Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dec 28 7...6...5...4...3...2...1

The countdown begins! Elder Barrett has one week until he flies out of here! He is finishing strong so it should be a great week. The mission president asked me to start driving to prepare for when Elder Barrett goes since I will be driving now. so I got to drive for probably 15 minutes and then my comp said I've learned enough and he took back over. ha... whatever, I can wait.

Christmas Eve with our District Elders.

Elder Barrett and I.  Our attempt at a cheesy Christmas card pose. Our Christmas tree.
This week was a good one with Christmas, although it was difficult to get into that magical Christmas feeling since they don't celebrate the same here! For Christmas we went to a members home and played some games with them and they fed us then we went to the mission office for calling home. It was nice talking to the family that's for sure! Only one more of those...

The girl that we were planning on baptizing on Elder Barrett's last Sunday will need just a bit more time before she's ready, so that's unfortunate but it's alright nonetheless.
I don't have too much to say about the week other than it was great and that I'm anxious to hear who my next companion will be. News should come Friday evening!

The Musukwa family invited us to dinner to say goodbye to Elder Barrett.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This year of 2015 was entirely spent serving the Lord! What a good year!

Elder Hiltbrand

Dec 21 Holiday Zone Conference (aka Party!)

This week was great! We had entire days in our area again and we made good use of them! Last week we were still trying to get to know the members - and we still were this week - but through those members we have met, we have started teaching a few investigators who are
progressing towards baptism. So this week we got to teach more instead of just meeting people and sharing small spiritual messages. Next week will be even better because our investigator pool is growing and we will get to start seeing people make changes in their lives as they prepare for baptism. We are hoping to baptize 1 or 2 on Elder Barrett's last Sunday (Jan 3rd)!

On Friday all the Copperbelt Missionaries came down to Lusaka for our annual Christmas celebrations. This year it was combined with a zone conference, though. I actually liked it a lot more having the zone conference in conjunction with the Christmas 'party' because the focus and spirituality was kept while still having times for fun. Elder Barrett and I were pretty late for the conference because the elders in charge did not set up properly so we had to drive all around getting keys and what not so that was a bummer missing so much and
humiliating having to walk in so late. We even missed the announcing of our new mission president! President Kufu I think it was? From Tonga! He will come July 1st. 

For what we were there for, we had a great discussion on the Prodigal Son and helping people to repent before they are baptized so they can be more worthy of the blessings
of baptism. Then the Christmas festivites commenced with a white elephant gift exchange and dinner and watching 'A Christmas Carol'.

The next day we finished our conference with a discussion on self-improvement and becoming living 'epistles of Christ' (2Corinthians3:3). That was my favorite part of the whole conference. Then we concluded with a testimony meeting. After the conference we had to transport missionaries to the bus station so that took awhile because everyone and their grandma was traveling for the holidays so buses were all booked up.. It even caused us to miss our ward's Christmas party. But its okay we will just attend the other ward's party on the 26th!

This next week is going to be a great one as well with Christmas! Then just one more week until Elder Barrett goes home.
Merry Christmas!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

No power again.

Dec 14 Back at it!

This week was another crazy week with MORE transfers! 

On Tuesday we picked up our Zone's new Sister Training Leaders from the airport and from there went straight to Zone Meeting. We had a good zone meeting in which we had presentations on how to receive revelation through prayer (Me and Elder Barrett), the importance of staying focused and being obedient (Elder Sagers and Elder Ssengooba), and also a presentation on keeping Christ at the center of Christmas (Elder Mohlakoana). I personally felt the meeting was good and helped us all to learn and sharpen our skills but it was a bit boring and low energy compared to our other meetings. I don't know if that's because of the transfers or what! Right after the meeting, we packed up the cars with 4 missionaries bags and went to the bus station for them to go up to the Copperbelt. Elder Zimene was one of those missionaries actually! We then received 4 missionaries from the Copperbelt and spent the remainder of the day taking them to their companions. The mission also received 3 new missionaries which is great because we are losing so many recently and they're having to close some areas due to the lack of missionaries. 

The next day we also had a few missionaries that were just passing through Lusaka that we took care of until Thursday when they had a flight to Lilongwe. Elder Scatena, one of my best friends here in Lusaka flew out on Thursday. I bet it's going to be crazy for him going to Malawi now because he began his mission here in Lusaka where it is a big city! I kept telling him that now he won't be as much of a ''cheese boy'' (term they give to people who like expensive things I guess).

Me, Elder Scatena and Elder Barrett at the airport.  Our best Donald Trump look.

 Oh yeah also I don't kow if I made mention of SukDev last week - if i even wrote last week?! SukDev is a man who lives in the compound I used to live in when I served in Matero. He is from Panjabi, India and is a Sikh. Well he has had some mental challenges lately and went to the Elders that stay there and asked for me because he thought I could help him. They called me and we went and met with him. He explained his problem but I'm not a doctor so I was only able to explain what I know heals people and that is a priesthood blessing. We explained what that was and gave him a blessing. Later he called us and invited us back and told of how he is feeling 50% better which is awesome. He also fed us Panjabian food which was so good. This was such a random experience but it's awesome how many lives we get to touch as missionaries.

When we got time for the area this week we continued to meet with all the members in the ward and wow I am so happy with this ward. Everyone is eager to help us in the work and they have all welcomed us warmly. It's such a great benefit to have Bro Mkochi in this ward too because he shows us where all these members stay. Without him we would be getting lost so much.

Elder Barrett was pretty sick this week so that was a bummer. Lately his stomach has been so sensitive. I just hope this next week he feels okay so that we can work hard every moment that we have to be in the area!

Now that we are getting more familiar with the area and things are calming down I'll be better about my blog! Im excited to tell you about all these great members and investigators.

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Family Home Evening Games

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nov 30 Transfers again!

This week we took care of all the transfers. This was a huge transfer! 3 companionships were transferred to new areas together - including ours. In all we moved around 16 missionaries who were either coming to Lusaka, leaving to other zones, or just passing through.

We dragged out our transfer until Sunday because we wanted to help the transition go smoothly in Ng'ombe since the sisters will be whitewashing there but they leave in 2 weeks so it will be white washed again. 

We attended Libala ward for the first time yesterday and I'm excited! The ward is full of long-time, established members and has a great Bishop so there's a lot of potential there. It was crazy trying to meet everyone though! It willl be even crazier this week though trying to find all their homes though! We had a baptism in Libala our first Sunday actually. A young man was supposed to be baptized a few months ago but it never happened and so the grandmother was in a fuss saying he should be baptized that Sunday so we got our District Leader to do an interview and bam he was in the water haha...Right after that baptism we then rushed over to the Munali ward to witness our investigator, Margaret, get baptized as well. 

After that we visited Brother Mkochi in Libala and he showed us around a bit but I think I've already forgotten all the homes he showed us ha.  Libala is the most developed area I've served in so far. Elder Barrett and I were even saying it feels like home a bit! It's not even close to home but still, paved, organized roads are a change along with tall apartment buildings. Oh and the airconditioners in our house are going to be great! (Now that we cleaned out that whole flat! Dang it was nasty when we found it.)


Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Nov 23 Transfers

Transfers always come as a shock! Elder Barrett and I both got transferred together to another area in Lusaka called Libala. Our area will now be added to the sister missionaries that are in our ward, so the sisters will take over the entire Munali ward, but get this, they both go home on Dec 6th so they'll have 2 sisters come and white wash (start new) an entire ward! Pretty crazy..

We had 5-6 baptisms coming up within the next month as well in N'gombe, the first one will be Margaret on Sunday and then followed the next Sunday by Donald and Malala, a wonderful couple. So yeah wer'e really bummed to leave this area...

So looking at Libala's numbers, they haven't baptized in 6 months. I suppose that is why President is white washing us there. We've set a goal to baptize within the first 6 weeks of being there. I'm really excited for the challenge actually. We will still be zone leaders too. I'm excited to be with Elder Barrett until he goes home 5th Jan. We've become great friends.

We will be the only missionaries in Libala ward. We meet in a very nice chapel. The ward seems great . Great bishop. Also Brother Mkochi is in that ward haha remember him?

Last week was the hottest of my mission but this week the rains are here!

Love you

Elder Hiltbrand

Nov 16 Waka waka ay ay this is Africa!

Common sight in Africa.

Nov 9 MLC

This week I had my first Mission Leadership Council (MLC) in which all the ZL's (Zone Leaders), STL's (Sister Trainer Leaders), Ap's (Assistants to the President) and president have a meeting and discuss certain topics and principles to be applied throughout the mission. Because our mission spans over two countries we only have a live MLC (where everyone flies into lusaka) once every 3 months. so this one was over skype among all 4 zones of the mission. It's cool to be a part of the council now but actually it wasn't much. Maybe it was just this MLC that was less monumental though because we were just reiterating the principles we've been implementing in the mission in order to stop tracting and find more through members.

We got a lot of time in the area this week compared to others because we had less errands so that was great and it allowed us to have some great lessons. We have quite a few great investigators! Actually on Sunday we were expecting a ton to come but then only 1 came and I was shocked. BUT we then found out later that day when we visited the Zulus that 5 others showed up to their house to be escorted there but the Zulus had already left! So we could've had many more! But still the one that came was awesome because it was a father who weve been working with and he's always had 'real excuses' as to why he and his wife haven't come to church and we were even considering to stop visiting them for some time, but now he came! His wife has been ill which is why they haven't come but now she's gotten a bit better and so she still couldn't come because he did! They lost a son a few years ago so the gospel has really touched them knowing there's hope to be with him again because of the plan of salvation.

We also spent some time at the hospital this week because Elder Barrett woke up with a giant lump on the bottom of his chin. It was like a golf ball was sticking out the bottom of his head! We still don't know what it is but he's gotten less self counsious about it and I've stopped laughing about it and it's receding anyways haha.

On Saturday there was a Stake Elders Quorum soccer tournament. I got to play the whole time but was wishing I could be subbed out but we didn't have enough players to do so haha. My cross-country stamina is completely gone! I was dying out there! I scored my penalty kick though, just sayin.

On Sunday, Carol and Rachel received the gift of the Holy Ghost and then Carol fed us that evening. I guess that's a sign that Carol has become fully converted now that shes' feeding the missionaries! Jk, but actually we do get fed so often in this area!

Love you and happy 24th anniversary to Mom and Dad!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nov 2 Baptism

This week was hectic again, but great! There was missionaries going home on Monday so we had to pick up the ones in Lusaka and also pick up some that flew in from Malawi to take them to the mission office so we just emailed for 1hr and got on our way.. but that evening we had a small dinner party with some members and an investigator family we've been working with so that was great!

We also had tons of transfers on Tuesday that we had to take care of, so we had District meeting that morning then after that we were busy until 20hrs when we just got to go and do a baptismal interview for our candidate, Carol. Carol just got baptized yesterday actually! It was great. Her husband is a member and so her husband's family always supports her at church, but it was sad her husband couldn't make it for the baptism because of work or something...

Carol Mayeya and the in-laws (former branch president)
The rest of the week we had a few things here and there - trips to the hospital, doing interviews for District Leaders' baptismal candidates, mission office, etc etc, but we got to still work in the area and teach so it was great.

Rachel Zulu was also baptized yesterday. She came from the village recently and so when she got into the baptismal font she was terrified from all the water and was crying and so that was sad. She wanted to be baptized but just didn't want to go in the water. Eventually she did and was baptized but she is still a bit shaken up.

A miracle happened this week! We had another girl that was supposed to be baptized yesterday, Margaret, but she kinda went off the grid. About 2 weeks ago we heard from her that her mother said she can't be baptized until she's 25 (I dont know why 25?) so we met with the mother and the mother was still a bit disagreeable but said she'd allow her daughter to make the choice..well we hadn't heard from Margaret and hadn't seen her at church the past 2 weeks so we thought it may have been negative. Well we called up her mother and spoke to Margaret and she told us to come to the home and talk about it. We went to the home and the mother was happy to see us and Margaret has been permitted to be baptized! Also her sister wants to learn from us and the family will come support her at her baptism on the 15th November! So exciting.

We also had a few more people come up that have great potential to be baptized so we're very grateful. The Lord is good to us.

Oh yeah and mom I don't know why I just realized this but my shirts are really big on me, so they poof out of my pants a lot and so I took 2 of them to Brother Zulu to tailor and he measured me and tailored them and wow they're tight hahaha he even took some out of the sleeves so I look like a tool haha.  I had to wear one today because the rest were dirty haha but I'm just gonna give them to members or something...just thought you might get a laugh out of that..

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Oct 26 Craziness

Sorry for not writing last week and now once again this week I procrastinated writing my weekly report until the last thing and so now I have so little time woops.

Last week was very busy and very fast. We had more missionaries down from the Copperbelt Zone for immigration so we had them for 2 days and that's always difficult to get our teaching appointments in and such. I got to go to an appointment with one elder that is pretty new and it was a great visit but he also started crying in it not even from the Spirit but from homesickness since we were talking about families and the like. I feel bad for new missionaries when they're just adjusting and stuff  but I just hope everyone that serves here comes to love it as much as I have come to because mission is the best.

This week was a bit less busy actually so that was nice spending less time in the truck! On Tuesday we had Zone Meeting and we have been focusing a lot lately on being personable and not being robots (you know how missionaries can get sometimes).
The Lusaka Zone Conference
Also it was Independence Day this week so we had Zambian ties tailored and were really excited about it but it seems Zambians don't even have as much excitement about it as we did ha..

Oh on Monday we went to a crocodile/snake park with the zone and everyone enjoyed and sorry that's why I had no time.

We got to watch general conference this weekend. Great conference. I loved the talk about how the Spirit gives us personal advice and correction when we ask and also personal upliftment and encouragement.

We also had interviews with the mission president on Friday and mine was great, but Elder Barrett is upset because he asked for an extension until June but President wants him to go home on his original release date of January 5.  Now he realizes he has only 2 months and he's really sad that he has so little time left.

We will be having 2 baptisms on Sunday! Carol and Rachel. Carol is the wife to a Less Active member and is just super smart and it's so great to see the family going to be united in the gospel and I believe she will actually help him come back to church. Rachel is the grand daughter of the 1st counselor in our ward and so that's an easy convert haha. I think she moved here from the village or something recently. The family is the Zulu family. They are one of the greatest families I've met on mission and I've met so many amazing families haha. We're actually going there tonight for a dinner and FHE (Family Home Evening)  with them and another investigator family.

I love this work so much!  Time is flying by so how is it Monday again?
I'm so happy.

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oct 12 I'm Bussyyy!

I sound like the Zambian women do when we are tracting: "Im busyyy" ha!

First full week as a Zone Leader! I love it! We are super busy all the time and I love that. I never like down time on mission, so the busier we are the happier I am. And funny thing is, although we have so much to get done all the time, I have not experienced much stress. (But maybe that’s just because it was the first week so everything is still a bit of a daze? We’ll see!)

As a Zone Leader we have to take care of all the missionaries needs: if someone gets sick or hurt, we take them to the hospital; if they need more materials such as copies of the Book Of Mormon, we deliver them. We also have to deliver water to all the flats probably once a month. Also here in Lusaka we have extra duties with immigration. When missionaries in the Copperbelt area need to go to immigration the ZL’s up there send them down on a bus and we pick them up and they stay with us for a night and they go to immigration then we send them back up. So that took place this week and we have 2 elders with us and then this week we will have another 3 coming down. I actually enjoy those duties because I love interacting with missionaries and getting to know more people. Also we have to do baptismal interviews for people taught by District Leaders, and now that the Zone is baptizing a ton we have to do a lot of those! And we have to do exchanges with all the District Leaders and the Assistants once every transfer. So yep lots of things to be done!

As for the Ng’ombe area, I’ve gotten to know a few more members and investigators and it seems we have a lot to work with here. This is the first branch/ward I've worked in that members help us a ton with our work! One woman, Sis Jane is so amazing. She's like 4 feet tall. We went there and made chipatis (tortillas) with her and her husband and her neighbor even came in to watch me make them so she could learn how. Ha they're learning to make African food from an azungu (white foreigner)! Another family, the Zulu family are the best. The father was actually a Pentecostal pastor, but in 1995 he stepped down and joined Christ’s church with his family. Now he works at his home with his wife as tailors and everyone knows them in the community and he is always giving us referrals. I think with every customer that he gets he invites them to learn from us or come to church with him. If everyone was like the Zulu’s, the Church would grow exponentially faster.

Oh! Also in Matero, Sister Bwembya was finally baptized! Baptized by her husband even! Wish I could’ve been there to witness but just knowing that it took place makes me so happy.
Now we have 3 more coming soon in Ng’ombe!

I love this work.
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Oct 5 Surprise!

Bizarre week! On Tuesday, we had an awesome district meeting and set district goals to baptize 12 people in October, which I know we could do. We then proceeded to have a great day...until we got a call late at night from the ZL's (Zone Leader's). I picked up thinking they were just calling to tell us more about the presentation we would be doing the next day in Zone Conference, but instead it was transfer news telling me I was called to be a ZL in Lusaka with Elder Barrett.  Elder Ford, one of the current Zone Leader's (Elder Barrett's companion) would go to the Copperbelt Zone. It was a huge shock because we weren't even half way through the transfer and because I wanted so badly to stay here to reap all that I had sowed over these months rebuilding this area, but the Lord has different plans and I'll go where He wants me to go.

So yep fast forward and they picked me up on Saturday and then we tried to take Elder Ford to the bus but we were too late and he couldn't leave until today (Monday) in a few hours. So we've been in a 3some for the past days and it's been just really weird for me but it'll be over in a few hours and all will be back to normal so it's fine.

We will be in a nice pickup truck, driving, because we have to run errands for the whole zone - the biggest zone in the mission. Elder Barrett will drive though, which is fine by me. It's going to be a great experience taking over this new assignment and I'm excited to learn and grow and help the zone to as well. The zone is already going in a great direction and should baptize around 30 people in October which is about all the whole mission baptized in the past 2 months. No credit to me though, I've only been a ZL for 2 days now ha! But also I don't believe that the big increase is just attributed to leaders either anyways.

My new area is called Ng'ombe, which being interpreted, means "cow".

It is a great area with many awesome members. I remember being in this area on an exchange a few months ago and I loved it.

We also now meet in the Lusaka Chapel.  First time in a chapel on my mission, it's awesome.

The Lusaka Chapel

Elder B seems to be a character. He has a huge personality and firmly believes he will someday be the President of the USA. He's a hard worker and we should accomplish great things together until he goes home in January. (unless he gets the extension that he has requested to extend his mission until June).

Well needless to say I'm super excited for this new responsibility! If you have questions about my duties and the like please ask questions.

Also we had Zone Conference on Wednesday and we are changing the way we do missionary work. President has declared November to be "No tracting November". We don't want to tract anymore ever again in this mission. We want all finding to be done through members because that will allow us to be more effective and have more people join the church. It will be difficult to make the transition but it should be great!

I love you and I love this work!
Elder Grant Hiltbrand
Leaving the Matero Church Building

Sept 28 Traffic

(In response to my telling him about an accident that happened to me on my way to the temple.  A car ran right into the back of a semi.)

Wow as I was reading the email I was just expecting another car problem or something which seems to happen to you all too frequently, but I'm happy to hear you are safe and well. Truck drivers here are crazyyy. Actually ALL drivers here are crazy. We have to be pretty careful walking home because we walk along the busiest road in Zambia where all the trucking and traveling takes place. But ironically, I have seen less accidents here than at home. But that might be because there's less people or I cover less area in a day than at home?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sept 21 Best Week!

This week was probably the best week of my entire mission so far. We are teaching constantly and are enjoying everyday! I'm sorry I won't write much other than this haha! I'm growing so much and have grown a lot this week. Especially in my faith.


Elder Grant Hiltbrand

 A few excerpts from his letter to the family:
The weather is hot, dry, and windy. Very very windy. and Zambia is very very dusty so if were walking against the wind it's like walking in a dust storm haha.

We are now teaching a ton! All day. It's so exciting rushing from appt to appt and our lessons how been powerful. Things are now going really, really well.

And yep I actually was able to internalize what the ZL said and was able to see I DO need to increase my faith. I need to pray for and have confidence in the Lord's miracles. And I have been focusing on that this week and my vision has been raised so much. I apologized to the elder for my reaction to his challenge to me to increase my faith and he also apologized for the way he had conveyed it. I have read Hebrews chapters 11-12 and it helped me a ton. Chapter 11 talks about faith and 12 about the Lord chastizing us as he did for me. I'm learning and growing so much.
I do believe I told you all about Elder Zimene (his companion) maybe you'd forgotten or maybe I didn't but I'll do it again. haha  He is the only member of his family. On the 27th it will be 3 yrs since he joined the church. His family also says it is true, but his father is 2nd to the pastor in their African Methodist church (much much different than the Methodist church we are accustomed to when we visit Bibi and Grandpa in Pennsylvania. haha They dance and sing and shout here.) His mother said she will be baptized if the father will as is typical in Africa.
But yeah Elder Zimene is the best. This is one of my favorite companionships. And he is helping me grow a lot. He's not afraid to be honest with me and tell me my weaknesses so I can improve - which I appreciate! Even if it is hard to hear at first ha. For example being able to say sorry when it's needed and thank you when it's needed. Basically, humility. And I look at that and am grateful he tells me because for sure I'll need those skills in marriage!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sept 14 New District!

Hello! We had another good week! We finally have gotten more good investigator families and are really filling our schedules. Now we just need to find out how to eliminate fall-throughs (when people who aren't there when you come for the appt). It just makes it difficult when people don't have their phones on because there's been power cuts lately.

Oh yeah thats something I haven't talked about haha I guess it's just become totally normal to us. They call it "load-shedding". Zambia does not have enough power and they don't have enough money to import power I guess, so what they do is they shut off power for periods of the day to shed the load. So most days we  wake up without power and when there's no power there's no water so we just use our back-up jugs which lately have been getting some alge due to the heat as well.. yes mom you'll suggest to put some bleach in to keep them good - beat you to it (;. Or we will come home at night and we won't have power and we do everything by candle light and then cook on the "mbaula". So basically we live the same way as many of the Malawians and Zambians - bucket showers, candles ,and mbaula! Its not too bad actually. But for sure we rejoice when there's power!

Making samosas on the mbaula because there was no power.


There was transfers this week and no changes for us (thankfully), but like I said last email we got Elder Sagers and Elder Kibirango in our District. They are such great missionaries, or "Powerful Servants of the Lord". I'm sure they enjoyed Church on Sunday haha The Matero ward is one of a kind! I'm excited to work alongside these elders and I'm sure I'll learn a lot from them.

On Thursday I woke up sick but we still went to the area and tried to take it one lesson at a time but eventually after I felt like I had done what I had strength to do, we went home. On Friday I woke up sick still and was getting worried that it was malaria because the symptoms were similar - no appetite, headache, nausea, etc. So I was advised to go get a check. The ZL's asked us to find a clinic in our area which I was fine with because I never like taking other missionaries away from their work for me. So we went to a local government clinic since we have to walk pretty far to go anywhere from our flat and it was closest. That was an intesting exprience hahaha! Everyone was excited to see an azungu there waiting in line for a free government clinic that's for sure. Well I told the Dr I wanted a malaria check and he told me I didn't have it and asked lots of weird questions and stuff then scribbled some diagnosis and sent me to the pharmacy to get free pills, but not knowing what the pills were and what sickness they were for I didn't take them..

The ZL's decided to take me to a private clinic where I was told it was a flu. My bad..but it's good to at least be sure it's not malaria first. After resting for the rest of the day, I woke up perfectly fine the next day and proceeded with the work trying to make up for the lost time!

Our street contacting has been proving successful this week. We taught many great fathers and even one pastor. Usually when teaching pastors though they want to bash or just want to learn from us to use it for their gain, but with this one he was captivated by the Book of Mormon so we discussed the Restoration and focused on the BOM and it seems he is humble enough to search that scripture with "real intent". We're are starting to see miracles occur often in our area.

I love this work and love you all.
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Sept 7 Did I forget to write last week?

I want to share an experience that we have been having with a sister we are teaching. She lives with a LA member family and we have taught her previously but she wasn't willing to read the BOM or come to church so it wasn't going anywhere. But we went back another time to visit her member cousin and got into a small discussion with her about controversial topics like gift of tongues and the like which we then led into how there was an apostasy and people interpret things different but that the truth is back and that's how we know all of this. It sparked more interest in her to search if these things are true so she read the Book Of Mormon and we read with her once and she said she believed it to be the word of God and we explained how that means this is Jesus Christ's Church on earth - the only true church. And she couldnt grasp the doctrine of the ONLY true church. She believes it is a true church, but the only? And so we have continued with her and explained it more and she now gets it. She doesn't believe it yet of course, but now she wants to REALLY search if that statement is true. So she is reading the Book Of Mormon and will come to church. That is what everyone needs to do to experience conversion. What we teach and testify as missionaries is that Christ's Only true Church is back on earth. That is either true or it is false, but everyone needs to find out for themselves from God.

I am excited for this sister. I know if anyone really, truly searches and prays the Spirit WILL manifest the truth!
We had exchanges this week and I was with Elder Draycott for his last exchange. We began the day with street contacting - something I have done seldomly on my mission. Separating time to stand or walk on the street contacting everyone in sight. Usually I contact people as we walk, yeah, but specifically doing that for an hour or so hmm? Usually I just tract. But actually it was great! It allowed us to find some great people. I'll definitely start doing it more now. We even found one boy wearing a CTR (Choose the Right) ring hahah.. I guess he's been attending another ward sometimes and now moved to this area..pretty awesome!

Elder Draycott goes home next week and also his comp, Elder Chiliza will be tranferred to Lilongwe, so that means I will have 2 new elders in my district and the mission will have 2 new AP's! Elder Sagers (Provo, Utah) and Elder Chipirango (Kampala, Uganda). I am excited for a change! This will be the second time Elder Sagers is in my district!

Things are going well. I love the work.
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24 365!

Well I write today on my 368th day of serving the Lord! But who's counting right? (Well actually, probably mom is..(; )

Yeah I hit a year this week so that's really exciting! I'm so happy with how much I've learned, grown, and achieved this past year. I believe I have done all I can to give it all to the Lord this year and I pray I will be able to do the same - and even more- this coming year!

What everyone says about mission flying by is true! It feels like just the other day I was only a few weeks on mission - thinking about how long i had left, counting days, even counting hours until we went home for the night. And then I look at myself now and what people say about "losing yourself in the work" is also true! I love the work. I look at every day as a new day to be a little more like Christ and a new day to help others to do so as well, not as just one more day out of the 2 years. Every hour is precious. I love this work.

We did some more service this week and it seems we can't do service without burning things anymore! We were clearing a members land of shrubs and dried bushes. At first we were piling it all in a pile and burning, but then we started to just light it all on fire where it was. That was pretty fun. I don't think I'll be able to be starting any brush fires in a year unless I want to go to jail haha..

We also went on exchanges. I was with my trainer on hump day! We had a great day of hard work. In our last lesson the power went out but we finished under candle light, but then it was too early to head home but also too dark to really find anybody to talk to, so we found the only lighted place around: a gas station. and did some contacting until it was time to head home. Elder Chiliza is always a testimony to me of what it means to be diligent.

Yep other than that, we are teaching a few good people, but progress is slow. The ball is still rolling but hasn't picked up speed haha!

Elder Hiltbrand

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 17 The Ball is Rolling

Things are just too good these days. Elder Zimene rocks. Such a fun companion. And we are working hard! We had a really successful week and finally had a few investigators come to church! I have been pushing and pushing the past few weeks and finally the ball has budged and started to roll! (to speak in parables) We have had success in reactivation efforts and now have a few people lined up to be baptized in Spetember! Actually I shouldnt say we have had success because its not because of us but rather the Lord. I love being an instrument in His hands. On Friday it will have been one year since I began this work full-time and I couldnt be happier with what I have been able to do and experience this past year and I am excited for what the next one holds!

We had a Mormon Helping Hands activity on Saturday at another clinic in our area. A lot of the ward actually showed up and we did a lot of work! I got the job of mopping with Elder Draycott and a member and I think we lucked out. Sorry to say there was no labor ward at this clinic though...

On Friday I had a zone leadership counsil meeting so I went with the other DL in the neighboring ward and he is also training so we left 2 young missionaries to find their way through the day haha but they nailed it! Elder Zimene already has such a great grasp of this work.

Its good to be a missionary,
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

August 10 I'm a "Father"!

Sorry I was unable to write last week and I can't remember too many details because so much happens everyday as a missionary, but of course it was a great last week with Elder SS. I actually didn't think either of us would be transferred and was hoping neither would because we had so many great ideas for the area. But he will love Malawi - everyone always does in this mission. We actually had a dinner appt. on Saturday and right afterwards that's when we got the call...last supper I suppose?

But actually we had 2 more dinners with members on Monday and Tuesday. Everyone loved Elder SS so much in this ward!

Well Elder Ssengooba left on Wednesday night when I received Elder Zimene, or my "son" in missionary language (a new missionary who Grant will be training for the next 12 weeks)! I can't believe how good of friends Elder Ssengooba and I became. I didn't realize how much I would miss him actually. One of the best friends of my entire life.
So Elder Zimene is from Zimbabwe. He just turned 19 as well, so it's not weird like I'm training some 25 year-old haha. He is the only member in his family and is going on 3 years in the Church. He is a fun guy and has an optimistic and humorous outlook on most things.

My new Trainee "son", Elder Zimene.
It's never easy to be a new missionary so I'm working on putting myself in his shoes.  It's hard to remember what it was like those first few weeks though now that missionary life is just programmed into me! But I am trying to be good to him and trying to be patient! He has a lot of potential. He is already a good teacher and bares testimony to everyone with boldness, it's just the social part of it I suppose. It's not easy at first to just stop a big abambo (man) in his tracks to introduce our message to them or to start a lesson etc. etc. But it comes over time.
We organized a service project with the YSA's (Young Single Adults) in the ward on Saturday at a clinic in our area. We got to mop and sweep and pick up trash. I was sweeping and picking up trash next to the "Labor Ward" so the whole time I was just hearing soon-to-be mothers yelling then wait for it, wait for it, then a baby starts crying haha.

Sunday was a great day as well. I was in the same Sacrament Meeting as 3 out of my 4 companions. Guess who showed up! Elder, or rather, Brother Ngendabanka (he had returned home and was no longer a missionary)! hahaha! (I thought it was a ghost come to haunt me at first..just kidding, it was actually kinda cool, but also super weird, to see him again so soon.) He moved here and has a shop in my area now. 
Love ya
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 3 Safari!

So not too much time today because we went on a safari! It was awesome! I got to pet a cheetah without a cage. Only a leash.

Petting a Cheetah.
Well transfers!

Elder Ssengooba is off to Blantyre and I will be training Elder Zimene from Zimbabwe! Should be an aweomse experience!

Hope I can be a good example! Elder Ssengooba has developed so much over the 3.5 months weve been together. He's become a great missionary. Oh also he will be with an elder from Matero ward, Jospeh the ward missionary we work with, his brother, Elder Kampelya.

Love you

Elder Hiltbrand
Because Elder SS was transferred I opened my "Hump Day" (year mark) package early so I could give him the BYU shirt you sent.

July 27 Popcorn Party!

This week was great!

We had exchanges on Wednesday. I was with Elder Draycott in their area while Elder Chiliza and Elder SS were in ours. This was my first exchange outside of my own proselyting area and the first time driving around in a car. It was awesome! There's no stress about appointments and the like because it's not your area and sitting in a car is pretty comfortable haha. But actually I like being a walking missionary more. You just feel more on the peoples' level and are able to greet people and talk to more people. Both companionships did great work that day. Exchanges are always a bit refreshing.

Eish on Thursday we had a crazyyy experience. We met a man on the road the other day who was a less-active member and a brother to a RM (Returned Missionary) that comes to our ward sometimes. We scheduled to see him on Thursday and discuss why he left the church and the like. Well we met with him and it sounds like he left the church officially because of not getting money (PEF-perpetual education funds) for school because the Branch President wanted him to go on mission first. But now he has started to "pray for people so they can receive healing". Basically he is some sort of pastor or prophet or the like. He knows the church very well and uses that knowledge now for his apostate stuff. Like he heals people by the laying on of hands. It was just really disturbing because he knows what he is doing is wrong and against what he believed and we were meeting with him in some dark room and it was just creepy all together...We see some interesting things here..

Sure could use our electric popcorn popper!

On Saturday the stake had a movie activity to watch "Meet the Mormons". It has been advertised for a month now and we had about 40 members/investigators from our ward attend so it was pretty great. They all took a bus together which was another story of stress that I won't include here. But during the movie we didn't even watch because we were back in the kitchen popping popcorn for everyone to have as part of the refreshments. 2 trash bags full and much much more. It was soo much popcorn and so fun with all the other missionaries haha.

As for a great teaching experience this week, we taught lots a good families but yesterday we taught this father with his daughter and focused so much on the Book of Mormon because I guess he has been studying "systematic theology" (possibly to become a pastor) but he had lots of questions we got to answer and now he will be reading.

The search for serious investigators still continues!
Being a missionary rocks.
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20 Curfew Extended

This week a lot of our investigators were busy so we didn't get to teach a lot of investigators, but instead got to visit a lot of members and less actives which was good since the ward is struggling a bit. We are focusing a lot on teaching everyone about eternal marriage and pointing them towards the temple, because if you have a goal of going to the temple, you start to do the things the Lord expects of you and your family. Even in Elders Quorum yesterday, Elder SS and I presented on eternal marriage using the "Proclamation to the World" to help the men see they won't be exalted without their wives so they shouldn't be coming to church without them either. It's really interesting being in this ward, but I'm learning a lot and I feel we are really helping.

So Tuesday we had Zone Meeting which is at the main chapel in Lusaka, which is the furthest area away from ours.  The meeting finished at 12:30, but we got home at 16:00. Public transport in Zambia is difficult. But we still got out and made the most of our day!

They have changed the schedule for us here in the Lusaka Zone lately. Usually we come home at 19hrs but now it's been extended to 20hrs because they feel it is safe enough and nobody has really had any problems in the past so they're testing it out in our zone now. This will help us to be able to see more fathers who are working during the day and their families which is great because those are the people who really help in the establishment of the church. So we have been coming home at 20hrs most of the days this week. It's really dark but we walk on the main roads so it's fine. (Don't worry mom we only got robbed twice this week no big deal! jk)
Love Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 13 Trials make our Faith grow stronger!

The title for this week is not pertaining particular to me, well it could because there's always trials on mission and my faith is definitely growing stronger, but it's about what Norah is going through. Her father had permitted her baptism a few weeks back but now went back on it and even her mother is now supporting him because she doesn't want to deal with problems over Norah's baptism. So now Norah is definitely going through a trial of her faith. She has to choose between the truth she has found from God or her parents. I know if she chooses the right and follow the truth that God has given her she will be such a help to the Church here, but also will be blessed in her personal life tremendously. It reminds me of all the struggles the Pioneer saints went through being persecuted and yet they pushed forward and eventually "ate the good of the land" as the scriptures would say ha. So once again we are at a moment of suspense with her!  We also found some other good people this week, but the search continues to find those families that are prepared by the Lord to accept the restored gospel!

We did a service project this week for Nandi, a less-active member.  She had grown up in the church and her mother was a Relief Society President or something but when her mom passed , the Church didn't do a funeral service I guess so the family all got offended and stopped attending church and found themselves off "the straight and narrow"...but we are trying to help her come back to the fold!  We cleared out a giant heap of trash that was in her compound and burned it (they burn all their trash here so don't be thinking we were just trying to be pyrotechnics or something!)  It wasn't burning quickly though and would've taken a day probably because all of the different plastics and such (Ozone layer? what ozone layer?  Toxic fumes?) so we couldn't just leave a burning heap of rubbish on her doorstep and leave so we shoveled it all into wheelbarrows again, this time while it was burning and smoking haha, and dumped it on the road side.

Sorry to say, 3 rats were killed in the process..RIP. (the pictures shows our makeshift weapons can also see our gloves we used to pick up all the rubbish with:plastic bags tied around our hands.)

On Friday I went on exchanges with Elder Chiliza. Pretty cool working with him again! We have both improved in our teaching so much since the time we were together. The Spirit was very strong in all our lessons and just throughout the whole day. He's a great missionary its awesome working around him again!
Love, Elder Grant Hiltbrand