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.


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?

Monday, August 11, 2014


Hello again!
Well to start off, I'll just say that I really don't have much to report on again this week. I got sick again. Seriously, its a wonder Africa hasn't killed me. Thursday afternoon I got a horrible headache and I got super dizzy and I felt a little bit like I got hit by a bus. This lasted the rest of the day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It wasn't too much fun. I just stayed in bed and slept and read Liahona articles. But I woke up Sunday morning feeling a lot better. Which was good. I hate feeling so gross.

The beginning part of the week was ok though. Not too eventful. Just did more and more tracting. We did find a really cool guy though. His name is Oswald. He is from India but he is Catholic. He let us right in and let us teach him! He told us all about his family. He is a really neat man. But he talked a lot so we ended up having to rush out really fast after the lesson so we forgot to make a return appointment or even take down his phone number! We were trying to figure out how/when we would contact him again but it turns out we didn't have to... he came to church! It was awesome! He loved it and said he'd be there next week too! And we made sure to set an appointment with him and get his number before he left. So we are excited to see where he goes.

We got to go to dinner at the Sunsawila's (not sure how to spell it...) house on tuesday! Brother Sunsawilla was just released as the branch president and Elder Allred was transferred (which was very sad) so as a goodbye, they invited all the missionaries over! So that was pretty great. I'm going to miss African food so much.

Well, thats about all there is to report on this week. Sorry I'm so boring!  Next week hopefully I'll have more to talk about. 

I love you lots and lots! 

Love, Sister Gehring

Monday, August 4, 2014

16 down, 2 to go!

Hello again!

Happy 16 month mark to me! I really can't believe its been 16 months since I left home. But mostly I can't believe I'll be home in 2 months! But let's not talk about that for now. I've still got missionary work to do.

Unfortunately, in terms of missionary work, this week was pretty hard. We are facing some pretty rough opposition recently. It just feels a little bit like our area is falling apart. I think I had more people tell us no in this week alone than in the rest of the time on mission combined. Ok maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but still, a LOT of people rejected us this week. But Sister Fokoto and I decided that instead of crying about it, we would just laugh. It makes all the difference. Its not so much that we are laughing because we think its funny that people don't want to accept the gospel. But its just funny how people say things!

For example, this is how it went at one door. We introduced ourselves and the church and everything just like normal. She wasn't interested but we gave her a pass along card with our number on it, invited her to church, and told her to call us if she changed her mind. She flipped the card over and saw the Book of Mormon printed on it, and then her entire countenance changed. Before, she wasn't interested but she was friendly at least.  But as soon as she saw the Book of Mormon, the rest of the conversation went something like this '' Oh. You are the mormons. I hadn't made that connection.'' Then she looked straight at us and crumpled the pass along card into a ball. ''I just need to tell you something then. All this that you are doing will be in vain if you are in hell. Because no matter how hard you try, if you don't have a relationship with Jesus, you won't get anywhere. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?? Huh? do you?? With Jesus and nobody else!! Do you want to know where all your lies and your deceit are going to get you? To hell. So you to girls need to be very careful.'' Then she slammed the door. 

So yea... all day every day talking to people like that gets a bit tiring. Luckily it wasn't all like that. We met a lot of those but we met a few nice people too.

One in particular was pretty amazing. We were tracting in a different part of town and we found a Indian family. When we saw that they were Hindu we thought they would just tell us to leave but the mom actually let us in! So we sat down and started talking to her. Come to find out she has actually been visiting a few different Christian churches around and she enjoys them! She told us that her family was going through some challenges. While she was talking she just started crying. We asked her if there was anything we could do to help and she asked us to pray for her. So we did. The spirit was definitely there. There was no denying it. After the prayer she just kept thanking us. She even told us that she knew we were sent from God. She told us that before we came she was feeling depressed and lost and she didn't know what to do. But after we talked and prayed with her, she felt light. Its amazing what the spirit can do. God really does love all his children with no regard of race, religion, background, situation, or anything else.

Another funny thing of the week is that Sister Fokoto and I decided to explore a part of our area that we've never been to before. We looked at a map and found out that our area actually extends farther into the city than we thought so we went to check it out... Lets just say that inner city Lusaka is a crazy place... Its not that big but there are SO many people! And a large portion of them are drunk men. We decided that its probably not the best place for us to just be walking around. Luckily we were in our car so we were just fine but I saw some pretty hilarious things that day.

Well that's about it this week. Thank you so much for your prayers. They are much needed and appreciated. We doing the best we can to keep on keepin' on. I love you so much.

Lots of love, Sister Gehring

Do you remember Kota? From South Africa... Well we made it! It was so yummy.

Group photo from the youth activity.

Sister Fokoto, Lizzy, and me. Lizzy was with the volunteers for Mothers Without Borders. We were teaching her sometimes in the evenings after they got back from the orphanage. She's pretty much the best.

My district! Sister Fokoto, me, Elder Allred, Elder Hill, Elder Amison, and Elder Packer. A couple weeks ago though Elder Packer and Elder Amison were moved to a different branch. And this week Elder Allred is being transferred. So many changes!

Service at a member's house!

We were helping to fix up her guest house.

Helping the sisters do Sister Scott's hair. Even with all of us helping her, it took like 7 hours to finish.

Yvette and Nancy- my favorite girls ever.

Sister Fokoto doing Matilda's hair. These are also my favorite girls.

Just us.

Sister Fokoto, me, Mary, and Alecia. Mary is a member and Alecia is her cousin who we are teaching. Both of them are pretty much awesome.

Life is good.

Mary, Alecia, and Alecia's little brother Christian.

This was sitting on an abandoned washing machine outside of some flats we tracted. For some reason, as soon as I saw it, I thought of Grandma Lois.

Some people hang their clothes out to dry. Other people hang their hair...

My companion likes puppies.

Sister Van Heerden and her daughter, Anna. They are members in the branch.