Monday, November 3, 2014

I Love My Life

Oct. 27, 2014

This week has been so wonderful! I am such a blessed child. I can't even handle how blessed I am. I am exhausted but so, so happy. We had our first district meeting as a new district with all of the transfers and my district is heaven sent. Wow. Our district leader, Elder Barton is like the most obedient, hard working missionary you can imagine and he has such a broad vision of why we are here. Our whole district meeting was like a spiritual feast. I learned so much and it got me pumped for the week. That is how they should be. One quote that Elder Motlhaping (from So. Africa) said was, "It's your attitude not your aptitude that determines your altitude". I love that. I love my district and the Kalambo branch. And get this, our branch is growing so fast that president added another set of Elders so now we have 8 missionaries in one branch.

As STL I am responsible, with Sister Orr, to do exchanges so I went on exchanges with the new sister from Kenya, Sister Muthengi, and Sister Quaye, from Ghana. I was honestly really nervous because I still feel so new to this mission thing, hardly experienced enough to teach others, but the Spirit really helped me. Sister Muthengi was practically silent in the first couple lessons of the day but as I left her in silence to let her pick up the lesson and as I complimented her after every lesson of the things she did right, by the end of the day it was like night and day difference. She was so confident and excited to teach. It was a fun transformation to watch. And Sister Quaye is just awesome. She came out a month before me and she's just the most beautiful person you can imagine. I live with amazing sisters.
We had a lesson this week with Styford, the man who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ (break-off church). We taught the plan of salvation and the Spirit literally taught the entire lesson. Every time Sister Orr said anything it was the exact thing (even down to the wording) that I had in my mind to say. We invited him to be baptized and he said yes but he has a lot of things to figure out. Come to find out, he's not just a president of his branch but he's president of the whole church in Lilongwe (over 6 branches). Holy moly, if he musters the faith to follow what he knows is true can you imagine how many people he could influence. There was an absolute stillness in that home as we taught. It felt like a temple.

We finally got to watch General Conference this weekend and it was amazing. I can't even handle how blessed we are to be apart of the Lord's Kingdom on earth. Saturday morning session especially blew my socks off. I remember at MLC in Lusaka that President Erickson shared with us from his experience with the Brethren that they don't want to hear, "Wow, I loved your talk!" but they want to hear, "Wow, your talk really challenged me. I need to change." That is exactly how I felt as I listened and felt the words that were spoken. It wasn't like I just really liked the talks--they challenged me to change and become a more consecrated disciple. I especially loved Elder Christofferson's talk about justice vs. mercy and how we need to CHOOSE repentance and CHOOSE mercy--his talk literally gave me an adrenaline rush. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk comparing our learning of God's light to man's discovery of the vastness of the universe. That talk blew my mind. And Elder Robbin's talk just challenged me to the max. His talk has sort of been a theme in the mission this past month. Which way do you face? Basically I just learned a lot from conference and I felt so blessed in that little Kalambo chapel watching it with so many dear people.

Goodson came to all four sessions and he finished the ENTIRE Book of Mormon. We gave it to him three weeks ago and he finished it. WUT. He is amazing. The Elders had a baptism between conference sessions yesterday and Goodson took us aside afterwards and basically said that he can't even wait to get baptized himself. I keep wanting to write, "This blew me away," or, "He blows me away," but really. Being a missionary blows me away. So many miracles. So much happiness. I can't even hold all the blessings that are being poured out.

After Saturday's conference sessions we hadn't planned any lessons because we were waiting to see who didn't come to conference and who really needed us to come. Sister Orr and I were so tired after sitting there that we drove to our area, got out of the truck, and just started walking like zombies, not sure what our plan was. We would turn if we felt like we should and finally we ran into the man we met on the bike last week, Zacchaeas. We had planned on seeing him earlier in the afternoon but then we had conference so he told us to go to his house and that we would find his wife. So basically a lesson just fell into our laps and this family has been so prepared. I love teaching families! His wife, Eunice, said, "From tomorrow on we will be together," (meaning they want to join us). Unfortunately they had to go to a funeral so they didn't come to conference but I really feel like they are ready to hear the gospel. Investigators seem to just fall into our laps and I don't understand how it happens. The key to all of these baptisms is retention. Retention is the hard part.

The branch president and elder's quorum president's children (they are brothers) are the cutest kids ever. They just love Sister Orr and I and every time we see them they just give us the biggest hugs. I'll hopefully send pictures of them soon but man, they melt my heart. I miss being able to hold kids.
Just one last little thing: At BYU I sort of made it a goal to smile at every person I passed. I wasn't perfect but especially on rainy days when people seemed extra frowny I just smiled at every person I could, attempting to radiate some sunshine into their day. It made my day to make other people smile. I have brought that here. So many times these women are laboring with their bundles on their heads, babies on their backs, and frowns on their faces but I try to smile at every one and suddenly their furrowed brow turns into a bright smile. It's the little things, man. I am a happy child.

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