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