Monday, November 17, 2014

Nov 17 I am walking for the Truth!

What a great week!
We got new Zone Leaders this week, Elder Barnard (Idaho) and Elder Mwongi (Kenya), who are great! The ZL's live next door so we are always seeing them and having dinner together and such that's why this is big news haha. We had a great Zone Meeting on

Tuesday where we learned to rely on the Spirit in our teaching and not give the same lesson over and over.  My companion really focused on that this week and our teaching has improved a lot! The lessons this week were filled with the Spirit! I always love sharing the experience of the First Vision and just seeing people get pricked in their hearts. Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

On Friday we had interviews with President Erickson. He is such an inspired man.  He spoke to our district before speaking to each of us personally and talked about how hard mission is but how we need to serve willingly and joyfully and compared it to Cain and Abel and their sacrifices to the Lord.  We need to sacrifice these two years willingly, not holding anything back.

{Also on Friday I got your package! The journal is absolutely perfect, that's actually one of my favorite pictures that is on it! and my companion is  loving the compound W.  We enjoyed the warheads as a flat as well, all putting them in our mouths at the same time. My companion's face was so funny. But whyyy did you have to wrap my hymn book hahaha now I have to wait a month! It reminds me of when I was younger and would want things in October and you would say wait until Christmas...but I just borrow E. Dlamini's every night because my comp and I being our study with a hymn and it brings the spirit sooo strong. Also the shoe laces were greatly needed and they're the kind that won't break so thanks so much! I'm excited for my comp to open the baptismal clothing on Christmas! He was all down that night so to cheer him up I showed him there were things in the package for him as well and that lifted his spirit!}

On Saturday there was an all-adult meeting special district meeting with Elder Molechi, of the 70.  We invited an investigator to come named Brother Kachikondo. He is a crippled old man who can hardly walk and sees very poorly. He is very interested in the message of the Restoration, but his wife doesnt support him tooo much.  So last week he actually walked all the way to church though! The walk from his house to the church takes us about 15 minutes but for him its about 45-1 hour. At church last week he loved it and had many great questions and comments.  And so that brings me back to the special meeting. They were providing free transportation from the Zingwangwa Church house, so we told him about that since he is very poor and wouldn't be able to pay to go to Blantyre. They announced that the minibus would leave at 1:30 and then when we asked the leaders that day they said 1:00 so we told him and he said he would be there and would leave his house at 12:15. We also told the branch leaders to make sure to wait for him. Well at 1:07 we got a call from Bro. Kachikondo. Nobody was there at the church building. They had left at 1:00 with only 6 people. And so he didn't have any money to take a bus and we weren't there to help or anything so he just said it's fine and had to walk all the way back home. It was pretty aggravating that the branch leaders left without him and they even got there 45 minutes early because they left so early. But as for the meeting, it was a good meeting where they spoke on men and womens roles in the world and in the Church. Elder Molechi spoke on how parents should show affection such as holding hands in front of your children and say "I love you" often and many other counsels for stronger families and relationships. Also he spoke on how many traditions and cultural things need to be done away with because they don't go along with the Gospel Culture.  Such as lobola, or bride price. Here in Africa people have to pay the parents of a woman a huge amount of money to marry her.  That created a lot of discussion, but although it is hard for some people to give it up, they're been asked by an apostle of the Lord to end that practice.

And so for Sunday...we went to church to find 0 investigators there. And nobody showed up late either. It was so bizarre because we have had 7-10 the past 3 weeks... but it was still amazing and I felt the Spirit so strong the whole time. After church we went and visited many people to strengthen them and tell them we missed them. And one of those people we visited was Bro. Kachikondo. We apologized for the unfortunate event yesterday and he was okay with it and very understanding. He's one of the most humble men I've ever met. He was bummed he missed the discussions on how to strengthen family though because from what we've seen and what he's expressed, his family isn't too close. He tries to have family prayer with everyone every night and some will just go to bed and different things. Also he has to ask them to read our assignments to him since his eyes are too bad. And so we helped amayi wife) realize her husbands desires to learn and to come unto Christ and she committed to help him more and support his desires. My companion asked him the inspired question "Why do you keep walking to church and different things when it's so hard for you" (or something like that) and he simply responded, "I'm walking for the truth." Things like that are what keep me going everyday. This work is beautiful. I know this is the truth. This is Jesus Christ's true Church once again on the Earth.

I love you all and although I miss you all, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than here in Malawi, Africa with no running water, 12 mosquito bites on one hand, and the blazing hot sun that makes me drenched in sweat everyday because this is the greatest and most important thing I can be doing right now. I love the Lord and I know He loves me and you!

Elder Grant Alan Hiltbrand

Friday, November 14, 2014

Nov 10 White is my favorite color!

This week my companion and I worked hard and then ended the week with our first baptism together which is also my first baptism on mission! Louis was baptized by my companion, Elder Chiliza, yesterday. It was amazing to see Louis take that step in following Jesus Christ into the waters of baptism.

So a little bit about him: We found him through offering to help a man build a fence and it happened to be a fence for Louis' house and so after we finished, Louis came out and offered us lunch and then we took that opportunity to have a lesson. From then on he progressed rapidly, but he faced a challenge of having school from 8-5 on Sundays so he couldn't go to church, but he decided to sacrifice time to come to sacrament meeting every week and has been doing so every week for the past 5-6 weeks. He even sacrificed the whole day of school yesterday for his baptism! He is 20 years old so we believe we will see him go on a mission in a year or so! That would be amazing to see someone I baptize get a call to serve WHILE I am still serving! Also he brought his sister to church and his baptism and she loved it so soon I think we'll be seeing Louis baptizing his own sister soon enough! I'm grateful for the opportunity we had to find Louis and help him come unto Christ. I'm also grateful for the Priesthood Authority which has been restored in these latter days that allows for the true ordinance of baptism to take place once again. (Matt 16:19)

This week we also had a great opportunity to serve Sister Chikapa as a district. She needed help carrying 500 bricks down a hill to her house and then stacking them.  And when I say bricks I don't mean the bricks we know in America.  500 of those would be easy. These bricks were huge. Carrying 5 at a time was a challenge! And so we had to carry them down this hill then from there we had to toss them to one another in a line across a riverbed then stack them on the other side. Well after throwing and catching 500 bricks our hands were ROUGH. and slighlty raw. But it was so worth it! And although it was hard work, it was super fun! But getting out of bed the next day was a bit difficult!

E. Parker, E. Muthoka, me being forced to shorten myself since im taller than them all, my companion.  Goodbye to E. Parker and E. Muthoka!
We also had another district activity where we set up a table in our
area and had pamphlets to give to people. It was super successful and we found some amazing people. The only problem was the mavuto children crowding the table. But they were fun so its fine. My companion looked at the list of numbers we got yesterday and decided to contact one we felt good about and the father immediately invited us to come teach them right then and so we did and they are one of the greatest families we have taught so far on my mission. I'm so excited for them and they want to be baptized on the 7th of December so hopefully you'll be seeing a picture of them in white in about them in a month!

Transfers took place on Saturday because Elder Muthoka, our Zone Leader, was going home. My companion and I didn't get affected directly, but now we have 2 new ZLs (Zone Leaders) next door so that will be fun! Also we got another set of senior couple missionaries here in Blantyre and they're working in our Branch! Elder and Sister Beal. They were so excited to meet everyone at church on Sunday and Elder Beal was even writing down everyones names and such so he could remember them, it was pretty funny. Oh and I went up to them and started speaking Chichewa just to mess with them a little bit when I first met them. I love couple missionaries and all they do to help us in the work. Can't wait to see my parents go on a mission together! (;

Well thank you all for your support and prayers! And also thank you
for the emails and MAIL! I got mail from America for the first time on
Saturday! So great!!

I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!
Ndikuziwa kuti Mpingo wa Yesu Khristu ndi woona!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Nov 3 Eesh! No time!

I have no time to write a blog post this week but some highlights:

October, the hottest month of the year here is finally over!...and it's
still hot..but rain season is coming soon!

We have a baptism this Sunday! Louis!

Halloween was great! Kids were all over in cute costumes knocking on our door and we just sat at home and gave out candy all day.  It was so great! NOT! They don't celebrate that holiday here nor do they even know what it is (even though somtimes I see some people wearing shirts that say happy halloween on them since all the clothing here is mostly second-hand or donated clothing that people actually sell. Yeah those clothes you thought you 'donated' to AFrica? They're being sold by some man or woman on the streets of Malawi.) But I'm glad they don't celebrate Halloween here because honestly that would just be really scary..

We hiked Soche Mountain today and then barbequed a goat..they
slaughtered it before we got there because my companion and I went to the wrong missionaries' flat and they couldn't wait so that's okay I still have 22 months to slaughter a goat...

Church yesterday was so amazing. We have some great investigators that keep coming and I even bore my testimony in Chichewa! It's amazing to see people applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives and I am so grateful for the privilege I have to bring the Gospel to those here in Blantyre, Malawi!

Oh and this week we didn't have water for 4 full days! I've gotten
totally used to it actually!

Love you all and I thank you for all the support and prayers!
I am losing myself in this beautiful work!
Elder Grant Alan Hiltbrand

Inside of a mini bus (we had to be sneaky taking this so as to not look like tourists).
Not sure if the arm is dirty or tanned?