We just want to be Malawian
We finally convinced them after 20 minutes to let us draw water for them....they only let us do half a bucket and thank goodness cause even just that was so hard!!! I love these women!
This past week was a blur of a week and a lot of new changes are happening which is so great but also really hard.You would think that by now I would be used to it, but nope it doesn't get much easier. It all started with District Meeting....
Our district leader presented on "Relationship with you companion" from the missionary handbook. 90% of the time anyone is asked to review the missionary handbook in a meeting, this is the topic. I have heard it discussed so many times that I joke about it with Sister Zohner. But even though I have heard it a LOT, it really made me think about each of my companions and how much I love them. Especially with Sister Zohner leaving next week, it hit me hard. So yep I started crying at the beginning of district meeting. Then Sister Zohner presented on effective study and at the end she had us each share our favorite scripture or hymn. Then we had to tell our companion what we learned from them and their testimony. Whenever we gather as missionaries, the Spirit is really strong but that day there was a special feeling of great love in the room. One of the greatest gifts we have been given is the love from our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. As I have come to feel of this love in great abundance while serving as a missionary, I have learned how important and rewarding it is to love others just the same. There are cultural and language differences in many of my relationships that I have built here but there is always a common blessing of love. I think they should change the words to the hymn "Called to Serve" to "Called to Love."
We taught Vanderson this week and he brought a friend to the lesson!!! And he didn't even wait for us to ask him to say the opening prayer. Usually we ask him and he gets shy and points to someone else to say it but today he asked if he could! His confirmationwas really sweet and it was a tender mercy to witness another one of God's children become a member of the Church and receive the Holy Ghost.
Evans Namanja....well we dropped him. Last week we had such a great lesson but this week he was just all over the place and didn't want to learn. He was asking all these weird questions and jumping all over the place and making up all these weird scenarios. I was really trying to listen to the Spirit to know if we should continue seeing him and right after the opening prayer, I felt the impression that this was our last lesson. It was sad...but I am grateful for simple promptings that help us to use our time wisely and to find those who are prepared to hear and receive the gospel.
I went on exchanges with Sister Chibase (the new sister from South Africa) and is was so great! She has a big heart and I learned so much from her!!! We saw this new investigator named Connie who we had given a Book of Mormon to last week and she read all the way until 1 Nephi 8!!! I know that doesn't seem like a lot but this hardly ever happens!!! She still has a lot of doubts and questions but I know that there is power in reading the Book of Mormon. I have felt it in my life, especially this past week as I was able to finish it. President Kupu wants it to be a focus of our mission which is really interesting because about a month or so ago I felt like my study wasn't quite as effective as it should be. I felt like I needed to make the Book of Mormon a bigger part of my study and to feast upon its words. Funny how that all works out? Anyways it was exciting to be with Connie and explain and testify to her something that has changed my life so much! We also were able to see Brother Phiri together and he was amazing!! He was happier than I have ever seen him and you physically can see changes in him...but he didn't come to church:( I am nervous but I know that someday he will get where he wants and needs to be.
Joseph is great as ever!! We brought two members with us to reteach him about the Book of Mormon and the importance of daily reading. It may have been my most favorite lesson of the week. First of all we asked Joseph how the Book of Mormon has blessed his life. He gave the most sincere and powerful testimony. Then Maybe, 17 years old, bore another powerful testimony about how she was so nervous for school exams but she read from the Book of Mormon and felt peace and now she reads each day to prepare for her mission. Then Praise, 19 years old and working on his mission papers, also shared how much it has blessed him. After that lesson I felt like running around our area handing out copies of the Book of Mormon left and right!
We had probably the worst lesson in either of our companionship's together. It was with a lady who contacted us on the street. She spoke English and was wearing nice shoes, so we were excited! We get into the lesson and we brought a member. We sat down on the reed mat on the floor of her home and the member was sitting in the most awkward position with his back to us....hahahhahah we were dying. Then I ask her to give an opening prayer and she just looks at me and says "I pray Islam." I look at Sister Zohner and she mouths "She is a Muslim." Ok no worries...we have taught Muslims before but we always have to be careful to respect their beliefs. Well long story short the members decides to give the entire first lesson and then repeats EVERYTHING in Chichewa. Oh and mid lesson two ladies walk in because Stella, the lady we were teaching, is the only person with electricity on the street and they need to blow dry her hair. So the member starts speaking really loud to be heard.........hahah it was awful. But right after that we had a really good lesson with a member about repentance, one of my most favorite lessons to teach. It made me really grateful for the Savior and His Atonement and the blessing of being forgiven in my own life. That feeling is one of the greatest in the world and it was amazing to be able to help someone else learn that they have experience the same.
And then there were two...
Sometimes your investigators just get up and walk out of the house and you are left alone.......
About a month ago we met with the District Relief Society President and helped her plan Blantyre's first ever district relief society activity andit happened!!! It was quite the activity...I'll probably ever experience anything like it again. It started out with the district president speaking about the Relief Society's role in funerals. He went on for almost an hour...in the middle of it, Sister Newey leans over and says, "When did you ever think you would be sitting in a church in Malawi, Africa talking about what songs are appropriate to sing at funerals?" Then the district Relief Society President, Sister Ella, got up and wanted to discuss the strengths and weakness the women have in our branches and district. Well they must have zoned out the strengths part because they just started ranting off weakness after weakness. It was really sad! The four of us sisters tried to pull it together and help them to build love and unity but it didn't work out so well. At the end though we got them to have a dance competition and they were all having fun so it was worth it!!! I did feel a special spirit in the room as we were all gathered together. I love to be a part of this great organization of women around the world!
Blantyre District Relief Society Activity
Another highlight from the week was , as always. I don't know if I will ever be able to express how much I love the Sabbath. What really touched me this past week was sitting in the meetinghouse singing the hymns. Sometimes it is difficult for us, or we don't make time to express to our Heavenly Father our love and faith we have. But I am so grateful that once a week we get to gather together and worship Him through songs. It was extra special to see the members sing and to feel the power of their testimonies. I sang a little bit louder this week as I thought of how it really is a prayer unto Him, and also maybe because the branch gets a little confused on the tune of some of the hymns:) Aggie came to church!!!! She is a mother that we met a couple weeks ago who has a sister in Lilongwe who is a member. It was a miracle she came and we had a great lesson with her that evening. She asked a lot of questions that I honestly did not have an answer for. It was scary to look at her and just say, "I don't know." But then I remembered the things that I do know and I was so grateful for the opportunity that she gave me to bare my testimony of the Savior and His restored gospel.
So this week we are having a Mission Leadership Council in Lusaka. I'm riding on a bus today to Lilongwe and then I'll flight out with the other sisters and elders. I am really really really excited to learn from President and Sister Kupu and to be able to know where I can improve in my missionary work as well as help the other sisters to. We will fly back to Blantyre so we will be out of the area for a long time which is hard. And the other bummer...Sister Zohner isn't coming with me! Since she is going home it wouldn't make sense to have her come. Its been really hard for us the past couple of days though. Last night she was really quiet in our last lesson and the entire car ride home. We closed our day and week but then we knelt down to say the closing prayer and the whole prayer I could tell she was on the verge of tears (which by the way Sister Zohner doesn't cry). Then I started crying and ughhhhhh.....but all is well!!! I am beyond grateful for our friendship and happy that it doesn't end with mission!! I still don't know who my companion will be once Sister Zohner leaves but I'll hopefully find out in Lusaka.
I still love Malawi. I still love being a missionary. And I still have the worlds best family.
our new favorite snack!
Indian Food in Malawi!!!
Twinning is Winning
a member back in the Belt gave us these shirts and we finally remembered to take a picture in them.
This is Maybe. She is the daughter of the Chief of Makata (the township next to our area). In the background is the council members for the chief.
Drawing in the dirt.