Monday, February 23, 2015

Carl B. Cook is the Coolest

Feb. 2, 2015
Our district leader, Elder Doig, picked out the material and made skirts and ties for our district for mission tour. I was pretty impressed. They turned out well. I didn't get a picture of the Elders and their ties but they looked nice.

Sister Dlamini's birthday lunch today. Just gaze at the background for a little bit. Malawi is too beautiful.

Feel free to laugh at our amusing height difference. I am not even standing up straight.

Walking to the area. Ndirande is getting greener and greener.

Sister Griffus and I made month pancakes to celebrate our 7 and 14 month marks. Yes, she has double my time on mission.

Darling Family,

It has been a lovely, inspiring week and I continue to get down on my knees every morning and thank Heavenly Father for letting me be His missionary. What a good time to be alive and to be on His errand!

The past month has been one of great challenge and I feel God asking me to step up and be a better everyday. With the standard of excellence we made at MLC and the mission goals for the year on top of the promptings from the Spirit and the zone conference we had with Elder Carl B. Cook this week, I feel the refiner's fire and it is certainly doing its work. We are working harder to find families to teach and to get the best fellowshippers possible from the branch. It can be challenging to coordinate an investigating family with a member family and get them all sat down in one room to teach but oh, how rewarding it feels. 

It can be easy to call the branch missionaries who are YSA and get them to work with us but the only effective lessons are when a quality fellowshipper is there. Since we have refocused on teaching families we then have to turn to the older branch members and get them to take time out of their days to come work with us. It can be intimidating to call a older guy and ask if he will take time away from work and family to come teach but ultimately it strengthens the member when they make that sacrifice. We worked with so many members we have never worked with before this week and it is so satisfying.

I went on exchanges with Sister Griffus on Wednesday and it was good just to talk through things with her. She has recently been called to finish training Sister Browning so we had a good chat. I still don't understand why Heavenly Father called me to be a leader so young when all of these people have double my time but I have learned so much as an STL.

As a threesome, we are called to still balance Sister Mntungwa's area so we have to travel to Chilimoni a few days a week. It poured on us. Guys, the rains are no joke here. But all along I just kept a prayer in my heart that I could stay here in Blantyre for as long as possible. I am growing to love this place. It is becoming my home, just as Lilongwe was. We are just on the up and up after a long few weeks of hard finding. I am so excited about the families we are teaching. Such tiny things make me happy. The other day we were walking to the area and we saw this agogo (grandma) carrying a hoe and bag of things so we offered to help her and then she held my hand as we walked for about 5 minutes. It was so sweet. It's the little things.

As I said, we had mission tour with Elder Carl B. Cook and it was so powerful. I think I say this about every other paragraph but I am so blessed to be a missionary at this time in this place. This is the most exciting, wonderful thing in the world. Elder Cook talked about how Elder Russel M. Nelson was here in Blantyre in 2011 and he got down on all fours and dedicated the country of Malawi for the gospel. We often look back at church history and think, "I wish I could be missionary in those days when they were getting tons of baptisms" but then he said with power and conviction that "THESE are the days for Malawi". I can't tell you how much I feel that. We are pioneers but it is a privilege to be part of the genesis of something grand.

We talked about conversion and how the Lord is hastening His work and I felt so strongly that God might not be increasing the number of baptisms, although that might be a fruit of the hastening, but He is hastening us from within. He is refining His servants and giving them treasures of great knowledge to know how to do His work with more power and impact. Let me tell you, I certainly feel the hastening within myself. He said that only a, "progressing missionary has progressing investigators." We need to be growing in our conversion everyday in order to help others in their own conversion process. 

President Erickson got up at the end and read a long-anticipated letter from the Area Presidency announcing that there will be the formation of the first stake in Zambia. I know I haven't served in Lusaka but tears just filled my eyes. The work is moving forward. He also announced that this year in the Africa Southeast Area there will be 12 new stakes and 93 new branches. This is what I get to be a part of. The rain was pouring the whole conference and planes were delayed for President and Elder Cook to come and there seemed to be a lot of opposition around the whole meeting and then Sister Cook's final testimony just blew me away. She had been contemplating why there would be so much opposition and she practically had to shout her testimony over the sound of the rain but she said she knew that Satan didn't want this announcement about the stake to be made but that no unhallowed hand could stop the work. I could cry right now, I just love being a missionary.

Before and after the meeting, Elder Cook personally greeted each missionary and when he greeted me at the end he said, "Sister Proctor, thank you for your comment. It really impacted me." Woah. I don't even know what I said but these are the things you will always remember.

The Chimwanga family continues to be the best ever. We have been praying about what couple from the branch we could bring to teach with us and then on Sunday we show up to church and there is a new couple in the branch that moved from Liwonde (a group of members far away in a small town). They have been members for 6 years and they happened to have moved to the same street as the Chimwangas. I asked them right then if they would teach with us this Thursday and they said yes. What? The answer to that prayer was already in the works before we even asked. Perfect orchestrations.

Today is Sister Dlamini's birthday so we went out to eat and she also got her dreads retwisted. Yes, my companion has dreads. It's pretty cool. Hair is such a big thing here. So many times on Pdays I have gone on hunts through the market to find the perfect weave for my companion. Ha! Adventures.

I am the happiest child in the world, though this is definitely not the easiest thing in the world. Hope your week is wonderful.

Sister Proctor

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