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.

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