Sunday, August 2, 2015

We have a monthly newsletter in the Zambia Lusaka Mission and every month Leif and I write a letter to our missionaries.The following is from July 2015

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Each of us has the honor and blessing of sharing the very profession of the Savior. We have been called into the full-time ministry and share, by calling and assignment, the mission of the Lord. We teach and testify, however, our purpose goes beyond teaching and testifying. We baptize, and yet, our mission goes beyond giving baptism.  We share the very purpose God, Our Heavenly Father, has ascribed to His life, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

Recently, the Brethren have emphasized the evolving scope of our sacred callings.  If you will, they have redirected and re-focused the time and attention of this body of 80,000+ men and women to more fully suit the reveled purposes of Our Father in Heaven and the Savior. The phrase they have adopted is “full purpose missionaries”, relating to the broader duties needed to bring to pass eternal life among our brothers and sisters.

With the added emphasis, the Brethren continue to endow us with their priesthood keys, priesthood rights and privileges, inspiration and guidance. They have also given to us an un-equaled set of tools needed to accomplish our purpose.

Like every profession, be it a plumber, electrician, doctor or accountant, etc. the professional uses a defined set of tools needed to complete a task. The tools are designed to make his or her work more productive, efficient, valuable and complete. We too have tools of our profession. These tools are offered to us in the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, the Missionary Handbook and other mission resources provided for our purpose.

A true professional knows how to use these tools; to get the most out of a particular tool and has the ability to produce and fine, rigorous and qualified product. In our case, the product of our labors is fully prepared, qualified candidates for baptism; candidates who would be integrated into the branch or ward and have a responsibility and friend. They would be “nourished by the good word of God” and prepared to meet the challenges that lay ahead. And, they would be looking forward to the temple and their next covenants.  Truly, they would be a fine product made of intricate tools and commensurate skills.

Please pardon the analogy that compares our brothers and sisters to the products of another trade but for purposes of illustration, we, like other serious minded professionals, must be aware of and capable of using the tools of our trade.

My hope and desire is that each of us can personally assess our own abilities and knowledge and set a plan for becoming more capable and skilled in our chosen profession.

Please know this concern for your personal development comes from the deepest sense of love I have for you and the love I sense from your Father in Heaven.

President Erickson

Sisters and Elders,
There are so many things I love about being in the unique calling that I find myself in now as the companion and wife to President Erickson. One thing that I treasure is meeting new converts all around the mission and having them come up to me and say things like…. “Sister Erickson, can you please say hello to Sister Quaye for me? I miss her so much. She taught me and is my dear friend.”  Or members that ask me “Sister Erickson, please greet Elder Owor for us. Where is he serving now? Our family really loved him.”  These questions and declarations of love warm my heart and make me keenly aware of the good work you are doing. You elders and sisters get transferred around the mission and will eventually depart for your homes but the impact you leave on the lives of individuals and families is profound. The Lord tells us in DC 18 that the worth of a soul is great in the sight of God. He goes on to say that if you bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father. I like thinking about homecomings in heaven….when we are all reunited in grand assemblies.   In Elder Anderson’s talk in conference in April he spoke of the Lord’s magnificent second coming. He said “There will be unforgettable reunions with the angels of heaven and the Saints upon the earth” (Moses 7:63).  How wonderful that we all belong to this grand family of our great God and that we will be invited to that reunion. Will you accept the invitation? Do you plan on being there? I know that by keeping covenants and with the grace and mercy of our Savior, we can All be there. It will be more than great…it will be glorious!

As you genuinely love and nurture your investigators, new converts, members and even your companions --- you are laying a foundation of eternal possibilities for yourself and for them. You are being a disciple of love…a true disciple of Christ. Remember the reunion of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah in Alma 17? This is one of the greatest reunions in scriptural history. After 14 years of separation, the joy that Alma feels can only be fully appreciated in light of the gospel which they shared. There is something heavenly about reuniting with a loved one, especially when both have been valiant in the cause of truth. Alma’s joy was like unto that which is enjoyed in the eternities, for that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory… (DC 130:2).  
So much to look forward to!
All my love,

Sister Erickson

Kitwe District Conference July 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015

More departures and a sampling of recent baptisms

                                               Elder Namisi home to Uganda
                 Awesome and almost forever Zone Leader Elder Payne home to Utah.
Elder Mwambu home to Uganda. A terrific missionary!
Elder Venter home to Johannesburg. He served as our transition finance elder when the Skidmores left and we had no office couple coming to replace Elder and Sister Skidmore. What a comfort for us! We relied heavily on his skills and attention to detail. 

Elder Daniels home to New Mexico. This elder was a terrific cook and taught many of his companions how to make shepherds pie and various casseroles.

Reliable Elder Hill home to California. We are so grateful for his always willingness to do what was asked of him.

Elder Ngendabanka home to Burundi. 

Sweet and thoughtful Sister Muthengi home to Kenya

Elder Shamanga home to his home in Lusaka. It is sweet that we know and love Oliver Shamanga's family. They are a great family with 3 returned missionaries and one now waiting to go.
This was the first group of departing missionaries in 2 years that did not get a home cooked farewell dinner due to power outages all day and the Mission Office genset being on the blink! Instead we went to Mike's Kitchen for dinner at the Arcades Mall...thus the picture at the theater :)
Leif  had not given many haircuts lately except to himself...until Elder Venter asked a few days before his departure. For this elder...only the best!!
 Elders Parker and Mohlakoana in Luanshya with President Thole baptizing Brother and Sister Mulenga...kingdom builders!!
 Elders Chiliza and Draycott in Luanshya baptizing our friend Lydia

 Elders Shai and Doig in Blantyre

 Elders Allred and Barton in Matero
 Elders Tayembi and Owor in Kawama

 Elders Collins and Shai in Lilanda
Elders Owor and Tayembi in Kawama