Monday, July 20, 2015

Missionary Work is WORK! July 20, 2015

 2 of my most favorite streets! 
They are better in person.
But Mom, you would LOVE these trees!

Sister Violet going to teach with us! We love when members teach with us and Violet actually called us to teach!!! Sister Motsi and I freaked out!!!! 

This week was one of my favorites so far! It was filled with learning, growing, as like my subject said...hard work!! My number one scripture for this week (one of mom's favorite is Proverbs 3:5-6) Trust in the Lord was my theme for this week. Here is why...
Tuesday: My first Zone Meeting and it was amazing!! We had to go to Luanshya so we had to get a taxi and drive for about half an hour. A lot of the missionaries were late but it was way fun to get to know everyone afterwards! I didn't realize how lonely Sister Motsi and I are..hahah ok maybe lonely isn't the right word but I LOVED being with other missionaries. I wish you all could have been there. There is such a strong spirit when missionaries are gathered together like that.It was so awesome to be with so many missionaries this week and the Spirit was so strong everytime we were together. It was a great reminder to me of the sacredness of our calling and that each and everyone of us was called by the Prophet to be here, the Zambia Lusaka Mission and specifically in the Cooperbelt Zone.  Our zone leaders, Elder Parker (from Twin Falls) and Elder Mohlokola (or something like that) gave the best training. They   challengened us to rise to a new sense of commitment. They want us to lay a foundation for all the missionaries that will forever serve here in this zone. One of them said that this zone has kinda had a reputation of being the worst for some reason. I guess no one looks forward to coming here...I have no idea why cause I love it here! Their call to action was so powerful though! For a couple days before the meeting, I have had a different feeling. Now that I have been here for a couple weeks and feel settled in, I have feel like there is something more I can do. There is more I should be doing to be a better and more effective missionary. I feel like I have been just going through the motions. My personal study has been great but I feel like as a companionship and working in the field, we can do so much more. I think I realized that you choose what kind of missionary to be. You can most definitely do what I was doing..just getting everything down and doing the minimun. You can also go above and beyond. You can, as PMG says, DO ALL YOU CAN, and be the kind of missionary that Heavenly Father knows I can be. As I realized this, I wanted to make changes and be the best missionary I can be. When it is time for me to come home, I want to return with honor. I want to have no regrets and leaving knowing that I have done everything that I could for 18 months to invite all to come unto Christ. The zone meeting was exactly what I needed as well as what the whole zone needed. I am grateful for all the leaders in this mission and their inspired teachings and counsel. I am excited to start this new progress in laying the foundation here in Ndola. I didn't want to leave the meeting but we had to get back. During the meeting, before I met any of the other sisters...I kinda felt intimidated by them. Here I was just this newbie and they all had been out for awhile. I was kinda scared to talk with them afterwards but they are the best!!! They made me feel so loved and welcomed. Sisters are so fun! I never want to stop being a missionary. So we had to get a bus to go back to Ndola but the problem is that you have to wait for the bus to fill all the way up before we leave. So we sat on the bus...dripping in sweat for 3 hours. It was fun!! Actually it really tried my patience because we had lessons and people to see but it was good to talk to the elders from our district and to get to know them. I was disappointed though because with time, I knew we weren't going to get any work done. What do you know...this older man sat next to me and for the longest time I couldn't think of anything to say! I don't know why I was struggling but finally as the bus started to leave I started a conversation. He asked if I had something to read so I gave him a Restoration pamplet and the whole ride he read it! I tried explaining while he read but he said he only wanted to read. I spent the rest of the bus ride praying that he would feel the spirit despite the jam packed, hot and sweaty bus with inappropriate music blasting. When he finished I asked if he had any questions and he said "No. Everything makes perfect sense! I just want to read the Book of Mormon now. Where can I get one?" Of course I gave him one and got his number so we could set up an appointment. This was the best!!! I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers and if we just have the courage to open our mouth, we will be able to help so many of his children. I am grateful that Abraham Mwape (the man on the bus) sat next to me because I was feeling very discouraged before we started talking. You never know when you will have an opportunity to share the gospel so always be ready, even if you feel there is no hope or no way you will be able to. 
Wednesday: EXCHANGES!!! Sister Motsi went with the Sister Training Leader, Sister Hirwa (from South Africa, is applying to BYU and is going home in 1 week) and I went with Sister Ratema (from South Africa as well, has been out for 2 months and is a fantastic missionary!!). This was the most nerve racking day of my entire life!!!! I had to take the lead and was responsible for going to the area and of course we had to go out to the villages where it is the biggest maze ever!!! I had prayed and prayed and prayed that we wouldn't get lost. Well.....hahah so we didn't get a bus so we had to find a taxi and all the sudden the area wasn't looking familiar and the taxi driver couldn't understand me and I started to have a panic attack because I also had only enough money for one taxi ride...AHHH STRESSFUL!!! No worries though...I somehow figured out where we were and before we knew it we were in Nkwazi (When Sister Motsi heard about this she could not stop laughing!! Turns out I was pronouncing Nkwazi wrong but man it was fun to laugh about it after it happened) So next up comes uh...maybe one of my least favorite parts of my mission thus far. Sister Ratema and I were walking through this little street market just talking away and getting to know each other. This drunk man comes up to me and starts saying all this jibberish and so I tried to walk faster and get away from him but he kept walking right next to me and getting super close to me. I haven't felt scared once but I had this awful feeling. Sister Ratema tried to get between us and we kept asking him to leave and telling him we were missionaries but nothing was working. Finally he just grabbed my arm to stop me and slapped me really hard on the back. Honestly it didn't even hurt that bad but I was so shaken up. I don't know why, I usually don't cry or am a baby about that kind of stuff, but the tears just started to come. Maybe it was because I was so surprised someone would do that. I couldn't speak for a couple minutes but then I realized that I was fine and all was well. Although he didn't hit me because of the church, I felt so so so much gratitude for all the people all over the world, past and present who face persecution for being a member of this church. I can't imagine how the pioneers and Joseph Smith did it. It made me want to work even harder to share with others what they suffered and even died to protect! Anyways that was crazy. I was so nervous to go back that way but it was the only way we could go. I saw the man and I was so scared but I said a prayer and Heavenly Father protected me. The man didn't even see me and I walked right by him. Prayer works and Heavenly Father looks out for all of his children. The rest of the day went fantastic!! We had to miss a couple lessons because I couldn't remember where the people lived (I was so embarrassed) but Sister Ratema and I were able to teach a lot and it was amazing how we had only met that day but taught with much unity and power. Just another testimony that this is the Lord's work. Sister Ratema taught me so many lessons and I wish I could write them all but her trainer is amazing and I really hope someday Sister Ratema and I are companions. Exchanges made me realize how amazing Sister Motsi is though!! I realized how much I rely on her and need her and how much responsibility I put on her. I hope from now on I can serve her more and lighten her burdens. That night was so much fun!!! I loved having all of us sisters in one apartment! I made fried rice for everyone and it was a hit. hahah they thought I was some amazing cook or something but really its just frying up stuff and mixing it together. I did make some bomb biscuits the other day though and some way good snickerdoodles today. 
Thursday: We had a meeting for all the trainers and trainees put on my the APs from Lusaka. Once again, it was an incredible feeling to be sitting in a room with 8 other missionaries. I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with other missionaries this week. It doesn't happen very often here so I realized I needed to soak it all in and learn all that I could from everyone. It was fun to see Elder Tema from the MTC again. He is quite the character and LOVES to talk to the sisters. He is a crack up! Thursday made me really grateful for my trainer and companion. Later that day we had to hurry to a lesson and a didn't want to be late and Sister Motsi was walking slower than I thought we should be going. (Africans walk SO slow!! Dad needs to come do a lesson on walking with a purpose. But really if we ever are walking with someone it is painfully slow! Sister Motsi is a really fast walker and ususally we go the same pace though) I thought that if I started walking faster she would too. So I took the lead and started going. I don't ever like walking in front of my companion but we needed to be somewhere. I was starting to get really frustrated when I looked back and she wasn't walking any faster. We hadn't been talking to each other for about 15 mintues and I felt like there was tention between us. All the sudden I remembered  something that she had said earlier that morning when she was just joking around at breakfast "Patience, Sister Bingham." I knew right then that I was being so prideful. I was being an untrusting and selfish companion. I was so embarrassed of my behavior and filled with so much humility. I immediatedly slowed down to walk next to her. I took a few deep breaths and prayed to be filled with that humility so I could be patient, understanding and united with my companion. It was at that very moment that Sister Motsi started talking away to me and was happy as ever, like there was nothing wrong at all. I realized that I need my companion. I can't do anything on my own. She has so many strengths that make up for all my weaknesses. There is nothing good that comes from frustration and jealousy and impatience. I also realized that just as much as I need my companion,  and we need to be united in purpose, I need the Savior. Without him, I would not be here today. I would not be able to teach or continue on with this work. I am so so so grateful for Sister Motsi but especially for the Savior and his Atonement. Everyday I need his forgiveness as well as his enabling power. We ended up being on time to our appointment even! I am grateful for all the small experiences that try and test me and continue to strength my testimony. Everynight I write down how I saw the Hand of the Lord during the day. It is amazing that when I really look and listen for these moments, there are too many to even count. After the exchanges from the day before, we had been given counsel from the stl to spend 80% of our time 30 mintues from the church. This meant we could go for about half a day to 6 of our 7 areas. This news was really hard on me. How were we going to visit all our investigators, less actives, and recent converts that live farther away?? I have grown to love them all and my heart was really really sad with this news. I began to doubt and that is when the theme of trust in the Lord came into play. Sister Motsi discussed what we would do now. As we worked and planned together we decided that even though we loved those people so much and really needed to visit them at least once a week, we were going to focus our efforts on the center of strength.  It was amazing how once we decided to be obedient and humble ourselves to the will of Heavenly Father, ideas and plans started to form. We made a list of all the members we could think of and all the less active and recent converts we could think of. We then matched a member with a less active/recent convert. By assigning each person, we not only could still make sure everyone was visiting each other, we could build unity and friendship in the branch. We are planning this week to go visit all the members and give them their assignments. I am excited for this and also excited to do a lot of finding in our areas closer to the church. It is kinda like Sister Motsi and I are starting over in this area but we are excited!! 
Friday: This is where missionary work is WORK comes into play. I was exhausted at the end of this day!!!! We walked and walked and walked and walked up and down and up and down and up and down town. Every day before this we have worked hard and I have been tired but Yo! today was hard! I have never had to rely so much on the Savior for physical strength. But at the end of the night, I have never felt so happy and good! There was one part of the day that we didn't know whether or not we should walk super far to this one appointment because we needed a female but our member cancelled on us. Keith, who we were going to teach, has a wife but we didn't know if she would be there. We decided to sit down (The sister training leader told Sister Motsi we should take an hour break for lunch during the day as well as time to just chill...this has been hard counsel for me.) and think and pray about what we should do. I was receiving an answer but remembered that mormon message where we should just start walking and if we feel it is wrong, turn around. So we started walking and it felt right. We walked all the way there and guess what...we were 15 mintues late so Keith had already left. BUT HIS WIFE WAS THERE!! I didn't even feel one drop of disappointment when Keith wasn't there. Ok I did because we couldn't teach him but his wife was home. Even though she didn't want to be taught then, had Keith been home, we could have taught him. Sometimes it can be difficult to hear or see the answers to our prayers. But they are there. It can be hard to see the blessing amidst a hard time but they there. I challenge you all to look for the blessings during trials. Your love and gratitude for the Savior and Heavenly Father will grow! That night we went to go visit some less actives and we ended up walking with them to a hospital to visit their aunt who's baby was really sick. That hospital was really really sad. I could hardly be in there with all the crying babies and mothers crammed into the rooms. It was really awful but I thought of Matthew and I am grateful that he choose to be a doctor! You really are such a light to all of your patients and I wish you could come down here and help!  
Saturday: Another great day as a missionary!!! We visited Raphael who is GETTING BAPTISED NEXT SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!! We prepared him for his interview and went through the questions but one of his answers made it that he had to be interviewed by the mission president. We called our district leader and then the mission president called and was asking me to find out all these details from Raphael and I was really scared and felt super uncomfortable but mainly I was really sad because Raphael is so ready to be baptised and we thought it would be postponed until late August. Well when we went to clarify a couple things, it turns out he didn't fully understand the question. Sister Motsi and I were so embarrassed!!! We learned that from now on we have to explain EVERYTHING. But good news...He is getting baptised!!!! Seriously it is a miracle and I am so happy for him. He is amazing and is so faithful and is so willing to do everything that we ask of him! I can't wait to tell you all about it next week. That night we came home and the power was the way my headlamp died and I was so sad! Luckily Sister Motsi has an extra flashlight. The power goes out about 3 to 5 times a week so it's whatever know but what is the worst is when I finish eating a sandwich, cereal and anything else I can think of that I don't have to cook and THEN the electricity comes on!!! haha it always happens!
Sunday: We had 6 investigators come to church! 3 were friends of a girl in the branch that we didn't know but the best was when we had 2 less actives come!!! We have been visiting every week that I have been here and they finally came to church! It was the best! The branch....hahah it was another crazy Sunday and the branch president gave one of the most interesting talks I have ever heard and third hour was pretty much just one big huge argument and that's all I am going to say but just send your prayers to our branch. I have felt this huge burden on my shoulders because I feel like we need to help this branch. However, as I have been praying and studying I have realized it is not my responsibility. I need to go those things in Preach My Gospel and what our mission president has said to help strengthen the branch but that is all I can do. But I am soooooo grateful for the organization of the Church and especially for our ward back home. I also fill the greatest desire from now on to fulfill every single calling that I have to the best of my ability! Sunday we got a call from President Erickson and we are getting two more sisters in our flat and we are splitting our area!!! What?!?! CRAZY!!! Also they are sending a car in a month and so I will be driving!! Seriously this news was so surprising and we haven't stopped talking about it. Here Sister Motsi and I have changed all our plans and ideas and now we need to change everything again since we will have double the strength. TRUST IN THE LORD. Really though we are so grateful to have extra help here cause we need it. It was easy to be prideful and a little sad that it wasn't going to just be "our area and our flat" anymore but now I can't wait!! You never know what is going to happen but I am excited for this change and can't wait for the sisters to come tomorrow!!!!
Monday: Tonight we are going to FHE with Raphael and a family in our branch. I wish you were all coming or we could come to your house!!!!
I love you all so much! i love this work and being a missionary!!!!!

 Here are the sisters we did exchanges with

House for Jacob cause its purple and yellow! Go colts!! 
 We decided to match for the zone meeting and no one said anything....we love to match!!!

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