Monday, November 2, 2015

News from Ndola- November 2, 2015

To my most favorite family ever!!!
Soooooo many amazing things to tell you about this week. My heart was so full this morning as I felt so much joy and gratitude to be a part of this incredible work. I know I have said this a million times but I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! Time is going way to fast!

Tuesday: District Meeting was incredible. I once again felt so inspired as we sat in this tiny church building with the 8 of us missionaries from all around the world. DRC, London, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, USA, and Kenya all united in one cause and carrying forth the gospel to the people here in Zambia. Those of you who were missionaries may recall that feeling but it will be something that I always will cherish. My district leader informed us that his brother passed away a couple weeks ago. I had no idea as he has continued to press forward and do his usual district leader responsibilities. As I heard this I began to cry as I felt so much love and gratitude for this incredible missionary. He has not let this trial discourage him or keep him from continuing to work hard for this great cause. He truly has an eternal perspective and has put his trust in God. I am so inspired by Elder Madilu and since that day, all my small and pathetic trials that I used to think were so hard have become easier. Sometimes Heavenly Father allows challenges into our life so that we may grow but sometimes we must struggle so that we can lift and change others. I wish that I could take away his pain and sorrow but I also am grateful for how close as missionaries we are to the Savior  because I know that only he can heal us. Only the Savior is the source of true peace and comfort. Elder Madilu is a champ and has changed my outlook of mission and life. Once again I know that Heavenly Father sent me to this mission so I could learn from not only the experiences I have but from all the people I am blessed to meet, serve, love, and especially the other missionaries. We had a lesson that day with Freda and Elizabeth (Freda’s husband and Elizabeth’s son has been sick for about 2 months now with low blood or something) and we have been contemplating whether we should be teaching them. As we sat down in that lesson following that powerful district meeting, I felt so strongly that they need the gospel now more than ever. I began with my testimony that we thought of not teaching them with everything they have going on but how we know the gospel can help them. I have never felt so strongly of the healing and enabling power the Atonement of Jesus Christ brings and how I wanted them to feel this exact same way. Unfortunately we can only do our best, testify and teach by the spirit and then patiently wait for them to choose to partake of what we have to offer. It really breaks my heart when our investigators can’t see how important and vital the message we share is but this week I really tried to listen to the promptings of the Spirit and share my testimony and then trust in the Lord. This is hard though to not get discouraged! We had another crazy lesson with Chad, I think I talked about him last week, but once again his friend and he just attacked us. This week there were insults though and swear words and everything you can imagine. The worst part was when I was told that because I’m white people listen to me and are baptized because they think I will take them to America and they will be blessed with riches. But were they there when Olivia shared her testimony after her baptism? Have they seen Sister Chalwe come to church every single week with her 3 kids and yet not have enough to eat? Have they seen Selina walk a couple miles to church each week carrying her little brother all alone and never once get anything? Never has my testimony of the power and authority of my calling and the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ burned so strongly in my heart. I know that the message I share and all the missionaries around the world does indeed enrich lives. It brings joy, peace, comfort, confidence, happiness, everything you need in this life and it is all because of the love of Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. Despite the persecution, I am so so grateful to wake up each day, put on my name tag, and proclaim this glorious gospel! I am so humbled by the lives I have seen changed by the gospel and especially how my own life has been changed. Tuesday night I came home with the words of Paul singing in my heart, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”

Wednesday: I just want to thank you all once again for all the prayers and support. The past couple of days I was really praying to strengthen our companionship and it was such a great day! Thank you for all your prayers not just in my behalf but my companions and all the missionaries in the world. It helps! Claytis is on date for November 15th but then he due to a funeral he couldn’t come to church on Sunday so hopefully he will still be able to prepare for that date but if not all is well! The highlight of my day was when we asked Sister Mwiinga about Selina getting baptized and she said that she could!!!!!! She said, “Selina is ready and has been ready for a long time.” We have been hesitant to invite Selina to be baptized because we really wanted her to have the support of the family but as I have pondered and prayed over this, I really feel that this will be a great example for her family. Maybe this is just what they need to help them make this same covenant with Heavenly Father. We had a member call us that evening asking us to come visit her. She told us about all these trials she was going through and how much she has had to help her family in their trials. I felt so humbled that she would trust us enough to call us and also have the faith that we could help her. I love how many opportunities I have each day to share the love and comfort that the gospel brings but it was very special as she reached out to us and servants of the Lord. We shared with her Moroni 9:25, I honestly don’t remember this scripture but I was directed to it and has now become one of my favorites! It was such a tender moment to read with this member that I have grown to love so much the past four months that as we are “faithful in Christ…may Christ lift thee up.” I also was reminded during this visit how as we help others even if it seems too hard to bear, it is hidden blessings that give us opportunities to live our part of the baptismal covenant which then in return, allows us to receive blessings from our Father in Heaven. I am grateful that Sister Motsi and I could be the hands of the Lord that day as we comforted one of His children in Ndola.

Thursday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!! My thoughts were found on you a lot this day and how grateful I am for such a great family. We did service as a district at Brother Nathan Nonde’s work. They have a big garden in the back so they had us dig holes in preparation for them to plant cabbage seeds. We got to use these sweet African hoes and it actually was hard work and guess what…I loved it so so much!!! As crazy as Brooklyn and Jacob may think this sounds, I miss yard work! It felt good to work hard and sweat and be sore the next day and have blisters. It was so awesome! It was starting to get hard for the sisters and so to make it fun I told them to think of all those people who have rejected or persecuted us and dig in honor of them. Hahaha you should have seen how hard Sister Motsi was throwing that hoe! We couldn’t stop laughing as we thought back to all the doors slammed in our faces and funny comments we have had over the past 4 or so months. We baked a cake for the Elders and gave some to the workers. (I baked 3 cakes and cookies bars this past week….now people think it’s a usual thing and its not good because they all are asking for some! But I enjoy sharing this with others. Small acts of service go a long way). We got to see the Sambe family which was so great because we haven’t seen them in awhile. Brother Sambe was there and he is hilarious!! He asks super funny questions and his wife always has a perfect answer but he never lets her answer. He wants us to answer because he thinks we know better. It's actually really humbling how many of the people we met put so much trust in us. It is amazing to be in a home and even though the lesson may have not gone perfect, when we ask them to close in prayer, they give thanks for us and recognize us as sent from God. Anyways we had left them with 1 Nephi 8 and Sister Sambe explained Lehi’s dream perfectly and with so much detail! I know with all my heart that someday she will accept the gospel. She is just awesome and I really want to figure out what is stopping her. They got their car back from the shop so I really think that they will come to church! This week they were going to Lusaka but next week! We were late to every appointment today because the service went long but everyone was home! It was such a miracle and I just loved going from one appointment to the next. Sometimes I feel like I have been here too long and this area isn’t progressing but this day I felt so blessed to have so many lessons and to be able to help God’s children in so many different ways. We visited a husband and wife, the Simanwe’s and their uncle, a less active single parent, and a less active father. We are so blessed in Ndola!!

Friday: We went to help Sister Kapato organize and clean her house but she wasn’t home. She had left instructions with her daughter for us to clean up all of President Kapato’s books from his office (he recently retired and all of his stuff is now in their house and its crazy!!). But I guess President Kapato told his daughther to not let us touch anything! Hahah it made me think of dad. We tried to ask if we could do something else but Natasha just said that instead we would eat lunch. Haha they tricked us! We had nshima with kapenta (tiny dried fish that they fry) and it wasn’t so bad! Not everyday you get to eat something with eyeballs for lunch! We went back to Brother Nonde’s work place to contact some people who were interested in the church following our service and the main worker who helped us was so funny! He told us that when we showed up he was so worried but then was so impressed by the job we did and wants us to come back again! Anyways I know that as we strive to serve and give of ourselves we share the light of Christ. I was reminded of the talk by President Monson and hope that we all will strive to be an example wherever we go!

Saturday: We went to a baptism for the sisters and it was amazing! Daisy was baptized and when she gave her testimony is was so sweet. She couldn’t stop saying how excited she is to start a new life and she was so incredibly happy! I am so excited for this new addition to our branch! The work is moving forward in Ndola. Everyone cancelled that day…these funerals and weddings are killing me…..seriously everyday we have someone going to a funeral and funerals in Africa are a BIG deal. BUT we went to Chifubu and had a lesson with a referral that Olivia had given us. Her name is Ndanji and is 17 years old. I am excited to continue teaching her but we also were able to teach her older sister and grandma….I guess I’ll keep you updated but for now we had a good first lesson. That evening we went to Martha, a member of the branch who stays REALLY far away to help serve her. She has this cute little boy named Jamie and he smiles every time I look at him. I got to play with him for about half an hour while they were trying to fix the iron for us to use and man I miss my nieces and nephews. Give them big hugs for me!

Sunday: My most favorite day of the week by far!!! I woke up just so happy and I don’t really have an explanation why other than the fact that life is sooooo good! Sundays have always been special to me and especially so since being a missionary but that day was just extra special! With all the emphasis on Sabbath day recently from the church, I have noticed a difference more than ever how I feel on Sundays. It has become a delight to me and been a great way for me to build the strength and faith I need for the upcoming week. I especially love fast Sundays and have felt so grateful for the answers, inspiration, comfort and strength I have received from fasting. Church was great and the testimonies were fantastic! I wish I could record them and send them to you! The members here inspire me. The most touching testimony was that of Sister Mercy. We had 5 of our investigators call Saturday night or Sunday morning telling us they weren’t coming to church. I was discouraged and felt that our area wasn’t progressing but then Mercy bore a testimony and shared how much the sister missionaries have helped build her faith. We work with her a lot (she sent mom a message on facebook but said you didn’t reply???) and she shared how it has really helped her and even given her the courage to share the gospel with her family members. She is the only member in her home and is so strong. Her words touched my heart as I was reminded that I am doing a good work here. People do appreciate us and that there are miracles all around. Sometimes I get a little too caught up in the disappointments and fail to see the good. Although the people that I really really hoped would be at church and promised they would be there didn’t come, we had 2 random, new investigators come and we had 4 less actives there! This week I learned how true it is that we cannot measure our success as missionaries or even in life on numbers. Our success is measured by our individual commitment. Heavenly Father knows the desires and intents of our hearts. He sees our work and no effort is wasted in His eyes. I am grateful that Mercy bore her testimony because it really was what I needed to hear. We may never know who our testimony will help so don’t ever be afraid to share it! I am lucky to be here and to have multiple opportunities to share my testimony every day. I have discovered the more and more I share it, the stronger and stronger it grows. But I still have sooooooooo much to learn and as the weeks are flying by I become more and more nervous that I won’t be able to accomplish all that I need to and learn all that I should! But for now I will just keep on keepin' on. That evening we traveled to Luanshya to watch the women’s session with all the sisters in our zone. I LOVED LOVED LOVED watching it with these sisters who I have come to love so much. They all have different talents and strengths and are such great examples to me. Sister Zohner is from Boise so it was really fun to talk with her and get to know her better since she is new to the zone. We watched the women’s session in relief society earlier that day but there was a special feeling watching with the other sister missionaries. I LOVED all the talks!! Those women are incredible! I love how each one of them made living the gospel so simple. Really it is just praying, reading the scriptures, partaking the sacrament, going to the temple, and following the prophet. I received a lot of answers and left feeling so happy to be a part of not only this great organization of women but of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There is soooo much more I wish I could say and so many things I am grateful for this week! I love my family. I love the Savior. I love the scriptures. I love the prophet and apostles. I love being able to communicate with my Father in heaven each day. I love the sun. I love the trees. I love Zambia. And last but not least, I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!

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