Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014

Hey there family!
Wow it looks like the week was full of adventures! CONGRATULATIONS ZACH!!! You are officially a member of A Igreja de Jesus Cristo Dos Santos Dos Ultimos Dias!! I am so happy and proud! You are a great little brother! And were you all in the parade. I never did have the knack of riding horses although it is something on my list of things to do in the summer...not like I have a list or anything. I still cant believe you got a rat...
We drive around in a white 15 passenger van. I will have to take a picture and send one to you next week. I guess there is a plus, we get to do email at the office. So I will be able to send a few more pictures. Elder Chatwin is from Arizona and is a lot taller than me. It seems as if all of my companions are taller than me. The only companions ive had shorter than me were Elder Kearney and Elder Francisco. Im just a short guy, I guess. Our area is called Futungo. We are working with some of the eternal investigators right now. Three of our families have known the church for more than a year. I have only met all of them only once because I only have been in the area for a very short time. But I really like them and am growing to love them all!!!
I still cant get over driving around everywhere. Its a lot different than catching a taxi or walking. I might put on a bit of weight sitting in a car all day. The traffic here is horrible. Without notice or reason a four lane road will suddenly be reduced to a one lane road and then we have the bottleneck effect. Its crazy. So that is the downside to driving in a car, traffic. President said that I might be getting my licence and take over driving the truck. That will be an adventure.
Also...Happy birthday America!!!! As you all know this week was the fourth of July. So to celebrate we made hamburgers and fries, and went and taught the gospel!! It was a great day, I will include a picture.
Im not sure how Caitano and Palmira are doing because I left the area. I hope they are doing well. The other Elders said that they went over Saturday night and that it went well. I hope and pray that they progress.
That's about it for me this week. I am loving it! Today I studied in Alma about prayer and counselling with the lord in all our works. Alma 26 and Alma 37. Those are some great guides as to how one should pray and truly commission with the Lord through prayer and receive answers. I know that we are able to talk with God though our prayers and all good thoughts that are directed to him. And I know that he hears them. He knows. So the next time any of us is in doubt, I hope we fall to our knees and petition Heavenly Father for the ability to align our will with his. It is possible. I love you all so much and pray for you every day!! I wish you the best of weeks!!!
Com amor
Elder Dredge
Jose Francisco and his wife.

And here is the infamous Feliciana. I love these people so much. It was hard to leave Benfica.
                                                      Here is Isabel and her family. 
This is our spider friend. Don't worry, my hand is about a foot away. And its just there to show you how big that sucker was. It was huge,,, for me anyway.
                          Here I am on the way home from soccer... This is my "got lost" look.

                                                         Fourth of July scheduling

July 1, 2014

Hello Family!

Well it was good to hear from all of you this week!! Wow! Lots of news! Jake and Tiffany, Congratulations!!! That is so cool, I remember playing soccer with Jake Ure. Good times! Funge is said like phoonje. Its kindof hard to write out like that, but that's the best I= could come up with.

Well we had a great week full of miracles and the Hand of the Lord everywhere we went. We are working with lots of couples. That is actually our focus. On Sturday we had an amazing visit with Caitano and Palmira. They are a new couple that we met several weeks ago and have come to church a few times. We went there with member of the Branch district Irmao Nataniel. It was amazing. We had planned it out and, talked with Nataniel and then All day Caitano didn't answer his fone. It was very stressful, but we still met up with Nataniel, which was a little difficult and then headed out in the middle of nowhere hoping that they were in house. It was such a relief to turn the corner and see the light of their house on. Whew... It felt so good to kow they were home. Because most of our appointments also fell through this week so it was a great blessing to not have this one fall through.

On Monday we all got together and had a party for the Birthday of the mission. One year ago on the 1st of July we became a mission. It was super fun. We had another championship soccer tournament. We split up according to districts. It was a blast. I bought some shoes on the side of the street for 5 bucks that worked great. Then we had a delicious feast the President and Sister, the Abdos and the Henrys prepared for us. It was amazing! Then we all gathered around to look at transfers. I was shocked when I saw my picture up in the spot of Assitant to the Presidente... Yeah, So I am the new assistant and will be serving with Elder Chatwin. I am nervous, to say the least but am excited to serve where the Lord has called me.

Well I wish you all the best of weeks! I love you all and pray for you always.

Com Amor

Elder Dredge

June 23, 2014

Hey family!

We had a pretty good week, I was more difficult and stressful than the others. Almost all of our lessons every single day fell through. So we were left with no choice but to knock doors and do contacting. Elder cook is doing great and is really picking up with the Language. Today is actulally his Birthday, Speaking of birthdays, Happy birthday Gramma Dredge!!!! I love you!! And happy birthday Zach!! on the 27th of course!!! your going to be 8!!! Wow!! Congradulations!! Your growing up so much!! I hope you all have the best birthdays ever!!

We are seeing the miracles of the Lord everyday. Sometimes if I dont pay attention I miss them and they fly right past.

On Thursday we had lunch and, yep, you guessed it, Funge. Elder cook actually helped make it. All it is, is cornflower and another type of flour mixed together and put in boiling water. The taste isnt that bad, its just the texture. I thought I was over it and had, had enough funge to consider myself a veteran, or so I thought. While eating one particular bite several chunks of funge slid down my throat and agitated my gag reflex... oops... nah, I didnt vomit or any drastic thing like that, but I came as close to vomiting as you can and still not vomiting. My stomach convulsed, my abs squeezed, my chest collapsed, and I instinctively turned to the side in the event that if it did come back up it wouldnt get all over the table. Long story short, The Dredges have naturally strong throat muscles. It took me a minute to take the next bite...but I finished the plate. Whew.

Our big success of this week was Isabel and Danilson. We were able to mark dates of marriage, baptism, and Temple marriage with them. They have been investigators for more than a year now and have been waiting on casamento. It finally happened!! They accepted the date of 17 October for Marriage and 18 for their Baptism. And their son John will be able to perform the baptisms. It will be a special moment for them. And in October of the following year they are going to be traveling to the temple to be sealed as a family for time and for all eternity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Im doing great and Loving every min of it, And if im not loving it im at least trying to love it and think of how much I will love it in the future :)

Well, its about that time of the day again. I love you all and wish you the best of weeks! I love this gospel and the Lord. He knows whats best for me, and even if I dont know why, or what, he still loves me, inspite of my natural and selfish desires. I thank him so much for putting up with me. The scriptures are the source of eternal truths. I love pouring over their pages. This is the Gospel of Christ.

Com amor

Elder Dredge

June 16, 2014

Im sorry I dont have a lot of time. Yesterday we went to the Orphanage and stayed there for most of the day thus leaving little time to do any of the normal Pday activities. It was a great experience and was very heartwarming and very humbling. We have so much STUFF! I cant believe how much we are spolied. Gratitude.
I am so glad that you are all doing great, with all the new jobs, races, games and what not. Happy Fathers day dad!!!! I love you. And I love you Mom, Jessiqa, Noelle, Caleb, Emma, and Zach. And all of you other wonderful human beings that read this very short email. Also I would like to send a HAPPY BIRHDAY to Grampa Dredge!! Way to go grampa!
We are doing great. Just trying to help people understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I LOVE MY MISSION!! Elder Cook is an amazing missionary!!
I love you all and wish you all a great week!
Elder Dredge

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 9, 2014

Well, im probably going to keep this one a little shorter, seeing as I sent lots of pictures. And they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so in essence I have already written a lot. heh,just kidding.

Your summer adventures and projects are all sounding like a blast! Hiking and water stuff, marathons. wow!! Ryan is getting married!! Holy smokes. I will need pictures of that, and of Weston with his girlfriend.

Things here are going well. We finally recieved energy for the first time in two weeks. It was strange, becuase we can actually buy perishable items to put in the fridge. Dad, its about the opposite of your mission. Its very hot and we sleep on top of the covers every night and sweat. No, we dont have a water heater. We dont really need it. Its almost refreshing to step into a cold shower every morning.

As far as education, its the same as it is back home. There is 12 grades and after that they can choose to go to college or follow up with some sort of education. But the local schools, dont provide a lot of education. Its a bit rough for those with less money and cant afford any better. But most kids are able to get some form of education.

This week Elder Cook has been sick and we had to stay home for a few days. He is still a little weak but is doing a lot better. Sister Merrill thinks it was Pnemonia, but we arent sure. But he is doing great now. Needless to say this week was a little slower. But our investigators are still doing well. And on Saturday Claudio was baptized by Elder Cook, who at the time could barely stand becuase of his sickness. I confirmed him on Sunday. It was a great experience. I love this mission and these people. I love it so much. And I love all of you very very much! I wish you the best week ever!!

Elder Dredge
Flooding in the street outside their house

Add caption

Baptism earlier in the year

The tripla

Maybe this is the funge he has wrote so much about

80 year old Feliciano getting baptised with her daughter

The desk

Fishing boat

The drunk guy that jumped in the picture and hugged him

June 2, 2014


We had a great week here in Benfica, and it sounds like back in the Green of the Mountain you all had a great week too. School is out! Holy smokes! Im old...

We did a lot more contacting this week which consists of door knocking. Most of the time we do door knocking is because one of out lessons fell through. And our lessons usually fall through during the heat of the day when nobody is home. Our area is pretty empty during the day. There are very few people on the streets so we are left to knock doors and hope and pray that somebody other than the 10 year old kid. We have gotten pretty good at joking around with the kids. There are always kids playing in the streets. So we will go over and talk with them and sometimes even play with them. I jump roped the other day with some kids. We also play pass a lot, just with a soccer ball, for a few min. Its pretty fun. The kids here are great!!

Our couples are progressing a lot. Lemba and Cordoso are still very close to getting married. They only fault a few documents. I sometimes have to check my patience level and not get too excited. It can take a lot of time for people to get married here. But Irma Feliciana is doing superb! She is brought another one of her daughter in laws to church this week, with whom we wil be teaching on Tuesday. She is quite the missinoary, and wants everybody to be a part of her faith! Jose Francisco bore his testimony at church yesterday. He talked for a long time. He literally told the story of his whole life. He even started off with, " in the year 19.... on day .... I was born." It was pretty funny. but he ended giving a very firm conviction of the truthfullness of the Gospel and how it will change lives and bring us comfort. I really liked it.

Elder Cook is doing great! He is speaking the language very well and is able to explain almost everything. Its just when the people start to talk back that he has a hard time. But we are doing great together. Lots of work to do in our area and with the Branch. Our Branch mission leader (who actually lived in Provo for 9 years) is starting up some activities with us to get more people intergrated. We call it integration night. It will basically be a fireside. But we will be in charge. Its going to be fun.

The other day we went to take a picture on the edge of the water next to a pile of clam shells on the beach and a drunk man came over. I was stading there, posing for the camera and he just comes up, puts his arm around me and says, " ok now you can take the picture." He smelled pretty bad. He was in old rag tag clothes, was smoking and was drunk. Cool huh?!

Today we are getting 4 more missionaries from Mocambique. Two of them will be living with us in our house. SO that bumps us up to a 6 missionary appartment. I hope our energy comes back soon.. Oh yeah, We have been out of energy for almost two weeks now. But we have water so its not that bad, And a generator, but that only stays on for a little while every day.

I have grown to love my savior more than ever before. I am striving every single day to increase that love and my relationship for him. The other day I wathced "On the Lords Errand" The life of Presidente Monson. I love the profet of the Lord! I know he is guided and inspired of God. I love this gospel. I love the Book of Mormon. It is true. I love all of you and wish the best of weeks full of Miracles.

Elder Dredge

ps. sorry for my bad spelling and strange wording. it makes sense to me...sort of...

May 26, 2014

Hey there family!

So we had a great week and it looks like you all had one too. With the almostathon and all. I did get the pictures and the explination. It looks like it was a lot of fun. Para Bens!

So Elder Cook got here on Wednesday morning at about 5 oclock. Elder Nash went to Viana and Elder Rodrigues went to Huambo. So for the past few days I have been teaching a lot of portuguese. But he speakes incredibly well for how log he was out of the MTC. Elder Cook was reassigned to Texas for 9 months until he finally got his visa. I really like him. He is very easy to get a long with and is just a fun lovin Elder. We are going to work very well together.

We have still been focusing on our couples to get them married. One couple, Cordoso and Lemba are so close. They are faulting ony a few documents and then will be able to get married. Hopefully here within a month they will be signing the papers and be baptized. All their kids are already members but they arent becuse of marraige. The Branch is also helping out a lot as well. We have done a visit with out Branch Presidente and others to help strengthen and prepare them for marriage and baptism. We have the other two couples that are also progressing but will take a little bit longer for them becuase of other situations. But they are all on the right path and moving foreward.

Other than that not mich happened this week. Lots of contacts and teaching of investigators, ya know.... the usual. But if all goes according to plan then this Saturday we will be having a baptism. His name is Claudio. He is a friend of a member John. He is only 15 but has good support and is progressing. WOOhooooo!

Irma Feliciana is doing great!! She is quite the missinonary. She is bringing new people all the time to church or to sit with us. She is so awesome. So on Wednesday we will be visiting her dauther in law that she brought to church.

We are recieving sister missionaries!! They are two sisters that riecieved their mission calls to another country but are waiting on Visas. So it was approved that they serve in their own country for a time. Cool huh! We are also recieving 3 Mocambuiquens this this Coming Monday!!! More missionaries!!

I love you all!! This is the Church of Christ! I know it. I wish the best for you this week!!!

Elder Dredge

May 20, 2014

Well we had another great week in Benfica Angola.

Feliciana (the 78 yaer old) is doing great! She is quite the missionary. She invites everybody she knows to come to our church. All of her kids, grandkids and so forth. She is pretty spry for her age too. She frequently whacks her 40 and 50 year old kids with her cane if they fall asleep, and referes to one of them, Antonio, "my fat child." She makes fun of him all the time becuase of his weight, its pretty dang funny. Oh, and she did invite us over for a genuine Angolan meal of Funge, Kisaca, Kisangwa and an entire chicken, freshly killed that morning. All but the stomach was in the pot of the steeming chicken. When people prepare a chicken here they gut it and then (without taking out any of the bones) Chop it up into pieces and cook it like that. So you are constantly pulling bones and cartalage out of your mouth during the meal. But is was pretty good. It was actually one of the best Angolan meals ive had. Kisaca is just leaves smashed up with oil and vinegar. Kisangwa is a drink. It is made up of different types of flour, sometimes potatoe peels and other things that I dont know, with a tich of sugar, all mixed in with water so you can drink it. Its basically just a stomach filler. Sometimes if its not done right you have to gag on the chunks of flour or corn meal. All in all, great meal!

We have several famillies that are working on their marriage papers. One couple is getting very close. Lemba and Augustinho. They are an older couple that are just buring with testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are doing so well and are so close to marriage and to baptism. We are talking within a month!!!!!!

Our other couples Lina and Geraldo also we have Isabel and Danilson are not quite as close but we are working closely with them all to feel the Spirit of the Lord and get married and baptized. The members are also helping out a lot. Members are so critical in missionary work. Elder Bednar said that "Missionaries are full time teachers, you and I [members] are full time finders."

Quick note. Elders Cook and Rush have finally recieved their mission call and wil be getting here Tomorrow morning. I will be serving with Elder Cook here in Benfica!! Im really excited!

Yes, it is true. We had a seventy come to our mission!! Yesterday we had the privelage to have a conference with Presidente and Sister Remlund! It was a once in a lifetime experience. It was an outpouring of the Spirit. I learned so much that was NOT said. Truly the Spirit is the true teacher. We talked a lot about being agents and not being acted upon. Exercising faith with our works and helping our investigators do the same. Because when we act on our faith we are able to call down the promised blessings of the Lord. I am going to be studying Acting on faith in more depth and challenge you to do the same. Its an amazing concept!

Elder Nash started to get sick Sunday night. On Monday he was okay until the end of the conference. He had a rough night. We arent really sure what it is but he is already doing a lot better. We stayed home most of today and just left to come and do internet.

I cant believe its already transfers again!!! Im getting old.. oh well. I love my mission. I love this people. I love Portuguese. I love all of you and wish the best for you all this week!! Keep the FAITH!

Love Elder Dredge

May 12, 2014

Welp, it was great to see all of you on Sunday!! Probably the better skype session I have had. It was a blast.
I told you most of what was going on and so I dont have a lot to say, but I do have a funny story. Last week doing contacting we knocked on a door and they let us in. They proceeded with an onslaught of questions. After successfully answering all of them and teaching a watered down version of the Restoration, Elder Rodrigues turned to one of the girls and asked a question you never ask. (this was right before we were about to leave, and at that exact moment I was sitting down in my chair bending over sliding my BOM back into my bag) "How old are you?" woops... "Ummmm im 17." Elder Rodrugues "WOW! I thought you were like 25 or 26!" "oh... Is that becuase im fat?" (note: she was not fat at all) (and then trying to cover up his tracks) "No, no... its becuse of your face." (remember I was in the process of bending over) Few times in my life has it been so difficult to hold in laughter. But its a good thing my face was toward the ground becuse I probably had some pretty strange expressions going on becuse of the fact that I was exherting all of my strength to hold in the laughter. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldnt hold it all in and let out a few wheezing chuckles, and then had to bite my lip before raising my head. We said a prayer and left. Never to be forgotten.
I know this is the Church of Christ and he is personally leading and guiding each and every one of us personally and through the Profet of God. I wish you all the best week ever. The Book of Mormon is true. Read it always.
I love all of you!!
Elder Dredge

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 5, 2014

Welp we have been walking a LOT. This new area I'm in doesn't have many taxis and so we are left with the Fred Flinstone alternative. But its no big deal, I was working on my figure anyway...
I LOVE hearing from all of you back home and the many adventures you are all having. You branded some cattle!! Way to go! Caleb, sorry you got kicked. But if it makes you feel any better the other day we almost got eaten by a ravenous dog. smacking his chops with rabies and everything, don't worry we got away without a scratch.
Not much happened worthy of the books this week. It was a very normal week. As in not a lot of excitement. But we are constantly finding more and more people to teach. Feliciana could possibly be baptized this Saturday, but we aren't 100% yet. we will know tomorrow.
We have a man named Cordoso that has been trying to get married for a long time, years. Yesterday we taught him and he brought up some very serious doubts about if there was really only one true church. It made me very nervous because we had been trying so hard with this man and others like him wrestling for marriage. By the end of the lesson he was fully ready to accept baptism and left behind all of his doubts. I don't remember half of what was said. But I don know that the Lord had mercy on us, incompetent missionaries, and changed the heart of irmao Cordoso. Tender Mercy of the Lord.
There are always miracles, if you look for them you WILL find them.

There is a recent convert named Jose Francisco. I have NEVER seen such faith. He guards a house or property of a general. He was baptized right before I was transferred here. He is poor. He is half blind. He is 55 or 56 years old (which is already more than 10 years above the average life expectancy) He trusts in the Lord more than any other man Ive met. He has no doubt about anything. He cant read and so for his reading he opens up the Book of Mormon and just stares at the pages trying to read at least one word or have the Spirit whisper something to his soul. He is in bad condition. He tells us of the dangers he has in guarding the property and how may times people try to steal things. He used to sleep at the doorstep with a machete in hand. And now he tells us of the Angles that are posted at watch around his house since he was Baptized. He Prays for them to guard him and his life and his wife, and has no fear of anything else. This man has nothing. For the past week all they ate was noodles, without sauce, salt, nothing, just noodles. One meal a day. He has a hard time walking. Jose has nothing, and yet, Jose has EVERYTHING. His faith and literal trust in the Lords promises has helped me to grow and trust even more in the lord. Spiritual and Physical.

I know that this is the Gospel of Christ. I know that He lives!! I am his representative. I pray that I may be worthy to wear his name. But not only me, but every single member of this Church has already taken up themselves the name of Christ. In short, we must always pray and strive to be worthy to bear His name.
I love you all, and wish for you a great week!!!
Elder Dredge

April 28, 2014

Wow! it sounds like you all had a great week, as did I! I'm glad that you all loved conference. Truth be known I have still not seen the Priesthood session and have no hopes of seeing it. I will just have to wait for the Liahona to come out and read it. But we did get to watch the other sessions on Saturday and Sunday. We had to sit in the back because it was packed (or so we thought). And so for lots of the time we were out of good hearing range. Needless to say I dosed off for a bit. And then halfway through we found out that there was an entire section of chairs that were unoccupied. So we finished on the front row!
Soberas baptism went well, except for the beginning. The service started 1 1/2 hours late. And Sobera was the only one being baptised. We all had to wait for a long time before the baptism could start. But when it finally did start it was one of the most spiritual baptisms I have witnessed! The confirmation took place immediately following the baptism because on Sunday we were watching Conferencia Geral. I loed it and Sobera was beaming!!! He is 26ish years old and completely changed his life. When I say completely, I mean like 100% changed everything he did in the past. As soon as he learned of the commandments he dropped everything. He is a great example to me of the truly converted. He recognized the truth when he saw it.
Im going to tell you a little about Feliciana. She is an investigator that has 78 years. She understands everything very well and can read and speaks two languages. She is actually a very healthy woman accept for her knee. She has a hard time walking. I had taught her twice before IT happened. We had invited her to baptism on the 10th of May and she told us she would think about it. Our next visit was one never to forget. We started off the lesson and Feliciana was more spry and giddy than normal. She was breaking out in random laughing streaks and at one point starts praying incessantly praising and singing to God. Ive seen some strange things, but a 78 year old woman cracking jokes, praising the heavens, and jabbing her elbow in the side of her sleeping friend sitting next to her (almost equally as old) just took the cake. We laughed for a good while after that lesson. We went back only one hour later to see her condition had worsened. She was now lying on the ground on her back, waving her arms in the air yelling inaudible words and praising the heavens. Her daughter told us it would be best it we came back another day, mother was ill. In my mind I was thinking,, Can we just talk to her to see what she does?. But I refrained and we left. We still get a good laugh! She later explained to us that she had accepted the baptismal invite and became so overjoyed that she just lost all control, in short, She snapped. She is fine now. heh, oh Feliciana...
Its nice and hot here in Benfica, But it has been raining lately and last night we watched an array of lightning dancing across the sky. It was pretty far away but it was a spectacular scene! The sky was almost constantly lit up because of the consistency and frequent occurrence of the lightning. It was cool!!
We are doing great! We are trying to do a lot more work with the members. The work needs to hasten and its not just the full time missionaries that are going to pull the load its everybody. MEMBERS ARE KEY. I never realized how important member missionary work is. It is incredibly important. If you ever get the chance to share the gospel, DO IT. Dont wait because, who knows, that person may never cross your path again, and Heavenly Father put them in your path and is counting on you to be an example and share the Pearl of Great price. A quote my Bruce R Mckonkie "Consecration is the only surrender which is also a victory." I know that to be true. The Lord asks that we follow the pattern that he set before us. He asks simply that we Love Him. I love my Savior, I know he lives. I know that as we consecrate all of our time, energy, strength and ultimately our lives, we will be the tools that He uses to help push the "stone cut out of the mountain without hands" through the whole world. I pray for you always. I love you all!
Elder Dredge
ps, dad, did you ever stand on a box in the middle of the town square and preach the gospel? just curious, and if so, how did it go? and do you have any tips?
pps....never mind I forgot...

April 21, 2014

Hey there family!

I had a great week and I will apologize now for the brevity of this email. In this new area of Benfica there are not may Cybers. We spent most of the morning searching and only managed to find 6-7 that did not work or were closed or had some sort of problem. So here I am sitting at a desk in a 12 by 6 foot room with two computers out in the middle of no where typing on a laptop. But hey, its cheaper than the nicer places, so thats a plus.

This new area is really spread out and is mostly residential. We have a baptism this Saturday. Sobera. I actually did his baptismal interview before I was transferred and now I'm teaching him. Cool huh! We have a nice house. And yes the cookies did make it and the bread did help a lot! Thank you. I will give the books next Sunday at church. Elder Nash Is a great missionary. he is still new and working on the language but we are going to work really hard here!! I am in a tripla with Elder Rodrugues as well. He is Angolan. He is actually a member from the first area that I served, Terranova. He is waiting for his visa. Its funny because he always used to walk with is in Terranova and now I am serving with him.

we will be watching the rest of conference with the members this weekend!! Wohooo. Now I can finally see what everybody has been talking about!

well, that's about it, sorry don't have loads of time. I love you all and wish the best for you

Elder Dredge

April 14, 2014

Thanks for all the letters I received from you all this week. It is great to hear from all of you, and yes, for one reason or another this cyber computer was able to play Zach's song!! You did a great job bud!! You already play better than me!! Keep up the good work and keep scoring goals!! Wow, lots is happening back home with you all. Choir, dates, Soccer, skipping rocks, piano, sounds great!!! I am so glad that you are all doing well and of good health. Those families that we met are very hard to see. The work schedule here in Angola is very difficult for one who has and decides to support a familia. Usually both parents work all hours of the day and don't return until 19 or 20 hours. Its crazy! And sometimes frustrating, but we are trying to make it work.

This week we worked. We had lots of success. Just like dad said there is no greater feeling that getting home knowing that you put in a solid days work. But then there are the days that you come home and just want to fall asleep in your chair because you are so tired. Elder Whitaker and I talked about how physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding it is to keep the same level of animation for every single person you see or talk to. I have a firm and unwavering testimony of the aid that The Lord gives to his missionaries. We don't do anything, it is ALL The Lord. It would be impossible without His divine help.
In my studies this whole week I have been reading anything I can get my hands on that has to do with families. We have been focusing a lot more on finding prepared families. I have the Scriptures, Gospel Principles, and the priesthood manuals that are just loaded with information about the family. I have learned so much, and I haven't even studied a fraction of the material. And the Lord has started to bless us with families. On Friday I Elder Banta came to our area and we had a division. During that division most of our lessons fell through. We had a 2 and half hour gap of time to fill because of fallen through commitments. So I picked a spot where I thought we could find families that had already been prepared by the Lord (I had actually been thinking of that place for several days). So off we went to a certain neighborhood. But we were about 25-30 min walking distance from that particular neighborhood. So we decided to talk to people on the way. We set off. Not 5 min later, I was compelled to a door that we were just passing by. I immediately stopped, we knocked and found Bruno and Sandra. A couple that were planning on getting married the end of this year and that had not been to church in several months. (Bruno came to church on Sunday). We continued, stopped by the house of a recent convert to say hi and kept on going. Then as we were walking I glanced down a street perpendicular to us and immediately just turned and started walking down. We met Izabete who had recently married to her husband who speaks fluent English. Her Cousin has a friend who is serving a mission. We marked to pass by this week. She was really excited. Long story short, we didn't really even make it to the neighborhood where I wanted to do contacting. But in turn we met 5 families, 3 of whom are already married legally, and a widow that has several children who stopped us and asked us if we could go by. We ended up pretty far from where I wanted to go. That day was guided by the Lord.
On Saturday we had 2 baptismal services for two different Branches. I was privileged to baptize two former investigators. So at 10 I baptized Regina, whom we started to teach then moved out of our area and the other elders finished teaching. And then an 14 I baptized Marisa, who is the little sister of Marcia, one of our recent converts. It was a great blessing for me, but more so for them. we taught a lesson in between the two baptismal services. So that was fun, changing back into wet clothes... oh well.

Today we received transfers. I will be serving with Elder Nash in Benfica. And Elder Banta will be taking my spot as ZL with Elder Whitaker. I really love the are I'm in right now and it is going to be very hard to leave. Leaving behind lot of recent converts that I love so much. But I trust in the Lord, He knows what Hes doing. I am also excited to try out a new area. It will be lots of fun! And so as always this week was full of miracles. I wish I had time to tell them all to you, but that would take too long.
I love you all and wish you the best of weeks!! Stay safe and follow the Spirit.

Elder Dredge

April 7, 2014

Well Family, that's another week down in the history books!
We had a great time, but lots of work. We had Mission leadership Counsel meeting that brought a whole new light to our needs as a mission. So this week was spent brainstorming ideas and ways to help the missionary work in Angola accelerate via our Zone meeting. We spent countless hours praying, brainstorming, and typing, powerpoint, etc... We have our meeting this Wednesday. Wish us luck. Its mostly on Chapter 2 of PMG, if you were thinking about studying it due to the new challenge given to families... :) 

The majority of our time was spent contacting, knocking on doors, and trying to find new people. We really do have almost no investigators. For some reason when we had the baptisms our other investigators decided to drop us... So needless to say we are finding, finding, finding. We are focusing a lot more on families though. Our goal is to find as many families that have been prepared by the Lord as we can. We have met a few that have potential this week, but haven't really taught them too much yet. We have high hopes for 3 families that we met this week. Keep your fingers crossed. The families of Alexandre, Francisca, and Rosa. 
And yes, the reason I am writing so late is because today we went on a Safari!!! It was the experience of a lifetime. Yesterday we watched most of the Sunday sessions of conference at presidents house. (I say most because the power cut out for a bit) It was amazing! I learned a lot and just love hearing the messages. We stayed the night at Presidents house, woke up, ate breakfast, then all piled in the cars and took off. We drove for a good few hours to get to our destination, out there in the African bush. After we got there we ate lunch then climbed into a large Safari looking truck. Just a big ol thing. Our driver came out with his co-pilot and saddled up. He brought an AK47 just for kicks and giggles/ in the case of a wile bore or tiger decided that we looked tasty. (don't worry, nothing happened). Then we set off, driving through the Jungle, dirt, desert, and beautiful scenery of the Angolan backcountry. I will send a few fotos. We saw, not a whole lot, but did manage to get a good glance at 1 elephant, 5ish giraffes, a monkey here and there, baby deer all over the place, A strange looking animal with curly horns, and Wildebeests!!! It was so beautiful out there! Seeing all that animal life and all the creations of God just made me sit in awe. It was amazing!!
Well, that's about my time. I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ. And I add my testimony to millions already borne that I know he lives!! I love each and every one of you so very much!! And yes, all of the recent converts are doing fantastic. Irma Marinet was given a calling last Sunday. She is now working in the Nursery! They are all still going strong and love the Gospel!! You are all the Best!!! I wish you all a marvelous week!! Keep it up with all those races and soccer games. 
Elder Dredge

March 31, 2014

To the family of the Dredges

I'm just going to start writing because time is running out (it always seems like time is running out...) Thanks for all the emails Mom, Grandma and Noelle and Jessiqa!! You are all amazing!! You are all growing up so fast! I love hearing about all your activities, even though im not able to comment on all of them thanks for letting me know.
We had a stellar week. It was full of the spontaneous happenings that you never would have guessed.

Story #1: We received a call from President early Wednesday morning informing us that that afternoon we would be receiving a new missionary from Angola, that is waiting on his Visa. And that he would be staying in our house with Elder garcia. I have been living in a two-man apartment for almost 3 transfers now. Elder Bernardo, the new elder is 26 and really smart. Studied in Russia for 6 years, yeah, he speaks Russian...
We were told to be in house at appx. 15 to open the door and help the new guys in. We arrived home a few min early ( to clean up a bit:) And called president. he didn't answer. Over the course of the next 4 hours we called and called... President was on radio silence. We couldnt just leave, giving no way for the other elders to get in the house, but on the other hand we had to cancel all of our lessons and a division with another dupla. We ended up leaving and around 19:30 to go and find president, (Nobody could get a hold of them for this whole time) So naturally my mind went wandering and I thought of every possible situation. We walked down the street a few miles and waited on the corner. Almost 5 hours late they finally arrived. Traffic was horrible! They didn't want to answer their phones because in slow traffic people will run in between cars, rob you and gun point, and then run off and your stuck in traffic. They arrived safe and sound. The new elders are great!
Story #2 One night we were called over by some teenagers. we went over and I guess they wanted to test out their english skills. He opened with saying "Wats up! where do you abide?" Abide??? I had to bite my tongue from not laughing. Elder Whitaker replied with a huge smile on his face "We abide over there." pointed. Then another kid came up and asked me "What is your mother tongue?" I had to have him repeat the question twice and when I still didn't understand it he said it in Portuguese. He wanted to know our native language. So best two questions said to me this week: "where do you abide?" and "what is your mother tongue?"
All in all the week was great, We are doing lots more finding because all the people we were teaching got baptized. I know that God lives and loves each one of us. There is so much more I wish I had the time to tell you. All about his tender mercies toward us as missionaries and to the people of Angola. I love him so much! I love all of you so much!!
Elder Dredge

ps, We are seeing Mr Hwang on Tuesday... scheduling conflicts

March 24, 2014

Dear reader, I am so glad that you have decided to read my letter today. I hope to help you feel better about yourself and the world as a whole. anyway...

We had a great week! As usual. There are always those tough days and rough moments that you just have to tell yourself, " I can do this, whew, lets go!" you wipe the sweat off your brow (which we are doing a lot more lately, because the humidity is rising and its getting hotter than ever), put your trust in the Lord and NEVER stop. I sure do love missionary work.

Wow, you sure do run a lot, all you crazy runners. I keep trying to tell myself that I like running but I'm just not that good at convincing myself. And keep it up with all that Chinese. Who knows, you might get called to serve speaking Chinese!!
On Tuesday we had our Zone Conference with both the zones in Luanda. Presidente Merrill talked a lot about effective study and effective teaching skills. It lasted several hours. It was good to get all (well most) of the missionaries back together. I saw Elder Wilhelm, my trainer, who is already home, for the last time!!! holy smokes I'm getting old!! The Conference was a spiritual boost much need. This time we did not have to give any part of the training.

I really do like working with Elder Whitaker. We have so much fun. The other day we were walking and he said, "Ya know, preaching the gospel is only fun when it works." We had a good laugh and went on. You know those cards that when you open them a nice little tune rings out. Ok, so we had an old one in our house of Charlie Brown, (it plays a 15 second Charlie brown jingle) I took it out of the card and placed it ever so carefully on the hinge of our apartment door. So every time we leave or come home we get a dose of Charlie Brown! We also like to experiment with food. When we cook it goes something like this, "What do you want your food to taste like? I don't know... whatever...hmmm, how about this (holding up a sauce, spice, meat, or something) Ok sounds good.... What else?? Ummm, how about this? DO IT." And then as we throw it all together somehow it always turns out not half shabby. Don't ask me how... I don't know.
Paulo is still a little crazy and asks us questions every 5 seconds. Its very hard to teach him anything. But we were a lot more direct the last time we went over, and it helped out a lot. I believe he will come along. He just has such a different background than most people we teach. The Spirit is touching his heart, and with time he will heed to His promptings.

Saturday, we had the baptisms, They all happened but with a bit of difficulty. They were scheduled for 14. We got there a bit early to make sure it was all in order. As the time went by we called Irma Amelia, and Irma Marinet and Marcia to see where they were. Irma Amelia said she was on her way, Irma Marinets fone was turned off, and Marcia didn't have a fone. 14 rolls around...nobody...ummmmm.... Then out of the blue Marinet and her 3 children arrive. We quickly get them the right set of baptismal clothes and they go an change. 14:15.... still waiting on Amelia and Marcia...14:30, The meeting has already started and Elder Whitaker and I are waiting outside in our white clothes for the others. Finally they walk in the doors at the same time. Whew, We ran them over to the bathrooms, they changed, and we made it into the meeting just in time to hear the last little bit of the last talk. We had sat for less than 10 min and off we went to the font. I baptized Ines(13), Elder Whitaker Baptized Nocas (14) and Alex (9), Presidente Armada baptized Amelia(30s), and Irmao Natanel baptized Marica(14). Alex almost didn't make it in the water, it was up to his chin. He is a pretty short kid but when he got in the font he had to stand on his tiptoes to breathe. In the end it all worked out. Its the Lords work and it cant be stopped!
On Sunday they were all confirmed. Amelia, Inez, Alex, and Marcia all asked if I would Confirm them and I gladly did. It amazes me how the spirit works and how powerful it is when given. I was a little bit nervous though. When the time came to sustain the new members their names were called and they didn't stand up. (during the last confirmation they all left, Nocas, Ines, Alex and Marcia, to buy some hard candies for their little brother who was crying) So Elder Whitaker and I dashed out of the chapel to try and usher them in. but they were long gone. The didn't get back until the middle of the Sacrament during the water. So 4 of our recent converts were confirmed, sustained and only took half of the sacrament. Boy I sure was stressed out. I love baptisms but they stress me out sometimes.

I know that the Savior lives, I know that he loves us so very much. I know that Heavenly Father is our Eternal Father. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the prophet Joseph Smith! I love you all so very much. Don't forget that I pray for all of you as well!!
Elder Dredge

March 17, 2014

Well hello there family!! How are you all doing. Wow!! 58th anniversary! Thats awesome!! Im sure it was a kickin party! How did grandma and grandpa like it? We also had a great week full of miracles!! And yes I did talk to Brother Jackson and we tried to meet up, but since the adresses here are a little hard (AKA they dont really have them) it was a bit difficult. But no worries. Oh and in case you are wondering we are meeting with Mr Hwang next Tuesday! Wish us luck!
We spent most of the day Tuesday and the mission office for our Mission leadership meetings. It was the perfect day to do the meetings because it rained cats and dogs (that is the first time I have ever used that expression by the way) all day long. So we had a week full of jumping puddles and mud, and on one occasion...well... The path was 1 foot wide and was either my shoes or her shoes. needless to say I took one for the team and had to wash off some very smelly mud caked all over my shoe.

We spent most of our week preparing the people for baptism and contacting. We had 4 baptismal interviews already and are waiting on the 5th this week with Irma Amelia. For some reason we are teaching lots of teenagers and the younger crowd but we are really praying and hoping for more familys and men that can be the future leaders of the church in Angola.
We did find the famly of Paulo and Paula. I think paulo is an ex-gangster. He reminds me of a mobster from new Jersey or something like that. He wears a gold necklace and talks with a slang accent, One of the funniest angolans Ive met. He told us of how his house was cursed and that devils walked in the celling at night. I suggested that they were rats. oops,(We had just finished talking about the Priesthood so he asked us if we could see the evil spirits. We said no... and then he told us that he wanted , the next time we saw a devil spirit, to light it on fire with our special power. He was kindof joking, and I was trying hard not to laugh , was a bit strange. We will be passing by this week, if it goes good then we will keep on teaching, but we are going to be ready to high-tail it outta there!

Lots of strange things happen in the City of Luanda, but hey, I guess thats the world over, You can never predict what people will do.
On a more Spiritual note we had 12 investigators come to church this week!! I about fell over and collapsed with joy!! Never have there been that many! It was a day to rememeber. I have been thinking about the fireside that Elder Bednar gave, "Not shrinking is more important than surviving" Its true, it is more important to keep on going and to not stop than it is to survive. Several times this week I had to tell myself , literally, "Elder Dredge, Forget yourself and go to work!" I Know this is the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! I love serving this people and these missionaries so much!! And I love all of you

Elder Dredge

Here is the picture of Irma Marinet and her family. The two girls and the older boy are getting baptized this Saturday. Marinet is the one in the Pink shirt.

March 10, 2014

I would like to apologize for not sending pictures this week. But something is wrong with this Cyber Café, the computer wont read my card.. anyway.. It sounds like this week was full of adventures!! Wow I cant believe how much you are all growing up! Caleb thanks for the email, And yes I did have some very cool experiences this week, I will tell you in a min. thanks also to Mom, Dad, Emma and Zach for the emails, they were all great! Sorry I don't have time to respond to all you individually. Ill try and put it all into one letter.

Yes Elder Whitaker is a great hard working missionary. He is from Florida (a very strange black and white looking bug with large antennas just ran across my desk...) I really like working with him and we get along great! In our Zone meeting we talked about Teaching techniques . During the Zone meeting we give a presentation and then we practice what we talked about. Its like a training counsel. But we have one nest week as well... oh boy....

The best news this week was our 4 baptisms on Saturday. I really wish I could send a foto. Luciana, Maria, Victoria, and Marinet were all baptized. Maria and Victoria chose me to baptize them and Irma Marinet chose me to Confirm her on Sunday. I will never forget this weekend. These are the sisters with the father that was against baptism. I know that the Spirit of the Lord touched his heart. And the other day he even told the Maria that they should take their little sister to church as well!! I have never confirmed anybody before. It was a new experience, but I have also never felt the Spirit so directly and specifically. It is impossible to describe. At times I wonder how I have been given the power of God, The Priesthood!?? I realized That I have a very limited sight as to what the priesthood can do. There is no greater feeling that this, Helping and leading someone onto the path of righteousness and then helping them stay on it!!! NO GREATER FEELING. Weather it be investigators, friends or your children, No greater feeling. And now Irma Marinets sister and two kids are going to be baptized here in two weeks!! The Lord is hastening his work. And to think that we found them knocking on doors. I love missionary work!!
So that was by far the best part of last week but we also had some difficulties in house. Our washing machine had been broken for two weeks, so what was I left to do?? Yep, Wash all my clothes by hand. I wouldn't mind it too much if it didn't take so much time. But we finally did get a washing machine. Elder Whitaker and I had to carry it up the 3 flights of stairs to our apartment and then had to install it. It was kind of fun to finally do a little manual work again.

One day while we were contacting we were stopped in the street by a man holding a blue bucket that started speaking English to us. We stopped and after about 30 seconds realized that this man was a little strange. He told us that he was looking for scrap metal that he would put into the bucket and then give to some people. Then he just started telling us all the languages he spoke, English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese. Wow, He even spelled out his name in Chinese for us in the dirt. Then a truck passed by an kicked up some dust. Without hesitation he stuck the bucket on his head and mumbled something about dust.... I about busted a gut laughing. Then he said some more random things, said he would go to church, then walked away. What a strange man that spoke 7 languages. So that gave us a good laugh.

We also had a woman tell us that if we could tell her any one thing wrong with her church that she would join ours. It was hard to refrain.. But we explained that we are here to help people know for themselves the truth.
Times up. I love you all so very much! Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts. !! You are all the best family ever!!

Elder Dredge

March 3, 2014

Wow the time just flies buy. I cant believe that transfers are already here!! This week Elder Pimentel will be the new Assistant and Elder Whitaker will be serving with me here in Luanda 2. I am going to really miss Elder Pimentel. I have loved working with him. He has helped me learn so much. He is a great missionary!! But I am also excited to work with Elder Whitaker. I don't really know him, never lived with him or served with him, so it should be really fun!!
We always did have a great BBall team! I love hearing from all of you and I am so glad that you are all doing well! Something that has been on my mind lately is the mission (I know, of course) But missionaries are serving their two years and going home and we are not receiving more missionaries. They are going but not coming. When I got here there were 42ish and now this week with Transfers we will be down to 32. Visas are not being released. I know that the Lord has a purpose for everything, I trust him. He knows whats best for Angola.
But we had a great week. It was a little slower because of Zone meeting and interviews with President. Oh yeah,...we had Zone meeting and it went 100 times better than the last. I actually had a lot of fun. I don't know if the missionaries learned a whole lot but I sure did and I had a blast doing it! the meeting lasted about 2 hours and at the end we ate with Irma Gomez. She is from Venezuela so she speaks Spanish mixed with Portuguese. its really hard for me to understand. But she is an amazing lady!!

This Saturday we will be having 4 baptisms!! The three sisters and Irma Marinet! We finally got their forms signed by their older brother. It was a long and agonizing process but finally its almost all worked out. We are still waiting on a few things. Also at church we had 14 investigators come!! Holy smokes I was blown away! What a blessing!!! The Lord is helping us so much!

Elder «Cook of the 70 came and gave a training to us and the Local Church leaders. It was very cool. But I was asked to translate for some of the other missionaries so I lost a lot of the content. It was hard for me to focus. Whew, translating is a tough job, I had a whopping headache after. trying to listen in one language and then repeat it in another is no easy task. I'm not sure if they were able to understand what I was saying the whole time. But I made it through. But I was touched by the Spirit in a few specific moments. And there it was all worth it to me. I strongly believe in personal revelation. I also have found that we need to write down the ideas that come to our head as a soon as possible or they will fade away. Heavenly Father is good enough to give us the inspiration so we need to take care of it.
I wish you all the best of the best! I love you all so much!!! Thank you!

Elder Dredge

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 24, 2014

Well hello there Family!

We had a pretty crazy week. Full of unexpected miracles! I cant believe that Dad and Caleb are running themselves into the ground! I dont know how you do it. How do you do it? What is the secret? Yes I did recive all of that stuff from Brother Jhonson. Thank you!! I did have a question though. Toilet paper?? We have already eaten one package of the Circus animals and are working on the rest. MMMMMM so good. He is such a good man and I really look foreward to seeing him more often! Dad, you are quite the creative writer! And thank you for the letter inside the package! That was the best part to hear from all of you. Thank you so much!!

From what it sounds like I picked a good year to miss the skiing season. NO SNOW!! What is this global warming!?? Spring is in the air. Its a bit different feeling here. The rainy season is in the air. It rained on Sunday for about 30 min and boy did it pour! But two hours later it was almost as if it didnt rain at all. It all evaporated back to where it came from.

Irma Marinet is the one with the car trouble. But she had a mechanic take it to the shop and apparantly he broke something AND found more problems and so now they are asking $1500! She has no means to srape up that kind of money. Cheap-skate mechanics. But she has a good firend that knows cars that is going to help her see what the problems really are. But they did come to church on Sunday!! And she is already inviting other people to come! But they were not baptized on Saturday. In fact nobody was baptized on Saturday. long story.

Irma Marinet and her daughters were haveing lots of doubts and werent reading or praying. But we went over with the wife of our Branch President, Irma Ivone. She helped out so much, again. And now Marinet is all gung-ho and ready to be baptized and just ready to take on the world. So we posponed the baptisms for two more weeks to help them really get ready feel comfortable. Luciana, Victoria and Maria, (they are the ones with the reluctant father) were not baptized either. We held the interviews and they passed with flying colors and were all so excited. But when the time came for their father to sign the form he would not. He baptized them as babies and to him signing another form for baptism was signing his soul to the devil. He is an older man that speaks prtuguese but not the best. He could not understand where we were coming from. He snapped. He yelled at us and insulted us more than once, threatened to beat his children (dont worry he wont be able to, he has a hard time walking) and went plain nuts. Everybody in the family and even some of the neighbors tried to help explain to him but he just kept saying, "this is no game! baptism 2 times! NO!!" amongst other things. That really took a toll on me. We fasted and prayed constantly. I just about snapped as well, but was able to stay calm. We talked for more than an hour trying to explain. And then went back the next day and it was even worse. So we just left in the hands of the girls and their family. They still came to church and now things are looking a lot better. We recieved permission for another family member to sign the form if the father allowed. They are going to all talk it through and tell him what they want. It was hard to accept the outcome in that moment. Yes, they were not baptized, but I trust in the Lord, He knows better that we. And Here in notime their father will accept. I wish I had more time to include all the details but time is short.

Mr. Hwang!! So now that you have met him as well (in picture) I will tell you about him. He stopped us in his car about 2 months ago and we talked for a little bit and he went on his way. Then last week we saw him again and we exchanged numbers and he invited us to eat with him. Yes, he invited us. It wasnt until after that I realized that this man was super important and working for the Korean Embassy. He bought us some really good Thai food!! Oh it was so good. But in between bites and broken English I tried to hold a normal conversation that eventually led to gosepl. Before I knew it we had talked about the nature of God, Our purpose, The Restoration, Family history and may other things. It was in the midst of all that that Brother Jackson came into the picture. It truly was a miracle! He is a great man and eve thought he told us that he had absoulutly no intrest in religion He felt the spirit. He said that he really admired the work we were doing.

Well, thats about all I have time for. I hope you all have the best week ever!! I love you all !!!!

Elder Dredge

Photo from Brother Jackson

Here is a photo we received from Brother Jackson, a SLC businessman who saw Stephen and his companion in a mall food court in Luanda. The elders were having lunch with a member of the Korean embassy in Angola. The conversation and introduction resulted in several contacts being made. Brother Jackson's Korean associate had been trying unsuccessfully to connect with other Koreans living in Angola. Brother Jackson promised him that he would introduce him to members of the Church in Angola in order to possibly locate other Koreans living in the country. Then they walked into the food court, and spotted the missionaries...with a member of the Korean embassy. Brother Jackson's associate was absolutely amazed. Brother Jackson said that it was an answer to his prayer of trying to help his associate...and introduce the gospel to him.

February 17, 2014

Dear Dredges:

Mom, thanks for the Update on all the whole family. I love hearing about what all of you are doing! Wow! More races! And the Patriarchial Blessing! I remeber when I recieved mine. I couldnt believe some of the things that were said. And most of it is still a mystery to me. But I cant tell you how many times, since ive been out, I have had and inspiration about my Blessing and a confirmation to a question that I had. It truly is a compass to our lives. If we strive to live worthy of the blessings pronounced than we will be guided throught our lives. Noelle I am so happy for you. Keep that blessing always. Read, ponder and pray about it and it will be given you in the very hour what you need. Im Glad that you are all of good health and spirits. That is something that I have grown to appreciate SO much more: the importance of important things. Its true what they say about the African people. They have little of what is of no importance and so much of the true treasures of life. I love this people so much! I wish you could meet them all. You would fall in love with them right away. They will do anyting for you.

I dont think there is such thing as a normal week in missionary work. It may seem sometimes like nothing happened but when I look back all I can see is Miracles! I believe in Miracles. I believe the Hand of the Lord guides every moment of our lives. Our mortal eyes and minds most of the time are not able to see just how involed He is in our lives. Irma Marinet and her sister Nocas and her daughter Inez are preparing to be baptized this Saturday. She does have some butterflys but she is convicted in her decision to join the Church of Jesus Christ! They are doing great! I love them so much. And the 3 Sisters, Luciana, Victoria, and Maria are doing amazing as well. they are going to all the activities and are actually making firends with our other investigators as well as members. We actually tought their Father this week and he was very impressed with what they are learning. I believe that he is still a little reluctant but he is seeing how happy his children are and is more and more willing each time we see him. I know the Spirit of the Lord is in that home helping each and every member of that family.

In Huambo the dialect was Ymbundoo, but here most of the people speak Quikongo. So we have been learning a few frases here and there. It is so much fun to greet someone in their native language and watch their reaction. Priceless!

Oh and we got one more Elder this week Elder Sefita! He is from Samoa. And reminds me of Rugby. He is a big man and played football in High School. We had to wake up at 3:30 on Wednesday morning to go and meet him at the airport. His flight didnt arrive until 4:30 we we were waiting for about 2 hours. Then we went back to presidentes house to have a small training with the new Elder. Wow...I was tired that day. But one more Elder!!!! Most of the other missionaries are stil haveing trouble with their visas, but I believe they will be let in soon. I know the gospel is true and I love the Book of Mormon and Hymns. This week I made a goal to sing a Hymn every time I felt like... well, not good, to bring the Spirit back.. I just sing under my breath, or out loud, whatever. It is true when the Lord said that the Song is a prayer of the heart. I love you all! have a great week!!

Elder Dredge

February 10, 2014

Thanks for the emails everybody!

Well, first off Amelia dropped us again, she is a little unstable. She will come around, she just needs a little more time. Solange is having lots of family issues that take up lots of time. So she has not been able to come to church. We took Irma Ivone, the wife of our Branch President, with us the last time we went over. It went very well, there is nothing like woman to woman talk, but when it is based on the Gospel it is Spiritualy Powerful. And thats what happened. Spiritual Power. But she is still going to have an operation that will render her immovable for several weeks. So we are praying and visiting her often. We have already tought most of the lessons in Preach My Gospel so we are teaching a lot more from the scriptures and reading with her.

As far as the Mechanic stuff, she still hasnt bought the belt (dad you might heave to know the price of a belt) because its so expensive. $55!!! So she is saving up money just to by a belt. But yes they did love the cookies and everytime we visit they ask if I could bring more. This is the family of Marinet. They are doing great!! The two girls Inez and Nocas love going to church and being with the young women. Marinet told us that the other day after chior practice when they came home they continued to sing all night long! It is great to see them making friends. They all start school this week and they all study at different times. The only time that they are all in house is at 9 in the morning. AKA= we will be making some morniong visits.

In all we had a crazy week! We tought a lot of people. We have been passing by with a lot more fequency to those that are planning to be baptized. Most of these people will be baptized on Fev 22. Here in a couple of weeks. Our time to find more people is diminishing because of all the people we are teaching but we are still always trying to talk with EVERYONE. Its fun to say that we are missionaries of the Igreja de Jesus Cristo do Santos do Ultimos Dias. Some people take it reverntly and with respect and others not so much. The other day we were contacting and were trying to find our way around a new area. We were in the Paragem (its where all the taxies go to pick up people) and asked a man in a taxi where we could find a certain College. He and 5 other people then proceeded to give us directions to help us. On the other side of things. The same day we were knocking on some doors in a neighborhood and as we were walking down the dirt road we had some rocks thrown at us by some teenagers. We turned around and they quickly ducked into the doorway and tried to hide. I almost blew up. but held my temper and we just kept walking.

We have 3 Sisters that are Cousins to a missiary Elder Gabriel ( cousin to Elder Francisco) that we are teaching. They are Victoira (17) Luciana (14) and Maria (14). Maria and Luciana are twins. They are incredible. Weonly met them this last week. and started teaching them. They soak up information and Love the Gospel. They are also preparing to be baptized on the 22nd. Yesterday we went by and tought the 10 Commandments along with a few others. At the end of the lesson Victoria bore the most powerful testimony I have ever seen. She was moved to tears. I nearly cried. She told of the happiness that she had found in the gospel and the church and with her new friends. She also told of the criticism they were recieving from family. My heart swelled with joy. Vctoria has several debilitating problems. One of her legs is shorter than the other and is slightly twisted along with a few other things. But she and her sisters are amazing. They speak of the joy and peace that they have found in the Gospel. So yesterday we also talked with their parents. They are extremely rooted in another religeon. Their father told us that his daughters had to follow in his footsteps. It took a while and voices were even raised. But the Spirit was there. And in the end he decided that it was time for them to make their own decisions. He is is now way going to support their decision, but he is going to let them deciede what they want. The three of them were there the whole time while we were talking with him. At one point we asked him to ask them what they wanted. He asked them " Is this what you want?! You want to be baptized again!? (they had been baptized as childred). Without hesitation and almost with tears the three of them answered in perfect unison "Yes" and Victoria added "We do." He went very quiet and realized that they were no longer little children. We sat in silence for a while. In the end he agreed. It was a Miracle!! They were smiling from ear to ear!!

I love this people for many different reasons. I love you all and I know that this Gospel works miracles in the lives of all those that accept it. I know that Christ is our Savior!! I wish you all a fantastic week!

Love Elder Dredge

February 3, 2014

Ola familia!!

The work is hastening!!!! I just would like to say one thing (ok, maybe a lot of stuff): I love this mission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cant ever get enough of it. Wow I was extememly tired the past few days but its wearing off. Im not sure what I did, but I dont think I have ever been so tired that when we get home at night my body literaly starts shutting down and going to sleep. Its a whole new sensation of being exhausted. Amelia is still running, She is a workaholic so we havent seen her for what seems like ages. It took me a while to accept the fact that it just may not be her time. But I know that here in the near future she will recognize what she is missing and come back.

So we now have a Luge in the back yard huh? Cool! You will have to send me a picture or two. Dad: have you talked to Irmao Maximo yet? I see him every week at church. I am hoping to go on splits with him in the future. Thanks for the mission stories. It sounds exactly like what I have seen and experienced thusfar. The circumstances may be different but the Lords work is the same the world over. How is school going with all of you? Is there loads of snow or is it a sad snow year again?

Solange is not going to be able to be baptized becuse of her pregnancy and her husband. He is of another religion. He told her that she could be baptized after the baby. Which is not until April. But she is having lots of complications with her pregnancy. So we will have to see how it all plays out. But she knows!! She knows the church is true and loves it. She loves us coming over and teaching her. We are going to do a lunch with her sometime as well.

Marinet and her family are doing great!! they came to "Integration Night" on Saturday and even helped clean up after. And then on Sunday we went with a member to pick them up becuse her car is broken. The belt snapped, so I volunteered to change it out. She still hasnt bought the piece but when she does we will help her out. There is 7 people in the family of Marinet. two of them, Kevin and Alex, are under 10 years old, but the rest love sitting with us. They all come to church and are reading the Book of Mormon!! They love the gospel!! I am going to make some snickerdoodle cookies today to take over to their house tomorrow. Yeah we had a deal that we wouldnt get fed if I didnt bring American cookies. They are a super fun family!

We are getting 3 new missionaris either this or next week!! I love getting new missionaries. We need their help. We are small in numbers but growing. This Saturday our Zone has 7 baptisms!! I had the privelage to interview Nomar from one of the other areas yesterday. He is 19 and loves the gospel. He is very antsy to be baptised!! Remember Mateus? He is one of my investigators that we tought in Viana a few months ago. He was interviewd and will also be baptized this Saturday!! Alberto and Glaudice should be getting their documents for marriage this week as well!! The Gospel is true!!

We never stop donig contacting and tracting. We meet some interesting people most of the time. And lots of these houses have dogs that look like they could swallow you whole. Its an adventure every day. It rained pretty good so we spent the week jumping from rock to rock to try and not get muddy. Lots of mud!! Lots of water!! It was a tropical storm!! Lightning and rain, wind! But we had a great week. I know that Jesus Christ leads and guides his church today through a living prophet!!! I love you all so very much!
Elder Dredge

January 27, 2014

Welp first of all to answer your questions. Life this week was long and hard and satisfying and stressfull and full of pure joy and lots of other emotions, as it always is. The zone Conference was, well, in my opinion it could have been a bit better, but we worked through it. It was all planned out and went well, but it was hot in the room because the aircondcionars were not working so it was prime time to get drowsy. I was a bit nervous but Haja o que houver e ama-lo. (come what may and love it) We emphasised on uncovering the needs of our investigators and how to ask questions an listen with the spirit. If we listen with love our investigator will tell us what they need to hear.

Amelia is running away in a sense. She has felt the Spirit and knows these things are true. Ive seen it in her and she has even told us. But sometimes other influences get the better of us. I honestly have been keeping up at night wondering what she and other investigators need. We never see her becuase she never makes time for us and she did not come to church this week. So we are going to back off for a while. The only joy I find is in the joy of others. If I can find some way to help them be happy I am happy.

Heh, no we did not preach in Pastor Sammuels congregation. I would have liked too, but he never called us. I think he read the pamphlet we left him and realized just exactly what we were here to say. He never called us. As far as Solange, (bible bash). We sat with her 3 times this week and she came to church. On our second visit we asked if she had read and prayed and she answered in the affirmative. Then we asked if she had recieved an answer. She said no. We then watched the Restoration filme. After the filme she tried to explain what she was feeling and could not. We explained that It was the Spirit. She is changing completly and is just soaking up everything that we have to teach. Irma Solange is progressing so fast!!

So many Mircles are happening. For the last 3-4 weeks we have only been able to get very few investigators at church. But this week we worked extra hard and did everything that we thought possible. And yesterday at church we had 197 people that attended (the usual is 150-160)!!! And 11 of those people were investigators that we are teaching! People ask us all the time, "does your church believe in miracles?" We relpy yes we beleve 100% in miracles wrought by God not by men. When the world thinks of mircles the image of casting out a devil or healing someone in front of the congregation comes to mind. Mircles are the natural occurence of correctly applied principles. Dilligence, Faith, Hope, Prayer, Fasting, etc.

On Sunday I gave a blessing to one of the memebers that is going through a rough time. He is 18 and walkes with us on occation. He asked me to give him a blessing of comfort. During the blessing I literally felt the Spirit putting words, ideas, and frases into my thoughts. I dont remember all that I said but I know that it was guided by the Spirit. You recieve so much more when you give, than when you recieve.

I do have a quesiton for you. I have been thinking about tithing latley. I believe that you are supposed to pay my tithing on the funds, such as cash reeback, that I recieve. Im not sure if you have done that but if you could that would be great. Mom and dad, would you be willing to share with me your experiences with Tithing? Dad, What was one of the biggest lessons you learned as a missionary?' What was your mission like?

Im not sure what I miss the most. Brother Johnson is a great man and I loved talking to him.

Today we played soccer and some good old basketball. There werent very many of us but it was fun and I had a great time! We had a great week!! And it sounds like you all had a fantastic week as well.

I would like to thank the Fox Hollow Ward for all the Christmas letters I have recieved!! I got more than any other missionary!! They just kept coming and coming. Thank you all. I wish I wish I could write all of you individually but time does not permit. I am very thankful for your love and support. You are all the best!

Well thats about it for my week. It was a good one!! I wish you all a fantastic week as well!! I love you all so much!!

Elder Dredge