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