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.....

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