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

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