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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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Email 12/29/2014

LONGEST WEEK EVER!!! MAN THIS WEEK WAS FULL OF THE BEST AND THE WORST! WELL NOT THE WORST!
SO MONDAY WE HAD P DAY AND THEN A MISSIONARY PARTY! WE STARTED BY GOING AND LEARNING HOW TO MAKE BREAD AT ONE OF THE SENIOR COUPLES HOUSES! THEN WE WENT SHOPPING WITH SISTER ERICKSON! SHE IS JUST THE BEST! IT STORMED WORSE THAN IT EVER HAD SINCE BEING HERE ON MY MISSION! THERE WAS HAIL AND I LITERALLY FELT LIKE I WAS GOING TO FLY AWAY! IT’S OK THOUGH I HID BEHIND SISTER ERICKSON! AFTER SHOPPING ALL THE MISSIONARIES FROM LILONGWE DROVE DOWN HERE AND WE HAD A PRETTY LEGIT PARTY! WE DID A WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT EXCHANGE (I GOT A COOL DRUM!) AND THEN ATE FOOD! (I LOVE AMERICAN FOOD MAN!) AND THEN WE ALL WATCHED THE CHRISTMAS CAROL! I COULD TELL PRESIDENT ERICKSON (WHO WAS THERE) HAD A BIT OF A HARD TIME WITH WATCHING A NON-MISSIONARY APPROVED MOVIE! BUT HEY HIS WIFE PICKED IT OUT!
TUESDAY WE STARTED THE MORNING OFF WITH THE SECOND HALF OF MISSIONARY CHRISTMAS PARTY! WE ATE A YUMMY BREAKFAST AND THEN HAD THE COOLEST DEVO I COULD EVER HAVE! THE SPIRIT WAS SO STONG! WE LEARNED OF THE SACRAMENT! THE COOL PART WAS AFTER LEARNING, ALL 60 OF US GOT DOWN ON OUR KNEES AS THE SACRAMENT WAS PREPARED AND BLESSED. THEN WE GOT TO PARTAKE. I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO THINK OF THE SACRAMENT THE SAME WAY! I NEVER NOTICED HOW RELATED IT WAS TO CHRISTMAS!
THEN WE WENT OUT AND FINISHED OUR PDAY BECAUSE IT WAS CUT SHORT!
WEDNESDAY WE TRIED GOING OUT BUT DIDN’T GET VERY FAR BECAUSE OF THE CHIBUKU DRINKERS! I GOT “CHASED” HA! MAN THAT GUY WAS SO DRUNK I WAS FASTER WALKING THAN HE WAS RUNNING! HAHA! AT 1:30 WE HAD A BRANCH CHRISTMAS PARTY (WE HAD 7 OF OUR INVESTAGATORS SHOW UP! ONE WAS EVEN DRUNK!) AND THEN AT 5 WE HAD A ZONE MISSIONARY CHRISTMAS PARTY! I I LOVED THAT ONE! WE ATE CANDY, TOOK PICTURES AND JUST HAD FUN! THEN WE WATCHED THE CHRISTMAS DEVO PUT ON BY THE CHURCH! MAN I LOVE JESUS’S CHURCH! THEN WE ALL STUFFED OUR POCKETS WITH THE LEFT OVER CANDY AND WENT HOME TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS! I BOUGHT MY COMP A STOCKING AND GOT TO PLAY THE ROLE OF SANTA THIS YEAR! SHE HAS NEVER CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS THE AMERICAN WAY BEFORE. PEOPLE HERE JUST TREAT IT LIKE THANKSGIVING! TOTALLY XING! SO I BOUGHT HER A STUFFED ANIMAL THAT COST ME 5000 KWATCHA! MAN! THESE PRICES!
CHRISTMAS WAS ACTUALLY A REALLY BORING DAY! I DIDN’T DO MUCH BUT I WANTED TO SHOW ALL THE AFRICANS HOW TO REALLY CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS SO I PUT ON MY CHRISTMAS SWEATER AND SNOW HAT IN 90+ DEGREE WEATHER, AND WENT OUT! MAN IT WAS HOT! I ENDED UP HIDING IN A HOUSE BECAUSE IT WASN’T TO SAFE OUTSIDE DUE TO THE HEAT AND THE DRUNKS! THEN FINALLY AFTER WHAT FELT LIKE AN ETERNITY I WENT TO SKYPE MY FAMILY! THAT WAS FUN! BUT I GOT SUPER TRUNKY! I NOW KNOW WHY ALL THE MISSIONARIES DON’T LIKE CHRISTMAS AND MOTHER’S DAY! IT’S AWESOME WHEN YOUR TALKING TO YOUR FAMILY BUT THE FOLLOWING DAYS ARE HARDER AND YOU AREN’T FOCUSED!
BUT IT WAS ALL FUN!
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Email 12/22/2014

This week was great!! I don’t really know why though because a ton of bad things happened but it was still like a really good week!!! So, I wont go into detail about the bad things because that would be negative!! Negative is bad ;).

I learned that the Lord really wants me to pray about EVERYTHING I am thankful for!! I forgot to thank him for running water so he turned it off!  It was off in our whole complex for a day, then just my apartment for the next! It came on when I went on exchanges and turned off again when I returned!! Finally, after four days God had pity and gave me cold water! But I was grateful, and SOOOOO  happy!!!  The day I had exchanges the water was running so I got to take a shower there but as I was shampooing my hair it turned off… leaving shampoo in my hair! Man I was mad!!! Let’s just say I had some greasy hair for a while! Just glad people here can’t really tell! My hair is so different they just think it’s supposed to be that way! 🙂 I did have a bucket to rinse my hair!! But still it was bad man!!! 😉 Oh well, fun story!
Let’s see what else, oh so exchanges were fun!! I was in a different area with an American sister so it was fun to have her to talk to! And It was fun to meet new people!! During exchanges in my area (Zingwangwa) drama broke out and some bad things happened! I am really glad It happened the day I was gone! Just something with our recent convert who is awesome! She just made some mistakes in life and we got caught up in it! But It is all good! Hopefully, all will be well! We got out of the drama because we didnt feel like it was our place to be!!
So this week I learned a new word!! I love it! its chikhuluiliro it means faith!! Don’t try to sound it out because you cant!! It is said like (chi-kulu-pi-lee-lilo) it is the chichewa word for faith!  Man it is fun to say! I have been making a break through in the language! I still can’t speak it but I can understand others a bit!! The ones I am around a lot I can understand a bit! Church is still interesting though! For some reason I dont have a translator anymore?! OH, church man! Ha! So talk about boring!! Like the people here speak REALLY soft and REALLY slow!! Like I am not kidding it’s crazy how slow and soft they speak! So I was trying not to fall alseep all Sunday! But the last sacrement meeting we had was fun! Evidently, no body showed up to give talks so it was all missionaries who had to speak! Thank goodness I didn’t! But it was fun to understand people! Then president Erickson came in (he lives in Zambia so it wasnt expected) and talked! So sacrament went for like 1 1/2 hours but it ended with a bang!! This man got up to say the prayer, right? Well, we all tuck our hair behind our ears and lean forward so we can hear him, but instead of a quiet voice the man just starts going off!!  He was saying the most funny things!! And man, he was loud! He prayed for at least 5 mins!! I was literally trying not to laugh!!  It was good!!! That guy was feeling it!!  Haha, holy ghost fire!! That’s also a big thing here!! People chant that! “Holy ghost fire!!” Man even when we teach kids we ask simple questions like “How does heavenly father anwser our prayers?” “Holy ghost fire!” I laugh every time!! 
Well, I can’t really think of anything else but it’s been real!! A good week!! Today it rained so hard people couldn’t drive and we all were stranded in a store!! It even was hailing! That hurt!  I was outside!! The wind was blowing so hard! It was fun! I wanted to leave the little shelter and go play in it but my comp said there was no way she would follow me!!
Anyways, I love you all! And just so you all know, packages are allowed! Ha, some people were under the impression that they aren’t but they are 🙂 Hint-hint! Don’t go broke over me though! 🙂
Love Sister Neicia Marie Browning!
P.S. Christmas party!!! Yay!!! 😉 T minus 45 mins! All the missionaries from Lilongwe (a city in malawi) are traveling over here!! We get to share our flat! That’ll be fun! Sorry, no pictures! No time! Next time!
Elder baugh you’re a punk for not emiling me! As are you Kalten! 🙂