Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Jan 25 Never enough time.

Things are heating up in our zone! The pressure is on. Elder Neil L. Anderson (of the quorum of the twelve apostles) is coming Feb 19-20 for Priesthood Leadership Training for leaders in Malawi and Zambia but he is also going to visit with only our zone (the other zones are too far away) for 1 hour. 20 missionaries with an apostle and member of the 70 (Pres Carl B Cook). It's going to be amazing. I just hope and pray our zone can show them a good sample of the Zambia Lusaka Mission! I know I'm preparing extra hard myself haha!

We had interviews with the Mission President this week and it was amazing. I use those interviews to show me my growth on mission and this one I just felt so good. And I learned a ton! President Erickson is so inspired.  The whole concept of 'no-tracting' that he introduced is being applied by many of the surrounding missions and the area presidency and the brethren are taking note of it and really like what President is doing.

We didn't have much time in the area this week because there was another giant transfer..we had 10 new missionareis come into the mission. One of them is in my district, Elder Tippets. He's the epytomy of a greenie Utah missionary. Also after transfers were all done, Elder Madilu had to go to the hospital because he was having pain in what he thought was his heart. Turned out it could be ulcers or else some other esauphagus issue. He can't eat hot chilli peppers right now as it heals and that is enough to depress him ahah Congolese love chili. But he's doing much better now.
Loading truck for transfers.
We got a Church Headquarters referral this week! 1st one of my mission! I remember when I was in Malawi and would read about such things as Church HQ referrals I would basically scoff. Well we got one and have started teaching him (Peter )and his family and they're doing amazing! His son and his uncle came to church on Sunday but Peter was unable because his wife is a stroke patient and is unable to move her right side of the body and can't speak so the maid wasn't coming until 1500hrs so he couldn't make it. But they're all reading the BOM and really progressing but it's only the 1st week! 

Thanks mom, love ya, sorry no time today! You can rip apart this email for the blog please.
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Got to look like a gentlemen, even when cooking Nshima!

Jan 18 The rains have come!

This week was awesome. The momentum is starting to pick up!

We had zone meeting on Tuesday that went really well. We were supposed to have a Leadership Council beforehand with all the District Leaders and Sister Training Leaders but only one District Leader (DL) was on time. The others strolled in 15 minutes late, 30 minutes late, and the one with the keys 40 minutes late. I couldn't believe that and wanted to 'give straight fire' as missionaries would say, but I refrained so as to not ruin the Spirit for the meeting we were about to have. (I did have everyone read Doctrine and Covenants 107:99-100 though haha.)

In the zone meeting we focused, once again, on the concept of networking and collaborating with members and investigators so as to not tract and to be more effective. These concepts work wonderfully everywhere that they are applied, but yet we heard a few complaints and excuses and it goes to show that our success as missionaries depends on our attitude and diligence to work at learning new things like this. 

We conducted 2 exchanges this week as well as focusing on the same principles as well as more effective usage of the Book Of Mormon (which was also discussed in the Zone Meeting). Since I am now driving, I have to stay in our area with the truck and Elder Madilu goes in the other area with the DL. It was always fun going to the other missionaries' areas and meeting more members and all of that, but I still managed to have great exchanges with Elder Duncan and Elder Kububa in my area! 

To finish off a week of hard work we had the baptism for Enia and Hope Phiri! It was beautiful to see such pure little girls enter the waters of baptism. I surely felt the Spirit as I performed that ordinance for them. Enia was being fussy about what clothing she would wear for the baptism though and I had to work with her to get her to try on different dresses and trousers (our ward doesn't have those jumpsuits idk why), but she refused everything. Until I found this skirt and a normal men's shirt and made an outfit out of it and pleaded with her to give it a try. Turned out she liked it (although she still wouldn't admit it haha)! I was having flashbacks the whole time of me giving my mom a hard time about clothing as well, so it helped me to empathize with Enia - ha I felt like a parent!)
Enia and her sister Hope.
The rains have come finally! And so have the floods! Our area especially floods, so I'm grateful we have the truck! We got stuck in major traffic one day as we drove through town and then we discovered why when we found the end of the road was totally flooded. The little Camry's and Honda Fit's were struggling but our truck had no problem! 

I'm loving it all! Loving my companion. Loving the area. Loving the work!
Love you all as well
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Jan 11 Bonjour Elder Madilu!

Elder Barrett is gone was sad to see him go, but it was good for him and me as well!

I picked up Elder Madilu on Monday with his companion because he had to come down for immigration, and we were still with Elder Barrett until we dropped him off on Tuesday, so it wasn't quite official yet.

Then immigration closed early on Tuesday! so we didn't get those elders in so they had to stay another night with us, so it still wasn't quite official. President Mushala of the Stake Presidency is in charge of immigration and he had gone hunting the night before so he invited us over that night. I got to try antelope and wild duck. They were both so good!
Then on Wednesday we got them through immigration and got them on a morning bus back to the Copperbelt. Now Elder Madilu and I were officially companions and we were able to get straight to work!

So I'm sure a bio on Elder Madilu is due:
He is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a French speaking country. He was supposed to go to Durban for his mission but instead got redirected to Ghana for a month then here forever. He learned English on mission and now having been 10 months on mission, speaks fluently with a great vocabulary. He is 23 and already has a degree in some sort of radio television broadcasting. He even schooled in France for some time. His father is a patriarch in Congo Kinshasa. He is musically talented being able to play the piano a bit and the guitar, but most of all he dances and sings. He is really a great vocalist. Sometimes he even sings in French while an English Mormon Tabernacle Choir song is playing and it sounds really cool.  I am so happy to be serving with him. He is very Christ-like and I'm excited to see what new dynamics he will bring to this companionship and area.

We will be having a baptism next week of a young woman named Enia! She told us how every time we come she's a bit reluctant because she wants to play or go somewhere but then when she does meet with us she feels like it goes too fast and she loves learning and feeling the Spirit. It was so good to hear she is feeling the Spirit and it makes her want to be better. She will also be baptized with her 8-year-old sister, Hope, who has joined our lessons as well and demanded her own Book of Mormon even though she can't fully read it haha.  This will just be the start of the baptisms to come!

We had Mission Leadership Council on Thursday. It was a really good meeting. It's awesome to be a part of the leadership right now as we change the direction of this mission and stop tracting, but it also creates a lot of pressure and stress to train up the missionaries correctly and effectively!

Here's a pic of Elder Madilu and I in the internet cafe ha we just took it so we could email it home.

Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Jan 4 A time of refreshing.

Time flies! I'm here once again at the internet cafe but now with totally different feelings and emotions than last week! 
Sunset over Lusaka.
Elder Barrett flies out tomorrow but today he has all his going home stuff like interviews with the mission president; testimony meeting; and dinner, so I will drop him off at the mission office at 15:00 and go to the bus station immediately after to pick up my next companion, Elder Madilu!

Elder M has been serving in the Copperbelt his whole mission (probably around 9 months). I think he has even been in the same area all those months too like I was in Chilobwe. He is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, so he came on mission hardly knowing a lick of English but now he is completely fluent. Everyone that has served around him tells me how great he is and how nice he is so the future looks bright! 

I'm gonna miss Elder Barrett too though. We had a good companionship and I have learned so much from him. It was time for a refreshing though. That's what transfers are so good for. A refreshing. You are able to change personally and also change how you do the work in the area. I have made goals for both. 

When I was writing my letter last week, I started to get some chills and just felt really cold. When we left I even got in the sun-heated car and it still felt cold. So I knew something was coming on. And something did. I got really sick. Food poisoning I think. A fever began along with a very very runny stomach. I don't think I slept much Monday night because I was getting up for the bathroom every 5 minutes (literally). On Tuesday, I felt a bit better so we made it an errand day since I still wasn't well enough to go and teach. Being driven around sucked pretty bad too though but I couldn't let Elder Barrett just sit in the flat for the whole day when it's his last week so I persevered.  It cleared up on Wednesday and we began to proselyte.

We had an amazing week. Elder Barrett finished stronger than anybody I have seen so far. We were going all day everyday. We had many lessons this week and finally started helping people gain a testimony. 

Over the past weeks we have just been visiting members and getting the area down and we had been meeting many potential investigators as we did so and we were just lining them all up and finally this week we began with them and started teaching them and committing them to church and baptism.

One man named Kennedy is a really great investigator of ours. Kennedy just started coming to church on his own and has come every Sunday since we came here. One week he was late and so he attended Woodlands Ward (the 11:00 service) since he understood it was still important to go. We started visiting him lately and he is progressing very well. He should be baptized with this little girl, Enia, probably on the 17th of January!

This week was a week of good byes for Elder Barrett so we went back to our old area too and saw many of them. It was very tender to see how sad these members were to see him go. He is a very well loved man.

OH! Finally we visited our Bishop and his family. He finally invited us over. They fed us such a nice dinner and we just got to know each other. He was the 3rd missionary from Zambia to serve. He served in Johannesburg so he shared many great mission stories. His wife is an Indian woman from South Africa. He went and lived there after his mission and met her there and now they have 4 children, the youngest just joined the family 2-3 weeks ago! 

I love Libala so much. The work is so good. Life is so good.

Elder Grant Hiltbrand
Elder Barrett, Brother Noel, Grant.