Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23 More Baptisms!

Let me begin this letter with a story I was thinking about yesterday about one of the Mormon Pioneers:

"In 1832, Weltha Bradford Hatch lived in the tiny town of Farmersville, New York, USA, near Lake Seneca. When missionaries Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt called at the Hatch home, Weltha purchased a Book of Mormon and read it right away. Convinced of its truthfulness, she asked for baptism.
Her husband, however, cautioned her to wait due to mounting persecutions and an approaching baby. Shortly after the delivery, Weltha was baptized—but only after a hole was cut in the ice on the river in which the ordinance was performed!"  

Yesterday we had baptisms for Sister Mphalo and her son, Vincent, as well as Gabriel Chola. We cleaned the font on Saturday and having experienced water challenges in the past, we decided to fill it on Saturday as well. We neglected how cold it has been though! So the water sat over night until Sunday morning. It wasn't frozen, but it almost felt like it haha! But nonetheless, all 3 of them showed faith similar to Weltha Hatch's and entered the cold water to be baptized! So refreshing I’m sure! I got a small taste of it from my waist down since I performed the ordinance for the Mphalos and that was enough for me. 

This week we worked with President Erickson to plan the upcoming transfers. What a unique experience to counsel together on the needs of the missionaries. Being in this position is very humbling. I don’t want to do something that is not the will of the Lord, so we are sure to seek His guidance as we make decisions. The decisions are still not even finished though. We decided to leave the proposals we have made and continue to ponder on it and then we will meet again to finalize it this week. It's a privilege to work so closely with President Erickson.

We visited Gabriel Chola's family last night to celebrate the baptism. Most of his siblings came to his baptism, but his parents did not. His brother, Andrew, even baptized him. Most of the siblings are members of the Church, but the parents are not. They are soo supportive of Gabriel though! His father said that he was like a tortoise: When you see a tortoise with its legs outside of its shell you can’t tell how its feeling, but when the tortoise is inside its shell it can dance and nobody knows. He said he was dancing on the inside because of his son's choice to follow Christ. His mother does not speak English very well so she spoke to us in Nyanja. This was the first time that I have understood everything someone has spoken to me! (It took a lot of concentration since she was talking so fast!) She just expressed how happy she was and she thanked us for always coming and teaching Gabriel and encouraged us to continue coming.

(Also some more good news: In Libala they baptized the Kanema Family. That is the family to John, the one I baptized back in March. We had been teaching the Kanemas for quite a while before I got transferred so it is wonderful to hear that the rest followed John's example. That is his mother, Lilian, his sisters Elizabeth and Nina, and his brother, Jack. Also a relative of the Mweemba's that moved in with them also got baptized!)

I love this work. I am so grateful for all that the Lord is doing through me. I am so grateful He has allowed me to be a part of this work.
Elder Grant Hiltbrand

Things are heating up due to Presidential elections in August!
There was a rally in our area this week. Lots of traffic...
Lots of hooligans in the streets..
Elections are on the 11th and my flight home is on the 12th..
we'll see how that works out!

By the look on my face you can tell it's cold!