|Alinafe, who had to bury his Book of Mormon because his father didn't want him to have it. He was baptized.|
|No fancy signs for the Church on this tiny chapel in Malawi.|
|Sister Proctor in front of her branch buildilng.|
Darling Family,This week has been wonderful and hard and exciting and trying all at once. So many experiences have shown me where I need to improve as a missionary but so many moments I've thought, "Is this real life?" I live such a blessed life as a Malawian missionary. This place is the promised land, solely because of the blessed people.
We had zone conference this week and it was definitely challenging. I think as a missionary, and I guess as a human being, you find that there is a never ending list of things you can be better at, but the good thing is the Spirit gives you hope in your potential to become great. President Erickson talked about how are job is not only the ABCs of missionary work (find, teach, baptize) but we also have to put equal focus on the DEFs (reactivate, retain, get people to the next ordinance). Sister Erickson entitled her lesson, "How to have our strength faithened," a play off of the guy in General Conference that mixed his words during a prayer. She emphasized how we need to draw strength from the Lord and have faith in His strength. Often times I get overwhelmed and I wonder how I can do all of these jobs on my own--missionary work has so many facets--but when I remember that this isn't my work but it's His and it's only in His strength that I can do anything, I am at peace with the load I am called to carry.
As STLs, Sister Komiha and I taught the zone about obedience. It was so powerful. We had studied for multiple days on obedience and had so many scriptures and points to talk about and then when we actually taught the Spirit just took over and used us to help everyone understand that obedience without willingness means you won't get the full blessings. I wish I could describe it well but it was great. I love teaching. I think I get it from my parents and grandparents and great grandparents :)
So from the emphasis on reactivation and retention, Sister Komiha and I met with the branch president, President Matale, and the Relief Society to make a game plan on how we are going to work together to bring people back. I guess there are like 400 people in the branch but only 70 come. We definitely have a lot of praying and finding to do. Africa has no addresses or even street names so it will take miracles. Our meeting with President Matale was so inspired. He has such a great vision for the branch. He also served a mission so he understands so much about what needs to happen. I am so excited for the coming weeks where we are going to search out these 100s of people. I really feel like I am in the right place.
We had many perfect orchestrations this week including when we got lost (yes, we are both new to the area) and ran into this woman who went to our church for three months but got married and stopped coming. She said she felt at home when she came to our church but the tradition in Malawi is when you get married you follow the husband to whatever church he goes to. She hasn't yet joined his church so we were directed to her and the exact right time.
We also began teaching these two adorable sisters, Magret and Rachel. They live together in a postage-stamp-sized house (literally one room about the size of our mud room) and from the first time we taught them they had such great desires. We taught about baptism and they said they didn't feel good about their infant baptisms in another church. Rachel asked, "Where can we get this baptism you're talking about?" and before we could answer Magret said, "I know. These people have it at their church." Sister Komiha and I looked at each other like, "WOOHOO!" The next time we taught restoration and they expressed how we are helping them to know God and they feel so good. They loved church. I'm so excited about them! They'll be baptized the beginning of January.
I'm also just so excited about Alinafe. He's the guy in the picture I am sending. He is the one that is like Moroni and buried his Book of Mormon so his father wouldn't throw it away. He'll be baptized next Sunday. I wish you could just spend two minutes with him and feel of his amazing spirit. I really think he'll be a missionary as soon as he can.
Sister Komiha is a fireball. She is so hard working and talks to everyone. She's definitely challenged me to become a better missionary. She was a pro soccer player before her mission and almost played for the Zimbabwe team but then she came on a mission instead. Also, she didn't know her Mom was pregnant when she left so about three months into her mission she found out she had a baby sister. That was a shocker! Ha! So after 15 years her mom had another baby. I love Sister Komiha a lot. We are still adjusting but I feel like we are together in this area for a purpose.
So yeah, I feel like I've hit a turning point in my mission. I thought I was a dedicated, hard working missionary before but this week has helped me see how much more I can do. My attitude has changed, my focus has changed, my study has changed, and even my prayers have changed. God is shaping me to be something I never had supposed I would be. And I like it.
Love you all so much!
P.S. These pictures are just some from our meeting house. We meet in a tiny house that barely fits us all. The picture of the three of us is my companion and Enala (17), one of the recent converts who is so sweet