Monday, February 29, 2016

Farewell Lilongwe.....

 Super unexpected news but I have been transferred and I will be heading to Blantyre on Wednesday!!!! I have a lot of mixed feelings about leaving. We thought that transfers would be next week so when the zone leaders called us on Friday night we were shocked! They were talking to Sister Ratema first and the whole time my heart was beating so fast...I was really nervous for some reason. It feels like just yesterday I got here to Lilongwe and I can't already be leaving! I feel like there is still so much left to do and there are so many people here that are progressing and getting close to baptism or being reactivated. I feel like the past week, I really grew close to a lot of the people and have so much love for them and now I have to leave!! I guess Rebekah was right when she said that on mission you would get used to saying goodbye a lot but it is not getting any easier. Blantyre sounds really great though! I heard it is beautiful and they have mountains!!! Sister Kgwetiane is my new companion. We got to know each other at MLC. She seems really great and is from South Africa. It will be sad to say goodbye to Sister Ratema as we have grown really close the past couple of weeks but hopefully we can still see each other over the next couple of months. I come Blantyre!

Monday: We tried to have a FHE with a less active family. We started the lesson about the plan of salvation and it was going really well and then in walked their friends. We have taught their friends once before but they have been busy since so we haven't been able to see them in awhile. We were so excited to have them there with us but we had already started the lesson and so we didn't know where to go with the lesson and then the dad and mom of the other family were trying to get dinner ready and the kids were running around and it was just CRAZY! we were using the pictures mom sent me with to teach and we were explaining the 3 kingdoms and we asked the mom of the investigator family which kingdom she wanted to go to and she said the moon because she would burn on the sun....hahahah she was so confused and so then we tried explaiing that the sun, moon, and stars where just descriptions but she still was confused. We asked her what was brighter...the sun or the moon? She was convinced that the moon was brighter!!! Her husband was trying to get her to understand and then everyone was yelling at her and saying things like, "If you had to walk from here to Area 50 with only the light of the moon, could you do it?" "Yes of course I could!" hahahaha it was one of the funniest lessons and Sister Ratema and I could not stop laughing the whole ride home but as dysfunctional as it was, it was so awesome to be gathered with 2 families and been teaching the friends of one of our branch members. I love hearing the testimonies of members when they are talking to friends. The members here have so much faith and really love the church!

Tuesday: We had a wonderful lesson with Sheena who is the niece of the Chipapalas in our branch. She really wants to understand and learn about the gospel. Her uncle REALLY wants her to join the church and his enthusiasm is wonderful but I hope its not too overbearing on her. Teaching her has helped me to learn how to ask more inspired questions and to help her to use HER agency. I have really learned what a blessing the freedom to choose is and how we cannot force anyone to do anything. If we seek the Spirit and do our best to bring the power of the Holy Ghost into the lesson, then they will be able to be truly converted to the gospel. That has been the big emphasis for missionaries around the world from the recent broadcast about "teach repentance and baptize converts." It has helped me to be more converted myself and to apply the atonement more in my life so that I can understand exactly what my investigators need to do to gain a lasting testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It really hit me this week how as missionaries we expect change NOW. We expect people to accept the gospel and be obedient to the standards in just a couple of weeks yet I look at my own life and realize that it has taken me my whole 20 years to gain a testimony that is strong, but still is growing. I know that miracles do happen, and I have seen people who change their lives and come unto Christ in a matter or a few weeks or months but I lately have recognized the important attribute of patience in missionary work as well as trusting in the plan of our Heavenly Father. 

Wednesday: We had a lesson with a branch member, Sabin, and his wife, Assoempta, who is a less active. They have a little boy named Liam and she is expecting another boy. They are such a cute family! he owns a little shop and they have been members for a little over a year now. They are refugees from Brundi and Rwanda and have quite the story. We taught them about the temple and they really want to go but with visas and everything...its pretty hard for them. It was amazing thought to be there and to feel inspired to tell them that someday it would be possible for them to go. I bore testimony to them that when Heavenly Father asks us to do something, He provides away. I was able to testify of this as I have faced many challenges and inadequacies as a missionary, yet have been strengthened countless times to be able to do what has been asked. I also have seen the Hand of the Lord provide miracles when we really needed them and I know that He will do the same for this family. It is really hard though to see so many people who want to, who are worthy, and who are ready to go to the temple but just can't because it is so far away. It made me grateful for the temple back home and also for the plan of salvation that makes it possible for every person to receive the blessings of exaltation no matter what our circumstances here on earth are. We met with Patrick Chakana who randomly came to church last week. We met him at a common meeting place that they call "Zebra" and he thought he could get in our car. It was really hard to tell him we weren't allowed to give him a ride but he, with a smile, hopped onto his kabaza and biked ALL the way (he stays so far!) to his home just to hear about the gospel. The continual sacrifices that the people make here humble me and make me so grateful to be serving here! 

Thursday: We went and bought some veggies and nsima and took them to Liana's house to cook for her family. They cook over an open fire and they had us do everything!! It was really really fun but holy cow I was sweating soooooo bad!! Nsima is so hard to make! It was fun to get to know the family better and build a relationship with them through serving them as they don't speak English. I was humbled also that they would let us come and cook for them, be in their home, and share a meal with them. They are the best and although the mom and Liana's sisters aren't interested in the being taught, I have seen their hearts being softened. its this small miracles that I am enjoying more and more the longer I serve as a missionary. 
 cooking nzima

lunch at lianas

Saturday: Sister Ratema's Birthday!!! Thank you sooooo much for sending her emails!!! You should have seen how excited she was. My family is the best!!! We had a really good day, went to the new KFC here (it was so weird to go through a drive through), i finally got her to ride a kabaza!, went to the Birrells for cake and ice cream!!! It was awesome. My favorite part of the day was teaching the Birrells neighbor who is divorced with 2 kids. We shared about love at home and how we can build stronger families. I got really really emotional as I thought of how much I love my family and how much the gospel has blessed us. Then I thought of my family here of Sister Brown, Sister Mukweya, and Sister Ratema and how hard it is going to be to leave them!! I am so grateful for what they have taught me and how much love they have shown me over the past couple of weeks. I know how important it is that we love those around us, especially our family. 

Sunday: IT WAS POURING RAIN!!!!! Seriously it was crazy!!! The road to the church was a river!!! I loved it but it was bad because no one was at church. I think we had 12 people there...including 4 missionaries. But it was maybe one of my most favorite sacrament meetings to be gathered there with a few faithful saints while the rain came dumping down outside. I was so grateful for the priesthood that even though we were few, we were still able to partake of the sacrament and feeling the peace of the Savior. I also felt a great love for the members and it was sad to say goodbye. We went to see ABK and he was not doing good at all. The elders were able to come and give him a blessing which was such an amazing experience and really brought a lot of comfort to him but also us as we are so concerned about him and his health. I am grateful for how the priesthood not only can bless us physically but also emotional and spiritually.
 our branch president!
 our district

This week was so amazing and I wish I had more time to write about everything that we experienced!!! The time is never long enough. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful for Lilongwe and what I have learned here. I am grateful for change, no matter how hard it is. I am grateful for my family! I am grateful for the sun and rain. I am grateful for the scriptures as I recently finished both the Book of Mormon and New Testament. I am grateful for our prophet and the prophets of old. I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and I know that He lives. 
Ndimakukondani Kwambili!!!!
Sister Bingham


no we aren't starving in africa.....

Monday, February 22, 2016

Some cute kids....they always run to the car yelling "AZUNGU BHO!!!" Sister Ganet who was working with us one day was tired of it and taught them to say "muli Bwanji?" instead. She said she wants them to be more respectful. She is such an awesome lady!

Happy 16th Birthday to Brooklyn! Malawi style!
 So I took this sign around one day and tried to get a couple people to take pictures. some people were so was hilarious!!! We are all celebrating for you in Malawi!!!!

The power has been really bad today here in Lilongwe and this is the 5th internet cafe we have been too....Hahah so this week will be a short email but first things first....HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEAUTIFUL SISTER BROOKLYN!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
ok highlights from the week....

-teaching Sister Gondwe who is a less active. I also think she has narcolepsy (that condition where you always fall asleep) so she falls asleep during every lesson but she usually stays awake for the opening hymn. She always chooses to sing "Rock of Ages" and it is pretty off key but she sings loud and with a big smile on her face. I always feel the spirit as we sing and I am grateful for her love for this song that allows the peace of the gospel into her life. Anyways we have been serving her and visiting her A LOT and guess what....she came to church!!! Her husband is very active but he is out of town building a road or something so we figured she'd come when he came back but she came this week. I got to sit next to her in Relief Society and she seemed really happy to be there. She doesn't speak much English but always responds with "nditu, nditu" which means "sure, sure" to everything I say. She is an amazing woman and has helped me to see the blessings that come as we continue to endeavor in the work of the Lord, because miracles do come. Maybe not right at first but after 5 weeks...or more....they come!

-teaching Paul another less active. He is 15 and hasn't been coming to church because his clothes are too ripped. I honestly think stays in the most humble circumstances of anyone I have taught and has very little clothing but his SMILE. Paul has helped me to learn the importance and influence of a smile. To be honest...I don't know when he last brushed his teeth but his smile literally made my weak. I have had a little bit harder of a time adjusting to this area than I maybe have told you but he has really warmed my heart and made me love where I am serving. We had a lesson about following the prophet and he remembered a lot about Joseph Smith and President Monson. During that lesson I thought about if President Monson really knew how many people love and respect and want to follow him all the way over here in Malawi. I have the greatest love and appreciation for the Prophet and Apostles and it really touches my heart to hear the testimonies of the saints here who have never seen President Monson, have maybe watched him speak a few times, yet want to do their very best to follow his counsel. 

-Remember the picture of the women who fed us lunch last week? Well this week we were waiting for a member to come so we could have a lesson with him and I was able to help them draw water from the well and wash some dishes. It was hot, my hands, legs, and skirt got dirty but it was a really spiritual moment for me as i thought of the many references and stories of wells in the New Testament. I thought of the special privilege that I have to wear the name of the Savior everyday, teach his gospel, and be his hands here in Malawi. I thought of how we really are doing the exact same things that He did while He was hear on earth. It made me want to more cherish the time I have been given and to be a better representative of Him as well as to seek more of His divine help so that I may be able to better emulate His light and love. I was really touched this week to be able to see the Hand of the Lord in the simple things and to understand that truly all things testify that there is a Savior. 

-Working with Sister Ganet. She is a member who LOVES to go teaching with us which is such a blessing!!! We picked her up the other day and I started to thank her for coming with us and she said, "No I love doing the work of the Lord. There are so many blessings!" She has a zeal for missionary work that is so inspiring and it makes me want to continue to be a missionary when i get home. Members have such a positive influence in our teaching and they really are the ones that bring a special spirit. I am so grateful for the sacrifices that our made by our members here to assist us in our work. I also thought of my family, teaching with, feeding, and helping the missionaries. you really do help them more than you could imagine!

-Talking with Sister Brown in the evenings. She is the best and has really helped me get through different struggles. As I am approaching my halfway mark (what??? time is flying!!!) it literally feels like just yesterday I was in her shoes. She is such a dedicated and consecrated missionary and I feel so blessed to live with her. Once again...I know Heavenly Father sent me to this specific mission to learn from the sisters I serve with and around. I am also grateful for Sister Ratema. its her birthday on Saturday! maybe you all could send her an email next week!!! its thanks!

-our lesson with ABK. This old man is so powerful and so prepared by the Lord. My heart is always filled with so much joy as we leave his home. On Sunday he makes lots of comments in the gospel principles class and my favorite one this week was when we were talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We first must have faith, then repent, then be baptized, then the gift of the holy ghost, then enduring to the end. Then he stands up and says, "And we must have LOVE" while punching the air with his fist. Man seriously he is the best! and he wants to be a missionary like us.

-going to see precious and our interpreter walked out to answer the phone. We were just sitting there awkwardly trying to have a conversation but he doesn't speak English. I kind of gave up and was just sitting there when all the sudden he says in perfect English, "I was so happy when I saw you coming to my house. Thank you for coming!" he melts my heart and continues to remind me that the gospel brings happiness. I read a quote this week along the lines of "The more and more we strive to become like Heavenly Father and His Son, the more and more imperfections and weaknesses we find in ourselves." How true this is and something I have really learned this week. Living the gospel SEEMS like it is challenging and too demanding and there is too much expected of us. But Precious and many other experiences this week helped me to understand that the gospel is the only thing that brings peace and happiness into our lives. It is the very thing that allows us to develop and grow which is the whole reason we are here. I realized this week that while i need to continue improving and working harder, I need to recognize, reflect on and embrace the joy I am feeling. And how much happier I have been!
-Liana couldn't come to church to be confirmed because she had to help her mom with the wash and they didn't have soap on Saturday . BUT this turned into a blessing because we were able to go with the Chipapalas and visit her and ended up having a lesson with her parents. It was so amazing to really get to talk with the parents and help them to see the blessing of the gospel that two of their children have found.
Well family I love you soooooooooooooooooo much!!! I love being a missionary!!!! I hope the best for this week. you are and forever will be in my prayers.
Ndimakukondani kwambili,
Sister Bingham

 We got DUMPED ON!!!!

 Mom...i am beginning to think Malawi has even more beautiful skies than Idaho. we also got mud thrown at our car after taking this picture and 4 guys came running over demanding money....hahaha

 We asked him for a ride but he couldn't understand goal for this week...learn how to ask "can you give us a ride?" in Chichewa

Sister Chipapala came to church with this dress so I told her we had to get a picture. Mom you'd look great in this!!!!

can't even carry my scriptures on my head...don't know how these women carry huge buckets of water?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

MLC Council - Lusaka Zambia February 2016

President & Sister Ericksson's blog post

Mission Leadership Council in Lusaka February 2016 We watched the World Wide Missionary Broadcast and had a spiritual feast for 2 days with these amazing missionaries.

Elders:  Ford Cunningham Owor Hiltbrand Welling Brewerton Sagers Ssengooba Rugumayo Madilu
Sisters Zohner Ratema Bingham Thueson Frimpong Solomone Tuai Kgwetiane

Monday February 15, 2016

the team

Hello from Lilongwe!!! Happy Birthday to Claire and happy late valentines day! I thought about each of you a lot and how blessed I am to be with your for forever!!!

After emailing last week we rushed to go to our appointment but there was awful traffic!!! From our flat to our area, we take a two lane main highway that literally only goes to our areas but everyone was coming home from town to the compounds where they live. Anyways we got there a little bit late  and we were going to see Patrick Phiri. He is the father of the family that we taught last Sunday who was a little difficult but had a lot of potential. IT WAS A DISASTER!!! He affiliates with the Bible started in America by the prophet William Braham..don't know if you have heard of him but wow they are tough cookies to crack!! We hardly got any words in and he just kept going off about how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are the same and about how Joseph Smith isn't a prophet because Elijah is the prophet who will restore the church, and how women shouldn't speak in church, and there shouldn't be sister missionaries, and on and on and on and was so hard to just sit there and be lectured to. We had a couple of moments that we were allowed to speak and we each bore our personal testimonies of the gospel but he didn't want to accept anything or really even listen to anything. Finally I had to just end the lesson whether he liked it or not and then I think he felt bad because he started apologizing and encouraging us to continue what we are doing but then started rebuking us again. Pretty much it was a crazy lesson and we ended up walking away with some book that he gave us. As we drove away, I really felt bad for Brother Patrick Phiri. He definitely had parts of truth and light but was missing a lot. Sister Ratema and I both agreed that despite what we went through, it really strengthened our testimonies. I learned through this frustration that when difficulties come we can either let it make us upset and weigh us down or we can choose to learn, grow, and be grateful. In fact I had a couple of rough moments through out the week were I really had to apply this….it is a lot harder done than said! Ha but also this week I really felt like I have relied on the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ more than ever. I know I say that a lot but its amazing how depth there is. I often think that I have used the Atonement to its capacity, only to discover another challenge that can only be overcome through turning to Christ. I love that we get to share our testimonies of the Savior and get to wear His name every day because I everyday my testimony just grows stronger and I am able to better help investigators specific needs because I am understand slowly that the Atonement is for all people and all problems. 
Fun in the rain!
Tuesday we had zone meeting and we introduced everything we discussed at MLC with all the missionaries here in the Lilongwe Zone. Then we rewatched the worldwide missionary broadcast which was such a blessing to hear again the revelations and inspiration of the Apostles and leaders of our church. Also I am so jealous the fam got to hear Elder Bednar!!! He is amazing!!! I just read his last conference talk this morning…I finished the talks from the past general conference and now am starting a 1994 general conference Liahona. I am so grateful for the access that we have to the words of the living prophets! That day we saw Sister Gondwe, a less active, but when we went inside we found her with 5 of her friends. We had a lesson with all of them and I don't think any of them are interested in the gospel but it was such an amazing lesson because Sister Gondwe was sharing her testimony. There we had come to inspire, encourage, and teach this less active and instead we were able to witness her doing the same to her friends. It gave me so much hope for Sister Gondwe and made me realize that as we share our testimony, it grows. So....I have a challenge for each of you. Find one person that you can share your testimony with. It doesn't have to be long or about anything specific but I know that you will be able to help them while growing your own testimony. 

I was blessed with the opportunity to go on exchanges with Sister Mukweya  and it was one of my most favorite exchanges I have ever been on! Maybe since I am a little more seasoned or I have been on a lot of exchanges but anyways I loved it!! I was nervous...just like I always am and turns out Sister Mukweya was really nervous too. hahah at the end of the exchange she told me that before she thought I was a nerd and was super strict so she was scared about the day but then she said they day was great!! She is one of the most focused and hardworking Sisters I have met. We had appointment after appointment and worked all day! It was so great. I love love love going on exchanges for a lot of reasons but especially because I get to meet the people they love so much and also I get to witness how loved they are. I saw a lot of myself in Sister Mukweya and we really got to build a better relationship. I love her so much!

Thursday was one of those days where nothing went as planned which was unusual because that hasn’t happened much here like it did in my old area. But Liana was finally interviewed for her baptism and passed!!! The elders had to come to her house and interview her and then we asked them to come help us serve a less active but helping her pack popcorn into bags so she could sell them. Oh my district leader got bit by a snake this week!!!! But he is ok now. Nothing too serious but he was sick for a couple of days.

Friday was so great!! We visited Willie and helped him practice saying the Sacrament prayers in English. He has a Swahili Book of Mormon so we had him first read the prayers so he could understand. He read them with so much care and concentration and then after he told us that it was his very first time hearing the sacrament prayers. He has been a member for less than a year but still I was shocked to hear he has never understood the prayers before!! We were sitting in his small shop, on tiny wooden stools, yet the Spirit was so strong as I realized what an incredible thing we were experiencing. As I saw Willie’s love for the prayers begin, I thought about my own reverence towards these sacred words and determined that never again would I take the sacrament for granted. That very Sunday, the sacrament prayers have never meant so much to me. Willie ended up saying them perfectly in English despite his repeated excuses that he couldn’t do it. It was pretty amazing to be there and hear him read the words without messing up. The ordinances performed in the Church of Jesus Christ are essential to our exaltation and we are so blessed to be able to participate in the cleansing and redeeming power of the Atonement of |Jesus Christ each and every week. It was a lesson that I will never forget and neither will Willie.  We saw Brother ABK again and wow….we found him at his house reading the Book of Mormon despite the pain that he is going through with bad eye sight. In the lesson he told us he loves the Book of Mormon and that he knows it is a true book. He is on date for March 13th! During the lesson, he was sharing how grateful he was to have found this church and that he knows it is true and I was so moved by his words and faith. He is living proof that Heavenly Father is preparing hearts for missionaries around the world. We may have to go through 15 other investigators until we find them, but they are there. ABK is really worried that he is going to pass out when he gets baptized though and I actually am a little afraid he will have a heart attack or something but he is the sweetest old man! I love him. Hopefully I can send a picture of him soon. He wears these black shoes that look just like Dad’s cross country ski boots!! Hahahah it makes me laugh every time!!! When he said the closing prayer for the lesson he said, “Thank you for sending the missionaries to my home. I know that people are surprised to find that I am a Christian but please don’t scare them too much.” Hahah he is so great.

So they announced in church that I could teach people piano and while we were waiting to have a coordination meeting with the branch president, I started piano lessons!! It was sooooo hard!! Hahah I tried to teach them the notes and how to count out beats but wow…who knows what I will do. Sister Brown has been asked to do the same thing in her branch so we are going to work out something together. After we had a lesson with a new investigator named Mathias and his girlfriend came but she was so shy!!! Every time we asked her anything she would turn her head to the side…I guess Sister Ratema and I are pretty scary! We met with Precious, he is getting baptized on March 13th, and he is progressing well! What I love most about Precious is his smile. He is always so happy. He has a very different life than a lot of us yet is so positive and never misses church. The gospel brings joy to our lives! It there is one thing that I have learned as a missionary is that very simple truth. Do you want to be happy? Live the principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

We had two children of record baptized and Liana so it was a  wonderful Sunday. Ok they are always wonderful but it was extra special. The little kids looked so cute in their white jumpsuits but boy were they so nervous to be baptized. When Praise, the little girl, got in the font she couldn’t breathe for a little bit she was so scared! But all went well and it was such a special service. As I watched the 2 kids get baptized I thought of how it wouldn’t have been possible without the work of previous missionaries. I also wondered if the missionaries knew what blessings their worked were even up to today producing!! We truly will never know the effects of our work! Liana’s baptism was great as well. Her older brother was baptized last year and is now on a mission in DRC!! Liana’s older sister and brother came to church as well. I have such a strong testimony that our families receive blessings while we serve and it made me so grateful for my own family and the legacy of my older siblings that I get to follow! Ya’ll are the best!!!! We also had 6 investigators at church and 3 less actives!! So many blessings!! We had a lesson with a young father and mother and their 2 year old son. They are so prepared for the gospel of Jesus Christ and I really great family. I will keep you updated on them.

Well family, I love you more and more each day!! This work is the best and Malawi just keeps getting better. Keep on kickin' it!!!

Sister Bingham
Playing Soccer
 While we were waiting for our recent convert, Mary to come I decided to play soccer with the little kids. It started out with just 4 kids but before I knew it we had about 15 all playing!!! They were little but they were SOOO GOOD!! It was so much fun!! also I had opened my Christmas advent from mom and it said that I should take extra time to make a child happy. I was worried that I wouldn't have time....such a blessing!!!!

After playing soccer they insisted that we teach them the gospel. We told them that we couldn't because we had to see someone else but they all immediately sat down and were silent and just looked at us with pleading eyes!! We ended up teaching them to sing "I am a Child of God". It was awesome.

cleaning with dirt???
This is Sarah. I think she is absolutely beautiful!!! Her smile is the best She is neighbors to Willie (the man who fed us lunch) and she always runs over when we come. She just sits in on the lessons and we've been trying to talk to her parents so she could also learn but they are never home. Anyways she also helps out Willie and during our lesson she was washing dishes for him. As soon as we were done I helped her finish up the dishes. I was scrubbing the pots with a scrubber (plastic bags tied together into tiny knots) and put she told me I need to scrub it with dirt. So I rubbed my hand in the dirt and then cleaned the pot with it....who knew??? I am learning great backpacking skills!! Anyways the whole time I was helping her, Sarah was cracking up laughing at me. I love this picture because it perfectly shows what was happening.

Lunch with the Ladies

It started out with a simple question...what are you cooking for lunch?? Before we knew it, we were sitting eating nzima and pumpkin leaves with these women we just met. The love and service of the people of Malawi continues to humble me!


Not as good as Mom's heart-shaped meatloaf but I tried!!!

look what i found!!!!

What does your toilet look like???

My comp utterly refuses to go to the bathroom in the area....hahah thought I would finally send you a picture!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Reunions and Repentance


This week was so inspiring and AMAZING!!! Mission Leadership Council was the best. I have no idea what other mission's MLCs are like but I am convinced that none of them are anywhere near what the Zambia Lusaka Mission is like. I wish each of you could experience the Spirit that was there for the 3 days that we met together. And I got to see so many people again that I love so much!!!
Kalambo District

Tuesday was district meeting...surprise! Elder Scatena presented this week and when I first met him, I thought he was a total punk but he gave such an amazing lesson about receiving revelation through Church Attendance. First of all i learned that I shouldn't judge others...hahah Elder Scatena is really hilarious and is one of the more powerful missionaries that I have met. Second I learned how grateful I am for the Church and especially for the Sacrament. All during the lesson I reflected back on how many times I have received needed answers or just  peace that I couldn't find anywhere else besides at church. There have been times on mission where I have been nervous to have investigators at church...I know that sounds crazy but since our branches are still small and new, things don't always run so smooth. Like this past sunday I was playing the piano for the sacrament hymn and after the intro no one sang anything....I got halfway through the first verse and still nothing. so we had to quickly pick a new hymn but the branch presidency couldn't decide which was so awkward. Or when someone gives a talk and brings up false doctrine or when we start half an hour late or go an hour over time...haha but in district meeting I was reminded that no matter our imperfections, this is the Church of Jesus Christ, and it has the priesthood authority. I realized that I need to not worry about what could go wrong and trust that if our investigators find the courage and sacrifice to come to church, then they will feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and it will confirm to them that what they have been learning is true. We must cast away any doubt and put full confidence in the convincing power of the Spirit that is present in all of our churches whether that be in good ol' Eagle, Idaho or Kalambo, Malawi. I noticed throughout the week that because of this new found trust and confidence, when I invited others to come to church, I felt a greater power behind my testimony. is something that I struggled with in a lot of areas of my life but I have been astonished to find that as we not put more trust in ourselves but as we turn to the Savior, then we are able to perform and witness miracles. We are able to strength those around us in addition to receiving blessings and revelations for ourselves personal. Bottom line is...Church is great and we need to go every single week. Drew...I'm so proud of you for choosing church over the Super Bowl and Beyonce. We saw Steve that afternoon...the one who is super attached to his church and wants to be an apostle and it was a really sad lesson. His heart is locked on what he believes and no matter what we said...he wouldn't listen. We talked a lot about prayer and asked him to take time to communicate with our Father in Heaven to discover what it is that is really true. As I started to get discouraged and upset and depressed during the lesson, something really interesting happened. I remember just praying to receive help on what to say, what to testify of so that his heart may be softened. In that moment I was prompted that I needed to bear testimony of what we shared to be true and testify of the Savior but that was it. I was then impressed with the following thoughts..."Sister Bingham you have done your best and I am proud of you. I know that you want to help Steve but remember that I have given him the freedom to choose. Please don't be disappointed in yourself but rather cherish this experience that I am blessing you with. I am allowing you to experience something similar to what I feel all the time with so many of my children that I love more than you could imagine." It was such a spiritual experience as I came to understand more about Heavenly Father. I think that is what mission is all about. We are called as representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ and although we experience nothing even close to what He went through, we are giving challenges and face rejection to more fully appreciate Him and our Heavenly Father. It was hard to walk away from his house but I felt spiritually enlightened and closer to my Father in Heaven. That night we picked up Sister Frimpong and Sister Kweitianye (i have no idea how to spell her name) from the bus strip. They came up from Blantyre and while we were waiting we got ice cream cones and it was the BEST ICE CREAM I've had in almost 8 months. The simple joys in life....but in case you were worried...i still love ice cream. (And I am so bummed they don't have Baskin Robbins in Malawi! How will I survive Valentines Day?)
selfie on the plane

Wednesday we flew to Lusaka! We got there and headed straight to the mission home. Being reunited with Sister Zohner and Sister Thueson was the best!!!!!!!! Seriously it was so great but also made me think when I will see all of you. I really don't know what I will do but I had this fear the other day that it is going to be super awkward. hahah anyways.....mission has blessed me with so many great friends!! We started out the council and President Erickson...he is something else. I bet one day he will be a general authority. What I love about him is his perspective. He doesn't just see us as young sisters and elders but sees us as kingdom builders and disciples of the Savior Jesus Christ. He sees our potential and holds us to it. He appreciates who we are and the work we do but also knows how much greater we can be and how much more effective we can become. He also understands missionary work on such a deeper level than anyone else. In our mission it is so much more than just sharing the gospel to the people of Zambia and Malawi. It is about helping them become truly converted to Christ. Anyways we started out by watching the world wide missionary broadcast that was shown in January. The theme was all about teaching repentance and baptizing converts. It was so good!! Elder Anderson, Bednar, And Oaks and Sister Oscarson all spoke so obviously it was good. I learned a lot of different things that I need to change and improve which is perfect since that was the point of it. The greatest takeaway that I learned was to more fully apply the Atonement EVERY single day. We as missionaries today are so blessed!! We are able to receive so much training from the leaders of our church. I felt so grateful to be apart of such an incredible work!! I felt so united with all the missionaries around the world and encouraged by them. I felt also so close to the Apostles and Prophets. Elder Bednar talked about how that next to the Apostles and the Prophet, missionaries are the next in line who know more about the Savior and have the duty to testify of Him. I definitely am not anywhere close to what the Apostles know but my testimony and relationship with Christ has never been so strong and so vital in my life before. What an incredible opportunity to serve as a missionary at this time and in this part of the world???

Thursday we talked a lot about how we will apply what we learned and felt into our mission. We also discussed the "culture" of our mission and how we as leaders can help each individual missionary to adapt the principles we discussed. I had a few overwhelming moments where I felt inadequate to be a leader and felt a great pressure to be perfect and a huge influence on others but those moments are good i guess. hahaha funny how a lot of my stress I have felt on mission are because I constantly feel like i need to improve. but that is what helps us to progress in life. If we never felt like that then we would be stagnant. These feelings though also helped me to want to put into practice what we had been taught. Repent and strive to be better. We had our testimony meeting that night and it was so good. I loved every single one. Especially when my companion stood up. We are soooooooooo different from each other that it makes me laugh but we get along really well. Anyways as she stood there and bore her testimony, i felt so much love for her and gratitude that we were placed together to serve the Lord. she is great. As each missionary stood up, i couldn't help but think about what they sacrificed to be here. I thought of a lot of their situations at home and how new to the church a lot of them are and to hear them testify and shed tears about the Savior and His gospel and how much they love being a missionary. I feel so honored to serve around so many consecrated and diligent missionaries. And to also serve under President and Sister Erickson. Pretty much I know everyone says this but my mission is the best. that night we had an ice cream sundae bar with HOT FUDGE!!! So good!! also i got to talk to Sister Zohner and sister Thueson all about Ndola and things are going great there! It brought me so much joy to hear about so many people that i love so much!!!! I miss those people. 

Friday we wrapped up the council and made our way back to Malawi. I loved the council and learned and grew so much but it felt good to be back in our area. Plus Malawi is so green and beautiful!The corn fields that are everywhere kind of make me miss Idaho...i guess another tender mercy. 

Saturday was back to work! we had a meeting with the district leaders here in Lilongwe which was great to council together and apply all that we had learned at MLC into our zone. Our zone has so much potential and I really feel like it is going to progress so much with the changes we will be making. We saw Liana who hopefully will be baptized next week. she is so sweet. We had another lesson with ABK who is progressing well. He still has a lot to learn but accepted the invitation to be baptized!!! Precious...we felt like we needed to push back his baptism date until march. It was so hard to tell him this because he was so excited to be baptized but as soon as we did...miracles happened!! For the first time in any lesson that I have taught him, he remembered things!!!! He was participating in the lesson more and was helping his uncle to learn as well. After the lesson he walked us to the car and then he stopped us because he wanted to tell us something. he told us how his brother and sister in law don't want him to join the church but he knows that it is true and that every time we come or he goes to church he feels peace and happy. He told us that he is so grateful that we would teach him and we should do all we can to continue to teach him and help him build his faith. Precious is so sweet and as he told us this, i couldn't hold back the tears. I got into the car and just took a few moments to soak it all in....being a missionary gets better and better every day. Precious has taught me to be more humble and grateful. Pushing back his baptismal date taught me to put my trust in the Lord's timing. It was so interesting that the very same lesson that we moved his date....he was able to actually remember and understanding what we were teaching. I know that as we act upon the impressions we have, no matter how hard it may be or how it may effect others, miracles happen. 

Sunday so so great!!! Church was good. I didn't realize until halfway through one of the hymns that there was a D flat but all was well. The testimonies were so powerful! the members here continue to inspire me. Rangel an investigator who has been taught for FOREVER finally came to church!!! He has a problem with his legs but he came and he loved it!!! We taught two different families that afternoon who are new but have a lot of potential. All in all it was a good day and I love this area.
Family...mission is so great. We have our good days and our rough days but it is such a wonderful experience and I couldn't do it without you. I am so grateful for the scriptures as I have focused a lot of my study on the New Testament and the Book of Mormon lately I have found a greater love and appreciation for their words. This church is so true. Heavenly Father loves us and has a plan for us. Malawi is the warm heart of Africa and it steals my heart more and more each day. Keep on kickin' it!!! 

Much love,
Sister Bingham

Malwain treats
I pulled over because i thought this guy was selling fried Irish potatoes that they call "inzagege" but instead it was chicken feet and heads. Why not try it right??? hahah it was so nasty

funny story...

So at MLC we were all getting into our cars to go home but i had to get something from the other sisters car...anyways i totally fell into this hole and dropped straight to the ground cause i rolled my ankle but i could not stop laughing. I was laughing so hard though that i wasn't make any noise and so ALL the elders and sisters didn't know what to do but Sister Zohner was dying laughing too. Anyways i finally am able to make a sound but i start doing the Bingham laugh and then everyone just stares at me and thinks i am the weirdest. anyways my ankle was actually swollen in the usual place...hahah i was too embarrassed to tell anyone but it was hilarious. made me miss my sisters!!!!