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Group email 6/8/2015

OK, WELL TODAY I HAD A ZONE ACTIVITY AND SO WE DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME TO EMAIL! I WENT UP TO A SWEET MOUNTAIN AND TOOK PICTURES AND HAD A WONDERFUL DEVO. THIS WEEK WAS FULL OF SPIRITUAL UPLIFTMENT!

OK, SO MY COMP IS DOING WELL! WE HAD A CHECK UP ON THURSDAY AND DOCTOR SAID WE NEVER HAVE TO GO BACK! THAT’S GOOD! I DON’T LIKE HOSPITALS! I GET MORE SICK THERE! DON’T LIKE THE SMELL OF THE BLEACH OR SOMETHING! ALMOST PASSED OUT ONCE! THAT WAS FUN!

OK, SO WE RESUMED WORK THURSDAY MORNING! THAT WAS SOOOOOOOOO GOOD TO BE IN THE AREA AGAIN!! THEN FRIDAY MY MISSION PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE CAME DOWN FOR ZONE CONFERENCE! THAT WAS JUST WONDERFUL! IT WAS SO UPLIFTING! IT WAS ALL DAY! ALMOST 11 HOURS! WE ALSO WATCHED MEET THE MORMONS!!  IT WAS GOOD! I WOULD LOVE TO SHOW IT TO INVESTIGATORS!!! (MOM YOU SHOULD SEND ME THAT VIDEO, AND THE EMMA SMITH MOVIE IN MY BIRTHDAY PACKAGE!)

SATURDAY WE HAD DISTRICT (A SMALL STAKE) CONFERENCE! SO ALL THE BRANCHES GOT TOGETHER! WE HAD LIKE A WHOLE WHOPPIN’ 75 PEOPLE SHOW UP!! HAHA! SATURDAY WAS SLOW!! SPENT THE WHOLE DAY AT THE CHAPEL AGAIN! (OH I HAVE A CHAPEL NOW THAT I HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED! MISS MEETING HOUSES!) AND SAME AS MOST OF SUNDAY! BUT WE ENDED SUNDAY WONDERFUL! WE WENT TO SEE A VERY SICK LADY IN OUR BRANCH WITH THE ELDERS AND THEY GAVE HER A PRIESTHOOD BLESSING AND THE SPIRIT WAS SO STRONG! THEN WE WENT TO SEE KEN! HE IS JUST DOING GREAT! HE IS BEING INTERVIEWED FOR BAPT. TOMORROW AND WILL BE BAPTIZED SUNDAY! I LOVE HIM! HE IS SUCH A HAPPY PERSON!!

WELL, I REALLY JUST HAVE BEEN SO HAPPY WITH LIFE! WILL BE EXCITED TO GET BACK TO WORK AND I’VE BEEN LOVING THE LAST FEW DAYS!! LIFE IS GOOD! FOR MY COMP AND ME!!!

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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 12/22/2014

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! 🙂
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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!