Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year! 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 2015 might possibly have been the best year of my life and I can’t wait to see what is in store for 2016!

Monday: BEST P-DAY EVER! We finally got the car fixed and then we went to go check out the zoo that is halfway between Ndola and Kitwe. I've seen the sign for the past 6 months but we finally got time to go there! We didn't really know what to expect but IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!! So we pull up and a lady gives us the low down. Turns out it isn't a zoo but its a game park. They have zebras, giraffes, kudus, hartebeests, ostriches, water bucks, and impalas. The manager came over and said, "This is a game park and so just a warning you may not see any animals." Sister Zohner and I were not discouraged one bit though and so Evelyn, our safari guide, got in the back of our car and we started off.  Before even seeing any animals I was soooooooooo excited and happy!  I mean for reals....who gets to drive a car through a game park in Africa???? This mission is the coolest but it gets better.  All the sudden I SAW ZEBRAS!!!!! We got to drive pretty close to them and get out of the car and it was so surreal. Ahhh i just can't explain it but it was the greatest thing ever. It was absolutely beautiful with the green grass and the blue sky! 

 I felt Heavenly Father's love and once again an overwhelming rush of gratitude for Him and all His creations (almost the same feeling when I'm in the beautiful mountains of Idaho). I couldn't stop thinking about how blessed I am to be in this mission. We saw some water-bucks as well...too bad I wasn't looking at them through a scope and they brought back a lot of hunting memories with Dad.  
We kept driving around and we didn't want to get our hopes up but I really really really wanted to see the giraffes.  Evelyn wasn't very enthusiastic or optimistic about it but then we turned a corner and guess what.....THERE WERE THE TWO GIRAFFES!!!! You should have heard Sister Zohner and I freaking out!!! hahahaha it was so hilarious but the coolest moment ever!!!!  We didn't even know what to do and we tried to get closer but they went back  into the trees but it was so sweet.


 Then we saw the kudus which apparently are really hard to see so we were lucky!  I didn't want to leave the park and it felt so good to be back in the outdoors but I am so grateful for what we got to experience and definitely will be something I never forget.

tried to be super artsy but my camera couldn't focus on two things....its the thought that counts right?


p.s. dad owes me a lot of money:)

Tuesday:  Before district meeting, we went to go get some avocados from the back of the church and they were too high so we tried throwing rocks at them and we almost broke a couple windows until finally Benson, the garden boy, came and brought us a huge stick to wack them down.....African version of pinata?? 

Martin, a very promising investigator, dropped us which was really sad and the second one of the week but maybe Heavenly Father just wants Sister Zohner and I to strengthen our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and the Restored gospel because these experiences have definitely done so. Both times after getting dropped we immediately starting discussing how we know without a doubt that what we share is true and how sad we feel that others don't want to experience the joy and blessings of the gospel. Maybe someday he will accept the gospel and I am grateful that we got to plant seeds for future missionaries. This week I was complaining to sis Z that we don't have a temple here and she reminded me that our hard work is making it possible for future missionaries and members to enjoy the blessings of the temple and that we must work even harder. We had a lesson that night with Sister Sinikiwae and we hadn't planned for the lesson but once we said the prayer I had a strong impression that we should teach her about my family book. We began the lesson and it was going well and she was talking about it and mentioned something about the Book of Mormon. All the sudden I received another impression that we should stop teaching about family history. I then asked her, " Sister Sinikiwae, do you know that the Book of Mormon is true?" She got really quiet and then began to share with us how she has lost her testimony of the Book of Mormon. It helped us to understand why she hasn't been coming to church and I am sooooooooooooo grateful for the Holy Ghost that was able to bless Sister Zohner and I to discern her needs and to guide us in what we should share with her. It is kinda crazy that I have had the gift of the Holy Ghost for almost 12 years but now is when I am finally realizing all of its blessings and how it works with me. Mission has helped me in so many ways but this has been a huge one! I set a goal in the MTC that I wanted to really understand how the Holy Ghost works and I still am figuring it out but each and every day I am getting closer and closer to that goal. I don't think I will ever perfectly understand but I am grateful for what I have learned and how it has blessed my work here in Ndola.

Wednesday:  hahahahahaha this day started out so funny!!  We had agreed to come help an investigator with some yard work. We got there at 7 and we had told her multiple times that we could unfortunately only stay for 45 minutes. We worked hard, hoeing the grass in front of their house and sweeping the dirt...something they do here. anyways it was almost 8 so we told her we had to go and she got soooooo mad!!! She was saying stuff like "you can't leave a job half baked!!! What are my neighbors going to think? You can't leave! Just finish and then you can go home and rest and preach tomorrow.  In Zambia we finish our work. You can't leave this half baked!!!!!" It was super awkward but of course I could do nothing but laugh. i tried telling her we could come back tomorrow but we really had to go home. She would not have it though and just told us to work faster! hahahah we finally convinced her that we had to go but wow she was quite the woman! It actually made me so sad how ungrateful she was but helped me want to be more grateful myself. It felt good to work hard like that though....I can't believe I am saying this but I miss yard work! even working at dad's office....even sweeping the parking lot!  Enjoy it Brooklyn and Jacob!! We saw the Sambe's and sister Sambe is practically a member! We read Enos 1 together and she explained everything so perfectly! then her husband starting asking questions about the spirit world and Sister Sambe once again explained the plan of salvation probably better than we could. I don’t know what we need to do to help her and today as we left their house, I felt so lost and hopeless. I have prayed and fasted and taught and born testimony….I don’t know what else to do but to have faith and trust in the Lord and his timing. I love this challenge though and I know that their is something I need to learn from this. The Sambe family is so dear to my heart and even at the end of the lesson, Sister Sambe said that they always feel good and spiritually uplifted when we come. She knows it but until she acts on that faith, I will act on mine. I know Heavenly father will guide us. We finally got to see Justin’s mom to ask her for permission for Justin to get baptized. This was by far the highlight of the day and maybe even the week. For a couple weeks now, both Sister Zohner and I and Justin have been praying for his mom’s heart to be softened. She used to be against Justin being taught but allowed him to be taught without going to church. We didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to come to church but he still continued to come. Well we went to go talk to her and SHE SAID YES!!!! It was a miracle to see her heart be softened just enough to allow her son to be baptized. My joy was full and I didn’t think I could be happier!  The best part though was when we asked Justin to say a closing prayer. It was one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard anyone give. He expressed gratitude that his mom had allowed him to be baptized and then asked if that someday his family would be able to join him and be baptized as well. We left that house walking on cloud 9 as we both pondered over the tender mercies of the Lord we had just witnessed. The cherry on top was when Selina came running over to us so excited and asked, “Did she say yes???” When we told her the good news she screamed and started jumping around. This just added to my joy even more and I thought of D&C 18 and how happy we were and what Heavenly Father and the Savior must be feeling. I loved loved loved seeing Selina so happy for her friend and neighbor Justin. Selina continues to be such a great example to me and that day she taught me how to love and support those around us.
Thursday: Lately I have been reading a lot of general conference talks and I have developed such a strong testimony of the prophet, apostles, the 70s, and the other leaders of our church. I have learned how vital the words of the prophets are in developing ourselves. So often I want to know what I can do to improve and whenever I read a talk, it outlines exactly what I can work on. Our entire purpose in this life is to change and grow and the prophets help us do exactly that. Brother Nonde rode his bike all the way to Kawama to teach Aaron Mupundu and his family and it didn’t hit me until halfway through the lesson how powerful and dedicated the members are here. They sacrifice a lot to work with us and they really add such a strength to what we teach. The lessons ended up just being the mom and two daughters but this family has so much potential! We asked Mercy, the 15 year old daughter, to name prophets that she knew of and she said, “Joseph Smith!!” She has sat in on one lesson before but it made my day when she said that! Next we saw Cletus and he loves to rap so we challenged him to make a rap about Joseph Smith. Sister Zohner and I made one too and so when we met we sang them and it was so funny!!! Ours was soooooooo bad but I made Sis Z promise she would show you the video when she goes home. Cletus’ rap was amazing and he had so many good things about the restoration which once again confirmed to me that he is ready for baptism. It was great to be able to work with his talents and interests and incorporate the gospel. Heavenly Father blesses us so that we may learn of Him and even help others. Thank night we bought Sprite and I made Sister Zohner do a toast with me. Not quite as good as Martinelli’s but it was fun!
Friday: We set an alarm for midnight so we could wake up and say Happy New Years but when the alarm went off I was so exhausted that the only thing I said was, “Sister Zohner” so she would turn off the alarm. She said Happy New years but I was already back asleep at that point. Hahah Dad you were right about sleeping like a rock on mission! We met with Sister Lunia, a branch member, and she really opened up to us about a lot of different things and got really emotional at one point that even made me cry. In that moment I gained a testimony of visiting teaching and got really excited for this responsibility that I will have in the future. I am so grateful for the example of my mom, sisters and sister in laws who diligently fulfill this calling and have shared with me so many instances of how much they have learned from this calling. I felt another rush of gratitude for how mission is preparing me for my future roles and callings. This work I am doing here in Zambia is important but does not end in a year… will continue and just get better and better!!! Oh also on our way to Sister Lunia’s we got stuck in this HUGE hole…don’t know how that happened but literally within seconds there was a group of boys that came out of no where and just started lifting up the car. I was laughing so hard!!!! They helped us get unstuck and then all ran away but I was touched by the goodness of the people here. They are always willing to help anyone and everyone. We headed to the Simanwe’s and had a lesson about new years resolutions and it was such a wonderful moment when they shared that they are even setting aside money now to go to the temple. I wanted to jump for joy!! We then went to see a less active, Brother Nkoma who is super super smart. During the lesson I had so many different scriptures come to mind and quotes and as I was thinking back on the lesson I at first thought it was because of my studies and knowledge. I then realized however that it was because of Brother Nkoma’s wisdom and his needs that I was able to share such things. His testimony of the scriptures needs to be strengthened and he loves to read and learn. I was so touched as I came to understand that when we teach by the Spirit, we are able to teach according to their needs. I am grateful that I could prepare myself but I know that my mind was enlightened to assist me for a specific purpose.

Saturday:  Cletus’ baptism went so well!! I was really worried and felt bad when there was no one at the church but it was really special with the few of us that finally were gathered there. The best part was when he came up out of the water with the biggest smile on his face. Everyone else I have seen baptized has always looked a little worried or nervous, but Cletus looked so happy and literally glowed. What an incredible thing that I have been blessed to be a part of and he reminded me how much joy is found in our covenants. In his testimony he talked about how it was a miracle that he found the missionaries and it truly is. As I look back on it, I realized how many times the Hand of the lord was there to make this wonderful event possible. For sure the highlight of the week! We visited the Nondes again and taught their 9 and 10 year old daughters so that they can hopefully get baptized soon. Sister Nonde asked us if we could buy her new garments the next time we go to Lusaka. This woman is amazing! She isn’t able to come to church because of money but she continues to stay true to her temple covenants and wears her garments. She told us they have holes and are stained and stretched out but wants to have the blessings in her life. It made me so grateful that I have been through the temple and for the blessings I receive from my temple garments. Something that I often take for granted! We had a lesson with Chalesa, the older woman we taught a long time ago, and her granddaughter joined us and had so many questions. Mid-lesson I felt so lost and unsure of what to say. I became overwhelmed by my weaknesses and inabilities and said a silent prayer for help. It wasn’t until I was humble and recognized my dependence on the Spirit that I knew what to say. (Seems like it was the lesson I needed to learn this week and not just one but multiple times!) I ended up bearing my testimony of the Savior and I felt the Spirit so strong. I don’t know how the others felt but I learned a lot during that lesson as I had to more fully humble myself, turn to the lord, and then act.

Sunday: I love fast Sundays but boy was this one so hard....honestly I felt so weak. But we made it through the day! Cletus' confirmation was great! the testimonies really touched my heart, especially Selina. Many people that we taught this past week got up and bore their testimonies so that was really really cool and helped me learn that no effort is wasted and what we are teaching is inspired of the Lord. Relief Society was really great. Justin passed his interview and will be baptized next Sunday!! I still love Ndola and this area. Mission is the best. Brother Nonde and many other branch members say hello to you all. thanks for all the love a support!!!!

Sister Bingham (Sister B according to Barton, Sister Young according to sister Ganesh)

Relief Society

 some famous tree that we don't know anything about it but we stopped to take a picture. the workers on the side of the road were so excited to take our picture!!! we look half asleep.....

 Recent converts Daisy and Ira teaching us how to play the guitar at Barton's house!

 the cutest kids and future missionaries!
   I told sister Zohner I felt like I was at the fair......
 We like to have fun......
 MTC REUNION!!!! 6 months down

 Christmas with Selina!!!

Nonde family!

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