Monday, March 28, 2016

Mar 14 Zone meeting, Zone Conference, Stake Conference

Like I said, this week would be a busy one! But it must not have been busier than last week because we taught more lessons this week!

Things are sooo great with Elder Malinga. Elder Malinga is from Swaziland. Actually, his parents joined the church FORTY years ago and were the ones that introduced the Church in Swaziland! His father joined while in the UK studying I think. That's actually how many of the early members here joined. Like in Zambia I met the first people: Sister Mulimo is one of them and she attends our ward. She said she joined in the UK then came back and one day she got a letter from the Church telling her to start the Church with another man's family who joined in UK as well. Okay back to Elder Malinga: He came on mission a little more than a month after me and has served over 13 months in Lusaka. He schooled in South Africa for a number of years, so he is always paranoid that we will get 'Joburged' as we jokingly call it, or in other words, mugged. He also tells me lots about the Swazi culture - espcially the King who currently has 17 wives and also about the Juju (witchcraft). 

This week on Tuesday we had a zone meeting. Elder Malinga first one as a zone leader. I think that was one of the best zone meetings I have ever been to. The spirit was strong and everyone was united. We had a few struggling missionaries join our zone recently but it was awesome to see everyone being optimistic and untied in the meeting. 

On Wednesday we conducted exchanges with Elder Slade, Elder Duncan, and Elder Stark. I was with the DL, Elder Slade, in our area. We had a near-perfect day. I'm grateful the Lord has helped us build our area so it can be an example for the other missionaries to base their areas off of as well. I was able to focus on working with members effectively, teaching families, as well as teaching repentance.

On Friday we had zone conference. ZC is different than Zone meeting because its put on by the AP's and Pres Erickson instead of us. The zone conference was equally as powerful as the zone meeting though! It was inspiring when President Erickson's message to us was almost synonymous with our message on Tuesday. That we must 'educate our desires' (as taken from a message by President Joseph F Smith as well as Neil A Maxwell). We must educate our desires to do good and whilst on mission the way we do that is through diligence in our missionary work, rules, and schedule.

Saturday we had a session of stake conference. The Area 70, Elder Makasi, that was attending, was actually the missionary that baptized the Stake President, Pres Lumbama, 20 years ago! It was touching to hear their story.

Sunday was the general session of conference where the Church hires buses for the wards to transport members who can't afford themselves. The Lukopesha family got to Libala Chapel over 30 min early with the whole family so they could attend. Almost half of those on the first bus were our investigators! Again this week we had 10 investigators! Also we found out that the youngest boy in the Lukopesha Family is 7 but turning 8 on the 25 of March so he can also be baptized with the family!

Stake Conference was wonderful. The chapel was overflowing. Every seat was full all the way to the back of the cultural hall. It's been such a blessing to serve in Lusaka for almost 1 year and having served in 3 of the 7 wards as well as having gone on exchanges to many of those wards as well as doing baptism interviews for many of the new converts. Because of all of that I know sooo many of the members of the stake. I felt like it was my 'home stake'! It was wonderful to greet all my old friends and those that I helped teach or baptized or interviewed. It's also been great to see the growth of the stake and the experience of the leaders.

I'm just so full of gratitude again this week. 
I love you and I love this work!
Elder Grant Hiltbrand