This week was perfect! here are some highlights:
1. I have been really praying to leave this area a strong area, and to find new families, and this week we found 2 new families! Bro. Phiri's family and Bro. Wycliff's family who was taught years ago in Blantyre and was given the Book of Mormon and is a neighbor to an RM. Such great potential in these families.
2. Bro Mbewe (a RM) told me that i still have the energy of a new missionary!!! wahooo best compliment of my life!!
3. Innocent wrote a gospel song called "I diligent" wahoooo go Innocent.
4. I kept complimenting Rose on a specific chitenge, and at the end of the day she gave it to me to wash it at home... weird thing but I accepted and then as we were driving home she texted us and told me just to keep it <3 so sweet... one of my favorites.
5. The Abdul family just makes my life... they love each other so much and are doing so well as recent converts. We watched the Restoration with them and they were almost cuddling which is RARE for malawi.
6. Brother Epna working so hard on switching his work schedule so he cang get baptized... he told us, "yes i can't get baptized until i can make the commitment to come to church every single sunday"
7. Our 14 year old recent convert asked us if goats and chickens will ask us for their blood back during the resurrection hahahahaha.
8. Paul Mbewe was baptized and just so happy and bore a really strong testimony!!!
9. Gave my final testimony in kalambo and just cried... this branch is teh best and I love all of them so much!!! We had 107 people in the congregation this week... huge dea!
But here are some things i've learned over these past 18 months...
1. Greet everyone... if you pass 10 people then you will say muli bwanji 10 times... don't just greet everyone as a whole.
2. Nsima can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your whole life and you can still love it.
3. Bucket showers are very practical, and you can bathe in less then 5 minutes! Also bathing everyday is important (a life skill that i'll take home)
4. I have probably heard "azungu" over 1 million times in 18 months, won't miss that
5. At church, someone sings and gives the tune and then everyone sings a long... genius!
6. Everyone as they are walking out the door says "i'm coming" when they are actually leaving... also a bad habit i've picked up
7. The terminology of "i'm good" doesn't exist... everyone says the word "fine"
8. If someone is at your house, as they are leaving you need to escort them as far as possible... not just to the door
But more importantly than cultural things I've learned the culture of the gospel.
1. My testimony of Repentance has grown so much... i used to look at it as a scary or bad thing to do, but now i've realized that it's a wonderful thing that we all need to do! I love that this is a gospel of change, and that through it we can be perfected through Christ.
2. I've truly learned that conversion comes by keeping our covenants... that is why we grow so much on mission because we are living the law of consecration!
3. Something that i'll miss as a missionary is the miracles that I've seen every. single. day. I remember at mission tour a couple of months ago, we were challenged to pray for a specific miracle each day to increase our faith... I didn't realize how much i was doubting before until i started doing it, and then i started seeing amazing miracles. We needed a father-led family and one would come, we needed an opportunity to serve and one would come, we needed an obstacle that was stoppping someone from baptism to be gone and it would. I was amazed each day.
4. My testimony of fasting has grown as well.... i never really understood it's power before but once again, miracles have come.
5. Something i'll really miss is when you're sitting in a lesson, and you receive a prompting to say something or to teach a specific principle or ask a question and then your companion says exactly what you were thinking... it just helped me to know that God is aware of both of us and of our investigator.
6. Which leads to the next point of recognizing the spirit.... I always thought it was just me thinking to myself or giving myself crazy ideas, until I learned... hey that is just how Heavenly Father talks to you Sister Thueson!
7. And of course my testimony of the Savior has grown.. He has become a real person to me and I am forever grateful for him. I once thought I could make it through this life with being perfectly obedient... until i wasn't and had to get on my knees and turn to the Savior. I love him and lvoe this Christmas season to celebrate him.
Lastly i've been thinking of some of my favorite hymns... #219. Definitely defines my mission... I remember at my first interview with Presidetn Erickson he asked why I served a mission... and I said how I felt so lucky that I had been born into the gospel that I felt some duty to pay it back to God.. but I've learned that you can never do more for the Lord then he can do for you. I'm probably more in debt to him because he allowed me to come to Zambia/Malawi to serve. and then i've been thinking of hymn #270. I used to think that I was "going where God wanted me to go" and thought that I was going to a super cool mission in Zambia, and that it was a cool place to serve... but now i've learned that it doesn't matter where we serve. God sends us to places not to "go" but to become.. hence the last verse which is "I'll be what you want me to be" and I know that serving here has helped make me who God wants me to become, but he has much more in store for the future.
Family.. i love you SO MUCH. You're the reason why I'm getting on the plane:) thank you all friends and family for your support.. I wouldn't have made it without you. I have no more words, because i'm so full of gratitude! See you on Sunday!! don't forget a coat;)
NDIMAKUKONDANI KWAM BIRI