First off thanks for all of the birthday wishes this week!! It means a lot to have so much love and support from back home! It was an interesting experience celebrating my birthday in a 3rd-world country but hey it sure made it memorable! Haha me and my companion spent the day tracting and we have been meeting a lot of new people that way. We have been getting on average 20 new phone numbers and contact information per day. We also went and tried to teach some investigators but they didn't show which is always kinda sad but that is something I have learned happens a lot here and I will just get used to it but I will still keep encouraging our investigators to keep their commitments because what we are teaching and doing is very important. So after me and my companion finished proselyting for the day (which is at sun down so usually 6-6:30) we decided to go out and do our grocery shopping for the next two weeks at the Mukuba mall. Luckily our MSF (missionary money) come on my birthday so we went and got our money from an ATM and then we got dinner at the Hungry Lion which is pretty much the African KFC so we enjoyed some fried chicken and chips (fries). After that we were about to head home but we saw they had ice cream so we had to celebrate by getting a chocolate dipped cone! Haha
But yeah this week was awesome! We are building a lot of good relationships with the members and we have been able to meet a lot of new people through street contacting and tracting. Apparently this area has been a dead area for quite some time because a lot of the missionaries that were old and tired got sent to this area. I have learned that not all missionaries are perfect and we all have room for improvement no matter how long they have been out and how much experience they have. But the point is we have high hopes of reviving the area and that is exactly what is happening! We have been teaching at least one lesson per day so not the greatest but we are building up a big teaching pool so hopefully this week will be better!
Right now we have 9 total investigators that we are focusing our time on. There are 3 people at a welding shack in Kwacha that we have taught Restoration to and given them all a copy of the Book of Mormon. There names are Mutale, Fabby, and Louis. We first met them just walking past the shack and Mutale actually called out to us and asked if we were "preaching the word" and so we said "Yes! That's exactly what we are doing!" Sense then they have been fun to teach when we can actually catch them. They are kinda busy and not always at there shack when they say they are but we are still working with them. They are actually all interested in our message so I am excited to see how they will progress.
We are also still working with Gabriel. He didn't come to church this week because he got a new job at the "After Ten" and he works 6 days a week. On top of that it has been impossible to get a hold of him because we received word from our guard at the church, who is actually a member named Sydney, that Gabriel is trying to meet with us but his phone is broken so we are working that out. He did commit to coming to church this Sunday though so hopefully we will see him there because he needs to come so he can be baptized. We had to cancel his baptism for last Sunday and we will reschedule with him next time we meet. Kasawa is still progressing but he was unable to come to church last Sunday as well so we will have to reschedule his baptism date as well. We have yet to meet up with a guy named Peter who Elder Lusk had previously taught the first 3 lessons and was almost ready to be baptized. He was supposed to introduce us to his family so we could have had 3 new people on date for baptism and not to mention a golden family that is self-reliant but we will have to keep working with them.
The newest investigator that we have is a man named Mpamba. Meeting him has truly been the coolest experiences I have had so far on my mission! I had always heard about stories about how people in your mission are being prepared for you and that you have been predestined to meet them and I always thought they were cool stories that were inspiring and I believed them, but now I can say that this is so true!! We met Mpamba when we were tracting on Thursday and we sadly weren't the ones that reached out to him but thankfully he was brave enough to open his month and approach us. So me and Elder Lusk were tracting behind the Branch meetinghouse in Riverside because we were supposed to meet an investigator at the church but he didn't show so I said "Well why don't we just knock some houses close to the church because we can literally point to the church and show them where it is so that they will come on Sunday?", and so we did just that. We saw a therapy clinic and thought well lets try to teach the doctor because I am sure he is self reliant haha so we went past the gate and the guard and went in and introduced ourselves and left a Restoration pamphlet and invited them to church. It went okay but the miracle happened as we were leaving and walking past the gate when the guard Mpamba came up to us and said, "Sorry to intrude, but I was wondering if you could teach me about your church?" I wish someone would have taken a picture of our faces because we were shocked but of course we said, "Yes we would love to!!" So we gave him a Restoration pamphlet and a brief explanation of what it talks about and then we told him we would love to come back another time and teaching him more and answer any of him questions. So on Saturday we decided that we would go back to the clinic to talk with him again and we taught him the best lesson on the Restoration that I have ever been apart of! The spirit was so strong as we sat under a shady tree on the lawn in front of that clinic. We testified about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and I could tell that he was eating up every word that we said. He had the most inspired questions that added to the spirit and opened up the whole lesson for us. He truly has been prepared to receive the gospel at this time. Some of the questions he asked us are, "Does the Book of Mormon bring comfort into the lives of those who read it? Does it teach about God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit?" We were just absolutely dumbfounded when he asked those questions because he is someone that would not normally say those kinds of things. Like he just seems likes the kind of person that never received a good education and just lacks in a few areas but we both knew that he was inspired. He also told us some amazing experiences he has had with religion that are very special and sacred and I just know without a doubt he will continue to progress and accepted to the gospel. Mpamba gave a great closing prayer and then we invited him to come to church and then we said our goodbyes. The next day we were at the church waiting to see how many people would come to church because we had contacted a lot of people this week and sent lots of remind texts that morning and we were getting discouraged because sacrament meeting was supposed to start in 10 minutes and then walked in Mpamba. We were so happy to see him there!! We made him feel right at home. I told him, "We saved you a seat!" haha and he looked very happy to be there. It honestly was the highlight of my week because he is the first person I have taught that I have actually seen at church! All of the other church members shook his hand and helped him feel welcome and I was very grateful for that. He surprised me when he said he had already read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon and the Witnesses because we didn't even ask him to do that yet! He said he wanted to know where he should start reading next so I told him where to start and I said, "Don't stop until you finish!" and he was happy to take on the challenge. We have decided to invite Mpamba to baptism next time we meet with him so I am excited! I am just so grateful for the opportunity to teach the gospel and see the desires of the people here to learn about the gospel. I know that I was sent here to Africa to teach these people. I just want to talk to everyone now because I will never know who I am supposed to teach until I open my mouth and find them.
I am so grateful for this gospel and the many ways it has blessed and changed my life. The mission has already been a life changing experience. My advice to everyone back home is to be brave and to talk to those you meet with about the gospel because you could change their life forever. This church is true!