Monday, September 28, 2015

Conference week - September 28, 2015

Namanwe family!!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY COURTNEY!!!!!! “I Hope they call me on a mission” Wait…I am a missionary! This week there were so many moments that I just marveled that I get to be here in this incredible country doing the work of the Lord. It keeps getting better and better each day! And hotter and hotter! October is the hottest month of the year and we are feeling it!

Tuesday: We spent the day walking to save gas and we were working close to town and talk about sweating! But it was such a good day! We taught a man named Manesh (about 25 years old). He hasn’t gone to church for a very long time and has been really interested in the gospel. We had a powerful lesson as we read about the doctrine of Christ from the Book of Mormon and then invited him to follow the Savior by being baptized. He didn’t totally accept but didn’t deny either but it was encouraging and I have seen a change in him in just the few visits we have had with him. It is amazing how the gospel truly does change lives…even before baptism! Later that night though he called Brother Nzima from the branch and told him that his girlfriend and entire family are against the church. This was really hard to hear but then Brother Nzima told us that Manesh isn’t giving up. He still wants to learn and know for himself if it is true. Tender Mercy! We had another lesson with Chalesa (the grandma who kept falling asleep) and she had a lot of questions, especially when we told her that she could be sealed to her late husband in the temple. She has a lot to learn but from teaching her I have realized how our message and the gospel is for EVERYONE. The young and the old. No matter who you are, the Savior and His atonement will help with any trial or challenge and bring true joy! Funny story about Chalesa…she is the sweetest old woman who lives with her granddaughter and they are BEST FRIENDS! Haha Skylar is a year and a half but they just talk to each other non stop and are so perfect for each other. I wish you could see the two together..they crack me up how well they get along and I love them!  We finally got to teach Brother and Sister Mwiinga together, another tender mercy. President Erickson said later this week at District Conference that you can’t progress until you are complete with your eternal companion. Another Brother and Sister Mwiinga aren’t sealed and aren’t even members, I have realized how much they depend on each other to progress. Sister Mwiinga and the kids are prepared for baptism but Brother Mwiinga still has some things to work on and get through before he make this sacred and important covenant with our Heavenly Father. I learned how important it is that we strengthen and encourage and pray for each member of our family because we all progress and grow together. I  thought of Grandpa Bingham in the letter he wrote right before he passed away that said he hopes there are no empty chairs in the celestial kingdom. We can receive salvation alone, but we can’t be exalted without a family. Brother and Sister Mwiinga need each other just as much as I need my family. I am sooooooooooooooooo grateful for my family and how much they help me in this path of life. I love everything we get to experience together here on earth but I can’t wait to spend eternity together! I love you all and pray for you each and every day!! You are all the best!! We stopped at a little store on the way home to buy a cool drink after a long hot day and I bought a minute maid….it never tasted so good in my entire life and I don’t think I have ever downed a can of juice so fast. I love these small moments that bring me so much joy!

Wednesday: Another great day filled with the usual highs and lows. The day didn’t go quite as planned and we were going to our last lesson of the day and our investigator, Peggy wasn’t home. So we tried to recontact a couple of people are her house with no success. I was tired and disappointed and as I went to knock on another gate I said a silent prayer that we would be able to just find one more person to teach or at least just have one person come out to the gate. Immediately following “Amen” there was Peggy, walking up the street. I felt so much gratitude for that answer to prayer…maybe Peggy just happened to be walking home but I have been amazed to find that as we working diligently, Heavenly Father blesses us. Now this was an immediate answer and just what I had asked for but I have come to find that this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the miracles are a little bit harder to see or we have to wait a little longer than planned but blessings ALWAYS, ALWAYS come. I can’t believe how before coming on a mission, how many times I failed to see the Hand of the Lord blessing my life. It's just like President Uchtdorf said that Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings down upon us, but we put up an umbrella that stop them. Anyways the lesson went great and Peggy is really progressing. We extended the baptism date of October 25th and she wants to pray about it but she is a golden investigator! That night we came home and we had a text from a man that we ran into on the street a couple of times and this is what it said, “ HEY BINGHAM ITS VICTOR I WAS HOPING DAT IF POSIBLE U CN GET ME A COPY OF DA MORMON BOOK I DNT KNW WEN I HAVE TO ADMIT DAT AM ATTRACTED TO U LOL.” Lol is right…hahaha.

Thursday: We went and taught a lesson about prayer to the Namanwe family. Its funny how we went there to teach and inspire them, yet my heart was so touched as we shared about the special blessing of prayer. I had the greatest desire to share my testimony of how much prayer has helped me but every time I tried, Brother Namanwe (he loves to talk but its great! It amazes me how much knowledge he has of the gospel) would say something. But then it gave Sister Motsi a chance to bear her testimony and she shared an experience of how her prayer was answered and it made me love her even more and realize what an incredible example she is to me. We have been together for 3 and half months now which is a long time. We know just about everything about each other and I feel like I have lived with her my whole life so sometimes I take our relationship for granted. This day I was so grateful for her and all the things she has taught me. We for sure have 4 more weeks together but who knows after that and thinking of us leaving each other is hard! We went and saw Mercy from our branch and she told us that Elder Scott had passed away. It really shocked me especially because I had just read a talk from him that morning! The talk was about eternal marriage and wow…he loved his wife so much and to think that now they are reunited brought me so much happiness!! I am excited to hear who the new apostles are. You’ll have to email me because you will hear before me. Which reminds me….how was the women's conference?! I am not sure when we will watch conference but I can’t wait! Our branch started this thing called devotion every Thursday night were we get together and read from the Book of Mormon but no one showed up this week and we had brought cookies for the Kapatos to say thank you for dinner last week so we decided to go drop them off. Sister Kapato kept saying how much she needed the cookies…hahah it made me laugh cause they were just cookies and they were actually kinda hard but she was so grateful! I once again was humbled to be around people every day who are filled with so much humility and gratitude. Oh funny moment from the day….we went to go a see Lily who wasn’t home but we found her mom home. We have never met her mom since Lily stays with her grandma but I finally know where Lily gets all her spunk. Her mom is hilarious and crazy!! She was telling us all about how she sings and heals people and that when she prays she yells. She told us that if you are in desert and a lion comes, would you use a quiet voice? No you would yell so we need to yell to scare away the devil. That is why her voice is horse all the time…haha and then she gave me homework to read the story of Adam and Eve and about Lazerous and the rich man. Sister Motsi and I left the house laughing and grateful for moments like this that bring some laughs into our day. Thursday night….hahahah this was quite the night. We came home and we needed to prepare a couple more things for our presentation for Zone Conference. Sister Motsi was really really stressed and worried about it and wanted to run through exactly what we would say which was good to practice. Haha well we ended up practicing about 5 times, testimonies and everything. She even stood up and put on the outfit she would be wearing, and sitting down and walking to the front. Hahah she was making me laugh but I was really worried. It was funny though because her stress started to make me stress and for the first time since coming here I was worried about what to wear! I even tried on my outfit and then next morning I even put on eyeliner….you thought I was low maintenance before mission, well Africa has made it worse! Haha but anyways I am grateful for all the experiences I have had at school and church that I didn’t enjoy then but prepared me for the many presentations and lessons we give now.

Friday: Zone Conference was amazing!!! So inspiring and overwhelming at the same time as I realized how many things I need to improve on. We had to go early for a leadership training which was really good! President Erickson was teaching about how we are developing attributes and going through these experiences to prepare us for the future. Then he looks directly at me and says, “Your husband isn’t in this room but you are developing yourself here to bless him and your family. Actually your husband could be in this room!” uhhhhhhh….talk about most awkward moment! Even Sister Erickson was looking at President Erickson like what did you just say? Hahah dad maybe your worry will come true that I’ll marry someone from Africa! The rest of the conference was really good but HOT! It was held in our meeting house and there isn’t air conditioning of course and it was just like that church in mexico. By the end of the conference I had a great desire to make the needed changes to improve and move the work forward in our area. At the conference, President Erickson informed us that we would be doing “No Tracting November” which I am really excited for! We are going to have to start now to work extra hard so we won’t have to spend any time contact, just teaching. This mission is really moving forward and the work is hastening!

Saturday: After Zone Conference I was so pumped to get out and work! Well of course almost all our appointments fell through but that’s how life is and I have learned to find the humor in it. It’s frustrating but what is the point in getting upset. I have realized that we need to find Joy in the Journey and find success as we plan well and work our hardest. We have to look for the small accomplishments each day! When I came home and recorded our low numbers in my planner, the disappointment started to come until I remember how well our coordination meeting went that morning. It was the best one we have had since I have been here! I felt such a great connection with the members of our branch that were there. Our purpose as missionaries is to establish the church in the areas to which we are called. This branch is progressing, slowly yes but I have seen it grow and change! I realized how much we need the branch and how much they need us. It was a powerful meeting which was so because usually it is so boring. Talking about boring….we had been to a bunch of houses and found no one at any of our appointments or our backup plans or our backup backup plans so it was kinda quiet between Sister Motsi and I. Then we started doing all these tongue twisters and riddles and it was so much fun! Some days are slow and some days are packed with teaching but we are always moving forward. Its funny how one bad day makes you forget all the good that has happened but I am grateful for Sister Motsi who encourages me but I am especially thankful for my family! I took pictures of all our emails and read them many times throughout the week and they really helped me. I love you all!

Sunday: The first ever Ndola District Conference and I got to be there!!! The meeting was so great and once again I was amazed at the faith of the saints here and all that they do for the church. They are so committed and sacrifice so much! Our district includes 3 branches so it was fun to be with the members and the missionaries from different areas.  But I loved seeing the Ndola  Gang, a group of about 10 young adults, all sitting together. Here was the best part of the conference though…SISTER NONDE CAME!!! Sister Motsi leaned over and said “Brother Nonde is here!” and as I looked back I saw sister Nonde and it brought soooooo much joy to my heart! This work is the best and I get to be a part of these miracles for 15 more months and what will I do when I go home??? The conference was great and the speakers really did a good job. Sister Erickson talked about these beautiful trees here called Jacaranda trees. The bloom a beautiful purple blossom in the hottest season of the year. Her talk reminded me of mom who is so good about seeing the beauty and lessons all around here. She shared how blessings and challenges often come at the same time in our life. The conference was uplifting but on the way home, Sister Motsi and I talked about how church isn’t really about us anymore. We used to love to go to be inspired for ourselves but now we just think about how it applies to those we teach.  We went and visited Sister Chalwe from the branch and she stays in a very humble home in Pamodzi. We found her lying on the couch not feeling well. She thought she has malaria and so we asked if we could do anything to help. I suggested we could make dinner and she said, “With what? We don’t have food in this house.” She further explained that they haven’t had food for a couple of days and for lunch she sent her daughter, Janelle, to ask a fellow branch member for mealie meal to make some nshima. Luckily Sister Kajoba (a less active) was home and brought some mealie meal. Then for dinner she sent Janelle again to go ask another friend for food. The friend stays so far and Janelle is only 11 years old! While we were there Janelle came back empty handed…….I am having even a hard time typing about this experience right now. I was fasting yesterday and I was really struggling because I was really hungry and thirsty and here was this family. Three small children and a sick mother with no food. Sister Chalwe said they aren’t going to eat tomorrow either… heart has never felt so much sorrow and sympathy. This experience is really hard to explain but I was very very much humbled and from that moment on, I will be grateful for ALL of my blessings, even the temporal blessings that I always take for granted. As we sat there, not knowing what to say, I remembered a talk from President Erying where he talked about comforting others with the atonement of the Savior. I asked her about her scripture reading, which surprised me because how could she be reading her scriptures when she is so sick and hungry, but she told me that she has been reading everyday and reads the doctrine and covenants to her children. Sister Chalwe is my hero! She continues to put the Lord first amidst all the trials she faces in her life. That night was one that I will never forget.

Monday: Today we went and tried to play basketball at the church but the ball was flat so we ended up playing soccer and I was in heaven!!! I can’t wait to play hunger games with my family though.

You all are the best and I love you so much! I love this work! This week we have district meeting with our new district, we are going on exchanges and Thursday we get to drive all the way to Lusaka and back to pick up something for my immigration permit! Enjoy conference this weekend!!!!!!
Much love,
Sister Bingham

twinning with the branch president...wad up, wad up, wad up!

the ysa's of the branch!
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birthday girl!
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birthday fun

Monday, September 21, 2015

Alma 26:16

I echo the words of Ammon this week in that “I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.” This week was amazing and filled with so many tender mercies. I have been filled with so much humility and gratitude as the Hand of the Lord has blessed me this past week. I love being a missionary!!!

Monday: We were supposed to have FHE with the Mwiinga family and we had planned it all out with Brother Mwiinga and called him multiple times to remind him. He was really excited for it but when we went to their house…he wasn’t there. I felt so disappointed and as I felt the frustration started to come I was reminded of the promises and commitments I have made with Heavenly Father and how many times I have fallen short. Does he give up on me or get frustrated with me? Does He stop loving me and answering my prayers? Does He stop blessing me? No. That night I felt so humbled by the patience and mercy Heavenly Father has for me and all of His children. How much more patient must I be then. We are not going to give up on Brother Mwiinga and will continue to do our best in this great work despite the multiple disappointments we face each day because I have made covenants with my Father and I don’t want to disappoint Him. We ended up trying to have a lesson with some of the kids about eternal families but they were being so rowdy and crazy and nothing was going right. I actually started laughing out loud and it made me realize that our families aren’t perfect. We can’t be 100% totally calm and peaceful all the time. Things go wrong and not as planned BUT with a Christ centered home there will be love. And things will be so much better. I loved being in a home that night even though it was chaotic. I am so grateful for my family and can’t wait to someday have my own with all of its imperfections!

Tuesday: We had district meeting with our new district leader Elder Madilu. His new companion is Elder Majekodunmi(from London but his parents are originally from Nigeria and is 25 years old and just came from the MTC) and Elder Maele (from Kenya and has been on mission for 7 months) and Elder Duncan (from Mississippi and knows Scott Beckstrom who is serving in his ward and just came here as well) are also is our district. Our district is so big now! We haven’t had a district meeting with everyone yet but I can’t wait until we do! Anyways Elder Madilu has been really quiet in the past and so I was nervous for how district meeting would go and he did AMAZING! He gave a great testimony about how inadequate he feels but he knows that this calling is from the Lord and He calls us despite our weaknesses. I love all the meetings we get to go to as missionaries and the way they inspire me and encourage me to improve and be better. That day we got to go with Sister Andria to Chipulukusu !! I really miss this area so it was really really fun to go back and visit some of those people that I love so much but never get to see anymore. I wish I could take you all to Chipulukusu…it really is out of this world and such a humbling experience. We visited a lot of less actives in Chipulukusu and earlier that morning I had read Luke 15:4 which reads “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” This scripture really touched my heart as I was studying for these lost members in our branch. I am grateful that we could spend so much of our day finding His lost sheep and bringing them back to the fold. Unfortunately not just one visit brings them back and it can be frustrating that even when we visit them week after week after week they don’t come to church, but this scripture helped me realize that we have to search and search until we find. I love teaching new investigators but I love teaching less actives as well and I have seen the blessings of making an extra effort to “leave the 99 and find the one.” Lily has been to church every week since we started visiting here. Brother Nonde has come to church 3 weeks in a row. I have such a strong testimony that Heavenly Father and the Savior truly do know everyone of their sheep and know what they need. I am so grateful that I can be an instrument in their hands as I am able to go find their lost sheep for them. Tuesday I was also grateful for this incredible adventure that I am on!!! I read Katie and Taylor and a couple of other friends emails last week and I got really jealous of all the cool things they get to do and see and experience. On Tuesday though I had so many moments of “I can’t believe that I get to be here in Africa?! How did I get so lucky?” No I have not seen a lion or elephant, in fact the only animals I see are dogs, cats and chickens, No I haven’t climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, No I haven’t seen an African dance, and No I haven’t eaten anything crazy but I LOVE IT HERE! I love the beautiful purple flowers on the trees in town. I love the beautiful red sun every evening. I love walking down trash filled streets and almost getting ran over by buses. I may not be experiencing what others may think is an adventure but I have truly found that everyday is an adventure here and I am so blessed to have this opportunity to be in this part of the world and be with these amazing people! I love life!

Wednesday: For personal study, I came across my mission scripture Alma 29:9 but what caught my attention was verse 1-2, and 6. In these scriptures Alma expresses how he wishes to be an angel and proclaim the gospel through a trump to all people but says how he is grateful for what he has been given and all the experiences he has had. As I pondered over these scriptures I realized how similar I am to Alma (I love all the missionaries in the scriptures but Alma has the most joy! Every other word he says is joy! What I love most about Alma though is how he changed through the atonement of jesus Christ. He went about trying to destroy the church and then became one of the best missionaries ever!). Oh how I wish we had tons of progressing investigators and were having a baptism every week. I wish I could be going all over Zambia and Malawi but then I realized how incredible an opportunity I have to be here in Ndola and how blessed we are with the people we have to teach. We have so many people to help and serve and how ungrateful to think we need more and what the Lord has given me is not enough. So I repeat the words of Alma This work, this area, these people, my companion, “is my joy!!”  Sister Mulomba arrived on Wednesday!! She is 20 and from Zimbabwe and I love her already! She is really tall and calm and just fits right in. I feel like she has been here for months! As we were waiting at the bus station to pick her up, I felt all the feelings come rushing back to my first day! I remember that day like it was yesterday (it kinda was) and I realized how much I have learned and grown. I can’t decide if I miss that feeling of not knowing whats going on and being so excited and confused at the same time but I just hope that Sister Mulomba feels welcome in our flat. The elders from America…hahahahah…I wish you could have seen them step of that bus!! The were in total culture shock! I turned to Sister Motsi and asked if I looked like that my first day. Man it was hilarious and no worries, when I saw the elders on Friday, they were doing great! We had a lesson with this woman named Sister Mutale and she had a lot of concerns about the Book of Mormon and when I pulled a copy out of my bag , the look on her face was like I just pulled out something terrifying!  I have never experience anyone rejecting the Book of Mormon like that. Yes people don’t want it or believe it is true, but I have never seen anyone have so much disgust for the Book of Mormon. It was really hard actually because I just finished the Book of Mormon again this week and it has brought me so many answers and comfort and I know with all my heart that it is the word of God. It is hard when people choose to use their agency differently but I have faith that her heart will be softened. I was actually amazed that as the lesson progressed, she became more comfortable and open with us. The Spirit is real and works and you never know how the gospel of Jesus Christ can change someone. We taught Peggy, I’ll talk about her later, but she kinda reminds me of Aunt Jan! Also I have been wondered how she is doing and Brady, Tanner and Lauren. Maybe someone can send me an update of all our extended family? And tell Aunt Jan that I wear the skirt she sent me every night, thank you so much for giving it to me! The best part of the day was the lesson we had with my favorite family, the Namanwes! We invited the Kapatos (the district president and his wife) to come with us to befriend the parents and hopefully convince them to start coming to our branch. They have been going to the neighboring branch in Masala. They don’t have power where they stay in Chifubu so we had the lesson outside, in the dark under the stars and I loved it! It was the closest thing to camping since being here and I loved it! Plus the moon was so beautiful and I had studied about the creation that morning and I felt so grateful for all of the world! Everyone was sharing and we hardly had to teach so it was great! I love teaching with members. You all should go out with the missionaries, you can be a great strength to them! I was so touched by the testimonies of these faithful saints. Sister Namanwe shared an experience how she read the Book of Mormon and then her leg stopped hurting. What an amazing faith this women has and I so loved that she said since her baptism, they still have financial issues but they have seen so many blessings. I gained such a huge appreciation for the Kapatos as well. What an incredible couple that truly are converted to the Lord and his gospel. I was touched as I watched Sister Kapato help push her husband across the rugged terrain to the Namanwe’s house. It made me think of the Steeles as well!

Thursday: Sister Motsi and I prepared for our presentation in Zone meeting for Friday (we had to have it on Friday instead of Tuesday because of all the transfers). We had to present on extending the baptismal invitation in the first lesson and we were really struggling to know what to say and how to prepare. As we began, I was complaining inside that we had to present and take time away from our studies to do this and I didn’t no what to share because we have covered this topic before. Then as we really focused on the needs of the missionaries, inspiration came and we were able to create a plan that I felt really good about and excited to share. I am so grateful that as an STL I am given an opportunity to serve others and put their needs before mine. I get to live my baptismal and temple covenants and I felt so happy as my focus shifted from me and my spiritual growth to that of others that morning. Its funny how when we serve others, we are blessed as well. This church gives us so many opportunites to serve. In PMG it reads “ We are to accept such callings and work diligently to learn and fulfill our duties. As we do so, we grow in faith, develop new talents and a greater ability to serve, and numerous other blessings. We can do everything to try to pay back or show our gratitude to Heavenly Father, but we never will be able to as He continues to shower us with blessings! We went to see Lily and her grandmother was there and she was hilarious as others. She was dancing for us and it was so funny!!! She is such a sweet old lady. Although we didn’t really teach her much, it was really sweet to see Lily explain what we were saying about studying the scriptures to her grandmother. The lesson brought the family together and gave them a chance to discuss their beliefs and testimonies with one another. We tried to go see Yimali and she told us we could teach her outside of her school. Hahah well we drove to her school and as soon as we stepped out of the car we were completely surrounded by 50 little kids! Everyone was going nuts! It was INSANE! They were asking if they could get in the car and climb on the car and then one kid touched me and then they all started grabbing me and wanting to shake my hand….so we didn’t teach Yimali and it was a fun experience? Haha I don’t know how to describe it but it was funny.

Friday: Zone meeting was so great! Our presentation went well! It was so funny to have so many new faces in our meeting! Sister Proctor, Sister Mulunda (she is from Congo and loves to tell me that I am getting fat), Sister Browning (from Caldwell!), Elder Duncan, Elder Salyards (somewhere in America), Elder Majekodumni, Elder Walisumbi (Uganda) and Elder and Sister Hull (the senior couple). We did a role play and Sister Motsi and I were paired up with the Hulls and they did incredible. I got soooooo excited for Mom and Dad to be missionaries cause I realized how much knowledge and experience senior couples have. They have been living the gospel their whole life! Mom and Dad, you will be amazing! All the new missionaries bore their testimonies and it was SO good! By far my most favorite part. It made me think of when I first came and how much I have changed. I realized that the Atonement is real. I was able to overcome so many worries and problems I first face only because of the Savior. When I think of that time, it makes me laugh but I really struggled and prayed so hard that I would be strengthened by the Atonement. I felt the blessings then but it wasn’t until I saw the new missionaries that I realized the true power of the Atonement and how it transformed me. I don’t have words to express what I felt in that meeting but extreme humility and gratitude is close. As each missionary stood up there, I thought of how much they sacrificed and how hard it was for them to be here. For me I didn’t have to give up much and yes I miss my family like crazy but I need to be more grateful for what little sacrifice it was for me to be here and what great sacrifices others make. I want to learn as much as I can from these incredible missionaries. I want to be like all of them!

Saturday: SISTER MOTSI’S 21ST BIRTHDAY!!!! I bought a Happy Birthday banner and balloons and put up a 21 reasons why I love Sister Motsi the night before and tried really hard to make her birthday as special as I could since its kinda hard while on mission but it was a good day! Olivia was interviewed and passed for her baptism!! Elder Parker said afterwards, “You sisters did a great job teaching her!” Honestly, we really didn’t do anything. Every time we went to teach, it went perfect and she understood and accepted everything. She truly was prepared by the Lord for us. I have thought of the scripture Alma 16:16 a lot lately and I know that Heavenly Father sends his missionaries to certain, specific areas because He is preparing the hearts of His children who are ready to take those important steps back to Him. For lunch I bought Sister Motsi some ice cream cause we all know that is the best birthday present! We had a lot of fall through again but we knocked this one house and introduced ourselves like always. But as I said, “We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” I had the happiest feeling rush over me and I couldn’t stop the smile from creeping onto my face. I realized how much I love being a missionary and how I won’t always get to say that phrase. We may have hardly taught that whole day but I just felt blessed to be a representative of the Savior and to do my best in sharing his gospel with others. I made dinner and a cake for Sister Motsi’s birthday and while I was cooking she got all dressed up and asked me to take a bunch of pictures. Haha it was really funny and I loved seeing her so happy! We sang for her and apparently I had bought non blow out candles without knowing so that was hilarious. I love Sister Motsi and I am grateful I have been able to be companions with her. She is amazing!

Sunday: Another day that filled my life with so much happiness and will be a day I will never forget. We walked with Peggy to church and it dawned on me as we were walking that not only was she coming to our church, Peggy was coming to church after 7 years of not going to any church! Heavenly father answers our prayers, prepares people, and softens hearts. What a miracle! I am sure that it took a lot of humility on Peggy’s part as well. I am grateful for her and her example. She brought her nephew with her and during sacrament meeting I gave him a mint, which he put in his mouth, spit it out and then said to sister Motsi “Am I supposed to eat this?” hahahah too funny. The opening song was “The Spirit of God” and I felt the Spirit with so much power in that tiny meetinghouse. I know this church is true no matter the size. The sacrament felt extra special and I think it was because this past week, we listened to the sacrament hymns while we were drive. Those hymns allowed me to reflect on the Savior and His atonement and really prepared me for the sacrament. I want to feel that every week and I know that I can as I strive to Always remember Him. The best part of the day was OLIVIA’S BAPTISM!! I was asked to give a talk last minute so I spoke on baptism and enduring to the end. I shared 3 Nephi 27:30 and talked about the joy of Heavenly Father for Olivia. I want to think I felt that same joy but I know it was even greater for Heavenly Father. I also shared about Grandma Bingham and it made me realize how important the decision to be baptized is because it really effects generations. Thank you Grandma for making that decision to be baptized! Olivia looked so beautiful and happy and I loved taking a picture of her with her parents and brother. I can’t wait for the day when they are sealed in the temple! And when you get to meet them because they are the best!! After the baptism, we went to help her get dressed and ready and I thought of the day when I get to help my daughter after her baptism. Nonetheless the day was the best ever and I am sooooooooooo blessed!! Mission life is the best.

Family I love you sooooo much and I pray all is well at home!! Keep looking for opportunities to share the gospel because it really brings so much joy. I love you with all my heart!!!
Sister Bingham

Monday, September 14, 2015

HELLO!!!!! September 14, 2015

How is my favorite family doing?? I hope all is well back home because things are going more than great in Ndola!!!
Sister Moyo and I!

Tuesday: We had Mission Leadership Council again but it was over skype so we drove to Luanshaya to be with the zone leaders. It was great but not as good as MLC in person. It was a lot harder to pay attention and we couldn’t quite hear everything that was said but I learned a lot! While President Erickson and other missionaries were sharing I had this overwhelming feeling come that all the responsibilities of being a missionary are just too much and I am sooo inadequate.  The other elders and sisters are so amazing and I was sitting there just thinking of all these things I need to improve on. But then Sister Erickson gave some closing remarks and a testimony…she got really emotional which doesn’t happen a lot and said how she understands how hard this work is but how incredible of an opportunity that we have to be a part of it.  She testified of Heavenly Father and the Savior's love and how they are right here with us in every step of the work.  I was once again amazed at how what she said was exactly what I needed to hear!  I left that meeting with a greater determination to focus on those we are teaching and serving rather than myself.  I am grateful I get to be a part of such meetings that encourage and uplift me as well as push me to be a better missionary!  We drove back to Ndola and we didn’t have enough time to run home so we ran inside Shoprite to buy lunch.  We bought this smoked beef and rice and Sister Motsi said it was the best lunch in her life!!  I was sooooooo excited to hear this cause Sister Motsi can be hard to please with food and I was really happy to hear her so happy. Tuesday we had fall through after fall through but so many amazing unplanned opportunities!  We taught this grandma named Chalesa who kept falling asleep during the lesson! Hahah it was so hilarious! If Sister Motsi or I started talking for more than even just one minute, her head would fall and then she’s wake up. She looked soooooo old and during the lesson she had a phone call and when she got off the phone she said, “Sorry that was my cousin and she is soooooooo old! She is 85!!! Can you believe it?”  haha I didn’t know what to say cause here I was thinking Chalesa was at least 90!  Turns out she is 71….she is very sweet though and even gave us juice and told us about 10 times, “Don’t worry, I boil my water so you don’t get sick!”
Wednesday: We had lunch with Sister Andria and Sister Mbele since it was Sister Mbele’s last day and Sister Mbele shared with us many of the struggles of mission and she is so inspiring! It made me excited for everything that I still have yet to experience on mission.  We had a very interesting lesson after lunch.  We went to see a man named Rabbi and he wasn’t home so we ended up teaching his two friends, one a pastor and the other a missionary for a different church.  As we started teaching this pastor I was terrified and knew that he was going to confuse us and say all these things to argue with us but I said a silent prayer and immediately I was reminded of the power and authority I have been given when I was set apart as a missionary.  All fear left me as taught, or tried to teach, this pastor.  We were trying to teach but he kept talking and talking and bringing up all these different doctrines so it was kinda crazy and I really don’t think they learned or listened to anything we said.  But it was a great opportunity for me to understand that I truly have been called by a prophet of God and so why should I fear what man can do? We saw our friend Florence (I am not sure if I have told you about her but she is this crazy lady who said she doesn’t want us to come to her house because she is not allowed to come visit us at our flat) walking down the road and so we tried to stop and talk to her and she just looked at us and said, “See? I look nice when I go out and I could be looking nice and coming to visit you but nope!” and then as she walked away she turned back around and pointing first to Sister Motsi and then to me, “I hate you and you.” Hahahah she is hilarious but it made me think of mom and how she taught us how strong that word is and that we shouldn’t use it. The words we say have so much influence on others and although Florence didn’t offended either of us and we just thought it was funny, I am grateful for a mother who taught me the importance of using good and uplifting language.
Thursday:  Sister Mbele left at 5 am which was really sad, especially for Sister Andria who has sooooooooo much love for her! We have been in a threesome since then which has been fun but being with 3 can be difficult! Especially teaching and having to balance everyone have a part and equal time to share. But it has been a great couple of days of learning. Sister Andria is such a powerful missionary who is so in tune with the Spirit. She has a great love for the people and truly sees their potential.  We had to drop an investigator, Duane, and that was really sad.  He has been taught for a really long time and just isn’t progressing. As we went to talk to him, I didn’t think it would be so hard to tell him that we wouldn’t be coming to teach him anymore. It was so hard because I realized how much he is missing out on! How many blessing and how much joy he could have if he would do the things that we have asked and follow the Savior. This experience made me realize how often I take my membership in the church and my testimony for granted. I pray that Duane will realize how the gospel can bless his life and that his heart will be softened. Agency is one of Heavenly Father’s greatest gifts to His children and it is funny how grateful I am for it but sometimes it drives me crazy when people don’t want to choose to accept the gospel. I have faith in Duane though and grateful that we could plant seeds of faith in him that may someday grow. We headed to the usual area of Pamodzi and went to see Lily who was a less active but has been coming to church every week! Lily ended up not being at home so we taught her grandmother Febe Mwambe. The lesson started out really really well and we introduced her to a My Family Book which is a book for people to fill out about their family history so they can prepare names for the temple. It all was going well until we started talking about the temple and she started to stress out about her ancestors getting baptized and she said, “Oh I remember what this is. You are going to send Priesthood here and he is going to take this book to Lusaka! I don’t want to fill it out anymore.” Hahah we really didn’t know exactly what she was saying but we tried to reassure her and eventually convinced her to just fill it out so that her grandchildren and great grandchildren would know about her and her parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. She was really funny though and said she would come to church in a couple weeks so we will wait and see…
Friday: My 3 month anniversary!! Where is the time going? It feels like years ago that I was home but at the same time it feels like just yesterday. We drove to Luanshaya again for Zone Leadership Council which was good! Transfers are starting to happen so a couple of the district leaders weren’t there because they had already been moved to their new areas. Transfer news is so exciting! You return missionaries will know exactly what I am talking about! When I first got here I thought everyone was so dramatic and way to caught up in who was going where and with what companion but now it is so much fun! Sister Motsi and I like trying to guess where everyone is going and its crazy how fast news travels across Zambia and Malawi. But as I said a couple weeks ago, sister Motsi and I are staying together in Ndola East which I am so happy about!! Since we are in a threesome we have been trying to divide our time between our two areas so we taught this lady named Rose Bwalaya in sister Andria’s area and she reminded me so much of Grandma Bingham. Man I miss Grandma and Grandpa but I really do feel them strengthening me everyday and I know that they are being missionaries just like me! Friday was one of those days where we come home to close the day and I just think to myself “What did we do all day?” We had one lesson and one member visit the whole day yet we worked so diligently. Once again I was reminded that Heavenly Father doesn’t care about numbers. He cares about his children and that we do our very best. We had some amazing experiences none the less though! We stopped by one of Sister Motsi and I’s investigators named Sue and she had her hands full with a sick baby and a little girl. She said the water hadn’t been working for two days so we offered to go fetch water for her from a well near by. As we were walking with her she told me the power problem has never been this bad in Zambia before. They say if we don’t get rain before the end of October or November there will be a 2 week black out….can’t wait!!! Getting water from the well was sooooo cool! I loved it! I ended up getting really dirty and sweaty but it was so fun. We carried the buckets of water back and had to take a couple trips but it felt really good to work. I miss working like that so what a blessing plus I know how much it helped Sue and I am grateful that she would allow us to serve her. We actually have never been able to teach her but after serving her, I could tell her heart had been softened as she was much more willing to set an appointment with her. There were a bunch of kids on the street she lives on riding bikes so I asked a kid if I could try riding it and it was so fun!! The kids were all lined up on the side of the street and one kid would ride as fast as he possible could. When he would ride past the other kids they would all yell as loud as he could and then right after passing them he would hit the brakes and see how far he could skid on the side of his bike. I wish sooooo badly I had my camera with me so I could have taken a video for you. The kids were having so much fun and I loved seeing their smiles. Made me miss my siblings and nieces and nephews. We ended the day by going to the Kapatos, the district presidents house and had a lesson with his family. We read a talk about patience from the august liahona (you all should read it cause its really good) but my favorite part was “When it comes to serving the Lord, He cares just as much about the instrument as He does the task at hand.” “When you experience delayed answers to prayers, commit to patience by trusting in the Lord and His timing. It will bless your life.” “Patience is a willingness in a sense to watch the unfolding purpose of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance.” I loved this lesson and I felt so inspired as I looked at President Kapato in his wheelchair yet works so hard in helping the district and our branch. I am sure he has had to have much patience with his limitations yet he never lets it slow him down. I am so grateful for the people that I get to meet and build relationships with. They truly are amazing and have humbled me. The Kapatos wanted us to stay for dinner but we had to be home so we took it with us. They made us pasta with the vegetable called Rape and it was such a blessing. By the time we got home and finished planning and everything it was really late so the dinner tasted amazing! I am sure it was a sacrifice for them to feed us and I am so grateful they would share with us. It is incredible to see how little these people have yet how much they give to others. I hope that I may leave this mission with a greater desire to help those in need and give and serve with all that I have. I hope that this part of Zambia will always stay with me!
Saturday: We had an extremely powerful lesson with Benson. We had planned to reteach the Restoration but when we asked him why he wasn’t at church he told us that his boss needed him to work. It was incredible to watch the other sisters and myself be guided by the Spirit as we taught according to what he needed. We shared with him that as he puts his trust in Heavenly Father and relies on the enabling power of the Atonement, he would be able to talk to his boss. Benson kept saying it wouldn’t work and I could feel his doubt. We however ended by each bearing testimony of what we taught and with faith we left hoping that we would see him at church. And guess what?!?! He came to church!! I had faith that he would come but to be honest when we left, he was still very doubtful. I am so grateful that Benson acted and put his faith in Jesus Christ and was able to come to church. My testimony of the Savior was strengthened by his decision and also the direction of the Holy Ghost that helped us as we taught him. A senior couple came to the copperbelt YAY!!! And so we had to escort them from Ndola to Luanshaya where we met the Zone Leaders who took them to Kitwe where they will stay. They are from around Ventura, California and they remind me a little bit of Mom and Dad.  When I met them I got soooo excited for Mom and Dad to be missionaries some day! They seemed so excited to be here but a little nervous and I could tell it was hard for them to leave their family behind but we are grateful to have them! They are Member Leadership Support missionaries and we really need that here.  We finished the day by teaching the Sambe family. Unfortunately the parents were gone so we taught Shelia 18 and Ben 24. We invited them to be baptized on Oct 11th and Shelia said yes but says she is still unsure because it is difficult to get to church and Ben said yes but wants to think about it more. Shelia walked us to the car and shared some really personal information with us and wanted help from us. Although we couldn’t help her, it was amazing to see how much she trusts us. She told us that she really loves when we come over and we brighten her day. She is a single mother and I can’t even begin to imagine how much the gospel would bless her life! I know that has blessed mine and it continues to bring more and more blessings each day. Being a missionary has really opened my eyes to the goodness of God and how much he loves all of his children! We made nshima and beef and this vegetable called 5 year for dinner and it was delicious! I think it is pretty much kale but I’ll have to make it when we get home! I love having African companions!!!
Sunday: We had some new investigators come to church which was awesome and Brother Nonde came again! And Peter Mwiinga came which was awesome because we have been trying and trying to get him to come to church. Unfortunately Brother Mwiinga and Sister Mwiinga didn’t come but we are going to their house for family home evening tonight. Hopefully we can see them a lot this week and help them get on date. We saw Olivia Namanwe and her parents who I love sooooo much! Olivia is hopefully getting baptized next week and she is so excited! She really has such a great faith and understanding of the gospel. Everything flows so smoothly when we teach. I know that Heavenly Father prepares people just for us and is softening their hearts to receive our message. I am so grateful Sister Motsi and I get to teach these people and I am also grateful for the children that don’t receive our message quite as easily. Everyday is a challenge and it never is easy but we have a incredible source of strength and that is the Atonement. This week I have felt so humbled as I have had to rely on the Atonement more than ever. Sunday night I was really really struggling and it was one of the more difficult nights I have had on mission. I was overwhelmed by so many different things and now I am laughing at this but I ended up going to the bathroom just to get away. I couldn’t help the tears from falling down my face and then I was reminded of my family and how much they love me and all the prayers that are said in my behalf. I truly am so grateful for each of you and you really do help me more than you can imagine. Thank you for being so supportive!! I love you all! I know that this gospel is true. I know that the Savior lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and has an answer for every single one of our concerns and worries. I am so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ each day and I am so grateful for the things I am learning and the attributes I am developing. I have a firm testimony that Heavenly Father cares so much more about who we are and who we are becoming then who we ever were. This life is such a blessing and I am so grateful to share it with you!!!!!
 So much love,

Sister Bingham!!!!
I tried getting a picture of a crazy street in Kitwe but its not very good. It was literally insane though and I don't know how we made it out alive!

Brother Nonde.  Looks like dad! hahah he is really really funny and I want dad to meet him someday! 

Monday, September 7, 2015

limited time....but I LOVE YOU!!! - Sept 7, 2015

We don't have a lot of time to email you today but I wrote you a letter so that will be coming in a few weeks!!

This week was a good one and now that I am sitting here trying to remember what even happened... but I'll give short and sweet daily updates

Tuesday: the other sisters trained us at district meeting and it was amazing!!! They inspire me so much! They taught about the Christlike attributes and how they can help us as missionaries. Sister Mbele goes home this week and her testimony made me realize how much I still have to learn and grow on mission but that someday maybe I can be a missionary like her! During District meeting I was humbled as I realized how imperfect I am and how perfect the Savior is. I was humbled as I realized that is only through his Atonement that we can develop those needed attributes. It takes work, patience, and diligence but it is possible. Philippians 4:13!

Wednesday: I went on exchanges with Sister Moyo who is also from Zimbabwe. She is incredible! her father passed away about 3 or 4 months ago yet she is one of the happiest missionaries I have met. She has a positive attitude about everything and makes everything fun! We went and visited Sister Ganesh and her brother Brother Nzima who I have talked about. Brother Nzima got emotional during our lesson of building our foundation on Christ and shared how he has been feeling really down the past couple of days and how the message we came to share uplifted him and inspired him. This was a huge testimony to me that as missionaries we can strengthen even members, not just investigators. It also made me realize that we never know who our testimony will bold and when you feel you need to share something with someone even if its just "I love you" don't fear. Heavenly Father will guide you through the Spirit what to share.

Thursday: We taught the Sambe family again and it was amazing! Sister Edith shared with us that although she didn't get a clear answer on whether or not the church is true and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet, she feels the Spirit when we come into her home. She told us how after we left last time she and her family discussed what they learned and felt and all concluded they felt something different. I haven't had someone tell us directly that they have felt the Spirit when we come so this was a touching moment for me to realize that there are people out there who are prepared to hear the gospel and when they soften their hearts, their hearts are changed. She said she really wanted to come to church...but they didn't end up coming. It was a great experience though and brought me so much joy!

Friday:Funny moment- I was sitting in a plastic chair and the leg broke and I fell flat on my face! Every single appointment fell through which was kinda frustrating and we have been trying to save gas so we walked that day and we walked a lot but it felt good to be walking again! The one lesson we did have was with a recent convert, Benson who works on the church grounds. We taught about the Law of Chastity and its funny how much everyone always shys away from this lesson or thinks it is awkward but I love teaching it! We were reading the promised blessings of living this law when all the sudden it just hit me how true those blessings are. As I bore my testimony of keeping the law of chastity and being worthy of a temple recommend, I could feel its burning truth and knew without a shadow of a doubt that when we follow and live this commandment, we WILL have the guidance of the Holy Ghost, greater wisdom, greater courage, feel God's love and support, have greater love for your family and peace. This law is a huge strength in my life as I have been faithful to my covenants. There is a quote in PMG that says "your calling gives you authority. keep your covenants gives you power." That night as I laid in bed, I started as best as I could to go through a temple session in my head and I honestly felt like I was in the temple again. I am so grateful for the peace and happiness I was enabled to feel as I reflected on the temple.

Saturday: "Whenever you serve the Lord, he blesses you. Many of our missionaries begin their missions thinking they are going to repay Heavenly Father for His goodness toward them by serving Him for 18 months or 2 year. But before long they learn an important eternal truth:you can never do more for the Lord than He can do for you. The Lord does bless His missionaries just as surely as they bless the lives of those they teach and baptize. Weaknesses become strengths, challenges become opportunities, trials become triumphs and adversity becomes an adventure in the service of the Lord." I discovered this quote and thought I would share it with you. I am sure you can guess why I love it but I have found how true these words are. Mission is the best!!! We finally had our FHE with the Nonde's because Monday didn't work out and it was so great. Brother Nonde had written out a whole plan for the night. His son was supposed to teach the lesson but couldn't so of course they assumed Sister Motsi and I had something to share...I love how much people expect of us but its good and stretches us! and its amazing how fast we can listen to the spirit and know exactly what to teach! I brought the picture of Dad to show brother Nonde and he kissed the picture!!! hahah he is hilarious. I took a picture of me with the Nonde parents and me holding the picture of me and mom and dad but I forgot my camera today. Next week!

Sunday: Selina Mwiinga bore her testimony and it was so incredible to see how much this young girl has learned and grown since I first met her. She shared how happy the gospel makes her and that she knows this church is true. Once again my heart was filled with so much joy as I saw this beautiful daughter of God stand before our small but mighty branch and share her testimony. That night we had one of the most powerful and touching moments of my whole almost 3 months here. I wish I could explain more but Sister Mwiinga is going through some really really tough trials. As she opened up to us my first thoughts were " Why? Why does she have to go through all of this? Why does it have to happen to her? Why do trials always come as she starts to get serious about the gospel and meeting with the missionaries?" It was hard to know what to say but I felt the Spirit guiding my words and even answering my questions as I said something along the lines of (and through tears) "Sister Mwiinga, I don't know why some of us have to go through the trials we go through but I know that Heavenly Father loves you and is aware of what you are experiencing." I then read Alma 7:11-13 and bore my testimony of the Savior. As missionaries we can be there to support and love her, but it only is the Savior, Jesus Christ that can heal her pains and bring true comfort and solace to her soul. She is an amazing woman and I hope that she will see this as a great opportunity to show her faith to the Lord and come to understand the power of His Atonement. Sundays are my favorite days and it really was an amazing day as I was able to receive answers to prayers that I fasted about. I am so grateful for fast Sundays and the opportunity it brings to truly seek the help of our Heavenly Father.

I love my family sooooooooooooo much and I hope all is well at home! I love being a missionary in Ndola, Zambia and am so grateful to be here! Life is good.

Sister Bingham