Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Botswana!

Dear Family,
First of all, Happy Birthday to Botswana! Its Botswana independence day today. A.K.A. Everybodyleavetownandgototheirhomevillageandcloseeverystoreinthewholecityandleavethemissionarieswithnothingtodo day!!! Its pretty wonderful. Luckily Sparks, the guy who owns the email shop we go to, makes a pretty huge profit from the missionaries emailing in his shop every Monday so he opened just for us today. It was very nice of him.
Other than the fact that by the end of the week pretty much everyone was gone, this was a great week. To start it off, all the missionaries got to go to Tatebane last p-day. Its a private game reserve about 45 minutes outside of Francistown. It was way fun to be able to just have a break. We got to do some hiking and just hanging out in the outdoors. It was really fun. We didn't see too many animals but we saw enough to make it really cool. we saw a few zebras, a huge lizard. some impala, an ostrich, a gemsbok, and... A GIRAFFE!!! That was my favorite part. It just walked right past our car!
The missionary work this week was good too. We did a lot of teaching again. We are definitely getting better at teaching as a unified companionship. Its amazing how much better things flow and how much better our investigators progress when we teach well together. It is even helping us in other things. Its helping us receive more inspiration on what to teach and how to teach it. An example of that happened yesterday at church. It was our turn to teach gospel principles and the topic was prayer. We prayed to know how we should teach it and what we should talk about. We had the idea to use the suggestion in the gospel principles book and divide the class into small groups and have them teach the different topics. It was a huge success. It was so cool to see the recently baptized members and the investigators work together to teach one of the best lessons about prayer I have ever heard. We didn't even teach! But because we were unified and we prayed together, we were able to help those people so much more than we would have if we just taught the lesson. In fact, Brother Emmanuel, a recent convert, came up to me at the end of the lesson and was so excited. He and Adam (the one we are teaching) were partners and they taught about when we can pray. He said that he had always been confused about what it meant to pray always. But after he did this activity, it finally made sense. It was so cool to see the understanding in him.
We also had a couple great lessons with Adam. He is still progressing really well and every time we see him we can tell his testimony is growing. At first we thought it was a huge bummer that we had to move his baptism but the more we teach him, the more we are understanding that everything happens for a reason. Hidden underneath his main concern about his baptism were a lot of other little concerns that he has been having. As we have talked with him we have gotten to the bottom of a lot of them and helped him see how much God loves him. In particular he was wondering why things have gotten so much harder for him now that he is trying his hardest to keep the commandments. We compared him to a star soccer player (he played soccer when he was younger). We asked him who the opposing team focuses most on. They always focus efforts on trying to stop the star player. But does the star player give up at that point? No. He tries harder. He does everything he can to score a goal. Sometimes they do block him. But that doesn't mean he quits the game. He tries again. He gets back up. And when he scores, he doesn't stop there either. He works to score another one after that... After we shared that analogy with him you could tell things just clicked for him. "Me I think I'll score a goal very soon" is what he said. I am really proud of him for keeping strong when his life is so hard right now.
My favorite scripture for the week is actually something in all 4 gospels. In Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, and John 19:30. These are the verses that describe the death of Christ. Why would I pick these for my favorite verses of the week? Well here's why. Because in each of them it distinctly says that he either yielded up the ghost or he gave up the ghost. Christ's life wasn't taken. He gave it up of his own free will. He absolutely had the power to stop all of it from happening. But he didn't. He gave up his life. It just makes his death so much more meaningful to me to realize that it wasn't taken. But instead, it was given. Its something that I never realized before but now I really appreciate a lot more.
Well I love you so much. I hope you all have a great week!
Lots of love,
Sister Gehring
Dikeledi, Gasitsiwe (The YW President and cousin of Gosego), Gosego, and me.
The awesome view at Tatebane, the game reserve we went to last P-day.

We didn't see many animals, but we did see a few!
Dikeledi and Me at her baptism on 14 September 2013.

Gosego and Me at her baptism on 14 September 2013.

Sister Graves and me climbing this huge tree inTatebane.

As we were driving out we saw a giraffe. This is the best picture I could gt of it. I could see it really well, but it was too dark to get a good picture. It was probably the coolest thing ever though. I saw a giraffe in the wild!!!!!

We made prayer rocks with Dikeledi and her sister Chezda (who is investigating the church). It was lots of fun.
The whole gang.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Teaching til we can't teach no more!

Hello hello hello!
Well this was another incredible week in good ol' Botswana. Not a whole lot happened other than an incredible amount of teaching. Its such a testimony builder to me that if we push through the hard weeks, Heavenly Father will bless us. After the really hard time we had a few weeks ago things have definitely picked up. Only a couple appointments every day fell through and we had a couple days where not a single person canceled. If you have ever been a missionary you'll know how miraculous that is.
Really not much else happened. I have been racking my brain to try to think about funny or interesting things that happened this week and I just cant think of any. We just taught all day every day. I'm exhausted from it but its the best tired I've ever been! I am just really happy about it.
We did have a bit of a scary experience this week though. We found out that a family we just started teaching are all actually convicted criminals who have targeted LDS missionaries in the past. They act interested and let the missionaries come. Then during a lesson they'll steal everything they have. And in some cases they assault them. Luckily before a anything happened to us, a member saw us at their house and warned us. They wait to do it till all the previous missionaries have gone so the new ones are clueless again. But they they target other people also. I'm just so grateful that nothing happened. Once again it just makes me realize how much Heavenly Father is watching out for me.
A kind of hard thing this week was that we had to cancel Adam's baptism. He was scheduled to be baptized this coming Saturday but now we aren't sure when he'll be baptized. Its not that he did anything wrong. He is still doing great. He told us that he loves the church, knows its true and he never wants to leave it. But he doesn't feel like he is ready to be baptized. We found out that he and his wife are getting a divorce. I won't get into all the details but basically to put it like they did... "There is no peace in the home" . Adam understands that baptism is a huge commitment and that it is a serious covenant so he told us that he wants to wait till the divorce is cleared before he enters that covenant. So that was hard. We want to see him baptized because we know how much of a blessing it would be but we need to respect his agency. Luckily he is still completely committed to the church and he will still be able to progress.
Well that is about all for this week. Just a great week full great things. Sister Scott and I have been really working on improving our companionship unity and teaching according to the spirit. Not teaching routine memorized lessons but really teaching according to the promptings of the spirit. It has helped so much. Not only have we been teaching more, but the quality of our teaching has improved so much. And we have been able to see how many blessings are coming from that. My testimony has grown too. As I have testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and other gospel principles, I can feel the spirit testifying of what I am saying. It then helps me know that what I am teaching really is true. This really is the true church. There is just no way it couldn't be. I don't say any of this to try and say I am this amazing missionary. I have a whole lot I need to improve on. But I just say it to show how much Heavenly Father truly does take care of His missionaries.
My favorite scripture of the week is Abraham 2:16. It made me want to make eternity my covering, my rock, and my salvation as well. It just really hit me how having an eternal perspective really will make a difference.
Well I love you so much. Take care and have a wonderful week!!
Love, Sister Gehring 


Monday, September 16, 2013

The Story of the Rats...

Dumela family!

 I just want to start off by saying that this was a MUCH better week so thank you so much for the prayers. They surely did help.

 This week was not super eventful but it was very good. We were finally able to teach a lot of lessons again and Gosego and Dikeledi got baptized!!!!! (the computer I'm on is pretty slow so I'll try to send the pictures next week) The baptism was so great. 4 people were baptized and they were all so excited. I never really know what to say about baptisms other than that they are great. Its just so cool to see people you love so much receive those saving ordinances. It really does bring joy.

 Other than that there really weren't too many other notable things. I did have few interesting lessons this week though. One in particular I think you'd get a kick out of.

So here it is.

The story of the rats: Once upon a time we were teaching a less active guy named Bryson. He lives in an area where we actually technically aren't supposed to go cause its completely surrounded by super sketchy bars. Plus its just super run down anyways. But its for the cause of the gospel so we went anyways. So we were in his front room. I was on one chair with my back to the fireplace and my companion was on a chair across from me and he was on the couch between us  (don't worry. there was a woman in the house). I was going along with the lesson and it was all fine and dandy when all of a sudden Sister Scott got this look of terror on her face. Seriously I thought someone was standing behind me with an ax or something. But I just continued on. The whole rest of the lesson my companion just sat there in silence with a look of death on her face and I had to teach by myself. So we ended things and my companion booked it out of there. We got back in the car and I asked her what the heck happened. Well turns out the whole time I was teaching, rats were pouring out of the fireplace behind me. She said she counted like 30 or more of them. They were running around behind me and between the legs of my chair. And I was completely oblivious. But that's probably for the better. I don't know how well I would have handled that.

 That really is about all the noteworthy things that happened this week. We just taught a lot. It was great actually. Our investigators are still doing great and Sister Scott is still doing great. One thing that we have been doing this week and I plan on continuing for the rest of mission is something that President Wilson suggested we do. Every day we look back on what happened and write down at least one way the spirit guided us. It really puts things into perspective. It makes us realize how much the Lord truly is in charge of the work. At first it was kind of hard to pin-point specific things but the more we do it the more easy it is to recognize the help we receive.

 One miracle that happened this week is that I was able to use the Bible to answer a woman's questions. I know that might not sound miraculous but it was. I don't know the Bible very well. At all. But somehow this week in a lesson we were teaching, I kept being able to pull out these scriptures that answered her questions exactly. I had no idea where they were coming from! And even crazier, I can't find them again. It was amazing to see how I could be helped so much in a situation where I really needed it.

My favorite scripture from the week is Matthew 10:34. I liked it because it showed me that while Christ was and is the prince of peace, he also came to shake things up. I hope that makes sense...

Well  love you all so much. Botswana is treating me well and I come to love it more and more every day. (even if its starting to get so hot its hard to breathe)

 Have a great week!
Love, Sister Gehring


Monday, September 9, 2013

Kind of a hard week

Well hello again!

 I'm just going to start off by apologizing that this email is going to be pretty short. The computer in the internet cafĂ© I'm in is not working very well and the keyboard is terrible. So I'll keep this short.

 Well like I said it was sort of a rough week. Like 70% of our lessons fell through, and we did a lot of unsuccessful tracting. Plus this week its felt like we are not making the kind of difference we need to make. I don't really know how to explain it. Its like the group needs us to be there to strengthen it, our investigators need us to be there to strengthen them, the less-actives need us to be there to strengthen them. We are running out of strength. We have been fasting and praying and not much is changing. In fact this week it kind of feels like we are getting in farther and farther over our heads. This week has been a pretty big trial of my faith. I'm trying really hard to not get discouraged but its pretty rough.

 It wasn't all bad though. I finished the Book of Mormon and was able to feel the truthfulness of it all over again. If there is anyone who is reading this who has not read the Book of Mormon, you really should. It truly can answer any question you will ever have, it will help you get through any trial, it will give you strength when you don't have any and it will bring you greater peace than anything else can. It is true.

 Also this week we had interviews with President Wilson. He gave me some pretty great advice and encouragement. It was really helpful.

 Other than that really not much happened though. I spoke in sacrament meeting about service, My companion and I had to take over primary cause only like 32 people weren't church on Sunday and none of them would help out. A few of our investigators are still doing great! Adam, Gosego, and Dikeledi are all getting baptized in the next few weeks. So I'm excited about that.

 My favorite scripture this week was Alma 37: 6-7. That might have been my favorite a few weeks ago too. I can't remember. But it just helped me realize that no matter how small of a difference I feel like I'm making, its still valuable to God.

 Well I can't stand this keyboard anymore. Sorry this was so short. It was a rough week but I'm doing ok. P-day is definitely greatly welcomed and I'm looking forward to a better upcoming week!

 Lots of love,
Sister Gehring

Monday, September 2, 2013

Finding joy in the work

Dumela err'one!

 What a week its been! The most exciting things that happened this week was that Isago and Derby were baptized! They are such wonderful kids. When Elder Ngubane interviewed them he told us that he could tell that they just have this light about them. Its so true. People who have found the gospel truly do have a light in their countenance that you can't have any other way.

 So that was the main exciting thing this week. We had a lot of really funny moments this week too. I'll list a few:

 - For zone meeting our zone leaders had tied scripture references to the legs of a bunch of chickens. Our job was to work as a companionship to catch as many as we could and figure out how the scripture related to companionship unity. It was hilarious. Please be proud. I caught a little chicken and a huge rooster.

- We had an appointment to visit a member's home this week but we had never been there before. So we found it on a map and got there without any troubles. We knocked on the door and a lady answered that we didn't recognize but she welcomed us in like she was expecting us and invited us to sit down and wait. We figured it was just a relative or something and we were waiting for the member to get home or something. After about 5 minutes or so I asked her if Brother Nicolas was coming. "No he lives in the house next to us". Yea. We went to the wrong house. As soon as we got out of the door Sister Scott and I just lost it. We were laughing so hard.

 - The last one I'll talk about was at Adam's house. (p.s. he finally quit smoking!!! He can be baptized at the end of the month!!!!!!!) So at the end of the lesson we asked him if there was anything we could do to help his family. He asked what kinds of things we meant. We told him we could help with dishes or sweeping or washing or anything he needed help with. Then he just started laughing hysterically! The thought of missionaries doing those kinds of things was soo funny to him! And his laughing made me and Sister Scott laugh too. So for probably a full 2 or 3 minutes we just sat there laughing. Adam laughed till he cried in fact. We decided to just close with a prayer in hopes that would calm us down. It sort of did but a couple times in the middle of the prayer he just giggled again. It was so funny. Then as we were walking away we could hear him just keep chuckling. It was just so funny.

 On top of the funny moments this week we had a lot of spiritual moments too. A lady the elders tracted into (who they referred to us to teach)  who said she hates churches and doesn't think God is there came to church and said she felt like something was inside her growing and making her happy in a way she's never felt. We tracted into some miracle people who have obviously been prepared for the gospel. Prayers have been answered in ways I didn't think they would be. And this whole week I have just had this feeling that Heavenly Father is proud of the work we are doing for Monarch and because we have been doing our best, he is preparing exciting things for our path. Its just been a really great week.

 My favorite scripture of the week was Mormon 5: 17-18. The contrast between the way the Christ leads and the way Satan leads is huge. I think I'll stick with Christ as my leader.

 Well I'm about out of time. Thank you again for he prayers. I know I say that every week but its as true today as it is every other week. I love you!

 Love, Sister Gehring
ISAGO AND DERBY GOT BAPTIZED! Derby is the taller one. He is 13. Isago is the shorter one. She is 9. 

This is us all with their mom Pontsho. 
Derby, Pontsho, Isago----- Pretty much the cutest family ever!
President Billy Mabote ( the group leader), Elder Ngubane, Derby, Pontsho, Isago, Elder Stegelmeier, me, Sister Scott, Sister Graves, Sister Lyon.