Monday, October 6, 2014

The Craziness Never Ends

Dear family,
I can't believe this is my last email I will ever write to you as a missionary!!! The time went too too fast. I'm pretty sure this is all a joke and when next week comes I'll just continue on with life as a missionary in Zambia. That would be nice. Do you remember that book about the mom sending her son on mission? I can't remember what it is called. But I remember one part when the son, who is about to finish his mission, asks ''Do I have to come home?'' That's kind of how I am feeling. I am so excited to come home and see you all again. But I am really really really sad to be leaving this place. I love Zambia.  I love the people here. I keep trying to figure out how to express that but everything I'm thinking of sounds so cliche for a missionary to say! But I guess things become cliche for a reason. Its because they are true! 

 
But just because I am remaining with only a week, that doesn't mean life as a missionary becomes any less hectic. And last week was a perfect example of that. 

 
On Tuesday, our entire district (4 elders and 3 sisters, plus the 2 senior sisters) didn't schedule appointments for the whole day. Instead we spent the entire day doing what we called ''mass contacting''. I forwarded a link to pictures. What we did was each of the companionships chose one or two of the busiest parts of their areas. Then all 9 missionaries went into the area and spent about an hour talking to EVERYONE. As many people as we could. Not to teach lessons or anything. Just to introduce the church, inviite them to learn more, etc. then we would move and do the same thing in the next area. The senior sisters stayed at a table and took people's info and the rest of us just talked to people. All day long. By the end of the day we figured out that we contacted over 700 people. It was so so good. A lot of people in Luanshya have either heard a lot of lies about the church or they have just never heard of the church. I think just that one day made a lot of difference. And we are planning on doing it again sometime soon. 
On Tuesday afternoon though, I got a call from the mission president. He called me to train yet another new missionary! So for my final week and a half, I get to be a trainer! Sister Solomone and Sister Hirwa had to go to Lusaka for immigration stuff this week so President told me to just go with them to pick up my new companion! 


So on Wednesday we took the 5 hour bus ride down to Lusaka. It was hot and smelly and squished but we survived. My new companion is awesome. Her name is Sister Phahlana. When I see you I'll tell you how to pronounce it. Its a Xhosa name and the ''hl'' makes a sound that we dont have in english. I dont know how to describe it in an email. But she is just on fire ready to get out there and serve. She was originally called to Zimbabwe but she is just in this mission while she waits for her visa. Im so excited to be finishing mission with her as my companion. But I feel like I don't have enough time with her! A week and a half is just long enough to get used to not being awkward around eachother! But its ok. The Lord know what is best. 

 
Then on Thursday we took the long ride back up to the copperbelt. Once again, hot, squished, and smelly. But we survived again. 

 
On Saturday we had a branch activity. It was a family fun day. and it was so much fun! We played a bunch of games like lombo and musical chairs and do you love your neighbor. We had relay races of balancing water on our heads, there was music and food and just lots of fun. I felt so bad though! Both Andrews took off work so they could come but they thought it started at 14hrs. but it actually started at 11hrs. So by the time they got there it was almost over. 

 
But it worked out. We were able to teach them a lesson instead. Both of them are still doing great. Especially the first Andrew. If all goes well he will be getting baptized on sunday!!! Any and all prayers for him would be great. I know he is ready for baptism but Satan seems to like snatching people at the last minute. I just keep praying he stays strong. I know he will. 

 
Then last night was wonderful, too. We had a sisters conference. All the sisters from the whole copperbelt all came over to our flat for dinner. Then we watched the general women's meeting. It was great to see everyone. We had a fun time. There were lots of laughs and the general women's meeting was an answer to a lot of people's prayers. 
Well, I guess this is it! The next time I talk to you it will be in person!!!! I just want to say thanks again for everything. As cliche as it sounds, this really has been the best 18 months. Im so sad to be leaving. It fact it breaks my heart and I get a pit in my stomach whenever I think about having to say goodbye to this place. But I am so excited to start my new journey with all the things I have learned. I love you all so much. This church is true. Missionary work is real. It changes lives. The saviour loves each of us. I know it with all of my heart. There is nothing on this earth that would change my mind. We are building the Lord's kingdom. 

 
With all my love forever,
Sister Gehring

Monday, September 29, 2014

Curve Balls

Dear Family,


Just when you think life can't throw you any more curve balls, one hits you straight in the face. This week was kind of like that. It was a great week but it was definitely not at all what I thought it would be.



It started off great. We had another powerful lesson with Andrew on tuesday. He is progressing so well still! But during his lesson we got a phone call from President Erickson saying that Sister Sempa was going home. He had been talking with her and her family and the Africa Southeast area offices of the church, and under the direction of the Lord it was decided that Sister Sempa should return home. It was hard news but I know its for the best. Im just sad to see her go so soon.


Then on Wednesday we were on exchanges. So I got to be companions with Sister lyon for the day! It was so cool to see her again. Sister Lyon and I have been serving together for a long time. We lived next to each other in Botswana for 3 months and then we lived together in the same flat for almost 8 months in Lusaka. We spent a large part of the day trying to track down members that nobody knows where they are now. We didn't find any of the members but a lot of the people who now stay at their old homes let us in to teach them! So that was pretty exciting.



Then on Thursday first thing in the morning we went to a funeral of the father of one of the members. Funerals here are so sad. People mourn like I have never seen before. Literally weeping and wailing and fainting and falling. It hard to see people so sad. But it makes me grateful for the knowledge we have of the plan of salvation. We had to leave the funeral early though so we could take Sister Sempa to the bus stop. She left on a bus to Lusaka and then she flew home on Friday. I got word that she made it home safely so that's good. Since Sister Sempa has gone home I'm now in a 3-some companionship with Sister Hirwa and Sister Solomone. Its so great to be with Sister Hirwa again! And Sister Solomone is awesome too. I think we will be together till I go home.



Friday was Michael's birthday (a member in Luanshya)! He came teaching with us the entire day! It was fun to be with him and celebrate by teaching!



Then on Saturday we had probably the best lesson of my entire mission. We had an appointment with this guy the other sisters had been teaching but when we got there he told the kids to come tell us he wasn't home. We knew he was lying but we just said ok. Then one of the kids said ''You can just teach us!" So we thought, why not?? So the little boy, Crispin, called over his brother, MacLeon, and we had a lesson with them! (both of them are 6 years old). It was the most hilarious lesson of my life! The kids are smart. Like really smart. They understood everything we taught. But they are 6 year old boys. They asked the funnest questions and said the funniest things. The entire time I was wishing I had it all on video. It was the best!!! Little kids are the greatest!!!



Sunday was good too. Andrew came to church again and brought his best friend Andrew! then 3 other people we invited also came to church! Me, Sister Hirwa, and Sister Solomone ended up teaching the last hour of primary. Primary here is different than at home. The branch is so small there are only about 10-15 ids in primary total. ages 2-11. By the time we got there they had already done the lesson so we just sang songs and played games with them. once again, little kids are the greatest! I loved being in there with them. Then we had a lesson with both Andrews after church. Andrew (the one we have been teaching) was answering all the questions his friend was asking like he's been a member for years! Im so excited for this guy! I pray every single day that ill be able to be here for his baptism! He works a lot so its hard to see him very often and on top of that we are working 2 areas now that Im with the other sisters so there is even less time to see him. But we are going to do the best we can.



Then today was great too. We went to Kitwe. Its a town about 40 mins from Luanshya. Its still in the copperbelt though. We saw the other missionaries, we got some ice cream, we did some souvenir shopping, we had some fun... we just had a really awesome day! Thats why Im emailing so late today.



So yea... life is good but its crazy. Lots happened this week! Nothing ever goes as planned on mission. Im guessing thats just how life is too. These next two weeks are going to be busy! We are working 2 areas now so there is no time to waste! Which is good. I literally can't afford to slack off on my last weeks! Im glad for it.



I can't believe my time is almost up! This is my 2nd to last email ever as a missionary! It doesn't seem real!



Well, I love you so much! Have a great week!



Love, Sister Gehring
Lusaka goodbyes!
 

Lusaka goodbyes!
 

Lusaka goodbyes!
 

More goodbyes
 


Lusaka district!!

More goodbyes
 

More goodbyes

even more goodbyes! I really miss Lusaka sometimes...
 

even more goodbyes! I really miss Lusaka sometimes...
 

even more goodbyes! I really miss Lusaka sometimes...
 

Lots of goodbyes
 

Goodbye to the missionaries. That part is really hard too. 
 

Goodbye to the missionaries. That part is really hard too. 
 

Lots of goodbyes
 

Goodbye to the missionaries. That part is really hard too. 
 

Lots of goodbyes
 

Goodbye to the girls... probably the hardest part.
 

Goodbye to the girls... probably the hardest part.
 

The Luanshya meeting house! Its in the 2nd floor of an old furniture warehouse. But its dedicated to the Lord so its a Holy Place!

Me, Sister Sempa (who is now back home in Uganda), Sister Mudenda (who has gone to serve in Uganda), Sister Hirwa, and Sister Solomone

Me and Sister Sempa
 

Deepa, our neighbour/ investigator. We threw a surprise birthday part for her. She's pretty great.

Once upon a time I was walking along a dirt road in Ndeke (one of our areas). I was looking for a house number so I wasn't watching where I was going. Then I fell. The end.

Once upon another time we were buying some vegetables at a street market. I saw a fruit that I had never seen before so I asked what it was. the lady just said ''2 kwacha! 2 kwacha!! It tastes nice! 2 kwacha!'' So I bought it for 2 kwacha (which is like 50 cents). First of all, I had to smash it on the cement just to get it open- thats how hard it was. Then when I looked inside, this is what I found. And if you can believe it, it tasted even worse than it looks. NEVER BUY 2 KWACHA MYSTERY FRUIT!!
 

I got to see Sister Lyon in the copperbelt!!! 

Im mastering the art of ''pondering''

Goodbye to Sister Sempa... its sad to see her go so soon.
 

Michael Kanyesha and us! He is a member in the branch that comes teaching with us all the time. It was his birthday an he still came teaching with us the whole day. He's the best!

Crispin and MacLeon. CUTEST BOYS EVER. Their facial expressions pretty accurately describe their personalities.

Sunday dinner picnic on the floor! Just like home!
 
 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Im out of ideas for subject lines

Dear family,
I always have a hard time knowing how to start my emails. I feel like I always have a lot to say but I usually sit here for like 5 minutes just looking at the screen trying to figure out where to begin.

 
But I guess today I'll begin with a joke.
Who is a penguin's favourite auntie?
...
...
...
Aunt- Arctica!!! hahahaha
 
Ok just kidding. I know it wasn't that funny. But someone told it to us this week so I thought I'd share.

 
Anyways, this week was pretty cool. The highlight of the week was Andrew! He's the one I told you about last week. He is progressing so so well! We taught him the plan of salvation and after the lesson he texted us and said ''I just want to thank you for the words you shared. The words have touched me. You don't know what you have done in my life. God bless you''. We also gave him the restoration pamphlet during that lesson and asked him to read it before the next lesson. And he did! Actually he did more than read- he took detailed notes! When we asked him what he learned, he taught us perfectly, in great detail, the entire restoration of the gospel. Everything from Christ establishing his church, to the priesthood, to the apostacy, to Joseph Smith... everything! This guy is seriously just awesome. Then we invited him to a branch fireside on Saturday and told him he could even bring a friend. And guess what.. he did both!! Then they both came to church on Sunday!!! Andrew is on date to be baptized on 5 October and we are starting to teach his friend this week.

 
I love seeing people like Andrew who understand the gospel and act upon it. We are teaching another guy who is the opposite. He understands everything we teach but he refuses to change or act upon the message. Its so frustrating!

 
I think the biggest lesson I learned this week was about prayer and how powerful it is. I read an article in the Liahona  about a boy who invited his friend to church but the friend wasnt sure if he could come. So the boy prayed with all his heart that his friend would come. And then he did! It was meant for kids I think but it really touched me. I decided to try the same thing with Andrew. We had invited him to the fireside but he wasn't sure if he was going to make it because he thought he might have to work. I prayed so hard that he would come. I seriously put my whole heart into it. And I put as much sincerity as I could with as much faith as I could muster. and the prayer was answered. It might seem like a small thing but it was a big moment for me.

 
But it wasn't just with Andrew that my prayers have been answered. With Sister Sempa struggling so much (she was having a hard time again this week), I have had to rely a LOT on prayer. Because Heavenly Father is the only one who fully understands the situation. I have asked Him to give me the right words to say, and He has. I have asked Him to comfort Sister Sempa, and He has. I have asked Him to help me be strong, and He has. These past few weeks have made me realize just how aware God is of us. Its hard to explain everything I am feeling and learning here. Impossible actually. Its just the best.


One fun thing of the week is that I was given a Bemba name! We met a lady who told us to call her Auntie Jenny (yes I did tell her that I have an Aunt Jenny at home). When I told her my name she couldnt pronounce it. So she gave me a Bemba one! My Bemba name is Mapalo. It means blessings. Bemba is a pretty cool language.


Well thats about all I have this week. Sorry I didn't send pictures again. The computers here are just too slow. So I might not get to again before I come home. After this I only have 2 more P-days. CRAZY!!!!!


 I love you all! have a happy week!
Love, Sister Gehring

Monday, September 15, 2014

The field is white

Dear family,
This week has been pretty awesome. I don't think I have ever met so many prepared people! The lord is blessing us! here are just a few of the awesome people we have met/taught this week.
 
1. Andrew. We just contacted him on the street and gave him a pass along card. It had some questions on the back like ''What is my purpose in life?'' ''What happens to us when we die?'' etc. He seemed interested but only slightly. But he agreed to let us go see him. When we got to his house he'd read and pondered about the pass along card! He'd gone over the questions and pondered the answers. We asked him how he felt about them or if he had any questions. He said ''Well I don't want to preach to you guys but can I tell you what my thoughts are about our life after death?'' Of course we told him yes so he went on, ''I know that we are made up of 2 things- and spirit and a physical body. When we die our body stays here and our spirit goes to a place. Something like a spirit world. I think there are probably 2 divisions of the spirit world. A happy place- sort of like a paradise- for the good people. And a hell type place- something more like a prison- for the bad place. But we don't stay there forever. We are just waiting there till Christ comes again. And when he comes again, all of us will be resurrected. I'm not sure what comes after that. But thats what I know. But Im' worried. I'm afraid of going to that prison place. How can I prepare myself to meet God again?'' I'm pretty sure I didn't speak for a long time after he stopped talking. HOW THE HECK DID HE KNOW ALL THAT??? That was like straight out of the Book of Mormon!!! He's never been taught before, we didn't give him a plan or salvation pamphlet or anything. He's just so so so prepared!!!! We are so excited to keep teaching him. He is one of the most golden people we have ever talked to. It was incredible!
 
2. Barbra. We met her last week but we were finally able to see her on Tuesday. She was another one that didn't seem initially too interested but she let us come. We started talking to her and trying to get to know her a little. She wasn't being too responsive though. She was nice but we weren't really being able to discern what we should teach. But then she said that she wanted to better understand her relationship with Christ. That morning during personal study I'd read Alma chapter 7. We hadn't introduced the Book of Mormon yet but I felt prompted to share that with her. So we did. Me and sister Sempa both noticed it- as she read the verses about the Atonement, this peaceful smile slowly came on her face. She still didn't say much but you could tell the spirit was working with her. After that, Sister Sempa explained that to thank Jesus Christ, we can be baptized to show we want to follow him. She accepted a baptismal date in October and she was even happier after that. She is married with 6 kids and the next time we go we are planning on teaching the entire family!
 
3. Haanamwiing. Yes that's really his name. I'm still struggling to pronounce it. But he is awesome too. The other sisters met him a while back but he stays in our area so we met him this week. We only got to spend about 10 minutes with him but just from that we can already tell he is so prepared. He belongs to a different church but he said he is putting the church ''on pause'' so he can look into other churches because he feels like his current church isn't practicing what they preach. But so far none of the other churches he has looked into satisfied what he is looking for. We are excited to go back and share the restoration with him. The true church is here!
 
4. Gift and Melvin. This one is bittersweet. We met them by a miracle. A few days ago a drunk guy called us over to him. Usually I avoid those situations but for some reason we decided to just go see what he wanted. Turns out he wanted us to ''share with him the word of God'' So we taught him a quick lesson and he even invited us to come to his home and meet his family. So on Sunday we went to go see him and he was drunk again. But there were some other guys at the house doing some reconstruction. We invited them to join and we taught the whole group. By the end of the lesson they all realized that their childhood baptisms weren't correct and they want to baptized by proper authority!! But here's the bittersweet part- they stay in another city... So sad! But the church is there and we gave their info to the other missionaries so hopefully they get baptized!
 
So yea, our whole week was filled with awesome moments like that. Sister Sempa is doing a lot better. Hard work- that's the cure for any missionary problems. When you work hard, the other stuff doesn't seem that bad.

Here's one other awesome moment. On Sunday I was asked to give a talk along with one other Sister missionary and 2 members. They told us to pray about it and decide for ourselves what to speak about. 3 out of the 4 of us (me, the other missionary, and one of the members) all were prompted to speak about overcoming trials. And several people came up to us afterward and told us how much they needed that message in their lives right now. The spirit really works!


WelI love you so much. have a great week! Talk to you next time!
Love, Sister Gehring


p.s. Sister Mudenda says hi.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Bring it on!!

Dear Family,

I've adopted a new motto that I'm going to apply to these last few weeks. It goes like this:

Bring it on!!!

Whatever challenge comes, whatever trials come, whatever anything-bring it on! I'm just going to take whatever comes and make the best of it for the little time that I have left. I'm determined to come home with no regrets and I'm going to make that happen.

Ok, I have a correction from last week. I told you that my new companion's name was sister Sbmpa and that no, in fact it wasn't spelled wrong. Well turns out it was. I spelled it the way my zone leaders told me but they got the name wrong from the APs. Her name is actually Sister Sempa. Much easier to say. She's from Uganda. She just turned 19 in the MTC. And she is probably the sweetest, most sincere, most humble person I have ever met. I really do just feel like her mother sometimes. I love her so so much. She is struggling to adjust to Zambia though. I feel so bad for her. I'm doing my best to help her but she's having a hard time. But I know she'll be ok. The best way to adjust is to just jump in head first. So that's what we are going for. When we are out working she seems to be happy. Its just when she has free time to think that she has a hard time. So we'll just keep working!

Luanshya is sooo different from Lusaka. On Wednesday morning we took the 6:00am bus from Lusaka to Luanshya. Even at 6:00am in Lusaka, the streets are just full of people. Its always busy and noisy and there are a lot of people. Luanshya is way smaller and quieter and a lot less populated. There are still a lot of people but not nearly as many as in Lusaka.

We stay in a flat with 3 other sisters. Sister Hirwa, Sister Mudinda, and Sister Solomone. Sister Hirwa is the sister I started training with Sister Vea a few months back, Sister Mudenda is a member from Lusaka that got called to Uganda but is serving here while she waits for her visa, and Sister Solomone is brand new from the MTC just like Sister Sempa. Our flat is so international! Sister Hirwa was born in Rwanda but grew up in South Africa, Sister Mudenda is Zambian, Sister Solomone is from Fiji but her family currently stays in Kiribati, Sister Sempa is Ugandan, and I'm from the US. I love being able to get to know people from places all over the world! I'll send pictures next week hopefully. The computer I'm using can't upload them.

The branch and the members here are amazing. And the work is on fire!! There are baptisms pretty much every week. TONS more people are willing to listen to us. We had more lessons and new investigators in the few days this week we were here than we would have in 2-3 weeks in Lusaka. Its so nice to actually be teaching again! I missed working like this. I'd missed people actually listening to us! The work here feels more like it did in Botswana. We are still trying to figure out the area and how to get everywhere but bring it on! We never get lost, we just go on adventures. The members are super helpful. They have
walked us around our area showing us where to go and how to get everywhere. Its been super nice.

Here's a funny from the week: The other sisters contacted a guy named Simeon who stays in our area so they gave us his name and address. They told us he was really nice and open to learning. I asked what church he goes to and they told us that he is Rastafarian... bring it on! So on Sunday after church a member showed us how to get there. We found the house pretty easily. Outside on the clothes line there was one of those beanie hats with Rasta colors and we heard reggae music playing. As we got closer we saw him with some friends laying under a tree. They were suuuuuper high. I felt like I was watching a Bob Marley movie or something! It was hard not to laugh. After talking to him briefly we decided to reschedule. After we left though, we all just cracked up. It will be very interesting to see if he goes anywhere in the gospel.

I really love it here. I feel like this is going to be a really great place for me to finish. I do miss Lusaka but I know Im supposed to be here. I love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Sister Gehring

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Only Constant Thing is Change

Dear family,

Well I'll start off today by telling the big news... I'm being transferred! It was super unexpected! Official transfers were a couple weeks ago and they told me I'd be staying in my area for another transfer (which is my last transfer). So I thought I'd be staying in Rhodes Park till I finish. But on Saturday night the elders came over and told me that I'm being transferred to Luanshya! Its a small town in the Copperbelt province. Its about 5 hrs north of here. I'll be opening a brand new area and... I'm training! My new comp is coming right from the MTC. She is from Uganda and her name is SIster Sbmpa. Nope I didn't spell it wrong. It just doesn't have any vowels. I'm going to have to ask her how to pronounce it. The adventures just keep rolling in. 

This is actually a huge answer to prayers. Lately I have been praying that the Lord will bless me with something that will help me stay strong and hardworking till I finish. And months ago I was praying that I'd be able to train right before I go home. But as the time went on I thought it just wasn't the Lord's will for me to train again. I thought the push I was praying for would just come in some other form. This was just a huge testimony booster that the Lord hears and answers prayers. In his own time and his own way but he definitely hears and answers. So if there is something you are praying for and it doesn't happen right away, don't get discouraged. Maybe its just not time yet. 

So I'll be taking a bus up to my new area on Wednesday mornning. And after that, who knows! Either way, it will be an adventure.Sister Fokoto and I are actually both being moved. She's going to a different part of the copperbelt. 2 other sisters are coming to replace us. Its going to make the time go so fast, though. First of all, time just goes fast. Then change also makes things go by fast. And to top it off, I'll be training. That makes time go super fast too. 

This past week was actually pretty great, too. I went on exchanges with Sister Lyon on wednesday! I have seen serving around her for over a year now and we had never been on exchanges! So it was cool to be with her. A miracle happened while I was with her! Do you remember John Mumba?  Well for a long time he had basically just disappeared off the face of the planet. On Wednesday we needed to drop something off at Michelo's house (who lives on the same street where John goes to school.) We were going to be there later in the day so we were just going to do it then but I had a prompting to go by a little bit earlier. So we decided to go then. Right as we turned onto the street, we saw John Mumba coming out of the gate of the school!! I pulled over really fast and we went to talk to him. Turns out he has been in the hospital for eye surgery, has been up and down from the copperbelt, and had just gotten back a couple days before we saw him. While he was in the hospital, one of his nurses saw him reading the Book of Mormon and she asked him where he got it. She is actually a member in another branch! He told her that as soon as he got out of the hospital he wants to be baptized! He even told us the same thing! While we were talking to him he said that he wants to be baptized ASAP! I'm pretty bummed I won't be able to see how he progresses from here but hopefully the sisters taking over our area will take good care of him. I have no doubt that that man will eventually be baptized. 

Other than that, we had a couple really awesome lessons. One with a less active family. We went in with a plan and ended up taking it a totally different direction as directed by the spirit and it went super well. Another with Michelo. We brough some members teaching with us and they helped her a lot to be able to resolve some concerns. So it was really good! Its amazing how much of a difference it makes when you have the spirit. 

Well, its going to be pretty hard saying bye to this place. I have been in Lusaka for a long time now. I've fallen in love with tthe branch and the members and the area and everything. Its definitely been the most challenging time of mission but I have grown and learned so much. I'm so glad I got to serve here. I'm excited for the next 6 weeks though. Time to finish strong!!

Have a great week! I love you!

Love, Sister Gehring

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventures in Missionary Land

Dear family,
Sister Fokoto and I have decided this week that there is no such thing as a problem or a challenge- instead, we have decided to look at every thing as an exciting new adventure. Whether that is 3 hours of tracting, or getting lost, or having plans change last minute, or whatever it may be. Its all just an adventure! Exciting and full of opportunities to laugh and learn. This change of perspective has been quite beneficial.

This past week, in fact, was full of adventure! It all started on Wednesday. For most of the day we went as a district to the distribution centre to help Grandma Teke again! We did it once when Sister Fokoto first got here. She needed more help so we went again. I got the job of scrubbing the plastic mats and sweeping the carpet. Yup- scrubbing the plastic and sweeping the carpet. I'm not sure how that makes sense but that's' how she wanted it done so I did it. I also helped Sister Fokoto dust and organize a few of the shelves. That's what she did most of the time. It took a while but everything looked really nice once we were finished.
 
Then that night was very adventurous. First of all, I tried to make brown sugar muffins. Way back when you sent me the recipe, I just took a picture of the email and when I made them the first time back in Francistown, I just used the picture. At some point I was copying the recipe from the camera to one of my planners. So I found the planner where I copied it and started baking. It wasn't till I got most of the way done that I realized that for some reason I can't remember, I only copied some of the recipe, not the whole thing. And I had already deleted the picture. So I thought to myself ''Well, I don't want to waste the ingredients I have already used, and I really want muffins... I know! Il'l just guess on the rest!'' So I added a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and a little bit of something else until it looked just right. Then, I baked it.... I learned a very valuable lesson that day- I  am very bad at guessing. The muffins turned out so disgusting. Somehow I managed to make them rock hard and foamy and spongy all at the same time. Plus they tasted super awkward. It was pretty sad.
 
But to make up for it, we, as a flat, did something very fun. Mattress surfing !! We got some new mattresses and they came in these thick plastic coverings which we discovered slide very nicely along our tile floors! We don't have stairs or anything but we pushed all the furniture to the sides of the front room and made a nice little runway. It was pretty silly but it was a great stress reliever. We had a lot of fun. Eventually we had to take the plastic off and use the mattresses for their proper purpose but for the 20 minutes while it lasted, it sure was nice.
 
Friday was an adventure too. They are finally paving the road that leads to our flat (which is long past due so we are glad its finally being done). But that means road construction... For a while, there were huge piles of dirt completely blocking the road leading to the flat. A worker directed us to use a back road. I thought our road was the back road but apparently the back road has a back road. So for the next 10 minutes we had to drive around the ''back roads'' trying to figure out how the heck to get to our flat. it was very exciting. And luckily we made it home with only minor emotional scarring.  Then when we finally made it back, there was a mound right in front of the gate. The workers then told us to just drive over it. We have a small car. It really doesn't like bumps. Lets just say it was a miracle the car was ok after that.


The next adventures were on Saturday. First of all, we were finally able to teach Oswald! Sort of... He is awesome and he has so so much potential but the problem is that he loves to talk. Which is not a bad thing at all but it makes it hard to teach. We'll be talking about the gospel and all of a sudden we are talking about something completely different. He is very willing to learn but we just need to figure out how to control the lesson so he can actually learn. So we finally saw him but we barely got to teach anything. But he came to church again! So that was really good. I have no doubt that he'll eventually be baptized. I just hope we can be able to teach him!
 
As we were coming out of Oswald's lesson, we got a call from one of the other companionships of sisters. One of them was having asthma attacks and she needed an inhaler asap. So we, as the ones with the car, went to go help them. We went and picked them up from their area way on the other side of town and began searching all over everywhere for a pharmacy that was open. At this point it was about 17:15. Most of the pharmacies closed at 17:00. So we desperately tried 3 different locations. Nothing was open. We called all the senior couples thinking maybe one of them knew of a 24hr place but still nothing. Until the Lord helped us with a tender mercy. We ran into a member at one of the shopping centres we were checking. We asked her if she knew of any 24hr pharmacies. She did! But we had no idea where it was. But it was in our Zone leader's area so we called them. And another miracle, they knew where it was! And they were free so they were able to take us there! (good thing too-it was in a super sketchy area). We found the place, it was open, they had the right kind of inhaler the sister needed, and we were all able to return home safely. It was quite the adventure.
 
Sunday was great. Like I said, Oswald came to church again! And even better, he is beginning to actively participate in lessons! He will be a powerful member someday. After church we had Branch Council. This is the first one they have had in over 6 months so there was a lot to talk about. It took like 2 hours. It was good and much needed, but my stomach decided to serenade everyone with beautiful grumbling noises the whole time. Next time I'm bringing snacks.
Then Sunday night we went over to one of the other sister's flat for dinner. It was Sister Scott and Sister Makunye. They are the ones that used to live with us but they moved to a new flat a couple weeks ago. It was good to  see them again. Lots of laughs and yummy food.
Well, thats about it for this week! Lots of adventures. Life is good!
I love you!
Love, Sister Gehring

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meetings and Mormon Helping Hands

Dear family,

Hello again from the magical land of Zambia! I hope you are all fantastic.


This week was a little bit different than normal weeks. We were doing a lot of things other than the usual. Which was a nice change. It started off on Tuesday. We had another Mission Leadership council. It was just a short one, not the long 2 day meeting. But it was still good to talk about things that are going on in the mission.

 
On Wednesday we had a Zone meeting all day long. It didn't feel long though. It was really good. We talked a lot about the importance of prayer both for us as missionaries but also the importance of having our investigators understand and use prayer effectively. It made me realize that even though I have been praying all my life, I still have a lot of work to do! The whole day was filled with great reminders. I also liked it because it brought everything back to the basics. When you first come on mission, you stick to the basics because you don't know anything else! That's why new missionaries are so powerful. But the longer you are out, the easier it is to stray from the basics. So that's a new goal of mine- stick to the basics! There is a reason we are taught to do that! Its because that's the way the Savior taught.


Then on Thursday we spent all day at a Mormon Helping Hands project! We were helping renovate and repaint a police station. It was a week long project so by the time we had a chance to go on Thursday, there was already a lot finished. I don't know exactly what it looked like before but I know it looked super nice with the renovations. Mostly I got to paint the curbs on the entrance and around the flag pole. It wasn't like painting a picture but it was still fun to be able to paint again.


Then today was crazy! We are the only sisters who have a car so we spent most of today driving people around for transfers. We had to go into inner city Lusaka again and go to the bus stop to pick some people up. Here's a tip for anyone traveling by bus in Zambia- AVOID TRAVELING BY BUS! The bus stations are super sketchy and dirty and confusing and chaotic. I'd be ok with never having to go back to that place again. But Luckily we made it out alive. Ok maybe im being dramatic but for real, that place was insane.


Speaking of transfers though, I got a call from the Zone leaders and........ I'm staying in Rhodes Park for yet another transfer! I was pretty sure I'd be moved but I guess the Lord has other plans. So Sister Fokoto and I will be together for another 6 weeks here in Lusaka. And this is my last transfer so I'll be finishing my mission right here. By the time I go home I will have been in this area for almost 9 months- half of mission. Crazy huh? Sister Lyon and I figured out that me, her, and one elder are the veterans of Lusaka. Every single other missionary that was here when we arrived in January, other than us 3, has been transferred outside of Lusaka.


One highlight from the week is that Oswald came to church again!! We were supposed to teach him on Saturday but he had to work late so we didn't get to. But he still came! He came 2 weeks in a row and he hasn't even had a proper lesson yet. That's powerful. We are really excited to be able to teach him this week. We have really high hopes for this man. He promised to come to church next week too. I pray he does!


My favorite scripture of the week was Luke chapter 24. In zone conference the APs read this to us. They had us close our eyes and pretend like we were really there. It was powerful. They used it to teach several different things. But for me it really brought the spirit. It made me realize that even if I am a missionary, if I don't pay attention and if I am not careful, I could miss the Savior! How sad would that be... It gave me a renewed resolve to do my best to make sure I have a personal relationship with Him.


Well once again, I hope you are all fantastic! Have a great week. I love you!


Love, Sister Gehring
Lusaka East Zone Conference

I miss real Mexican food...

Blueberry Yum Yum! This is the happiest sight to see when I open the fridge.

Delicious!

District before Elder Allred was transferred. Elder Allred, Elder Hill, me, and Sister Fokoto.

Us again. This time doing our ''strength'' pose. We're super cool.

Matilda, Yvette, Nancy, and their friend Martha with more mud phones. This time they used stickers to make the buttons. It was so cute!

Special thanks to Sister Riley for sending the stickers. They were so excited when I gave them to them. I told them that you had seen their picture and thought they were very cute so you sent the stickers for them. Then when we went back the next time, this is how they had used them. Thank you thank you!

Sister Lyon, Sister Scott, and Sister Ruth on their one year mark. We attacked them with baby powder.

Helping Hands!

My fearless Zone leaders Elder Hawkins and Elder Hill.

Working real hard.

Turns out Rapunzel's castle is actually in Lusaka. Who knew?