Monday, June 24, 2013

Good thing I like tracting...

My dearest family, How goes it??

Well this week was significantly less hectic. Last week was insane and this week seemed very slow. Largely because for the past 6 days, my companion and I have spent approximately 5-6 hours a day tracting. Sometimes even more. When the area split and we took over Tlokweng, we handed about 3/4 of our investigators over to the new sisters. So we have almost no lessons ever. It’s a huge change. Before the split we were teaching over 20 lessons a week. This week we taught 10. It’s been rough. I know that this decision to keep Tlokweng was right so I just have to keep reminding myself of that fact so I don't get discouraged. We have talked to a TON of people and knocked on more doors than I care to count but so far the results have been minimal. We have found maybe 8-10 people that actually seem interested, and only about 5-6 that have invited us back. There have been a lot of really promising moments but none have really led anywhere so far. But Sister Anderson and I are keeping up the faith. We have now planted enough seeds to grow a forest and now we just need to let them take root. We spend a lot of time on our knees praying for results and a lot of time out there working our tails off to make it happen. I just hope things start growing fast. But if not, I know there is just something I am supposed to learn from this. I’s the Lord's work. He'll take care of it. We have found ways to make the tracting fun though! One of the ways is we just sing a lot. As we were walking around we just sing. Sometimes we sing actual songs but a lot of the time we just make up nonsense songs about random principles of the gospel. We have gotten pretty good at coordinating efforts to make some pretty decent ones. Our favorite one was about how the Book of Mormon is the roadmap to happiness in this life. It was quite nice.  Also we gave ourselves little breaks every now and again when we would come across little kids playing in the streets. Whenever we passed a little soccer or volleyball game we would join for a few minutes. It has been so much fun. Within reason, I have stopped caring about how dirty I get when I am out for the day. I walk around in the dirt and I am not going to let the fact that the kids are playing in the dirt with a soccer ball so embedded with dirt it poofs when you kick it stop me from joining them! I’m a missionary. It’s my job to get dirty. 

Hey plus another bonus, We only got lost once this week! Ok well we actually got lost a couple times but only once where it was really bad. The Elders who cover Tlokweng had told us about this great place to go tracting so we were going to check it out. I can’t remember if I have already told you this or not but Tlokweng is a village. It’s more developed than others cause it’s so close to Gabs but it’s still a village. Dirt roads, huts, all of it. That also means there are no house or plot numbers and only a couple of the streets are named. So directions usually go something like this. "So you go along the main road and then you go for a little while and you turn left when you see the crooked tree then you turn right a couple times and go a little farther then you turn left again next to the big rock and my house is sort of near the white truck shop." I wish I was kidding. So the directions to the great area to tract were only that it was kind of behind Bordergate Choppies sort of far that way. Not much to go off of. But we decided to try anyway. Bad idea. We ended up in the bush. a.k.a the middle of nowhere. We literally reached the end of civilization. It took us over an hour of driving around to figure out how to get back to where we recognized. It was an adventure. After that we took the next afternoon and made a map of Tlokweng so that sort of thing wouldn't happen again.

It really wasn't a bad week though. The lessons we did teach were powerful and I had an awesome birthday! First I’ll talk about the lessons. For each of them, I'm just going to write my favorite quote from the lesson and then explain.

"Exercising faith means you go even when you have nowhere else to start." -Dorcas
Ok so I've definitely mentioned Dorcas before in my letters. I love her so much. Whenever I was starting to get discouraged this week with all the tracting, I’d think of her and just say to myself, No. I need to find more Dorcases. I can’t give up. She is just that incredible. In her lessons, I learn just as much as she does. So this week our lesson with her was all on faith. We talked about how it’s not enough to just believe. We have to act on that belief. We have to exercise our faith. Before we really explained what that meant, we asked her what it meant to her to exercise faith. After a few thoughtful moments, that was her response. 

"Not going to church is the Devil's plan!" -Goitse
Goitse is Juliet's mom. (the little girl that was just baptized) She got baptized in May. So we were over at their house talking about Juliet's baptism and what Juliet needed to do to make sure she was always this happy and clean. We were talking about how going to church every single week was one of the things she needed to do. Then she told us how it’s hard to wake up early sometimes for church. Goitse then responded with that. It was hilarious. Sister Anderson and I lost it. We both were laughing so hard. Luckily Goitse wasn't offended. 

"I can be a doer" - Stellah
I've mentioned Stellah before too. Once again, she is incredible, too. We were talking with her about how our homes need to be a refuge from the world and how other people who come into our homes should feel the difference the spirit makes. We asked her what she could do to make her home a refuge. This is how she responded. She then went on to list a bunch of really great ideas on what she and her family could do to make their home a refuge. I just loved her statement though. It was so simple but so true.

" I don't want to be a church visitor. I want to be a church member." -Gao
Gao is no longer in our area which makes me so sad. But this week we decided to stop by and say hi really quick. While we were talking we got on the topic of her conversion story. It is pretty inspiring. I want to get her to write it down for me so I can have a copy of it in her own words. She told us that when she visited the church for the first time, she knew she wanted to be a member. Not a visitor. 

"I am going to tell you a story you'll remember even when you go home." -Dikaledi
So Dikaledi is an older lady we tracted in to a few weeks ago. She was sick when we met her first so we just gave her a pass along card with our number on it and left. She told us though that she wanted a copy of Finding Faith in Christ. So on Tuesday we brought her one. We had prayed that morning that we would be able to find opportunities to serve. Boy did Heavenly Father deliver. When we got there she was going her wash. Great! There is a service opportunity! We offered to help but she just kept saying she was fine. So we asked if there was anything else we could do for her. "Yes! Actually there is." she said "I have this ingrown toenail that has been bothering me for weeks. Do you think you could help me cut it. I can’t reach it anymore." Yea. We helped an old Botswanan woman trim her toenails. They were think and brown and nasty. And I loved it. The actual trimming was disgusting but while we were working on them, she basically told us her life story. She had some incredible stories. 

So those were my favorite quotes from the week. My birthday was awesome too. My companion is a sweetheart. I'll just lay that out there. She made me breakfast in bed which was so nice. It was funny though. So we get up at 6:15 and go running every morning. She was going to turn the alarm clock off and let me sleep in till 6:30 so she could quickly make breakfast but she  knows how much I love to run so she let me get up normal time and then made me breakfast while I was showering and getting ready. Then she made me get back in bed. It was very cute. Then just like every other day this week we just tracted all day. But She was sure to tell everyone we met pretty much so I had a lot of random people singing to me. I got some good laughs about it. Then that night all the sisters in Gabs got together and went out to dinner at Spur which is an American type steak house. It was glorious. I got a huge hamburger. It wasn't quite the same as  an American hamburger but it was close enough to be really nice. At the end of dinner, the workers all came out and sang me this really loud exciting African happy birthday song and smeared ice cream all over my face. Sister Anderson got a video. Don't worry. Then right after dinner, we went back to our flat where all the elders were waiting with that lemon cake you sent me . So all the elders and sisters all had cake to celebrate. (p.s. I have no clue how she organized that. It was a complete surprise but I am within sight and sound of her at all times. She's good...) So it was just a really nice day. Still a missionary day, but Sister Anderson and the other missionaries made it special. 

The last thing I want to mention is actually about the little picture book called Rosie's Walk. It’s one we read all the time growing up. I think I read it to Melanie like a week before I came out. It’s the one where the hen decides to go out for a walk. The whole time she is just looking straight ahead. Having a lovely time. But she is completely oblivious to the fact that the entire time, she is being hunted and followed by a fox. But every time he gets close, something stops him. Like Rosie will walk through a hole in a fence but the fox gets stuck. Or she walks by a beehive and then the bees start to chase the fox. Or she will step in a rake and it comes up and hits the fox. The book is silly and simple and probably not meant to have this deeper meaning, but this week I have kind of felt like Rosie. I'm walking around in Botswana. This completely foreign place thousands and thousands of miles from anywhere I have been before. And there are bad things, seen and unseen, happening all around me. But I am just pressing forward. As long as I am focused on my purpose as a missionary and as long as I am making sure I am doing everything I am supposed to be, the fox isn't going to be able to get me. Thank you for your prayers too. I know you are helping to keep the foxes away.

Well that’s about it for this week! It’s been a long week but it’s been a good one. Plus I'm getting a pretty great tan. Not that it matters cause no matter how tan I am I still glow next to the people here but still, I feel accomplished! My favorite scriptures from this week are Mosiah 21:16, Mosiah 26:37, and Alma 3:27. Can you guess why?? 

I love you all lots. Thanks for all you do for me. You are incredible!

Love, Sister Gehring

Monday, June 17, 2013

No such thing as a normal week...

Dear Family,

I just want to start off by apologizing. There is no way on Earth that I'll be able to fit in everything that happened this week. It was INSANE. A lot insane. Plus I forgot my planner where I wrote down all the things I wanted to be sure to not forget to tell you. So whatever I forget, I’ll be sure to tell you next week or I’ll just write you a letter.

The week actually started off pretty normal though. We taught a bunch of great lessons, did some great tracting, all that good stuff. We were so excited cause we felt like it was finally going to be just a good solid week! Not quite the case. Not at all the case actually. 

Before I get into that thought I want to tell you about something cool that happened during a lesson we were teaching at the beginning of the week. So we were teaching a woman who has been feeling really guilty about some things she had done in the past. We were trying to help her understand that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are not going to condemn her for things she did without knowing they were wrong, and as she repents, they will welcome her gladly back to their presence. The message was not going through to her though. No matter how many scriptures we read with her or how many things we tried to say to reassure and comfort her. We had a member with us though so finally she decided to try. She told the woman the story of the lost sheep. And how Christ left the 99 to find the 1. She basically told her that she was not forgotten and that Christ was going to go and find her no matter what. That how much He loves her. We could tell it really touched her. It was finally getting through. I had a feeling I should show her the front of the restoration pamphlet. It has a  painting of Christ carrying the lost lamb on the cover. He is looking down at the lamb with a smile that is so loving and so forgiving. And he is holding the lamb like it is the most precious thing in the world. You can see how glad he is to have it back. As I was talking about the picture- how she was like the lamb and that Christ felt the same way about her, both of us just started crying. She got it. She felt it. She knew in that moment that things were going to be ok and Heavenly father And Jesus Christ still loved her. And I felt it too. I got it more than I ever have before. My testimony of God's love for me has not been this strong since I got my patriarchal blessing. Mission does just as much for the missionaries as it does for the lost sheep. I know that.

So yea, the beginning of the week was great and strong. Then the weekend hit. Holy cow. Thursday night we got a call from our district leader telling us that District meeting had been moved to later in the day because the new sister was flying in... WHAT? A new sister??? It is the middle of the transfer. We shouldn’t have been getting new missionaries for another three weeks! We finally figured out that she had been serving in Zimbabwe but that her VISA got rejected so she was getting kicked out and coming to Bots instead. So we rearranged some plans so we could go pick her up at the airport Friday morning. We had no idea where she was going to serve or who her companion was going to be but we just went with it. 

Friday: One of the hardest days of mission so far. In the morning we got a call from the Assistants. Our area was being split to make room for the new sister and President Omer wanted us to pray about it and decide which part we wanted to keep. So our ward consists of 2 areas. Tlokweng (a village type place just out of town) and Broadhurst (a little more built up and closer to town). Until Friday Sister Anderson and I had been covering both areas. But to make room for the new missionaries, one set of Sisters would be exclusively in Tlokweng and one would now be exclusively in Broadhurst. And it was up to us to decide who got which one and all the investigators who stayed there. We had no idea what to do. We love both areas so much. We have people in both areas that we felt like we could not give up. We knew we had to pray about it. So as a companionship we knelt and prayed. Then we each prayed about it individually. Then we came back together and prayed again. (some scripture study and looking over the people we teach in each area was mixed in here) Individually and together we both came up with the same answer. We were still needed in Tlikweng and the new sisters were needed in Broadhurst. We knew it was right but we still cried. Well over half of the people we teach stay in Broadhurst and we were going to have to say bye to them all. We had to do some serious trusting in the Lord to know that things with them would be ok. So we went and picked up the new sister- Sister Vea from Hawaii. She is a sweetheart. She’s only been on mission for a month and she is so great. She and one of the sisters that had been serving in g/west would now be taking over Broadhurst. Then we went to District meeting which was interesting but I don’t have time to write about it unfortunately. But after that we took the new sisters around and started handing people over and helping them get to know the area. Hardest thing on mission so far. We went and saw like 5 people and had to say goodbye. One of them was Gao. I love that woman so much. She calls us her babies and we call her Momma. I know I’ll still see her at church but I am going to miss teaching her so much. 5:00 every Sunday is Gao's time. No more though. It is so hard. Then we went to see Rosa who is another lady we have been teaching. She cried with us when she heard we were leaving. We went and saw a few more people too and it was the same with all of them. People just kept asking "But why??" It was hard. That’s about all I can say about it. Lots of tears were involved. If it is this hard to leave people even when I can still see them every week at church, I don’t even want to imagine what it will be like when I have to leave the area completely. And thinking about having to leave Botswana in only 15 months is just painful. By the end of the day though, I had pretty much come to terms with things though and I was feeling ok. But then things got crazy again. All within a couple hours, we had to move people out of old flats, move new people in to new flats, feed a bunch of missionaries who were all helping, go pick up bedding and other stuff from all these different places, and then make it back home in time for curfew. It was crazy. I know it doesn’t sound like it but it was. I was stressed. And I do not get stressed easily. By the time we finally got to bed, we were pooped. 

Then came Saturday. Remember how once upon a time I locked me and my companion out of our flat and we had to break in through the back to get our keys? Well On Saturday I did something worse. Accidentally!! But worse. So we went out running just like we always do. We leave at 6:30. So we left, I made sure to grab the keys and we went for our normal run. Well we do our lap twice (a lap is a mile) and we get to our flat and I go to open the door. The key to  the door isn’t on the ring. I know for a fact that it was there when we left cause between laps we stopped back at our flat and opened the door to put my jacket back. But the key is now gone. It is lost somewhere along the trail. We have nothing with us. We have the clothes on our backs and that’s it. Everything else is locked in the flat. So we decided to walk the mile again and try to find it. No luck. So we borrowed the other sisters car, drive over to the senior couple's house and ask them if they have a spare. Nope. So then we drove back to ask our manager if he had a spare. Nope. So we drive back over to the senior couples house and they go through all their files and find some keys we could try. None of them worked. At this point it’s like 10 am. We are still in our workout clothes, and we haven't even showered or brushed our teeth for the day. People have offered to help us but we just wanted to get in. So we did what we do best. We broke in again. So last time it was easy. We just hopped the fences and got the keys from the inside through a cracked open window. Well its getting cold. So our windows were not open this time. We got over the fences ok to our back yard but instead of just getting the keys right away, we had to straighten out a hanger, pry the window open a crack, pop the lock open, and then proceed to get the back door keys. Yea. I’m starting to get worried. I should not be this good at breaking into things. Not a skill I thought I’d learn on mission. So we finally got in but we still didn’t have a key. So we had to tape the bottom lock shut so it wouldn’t lock automatically. We still have the key to the door gate and the other door lock but until a locksmith comes, we just have to be careful. I seriously think Satan is just getting creative. I have to keep telling myself that so I don’t get discouraged and feel like an idiot. The rest of the day was crazy too. We had to take Sister Vea to the doctor to get her papers approved so she can start her residency process and then we ran around town again visiting people and handing them over to the new sisters! We didn’t get back till late again and once again, we were pooped. 

Ok well that’s all I have time for right now. I am going to one of the senior couple's flat tonight to load some pictures so Ill finish talking about the weekend and what happened today then. I love you! Talk to you soon!

Love, Sister Gehring

Hello again!

Sorry for the gap. But I can finish now. So! Next comes Sunday. It was a wonderful day. We had another baptism!!! It was a little girl named Juliet. Her mom got baptized last month but she was being taught by the Elders. They decided that we would do a better job teaching her so they gave her to us and I am so glad. She is a joy. And her baptism was so wonderful!!! The spirit was so strong and she was so happy. She bore her testimony after the actual baptism and it was the sweetest. I don't even know what else to say about it. It was just so good. I love seeing people get baptized! Then for the rest of the day we just went around Broadhurst again showing the new sisters around. But then we had another adventure that night. We tried to make madombe. It’s like African steamed bread. Except too bad it definitely did not turn out right. At all. It didn't taste bad but it was definitely not go the way we wanted it to. We are going to have to try that out again. Just a little fun thing.

Then! We get to today. Ok so there is 1 mountain in Botswana. It’s technically a hill but its huge. We have wanted to hike it for a long time but we can’t hike it without the Elders but we also can’t hike with the elders without a senior couple present. That's the mission rule. So we didn't think we would ever get  to do it. But some of the Elders convinced one of the senior couples to go!!!! So we got to hike Kgale Hill!!!!! Oh my goodness it was so fun!! All the missionaries in G/west and Broadhurst went so there were a TON of us. We started before it even got light out and we got up there in about an hour. I felt like I could see all of Botswana from up there. It was cool cause normally when you get to the top of a mountain you can look out in one direction and see forever but there are usually other mountains around. But this one is free standing pretty much. There are some foothills but this was the highest point by far. So you can see as far as the horizon in every direction. SO beautiful. I hope we get to do it again someday. I love hiking and it was a really good hike.

Well that's all the big stuff from the week! There was a ton other little stuff that happened but I just don't have time to write about it. Mission life is just crazy. I definitely could not be doing as much as I do if I didn't have help from the Lord. I love you so much and I hope you all have a fantastic week!
Love, Sister Gehring

Top of the world!!!! kind of...
All the sisters who hiked today! 
Me and Sister Anderson at the tippity top of Kgale hill!
Attempting to make madombe.

All the sisters in the mission! Minus the couple new ones.
This is our "YAY NEW CAR" photo.
MTC reunion! Sister Nyambita, Sister Clifford, Me, Sister Graves.

Me and Pretty. Saying goodbye :(
Mpho and Candy asleep. We teach their mom and they fell asleep during the lesson.

Eating chicken heart at Pretty's house!
Me and Sister Anderson being silly at the mission tour.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Packed full...

Dear Family,

Wow this week was crazy. Seriously every hour of every day was packed. We taught a bunch of lessons but there was also just a ton of other stuff going on. But it was a really really good week too.

To start off, on Tuesday and Wednesday we were doing exchanges. They do them a little bit differently for sisters. Usually exchanges mean you switch companions for a day. But for the sisters, we just have an experienced sister come around with us for the day. So we had Sister Wiscombe come with us on Tuesday and Sister Vuki come with us on Wednesday. I realize you don't know who these people are but It'll help for you to know their names for when I talk about things that happened. This also meant that they stayed with us over night too. So that was different. But pretty fun. In the mornings instead of going running, we did Zumba. Do you know what that is? I hadn't heard of it till I was at BYU but I had never done it before. Sister Wiscombe loves it though. It is basically like Jazzercise but even more dancy. As you can imagine, it was not pretty... I don't dance. At all. It was so much fun and it was a good workout, but I'm sure I looked like a complete idiot doing it. But hey, it was just us sisters doing it so there was no need to be embarrassed. Side note: I feel so close to these sisters. I have only known the sisters I serve with for 2 months but I am closer to them than I am to people I have known for years. There is something about serving the Lord together that forms a bond unlike anything you can get in any other way. It’s pretty wonderful.

But anyway, yea we had other people with us for 2 days. And we taught some of the best lessons I've ever taught in those two days. I learned so much too. It was really great to be able to see how other people teach so I can get ideas on how to handle certain situations and how to explain things in a way that more people can understand. One of the great lessons was with a girl named Lillian. When we were tracting one day last week she called us over to her and told us she wanted us to come visit her. She didn’t seem really serious though. Honestly we just thought she wanted to talk to us because we are white. We were kind of reluctant to go back cause we thought it would go badly. But oh man were we wrong. I definitely had to repent for those thoughts. When we got there she was so prepared to hear the message of the gospel. She told us that she had been "swimming in a sea of confusion" and that when she saw us, she knew we could help her. We talked to her about why we know this church is true and about having faith in Christ. Then we gave her a Book of Mormon and explained about it. Then we gave her a few chapters to read. We basically just bore testimony the whole time about how much this gospel could bless her. The spirit was so strong. We actually had another lesson with her on Saturday and she had actually read the Book of Mormon and had some of the best, most inspired questions about it I've ever heard. Nobody reads the first time we ask them too! Basically she is incredible. She has a long way to go before she'll be baptized but I know we were led to her for a reason. 

Then on Wednesday Sister Vuki was with us. Once again, it was really great to have someone there to help us in hard situations. In particular, it was nice to have her when we were seeing a 16 year old girl we are teaching. I won’t say her name but she told us that this week her parents told her that they were forcing her to get married to a guy that is way older than she is. I had no idea what to do. But Sister Vuki was able to comfort her and help her know that if she trusted in the lord, things would work out. She shared Alma 38:5 with her and it really helped her. The other lessons we taught that day were really cool too. One that I liked a lot too was with a woman named Lindiwe. She is older and has been taught pretty much everything there is to know about the church. She even has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. But she decided that she still wants to stay in her old church and that she doesn't want the missionaries to teach her any more about the gospel. But we have really felt like we need to keep visiting her. So she agreed to let us come and share Bible stories with her. Well we have been doing that for the last few months but on Wednesday we decided to try and share a message from the Book of Mormon with her. When we got there she got her Bible out and sat down with her little highlighter all ready to listen.Then I said " Actually Lindiwe, today we want to share something out of the Book of Mormon. Could you get yours out?" I acted like it was the most normal thing in the world. Her face was priceless. It was complete shock. But Sister Anderson, Sister Vuki and I just sat there smiling till she finally got up and went and got hers out. Then I proceed to tell her about one of my favorite parts from King Benjamin's speech. I just acted like nothing was wrong and this was just what we do every time. At first I could tell she was kind of annoyed but I just kept going till the spirit started to work in her. By the end she was listening intently and she agreed to read over the section again on her own. It was so great. It'll take time but I can tell she'll come around eventually. Also on Wednesday I got to eat something that I never thought I’d eat in my life... a chicken heart!! I was terrified. One of our investigators was eating a whole bowl of them when we got there. I asked what they were and she got all excited. "Chicken hearts! They are so tasty. You must try!" I tried to politely decline but she insisted. Sister Anderson agreed to try it with me. It actually wasn't bad! It just tasted like a tough piece of chicken. The mental picture of eating a chicken heart was significantly worse than actually doing it! 

Then on Thursday it was the final mission tour before Botswana becomes its own mission. So every single missionary serving in Botswana all came to Gabs for the event. Because we stay so close to the chapel, we got to play host to a bunch of the sisters who serve in Francistown. Only 2 of them actually stayed with us but because it’s rare for all the sisters to be together, we all had a huge sister dinner and we made tacos. It was so fun. I got to see all the people I was in the MTC with and I got to meet the other sisters I hadn't met before. After we ate we had to wait for some people to get their luggage back so we all just sat around outside and talked. It felt like girl's camp or something. It was so fun. Then Sister Pierce and Sister Nyambita got to come stay with us. It was so great to be able to see Sister Nyambita again! I love her and I was so excited when I found out she was going to stay with us. 

But then the next morning was the mission tour. IT WAS SO GOOD! President Omer and his wife came, the Botswana APs and the South Africa APs came and a member of the 70 and his wife came! (I can’t for the life of me remember what their name was though) They all spoke and it was incredible. I don't even know what else to say about it other than that it was so good! I learned so much. Each of them spoke about different ways to improve missionary work and how to be a better missionary. I realized that I have a LOT of work to do but also that I am definitely on the right track. It was a really good boost. It gave me that push to try harder, do better and serve more faithfully. I have this new motivation now and I just want to go and teach everyone! The church is true!! 

Then on Friday we got a new car!!! The elders got our old one (well our "old" one. It was only like a 2010 model.) And we got a brand spankin' new 2013 Hundai something or other. Its soo nice. It only had 40 kilometers on it total. I have no idea why we get such a nice car but hey, I'm not complaining. It’s nicer than anything I'll ever drive at home most likely! But sad thing from Friday is that we went to a funeral. It was for a man named Brother Sima. He was one of the pioneers of the Church in Botswana. Everyone looked up to him and respected him. He was one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. The rest of the day was packed full of lessons though so that was good to take our minds off of it. Friday night though we got to go over to the YSA ward in a different area and have a game night! The other sisters had organized it and our appointments for the night had all canceled so we got to go! It was so fun and we met some really great people. Plus it gave us some great ideas on what we could do with our ward. 

Then Saturday was just another day full of lessons and Sunday was the same! So yea, it was a really great week. Oh! Funny thing from Sunday, I prayed in Sacrament meeting and the man conducting completely butchered my name when he announced it. He called me Sister Greenranch. It was pretty funny. The people have a really hard time with my name. 

Well the favorite scripture from the week is Mosiah 4:11-12. It’s the one I shared with Lindiwe. I love it because it brought such a great spirit but also because it gives such specific and simple instructions on how to retain the love of God and a remission of our sins. It’s a good one!

Well my time is up. I feel like I only got to talk about a tiny bit of what happened this week but its ok. It’s all in my journal. You'll see it someday. I love you so much!! Thanks for everything.

Love, Sister Gehring

p.s. My residency was rejected so I'm not sure what happens now. I’m not getting kicked out yet but prayers would be appreciated. Thank you so much

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back to normal life...

Dear family,

You know the very distinct smell your clothes get after camping for a week and a half? The combination of smoke and fire mixed with dirt and sweat? Well that's what Botswana air smells like. All the time. But it’s especially strong at night and in the mornings. When I first got here it was kind of strange and not so pleasant. But to be honest, it kind of smells like home now. I've already been here almost two months. I'm not sure I'm ok with how fast the time is passing.

But that aside, this week was great! I was out sick still till Wednesday night but on Thursday I got to go teaching again! It was glorious! I missed being a missionary. And the week was filled with great lessons too. 2 in particular that I want to talk about.

1. Stellah. She is pretty much incredible. She has been taught just about everything there is to know about the gospel. She is what we call a "dry member". Someone who hasn't been baptized but is completely converted to the gospel. We had planned to teach her about the difference between having a testimony and being converted but when we got to her house her sister in law was there. And she had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon. We didn’t have to say a word. Stellah just took over. She answered every question perfectly and with so much conviction you'd think she'd read the book 50 times. It was amazing. And then she just bore testimony of it. Over and over she just kept saying "This book will change your life. Read it. It will change your life. I've read it and It has changed my life. This book will change your life." It was one of the most pure and powerful testimonies I have ever heard anyone give of the Book of Mormon. 

2. Thato. She is someone we found tracting. I had a feeling that we should go over to a group of houses and she is definitely the reason why. Nothing about the lessons are ever particularly spectacular but the spirit we always feel at her house most definitely is. When I am around her, I feel like I get a glimpse of how Heavenly Father feels about her. It’s just this joy and love that I can't really describe. She has so much potential in her. I  just feel it so strongly when I am around her.

Saturday though we didn’t teach a single lesson. We just did a lot of service. In the morning we went over to Khumo's house cause he needed some help with some school work so we offered to tutor him. When we got there, he had decided that he wanted us to help him with math. Yea. I was terrified. I don’t do math. At all. I prayed really hard that I'd be able to even remember a tiny bit of what I learned back in high school. The Lord answers prayers. I was able to remember every single thing I'd ever learned about everything he needed help with. I taught him how to do it! I taught someone math! ME! And not 2+2 math either. This was kind of complicated stuff. Well complicated by my standards of understanding. Basically Heavenly Father was really looking out for Khumo by letting me remember math. Miraculous for sure. 

Then later we went over and visited Boitshepo. She was taking her braids out. When the people here braid their hair, they leave it in for a couple months. Without washing it. So by the time its ready to be taken out, it is quite a chore. It takes a couple hours just to get the braids out. So she asked us to help her. I'm sure that was a sight to be seen. Two white girls doing an African girl's hair. Not something you see too often. But it was nice to be able to help her and she actually talked to us the whole time. She is finally warming up to us and it is so great. It makes me so happy. She is such a sweetheart. 

Another hilight of the week was district meeting. We had a combined district meeting with g-west this week. I know that means nothing to you but basically it just means that there were a lot of people there. And two of those missionaries were the Assistants. The assistants to the mission president. Literally the best of the best. So we started with a preach my gospel warm up. It goes like this: One person stands in a corner and opens to a random page in Preach My Gospel and starts to read. The first person to stand up and start reading along with them earns a point for their companionship. This week, Sister Anderson and I TIED WITH THE APs!!!!!!!! WE got the same number as them!!!!!!! I know that seems silly but its a pretty big accomplishment. Well it is for us. I was proud of us for sure. 

One more thing before I go. I've decided that I'm going to start doing a favorite scripture of the week SO Favorite scripture of this week is Galatians 5:9. Don't judge it by the first reading. It seems silly at first but Once you think about it, it is really profound and can be applied to so many situations. 

Well those were the good points of the week. And to be honest there weren't really any low points. Which is always nice. I feel like I didn’t have too much to talk about this week but that’s probably because I spent a good part of it asleep. But hey, I’m better now and so glad for it. I love you so much and I’ll talk to you next week!

Love, Sister Gehring

p.s. someone offered to give us a chicken this week so we could learn how to slaughter it. I'm not so sure I'm ok with that.