Monday, December 29, 2014

Pepani unto!!  (Sorry people) I didn't have time to write last week but i will make this one good.
Last week was good and hard. Tuesday, the 16th, was a roller coaster of emotions. After district meeting everyone we had planned to see canceled on us and so for the rest of the day we tracted. Knocking on gates all day in one of the hottest day on mission. And no one was letting us in. Literally knocked on maybe 30 gates all day. I honestly don't know how I had made it through that day, my heart was continually praying for strength to make it one more door. With an hour to go before we went home, we knocked on one more gate, and miracle the woman let us in. And she offered a nice cool drink. And then the real miracle of the day, we started teaching the restoration, and they were so into it. Man the spirit was amazing. Her daughter joined us and during the lesson she was saying how church doesn't save you but your relationship does. And also that today was the first time she prayed in 2 months. Coincidence we show up at her house, I think NOT. I can't remember everything that was said but man you could just tell that we were suppose to meet this family. And as the daughter drove us home she said "I guess I've never thought about doing that, praying to know which church I should go to. I need to do that" Amazing. Sadly we haven't been able to see them yet because they were gone for Christmas, but we can't wait for them to come back!
We have 2 investigators on date for Jan 18, and I am pretty sure they will both make it. Br Beeto, and Isaiah Banda from Mtsiliza, the village of our area. It is super frustrating though cause we get no one baptized from area 47, the rich area and that is what will help establish the church here. We are suppose to focus our attention on the rich area, but our progressing investigators will come from the poor area. Super frustrating. Isaiah Banda is another miracle. He randomly shows up to church after being contacted by some elders 1-2 years ago. And after just the first Sunday, he knows this where he is suppose to be.
The mission Christmas party was so great! All the Lilongwe missionaries traveled down to Blantyre. We had a Christmas white elephant gift exchange, watched the Christmas Carol and ate a really good meal!
The next morning we had a devotion about the Sacrament, and how important this ordinance is. It was an amazing experience the elders blessed and passed the Sacrament in the chapel to remember him. The Sacrament is truly an amazing thing we get to partake of every week. That as we partake worthily we can be clean once again, and we are promised the spirit. Read the two talks that were given in the last general conference about the sacrament. They are amazing! By Elder Hamula and a Sister but I can't remember her name.
Christmas was good. Nothing too different from other mission days.
Saturday was one of my favorite days on my mission. We spent our day in Mtsiliza. At around 2:30 we saw the scary clouds rolling in and the start sprinkling. And then all of a sudden it was like Satan was being released.  We ran into the Chimtengo's (members) home while we watched the rain poured, strong wind and a big lighting storm right outside their home. It was crazy. After it finally stopped, we had to go. As we were walking to the sister's car, the streets (all dirt streets), were completely filled with water. At one point we we had to walk in muddy water as high as my mid calf. Haven't seen anything like that before. And then we headed to the Backman's for a Christmas dinner for all the missionaries in Lilongwe. Br Backman is from Provo and Sis Backman is from Ghana and now they live here in Malawi. Anyways they feed us a huge feast. Huge. And their were ribs. I was in heaven. Man I miss ribs so much! But they are so nice to make us this huge meal.
Yesterday, Sunday was another day of miracles. After Church we went to this one family's home that we were about to drop. But the night before they read the Book of Mormon as a family. Like WHAT.  We were so happy! The dad had a lot of questions about the phrase "this is the most correct book on earth" and how we put this higher than the Bible. But man, they read and he said they will continue to read!
And then we went to Nathan's  (a member) home. We had taught their family before but nothing was resulting from it. So we just decided to stop trying and continue to teach Nathan since he is a Recent Convert. And our plan was just to read the BOM with him. And then randomly Amai (mom) goes, what is so great about this Book of Mormon anyways. So we talk about it and how it has blessed our lives, testify of everything. And then she says "Nathan I want to read then every night. I want to know more about it. Will you help me" Crazy. When you stop teaching her is when she gets interested.  Miracles.

Monday, December 15, 2014

It has been a great week!!! Worked hard, and was able to see the little miracles all throughout the week.  I can't remember a lot that happened but yesterday we had 4 great investigators come to church. One is Lenard, and we didn't even see him this week, but Saturday night I was telling Sister Falco to call Lenard and remind him of church. And then miracle! He said to meet at the market and walk to church together! Amazing.
Then we get to church like at 8:45 and their sitting the "chapel" is another investigator Br Bitto. There he is sitting all alone, because he was the first person to show up to church. Even before the other missionaries!
Lastly is James who had a baptismal date. Well I have never met James, because they were giving him a break, but randomly he came. I can just tell that we were blessed for the hard work we are doing in our area. It is still hard to define the line, between people having their agency, and doing all you can for their progression. 
Lilongwe is an amazing place, with amazing people. Today Sister Orr, a sister I was living with, was going home. And seeing her go home and saying goodbye, makes me terrified for that in 11 months. I know its a long ways away, but I will be just like her, in that I will be terrified to go home, and so sad to say goodbye to everyone I love. Its hard to imagine life not in mission.
I do have a request to all the RM's out there. I want to hear stories about your missions. Whether they be about area, companions, miracles, hard times, funny times, whatever. I just want to hear stories about your experience! Missions are amazing!
Love you all! Have a good Christmas!
Sister Rasband

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thought I'd include a little of President Erickson's letter he sent to the missionaries about the growth in the area:

We have an application being reviewed for a new stake in Lusaka. I expect this will be announced when we know who will be coming to create the stake (perhaps one of the Twelve). We have an application in to create a Lilongwe district and I expect an additional branch there in the next few months. Blantyre continues to grow and we expect to create new branches there soon.
As a mission, we are growing the number of new converts with approximately 12-14 baptisms per week. That's somewhere around 650-700 people per year or a a good size district each year. Malawi is the fastest growing country in the Africa Southeast Area.

Fun to hear the progress!

Another great week in beautiful Lilongwe! I am continuing to love this place and loving the people, and I am looking forward to getting to know the people better, the area, and everything around it.
This 3-some isn’t as bad some people complain about 3-somes. We all teach very well in unity but I don’t like it when we are contacting though because it does feel very overwhelming. But Sister Falco will be leaving next Monday to a different area in Lilongwe, so I happy we will still be living with her.  We have had a lot of fun together!  We are so alike it is nice and always laughing and working hard. Those two things put together honestly make mission so great! I have learned so much from her!  Starting this week, I will finish training Sister Muthengi, who Sister Falco has been training. I am terrified about it. I don’t know how to train! But I just pray I will do what Heavenly Father  wants me to do and lead by example, cause I don’t know how to tell someone what to do or what they need to work on.
Wednesday we had exchanges so Sister Falco and I went with Sister Quaye (my MTC companion) in her area. It was so fun all of us being together again mainly, because we all saw what we were like in the MTC and how much each of us have grown, and how we have become better teachers and missionaries. Amazing how  much we have all grown in 6 months. I am so grateful to have Sister Quaye and Sister Falco as my STLs. They are such great fun, happy, obedient missionaries and I learn a lot from both of them.
Saturday we had the opportunity to have Elder Mdleshe ( I don’t know if that is right) from the Seventy meet with all the adult members in Lilongwe.  We spent 2 hours talking and answering questions about 3 talks they gave to each of the members.We actually did this in Blantyre about 1 month ago too so I got to have it twice! And Elder Mdleshe even remembered me.  #Honored. But they talk a lot about the gospel culture vs the African Culture. Mainly about Lobola (bride price) and how that goes against the gospel culture. But the subject then got on to about how we still need money to have weddings and get married. Then Sister Stones, a senior couple here who is like 4 feet tall, gets up and starts saying You don’t need money to get married. She said “If you say you need money before you can get married, Well…. THAT’S BULL”.  Everyone just died. President and Sister Erickson were finished and so was Elder Mdleche. Enough said!
We also had Zone Conf. and talked about how we should expect miracles in our mission life. But also that we need to notice them. Miracles are around us all the time.  We should pray to notice them. As always I loved Zone Conf.
The next day, Sunday, Sister Thomas who was baptized last week, got the gift of the Holy Ghost. She is so cute. Even though we can’t communicate I love how she always comes to church by herself on time and  is so happy.
Sunday we were stuck having no idea what to do, no one to teach, and also starving. But it was a day full of Miracles. Finding many Sisters who are interested in the gospel, being happy, and my favorite, as we were getting a kabadza to go home (a bicycle with a cushy seat on the back for us to sit on), I get on, and half way home I noticed my kabadza master had a Seattle Seahawks Shirt on. Miracle. And I knew that meant they won today.
Anyways Love you all!  Enjoy the cold! I'm dying in the heat. Still. 
Pictures are of the adult meeting with Elder Mdleshe (Sister Rasband and Falco are easy to spot)  and Zone conference.



Monday, December 1, 2014

 Relief Society Sisters in Blantyre


 Sister's retreat in Blantyre
 Companions Sister Rasband and Sister Komiha
Lilongwe!! Lilongwe is like Hawaii compared to Blantyre! It is so nice! Good places to shop, eat, my flat is so nice, and there are like no mosquitoes! It was definitely hard to leave Blantyre and say goodbye. Mainly to Anita, Janet and Ethel. I love those girls so much and still am sad that I didn't see them get baptized!
Wednesday morning I took a 5 hour bus to Lilongwe that turned into 6 hours because the bus broke down and we had to wait for another bus to come and get us 2 hours into the drive. 
Met my 2 new companions and love them! It is so different being with an Azungu as a companion, Sister Falco, but I Love it!! And Sister Muthengi is great as well. She is from Kenya and has been out on mission for 2 months.
My area is very different from last area.
One day a week we go to a place called Msiliza which is a lot like my last area, poor. And the rest of our area is super rich! We tract on houses 2-3 times as big as my house. Its crazy!
Anyways loving Lilongwe! Thanks for all you do!

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Good Morning Sister Rasband.  How are you?" "So we are calling you concerning transfers" .... my heart starts beating and hands shaking. "The Lord has called you to serve in the Lilongwe Zone"
Yup. Leaving my home of Blantyre/Zingwangwa headed to Lilongwe, Malawi. Just earlier this week Sister Griffus and I were talking about how we want to serve in Lusaka and Copperbelt but we have absolutely NO desire to serve in Lilongwe. But its okay... I'll go wherever the Lord wants me to go. All  I know is that in Lilongwe they don't use minibus for transport but instead stradding a bike while someone is peddling for you. So I got that to look forward to...
I will be companions with Sister Falco (A sister from my MTC group!) and Sister Muthengi. But I think we will only be in a threesome for a couple weeks.
The hardest part of this all is that this upcoming Sunday we were suppose to have a baptism for 3 people! Ethel, Janet, and Enita. These three have truly become my best friends as we have been teaching them and I  can't believe I won't see them get baptized!
This last week has been great though! We did a service project with the Chikapas (our branch president) but moving bricks AGAIN.  We had a FHE with the Tsoka (Enita and Janet, and Enita's 2 children) Family and played the game with a thimble of Water and they loved it! But it just seems like everyday this week we have either been at Ethels or Enita/Janet's home just preparing them for their baptism. And now I don't even get to see it... Its okay.
Well  I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving! Watch all the Football for me (#gohawks) and eat as much sweet potatoes as possible. I love you all!!


Monday, November 10, 2014

“It feels like the perfect day to go knock on every gate, toss a couple of bricks huh huh.” Name the song my Americans. Tribute to this woman for having another album.
But truly I feel like all this week I have knocked on gates and tossed 500 bricks. But its okay cause my arms are arms of steal now.
Tuesday we had a lesson with this guy named Andy. He is super smart and taking the GRE so he can get his masters in economics in USA. But he started off asking 2 questions. I can’t remember the first but then asked “So if someone you are teaching doesn’t want to hear about your church anymore, how do you handle that” We explain that we can’t do anything that’s there will if they want to see us. But then the question came back to him why he asked that. And he goes on to say he agrees with everything we are teaching, nothing is weird, he likes the Book of Mormon, but just isn’t interested. He promised us he would come to church on Sunday, but “after that I would rather that we stop meeting”. We left with our testimony and asked him to simply pray to know if what we are sharing with him is true. He said he won’t do that because he doesn’t see the point. He knows what he believes in is 100% and so if he asks and the answer is yes, he won’t do anything about it. Sooo yup. He came to church, he said he really liked it, but… still doesn’t want to meet with us.
Wednesday we took the whole day doing service with the district for the President of the branch. They are building a new home so we had the opportunity of moving 500 bricks. We first had to get the bricks and take them all down to her house. That took about 2 hours. Then we all stood in a line and tossed the bricks to each other and put them in little squares right next to the house. The next morning I couldn’t move my back or extend my arms. I was soo sore! And these bricks aren’t like American bricks OK? They weigh like 3xs as much as normal bricks. But it was so fun to do this as a district, before 2 of the missionaries left us this past transfer. We were SO sad to see them go!
Ethel is doing great. Continuing to progress! We talked to her mom this week about having the support of the father for her to baptized. She said she will talk to him. Her mom then told us how grateful she is for us because the gospel is changing her life! She use to run away from us when we first started coming but her father would always say “Come in, Ethel is here!” as Ethel is trying to hide in her room. But before we started teaching her she would run away from home, smoked, never helped around the house, and was pregnant. But she has seen the changes since we have been coming and even as missionaries we can see the light radiating from her! THIS GOSPEL CHANGES LIFE'S. I am so grateful to be apart of this work.
Anita is continuing to do amazing. This morning we taught her little sister, Janet, and put her on date for baptism the same day.  Even Janet has been coming to church twice now and we are already starting to see how the gospel is changing her life too! As Anita told us yesterday “She is a naughty teenage girl.”
Love you all so much! Grateful for the example and love you have always set for me!



Monday, November 3, 2014

What a grrreeat week it has been!! Investigators are progressing and so excited to be apart of this great community and love that the members of the church bring! I will just tell you a little about 3 of our investigators.
Sister Ethel
She is so great, and was suppose to baptized on 16 of November but because of branch problems she will on 30th of November. :( but she has such a great testimony and is making a lot of changes in her life. We are still working with her family though. Last week she told us how her father won't allow her to come to church, but this week it is now that she can come to church has long as she goes to SDA on Saturday! Its a progresses! She is 19 years old so she doesn't need the permission from her parents to be baptized, but it is something me and my companion really have been wanting and praying for. So maybe the change to the 30th is for the best to get her family's support.
Anita and her family!
We meet her through Ethel. She is so great. She hasn't missed church yet and even came to the women's activity in Blantyre on Saturday. She is making a lot of friends, and even in Relief Society yesterday when they were talking about visiting teaching, she raises her hands and says she wants to be apart of visiting teaching  and to visit others!!! She is just wayyy to great! She is on date for December 7th.  She has 2 children Angela and Prince, and although we have mainly been focusing on Anita we want the whole family to be baptized at the same time. It is just hard because younger children don't know English too well.
Lastly is Sister A N. 
If you knew how much I loved this girl you wouldn't understand at all. Because she speaks no English. So i can't even communicate to her. But she has been coming to church for a long time because her mom is a member. She is about 30 ish?  But she is always so happy and excited to see us. I have never seen her without a smile. I just wish i could communicate with her more!! It makes me so sad!! But we put her on date for December 7th as well and we hope she makes it. The only reason she wouldn't would be because of us and not getting a translator because she also understands slowly. We haven't even finished the first lesson yet!
Anyways that is our main progressing investigators. We though we had the B family, but as we planned to go and pick them up for church they already left for their old church. Super frustrating and we don't want to lose them!!
So just some updates from the week:
Saturday when we were at the women's activity at the church, someone stole our phone. We have been phoneless since and it is really hard! But just they day before, we were at the market buying potatoes when a boy ran up to us saying someone had opened my backpack and stole 1000 kwacha and gave us back the kwacha. Market 1 Blantyre Chapel 0.
Today we hiked Soche Mountain as a district! It was so fun, but man am i out of shape! Its been to long since I've hiked the beautiful mountains of Utah!!

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I"ll be sure to dress up like a missionary this Friday for all you Americans!
Well it has been a great week! We are really working hard and finding a lot of new people to teach! Its an exciting time in this area because of the progressing investigators and the upcoming baptisms!
One of the investigators that we have on date for 16th of November is doing very great but is experiencing opposition. Last Sunday after she came home from church, her father yelled at telling her that Saturday is the day of worship and that if she continues to go to church on Sunday he will kick her out of her house.  Her father is fine with us coming to teach her but doesn't what her to go to church. We don't know what do but to pray and just love her. She came to church yesterday and we don't know how that went with the family but just hoping all is well. She knows this is the true church and that the BOM is true and she is super powerful!  Keep her in your prayers!
 We had a total of 7 investigators at church though yesterday!! We were so happy to see them all even though we could only count 3 because the rest didn't attend sacrament meeting. Africans and time... its a problem. We are very happy to see some progress even with people we meet just this week!
We also meet a boy named Cwho is very interested in the gospel. He and his uncle whom he lives with are Pentecostals. When we meet him he asked us 2 questions, 1. How come I have accepted Christ as my savior and so have my friends and they can speak in the gift of tongues but I can't? And i can't quite remember the other question but it was about prophets/ and how he hasn't received any revelation. I just loved how honest he was with us! But we meet him Friday afternoon, and invited to him to church and also to institute the next day because he asked if we had any other meetings. BUT HE CAME!! We always got to the church after institute and found him there and a great first lesson with him. But where there is always something great there is opposition. He wasn't able to come to church because his uncle he said won't allow. So frustrating. But keep him in your prayers also!!

Last monday we were talking to our Muslim Landlord and he was asking about what we do and everything and how we don't watch movies or TV. He then asked if we were like nuns. And then he asked us if we (more to me though...) are allowed to go on dates. And we said no. And as we were leaving it then said, "Well when you are done with your mission, I'll be sure to take you out on date!"

Next week we are hoping as sisters to go to a game reserve so I am very excited to see what everyone expects when I said i was going to Africa. ANIMALS. hoping and praying!!
Love you all so much!
pics
1. This is Corney. She is the daughter of the B who i am sure I have talked about before. She is my best friend even though we can't communicate of because of chichewa...
2.This is me with Sister C, the branch presidents wife. She is so fun and even knows Eric Stevens because she lived in Uganda/
3. Me and Joanna because she was wearing that shirt and i just had to take a pic. And i look ridiculous with my glasses but i woke up that morning with my eyes super swollen and i couldn't see.
4. This is today with Sister M a less active in the branch. She is super great though and loves us so much!



Monday, October 20, 2014

This week we finally got to watch Conference! So very happy to hear the messages from those who are called of God!
This week we worked hard and in return we were able to have 5 investigators at church! We were very pleased and happy to see our hard work paid off.
I am not really sure there is much to write about. Wednesday was Malawian Mother’s Day, So happy mother’s day to all of you mothers!
We have one couple named the Banda’s who came to church this Sunday. They are really great and we put them on date for 16 of November. They are so cute and fun! We also have Ethel on date and she is continuing to progress! Were really praying and hoping for these 3 baptisms! It feels like after a long drought of progressing investigators we are actually getting somewhere!
Nothing else to report on! Last Monday we got together with the sisters and watched the Women’s Conference and I loved President Uctodorf’s talk. It was just amazing. I just love how he said that these commandments are given to us because Heavenly Father knows these are what makes us happy. He is giving us the light posts to happiness!!! I also love the metaphor he used  about the umbrella. Its up to us if we receive the constant rain of blessing as long as we humble ourselves to follow Gods Commandments.
Love you all so much!

Monday, October 13, 2014

I could complain about how hot it is here once again, but I figured I will be doing it for the rest of the month. #prayforsisterrasband Yes, I should have been putting on sunscreen because I am red. And all the akudas (blacks) make fun of it. Actually so do the Azungus...
But all is well in Zingwangwa. I have made it through my 3 transfers here and I feel like I just finished my first. Seventh Day Adventist are becoming more of mavuto (problem) here. We extended a date for a sister for November 9, and she said YEs! She knows  everything is true, but then the question comes "What day is the right day to worship?"  

Me: :l. Pray about it. 
We also had a sweeet lesson with a girl named Tiwo. She is a police officer and our first lesson with her was horrible. We tried to have a first lesson, explain what we do, and our purpose but she kept wanting to know what the BOM was. But on Wednesday we just felt like we should go and see her. 
We went there and she invited us to her bedroom, and we had a lesson while sitting on her bed. First for everything. But the spirit guided the whole lesson. She was saying she was just having a really hard day, crying and just was wondering how she was going to make it. I don't know what it was.  We started out talking about how much God loves her and how he blesses us. She then told us how she was asking for a sign from Heavenly Father, and just some comfort , and how she knows we were that sign. And although in the last lesson, her idea of the BOM was that she was afraid of it, we based our whole lesson on how it helps. So through everything that she said and the problems she was going through we would just pull out a scripture from the Book Of Mormon and show how this book testifies of Christ and helps us at anytime in life.  I don't remember the problem she was talking about then, but we decided to pull out Alma 37:36-37 and she just started crying know that was what she needed to do, to cry out the Lord  in all things and let him know and ask for help. She was so grateful for the Book of Mormon after we had shown her how she could use in her daily life. 

Its moments like these on missions, where you know you wouldn't want to be anywhere else. That this is exactly what I am suppose to be doing.  I got a letter from my grandparents this week talking about when they were mission presidents the missionaries that did well knew they were there to serve the Lord, instead of finding people to baptized. But they were there to serve the Lord in whatever way they need. It made me reflect on the 4 1/2 months that I have been on my mission. I am not here to baptized but I am here to serve the Lord. Its frustrating to think that I have been here for 4 months and had only 1 baptism while others that I came with the MTC have had at least 3-4! And how the elders in our branch have baptized 11 in the time my companion and I baptized 1. But numbers doesn't matter, all that matters is that I am here to serve the lord in whatever way he wants! Who knows what I have maybe planted for others to sow later. I also think about the one I have baptized and how that 1 hasn't missed church once in the last 3 months. I would rather say I baptized one who will get married in the temple send her children out on missions and so forth, than to say I baptized 20 and 2 remain active to this day.

Anyways I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be serving a mission, especially in Zambia and Malawi. I think about how terrified I was to serve in this mission, but now I can't picture myself anywhere else in the world! I love Malawi even if they don't have Cafe Rio! 

We get to watch General Conference this week and I am very excited!! I can't wait to hear all the great talks that you have been talking about! 

-Sister Rasband
Quotes of the week:
While walking away from drunk people, a drunk man starts yelling at me "I am a black Man!" and tries to throw a rock at me. And then another drunk man says to me.. don't worry, I'll protect you"

In sacrament meeting yesterday, a sister tells the congregation that the Wife should make all the decisions about the home, of where to build it and how it looks, because she is always at home. And if not, Satan will reside in the home.

District Photo

I could complain about how hot it is here once again, but I figured I will be doing it for the rest of the month. #prayforsisterrasband Yes, I should have been putting on sunscreen because I am red. And all the akudas (blacks) make fun of it. Actually so do the Azungus...
But all is well in Zingwangwa. I have made it through my 3 transfers here and I feel like I just finished my first. Seventh Day Adventist are becoming more of mavuto (problem) here. We extended a date for a sister for November 9, and she said YEs! She knows  everything is true, but then the question comes "What day is the right day to worship?"  

Me: :l. Pray about it. 
We also had a sweeet lesson with a girl named Tiwo. She is a police officer and our first lesson with her was horrible. We tried to have a first lesson, explain what we do, and our purpose but she kept wanting to know what the BOM was. But on Wednesday we just felt like we should go and see her. 
We went there and she invited us to her bedroom, and we had a lesson while sitting on her bed. First for everything. But the spirit guided the whole lesson. She was saying she was just having a really hard day, crying and just was wondering how she was going to make it. I don't know what it was.  We started out talking about how much God loves her and how he blesses us. She then told us how she was asking for a sign from Heavenly Father, and just some comfort , and how she knows we were that sign. And although in the last lesson, her idea of the BOM was that she was afraid of it, we based our whole lesson on how it helps. So through everything that she said and the problems she was going through we would just pull out a scripture from the Book Of Mormon and show how this book testifies of Christ and helps us at anytime in life.  I don't remember the problem she was talking about then, but we decided to pull out Alma 37:36-37 and she just started crying know that was what she needed to do, to cry out the Lord  in all things and let him know and ask for help. She was so grateful for the Book of Mormon after we had shown her how she could use in her daily life. 

Its moments like these on missions, where you know you wouldn't want to be anywhere else. That this is exactly what I am suppose to be doing.  I got a letter from my grandparents this week talking about when they were mission presidents the missionaries that did well knew they were there to serve the Lord, instead of finding people to baptized. But they were there to serve the Lord in whatever way they need. It made me reflect on the 4 1/2 months that I have been on my mission. I am not here to baptized but I am here to serve the Lord. Its frustrating to think that I have been here for 4 months and had only 1 baptism while others that I came with the MTC have had at least 3-4! And how the elders in our branch have baptized 11 in the time my companion and I baptized 1. But numbers doesn't matter, all that matters is that I am here to serve the lord in whatever way he wants! Who knows what I have maybe planted for others to sow later. I also think about the one I have baptized and how that 1 hasn't missed church once in the last 3 months. I would rather say I baptized one who will get married in the temple send her children out on missions and so forth, than to say I baptized 20 and 2 remain active to this day.

Anyways I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be serving a mission, especially in Zambia and Malawi. I think about how terrified I was to serve in this mission, but now I can't picture myself anywhere else in the world! I love Malawi even if they don't have Cafe Rio! 

We get to watch General Conference this week and I am very excited!! I can't wait to hear all the great talks that you have been talking about! 

-Sister Rasband
Quotes of the week:
While walking away from drunk people, a drunk man starts yelling at me "I am a black Man!" and tries to throw a rock at me. And then another drunk man says to me.. don't worry, I'll protect you"

In sacrament meeting yesterday, a sister tells the congregation that the Wife should make all the decisions about the home, of where to build it and how it looks, because she is always at home. And if not, Satan will reside in the home.

District Photo

Monday, October 6, 2014

A week actually worth writing about!
I hope you all had a great conference weekend and enjoyed the inspired messages!
Monday:
We had planned on going to visit our relief society pres who just had a baby. In the four months I have been here she has been to church 0 times. When we got there we found out that the elders had planned on having a FHE with them. So change of plans the 6 missionaries in Zingwangwa Branch came to the Thembo's home and had a great FHE with them! One of the daughters is blind so we ended up playing the game where you have to clap and keep on beat and say your number and then pass to someone else. Safe to say Sister Rasband was always one of the first to get out because we Rasbands are not musically talented and can't keep up with the beat.
Tuesday:
We had district meeting and planned to have a member fireside this Saturday. We are asking all members of the branch to bring one friend and we will just tour the meetinghouse and watch the Restoration. We are really hoping it will give us some new investigators.
Wednesday:
We had district service up in Soche. First time going to Soche after being transferred out of the area and it was so nice. We helped Br Tella make bricks, the African way. Mixing dirt and water together and putting into molds and them letting them dry all around his home.
We then went home after that cause my comp wasn't feeling well. While she slept I made chocolate chip cookies.  Those cookies have never tasted sooo good. They reminded me of the first day of school when I would come home to my mom's cookies.  Also chocolate chips are very expensive. 1/2 cup for 2 dollars. But.. worth it.
My companion then needed a  blessing so the zone leaders and district leader came over to give her a blessing. After the blessing we told the elders they could take one cookie. They are about to leave when we See Elder Muthoka walking conspicuously away eating one cookie and another 3 in his hand. haha I am going to miss Elder Muthoka so much when he goes home! Which is very soon!
Thursday:
My companion still wasn't feeling well and so at 10:30 at night the Zone leaders had to take us to the hospital and we were there until 1 am. She is feeling better now. We don't really know what is wrong but no it is not malaria or Ebola.
Friday and Saturday:
Went to the area and worked hard! Had some great lessons and some great new investigators. We have been teaching the Banda family and they are super sweet! They understand very well the restoration and they say it feels right. But they didn't come to church because a friend from Mozambique came unexpectedly.
Sunday:
Had a baptism for 4 people from the Elders who took our area. 2 that were getting baptized were our past investigators, Beverly and Sister Nthenda (Br. Nthenda wife who use to be a Muslim). It was super exciting to see them get baptized!
Anyways that all that is happening in Zingwangwa! Mission is going fast and I am continuing to love what I am doing!
-Sister Rasband

Monday, September 29, 2014

If I thought Utah was hot, then I didn't know what hot was. Because it is hotter than hot here. And everyone keeps feeling sorry for me because they think I come from a cold place that it doesn't get hot in Utah. And I just let them talk because they are right, compared to here, it doesn't get hot at home. October is suppose to be the worst month for weather. So I pray I can make it this next month!
One thing that I've noticed on mission, is just how fast time goes, but you don't even notice it until Saturday night when you realize you are going to church tomorrow. And honestly, I don't have a lot to say because this week went to fast without a lot happening.
We had a lesson with one of our investigators and his 2 friends/co-workers. And we were just talking about the Book of Mormon and how it came about and what it contains. And one of the co-workers just started complaining how there's a book from the American Continent and Jerusalem, so now we need one from Africa. W explained that the bible takes place in some of Africa but it wasn't good enough for him. And so our investigator and his co-workers decided there they they would write their own testament of Jesus Christ so that we have a book from Africa. FAILED.
Blessings. We saw him only once this week. He still hasn't received an answer to his prayer and we told him by practicing his faith by coming to church will help him receive an answer. But he told us that we are no longer allowed to invite him to come to church, that he will come when he comes. He didn't go to his church on Saturday, but also didn't come to our church on Sunday. We are lost on what more we can do with him. Just praying he will recognize the answer!
I am very jealous of you all that you get watch conference this weekend! I won't be able to see it until 1 or 2 weeks after. But I hope you all enjoy listening to the Prophet, apostles and all the speakers!
Love you all so much!
-Sister Rasband

Monday, September 22, 2014

Welp guess who came to church this week. Thats right B did.
These week we had been really thinking and praying to know what we need to do and teach him and even going to the lesson, we were confused but just planned to follow up on why he didn't come to church.
At the lesson we asked why do we think we invite you to come to church?
"To learn more about the church and help me be converted"
B wants to follow any commandment given from god because he wants to be saved. And so we explained to him that its even a commandment to go to church every week and keep the sabbath day holy. And then he brought up his concern, "But the sabbath, the sabbath is Saturday". We always knew he was a Seventh Day Adventist but didn't really think it was too much of a problem.
But after explaining to him that this was the day Joseph Smith was revealed to worship on, and even how we don't know that the seventh day was Saturday or Sunday, but we do know that Christ rose on Sunday, he still had a hard time with it.
B knows this is the only true church and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of god but can't relate the two that if he knows that he knows he was revealed to worship on sunday. All we could do was tell him to pray and ask what day is the day for him to worship. But we asked if the answer he got was Wednesday would you worship on wednesday, Yes, if it was on Sunday would you worship on Sunday, and then he just kept quiet.
It is definitely hard for him, he wants to do what God commands and has just grown up being told time and time again that it is Saturday. He also said that this was the only thing holding  him back from being baptized but wants to be baptized because it is a commandment!
Well right now we don't know where he is at. The lesson was on friday, he came to church on Sunday and left before we could talk to him. We've called and he left his phone at a friends, and tried to go to his home to see him this morning, and he wasn't there.
We just pray that he received an answer and is ready to act on it.
Other than that the area is doing better! Finding different people and dropping when they don't keep their commitments.
We are still working the Shawn. He is 17 years old and wants to be baptized. He was on date for the 5th of October but didn't come to church so he won't make that date. He knows the book of Mormon is true and has read half of it, and knows Joseph smith was a prophet, but is a teenager and lies to us a lot.
But all is well in the promised land, Zingwangwa that is.
But if you could all pray that I might be able to find chocolate chips that would be much appreciated. I've heard they are here, but i still have yet to find them.
Love you all!
#gohawks!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Hello my wonderful Azungus!
This past week has been a slower week, a new area, with no progress yet. But definitely trying to find families and those who are prepared to hear the gospel.
Tuesday
We started focusing in Zingwangwa since it is the closest area to the meetinghouse. We decided to go to one family that Sister Komiha had been to before I came. They have a really nice house, very unusual for Zingwangwa. They even got their water from the faucet! But we just watched the Living Christ and then they feed us Nsima. I am slowly but surely starting to get use to it.
Wednesday
Had baptismal interview for Br N since it was the last day he would be considered our investigator. The interview went on for quite awhile since he likes to talk. And when he starts talking, he keeps going with so much enthusiasm in his voice he sometimes is scary. His children prepared nsima for all us missionaries (there were 6 of us there), but the elders had to leave. So it was up to my companion and I to eat.
After that the Zone leaders showed us the boundaries to our new area. And they took my favorite place to eat. They sell such good chips (fries). It is only maybe 20 meters from the boundary. So in our handbook it says if we have to leave our area to ask our leader for permission. I asked my brand new district leader and his response was “as the spirit directs”. So yes… I will be eating there.
We ended the day up in Soche since it was our last chance to be there. We went to our favorite members home the B’s. We talked and they fed us Nsima. Of course. We then saw Sis M, and when we told her our news she just started crying! She wouldn’t talk or look at us. I always felt that she never liked me, but she was so sad that we were leaving and was determined that she wouldn’t like the elders as much as us.
We then headed to see the T. They are a less active family that we have been working with a lot. Sister T is so close to coming to church! But once again she was so sad for us to leave. She wanted to feed us Nsima for the last time, but there was no way I could fit more so I am glad that we had to get going anyways!
Thursday, Friday and Saturday
These days all seem like a blur to me because they mostly consisted of contacting alllll day. But we were able to meet with Blessings. He has been an investigator since November. He knows Joseph Smith was a prophet and wants to be baptized but won't commit to a date. So we have really been struggling on what to do with him. He also is Seventh Day Adventist so its hard for him to understand Sabbath day. It was a good lesson and he committed to come to church the next day. But… he never came. But just today he called saying sorry he couldn’t come but wanted to meet because he had things he wanted to discuss. I don’t know if its good or bad but I hope he is ready to commit!
Also we contacted these 2 girls by helping them with their water. And they kept saying Dope. It was my first time to here a Malawian say Dope. “Blantyre is Dope”
Sunday
Br N’s Baptism! We had him and Br S baptized but someone forgot to start filling up the tank. So when it was time to be baptized it wasn’t as full as it should be. Poor Br N, had to be baptized 6 times. It was so shallow that something was always popping out.
After he shared his testimony about how he had been searching for the truth by going to different churches and studying “BIG BOOKS”. He then came across a restoration pamphlet in March. And kept wondering who is this Joseph Smith.  All of his studying about religion would say things against this pamphlet but it sounded right and he believed. Its amazing that he was able to leave behind all his understanding and just have faith in this little pamphlet. It wasn’t until August that he got a Book of Mormon when he met with Sister Komiha and I. I remember our first lesson with him, and anytime he got a chance to speak he would just say I want the Book of Mormon where can I get one.
But if you could have seen this testimony you would all die. When Br N speaks he gets so emotionally involved and finds himself half-yelling. Half of his testimony was jokes here and there and the congregation just cracking up. But I loved what he said at the end,  “I know I have a testimony of Jesus Christ that he lives, and that this Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church, but I know my testimony is so little now to what it will be later in life.” He is so strong and so powerful.
I was also so happy to see his whole family come to church. His wife use to be Muslim, but is now ready to hear the gospel. I am so jealous that the elders get to teach her. One day, I know she will be baptized!
I love this work, I love what I am doing, and I love watching others come unto Christ. Its defiantly hard when my friends are getting engaged, Seahawks season is starting and doing well, and missing you all, but this is where I am suppose to be!

Monday, September 1, 2014

I have been transferred.
From Zingwangwa East to Zingwangwa Central. 
Saturday we were coordinating with our branch mission leader and the elders in our branch, who are the Zone leaders. My companion has been in this same area for 10 months and so they are always teasing her about transfers. Elder Parker teasingly said to her "Remind me companion to call Sister Komiha tonight about that thing"... And then 5 hours later we get a call saying we've been transferred.
The mission is growing and the Lord is hastening His work here in Zambia and Malawi. When President Erickson started his mission last July he had 56 missionaries, and now over 100. And because of the increase our small branch in Zingwangwa is getting another set of missionaries. Because of that they have taken 2 cities, Soche and Manja, out of our area and gave it to the elders and we now have Zingwangwa, Chimwakunda, and Margina-moyle. Definitely a hard change for my companion and I. 
Soche and Manja was where all our progressing investigators were and where we were having one baptism planned for this next Sunday. And now it is in all the hands of the Elders. So sad to leave this area. We know that this next week, my companion and I will be knocking on gates and contacting all day to find any potential investigators. 
But we are excited to see the work that will come forth in Zingwangwa Branch and to even see a split in the branch by the end of the year. 
But one good thing about leaving Soche and Manja... I will be fed Nsima less!

Definitely life changing experience. I was talking to one of the members and they were asking what our family does for Christmas... and like what we have for food. I didn't want to say that we have this huge meal, so I just said we get together with my family and eat together. But then he was saying that every Christmas they will save up for rice and chicken. It just makes me so sad cause we eat that all the time like its nothing. But these people are soo happy with just the little amount they have. Very humbling to think of these powerful people.

Not much to talk about from this last week, but things are continuing to do well! I'm grateful for the work and to be here in Malawi.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Another slow week!
Because of my ankle, we have had to stay inside more to let my ankle heal. But as of right now, I am the only white girl in the zone.
Because it has been such a slow week I will just talk about our one investigator who has a baptismal date on Sept 7. He was completely prepared by the Lord and my companion and I are doing nothing. For 6 months or so he started going to different churches because he was confused about why all these churches had different beliefs. He found a restoration pamphlet in March and started attending the church in Blantyre since then. I don't think he has missed a week. No one was teaching him becuase he didn't live in their areas and didn't know who's area he was. Turns out he was in ours. He started attending our branch for 3 weeks and is always commenting. This past week we taught him about  the Word of Wisdom and we gave him a pamphlet about before. Before we were even able to meet with him, he committed himself to stop drinking tea and coffee. He didn't understand why but knew he should. He is most definitely been prepared to hear this message. I can't wait to see him be baptized!
Saturday President came down to Blantyre and we had Zone Conference. Such an amazing day and learned so much. One thing that I truly learned is that I only have 18 months to be able to serve a mission like this. I can serve as a senior but nothing will be like what I am doing right now. I will never be able to touch the hearts of the people, truly bring them up to Christ. So enjoy it before its gone, but it will end so quickly. I can't believe now that I have been out for 3 months. I don't know where the time has gone and I know it will just go faster and faster. I am so grateful to be apart of this mission, the work is truly progressing and making such an impact of these people. What an amazing work that I get to be apart of and work among so many great people.
Although a mission is hard, it is definitely worth it! I really still am not a fan of the food, I struggle still sometimes with the poverty I see, there are days where all our appointments fall through and we just walk and contact all day, but I wouldn't want to do anything different.
I love you all so much and am grateful for the example you have set for me. Love you!
-Sister Rasband
 Party with the Sisters before two of them went home!


Mormon Helping Hands


 Recently Baptized Mercy

Monday, August 18, 2014

A very slooow week!
Monday after we had zone activity and watched huge monkeys climb trees, I went home and started feeling really sick. My companion and I had the flu and that took us out of our area on Tuesday.
Because we were regaining our strength, we had a really slow week and weren't able to meet with too many people.
Friday we were able to work with Sister Mercy. She had just been baptized on Sunday and wants to go on a mission so badly! She is so great and she loved working with us.
 
 
That day, I was able to see my first snake in Africa. It was a skinny snake, but probably one of the longest snakes i see. It was right next to a members home named Br. S. He is a very old man and lives alone. but he kept saying to us, don't kill the snake. it says in the bible to not kill animals. But this random man came with a stone and started throwing it at snake for a good 10 minutes until it was dead. So funny to watch. And then after Br. S told us to go home and repent for killing the snake. He was dead serious. It was so funny!
Yesterday after teaching Br. N who has a baptismal date for Sept 7, we were running late to be home by 6. As we were trying to pass all these people I misplaced my foot in a hole and sprained my ankle. It is really swollen and I can't really walk right now but all is well!
My companion was talking to a member in the branch that night and after he heard that I had sprained my ankle he goes "Who was grabbing her? I will find the man and kill him." Haha it so nice that the members of the branch care for me.
I hope all is well in zion! I can't believe it is time for school to start again! Love you all!
-Sister Rasband

Monday, August 11, 2014



Questions:
What are lessons like?
Lessons range in a wide variety. Half of our lessons will be outside peoples "home" sitting on the ground, and the other half will be inside, sitting on couches if they have them. If the people speak English... that is very good English... we can have a great lesson and teach them whatever. Some people will be very interested in our message, and then we have a lot of people who know their bibles... If the people speak Chichewa, then we have to have a translator, but my companion speaks the language pretty well.  This past week we were teaching a man who had lots of questions especially about the responsibility in church. But we asked him to pray and i had never heard a prayer like it before.... 5 minutes basically screaming chichewa and there was no room in his prayer to breathe. it definitely was something.
Homes:
Soche East is the only nice town in my area. They will have a nice living room, kitchen, and a gate. But the rest of my area isn't that nice.. Homes are size of our living room and all the homes are made of concrete or brick. Really humbly to see these people with that little but yet are so happy. One of my favorite family of the branch lives in the such a small home. their bedroom is their living room, and the kitchen. but yet they are incredibly happy.
Church:
We meet in a little meetinghouse that is suppose to start at 8 am but it doesn't start until 8:30. There is a translator for sacrament meeting and for the other meetings the teacher is saying it in English and chichewa. Mostly in relief society, they are translating it in English just for me, but they really want these members to understand English.
This past week we were able to spend time with this great woman named Sis Tsegula. She and her whole family use to be active, her son went on a mission, but her husband kind of went crazy... but we love her. She wanted to teach us how to make donuts so went and made donuts the African way. Africans love their oil though... they deep fry everything

Monday, August 4, 2014

I truly think i have hit the highest number of drunks yelling at me or men always saying "Hey baby". So i must be looking real good this week. Haha
A slower week and not much to say.
Soche is coming along that is for sure. The goal for our branch was to split by July, but we didn't have the numbers to accomplish it. But we definitely see the need to spend more time in Soche even though we are suppose to spend more of our time in centers of strength (areas close to meeting house). The two days we were able to spend there we were able to see what the lord has in store for these people. Every person that we came in contact with were either less- actives, or people who continued to say "Oh i was taught by missionaries before". Its crazy how the lord shows he is ready for the work to move along in Soche. I hope to be able to stay here long enough to see the branch split in two.

Not much else to say. President has said to all missionaries that we are reaching 100 missionaries at the end of this month, and that new proselyting areas and zones are coming are way. Its an amazing time to be serving the Great Zambia Lusaka Mission and I can't wait to see the growth!
Love and miss you all!

 This is Memory. We work with her a lot because she is a branch missionary. and we can't teach a male with out another female present.everyone's name here is like a real word.. not just names. Or they have Chichewa names that are real words. like comfort, conscious, happy, joy, hope and so on."

 
 Eating Sugarcane!



 Monkeys out Anna's flat.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


More Pictures from Thoko's baptism

Hello from Africa!

We were recently visiting in Malawi as Area Auditors and were blessed to meet the Sister  missionaries serving there. 
Sister Rasband is a great sister! She was doing well. 

There were two baptisms while we were there and we thought you might enjoy these photos.  The church is down some steep stairs off a hill and then the font is even further down the hill in the back of the church.  They have aprox 80 in attendance in the Lilongwe Branch and only room to seat about 64 so they are looking for a new place to meet.  The people in that area are humble and sweet and very open to the gospel.

Many blessings to you in the support of your wonderful missionary.  She is so far from home but close to the spirit of the Lord who’s work this is.

Have a wonderful day!
Africa Southeast Area Auditors

 

Monday, July 28, 2014

 Maduzka Azungu!
This week has been really good with lots of memories and my first ZERO of investigators at church. Super frustrating especially when our branch goal is to split before 2015. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
Monday we got together as a zone and played some soccer. It was super fun  and nice to just spend time to relax and enjoy each others company. As we got in our area to proselyte for a total of 30 minutes ( we have to be in our area by 5 but as sisters we have to be home by 6 so we leave our area around 5:15-5:30) it started down pouring. We tried to find any member/ investigator close to let us in.
As we were walking home we realized that all our clothes were out on the rack to dry and that they would be drenched. But as we walked through the gate we couldn't find our clothes there. But just then we started hearing the guards running towards us with our clothes. They went and got them when it started raining! Our guards are seriously the sweetest guards ever in Malawi.
Wednesday was quite interesting as well. It was about 10 o'clock and we were ready to leave our apartment. We put the key in the lock for a gate outside our door and the key would not unlock it. Our district leaders came by and tried to unlock it, but it would not unlock. Then the senior couple came over with WD-40 to try to unlock it and it would do anything. By this time it was around 1. They had to have a member come over with a drill saw to cut the lock. And eventually we left our apartment at 2. We were thinking through out the whole time that if there was fire, there was no way for us to get out. We were going to die inside our apartment.
But once we eventually got outside our apartment we met this awesome guy named Kundwani Williams very high up on mountain soche. The first thing he said to us was "yeah i use to be a member of that church", comes to find out he was being taught by the elders, had a baptismal date, was coming to church and everything, but then it sounded like the area got white-washed and the missionaries lost contact with him. We were able to have a short lesson with him and explained his favorite part of the Book of Mormon and how he loves to read it and invited him to be baptized!
Saturday I was able to have my first african sugar cane. Basically i feel like a true african now... hopefully i will be able to send a picture of me eating it!
Questions:
My daily routine:
6:30 wake up
exercise
eat
8:00
personal study
9:00
12-week program (for my first 12 weeks)
10:00
leave home and get on a minibus to our area
teach and preach the awesome gospel
5:15
start heading home
6:00
plan for tomorrow
6:30-7:00
companion study
7:30 ish
dinner
and then anything i need to do until 10:30 bed
stores: we shop at Shoprite every monday for food and its basically the walmart of africa.
animals: the most exoctic animals i've seen are monkeys. Most mornings we seen monkeys play on the trees next to us.
language is getting better. I can do grettings and am learning little words here and there.
Anyways I hope all is well in zion! You can be Zion but my area, Zingwangwa, is considered the Promised Land.
-Sister Rasband

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hello America (because when people ask where your from, you say America, they don't understand "The States" or even "The United States". But as much you are enjoying your hot summer, I am enjoying wearing tights and a jacket almost everyday. I don't know if I am hoping for summer or scared for it.
On Monday, we had to say goodbye to Sister Scott and Sister Mbele the two sisters who were in our flat. They are both headed to Zambia, one in Lusaka and the other in the Copperbelt. In celebration we went to KFC. By far the nicest KFC I've ever seen, and so good. So sad to see them leave and quite depressing at times to be the only sisters in our flat.
Tuesday we had a great Zone meeting! We talked about how opposition is in all thing. There has been seeming to be a lot of opposition in this zone and that when opposition comes know that their will be very good days soon. It just takes faith and hard work to get to those days. "If you aren't feeling opposition, then ask yourself if your are too comfortable in your area"
I also loved what the STL's said " I am so grateful for being in the path that Heavenly Father wants me to be in" and I have really tried to incorporate that in to my life and mission.
Wednesday we had a great lesson with someone we meet that day. We had planned on going to teach this man but he ended up not being home. We talked to his neighbor and invited us to come in after being very apprehensive. That first lesson we had was completely directed by the spirit. As we were able to discern his needs and the struggles in his life, he was very open and talked about how he felt abandoned by God. As we continued to just talk to him and share our testimony he said at the the end "I really want to meet with you guys again, I really like what you have brought into my home". Its lessons like those that really keep you going and love the work you are doing!
After having such good lessons and really having faith that investigators would come to church, we ended up having 0. It is really frustrating and hard. We feel as if we are doing all we can but they have their agency, and don't want to come. It is the hardest thing lately for us is just having our investigators not keep their commitments.
But we were able to have dinner at Sister Thoko's house last night, and man was it a good meal.  There was no nsima, no beans, no unknown meat! We helped cook some sausage with rice and soup and there even was salad.. they don't do salads in Africa. It was so good.
The last noteworthy thing that happened this week was my companion and I were sitting in a minibus waiting to go to our area and this man sees me and come us to the minibus full of people.
HI. How are you?
Where are you From?
 You are beautiful
You know... I learned English so that I could talk to beautiful women like you
The next time I see you, you take me to America
Ya know, when I see you, I am seeing the heavens
And everyone in the minibus was just bursting with laughter. So for all those girls who have low self-esteem, come to Africa, because you will be a celebrity and every man will love you.
But I am just so grateful to be a missionary, and to be serving these people in Malawi. They are so great and fun to be with.
Anyways hope everything is going well in Zion. Eat at cafe rio/ in-n-out/and really any American food for me!!
-Sister Rasband