My missionary experience is almost over. I will fly tomorrow at 1:00 and arrive in Orange County at Noon on Wednesday. Before I finish and the name tag comes off I wanted to share a few of my thoughts with you.
I am filled with gratitude for what has happened over the last two years. I have experienced some of the greatest trials of my entire life, but I have also experienced some of the greatest joys of my entire life as well. I have been brought low and fallen short many times, but in the end He has lifted me higher and forgiven me. It has been a tremendous privilege to be 'a tool in the Lord's hands' and to see others change their lives and have their lives changed.
I am humbled by what I have experienced these past two years.
I would offer the two years I have spent here in Malawi and Zambia and the effort I put into those two years as a witness to anyone who reads this that God lives. And as a witness that He loves all His children and because of that love He restored His Gospel and Church in these days to bless us.
Now as I conclude these two years of service, I still sing the words of our missionary anthem "Forward, pressing forward!" and I can say,
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished [this] course, I have kept the faith", but there is still more fights to fight and courses to finish and I pray that I may continue to always keep the faith along the way!
Thank you all for your love and support these past two years. I was uplifted by your letters, emails, and prayers. Can't wait to see you again!
It's crazy that I have one more week left as a missionary.
Last week I said that these last two weeks wouldn't be very busy and we would
have a lot of time to proselyte, but once again, I was wrong!
As we looked into the calendar we realized that the month of
August was so busy that there wouldnt be any time for a mission leadership
council (MLC) until September unless we did it this next week, so we are going
to have our MLC this week! We have 5 of the 18 mission leaders departing this
month though so we invited the replacements to the meeting as well. So we were
prettyyy busy with all of those transfer plans and putting together plans for
MLC...My replacement will be coming to MLC and then he won't return to his zone
but will just stay here in Lusaka afterwards and join my companion and I, so I
guess that means I'll be released as an AP starting Friday! His mom reads my
blog so I won't mention who it is (;
The highlight of the week was definitely our ward missionary
activity on Saturday. Elder Ssengooba is a professional event planner, so he
used his talents to plan an awesome activity!
On Friday we went to the chapel with some members and began
the preparations killing and cleaning the chickens, peeling potatoes, makes
ribbon flowers, etc etc. Then on Saturday we came together in the morning with
a few of the members again and put it all together.
You dip it in boiling water to make it easy to pull the feathers off
As you can tell... that process smells really bad!
The theme of the activity was Families and Temples, so we
made it look kinda like a wedding reception and had different presentations on
things like Love at Home, family history, and the temple. My comp and I
presented on the Temple and did a sort of 'open house' using powerpoint.
We as missionaries took care of almost everything - even the
cooking! Elder Ss was the mastermind behind the cooking as well. The whole
ordeal was just such a blast.
I think everyone's favorite part was the square dancing! Oh
man everyone was having so much fun dancing!
That's what I call a pot!
This last week we have been having dinners with various
people in honor of me going home. It's been really special and I look forward
to even more this week with some of the people I taught like the Mweembas and
Kanemas in Libala ward.
Just one more week until I fly out of here...I can't believe
it. But I am so excited to see my family and friends again.
Love you all
Elder Grant Hiltbrand
Ps: Also our flat had a flood thanks to my companion's leaky toilet, so we picked up the other elders to help us clear out all the water. Took almost 2 hours!