Elder Brandon James Parham
Mozambique Maputo Mission
Rua Tenente General Oswaldo Tazama nr. 1429
Bairro Costa do sol, Maputo-Mozambique

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 2nd 2013

(To Dad)
Well, this week was very difficult. Finding qualified contacts is pretty easy, but sitting with them is the hard part. This week I got a new companion because my old companion; elder Hall, is now training to be an office elder. My new companion is elder Martins. He is capo verdian. Since my Portuguese still needs a lot of work, it is very hard to understand him. But it is good practice having a native speaker. This week we worked hard on finding people to teach. But we haven't taught a lesson. We mark around 8 lessons a day, but they just keep falling. For this last fast Sunday, I did a special fast for us to get lessons. I know that the Lord will help us. One experience I did have this week was amazing. My companion and I were doing contacting and we noticed a house having a party and we felt prompted to go talk to some of them. An old man that lived there let us teach him. No one else wanted to listen to us. The guy kept on saying that he was Catholic, so usually we would leave, but I felt prompted to give him a book of Mormon. I really don't know why I did that. We would never give someone a book of Mormon unless they are a progressing investigator. Out of the blue I had this inspiration from the spirit. The man accepted the book but he didn't really want to listen to us. I don't know why I gave him the book, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. This week was still a great week, even though we didn't have that much success, we did do our best. As long as we are doing our best, the Lord will provide. I am really good at doing street contacting now. My Portuguese is improving so much through the Lord's help. I love sharing the gospel and I am excited to work hard this week. I also have been working out everyday, so watch out. Haha. Anyways, I love you a lot. I miss you and the family so much. Save some s'mores for me.

Love - Elder Parham 

August 26th 2013

(To Amber)
I can tell from your pictures that you are having fun. Remember, don't have too much fun until I get back. Haha. Well, this week was great. My companion's surgery went great and now we are working hard. My companion had a foot problem.  We had a little bit of struggles with contacting this week, but its all good. Today, we ate with one of the investigators of another dupla that is in the same house as us. Here's a picture of me and the two kids. Anyways, this week was great.  All is good. Hope your doing great! I love the pictures a lot. 

Love - Elder Parham 

August 19th 2013

(To Amber) 
I got to my new area last Monday  I am in Matola 2. And my new companion is Elder Hall. He is tall and skinny and also pretty funny. I love it here. The only problem is that we couldn't go out working this week because my new companion has a foot problem and he can't walk on it until tomorrow (hopefully, we go to the doctors tomorrow to check out his foot). It is also going to be fun once we go start working because we will be white washing our area. So, it will be pretty fun. But this week, we did go do a service project. that was fun. These pics are of the service project and one of them is of my new companion. Elder Hall. 

Anyways, thanks for your support. Keep up the pictures and the emails. I miss you so much! By the way, Elder Hall is the one with the glasses in the first picture. Just so you know. Anyways, have fun this week. I got lots of work to do to and I still have a lot of learning to do. 

Love - Elder Parham 

August 12th 2013

Hello family and friends!
Well, this week was kind of crazy. On Monday I came to Maputo because of transfers and helping new missionaries. I found out my transfer today. My next area is Matola 2A! My new companion is going to be Elder Hall. I have seen him before, but he wont come till tonight. For the first part of this week, I helped the office elders with work. New missionaries arrived throughout the week. A lot came. There is around 20 new missionaries here! Holy Cow! Anyways, I helped pick people up at the airport and helped get some things done in the office (temporary office elder). No, I did not drive. I don't have my license. The only people that get to drive are the APs and the Office Elders. One big surprise this week was seeing a buddy from the MTC arrive. His visa got delayed so he got transferred to Texas, Houston for a transfer. Funny thing is, is that his last name is Houston. Haha. Well, it was very fun seeing so many new missionaries arrive. On Thursday night, I went to my new area. President Kretly told some people before hand about where they are going so that they can go to their areas fast. I was temporary companions with a cape verdian. Elder Brandao. He is pretty awesome, except, he spake no English. So, I had to speak bad Portuguese with him. It was a fun experience. Well, this week, I did get some contacts in, but the main focus this week was helping the new missionaries. This is the most that ever arrived on a transfer. So that's pretty crazy. I am excited for my new area and my new companion. I already miss my first companion. Hope everyone is alright.
Love - Elder Parham

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5th 2013

Hello Family and Friends! 

Well, this week was very interesting and exciting. This week, me and my companion attended the marriage of Elias and Eva!!! They are married! We also opened the marriage process for Jermias and Gina! I am super excited! Another exciting thing is that one of our new investigators; Joao and Maria, they are loving the lessons and they really want to be married! Even better, Pedro and Lu have been doing great. I don't if I told everyone, but Pedro got his bike stolen again. But the best thing happened this week. His boss gave him another bike! But they are moving to a more safer area. Which is good. They are still in our area! Well, as you can guys can see. The work here is constantly on the move. I don't know if all of you saw the video yet, but it is truly a miracle for everything that is going on here. The one thing that makes everything great, is having an awesome mission president. My mission president is Paulo Kretly (I dont know if anyone has heard of stephen coveys...well it is pretty big in Brazil. He owns it.). He is from Brazil. Since he works at a place that gives motivational speeches, he has truly helped us as missionaries. He is very nice and always there to help us improve. This next week is going to be even more crazy. There are district conferences going on. And also new missionaries are coming. We have a total of 6 missionaries and 1 couple missionary leaving at the end of this transfer. Which is sad, because all of them are great! But the great news is that we have a total of 19 missionaries coming here this week! That is crazy. We now have to open up new areas to accommodate all of these missionaries! It is exciting. Well, thats about it for this week. No pictures because my camera is not working properly. So, there will be pictures next week! Hope you are all doing great! 

Love - Elder Parham 

July 28th 2013

Hey Family and Friends! 

Well, this week has been pretty great. One of our investigators Jeremias and Gina, are pretty much ready for the marriage process to be opened. The only thing that we had to work with them was with Jeremias. He had a smoking problem and now it is completely gone. So that is great! Another of our investigators Helena and Luiz, have gotten a lot better. They have been coming to church and everything. Except, Helena was not praying to God for answer and she wasnt reading and praying. So hopefully, she will pray to God to know if these things are true. Mozambique, Maputo is truly the best mission ever! If no one saw, in the church news, there was an article about Mozambique and the miracles that are happening here. A little secret, dont tell. But there will be a video coming out for the church. We have all watched it already. Its great! Anyways, the work here is progessing really fast. One of our areas had a crazy amount of people at church. 212. That is crazy high. I am excited to see how far Mozambique will progress over the next two years! I love this mission and I especially love the people here. Hopefully everything is going great for all of you guys! 

Love - Elder Parham 

(To Amber)
...Anyways, Mozambique is amazing. The lifestyle here is a little different, but it is also ver similar. I am still trying to get use to the food. For the milk, it is non pasteurized. So you leave it out. It is actually pretty good. Anyways, I love i here and i love the work. It has been the best time of my life. Time flies by here too. It has already been a month here in Africa, and in total, I am coming up on my 3 month on my mission in about 16 days. Time flies by....

Love - Elder Parham 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 22nd 2013

Hello Friends and Family!
Well, this weeks email is going to be pretty short because of the time schedule that I am running on. For todays p'day, we will be getting some marriage paper work taken care of. It takes a long time and it is mainly just a waiting game. Well, this week has been pretty crazy. Last monday, we opened the marriage process for one of our investigators. It was a great moment. We have their baptism planned for the beginning of august. I am really excited. One of our other investigators has been doing great on staying firm to the commandments. We are going to open the marriage process for them very soon. For some of our other investigators, we are trying to help them to work on keeping commitments. They want to be baptized, but they have struggles with coming to church and reading the scriptures. Our goal this week is to help them keep commitments. The weather here has been pretty crazy. It has been raining off and on. One day it will be warm and sunny, and then the next it will pour down rain. The picture attached is a picture of our investigaors, Elias and Eva. It is right after when we opened their marriage process. Well, thats about it for this week. Love you all. The work is coming along and is progressing very fast here.
Love - Elder Parham

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15th 2013 cont. (to Amber)

.... Well, yup, I am in Africa! It is still setting in. Well my flight to Africa, like you heard was pretty crazy. I did not get a picture in the ambulance...my bad. Anyways, my first area is Manga 2A. It is really great. My companion is Elder Robinson. He is from Eugene, Oregon. He is a hard worker and really nice. 
Well, I have been here for two weeks. It has been great! The best time of my life. I love seeing investigators progress and grow. I am still really bad at portuguese, but i am starting to understand the people a little better. The people here dont just speak Portuguese, they also speak dialects. The main dialect in Manga is Masena. Instead of Tudu Bom, in masena it is Mudi bom. The rest, I dont really understand. 
Yeah, its pretty crazy. The way of travel around here is Chapas, chapellas, and balleas (spelled the last one wrong). Chapas are cheap. they are large vans, where they fit as many people as possible in them. Most of the time, I am in weird positions, so that everyone can fit. Its not that comfy, unless you sit in the back. People stand, sit and even hang out the window. Chapellas are a little more expensive. They are small and usually its more of a two person travel. It is really fun to ride. Balleas is pretty much hitch-hiking. You just ask random people driving by for rides, usually they are free. 

my first grocery shopping adventure:

Our area is pretty big. The place we are staying at is really nice. Well, thats about it. 
Besides the lot of car accidents this week, its great. oh  yeah, it is a lot of one long road kind of deal here. So, when there are accidents (people suck at driving here, plus they have the driver on the right side) it gets really loud because everyone honks (mainly for no purpose). Pedestrians have to fend for themselves here. They dont stop for pedestrians crossing the road. It is like the frogger game. Well, thats about it for this week. I will send more pics next week.
From - Elder Parham

Cockroach I killed last week:

 And half my kitchen:

July 15th 2013

Ola Minha Familia e meus amigos!
Mozambique just gets better and better each day. This week was full of finding new investigators and also working on marriage paper work. One of our families is pretty much done with their marriage paper work, today we are going to open the marriage process for them. By the end of the month it will be official! I am excited to take pictures today. So, Ill send those pictures next week. This week, we have also found a lot of qualified contacts. Here in Mozambique, missionary work is a little different. instead of talking to everyone on the streets, our main focus is families. We still contact some people that are single, but we focus on families. The growth of the church here is crazy. Each of the companions here average 2 to 3 baptisms each transfer. Which is pretty crazy. This week, we had a training with the beira zone. One of the companions had 5 families baptized last transfer! Thats a lot! The work here is progressing so fast. All of the kids know the missionaries. They always say   elders! This week it rained a lot. Since the roads and paths are all pretty much dirt, there was a lot of mud and a lot of cars got stuck. It was pretty crazy. Well thats about it for this week. Hope all is going well for all of you. Oh yeah, four leaf clovers are over rated here.
From - Elder Parham 

July 8th 2013

Hey Family and Friends!
Well, my first week in my first area has been great! My area is Manga 2 and my companion is Elder Robinson. My companion is awesome and he is also from Oregon. So we got a picture of the Portland Temple on our wall. My area is great! The people are so humble and they are willing to listen. My companion and I have a goal of 4 families baptized this transfer. That is a pretty big goal, but we know that we can make it. The main problem for getting people baptized here is marriage. The people here want to follow African tradition. It is really expensive too. Anyways, this week has been great, I havent really spoke that much in lessons, but I have been trying my best. I really want to talk to people, but my portuguese is really bad. I am working really hard to get the language down. For my pday today, I got to play some basketball with two random people. It was pretty fun. The first picture is of my room. Dont worry, there arnt that many mosquitos. The second picture is of the people who me and my compaion played basketball with. This last Sunday was great. It was fast sunday and I got the chance to bare my testimony. It was a great experience. The people love sharing their testimonys. But the only problem here is the singing. They cant really sing...but its all good because I cant sing. So my voice fades with the congregations. I love it here so much. I really dont want to leave. The food is good  and the place where we stay is great. On the fourth of july we did nothing here because we got our own independance here. There is pretty much no rules. The one thing that is sad is that the ground every where is the trash bin. I dont like throwing my trash on the ground, but there is no where else to put it. Besides that, it is still very beautiful here. Outside of the cities, there are big open fields that are very beautiful, sorry i dont have a picture with me right now. Well, thats about it. Africa is great, the people are great, and everything is great. I am feeling fantastic and I havent been sick.
Love - Elder Parham

Mission Blog

Dont forget to check out my mission blogspot: http://presidentandsisterkretly.blogspot.com/

July 1st 2013

Ola Family!

Well, I guess you all heard about my little adventure in London...I am all good now. The doctors still don't understand why I was shaking. They thought it was a diabetic problem or even a seizure, but it was nothing they knew about. I truly think the reason I did get sent to the hospital was because on the ride to the hospital via ambulance, I got to teach one of the paramedics a little about our church. She asked a couple of questions and I answered them to the best of my ability. I know there was a purpose to being sent to the hospital. I also got to share the gospel with my doctor. He had some questions.
 London was really crazy, there are a lot of people that are very impolite and most a lot of them are impatient, but there is still a lot of good people. Heathrow is a small suburb in London, but it is still very beautiful. My group all made it safely to Africa. The first few days were spent staying at the mission office just getting passport work done. For Saturday and Sunday, they sent me to Matola to do some practice. Africa is great! i love it so much. the people are so open and they want to learn. even if they are not that interested they will still take time to listen to what you have to tell them. my Portuguese is very bad and i am working hard to improve it. today i found out that my first place is going to be Manga. It is more northern Mozambique. I fly out soon after my email time. 
My companion I don't really know but he looks like a good missionary. I am excited to go to my first area and to finally start serving the people and sharing the gospel. There are a lot of cats, chickens, and roosters just out on the streets in matola. Its pretty crazy. I thought there would be a lot of mosquitoes here in Africa, but there are not that many. Everyone is so happy. 
The children always smile and say hi to the missionaries. The food here is really good. But you can't really buy the food off the streets. many people sell food on the streets and most of it is unsanitary, so we get food from shops. 
The language is crazy here. The main language is Portuguese, but in each area, they have are slightly different dialect. Its pretty crazy. For my practice lessons in Matola, I mainly bore my testimony. They speak so fast. Everything is great here. The people love being taught. I am excited to serve for two years! In my next email, I will send some pictures. I can only take pictures on p-days and today is my first p-day. So, pretty much no pictures. I miss all you all so much! Thank you all so much for your love and support. For those I didn't talk to: On my plane ride from Utah to Texas, I sat next to this woman that was born in India. She lived in Texas for the past eight years to get her masters in graphic design. She has been working with a company on some website designs. Anyways, I got to talk to her about religion. She wanted to know what language my name tag was in. I then explained that I am going on a mission for two years. We talked about the gospel and she also shared her beliefs as a Buddhist. I just shared with her my beliefs and my testimony and I got to know her. I left her my email and mormon.org/lds.org in case she had any questions. Hopefully she will learn more. I love the gospel so much and I cant wait to share it. I am excited to serve!

May 23rd 2013, Friday

Tudo Bem? (How are you?) I love the MTC. Every where I go, I can feel the spirit so strongly.
The MTC is very hard work, but the hard work will definetly pay off when I get to Mozambique. My testimony has also grown a lot. Learning portuguese is hard, but with the spirit so strongly here, I have already learned a lot. I can bare my testimony, say prayers, and get to know someone. I even already have the purpose, first vision, and some scriptures memorized in portuguese. Vi um pilar de luz acima de minha cabeca. Mais briliante que o sol. De descia gradualmente sobre mim. Cuando a luz posou sobre mim. Vi dois personages cujo esplendor e gloria desafiam qualquer descricao. (that is part of the first vision just to give you a taste of the language).
 I really do enjoy my time here and I hope that I can prepare myself to the best extent for Mozambique. Waking up at 6:30 started off a little hard, but now I can wake up without an alaram clock. Gym time is a good stretch after being in a classroom all day.
The pictures that are attached are of my zone (people going to portugal, brazil, mozambique, and cape verde and that is not all of the people going to those places, it is just our zone and there are three other zones for those areas. The last picture is a picture of our portuguese teacher brother Pinho, he is from Brazil). So far, I have seen Elder Gielmann, Sister Wilson, and Sister Chapman (a friend from BYU-Idaho). It is great to see so many people answering the prophet's call to serve the Lord.
I know that this is the only true church on this earth. I know that my father in Heaven loves me and watches out for me. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today. I know that by being obedient that we can live with our Father in Heaven and our familes once more. I know this through feeling the spirit and prayer. In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer. Amen. Don't forget to send letters and packages. I love you and mom so much and I miss you guys a lot. I can't wait to serve the Lord.
 Love you!
 Love - Elder Parham