Don't be fooled by the subject of this email. The reason I want to cry is because I am so grateful for this beautiful, blessed life. I don't deserve this. This is not to say that missionary work is hard--I am exhausted every single day when I fall into bed--but it is the best sort of life anyone could ask for. Every single moment has been orchestrated by the Lord from the moment I arrived and it has been amazing to watch the tender mercies unfold.
After a night with the sisters in Lusaka, I was dropped at the airport to fly to Malawi to my first area. The plane was a 19-seater and only 6 people were on the flight. And who happened to be on the plane with me? A BYU professor named Tom Heaten who is part of the International Development program (the minoir I am planning on). In the whole ENTIRE world to meet someone, a little plane in Zambia seemed impossible to find a BYU professor in my field. It was so orchestrated I couldn't even take it. I felt blessed to have him to talk to on the flight--a little piece of home in a strange land.
I secretly really wanted to go to Lilongwe so there is another orchestration and I have been assigned to such great companions. I am in a threesome with Sister Orr (from Canada) and Sister Chasinda (from Zim who finishes her mission tomorrow). They are such patient, loving companions--in fact, all the sisters I live with are so uplifting, encouraging, and WILD. We have so much fun together but we also work hard and stay focused all at once. It's an amazing balance.
The little flat has a kitchen and eating area, two bathrooms. and then beds just kind of where they can fit. I sleep with a mosquito net over me every night so basically I'm a princess in a canopy bed :) We mostly eat normal food but I have had ensima a lot as well, which is the staple food here. It's like Kenyan oogali--maize mushy stuff that looks like mashed potatoes. I'm learning to love it.
Everywhere we go people and children call out, "Azungu, Bo!" which means "hi, white person!" We walk on bumpy dirt roads but we have to drive into the area. The drive is like Indiana Jones, so wild and bumpy and people just walk in front of the car all the time. I'm kind of scared to drive here but I'm sure I'll have to do it some time. The houses are similar to those in Kenya. We help people with laundry a lot and I even learned how to cook ensima. I would send pictures but the internet here isn't good enough so hopefully next week we will go to the other internet cafe. So, I know you love pictures, but I can only send them once in a while.
I had my first two baptisms this Sunday! It was so happy! One woman named Mary and another young girl named Bertha. I know it wasn't really the fruits of my labor but it was still exciting to see my companions so happy. The Branch meets in a tiny concrete building and it is super small but the members are really great. Everything is translated into both English and Chichewa. I know that I was called English speaking but I wish I were fluent in Chichewa because most people only speak a little English. I don't know what Sister Orr and I will do when Sister Chasinda, who speaks quite a bit and can understand, leaves tomorrow.
I love my companions. I feel so, so blessed. I wish I could just take you here and show you the amazing scenes I get to see every day--from the drunk men passed out on the side of the road to the sugar cane and baskets sold everywhere we go. It's a good life, it's a good life.
I can't wait to get even more acclamated here. So far, I am still a little bit clueless, especially when people talk to me in Chichewa. I will get there. At least I know thank you: "Zikomo". Also, how are you is "Muli bwange". I'll try to continue tell you words as I learn them.
If you want to send me a letter (I have a little more time to respond to those), email my parents and they will give you my Malawian address.
Well, I love you all so much and know that I am a happy little missionary down here in Lilongwe! Praying for you everyday,
Sister Michaela Proctor