Monday, May 11, 2015

Musali Bwino

April 27, 2015
With my darling Temba, the little boy that ALWAYS has to hug me every time I pass. The cutest.

The Young Women making their bracelets. I love these girls.


Sister Kuwali--my favorite person ever.

Sister Chinomwe and I. She is so full of light. I love this lady.

Regina and I. What a sassy friend she came to be.

Bob Kuwali, Me, Sister Dlamini, President Matale, and Sister Kuwali

Brother Bob and I. He's the most faithful night guard ever.

The sweet Chirwa family. Yep, I'm a giant.

Weekly. This will be my baptism picture since I won't be there next Sunday.

Darling Family,

Well, the call I was waiting for came late Friday night. There's nothing like seeing the phone light up with the ZLs calling. You just know that when a call comes late at night it's transfers. Last time I was transferred it was so surprising that my reaction was quite dramatic but this time since President had warned us that one of us was going I felt like it would be me so my heart was prepared to hear, "Sister Proctor [insert small talk to lessen the blow], we are calling concerning transfers. You are being transferred to Lusaka to be the STL with Sister Frimpong." Yep, folks. I'm crossing the border. After 10 months in Malawi I am going to another country with a different language and a lot less mountains and trees. In fact, from what I've seen of Lusaka, it's pretty much straight pavement. But I am excited for the adventures ahead.

This week we did exchanges and I got to go with Sister Zohner to Chilimoni and bring Sister Griffus to Ndirande. I had the blessing of finishing Sister Zohner's 12 week training. It had been a while since I watched "The District" and it was a good reminder of why I am here. Basically, I think I say this every week, but I love being a missionary. This is the best experience and my heart is so full. I love being an STL because I get to learn from and teach all of the sisters in the zone. It's fun to just sit down and ask about their goals and encourage them and be their best friend and confidant. Sister Griffus is going home in 2 weeks so I asked her what advice she would give to missionaries. Sister Griffus is a tough cookie sometimes--she doesn't like to cry--but she teared up as she expressed how much she knows that missions are not only to help other people but they are to help yourself. I definitely have a testimony of that. My heart has been under construction since day one and it's becoming something much more beautiful than it was when I left. I have walked miles for this testimony and this heart.

Weekly is so ready to be baptized and it is quite hard to fill out his baptismal record and send him into the interview knowing I won't be there. I have worked for so many months just to see this one baptism and now I will leave before it happens. But to be honest, my heart is at peace. I know that we will one day meet again. As we reviewed with him for his interview, I asked if he felt like the restoration was true and he has had a hard time receiving answers to his prayers in the past but today he was confident with a, "yes". I asked what changed and he told us that he had been reading the Book of Mormon and the Spirit communicated to him in two verses: "And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read. And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord," (1 Nephi 1:11-12). He bore his testimony to us and I have no doubt that his prayers have been answered. What a blessing he has been in my life. My heart will certainly be in the Ndirande branch next Sunday.

The Young Women in our branch have never really had mutual or any kind of activities so we planned an activity for them and it was SO adorable to see how excited they were. Since Pat and Sarah Bluth sent me a ton of beads and string for Christmas we focused on the value of virtue and made bracelets to remind them to stay virtuous. Only four girls showed up but we went around and got to know each other a bit and it was so sweet. Each girl asked the group a question and one of the questions was, "What is a special moment you've had in life?" They all described their happiest moments and one girl told us how she had walked many kilometers every Saturday to go to seminary and when she got her certificate it was the happiest moment of her life. I thought that was cute. As we walked out of the meeting house gate together I told them that they need to tell their friends how much fun YW activities are and they said we will and just jumped up and down with their bracelets in hand. One girl exclaimed, "THIS is a special moment!"

General Conference was also a "special moment" this week. So many talks moved me to tears and my heart was full of gratitude to be a part of this great Church and gospel. What a joy it is to know the truth and to stand by it fervently. We also watched the General Women's Session again and as we sang, "How Firm a Foundation" my heart pretty much exploded. Heavenly Father is so good at these perfect orchestrations. That song has been one that just "happens" to be played at every poignant moment in my life (i.e. my last Sunday in Virginia, my last Sunday in Alpine before going to college, etc.) so to have it play on my last weekend in Blantyre was just too good. I am eternally grateful for the lessons I have learned in this place.

Being here in Ndirande has stretched me further than I thought I could stretch and I have learned to be happy and have fun no matter what. I have learned to rely on the Lord and wait on His promises and His timing because they are oh so very sure. I have learned that though I am here to help people, the Lord has also sent me here to help ME. I loved Linda K Burton's talk about how she may not have been through every trial but she has become well acquainted with He who has experienced all. I can not understand how it feels to starve or any other number of challenges people face here but I have become well acquainted with my Savior on these dirt roads and my understanding of the expanse of His Atonement has deepened. I love Him so much. 

My agogo amuna (grandpa)/eternal investigator Ian called just to hear the transfer news and when he saw me on Sunday he just told me how much he would miss me. When I told the Relief Society president, Sister Mbawa, I was leaving, she said, "Ahh, don't make me cry." Both Bob and Linda Kuwali are SO sad I am leaving. Sister Kuwali has been the highlight of every week sitting on her dirt floor and laughing so hard as we attempted to communicate to her. Brother Bob is our night guard so he has become accustomed to greeting us every night with a salute and welcoming us home. Last night, Brother Bob just expressed his gratitude and how I have really changed their lives. It's nice to hear all of these things from people but they don't even understand that THEY are the ones that have changed my life. Presdient Matale was also super sad to hear I was leaving. He has become someone very dear to me. 

It's funny that when I left Kalambo I felt like that was my one and only family here on mission but then I came to Ndirande and they have become even more of a family to me. These people and their beautiful, bright countenances will forever be etched in my heart. But I think what gives me the greatest peace about leaving is knowing that if I found another family in Blantyre, that Lusaka has a family waiting for me there. I may not have the same river adventures or hiking adventures but great things are ahead. I already know my companion and she's so powerful. She's from Ghana but grew up in London and has the nicest accent and face around. She's about 3 months younger than me on mission. And the up side of going to Zambia is that there will be no more water problems, we get to drive, the distribution center is in my new area, and our flat is where all the missionaries stay when they come in or go out so I get to meet everyone. 

Adventures ahead.

Sister Proctor

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