Monday, February 23, 2015

Feb 23 Lovin It Again!

Bho Bho!

This last week in Chilobwe was pretty great! Not a ton to report on, but things are looking up!

I wasn't too happy about transfer news staying here, but once I overcame my own selfishness and vain ambitions I have been able to get back to work and have been happy about it! And now I can say I am actually happy to be here another transfer!

Things were getting tough, but now we have found some amazing people again and are teaching quite a bit! We even had quite a few people at church on Sunday which hasn't happened for awhile!

I know tons of people here in Chilobwe, which is actually pretty fun! I have had to eat at the same (and only decent) restaurant for 6 month, and now we have really bonded with the owner woman and we chat with her all the time. She thought we were paid (many people here think that) but once we explained kinda what we do on mission and such she had a new view! She even bought us tichenji material and took us to her favorite tailor to have shirts made this week!
Cool shirts!
Brother Milore is back from Lilongwe where he was getting treated as well and he is doing pretty good! He felt too weak to come to church on Sunday, but he and his wife have testimonies and want to be baptized! And their son Joshua is doing great as well! Haha that kid is the greatest baby ever. It sucks how we can't really play with kids and such because of the missionary standards, but he tempts us! But we have standards for a reason I have a testimony of that haha!
I got to do my first baptismal interview this week and it was an amazing experience. Her name is Nancy, the ZLs have been teaching her and we have seen her coming to church for some time now. She is super ready. I loved to hear her testimony and just see her desire to follow Jesus Christ. The Spirit was so strong during that interview.

We had interviews with President Erickson (our Mission President) this week. Lately I had been feeling a bit negative to him I don't know why (I think because of transfers) but I was praying for love and respect for him and during my interview I could just feel his love for me and I could just see and feel how he is truly called of God and inspired. He is mindful of each missionary and we had a great meeting together. Love that man.

I'm happy to be here and my companion and I continue to work hard! "This is the Lord's nchito!"

Thanks for all the love and support!
Oh yeah I also turned 6 months on mission this week! They've been a great 6 months! Crazy I'm 1/4 done!

Love Elder Grant Hiltbrand
My District.
Tallest in the zone, Elder Hiltbrand?  No I have not grown!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Feb 16 Wait transfers happened?

This week we continued our hunt to find those who have been prepared by the Lord to accept the true gospel of Jesus Christ! We have found some great people but it's just a start!

I went on an exchanges in Chilobwe with Elder Barnard on friday (his last exchange on mission! He goes home tomorrow) and it was awesome! We had fun and were laughing the whole day but also felt the Spirit the whole day and had super powerful lessons. I learned a ton from him throughout the day as well. One of my favorite parts of the day was how most of our lessons included the Book of Mormon so we got to read from it and testify of it and just feel the Spirit that comes from it all day. We visited the Makawas and went through the introduction with them and they had tons of questions and now they understand the restoration and Book of Mormon so much better!  They have now started to read the BOM everyday and will someday have read the whole thing! I love to see people come to know the Book of Mormon really is the word of God!
We also saw Brother Wanyaliwa to whom we had given the Book of Mormon last time and committed to read Moroni 10:3-5. Well he read that, the testimonies in the beginning and the first 3 chapters of Nephi. AND he had prayed and knows it is true. Now we just need to help him see what he needs to DO now that he has come to know these things to be true!

It's always fulfilling as a missionary to see others come to know the truth and see how the gospel of Jesus Christ changes them.
Well as for transfers...most of the mission was effected..Except for our flat. All four of us are staying in our areas with our companions! Elder Dlamini has been in his area for 7-8 months already and me for 6 months..Its challenging to stay in one area for that long, but I trust it is what the Lord wants!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Feb 9 The Refiner's Fire

Chilobwe, Chilobwe, Chilobwe. The area I used to call the land flowing with milk and honey has become more of the land of desolation this past week haha...

Recently we have been experiencing a bit of opposition in the work whereas many of those we have been teaching have stopped keeping committments or had other concerns arise and many, acutally, most of our lessons fell though this week.  And so it was a week of a lot of tracting and finding people to teach!

Many of the missionaries here in Blantyre are experiencing similar things actually so we were counciling together and we believe it to be kind of like a sigmoid curve where it goes down first then rapidly upwards. The mission is taking a great new direction this year and so as we begin I'm sure the Opposite is going to try to halt us and that's what we are feeling. It is like a refiner's fire - especially for me as I deal not only with our area but also with this district and such.

But I know that, shortly, things are going to explode upward! We just all have to be dilligent during this time and continue!

We did find some great people this week though! One of which is a man and his brother, Christopher, who stays in Keetway, Zambia (another proselyting area in this mission) that is visiting for a prolonged period of time. We have taught them twice and they are interested and keeping commitments! Christopher expressed how he's gone to sooo many churches (he listed, by name, at least 10) and how he hadn't found the one he believed to be true yet. Well he came to church on Sunday and we see him tonight so that will be great! What's cool, though, is even if he goes back home the church and missionaries are still there to continue. It seems we plant many seeds for other missionaries here. I don't know if I shared how one time we made a missed call and then found out the random person we called stayed in Lilongwe so we referred the missionaries to her and now they're teaching her and her whole family!

The Lord works in mysterious ways haha.

But now we won't be making any missed calls for a few days.  I lost the phone on Saturday night in a mini bus. That won't make the work any easier these next few days haha!

Well the week was a good one! Just because it was hard doesn't mean it wasn't good! I love this nchito (work) no matter what. Thanks for all the support! Transfers are at the end of this week and there are 12-15 leaving with 7 coming in, so who knows what will happen!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Mission truck used to deliver water to our apartment.

One of the many maize fields around the village.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Feb 2 Mission Tour 2015

Another good week! But not a ton to report on each day. Many of the investigators that have been progressing are going through some tough times and we haven't been able to see them and we just had a lot of fall-throughs and such this week, but just as I said last week: No bad days.

Elder Ngendabanka and I have a great time everyday no matter what though and always find something to laugh about!

On Thursday, we all fasted as a Zone leading up to the Mission Tour (Zone Meeting not actually a tour) we were having on Saturday and so that we can all gain the guidance and strength we will need to achieve our new mission goals and standards of excellence.  It's pretty hard to fast as a missionary haha since we are working so hard everyday and walking in the heat, but I know the blessings that come from fasting and praying and I am seeing them already!
Can you find Grant in the back row?


Grant front and center behind Elder Cook.

So that leads me to the mission tour! Elder Carl B. Cook (The Southeast Africa Area President) and his wife were touring our mission with Pres/Sis Erickson this past week and they came to Blantyre to instruct us. The Lilongwe missionaries all came down and we have a combined Zone Conference. It was very powerful. The work is going forward here in Malawi. The Lord is truly 'making bare his arm' in our mission and in our lives. Elder Cook's address was based largly on Elder Bednar's address 'Converted unto the Lord'.  We discussed the relationship between a testimony and conversion.  Many people can know and feel something is true, but what is important is what they do with their knowledge and with those feelings.  Conversion is denying the natural man and becoming a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Our nature changes. And it is all through repentance and the Atonement. I am so grateful for a loving Savior that atoned for my sins and allows me to repent and become better. That is also what drives me here on mission because I know what happens to people when they gain that faith and they repent and embrace the atonement and become converted.

I love missionary meetings; they always help me to receive revelation and realize ways I can improve!

I love you all!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Jan 26 There're no bad days

Another good week here in Chilobwe, although, in this letter you're not going to find too much about floods or tornadoes or people dying in front of me!

The week flew by though! And I believe that's due to working hard and enjoying the work everyday!
On Tuesday, I led my first District Meeting and I feel it went well! The Zingwanagwa District is powerful! The sisters and the Beals and my companion are all great missionaries! We discussed more about committing people to baptism in the first lesson and helping them to see our purpose in that first visit because all to often here in Malawi people think we are just going around to study the Bible with people. And it's funny because before mission if the missionaries were teaching one of my friends at home and committed them to baptism the first lesson I would have given them fire, but now that I am a missionary I see how important that is because that's what we want for everyone since it is so essential! (John 3:5).

We had many many fall-throughs this week, but we didn't let it get us down and kept going and found some more great people. Although sometimes you might come home and want to say eesh today was a bad day beacuse we had so many fall throughs or something, but when I think about it, it was still a good day and I'm happy to be here. The days are truly starting to go by faster and faster when before they would never end!

This week we had a branch movie activity and it was sweet! We invited many people and challenged the branch memebers to bring a friend and we ended up having a huge turnout! We played a question game about the Old Testament that got everyone excited because they know the Bible really well here and then we watched The Prince of Egypt. Yeahh I watched an animated movie on my mission!
We didn't have any investigators come to Church on Sunday which was kinda sad, but I was pretty stoked that we had 2 less-actives come! And something really cool happened as well. During the meeting, 6 woman came and sat down in the congregation and it was obvious they hadn't been there before. Well afterwards we all went up and greeted them and found out they had come because they had seen us last week doing the service in the rain helping move the Nthenda's things to their parent's house, which as I mentioned last week, is very far from the Church. Well they all walked all the way from that area to the Church which probably took around 2 hours! The Church is true!

Although some parts of the week were hard, like I said in the title, there are no bad days! I'm loving this work!

Love you all, thanks for all the support!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Amayi! (mom)
Elder Grant Hiltbrand
Grant's new companion, Elder Ngendabanka, from Burundi.