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!