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Letter from received 12/12/2014 written over a few days

I can now say I’m a starving child in Africa!  I haven’t gone shopping yet!  I am hungry!  It’s only been like 5 days though.  Who needs to eat?  Right?  Next time you girls look in the fridge or cabinet and complain about the food I’ll take a pic of my stuff and you’ll get on your knees and thank God for what you do have.  I do every time I go into a house here.  Count your blessings!

Sorry this paper is dirty!  I’m starting to get used to it though.  It’s dirty here.  Very dirty!  Okay so I will write you about my first week.

Monday- Leaving the MTC!  Get on a bus, go to a train station.  Get off train, get on another then finally arrive at the airport.  Meet LDS people who let me borrow their phone then gave me $20!  That was nice!  Oooh yeah, met a returned missionary who helped me from the time I was on the bus to my gate.

I get on the plane, meet somebody else who helps me get to my next plane from Dallas to London.  I have a mini heart attack in London when I realize I don’t have a ticket from Jo=bug to Zambia.  I find an Elder after about 11 hours of just sitting there! (My schedule was changed a bit, so I waited forever!)  He taught me how to get food with different money!  I hadn’t eaten since Salt Lake!  He helped me get to the plane.  So that was Tuesday in London then Wednesday get to Jo-burg meet a returned missionary from Zimbabwe and Zambia!  She helped me to my next flight!  I would like to bring to your attention that there was always a member who found me and helped me!  I would’ve starved to death and missed flights if God wasn’t looking out for me!

Finally, I get to Zambia and no Mission President!  I waited for about a half an hour freaking out because I’m in a foreign country with no idea what people are saying.  I don’t have money and couldn’t find the phone numbers I was to call in that situation!
Finally, they came and took me to their home.  Quickly, I filled out a form and emailed mommy.  Then they fed me!  I hadn’t eaten since the yogurt in London!  Then they let me sleep.  3 1/2 hours later I was awaken and driven to a flat with my temporary companions.

Didn’t really have a comp. so I just hung out with everybody. There were 4 girls there.  Sister George was born and raised in Rexburg so I liked talking to her.  She comes home in 2 weeks.  Her first name is Erica.  Look her up!

The other 3 missionaries were African’s  Two from South Africa (I think) and a one from Madagascar!  Dinner was a huge plate of rice, a relish thingy and the smallest piece of meat ever!  The relish was actually good and I didn’t gag on the rice!

Then bed.  I woke up at about 3:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep!  The time change is murder!  I wake up in the mornings and you guys haven’t even gone to bed!  Weird!  Now it’s 7:45pm (or here it would be called 20:45) and it’s 10:45am to you all!

So I go out with two of the sisters to teach a woman.  She just breast feeds her kids right there.  That’s going to be weird to get used to.  Totally x-ing!  So this kid hits up on me because I am azungu and he keeps telling me, “You have potential.  I see your potential in my life!”  In other words date me please!  My temporary comp said, “Oh heck no!  Wanna know what has potential?  My knife! You touch her and I’ll take off my missionary tag and stab you!”  I just died laughing!  So we went to the mission home for an interview and Thanksgiving dinner at the church!  That was good!  I got to meet funny missionaries and they even made me practice eating nishima!  They made me take my roll and smash it and dip it into my potatoes.  I’m surprised I remember that because I was so sleepy!  Time change!  I also met sister Dlamini, my comp for the first time!

The next day I went out with the STL’s and we taught a lady named Anita!  I liked her!  She was so happy!  Then I met up with the AP’s and Sister Dlamini!  We went to the airport to fly to Malawi!  The AP’s left and it was just us and one elder.  Elder Cloig.  We flew to Lilongwe then to Blantyre which is where I am now.  3 hour flight!  Elder and Sister Reynolds picked us up and took us to meet the STL’s in this zone.  They’re cool!  So, finally got home and met Elder and Sister Beal who have become my temporary grandparents!

We ate at the Beals and then unpacked and went to bed!  That was Friday.  Saturday we had branch council.  Here they have NO sense of time!  8 hours later we left feeling exhausted!  WOW!

Sunday, yesterday, church!  Wow!  So sacrament meeting.  We sat in a tiny room inside a little house and just proceeded as normal.  That was fun.  Sister Dlamini and I bore our testimonies.  Then we had gospel principles.  Hard to understand but I had the book so it was better.  Then it was Relief Society.  Wow!  HOLY FLIP!  CRAZY! So picture this!

  • Room about the size of Mark’s bedroom.
  • 27 people
  • 25 chairs (I shared…)
  • People only speak Chichewa
  • Others (me) that speak xing English
  • translator that speaks “English”
  • 1,000,000 degrees!

That was Relief Society!  I still don’t know what was taught!

Then sacrament meeting.  The building is so small they split that hour into two sections.  Komah (a youth gave a talk and every time he said righteous it sounded like he was saying luscious! Took me forever to figure that out.

I forgot to tell you something!  Here the chorister sings the first line or so then stops.  Says, “On three.  One, two, three.”  Then the rest of the rest of the congregation joins in!I learned that the hard way in branch council!  Started singing and nobody joined in so I just kept going until my comp finally stops me half way through the song and tells me how things work down here in Malawi.  Also, before the prayer is said they say, “Let us pray.” then they pray.

So after sacrament meeting was a baptism!  4 new converts!  3 of them were mine evidently!  I get to teach them the new member lessons though!  So then talks!  Finally at 2:00 (we  started at 8:00) we left!  We visited the new members and met them!  I like them!

Monday:  Tummy hurts…Don’t care.  It’s P-Day.  Hiking!  Hiking in Africa is the best!  We have monkeys!  Not baboons but cute monkeys!  I caught a chameleon.  I liked putting him on the African’s!  They FREAK! Superstitious!  Plus Paschal would change black on them.  Funny!

So we actually hiked in a tourist spot so look it up!  Just type in, :2nd tallest mountain in Africa” or “Tall mountain in Malawi!”  Also type in “tea and coffee farms in Malawi!”  Beautiful!  Right out of a movie!  We hiked as a zone!  Then we had a devo and food right there in the most beautiful place in the world!  With monkeys!;)

So then emailing and now home!  I figured out why my tummy hurt!  So the bread here and everything else is different.  The little green spots on the bread I ate…mold!  Not whatever else they put on it!

Things to get used to:  mosquitos, mosquito nets, showering in dirty water, not having running water, cockroaches in my refrigerator, time change, new language, new English words like Xing (which I love) black people staring.  Children running up to you and saying “boe”.  Getting hit on all the time, new money, weird food, shopping in markets (which are awesome!)People coming up to me and asking about the gospel, the heat! Wow, the heat!  Im ‘a be tan!

Anyways, I love you all .  Here is some kwacha!  It’s for Jaide!  It’s worth about .20.  It isn’t worth anything.  I get 50,000 kwacha every two weeks!  It’s Malawian Kwacha.  There is Zambian Kwacha too!  It looks different and is worth a lot more!  More will come with more letters!  McKenna I’ll send some for you too.  I guess you get pink!

New language:  “xing”- no exact English translation.  It kind of means ghetto!) “Fire” -said like ‘Don’t give me fire!’ like sassy kind of.  “Mazuka Bwanji” – Good morning.  “Tazuka Bwino” – Good morning (reply).  “Mwaswela bwnaji – Good afternoon.  “Taswela bwino” Good afternoon reply.  “Mugone bwino” – Good night. “Zikomo kwambili”- Thank you very much.  “Boe”- Hello. It’s a fun but xing language!  He is now she and she is he! “Azungu.”- White girl.  “Mazungo -white boy.I love you all!  You’re awesome!  I must study now.  Today was good I can’t wait to get back to work though!  It’s different here than most missions.  No working on Mondays!  We work from 10am until 6pm then we have to be back home.

That’s my jam.  Boom!  Neicia out!  Can’t stop this!

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Email on arrival November 26, 2014

Neicia flew to Zambia by herself.  This was a big daunting deal for her (and me) being an unseasoned traveler.  In London she had a panic when she realized not long before she had to catch her flight to Johannesburg that her boarding pass from Johannesburg to Zambia said, “Not valid for travel.”  She tried to get ahold of us and the Mission travel department but couldn’t get through to either.  Not knowing what else to do she found a way onto facebook and sent me a message to see if I could call the Mission travel dept. and have them fix it.  I had no way to let her know that all she had to do was take her ticket to the counter and they’d give her a boarding pass.  She continued to try to call in the airport then on the plane.  She told me she wouldn’t get back on facebook as she needed the Lord’s blessings and had to be obedient.  Her last sentence in the message broke this mama’s heart.  “Mommy, please don’t let me be stranded in a foreign country by myself.”  I admit, I cried a few times.  The dead silence every time we’d answer the phone and know she was trying to get us was horrible.  I knew the fix was easy but she didn’t and that killed this mama.  Her almost 12 hour flight to Johannesburg must have  been so frightening.  I’m sure she learned a lesson during that time as all she had to rely on was herself and the Lord.  I can’t wait to hear all about it.    Here’s the email notice I received in the wee hours this morning…yes, I was awake watching for it.

“Mommy, it’s Neicia!! I’m safe!! Turns out they just print off the tickets at Johannesburg!! Tell the girls and the boys I love them!! Hope you got my letters!!! Gonna go take a nap now!! Love you guys!!! Make sure you all email me!!”