Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jan 19 My week...a resilient people.

I can't even think of a way to title this week or even really explain it in a way that will make sense to everyone else but me, but I'll try!

Last week I told how we had to run to the Internet Cafe because of torrential rainfall. Well that was the 2nd day of straight rain and thent he rain didn't stop that day nor that night nor the next day. I'm not sure if I have ever explained how they build houses here but the majority of what they have are not very water proof...so you can start to imagine what happens when there is 3 straight days of heavy rainfall - and not rain like you see back in California (when there isn't a drought), but RAIN. 

Well on Tuesday we got news of some of the members in the branch who had lost their homes in the night. One family, the Nthenda's, roof had blown off and their house crumbled. 
Nthenda family home.
Nthenda home after the rain storm.
Another, the Makawas, had their walls fall on their home. And many many other homes in this area were also damaged or completely destroyed along with many people who lost their lives by being washed away in the huge river coming down from the mountain. Basically, I would describe it as a natural disaster and the results everywhere were not good.

The Makawa home after the storm. It was one of the newer, nicer homes in the area.
Another home.

One of several times trying to get the truck unstuck from the mud as we moved the Nthenda family belongings.

Carrying the Nthenda family belongings to their new temporary home.

All the family belongings fit in 4 trips of a small truck.
The Nthenda family all moved in.
Where the water flowed through the village.

There were several deaths from the flash floods. 

All Tuesday we were helping the Nthenda family and also visited the Makawas and both families taught me a huge lesson. I've been humbled this week and have learned and seen things I will never forget. Although these people lost their homes, they were still grateful and in high spirits. After moving all the Nthendas belongings to their parents home far away, Bro Nthenda said "See you at Church on Sunday!". Well church starts at 8 and he woke up at 6 and walked 2 hours and was sitting at church when we showed up! Also, when we visited the Makawa's who had moved into a vacant home that was being build that one of their friends offered them for the time being, they already had a picture of the South Africa Temple nailed to the wall. Amidst all that had happened to these families, they still knew what was most important in life and were still grateful to their Father in Heaven. From these people and all my experiences I have learned to always be grateful in every circumstance I may be in.

That lesson is especially helpful now that the water intakes in Blantyre are covered in silt so we won't have water for a loooong time and our lights were off one night so we had a nice candlelit dinner together and I had to plan a talk for sunday with candle light!

Studying by candlelight.
Later in the week after all the commotion, we had amazing lessons where the spirit was sooo strong. I wish I could explain all of them and explain the joy and the spirit we feel as we share the Gospel and see it work in peoples' lives, but you can only imagine! Also Brother Milore is doing great and his sickness is almost completely gone. (Gave him a blessing last week.)   Listening to him explain his experiences touched my heart and made me so grateful for the priesthood we are blessed with!

I love this gospel. I love this privilege I have to serve a mission here in Malawi, I LOVE these people and I love my new companion!
Love, Elder Grant Hiltbrand