Monday, May 27, 2013

Sick days :(

Well hello again!

There is pretty much nothing to report this week. Tuesday and Wednesday were really really awesome days. We were taught 7 lessons on Tuesday and 6 on Wednesday I think. Which is fantastic. But Wednesday night I got a really bad headache and I was just exhausted. So I went home and pretty much went straight to bed. Then Thursday I could not wake up. At all. Sister Anderson tried for about an hour but I just couldn't wake up. So I spent the whole day in bed. To be honest I'm a little bit afraid that weird sleeping thing that happened senior year is starting again. So I have just been taking it really easy.

On Friday though I was able to get myself out of bed for long enough to go to the huge residency meeting. It went so incredibly well. We passed out probably 100 copies of the Book of Mormon, tons of pamphlets, tons of pass along cards, and the people who came were clearly touched by the spirit. It was fantastic. The down side is that nobody who was supposed to show up actually showed up. Nobody from the residency council came. So basically it didn't help us at all in the direction we wanted it to. But there were other government officials there that we are hoping will pass the message along. We were clearly supposed to have that meeting but maybe not for the reason we initially thought. At this point we are just going to have to rely on faith that residency will work out. The Lord wouldn't have set up the new mission if it wasn't going to work out so I know it will all be ok. With enough prayers the Lord will provide a way.

Then the rest of Friday, all day Saturday and except for church, all day Sunday I've spent pretty much in bed. I feel so bad for Sister Anderson cause she's been stuck inside with me too. She's been a saint though taking care of me. She's definitely taken on a mom role. And she has been so sweet about it. I couldn't ask for a better companion. I think I'm doing a little better today. I only took one nap and it was only 2 and a half hours long. The plan is to start doing half days this week so we can still be teaching but I can also still be resting. But we aren't going to push it too hard. I got a priesthood blessing from Elder Jorgensen so I know it will be fine. He didn't however say that I would be better soon. He said that if I endure this, I will be able to resume my missionary work and my testimony will grow. So for now we are just going to take it easy and do the best we can for the circumstances.

Just know that I really am ok. This is just a trial of my faith and strength. I’ll get through it and all will be well. I love you all so much. Thank you for the prayers and support. I can't tell you how much I appreciate them.

Lots of love,

Sister Gehring
Us at the fancy residency meeting.

We aren't sure what this means but it just doesn't seem sanitary...

Monday, May 20, 2013

You know you're a Missionary when...

Well hello again!
 I’d like to start off by sharing this list that my companion and I have been working on.
"You know you're a missionary when..."

You know you’re  a missionary when....
-going to the salon consists of your companion and a pair of kitchen scissors 
-the only free day you have you want to stay in bed all day and read the Book of Mormon
-when someone talks about riding in the same car as a male, it makes you feel uncomfortable
-your worst nightmare you have had is being sent home early from mission
-you and your companion jam out to Child’s Prayer in the car and you think you're cool
-you either spend all your time laughing or crying, there is no in between emotion
-you burn a batch of cookies because you were praying for too long
-you can't imagine a life after this, because there isn't one
 That pretty much sums up missionary work. It’s the best. I love it quite a lot. This week has been another great one! There were three pretty big noteworthy things that happened.

1. Lenah got baptized!!!! WOO! She's one who has been taking the lessons since Sister Anderson was first here. She is so strong. And the baptism was so incredible. Patricia (who was baptized last month) spoke and she did such a great job. It’s so cool to see how just a month as a member has helped her grow so much. But most importantly, Lenah was just glowing. One of the other missionaries saw her right as she was coming out of the bathroom from changing into her dry clothes and he said "Gotta love that after-baptism grin"  It’s so true! There really isn't anything better. 

 2. Nanky. There is a woman named Nanky who has a reputation with us for cancelling all her appointments. Sister Anderson hasn't even ever been able to teach her and she's been here for 6 weeks longer than me. This week we had an appointment set with her and we had decided that if she canceled again, we were going to have to drop her. To our surprise though, we got to her house and she was actually there! So we start teaching her the restoration again cause it’s been so long since the missionaries have seen her and she is responding like she already knows it’s all true! We were surprised but figured she had prayed about it last time and had just forgotten or something. So we finish the lesson and invite her to church. This was how the conversation basically went.
us: "Will you attend church with us this Sunday?"
Nanky: "Oh I already go to church."
us: "Oh that is wonderful! Our church meets at 9 am. Do you think you would have time to visit us before your church starts?"
Nanky:"I know. I go to your church."
us: "You go to our church?? The one right here in village? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints??"
Nanky: "Yes. The other missionaries invited me to go and I have been going every week since they were here."
us: "How long ago was that??"
Nanky: "Almost 3 months now."
 WHAT??? Oh man we felt so bad! This woman had been attending church for 3 months on her own and nobody even knew!!!! She cancelled all the time cause she legitimately was busy. And we were about to drop her! She’s now on date to be baptized in June. It’s crazy!!! I am so glad we didn’t give up on her

3. Barati. So I've mentioned Barati before I'm sure. She is pretty much wonderful. This week we had another lesson with her. Once again she just loved everything we taught. She is so excited for her baptism in June. But as we were leaving she asked us if she could come teaching with us. She isn’t even a member and she wants to help spread the gospel! It was so sweet. We aren't allowed to bring her around with us in our car but next time we see her we are going to set up a time for to come around with us just walking. She said "I want to help you people go and teach people like me. I want them to know the word of God too" It seriously made us so happy. I always leaver her house with this great joy.

Well those were the highlights this week! Some other fun things were that my companion and gave each other haircuts, we taught a lesson where a child kept biting our legs, I keep having dreams that my limbs are being cut off and/or I am being chased my scary people, I had my first traditional African food, we defrosted the freezer at the chapel and made a snowman from all the ice, aaaaand I still really love my companion! 
 Well I love you all so much and I'll talk to you next week!
 Love, Sister Chelsea Gehring
Lenah's baptism.

Me studying by candlelight because our power was out (again).

My first district.

My zone.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Working in the Lord's Vineyard

Dumela again!

I know I just talked to you but I still have lots I want to tell you! Before I do though, I want to thank everyone else who emails me. I am so sorry that I don't have time to reply to each of you but I do read every one and I am so thankful for your testimonies and your support!

Well this week was super super busy. We taught 20 lessons this week which is significantly more than we have been teaching. It was great! A couple lessons in particular were really note-worthy. To give a little background, Sister Anderson and I have really been trying to improve the way we teach this week. We have really been trying to teach more by the spirit and according to each specific person's needs rather than just teaching set lesson plans. And it has made all the difference in the world. One of the lessons that we really did well with this was with a woman named Violet. She is the same person we helped move the other week. We were teaching her about the plan of salvation. I got the feeling that I should ask her if and how she has felt the atonement in her life. all of a sudden she just got up and left. Sister Anderson and I we so confused. We just sat there not really knowing what to do. She came back in after about a minute and she was in tears. She then shared some really personal stuff with us that allowed us to testify of how truly amazing the plan of salvation is and we were able to help apply specific principles about it to her exact situation. She was still really emotional when we left. I think that through us, the spirit was really able to testify to her.

Another awesome lesson was with a woman named Mrs. Daniel. She is incredible. We were planning going over the plan of salvation with her too but when we got there, she had already researched it in the scriptures and the pamphlet. She basically taught us the entire thing flawlessly. Sister Anderson and I kept looking at each other in awe, wondering if this was really happening! Then she started asking some questions about really deep doctrinal stuff about the last days and the resurrection. We were worried that the answers might be too much for her to handle but we answered anyway and she completely understood! It was amazing! The Lord truly does prepare people for this message.

Another thing about this week that has been really fantastic is that I am learning so much more than I ever though possible from the scriptures. I am reading in the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi right now. Honestly, I usually just skim over them cause I just don't get it. But this week I have taken the time to use every resource at my disposal pretty much to be able to understand. And I do! So much! And they are some of my favorite scriptures now. I have learned more about the atonement than I ever have before and It has strengthened my testimony more than I can even express in in an email. One word that I particularly love is the word intercession. I took one morning of my personal study and used the whole hour studying about that one word. I would encourage everyone who reads this to do the same. That word in the context of the atonement is truly incredible. Another chapter I studied was Alma 5. I went through and looked at every single question he asks, reworded it in terms that relate to my life as a missionary, then answered all of them. It was a really great reflection on where my focus is and where is should be.

One more high point this week is that the Lord placed us in the right place at the right time. We were supposed to meet one of our investigators at this park but she didn't show up. So we decided to do some contacting. Most successful contacting ever! We placed 6 copies of the Book of Mormon, got return appointments with 2 people and got the information of 4 other people so we can set up appointments with them! And we could tell they were actually interested. You pretty much know which appointments are going to fall through and we feel so good about everyone. One of the women we talked to said she felt like God was telling her to go to the park today. She had never been there before but she knew she had to be there. When we handed her the Book of Mormon she said that she knew the reason she was supposed to be there was so she could meet us and get this book.

Now Ill tell about a couple fun/ funny things from the week! Sister Anderson and I decided to make a "Mission Bucket List" It includes, along with a few other things:
-Read the Book of Mormon in 1 day (you know you're a missionary when you get really excited to spend an entire P-day reading the scriptures haha)
-Teach 30 lessons in 1 week. 
-Eat a mowpane worm (I might have misspelled that)
-Learn my testimony in Setswana
-Read Jesus the Christ
-Visit a village
-Return with honor!

Another funny thing is something that happened while we were tracting. It was my turn to do the little introduction so I knocked on the door and a guy wearing only boxers answered. I felt super uncomfortable so I just awkwardly relayed our message and prayed he wouldn't ask us to come in. Next to me I could tell Sister Anderson was just trying to not just laugh. I have no idea why it was so awkward but it seriously was! Luckily he told us he wasn't interested. We just walked away laughing. Again, I don't know why it was so funny but it definitely was.That tracting day wasn't all bad though! we met a hilarious lady who introduced herself as Sheila the Bold. We actually taught her a lesson this week and she is a hoot. People here are so funny. I love it.

Ok now the last story I want to tell is the reason I picked that as the subject. We were in the car on our way to an appointment. We were talking about Violet. We helped her move but a week later she decided to move back to her old flat cause she was having problems with the landlords. Sister Anderson said "Wow her landlords must have been awful" but for some reason I though she said "Working in the Lord's vineyard must have been awful!" I was so confused! I just said "Umm Sister Anderson, We kind of are working in the Lord's vineyard..." Once we figured out the mistake we both could not stop laughing. So now we say that all the time. "Working in the Lord's vineyard must have been awful!" Good times.

Well I am still loving the work. I am tired all the time but it is the best kind of tired. My testimony is growing more and more every day and I see the tender mercies all around me. I love you all so  much!

Love, Sister Gehring
Not quite as cool as a lion but just about as cute. 

The little kids all love to try on our name tags. The little boy in front of me is Gao’s grandson. His name is Temo. The girl between us is named Fina. But mostly we just call her “Pincher.” She loves pinching. It was cute at first but has quickly become quite annoying. We love her anyway though.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rough start, Great end!

Hello everyone!
Well this started out pretty hard again but it ended up being so good! To start off the week, on Tuesday we were helping someone move. We are teaching her but and also her neighbor. While we were on our way back to our car, a bunch of guys who stay near the neighbor (Her name is Kederleng) all came up to us and started yelling. They told us that we were dragging her life down, that we were only hurting her and her kids, that we were horrible people, that we were racist, and that if we ever came back to teach Kederleng they would hurt us. We were so scared. But mostly we were just sad. Kederleng is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and the thought of not being able to see her anymore was really upsetting. Luckily some of the Elders were there helping move too and they were able to calm the guys down and get them to back off. But Sister Anderson and I were really upset. We both got back in the car and just cried. We knew that the Lord had led us to Kederleng and we were not going to give up. That night we knelt down as a companionship and just poured our hearts out to the Lord. We didn't know what to do. We were working our hardest but for the past week and a half, things were just not going well. The most incredible feeling of peace came over us. Then that night I did the same thing in my personal prayer. I basically just told Heavenly Father that I was about at the point where I couldn't go on anymore and I needed help. Once again I got this wonderful peaceful feeling. When I woke up Wednesday morning, the words of D&C 121:7-8 were stuck in my head. I had not read that scripture in a really long time and I don't have it memorized. But somehow the exact words kept playing over and over in my head. I know it was my Heavenly Father letting me know that everything was going to be ok.
And they have been! On Wednesday we were doing street contacting on the UB (University of Botswana) campus which is in the nicer part of our area. We weren't having too much luck but we knew we were supposed to be there for some reason. I saw a girl a little ways off who was talking on the phone. I knew we had to talk to her. So we waited till she was done and we went and told her about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. She was really friendly and she invited us to come back on Friday to teach her more. So we went back on Friday and she is pretty much the definition of a prepared heart. She told us that she had been wanting to make changes in her life but didn't know how. She told us a lot more too but basically the Lord has completely prepared her to receive this message.
Then we have seen so many other tender mercies throughout the rest of the week too. While we were teaching one of our new investigators in this park area, another woman came up to us and asked if she could join cause she was feeling sad and wanted to listen to the word of God. Saturday night we were finally able to get ahold of a woman who we though had been avoiding us. When we went to see her we found out that she had just been really busy with work but that she had been taking the Book of Mormon with her wherever she went. She said that she loves reading it, completely understands it, loves the feelings she gets when she is reading, and knows that is is true. She's already in 2 Nephi! We only gave her the book 2 weeks ago! Then while we were visiting another family who we have been trying to work with to get the dad to start joining in the lessons, without us even having to invite him to join us, the dad came right up and sat for the whole lesson! And when we were finished, he asked us to come back at a time when he'd be home so he could start participating. A woman we are teaching who deals drugs for a living called us and asked if we could help her quit smoking and drinking before we even taught her the word of wisdom. And lastly, yesterday I was able to attend the first ever stake conference for the Gaborone Botswana Stake. It was incredible. We had a couple members of the 70 come and speak and a lot of prayers were answered. It was so wonderful. Plus there have been countless other things that have happened that have just really helped me see that I am being watched over.
I still love it here so much. I'm starting to see what everyone means when they say that mission is the hardest but best time of their lives. I cant believe my 1 month mark was on Saturday. (we had a happy-one-month-on-mission-slash-happy-cinco-de-mayo taco party on Sunday night to celebrate) The time is going so fast! But it has been the best month of my life so far. I can't even express how grateful I am to be here.
Lots of love and thanks,
Sister Chelsea Gehring
Oh! and p.s. I forgot to say that we went really felt like we needed to go back to Kederleng's house to ask her if she really wanted us to leave or if that was just her neighbours  So we went and talked to her and she said she definitely does want us to come back. So we will just rely on the Lord to protect us and continue on with the work!