Dearest darling people all over the world,
This has been yet another wonderful week in the mission field. Two of our investigators were babatized (that is how they pronounce it here--it's so funny) and it was so happy. I have been here long enough to get close to these two mission-aged boys, Innocent and George, and it was the most exciting thing to see them baptized. They are just stellar guys. One night it was getting closer and closer to dark (when sisters are not supposed to be out) but we couldn't find transportation to take us the miles and miles back to our truck. So they escorted us for probably a mile to make sure we would be safe. They make me laugh so much--I love them dearly.
It seems like many of our investigators are 18-20 year olds boys. I feel like Sister Orr and I are on the brink of converting the next generation of missionaries that will go out. How exciting it would be to see someone I taught go out and teach other people. I found out this week that our branch is the fastest growing branch in the mission (both Zambia and Malawi). It's no wonder though with having like 5 baptisms a week. It's the most exciting thing to be a pioneer in Africa and getting this work rolling forward.
So I realized that I haven't really told you about my actual area very much. Lilongwe is split up into many little areas so Sister Orr and I work in Area 49 and 50. Each area is also split up into little subdivisions so some of the villages we work in are Dubai and Bagdad. Isn't that funny that two Middle Eastern names would be found here? Also, these bread buns we buy for lunch a lot used to be called "bin ladens"...now they are called "obamas". Oh Malawi, what a funny place.
The culture is so, so different from America or even other African counties I have been to. They care a great deal about respect and power here. Many of the church members are very excited to share with you their calling or "title". It's interesting. Another thing is that many girls get married/get pregnant super young. We are teaching this girl that looked young but I didn't know how young until I asked. She's 17 and has an 18 month old baby. WUT? After a lesson, I watched her strap this little girl on her back, put on her ruddy heals and head off to market. What a different life I have led than her. It was a stark.
Another stark moment was visiting the hospital last night. I can't go into a ton of details about why, but one of our investigators was rushed to the hospital after a certain incident and so we went to go visit her. We have worked very closely with her and her husband (who is a recent convert) through many challenges, so seeing yet another challenge come her way was heart wrenching. This hospital was nothing like you have ever seen. Every room was stuffed full of sick people everywhere. We found her in a long, poorly lit hall full of beds and mats on the floor. It was hard to even recognize her in the midst of so much chaos but we found her slumped on a mat looking absolutely defeated. She speaks zero English but we knelt by her and prayed and then sang a few hymns. Sister Orr and I love harmonizing together and as we sang many heads of suffering people in the long hallway turned to listen. I was just praying more than one heart would be comforted. If I was given the ability to sing for that moment alone I would be grateful. We couldn't communicate with words but we communicated with our hearts. Oh my goodness, I will never forget that moment.
The Lord is directing our path every moment of every day. We sat down just to eat some lunch on a cement block outside a gate and this woman walked out and asked us about who we were and what we were doing. She invited us in and heard our message. Seriously, ever step we take is directed. And then in those moments when people flat out say NO or we can't get through to people, we just laugh together. Sister Orr is so great. We laugh to tears practically every day. It's so happy.
I have decided to memorize a scripture every week of my mission so this past week was 2 Nephi 25:26 and this week will be Mosiah 18:8-10. Anyone that wants to join me is welcome!
I am growing spiritually and emotionally everyday and I just wake up every morning and thank God that I get to be here.
Sister Michaela Proctor