I am grateful that we have a reliable postal system in the US. Stephen finally received his birthday package sent 12 weeks ago...read 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!!