Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 18 Close to a perfect week.

The Lord is blessing us and our area so much currently. This week was awesome - especially compared to last week with Malaria haha!
The first time I have ever had pizza delivered to my house is in Africa!
We have Family Home Evening every Monday with a member of the ward, so it's helping me to meet everyone and also helping us to find people to teach as they give us referrals.

Tuesday was an interesting day..we had Zone meeting in the morning, but it is in the Lusaka Chapel which I think is the furthest Chapel from our area, so getting there took forever. But getting back was even worse. We have to take buses and they wait for the buses to fill before leaving their stop, so on the way back we had to wait in buses for over 2 hours...and so with the delay we had a lot of stress trying to be on time to appts and such..but we still had some awesome lessons!

On Wednesday we did some finding, and so I felt prompted we should go to an area that I had seen beforehand and felt we needed to go there.

Basically every house we knocked we set up lessons. My companion even said after our 1-2 hours of tracting that he had never had such a perfect day of tracting his whole mission. I could somewhat agree too!

On Thursday we went to our first appt. in that area we tracted. It was a young man named Benson and we had such a great lesson with him. The Spirit was just so strong. That started the day out very well and we went on to have many other great lessons.

Friday was another almost-perfect day like Thursday with tons of great lessons. We taught a man who was actually very stiff and difficult to teach but in the end was thanking us because he could just tell what we were teaching was true and made sense despite his unwillingness haha. Truth is truth. And the Spirit bears witness of truth to us. So we won't convince anyone. The Spirit will.

On Saturday our whole day kind blew up pertaining to our scheduled lessons, but we were able to help some less-actives. We went to go teach a family member of a less-active family but she was gone, so we found their son home (which is rare) and invited him to the Family Home Evening at the church that night. He accepted and joined us to go pick up another less-active. The next was a bit under the influence but wanted to come but couldn't. We then went and picked up another young man and were on our way. It was just sweet to see more and more people joining our small gang to go to zion haha!

Also speaking of being under the influence...we were walking home one night and a drunkard came up to us with a carton of beer in his hands asking us for some gospel books (pamphlets). I told him to drop his beer, so he set it down. Then I told him to kick it. Well he KICKED it haha! All over me! It was hilarious! Good thing we were going home right then though! Wouldn't look very good for a missionary to be smelling like alcohol...

Sunday was great as well. I was able to confirm Eric which was a great experience and an ordinance I have not performed for awhile! This ward is so funny.. people are always trying to ask questions in lessons to start a debate about doctrine..

I guess I forgot last week as I was so busy explaining the Malaria experience I forgot to mention we had a baptism! We baptized a man named Eric. He's great!
Well sorry this email is so long, but it doesn't even capture how much joy we felt this week or even half of the experiences!

But I'm totally cured from Malaria for all those who are worried..but now I have the flu! Zambia is trying to kill me!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

My companion making Chipati!  He makes the best!

Thank you Foothill Ranch Primary for the great letter!

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11 Taken down with Malaria.

So fun to Skype with Grant on Sunday.  He is doing well and looked well even after his bout with Malaria this week!

This week started out really good. But then I got take down haha.

On Tuesday, we had our first District Meeting with the new Matero District! It's awesome having the AP's in the district and having everyone contributing and participating. We discussed how we can implement the Book of Mormon more in our work and more in the conversion and reactivation process of all those we are teaching since really - if the Book of Mormon is true, everything we believe is true. That's why our message to the world and my message to everyone reading this blog is just to read it to know if it's true!

We started our day on Wednesday with a district service for some members in the ward where we were helping them harvest their maize (corn). They let the maize dry out in the sun while still on the stock then you come and harvest it and collect it all in a big store room where you then take the kernals off and dry them more then mill them into a flour for nshima (porridge). So that was super fun (and super hot). The rest of the day we saw a few people but also got to knock quite a few gates. And we got rejected quite a few times haha!

And so Thursday I woke up with a POUNDING headache. I thought that it was just a heat headache since we were in the direct sunlight all yesterday, so I didn't think too much of it and we went and did some errands. But when we got home that's when I started vomitting... I vomitted and vomitted. Nothing was left in my stomach. And so now I was just thinking maybe it's the flu or a fever or something since I also got some chills and sweats. So the ZLs (Zone Leaders) called and said "are you taking your doxicycline (antimalaria pills)" I said not really "but it's not malaria". haha so naive...

Well we decided I'd better go into the clinic and get a blood test to find out what was wrong and so the nurse stabbed my thumb and took some blood and sent us back to the waiting room. I wasn't fully there but when she came back I heard her simply say "He has it." so yep I was wrong. I got Malaria. They gave me some pills to take and sent me home. I tried to eat a slice of bread since you take the pills with food and I hadn't eaten all day and then I drank some water and took the pill. Well that came back up 30 min later partially dissolved...Yes, I swallowed it again...anything to feel better!

So the next day they decided to just admit me to the hospital to be on an IV since I couldn't eat or drink anything. They took me in and the doctor instead gave me an anti-naseau shot and an anti-malarial shot (In the butt. Eish you feel so vulnerable there face down with your buttocks exposed to a nurse with a giant needle in her hand!)

I was now able to force myself to eat and drink and slowly recovered each day. My last anti-Malarial shot was yesterday and now I'm feeling so much better and have gained back my energy and all is well! So yep that was the good news I gave my mom when I called home for Mother's Day! Hey Mom I have Malaria!

It was a bummer to miss 4 days of work in the area though! Also I'm grateful for Elder Ssengooba though since he helped me out a ton as I was dying haha!

So yep you all be sure to take your doxicycline and sleep under your mosquito nets!
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

May 4 Started from the Bush and Now I am Here!

I woke up at 3:50am on Tuesday for my flight to Lusaka. I flew in with Sister Proctor who has served her whole mission so far in Malawi as well and we were both so shocked with what we found here! This is the change I was hoping for I guess, but wow its a CHANGE. Zambia is so much more developed than Malawi...  There're busy streets everywhere and there're so many other things I almost forgot existed! (Street lights, paint on the streets, ceiling fans, malls to name a few haha)  It's SO different from Blantyre!  It's like I'm in a new mission haha! I'm now in the Zambia Lusaka Mission!

Malawian water filtration system.
Malawian water filtration system.

Zambian water filtration system.
My new companion is Elder Ssengooba.  Elder Ssengooba is awesome.  He is from Uganda and is SUPER RICH.  He started his own businesses and what not and has his own house and stuff even though he's only 21, but it's causing him some problems lately with the government and he almost went home but stayed and is working it out, so all is well. He's an orphan. His parents died and he took care of his 4 younger sisters. He's an inspiring guy. He wrote about an experience he had when he was in school and it was printed in the September 2014 edition of the Liahona, a church magazine.)  Click on this link to read it:  "I Knew What I had to Do"

He's only 11 weeks on mission so I'm finishing up his training so I hope I can set a good example!  Training is for 12 weeks meaning I will be a trainer for 2 short weeks!  I hope I set a good example as we work together.  He is humble and has so much energy it's great!  He's super funny and the ward loves him so much.  Speaking of which, yeah, I 'm in a WARD now. (Grant was in a Branch before which is a small congregation.  A ward usually has 300-500 members.)

The Matero Ward is so powerful! We meet in a meeting house, but it's about 3 times bigger than the Zingwangwa meeting house so I'm not complaining at all! The members are strong and there are many in our area (something new to me)! We almost always have a young man working with us each day so that’s a huge help. They also have activities each week like devotional and FHE and then we even had a big ward activity on Saturday. We had some gospel instructions and then played games and the Relief Society prepared food (they told me that it's not a meal without meat here! haha! That’s another difference from Blantyre!) “When Mormons meet, they eat!” – Quote from one of the members in the ward. My comp and I had the ward do an egg toss which was super crazy and out of control but everyone loved it haha!
Ward Activity

Ward Activity Egg Toss

Ward Activity
So as for my new area: It seems I'm still in the ghetto but even the people who are struggling are not like those in my last area. It’s a really big area compared to Chilobwe so that’s exciting, but we WALK. My legs have been so tired this first week, but at least it's flat! I haven’t gotten to tract much yet since we already have some investigators and we visit many Less-actives (something new to me). We actually have a baptism coming up next Sunday of a man named Eric which is cool!

There's an area called Devil’s Street in our area as well, but I won't explain that too much. But you can just guess what it's like based on the name haha!

Oh also it's hotter here! My face has gotten a bit more red this week… I don’t want to include negative things about the country but eish its dirty here and smelly! And the immodesty is so much worse haha it's like I'm in America again! Also the people are way more prideful and don’t even respond to me when I greet them or wave at them..so much different than the humility and kindness I experienced in Malawi!

I'm so excited for this area and for my new companion. Also for my new district that includes my former comp, Elder Chiliza! We’re going to “smash it” in this area!
My new District.  Elder Ssengooba on left of Grant and former companion Elder Chiliza to the right.
Elder Grant Hiltbrand