Monday, May 11, 2015

Hopping the Border

May 4, 2015
I made it on the wall of fame in my Blantyre flat. My biography was written by Sister Zohner.

Sister Frimpong and I at the chapel. She is such a babe.

SUBWAY. You should have seen my face when I saw a SUBWAY. You guys, I was in Malawi a long time. I just kept saying, "Is this real like?"

Sister Komiha and I just hours before she goes home

Darling Family,

This week has been just wonderful. Heavenly Father has blessed me with so much peace in this transfer and Sister Frimpong and I hit the ground running. I think pretty much the whole world clumps Africa into one country or one general culture but Zambia and Malawi could not be more different.

My first hour we went to a shopping mall in our area to eat and I felt like I had come back to America. I'm pretty much a village girl coming to the city for the first time. I looked around and I felt nearly overwhelmed with how big this place is. I am so used to Malawi where the development is still underway and where the nicest place in the whole city to eat is KFC. Now I am here and there are chains from around the world. Our area is super nice--pretty much all gates and apartment buildings. We have a car as STLs and Sister Frimpong is the driver so it's just nice after hiking for months and coming home beat. When we pass people on the street, they are speaking English. I go to greet in Chichewa and then I realize that Chichewa isn't spoken here. I miss Chichewa. I miss saying, "Bho!" everywhere I go.

There are street names which is sort of revolutionary in my head. They use military time so our curfew is between 18 and 19pm. I serve in a ward and go to church in an actual chapel. So many people are just super educated. Multiple people in our ward have gone to the States for school, like the bishop's wife went to BYU Provo. There is a girl that is visiting her home ward that now lives in American Fork with her husband. WHAT? So many connections to BYU and Utah in this ward.

This first thing I did when I got to Lusaka was go to the chapel where they were having district meeting to meet my new companion. I was surprised to find SISTER KOMIHA there, too, just hours away from going home. I thought I would miss her but we got to teach one last lesson together. That girl is a bomb shell. I am grateful we got to be companions. It's so fun to be the STL in Lusaka because we get to see all the sisters who come in and out and who get transferred. 

My companion, Sister Frimpong, is the best. I love her so much. Her family is from Ghana but she was born and raised in London so, like I said last week, she has a beautiful accent to match her beautiful face. She is super level headed but also loves to laugh and have fun. I have pretty much had the best companions ever on my mission. Have I mentioned I am the most blessed child in the world? Heavenly Father is so kind to me.

Also, another tender mercy is that Elder Mwangi is in my ward and district! We served 9 months straight together and when he got transferred I thought I wouldn't see him before he left but now I will get to see him die. He's the greatest. I know a lot of the missionaries in my district already which is just fun. I live with Sister Muthengi from Kenya who I lived with in Lilongwe and Sister Mulunda from Congo who I met in January. Our house is definitely an interesting, diverse place to live.

Even the rejection in Lusaka is different. In Malawi they just tell you yes and promise to come to church and take your pamphlet and act super interested but in Lusaka they are blunt and tell you no and call your church Satanic. It's the best. That sounds sarcastic but after so many months of people stringing me along to believe they are interested and then after a 30 minute hike to their house I find it empty, it is nice to have people just honestly tell you no. Just in the few days I've been here we've had some sweet texts about how our message is blasphemous and such. Good times. Haters gonna hate.

My favorite investigator is Joseph. He lives with a super strong, seasoned member called Sister Charity who is a widow in her 50s and is the biggest powerhouse you will ever meet. On the walls of their huge house there are posters with lists of different things they want to improve on as a family like dependability and how much they reach out to their extended family. It's super impressive. Joseph has his own quad and as family they study their scriptures twice a day. He basically already knows everything, it's just a matter of getting him in the font. He is the sweetest guy ever. Sister Charity is amazing. She has a son at BYU right now and she's going out for his graduation in December so maybe I'll get to see her in Utah!

A couple of sisters came down from the Copperbelt to take care of visa things here in Lusaka and so we got to pick them up and help them through the whole process. One sister is still pretty green in the mission and as I asked her how mission is so far she told me she wanted to go home. I had the opportunity to just share how wonderful a mission is and how it is worth every hard day. By the end of the day of immigration and proselyting with us, she seemed so much happier and she gave me a hug and thanked me as she got on the bus back to the Belt. I feel like part of the reason I am here in Lusaka is to give excitement and encouragement to all the sisters that come through. I remember my first night when I arrived in the field and I stayed at this flat, the sisters scared me half to death because they told me how terrible mission was and how some of them wanted to go home. I want to give light to every sister that comes through.

I guess this email is just one giant first impression of Lusaka and I can already tell it is poorly written but there are so many new things to take in it's ridiculous. I think my greatest feeling right now is utter gratitude that Heavenly Father sent me to Malawi first. Malawi truly humbled me and broadened my perspective. The branches I served in were so pioneer and I was working at the grass roots but now I am in a stake with members that have been members for 20+ years. I will forever love those hills and that dust and those spiders. But I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. 

Love forever,
Sister Proctor

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