I've got a lot to say this week so hopefully I can get it all in!
TEARS: I was able to watch my first two baptisms in Zimbabwe, Albert and Wellington, be sustained to receive the Melchezidek priesthood on Sunday! Imagine! I seriously CRIED. We were just sitting there in Stake Conference, and they called both of their names and I was able to raise my hand and sustain them! It was seriously incredible. With so many transfers on mission, sometimes you just have to leave your recent converts having faith that they'll progress. But this week I was actually able to see it before my eyes! Albert was SO addicted to marijuana, and Wellington was in a gang that did funny funny things. And now they both have the higher priesthood! Miracles are happening here in Zimbabwe.
SUN: This week we went up (maybe down, I don't actually know) to Bindura for exchanges. Everyone always says Bindura is one of the hottest areas on mission and I've always just been like yeah yeah yeah we're all hot all the time hop off of the complain train. BUT NO. BINDURA IS SO. STINKIN. HOT. I AM ON THE COMPLAIN TRAIN. Seriously. I thought I would lose my life for a couple seconds there in the sun, but it made me grateful to come back to Epworth where the sun was not shining (as) hot.
WALKING: So while we were in Bindura, President Mkhabela came up to meet some of the members because they're thinking about opening another branch there. Well the first day I was there, we walked out to this family who walk seven hours to church every single week. SEVEN. That part of Bindura is just a rural area, and they have to walk seven hours to town to attend church, because they can't afford kombis. It was an incredible lesson we had with them. At the end, the mama (who reminded me so much of my own mother) asked to sing her favorite hymn, How Firm a Foundation, which is also my favorite hymn! She requested that we sing verses 1, 3, and 7. She just cried as we sang the seventh verse (and so did we), and said "I will never, no never, no never forsake, sisters. I will never forsake!" My own mother has spoken those same words to me and it brought feelings of love for my mother, and for my Savior Jesus Christ, who I vow never to forsake!
BROKEN RECORDS: This week the mission broke the record of most number of baptisms in a week with a high number of 86! Imagine! 86 baptisms in one week! Our goal for the year was 2,000 and I think we'll get really, really close. The people of Zimbabwe are just so prepared for the gospel and I am so grateful to be able to be a witness of that.
FATIH: My last thought is on faith. Faith is the first principle of the gospel, so it can often be one of the first things that Satan attacks. Discouragement, disbelief, doubt, and fear are feelings we each know well, because those are things Satan uses to try to diminish our faith. Our faith increases through obedience, kindness, selfless service, and hard work. Keep your faith strong. Satan will try to tear it down, but we have a gospel that is more powerful than him.
I love Zimbabwe, I love missionary work, I love the gospel! Have a great week!
Love, Sister Richards
With Sister Otieno and Stegelmeir on exchanges!
Welcome to BINDURA.
The family that walks 7 hours to church!
This is their sekuru. he is 114 years old!
With Sister Stegelmeir.
the mom and daughter
This is their home. Mama is putting the last born on her back.
ister otieno has this thing of holding my head all the time because I'm so short. haha i love her!
I made some coconut caramel popcorn this week. It was nice.
this is the road we walked on for 2 hours to get to ONE HOUSE. thanks, bindura.
my companion and I enjoying the pockets on the dresses we had made this week.
our district is getting split up with transfers this week! it will be sad to say goodbye. loved this district.
Can't stop Sister Mpiyakhe and I from doin our thaaang
made sadza for the first time by myself! it was awesome!!
more blessing and the book of mormon. powerful