Monday, July 13, 2015

One Month older and hopefully wiser- July 13, 2015

Walking down the streets of Ndola, Zambia, Africa

FAMILIA!!!! I love you guys so much!!! It has been another great week here in Ndola!
Monday: Washing machines are incredible and I will never, ever complain about laundry when I am home. I finally decided it was about time to wash my clothes and yeah it was quite the humbling experience. When I woke up on Tuesday my arms were sore and my knuckles were raw. But I did it! After we cleaned and did laundry we had the best lesson with Raphael! Raphael lives right down the road from us. We taught him about enduring to the end and he has so much faith in Jesus Christ and has expressed his desire many times that he wants to do all he can to follow him. So I invited him to be baptized and HE ACCEPTED!!! It was incredible to feel the Spirit prompting me to invite him and to have him accept was the cherry on top. We set the date for this next Sunday so I hope we can teach him enough this week for him to be prepared. We taught him again on Sunday about tithing and he didn't even question it. He has so much faith! From the moment I met Raphael I felt something special about him. He has been to church for the past 3 weeks and on Monday we gave him a white shirt from an elder who went home and he was so excited. I'll keep you updated but we might have a baptism next week!
Tuesday: District Meeting! It was great once again and I brought some treats and the Elders loved them! Elder Madilu from DRC loves to sing so he sings really loud and its the best. Elder Mukisa, the district leader, is an excellent district leader and really does a great job fulfilling all his responsibilities! I look up to him a lot and have learned a lot from him. District meeting is a great opportunity to learn from other missionaries and find out how I can be a better teacher.
Wednesday: Nkwazi....I was going to say its my most favorite area but they are all my favorite! Nkwazi is right next to Chipulukusu so we walk from one to another. They are very similar but Nkwazi has a lot more garbage on the ground. But the I guess you would call it the 'main road' there is a market with everyone selling everything so when we went in the morning it was filled with people. I love walking and interacting with the people here. They just have a feeling of humility and love and I feel so privileged just to walk among them. Time and time again I feel so much gratitude for the constant love and welcome I receive from these people. They don't understand me a lot of the time, I wear different clothes from them, I look different from them, yet they take me in as their own. How did I get so lucky to be here??? I was asked how I got sent here and when I explained the process of a mission call I was reminded that Heavenly Father knows each and everyone of His children. He knows their strengths and their weaknesses. He knows how to challenge us but sends us help to accomplish what he asks. As much as I needed to be sent here to teach these people, I needed to come here to learn to love and serve His children who are very different from me. Mission calls really are inspired and just being sent here has taught me so much about how aware Heavenly Father is of everyone of our needs, wants and desires. He loves us all!!! So we tried to meet with a couple of less actives but they weren't home. We then met with Sister Chewey who was a less active but has been coming to church more often...yeah!!! She runs a preschool from her home and has really funny twin boys who are 16. From there we visited Sister Maggie, who is about 60 or 70 and a member who has a less active husband, i actually have no idea but she looks older. She said she has been having terrible headaches lately but said she would meet with us. We bought her a notebook so she could write down spiritual impressions or anything she learns while she reads the scriptures. When I gave her the notebook, I would have thought I had given her a brand new car. She was sooooo grateful for something so simple. did I get blessed to be here? We had a great scripture study with her and I was once again reminded how important it is to be a full purpose missionary. She told us how she has been trying to defend her beliefs and how she has a bad leg but she still walks every Sunday to church. her husband tells her all the time she shouldn't walk but she said, 'I made a covenant with Heavenly Father that I would partake of the sacrament every week and I plan on keeping it.' Sister Maggie is incredible. I hope we all can learn from her and strive to be more grateful for the sacrament and do all we can to do our part on keeping our baptismal covenants. We sang 'I know that My Redeemer lives' with her and I could hardly sing after her testimony and then the words of this song. Everyday as a missionary I feel so blessed to testify that Christ lives! He really did atone for all of our sins and through Him we can not only become clean but we can find strength to endure to the end. I love that I get to wear His name everyday. From Sister Maggie's we went to Chipulukusu but on the way we ran into Sister Enia. This lady is the bomb!! She actually reminds me of Kris Steele! When she saw us walking towards her home she started dancing and yelling and then ran over to give us huge hugs!!! She invited us in and then was sooooo excited to make us nshima!! Sister Enia was baptized almost 2 years ago and is now in the relief society presidency. Her son Joshua was baptized about a year ago and is super sweet. Her daughter is 17 and just had a baby that I got to hold...I know its against the rules but they just put her in my arms and I didn't know what to do but that baby boy...only 3 days old was so sweet. I miss my nieces and nephews!!! anyways sister enia made this relish/soup thing. It was sweet potato leaves, tomatoes, onions, and ground peanuts all mixed together in a pot over charcoal of course. She had me cut up the vegetables. Then she made nshima. It just is water with the mealie meal which is ground up corn and it is actually hard to make! you just have to stir it a lot but it was an arm workout! between washing and cooking, African women are beasts! We didn't know what to do because we aren't really supposed to eat at members homes but it was really hard to refuse. We ended eating there and it was.....good after I pulled out the 3 long black hairs. hahah it was quite the experience! the nshima was good. It really has no taste and so it is kinda like mashed potatoes but not really but you eat it with your hands. You grab a small piece and then play with it for a couple minutes, kinda rolling it around and then you pick up some of the relish and bon appetit! I ate all of mine and I felt so full afterwards! They eat nshima for every single meal here and its because it fills you up! Sister Motsi hardly ate any...hahah but it was good and I was starving as always. after we left I was really happy to wash it down with a good ol' pb&j that I had packed. I felt so grateful for Sister Enia though sacrificing her food for us. She is the sweetest. She even went with us to teach two other lessons! We went to visit Mary and Marium, the twins who are 23 and less active. We talked about the commandment of Following the Prophet. They love to meet with us and the lessons always go really well but they have a hard time getting to church. Hopefully we can see them again this week! We then went to Brother Mutale's home and taught him about the Plan of Salvation. As soon as we sat down though I had a pounding headache and couldn't even focus. I prayed that it would go away so I could help teach and it immediately went away. There are so many tender mercies I see and have every single day but this was incredible and I am not sure I have ever had such an immediate answer to prayer. Once again I was overwhelmed by Heavenly Father's love for me and the reminder that He is there whenever we need him. As I thought about this experience, I thought about all the times in my life I could have prayed and been given guidance or help but instead I have tried to do things on my own. We need the help of our Savior and our Heavenly Father in everything that we do. We cannot do anything on our own. Brother Mutale was great though and plan of salvation is one of my most favorite things to teach! I bore my testimony about how knowing this plan helped me when grandma and grandpa died. I felt the Spirit so strong and I know that there is a necessity of struggles that will refine the gold of our soul. I know that we are each given trials and experiences so that not only we can learn and grow, but so that we can serve and teach other people. Guess what?? We invited Brother Mutale to be baptized and he accepted!!! He has great faith as well and still has a lot to learn but has a desire and that is all he needs. I can't wait to meet with him this week! Also we invited him to come to church and he said he didn't have money for him and his family so Sister Enia gave him 10 kwacha! I am positive she didn't have the money to do that but she did. Oh how my heart was filled with so much love for Sister Enia. We left there and Sister Enia gave us hugs and was off running back home. hahah she is the best! We walked down the road for like 25 minutes to another part of Chipulukusu to meet with a couple new investigators that had set appointments but they were both gone. We found an old investigator that Sister Motsi knew though so that was awesome! Oh there is this ''soccer field'' there where I always see kids playing so I asked these boys to pass to me and then I tried to get one of them to be on my team and go against the other two but they were being shy. I finally got 2 of them to play around with me and it was so much fun! Later that night I passed these boys dancing so I started copying them and they couldn't stop laughing! hahah it is the best when we can find small moments like these. They bring so much happiness and sunshine to my day!!!
Sister Enia teaching us to make nshima

Joshua and his friends!
Thursday: We headed to Pamodzi and had a lesson with an investigator named Christian. The lesson was going so awesome about the Restoration and he was understanding everything and it was just rockin. he had a question about being baptized again so we focused the lesson on the priesthood and how that authority was here when Christ was on earth and has once again been restored. So we had scriptures and were answering all his questions and Sister Motsi bore this super powerful testimony and he was understanding and it was the best. Then at the end of the lesson he said, ''I love talking with you girls and learning all this new stuff but I just want you to know, I will not be baptized in your church. I would love to keep talking and reading and learning about God but I already was baptized and I don't need another one.'' To be honest, my heart just fell. Sister Motsi told me after that in that moment she was kinda mad. hahah here we taught so well and explained the priesthood and he said he understood but really he didn't. Honestly, it was frustrating. But as we walked away, I felt that I should not give up. In the scriptures we read of missionaries who prayed to have hearts be softened. Sometimes we do all we can and we follow the spirit and we bear testimony and do everything great but the message we have is still not accepted. I learned that I must only be discouraged by the things I can control. I cannot force Christian to believe. Sister Motsi and I will learn all we can and work so that we can answer his questions but it is up to him to act. We will just keep on praying that his heart will be softened because he is awesome and has so much faith! I am grateful for the things I learned from him. We walked a lot on Thursday which was great as always but it was hot...not as hot as Boise...but we bought these things that are super popular called Macs Kools. They are like giant otter pops!!! SOOOO GOOD! We went to a less actives house named Lily, or Flower. She likes both names. And she is a rapper and I can't remember her rapper name but it is hilarious!! She showed us some songs and she is pretty good. She laughs all the times and is really funny. You all would love her! she is 19 and is just waiting for someone to marry her and take her to college is what she said. But we had a good lesson with her and I hope we can continue to meet with her to help her want to come back to church. Her younger brother Justin was looking through binoculars and sister Motsi wanted to try them because she never has. It was so fun to watch her do this!!! Lily and her little sister, Barbie, who glares at me and really doesn't like me for some reason took us to a restaurant for lunch. I was kinda nervous because we didn't pack a lunch and Pamodzi doesn't have any clean places to eat or so I thought. But we ate at this night club....Hahah kinda hilarious to see two sister missionaries eating there but the food was good! Like I said its the same everywhere. Just chicken or sausage and nshima or chips(french fries). We then walked to go meet Brother Kajoba (the branch clerk). He wanted to introduce us to his neighbors who he has talked to about the gospel as well as his wife who is less active. We walked a long ways but I love where he lives. Its just like all the other areas but its great! He was so so so excited to show us his house. In the room with two couches there were stuffed animals EVERYWHERE!! They don't have any kids but I guess his wife loves them. He really was so proud to show us his house and wanted to make us rice but I felt bad cause we couldn't stay long. We meet a couple of his neighbors but we had to hurry to go to a meeting with the branch president. The meeting with the branch president was out of this world! hahah someday I will tell you all about it but he pretty much got in this big argument with his counselors and ended up telling them they were inactive and that they were men of the devil. It got pretty awkward but this terrible thing happened...Sister Motsi started laughing and you know me. Of course I started laughing and I could not get control of myself!! I almost got up and just walked out. it was so embarrassing but I really don't think the branch president knew cause he was laughing and man it was just a weird situation. We walked away from the meeting just laughing but grateful for a branch president who really tries so hard to fulfill his calling. He really is so dedicated to what he does!
Friday: President Erickson was here for interviews which were awesome because he is incredible! i feel so blessed to have been able to meet with him once again so soon. He talked to me about using all the tools we have as missionaries to their full capacity. He challenged me to write down 10 to 20 tools and goals on how I can use them to their full potential and beyond. I was kinda overwhelmed by this because there are so many and how am I supposed to use all of them!!! But as I started working on them the past couple of days I have felt at peace and grateful for this goal the president gave me. He said a bunch of other great stuff but mainly I just felt so much love and support from him. He did tell me that he was going to start me early as a driving missionary though but I am not sure what that exactly means....but I am super nervous to drive cause its on the left side of the road and stick. Please pray for me starting now!!! We left interviews and went with President Jackson to have a lesson with Antonia and his 3 boys Asi Trudi, and Glodi. The boys are just here for a couple months but they live in Brundi (a tiny country) and they only speak french besides for Antonia. Lucky for us, the branch president speaks french so we had him come and the lesson was awesome! We gave them sister Motsi's french Book of Mormon and invited them to church. It was incredible to feel the spirit even though I couldn't understand what was being said. I also loved being with the family. A lot of the time when we teach someone with kids, they send their kids away. When we taught this family I felt so much love for you, my own family! I felt prompted to bear my testimonies about families to them. In Preach My gospel it says that families are the most important social unit here on earth. how true this is and how grateful I am that I can be with my family forever! We visited Selina Mwiinga who has been taught a lot by other missionaries and she is 14 and we taught her neighbor, Justin, same situation. We taught them about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and I shared how I didn't play soccer on Sundays and Justin looked at me and said, ''Can you play soccer with those legs?'' Haha it was really funny! We visited Yimali and Gibson..both recent converts and taught them about personal progress and duty to God. On the way home Sister Motsi said we had to stop and buy a chocolate bar. I asked why, not complaining but just curious and she said, i buy a chocolate bar every 10th. So I thought ok and we went to the store and she wouldn't let me see what kind of candy it was and so she bought it and then we walked home and we closed the day and planned and trained and then I went to start making dinner. I went to ask her what she wanted and she was hiding under the blankets and waved me to go away. I was really worried about her and then she slid this note into the kitchen...I am keeping a secret. Will tell you in the morning. Please don't ask me anything. I will use the kitchen when you are done.'' So i made dinner for both of us but ate alone the whole time not knowing what to do! Well as soon as I was done cleaning and everything I went to our room and she handed me a candy bar and a note that said, ''happy one month one day early!'' and gave me a candy bar. She is so sweet and I loved it so much and couldn't believe how thoughtful she was but I am not totally sure why it had to be so secretive. Haha it was funny but she is the greatest.
Saturday: was very eventful but the highlight was most definitely meeting a prophet!! No not Tommy Monson..I wish -  but this prophet named Bydon from some other church. He was saying all this stuff about baptism by FIRE AND POWER and he was using his hands and telling us how he just went to someone's house to cast out a devil from their home by sprinkling oil. I guess the family had left home and came home to find a chicken in their house so they freaked out. Anyways he was crazy and kept telling me that my heart was telling him that he was a prophet of god. He then looked at me and said, ''I am seeing your older sister.'' you have an older sister?'' I said, which one and then he just started saying all this other stuff and it was so weird. I had the worst feeling and we finally left but then Sister Motsi wanted to know what he was going to say about my sister so we went back and he told me that my sister, the one right above me, so Courtney is going the way of the world and is going to start drinking and is going to have a baby and not marry the father. be careful:) haha and he said that I was in love and the boy abused me so now I have chosen this path of ministry and I will never love again. Man it was good and funny and terrible all at the same time. The whole walk home sister Motsi and I just talked about how glad we are to know their is a true prophet on earth today and the difference we feel when he speaks. I came home and read a talk by President Monson and after that day, I have never had such a strong testimony about the prophet. I am so grateful for him! The next day we sand we thank thee oh god for a prophet and I sang loud and proud.

SUNDAY: THE BEST DAY!!! WE HAD 12 INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH!!!!!! We started and no one was there and then they started coming, and coming, and coming. My heart has never been filled with so much joy!! I actually felt so much love and gratitude that I started to cry and it was just the best. It was so much fun to talk with everyone after sacrament and then hold a class with all the investigators. Obviously we don't measure our success but it felt good to see the fruit of our labors. And we had some recent converts and less actives there so it was awesome!! A huge answer to prayers. Dad asked about our branch....there are probably 30 members maybe...I should count next week. Our branch is small and has a lot of less actives since the area is so big but we are slowly but surely growing and getting stronger each and every day!

Well Family I love you so much! Go read the member section of PMG and help the missionaries. You will be blessed!Every day I give thanks to have such an amazing family!!!! Keep it up. Much love,
Sister Bingham

my most favorite tree

just a cute little girl! sister m and I tried for 10 minutes to get her to smile but she never did

Sister Motsi and I during morning workout. don't mind our wimpy weights!

These kids followed us for 10 minutes so I finally just stopped and talked to them but they didn't understand English so I took a picture and told them to do a funny face! haha they couldn't understand so I showed them an example of a funny face and they copied me. well just the brave ones! they are so cute! I love it when they just stare at me and then when I have walked quite a ways they finally build up the courage and yell MOZUNGU!!!

Trudi, Asi, Glodi, and then Grace from the ward and her friend Gift
Asi, Trudi, and Glodi...the boys who speak French!

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