Monday, August 10, 2015

Finding, finding, and finding

Mulishani to my favorite family!!!! How is everyone doing? I hope all is well back in America! I am currently emailing from Lusaka because tomorrow and Wednesday we have MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) so all the zone leaders and sister training leaders are going to all be here. The ones in Malawi fly in tomorrow so I am really excited to meet even more missionaries. We drove down with the Copperbelt Zone Leaders, Elder Mohlokowana and Elder Parker. Elder Parker is the one from Twin Falls and whenever we passed a field of any kind he would say, “IT LOOKS JUST LIKE IDAHO!!!” hahaha I am pretty sure he said that about 20 times but of course I loved it because I loved Idaho but I think he has been away from Idaho just little bit longer than me because I think his memory is fading….Just cause there is a pivot doesn’t mean it’s Idaho but I loved seeing the fields and feeling a little like home. I will maybe be driving home from Lusaka which freaks me out so say prayers this week that I will be safe and comfortable driving. Anyways I am beyond excited to be here for MLC! I can’t wait to tell you all about it because I really don’t know what to expect but everyone said it is so spiritual and a lot of fun. Sister Motsi said she wasn’t excited but she doesn’t like big gatherings. I had a hard time understanding why she wasn’t excited until we walked into the email shop here in Lusaka and I saw all the missionaries emailing. I got sooooo nervous because I realized how experienced they all are and I couldn’t stop thinking about how long they have been on mission and how long they have been STL’s. I am 7 going on 8 weeks on mission and Sister Motsi and I really have no idea what we are doing. All the fears and doubts I had when I received the call came rushing back. But I heard someone say this week something that has brought continued comfort as I have felt inadequate. “We have the ability to grow as we serve in our weaknesses.” The past two weeks have been so humbling as I have reflected on this responsibility I have been called to. I have had to learn how to trust in Heavenly Father and His timing. I have so many weaknesses, I am still learning everyday, I am a new missionary that makes tons of mistakes everyday, I am constantly working on my patience, etc. Yet I know that this calling is for a reason and the timing has a purpose. I hope that through MLC I can continue to build that trust in the Lord and prepare myself to be the leader that He wants. I know that Heavenly Father loves me and when I think of what the Savior has done and what is possible because of His Atonement, I know that I can have the courage to be a sister training leader.
I know last week I didn’t get to write a long letter but I’ll just do this week
Monday: Sister Motsi got her hair done in Chipulukusu at this tiny hair shack from some of our friends. Her hair took almost 3 hours and I was just sitting there so I asked the mom if I could help somehow. I ended up scrubbing hair out of hair curlers for an hour with this sweet 13 year old girl named Royce. My fingers were raw and scraped up afterwards but it felt sooooo good to serve!!! Sister Motsi and I have been making an extra effort to ask everyone how we can serve them and everyone turns us down. It was a blessing to find someone that was humble enough to let us serve them. This was a huge testimony to me that as important as it is to serve others, we need to allow others to serve us. Later that day we taught Brother Mwiinga who we have been teaching off an on. His daughter is Selina and is sooooo smart and is so ready to be baptized. The whole family is actually close to being ready for baptism but I think they are just waiting for the father. We have been focusing on him and he has a problem with the word of wisdom but he said this week he did better which is awesome! I fasted that his heart may be softened to the Spirit and the message of the Restoration of the Gospel and that night we had a great lesson with him. The Spirit was so strong and we invited him to be baptized! He said yes and so we asked him to pray about a date that he felt was good for him. I am so grateful for the blessings we receive as we fast and pray. The answers may not come as perfectly as they planned and we may have to look for them, but they are always there! Fast Sundays have become such a strength for me on mission and I look forward to them each month.
Tuesday: Sister Motsi and I were asked to teach at District Meeting. We each split the time and she did an excellent job on the power and authority of our callings. My companion is incredible and her knowledge and testimony of the gospel continue to amaze me each and everyday. It was funny because I spent at least an hour or more preparing for my part and I saw her prepare for maybe 20 minutes yet she did incredible! I love discovering how different people work and their strengths. I was asked to speak and teach about the High Standards of Obedience. Although at first I wasn’t excited to teach, afterwards I felt so grateful because you learn SO much when you have to study, prepare and then teach. I was nervous because I didn’t know exactly what to share because the topic was so broad and I could do anything I wanted but it ended up going really well, or at least I hope so. I talked a lot about the mission rules but more importantly I talked about forming habits of obedience now that will bless our lives. I asked Sister Mbele to share how obedience has blessed her because she only has a couple weeks left of her mission. From her testimony I decided that I wanted to be exactly obedient in all things. She said that it is easy to get discouraged about a lot of things on mission, but if you are obedient then you can always feel the assurance of the Spirit and Heavenly Father and you will have no regrets. I also feel that obedience is very personal and I hope that I will stay true to my own personal standards and not let anyone influence me to change my ways. I shared this scripture that I love….it is found in 2 Tim 4:7 I want to be obedient so at the end of mission I can say these same words “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Obedience brings blessings and through obedience we can find joy in this life and in the life to come! Tuesday we had all our appointments fall through so we went finding or tracting. We met a lot of interesting people and this one lady slammed the door in our face after saying she was Catholic and we had nothing that could help her. Another lady told us to go and read John chapter 3 and then go and be born again before shutting the door. It was funny because usually people just let us in but Sister Motsi and I just laughed it off and kept on knocking. Sister Motsi is such a champ and never gets discouraged. I love her! The problem with Zambia is that everyone goes to church. That sounds weird I know but the other day Sister Motsi said, “ Ok lets go contact every single person that we see smoking. I am tired of all these good people who go to church. I want to teach someone who really changes from a bad to a good person.” This made me laugh but it is so true!!! Everyone seriously goes to church and is very devote in their faith so we are having to be more creative and even more in tune with the Spirit so that they can see and feel that we have something that is different and can change their lives. I am grateful that this work isn’t easy and that our patience and faith is being tried. Everyday we go through what sister Stephens called in her last general conference talk “stretching opportunities” and they are making us stronger and building our faith. Being a missionary is the best!
Wednesday: We were blessed to have a member say she could come teach with us but she was late and doesn’t have a phone so we ended up waiting an hour and a half for her which was frustrating but a good test of our patience. I am so grateful that we waited though because we had a great lesson with someone we contacted last week, Brother Mwansa. The rest of the day was finding again. That day I learned that we may not be baptizing, or even establishing progressing investigators but we are planting seeds. We are doing what the Lord has asked of us and that is all that matters. Sister Andria said,” for every 100 people you contact, you get 1 investigator. But if you contact 0 you get 0. And those 100 contacts are WORTH that 1 investigator.” It is easy to get disappointed if you look for numbers for success. I am grateful for the joy that I felt on Wednesday even by just bearing a short testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel at people’s doorsteps. We were able to teach this hilarious lady named Pauline who kept telling us we needed to go teach her daughter. A lot of people want us to teach their family and tell us how much our church will help their children but they don’t want it for themselves. We have been trying to be more bold though and we ended up inviting Pauline to be baptized when she comes to know that this is the true church and that the priesthood has been restored again through a prophet. She accepted and so hopefully we can continue to meet with her and help her progress. She is super happy and said we are welcome to come over any day! Her birthday was on Saturday so we made her peanut butter cookies.
Thursday: This is the day we do weekly planning which is long and hard but we were guided by the Spirit even more than we ever have in previous weeks. I am grateful that as we prayed for inspiration, we were able to make plans that we felt were what Heavenly Father wanted for his children here in Ndola. We couldn’t plan for a lot since we will be in Lusaka until Thursday but it was amazing to felt so guided. We also came to a couple roadblocks when we were planning what certain investigators needed and so we would stop and pray. Immediate answers to prayers came. I wish you could have been there but I don’t think I have ever received an answer that fast. Ok I actually probably have but that was still really cool. We went and taught Lily, a less active who stays in Pamodzi, she is the rapper. We read with her the talk “ The music of the gospel” or whatever it is called and she loved it! We left with her the next talk which is “Latter-day Saints keep on trying” and then on Sunday in Relief Society she quoted something from that talk. It was incredible to see that someone actually kept a commitment we left with them and to see Lily progress and feel that joy again that comes from the gospel. She even brought friends the past two weeks to church! That afternoon we had to stop by a tailor that Sister Motsi left her skirt with and I had my first Bible bashing experience. It was awful!!! He was just going from verse to verse to try to show me that Heavenly Father, Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one. I just kept silence but not going to lie, I was kinda angry inside. I was so happy when we left the shop but we didn’t leave quick enough for him to tell me,” now go preach to people what I have taught you.” Haha we ended up just walking away laughing but man that was an experience! My greatest success of the day was getting a man to sell me some clothespins down from 15 kwacha to 5 kwacha!!! Sister Motsi was so surprised and so was I!!! Oh also we got to sit in the front seat of the bus which has been my dream since seeing the buses!!! It was such a good day.
Friday: The blessing of the day was when I realized I was saying things from Preach My Gospel that I have been studying but have never said before. I learned how important our study is and that the promise is real. If we study by the Spirit, the Spirit will give us in the very hour what to say. We met with Duane who we have been teaching since I have been here but he isn’t progressing. He said he knows the church is true but then he says he doesn’t want to get baptized or go to church so he is a little tricky but we have been bring a member to teach with us, Brother Tolle  (He is super amazing and is Elders Quorum president and served his mission in south Africa) and I think it has been helping. Sister Motsi and I have been praying how to teach him better though so that we may help him progress. It is crazy how you can prepare a lesson, teach it well, bear powerful testimony, yet they still don’t understand or accept. I am grateful for the challenge though and hope that as we continue trying that his heart may be softened. I can’t remember much about this day but I am sure it was wonderful!

Saturday: Another great day full of contacting!! We almost got bit by a HUGE dog, we got asked, “What?? Do you think you know more than Catholics?”, the only person who let us into their home was a Hindu woman, we contacted three Muslims, gave cookies to a Pentecostal, and bought ice cream for a Buddhist. I have loved being able to meet so many people from different walks of life! I have learned so many things and am grateful for this opportunity. My favorite thing was buying ice cream for Dorien. We contacted Dorien and although she said she was not interested in our message at all ended up talking to us for half an hour and kept saying how much she admired us young people. When we went to recontact her she said she wasn’t feeling well because she had a tooth removed. Of course my first thought was ice cream so we offered to go buy her ice cream and surprisingly she said yes. So we went to the store and got some for her and Sister Motsi was so confused because she said she thought that would make it worse. Don’t worry…I reassured her that ice cream fixes everything. It was really cool though to serve someone with such different beliefs than us and to have the chance to show her that we truly care about her. We don’t do the things we do so we can teach her, baptize her and add numbers to our church. We are there because we know she is a daughter of God and that as witnesses of Christ, we are to share his light and love with everyone. We didn’t even get a chance to bear a testimony but I know that actions are louder than words. I am grateful we could serve someone and for the happiness we enjoyed from that small act of service. There are so many opportunities we have each day to be examples of Christ. They sometimes aren’t obvious and may take time or energy but if we strive harder to open our eyes and be more aware of the promptings of the Spirits, we will be blessed beyond imagine.
Sunday: My favorite day of every week! We went to the Mwiinga’s before church so we could walk with them but Brother Mwiinga and Sister Mwiinga and Peter and Natasha didn’t want to come. Selina came though with her neighbor Justin who we have been teaching. They both are 14 and tease each other like crazy and are so silly. They brighten my day! President Erickson was at our branch and he gave an amazing talk about how we need to strengthen our families so we can strengthen the church. And by going to church and strengthening the church we can strengthen our family. It’s a win win situation. As he talked for some reason he reminded me of Dad and I felt like it was Dad talking right to me. President Erickson started talking to us four missionaries directly saying how much he loved us and how proud he was of us and I just felt so much gratitude and love for him but especially for my own Father. I am so grateful for all the priesthood holders in my life and the example they are to me! In Sunday school we sang How firm a foundation and everyone was singing with so much enthusiasm it was great!! I thought of mom and how much she loves the words to that hymn. We visited Francis that night with two members from the branch who are both RMs. It was so great to have them because I could tell they were excellent missionaries and have such strong testimonies. It was fun to see them back in their element and I could tell they were just loving what they were doing. We gave Francis a Book of Mormon last time and although he still doesn’t know it is true he said he wants to continue learning. HE HAS A DESIRE!!! And we know that is all that we need. That even as we exercise a particle of faith, miracles happen. We were all able to bear powerful testimony of how the gospel has blessed our own individual lives.

I am so grateful to be a missionary and I love love love bearing testimony everyday. I know that Christ lives. I know that through Him we can find peace and happiness not only now, but for eternity. I know that families can be together forever. I know that we have a Prophet here on earth, Thomas S. Monson and he has been called of God. I know that heavenly Father loves me and all His children and will help us every time we ask. He hears our prayers and answers us. I love this gospel and I love this work!!!!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!

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