Monday, August 18, 2014

Sister Protector

August 17, 2014

Darling people,

Malawi continues to be a glorious place. I realized that I have been
terrible at keeping you updated on my scripture memorizing each week.
Two weeks ago I did 2 Cor 9:6-7, this past week I did D&C 128:22 (my
plaque scripture), and this week I am going to do 2 Nephi 8:16. The
scriptures I choose aren't super like missionary oriented necessarily
but they are ones that make me happy.

I forgot to tell you a funny story from Operation Smile last week. In
the morning before we went to the hospital to volunteer, Sister Falco
said, "It's decided. I am going to major in nursing and then go all
over the world with Operation Smile the rest of my life." Then, as I
told you, we had the opportunity to stand in the last surgery. It was
pretty bloody and gruesome and I look over at Sister Falco and her
face is white. The next thing I knew she was on the floor, fainted.
When she came around she said, "Man! Now I don't know what I'm going
to do with my life!" It was so funny.

Also from Operation Smile, a little girl I especially loved was a 4
year old with a huge lip called Jane. She was adorable. I couldn't
help thinking of my adorable niece Jane who is also that age and how
different these two little girls' lives have been and will be. We are
so blessed.

We teach a Book of Mormon class every Tuesday and we were teaching
about 1 Nephi 13 about how the plain and precious truths were taken
out of the Bible. To illustrate this to the few students we had, we
decided to play telephone (whispering a message down the line). We
have a down syndrome Elder who is the son of one of the senior couples
and so we put him in the middle. Sister Orr proceeded to tell me a
lengthy message about how delicious popcorn is and after I whispered
it on to this down syndrome Elder, he passed it on to the next guy.
His message was simply a loud, "Pop co". The guy next to him was
perplexed and didn't know at all what he said. It was the funniest
moment. Maybe you had to be there. But it illustrated our point pretty

Malawians firmly believe in dreams here. Some people declare they are
prophets simply because of a dream. We visited one of our less actives
this week and she said she had a dream that the ladies from her
previous church came and started chasing her so she would come back to
their church. Apparently, she kept having these dreams so she decided
to go back, thinking it was prophecy. After her relating these dreams
to us, I truly had no idea what to say. I am grateful that the Spirit
is the teacher because it just took over and put words in my mouth. I
told her that God never sends bad feelings but feelings of peace and
comfort. I told the story of me walking to my final bishop's interview
for my mission and how I had such a feeling of dread, making me
rethink the decision to go but as soon as I sat down across from my
bishop I had peace, confirming that Satan was really the one trying to
keep me from coming. I see, everyday, that the Spirit is the real
teacher and converter. I am just the instrument.

Saturday we had a day of service (as seen in this week's pictures). We
did Mormon Helping Hands with the branch at a clinic where we cleaned
and then our district went and did some more work in the garden of the
mother of the investigator who died. We walked SO many miles that day.
My body is still recovering. But I love service! It's so great. And it
was so fun to see so many of our investigators come out to the Helping
Hands activity.

As I memorize scriptures and repeat them over and over again, I find
that I learn something new from them that I never realized before. As
I was memorizing Mosiah 18:8-10 and kept repeating, "willing to bear
one anothers burdens that they may be light", I thought of light as
pertaining to light and darkness. As we help each other with the
trials in our lives, we can change trials from dark, heavy loads, to
experiences that give us light--experience and knowledge. What a
beautiful thought.

My name here is either Sister Plocta, Sister Protractor, or Sister
Protector (the latter being the most common). Also, my English is
slowly going down the drain because I have to talk according to how
they will understand. The question "How's been your day?" is starting
to sound more and more correct. Eish!

Love you all so much!
Sister Michaela Protector

Another Good Week

Dearest Family,
It was yet another good week in Malawi. I got my first letters this week! Shout out to Mariah and Shaelie for being the bomb! Getting letters is so exciting, especially when the postage seems so unpredictable.
So not only do I love the Malawians, but I have decided that South Africans are the coolest people ever. I live with a sister from South and then two elders in my district are from South and they are all so funny and kind. They are the most westernized Africans while still being VERY African. I really love my district so much. It is Sister Orr and I and then Elder Moklhapping (like Mo-clapping) from South, Elder Hanson from Utah, Elder Hinckley from Canada, and Elder Mohklakuana (probably butchered the spelling) from South. For the baptism on Sunday the elders kind of didn't really plan in advance and 30 minutes before it was supposed to start they realized they hadn't filled the font. The font is a free standing, giant tub and we didn't have a hose to fill it so we started filling it with buckets. It was a potentially frustrating situation but we were all laughing so hard as we ran around the church complex filling buckets at every tap we could find. It seemed like we weren't filling the font but I said, "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass!" and then we all just cheered each other on with that scripture. It was a nerdy missionary moment but SO fun. I will send pictures hopefully next week.

I'm loving teaching more and more. My favorite thing is to see a little light start to grow in their eyes. Even if they don't end up moving forward with learning, you can tell they recognize truth somewhere in their spirit and you know a seed has been planted. I was teaching a man about Joseph Smith this week and I felt the truth of it so deeply in my heart. I could just feel Joseph come and sit down next to the man and put his arm around him letting him know it was true. Oh, I love this gospel so much!

More crazy things about Malawi:

-At this time every year there are these guys that run around with masks and body paint and machetes and scare children and it's actually terrifying. I guess it's some type of ritual and they are called something like "Gooli wan gurus" but yeah. Especially the machete part I try to avoid.

-I met a guy named "Fun" this week

-I met a 96 year old woman! That is like impossible in Africa. She was like a little raisin laying under a blanket and had the highest voice. She was adorable.

Since our investigator died, we knew where he lived, so this week we went to his house and met his mother and she had such an amazing spirit about her. She was so grateful to us for being there and we even went back on Friday to help her in her large garden. We worked for almost four hours watering and weeding and she said that she is supposed to do that everyday but she has HIV/AIDS and it is hard to keep going all the time. She is very educated and religious and hearing her life story was amazing. We will go back this week to help more.

Operation Smile packed up on Saturday so we got to go back again to help them inventory and see through the last patients. We even got to stand in on the last operation of the mission--a 16-year-old boy that had walked two days to get this surgery. Let's just say I don't think my future is in the medical field. I've never thought of myself as squeamish but seeing them cut up this guy's face was pretty gruesome. I can tell you that I never imagined in a million years that I would be in an operating room in Malawi on a mission.
So this week I have been a nurse, a farmer, a teacher, a bucket hauler, and a friend. Missionary life continues to bring new adventures everyday!

Love forever,
Sister Michaela Proctor

Photos at Church

August 3

Sister Proctor and Sister Orr

The Gift of Life

August 4, 2014

Dearest Family,

In the MTC I noticed that in practically every prayer that was offered, the Zimbabweans would say, "Thank you, Father, for the gift of life". Now I truly understand why. This week was still very wonderful but I experienced my first big bump along my journey--an investigator died. This guy was part of a group of 18-20 year old boys we have been teaching. I think I told you before that it seems we are teaching a lot of people this age, as if we are raising the next set of missionaries that will leave from Malawi. This boy was 20 and his name was Joshua. He was in college (which is a great feat here) and was a deep thinker. He reminded me a lot of a friend from home. After a regular day of hanging out with his friends and acting completely normal he just collapsed and died Tuesday night. The doctors don't even know why. It was so strange that I saw him at church and shook his hand and gave him an encouraging word on Sunday and then two days later he was gone. Sister Orr and I went to the farewell and it was really painful. Not as much for my own feelings but watching girls my age lose a dear friend and seeing his family wail. He was so young and it was so unexpected. I am grateful for the plan of salvation in times like these.

But like I said, that was really hard but it still managed to be a good week again. Sister Orr and I have been working with Chisomo and Innocent, two boys around 18 who are recent converts and are so excited to get on missions in a year when they finish school. They are so young in the gospel but they are so excited to share it. They are the funnest guys to be around. They are sincere and sarcastic all at once and they make me laugh constantly. We are blessed to have a few members that are willing and available often to help us because they not only help teach but the translate which is essential, especially in the poorer areas.

Saturday was an especially great day. We went to the hospital and volunteered with Operation Smile which is an organization that operates all over the world and does free operations on children with cleft pallets and lips. We played with the children and got to see the inner workings of the whole process and it was so amazing. Sister Orr and I both have previous backgrounds in humanitarian work and it just got us so pumped for a life of doing good. I am not medically minded so Operation Smile is probably not my organization but I was really so impressed. It's amazing how many details need to be taken care of in doing good. But it is such a great work! I've also decided that I want to be a missionary forever. I know my time here will eventually come to an end but even when I'm married and I'm a Mom and I want to involve my kids in missionary and humanitarian work. Both have shaped my life forever.

After Operation Smile we had interviews with President Erickson. That man is truly inspired of God. I feel like when he looks at me he sees my eternal potential and I feel so much light when I'm with him. I am blessed to serve under him. After interviews we taught one of our most golden investigators, Daniel. So just a background, Malawians are super religious and many people like to learn about the church just so they can start their own church and have inspiration things to say. People start their own churches all the time here. It's funny. So we had given him 3 Nephi 11 to read and we asked him if he had any questions or specific comments and he mentioned a few verses and said, "I want to use them in the future." Sister Orr and I both got tense and my heart just sunk thinking we were about to lose an investigator. Then as we pressed him a little more he finally said, "I didn't want to tell you because I wanted to save it, but I want to share these scriptures when I bear my testimony at my baptism". WHAT? It was the best moment. He gobbles up everything we give him. I couldn't imagine a more prepared person.

A few nights ago I was sitting on my bed writing in my journal and then I started hearing little sounds under my bed. We had seen a rat a few nights before that and couldn't find it since so I knew what the sound was. Sister Orr and I were so fed up with it that we basically tore the room apart to get it out. When I finally saw it I screamed and ran down the hall and jumped on a sleeping Sister Rawlins' bed. I don't know what came over me. Something about rats IN Sister Orr's bed maybe? We finally got it out. It was a blessed moment. Oh, the adventures of missionary life.

Well I love you all and I am so grateful for all your love and support and prayers. Have an amazing week!
Love, the happiest little missionary,

Sister Michaela Proctor