Monday, July 18, 2016
Well its back to just the two of us again...it was a lot harder to have Sister Newey leave than I thought but it's been great to be back full time in Ndirande! And Sister Chibase, Sister Newey's companion is so great!! She has a great enthusiasm for the work and I just love new missionaries! Makes me kind of wish I could go back and start this whole journey over again but at the same time I am so happy with what I have experienced and who I am today!
we got to church only to find out that Vanderson's baptism has been cancelled. A member of the branch passed away and so we all needed to be there for the funeral. It was a bummer but there is always next week! The funeral was really spiritual for me. Malawi has a unique culture when it comes to funerals and someday i will be able to explain it all but we sat in the home of the member and all sang for 2 1/2 hours. Our legs were cramping, not quite as bad as Dad's, and our throats were sore. But while we were sitting there, I was overwhelmed by a lot of emotions. I just felt so grateful to be there. To be here, in Malawi. I have been so loved and welcomed by everyone that we meet, its amazing. I was really touched by how much the members just allow us to be a part of their culture and to love and teach them. It really is something else to serve as a missionary in a place that is so far from home. It is sort of hard to explain and unfortunately unless you have served its hard to really know what it is like. But I am once again, humbled to be learning from so many of God's choice children. That afternoon we went and met with a family. Clifford, a 13 year old boy, joined us in the lesson to fellowship the children. We go to start the lesson and ask the father to choose someone to say the opening prayer. He has a hard time deciding so Clifford just offers to give it. He gave one of the sweetest prayers. Then he bore a powerful testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration. While walking him back to his house Clifford stops us and says, "Sisters...a suggestion?" We totally thought he was going to give us fire about not teaching something correctly or something but then he goes, "Can I join you for the lesson ?" He is the best!!! This week I had a couple of times where we were teaching with members and I felt like more than really helping the investigator, we were just preparing and teaching the member. We really don't know who we will help but as we serve, there will always be one person who is blessed.
The week was filled another adventure that's for sure! We started the week out by organizing the library at the Blantyre Chapel.
They had a termite infestation and never cleaned it out afterwards so we decided to help out!! Also there is no such thing as dumpsters here so we ended up having to take all the gross books, boxes, and papers home with us to burn. We bought some marshmallows and had a fire and this may have been the highlight of my week.....Sister Newey and I called our two night guards over and gave them a roasted marshmallow. Each of them took forever to grab it and then they both stared at it for a long time before they VERY hesitantly put it into their mouth. I wish I could have videoed their faces!!! Then they just kept repeating over and over and over, "Very sugar!! Very sugar!"was our last day in Chilomoni which was sad but I tried to not think about it. We went and visited Titus who was helping to fix a car that caught on fire and his face got burned. It was awful and I feel soooo bad for him. He was all bandaged up but I couldn't help but feel grateful that he has the gospel to help him during this difficult time in his life. I am also grateful for the power of the priesthood and the comfort that we had in knowing that all would be well as we called the branch president. Even in my studies this week I saw a reoccurring theme of trials and how they happen to all of us. It's been interesting lately to not necessarily be going through a lot of hard things myself at the moment but to have to struggle as I watch those I love (companions, investigators, members) face difficulties. It has actually strengthened my testimony even more of the Savior as I have to totally turn to Him and ask that they may be helped. I am grateful for prayer and the peace it brings.
We went to go teach Evans Namanja who comes to church a lot and has been taught for about a year and a half. He is an older man and is more well off than most Malawians. He has so many concerns and questions and is a difficult one that sometimes just wants to contend. We have been trying to see him for a couple of weeks but this week we were finally able to teach him. We felt like rather than trying to resolve all his questions, we should focus on teaching him about the Holy Ghost since that is the only way he will know the truth and be converted. The lesson went amazing!! The spirit was SO strong and he really opened up to us and we were able to discern what his real need is. I am excited for him and have really come to love the more difficult lessons that we have missionaries. I love how aware of the Spirit you have to be and how much you have to work to know what to say or ask. He has a long ways to go but I was really grateful for the growth we saw in him this week. After seeing him, we sort of had a bummer of a day. It seemed like everything went wrong....a member referral that we were so pumped about didn't speak any English. Beston, an investigator who was on date is moving to the village for 3 months. Regina is also moving to Lilongwe for 3 or 4 months. The Felliums are having some family issues AGAIN and he no longer wants to meet with us. It was a long day but I was just grateful for a companion who keeps me smiling and positive. And make the next day soooooo much sweeter....
I mentioned in the past couple of emails about how we are trying to find families. We haven't had much success so this past week in our zone meeting we set a goal as a zone to all pray that each companionship would be directed to families. That day we went out and we found 3 new families!!!! I could hardly believe it. And one of them has a sister who is a member in Lilongwe. There is so much power in prayer. But there is so much more power when we don't just get on our knees and ask, but when we stand up on our feet and go to work. Sister Zohner and I have been coming up with a new idea to find a family each day and finally it has produced some fruits! I can't wait to see the growth in the next couple of weeks. I also learned this week how important families are to Heavenly Father.
Grace's daughter, Vidah, came home from boarding school this week and told us that the girls at school burned her Book of Mormon. I was pretty shocked to hear this as she continued to tell us how they kept calling her a devil worshiper. We then decided to read the story of Abinadi with her. The Book of Mormon is amazing. It truly helps us to find the faith and courage to live the gospel! I am so grateful for the examples we read about. The best part was at the end of the lesson Vidah says the closing prayer and expresses her gratitude for the example of Abinadi and asks that she may be like him. Touched my heart. She is such a great girl.
John Phiri....he is going to give me anxiety. We have really great lessons with him and he does so well but then we come again and he is back to drinking. He comes to church 3 weeks in a row and then doesn't come. Uhh its so hard to see him struggle with this addiction but this week when we saw him at the end of the lesson we asked if he had anything to share. He then expresses his gratitude for us and says he knows its hard, but he is thankful for the gospel and the small improvements in his life. Man being a missionary is the best!
I have been looking at Ndirande Mountain since my first day in Blantyre just dreaming about the day that I could climb to the top. Well today we did it!!! We thought it was going to take a lot longer but we ended up doing it pretty fast....we did pretty much hike just straight up but I loved every second of it. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father's creations and how they allow us to draw near unto Him.The work is sweet and I am happier than ever! The gospel is true and I love it. Thank you all for the much needed prayers and support.
Selfies with our area in the background
Funny moments of the week....
1. During zone leadership council, the closing hymn is one that none of us have ever sang before so Sister Newey and I immediately lose it...I couldn't get out a single word. I actually felt really bad but it was funny.
2. While teaching Yakison about the Word of Wisdom I ask if he has smoked that day. He says yes. Then I ask if he has any cigarettes on him, with the intention to ask him to throw them away. He immediately starts turning all his pockets inside out and turning around in circles patting himself down to prove to me that he didn't have any. I think he was upset that I thought he had some on him.....
3. During the middle of the lesson with Chris, he stops us, all panicky, and asks "WHERE IS SISTER NEWEY?!" hahah we forgot to tell him she is now in Chilomoni full time
4. We go to see the Fellium's but Brother Fellium wasn't home. I had to go to the bathroom super bad so we ask Sister Fellium to use her toilet. She asks, "Do you need to pass urine?" First of all....what missionary ever gets asked that questions? Anyways she takes us to the toilet but it is "engaged" so she takes me to another one. I go inside and there is no hole.....I start laughing really hard and peek my head up through the cracks of the shack. Sister Fellium thinks the problem is that I am too tall and i am embarrassed that they can see me so she starts telling me "Just kneel down!!!" Hahahaha oh the joys of Malawi.....
First hair cut in 13 months
Thank you Sister Newey!!!
Adventures with Chantell
This week Sister Zohner kept getting her to slap my face and she would laugh sooooooo hard. I love this little girl!!!!
she didn't get the memo....
also we don't know why our faces are red????
I FOUND A CAIRN IN MALAWI!!!!
Sister Dalton even found her way to Ndirande Mountain:)
Monday, July 11, 2016
posing with my girls
Where to even begin....
Oh also when we go emailing we park at this parking lot where there are a bunch of little kids that beg for food. It always breaks my heart and I wish we had something to give them. Two weeks ago I handed them all pass along cards with a picture of Christ and they loved it!! Last week they came running to the car saying, "Share me Jesus". I love that no matter what we do, as missionaries we are always getting to share and testify of Jesus Christ! I know that it was something so small but it really touches my heart to see these boys with the sweetest smiles all because of a picture of the Savior.
Winter is finally hitting Blantyre so its been pretty chilly and a little rainy the past week.it was raining on and off all day. It was SUPER muddy but really fun to be out preaching the gospel. Days like that just make me love mission even more!! We went to go watch the Restoration DVD with a less active and her house was super warm and we had just ate lunch so Sister Zohner and I were a little sleepy. Sister Newey was a champ....both of us though were struggling to keep our eyes open! Sister Newey starts teaching after the video and I look over at Sister Zohner and she is out! Hahahah I pulled myself together and taught after Sister Newey and then Sister Zohner was able to close the lesson but we both walked out of their so mad at each other for falling asleep. We couldn't stop laughing though because we were so tired and embarrassed! Sister Mhango though said that it brought back a lot of sweet memories for her from her baptism. While on our way to visit another less active, Sister Matale decided to take us on a short cut. It was through a little alley way and way muddy and she fell!! Sister Zohner ran over to help her up and Sister Matale is cracking up laughing saying "Who chose this way anyways?" Then we all start laughing and Sister Matale slaps Sister Zohner with a muddy hand.....thank goodness for water taps that are alll over!!! We finally got to the lesson and our feet were sooooooo gross!! We felt awful but Edward told us to not worry about it. During that lesson I was overwhelmed by the humility of him and all the people here. Here we were sitting in this small one room home on a reed mat with muddy feet and Sister Matale with a muddy skirt, and it didn't phase him one bit!! He just wanted to learn the gospel! I was also touched by the symbolism of our dirty feet and the purity and beauty of the gospel. There are things in our life that weigh us down, or worry us, or make us doubt but it doesn't matter what we have done or haven't done. The Lord takes us as we are. He doesn't care if we are muddy and wet. He doesn't care if we live in a big house or a small one. He and His atonement make it possible to be clean again. To be warm and dry and happy! I am soooo grateful that I get to walk around either the dusty or muddy streets of Malawi so that others can receive the joy of repentance and the gospel!!
Fun in the Mud
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY MALAWI!!!! I think we were the only people who actually celebrated it...hahahah we kept saying "Happy Independence Day" to everyone and they didn't get it..oh well. A few people laughed though when we told them we were wearing Red, Green and Black in honor of the special day. This week, ok I probably say this every week, but I really enjoyed teaching with the members! I continue to be so amazed by them!! We were teaching this young man named Christopher with Susan and wow....Susan's testimony was incredible!! I've been teaching with her for a long time but this was the first time where she really was bold and testified so strongly of the Restored gospel. It is amazing to see your investigators grow in their faith but it is just as great to see members change!! My favorite lesson's this past week were with Vanderson who is going to be baptized next week!!!! He is 12 and doesn't speak English but since his brother, Oscar is a recent convert, and he has been coming to church consistently he can be baptized. Oscar translates and teaches with us and it is adorable!! This week I realized that they are the same years apart as me and Jacob and it made me cry as I thought of how much my family has helped me. I watched as Oscar helped his brother to learn the gospel and I thought about my own example to Jacob. It made me want to do and become so much better as well as grow in gratitude for all my siblings. I love my family!!! Vanderson was really nervous for his interview but he passed and I wish you could have seen Oscar tell Vanderson that he will be baptized next week!!! His smile melts my heart....and this will be the first baptism that Oscar will perform...it may be my most favorite baptism. Vanderson is such a sweet boy. For the past 2 weeks I have been really nervous about teaching him since he doesn't speak English. We have been working really hard to build the church here and so I was worried that he would become less active in a few short years. Last week I knelt down before personal study to know whether or not if we should continue teaching Vanderson. It was amazing because then I went to companionship study and my companions had been thinking about the same thing and we all received the same answer. We felt that if he kept coming to church and was excited to learn then we would keep going. Well this week was a miracle!! Usually we have to go on a search to find Vanderson, he is either playing football or marbles or doing something else, but this week he would come running to learn with a huge smile on his face!! I was really touched to see the Hand of the Lord once again help us and help Vanderson. I can't wait for next week!!!
Regina is a member here and I have talked about her a lot. She has a learning disability but loves to come teaching with us! To communicate with her we talk really loud and slow and use super simple English. She teases us a bunch and is super funny and the past couple of weeks she tries to make us laugh by running away from us when we want to see her. Well we really wanted her to come teach with us so we told her we'd come pick her up at 5. She made some joke about her going to town or something but whencame around she was dressed up, scriptures in her backpack, and ready to go! Just seeing her, walking out with her crutch and a big smile brought tears to my eyes. Well we drive a little ways to the lesson and we all start getting out of the car but Regina yells "WAIT!" Startled, we all look at her and she says, "pempela." (prayer)
Regina said the sweetest prayer and the Spirit immediately filled the car. I am so grateful for her and she is such a great example to us!! The lesson went so well but the best was when Joseph prayed at the end. He says the most sincere prayers. But this time he prayed for Regina and thanked Heavenly Father for her testimony and asked that he would bless her. It was a highlight of my week for sure to hear one of our investigators praying for Regina and to see the faith that he has!!!! Mission gets better and better....
We didn't get to spend a lot of time in Chilomoni this week which was sad because will be our last day in that area but we had some great lessons with Helen and Titus!!! We showed Helen the Restoration DVD and I have never seen anyone so into it!!! It got to the part where Joseph Smith is an adult and it shows a scene of him walking next to a river boat and Helen says, "oh yeah this one, he built an ark!!" hahahahah!!! She was making the funniest comments but the best part was when it was over and she said she couldn't wait to share it with all of her friends!!! I love her enthusiasm and joy for the gospel!
I was soooooo nervous for Vanderson's interview!!! Its been cold and when its cold here...no one wants to do anything! We talked to him and Oscar about being at the church at 8 but they were still uncertain they would make it. They ended up being at the church even before our district leader was there!!! Church was incredible. It always is, I know but this Sunday was so good!!! The numbers were really low as we began sacrament meeting which is always hard for me. I was worried about it but then we sang the opening hymn and I actually turned around to look to see if miraculously a bunch of members and investigators came. I honestly think that there were angels with us yesterday. The saints were singing the best I have ever heard and the words of the hymns hit me with so much power. Joseph was confirmed and given a very sweet blessing. Then we began the sacrament hymn and right as we sang, "I know that my Redeemer lives" the young men stood up to bless the sacrament. Right then I was just hit again by the Spirit and felt a huge swell gratitude for the priesthood. I know with all my heart that this is Christ's church. I know that through the saving ordinances we really can have a life filled with joy and comfort and peace and love! I know that the Church here is so small. That our efforts are not anything spectacular. That we have a LOT to improve on but what we are doing is REAL. It is TRUE. And it is the LORD'S WORK.
I love being a missionary!!!! Life in Blantyre is bwino bwino. Sister Newey is going back to Chilomoni and will be training a new sister. Sister Zohner and I have a month left together. I am beyond grateful for what I have learned the past weeks that I have spent with two amazing missionaries. I will cherish the memories we shared and the work that we did together. It will be hard to be separated but I can't wait for what lies in store. Thank you all for your love and prayers. I can't tell you enough how much you each mean to me.
fun with rice
Sister Chirwa taught us how to shift through the rice to sort out the small pieces that they take out and use for porridge. we were really bad at it.....but it made her laugh!!!
This is where we eat lunch almost everyday. We finally got Gladys and Loveness to come and take a picture with us!!!
Dinner at the Paselis!
A little blurry but not bad for a 5 year old....
George trying to take a selfie
our heads are cut off. hahah
sister Zohner wore a hole through her last pair of shoes. Lucky for us we just stopped in our area and had this guy fix it. he gave her this high heel to stand in while she waited.