized them. It was a very special experience for them. Heh, Zach! Great job with the talk on Sunday! You are a great kid! And I love you too!!!! I love all of you! Noelle!! Caleb!! Emma!! Mom!! Dad!! Jessiqa!! Rudy.... hmm.

I have been afraid to send pictures home because some of the computers have viruses and some of the Elders have had there whole memory card wiped clean trying to send pictures home. I'll send them when I can, if I find a safer spot. 

This week was crazy just like all the others. There is never a dull or boring moment. Always something to be doing! We have Norberto and Iliza that are a couple with two little kids and not married. They have been coming faithfully to church for more than a month now! And they really want to be married, so they have set some broad goals for the middle of next year sometime. The next time we go over we are going to try and get some dates down so marriage and baptism seem more tangible and real. Heh, funny story this week. We met one drunk man that said he was an ex pastor that started yelling at another drunk man trying to cast out devils and calling the man a demon. It was hard not to laugh. The other drunk man started to walk away and our friend turned to us and said "See! See!  He recognized me and he's running away!" It was pretty funny. We did lots more contacting this week and found lots of interesting and cool people. It hard sometimes because you just want everybody to accept your message and they either reject it or make promises that they know they wont keep. Its just a matter of finding the true seekers of light. And when that happens there are not words to describe or to explain the joy, pure joy. 

Today for our activity we went to the orphanage!! It was something that, up until now, I had only seen on TV or read in a magazine about the orphans in Africa. I loved every min of it. There were about 30 orphans there today but on other days the numbers swell to over 100. It was nice though because we go to do a lot of 1 on 1. We got there in time for the classes, and today they were doing math. So I got put in a group with three little boys and started going over basic math. We were all given a small cup of beans and did small math equations adding and subtracting beans. Then we used packets that had come from care packages. Remember all those packages that we would always put together with the tooth brushes, soap, towels, pencils, chalk, etc...? i never thought they actually made it here. We used small math booklets that had been put together at a youth conference back in the states. And the children here love it!!! It was something that I will never forget. After that we played around in the cement yard for 30 min. I learned a lot of new games and had loads of fun. those kids love the missionaries. They always beg for the men in the white shirts to come back. I loved it so much!! The children here are so much fun and are always ready to have some fun!

On Saturday we went to the place of the old people. Its kind of like a nursing center. Our Branch and a few others did a service project there. We even got to wear the yellow Helping Hands vests. I scrubbed down the stairs at first and then went up stairs to cut hair...yep...I cut Angolan hair. I met a man named Ernesto, he is very old and has been in a wheelchair all his life because his legs are deformed. But I got to cut his hair and chat with him. Some of the other Elders got to shave faces as well. It was a great day!!
Thats about the wrap for this week. Oh, and on Saturday we are going to watch General conference with the Branch!! Finally! The last time we watched it I didnt understand anything that was going on. This time I hope I will be able to understand a lot more. 

Thank you for all you do for me and for the support you have given. I love you all very much!!
Elder Dredge

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

Dear family!
Thanks for the photos, they are great!! I do miss Panguitch a lot. But things sound great! And with Conference and all. We only got to watch the Sunday sessions. But it was a great day and I love General Conference! 

We have Luis and Alfonzo that are doing great!! They both have been reading the Book of Mormon and understand it very well. Luis read the part where the Lord changed the color of the skin of the Lamanites because of their iniquity to a darker color.... That opened up a can of awkwardness. But it turned into a spiritual conversation. We explained to him that this "curse" does not apply to him. And that was the way that the Lord distinguished the righteous from the wicked back in those days. He understood and took no offense. It was pretty cool. 

We are doing lots of contaction still. I really liked what dad said the other day. That sometimes you are doing the harvesting and sometimes you are doing the planting. I have to remind myself of that a lot. But one overriding thought is that I am here to do the work of the Lord. He knows whats best for me. All I need to do is put myself in His hands, sacrifice my will for his and he will take care of me. It's hard sometimes but its worth it. I've been thinking a lot about this concept this week and a few of the stories I will share explain why.
Yeah, sorry I didn't write this last week, the internet went down for like 5 days so it was super annyoing. But I'm alive and all is well here in Viana. On Saturday we had 2 baptisms!! Lala and Tati! They are 9 and 10 years old and are family of some members. They are extremely smart and know more that some of our adult investigators. But getting them baptized was a luta! (Wrestle) First of all the times for the baptism were mixed up, we were told they were at 14 so that's what we told everybody ( we did baptisms with another branch) On Saturday morning I got a call from the other elders asking us where we were. I was a bit surprised and said that we were going to leave in a few hours. Well , long story short they were there and waiting for us at 10. So they did their own baptismal service and we decided to carry on with ours at 14. We got there about 13 to put more water in the font because it has a slow leak. (By the way, it takes about 2 hours to get to the Cassequel Chapel from our house by taxi) 14 rolls around and two members show up but the candidates still weren't there. They didn't get there until 15, 1 hour late! Ahh! Side note: to baptize someone under age you need to get signed authorization from a legal guardian on the baptismal form. We had not had the parents of Tati sign the form yet, but we were told that her parents were going to come to the baptism and we would just have them sign it before. (Their parents aren't members) They didnt show up..... Ummmmmm.. so only one of the little girls can be baptized?? Their brother Fernando was going to be the one performing the baptism and he is leaving on his mission this Wednesday. So brother Nequetela drove all the way back to Viana to get the signature. What took us about 2 hours to travel ONE WAY he did in about an hour, THERE AND BACK!! I don't know how he did it so fast but wow. WE got the signature!!!! They were baptised and confirmed the next day at church. It was quite the day. After that all we had time to do was to catch a taxi and go home. The taxies were running sparse so we cought a ride in the back of a pickup truck with like 5 other Angolans. So there were 9 people piled in the back of this random pickup truck flying down what is equivelant to our freeway. That was one adventure for this week.

I would have to say though that that was one of the most spiritual baptisms I have ever participated in. Maybe because it was so hard to finally make it happen. But the spirit was thick and testified to me once again that this is why we are here. Satan can try as hard as he can to stop us but in the end it will be the Lord that Prevails! (I presided at this baptism...weird huh?)

Today on the way to Soccer we caught a ride with a man in his truck (this time we sat inside). On the way there, in crazy traffic, we were pulled over by the police. The police here drive around on motorcycles and have machine guns strapped to their chests. So they stopped us and asked us for our documentos. We all had them except for Elder Dunkley. The policeman was very angry and started to just rip into Elder Dunkley. Then he told him that he was going to go to jail. I had already been praying like crazy, and I felt like everything would be fine, but when he told him that he would be going to jail my heart skipped a beat. And then he ordered him to get out of the car. Then my heart stopped. What was going on? This policeman was going to take my companion to an Angolan jail?! I immediatley got out of the car as well. The policeman looked at me like I was stupid and asked what I was doing and told me to get back into the car. He was a little shorter than me but he was decked out in body armour and had a machine gun across his chest. I just stood there and told that as missionaries of the Church we have rules and that I have to stay with my colleage. He turned away from Elder Dunkley and looked straight at me and with a very commanding voice told me to "get in the car right now!" I stood there and told him no, and that I had to stay with Elder. There was no yelling involved but he was very assertive. He put his hand up close to my face and ordered me again to get in the car. My mind was running, this guy has a gun, he seemed pretty scary and I felt like I was getting into a mess that I wouldn't be able to get out of. Right when he told me to get into the car for the second time I had the thought that "you have to stay with your companion." So I told him again that I WOULD NOT let Elder Dunkley go to jail without me. He got really angry. Raised his voice and started waving his arms in the air, but the whole time telling me to obey his command and "Get in the car!" I slowly started moving back toward the door and then he just snapped. "The both of you!!.....Get in the car!" he yelled. He gave us our documents and left. 

I am convinced that the hand of the Lord was in every step of that encounter. I was scared out of my mind. But I was as calm as could be. I know that the Lord protects his missionaries and that we are here to do a sacred work. The work of the Lord. This is his work and as long as we are doing what he would have us do we will be guided and directed by His Hand. I love my Savior and know that he is also watching over all of you. And I know that If everybody, missionary or not, follows the counsels of the Lord and His Profetas and Apostolos, His hand will guide and protect you.

Overall it was a great week to do missionary work!!! I love my mission and I love each and every one of you so much!! Thank you so much for everything!! 

Wow, that was a long email. Tell everybody I said hi! Wait, this email goes out to everybody...

Hey everybody!!! I Love you all!! If you're reading this than I love you! Even if you're not reading this than I still love you!
Love Elder Dredge

October 7, 2013

Thanks for the email! It sounds like you are all doing great! Chase is back!!! Holy smokes. Tell him I said hi! Yes we did get to watch the Sunday sessions. We went over to presidents house Sunday and had lots of food and a great time watching General conference! I loved it when President Monson talked about his wife and the trials of life. It was a great talk. Something that I learned that I Loved was when Elder Mckonkie was speaking. He quoted another Prophet that goes something like this "I always know when I am speaking under the influence of the spirit because I always learn something from what I have said." It applies perfectly to missionary work. After that we slept over at Presidents house and had a breakfast of pancakes and waffles!!! It was just like going to Grammas and Grampas for the weekend. Then we went to the beach and played football and soccer and frisbee. (no water) It was one of the best P-days I have had! In the top 3 for sure. All in all it was a great weekend!
I found out that Slow didn't go to church this last week from the other elders. They said that he was at a party. They still dont know if he is all right but this week they will know for sure. I have faith in him. He has already made it this far, he can go the rest of the way no problem. And yes, we had another good week at church...

That is where the internet cut out last week. I'll write another letter in just a min.
Elder Dredge

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Yep I arrived safely! It was another long and smelly bus ride and we got stopped twice by the patrol cars in the middle of the night and had to show our papers to prove that we were here legally. But it was a good trip. My new area is called Viana, and there used to be 6 elders in this area but now there is only 4 so our area is huge, (meant for 4 Elders) This place is full of sand, no dirt, just sand, and it gets everywhere. I'm still trying to get to know the area and the members, but that will come with time. The humidity is back and the mosquitoes as well. In fact I am sleeping under a net now. Its a lot nicer than before AKA without a net. But this Saturday and Sunday we had District Conference (Stake Conference). It was very cool. We had all the members from Luanda in one room! Something like 650 to700 people. The church is growing!!!! And it won't be stopped!!
I am the new district leader in Viana as well and I don't really know what I am doing but we shall see how that goes. We had a meeting the other day with the Zone Leaders and I received a small training and what not. There are a lot of changes going on now that President Merrill is here, and changes for the better! The Lord is hastening his work!!
This morning on the way to Soccer my name tag got bumped off in the taxi. Good thing I have one more, but I was pretty livid that it was missing. This week we had two mystery fone calls from Less active members that we didn't know existed. They somehow got a hold of our number and told us that they wanted to meet with us. We went over and thinking that they were investigators but come to find out they were less actives. Two men that moved here from the Congo 8 years ago and didn't know that the church was here and a lady that went off the grid 2 months ago. It makes me think of the scripture in D&C that every soul is great in the eyes of God. And all three of these mystery members came to the conference this weekend!!!!!! Cool huh!? That is something that we are going to be working on a lot more is member missionary work, and going after the lost sheep that have fallen away. I also found out that Edson, the man that I baptized way back in the beginning of my mission is less active. I called him today and talked to him for a min. I'm not sure what is going on but i will try and find out.
We had a lesson with a man named Luis. He is brand new investigator. We gave him the Book of Mormon a few days ago and passed by 2 days later. He had already read up to I Nephi chapter 13!! Holy smokes, that never happens! I was so surprised and super happy. We set a baptismal date for him for the 26 of October but I'm thinking we might move him up a week. He is super prepared by the Lord. He told us that he trusts us and that we will decide when he gets baptized. He said he knows that we know when he is ready, extremely humble and willing to follow the will of the Father.
I love missionary work! I love it so much!! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!!! I love all of you so very much!!! I pray for you every day!! You are my heroes!!!! Don't ever give up!
Keep the faith!

September 16, 2013

So yes, I did get transferred... We are leaving tonight to go back to Luanda. I will be in an área called Viana with Elder Dunkly, a Texan. It is extremely hard to leave Huambo. I love the people here. Dad, yeah we have been doing a lot of seed planting. but nevertheless i love this place with all of my heart. All the members and the investigators. They have even been teaching me Himbondo, the native dialect. I can hold a very basic conversation, but its really funny when they see a white guy greeting them in the native language. I get a kick out of it. But Huambo is my home, We are leaving tonight on another long bus ride to Luanda. it was really hard to say goodbye, But I know in whom i have out my trust, and He needs me somewhere else. I have learned so much here in Huambo. I cant describe the love I have for this place.
Fun fact: In this last transfer alone I have seen 6 motorcycle accidents. crazy huh.
Caleb.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRO!!! I can call you my bro because your my brother and my bro, yeah? Your going to be 15!! Bhaa, What the heck man, slow down. Heh, I would send you a presente but it might not get there so ill just bring it home with me next year.
As far as Daniel and Martihno, Daniel came to church but Martihno just couldn't get work off. and he is like head of the police department so I assume its pretty hard. But for the last 3 weeks we have had 0 investigators at church, but yesterday we had a whopping 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was thrilled out of my mind and the fact that Daniel came as well!! When he introduced himself he said," I didn't got to my church today because the activity they are doing today doesn't interest me very much." Heh, it was hard not to laugh. But now he is in the hands of Elder Clifford and Whitaker. I know they will do all they can for him. But i think he feels a lot better about the church now, and he went to the huge lunch we had after so that was good to create some friendship with some of the members, especially Beato.
President and Sister Merrill did come down and gave amazing training. Sister spoke on faith and teaching. She is an amazing presenter and brings the spirit so strong whenever she talks!! She said something very interesting. She asked in what ways the Savior tought. And we narrowed it down to to principles. Love. and Questions. He teaches so much just by asking questions. It was like a light bulb went off in my head, because when you yourself are asked a question you have to think about it na you learn a lot more than if somebody just tells you. Its a concept that I don't understand completely but will try more to teach in this way. President talked about Obedience and that obediência brings power. If we want to be powerful missionaries then we need to be obediente. All in all it was an amazing two days. I gave the Sunday school lesson again for the last time, before I leave.
Right now we have 13 missionaries living in our house!! its a bit messy... the Lumbango Elders came up as well as our replacements from Luanda and the assistentes. So we have had a full house the last few days. Elder Tilley is the new branch presidente here in Huambo, and I know he will do a great job! AH I love Huambo!
Well wish me luck on that nice long bus ride through the night.
Amen doku sole chalwa - (Himbondo)
Eu vos amo muito
I love you very much

September 9, 2013

This week was just as crazy as all the rest, granted that I did not eat another guinea pig head or almost punch somebody in the face, it was still a crazy week. Its a very difficult área, partly because its really new and a very religious city, Huambo. The Branch is very new and still have the Deer in the headlights look. But they are all starting to see that things still haven't been started yet. Its been voiced and the desires have been planted, all that needs to happen now is action. We have been stressing so much member missionary work and references for a long time. But I finally feel like the members are starting to catch the vision. The ball is going to start rolling here in no time. And President Merrill is coming down on this weekend so that will help out a lot and get the members more gung ho about missionary work. Its really cool to see things unravel along the way. But I have the feeling that I will be leaving this next transfer next week. I don't want to leave though. I loove this área so much and all these members are amazing!
But we just re visited an old Investigator that went to Portugal for 2 months but returned not to long ago. He is amazing and is super focused on the Family. He is basically head of all the police departments, doesn't participate in a religion, and is married legally. He really wants to meet presidente Merrill. His name is Martinho. His wife Vanda is super super nice as well and is due in a couple of months. Beato (a member) thinks he will be the next Branch presidente. So keep your fingers crossed.
Daniel, the man that read the BOM twice is coming along. He wants to merge our two churches together. He is having a really hard time accepting that There is only One church of Jesus Christ, but he knows what he has to do. He understood everything we told him and he paused and said. " I need to pray about this, come back in a week and I will have an answer" So keep your fingers crossed for him as well.
I love you all and hope you have an amazing week of school and work and fun. Don't Forget to have fun every moment!!!
Keep the faith!

Below is a photo of the Huambo missionaries, along with President and Sister Merrill and some Elders from Luanda.

September 2, 2013

Zions camp went pretty good. It was the first time this was done her down in Huambo so there are some things we could have done better. But over all we had 25 people that came. And yes, we were pretty much in charge of it. We did almost everything. We played lots of games that are applicable to creating Zion/ A place of unity/ a people of unity. At the end of the day we split everybody up into 4 groups and did rotations. Each one of us missionaries took a topic and gave a short 20-25 min lesson and discussion with each group, then at the end we had a testimony meeting. It was a little strange because more that half of the boys weren't members and they didn't know how to bear testimony, but they tried. It was great!! But half way through the camp Elder Clifford got sick. So he was down for the count. And then Saturday night he spent the night in the bathroom vomiting and having diarrhea. I felt really bad for him, It was miserable. And so I spent the night on the phone with Sister Thompson and making him concoctions of salt and sugar for him to drink so he wouldn't get dehydrated. He didn't like them very much but he had to do it. We were going to go to the hospital at like 23 o'clock but the hospital didn't have the things that we needed. We needed a clinic but they were all closed. So we just ended up going Sunday morning to get him tested for Malaria, but he came back in the negative, so they think he has Typhoid. But he is doing a lot better, The fever, chills, and headache are gone. So he is recovering pretty fast.
But we didn't get a chance to visit Daniel this week because he was out of town . I want to go talk to him so bad. Without fail, this week we will see him. But our área is struggling still. We are still doing a lot of finding. I did have a bitter sweet experience yesterday though. We went on a division so I could get out of the house (I was there with Elder Clifford all day and didn't go to church) But on our way home we ran into some drunk guys. They stopped us and started asking us weird questions. Like "Where is the Garden of Eden?" One of the drunk guys was like "Oohh I know I know... its in Iraq" It was pretty funny, one because of his answer and two because he was answering the questino of his friend directed at us. But then one of them started asking us questions trying to get us to mess up and trying to stump us. So I said to Elder Castleton, lets go, I don't want to talk to these drunk guys. The one man got fuming mad and started chewing me out. He layed into me telling me that I as a servant of the Lord can't judge people and tell them they are drunkard just because they are drinking beer. He got me fuming mad. He yelled at me for about 1 min saying vulgar things and insults that would make your hair stand on end. I snapped. I actually swung a punch in the direction of this mans face with the intent of railing on him. But my fist stopped inches in front of his face and my finger stuck out and was almost touching his nose. I was confused and stunned for a min that my fist didn't make contact. So I told him to stop talking and we walked away as they were laughing at us. I do feel ashamed that I wanted to hit him; but I was physically constrained. I learned a lesson. And he was partly right, I did judge him, and just because somebody is drinking doesn't mean I shouldn't talk to them. Every single one of these people are all children of God. So I felt very bad that I said I didn't want to talk to him because he was drunk. I have no right to not share the gospel because someone is doing something I dont like. In fact it is those people that we are here to help the most.
But this week we also ate ginnipig (guinea pig) -don't know how to spell it. A member that lives in a mud hut invited us over for lunch. He killed the animal right in front of our eyes, gutted it and cooked it over the stove. I got to eat the head. I almost gagged but I put it down.
Well I love you all

August 26, 2013

Well Today I don't have a lot of time because it took me forever to get this stinkin computer working. But this week was a miracle and the same time super rough. We have 11 new investigators this week and did LOADS of contacting. And at the same time we are trying to get the branch running and up on its feet. But we have a lot of less actives that we are trying to work with. One of them just up and left to another city and didn't say anything. But James, one of out less actives is coming back and even gave a talk in church on Sunday!! This weekend we have a campout. Its something similar to Alma Camp. We are calling is Zions Camp. Its for the Sacerdócio and anyone that wants to bring friends. Its the first time anything like that has been done here but we are all super excited!! Our investigator Lucas is really struggling though. He feels alone, partly because he is. He has no parents and his his sisters don't help him. His house is a 20 by 15 foot closet. (smaller than mom and dads bathroom) But he has desire and Is extremely humble. I love him so much. He said that no matter what he is going to be baptized on September 21!!!
I will tell you about Daniel. One day we got a call from a random number and the he wanted to meet with us. We went over the next day and found out that he lives in the boonies of the boonies. But it was well worth it. He was given a Restoration pamphlet from a friend and a Book of Mormon. (We have no idea who the friend is, a man named Salgado) From what we could tell he had already read the Book of Mormon and had started over. In just 2 months!! He also taught us the Restoration and said that he found some anti-Joseph Smith stuff of the Internet, but that that didn't bother him. He said that he already prayed and received his answer. And he knows that the book is true and that the Prophet Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God. He talked as if he was already a member. He his also a big shot in his church and said that he had already talked to some of the people there but that he was going to talk to as many as he could to see if they would accept the message. It was a MIRACLE!!! He talked for the better part of an hour and we just sat there in awe and wonder of this man inspired of God. He also testified that he knows that his church has Prophets as well. And then told us this story about how one of the leaders of his church back in the year 2000 had a prophecy. He prophesied that there was a church in the United States that had the fullness of the Gospel that would be coming shortly to this people. It gave me the chills These people have been waiting for this for years! I have never cried in a lesson before but I was teary-eyed, for a good while.
I love this work, It is difficult, but I have to remind myself that I'm not in it alone and that there is someone who has already passed thought it. The refiners fire.
I Love you all and pray for you often!!
Keep the Faith

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

Our new appartment is a house, and its the biggest in the mission. It has two floors and is gigantic. Its pretty fun. But the work is finnaly mostly done. And yeah, we still have bugs in our house. Mostly just roaches. But we did see a bee type bug the other day that flew into our room that was big enough to eat us both!! It was huge! It scared me pretty good because it flew straigt for my face so I dove out of the way. But that sunds super intense about Emma and the soccer tournament! Congrats with the win!! What else is going on back home?
Heh, last week we played soccer with a homeless guy! It was really fun!!
We are still doing a lot of contacting. This week we had a few more of those days where eveyrthing falls through. But we truly saw miracle right in front of our eyes. For the past two weeks we havent had one single investigator at church. But Yesterday you will never guess how many we had....9!!! AHH! I was awe struck with wonder and excitement! It was, in my opinion one of the best Sundays that I have had since I have been here! And we recieved two refferals from members. And they evey brought more friends to church!! And Elder Clifford and I have been focusing a lot more on the less actives in the ward. We have 9 in our área. 4 of them came to church!!! It was a day full of miracles!
We do have a a recente convert that has been going throught some rought times lately. We have tried to help him but he just wont read pray. He was baptized right before I got to this área. He says he wants help and wants so bad to come back to church, but he just wont read the scriptures or pray. We have told him time and time again. But he lacks the motivation or something. And now he is going through the process of having his name removed from the records of the church. We are still going to try and do everything to help him, But my testimony of the Basics has grown immensly. Without Prayer and Scripture study and Church, Lucifer slowy gains more and more power over us when we neglet the simpest of things. "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass" the scripture says, But it is also by small and simple means that the Devil gains power over the hearts of the children of men.
Most of our investigators are all new now. But the work with the less actives is doing great! We had one lady that yelled at us the first time we passed by 2 months ago. But now is is praying in the lessons and was one of the ones to come to church!!! Look for any oportunity to share the gospel and the Lord will fill your mouths with the words to say!! I know the Book of Mormon is true and that it is blessing the lives of milions around the world! What a work and a wonder!!
Love you all!! Keep the Faith!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 12, 2013

Hello you big and wonderful family!
It sure sounds like summer is pretty much over. I remember the days of last min hustle and bustle to get things ready. Good luch with all of that! And dont forget to just sit back and have fun and laugh for a while. First of all thank you to Larena for the email, and for the pictures of Lake Powell and the wedding! They were all great! And Jessiqa is already ready to leave! Wow, that was short. She will be an awesome missionary!
This week was frustrating. So this new house we moved into has a lot of problems. So we have constantly had workers in and out of our house. There have been days that We have had to stay in house most of the day because of the workers. It was driving me crazy. We couldnt just leave them alone in our house and we didnt want to tell them to come back another day and delay the work. So for 3 days we didnt leave the house until 17 or 18. But during the day we did divisions and and would take turns staying in house and going out and teaching. Its a lot of stuff to do with the kitchen. So Monday to Thursday we had workers in our house. And they work kinda slow. We basically only had 3-4 days this week to work. But most of the work is done so we can leave the house when we finish our studdies. Boy am I glad thats over.
Our area is struggling a bit. Out main investigatiors are out of Huambo on vacation and what not. But we are still trying to find more people. Lucas is really struggling, He is never home and his phone is always off so we havent been able to sit with him for a while. I think he is losing interest. He is still pretty young. Who knows, maybe in a few years he will be more ready to accept the gospel. Rosa, is also very busy, but she sill wants to sit with us. Its just a matter of finding a time that she is home that we can pass by.
Our new focus is Less active work. We have been trying so hard to get a hold of all of our less actives in our area. We have sat with most of them and are trying to sit with the rest. Story of success: Edy, a less active, is 19 and we visited him a couple of times and before you know it he brought a friend to our integration night activity, came to churh on sunday and passed the sacrament and is having his girlfreind take the lessons from us! He is awesome. We are focusing a lot more on the Branch so that when we do have investigators come to church they will be well recieved. The people of the church here are still very new and the Branch is still very new. There is a lot of work to do. That is why we are working so much more with the less actives. Like it says in Preach My Gospel. We (the missinoaries) are just here to help the members do their work. And as President Hinckley said. I dont remember the quote exactly but it goes something like: There is no point to missionary work unless we hold onto the fruits of our labors, revent converts. So our goal is to get the Brach as strong as we can, reactivate the less actives and in doing so more and more people will see the Blessings of the Gospel and want to be a part of it. And the members will feel and increased desire to do missionary work. Its going to be great!!!!! Im super excited to see whats going to happen!!!
The Light of the Gospel is real! I know it! The good times and the bad times are all wonderful. Ma«ybe not in the moment but if we endure it well those around us will be blessed. That is the beauty of the Atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Its infinite!! We can overcome any challenge with which we may struggle. I heard once that the distance from God is merly the distance from your knees to the floor. Prayer is real!
Keep the faith!!
Love Elder Dredge

Saturday, August 10, 2013

August 5, 2013

Hey family!
How are you all doing!? I cant believe that Jessiqa is already at the MTC! Im so happy for her! But I don't have a lot of time and I'm a slow typer so this may be a bit short. Internet here is a bit annoying sometimes. But thanks for the Emails everybody! Emma and Caleb and Noelle and mom and dad!! It was great to hear from all you! School is starting up already! I can't believe it! Good luck!
This week most of our lessons fell through every day so we did a lot of door knocking and contacting. Rosa came to church this Sunday! We will sit with her on Tuesday! I'm excited to see what she thought. I think she liked it because she stayed after for like 20 min just talking to people. Lucas didn't come again and we dont know why. But he is a trooper! He is trying so hard to live the commandments.
We recieved our transfers today. I am staying here in Huambo with Elder Clifford and Elder Mccune is coming down here with us! It will be super fun.
This week at chuch just as the sacrament was starting I noticed that nobody was at the door. And the door is near the road so the cars get loud sometimes. I jumped up and shut the doors and stood there just I used to do as a Teacher. It sounds like something small but it hit me pretty hard how important every single position is. Wheather it be bishop or usher. Every calling is important , because every calling in the church is a calling of the Lord. It's his church. I know it. I know that He loves every singe one of us and that he would never forsake us. He is here to guide us though the darkness. all we have to do is take a step of faith into the unknown, into the darkness. I love you all and my time is up
Keep the faith!!!

July 29, 2013

Hey family!
Thanks! I did have a great week! And it sounds like you all had a blast at Lake Powell and Panguitch! 10 people behind the boat!? It pulled them up! Holy smokes that's awesome! I need to see some pictures of that one. Grandma!! Congradulations!! From what I heard the wedding sounded like it went very well. Out in the meadow and everything! Congratulations! Zach!  Nice catch with the big ol fish! Did you eat it yet? Jessiqa, good luck! Its already here! I cant believe it! AHHH! I'm super excited for you! You will LOVE the MTC! and your teachers and companions! It will be amazing!
Our week here was quite uneventful. Other than the fact that I got kissed by a drunk lady! We were talking with Linda (in the wheelchair) outside sitting in plastic chairs when this lady that was completly intoxicated came over to us. She started talking to us then turned to me and puckered her lips. I knew what was going to happen next. I tried to avoid it and even tried to push her away but she was already on the way to falling over and just fell right into my lap and gave me two big old bejjos! One on each cheek! Oh it was nasty. (at least she didn't get my lips) Yeah, laugh if you want...ok yeah, I guess it was pretty funny, but only after. During the moment I was completly shocked. On a different note we also saw a gang fight. It was pretty crazy. We were across the street a good distance away. We even got a contact out of it. One of the boys (20 years old) had stopped us and we were talking to him when the fight broke out. Elder Clifford said " See, thats why you dont hang out with guys like that." We left pretty quckly though.
Lucas is really hard to get a hold of. His phone has a lot of problems and he didn't come to church this Sunday. We met another lady named Rosa that is probably the most honest seeker of truth that I have met so far. She has already been baptized 5 times I think. And she says that she wants to leave all of this ( the world and what not) and follow the True path of Christ. We have very high hopes for her. She has already read past chapter 15 in The Book of Mormon in less than a week! LInda is out of town so we don't really know how she is doing. But we have a new couple. Farreira and Lilia.  The first time we went over there they wanted to talk about Eternal Marrage and what they had to do to get to the Temple!! It was amazing!
We are moving houses today to a gigantic house because the one we are in has a few holes in the roof and it is nearing the rainy season. Yes! We did hear about the visas! We all said a prayer of thanks as soon as we found out! The Lord is ready to harvest Angola!
I love you all! and wish that this week will be one never to forget! Keep the faith!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 22, 2013

How was the Lake Powell trip and the nice long drive?  Did anyone wakeboard? Throw any flips?  Im sure it was a blast!  Boa sorte Jessiqa!  You will do great!  The Lord will help you out every step of the way!  I know it!

Sorry, I dont have much time, But this week was felt a little longer than the others.  We did a lot of contacting this week and dropped several investigators because they are not progressing.  We found
several very cool people though!  And a couple that we have very high hopes for: Rubras and Lena.  They have one little boy that is only several months old.  He is very prepared.  He  told us that he has
been searching for the truth for several years. And all he has found is confusion, one doctrine that ontradicts another.  So he just stopped for a while.  Then he met us!  He told us that he knew
something is different about us an the way we "preach."  He really likes us and gives us rides whenever we are over at his house to where ever we need to go next.  He comes to the activities and will be coming to church next Sunday!

Antonio was Baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday!!  We set up a pool out back of the Chapel and thats where we held the baptismal service!  I will try and send a picture next week due to time and this ridiculously slow computador.

Today I spent the day cleaning the house, cooking some mean stir-fry, Reading Jesus the Christ, and exercised.  It was a nice and needed break.  So have you met (soon to be) Elder Garcias?!  Christian wrote me and told me that he met him and the temple and that he already knew you?  He sounds like a really nice guy.  Well thats about it for this week.  Thank you for everything!  I love you all so much!  Keep the faith!  Ate proximo!

July 15, 2013

Thanks for the email. Heh, I bet that was a long drive to Lake Powell. I remembre when I did it las Summer I sat in the middle of two of the seats because there was 4 of us in the back of that truck. My cabose still hurts... I hope al goes well with the Panguitch and Lake Powell trip. Don't do anything too crazy yeah? Jessiqa! Ah! I cant believe that its almost here!! I'm sure the talk was a huge success!!  The time is almost here! Im so excited for you!!
This week we did a lot of contacting, but still mamaged to get in a lot of lessons! We met some really cool people! It was a great week full of ups and downs. President Merrill came to visit and to see our living conditions. He gave a training to the members! It was really good! They all loved it, as did we! We will be moving houses soon because of the 2 big holes in our roof right now and the distance our house is from the Chapel. We walked from our house one day to the chapel and it took about an hour and 15 min. Its pretty far. So we should be moving soon.
Lucas the 22 year old that lives in a janitors closet, is doing amazing!! He is even sharing the gospel to other people and his family!! He is very humble and willing to leave everything behind to serve the Savior.  He even expressed desire to serve a mission like us. He got really excited when we told him that he could!! Its amazing to see the Gospel and The Spirit change peoples lives! We will have a baptism this Saturday! Antonio!! We are building a font right now, but if it isn't ready then we will go down to the Lake! Im super excited! Everything here is going great! Its super cold in the mornings and super toasty during the day. Kinda strange, but oh well. I sent some pics so hopefully they should get there. Thanks for everything! I love you all!! Keep the faith!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 8, 2013

The mission conference was amazing! I absoulutly love President and Sister Merrill! They are perfect for this mission and for us. He truly is na inspired man of God. it was mostly to get to to know him and Sister but we did have a small training as well as a testimony meeting. He knows exactly what to do. I am still in awe about how spiritual and inspired he is. We had interviews with him and during the prayer he answered many of my questions (Just during the prayer!!) It blew my mind. I know that they are perfect for this work here in Angola. They are going to be coming down to Huambo on Wednesday and will have a few training with us and the members. I am excited!!
The bus ride up to Luanda was long but it was beautiful!! i loved it! One min we would be driving through desert with almost no vegitation, just some dead grass then the next min it would literally be rainforest as far as the eye could see; with dense dark, dark green foliage and trees. It was amazing! The ride back....hmmmm, that was an adventure in and of itself. So we left at 19 and got home at at 6ish the next morning. I couldnt sleep. I only got a couple hours of sleep. And there was a drunk man that was walking around falling on people and talking to himself for the first 2 hours, A few crying babies, and two men that I was sitting next to that drank a whole bottle ( it was probably a liter) of Red Label Wine. So they were weird too. Then the drunk man passed out on the floor and stayed there for most of the rest of the trip. I felt bad for him. Oh yeah, there were a couple of chickens too. It was a night to remembre!
We didnt get much done in our área this week because of the Conference but we did manage to see Lucas. It was our second visit and he had already read up to chpt 14 in the Book of Mormon!! We were amaized! But Adelihno ( the Pastor) is very hard to sit with.  He is a very busy man. We will see.
Wow! This upcoming weeks will be very busy for all of you it looks like! Jessiqa: You will do amazing in your farewell talk, Just let the Spirit guide. D&C 84:85. You will do great! Girls cam sounds like it was a blast! I loved Scout camp, given it is a bit diferente from girls camp, But cool!!
I saw the Strength for the Youth pamphlet for the first time in Portuguese! The Lord is moving fast here in Angola to have those precious materials here to help the youth. The youth have such a hard time here to live the standards. The law of Chastity and modesty and language are almost completly off the radar. I have so much respect for the youth that I see here living the correct principles, as well as the grown adults. Marriage is unheard of. But that is the magnificance and majesty of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon, they change lives, mindsets, family situations, and trough the Atonement ALL can be made clean! What a bright prospect! Hope! Happiness! Eternal Life! All through the Atonement of Jesus Cristo! They pathway to Eternal Life and eternal happiness has already been carved deep into the histroy of the world and the history of man. It is a long, straight, narrow, secure, and sure path. It may be dark at times but that is why we are required to walk by FAITH. Christ will light the way. I know that through Christ we can all walk this path that has been carved and sculpted by His blood, His sweat, His tears, and His life. I love my Savior and I love each and every one of you so much!! Zach, Emma, Caleb, Noelle, Jessiqa, Mom and Dad!! And the Rest of our big happy family!!!

July 1, 2013

It sounds like the trip was a success!! Loads of fun and swimming!! Cooleo! Sorry that your phone floated down the river Dad... But Jessiqa! Done with work and getting ready to head out to California! I am super excited for you, but you already know that!
Two days ago we found out that President Merrill arrived and that this week on Wednesday we are going to take a bus (10 hours) to Luanda for a Mission Conference! I cant even describe what it means to have a mission presidente here in Angola with us now! I can already feel the change that, now we are the Mission of Angola. This is my country and it will always be my country and my people! I know that the lords hand is in the work here with us and with President Merrill! I can hardly wait!!
This week we marked 2 more baptismal dates. Linda and Antonio already have dates for the 13 (we had to move Antonio back a little) and we just set one with Lucas ( a 20 year old boy) and with Marcia( a 22 year old girl) both for the 20th of July!! Our families are a lot harder to teach and to sit with. They are always gone or at work or not home or something. I get very frustrated when we can't sit with them. We havent been able to sit with Adelinho ( the pastor) for 2 weeks because he is so busy. And Martihno we havent seen for a week and a half!! It is driving me crazy. I guess we just have to find more families then.
We went to the zoo today. It was the saddest zoo I have ever seen...They had 1 monkey, 3-5 rabbits, a hawk, an African bird, and some horses and donkeys. The monkey was the coolest part! we fed it some cookies. It was an Adventure! We had a blast! Regardless of the lack of animais.
Welp, I am loving it out here. Ups and downs and all. Getting spit on getting ripped off, to Setting baptismal dates and bearing your testimony to the world! I love the life of a missionary!! And I love all of you so much!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 24, 2013

How are you all doing? I hear that it is somebodys birthday!!? HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZACH!!!! FELIZ ANNEVERSARIO!! I wish you the best and hope that your airplane flys better that it has been yeah!? Wow! I cant believe that you are already growing up! And para bens with the ragnar! Sounds like it was a blast! (by the way I loved the story of Caleb hahahaha!!) Way to go!! That is a long way to run. Forca ai,because I am not a fan of running. I will try to send more pics next time.
Im not sure if the card has arrived yet. I wont know until somebody from Luanda comes up here to Huambo. We dont have mailing system here, just in Luanda. So everything goes there and then comes up to us when someone travels. Maybe it will come with Elder Clifford?
We had a great week even though we didnt have very many lessons. I love Huambo so much and the people here are just amazing!! We had 13 investigators at church (between the two duplas) We had 7 and the others had 6. Our investigator pool is almost more that our members. we had 19 members at church! we found out transferes and Elder Kearney is leaving and Elder Clifford (thats right, my last companion) is going to be coming up here with me! Oh, im going to miss Elder Kearney! He is a Rock of a missionary and of a man! I will admit, I was suprised that we are called to be companions again, especially after only one transfer, but im cool with that. Heh, guess we didnt do something right the last time eh?! It was the last transfer for President Kretly because on the 30th of the this month Presidente Merrill will arrive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cant describe how excited I am that we will be made our own mission! It is a Miracle! Wow, I cant even wirte about it without getting excited!! I love Presidente and Irma Merrill already!!
We met a couple named Martinho and Vando. They are amazing. we knoced on their door said we were missionaries and they invited us right in. We ouldnt even get a word out. We sat down explained who we were and our purpose and left a pamphlet with them. When we came back a couple days later they were ready for us. They had read The Restoration pampleto and wanted to know about The Book of Mormon! We explained the Restoration and The Book of Mormon and gave one to them. Then Elder Kearney asked if they would be baptized if they came to know the gospel was true....... His response. "What do we need to do to be baptized?" Holy Smokes!! I was taken back! We explained that all it takes is that you have testimony and live according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Martnho had lots of quesions about commandments. He is na insired man. He asked about the 10 commandments. Then asked if there were other commandments that we are to obey. (nobody asks that question) I am very excited to see where The Gospel takes them!
Antonio will be baptized this Saturday if al goes well!! And Linda (the lady in the wheelchair has accepted baptism on the 13 of Julho! Adelinho (the almost pastor of another church that said he knew that our doctrine is more correct) came to church!! It was a week of Miracles!! I know that this Gospel is true! I know that when we exert all of our force to do the will of the Lord he will bless us and the lives of those around us!! The age of miracles has not ceased!!
Keep the Faith! Elder Dredge

June 17, 2013

Hey Family!
Whew! What a week! It sounds like all is well back home! First things first. HAPPY FATHERS DAY and HAPPY BIRHTDAY TO GRAMMA AND GRAMPA DREDGE!! It sounds like it was great day, and week! I remembre those camps and EFY. I loved it all!! "The soggy bottom bunch"??? Thats a new one. Há! I like it! Good luck with Ragnar!
Dos Anjos leaves to Luanda the beginning of next month so it will be the privilege of the other misionaries to teach him and his family. I love this work!!
This week we sat with a man named Angelinho. He is basically a pastor for his church. but after we sat with him on Saturday he told us that our docrine was better than theirs and that as soon as he was done with his commitments that he already has in his church that he will come to ours. Wow! I was not expecting that . He knows so much about the bible, and he knew that there was something missing. And so when we were able to answer ALL of his questions he was amaized. I loved it!! That was one of the highlights of my week!! But I do have to tell you an experience we had with two people of aother church. We sat down and right off the bat all they wanted to do was bible bash. So after we calmed them down we tought The Restoration. It went well, until we ended. They were NOT in favor of our beliefs at all and were sure that we are an apostate church. As soon as they started talking bad about our church and The Book of Mormon AND Jesus Christ I couldn't take it anymore. I raised my voice and told them that they could not talk like that! I bore my testimony almost yelling, but at the same time I felt the spirit literally like a fire that engulfed my whole body. I will never forget that feeling.
I know without a doubt that Christ suffered for our sins. That He is our savior and it is our privilage to help out with His work. I know that Book of Mormon is true! I know it and can never deny it! I love you all so much and am so grateful for the blessing I have to be a part of this wonderful family.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 10, 2013

I did have a fantastic week, thank you! And I am sure that you all had a great week as well. You have to speak next week! Boa Sorte! I spoke yesterday in our Branch on the importância das famílias. I usually don't like getting up in front of people but it doesn't really bother me anymore. The only part that I was worried about was that they wouldn't understand me, but it all came out good!
So you took apart the trailer huh? sounds like a project! All the summer activites are making me jealous. Lake Powell, Saint George, High Adventure! Sounds like a blast! Leave some of the cabin for me to work on yeah? Dont get too carried away.
 We had most of our lessons fall through this week every day. So it was a low lesson week and we knocked on a lot of doors with not a lot of positive reaction, but we found some pretty cool people too! One man just showed up to church because we asked him to. Linda (in the wheelchair) had her 51st birthday yesterday and she invited us. So on Saturday night Elder Kearney and I made something like 80 snickerdoodle cookies and brought them to her party. I will tell you right now that Angolas party like crazy! There was loads of people there. Everybody was drinking too, but they were all so happy. (Linda doesn't drink). There was even this little old lady that was sitting next to me that must have bem 70 something that was just chugging down the bottles. I was impressed, but at the same time suprised, shocked, sad, all of those feelings. But it was pretty cool! A party that I will never Forget. They even played American music because they heard we were coming! Heh!
Mas, we met with Dos Anjos this week and after a great lesson on the Restoration he asked us when we did baptisms!!! AHHH I love him to death! We didn't set a date with him yet because he needs to be married to his wife legally. They are married by the church but it needs to be legal as well. I am excited to see where it goes! Our Mission leader of the Branch is named Ilideo, he is Portuguese, He is an amazing man and he helps us out so much!
We met a man named Denish two weeks ago and sat with him 2 times then last week we sat with him again but this visit was a bit diferente. When we first met him he told us that he had been praying for help and then we knocked on his door. He told us we were angels. We went in and taught the 1st lesson (this is the 3rd visit) and he and his wife were asking good questions and were very active during the lesson. We gave them The Book of Mormon and challeged them to read it. After the prayer Denish said "thank you for your help, but me and my family are catholic. Please don't ever come back, I have a wife and kids, Don't ever return. Do not come back to my house." At first I thought I didn't hear right, but he said don't come back several times so there was no mistake. He gave us back the book and told us to leave his house. His wife said she would read it. Without another word we took the book and left.... Few times have I had so may emotions run throught my body and my mind. I was on the verge of tears. I had just poured my soul out to this man. and for some unknown reason he had rejected our message. I know that there is a lesson behind every experience! And I learned a lot from Denish and I still pray for him a lot. The Lord is in our every moment.
I love you all

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013

Hey there all yall! I was glad and super happy to recieve all of your emails! I love hearing from you all! I am sending some pictures. I hope they make it. This weekend sounded like a blast and it sure sounds like summer is in full swing.
This week was a crazy one! But I loved every min of it. It was super hard just to keep myself going. Linda the lady in the wheelchair is out of town so we havent seen her for a week or so, but we will for sure go back this week when she returns. Tohy and Gata, well, they have been pretty busy too. But we got 12 new investigators this week and half of them are families!!!! We met a man named Doiz Anjos and sat with him on Saturday and he came to church yesterday. He even bore his testimony! He said " I dont know much about your church, but I know its true, ámen."  Heh! It was amazing!!!
We also sat with Antonio. He lives a long ways out of the city in a mud hut. He is very humble and has 2 children and will be baptized on June 30th.
Oh and Jesse (friend of Denílson) from my old área was baptized on Saturday!! I love him so much and am so happy for him!!
We also saw 2 wild boar just walking around. They had some big tusks and I had the sudden urge to go tackle one , but I decided against it.
I know this Gospel I true and I absoulutly love this work and this people with all my heart and I can't wait to get to know more of them and share the Gospel with them!  Below is a statue of a guy I don't know, but it was full of bullet hole, so I decided to take a picture.

 We had a big breakfast with A LOT of pancakes! and some sausage!
This is my bed. If you notice it is above my desk and above the window seal. That is because it is 5 matrasses (Camas)
Here is one of the roads we walked down. Full of mud huts and cool stuff. (This is where we saw the 2 wild boars with tusks!)