Let me tell you of some of our investigators this week:
The Lukopesha Family. The wife is a sister to a return missionary. The brother gave her husband a BOM (Book of Mormon) a few weeks back but didn’t say too much about it. He read a bit but didn’t understand. Eventually the RM (Return Missionary), Muthale Bwalya, introduced us to his bro-in-law, Martin. Well Martin is super humble. Both spiritually and temporally. We began teaching Martin with his wife and a neice, Mwansa. The gospel really just clicked for Martin, but for Mwansa, a critical-thinker, and Mom, it took some time. Now they all have been having their own spiritual experiences/feelings to confirm the things we have been teaching. Sister Lukopesha used to be a Seventh-day Adventist and Martin has gone to many churches but was currently at a Pentecostal church (Omega Fire Ministries. Intense name right?). Well on Saturday we met with all of them and asked them if they would come to church. Martin said ‘if God allows’ and as we dug deeper he said he would as long as nothing happened to him in the night because you never know what might happen – only God does. Haha. But the wife said she will not because she works on Sundays but she will arrange that next week she works on Saturday and has Sunday off. (I guess that was a sign that she was leaving SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) since she is going to change her off day to Sunday!) Mwansa committed as well.
Another investigator we have been working with is Peter, the Church HQ referral I spoke of awhile ago. We got pretty serious with Peter this week and it revealed that he had not received his own testimony of the truth of these things and so he was shaky. I'm not sure what caused his reluctance, since in previous lessons he has always accepted what we share and he had even committed to a baptism date. Well now he and his family are ‘backed up to the wall of faith’ and will have to take their stand! Whether this is true or not. We are giving them time to ponder and pray about these things. But I'm suspecting that they're afraid to receive an answer actually. Changing churches and lifestyles is not easy and so they are reluctant to do so – even if God tells them.
There’s also Kupe. He’s loved our meetings and finally came to Church on Sunday. He is part of some government programs so on Sundays previous he had meetings he had to attend. He is a genius so it's always fun to teach him and talk with him. He told us he actually lost a lot of family members and property because his father was quite involved in politics…Well now he is also dipping his toes into politics as well. Unfortunately he will be traveling to eastern province for 6 months to oversee a development project so I won't get to see his baptism but I'll keep in touch with him via email and then facebook when I get home!
It seems a lot of our investigators are being influenced by anti-Mormon literature on the internet. I've encountered it a lot more in this area than in previous ones and that can obviously be attributed to the fact that more people have internet access here. But in a way, it can actually be good because then when they really do receive confirmation from God of these things they are aware that there is enemies to the Chruch and what not.
As for our week:
On Wednesday we had an exchange with the Matero Elders. I was with a new missionary, Elder Veney, in Libala. We had a near-perfect day in my opinion.
Well, heavy rainfall woke me up on Saturday night and immediately that caused me to worry because we had had about 10 investigators commit to come to Church on Sunday. I have observed in the past that members and investigators often don't come in the rain, but even despite the continuous rainfall, we had 5 investigators make it to sacrament meeting and a few more trickle in afterwards! Three of those 5 were from the family we have been teaching, the Lukopeshas! To our surprise, Sister L even came! I guess she got work off because the rain or something! It was amazing to see them exercise faith, come to Church in the rain and I believe we will get the rest of the family next week since they had a wonderful experience at church. They also referred us to other family members, a young couple named Musonda and Gloria, who we are now teaching, too.
My new companion is my current District Leader, Elder Malinga! We have been great friends over the past year since we have both been in Lusaka together all this time. We both are the ‘patriarchs’ of Lusaka – having been here the longest out of all the missionaries in the zone! It's going to be a good time!
LoveElder Grant Hiltbrand
You're right, weeks are flying by. The sister I was with in the MTC went home today to Fiji. That means every sister in this mission came after I came. And there are actually very few elders nowadays that came before me. Elder Chiliza (first companion -- his trainer) goes home at the end of this month. He's going home 2 weeks early to be sealed with his family in the Johannesburg Temple. After what he told me about his parents, that is amazing. Truly the Lord blesses our families as we are serving.
By the way, you can say 'I told you so' about this, but I lost my sd card and card reader this week. I hadn't backed up my photos for about 4-5 months as well so that's super unfortunate. Hopefully it shows up but so far I have searched everywhere. At least I emailed home all the important ones. Probably the only ones that will matter in 30 years anyways..