Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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 Believers...it 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 on....it 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!

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