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