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
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,