Friday, January 9, 2015

Dec 29 I'll be (calling) Home for Christmas!

This week was SWEET. Christmas as a missionary was so much better than I expected and much better than many of you reading this probably would expect as well.

Our Christmas Tree
 On Monday/Tuesday the Lilongwe zone came down to Blantyre and we had a Christmas party. We had a white elephant exchange which was pretty funny. I wanted the huge Jack Fruit, but it got stolen from me. I ended up with my companion's gift, oreos. Soo good! We then had a delicious dinner - of course it couldn't even compare to what Mom makes, but it was way better than anything us missionaries make! Then we watched a movie, The Christmas Carol. Yes, we watched a MOVIE with our Mission President. That night we got to sleep way late which is expected when you have tons of missionaries all staying in the 
same flat!

Jack Fruit
Grant and Companion
The next day we all had breakfast together then had a discussion in the chapel on 2 conference talks on the sacrament. It was super powerful and then we all partook of the sacrament together. We all kneeled for the prayers as well which made it even more powerful.

On Christmas Eve we had a zone activity at the couple's house where we got to see the Christmas devotional. I'm so glad we got to see that, I was missing it! And the Reynolds house had air conditioning so basically it couldn't have gotten any better.

Christmas we woke up singing Joy to the World in our flat then all kneeled in prayer before opening our few gifts. It was awesome to see my companion open his gifts..a hymn book, and baptismal clothing. He was actually surprised I think and so happy. And we will be using those clothes next week even! We then had breakfast with the ZLs next door and our flat then went to our area and took Christmas to the Ambali Family. We gave them a present and had bought food to make for them because amayi (the mother) always makes us food so we wanted to cook for her for once, but she wouldn't let us. So we taught them all how to play Uno while we waited for food. We tried to eat light since we were going out to dinner that night but amayi wasn't going to let us eat light..eesh she gave us a mountain of food! It was a great time and we also got to visit a few others and sing for them and such. 

That night we went to a super nice restaurant (nice for Malawi) with the ZLs and our flat mates and ate even more.  But the best part of Christmas, of course, was calling home - AND calling Rushton! "Hello this is Elder Hiltbrand" "no this is Elder Hiltbrand" "No this is Elder Hiltbrand!"

I thought the day after Christmas would be hard to go back to normal missionary life, but it was just fine and we're still lovin it. I think it helped starting the day with a service activity where we planted soya beans!  

Planting Soy Beans

A well?
We also taught a family this week that is easily the most prepared family I've taught my whole mission so far! We went and taught them the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and they loved it and then when we came home they had completed our reading commitment of the introduction and title page and even read more! Somehow one of the men, Saustin, read 3 Nephi 11, without us even asking or telling him to..

At church, they had the Primary Program (Church program put on by children ages 3-11)! All the kids had memorized a bunch of scriptures and songs that they sang and recited. I love
primary songs and I especially love the children here in the branch and in Malawi! I think they might even have more scriptures memorized than me!

Mission is so much fun and also so much work! And it's one of the greatest experiences ever! I love teaching the restored gospel and meeting many different people here!
Happy New Year!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand