Jan. 19, 2015
|Selfie Sunday - No Bathe Sabbath|
|My foot tan is coming along nicely|
I think Heavenly Father is preparing my for the apocalypse because after this week I think I could survive. Today marks a week since we have had running water in the flat and electricity has been spotty, too. The rains came so hard earlier in the week that there have been flash floods, many people's houses have collapsed, and many people have died. The pipes were buried in silt so basically no one knows how soon we will get water back. It is surreal to walk through my area and see that almost every other house has a wall or more that has collapsed. No one I know has died, in fact the members have been really blessed that only minor damage has happened to their homes, but most people I know have known people who have been killed. I would say that this mission thing is pushing me to all limits, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, yet my spirits are still high. I wouldn't say I am perfectly happy every hour of every day--your heart and eyes can get weary when you are surrounded by this daily and you have to bucket shower and do everything by candle light--but I am still a happy little seesta.
All of this devastation has caused me to ponder about how we build our own spiritual houses. We learn in Heleman 5:12 (I have shared that scripture a lot this week) that if your foundation is built on Christ that you cannot fall. I think about Blantyre--this place is basically one big rock because it is situated in the mountains--so the foundations are not the problem for these fallen houses. The bricks that they use here are simply sand mixed with water, packed, dried, and then fired poorly. We may believe in Christ and have our foundations on Him but the building materials of our spiritual houses also matter. If we build with bricks of doubt, fear, insecurity, pride, self-righteousness, or sin then when the storms come our walls will collapse. We must build with bricks of faith, trust, charity, humility, and covenants all fired with the refiner's fire of the Spirit. That is the only way we can be protected from the storms of life.
Life is truly an adventure. The lights went out one night, so I got up to feel my way to the table to find my tiny lantern and Sister Mntungwa didn't hear me get up so she just saw a unknown figure in the darkness and she screamed. In turn, I screamed and I collapsed on the floor with tiny tears in my eyes. I have never collapsed out of fear before but we laughed for a while in the dark.
I forgot to tell you last week but I am still in a threesome with Sister Dlamini and Sister Mntungwa. Sister Mntungwa's companion is still having visa problems in Malawi so we are having to balance two areas while we wait. We went to Chilimoni a couple times and waded through rivers of nasty. It was fun. These ladies are crazy and I'm learning so much from them.
We had zone meeting and talked more about the standard of excellence and goal of 750 baptisms and the Spirit once again confirmed that this is the time to step up our game and become who God wants us to be. I love how President Erickson and the zone leaders put it---this is less of a number and more of a symbol of our desires to be the best disciples that we can be. They compared in to the sacrament. The sacrament is a symbol of the Atonement and as we take it we recommit to try our best to be perfect. It doesn't mean that we will reach perfection that week but it is us showing Heavenly Father that we will try again. I can't wait to see how this goal plays out. I am so glad that I get to be here all year to see it happen.
As I've walked through the area the word, "weary" just kept playing in my head. I have felt that physically and emotionally this week. But it also made me recall a scripture I memorized a few months ago: D&C 64:33. Instead of the word "weary" playing over and over, that scripture replaced it: "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." The more that scripture has gone through my head the more I realize that that "great work" that I am laying the foundation of is not necessarily missionary work or the Kingdom of God but that work is ME. "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." I am laying the foundation for this great work that Heavenly Father is doing within me. Every time I choose to walk on when I just want to pause and shed little wee tears makes that foundation even better. I am choosing to become celestial rather than carnal (Shout out to Andy for your email last week).
We didn't have as many lessons as I would have hope this week but one lesson made it all work it. Yesterday we taught that family (the Chimwangas) again and again it was so full of the Spirit. They are so prepared it's crazy. They make up for the lack of investigators we have. They not only understand what we teach but the Spirit teaches them further and their responses are so deep. I hope I get to stay in Blantyre long enough to seem that family baptized. I love them so much.
Another thing that made me happy this week was that our branch president, President Matale, came and taught a lesson with us. He is the picture of consecration. He is just overseeing our branch for these few months while they find a new branch president because he is in the district presidency so his family goes to another branch. He goes and visits families in our branch multiple times a week and sacrifices his all to help the branch grow. It's amazing. On Sundays he brings a tiny lunch box, eats after church and all the meetings, and then goes to the area to visit. He's basically another missionary in the branch.
Well, life is fragile and beautiful and strange and adventurous and I am ever grateful to be the Lord's servant on His errand. Pray for the water to come back so I can take a shower again.
Love you forever,