Monday, July 6, 2015

Another bwino week in Ndola (the land of milk and honey) July 6, 2015

Our district. Small but mighty!!! Elder Mukisa is from Uganda and smiles and laughs a lot. He is our district leader and he is great. Elder Madilu is from the Congo. He says he knows Sara's aunt and uncle!

I can't believe another week has flown by again! It makes me want to have a greater determination to work even harder because time is slipping away!!!! Ndola is great and so am I!
Tuesday: We have been setting the goal of getting 10 contacts a day and we haven't reached it and we finally got 9 so making progress!!!! This was a miracle and a huge sign of the hand of the Lord helping us because we didn't have much success in finding anyone who we had set appointments with. It's interesting because nothing went as planned on Tuesday and no one was home and we couldn't find any females to teach with us so it was disappointing. But we had 9 contacts! Everyday I have seen so many small miracles. We have to have ears, eyes, and hearts to see these miracles in our lives though. I know that as we continue to look for these miracles, we will be AMAZED at how many blessings we experience each and everyday, even if they are small. Tuesday is district meeting and we once again experienced what I call the African wait. We had to wait for Matthew (ward mission leader who is 21 but looks 14) who lives next door and has the keys to the church. Well he didn't have them so we waited for over an hour with the elders in our district. We finally got the keys after realizing the gate wasn't even locked...hahah the joys of missionary work! While we were waiting someone pulled up and asked me when Jesus was coming. People love to stop and ask us questions like this! They usually are interested in what we say which is awesome but its what they say always makes me laugh! District meeting is fun with only 4 of us but I am grateful for my district leader and how hard he works. We ended up teaching 3 lessons to members which is good because we were able to strengthen our branch. Because all our plans fell through, I realized the importance of having a back up plan. A lot doesn’t go the way we planned so as missionaries we have to be on our toes and have something ready so we don’t waste any time. That has been something that worries me because I know how precious our time is! As a companionship we are working to get better and using our time effectively when things don’t go as planned. Today I was reading in Alma 51 about Amalickiah and how he made his decisions with rash. As missionaries we must use the Spirit even as we plan and especially when we need to make back up plans. When deciding what to do we must ask, listen, and then do. I hope that as we apply this lesson this week we can follow the Spirit in guiding us where to go when plans don’t go as planned.
Wednesday: We started the day out with two investigators who live in the area we call town, Mulenga and Terrance. They are both about 20 years old. Mulenga is a music teacher and is very kind and happy! We introduced them both to the Book of Mormon and I had the opportunity to bear my testimony about this incredible book. I am not sure how either of them felt about it but I felt the Spirit so strong and my own personal testimony was strengthened as I shared it. I now that as we share our testimony, not only do we share the power of the Holy Ghost with others, but our own testimony grows! There is power in bearing testimony. From a devotional in the MTC Elder Bednar said, “When you don’t know what to say, bear testimony of the Restoration, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon and you will be given utterance.” I am so grateful for the testimony that I have because it is one thing that I can always rely on. I have been so amazed to realize that my purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ but in doing such, I have come closer to Christ. In the book Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard it says something along the lines of…missionaries go out and serve in order to show gratitude for all the blessings of Heavenly Father and to try to repay Him for all that He has done for them. However, missionaries are always even more blessed and therefore can never repay Him.” This is so true! We can all labor all of our days, even to the exhaustion of our souls but we will still be more blessed. Heavenly Father has more blessing for us than we can even imagine. If we stay steadfast and immovable by enduring to the end, we are PROMISED immortality and eternal life. Oh how this knowledge gives me desire to get out there and love, serve and teach. I challenge each of you to look for the blessings of the Lord and do all you can to share your testimony of the gospel so that not only others, but you yourself can one day taste that fruit from the tree of life. We headed out to Chipulukusu and Nkwazi next on the lovely buses! I seriously will miss those buses. All our appointments there fell through but we met some great new investigators. We met these two 20 year old boys who are devote in the their religion, they are 7th day Adventist but they were very interested in what we had to say and wanted to know what makes us different. We briefly talked with them and set an appointment for this Wednesday so I am excited to meet with them! While meeting with them I felt this feeling that when they both come to find the truth of our message and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they will be such a strength. I saw the end in mind! I could see them both being priesthood holders and leaders. There is so much more to missionary work than just baptizing people. Elder Ballard said, “We want quality and quantity. We want the temples filled with those we baptize.” The Ndola Branch has planned a temple trip this September so Sister Motsi and I are working hard to prepare the people for this wonderful blessing. I wish I could go with them. I dearly miss the temple but am so so so grateful for the covenants I made there before I came. They help me and bless me each and every day as I remember to keep them. We had 16 contacts on Wednesday so that was amazing! Brother John, an investigator and husband of one of the branch members, pleaded with us to help him stop drinking beer after we asked him if there was anything we could do to help him. I was so impressed by his desire to follow the Word of Wisdom. We told him we would fast and pray for him but promised him that the Savior knows exactly what he is going through and that his Atonement will help him overcome this problem. It was an incredible feeling to not only promise such a blessing but to know that with all my heart that what I said was true. The Savior knows all our pains, worries, stresses, everything and is waiting with open arms for us to turn to him. I am so grateful for Brother John and pray that he may be able to find the enabling power he needs from the Atonement to overcome this challenge. That night we had to do our grocery shopping and here comes my confession for the week….we bought everything except eggs, potatoes, and onions that Sister Motsi wanted to buy from the streets since they are cheaper. But we had already been in Shoprite(pretty much like Walmart but just food) and we couldn’t take the shopping cart out of the parking lot and we had way to many bags to carry. So Sister Motsi told me to stay with the cart and she just walked away!!! I had no idea what to do!!! I felt so so so alone without my companion!!!! It was a terrible feeling knowing that we were disobeying the rules so I started singing hymns. I felt safe even though it was kinda a sketchy part of town and it was dark . All  of a sudden this man came up to me and said, “Sister? Where is your companion???” Oh no!!! I had to quickly explain myself  and tried to laugh it off but I was so embarrassed because the man turned out to be the neighboring branch, the Mansala branch president!!!!! He told me to be safe and that he would be in Shoprite if I needed anything. Sister Motsi finally came back and when I told her she just laughed. Oh man I was so embarrassed and I never want that to happen again! But all is well.
Thursday: This was my first time in the areas of Chifubu, Pamodzi, and Signpost which are very similar areas to Chipulukusu. They are far and so we had to ride a bus and walk a lot but I love walking! I really do. I am convinced this is the most perfect mission for me because its just like backpacking! We walk on dirt paths everywhere. My bag has a hip strap that is just like my backpack. I brush my teeth from a water bottle and we go to the bathroom in holes in the ground. I also wear the same clothes a lot without washing them. When the power is out, we shower from a bucket, and I always have to have my hair in a ponytail. But I love backpacking so it’s the best!!! Anyways Matthew came with us to teach which was awesome because we had a member present. Oh but the bus ride…..worst part of my week!!! So we were waiting for Matthew at the bus stop and while we were waiting I saw this lady get on a bus with a huge basket of live chickens (with their feathers all plucked off, I think they attack each other) and then a group of 5 chickens with their feet tied together. I was so grateful we were not getting on that bus. Well what do you know….we got on our bus and the lady right behind me had chickens! I was hoping she would not sit next to me but there was an open seat! Luckily she sat in front of us but that was a long bus ride with those chickens just staring at me with those beady little eyes. Hahah it was funny though. We met with less actives and members today and it was great. We shared Alma 32 with Sister Chewey who recently lost her husband and somehow supports herself and 3 children in a very, very humble home. As we read verse 21” faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things” I was reminded that Heavenly Father does not expect us to be perfect whether that is a perfect missionary, mother, father, student,etc but if we have faith and exercise that faith, he will make up for our weaknesses. We then taught Janet who is an investigator but hardly speaks English. I am grateful we had Matthew there to speak Bemba but it was incredibly powerful for Sister Motsi and I to bear testimony in English and see Janet still feel that Spirit even though she didn’t understand. It is so important to have the Spirit because we cannot teach without it but can perform miracles with it. Shout-out to Mom right quick…the OWLS is so so so perfect! That is the recipe to success as a missionary. I love that pillowcase and think of how I can improve every night. Also that picture of Christ from the Bible movies is a huge strength! Thank you! This week as we taught in very humble circumstances I had the opportunity to work on the Christlike attribute of faith. Sometimes when I am in people’s homes I question whether the people here could really keep all the commandments and covenants. Sometimes I doubt and feel like it would be impossible. But as we sat on the dirty and ripped up couches of Janet's two room “home” I was even moved to tears when I came to understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. He has promised that if we come unto Him, we will find rest. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. His plan is available to all and is possible for all to follow and live. It is simple yet the blessings are beyond extraordinary. From there we went to the less active of all less actives, Sister Sinikiwe (pronounced sneaky-way). The name is so fitting! From the area book we read that she said she even regrets going to the temple. Of course I was nervous to go into her home but it was the complete opposite of what I thought! She was so nice and friendly to us and we ended up having a great lesson about the Book of Mormon after we sang 4 hymns (upon her request and lets just say…my singing has become even worse..if that is possible!). but it was great and I hope that we can continue meeting with her and remind her why she joined the church. Our last appointment of the day was my favorite and was with Sister Lunia, a less active. We showed a powerful video about the temple with her and for a moment, the Spirit was so strong I felt like I was in the temple! I felt so much love for my family back home. You are the best and I wish I could describe the love and appreciation I feel for you. I can’t wait to spend eternity with you! We didn’t know the way to her house so she sent her 11 year old boy to get us and it was a long way and he did it all in the dark!!! He reminded me of Jacob and was very sweet. We ended up getting home about 7:30, we are supposed to be home by 6 but we can come home at 7 if we are teaching but the last lesson was so good!!! We set a goal to be more obedient though. That night was nice though because after we planned and did my training, we cooked dinner and headed to bed. The hardest thing for me this week has been staying awake until 10:30! It is so tempting to just go to bed after we plan and train and eat. I am so exhausted at night but as I have continued to stay awake and studied, I have felt the blessings of being obedient. I love all the time that I get to study! I swear I can never get enough. Sometimes Sister Motsi and I just talk which is good because we build our friendship and help each other stay awake.

Friday was back to Chipulukusu and this day…ay! It was bwino sana (much good). I got 5 marriage proposals!!!! Dad your fear might come true and I might just marry someone from here. Totally kidding but its pretty hilarious how many people say they love me, want to kiss me, and marry me. Sister Motsi and I just laugh. I made these rice krispy things for a less active and one of our investigators and so that was fun to deliver them. I have found I actually really love to cook. Dad- we ate really well since we do all our own cooking. We shop for ourselves and we make sure we get healthy stuff. One bummer is that the ice cream isn’t very good here but I love the candy bars they have!!! We occasionally get lunch but the local places to eat are pretty much all the same. They have these things called Shawramas and they are really good! Its kinda like chicken in a piece of pita bread but its delicious and they have meat pies which are kinda like a cross between chicken pot pies and hot pockets. Matt you would love them! But other than that, they don’t have much unless we eat at the mall where we email. Here they have a subway and a pizza place. But we eat really well and I have enjoyed being creative in our cooking. Making dinner is so much fun with Sister Motsi and my favorite time that we have together. Sister Motsi bought a new hair piece and oh man that was the best! We went to this tiny shop that is filled with hair and all these women!!! I felt so out of place. This lady kept coming up to me with scissors and pretended to cut my hair. I was terrified!!!! She seriously would get so close to cutting it! She kept saying she wanted to switch with me. I was happy to get out of there! Sister Motsi is going to have one of our investigators put her new weave in. They live in Chipulukusu and own a little shack where they braid hair. We went to visit and the mom was there and she was hilarious! She asked why I didn’t bring her anything from America and why I didn’t bring my mom with me. Oh Mom- every one who I show the picture of my family too says you are beautiful and look so young!! Anyways I can’t wait to spend 2 or 3 hours with them while Sister Motsi gets her hair done. Maybe they can braid my hair too! We met with Simon, a less active and discussed Duty to God with him. Dad and the boys…any suggestions on how I can help him with this??

Saturday the 4th of July: I loved, loved hearing about everything you did!!!! I missed the fireworks but loved being patriotic hear in Ndola! I even woke up singing the national anthem! And sister Motsi and I had hot dogs so it was fun. I definitely have an even greater love for American and feel so blessed to have grown up there. But I love Zambia just as much!!!! Sometimes when I have a discouraging thought I take one second to look around and think to myself “I am in Africa. Yes Africa. This is incredible!!!” I really do feel so blessed to be here. We taught Keith today and it was awesome because it was the first time either of us had taught him so it was really a first lesson! We taught the Restoration and we will see him again this week. He lives in Northrise in a really nice house. We made a big lunch because we started our fast at 2 that afternoon and then headed to the only area I haven’t been to and it is awesome! Its called Ndola hill and we ride a bus for about 15 minutes and then we walk down the dirt road for about 30. It is away from the city and is really quiet and peaceful. If I ever move to Ndola, I am moving there. People pray on Ndola hill and we could here them. Sister Motsi said when we climb it, we have to wear long skirts because its against whatever religion that prays there to see your legs. Anyways that will be a fun adventure. In Ndola Hill we visited with the Nonde family who are less active. Sister Nonde started nursing in the middle of the lesson….I have had this happen a lot but I am still not used to it. We had a great lesson about Ether 12 and talked about weaknesses. Go read this chapter! We each set a goal to pick something we could work on and make it a strength. That night we got home right at 6 so we had a lot of time which was hard because we couldn’t eat or anything but I had a lot of study time which was much needed. I also gave Sister Motsi that white puffy jacket because I never wear it and it is too small for me. She wore it the whole night and kept telling me it smells like America. She was very grateful so thank you mom for sending it with me!

Sunday: Another great day in the Ndola branch!! Send your prayers this way though because our numbers are few and we have a new branch president who is struggling to figure it out. I am so grateful for our ward and organization of our church at home. I had no idea how different it would be here but I love seeing the members have such a desire to fulfill there callings. I was so sad to hear about President Packer! Sister Motsi and I are honoring him tonight by reading his last general conference talk. Ok Robert…I can’t really explain Robert but he is about 20 and I don’t think he is all the way there. He kept calling me an angel and his everlasting friend and during third hour he sat next to me and pulled out the Liahona magazine and kept pointing to the word love and marriage…hahahah Sister Motsi was dying!!! I guess he has done this to other sisters but he is quite the character! He wanted a map to my house in Idaho and when I told him I didn’t have one he said, “No worries. I will walk on foot.” Hahah what a guy! We visited a couple people but once again no one was home and we couldn’t get members to go with us so we went over to the Muwenga’s (I talked about them last email). The girls taught us the dances they were practicing for a party their mom was holding when they finished redoing their kitchen or something. It was so much fun to dance but they really can move their hips!! I will teach you all when I get home. Maybe I should teach them the dance you did! Nonetheless, Sunday was a great day. I am so grateful for the opportunity we have to fast once a month. There are so many blessings from fasting!

Monday: P-day….we are emailing and then cleaning and then I get to learn how to do laundry!!! I still haven’t washed anything but I am running out of garments so I am excited!!!

I love you all so so so much!!! I wrote a lot (my companion loves to email and so I just follow but hey I am not complaining!!!) I have even more to tell you though!!! Someday I can’t wait to tell you all my stories and all my experiences. Stay strong! Keep doing what you are doing. Keep sharing the gospel. GO OUT WITH THE MISSIONARIES!!!! They need your help. I pray for you everyday and night. I love you with all my heart, I love this gospel and I love Ndola!!!!!!

Much love,
Sister Bingham
Not sure why they sent me to the MTC in South Africa when there is one right here in Ndola! 

This picture is the road to Ndola Hill. Sister Motsi said someday we will climb Ndola Hill...I can't wait!
This is part of Chipulukusu. Maybe next week I can get a picture of the houses.

My cute companion with her purple umbrella. She takes it everywhere!
Here is the outside gate to our flats. This was my 4th of July outfit!!! 

I missed the fireworks but missionary work is even better than the 4th. I made sure we had hot dogs for lunch!

The "real lions gate" this made me think of the neighbor hood by us! They love lions here. This is a house in Northrise which is closer to our apartment but has the nicest houses in Ndola and pretty landscaping.

I LOVE CHACOS!!!! THis was the first day I wore them and they are heaven sent.

 I tried to get a good picture of our bus rides to the different areas without anyone seeing me because I always feel weird taking pictures but every time I wish my family could ride on the bus with me. It is always an adventure!

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