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

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