Family!!! This letter might be a little short because I was the last one to get a computer but hey this week was amazing!!!
: We went to have family home evening with a less active family in Pamodzi and so we picked up Sister Chalwe and her 3 kids. Well….Sister Chalwe moved so she told us to meet her at this random school and it was quite the adventure finding the school! Before I came on mission, everyone loved to tell me that I was so ready for my mission because I had shot a bear. I never understood how a mission and shooting a bear could ever relate and so I just thought it was funny when people said this. Well , I discovered that those who told me that were inspired! No I did not have to shoot any animals but the roads we had to drive on were crazy!!! I think only Dad, Jacob and David can really relate to this, ok and maybe Brooklyn and Mom ( remember Leslie Gulch?) but it was so much fun driving on these dirt roads in the villages. We had to ask a lot of people for directions and African directions…I am not sure if I have talked about them before but this is pretty much how it goes, “ Just go this way and then turn that side and go until you turn this side and the roads curves and then the school will be on that side.” Haha I need Dad’s directions! I wanted to take a video of driving the roads and I tried taking one picture but it doesn’t do it justice. I have had to use my best driving skills but it took us about an hour to get to the school, pick up Sister Chalwe and then make it to Maya and Ruth’s house for FHE. It probably should have taken 15 minutes but if you saw the roads, you would understand! Maya and Ruth ended up not being home so we went back to the Chalwe’s and had FHE there. Sister Chalwe is a single mother, her husband passed away about a year ago. She has 3 kids and is the Primary President. She never misses church and reads scriptures with her family each night. I want to be just like her someday! This past week I have been AMAZED by the members here and feel so blessed to be among these incredible saints. Since her sons are pretty young we sang a lot of fun primary songs. We sang “Do as I’m doing” and we each picked something to do. The youngest boy, about 3 years old had us squat down and then do these tiny jump things…hahaha I could not stop laughing! It was so great to be with a family, all laughing together. It made me miss you all like crazy though! This week I have missed each of you more than usual but this morning as I was running I had this thought come into my head, “This is a time I have given you that you may learn to love and serve your family more completely.” I am so grateful for the many, many reminders I have that serving a mission is the greatest blessing in the whole world! The sunset was beautiful that night and it made me grateful for my mother who taught me to appreciate the sky and all of God’s creations. I read this quote that night and I thought I would share with you all as we all are require to make sacrifices in our lives “The blessings you receive are greater than anything you ever give up.” I am grateful for the sacrifices I have made to be here and the everyday things we sacrifice as missionaries, because I have felt an even greater amount of love from my Heavenly Father and greater amount of strength from the Savior Jesus Christ.
: We had zone meeting and Sister Motsi and I had to do a 25 minute presentation on the importance of effective companionship study and it went really well. I could tell she was nervous to present but she did amazing! Zone meeting was fun but they rush us out fast so I didn’t really get to talk with a lot of missionaries but once again I loved being with so many missionaries and the power that was felt in that meeting. Just about every lesson fell through that day but we did get to teach Elvis with Brother Nonde and the lesson was good. Elvis is really interested in what we have to share but is struggling with how it can help him in his life. He works on Sundays but I think as we continue to teach him by the Spirit, he will understand the joy and blessings that come from the gospel.
: My first exchange was a success! We woke up at and made our way to Kitwe which is a little over an hour away from Ndola. I was kinda annoyed that we had to drive so far but then I realized what a unique opportunity I have to see so much of Zambia! Anyways Sister Nijirayfa really intimidated me at first but within a few minutes I realized how loving and friendly she is! Turns out though that she had malaria so we taught a lesson but then she had to go and lay down for a couple of hours. Poor girl! I felt so bad. She is the missionary that came here from the Botswana mission for her last transfer. She talked a lot about the Botswana mission the whole day which was awesome to hear all about another mission and part of Africa. We got to teach Sister Mwiinga and it was crazy to think that my very first lesson on mission was with Sister Mwiinga and we haven’t been able to teach her since. It was fun to think back to that very first day and see how much I have changed. I can remember being so excited and nervous for that first lesson! We ended the day teaching a lady named Charity who has 7 children and her husband left her to marry another woman. Charity has a great faith in God though and I am excited to continue teaching her and especially how the gospel can help her raise her family and overcome all the challenges she faces. The end of the exchange was kinda hard….as an STL I am supposed to tell them what they did well (Which is easy) but then I have to tell them what they can improve on and this is where I struggled. I started to doubt myself and wonder how I, a new missionary, tell this seasoned missionary what to work on especially when I know how many weaknesses I have. But it went well and I am grateful that I get to have many other opportunities to improve on exchanges since we have so many sisters in our zone. While Sister Nijirayfa was napping, I took time to read and ponder on my patriarchal blessing. I would invite each of you to take time to do this because for me, I received answers to prayers and I know that Heavenly Father has so many blessing in store for us as we truly develop those attributes and talents in our blessings. Anyways the day was great!
: We made our way to Pamodzi again and got ourselves in a pretty bad dead end road…haha but we came out alive! All of our appointments fell through that day and I was starting to get really discouraged but then a miracle happened! We were trying to find this house and it was dark and we really didn’t know where we were going. We thought that this one house was maybe the right one but we weren’t sure so we just pulled in. A lady came out and we discovered it was the wrong house but we talked with her for a few minutes and turns out she used to be taught by the Elders but they stopped coming. She was talking and it sounded like she really wasn’t interested but then all the sudden she invited us into her house. She told us she is searching for the truth and she goes to another church but she isn’t totally sure. She is really skeptical about the Restoration and Joseph Smith but says she would love for us to come and teach her! We bore testimony of the first vision and prayer and the Spirit was so strong! We had her pray with us right then to know for herself if Joseph Smith truly saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and she gave a powerful prayer but said she is still unsure. Her prayer touched my heart though and I am so grateful that we could find her again. Who knows if her heart has been softened to the message of the restored gospel but I know there is a reason why Heavenly Father led us to her house again. The hand of the Lord is constantly blessing and guiding us in this work! Oh afternoon, Sister Ganesh from the branch taught us how to make Indian food cause her husband is from India. It was really fun even though I don’t remember how to make anything she showed us! Funny story from the day…I was calling an investigator to set up an appointment and I accidentally said, “Love you too” when I hung up the phone instead of goodbye!!!! How embarrassing!!
: I have been spending more of my time studying from the Book of Mormon and I am so grateful for it! I thought I had a love for the scriptures before mission, but I have realized how much more my testimony has grown. My love and testimony that I have now would probably never been developed if I didn’t come. What an opportunity serving a mission is!
: One short funny story from the day….The youth and the YSA for all the Copperbelt had a conference for a few days which sounded so fun! Akim, a member of our branch showed up to go to the conference with nothing but the clothes he was wearing. When they told him to go home and get his stuff he just told them that Christ never had a toothbrush or a blanket and he went around for 3 years preaching the gospel so he could go 2 nights. Akim is always saying stuff like this and likes to prophecy to my companion but he is awesome and is a strong member of our branch!
: Church was good!! We walked with Selina Mwiinga to church and she amazes me! She comes to church every single week completely alone. She told us yesterday that she wants to be baptized!!! We still want her parents to get baptized first but I am so excited for her. We walked into Church and guess who was there…sister Martha!!! What?!? Last week we visited her and she told us many times how she wanted to come to church but it just wasn’t possible because she didn’t have any money. Sister Motsi and I promised her that if she put her trust in the Lord, then she would find a way. How amazing it was to see her at church and to see the blessing of being an instrument in the hand of the Lord. At church I looked around during sacrament meeting and just felt so much love for every member of the branch. When I first came I thought the branch was great but kinda dysfunctional and it has been amazing to see it grow and develop over the past 9 weeks! It hasn’t changed that much but the love and appreciation I have for the members has. That night we went to have a lesson that ended up turning into a Bible Bash between our investigator and one of our members and it was kinda funny cause any time Sister Motsi or I opened our mouth, we would get interrupted. It was so difficult to know what to do but we left with our testimonies and faith that their hearts may be softened.
This work is filled with many difficulties and challenges but I felt so much joy this week! I love working hard, I love my companion and the sisters I live with. They have so much knowledge and faith! I love the people and the culture and most importantly I love this gospel, my Savior Jesus Christ and My Father in Heaven. I hope all is well at home!! Thank you for your much love and support!!!!! You are all amazing!!
"Shout out to Sister Mbele's friends in South Africa! I love her and I am jealous you get to have her back with you in a couple of weeks! Our flat won't be the same without her!!"