Monday, June 23, 2014

Another week gone and another week to come!
This past week has been easier and more enjoyable. I'm more use to the culture here in Malawi, and most things don't surprise me anymore. But of course sticking out will not go away. I don't think I could count how many times little children yell "Azungo Bo!!" (White person hello!) a day, and each child screams it until you are out of their site. Just this past week I had another drunk guy say to me as we were walking to the minibus to take us home "you you girl... you are gorgeous you are fine girl" You just learn to laugh at it and know you won't ever be a celebrity like this in your whole life.
The work is going well. I still feel completely inadequate to be a missionary and to teach, but I am learning little by little. I am just trying to speak up and teach! This past week we taught this man named Melvin and does he know his bible. He didn't understand that we were teaching about our church but thought it was bible study. So as we tried to go through the restoration with him it just kept veering towards bible study. But definitely not bible bashing with him.
We also have another investigator name Thoko. She is so great! She has a baptismal date for July 6 and keeps progressing. We will give her a pamphlet to read for the next time we come and she ends up just teaching us from what she has learned. We also just talked to her about tithing and fast offerings with her yesterday, and she basically bore her testimony at the end of how important tithing is because of her sister's example who is a member.
Just a quick update on our area... There is Soche... or otherwise known as Soche Mountain... we are climbing all day if we go to that area. This is probably the poorest area. But we have a lot of dedicated members there and the community is so close that through one family we can get alot of families to teach. My favorite members there are the Banda Family. They have been members for about 3 years and are so committed to the church. With the little money they have, they were able to go to the temple and be sealed. They are so strong and are an example to so many!
Soche East is our richest area... but probably still poorer than most of Blantyre. But we have a great family that is interested in the church and really want to know if the book of Mormon is true.
Zingwanga/Chimwakuna: Poor area too but many that are interested. I am still so shocked by how many people want to talk to us. Sometimes its cause I'm white but really some want to hear our message.

Food is hard for me. Nsima really makes me sick so I don't know what to do when members offer it to us. And just this past week a member fixed duck for us.. but my companion told them my stomach was sick so I didn't have to eat it.
Thank you for all the letters and support!! I dream of being home and eating a cafe rio salad all the time!

This little girl loved wearing Anna's backpack!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blantyre Malawi!
Hi everyone! I am officially in the field! Its been a long journey to get here!
Tuesday we left the MTC at 6 in the morning. Arrived in Lusaka and the area really seemed nice and civilized. Mission home was really nice and and Ericksons were really nice. Basically President Erickson is also a stake president over 5 districts too so he is really busy. But they are hoping for a stake in Lusaka sometime soon... probably within the next year.
That night we spent the night at some sisters home because 3 of us were headed to Malawi. So Wednesday afternoon, after spending half a day in the mission home we took the smallest plane to Lilongwe. Maximum amount of people were18. And we could only bring one luggage. So half of my stuff is still in Lusaka and will arrive sometime next week. We then spent the night at the sisters flat in Lilongwe where 2 sisters from the MTC stayed there.
Then Thursday me, a sister and an elder took a 5 hour bus to Blantyre. Met my companion who is Sister Komiha from Zimbabwe. She is a dedicated sister to the rules and the work. Our personalities don't mesh too well but I can't complain about that too much.
Friday/Saturday- Went to our area, taught some people and eat my first African food. I dislike nsima. So I need to learn to say no and not offend them. One thing that was cool, on my first day we were heading back to a mini bus to go home and this guy stopped. He was just yelling about how his niece had a book that we had.. another bible and he wants one! So we gave him a Book of Mormon and set up a time to come by. He is really eager to know more about our church and always felt as if something was missing in his church.
Sunday.. We have church at 8 and then another sacrament meeting at 11 because the area is big so people far away can make it to the classes then sacrament meeting after. We then had an investigator die that day so we went to an 5 hour funeral and they were singing straight for that 5 hours. The funeral was really hard on me emotionally, mentally and physically. But by the time we were going to get in a mini bus it was 6 which is when we are suppose to be in our apartment, so we had a senior couple come and pick us up.
Today we just cleaned our apartment, and went shopping. The American food they have here are lays chips, pringles, and that's it. But I did find one tiny jar of nutella in another store so I bought it on the whim because who knows when I will find that again.
The people here are willing to hear about our message. We will just be walking through a village and will be able to go and have 3 full lessons with complete strangers. It might just be because I am a celebrity, especially in our area where there are no white people at all. We are in a very poor area and it is so hard to see what these people live in. But a lot don't have nice furniture or anything but they will have their TV. Funny what is important here!
Our Apartment is really nice. We have couches and a tv... that we only use for music. There are 4 of  us living there and I really like the other companionship.
I have only met 1 senior couple... the Reynolds and they are really nice. I am not driving. We have one car for all 8 sisters here and it is given to the stls.
Language is sooo hard. Everyone expects you to talk in chichewa and you feel ridiculous cause you can't and they laugh at you. I literally stand out any where I go. I saw my first white people today while shopping. But everyday children stare at you and call you Azungo. They won't say HI ever unless talking to a white person.  But I am trying to understand the language. So far all I know is hi.. Mazera and Thank you.. Se Komo. But I can understand people mainly if they speak English except for when they say their name.
Anyways, the area is really hard and the culture shock is so real. I just hope to be able to feel safe and comfortable here and am just taking it one day at a time. I miss you all so much and am so grateful for all the love and Support!!
-Sister Rasband

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Anna with President and Sister Erickson, Lusaka, Zambia

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Can you believe I am here in South Africa. Neither can I, cause I have been stuck in the mtc for what seems like a month and haven't really seen Africa. Time goes so slow but everything is going great! I am so excited to be here and learn but also so excited to get out of here and be in the field.
So I am here with 17 missionaries. There are 2 going to the Botswana mission, 1 to Uganda, 5 to Zambia and the rest to Johannesburg. There are only 3 missionaries from the U.S., 2 from U.K., 1 from Finland and the rest from Africa. Everyone is so fun and cool to be with. Especially the African missionaries are soo funny. They all like to joke around and have fun. So many quotes.
Elder N (not sure I spelt that right) said "I want to marry a white girl from Utah so I have a better chance of getting into the celestial kingdom, because everything is white there" (He also seems like the most innocent that are here so it's so funny)
Elder M from Tahiti: " There are only 3 important things in life 1. Religion, 2. workout, 3. Girlfriend"
Anyways my companions are great. I am in a 3 some with Sister M from South Africa, and Sister Q from Ghana. They both loooove to sing and I'm over here like.... please just stop for like 5 minutes. And one of them is just so different from me it is so hard. They both believe in "African time" so being 15 minutes late is okay with them. But we all get along fine.
The teachers here are so great and we learn so much from them. Also teaching our 2 "investigators' helps a lot. I've learn a lot about how to begin teaching and how important that is. And with 3 of us, transition is really hard.
The food is getting better here. At the beginning I would rarely eat what was given but it has gotten better and more Americanized. What is more funny I think is that my companion from Ghana won't eat any food but all the Africans think any food is good. We also have snack time right before bed every night and I have learned to love peanut butter.
We also have sports time everyday so that is really nice to get out and enjoy it. But it's not cold here but its not warm at all. So I'm always cold and wearing a jacket.
We did get to go the Johannesburg temple which was really cool. It was an hour drive away so we did get to look out of the car and it was all intersting to look out. All the houses have at least a fence and you can tell the rich people that have an electric fence too. 5 of the missionaries hadn't gone through and 1 of them was my companion. The temple was so small and cute. I loved going.
We also just went to the market about an hour ago for prepartion day and bought some chocolates which was fun. And of course all the people who went to the market were all the white people.
Anyways I don't know what else to say! I am doing great but can't wait to get out to Zambia. Only 4 ish more days and it can't seem to come soon enough. I've learned so much and can't wait for all that I will get to do and serve. I am trying my best to be "a consecrated missionary" and I've have just learn how being obedient and working hard that days are better and more enjoyable.
Thanks for all the support!!