Friday, July 25, 2014

Malawi is Paradise

Plane ride to Malawi--such a small plane!

First baptism. Mary and Bertha!

Learning to make ensima with an investigator.

Dearest People,
So I have a lot to say but it doesn't all really run together so I am going to do bullet points instead--little vignettes of sorts. So here it goes:

-Malawi has a very distinct way of speaking and it is so funny. They add an "e" which comes out sounding like a "y" to almost every word as they speak and their inflection goes up. So they say, "I knowy thaty the churchy is truey and the booky of mormony is the wordy of Gody". Sometimes I have to hold back from laughing. Also the switch the "r" and the "l" in every word. So I am Sister Ploctah here. 

-Not only do the people (mostly the kids) yell "Azungu bo!" (hello white person), they also yell "China bo!" or "Ching chong!" because they think we are Chinese. It makes me laugh so hard. I haven't seen many Asians here but apparently there's a pretty big Chinese population here. They build all the big buildings.

-Capri gave me the talk "The 4th Missionary" before I left and I finished reading it this week and it definitely has influenced me to make a lot of goals about my mission and life and who I want to become. I definitely recommend missionary and non missionary alike to read it. It's a little long but life changing and worth it.

-My companion and I are the only white sisters together in the whole mission I believe and it's for a good reason. Being with a black companion kind of protects you. So now that are threesome is done and Sister Chasinda has gone home to Zimbabwe, we have to be extra aware of each other. It's great! But we are also two azungus that don't speak the language. We laugh a lot because really, what else can you do? Sister Orr is so positive about everything. She is 14 months out and is dreading having to leave because she loves it so much. I feel so blessed to have a good trainer. She is thoughtful and loving and hard working and wild and crazy and it's just the best.

-This is seriously such a good life. We wake up early everyday and exercise, I am trying really hard to eat healthily, I am reading my scriptures and praying all the time, and I am serving and teaching people constantly. Life is so good as a missionary. Disciplining yourself feels so good. Sister Orr, Sister Falco, and I went on a run the other morning and it was so beautiful. The sun was just rising on the lush, dusty landscape and people were walking the roads and it looked like a scene from a movie. There a lot of tall trees here and they are green now but it is the dry season. I can't even imagine how beautiful it is after rainy season.

One of the little primary girls that immediately latched on to me. She is so adorable.
Eating chip sandwiches (bread with chips in the middle) after church before heading out to teach.

My first cabaza (bicycle) ride. Oh, it was dreamy.
-I took my first cabaza ride and it was the happiest moment. We had walked a long way to get to an appointment and it was starting to get dark. The sisters aren't allowed to be out at dark, so we got some cabaza men to bike us back to our truck. There is just a little seat on the back of the bike (see the picture). The sun was just setting one of those spectacular African sunsets and the busy market was coming alive in the darkness with candles and bustling. Men were bargaining, children were laughing, and woman were whispering as we rode up this bumpy road. The people were silhouetted in the sinking sun and time seemed to stand still as I felt deeply that I was in AFRICA and this is real life. Tears gathered on my eye lids because it was just the happiest, most human, raw moment that I was riding a bike through a village street and Heavenly Father sent me here. I can't accurately capture it in words, but it was pure joy.

-There's a slang word this mission uses: xing. I can't quite describe how you pronounce it but basically if something is off or strange we call it xing. I will definitely bring that one back to America.

-The electricity turned off once this week and we keep running out of water since it is dry season but our little flat makes the most of it. I love all of these sisters so, so much. 

-When I first introduced myself to the Elders in my district they didn't quite catch my name and they thought I said "Sister Popcorn" so now they always call my Sister Popcorn. 

-Our branch is so small that we often have more investigators than members. There are six missionaries in the branch and just from our companionship we had nine investigators at church yesterday. Two of them (a married couple) we met off hand on the street and forgot to even get their number but we invited them to church and they actually showed up. Their first question was "How and when can we get baptized". #onlyinMalawi I just about cried. Another guy we taught once and he came to church and he was writing down deep questions and taking notes on all the talks. There are so many people prepared here we can barely handle it. Another boy we are teaching who is getting baptized next week started asking about how he can become a missionary like us. Oh my goodness, when these things happen I just want to cry, it is so exciting and happy.

Trying sugar cane. It is SO hard to eat, especially with my silly jaw.

Sister Orr and I when the power went out. Yes, we lose power and water quote frequently. It's an adventure :)

All the Sisters in my flat before Sister Chasinda left. The blonde one is Sister Falco, the one I met at BYU before we both left. It was exciting to find out we would live together.
-President Erickson, the mission president, has so much love for the missionaries. We saw him briefly this week and he expressed so much love and trust in us. He sees us the way Christ sees us and I love it.

Well, kids, that's all for this week. I love you all so much and would love to hear from anyone over email or snail mail. I know it seems like it takes a while but many of the sisters in my flat send and receive letters every week. There is like a 3 week delay but it's fun to hold something from you in my hands. Again, Malawi address is better.

Love you so much!
Sister Michaela Proctor

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