Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 2 in Malawi

This week was absolutely amazing and as I was reading from the Book of Mormon one morning I came across this scripture in 3 Nephi that perfectly describes the week.16 And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;

17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father. 

I had a LOT of really spiritual experiences that I will have a hard time describing, even writing about them in my journal was difficult. I had some many times this week where I would just look around and be so humbled and grateful for my mission. anyways hopefully with the limited time that i have I will be able to share at least some of this. BTW it is POURING rain right now in this tiny internet cafe and water is leaky down from the roof. hahahahahah I love Malawi!!!
Cute Kids in the rain

Tuesday - we had district meeting as always and I presented on the importance of teaching about temples and family history and how we can better improve on this as missionaries. When I started preparing, I had no idea what to share at all and kept coming up blank. After praying, the ideas and inspiration started to flow. I am sure that Sister Ratema and the Elders didn't learn very much but my testimony of the temple and how important family history is grew so much!! What really touched me was that as missionaries, every time that we teach someone, we are not only teaching them, but allowing their entire ancestry to gain access to the blessings of the restored gospel. It totally changed my perspective of the HUGE responsibility that we have as missionaries and also encouraged me to never get frustrated but to see that our efforts don't only stay here in Malawi but extend even into the eternities. What an incredible opportunity I have been given!! When President Stafford set me apart, he said that I would be a strength to those not only here on earth but to those on the other side of the veil. It has been amazing to see this blessing come to pass. So pretty much, district meeting made me once again want to work even harder! That night we went to the senior couple, the Birrels flat, to have some chocolate cake since it was elder Birrels birthday. They are such a funny senior couple and I love them so much!!! Sister Birrel is so sweet and it felt so good to be with them and to just
talk. Also mom and dad, their flat is so cool!! I can totally see you living there someday.

Wednesday - we had a packed full day and it was so great! When I first got here, I was worried that our investigator pool is really small so we have been doing our best to network like crazy. the first week was kind of discouraging and I felt like we weren't doing much good but this week, I have seen so many blessings from networking!! We have been able to contact a lot of our investigators/recent converts/ less actives neighbors and family members and we have even had a couple people walk straight up to us and tell us that they want to be taught. When I was recording our work for the day all the sudden it just hit me how blessed we have been the past 2 weeks and I even asked sister Ratema what was going on because it really feels like this area is growing so much right now!! anyways we had such a fun lesson with a member named Thomas. First of all he is the funniest person in all of Malawi!! Anyways we had him and Stanley, the other member we brought to translate, wear our tags and give us the first lesson. They were sooooooooo nervous and kept refusing but finally they agreed and they did amazing!!! It was amazing to hear their testimonies and to have them become missionaries without any preparation whatsoever. What was really cool was hearing them apply principles and little things that we use from Preach My Gospel or fun analogies that we use. Turns out people do listen when we teach them! hahah but really it was something else to sit there and to picture these young men soon going out and serving missions. We then saw an investigator named Steve who is really involved with his other church and wants to become an apostle someday. We asked him who he would like to say the opening prayer and he said, "I will because I still have the fire!!!" hahah but we had a good lesson with him and we decided that he may take awhile to come to
know that what we share is true but its ok. He gave us something to laugh about and even gave us an opportunity to study harder and smarter so that we may be able to answer his questions.
Future Missionaries!
Sister Ratema, Stanley, Chimwemwe, and Thomas

Thursday -....prepare yourself for this day. Sister Ratema and I had SUCH a good companionship study where we talked a lot about being more consecrated missionaries. I am once again grateful that we are given companions as missionaries. Each one of my companions has helped me to improve myself in different ways. Sister Ratema has already helped me to lose myself even more and remember that what is most important is what Heavenly Father sees of me. We then were driving to our Area 50 (our areas are called Area 49 and Area 50) when we got a call from Sister Mukweya. She told us that she had lost her companion and we thought she was joking but then she was crying so we knew it was real. They were riding on kabazas and sister brown's driver took a wrong turn so they got separated. We started our search and drove around like mad women trying to find her. We said a prayer though and it was a huge blessing because I was able to stay calm and even though it took us 1 1/2 hours to find her!!!! I had a "everything is going to be OK" feeling the entire time. We had to call the zone leaders though and their truck was getting worked on so they were riding their bikes everywhere looking for her. It was actually pretty funny though because we just drove around asking everyone, "have you seen an azungo women on a kabaza???" We finally found her though, just sitting on the side of the road reading her scriptures. I think we were all more stressed than she was but wow....what a story she has to tell. We took them to their area and then I just had to take a few minutes to breathe. We then said a prayer of gratitude that we found her but I had a headache the rest of the day...oh and we went through half a tank of gas. I am grateful though for the safety of this country and that we eventually were able to find her. The rest of the day was really awesome. We went to visit sister Gondwe, who is a less active, and she loves to sing Rock of Ages because she knows it in Chichewa. I asked her if she had a copy so that sister Ratema and I could sing in church and before we knew it, she was out the door, RUNNING, to go get a copy from a friend. She came back breathing hard and sweating...I felt sooooo bad that I had made her go and get it but so humbled by her love and service just so we could sing a hymn. The best part though was the smile on her face as we struggled to pronounce the words but the special spirit that we felt as we sang that hymn. Sometimes its a struggle for me because of the language barrier, but I felt it totally disappear as we sang together.

Friday - we started the day with a super great lesson with a man that we ran into the other day. I contacted him because he could speak SUPER good English and I had a really strong prompting to talk to him. His name is Abraham Boyd Kamanga Ndeilu...we just call him Brother ABK. Anyways he has some great potential and I have so much faith in him. There have been few times on mission where I have felt truly inspired to go talk to someone like I was with him and I know that Heavenly
Father has great plans for him. He stays alone but he seems enthusiastic to share the gospel with his neighbors and friends. Then we went to visit Hannah who is an investigator and her brother was
baptized a couple months ago but just passed away in December. I don't know her super well but we were teaching her about the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson, I got super emotional as I thought of her brother who had come to know for himself that the Book of Mormon was true and that if she would read the Book of Mormon, then she would receive that answer and confirmation that she was searching for. I am so grateful for not just the words that are contained in the scriptures, but for that special power that we feel each time we read them. After that we went to go see Sarrive, that young boy who we talked to his father about him getting baptized. Anyways we were helping them wash dishes and waiting to teach him when all the sudden, Willie (the father) brought us a bucket of water and told us to wash our hands in preparation to eat lunch. It is so hard to deny people so I looked at my companion for her to do it but she just looked at me. We then proceeded to go into the tiny shop that Willie and his 2 kids live out of and sat down on a reed mat and ate nzima, vegetables, and fried soya. It was actually so delicious and we didn't have time to eat lunch. At the end of the meal, we were thanking Willie for sharing and for the wonderful meal but he wouldn't hear it. He wouldn't let us say anything and then he looks at us and says, "Thank you. You don't know how much it means to me that you would eat lunch with a refugee like me. Not many people would do that." Sister Ratema and I both struggled to keep back the tears. Here was this man, struggling to be a father and provide for his children, feeding us lunch with the little food that they had and he was thanking us!!! The humility and gratitude and charity of the people here continues to amaze me each and every day. I don't feel worthy to serve them but I am so humbled that I get this opportunity to learn from them and to understand how to be more Christlike. I wish you all could have been there for that experience but it reminded me a lot of our Christmas' that we had in trailer parks and how we always left those families feeling so blessed. Mission is the BEST!!!

Lunch at Willies!

Saturday - we worked with Sister Ganet who hasn't ever worked with the sisters before and she was amazing! she shared a powerful testimony in every lesson and was able to really connect with Mary, who was baptized this past Sunday. Members are better missionaries than us sometimes...actually probably all the time. Thank you all for sharing the gospel and helping out the missionaries. They need it! We had a lesson with Liana who is also preparing for baptism on February 14th and she has a beautiful smile!! But she is so smart! She doesn't speak English but we taught her the Law of Chastity. It was kinda funny at first cause i just kept thinking, she doesn't need to be taught this.
This girl is too good and young but then i remembered how important it is to prepare ourselves and that no one is exempt from the temptations of Satan. It made me want to even evaluate myself and look for those tiny little things that I so often look over or don't think are that big of a deal. Anyways there were these little boys playing the "slotting game" in between the two houses next to Liana's and it was driving me crazy just sitting there watching them play. I was dying to go play that one! We all know that its the best soccer drill in the world. When the lesson was over they let me play and it was sooooooooo fun!! I am going to try to get a kid to make me a ball that they play with here for Jacob...its just a bunch of plastic bags but yeah it was fun and made me miss Dad a lot. 
 My soccer pals

That night we prepared the baptismal clothes for us and the elders. Since we have a washing machine, we are in charge of all the clothes. There was a really special spirit in our apartment that night as I folded the white clothes and thought of what they represented and the covenants that would be made by those who would wear them. Before being a missionary, I overlooked the importance of baptism and failed to notice the beauty of the white clothes and the clean font. I have found such a great love for these simple symbols and what they mean in the lives of those that I teach. It really helped me to prepare for the Sabbath and invite that spirit that even blessed me the next day.

Sunday - was wonderful as always! During the Sacrament I felt so much peace. As i reflected back on my few months as a missionary, I realized how different I have felt since before mission and I know it's so much more than because I wear this black name tag. There has been a huge sense of peace in my life because I have been able to give more of myself, because I have put a greater effort into studying the gospel, because I have been tried and tested, because I have done the little things such as praying and scripture study, because I have put complete trust in the Savior....I felt such a great change yesterday as I sat in our small chapel. I felt a determination to feel this way my entire life. I know that it is possible and that the blessings and miracles I am a part of here are not only reserved for missionaries but they can be available to each and everyone of us, no matter our circumstances. Its like what Melissa wrote me this week....things go wrong, we mess up, other people hurt us, but we can find peace and happiness through living the principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I often find myself repeating this in every lesson but it is so true and I am so grateful for how I have felt the peace that comes from the Atonement each and everyday as a missionary. I had a couple times this week were I got frustrated or came home feeling discouraged and overwhelmed but each night as I knelt in prayer, those feelings disappeared and I felt the love of my Savior. This gospel is
the best! Mary was baptized!! It was a wonderful service even though it started POURING rain right when we were starting. I had to give a last minute talk and it felt like I was shouting over the pulpit just so I could be heard. But the rain let up just enough so that she could be baptized. It was really cool to see her husband baptize her and once again, I loved that moment when she came up and out of the water. She is super shy but when she bore her testimony, she glowed! I couldn't understand her but I felt her strong conviction and faith. After church we couldn't find anyone to teach with us but somehow we were able to find lessons where we didn't need a female or a translator! See what I am talking about miracles...they were nonstop this week.

 Mary and Livingstone

Mary's Baptism!

We didn't get good pictures because of the rain!

So family I love you a whole lot. But I absolutely love it here in Malawi!!! It is the best. I love my companion and I love everyone here. Keep being you.

Ndimakukondani Kwambili (I love you),
Sister Bingham

Here is another blog of the self-reliance missionaries in the mission.
Elder Salmon gives me all the updates on

We haven't taken a picture together so here is us at the email shop!!!

Don't freak out mom....we didn't get sick!

The truck....we went through some big puddles this week cause its
finally raining a lot more and it made me think of all those times
when we would record going through rivers and what not when we would
go backpacking. Now its just the norm......

Rollin' in the $$$$$$$

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