HELLO FROM SOUTH AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow. I can hardly believe this right now. Life is so surreal! I am a missionary!!! Ok so today was crazy. And crazy is an understatement. After the sad goodbye at the Boise Airport I got on the plane just fine and sat next to this nice couple from Poland. I slept a lot of that ride....I haven't been sleeping very well the past week I think because of the anxiety of leaving....anyways just as we were landing the couple next to me asked where I was going so I told them about my mission. The guy just went off about how I am going to get kidnapped or even killed. Then he just kept saying how stupid Americans are. Hahah don't worry, it didn't make me scared at all, in fact it was just the opposite. Once I got to Minneapolis I had to walk to the complete opposite side of the airport but I made it to the gate with 5 minutes to spare before I boarded. On both flights from Boise and the second one to Atlanta I had so many awesome spiritual experiences. I am actually so glad I had a lot of traveling to do because it gave me time to reflect on exactly what I was about to do and how I felt now that I was set apart as a missionary. I read Alma 25-30 on the plane....talk about the best chapters to read before my mission. It was a huge pep talk about missionary work!!! I loved it so much. Verse after verse says how much joy comes from sharing the gospel. But it also says that the happiness only comes after patience, perseverance, hard work, suffering, etc. I wish I could tell you all that I felt today but as in Alma 26...there are too many feelings I have for me to even express. Although I have not even done any missionary work and don't even have a companion, I feel so much closer to the Savior and the people of Zambia and Malawi. Alright so our plane was a little late getting into Atlanta so I had to RUN to catch the plane to Johannesburg!! (Joburg or Josie as they call it here). It was hilarious and all these people were just staring at me as I sprinted down the halls in my skirt. Well I made it to the gate super sweaty and there was no one around the gate except for the lady checking my boarding ticket. I got on the plane and was searching for Maren but SHE WASN"T ON THE PLANE!!! I sat down and starting thinking of all the places she could be. Maybe she was in the bathroom. Maybe she went to get something to eat and was still coming. Maybe she was waiting for me somewhere. Is started to get nervous but kept thinking that she would eventually come. Well soon enough the announcement came on that said, "We are now closing the doors and will be taking off soon." So Mom your worry came true. I flew all the way to Africa by myself. I actually started laughing when I realized this happened and honestly wasn't that nervous. The flight was LONG but I slept for a lot of it because I had a whole row to myself. The dinner was good and so was the lunch they served today before i got off. The lady in the next row over was super nice, she works for the Peace Corp, and she helped me get off the plane and get my passport stamped and find my luggage. She was my guardian angel. Many times during the flight I would look over at her and she would just smile. She helped me stay calm and at peace with the situation. I decided to start following the mission rules and went to bed at 10:30 :) but as I lay there in that plane, all alone, I had the neatest experience. Although I was scared to be flying halfway across the world to a place I have never been and to live there with people I have never met, I felt an overwhelming sense of love from our Heavenly Father. I knew at that moment that I was his daughter and He was looking out for me. At this time I started to wonder why He would be sending me all the way to Zambia when I am sure there are plenty of other sister missionaries in Africa. I knew I have been called to Zambia and its where I am supposed to be but on that plane I realized that the people in Zambia are His children just as much as I am. There is someone there that specifically needs me as a missionary. I know this is the Lord's work and that I am called here for a reason. Well the rest of the flight was great and I got here at 5 pm. After we (Johann the peace corps lady) got my bags I walked out to the Arrivals area where I was told to go and there were two African men holding a sign that said, "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints MTC Missionaries". I walked up to them and they were so happy!! They had me sit down and then one of them had me give him my passport so he could go get my papers or something. I am not entirely sure what they were saying because they are hard to understand!!!! But they were very friendly and I was a little scared to just hand off my passport but I guess we just trust in what our leaders tell us. Then the other man took me and he went and got his car, i think his wife was in the car too but I'm not sure. She just said hello to me. As we left the parking garage, the police had to check the man's license. They started talking in some crazy language and were laughing their heads off and boy was I lost. They were just laughing and talking so loud for a long time and then the police man asked where I was from and then some other stuff I couldn't understand. Then he came around the my door and opened it to show me that the man's license was expired. Then he just started cracking up laughing. I just kept smiling and nodding my head and kept thinking, What have I got myself into and I really think they had a typo when they said I was going to speak English! Shout out to Katie though....you are amazing! Well after that we drove for about an hour to get to the MTC. I talked to the MTC President in the car and found out that Maren and one other American elder had been delayed and didn't make the flight to Atlanta and then got stuck there. Apparently they had to sleep at the airport because the hotel was too full!!! Poor Maren. Hopefully she comes tomorrow. So the car ride was good except Morgan (the name of the guy driving me) couldn't understand English very well so we didn't talk at all. I got to the MTC and President and Sister Collins are sooooo nice! Turns out I am the only missionary here right now. Uhh..crazy!! But I decided that this whole mission is going to be crazy and I'm not going to have an expectations. They kinda showed me around and its really nice! Our room has like 5 bunk beds but there are only two other sisters that will be here. One is from Ghana and I can't wait to meet her! There are only 14 elders that will be here and all are from Africa except one from the US and one from Tonga. We all are here for 11 days but two of the elders are learning English here so they will be here longer. I guess they just barely started teaching Malagasy (Madagascar language) here and the last set of missionaries here learned that. I had a bowl of cereal and now I'm about to go to bed I guess...I talked with the President and his wife a bunch. They are super awesome! they were mission presidents in Moscow, Russia and then were missionaries in Columbia but were transferred to Ghana and then got moved here. Next Wednesday we will go to the temple so I'm really excited for that. Tomorrow I am really really excited to meet the other missionaries so I won't be alone anymore!! Well, life is soooooooooooooooooooooo great!! I'm glad I made it here safely but I am loving every second of this adventure. I love you all soooooo much!! I miss you but I don't wish I were at home. I wish you were all here with me!! Actually through everything that has happened I have just wished everyone could be here because it is so different and exciting. I'm not sure when I will get to email again but love you guys!!!!
P.s. Mom they drive on the left side of the road.
P.p.s. I had some weird dreams on the plane but I had this one and Sister Steele was on the plane with me! How fun would that have been??
P.p.p.s. I already love Africa. even if everything I have seen is in the dark.