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Pictures January 19, 2015

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So much washed away because of their mud mortar and uncooked mud bricks. They couldn’t hold up under so much water.

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Grey skies are going to clear up. Put on a happy face.

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Sister Griffus

Neicia asked me, “Does the news say how many are lost!? That is the one I feel really bad about!! Not knowing if they are alive or dead! It’s not like they have the means to find the family!!! It was like “The Impossible.” I am sure that’s how many people felt trying to find their family members!!! It all happened in the middle of the night too! All of the sudden they were just being swept away in a river! Most the people that died are children and old people!”  The latest stats I’ve been able to find are 176 dead, 155 missing, 200,000 displaced.

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She said the phrase pangono pangono means little by little.  I thought of that phrase when I saw these pictures of recovery.

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Group Email January 19, 2015

SO THIS WEEK STARTED OFF ROUGH!! LIKE VERY ROUGH!!! SO, REMEMBER HOW I SAID THERE WAS A STORM THAT WIPED OUT THE ELECTRICITY LAST WEEK? WELL IT DIDNT STOP RAINING! NOT FOR DAYS!!! IT WAS SO BAD THAT IT FLOODED AND DESTROYED EVERYTHING. HALF OF MY AREA HAS BEEN DESTROYED!! ALL THE HOUSES ARE GONE… THERE ARE 160 DEAD SO FAR, DONT KNOW HOW MANY MISSING AND 200,000 PEOPLE HAD TO MOVE DUE TO THEIR HOMES ARE GONE OR PARTLY GONE. IT IS ALL VERY SAD!!! LOTS OF PEOPLE IN MY WARD HAVE MOVED BUT LUCKLY NOBODY DIED! THEY HAD FAMILY MEMBERS DIE THOUGH AND THAT WAS VERY SAD!  SO WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO HELP OUT! AND WE CALLED ALL OVER AND TRIED MAKING SURE PEOPLE WERE ALRIGHT!! I AM SO SURPRISED MORE PEOPLE DIDN’T DIE!! MANY ARE INJURED THOUGH AND IN THE HOSPITAL.  SO IT HAS STILL BEEN RAINING AND WE JUST PRAY THAT THE FLOOD DOESN’T COME AGAIN!!
BUT, KEEP ALL THIS IN MIND!! HOMES DESTROYED, PEOPLE MISSING OR DEAD, AND THEN, LISTEN TO THIS:  THE AFRICANS ARE HAPPY. I CAN’T EXPLAIN IT. IT IS SO AMAZING TO ME. THE DAY IT ALL HAPPENED I DIDN’T SEE ANYBODY CRYING. SOME WERE LAUGHING EVEN. PLAYING IN THE WATER. IT’S NOT LIKE THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME, THEY JUST ARE SO MUCH MORE HUMBLE. THEY KNOW THAT THEY’RE LOVED ONES ARE WITH GOD AND IN A BETTER PLACE THAN THEY WERE ON EARTH! THEY ARE JUST HAPPY AND LOVING. THEY WERE JUST TO THANKFUL THAT THEY’RE ALIVE, EVEN THOUGH SOME LITERALLY JUST HAVE THE CLOTHES ON THEIR BACKS WE WERE ALL JOKING THAT GOD WAS CONFUSED. FIRST ALL THE MALAWIANS WERE PRAYING FOR RAIN AND WHEN HE GAVE IT TO THEM THEY PRAYED FOR IT TO STOP. PEOPLE HERE ARE FUNNY! I LEARN FROM THEM EVERYDAY BUT I REALLY LEARNED FROM THEM THIS WEEK. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE.
SO I MADE FUN OF THE ELDERS FOR KEEPING BUCKETS OUTSIDE TO COLLECT RAIN WATER RECENTLY BUT I HAVE FOUND THAT IT IS KIND OF A SURVIVAL THING RIGHT NOW. SO NOBODY HAS HAD WATER FOR DAYS EXCEPT FOR MY APARTMENT. WEIRD. LOTS OF MISSIONARIES ARE THERE EVERY NIGHT FILLING UP WATER JUGS. THE ONLY THING KEEPING PEOPLE FROM DEHYDRATION IS THE RAIN WATER. SAD THAT ALL OF BLANTYRE HAS NO WATER. CHURCH WAS CANCELLED THIS WEEK BESIDES SACRAMENT BECAUSE OF IT ALL!!
SO NOW FOR A LIGHTER MOOD:
I WAS ASKED OUT BY A 1/2 WHITE 1/2 INDIAN MAN THIS WEEK. WEIRD THING IS HE ASKED MY COMP OUT TOO!! WANTED TO TAKE US OUT TO EAT AND THEN SALSA DANCE. HE ASKED IF WE WERE ALLOWED TO GET MARRIED! HAHA THAT MAN! OH, HE IS ALSO MY LAND LORD!!! I DON’T KNOW HIS NAME! FLIRTATIOUS LITTLE INDIAN MAN! HAHA!
I GOT TO STUDY MY CANDLELIGHT!! THAT WAS FUN!!! I FELT LIKE JOSEPH SMITH!! I DON’T KNOW WHY BUT I DID!!!
WE GOT LOCKED OUT OF OUR APARTMENT BECAUSE I LEFT THE KEYS IN THE BEALS CAR AND IT WAS RAINING BUT WE HAD FUN! EVEN THOUGH IT WAS PITCH BLACK AND RAINING WE JUST DANCED!! SAW A NASTY BIG SPIDER CHASING US AND WE RAN FOR IT! OUR GUARD WAS JUST LIKE “AMERICANS.” OH, THEN THE BEALS CAME HOME AND THE KEYS WEREN’T THERE! SO I CHECKED MY BAG AND REALIZED I HAD THEM ALL ALONG!! BUT HEY WE HAD FUN! 🙂
SO I CANT REALLY THINK OF ANYTHING ELSE!! IT WAS A SLOW, SAD WEEK BUT ALSO HAPPY!! HARD TO BE SAD WHEN EVERYBODY IS HAPPY! I AM SAFE THOUGH AND FEEL SO BLESSED.
ANYWAYS I LOVE YOU ALL!! COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, YOU HAVE MANY!!!
LOVE SISTER BROWNING!
P.S.  I TAUGHT A MALAWIAN WOMAN HOW TO MAKE AMERICAN SALAD THIS WEEK! SHE WAS JUST LIKE “WOOOOW.”
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Christmas Skype with Neicia

All I wanted for Christmas was to talk to Neicia.  And I got it!  Let me share some of our conversation with you.

People.  Neicia loves Malawi and she loves the people there.  They’re completely mesmerized by her light coloring and especially light, soft, straight hair.  She says people often fall or lose their balance in order to “accidentally” touch her hair.  The kids love her (nothing new from the kids here).  She’s looking forward to some adorable kids, Prince and Angela, getting baptized.

She often gets proposals.  When we were talking to her she mentioned she’d only had two that day so it was a good day.  She was giving a little girl a piggy-back ride and a guy stopped her and asked if the little girl was hers.  She said no but also made the mistake of saying that she wasn’t married.  He told her he would marry her.  She told him she’s not getting married anytime soon and told him she’s on a mission.  He insisted so she told him she’s serving God for 18 months.  He told her he’d wait for her.  At least he’s persistent.

She deals a lot with drunk men.  This is new territory for her.  She’s had a few experiences where they’ve threatened her, gotten mad at her etc.  Most recently a man was upset because she wasn’t paying enough attention to him and threatened to kill her.  She got out of the area.  She seems to be mostly amused so far.  I guess by the time they’re showing these ridiculous behaviors they’re so drunk they can hardly move.  I admit it makes this mom a little concerned.

I gave her my promise ring, which is a gold CTR ring.  She had wanted it for quite a few years.  She’s decided to take it off, at least when she goes out.  She was on a bus and felt very uncomfortable when people all around her stared at it.  She said it was creepy and she was afraid someone would try to take it.  Also, they think she’s rich because of it.  The people there can’t afford jewelry like that.  People want her to give them money or jobs quite often.  Having a gold ring makes it more difficult to convince them that she has no money and can’t hire people.

The kids are taught to beg.  They come up to her with their hands out.  She’s figured out that if she hands them pass along cards it confuses them and they leave with the card but bewildered.  She’s given out all her Costco sized gum stash and stickers.  And she left with a lot of both of those.  She was excited to find out we sent some kids sized CTR adjustable rings.  She says she’d love more.  Each ring is not too expensive at $1 a piece but they sure add up when you buy them in bulk.  We’d love to send her more.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I’m starting to look for deals.

Christmas.  We sent her a couple packages for Christmas.  If we’d have known in advance that they’d take at least 2 months to get there we’d have at least sent Christmas to her at the mission home before she ever left.  She didn’t seem to mind at all though. In fact she decided to not open when they arrive, but on April 6th.  I’m hoping she gets both packages and one isn’t lost in the mail.  There is one very cute rain boot in each package.  I think she’ll need them both.

Sister Browning was feeling festive and decided to have a little piece of home in her celebration so in the spirit of our white Christmas she donned her sweater and hat and set out in over 90 degree weather.  I’m sure they all thought she was crazy.

Food.  Neicia clarified a story for us.  Not long ago she ate goat intestines and whole little fish.  The cook was a sweet lady who wanted to feed the “Azungu.”  Neicia and her companion were going to teach this woman her first lesson.  She asked Neicia what kind of meat she’d like.  Neicia didn’t want to ask her to make something expensive.  Meat isn’t cheap.  She looked forward to her chicken dinner all day.  When she arrived it wasn’t chicken at all.  She’s not sure why the change in meat  but she had a real interesting experience.

She mostly eats fruit.  One of her favorite foods is mangoes. This was something she was very excited about going to Africa for.  She says she eats 7 or 8 per week.  She loves to shop at the fruit stands.  Her companion is native and does most of the cooking.  The kids start learning to cook at about 4 years old so she knows what she’s doing and doesn’t mind.  The thing she misses most is milk.  The only milk she’s found there is canned.  She says she hates it so bad she can’t even eat cereal anymore.

Language.  Her accent was fun to listen to.  At first the family was surprised she could have an accent after just being there for a month.  Then I recalled a time I worked for a market research company and we called the south for a few days.  It wasn’t more than just an hour or so I started to pick up on the southern accent.  Neicia’s accent is much about her inflections.  It’s a lot of fun to listen to.  She wasn’t nearly as bad as a sister missionary we talked to for a minute from Alpine.

Christmas was a lot of fun.  Now starts the countdown to Mother’s Day!

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Group Email 1/8/2014

Second Week

Boe!
Muli Blangi?
So my week has been good!!! We met a family of 11 and get to teach them!!! The Dad is so interested!!! He demanded a bible, Book of Mormon and hymn book!!! He skipped a funeral to come to church this week! I love the people here!!! They just love Jesus!! I haven’t met one person who doesnt know who Jesus is and how Jesus helped them!! I have only met one person who wouldnt let us talk to them!!! I love it here, man!!! The joy I get every lesson!!! We have five people already with baptism dates and have 3 more we are going to ask this week!!!  It’s so awesome!!! The best part about it is they are strong!!! They believe and have found out for themselves!!!
So we lost power and water on the same day this week!! All day man!!! The worst!!! I almost cried when it came back on, One of the senior couples even heard us yelling because we were so happy!!! IT IS HOT here!!!  Man, let me tell you, way hot and when the power and water went out I felt like I was going to die!!! No AC and no water or filtered water!!! Finally it all came on and was on for a whole day until boom!  One morning nothing!!! I yelled- literally!!! Then I got on my knees and thanked God for what I did have!!! I think he put me in my place a bit!!! Ha!!! The people here don’t ever have that! I sucked it up and it all came back on!!! Amazing right? Ha!!
So church was awesome three of our recent converts got confirmed!!! I loved seeing their faces!!! So happy!!!
So funny thing happened this week!!! A lady asked me for a job!!! Because evidently all Azoogoos have money to spare!!! Ha no, we just said we are missionaries and asked if we could come and teach her sometime!! She said she was busy but walked us to her house and said come back and made an appointment!! Ha, people! Oh, one thing did scare me pretty bad this week!!! We were talking to a lady and a very drunk man (very tall and about 32) came over and sat down by us (we were standing) and started talking in Chichewa to me!!! Well I can barley understand them already but when a drunk guy talks there is nothing!! He was getting angry because I just kept saying “English!!” and he started to move closer!! I took a step back and then said to him very firmly, “Sit back down and don’t come any closer!” He did!! Then I grabbed my comp. and said, “It’s time to go.” Thats my story!
So there was a protest too this week so we had to go home early!!! That wasn’t so fun!!! There was also a soccer game and man the people!!! It was the largest crowd of people I have ever seen!! They came out and they stretched for like a mile or something long!! Just kept coming, screaming and hitting the car we were in!!!  I can’t tell you how many kisses were blown my way!!  Idiots!
It’s all fun though!! The kids are funny!!! They follow us!!! I love being white here sometimes too because the people will see me and stop what they are doing and their jaws will drop and they will just stare!!! Everybody no matter what age!!! It’s the best!! So funny!
Sorry if my grammar is weird!!! I am not talking the same!!! I haven’t used the word “legit” in a while!! 🙂
Anyways, it was a good week!!! I learned lots, taught lots and am having fun!!! I love teaching the gospel!!! I love the people and feel so blessed to be out here!!! I have come so much closer to our Heavenly Father and I am just happy!!! I love it!! I haven’t been homesick or depressed once!!! (well I did have to turn off the song I’ll be Home for Chrstmas. because it made me just a little sad!!! But it was all good!!! I love it!
Have a wonderful week!!
Love you all,
Sister Neicia Marie Browning!