Monday, August 26, 2013

Driving,Drunk people, and divine help

Dumela everyone,
Well this has probably been the longest week on mission so far. Not cause it was bad but just because so much happened! I’ll just start from the beginning and try to get in as much as I can.
So Monday right after I emailed Sister Graves, Nyambita and I drove the 5 hours down to Gabs. It was a fun to just hang out with them so it passed quickly. When we got there we went to a training meeting with President Wilson. He basically trained us to be trainers. It helped me a lot and it gave me a bit of a confidence boost. So that was great. Then in the morning (Tuesday) we got up bright and early and went to transfer meeting. Basically they just tell everyone where they are being transferred to and who their new companion is. I already knew cause President Wilson called me. But I found out I wasn’t going to pick up my new companion until later that day. I was ok with that though. Sister Graves and I were temporary companions till ours came so we spent the day going around saying hi to my old investigators. It was good to see them. Then I finally got to pick up my new companion! Her name is Sister Scott. She is from Arkansas and she’s 19. She is such a sweet girl. I like her a lot. She's definitely green but she is excited to be a missionary and she's ready to work hard. It’s definitely different having a companion younger than me (in terms of time on mission) but its going ok so far. 
Anyways, back to the week. So that was Tuesday. That night we just hung out with the other sisters and played get to know you games and stuff like that. Then early Wednesday morning we left to go back to Francistown! Then we went straight into teaching appointments. Its very different teaching with someone who doesn’t quite know what they are doing but its amazing how I have been able to help her know what to say. And even more amazing how I have been given the words to say. I don’t know if I am making sense. For the past almost 5 months, I have been with someone more, or equally as experienced as me, so I have been able to let them take over in hard situations. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to be the one who needs to take over but somehow I've been able to. I have been able to answer questions I don’t know the answer to, remember scriptures I hadn’t read in weeks, and understand people's concerns without them really telling us. And none of that was from anything I was doing. That was all the Lord. He really does qualify those he calls. 
Thursday and Friday were pretty normal days. We did some tracting, did some teaching, saw a dust devil (those mini tornado type things) that was like 50 feet tall, almost got run over by a donkey cart, our neighbor had a bonfire in his backyard so now our flat has been smelling like smoke for days... you know, the basics.
Then came Saturday. It started off great! We had a Mormom Helping Hands service project. We helped clean up a local school's grounds. They really appreciated the help and we had a great time. It was nice to just kind of take a break from missionary work to do service. Then the afternoon was a little rough. Mostly because for some reason like every other person we saw was ridiculously drunk. One in particular was bad. Now that Sister Graves is gone, I am the only makgoa in Monarch. (I seriously haven’t seen another one in our area other than the missionaries the whole 7 weeks I’ve been here) So I get some unwanted attention. Mostly its just little kids yelling "MAKGOA" as we walk by (which is actually pretty hilarious) but on Saturday it was from a man who was horribly drunk. We were drove up to our appointment and while we were praying he started knocking on the window. We didn’t really know what to do so we just sat there for a minute hoping he would go away. He didn’t. It was light out and there were other people around so we decided to just go ahead and get out of the car. He kept tying to hug me and talk to me and telling me that he loved me and at one point Sister Scott had to step between him and me so he would back off. This went on for longer than I would have liked before he finally walked away. I was fine but it was just not fun. We thought that was going to be the end of it but then like 10 minutes later he came back with a drunk woman. They interrupted our lesson and the lady started yelling at us. Then the guy started coming at me again. Sister Scott and I looked at each other and we knew we needed to get out of there. Right now. So we apologized to the investigator (they understood) and ran to the car and drove away. I am fine and so is Sister Scott but it definitely shook us up and for the rest of the afternoon we were just really out of sorts. We are going to try and teach that investigator somewhere else now.
So that was a rough day. The rest of the weekend was great though! Especially because of Kelebogile. I can’t remember if I have mentioned her before or not. We have been teaching her for a long time now. She has been making some progress but she had a lot of issues she needed to work through. She has a chastity problem and a word of wisdom problem and she hasn’t been coming to church. She has been telling us for weeks now that she has been working on figuring things out but it hasn’t been going too well. Well when we saw her this week there was something obviously different about her. She was just glowing she was so happy. She sat us down and told us she had news for us. In a nutshell she told us that she has decided that it is time for her to be baptized. She has completely given up everything against the word of wisdom, she kicked her boyfriend out and is now completely keeping the law of chastity, she read a bunch from the Book of Mormon, prayed about it, found out it was true, prayed about the church and found out it was true and she came to church on Sunday. Its like she had a complete 180 degree turn around. It’s incredible! It’s seriously like she’s a whole different person. She is scheduled to be baptized at the end of next month. I am so excited. 
Well I am more tired than I think I have ever been in my life but the work is moving on. Training is pretty difficult but every day I feel the Lord helping me along. Prayers sure are answered. My favorite scripture of the week was D&C 135. The whole section. I read it and the spirit witnessed to me again that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet and that he really did die defending the only true church upon the face of the earth. 
I love you all so much. Keep the prayers coming. They really are making all the difference for me. 
Love, Sister Gehring

This pretty well describes our relationship with Elder Erickson (our district leader). We are pretty sure he thought we were nuts
And this pretty well describes our 3 some. We had fun.

Sister Twongeirwe, Sister Vuki, me, Sister Graves, Sister Nyambita, and Sister Vea.

My new companion, Sister Scott!
All the Francistown missionaries.

Sister Scott and Me.
The whole Mormon Helping Hands group!

While we were tracting, a whole herd of cattle came and blocked the street we were trying to go down. I guess we weren't meant to tract there?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Huge changes...

Dear Family,
Well not a whole lot happened this week. We taught some lessons, knocked on some doors.
Today I will be driving down to Gaborone to pick up my brand new greenie straight out of the MTC. Starting tomorrow, I am a trainer. Its NUTS!
That's pretty much been all that's happened this week. Transfers. Things have been crazy around here. We have been moving people around, doing tons of cleaning and organizing and getting ready, all on top of still keeping up with the two areas. Sister Nyambita, Sister Graves, and I are all training brand new sisters. ( I think they saw how hard we worked this last transfer and realized we could handle it) None of us know who they are yet. All we know is that they are new. We are driving to Gabs as soon as we finish emailing and we will be there til Wednesday. I am staying in Monarch which I am so excited for, Sister Graves is going back to Francistown, and we aren't sure where Sister Nyambita is going yet. We are pretty sure she is opening an area though. Molepolole (a village near Gabs) is opening to sisters for the first time ever! And we think she and her greenie will be opening it. Half of our Zone is being transferred actually. There are tons of huge changes happening. Its all really exciting. The work in Botswana is definitely moving forward.

Honestly I can't really think of much else to say about this week. Transfers have pretty much taken over our lives this week. The work is still going well. I am still in love with Monarch and the people here. I am so excited to be staying here for at least another 3 months (that's how long the training program is). I'm a little nervous to be taking over the area without someone here who knows the area better than I do. Its going to be a real test of faith. I'm going to have to be relying on the spirit a lot more than I have been. That will definitely be good for me. It will be good for my new companion too. But it definitely won't be easy.

Well I know this email was really short. Sorry about that. But this is about everything that's been going on! I love Botswana with all my heart. I'm so blessed to be here

My favorite scripture of the week is 3 Nephi 17:3. After Christ has just been teaching the Nephites he tells them to go pray about the message. Even Christ didn't want the people to take his word for it. He told them to pray about it. It just shows me how important it is to gain a personal witness.

Well I love you lots and I'll talk to you next week!
Love, Sister Gehring

Monday, August 12, 2013

Working Hard!

Dear family,
First of all, I have a couple additions to my "You know you're a missionary when..." List

You know you're a missionary when:
-You spend 20 minutes in the evening with your companions trying to figure out which investigators and members would be good eternal companions
- You have dreams about the people in the pictures from the General Conference Liahona
-You cry when the less-active you are working with finally comes to church
-You have a scripture or hymn for any situation
-You write a poem entitled "Oh To Be In Pants Again" (Its still a work in progress. I'll send it once its perfected)
Well Hello again! Time is FLYING. I've already been up here in f-town for almost a whole transfer! I can't believe it. But its been my favorite time of my mission so far. I absolutely love it up here. I loved Gabs but there is just something special about it here.

This week was full of hard work and hard lessons. But also a lot of really great lessons both learned and taught. Elder Renlund of the 70 was here this week and we as missionaries had a big meeting with him. Him and President Wilson both spoke to us and I learned a LOT. I won't go into most of it but there is one particular lesson that stuck out to me a lot. He was giving us advise on how to keep a positive attitude even when times are hard. He reminded us of the pre-existence. Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ laid out a perfect plan for us. They then taught us about the plan perfectly. So the perfect plan was taught to us by the perfect teachers. And still 1/3 of the hosts of heaven chose to not follow. He told us to remember this when we start to get discouraged about people not progressing or people not keeping commitments, etc. If the perfect companionship (Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ) lost a third of their "investigators", I as a human and imperfect teacher, can't give myself a hard time when people choose to not accept the gospel. I need to do my best to help as many people as I can but I can't beat myself up about it when people choose differently. It was a real eye opener. And a real encouragement after the aforementioned hard lessons. This week we taught a lot of people who have very strong beliefs in things that are just simply not true. And despite our best efforts to help them understand the truth, not much progress was made. It's frustrating beyond belief but I am trying to stay positive. The council from Elder Renlund definitely helped.

But we also taught some pretty incredible people too. Ishmael Adam is still doing great. We found out this week that there are some issues that are going to prevent him from being baptized as soon as we thought but he is doing fantastic at working through them. He just gets it. He sees the blessings that the gospel is bringing into his life and he is holding fast to that. Every time we see him, at least once in a lesson he gets this look in his eyes that just shows he understands. I can't really describe it. Anybody who has served a mission knows what I'm talking about. The moment when a principle of the gospel just clicks in someone is incredible. And it happens with him all the time. He's just incredible.

One of the other great lessons was with Tshepi. He is a 14 year old boy who is the only active member in his family. A few others in his family are members but he is the only one who comes to church. So we go and visit him to give him encouragement. Well a few Sundays ago he got to pass the sacrament. I don't think I have ever seen someone so excited and so proud to be fulfilling his priesthood duty. We met with him this week and asked how he felt while he was passing the sacrament he said "It felt GREAT!" So much love and excitement for the gospel in someone in such a tough situation is inspiring.

Another happy moment was something I mentioned in my list. Setlalekgosi came to church!!!!!!!!! He is a less active that we have been working with for a long time. And he finally came!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess there isn't much else to say about it but I'm just excited so I want to tell the world.
Also I have an update on Morati! The 8 year old girl who came to church on her own. Well we went to her house this week and next week we have an appointment to teach her entire family! We are praying something comes of it.

Another pretty cool thing this week is that one of the APs told our district leader to congratulate us (our companionship). He said that as of this transfer, we are the hardest working sisters in the whole mission. It was just nice to hear it from one of our leaders that our hard work hasn't gone unnoticed.

Well that's about it for this week. Lots of missionary work and not a whole lot of anything else. My favorite scripture of the week was Helaman 10:4-5. It gave me a pick me up that if I work hard ill be blessed.

I love you lots and lots.
Love, Sister Gehring
p.s. I still don't have residency but I got a 90 day extension!!! So I'm safe for at least another 3 months. Thank you for the fasting and prayers.
Last P-day we had a contest who could jump the highest on the mini trampoline. I won!
We each have a different color scarf. We wore them all on the same day to match. It was pretty cute. But, who says the pictures have to be cute. Right?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Walking in Sunlight

Dumela everyone!
So you know the song Walking in Sunlight? It was on the EFY cd from the year I went. So 2010 I think. Well that song is our go-to happy song. Whenever something really great happens and we are just in a really fantastic mood and we feel like singing, this is the song we play. This week we played that song a LOT. That describes this week pretty well. And it wasn't even like we had a whole lot of overly-fabulous things happened, but we just had a lot of small happy uplifting moments. So I'd say this was definitely a great week.

There were three people in particular that we taught that put us in our "Walking in Sunlight" mood. The first one was Ishmael Adam. He's a man we have been teaching even since I got here in Monarch. He's just got this quiet powerful spirit to him. I can't really describe it. You can just see how the gospel has changed him. This week he even told us that he feels like a different person and he has this thing in his heart that makes him happy whenever he thinks about the gospel. We explained that that was the Holy Ghost and he asked us if there was any way he could have that feeling all the time. When we told him about the Gift of the Holy Ghost he was so excited. He is getting baptized on the 31st of this month.

The other man was Godfree. He had been taught by the missionaries three years ago but they dropped him cause he wasn't committed. Since they stopped visiting, he has been going to church every week with his wife (who is a member). We didn't realize he wasn't a member till last week when he asked if he could be baptized. (Same guy I told you about last week) Well we taught him this week and he is golden. The past three years have completely prepared him to be taught again. He already has a testimony about the Book of Mormon and the Church and everything. He just needs to go through the lessons. He's getting baptized on the 31st of this month also.

The third person is a little 8 year old girl named Morati. She stays in Phase 6 which is an area we work in a lot, so she's seen us around. A few weeks ago she stopped us and asked "Are you preaching the word of God?" She is just so cute and innocent. We told her yes and she asked if she could visit us at our church. We told her of course, gave her directions and told her to bring her whole family (honestly not thinking anything would come of it). Well since then we have seen her around a few more times and every time she tells us that she is trying to get her family to come to church but they won't. She was so upset about it. We saw her again this Saturday and she told us that if her family still wouldn't come she would come by herself. Well when we got to church the next day... There she was! Morati came to church! All by herself! She kept telling us how much she loved it and how happy she was. She told us that she was going to come every week now and I believe it. That little girl has more conviction than a lot of the people we meet. It is incredible. We got her plot number so we are going to visit her whole family this week. We'll see how it goes!

So those were just a few of the happy mood makers for this week. There were a lot of others but those were the big ones. There were a lot of funny moments this week too but all of a sudden I'm blanking on all of them... Sorry about that. I'll have to write them down next time...

A fun things though this week was that we got to do some walking!!! I love walking but normally we aren't allowed. We are supposed to stay within sight of our car at all times just so we are safe. But this week we got permission to walk! Just for a couple hours but it was still way fun.
Another fun moment was our Happy-4-month-movie-party! Last night Sister Wiscombe and Sister Viki came over and we watched a movie! We watched Pass to Zarahemla or something like that. It was supper cheesy and kind of weird but it was fun to hang out with them to celebrate Sister Graves, Sister Nyambita, and my 4 month mark. I can't believe its already been that long! I guess its really not. I still have 14 to go but still. Time is flying! Fast! Sometimes I miss Botswana already. I know that sounds weird. But I think about the fact that eventually I'm going to have to leave and it makes me really sad. I know I'm still pretty fresh on mission and I have a long ways to go but I already don't want this time to end. The thought of it makes me feel sick... I'm glad I still have a long time left.

My favorite scripture of the week was Alma 58: 10-11. It just shows that Heavenly Father doesn't always answer prayers the way we necessarily want. Sometimes the answer is going to be that we just need to calm down and trust that God is going to make things ok.

Well I love you lotsa! Take care.

Love as always,
Sister Gehring
Happy 4 months!
Movie party with Sister Wiscombe and Sister Vuki.
Walking day! Despite my facial expression I really did enjoy it quite a lot!
More from our walking day. It was super duper mooper smooper windy. Also the background is pretty much what all of Botswana looks like. So if I ever mention "the bush" it basically means the wilderness. And this is what it looks like. Lots of it. This is Botswana.

This is a normal sight here. I'm convinced Ill be able to do this by the time I go home.

My companion Sister Nyambita getting her hair braided.