Monday, March 16, 2015

Perfect Orchestrations

March 2, 2015

Me looking fine (please sense the sarcasm) on my 20th

I brought cake to district meeting (because we have the best district) to celebrate Elder Lemperle and my birthdays.

Agnes' second to last Sunday before she heads to the London South Mission. I love this girl too much.
An awkward selfie

The Chirwa family--my Malawian family. These people are too good. 

Darling Family,

Have I mentioned that I love being a missionary? I remember as I wrote my farewell talk the the theme "perfect orchestrations" emerged--little did I know I had discovered the theme for my entire mission. There were so many moments this week where divine intervention was so obvious I couldn't help but smile and think, "Oh, Heavenly Father, you are too good."

First of all, the rest of my birthday was grand. Sister Dlamini and I took a bus to a market outside of Blantyre called Limbe and I think the men were all informed it was a special day because they were all saying really funny things to me. As we were getting on the bus to go back to Blantyre this guy yelled, "You look like a thousand!" and the whole bus, including myself, started laughing. These Malawians are too funny. My companion told another guy that it was my birthday and he gave me a little angel made out of white beads. We laughed because Agnes always calls me the "white angel". So yeah, my 20th was a success.

District meeting was powerful. We have a couple new Elders in the district and we've all mutually agreed we are the best district in the mission. We might be biased but whatever. We also may only be 1/11,000 of the missionaries in the entire world but we are making a difference for the people we come in contact with. We talked about the importance of the Spirit in conversion and I had a sort of obvious yet important realization--the Spirit is all that matters. Sometimes it's easy to get down on myself for forgetting little things or not being perfect but if I am remember every little thing and not bringing the Spirit then I can't do anything. The Spirit is what will change and convert people. Yes, the other things are good to remember but if I forget and I bring the Spirit, all is well. The Spirit is the real missionary.

We had a few days this week where we felt like children wandering in the wilderness. One day it was hot and appointments were cancelled and I was praying for guidance from the Spirit but it didn't feel like any specific guidance was coming. Then we knocked on a door. It took a while for someone to come and we were about to move on to the next house but finally the door opened and we found a thin woman peering out at us. We didn't even tell her we were missionaries before she invited us to come in. When we sat down and began to introduce ourselves as missionaries and how we share the restored gospel she just started weeping. When she pulled herself together she told us she had just been on her knees pleading with God to help her and we knocked at the door mid-prayer. I knew that we had been directed to her. We went again yesterday to meet with her, Mercy, and her husband, Bruno, and it was just a sweet lesson. It's worth wandering in the wilderness to have moments like these.

We are teaching this guy called Mukeya and when we taught him the restoration last time there were a few things that he didn't agree with so he told us that our next lesson he was inviting his friend who "had been in the Word longer than him". We were praying that they weren't going to be bashers and that their hearts would be softened and that, too, was a great lesson. At first his friend was a bit abrasive but then Mukeya stepped in and said, "Man, let them teach us. I think they'll answer your questions." It was possibly the most spirit-filled lesson about the Book of Mormon I've ever taught. I truly appreciate earnest seekers of truth. Another prayer was answered.

We got a member called Brother Wisiki to come work with us one day and then our appointment was cancelled. It's always a little uncomfortable if an appointment is cancelled and a member has walked all the way to teach a lesson with you. But like I said last week, fall throughs are just opportunities in disguise. Another member called Brother Likoswe told us about this guy that baptized him but went less active years ago and hasn't been to church since. No one had really heard of him. We recently tracked him down and so we felt like we should go try and see if this less active was home. Yes he was home, and what made the orchestration even more perfect was that he and Brother Wisiki were long time friends but neither knew the other was a member. It was just too perfect. We had a sweet lesson on the restoration and this guy pulled out his baptism and priesthood certificates and baptismal photos and he was obviously still very proud to be a member. Well, on Sunday, after nearly 7 years of being less active he humbly walked into church. I wish I could describe how happy Brother Wisiki and Brother Likoswe were to see their brother back at church. You guys. Less actives are the best.

We have been going through our area book and contacting former investigators and we went and taught one called Emmi who lives in Nyambadwe aka the big gates. I've never been that deep into Nyambadwe. Heavens, these people are rich. I felt almost uncomfortable sitting down in her house and drinking her ice cold juice across from her huge TV. I wonder how I'll feel when I sit down in the house in Alpine again...

Church yesterday was the happiest. Not only did that less active, Davis, come but so did a few other less actives and INVESTIGATORS. Since December, we haven't really had any sold investigators come to church so to see these two guys walk into the meeting house I about died. Also, ever since Alinafe was baptized in December he hasn't missed one chance to bear his testimony on fast Sunday. He loves to tell his Moroni story of how he buried the Book of Mormon. Watching him teach primary is the cutest thing ever. And we were talking to him today and he told us how natural it feels to work with the Elders. The day I see a badge with "Elder Mkandawire"on it. Oh man.

My overwhelming feeling this week is that God loves these people so much and He loves me so much and He has a plan for each of us personally. Though these last couple of months have been challenging in many ways, I am so grateful for the trials I have faced. I'm living in Thanksgiving daily. It's a good life.


Sister Proctor

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