This week we did a lot as a zone in preparation for that visit.
On Tuesday we had our zone meeting. The sisters presented on what I call 'patiently progressing', or in other words, being optimistic and not getting down on ourselves for mistakes we make. In their presentation they blind-folded me and then cluttered the room with chairs and such then they told me to get across the room. They put Elder Madilu on the other side so that he could call out to me, but while he tried to yell, the whole zone was also yelling in my ears and making noise so I couldn't hear him (doesn't help that he is a pretty soft-spoken guy!). I managed to start hearing him through all the clatter and started to make progress but then the sisters started giving me bags and other objects I had to hold as I trudged forward. I suppose you see some of the spiritual insights: I needed to listen to the still small voice and disregard the rest. I also had to be patient in this ordeal and as I made more progress I was tried more with a greater load on my shoulders, but as I got further and further instead of feeling weighed down I felt like I could handle more and more because I had figured it out.
Other discussions included preparation for Elder Anderson and improving the 'culture' of our mission in general and also discussion on helping investigators receive revelation through coming to church.
On Thursday we then met again as a zone at Lusaka chapel, but this time not in ties and skirts, but in our work clothes! We had been asked to participate in the renovating of the Lusaka Chapel in preparation for Elder Anderson's visit. We cleaned out gutters and planters.
On Saturday we met AGAIN as a zone to watch the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. For that meeting everyone came 30 minutes early and reverently prepared for the viewing. It was amazing to see that. Such an improvement from the conduct at previous meetings. And it shows that missionaries are adopting that culture of coming early and preparing and not just doing it once for when Elder Anderson comes just to fake it.
Despite all of those events, Elder Madilu and I got into the area and did some great work. We had been trying for weeks now to contact a man named Kupe I met a few weeks ago in the internet cafe and had given a Book of Mormon. We went to his house and nothing. We called and nothing. We were actually giving his phone a call for the last time this week when this time he picked up and we scheduled to meet the next day. We met and the Restoration just clicked for him and he shared with us some of his life and how he believes this is what has been missing. Such a miracle.
There was a funeral in our ward this week. Georgina Kateule, a young single adult in the ward, passed away. It was so tragic. The Funeral service was on Thursday morning, at the same exact time as the service we were in charge of...so we didn't get to attend. But we went to the home to support the day before and the day of the funeral as well. In Zambian culture when someone dies they move all the furniture out of the house and everyone comes from the villages and they stay there, sitting on the sofas outside or sitting inside on mattresses on the ground inside - from the day of the death until the day after the funeral. We are actually teaching the sister/cousin to Georgina and she was scheduled to be baptized soon but this shook things up a bit. I am eager to teach her deeper about the Plan of Salvation though so it can give her greater peace and solace. The mother is a long time member who stayed in Arizona for months. It was inspiring to hear her bare testimony of how she knows she will be with Georgina again.
Also when we were sitting in with the mother, a man came to pay his respects and he started to preach to her and then offered to pray together and he started to pray really nice then gradually grew in intensity and began shouting and I opened my eyes at that point and he was even raising his finger to the sky and rambling on and on. I actually couldn't help but laugh...but don't worry I stifled the laugh well, nobody noticed. I was covered in the blood of Jesus many times in that prayer by the way.
Elder Grant Hiltbrand