Dumela once again! This week for me was a huge testimony builder. To start off though ...............drumroll........... I'm training again!!! Sister Vea and I are co-training a sister who just got here from the MTC. Her name is Sister Hirwa. She was born in Rwanda but she grew up in South Africa. I love her so much already. She is really powerful. She is amazing at really listening to what people say and then tying in her response to the gospel. She is very confident and very excited to be working. And she sings all the time. Its great. Instead of just talking when we walk around, a lot of the times we all just sing hymns together. It makes me really happy. When I first met her I thought she looked really familiar but I couldn't figure out why. But the next day I figured it out. She's in one of my all time favorite Mormon messages! I'd seen it earlier on mission and I think I might have even seen it before I came out. Id always wanted to meet her because I could just tell how powerful her testimony was. And now we are companions! Here is a link to the video : http://www.mormonchannel.org/youth-videos?v=912421119001 She wrote the poem and she is the one reading it. Pretty amazing huh? I definitely feel blessed to be able to train her with Sister Vea. Other than that the week was really incredible. Its not so much that anything extraordinarily spectacular happened but we just had a lot of little tender mercies and moments where we could really feel the spirit guiding us. In Botswana the mission president challenged us to, every night, record in our planners at least one way that we were led by the Holy Ghost. Every single day this week the entire notes section of the day was filled with moments where we could feel the spirit guide. One of my favorites was on Saturday. So on Saturday morning in personal study I had the feeling that I should study the Atonement. I didn't really know why though because we hadn't planned on talking about that with any of the people we were seeing that day. But I decided to go ahead and study it. Later that day we had an appointment with a less active family. We had planned on talking with them about keeping the commandments but when we got in there and started the lesson I knew that we were supposed to talk about the Atonement. But it didn't make sense because the night before we had prayed as a companionship and together we had gotten the answer that we were supposed to teach them about keeping the commandments. But I decided to start the lesson with the Atonement. The whole time I felt good about it. You could tell that the message was touching their hearts and the spirit was strong. But I also kept feeling like we needed to tie it in somehow with keeping the commandments. But I couldn't think of how to do it. After we had discussed the Atonement for a few minutes, Sister Hirwa shared John 14:15 and talked about how if we want to show Christ that we are grateful for His sacrifice for us we will keep his commandments. It was perfect. I think that if we had taught that lesson any other way it definitely would not have such a big impact on them. And the reason we were able to teach it is because each of us followed the promptings we received from the Holy Ghost. And then to top it off, they came to church the next day! Another cool moment we had was with some little girls we are teaching. Remember the picture I sent of the girls making the mud phones? Well we go over to their house and read Book of Mormon stories with them a couple times a week. Matilda is 9 and Yvette is 8 but they couldn't read. So we have been having them read with us. What we do is one of us will read a line and we have them follow along and repeat it back. We have only been doing this for a couple weeks but they are already learning so fast! Its amazing! They are already able to read almost all of the small words like "the, and, this, them, he, what...etc." just by sight and they are able to sound out a lot of bigger words. We still have to prompt them a lot but they are to the point where instead of us reading and they repeat, they are reading and we are just helping with big words! Its been so cool to see their progress. Michelo is doing great, too. George has been in South Africa doing business for the past week but Michelo is on fire! We went over and taught her about the plan of salvation and the questions she had were so thoughtful! We call them the "preach my gospel" questions. She was asking, almost word for word, the questions at the beginning of the PMG chapter that the lesson is about to answer. Then she just understood everything perfectly! And she was even able to relate it back to us in her own words. At the end of the lesson the spirit was really strong and Sister Hirwa was able to put her on date to be baptized on 30 March! Then she came to church on Sunday. Keep in mind that this is only the 2nd time she has visited the church. So a lady that is staying in the motel across the street decided to visit the church because it was Sunday morning and it was close by. So Michelo just took her under her wing like a pro! She showed her around the church, she answered all her questions; it was like she'd ben a member for years! Then in sunday school we were using verses from the Book of Mormon. The lady who was visiting asked Michelo what the Book of Mormon was. I was expecting her to ask us as the missionaries to explain it to her. But I was wrong! She just took over! She told her that it was another testament of Jesus Christ and how it was written by prophets in another part of the world from the one who wrote in the Bible. Then she told her how the prophet named Mormon put the writings of all the other prophets together and gave it to his son who sealed the records and buried them. She then explained how 2000 years later a young prophet named Joseph Smith was directed by and angel of the Lord where to find the records and he was able to translate them by the power of God. All without any help at all from the missionaries!!! Then the visiting lady started asking other questions like "How did the prophets know about God" and "How did they get to the other side of the world?". Then we really thought we would have to step in. But I was wrong again!! Michelo answered every single one of her questions completely perfectly!!!!! I was in complete shock! It was amazing!!!!! We didn't teach her any of that stuff! She'd just read and prayed on her own and was then able to bear testimony of it to someone else! Its those kinds of moments on mission when you feel like you actually are making some sort of a difference. I just can't get over how incredible she is. I had a pretty funny thing happen to me too. It probably shouldn't have been funny but I couldn't keep myself from laughing. So on Wednesday we went to a funeral for a member in another branch. I didn't' know who he was but they asked us to come to show support. So we just sat in the back to let people who actually knew him be close. About half way through the service a really drunk man came in and sat right in front of us. About every 30 seconds he turned around and gave us a really weird look. At one point I dropped the pen I was holding so I bent down to get it but I couldn't find where it went so I was leaned over for a little while. It just so happened that while I was down the man turned around again. He saw that I was leaning over and he semi-yelled "What are you doing?? Are you sleeping? Don't you know that this is a funeral?? You don't sleep at funerals! Are you not Christian???" Then he gave us one more odd look and he stormed out. Lets just say that it was slightly more than a little bit disruptive and I felt quite embarrassed. But it was also really quite hilarious. I just felt really bad that it happened at a funeral...awkward. My favorite scripture of the week is 2 Nephi chapter 2. All of it. I've read the chapter quite a few times before and to me, it has always been mostly just about the fall of Adam and Eve and how it relates to agency and opposition. But when I read it this time I found that it is also largely about how the fall relates to the atonement. So I would encourage you to read that with the Atonement in mind. I really really enjoyed it. Well I hope you all have a great week. Stay happy and share the happiness with others! Love, Sister Gehring
Monday, February 24, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
Hello once again!
So you always hear about how missionary work is tiring right? Well I don't think I really understood that till this week. I get home every night and just crash. I really don't think I have ever been this tired in my life. There have been times when I stay up too late and I am tired the next day but this is different. Its just a 24/7 exhaustion. But somehow, I still feel great and happy! It makes no sense! In fact, the tiredness almost feels good. It feels like the tired after a day of hard work. And I every day I see the blessings of it.
For example, Michelo and George are still doing great! We taught them a couple times this week. When we talked about Joseph Smith, George wasn't able to be there, though. We were a bit bummed about that but we challenged Micchelo to teach him what she had learned. And she did! Pretty much perectly! It was amazing! She just goes above and beyond any assignment we give her. I seriously don't know if its possible for someone to have a more prepared heart! We are going to invite them to be baptized next time we see them. Pray it goes well!
Another miracle this week was John. As we were leaving Michelo and George's house on Sunday a man stopped us. He said he'd seen our nametags while we were walking to the house and he wanted to know who we were but he didn't say anything. So when he saw us come out he decided to stop us. He told us that he'd been searching for the truth and something inside him told him that we might have it. Then he told us that as soon as he started talking to us he sould tell that there was something unique about us. Once again, I don't know what will come of it but I pray we are able to help him find the truth!
We had a few really funny moments this week too. As we were walking to a lesson one day we could hear a guy behind us start to yell "Madame! Madame!" (thats what people call us a lot) His speech was kind of slurred so we thought he was drunk so we just ignored him. Then he started walking faster to catch up. Still yelling "Madame! Wait! Madame" We kept ignoring him because usually drunk men=trouble. But he caught up pretty quickly so we turned around to see what he wanted. In his hands was this dirty, nastly looking turtle. "Madame!! I am selling this turtle! I know you need a turtle! Madame! Please buy this turtle!" We politely declined the offer while holding back laughter. We are pretty sure he just found that on the side of the road and he wanted to make a little extra money. It was a lovely experience.
Here's another funny. We were walking home at the end of the day and we were both really tired. But as we walked by a house I felt like we needed to knock. I have learned to never ignore promptings so we knocked. Well we rang the call box on the outside of the gate actually. We couldnt even see the house. There was no answer so we started to walk away. Right as we did the gate opened! An older man was walking towards us with this look of complete confusion on his face. We said hello but before we even had a chance to introduce ourselves he just said "...ok..." and shut the gate. It was just so funny! I am probably not describing it very well and maybe you had to have been there but I promise, it was funny. We figured Heavenly Father knew that we had a long day so He gave me that prompting so we could have a good laugh
This week there was also a HUGE rain storm. Which normally is fine! But as you know, we are walking. Which made things interesting. Lets just say that we walked through streets that had turned into rivers, there was so much rain our umbrellas leaked, and I was drenched to the bone. It definitely made for an adventure! Luckily I love the rain.
So they say that if you tell people the goals you are more likely to accomplish them. So here are the goals I made this week. I decided that I want to finish the entire standard works by the time I finish mission. I have already finished the Book of Mormon, the New Testament and the Pearl of Great Price. But I also want to read the Book of Mormon again before my year mark on 4 April. So I figured out that I need to read 11 pages in the Book of Mormon every day, 2 pages in the Doctrine and Covenants every day , and 6 pages of the Old Testament every day. I have been doing it since Wednesday and so far its going well. I am loving it!
My favorite scripture this week was Helaman 5:30. Something fell through so we decided to check on a less active woman who lived in the area who is really hard to get ahold of. She was home! We hadn't planned to see her so we didn't have a lesson planned. So we decided to just share a scripture. I flipped through the Book of Mormon and felt like this scripture would be good for her. The lesson went really well and she told us that the scripture had really helped her with something she was struggling with. After we left Sister Vea told me that the same exact scripture had come into her head. Cool stuff.
Oh and by the way, Last week I sent you 1 Timothy 1:5. Which is also a good scripture. But I meant 2 Timothy 1:5. That's the one that has our family in it!
Well I love you and I hope you have a great week! Remember- The Church is true!!!
Love, Sister Gehring
Monday, February 10, 2014
Once upon a time my companion and I were starting over from scratch in our area. We thought it would be challenging. We were right. But we also had faith that the Lord would help us if we were obedient and we worked hard. We were right about that too. If you do what Heavenly Father asks, he helps you! We have seen that come true in more ways than I can even describe this week. So I'll do my best to tell you. Here are just a few of the miracles we have seen this week:
1. Brian. On Friday Sister Vea and I were walking to a members house. We had been there once before but for some reason neither of us could remember which street we were supposed to turn down. We got to a street that looked like it might be right and both of us felt like it was where we were supposed to go. So we turned and started walking. There was bad traffic so all the cars on the road were stopped. All of a sudden we could faintly hear the hymn "Come Come Ye Saints" playing. We couldn't figure out where is was coming from though! So we just kept walking. As we did it got louder and louder. Finally we figured out where it was coming from. A guy sitting in the traffic was blasting it from his car. Full volume. It was awesome! So we stopped at the car and talked to the guy. His name was Brian. He told us that he loved the Mormon Tabernacle choir. "Well... We are the Mormons!" we said! The traffic started moving so we didn't get to talk to him more after that but we gave him a pass along card with our number on it and a restoration pamphlet. Who knows what will come of it but it was pretty darn cool!
2. Michael. A different day we were walking down the road just contacting people along the way and inviting them to church. Right before we got to a guy who was on the side of the road digging a hole, a pass along card fell out of Sister Vea's bag. Which was unusual because they were in there tightly. Logically it couldn't have fallen out by itself. So I picked it up. As soon as I did something inside me said "Talk to this guy right now" So I went up to the guy digging a hole and handed him the pass along card that fell out of the bag. His name was Michael and he was also very nice. Again, I don't know what will come of it but it is amazing to see how the Lord makes sure his work is done.
3. Timing. So on Saturday in the morning the day was going kind of slow. It wasn't bad it was just slow. But around lunch time a few people called us and wanted us to come see them. But we also had a couple other things that we had to get done. So we rearranged our schedule and went to work. While we were walking a security guard at a gate stopped us. He'd seen the church before and had always wanted to know more. He asked if we could teach him right then. We really didn't have time to but we both got the impression that we needed to. So we taught him right then. He had a lot of great questions and was interested to keep learning. We ended up talking with him for over an hour. It was great! But it also meant we were definitely not going to be able to fit in everything we needed to do. But we just went on. So the afternoon went on and miraculously we had time for everything and we made it to every single appointment on time. To this day I have no idea how we managed to do it. There literally were not enough minutes of the day to do what we did but somehow, we did anyway. It was amazing. And we didn't even have to rush! We still had time to talk to people on the streets!
4. Michelo and George. This is the biggest miracle of all this week. So as we have been starting out we have been praying specifically that we will be able to find prepared families. The Lord surely did answer that prayer. On Friday Sister Vea and I were walking back to our flat to have some lunch. We passed a house and we could hear little kids playing and laughing inside. So we decided to knock. A woman answered the door and she was really friendly. She let us right in and introduced herself as Michelo. We started talking and found out that she was married with 3 kids. The kids we heard playing were 2 of their 3 daughters. She told us that she has been looking for a church that will help her to actually understand the gospel, not just one that will preach. And she told us that her husband has been looking for a church that will give him direction in his life because he felt like he was just standing still. So we taught her right then and she loved everything. She asked us to come back the next day so her husband could be taught. So we went back on Saturday and her husband wasnt there yet so we just talked with her while we waited. While we were talking she started asking questions about the Church. One of her questions was about baptism. She was baptized when she was a baby but she told us that recently she had been feeling like that baptism wasn't enough. She wanted to be baptized again now that she was older and she could actually understand what she was doing. She said she wants to be baptized in a church that baptizes by immersion and she wants to make sure it counts this time. So we told her that that is exactly what baptism in our church is. She told us that that is exactly what she wants for her life right now and she told us that she would love to be baptized. After her husband came we had a really great lesson with them. They understood everything and asked really really good questions. We invited them to come to church and they said they would come. So Sunday morning church started. They opened and made all the announcements and everything but Michelo and George still weren't there. I started to be really sad. I was so sure they were going to come! But right as the sacrament hymn started THEY CAME!!!!!!!!!!! Words don't really describe the special kind of joy you feel as a missionary when a golden investigator comes to church for the first time. They stayed for all of church and loved it. Then there was a baptism for a 15 year old boy after church and they even stayed for that!!!! We stopped by their house later that day to give them a Book of Mormon. Michelo answered the door again. When we asked her how she liked the baptism she told us that it was exactly the thing she had been picturing for herself and her family. I just have such a great feeling about their whole family. Their 2 daughters already love us and I love them. Whenever we are at their house I just feel like Heavenly Father led us straight to them because they are ready to accept the gospel. I am so beyond excited to see how it goes with them.
So that was the big miracles from the week. It was one of the best weeks I have ever had on mission so far. Its amazing what Heavenly Father can do!! Im just so grateful to be a missionary.
My favorite scripture from the week was 1 Timothy 1:5. Who knew our family was in the scriptures!?
Well I have talked enough for this week. Thanks for everything! I love you so much!
Have a great week!
Love, Sister Gehring
Love, Sister Gehring
Me post-splash. I was standing next to a puddle of mud. One of the Elders drove through the puddle. I got covered in mud. Lovely.
|Star Gazing on New Years eve.|
Football (soccer) on P-day!
Taking Sister Clifford to go and get x-rays.
|Final district picture in Mafikeng.|
My companions and I by the sign for the church.
|Sister Jacker! I was in the MTC with her and now she is in my Zone in Lusaka!|
Sister Rakotonindriana. She is from Madagascar. She is one of the sisters I live with.
Elder Pauni! I was also in the MTC with him. Now he is my Zone Leader and we are serving in the same branch and district!
|Me in my beloved mosquito net.|
The side effects of the medicine I took. I particularly liked the furry tongue one.
|Matilda, Esther, Nancy, and their friend with the play phones they made out of mud.|
Sister Rakotonindriana made us some traditional food from Madagascar. I liked the pap and the green stuff. The little fish things were not my favorite...
The same 3 girls with their Book of Mormon Stories book.
|We had a braai at a game drive in Mafikeng. We didnt see many animals but it was fun.|
The Elders remembered the meat but we all forgot to bring plates and utensils... oops!
We saw lots of dead animals though!
|My favorite 7 year old boy, Clive. I gave him a CTR ring because he memorized an article of faith. This is us modeling ours together.|
Once upon a time we tried to make a train cake for Elder Brown's birthday because he LOVES trains. As you can see it did not work out. So we decided to just intentionally make it into a train wreck. It worked much better that way.
Sister Clifford and I modeling our semi-matching pants.
|Saying bye to the Mahole Family.|
Kgothatso modeling my backpack.
|aying bye to Kgothatso and Kutlo on my last Sunday in Mafikeng.|
Sister Mmamoketi and Sister Podiso on my last Sunday.
|Brother Osborne. One of the funniest old men I have ever met. He is a member in Mafkeng.|
Rebecca. A member who went teaching with us a lot.
Ketumetsi and I. She is also a member in Mafikeng.
Brother De Carlos. He is from Angola so he speaks French. Its pretty awesome.
|Sister Vea and I resting on a log while we waited for a member to show up.|
Walking all day sure makes me hungry!
Monday, February 3, 2014
Hello from Zambia!
I never thought I'd be able to say that! But its pretty exciting. I'm being able to see a lot more of Africa than I ever thought I would! Its a lot different here than in South Africa and Botswana. It was a desert there but now it rains every single day. In relief Society yesterday we were talking about how all of our lives have seasons. We compared it to the seasons here. But they only have 3 seasons in Zambia. The cold season from May-July, the hot season from August-October, and the rainy season from November- April. Which makes things interesting because we live on a dirt road and we don't have a car. So every day its a game to try and see of we can make it down the street without getting stuck in the mud. But it really does make it so green here! Every day when we are walking around I just can't believe it! Its beautiful. But it also means there are a lot of mosquitos. I have to sleep under a mosquito net at night. They aren't as bad in the day time but as soon as it starts to get dark they start to bite. But its ok because we have to be in by dark for safety anyway!
Other than just the physical differences, the mission is pretty different too. There are a LOT more native African missionaries. In fact, me being companions with Sister Vea is rare. Usually they don't have 2 Americans together. I live in a flat with 3 Americans( including myself), a sister from Zimbabwe, and a sister from Madagascar! Oh and we live across the road from a "Jesus Worship Centre" There is gospel misic blaring pretty much all the time. Its pretty great. Then just a lot of little technical things about how the mission is run are different. I love it though. I actually think it would be really hard to go back to Botswana. I love the mission president and his wife, too. They have just completely taken us under their wings. They don't treat us like the newcomers or anything. They just treat us like we have been part of the mission all along. Which I really appreciate. We had a Zone conference the day after I got her and It felt like I had been a part of the mission for months. It just feel slike home here already. One thing that is going to take some getting used to is the way they tell time here. They only use military time! So that will be an adjustment.
The area Sister Vea and I are working is pretty similar to the area I was working in South Africa. Lots of gates and fences. I feel like South Africa was really good preparation for me to be serving here actually. So far I have really liked working with Sister Vea, too. I knew her from Bots but we never served that close to each other. So far this week we have just been trying to meet all the members in the area. So its been a lot of walking around this week. Not too much excitement. Walking really helps you learn the area faster though! In a car, if you take a wrong turn you just u-turn and you are back on track! When you are walking, it takes a long time to get back on track so you make sure you go the right way. But its also fun to be able to talk to people on the way. When you are driving you miss a lot of contacting opportunities! I have met so many people this past week! Its great! Zambians are so so nice. In Botswana I felt like the reason a lot of people were nice to me was just because I was foreign. Which was fine! But here I feel like people are just genuinely nice just for the sake of being nice.
Sorry there isn't too much to report about the actual work this week. Its hard just starting out in a new area especially when both of us are new. Next week hopefully I'll have more to report on. But just know that I am really really happy here and I am so excited to be here! I love you so much.
Love, Sister Gehring
p.s. I promise, next week I'll send pictures