Monday, November 30, 2015

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (except chickens)"

This week is one for the books!! Seriously it was such an adventure and guess what....I am loving Africa more and more!! I didn't think it would be possible but I have grown in my love for Ndola and being a missionary!! We got rained on like crazy this week but I finally was smart enough to pack an umbrella but boy am I grateful for my Chacos! they have been a lifesaver. Hahah you should have seen my feet this one day though....I should have taken a picture but you couldn't see them because of all the mud. I love the rain so much! 

 we had a lesson with the Simanwes and it was so great to be gathered with them and their family! We read a scripture about praying as a family but i loved just playing a scripture game with them and all laughing together. When I first met them, I thought they were the happiest people in Ndola but their happiness has just increased more and more each day!! The gospel truly brings happiness!!

Our last district meeting all together! Elder Duncan and Elder Maele got transferred:(

 district meeting was really really emotional. The two elders that were leaving bore their testimonies and were crying so of course I started to cry. Yes I will miss them but as they were talking I just realized how much I love this area. I have felt really really stressed and overwhelmed this past week to help certain investigators. I have felt this huge responsibility on my shoulders and that I need to be doing so much more in this area. Elder Duncan shared how he felt he was leaving a lot of work to do and wants to stay but is grateful for the seeds he could plant. It was then that all the discouragement I had felt left and I felt nothing but gratitude for what I have been able to accomplish here with the help of the Savior. We really have been blessed and the work is up and down but I have learned that the Lord's time is not ours and maybe I am here just to help prepare people for the next missionaries that will come. The Elders also talked about how much they will miss their companion and I couldn't help but realize how much I will miss Sister Motsi. Transfers are coming this week and I am pretty positive sister motsi and I will be split up and uh.....I actually don't want to talk about it because I'm starting to tear up right now. Anyways she is the best! 

 Exchanges with Sister Mulomba!

 I was blessed to go on exchanges with Sister Mulomba! She is incredible and has such an amazing conversion story. She is so happy and positive and I really enjoyed the entire day that we spent together! We had a bunch of fall throughs...I think I am bad luck or some thing because every time I go in that area it happens. But we still had backups and taught a lot! She is 3 months old and is so great! Its crazy to think how fast time is going and that I was just in her shoes! That day we met the bats....seriously they are so creepy! Remember the bats at the Omaha zoo or the birds in the museum? Ok it was 10 times worse and I was praying the whole time we were walking past them. I love exchanges and getting to be with other sisters but at the end of every exchange I get nervous to discuss things that they can work on. Its scary to tell someone what they can improve on and every time we get there...all i can think about is all my imperfections and weaknesses. How can I tell anyone what to do when I myself am not perfect? This time I sought the inspiration from my Heavenly Father and said what I needed too and prayed that she would take the advice and not be offended. It was hard but it taught me a lot especially how grateful for my leaders and the advice they give me. 

Ok fun fact...Ndola is home to MILLIONS OF BATS!!! Of course I was so scared to walk down this street and somehow managed to get a picture. They are so awful but kinda cool I guess. This one guy was taking pictures and told me it was the most amazing thing he has ever seen in his entire life...hahah and I was freaking out!

We packed cold spaghetti, beans and a hard boiled egg and finally found a clean enough place to sit down and eat. Sister Motsi and I walked away laughing at our humble lunch but it was the best!
p.s. don't mind my sunburned nose

..happy thanksgiving!!! thanks for all the pictures and emails!! I thought I would really really miss home that day but it actually was my most favorite day of the week and thanks to my beloved companion, I was so happy! I wish i had time to write all that I am thankful for this year but that would be the longest email in the world. At dinner that night I had the sisters say what they were grateful for but it wasn't quite like home. We saw Ntusha and her uncle Justin and they both are on track for baptism! It has been incredible to watch this family grow closer together because of the gospel. Ntusha hasn't been to her uncle's house in 3 years and went with us for the first time to teach him. The gospel really does bless families and I have noticed this with other families. Especially the Sambe family...although they still have doubts, they have seen the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ especially with their family. What better blessing than to see changes like this?! By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I am sooooooooooooooooo thankful for my family and you truly are my greatest blessing. We went and visited Sister Lunia and her niece. Near is her niece and she lost her mom a couple years ago so Sister Lunia wanted us to come and teach her about the temple and family history. There was such a special spirit in that home as Sister Motsi and I bore testimony that families can be together forever. I am so grateful for the temple and the covenants I have made there. I felt really close to grandma and grandpa that day and my testimony has never been stronger of the plan of salvation. I know that we will live again and can be with our families and enjoy complete joy! And all we have to do is 5 simple, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and endure to the end. The gospel is so simple! I got frustrated this week as I struggled to help others recognize this as well. A scripture that really comforted me though was 2 Timothy 1:8-9. This scripture helped me to put my trust more in the Savior and lean not unto my own understanding. I won't be successful or find joy in the work if I try to do things my way but as I seek the inspiration of the spirit, I will be able to meet the needs of our investigators and accomplish all the Heavenly Father has for me to do here in Ndola. But my ponderizing scripture was Alma 34:38 because of thanksgiving and that night as i wrote in my journal I was amazed at all the tender mercies I have witnessed on mission. I love my mission!!!

...hahah this day we did a lot of waiting around for members to come teach with us which was hard but the members here are the best! They sacrifice a lot to help us out and I am encouraged by their enthusiasm for the work! We needed to see a boy named Greg but we didn't have a female and we spent the whole morning trying to find someone with no success. I knelt down for my personal study and asked that we could find a member or at least know what to do if we couldn't go see him. As soon as I finished my prayer the phone rang and Olivia said she could come with us! I was so touched by this immediate answer to prayer and felt the love of my Heavenly Father. Not only was He concerned with me, but he also cares about Greg who we were able to teach the great plan of salvation and Olivia who could strengthen her testimony of the gospel by teaching with us. Missionary work doesn't just bless missionaries and those they teach but the members here and especially the missionaries families. I hope that you can feel these blessings! We taught Barton that night was the craziest lesson on the law of chastity in the world and we learned WAY more than we wanted about Barton and hahahahah uh yeah that's all I'll say. He was on date for December 6th but he still needs awhile. We are keeping the faith though. 

 was a great day! we taught Sister Daka and she is golden...almost too perfect. She talked about how she has asked the same question as Jospeh Smith and has been to every church she can think of in search of the truth. She has read a little of the Book of Mormon and really likes it. What was good about this lesson was how I finally felt like I was lead by the Spirit to teach according to her needs. I finally felt confident on how we taught that lesson and that heavy burden of meeting the needs of our investigators was lightened. Sister Motsi and I had put into practice the very principles from 2 Timothy and I felt so guided by the Spirit. I know that as we rely on the Atonement and are worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost that we will be effective messagers of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the struggle I had this week of learning how to do my best and put the rest into the hands of the Lord. It was a tough couple of days that I probably just put too much stress on myself but it really helped me and strengthened my testimony of the Savior. Ntusha passed her interview so will be baptized next week! I have seen a change in a lot of people but with her its been huge! She is really really excited to be baptized and can't stop smiling every time she talks about it. That afternoon we walked in the rain and I learned a lot of lessons from the rain that maybe I'll write about in a letter home but i have found that there can be something learned from every experience and how true D&C 29:34 "all things unto me are spiritual." We began quite the walk to the Nondes and Sister Motsi and I were pretty quiet. It was one of those days were we don't have a lot to say but it gave me a great opportunity to just ponder. As we walked down the long dirt road to Dola Hill, I was tired, hungry, and kinda sick to my stomach. I said a quick prayer that I could have energy for this last lesson and I was then reminded of the pioneers and also of that poem called footprints in the sand. I felt so much love from the Savior and felt he was right there walking with us. I thought of how He has carried through so many rough patches on mission and how He has helped so many others! I was comforted in that moment and so grateful to be His missionary. We started our lesson and sister Nonde talked about giving us a chicken. I thought she was joking but at the end of the lesson she ran outside and brought us a chicken! She wanted us to take it home and kill it!!! hahah we asked if we could just kill it there and said yes. Well of course i didn't want to miss this opportunity for adventure so I asked if I could kill it and Brother Nonde started arguing with me that sisters weren't allowed to. I told him to read to me in the missionary handbook where it says i couldn't kill it chicken. hahah well I stood on the feet and the wings and took a knife to its throat and that was that! hahah I asked Sister Motsi to take pictures but she was too grossed out so wouldn't get close. I don't have good pictures but man i wish you could have been there! We then cleaned the chicken and took it home and ate it! It was so good! We saved the feet and heart for another day so I'll let you know how those are. That night as we drove home on the bus, i just couldn't stop smiling at how perfect this mission is for me. Not because of the chicken but because of every single experience i have had. 
just like home...still killing chickens:)

Sorry its blurry but my expression says it all.....
cleaning the chicken

the cutest little girl in Dola Hill!

Our feast from the chicken I killed! was raining all morning so turnout for church was really low. We went from 12 investigators last week to 2 this week but honestly i just loved this Sunday!! We met the new senior couple, Elder and Sister Salmon from Centerville! they are self reliance missionaries in lusaka but were visiting. It was fun to talk to Elder Salmon about BYU football....he's a huge fan! I love love love the branch so much....honestly i just felt at home on sunday! We were small on Sunday but the spirit was the same and plus...the smaller the numbers, the bigger the pieces of sacrament bread. hahah they were huge! Sister Njamba, the wife of one of our branch members, was baptized by her husband which was so awesome! After he baptized her though, brother njamba said something in his native tongue of Lozi, turned around in the font, and fell backwards. hahahaha we were laughing so hard but it was kinda weird and i think he was baptizing himself or something but it was funny.
The sister's baptism! Robert is the one with the glasses...he told me he would swim to America! He is quite the character!

I look so white..hahah this is justin! Today at church he said he wants to be baptized next year! He comes to church every week and we teach him with Selina at least once a week but has never been that excited about baptism but he said that and I was sooooo happy!

 Olivia and her sister Ntusha! These girls are so much fun!!!! They showed me how to pose like an african...hahah
 Sister Violet
 This is our first counselor in the bishopric but also one of our best friends from the branch!

I love you all so much!!! Keep being the great family that you are!! Give all those cute kids big loves from Aunt Alli!!!!
Sister Bingham

 Zambia's presidents!

I made Sister Motsi take a picture of me crossing the bridge because it reminded me of backpacking! Actually a lot of things happen that reminded me of backpacking!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pictures from November 23 email & Zone Conference

 Copperbelt Zone
Conference held in Ndola meetinghouse

 Sister Proctors last zone meeting! I'm going to miss her!
 Coming back from zone meeting! The driver just kept packing us in! There is a guy riding in the tiny trunk as well...hahah when in Africa!!!
 This is a vegetable named Ocra and it looks so nasty but its actually not that bad! I'll make it for you when we get's like eating slime.
 Sister Zohner and Sister Nkosi gave sister Motsi and I early Christmas presents! they were sweaters that were left from previous sisters but we were soooooooo excited to open them!
 Selina gave us a papaya from her tree at their house! We tried getting us all in but I guess I am too tall:)

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015

Mulishani?? Ndola was bwino sana this week!!  I have less than 15 mintues to email this week so it will be short and sweet! I also might not be able to email next week because we might be having a zone activity. I don’t want to ruin the surprise in case it doesn’t happen but its so sweet and I literally cannot wait!!!
I guess I’ll just send some highlights from the week. Tuesday was Zone meeting and it was quite the adventure going there and back because all 8 of us from Ndola crammed in one taxi but it was a spiritually uplifting experience like every month! We focused a lot on our teaching skills and I felt like I really need to review the basics of missionary work. I was grateful for the reminder that we need to as President Uchtdorf said, “Simplify the gospel.”  Wednesday morning we went to Kitwe for 12 kwacha…less than one dollar. We went on exchanges with Sister Zohner (from Boise) and Sister Nkosi. It was really really really cool to be in an entirely new area that I have never been. Sister Nkosi is an awesome missionary! She is from South Africa and is really funny! I love how she is fun and friendly with her investigators but then is totally focused and serious while teaching. We worked really well together which always amazes me how we have never taught together yet there was so much unity between us! We had a lot of fun in their flat that night with the 4 of us. They don’t have power at night so we did a barbecue and just enjoyed being together. Thursday morning we came back to Ndola and headed to Chifubu and Pamodzi  and taught Aaron Mupundu, Ntusha Namanwe and Justin. They all are progressing well! Friday was jammed pack with lessons…we really are so blessed in this area! Sunday we had 12 investigators at church. I don’t know why we are so blessed but the work is really booming in this area! Selina’s confirmation was sooooooooooo special and I wish you could have been there. We had a broadcast for the Africa Southeast area with Elder Cook and Elder Renlund that was so good! After church we had a huge rainstorm that was insane! The loudest thunder I’ve ever heard!
I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving. You are my greatest blessing after missionary work!!!

Sister Bingham

letter to my president since my other letter was so short:

President Erickson,
Mulishani? I hope all is well with you and Sister Erickson! This week was really great here in Ndola! We had a wonderful zone meeting! Sister Nkosi said the closing prayer and she prayed for you and Sister Erickson and although this happens every month, this moment really stood out to me as I thought of us and all the other elders and sisters in the mission, kneeling in prayer and expressing so much love and gratitude for you, our mission president. In the prayer she prayed that you may be strengthened and I just wanted to let you know that we hope you feel the power of our prayers strengthening you in your calling. We really do appreciate not only the work you do for us but the inspiration that you receive that helps us to be better Elders and Sisters. I went on exchanges with Sister Nkosi and she is just amazing! Since we don’t have a car, both Sister Motsi and I went to Kitwe for the exchange. My favorite part of the whole exchange was that night, after we closed the day, was watching Sister Zohner and Sister Nkosi getting back together and talking about the investigators they each had seen that day. I was overwhelmed by the love that companions have for each other. Despite the many struggles and frustrations companions always face, it amazes me how much we love each other and learn from one another. I also was so grateful for the love that these 2 sisters have for their area and the great concern they have for their investigators. They are great examples to me of forgetting themselves and losing themselves in the work. One of the mornings, I woke up earlier than usual and was able to see the most beautiful sunrise! As I looked at this sunrise and thought of all the beautiful creations of our Heavenly Father I was overwhelmed by the opportunity that I have to be in this part of the world, doing what I’m doing. I was reminded of the love of my Father in Heaven and how blessed I am to be a missionary. I love these little moments that I have experienced on mission. Sometimes I think we missionaries focus too much on the “big” moments when there are so small miracles and learning opportunities constantly around us! Being a missionary is the best. At this weeks meeting with our branch mission leader and branch president I brought up the idea of doing a Christmas activity and got shut down. I immediately got really frustrated because I have been trying to help the branch here in Ndola and I have felt like every idea I bring up is either “too difficult” or “the members won’t come so why do it?” I then realized how much our branch president is responsible for and that he has a lot on his plate and I can’t imagine how much stress he has. I felt bad for the feelings that I had but I still wanted to do an activity as I feel it would be good to unite our branch. We ended up coming to the conclusion that we could have an activity but the missionaries would have to do a lot of the planning. I am excited for this as this will be a great opportunity to build stronger relationships between us and the members and our investigators as well as an opportunity for us to fulfill our purpose of establishing the church. I am so grateful for the Ndola Branch that I have been able to serve in for the past 5 months or so. I am grateful for the progress and growth I have witnessed. I am grateful for the priesthood leaders that sacrifice so much in order for us to have a branch and church every Sunday. I am grateful for the organization of the church and that no matter where you go in the world, it is still the same true church. I am really grateful for all this branch has taught me and what it will continue to teach me. Thank you for all you do!
Sister Bingham!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Extra photos compliments of Sister Proctor

Copperbelt sisters representing Utah, Idaho, California, South Africa, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe.

Monday, November 16, 2015

I like to look for rainbows, whenever there is rain! - November 16, 2015

The sisters!!

Ok I lied last week...I am even happier than ever this week!!! My heart is overfilling this day as I have reflected on this past week. SOOOOO many crazy and spiritual things happened and I wish I could share them all with you!! Can you just please come move to Ndola??

Tuesday: Sister Motsi and I presented in District Meeting about how to develop Christlike attributes. It was a great opportunity for me to think about myself and how I am changing and becoming more like Christ as a missionary. As I read through the attributes in PMG I started to become disappointed and discouraged as I realized how much I need to improve and that it really is a commandment from Heavenly Father for us to be perfect I then remembered an email that Rebekah had sent me about how we have our whole life to become like Christ. I doubt I am the only missionary who has felt this way before but sometimes I get stressed by thinking that I only have 18 only be the best I possibly can. Well I realized that life isn't over after mission and that those experiences I will have after are going to help me grow and develop. BUT mission is an incredible opportunity for me to leave behind all the things of the world and focus on what is most important. I know that I will never ever get an opportunity like this again so from now on, I am going to work even harder. Not only just to develop myself but to help as many people as I can to "come unto Christ and be perfected in Him." I am also really really grateful for my district! I love all the sisters and the elders. Their testimonies and the things they share each week have helped me to see my weaknesses and how Sister Motsi and I can further the work in our area. Its is sort of like my family here as they encourage me but also push me to be better. Thank you for all sending me so much love and support and also for your inspiring words. We saw the Simanwe's daughter and uncle later that day and they each have a baptismal date and are progressing. Justin (the uncle) can't read and really needs glasses and it was so touching to hear Brother Simanwe tell him that he would buy him glasses because Justin NEEDs to read the Book of Mormon. Brother Simanwe has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. Sometimes with new investigators I am a little hesitant to introduce the Book of Mormon in fear they won't understand or other dumb reasons but every time Brother Simanwe teaches with us he always teaches them about the Book of Mormon. He always ends with a testimony that he knows the book is true without a doubt and how much it has changed his life the past 3 months or so. That night, right before driving to Luanshya for exchanges, guess who called us?????? RAPHAEL!!!!!!!!!! He is finally back in Ndola after going MIA for 4 months!!! Honestly I was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited! Sister Motsi and I could hardly believe it!!! We rushed to go see him and oh it was the best seeing him again!! He is doing well but everywhere that he went for work, there wasn't a church. We set an appointment with him for Saturday and started making plans for him to get rebaptized. Well he left town again but his boss said he will be back in 2 weeks....We are praying that he really does come back this week. I thought of the prodigal son and I know this doesn't compare to anywhere near what Heavenly Father feels but I think I got a glimpse of how He feels when we come back to him. This week I gained a testimony of Heavenly Fathers love and that we really can't ever go too far that He won't accept us back with open arms. I am humbled by the many times that I have made mistakes yet when I repent, I feel forgiven. This gospel is the best!

Wednesday: Oh what a day!! I was on exchanges with Sister Ratema again which I love that sister!! We started the day with a wonderful lesson with our less active, Eugene Kapato. We spent about 30 minutes explaining how we receiving answers to prayer and how the Holy Ghost works. I didn't realize until then how vital this is. I also didn't understand how the Holy Ghost works with me personally until I came on mission. I wish I would have been more in tune before coming but I am grateful for what I have learned and that I have developed the ability to hear and feel its promptings now. It is soooo important for a missionary to know how the Spirit works but it is just as important for those we teach. I have a lot of faith in Eugene and know that when he comes to recognize the Spirit that he feels when he reads from the Book of Mormon or prays, that he will come back to Church. After that we got a call from the Zone Leaders and we had to run a couple errands and we ended up taking something to the elders in Masala. We were coming back to Ndola and I was stopped at a T junction, wanting to turn left. I was waiting for the cars to pass so that I could go when....BAM we got rear ended by a mini bus!!! Don't worry one was hurt besides just a headache. We pulled over and everyone got off the bus and started moving to another bus. This hilarious man kept yelling, "I am a witness!! It wasn't your fault! I saw him hit you!! I am a witness! I saw with my own eyes!" Hahah but I started getting the bus drivers information and everything and it was kinda awkward and I honestly felt so bad for him. I don't like when things like this happen! Luckily Sister Ganesh's husband randomly showed up and pointed me in the direction of the police station. We got to the police station and boy was that quite the experience! hahah I really can't describe it but we started getting all the info and turns out we didn't have any of the right papers in our car. We walked to an email shop and the office elder emailed us the papers. The bus driver didn't have the papers but I think the bus owner does. The police officer was really yelling at the bus driver though and I felt so bad for him! They also were going to lock him up unless he pays 400 kwacha. They then turned to me and said, "You work for Jesus so you're going to pay for him right?" And then they were all trying to get us to pay for him and saying we weren't true missionaries. It was awful and the poor bus driver was such a sweet and humble man. I learned a powerful lesson of the law of justice and mercy and I am really grateful for the Savior. Everything that we experience in life helps us to learn and build our testimonies. I am grateful for what I learned from this experience and how much it made me realize that I need my parents! hahah I really just wanted to call Dad because they were trying to explain all the things I need to do and no one from the mission was giving me advice or what to do but hopefully it all works out! As for now we are just waiting for the bus owner to produce the documents and we need to take the car to some garages and find out how much it costs. Until we figure out how is paying for it and what not Sister Motsi and I are back to walking!! I really don't mind the walking at all BUT it really has affected our work. I was most worried after the accident about our investigators and I am so scared that their progression will be much slower as we won't be able to see a lot of them as much. We will but our trust in the Lord though and remember that he is mindful of all of his children. Later that night we went and visited Violet to read the Book of Mormon with her and my mind really was not focused on the lesson because all the sudden it just hit me how blessed we are. We could have been seriously hurt! I know Heavenly Father watches over his children and especially his missionaries! I also felt very grateful for the prayers of my family!!! keep praying!
Bye bye Ndola corrola

Thursday: We obviously forgot that walking takes A LOT more time than driving because we jam packed our day with lessons in Pamodzi and Kansenshi and then only got to a few of them but it was such a good day! We went and visited Aaron Mupundu (meaning twin) and his family again. We taught about the Restoration and it went really, really well. The best part was at the end of the lesson when we reminded them about church. Brother Mupundu told us how much he wanted to come to church and that he could get there on his bike but that he didn't want to go without his family. He loves his family so much and when he said that I realized what an incredible priesthood holder he would be! He explained their circumstances and it would be a great sacrifice for them to get to church but my companion and I felt impressed to share with them our testimonies. I shared that if they put their trust in Heavenly Father, He would provide. Its amazing to be able to promise someone that. The words just came from my mouth. I personally could see that it was so difficult and near impossible for them to come but through the Holy Ghost, I testified of something different. What they needed to hear and I learned that God's ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts therefore we must trust in Him and His plan. I am excited for this family and although they didn't come to church this week, I know someday they will. If not in this life, the next life they will have the opportunity. How great is the Plan of Salvation! They gave us a bag of 10 bananas and then he even tried giving us money to pay for our bus fare! The humility of this man and his wife are so touching and I feel so grateful that I have been able to be changed by them! We visited the Sambe's and they couldn't stop talking about church! They really enjoyed it and had soooo many questions. Brother Sambe of course had the funniest questions and comments but he is learning a lot and progressing! We had a rushed lesson because we had to go pick up some sisters who had traveled to lusaka and help them get on a bus to Kitwe but it was really encouraging to hear them talk about how much they enjoyed church! Most people aren't that excited and Sister Sambe said she learned a lot. Slowly but surely this family is gaining more and more light and I have seen how even their countenances have changed. They seem much happier and full of love! The gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. It has changed mine but I LOVE watching it change other peoples lives. Especially those that I have truly come to love!

Friday: We taught Claytis but our member we working with was late and then he had to rush to class so it was kind of fast but he is set for baptism on Nov. 29th! he hasn't been to church in the past couple of weeks but he always calls us and apologizes and wants to meet and learn more. Hopefully we get to teach him tonight! My favorite part of the day was teaching Selina about the temple. I was talking to her about when I got to go through the temple and was in the celestial room with so many of my family members and how i got to experience a small piece of heaven. As I told her about that experience I felt sooooooooooo much love for my family and that we get to be TOGETHER FOREVER! We challenged her to set a goal that day to make it to the temple so that someday she could experience that same thing. I was so excited for her baptism but I am even more excited for her to go to the temple someday. Uhh I just wish we had a temple here but I guess I just need to work harder so we can get one!! 

Saturday: We taught Manesh who is about 25 years old and haven't been able to see him in a LONG time. The lesson was good but what was the best was at the end of the lesson we asked him to pray. In previous lessons he has been soooo opposed to praying but that day he said the prayer. It is incredible to see hearts soften and miracles occur each day. This week I found a lot of joy and success in the little things and hearing our investigators pray was one of them that i loved. To hear them communicate with our Heavenly Father and really yearn for and seek the truth is incredible! We had a lesson with Elizabeth and we broke down 2 Nephi 31 for her. We really have to go slow and before i used to want to rush and teach her so much but as Sister Motsi and I have taught according to her needs, we have been amazed to see how much she understands. The gospel really is so simple and when we put our faith in it and the Savior, we will be helped in the way that we need. We will understand what we need to. We taught Barton Zulu that night with President Kapato and he is soooooo ready to be baptized! We re-extended a baptism date of December 6th and you should have seen how excited he was because he is the 6th born in his family! Oh Barton...he never fails to put a smile on my face! But he shared at the end of the lesson how he received the answer that he needs to leave the Anglican church and that he has found the truth. I know how hard this decision will be for him because he is very involved there but he told us that it just feels right. That's exactly how i feel about the gospel. It just feels right. I know I already shared this but the change that has been seen in Barton is incredible! He talked about how he thinks he doesn't have much time in this life left and how he wants to do all he can to choose the right. He made me think about how short this life really is. I hope that I can use my time wisely here so that I may stand before the Lord and be welcomed into his arms. One day at a time though is how we do it....

Sunday: We were walking to church and ran into those boys that gave us such a hard time two weeks ago. They ended up coming to church BUT they were drinking alcohol during gospel principles class... they are crazy!!! Sister Daka came to church....she is the mom of a girl we taught once. she said she met the missionaries 13 years ago and was on the internet today when something about Mormons popped up so she thought she'd come to church and find out for herself. She stayed all 3 hours and even for the baptism! She said she really enjoyed it and learned a lot. The Lord works in mysterious ways but how amazing is that! I can't wait to see her soon! To answer Mom's question...i now play the piano each week but a couple of the keys are broken so its pretty funny! Selina's baptism...i really can't explain everything I felt. it was the best! Half an hour before it started though we got a call from her mom and dad that they wouldn't be there. My heart broke and I started to cry and was frustrated that her parents were going to miss such an important part of their daughters life! I was also overwhelmed by the love and support that I have from my own parents. Mom and Dad...i love you and appreciate you so much!! I didn't understand why I could have parents like mine and then Selina's parents would miss her baptism....I didn't want to break the news to Selina but I pulled myself together and asked her if she would like to postpone the baptism for next week. She looked at me and without a doubt said, "Nope. I want to be baptized today." Selina's faith once again gave me so much hope and strength. This young 14 year old girl has forever changed my life and will be one of my biggest heroes! We helped her get dressed and tie up her hair and it was so special. She looked beautiful in white and man i love her! The service was great and I gave a talk on the holy ghost. The spirit was so strong as she was baptized and she was glowing when she came out of the water! Her testimony was so sweet and powerful. This girl is going to do amazing things! Sister Motsi and I gave her a Bible and a triple and then I gave her some quotes and pictures. I told her they were from my mom and my family. I told her that they all love her and are praying for her and she said thank you!! I really do appreciate your concern and prayer for the people here! They love you all!! After the baptism we had a lot of fall throughs but we went to visit Elizabeth to see why she didn't come to church. Right when we got to her house it started POURING!!! We didn't prepare at all and it was coming down so hard. We had to get to an appointment so we finally left her house despite her trying so hard to convince us to stay. hahah she even told us that we would get malaria!!! We started walking to the bus station to go to Hillcrest and in a matter of seconds we were soaked!! It was sooooooo much fun though and we couldn't stop laughing! The streets were flooded and so dirty! I could not believe how much water there was! I wish sooooo bad that I had my camera but I forgot it at home. We were in water up to our knees at one point! We got to the bus station but they weren't going anywhere because right then the PRESIDENT WAS DRIVING PAST!!!! President Lungu was in town for the soccer game against Sudan so that was cool to see his procession of cars! The people were going crazy. We got into a bus and oh man....i about threw up. We were PACKED inside this minibus...way too many people than should have been in there and it was so steamy and sweating and the smell was too much for me to handle. hahahah it was insane! we had to wait for the traffic but finally we starting going and the driver had to keep wiping the windows with a rag and I thought we weren't going to make it. We ended up getting out of the bus early and finished the way walking. But the traffic was crazy!!! We were going to see Eugene Kapato and they stay right next to the stadium. The game had just finished so everyone was coming out of the stadium. I wish you could have been there!!! There were people and cars everywhere! Yelling and screaming and honking and dancing and running! It was such an adventure!!! There were these big semi trucks full of boys in the back singing the soccer anthem uh i was in heaven!! We finally made it to the Kapatos only to find Eugene not there but we saw a couple other investigators and then tried to make our way back home. The traffic had NOT moved in the hour and a half that we were gone. There was no way that we would get a bus so we started the walk LONG walk home. It actually went by really fast but it was long and kinda scary but we made it safe! Dirty, wet, and tired, yet with big smiles on our faces! I love being a missionary with all my heart and soul!!! There is nothing better and nowhere else I would rather be.

Thanks for being the best ever!!!! I love you all and I love the Savior and His gospel. 

Sister Bingham

Selina's baptism!!

Selina, President Webster Chisilongo, and Brother Nzima.

The older lady in the picture is Mrs. Daka...she just randomly came to church and really really wanted to be in the picture...hahah

Monday, November 9, 2015

"I cannont say the smallest part of which I feel" - November 8, 2015

Cow's foot!

Dearest Family that I love so much,

This week I read from Alma 26 and if you would like a perfect description of my feelings this week then go read it. I AM SO HAPPY!! I LOVE LIFE!!! I know every single week I talk about how much I love this work and everything but more than ever before I am filled with so much joy!!! Previously, I loved being here and being a missionary but there was always a small part of me that wanted to be home with the fam, doing fun things, going to school, etc but I am so content and at peace with where I am right now. The past couple of weeks had a lot of ups and downs but this week, I felt nothing but gratitude and happiness. Hahah I keep saying how happy I am but really MY JOY IS FULL and I truly “cannot say the smallest part of which I feel.”

Monday: We had a lesson with Selina Mwiinga and watched this hilarious video of little kids answering questions about old testament stories. If you can find it online watch it because it is the best! But at the end of the lesson we finally talked to Sister and Brother Mwiinga and guess what…..SELINA IS GETTING BAPTIZED NEXT WEEK!!!!!! She is so ready and has been for a long time but we finally felt like now is the time she should be baptized. We have been hesitant because we wanted her parents to get baptized as well so there is a support system and what not but as I prayed about it, I felt like this could be the very thing that her parents need. As we talked to her mom, it was incredible to see how much she loves her daughter and how much she admires her faith. I also thought a lot about my companion who is also the only member in her family and was baptized at 16…Sister Motsi is amazing and I know that even Selina can be a missionary just like Sister Motsi someday and will change so many lives.

Tuesday: We went to Luanshya to have Mission Leadership Council over video and of course it was taking awhile to figure out the video. We FINALLY got it all ready and good to go when Elder Ford, our zone leader, sat down and his chair broke. Hahahahah it was so funny but I felt so bad because everyone was watching on the video but it was just too funny. MLC was really great!! It’s purpose is to help us all be united as a mission and discuss on areas that we need to improve. It also is an opportunity for us to report on how well each zone is implementing new changes. The new change we discussed was the no tracting that we are doing in our mission. We are focusing on getting all referrals through networking and it is really awesome! I used to think ‘real’ missionary work was knocking doors, but as we have tried this new approach I have realized how much more effective we have been. This work is moving forward! However this official purpose of MLC, I always leave feeling so inspired and filled with personal revelation. I feel so grateful to be a part of this and to learn and grow from this responsibility. Some take away points were…nothing is a problem but an opportunity and the Lord called me. He needs my talents, skills, and qualities but he also needs my best self. How can I improve, what can I do more or what can I do better? I have a lot to work on that’s for sure!! We caught the end of district meeting and we bought Elder Madilu a dictionary for his birthday and you should have seen the smile on his face!!! He has been such an amazing district leader and I have been trying to think of some way that I could return the favor and a dictionary does not come close to the support and love he has shown us but I am glad that we could show him our appreciation. We saw Barton Zulu that night and I know without a doubt that the gospel is for everyone and I really don’t think I will ever question whether someone could accept the gospel. He has changed so much from the first time we visited him and my heart has even been changed towards him. It was such an amazing realization that as we teach by the Spirit hearts are changed. Mine and the investigators that we see. We took home Sister Enia who teaches Barton with us and we stopped on the way home to ask a lady for the direction to this one road that was supposedly a short cut and before we knew it she was all the sudden in the back of our car saying “Wow today is my lucky day! That’s right where I live!” Hahahah sister Motsi and I just looked at each other and smiled. She ended up being a really nice woman and the other sisters are teaching her. Miracles happen all around…even if we break the rules and give someone a ride. Oh the first real rains came and let me tell you when it rains in Africa, it POURS!!! It was crazy!!!

Wednesday: The next morning I woke up so excited to run in the rain and as I started my usual laps around the parking lot with the biggest smile, Sister Motsi came out soooooo concerned telling me that I was going to get sick and I needed to come in. Hahah they have a lot of superstitions here and I can’t wait to tell you about them some day but I haven’t gotten sick yet so…..We went to visit a less active, Eugene Kapato, and we wanted to go with our branch mission leader so we had to ride a minibus since we can’t drive a male without another female.  We were sitting on the bus,waiting for it to fill up so I decided to talk to the old lady next to me. I asked her where she stays and she started cracking up laughing! Not just a little chuckle but full on laughing. Hahahah anything that I would say would make her laugh and so then I started laughing and my companion was laughing!! Hahah it was so great! Then she started snorting some tobacco and oh the adventures that I get to experience here!! We had to wait over half an hour on the bus but I loved just sitting there thinking about how blessed I am to be in this country with these people. As I watched the women selling fruit on the street and the conductors yelling at people to get on their buses, I thought about life and how different each person’s challenges are. I am so grateful for my own struggles that have made me learn and grow but also how others trials have strengthened me and humbled me. I know that I will never be the same as I have served here and I can’t believe that I am here sometimes. As I looked around and realized how much I feel at home here, I really am not looking forward to the day I have to leave here. I love NDOLA!!  We have been reading the Book of Mormon with Eugene and although he hasn’t decided to come back to church, I have been amazed at how much his heart has been softened. There is so much power in the Book of Mormon and I have never agreed more with Joseph Smith when he said, “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” He is reading it everyday and told us he has felt the Spirit but he still has some concerns about the church. I know that as he continues to read, that all doubt will flee. I know this because as I have “ponderized” and read from the Book of Mormon the past couple of weeks, I have received specific answers and comfort that I really needed. We finished the day with Ntusha Simanwe, Olivia’s older sister. Sister Simanwe shared how she has been praying for Ntusha to accept the gospel and how we are an answer to prayers. As Alma, I do not mean to boast of myself whatsoever but I just love being able to be a part of so many miracles. I love being able to be the Lord’s hands here in Ndola and I love most of all, bringing families together. One by one (their other son and his family are getting baptized next week in the elders area) their family is joining the church. They have a goal of going to the temple and I am so excited for them! I wish I could be there with them but the lessons that we get to have with them now make me so happy that if I went to the temple with them…I couldn’t contain myself.

Thursday: Happy 9 months to Sister Motsi!! She is amazing!! I remember celebrating her 5 month mark and that feels just like yesterday. Where is the time going?!? We did our usual weekly planning and I felt overwhelmed by how many people we need to see and wow this area is progressing!! They may seem like small progressions but sweet is the work and I am soooo grateful for how we are being blessed now! I know that as we endure, blessing s come. Actually I am not sure if we are actually being more blessed or if I finally am seeing the blessings. My perspective has changed a lot lately as I have realized to look for the good. Anyways this area is exactly where I need to and want to be. I don’t know what will happen next transfer so I want to do all I can! We always do this thing called companionship inventory every week and this week Sister Motsi shared something with me that was a huge answer to my prayers!! I will share with you someday but I want everyone to know that don’t give up. Keeping doing what you are doing. You are an example to so many people and your influence is greater than you could imagine. We had a miss communication with Justin, the Simanwe’s uncle and he thought we were meeting at the church instead of in Chifubu. We felt so bad that he traveled all the way to town so we rushed to meet him there. The whole drive we were calling every single female member we could think of and no one could come teach with us! I felt awful…I know he sacrificed to come to this lesson and now we weren’t going to be able to have it! We were almost to the church when I prayed and asked that we could think of something to help the situation when all the sudden I thought “What if Sister Kapato is at the church? (her husband is the district president)” We turned the corner and guess who’s car was at the church?!?! President Kapato!! I held my breath all the way to his office where we found Sister Kapato. I was so overwhelmed by this answer to prayer and another time when the Hand of the Lord was seen helping us in our work.

Friday: We had the best day, packed full of lessons, miracles, and laughs. We visited a referral from a member and it is a family that stays kinda far but they are an awesome family! Sometimes when we get out in the compound areas like Pamodzi, Kawama, and Chifubu, the people are less committed and less educated. Aaron Mupundu and his family are amazing though! He is so intelligent and already has a great understanding of the Bible and the gospel. What I love about him most is his humility and his desire to learn more. He is excited about and accepting of everything we shared with him. He reminds me a lot of Brother Simanwe and I can see so much potential in him! He is a Seventh-Day Adventist but he said that he and his family were going to fix their schedules this weekend so by next week, they will be able to come to church. I am so grateful for blessings like him. When planning what to teach, I almost said Restoration but then felt like we should do plan of salvation. Turns out the member who referred us had given him a plan of salvation pamphlet. The spirit is so vital in every phase of this work and as we follow its small and quiet promptings, we not only receive the guidance we need, but are better able to touch the hearts of those that we teach. I love love love teaching families and the whole lesson I couldn’t stop smiling. Maybe because the plan of salvation brings so much hope and joy in my life but I couldn’t stop thinking about how much happiness it would bring this family. We taught Barton again but it was sort of a crazy lesson because there were these bugs flying everywhere!! Down my shirt, at my face, in my hair, up my skirt, in my scriptures hahah I was trying so so hard to just focus on the lesson but they were DRIVING ME CRAZY!! We finally moved inside and tried to have a lesson but we kept getting interrupted and Barton wasn’t really paying attention. We had set a date for the 22nd for him but I think he will need a little more time. But he is doing well and continues to make me laugh. He now calls me Sister B and my companion Sister M

Saturday: We went with the other sisters to Barton’s house to practice a song for a baptism that was supposed to happen on Sunday but ended up getting cancelled. We practiced Nearer my God to thee and Sister Andria sang the first verse in French, we all sang the second verse but Sister Motsi and Sister Mulomba sang the chorus in Shona, Barton sang the third verse, and the fourth verse we all sang (too bad I don’t know any other languages). It was such a neat experience though as we sat in this tiny shack in the back of Barton’s house  and felt the spirit as we sang. I love the words of that hymn and really felt so near to my Heavenly Father. We saw Elizabeth that afternoon and we had last left her with a talk from President Monson. She told us what she learned from the talk and how she felt. She told us she felt peaceful and strengthened. We have invited her to pray about the prophet many times and so then Sister Motsi asked her if she felt like the feelings she had were an answer to her prayer and she said yes. Elizabeth has never been so involved and focused in a lesson and I could tell she had felt the Spirit. We have been serving and teaching her and her daughter in law a lot recently with little success but that day was amazing. I had even started to doubt teaching her but once again, I learned that the gospel is for everyone!

Sunday: BEST SUNDAY OF MY MISSION!! Ok maybe not but it was so incredible!! I read through my journal that morning and a flood of memories and feelings came and wow this mission of mine is going to fast and is the best ever!! Anyways church was  greatest. Sister Sambe and Brother Sambe came!!!! My joy was indescribable. Especially after praying and fasting for Sister Sambe. We didn’t get to see them after church because we were helping Selina with her interview for baptism but THEY CAME!! That is the first step and I am just so grateful that they sacrificed, tried their faith, and overcame their fears. I can’t wait to go see them this week. A less active from the sisters area blessed her baby and it was such a sweet moment. I couldn’t help but think of someday when my own children will be blessed…I know that is a long ways away but I started to think about what they would be like. Will I be a good enough mother for them? I am so grateful that I have the next 13 months to better prepare myself for that time in my life. The sacrament was once again so enabling and something that I have really cherished on mission. I read the hymn “AS now we Take the Sacrament” and noticed that it was written by Elder Perry. I felt so impressed by all the apostles and humbled as well. They have done SO much for the work of the Lord and I love how they use their unique talents and gifts. I thought of my own strengths and weaknesses and how everyday I feel that I was called here for a reason. Sister Motsi gave an excellent talk on gratitude. As I have felt so happy and at peace this past week I thought of Elder Uchtdorf who gave a talk about being grateful in all circumstances! I hope that as I have been extra blessed this week, that I will increase in my gratitude.  Our investigator class was packed!!! It has never been so full! Seriously it was so awesome. Sister Motsi and I couldn’t stop talking about it all day. We had a lot of new investigators come and some that we haven’t even taught. A lot of our other investigators didn’t come but it was so encouraging and we left church walking on cloud 9. We ended having all our appointments fall through that afternoon and evening but it didn’t even get me down. I know that because of all the prayers on my behalf, I have been able to be more positive, grateful, and excited about the work. I cannot thank you, my family, and all the others who pray for me and all the missionaries in the world. The biggest miracle of the entire day though was realizing how much I rely on the Holy Ghost and how much more I feel its influence since coming here. I found myself seeking its comfort and guidance even in the smallest choices. Even knowing what to say when having a conversation with my companion. Mission has been a great blessing for me to leave behind the world and focus on what matters most. I have 13 months left to establish habits and characteristics I need to help me for the rest of my life. During study that morning I learned that everything that I have improved on and developed has only been possible because of the Savior. Mom sent me a picture of the Savior and I hung it up in our room and everytime I look at it, I am overwhelmed by the love I feel from Him. My testimony of the Savior really grew this past week as I sought for strength that comes from the Atonement. I know, more than ever before, that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He suffered for ALL of our sins and all of our afflictions. I know that He is the only one who knows exactly what we go through and that if we turn to Him and strive to be like Him, we can be clean from all our mistakes and overcome any obstacle. I know He lives and I am beyond grateful that I get to wear His name every day and proclaim His gospel to all in Ndola. I love being a missionary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Bingham

My camera is acting up and all my pictures were deleted....hopefully Brother Thole from the branch can fix it but I had some really good pictures last week.

  our guards wanted pictures this week and they were doing all these hilarious poses! 
Their names are Robum and David

SOOOOO NASTY!!! We were looking for an investigators restruant and Sister Motsi saw the cows feet and wanted to buy one. Of course I wanted to try and they actually looked pretty good. We even convinced the lady to throw in some free nshima with it. Sister Motsi ate hers in the car and was saying how good it was and I was really jealous. Since I was driving I waited until I got home to eat mine and I was so pumped to eat it! Well I went to take the first bite and I couldn't even take a smelled soooooooooooo awful!!! It seemed just like a cow. Not like manure but you know that animal/cow smell??? Well it was soooo bad but i finally got a bite down, went to take the second one and about threw up. It is so gross!!!