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