Monday, March 23, 2015

We had some sweet lessons this week. One was with this woman we have been teaching who was very scared of the Book of Mormon at first, thought it could be satanic and read some things online about the church. But she was slowly understanding and was accepting things. Two lessons ago we read Alma 30 with her and after she just said "I love the way I feel when you guys come and we read" #spirit. And then we took Nathan a member to her lesson and they already knew each other! They were talking like old friends and it was nice for her to see someone that was a member of the church that weren't just some missionaries. We taught the gospel and focused on being baptized by the right authority and Nathan bore a strong testimony about it and it was just powerful! It was hard for her to think that everyone else who has been baptized outside of the church that it won't be recorded in heaven, but when Nathan said it, it was perfect.  And then she came to church! She is one of the last people I would think who would progress or even be interested, but yet she is! So happy!
I get a lot of questions about what Africa is like or what the people are like, and so I figured I would tell you what a couple hours at Isaiah's (an Recent Convert) home on Saturday was like. After we taught Isaiah and his sisters, who will be baptized soon, they refused to let us leave until we first ate.
So as we were waiting for the food to cook, which is cooked outside with charcoal, Hannah a 14 year old took a little plastic bag they got, blew air into it, and tied it. We then played a game of wally ball for a while, and I've never seen that girl so happy and laughy. We then went outside and played a game. Its a game with holes usually in wood and with little pebbles and you try to finish the other persons pebbles. But here, instead we played in holes they made in the dirt and little nuts. And while all of this was happening Isaiah was preparing for church the next day by ironing his white shirt, and the iron was made out of tin, and you put charcoal inside the homemade iron to make it hot. And then we eat our usual meal of Nsima, with mbonye (fish the size of half a thumb with the eyes still there) and pumpkin leaves. This is the typical life of someone living in a village. No electricity, no refrigerator, no toys or tv. But you will find some of the most happiest people there. 
I'm grateful to serve here in Africa. I've been so humbled by the different lives we live compared to others. But we are all so blessed cause all that really matters is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After this life none of our worldly treasures will matter. We will just be happy to be with our families forever.
Another cute story about Africa.
Howard is a member of the church and doesn't speak much English and is somewhat less active. But this past Sunday he blessed the sacrament for the first time, gave a talk in sacrament meeting all in English, and then gave another talk for the baptism again all in English. His parents were so proud. We were talking to his father who is the only one in the family who speaks English well and he said he was so proud that he rewarded Howard with a chicken. He was allowed to kill it himself, cook it and eat it. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

This week was like any other week. We Find. We teach. We baptize. Except for that last part.
Hannah and Irene and still doing well and progressing to their date on April 5th. And we have 2 other potential, Lungu and Ruth, who will hopefully be baptized in April as well. We have been blessed with such good investigators. They are so great and have a desire to know if these things are true. Even Ruth, we gave her a Book of Mormon on Tuesday and committed her to read the Introduction. We went back yesterday and she had read to 1 Nephi 14. That's a first on my mission.
We are teaching this one very sweet lady. She owns a shop in our area and she came to church after we randomly invited her to come.So we started teaching her. In our first lesson we were just talking about something religious... I don't really remember but all of a sudden she started breaking down and crying. She has been going through a lot and the spirit in that lesson was super strong. I know for a fact we were suppose to meet her and to help her out at this time in life. Listening to her I realized how so many people we see everyday especially as missionaries, and yet we have no idea what is behind the scenes. Everyone is having a brave face, all is well, but yet everyone has something bothering them, something that is hard or something in the past that has put them in the situation where they are now.  The atonement is real. If only everyone could understand how we feel about our Savior Jesus Christ. Most people here know Christ and know that he died for us, but they don't understand how the atonement can change our old ways and repent, but also to help us overcome life, overcome the feelings we have, overcome any trial.
 And that is why I am here in Africa away from all of you and from the good food, because people must understand who Jesus Christ is and what he has done for you and me. I'm truly grateful for our Savior. He knows and loves each one of us and is helping us to become like Him. He understands what you are feeling and is ready to help if we just use the Atonement.
Love you all!

 The pictures today are of Anna's mode of transportation. They are taxis called kapadzas, she and her companion each get on one to take them to their area.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

“Hi, I’m Prophet Robert and your name?”
So yeah. My week was pretty cool.
This past week we didn’t have to much time being out in the area because my companion was sick, but when we were out we had some pretty sweet experiences.

We are teaching  this guy named Lungu and he is awesome.  He is progressing and has a date to be baptized April 5th. He reads everything we give, explains it back to us perfectly. He understands that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church, and our Savior's church, and the only way to salvation because of the priesthood. I feel that most people don’t understand what we really mean when we say those things, they all say basically a church is a church; your church is good my church is good as well but its nice that you have the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. But no Lungu understands and wants to join so badly! Only problem is he couldn’t find the church and left our number at home so he couldn’t call us.
Mtsiliza, the village, is doing great! Our recent convert Isaiah gave a great talk on the Plan of Salvation on Sunday and blessed the sacrament for the first time. So happy to see his growth for only being a member for 1.5 months. Our less actives are coming to church. Sister Kapobo (pictured with Anna below) a strong less active has been to church for the last 4 weeks, on time. Amazing. No one is on time to church. Church usually starts at 9:15 instead of 9.
And yes my companion and I met a prophet. We had an appointment fall through and so we started knocking on gates. One woman lets us in basically saying, “What are you still doing standing at the gate come on it.” So we enter her home and the woman keeps talking and talking, and then we meet her niece, Ruth (who came to church!) and she has had some struggles in life. Her husband died, as a widow she went to the U.K for nursing school, and while she was there got really sick, to the point she should have died.  She came back to Malawi in a wheelchair, but now is doing great and just has a limp.
                And then we meet Robert. I don’t even know what to say. But he introduced himself as prophet Robert and then he started preaching to us for 10 minutes and then his mom was like “Ok Bobby, stop preaching”. But it was funny because he starts talking about how Jesus Christ gave his apostles the power and authority to preach the gospel, and how he as the power and authority.  Haha in my mind all I’m thinking is how do we teach about prophets/gospel dispensations.
His mom then tells us the story of how he became prophet, and I don’t really understand but all it was 2 men telling him and his mom that this boy is special and has been called of God. He is a prophet. So they believed these two men, and now Robert is trying to get into some missionary/prophet school, and wants to come work with us by sharing the gospel with other people. “You can come over everyday and then we can just go share the gospel, because I want to be like you guys I want to be a missionary” And his mom just keeps encouraging “you need to work with him”.
But all in all, we see potential with Ruth and really want to teach her. She loved church on Sunday!
So that’s my week. Sitting inside I got a lot of studying in and it made me really happy! Honestly I feel pretty blessed to be apart of the mission, even though we have to be home at 6. Yes its super frustrating because that is when all potential investigators get home from work, but I get to study for usually an hour or two every night! I love it! And this week I studied a lot about the Holy Ghost and receiving revelation. On my mission I always feel disappointed when I don’t know what to do or where to go, thinking why can’t I get some sort of feeling on what we should do. But through my studying, I learned God gave us our agency for a reason. Even as missionaries we have our agency. Agency to choose right from wrong, but also to just go and do. Make a decision.  If we are worthy of the spirit, pray to discern, and then listen throughout the day, then God can direct us. But also God isn’t going to tell us where to go every day, what to say at every moment. We have our agency. We have to use our agency and judgment and just go to work.  God will not command in all things.
I love this quote by Elder Henry Eyring
“Whenever darkness fills our minds, we may know that we are not possessed of the Spirit of God. When we are filled with the Spirit of God we are filled with joy, with peace, and with happiness, no matter what our circumstances may be; for it is a spirit of cheerfulness and of happiness.
The spirit does not go with sadness, frustration, or anger but with happiness. Sometimes we can know we have the spirit just because we are happy!
Well done with preaching Sister Rasband but its all true. The Holy Ghost is so amazing! Love you all! I'm grateful to be a missionary and to learn the gospel and even help others learn and love it.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

I can't believe I am halfway through my mission!! Like What? I'm coming home so soon and I'm excited, but don't want it to go as fast as the first 9 months. But lets be real. We all know it will. It will probably be faster and I am not okay with that. I still have a lot to learn and more to grow. 
This week was good, but a little disappointing with no investigators coming to church. Its like all the hard work we have done left. But I have seen a lot of opposition in the work, not just for us but other missionaries. 
The Zambia Lusaka Mission has a goal to baptize 750 this year and its interesting because in January we had the least amount of baptisms for the last 6 months. But I know we can reach this goal, even though we are having a lot of opposition in the beginning of the year.
I love being a missionary. I love talking to such great people and teaching this gospel. I love studying the fullness of the gospel. I love learning and growing through a mission.I love being a missionary!