We came back from teaching on Monday evening to find the power out and a giant snake waiting for us on our porch. My companion was walking unawares toward the door when I saw something move and heard a funny sound and yelled, "SNAKE!" As if the snake heard me, it practically ran away into the night. We were both quite startled. A few minutes later our Indian neighbors called us and said, "Come outside! The guard killed it." Apparently the snake had made its way to the tiny guard shack where the little old man that guards our flats was sitting. The Indians ran out when they heard him screaming in his limited English, "I KILL YOU! I KILL YOU!" So funny. And the next day the guard told us that our Chinese neighbors picked up the snake to cook it. It was like something out of a cartoon.
We have been teaching a referral from the Kantas--their niece and her husband. They have been taught before so it is hard to tell how interested they are but it is sweet to teach a family. The husband has a lot of questions and really wants to understand every detail. The wife is a little apathetic but we are trying to help her out. But they have potential for sure.
We haven't been able to see Kauma at all this week because he has still been in Lusaka. So we will have to push back his baptismal date. I hope he isn't fooling around.
We had a district service on Friday and Elder Walusimbi, Elder Tema, Sister Mulunda and I cracked groundnuts (peanuts) for about 3-4 hours for a family the Elders are teaching. We all at blisters on our thumbs by the end but it was quite fun to see the shells come up to our ankles. See picture.
I had a great interview with President Erickson. He pretty much just asked me what is on my mind and I pretty much told him that I just want to do my best until the very end and not get distracted or "die". He told me that you emailed him Mom to ask if he would reach out to me when Mariah got married and just give me so love and as he read the email with Sister Erickson he leaned over to her and said, "We'll give her love. We'll send her to the Copperbelt to whitewash with Sister Mulunda." He absolutely knows exactly how challenging this situation is but this week I just felt Heavenly Father let me know that he trusts me with these challenges because He loves me and knows I will grow from them.
On Sunday we had branch council and we actually have a branch mission plan now! It's like the first time in my entire mission that this has happened! It's so exciting.
Also, we were asked to attend a funeral of the uncle of a member of the branch. I don't know this guy too well and it was a long walk to the Elders' area but it was such a special experience to be there. The Zambians/Malawians have a culture where the women sit inside and the men sit outside during funerals. They don't really mix. So we had the opportunity to go and sit with the mother and wife of the deceased and share scriptures and sing. Many of the family are less active members of the church because the tradition here is if you marry someone outside the church you have to follow your husband to his church. It was a great opportunity to share about the Book of Mormon and all were very curious and open. It was heart breaking though to see the wife weep at the loss of her husband. In that moment, though she was a stranger, I felt that I was keeping my covenants to mourn with those that mourn. Most of the women were ignoring her but I just looked her right in the eye and told her I would keep her in my prayers. I think it meant a lot to her.
I guess the more I study about Christ and represent Him in any area I am called to serve in, I become more acutely aware of my many flaws and weaknesses but also feel so keenly the hope that the Atonement brings. I am so grateful for the Atonement, that I can become new each day. I have never been a perfect sister or friend or daughter but I am grateful I can try again and again.
In other news, there's a little Ukrainian boy (shout out to Eliot!) that lives above the meeting house who keeps telling everyone that he's in love with me.
The adventures never end.