Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday June 29, 2015 - MULI SHANI


I can't believe I am actually here and sending you my first legit mission email!! So wow I really don't even know where to begin!!!!

Tuesday: After getting to the mission home, President Erickson met with us and I felt the Spirit stronger in that hour than I ever did in the MTC. This was a huge testimony to me of the calling of President Erickson and the importance of following his counsel and direction. Preparation and the MTC were incredible and I loved my time there (sometimes I miss it, mainly the food though) but the mission field and the real missionary work is where it is at. He talked to us about obedience...we are always talking about this but I love it! Some differences in the rules here...Sisters have to be in at 18:00 (yes we use military time and I am slowly getting used to it) but if we are teaching we can be in by 19:00. but other than that is about it. He spoke about how as missionaries we are accountable to the Lord. Not to our district, zone leaders or even President Erickson. He talked about how a missionary can go above and beyond the exact obedience. In the mission handbook it says we should "devote all our time and attention". I have really been trying to do this and I have already seen so many blessings. He talked about a lot of others things that were great but for the sake of time I will tell you when I get home:)  Oh one thing he talked about was that we were not called to spread the gospel but to establish the church. He has asked us to teach and find near centers of strength. He explained that if we went out to all the small villages and areas far from branches and wards, we could get at least 500 baptisms in a week, no problem. When we build  centers of strength then those who will accept the gospel in the millennium will have places to go to church and their will be leadership. I'm not sure if that makes sense but it was deep and now that I have been here in Ndola for 5 days, I understand.When he explained this I couldn't help but thinking of my amazing parents who works so hard to establish centers of strength in good ol' Eagle Idaho. I admire all that you do with the youth especially. Your work with them will help produce missionaries that will then change the world!! I love you guys! After our personal interviews with the President we went over to the sisters' flat and spent the night there. I talked with Sister Proctor for a long time and she is even better in person!! I can tell she is an incredible missionary. She has been a Sister Training Leader since after 3 months!!! 
Wednesday: I said goodbye to Sister Thueson, which was sad because I really grew to love her. She will do awesome in Malawi. Oh her blog is if you want to check it out! The zone leaders in Lusaka came and picked me up and we headed to the bus station. by bus station I mean...I really can't explain it!! Hahah I wish so so so badly you all could have been there. It pretty much was this big dirt parking lot FILLED with big, a little bit, sketchy charter buses. As we were walking up, all these men kept coming up to me talking in bemba. They wanted to take my bags for me for money but it was crazy. Oh and there were a ton of men and women that kept coming on the bus while we were waiting to go, selling stuff. There were a lot of women with stuff on their heads which was crazy then but now is just an everyday sight:) The zone leaders paid for our tickets and then said, "Get on the bus and the zone leaders in the Copperbelt will pick you up." And that was it. Elder Tema and I were on our way. Honestly I was so happy he was with me because I was a little nervous!!! The bus ride was LONG. It was over 8 hours and I was expecting 5 but it was all good. It was hot but not too bad. The man sitting across from us had met with the missionaries before and so he had a lot of questions for us which was awesome!! I got to answer his questions and bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon. He lives in Lusaka so hopefully we planted some seeds that the missionaries there can help grow. Back to the bus was insane!!! It was a two lane highway with I guess what you call the African grasslands. There were tiny, tiny houses here and there the entire time. I have no idea how the people survive because they live so far from any kind of town. It was really eye opening and humbling to see people live in such circumstances. We stopped a couple times next to fruit and other kind of stands and all these people came running to the window to sell food to us. We stopped once for the bathroom and we had to pay 2 kwacha (1 us dollar equals 7 kwacha) and there was no toilet paper and Africans don't shut the door when they go to the bathroom but hey it was great! A couple preachers would get on the bus and stand in front and preach in english and bemba so that was interesting. Other people got on and would sell stuff. Some man was selling magical beans I think. One time we stopped by a small school and this one boy walked past so I gave him a thumbs up. He got the biggest smile on his face and then ran over to tell his friends. They all came over, very timidly and waved or gave me thumbs up. It was so cute!!! Anyways we FINALLY made it to the Copperbelt. The Zone Leaders, Elder Kohlsomething and Elder Parker (from Twin Falls) picked us up and took Elder Tema to his area. We then went to my flat and I met my companion Sister Motsi from Zimbabwe. She is the best!! She has been out for 4 months but is awesome. She has been in Ndola the whole time so she really knows the area. She is the only member in her family. She says some funny things like "what what" and "eh!!" The flat is really nice and big! There are 3 bedrooms, a bathroom with the best shower, a kitchen, and a room with a couch and our table. It has to be one of the nicer apartments in Ndola which is nice. A lot of our neighbors are from a lot of different places around the world. 
Thursday: My first day!!! Ok overwhelming but excited would probably be a good way to describe it. We hardly had any food in the kitchen, we are going shopping today so we have barely gotten by the past few days. For breakfast we had baked beans and ramen noodles. We went on a 8 minute run which felt good, i wish we could go longer but I am just happy to exercise and then we do sit-ups and push-ups for like 5 to 10 minutes. Since I am training we have one hour of personal study and one hour of companionship study before we leave the flat at 10. WE have an hour of training when we get home but as soon as I am done training we will move companion study to the evening and will leave the flat at 9 am. Planning for Thursday was stressful because my comp kept asking me what we should do but I have no idea who anyone is. But we first visited the Muwenga family. They live like a 20 25 minute walk from our flat but its down a dirt road into a very humble neighbor hood. We taught Sister Muwenga and read the scriptures with her. I had no idea what to say to her because I don't know anything about her, my comp doesn't say much, but I knew how to bear my testimony. That is what I have to rely on the past couple of days! After that we went to the nicest part of Ndola. Its crazy because there is a nice mall and then one street over it is really run down and uh...not nice. So we have some investigators, Donald and Elvis that work by the nice mall at a mattress store. We went to visit them and ran into Brother Mbawo who is a member and sells minerals or something in the mattress store. He also gives these foot massages on this machine. He always gives new missionaries a free massage so I got one and it was hilarious!!!! I stood on this thing and he turned it on and it literally vibrated my entire body! I had to hold on to Sister Motsi or else my legs would have collapsed! It was only for 2 minutes but it was the longest two minutes of my entire life!!! Man it was great. We went and met Sister Ganesh (a less active) and asked her to come with us to teach Raphael (he lives like 5 minutes from us). Raphael is a sweet, young man who has been taught just a couple times but has been to church 3 times. He has a great desire to learn more and follow Christ. I had the strongest impression to invite him to be baptized but at the end of the lesson a couple things happened and the spirit wasn't there anymore but time!! As we left his house he said he was grateful god had sent him angels to teach him. The people here are so sweet. We went to the church to meet with Benson, the grounds keeper who is less active now. He said he didn't have time to meet with us. I think this has been something that has been difficult for me to get used to. We walk really far to get to people's homes and they are either not there or don't have time. It can be hard because they don't really have a reason but I can't complain when I am on the Lord's errand! We have a phone but we have limited minutes each week so we can't call a lot and other people either don't have phones or don't answer. How it works here is we pretty much stop by someone's house and ask when we can come teach them. They always say we can come so we write it down but then when we show up...they have forgotten. It was really frustrating at first but I have gotten used to it, even after just 5 days. That is why it is so important for us to have a back up plan! Thursday even we walked home through I guess what you would call downtown but it was the market. It was so awesome!!! Everyone is selling stuff on the sidewalks. There are fried caterpillars, fish, eggs, oranges, apples, potatoes, all kinds of food. There are stands and stands of DI clothes and tons of mismatched shoes. Everyone calls out to me "Mozunga! (which means white person)" I hear that sooooooo many times a day! One man said hi to me and the first thing that came out of my mouth was "Hi we are missionaries!" He started talking to me in Bemba and so I just gave him a pass along card with our number on it and invited him to church on Sunday. He told us to wait and then he went into his stand and brought out his bible to show us!! Oh his stand was named KFC but anyways he kept calling us that night and for a couple days after...kinda creepy but its all good. We had noodles again for dinner... we really need to go shopping! I found some chocolate chips though and they made my day!!! My first day was an incredible learning experience. I was so so so overwhelmed by everything. I can't understand people, they can't understand me, I can't remember names, I can't pronounce names, I don't know what to say to people. Everyone is really shy at first so I feel like I can't be my normal self. I have no sense of direction. I never know where we are going. I ask my comp questions but I am afraid I get annoying. But I am soooooo grateful for all of these struggles I am going through. I have really learned how to rely on my Savior and his Atonement and the enabling power that I feel from it. He has been my source of strength for the past 5 days. My testimony of him and the Atonement have grown a million times and more! I know that he knows exactly what we are going through. I know that if we ask for his help and guidance, he WILL help us. I know that if we continue moving forward and do what we are supposed to do, we will be blessed with the Spirit. I didn't expect mission to be this has been hard and very trying. But I have seen and felt so many blessings! I don't want to be anywhere else in the world or doing anything else than what I am doing. Mornings are hard for me for some reason but as soon as I start studying and reading my scriptures I feel so at peace. And at the end of the day...even though my feet kill from walking, my feet and legs are filthy from the roads, I am starving, many of our appointments fall through, I feel so much happiness!!!! We may not be successful as far as numbers but because we follow the Spirit and are doing the Lord's work, I feel that confirmation that I am doing what I need to be doing and Heavenly Father is proud of me.

Friday: . WE have a lot of ground to cover and only one set of sisters but I am grateful for all the work. We went to teach Benson again...but he wasn't there. We went to teach Duane who works next door to Donald and Elvis. He wasn't there we started walking and guess what?? Mission miracle! We ran into Duane! We went back and taught him about the plan of salvation. He had many, many questions and we had Brother Mbawo with who ended up doing a lot of the teaching which was great. Ok family and friends...GO TEACH WITH THE MISSIONARIES!!! They need members!!! It is so so so so hard for us to teach. Not only do we strive for 50% of our lessons to be with a member but in order for us to teach a male, we need another female. We have to cancel a lot of lesson because we don't have someone to go with us. I told my companion that I would get my entire family to move to Ndola so we would have members to teach with. What do you guys say??? Its really great here!!! After Duane we headed out to of our 7 areas. Chipulukusu is what you picture when you think of Africa. To get there we ride a bus because it would take about an hour to walk. So the bus ride...hahahaha man that was quite the experience. Once again we went to this parking lot full of buses and all these guys just sitting around trying to get you to get on their bus. Oh side-note...when we walk down the streets, taxis and buses honk at you and then you wave if you want to get on. I thought they were just honking to say hi so I kept waving at them!! I had no idea and finally my comp told me I had to stop. hahaha she laughs at me a lot! So "the bus" aka the most sketchy van ever!! It was PACKED FULL of people!!! It had to be pushed to start but all my worries quickly fled when I saw all the stickers on the windows that said, "This car is protected by the blood of Jesus." Words can't really describe the bus ride but is was an adventure! 15 minutes later we made it to Chipulukusu which is pretty much a small village. "Mozunga" was the word of the day for sure. All the kids loved to stare at me and wave hi. One kid had enough courage to come touch me and then I was surrounded by little kids!!! My companion said I looked like that picture of Christ with all the kids surrounding him. We brought lunch because we can't buy any food in Chipulukusu and bought a soda from a small shack. Orange fanta of course! We then went and taught Alice, Mary and Marium. Alice was Sister Motsi's first baptism. I wish I had a picture of there house but it brought tears to my eyes to see them living in such conditions. We couldn't meet inside their house so we met in this cement room filled with animal feed and ashes from cooking. Alice (10 years old) got me a cinder-block to sit on. We began the lesson by singing I belong to the church of Jesus Christ. I could hardly get through the song because my emotions were all over the place. I felt so much love for this beautiful child of God and I think I had a small glimpse of the love that Heavenly Father has for his children. It doesn't matter if they have no shoes, a dirty dress and face and flies all over their house, he loves us all the same and we are all of equal importance to him! None the less, Chipulukusu is an incredible place that has humbled me more than I can imagine. I wish I could express everything I learned from my day there but you will have to come here to see for our self!! Oh I also had to go to the bathroom really bad so I went in a hole in the ground. Everyday an adventure! Friday I read Helaman 5:12 about building our foundation in Christ. Because of my foundation I have been able to overcome by weaknesses. When I bear testimony I feel so comfortable and at peace while everything else makes me scared and nervous. I know that if we rely on that testimony we have, and continue to strength it and learn more everyday, we can get through any situation or trial that is placed before us. 

Saturday:  We went tracting and we met some great new investigators! I can't wait to teach them! We had a ton of fall through on Saturday and so we ended up walking A LOT with all our back up plans. We also needed bread because we had no food and we ended up going to 3 different stores!! My comp doesn't say much or explain anything so finally I just said, "Hey do you need help making a decision? Is there something I can do cause I am kinda lost." Together we came up with a plan and found bread. I have learned I just need to open my mouth and not be afraid. I won't learn anything unless I ask. I am learning though which is good. I am grateful I will be here for at least 11 more weeks. President Erickson told us that as much as a mission is to help others, we ourselves grow and develop. Oh how much I have learned. I feel so blessed that I have the opportunity to grow in the gospel and become more like my Savior every day. I am beginning to realize that I will never have an opportunity like this again and so I need to take every advantage of every second I have to study and teach and even just be in Zambia!  I read in Preach my gospel under "enduring to the end" that we "must exert every effort to stay on the path." As a missionary we work hard. at the end of the day we are exhausted and we fall asleep in about one minute. but it is worth it and is required if we want to obtain that eternal glory that we are promised. I hope that we all will continue to "exert every effort" in following our Savior and living the commandments of the gospel. 

Sunday: The branch is small but mighty! The Branch President, President Jackson is a very happy man with a great smile! He gave a great talk and even talked about the early saints building the Salt Lake Temple. I was reminded of Trek and I am so so so grateful for the things I learned there. I am strengthened each day as I remember the sacrifice that those pioneers and saints gave to make it possible for the gospel to be established here on earth. Without them I would not be here!! Sacrament was the best and meant so much more to me as a missionary. Pay attention to the prayers and what they say and you will know what I mean. Whether we want to our not, as missionaries we have to keep our part of the covenant and the promises are amazing. I am so grateful for the covenants I have made in my life! Relief Society was good. They taught half in English, half in Bemba so I got half of the lesson but it was great. Everyone talks really quiet too but I am excited to get to know the sisters even better. We went to go to appointments but the Ward Clerk informed us that from now on we can only teach with the ward mission leader until they come up with an approved list of members to teach with. At first Sister Motsi and I were speechless!!! We have a hard enough time getting members at lessons so this will be a challenge but we will be obedient and do what we can with this new rule. This actually brought us a lot closer as a companionship because we kept making all these jokes about it. We are going to have to get creative about teaching but through Heavenly Father's help we can do it! We are going to try to talk with the branch president as well. I guess the branch here has had a lot of issues that even President Erickson has had to resolve but all is well! We went over to the Muwenga's house again and met with Brother Muwenga. He has been taught a lot by previous missionaries but it has been awhile since they saw him. He said he really wants to get baptized so we are excited to teach him this week!! His kids were the ones dancing outside their house and they ended up walking with us quite a ways home. The two girls each held my hands which was a huge answer to my prayers!! I have felt so out of place and that I don't belong here. The love these girls showed me helped me so much!! 

David and Sara: I love the pens and the backpack. Seriously the bag is a lifesaver!!! And it feels like I am backpacking with the dirt roads and everything. I love it.\
Matthew and Rebekah: The scripture you gave me was a HUGE comfort this week. Thank you!
Melissa and Josh: I loved those pictures!!!! I dreamed about Avery and DAvin last night. Give them loves. Give all the nieces and nephews loves!!!
Brooklyn: Love you!
Jacob: Love you!!!
Mom and DAd: I love you!!!!!!

oh can I get cash from my credit card? and can you send some cookie recipes?


I love you all! I love Ndola!!!!!

View from the bus ride

Bedroom in Alli's flat

Alli's flat


The one downside about the flat...cockroaches in the kitchen!!!

That is curry I made and naan that my comp made. 

The Ouside gate of the church. Everyone has these gates around their house!!

Sister Motsi and I outside of the church.

Some of the kids in these pictures are from the Muwenga family who we are teaching! They were outside dancing to Shania Twain!!! They are so cute and said on Saturday they will teach me to dance. They have a boy named Benjamin who is 4!!!!

The kid to the left of the boy in the red jacket is Benjamin. The kids loved getting their picture taken!!!

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