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!!!

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