Monday, January 5, 2015

Tikukufunirani Christmas Yabwino

Dec. 22, 2014

Agnes tracting with us. She is beautiful and so funny. We are pretty much best friends.

Teaching sweet Rachel and Magret in their baby house.

.All the branch primary children. The future leaders of Malawi.

Sister Browning and I eating lunch at a tiny bakery.

My cute companion and I at the branch Christmas party
Darlings around the world,

My little heart is exploding with so much gratitude for the Savior. I feel like I am coming to really know Him more than I've ever known Him before. This week one of the branch missionaries that we normally work with was sick so we went to visit her and we taught her an amazing lesson about Christ. Actually, the Spirit really taught me. It was just one of those many moments where I knew my mouth was being filled with what to say. The words that came out of my mouth were not my own. And I learned that the Atonement is much more than we ever think it is. It has been said often that the Atonement is enabling power but that only really hit me as I taught. The Atonement is not just to take us from a low state of sin back to a state of neutrality--sometimes we think that when we repent it's just getting back up to the plain we were at before--but it truly is enabling us to become as he is. Christ wasn't willing to suffer because of our sins but He was willing to suffer because of the infinite and stunning potentials that He knew we could reach with His help. Sin is just the chains He has released us from so that He can lift us higher.

As sister training leaders, Sister Komiha and I did exchanges this week and they were really great. I still feel a bit inadequate and inexperienced to teach other missionaries but I know that I have been called for a reason. I may be training and helping sisters who have double the time on mission than I do but it is causing me to stretch and grow. The first exchange was on Wednesday with Sister Griffus (from US). We laughed a lot (#sollynotsolly<--Malawians struggle with their Rs and Ls) and worked hard. We had a lesson with our eternal investigator, Ian, and it was so powerful. We talked about repentance and shared the story of Alma the Younger and he FINALLY committed to a baptismal date of January 18th. You don't even know how big this is. He is famous for being an eternal investigator. I am praying that he actually follows through. 

On Thursday we worked with Osman, another branch missionary who just got his mission call to the England Birmingham mission. As we walked about from appointment to appointment he told me his conversion story. It blew me away. He used to be a missionary for the Jehovah's Witnesses but every time he talked about life after death he knew he wasn't teaching the truth. One day he saw Elders in the market and stopped them and asked what happens after we die. He couldn't let the missionaries come to his house because he lived with his brother who was extremely J-dub so he began reading everything the Elders could give him. Even when he went away for planting he would call the Elders everyday to let them know about his reading. He eventually moved in with his sister and was able to be baptized. When the leaders of the Jehovah's Witness heard he had changed churches they came to try to fellowship him and teach him and he ended up teaching them the plan of salvation. He is going to be an amazing missionary. Birmingham better prepare itself.

Friday I did an exchange with Sister Browning (from Idaho) who has only been out about three weeks. She is the sister that sort of reminds me of myself a short few months ago. We are very different people but it's still funny to look at her and look at myself and see how far I have come. Agnes Chirwa, who is going to London South (Shae's mission) came with us to a lesson and it felt like I was training the both of them. They were so nervous to begin the lesson and ask him questions but I left them hanging out to dry and they were so proud of themselves afterward. Agnes is seriously the darlingest person ever. I hope all works out with her visa so she can actually go to London and meet Sister Wood! I'll include a picture of Sister Browning and I and also Agnes out tracting with us.

Our branch devotional/party was this week and it was such a success. A ton of investigators came and there were a ton of games and everyone really got involved. The Relief Society were champions in cooking rice for 200 people. They went through all the rice to pick out all the little rocks (yes, that is something you have to do here). Ah, these African women are powerful. The best part was looking around and seeing Alinafe organizing all the primary children to play a game and Rachel and Magret going out of their way to help clean up. It's the little things that mean so much.

There was one day that was really strange this week. It seemed like every person I talked to just made me feel weirder and weirder. One investigator we were teaching, a man from Zimbabwe, stopped mid conversation and asked me if my father was a missionary. I told him my father had been one a long time ago and he said that three months ago God had revealed to him that I would come to his door. That sounds sort of spiritual but it was more on the strange end of the spectrum. Then on the way home this man stopped Sister Komiha and said, "I want to talk to your friend. She is so pretty." Ah, dese people. If only you knew how many men have proposed to me. Too many. I can't seem to blend in here.

Well, Christmas is this week and though I am far away from home and all familiarity the Christmas spirit--the spirit of Christ--is vibrant in my heart. All Christmasy things have been stripped away. There are no lights or trees or wrapped presents or santa clauses, but my testimony of Christ has grown more than any other Christmas I've ever experienced. Malawi may celebrate differently ("It isn't Christmas without chicken and it isn't Christmas without fanta") but the reason for the season remains the same. May we all let Christ be born in us this week.


Sister Proctor

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