Thursday, April 23, 2015

Life is What You Make It

April 6, 2015

The RS sisters singing to cheer on the workers at our service.

Planning in the dark.

Our smokey, sad attempt to brai. Good times.

The big bwana we found while contacting. The tiny spider next to it is rather large by itself and then you see this huge creature the size of my hand. My skin is crawling.

Darling Family,

It was another wonderful, soul-stretching week in Ndirande. Many things I counted on happening didn't happen which was sad but the Lord is blessing me with a greater understanding and a broader perspective.

One of the things I studied this week was perfection. Sometimes it blows my mind to think that the Savior was perfect in the mortal state and that perfection is also our goal. It's sort of overwhelming to think about. But it D&C 93 it tells us that even the Savior grew grace to grace until he received of the fulness of the Father's glory. In Jesus The Christ it talks about relative perfection and how we can be perfect within our own spheres. In D&C 88:25 it says that the earth with gain celestial glory because it fills the measure of its creation. The Spirit opened up to my mind that the Lord doesn't expect us to attain His level of perfection in this life but He does expect us to fill the measure of our creation. I have been given a different mission than any of you. To be perfect in my sphere I need to fulfill my specific mission. The Savior showed us an example by perfectly doing all the Father sent Him to earth to do. Even in His perfected, glorified state the prints of the nails in His hands and feet remained because that was how He filled His measure of creation.

This big bwana (boss) who lives in Nyambadwe has come to church a couple of times on his own and we were finally able to teach him this week. Since we can't teach a man without a woman there, we brought sweet Sister Chinomwe who comes from a very humble background. It was sort of embarrassing how much he was talking about his travel experience and how he hopes his children never come back to Malawi from the US because there is nothing to offer them here. Sometimes it is so strange that our area covers the richest of the rich in Malawi (Mr. President has a house in Nyambadwe) and the poorest of the poor. The contrast is funny. 

But speaking of big bwanas in Nyambadwe, a ton of HUGE spiders have suddenly moved into Nyambadwe. I wish I could capture how large they are in a picture but we always joke about them because they make huge webs too. They know where the high rollers stay.

We did a branch service and it was so happy. With all of the rains, so many houses/walls have fallen so we went to a member's house and helped her rebuild part of her house. There were too many people and not enough work so the Relief Society sisters sort of just sang hymns to cheer on the workers. It was definitely a branch bonding experience. I love Ndirande branch with all my heart. These people are so full of light.

The APs called on April 1st (April Fool's day) to tell us that the in-person MLC in Lusaka was cancelled. The ZLs had already pranked us so we really wanted to believe it was a prank but alas, the APs were true. After a really long day and being so excited for this celestial council next week, it was sort of a blow. But after thinking it through, I realized it was such a big blow because it was like the one thing I had to look forward to. I realized that was the wrong way to think. These past three months since the last in-person MLC have been the most challenging of my entire mission. It's been work, work, work and not a whole lot to get my mind off of my struggling area. I consider myself to be a pretty happy person but I guess I have sort of forgotten to have fun. The biggest lesson in all of this is that not only is happiness a choice but fun is a choice!

That being said, one night we came home to a house with no electricity or running water. It wasn't too disappointing since that is pretty much a norm here but we decided to attempt a brai on our back porch since we were all starving and we had a random bag of charcoal in our pantry. We had no stove or brai stand but we put a few pots together and the four of us in the dark tried to light these coals. It was such a joke and we couldn't stop laughing. We were determined because we were too hungry to quit. After a meager attempt, the sausage was sort of cooking but all of the grease put out the coals before it was wholey cooked. After an hour and a half of singing camp fire songs and choking on smoke and gazing at the stars, the lights turned on and we just sat there totally defeated but having had a good time. 

We have two progressing investigators that are pretty exciting. One is Weekly, who came to church with his mom yesterday despite the water issues that deterred many of the members. He is excited about the gospel and it makes me giddy. And then there is Evance who is the 10-year-old-son of a less active. He speaks zero English but he also is excited about learning. We have to teach a principle at a time and repeat over and over again but he is slowly coming out of his shell. He can't even write his own name but even when his father doesn't come to church he and his tiny 7 and 3 year old siblings come alone.

Alinafe, our amazing recent convert, told us about a dream he had. He is already preparing to serve a mission and he had a dream he received his first companion. He said that he felt so much happiness but also felt the sadness and the loneliness and the disappointment that missionaries sometimes feel. He was so sincere as he looked at us and said, "Now I understand what you go through. Sisters, you are doing a great job." My heart exploded. He is the best RC ever. 

I feel like my emails are kind of long but hey, I love writing so what can I do. But I just wish I could express to you how amazing and hard and wonderful this experience is. I love Ndirande Branch with all my heart. I was sitting in a meeting with the stand-in branch president and the four of us missionaries and we were reporting and planning together and the excitement in that room was tangible. President Matale is truly consecrated. He follows up and everything we do and when we ask him to do something he does it. He is always in the area visiting families and reaching out and the branch has grown so much since I first arrived. It means so much to be in a branch where people love and help each other. The Relief Society goes out on Sundays and during the week to visit sick sisters and less actives. I LOVE these people. I got up to bear my testimony yesterday and I could hardly handle the love I felt--not only of myself but the love the Lord has for them, too.

In other news, we got contacted by a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses. It's always a good time.

Have a wonderful week. Do something to make the Lord happy!

Sister Proctor

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