Monday, May 30, 2016

Change Happens for a Reason

Hey ya'll!!! Goodo goodo week in the city of Ndola! Sister zohner had Malaria for half the week so we only really had time to see our recent converts and our progressing investigators

first off... transfer news!!! Sista Z is leaving to the promised land of Blantyre to be with Sister Bingham. awwwwe They're gonna do great there!!! My new companion will be Sister Ratema from South Africa and i'm really excited! She has been on mission just a little longer than me, and I've heard she is a great missionary!! She will get here probably on Wednesday! Lessss goooo

second... Elisha (technically spelled Erisha) got Baptized!!! it was so great and such a tender mercy of the Lord!!! He was there an hour early... but of course no one else was haha (zambian time bo) But it was all meant to be because his family was running late as well.... and the whole time while we were waiting i kept thinking "there is no way his family is coming..." but then the Tholes showed up, and Sister Mercy and then we were about to start the service when walking in the gate came Tina, and the 3 little girls all dressed up. Obviously I just start crying while playing the prelude music, and then of course Sister Thole who is just the best best best gets up to go greet her and sat by her. The baptism service went very well, and smoothly and then Elisha gave such a wonderful testimony! he thanked us missionaries (Sister Simpson and zohner.... he can't say my name to save his lfie) for always calling him and reminding him to do family prayer, and obviously thanked Brother Thole for all he has done, and then gave a sweet testimony about his conversion story. Tina was smiling ear to ear. 

Mpundu family: so we found out some pretty sad news this week. We were teaching just mercy and linda because brother mpundu was at work, and I was asking why their mom has been gone for so long... turns out they are getting separated:( They don't love each other, and I guess Brother Mpundu wasn't treating her that well... i dunno this is coming from a 15 year old girl, but mercy just broke down in tears telling us. Obviously I just start crying too, but I was just in complete shock. I'm praying really hard that Sister Mpundu will come back. 

Samba family: We took the district president and we taught the word of wisdom!!! they took it really good... brother Samba kept trying to make exceptions like that drinking a little bit of alcohol is good for you... But President Kapato set it all straight no worries. They still haven't come to church but i'm not losing faith. I know they're prepared and I know they have a testiomny... they are just trying to overcome social status concerns. ya know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn't really a popular church in Ndola Zambia. But we're getting there:) 

funny story with Brother Samba... We ask them to pull out their Book of Mormons and he goes out to his car and pulls out the Restoration pamphlet... and we're like, "go to page 250" and he starts flipping through his pamphlet trying to find it... hahahahah his daughters and wife were just cracking up. 

Goodbyes: so sister zohner had to say goodbye to everyone... and our recent converts took it hard. Mercy and Linda just started crying during our last lesson, mercy couldn't even finish her prayer, and even during all of sacrament meeting after sister zohner bore her testimony. Same with Selina... she just started crying. it was so sad.... it's probably one of the hardest parts of missionary work.

Funny stories: 
1. At pick n pay we are now referred to as "regulars" and when we're not getting served fast, someone comes to serve us hahaha. 
2. Sista Zohner was sick for half the week, so we had some great bonding time in the flat haha, but we got to watch the old Johnny Lingo cause it has the church stamp on it. Ironic because it is all about bride price, and then during combined priesthood and relief society the lesson was about bride price and how the prophets have commanded not to do it anymore. 
3. Sister Violet made us lunch and yum yum yum rice and beans are the best. But we were talking, and I was asking her when her and Brother Nzima were getting married... they have been dating 3 years... and she said it will be next year, and then I asked her about the first kiss... I dunno girl talk, and they have only kissed ONCE for dating 3 years... I'm always going to use them as an example when I have to teach the Law of Chastity haha. 
oh but then after we were sooooo full and we go over to Elisha and Tinas and they feed us too!!!! 
oh wait it's not over... then we go over to Sister Mayeya's house and she feeds us too!!!! 
I almost barfed... but my poor companion was still recovering from Malaria... man she almost barfed. 
4. We were teaching Miriam who is the smartest 11 year old on the planet... and we were teaching plan of salvation and she asked why some of us are white and some black... and then she told us that she had heard that when God created us he bathed us first... and he bathed white people first and then the reason why africans are darker are because they bathed in the dirty water.... like whattt?? where is she hearing these kind of things? 
5. We were going to teach Greg... but we had no where to teach him, and so we pulled up to Kansenji market, parked the truck, and had a lesson in the back. Yep... definitely felt like I was back up at the vard in high school... weird. But surprisingly it was a really good lesson!!!! 

All in all, Missionary work always brings a smile to my face because i'm either super happy or laughing a lot about the funny thigns that happen. 

Remember... "the key to our greatness is to remember our nothingness without Christ and His Atonement" 

Love you all, 
Sista Thueson

Monday, May 23, 2016

I Can Wear Pants!!!

New announcement from the First Presidency hahaha: 
In the 230 missions, or roughly half of the Church's missions, where there is significant risk of mosquito-borne diseases, missionaries are strongly encouraged to wear clothing that covers exposed skin, especially arms and legs. Sister missionaries serving in the affected missions are encouraged to wear full-length dress slacks during proselyting activities. They will continue to wear skirts or dresses when attending the temple and during Sunday worship services, conferences and baptismal services. In areas where it is not acceptable for women (including sister missionaries) to wear dress slacks, they are encouraged to wear long skirts to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The new guidelines apply only during the wet seasons, when the risk for mosquito-borne illnesses is high. Information is being sent to all mission presidents and will also be provided to newly called missionaries. Those areas include parts of Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Mexico, Pacific, Philippines and South America.

Where I'm going to get dress pants??? I don't know... But it's only during rainy season and we won't have rainy season until November.... So I'm good. But it is a little out of the culture for women to wear pants here so I don't know what's going to happen... But pretty cool stuff. 

Anywho.... ELISHA PASSED HIS INTERVIEW. He was really excited! It was so funny... When we were going over the baptismal interview questions with him earlier in the week his wife kept getting the answers better than him.... Classic. But he is definitely ready, and so excited for Brother Thole to baptize him. Brother Thole is his idol for sure. But really cool we were teaching his wife Saturday night (he was in kitwe) and we had a really good lesson with her. We had given her a My Family book the lesson before that and promised we would explain it... She loved it! (Spirit of Elijah) and she had been talking to her mother about the names of her ancestors. She then asked us what will happen after Elisha's baptism and we just talked how he will get a calling and recieve the priesthood and be a member.... She got really serious and was like, "it's amazing.... I haven't seen Elisha go to church or touch a bible or pray for 8 years... And no he has gone to church for 2 months in a row. God really has answered my prayers." Amazing to see the changes she has seen in her own husband.... And she promised that one day she will get baptized and will stand at the front and bear her testimony and go to the temple with her family. (Sister Thueson pretty much in tears) We can't figure out why she won't pray or come to church... But she says she loves the lessons and everything we teach her. 
Funny story: we got to her house and her daughters were now sick with malaria and she was like, "it's because we drink tea and coffee... I know it." Haha glad the word of wisdom has touched her heart. 
This week was our week of new investigators!!! God answers our prayers:) our recent convert Justin Banda is just a champ... gave us 3 referrals this week 2 of them being fathers to families:) And we met with the fathers and they want us to meet their families this week!!!! Tender mercy! One is named Chibessa and one is Mr. Khunga who has a nephew who is a member in Manchester England (shout out to SJ). Hopefully as we continue to teach them their hearts will be softened and they will gain a testimony:) Other new investigators this week are Natasha a recent convert's sister... Jeff a college student, and a man who is helping us with a new flat we are moving into! Last week I told you about a Mr. Chisala and we ended up having a really good lesson with him! We are going to have to move really slowly but he was just really grateful to hear that we were Christians and he decided to not just believe the rumors but to learn for himself! We had sister Thole with us who obviously bore super powerful testiomny. 
Natasha was so sweet in her lesson... In her pray she thanked  Heavenly Father that we were born and thanked him for the wonderful things we had done for her family. We asked her if she wanted to get baptized and she said yes, and then her older sister Selina did a fist pump and was like "Yes!!!" so cute. 
I know you might all want a follow up on the Samba family..... they are making progress... very slowly. Didn't come to church again, but we are still praying hard. 
Exchanges: I always love exchanges!!! I was with Sister Arok again and man it was so cool to see how much she has grown... i remember going on exchanges with her when she had only been on mission 3 weeks and we practiced and practiced how to teach the Fall of Adam and Eve and then yesterday she did it like it was no problem! She is so great and we had a lot of fun together!!! We mainly focused on setting goals... weekly and transfer goals for your spiritual self, your temporal self, and then for your area as a whole. And we noticed on their white board the other day that they wrote them on the board:) success. 
funny stories:
1. am i a real estate agent or a missionary?? spent some few hours negotiating a housing contract for a new flat we are moving into... haha... let's just say my companion had to take over for me because i "was being too nice about it" 
2. We were in our gospel principles class at church on Sunday and we were learning about gifts of the spirit... one being the gift of teaching and everyone said that Sister Zohner has that gift. (true statement) and then at the end of the lesson as Brother Thole is concluding... Barton interrupted as was like, "Let's go back to this gift that Zohner has.... i've heard so many pastors over my life, but then a humble young girl like zohner walks to my house and teaches me and changes my life... if anyone is doubting if this church is true they need to come talk to me." I know it sounds like a really cool story.. but it was Barton so it made it funny. but cool at the same time. 
3. I guess this isn't too funny... but my companion woke up sick yesterday with the chills and aches but we went to church and all and we decided to still proselyte yesterday... and we get home and i just decided to randomly check her temperature and turns out it was 103.... trying to stay calm i call Sister Erickson who told me that I needed to take her to the clinic for a malaria test.... we will find out after emailing if she has it or not... poor girl. 

New Favorite Scripture!!! It's in the book of Thessalonians 2:19-20... Paul is writing to his recent converts in that side of the world and he says, 
"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy." 
and man is that not the truest thing you have ever heard... my recent converts truly do bring me the most joy in the world. I love them and love hearing their testimonies. 

All in all life is good in Ndola Zambia. Transfer calls come this week and that always bring stress.. haha we always come home with icecream just in case we need to stress eat:) haha

Love you all!! 
Sister Thueson

Monday, May 16, 2016

Golden Birthday

Helllllooooo familia. 

Great week as usual in the wonderful country of Zambia. I hit my golden birthday this week! 11 months on May 11th! 

LINDA AND MERCY WERE BAPTIZED. and Brother Mpundu (recent convert from February) baptized them and he was so cute. They were there 2 hours early!!!! yo dedicated girls. This was his first attempt at baptizing was a struggle as usual, but no worries we made it work. We had a minor hiccup because as the baptismal service started we only had our branch president there and a 14 year old boy.... so we only had 1 witness for the baptism... But it all ended up working out. Their testimonies were so sweet as usual. Justin, Ruth, and Maureen came to support. The youth of this branch are just so powerful. We even had Justin talk last second with no preparation and he did sooo great. future stake president right there. 

Elisha/Tina: So tina was really really sick at the beginning of this week (malaria)... and so when we went to go see them she was laying on the couch with an IV in her hand and I guess they spent all the money that was supposed to go to their girls school fees on her medical fees... sad. But tina runs a tuck shop where she sells scones, and as we were sitting in the room waiting for Elisha he comes out with 2 bags of scones for the each of us, and he was so proud of himself because he had taken on the duty of making them haha. They were a little burnt but props to him for trying!! his interview will be this week and he'll get baptized on the 28th!! 

Interviews: last interview with President Erickson:( This time we just were able to sit down and talk about how i've grown and changed as a missionary. And it has been really cool to look back to my first interview and see how much I've learned and i'll that i've experienced in the Great Zambia Lusaka mission. 

Samba Family: Brother and Sister Samba came to the baptism!!! We invited them and they were so excited. Sister Samba was taking pictures the whole time... haha I finally had to stop her during the actual baptism, but they were so intrigued. And it was great for them to see the reality of a correct baptism. They weren't able to come to church yesterday but we're really hoping for this sunday. We gave them June 25th to prepare for baptism! But funny story about them... we were teaching them about repentance and Brother Samba was like, "No worries... I repented back in 2003...." i couldn't even hold in my laughter... hahaha then his wife started teaching him how repentance is daily. They'll be a powerful couple one day in the gospel. 

Mr. Chisala: Soooo this story needs a back story. So the first presidency prefers if missionary companionships don't live with another companionship... so we have been trying to find a new flat and we found one that should be finished being built soon. So the zone leaders had to come down to approve that it was safe and all. But in the flat that we wanted we noticed a used book of mormon on the counter covered in dust... and so we asked who was reading it and he was like, "I'm not sure... I don't read that book because i'm a christian." hahah oops said that to the wrong group of people. The Zone leaders start giving fire... classic, but us as sisters make it all better and get his number... and tried to give him a book of mormon but he didn't want it... BUT GUESS WHAT?? he just called us a couple of hours ago and asked if he could meet with us on Wednesday! Tender mercy of the Lord!! 

Funny Story: 
1. We were checking up on Lilly, and we were talking with Bambwea and I saw all these baby chicks following mamma chicken and I really wanted to hold one so I went and started to grab the slowest one.. but too late the mamma chicken was already coming after me. I screamed... and dropped teh chicken and everyone started laughing at me haha. 

We recieved some really solid referrals this past week, and they were truly answers to our prayers since we have been lacking on finding new investigators each week. But I know God is aware of the Ndola East area. 

Grateful for the gospel, and for my Savior Jesus Christ. I finished "Jesus The Christ" and it is so incredible. In the past, I think my testimony of Jesus Christ was sometimes this made up person in my mind who was just a concept... and not a real person. But i've truly gained the testimony that he is a real person. That he truly had to go through unimaginable pains for us, and we can never fully understand it, and I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful that God doesn't allow us to understand everything so that we have to use our faith. 

Love you all!!
Sister Thueson

Monday, May 9, 2016

Can I Borrow Someone's Metal Detector??

why??? so that we can find some golden investigators. (boom boom ching... drum sound) 

you can thank my companion for that one. 

Google hangout rocks.... thanks family for waking up early to do that. It was so fun to hear you all crack the same ol' jokes... talk about politics, and argue about BYU football. nothing has changed and that's always good to hear:) Best family ever award. 

MLC: We had a great MLC via skype this week. Learned a lot, and realized i have a lot to improve on. (i think this happens every month haha) But he focused a lot about leaving the world behind and giving our whole life to our mission and letting our lives be formed by Christ. he gave the example of Peter walking on water.... it wouldn't have worked very well if peter tried to leave one foot in the boat... and that's like us. if we try to leave a foot in the world then we'll never get to experience the miracles of mission like peter experienced the miracle of walking on water. Grateful for President Erickson and his inspired counsel that he gives right when I need it. We have interviews this thursday and I'm stooookkkked. 

Mercy and LInda: passed their baptismal interview!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they were so cute, and just so nervous, but they will be baptized on Saturday and their dad will be baptizing them!! haha he is so nervous too. The first time we asked him if he wanted to baptize them he said no... haha but we persuaded him:) 

Seminary: i think teaching seminary is one of my favorite things... because you tell them to mark a scripture... and they do it. But we were teaching about Sodom and Gomorah this past week... hahah how you teach it to 15 year olds i don't know.. but we tried our best and they were just disgusted the whole time. it was pretty funny

Elisha/Tina are doing really good!! Elisha is still getting baptized on the 28th and he just loves it. He even bore his testimony to his wife this past week and the little girls sat in on the lesson so it was really fun to have the whole family together. Tina is really really sick though.... her malaria is really bad this time and nothing is really working so keep praying for her. 

BEST NEWS EVER: They came out with LESSON 5 PAMPHLETS. and we only have 8 per companionship right now but good stuff. It makes it so much easier to teach about the temple!!! 

young women's activity: so down here in good ol' Zambia they don't have mutual because we're just not quite that organized yet;) But we decided that we were going to have a young women's activity and make scripture bags out of chitenge... and at first no one said taht they would be able to come because of transport... But to our surprise and after many prayers on our part... we had 8 girls show up and they had such a great time and the bags worked out great!! Tender mercy of the Lord! 

Cold Season: so this morning and the past couple days we have been freezing.... like i was wearing sweats and a sweatshirt and a blanket... and then today when we logged onto our mission portal it said that it is 73 degrees outside.... hahaha so pathetic. 

funny stories: so we were driving from Pamodzi to Kawama and this big truck was right in front of me and came to a complete stop... so I stopped behind it, and was just chilling until he turns on his reverse lights.... and i just froze... and the first thought that came to my head was, "I can't reverse... Sister Zohner isn't backing me up" hahahaha mission rules are just instilled in my head. But no worries... i backed up to prevent a crash. 
another funny story: we were teaching the Simanwe's son about repentance and Brother Simanwe just kept calling his son charles out for drinking and getting drunk the whole time. haha oops we haven't even taught the Word of Wisdom yet. 

Love this gospel and love being a missionary! Have a wonderful week! 

Sister Thueosn

Monday, May 2, 2016

April Showers Bring May ... Maize??

helloooooooooo family! I get to talk to you all in 6 days holla! i'll be calling home at 14:30 Zambia time... so 5:30 for seattle (sorry kari), 6:30 for b-town, and then i think vermont and philly are the same which is 8:30?? and i get 90 minutes!
But hey this week was a really good week!!! We had some wonderful members who were so willing to work with us, and our recent converts inviting people to sit in on their lessons!!!
also one of our members literally lives at the border of the congo... super far away... but we walked out of the lesson thursday night and the stars.... so beautiful. i wanted to break out in song, "there..... out in the darknes.... a fugitive running... " but i restrained myself.
Simanwes: a recent convert family who is just the best!!! They were so excited that Sister Brown had never had nshima before so they made this big feast for us on Tuesday. Seriously it took them so much work, and it was so nice of them. They have seriously become my Zambian parents:)
Baby Zohner: So our recent convert selina's... her sister had her baby yesterday. Gave birth to him at 7:30 and was back to the house by 17 walking around like a champ. But here the culture is that the mother's father (i think) is the one that gets to name the first child... and so he doesn't have a name yet... but we've convinced the whole family to call him "baby zohner" until he gets a name... hahaha nd they actually do it.
Greg: he is actually serious this time!!! He came to church again this week.... and so we put him on date for June 11th... (ONE YEAR MARK BABY) He asks such great questions and after investigating for like 9 months i feel like he is finally ready!
Samba Family: ookay so they have been eternal investigators. LIke taught 2 years ago by elders... and then about 9 month ago they were found by the sisters... and they have been taught ever since. Sister Samba has a testimony... so strong but she has been hesitant because of her husband. We showed up on Wednesday ready to drop them... but then surprise it was their 35th wedding anniversary... so we're like maybe we'll teach temples... but then obviously the Spirit was pressing on the both of us to teach Baptism. We start teaching it and we taught how Jesus Christ was baptized.. and how for a baptism to count it needs authority, immersion, and followed by the holy ghost. and Brother Samba just stopped us and was like, "you mean my baptism doesn't count??" and his wife was like, "that's what they've been telling us this whole time... You have finally softened your heart and listened, God has finally answered my prayers" wow wo wow. i didn't know how to react... and then right as we were about to commit them to church Sister Samba was like, "well mr. samba if you're going to get baptized, you have to start going to church" It was amazing. They had a wedding that they were hosting at their house this past sunday so they couldn't come... but please pray for next sunday!!!! They are such an amazing family who could do so much to help the church!
Brother Justin: a recent convert!!! he just got called to be in the Sunday School presidency... so we had to teach this past week... and we were pretty nervous for his to teach gospel doctrine so we had been going over to help him. We went on Saturday and he pulled out 2 pieces of paper wiht 25 questions to ask the class with answers and scriptures to back it up... almost brought tears to my eyes. I walked out that night, looked up at the stars (this sounds so cheesy) but I just realized how lucky I am to have been placed here. I know this is where I needed to be.
Everything else is great!! Mercy and Linda will be getting interviewed this next Sunday!!
Funny Story: we were teaching a member seminary at her house... and we walked out and my shoes were missing!!! (zambian culture you take off your shoes) and we couldn't find them... we finally found one but we had everyone in the house searching... finally we looked at the back of the truck and it was sitting there with tiles inside of it. hahah who knows what little kid it was but we were all convinced i was going to have to go out with just one shoe.
We are teaching the district president's grandson who thinks he knows everything... well he pretty much does. he has read the whole standard works... so more than me. (embarassing) but he is so stuck in the law of moses... and asks the deepest questions without understanding the basics... so I called him a Pharisee... oops. my bad. but good thing he wasn't offended... just a 19 year old boy. 

I'm been studying the New Testament in the mornings and the Old Testament at night.... and i'm learning so much. I really should have taken Seminary seriously... but it is really cool. it just is so cool to see that the gospel makes perfect sense... and everything matches perfectly together.
Pretty much life is great. I love being a missionary and love the city of Ndola:)
Love you!
Sister Thueson