Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dec 28 7...6...5...4...3...2...1

The countdown begins! Elder Barrett has one week until he flies out of here! He is finishing strong so it should be a great week. The mission president asked me to start driving to prepare for when Elder Barrett goes since I will be driving now. so I got to drive for probably 15 minutes and then my comp said I've learned enough and he took back over. ha... whatever, I can wait.

Christmas Eve with our District Elders.

Elder Barrett and I.  Our attempt at a cheesy Christmas card pose. Our Christmas tree.
This week was a good one with Christmas, although it was difficult to get into that magical Christmas feeling since they don't celebrate the same here! For Christmas we went to a members home and played some games with them and they fed us then we went to the mission office for calling home. It was nice talking to the family that's for sure! Only one more of those...

The girl that we were planning on baptizing on Elder Barrett's last Sunday will need just a bit more time before she's ready, so that's unfortunate but it's alright nonetheless.
I don't have too much to say about the week other than it was great and that I'm anxious to hear who my next companion will be. News should come Friday evening!

The Musukwa family invited us to dinner to say goodbye to Elder Barrett.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This year of 2015 was entirely spent serving the Lord! What a good year!

Elder Hiltbrand

Dec 21 Holiday Zone Conference (aka Party!)

This week was great! We had entire days in our area again and we made good use of them! Last week we were still trying to get to know the members - and we still were this week - but through those members we have met, we have started teaching a few investigators who are
progressing towards baptism. So this week we got to teach more instead of just meeting people and sharing small spiritual messages. Next week will be even better because our investigator pool is growing and we will get to start seeing people make changes in their lives as they prepare for baptism. We are hoping to baptize 1 or 2 on Elder Barrett's last Sunday (Jan 3rd)!

On Friday all the Copperbelt Missionaries came down to Lusaka for our annual Christmas celebrations. This year it was combined with a zone conference, though. I actually liked it a lot more having the zone conference in conjunction with the Christmas 'party' because the focus and spirituality was kept while still having times for fun. Elder Barrett and I were pretty late for the conference because the elders in charge did not set up properly so we had to drive all around getting keys and what not so that was a bummer missing so much and
humiliating having to walk in so late. We even missed the announcing of our new mission president! President Kufu I think it was? From Tonga! He will come July 1st. 

For what we were there for, we had a great discussion on the Prodigal Son and helping people to repent before they are baptized so they can be more worthy of the blessings
of baptism. Then the Christmas festivites commenced with a white elephant gift exchange and dinner and watching 'A Christmas Carol'.

The next day we finished our conference with a discussion on self-improvement and becoming living 'epistles of Christ' (2Corinthians3:3). That was my favorite part of the whole conference. Then we concluded with a testimony meeting. After the conference we had to transport missionaries to the bus station so that took awhile because everyone and their grandma was traveling for the holidays so buses were all booked up.. It even caused us to miss our ward's Christmas party. But its okay we will just attend the other ward's party on the 26th!

This next week is going to be a great one as well with Christmas! Then just one more week until Elder Barrett goes home.
Merry Christmas!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

No power again.

Dec 14 Back at it!

This week was another crazy week with MORE transfers! 

On Tuesday we picked up our Zone's new Sister Training Leaders from the airport and from there went straight to Zone Meeting. We had a good zone meeting in which we had presentations on how to receive revelation through prayer (Me and Elder Barrett), the importance of staying focused and being obedient (Elder Sagers and Elder Ssengooba), and also a presentation on keeping Christ at the center of Christmas (Elder Mohlakoana). I personally felt the meeting was good and helped us all to learn and sharpen our skills but it was a bit boring and low energy compared to our other meetings. I don't know if that's because of the transfers or what! Right after the meeting, we packed up the cars with 4 missionaries bags and went to the bus station for them to go up to the Copperbelt. Elder Zimene was one of those missionaries actually! We then received 4 missionaries from the Copperbelt and spent the remainder of the day taking them to their companions. The mission also received 3 new missionaries which is great because we are losing so many recently and they're having to close some areas due to the lack of missionaries. 

The next day we also had a few missionaries that were just passing through Lusaka that we took care of until Thursday when they had a flight to Lilongwe. Elder Scatena, one of my best friends here in Lusaka flew out on Thursday. I bet it's going to be crazy for him going to Malawi now because he began his mission here in Lusaka where it is a big city! I kept telling him that now he won't be as much of a ''cheese boy'' (term they give to people who like expensive things I guess).

Me, Elder Scatena and Elder Barrett at the airport.  Our best Donald Trump look.

 Oh yeah also I don't kow if I made mention of SukDev last week - if i even wrote last week?! SukDev is a man who lives in the compound I used to live in when I served in Matero. He is from Panjabi, India and is a Sikh. Well he has had some mental challenges lately and went to the Elders that stay there and asked for me because he thought I could help him. They called me and we went and met with him. He explained his problem but I'm not a doctor so I was only able to explain what I know heals people and that is a priesthood blessing. We explained what that was and gave him a blessing. Later he called us and invited us back and told of how he is feeling 50% better which is awesome. He also fed us Panjabian food which was so good. This was such a random experience but it's awesome how many lives we get to touch as missionaries.

When we got time for the area this week we continued to meet with all the members in the ward and wow I am so happy with this ward. Everyone is eager to help us in the work and they have all welcomed us warmly. It's such a great benefit to have Bro Mkochi in this ward too because he shows us where all these members stay. Without him we would be getting lost so much.

Elder Barrett was pretty sick this week so that was a bummer. Lately his stomach has been so sensitive. I just hope this next week he feels okay so that we can work hard every moment that we have to be in the area!

Now that we are getting more familiar with the area and things are calming down I'll be better about my blog! Im excited to tell you about all these great members and investigators.

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Family Home Evening Games

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nov 30 Transfers again!

This week we took care of all the transfers. This was a huge transfer! 3 companionships were transferred to new areas together - including ours. In all we moved around 16 missionaries who were either coming to Lusaka, leaving to other zones, or just passing through.

We dragged out our transfer until Sunday because we wanted to help the transition go smoothly in Ng'ombe since the sisters will be whitewashing there but they leave in 2 weeks so it will be white washed again. 

We attended Libala ward for the first time yesterday and I'm excited! The ward is full of long-time, established members and has a great Bishop so there's a lot of potential there. It was crazy trying to meet everyone though! It willl be even crazier this week though trying to find all their homes though! We had a baptism in Libala our first Sunday actually. A young man was supposed to be baptized a few months ago but it never happened and so the grandmother was in a fuss saying he should be baptized that Sunday so we got our District Leader to do an interview and bam he was in the water haha...Right after that baptism we then rushed over to the Munali ward to witness our investigator, Margaret, get baptized as well. 

After that we visited Brother Mkochi in Libala and he showed us around a bit but I think I've already forgotten all the homes he showed us ha.  Libala is the most developed area I've served in so far. Elder Barrett and I were even saying it feels like home a bit! It's not even close to home but still, paved, organized roads are a change along with tall apartment buildings. Oh and the airconditioners in our house are going to be great! (Now that we cleaned out that whole flat! Dang it was nasty when we found it.)


Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Nov 23 Transfers

Transfers always come as a shock! Elder Barrett and I both got transferred together to another area in Lusaka called Libala. Our area will now be added to the sister missionaries that are in our ward, so the sisters will take over the entire Munali ward, but get this, they both go home on Dec 6th so they'll have 2 sisters come and white wash (start new) an entire ward! Pretty crazy..

We had 5-6 baptisms coming up within the next month as well in N'gombe, the first one will be Margaret on Sunday and then followed the next Sunday by Donald and Malala, a wonderful couple. So yeah wer'e really bummed to leave this area...

So looking at Libala's numbers, they haven't baptized in 6 months. I suppose that is why President is white washing us there. We've set a goal to baptize within the first 6 weeks of being there. I'm really excited for the challenge actually. We will still be zone leaders too. I'm excited to be with Elder Barrett until he goes home 5th Jan. We've become great friends.

We will be the only missionaries in Libala ward. We meet in a very nice chapel. The ward seems great . Great bishop. Also Brother Mkochi is in that ward haha remember him?

Last week was the hottest of my mission but this week the rains are here!

Love you

Elder Hiltbrand

Nov 16 Waka waka ay ay this is Africa!

Common sight in Africa.

Nov 9 MLC

This week I had my first Mission Leadership Council (MLC) in which all the ZL's (Zone Leaders), STL's (Sister Trainer Leaders), Ap's (Assistants to the President) and president have a meeting and discuss certain topics and principles to be applied throughout the mission. Because our mission spans over two countries we only have a live MLC (where everyone flies into lusaka) once every 3 months. so this one was over skype among all 4 zones of the mission. It's cool to be a part of the council now but actually it wasn't much. Maybe it was just this MLC that was less monumental though because we were just reiterating the principles we've been implementing in the mission in order to stop tracting and find more through members.

We got a lot of time in the area this week compared to others because we had less errands so that was great and it allowed us to have some great lessons. We have quite a few great investigators! Actually on Sunday we were expecting a ton to come but then only 1 came and I was shocked. BUT we then found out later that day when we visited the Zulus that 5 others showed up to their house to be escorted there but the Zulus had already left! So we could've had many more! But still the one that came was awesome because it was a father who weve been working with and he's always had 'real excuses' as to why he and his wife haven't come to church and we were even considering to stop visiting them for some time, but now he came! His wife has been ill which is why they haven't come but now she's gotten a bit better and so she still couldn't come because he did! They lost a son a few years ago so the gospel has really touched them knowing there's hope to be with him again because of the plan of salvation.

We also spent some time at the hospital this week because Elder Barrett woke up with a giant lump on the bottom of his chin. It was like a golf ball was sticking out the bottom of his head! We still don't know what it is but he's gotten less self counsious about it and I've stopped laughing about it and it's receding anyways haha.

On Saturday there was a Stake Elders Quorum soccer tournament. I got to play the whole time but was wishing I could be subbed out but we didn't have enough players to do so haha. My cross-country stamina is completely gone! I was dying out there! I scored my penalty kick though, just sayin.

On Sunday, Carol and Rachel received the gift of the Holy Ghost and then Carol fed us that evening. I guess that's a sign that Carol has become fully converted now that shes' feeding the missionaries! Jk, but actually we do get fed so often in this area!

Love you and happy 24th anniversary to Mom and Dad!

Elder Grant Hiltbrand