Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Burden is Light

June 22, 2015
Exchanges with Sister Mbele

This is Grandma. She is the distribution center lady that LOVES
missionaries. We all call her Grandma.

Celebrating my ONE YEAR since Sister Frimpong won't be here this
week to celebrate with me. The third sister is Sister Selwa waiting to
go to New Zealand.

Ma Elders and ma sister at coordination

Darling Family,

Well, I believe in being honest (and true and chaste and benevolent
etc.) and so honestly this week was really rough. I can count on one
hand how many times I've really cried on my mission and two of them happened this week. And one also happened to be in front of the Elders. It was quite embarrassing but the priesthood is real and all is well. In my interview in Blantyre right before President
transferred me here I told him how much I loved Blantyre and he said, "Well, maybe you won't realize just how much you love Blantyre until you are somewhere else". Truer words were never spoken. Lusaka is no joke, my friends. Sister Frimpong and I are a really good team and when we get down I usually sing her song or she gives me a hug.

But alas, nothing gold can stay. Transfer calls came and Sister
Frimpong has been called to my old area in Blantyre to be with dearest Sister Dlamini. I am still the STL and now Sister Quaye is coming to be my companion. Sister Falco is also coming to live in my same flat so that should be good. Sister Quaye, Sister Falco and I were all trained in the same house together and now we will be reunited! But I am sad to see Sister Frimpong go. I don't feel ready to take this area and to be the driver but Heavenly Father has bigger plans.

I went on exchanges with Sister Mbele in Chainama this week and they were a success. First off, I love her name (shout out to all you
people who went to Mbele with me!). The greatest thing about being an STL is just getting to hear all the ups and downs of the area and companionship and offering sincere love and encouragement to the sister. Sister Mbele was the first sister I met on my mission. She was 4 months at that point and all she wanted to do was go home. I asked her what got her from 4 months to 16 months and she told me it has been a really hard journey. She hasn't had one baptism her entire mission. I got to be the mouthpiece for Heavenly Father to express great pride and love for her.

Most of the week we have been in a threesome because a sister leaving from Lusaka to go to New Zealand on her mission was denied a transit visa in Indonesia and flew all the way back to Zambia. It has been fun to begin training her a bit. I keep laughing inside because of all the weeks to be with me personally she has seen me at my very worst. She's probably terrified for her mission now. Ha!

Most ironically, Sister Frimpong and I planned a family home evening on Friday night for all the Lusaka sisters on gratitude. After one of the roughest days of my entire mission, we arrived to the Chainama flat and the power was out. So we sat around the kitchen table with two candles and I taught about gratitude in any circumstances. Heavenly Father has a great sense of humor. It was good for my heart.

Probably the best part of the week was Sunday. After too many dropped investigators and too much stress with Sister Frimpong leaving I felt great renewal in taking the sacrament and fellowshipping with these good saints. Lizzy Wallin, who was a sister missionary in this mission and spent 13 months in my area in Blantyre, was back to visit the mission with her parents and she came out teaching with us. It was quite refreshing to hear her perspective on her mission now that she is home. Even through all the days and weeks and months of not much happening and feeling a bit like a failure she looks back and realizes that God was proud of her every day and pleased with her offering.

While Lizzy was with us pretty much every appointment bounced except one and that lesson made the whole week worth it. We taught a Hindu family from India who don't really have much of any religious foundation and the daughter prayed for the first time in her life. The Spirit was so sweet. We all walked out with the biggest smiles and the greatest reverence.

Something I have learned through all of these challenges being in
Lusaka is that with the Lord our burdens may be light. We think of
"light" as pertaining to weight but light can also signify knowledge.
When we are on the Lord's side our burdens will be light or knowledge to us. When we are not on the Lord's side we suffer unnecessarily and our burdens are just heavy. These challenges are great but the Lord is turning them into great knowledge for me.

Keep me in your prayers. I went driving with Sister Erickson this
morning and I'm still getting the hang of manual driving on the left
side. My companion was laughing at me too much.

Have a wonderful week!
Love you,

Sister Proctor

Grateful in Any Circumstances

June 15, 2015

With the sweet Van Heerdans on their farm. Love these people.

The picture of our zone conference a couple of weeks ago. Our zone has already changed quite a bit--a new AP and a new ZL.

The bush of Zambia
Darling Family,

Life is lovely, mostly because my attitude has changed and the Lord has helped me to recognize my blessings so much this week. I actually can't believe how rich my life is and the opportunities I have had and how amazing it is that I have this time to devote myself to His work.

My transformation began after emailing last week when we got to go out and visit a member family in our ward, the Van Heerdans, on their farm. They live out past the airport in the bush and we got to just sit and overlook the kilometers of landscape and drink cold lemonade. Their daughter, Anna, is a returned missionary and served in England so we got to hear some of her mission stories and just relax. I felt like all was well with the world. It was so quiet and the breeze just lulled me into such profound peace. We had a family home afternoon with them about Christ and covenants and a beautiful lunch and it was just exactly what my little heart needed. The Van Heerdans are the cutest Zimbabweans ever. They were born and bread in Zim but came to Zambia a few years ago. You have never seen a family that loves missionaries like they do. They gave us all of this fresh produce from their garden and meals to take home and heat up. They are true saints.

Honestly, much of the week was taken up with hospital runs and immigration runs and embassy runs. Sometimes I feel like we are an extension of the office Elders because whenever they have to do anything with sisters we have to be the drivers and wait for hours in offices. But we still had good times. Sister Hirwa (STL) and Sister Ratema (greenie) came down from the Copperbelt and we had like a 2 1/2 day exchange. You never get to do exchanges with other STLs so it was refreshing and uplifting. I serve with amazing people.

While on our mini exchange we met a man called Rogers and we did something I haven't really done before--we began by singing a hymn. But it wasn't just any hymn it was a sacrament hymn. The Spirit just came and we ended up testifying of the sacrament and the Atonement. I've never had such a first lesson before. But later in the week we came back with the Bishop and met his wife as well. This could be an awesome potential family. The prophetic priority right now is the sabbath day and the sacrament and as we have applied that in our missionary work we have seen such beautiful things.

A funny lesson we had this week was with a young man we've taught a couple times before. We came and his landlord wouldn't let us teach him on the property (probably thought we were satanists or something). As we taught him he got quite offended and no matter how many times I bore testimony and clearly corrected what he thought we were saying, he wouldn't come down. Finally I closed with a calm, sincere testimony and I thought he was fine but then he said the sassiest prayer of my life, "God Almighty King, thank you in the Mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen." We all sat there wondering if he was being for real and then we said "amen" all confused and he was smiling all pleased with himself. My friends, Zambians are quite the characters. We totally thought that would be the last lesson we ever had with him but a few minutes later he called us and asked when were coming next. Hopefully we don't show up to our next appointment to find one of his prophet friends there to cast demons out of us.

We visited a less active this week who has been a member since she was a kid but she never really had a testimony. We showed her the Restoration DVD and asked how she felt and then invited her to pray right then and there with us. We told her in advance that we would just wait on our knees to pay attention to how we felt. She said a good prayer but then after only a few seconds she got up off the floor and said, "Well I think it's been a minute". It was sad. And I had a re-realization that I had at the beginning of my mission--feeling the Spirit takes vulnerability. It takes courage to wait for a feeling you don't know will come. It takes courage to stay on your knees and put your heart on the line. It's only through vulnerability that we can feel a fulness of the Spirit--kind of like love.

I feel like this email is sort of all over the place but basically I am such grateful and not a ton has changed but a bit has and life is good and I am happy. President Uchtdorf says it in much more beautiful terms in his talk "Grateful in Any Circumstances". Look it up. I am grateful to be a missionary and have such a dear companion. I am grateful for the people I have met and the ward I get to serve in. I am grateful that the Lord places me in the right place at the right time. I'm grateful that yesterday everything got cancelled but we were able to uplift and strengthen a member that really needed our love, our testimonies, the scriptures, and our singing voices. I am grateful that the Spirit knows how to teach me so simply yet so profoundly. 

Things are looking up.
Love you forever,

Sister Proctor

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hard Week

June 8, 2015

THANK YOU Hermana Sav McGrath for the cutest kapackage (Zambians put "ka" in front of things to say it's small). It was definitely the right week to get that :)

With Grace and Ben

Grace and Ben.They headed down to the temple on Sunday morning. They get sealed tomorrow!

Darling Mashike, the stake president's daughter. She comes teaching with us a lot.

Sister Mulunda and I after exchanges.This lady has the deepest French/Congolese accent you will ever find.
Darling Family,

This was one of the rougher weeks of my entire mission. I don't think I've ever had so many zeros in my planner in my life. People literally just slammed doors in our faces and called us a cult and all of our investigators texted us saying they don't want us to come anymore. So basically we are at ground zero but that's a pretty good place to build from, I suppose.

I've had to change my perspective on what defines a successful missionary this week. I went on exchanges with Sister Mulunda and the biggest thing I realized is though I may not have appointments filling my planner or any baptisms or basically any thing to show for what I am doing, I am doing my best to be obedient and to follow the Spirit and that is the true measure of a successful missionary. One girl who bore her testimony in church yesterday said, "The Lord cares much more about the offerer than the offering." In my deepest sorrows this week that is what the Spirit has reminded me.

My understand of the Atonement has increased so much as a missionary. When you are being rejected and hated and nothing seems to go right you are feeling just a sliver of what the Savior felt for the world and my love for Him has increased a hundred fold. In the premortal world He knew full well what he was getting himself into and yet he CHOSE to condescend below them all for the love of all of us. But then I realized, in the premortal world I also knew full well what I was getting into and I CHOSE to condescend anyway. I chose this mortal experience with its deepest afflictions and greatest joys. When I prayed whether to go on a mission the Lord clearly told me it was my choice so I CHOSE to come. I choose to stay everyday. And I am ever grateful for the Atonement that gives me strength through the trials. 

I also just love the Book of Mormon. Such great comfort has come from reading it this week. I tend to judge myself and expect perfection from myself which can make things hard seeing as I am completely riddled with imperfections but this verse felt like Heavenly Father just tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that He loves me: "But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness..." (Moroni 7:39). He judges better things of me. He sees greatness in my even when I see a failure in me. So I'm on the up and up. We may not have anyone to teach but I will hope beyond hope.

But despite the rough week we did get permission to go to our friends wedding! Grace was the first member I ever worked with here in Lusaka and she is the granddaughter of Grandma Teke (all the missionaries call her Grandma), the distribution center lady. Her sister is currently serving a mission in Salt Lake City. Honestly, the wedding was sort of strange. It felt more like a funeral. They didn't smile at all. But the cheers and smiles did come afterwards. It was an interesting experience. 

A bunch of azungus are here volunteering with Mother's Without Borders so our ward exploded with people yesterday. And in other news, everyone keeps telling Sister Frimpong and I that we look alike. Ha! Alright.

Love you people,

Sister Proctor

Why Should We Remember?

June 1, 2015

We made extra nsima this week and tried frying it.

Instead of normal blandness, it is just fried blandness.

Darling Family,

It was a another good week in the field. After MLC and leadership meetings and zone conference, Sister Frimpong and I have rededicated ourselves to the work and we are excited to see miracles this month. I don't know if we will be together much longer with the transfer at the end of June so we want to do our best with the time we have.

I honestly don't have a ton to say about this week (watch this email still grow as long as it normally does). We had a sweet Lusaka Leadership council with the zone leaders, district leaders and us and basically planned zone conference. I've never had zone conference so much in the hands of them missionaries as this one. We planned together and at one point we sort of hit a wall and Elder Payne (ZL) suggested we said a kneeling prayer. There is nothing quite so special as kneeling with missionaries in prayer. It's like hallowed ground.

Zone conference was basically the same thing as MLC last week but I was amazed at how much I still learned. Again, Sister Frimpong and I got to present and I loved it. We talked about a talk by Russell M. Nelson called, "Begin With The End In Mind". The basic idea is that when you meet people or when you work with members or less actives you should envision them in white, both at baptism and in the temple. As we prepared I was praying to know what analogy or story we could share to illustrate the point and it hit me so hard to share my experience doing the women's pull at trek was I was 16. So random. I haven't thought about that in a long time. But it was obviously from the Spirit. I described the strain and the sweat and the boys on the side lines painfully watching us but the most important detail was our reaction when we arrived at the top of the hill. We didn't set our carts down and sit down for a rest but we ran as fast as we could down the hill to help the other struggling girls. We have experienced the joy and relief that temple covenants bring but others have not. It is now our time to run back down the hill and help our fellow pioneers.

We have awesome members in this ward. The ward is small but so powerful. One of my favorite members in Brother Mbambu. He is from Congo and while he was on his mission, the mission president's wife showed him a picture of one of the workers here at Mother's Without Borders. Before their mission they had gone on an expedition with MWB. He thought this girl was just amazing so the mission president helped him get a job at MWB in Lusaka and he came, learned English, dated her and now they are married with two girls and twin boys in the way. Cutest couple ever. He worked with us this week and he is just powerful.

I got to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday. Have I mentioned I really like speaking? They didn't give me any specific topic so I had to pray about it. The Spirit led me to talk about the "why" of always remember Him in the sacrament prayers. I gave multiple examples from the Book of Mormon about how He remembers us. he has "graven us upon the palms of his hands" and he takes us "one by one". After painting a picture of the premortal life, his earthly ministry, his sufferings and death, his resurrection, and how He is still personally involved in each of our lives I made it clear that we covenant to remember Him because He has done everything and still does to remember us. He cannot forget us. Oh, how I love my Savior. When missionary work gets tough I feel grateful that I get to know Him just a bit better.

As for's a work in progress. John is still doing well but Joseph has sort of run away from us. More on them next week.

I hope you all have a blessed week!

Sister Proctor

It's Like a Symphony

May 25, 2015

The group of leaders from around the mission

The group of leaders from around the mission with friendly gesture.

me, frimpong, dlamini and falco. love these sisters.
All the STLs

Lusaka zone leaders and Sister Frimpong and I

Sister Falco and I. This girl is the best.

Blantyre zone leaders and sister dlamini and I

Darling People all over the world,

The stats have come in and the best rejection of the week is as follows:

*talking to an azungu at his door*
"Hello, I'm Sister Proctor"
"Hi, I'm busy."
*slammed the door*

Good times.

Nevertheless, this week was wonderful. Mission Leadership Council has come to be the highlight of my mission and this time around was no different. President began by reading part of the talk from conference about knowing the dance steps verses hearing the music. That became the theme of the whole two days and hour after hour it seemed that the music became more sweet and clear in my heart.

Sister Frimpong and I got the opportunity to teach the council about the "why"of lesson 5 (temples, priesthood, family history, etc) before baptism. As we prayed and studied for this the Spirit directed us away from the general presentation and we began with the question, "How do we become like Christ?" It seems like a simple question but as we left the silence, the Spirit became the teacher and the lesson unfolded until everyone felt in their hearts the "why". As missionaries, we are not here just to baptize and be on our way but we are here to give people a vision of what they can become because of Christ. They need to know even before they are baptized that baptism is only their first step to eternal life--and oh what a glorious journey this is. It was a temple moment in that mission home with all of those leaders. I feel so incredibly blessed to be apart of that council.

We had a breakout session where the Elders and sisters discussed seperately different things and all of us sisters sat around President's conference table and shared how we "hear the music". I love all of these sisters so much. I have had the privilege to serve with most of them now and we all just wept together for our love of the work and the Lord. In that moments I felt poignantly again my gratitude for my time in Blantyre and the hard and beautiful lessons I learned. I definitely learned how to hear the music there.

I finally got to see "Meet the Mormons" for the first time and it was so great! It made me proud to be a Mormon. It was funny to see that missionary get called to South and then go to the SA MTC. I was totally there like a year ago. It was also cool to see people in Nepal wearing CHOICE shirts and Kate Hargadon talking about Bishnu. So many familiar things that made me smile. I think the best part though was hearing David Archuleta's song that said, "It's like a symphony" after just talking so much about hearing the music. The music of the gospel is like a symphony in my heart. It just keeps getting better and better.

Another prominent theme of MLC and the week was the Sabbath day. It seems to be a prophetic priority set by the brethren from the General Conference training sessions. We discussed it at length as a council and then at our ward council yesterday (it is still so weird to be serving in a WARD but also the best thing ever). As I have studied on the subject more something I have learned is what it means to rest. Sometimes we think that rest on the sabbath means laying around all day and watching movies. Then I read in Alma 12:34, "Therefore, whoseoever repenteth and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest." Rest is a state of remission of sins and of grace not of lazy days on the couch. What a blessing it is that once a week we have a day to focus on the Atonement and a remission of our sins. My Sabbath day observance will become more sacred to me now, especially as I want to strive to give a sign to God of how much I love Him.

We had very few lessons this week as a result of MLC but the ones we had were great. John is doing really well. Sister Erickson has been coming to teach him with us and that has been fun. He has a alcohol addiction but he also has the greatest desire to change and after teaching him the word of wisdom he said, "I know it will be a long, hard journey but I am ready to go to battle." I nearly cried. I love watching him progress. And like I said last week, he is already excited to go to the temple. He has caught the vision.

Joseph didn't get baptized this week but we are still working with him. He is still preparing himself and a few guys from Utah are now here with Mother's Without Borders and they live in the same house with him so he has 24/7 missionaries in the house. 

We found an amazing new investigator this week. I am just giddy about it. His name is Chombe and he is so ready to change his life. He sort of reminds me of John actually. We contacted his mother and she said she had been taught by missionaries in Botswana and was willing to learn. He promised he would come to church and then he actually did (that never happens). He hasn't been to church since some time last year but like I said, he is ready to put the world away, sober up, and come closer to Christ. I think he is the key to his whole family. Yeah, so we're pumped. 

On Saturday we had a ward activity and it was planned like two seconds before and we felt like no one was coming but slowly the room filled up and everyone ended up laughing like crazy and having a great time. We played a bunch of our family games we usually play on Christmas Eve and they loved it. I am coming to love the Lusaka ward so much.

Life is simply lovely.

Sister Proctor

Absolute Truth

May 18, 2015

Sister Griffus and I before she went home.

Sister Frimpong and I being fools like always.

Darling Family,

It has been a lovely week in the mission field. Sister Frimpong and I continue to work hard and have a great time together. We work really well together but we also have our moments of just dancing around the kitchen like fools. This London lady is quickly becoming a dear friend.

Sister Griffus and Sister Mntungwa flew in from Blantyre and stayed the night at our flat before they went home. Time is so strange on missions. It feels like two seconds ago I was decorating their door to celebrate their one year mark and now they are home. As they arrived at the mission home it was like a blast of Malawi. I heard them chattering in Chichewa as they walked up the stairs and it made me miss Malawi a lot. Zambia is great though. I am coming to love it as well. And I truly love those two sisters—I am privileged to have served with them. 

Something I thought a lot about this week is the concept of absolute truth. One of our investigators called Andrew has been in touch with the Church and with missionaries for almost 15 years. His friend from America gave him a Book of Mormon so long ago and he accepts everything that we teach as the truth. He loves the Book of Mormon but he just cannot wrap his head around the fact that Christ’s church isn’t all of the Christian churches combined. He won’t accept that there is one truth from God. I read the talk, “Absolute Truth” by Spencer W. Kimball and it reaffirmed my testimony so much. I highly recommend reading it. No matter what you believe in this world of ever-changing values the fact is that it is only in and through the name of Christ and His power that we can come back into the Father’s presence. 

Much of our time on Wednesday was spent taking care of immigration issues. A new sister came into the mission so we took her on all of our errands and gave her a taste of the joy we have felt on our missions. Waiting in lines at immigration is not what you call the “joy” of missionary work but it is so fun to experience the traditions of each mission. The tradition with immigration is that as you leave the person in charge always buys everyone fruit from a fruit stand. Sister Skidmore (office sister) began the tradition and now we always buy fruit as we leave. 

We taught a golden guy this week called John. He hasn't attended any church for 12 years but now that he has learned about the Church he knows that he has found the truth. We taught him about temples and he was already asking when he could go. There truly are prepared people amidst the contenders and haters.

Speaking of haters, we ran into one the other day. We stopped to ask her for directions and then we introduced ourselves and at first it was a friendly conversation about Christ but it ended with, "You people don't know Christ at all. You need to stop preaching Mormon. You worship your ancestors! You don't know Christ." Lusaka is quite colorful compared to Malawi.

The one investigator that we had progressing to baptism, Joseph, was supposed to be interviewed yesterday but he didn't show up to our appointments during the week or to church. So there's that. I still have hope for him though. He loves his tiny Quad too much to turn away from the truth. 

Mostly, I am looking forward to MLC this coming week. MLC has brought some of the best moments of my entire mission and I am so excited to teach with Sister Frimpong. Also, I don't mind getting to see my Malawi seestas. 

Have a wonderful week! Do something to make someone smile!

Sister Proctor