Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter in Malawi

Our favorite zebwente woman in all of Ndirande!!! She cracks me up and is always trying to get us to buy more!
What a is crazy to me how much happens in just 7 days and how much I learn and experience between Mondays!! It was really great though and finishing the week celebrating the Savior was even better! Over the past couple of weeks, due to getting adjusted to the area and some other things I felt discouraged and often very overwhelmed. I was having a little bit of a hard time seeing the progressions of our investigators even though we were witnessing small miracles each day. Well this week we were incredibly blessed to see a LOT of growth with our investigators which isn't necessarily needed but it has been the boost that I needed this week.  I have come to realize that we are given blessings not to just sit back and relax and be happy. The reason that Heavenly Father blesses is so that we will be able to increase our faith and do, serve, give, and love more! The blessings we have been receiving have really driven me to help our investigators even more. The love and comfort I have felt from my Father in Heaven and the Savior have helped me to  do all that I can to share those exact same feelings with all those around me. 
Soccer Fun
Lucy's little son George and his friend who played soccer with me this week!

So one of those investigators is Joel Jim. He lives alone and was introduced to the church by his neighbor Raphael. Joel is 20 years old and works at a factory that makes African hoes....pretty sweet. He LOVES futbol and he helps Raphael coach an under 12 boys team. I am dying to go watch them play. Yesterday they were telling me about the game they had and they introduced us to the star player who scored 2 goals. Side note...this week I really enjoyed the happiness of the children here and how they find so much fun and joy in simple games. I am grateful for my father and my siblings who taught me to play soccer. I learned such a sweet game called "fly" that we will play when we get home but its a spin off dodge-ball. Anyways Joel has been coming to church every week that I have been here and even weeks before that but we started teaching him when i got here. He is so prepared by the Lord and has a real desire and intent to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ! He asks amazing questions and reads everything that we give him. Yesterday we taught him about the Book of Mormon and he told us that he already knows it is true. I honestly believe that is because of the example of his friend that Joel is progressing so well. Never forget the influence that you have on others and take every opportunity that you have to reach out to others and sharing the love of Christ. Even though Joel was a great person from when I first met him, I have seen a lot of changes in him! He always has a smile. He is much more friendly and gets involved in the classes and with the members. He seems to have a greater purpose now in his life and talks more about his family. I absolutely love to see how the gospel changes lives. One quote that i love from I can't remember who...i think elder oaks is " We aren't here to change good men into better men. We are here to change men into celestial men worthy to inherit the highest kingdom of God."

Asadiki (Bell) is progressing...slowly but he is doing great! He still needs to over come his addiction to smoking but we went and walked with him on Sunday so he came to church which was amazing!!! He fit right in and started talking with a lot of the members and just like Joel I saw a happier side of Asadiki. He does a lot of fixing the roads...and other things that bring a goodness about him but when I saw him at church, I saw a special glow around him. Bell needs the gospel and the church needs him. Seeing him there, filled my heart with joy and I couldn't help but think how much he filled our small building as well. I realized that how much Heavenly Father really cares for each of His children and that inside every single person is something wonderful. Every person has specific attributes given by God to help build His kingdom here on earth. I had a couple of other times this week where I just looked around me, especially when we are in a busy street or market, and feeling so much love for Everyone!!
 Bell Jackson Sadiki Aka AASADIKI!!!
Here in the man. the legend. And his road he is currently working on....he was hacking away at the rocks and filling the road with whatever he can find...even chicken feathers. hahahah he brings me so much joy!!!

 Sometimes I feel really small in this world or so out of place (even after 9 months of being in Africa) but I know that Heavenly Father is aware of us. He has a plan for all of us. Not one sparrow is forgotten. I am so grateful for His plan that has and will make it possible for all of us to have an opportunity to accept it and receive His blessings. Understanding this has made me want to do more to give those people the chance to experience those blessings now and not later. 
We met with a recent convert named Lucy this week. Her husband died 3 years ago and its been really hard for her. She had already been taught about the temple but we reviewed the Plan of Salvation with her again and she could not stop talking about the temple and how bad she wants to go! She is already making plans to go there with her son George in December. It almost brought tears to my eyes to see this desire of Lucy, only a member of 3 weeks, to sacrifice so much to go to the House of the Lord and make her family eternal. I am grateful for this incredible blessing we have in the Church and its been crazy how being farther from the temple than I ever have been in my life has actually made me gain a deeper love and appreciation for it. I feel like I have learned even more about it and seeing how excited the people here are to go to the temple makes me happier than me going! Today elder is going home to south Africa to be sealed with his family!!!!!!!!! Isn't that amazing?? I talked to him on Saturday about it and he expressed to me that I need to serve my best, because then my family will be greatly blessed. man so many incredible things are happening here in Africa!! 
Alinafe is a less active...I can't remember if i told you about him but his father won't let him come to church. If he finds the Book of Mormon, he said his father will burn it. Well we had a heart to heart lesson with him and wow. He has such a huge trial...I can't imagine going through this yet he is so positive! He smiles every time I see him and today he told us that he knows "someday all will be ok." what a simple thing yet powerful expression of his faith! It was really incredible to testily to him that through prayer and his faith, miracles will happen because even just that morning I was feeling really discouraged and during my morning laps around the house I took a couple minutes to stop, and communicate with Heavenly Father what I was going through. I was immediately uplifted and have felt so much happier since then. Alinafe is awesome and I don't understand his father but it has happened time and time again in the history of the Church. When I thought about this experience I thought of how real Satan is and how much power he has over so many people today. I started to wonder how I would prepare myself for what he has in store (as a missionary I feel really protected from him) for me. Then I realized how honestly that doesn't even matter because I have found so much faith in the Lord since becoming a missionary . It will be cool to go back to real life and put in practice all the lessons I have learned. It was also really incredible to read from the Book of Mormon and to feel the power of the examples that are in there that are just like Alinafe! It truly was saved for our day to help us with our current situations. My companion bore such a powerful witness of the Book of Mormon and the Atonement which was really touching as even she is going through different health problems. One day she was really having a rough day but said that she didn't want to cancel on John...we walked all the way to his house and he wasn't there yet she continue to press forward. I am grateful for her and her small acts of love and service to do all she can to  move the work forward. 

 Walking to church with Bell
Over the river and through the woods to Ndirande branch we go!!!! My little taste of backpacking for the week!

Sunday was amazing! My favorite part was probably watching Brian, a recent convert pass the sacrament for the first time! I was asked to give a talk about the Savior and as I was preparing I had no idea what to talk about because there is just so much we have been blessed with because of Him. I ended up focusing on His resurrection and how because of this we are able to receive His love, mercy, miracles, today! Not some future date but now. every single day. It truly was a special day to be a missionary as we reflected on the Savior. It was like any other Sunday but it felt extra special to me. That evening we went to have an Easter Message with the other sisters and oh how I love them both!! they have such strong testimonies and its been sooo fun to be back with Sister Motsi. Ever since we have been separated I have realized how much she taught me and changed my life. I am grateful to once again be inspired by her humility and love for the Lord and missionary work.

Easter Devotional with Sister Motsi and Sister Newey!!

Well I have a million other things I want to share but they are closing the email shop early today!!! You, my family, are incredible. I really was strengthened by your prayers and letters this week when I needed it the most. I think that this week was one of the most defining weeks of my mission and I couldn't have done it without the love and support of my family. I think that Heavenly Father had to send me halfway across the world so that my eyes could be opened to realize that I have THE BEST FAMILY ON THIS EARTH!!!!

Love you all America and back one million times!!!!
-Sister Bingham 
Cynthia's shop! she is a recent convert and has such a huge place in my heart!!!!

the area
some pictures to show you what its like! and my cute companion

our district!!!
it actually got cold enough that I needed to wear a sweater this week!!! it felt soooooo good!!

 malawian traffic!!
it doesn't look as crazy as it was but it was insane!!!!

the fanciest pit toilet of them all
it even has spaces to place your feet.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

Another fantastic week in Ndirande filled with miracles left and right, small miracles yes but miracles nonetheless. I am really excited to celebrate Easter this upcoming Sunday as I have had a lot of really spiritual and personal experiences the past week with the Atonement and my Savior Jesus Christ. What an incredible time of year that we get to take an extra special day to reflect on an express our gratitude for the life, sacrifice, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I really am looking forward to testifying and teaching about Him this week and hope that more than usually, Sister Kgwetiane and I can bring the light of Christ into every life that we are privileged to meet this week!
the kids that we are teaching! I have the cutest video of them saying "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"....i'll try and send it soon!

Lolemba(Monday): We met with one of our investigators that is on date for April 17th, John Ngalazuka, and had a short but really good lesson with him. We had a couple things so we were kinda late to the lesson which was bad because we had asked a member to meet us there. The member had been waiting for over an hour for us and I was so touched to walk up to John's home to find him and the member talking like best friends. I am just continually so grateful for the members in each of the areas that I serve and no matter where I go, they are there and faithful and dedicated as ever! Yes we are few here in Ndirande but the members inspire me and give me so much hope in this work! So John has a problem with coming to church on time. He is always coming at 11 when church starts at 9! We finally were able to talk to him about it and he told us that he it is impossible for him to come at 9. He doesn't really have a family and literally works everyday just to have enough money to survive so sacrificing to come to church instead of working at the market, selling whatever he sells, means that he wouldn't have food for Sunday. How in the world do you respond to that??? I was strong though and held back the tears that I could feel were coming. Sister Kgwetiane and I bore our testimony that if he worked hard during the week, saved a few kwacha each day, prayed and had faith, that Heavenly Father would help him to be able to come to church on time so he could partake of the sacrament. The spirit was so strong and as we left both my companion and I wondered why some people's trials are so difficult but I felt this overwhelming assurance that Heavenly Father and the Savior are mindful and love John. I knew that the greatest thing that John needs in his life is the gospel and at that moment I felt soooo humbled to be one of the instruments in the hands of the Lord to bring John the only thing that will bless him with peace and joy despite all that he faces. 

Lachiwili (Tuesday): District Meeting was so great! Elder Banda is a missionary from Lilongwe who is serving here in Blantyre while he waits for his visa to go to Nigeria. Its crazy cause I taught with him back in Lilongwe and now we are serving together both as missionaries! They had all the new missionaries in the district bear their testimonies and Elder Banda's was so awesome! He is actually the recent convert of Sister Zohner so is super super new in the church but wow he is awesome. He really inspired me to be a better missionary and I really wonder if I ever will get over how great each of the sisters and elders are here. We had a lot of fall throughs...this week was kinda  of rough with our appointments...but while we were knocking on one of our investigator's doors this little girl started talking to me and was speaking SUPER good English. We ended going to see her and her mom and had a lesson with them which was awesome! Her neighbor came over and she kept saying the funniest things! "so are you Indian or Chinese?? I really can't tell but i know that you are one of them because of your hair. Why are you sooooooo white?? You have to be Indian!!!" hahah it was funny. 

Teaching in the Alleyways of Maplot!

Lachitatu(Wednesday): So we have a new investigator and guess what his name is??? ALLI! hahah its so weird to say his name. Anyways the sisters tried teaching him awhile ago but his dad is really against the church and wouldn't allow it. He is about 21 years old but he came to church last week and so we set an appointment with him. We decided we needed to figure out why his father wouldn't let him join the church and we had an incredible lesson with him. We had planned to go over the Restoration with him but we spent the whole lesson specifically addressing his needs. From the very beginning of the lesson, I could feel the Spirit directing my every word and I knew that there really was nothing that I could do to help him in this situation but by teaching him about faith and prayer, that Alli would be able to receive the permission or at least the peace that he was seeking. I could tell that he genuinely and earnestly wants to learn the truths of the restored gospel and hearing him say, "I just want to learn about how i can repent" really touched my heart and another "I love being a missionary" moment was felt! We discussed with him prayer and read a few examples from the scriptures of prayers being answered according to the faith that was applied. We promised Alli that if he had that same faith, prayed, and talked to his father, that the Lord would soften his father's heart. We left his house, once again humbled by the trials of others, yet full of gratitude for the power of the Holy Ghost and the blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This week as we have had many investigators face a lot of different issues both physically and spiritually, I have been really grateful for the power of prayer and the knowledge that I have of a loving Father in Heaven that can help bless and comfort these people that I love so dearly as I pray for them and their families. I am so grateful that I have an understanding of how individually He knows us and wants to be a part of our lives, all we must do is allow Him to enter. This week I realized like President Uchtdorf  that I need to close my umbrella that I have been holding up, and allow the blessings from Heavenly Father to rain down. It can be difficult sometimes to feel successful when the progress of our investigators and less actives seems so small and slow and  it sometimes seems that no amount of extra studying or whatever I do will make a difference but numerous times this week especially I felt immediate peace and love and satisfaction for my Heavenly Father the minute I kneeled down. I also felt really close to each of you, all the way on the other side of the world through prayer....the blessings are endless!!!

Lachini (Thursday): HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY!!! I totally forgot until we were almost ready to leave the house so i had to run and put on my green skirt. I meant to take a picture but i hope you all drank some green milk for me and enjoyed corned beef and potatoes!!! We helped a member move a ton of branches that they store for firewood and it felt just like yard work at home. Dad you wouldn't believe how much i miss yard work!! hahahaha the member kept on saying how bad he felt that he was putting us to hard work but honestly it was one of the highlights of my day! My companion wasn't feeling well a lot of the day but continued to press forward. She is an absolute incredible example to me and I am amazed at her love for the work that drives her forward despite the pain she feels. We have been struggling with how to effectively teach "The Kids" as we call them but that day the lesson went really well. I think it went so well because we thought a lot about it, planned it out as best as we could, and then prayed to know how we could teach them simply, creatively, and yet still allow them to feel the spirit. It is really special teaching children and often makes me reflect on the Savior and how He blessed them one by one in the Book of Mormon. The kids have taught me the importance of faith and obedience as they demonstrate this in every lesson we have with them.  Also...the gospel is for everyone! The young, the old, the tall, the short, the rich, the poor, the black, the white, the male, the female, the smokers, the is for everyone! I really tried hard this week to have faith in everyone that we taught. To try and see past their hesitations or questions concerning the Church and to just view each of them as Children of God who are is desperate need of the message in which we carry. It changed my attitude about a lot of our lessons this week and I was able to find more joy in the work! Even in seeing the good in myself and my companion was something I want to improve on....there is just so many things to do but I am grateful for the small improvements that I make each day. I received some revelation this week that I needed to accept that I would make mistakes and even accept that those around me would do the same. Its been amazing to see how this has helped me to greater apply the enabling and redeeming power of the Atonement. Mission has changed a lot about me and thank goodness I still have 9 months to keep working at smoothing out my rough edges while helping others do the same. We really are all in one big boat, and it is through serving and loving one another that we will make it where we want to be.

Lachisanu (Friday): We saw Alli and ahhhhh I can barely even type right now because I am sooooo happy and excited just thinking about that lesson!!!!!!! So we started the lesson and asked him how his prayers had been going and if he has felt like his father's heart has been softened. He got quiet and then he said that he had been praying and he felt really good. Then he said that had a dream that his mom told his father to let Alli to have his freedom and make his own choices. The next morning Alli found the courage to talk to his father and told him that the sisters would like to meet with him. His father said that it was ok for us to meet with him as long as we aren't satanists. LOL. Ok but wow hearing all of this was so amazing!!!! Time and time again, we have taught people that if they pray with faith, answers will come. Heavenly Father had answered Alli's prayers along with mine and Sister Kgwetianes! He had did just as he had done so many times in the Book of Mormon and softened the heart of Alli's father. Yes the problem is not completely solved but the door has been opened and I hope that as we go to meet Alli's father in the upcoming week or so (as soon as he lets us know) that he will allow Alli to be taught and baptized on May 1st. Its kinda scary but I know that as we put our trust in the power and authority of our calling and the power of the Holy Ghost that we will find success. I love moments like this on mission!!!!! Funny though that we had this amazing experience and then later that afternoon we had a ton of fall throughs and i started to get really discouraged. But then we saw this old man (an agogo) pushing a wheelbarrow with jugs of water in it. I decided to run over and help him and it felt so good to push a wheelbarrow again but I actually was so sore the next day...pathetic i know! Dad it really made me think of you though..every time i see a wheelbarrow i think of you! Anyways after we got all the way to his house he invited us in and we were able to have a really good lesson with him and his sister. We can do missionary work through a lot of ways but I really just love serving...even if we don't necessarily help someone get baptized or even accept what we are teaching, it is wonderful to help. 

Loweluka (Saturday): The Relief Society had an activity to celebrate the 174th anniversary of Relief Society. We cleaned the church and then cooked chicken. We sang songs, had a spiritual thought...i wish i could go into more detail but I'm running out of time! Anyways then we ate. they brought out plates piled high with bread and pieces of chicken. The brought them to my comps and i and we both thought we were supposed to just take a few pieces then pass the plate. NO THE ENTIRE PLATE WAS FOR US!!!! 14 pieces of bread and 5 pieces of chicken and told us to finish it all!!!! Hahahah i didn't come close but the women were being so funny and were fighting over the chicken so i had the sisters do a dance off to see how gets to eat mine.
 in case you are wondering if I'm starving over here in Africa.......
yes I ate the foot and yes there were 14 pieces of bread on my plate......

 I'll try to figure out how to send a video but its hilarious. Bottom line...I love relief society and the sisters here in this branch. I love all the organizations of the church and as I have striven to be an active member in these various organizations I have felt time and time again that this is the true church. It can bless our lives in so many ways and I love how it continues to bless mine the same whether i am in idaho or Malawi. That night I watched a video about the pioneers since my companion goes to bed early I get a little lonely and it was so inspiring. I love the pioneers and it made me think a lot about how we are kinda like the pioneers of Africa and our challenges are so different from the early church saints but I drew a lot of strength from them!!!

Lamulungu (Sunday):  Church was so great!!! we had 3 really strong investigators there which was such a miracle. It rained like crazy which was another miracle because it got so hot during sacrament meeting that i didn't think i would be able to make it the entire 3 hours. That evening we met with a member who is starting preparations for his mission and it was soooooooo cool to spend a lesson with him talking about how amazing serving a mission is!! He has a lot to do though and doesn't know if he will be able to find the money to get all the paperwork and what not but he has a lot of faith. I just want to thank mom and dad and everyone else who has made it physically possible for me to be here! But even more importantly all of you, especially my siblings that have spiritually prepared me by being such great examples to me. My family is the greatest. Blantyre is the greatest. Mission is the greatest. The Savior is the greatest.

Happy Easter to you all!!!!!!! I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that He lives. I am so humbled and grateful that I get to be a representative of Him for the next 9 months. I hope each of you feel His special Spirit in your lives this week. Keep on being the wonderful people you are. REACH THE PEAK!!!

Ndimakukondani kwambili,
Sister Bingham

our new pet!!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

From The Malawi Beat

Part of a post from:

Thank you Carol and George Beal!

Meet Sister Bingham, another Idahoan.
Sister Bingham and I were excited to meet each other at the bus three evenings earlier since I had communicated with her parents soon after she received her mission call.  Her sister lives in the same ward as our son Seth and daughter-in-law Kara in northern California (sometimes it's a small LDS world).  She arrived in the Zambia Lusaka mission last June and finally got to the "garden of Eden", Blantyre.
She is the new sister trainer and companion to Sister Kgwetiane, who we get to keep a while longer!

Monday, March 14, 2016

"Called to know the richness of His blessings"

The Branch Choir sang Called to Serve yesterday and as they were singing these words really hit me hard and this week truly was another wonderful opportunity for me to witness and be a part of so many blessings from Heavenly Father not only in my life but also in my companionship and in the lives of the people of Ndirande!

These kids all came running to eat zebwenta...its fried potatoes in flour! they love it here!!!!!

We had an incredible zone meeting this last week that really helped me with some of the things that I have been struggling with! I am so grateful for the meetings that we have in the church...sometimes they can seem long, or too many but I know that as we gather together and counsel with one another we can strengthen and uplift each other. Kind of like a family...wait no exactly like a family. That's also something that has been on my mind lately....the tiny part of the first lesson which is "The Gospel Blesses Families." It is such a small portion of what we teach but it is VITAL! I am grateful that Heavenly Father has given us families and especially for my incredible family! I am grateful for the family of missionaries that I have here in Blantyre that help me to more fully fulfill my purpose. zone meeting we were discussing about leaving behind a legacy. Pretty much our zone leaders were just pumping us up to be better missionaries and did it ever! But especially lately I have felt like there is SO MUCH work to do and for the past 9 months, I really haven't done much. As we were talking about building a legacy I began to have discouraging thoughts of what I have accomplished and what I will accomplish. It was then that Elder Beal started talking about how he has had a lot of those similar thoughts and how he feels like some days they have done absolutely nothing! But then he said something that really hit me. He said "Our mark may be small.....but it is enough." The Spirit confirmed his words to me and comforted me by helping me know that the grand scheme of things I have done very,  very little. Yet it is enough. When we chose to accept what we have done and look forward with a greater determination to do more, then we are doing what Heavenly Father wants. We cannot look at the quantity of our service but rather the quality. This week I really felt that rather than focus on more numerically or physical results of missionary work...I would seek to serve with more heart. I will love more. I will listen to the Spirit more. I will smile more. I will pray more sincerely. We don't need to make dramatic changes, just small improvements everyday. I am grateful for what I have been a part of for the past 9 months and I can't wait to give more no matter how big or small that more is!

Bell Jackson Sadiki (or Asadiki!! is what everyone else calls him) one of our investigators, is pretty much a celebrity of Maplot (one of our areas).
this is Bell! I love him too much to wait to send a picture!

 Literally everyone knows him and he just walks around the streets getting everyone!!! He also does a lot of community service work...he is trying to fix the road that he lives on...hahah i should send you a picture of it! He's worked on it for so long but still looks awful!! This week he stopped by while we were eating lunch and was so proud to tell us how he lead the group in cutting the weeds at the cemetery!! hopefully i can send you a picture of him this next week...he cracks me up!!! He is a really sweet man though and is struggling with a lot of things but has a lot of faith. We taught him the law of chastity and he has these really big holes in his pants and immediately he went and changed! He's the best. We chose to be really bold with him because he knows the church is true yet he also feels the Muslim religion is true. He is kinda confused so we wanted to really help him understand. Funny thing is though we tried to be REALLY bold and he didn't get that we were being bold. hahah he just agrees with everything and is hard to teach. I struggled a lot this week trying to figure out how to prepare myself for his lessons but he reminds me a lot of other investigators that I have had. Although I have left those areas, the other sisters are still teaching them and maybe that is what will happen with Bell. We need to continue to have faith, continue to seek heaven's guidance, and then just be patient. He will come around and when he does...he will bring ALL of Maplot with him! He has really taught me that our good works and the relationships that we build with those around us mean a lot. We don't have to have money or anything else to just be nice. We don't have to believe in the same things to be friends. Bell is a friend with everyone. He loves everyone and he makes me want to be just like him! 

We had a lot of fall throughs this week yet somehow was able to still find a lot of people to teach! We have had so many referrals from investigators and members which is awesome since we don't tract! I really feel that we are being blessed as we are trying our best to do the Lord's work, the Lord's way. We have a bunch of potential and new investigators so we are trying to figure out how to balance teaching all of them and helping them to really progress. We just have toooooo much work to do!!! What an incredible problem to have!! Keep preparing my nieces and nephews cause we need missionaries in the world! 

We taught Brother Fellium again this week about the Word of Wisdom. He told us that he hasn't drank in a month which was great cause we have heard from so many sisters that he has a problem. It was a really great lesson because both of his children and his wife were there. I realized that what we had to say as missionaries probably wouldn't help him very much but that his family would be the ones to help him change. It was so touching to hear each of them say how happy it made them when he was living the word of wisdom and how much they care for him! I walked away from their home so happy and excited....well....two days later we stop by their home and found Brother Fellium drunk. It literally broke my heart. I didn't even know what to say and then the family didn't come to church so we went and saw them yesterday. We spoke with Sister Fellium and she told us a lot of what is going on and it was really really hard to hear. I've seen a lot of hard things that the people experience here and it never gets easier. I guess my heart is just loving the people more and more. We did our best to comfort the family  but as missionaries we can't do too much or give much advise on such situations. It was really incredible though to just bear our testimonies. Yes everything in their life is pretty crazy and not well yet we have so many things to help us in such times!! We have the scriptures, the words of a living prophet, prayer, church, the sacrament, bishops, friends, ward members, the outdoors!!! I am grateful for my own testimony that gives me hope well all seems lost. I am grateful especially for the love of our Savior that transcends all that brings us down. I am grateful that I can be a representative of Him and help others to know that they can turn to Him and find peace and love amidst turmoil. I am grateful even now more than ever that I have had some challenging moments that allowed me to promise the Felliums that all will be well if we put our trust in the Savior Jesus Christ. 

So my companion is amazing. She has had just about every health problem you could possibly think of yet is still a great missionary who works hard every day. This week it was pretty hot and she was feeling especially weak. We were about to go home so she could rest when we ran into a less active that we have been trying to see for awhile. We went to teach him from Ether 12 since he is dealing with a lot recently. It was absolutely amazing to watch and hear my companion testify of the enabling power of the Atonement as she was at that very moment struggling to get the words out. She has so much faith and really relies on the Savior. My love for her really grew in that moment and I am grateful for her strong testimony. It was amazing how her trial allowed me to develop a love for her. I guess our challenges aren't just for our own growth but even for those around us. Bottom line...Sister Kgwetiane is great! She doesn't let anything get in her way of doing what the Lord has called her to do. 

Saturday we went to the Branch Mission Prep class which was so cool!! We had about 8 members there which is amazing. I am so excited for them to go out and serve! Later that day we saw a family that we met the other day and the father did not want to hear anything from us...hahah he only wanted us to teach him if we spoke in Chichewa. He kept talking and talking in English but told us he doesn't understand. He was a tough one but we finally just agreed that we would bring an interpreter next time. It was a testimony to me though that the gospel will go forth to all nations, tongues, and people. Yes we may only speak English but we are able to teach the gospel despite this. We are finding ways to help those people that the Lord is preparing. We have language barriers all the time yet still miracles happen that make it possible for us to proclaim His truth. I love these struggles though! I love the culture. I loved this week sitting in the hot sun in the dirt and playing a game with rocks and having 5 year old kids beat me. I loved scrubbing clothes with a brush and honestly thinking that its better than a washing machine. I love going to the bathroom in a hole in a shack and coming back to tell my companion how cool it was because they had built up the cement so you knew exactly where to plant your feet. I love how they mix flour, water, a little salt and sugar together to make "chebwenta" and then ask me if its delicious! I love how I go to greet someone and they offer me their wrist because their hands are dirty yet they don't want to deny a handshake. I love how I offer to help someone with something and the first thing that they do is take off their own chitenge and offer it to me so my clothes don't get dirty. Pretty much I just love Malawi. I had a lot of moments where I felt sooooooo happy to be here. I am really the happiest I have ever been!! Being a missionary is the best.

Sunday was really special as always and now that I am getting to know the members better I love it even more! We didn't have any investigators at church which was kinda disappointing but it was still really great! I gave the Relief Society lesson about the Prophet Joseph Smith and wow...he was such an incredible man!!! My love and appreciation for him grew so much!! Learning more about him and gaining a testimony that he was a true prophet has helped me have a greater desire to continue on the work that he started. I love this quote from the manual, "“The responsibility I feel for the work the Prophet Joseph inaugurated fills me with a determination to do all I can in the time and season allotted to me. Surely Joseph was faithful and true to his time and season! … I bear solemn testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith as the Lord’s anointed servant in these the latter days. To his testimony of the divinity and reality of Jesus Christ I add my own. It is my prayer [that] as we commemorate this great prophet and reflect upon his life, that we have gratitude in our hearts for the things which have come into our lives by reason of his seer-ship and his revelation to us—a choice seer, raised up by the Lord to guide us in these latter days, that we might turn our footsteps back to those paths which will lead us to exaltation and eternal life."   

anyways I know that Joseph Smith really did restore the Church of Jesus Christ again to the Earth. I know that he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and it is true. I am so grateful for his life and his legacy and I am so grateful that he prayed so that now I can be here in Africa doing the greatest work of all! 

This week really was great!!! I can't believe I hit my halfway mark...I have mixed feelings about it but I did spend one evening reading through one of my journals as well as writing letters to a lot of people in Ndola and it was so awesome. These 9 months have flown by and I can't believe I only have 9 left. I am grateful and humbled to be a mission and want to make the most of the time that I have left. thank you for your continued love, support, and prayers. You have made my mission the best!!!!!
 My comp said I had to take these very first thought was "Oh no...what is Dad going to say about these?" enjoy his reaction for me!!!

Happy Birthday to Annie and Avery!!! 

Sister Bingham!!!!!


Monday, March 7, 2016

Lovin' Blantyre

Well it still hasn't hit me that I am here in Blantyre and staying here for at least the next 6 weeks! But i absolutely love it here so much!!! When the Beals picked us up from the bus late Wednesday night the first thing they said was "Welcome to the Garden of Eden" and they were right. ITS BEAUTIFUL!!! I think that I was sent here just so I could see the beautiful mountains everyday. When we turn down the road that takes us to our area, Ndirande Mountain is right there in front of us and I don't think I could ever get sick of looking at it! 9 Months without seeing mountains has made my love for the great outdoors sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much greater. Its the best. Our area is near the mountains and this is going to sound lame but our area kinda makes me think of those little villages that you see near the Himalayas or the mountains in that part of the world. its really hard to describe and I will try to take more pictures but all the houses are close together and we walk through these tiny paths up, and down hills to get to our appointments. It is just so awesome! Its really green and a little bit cooler here which is nice. We leave in an old senior couples house...yes a house! it has 4 bedrooms and bathrooms!!! its super nice and huge which is actually kinda lonely and it took some getting used to it since it is only me and Sister Kgwetiane living in it. Our area is called Ndirande which means "rob me" in English and I was told has lots of thugs...hahah but it seems pretty safe. Elder Beal told me it is the most populated suburb of Blantyre and has a population of about 100,000. We live in a nicer area but where we teach its pretty humble circumstances. The branch is great! There are about 60 people at sacrament but our meetinghouse is tiny! I think its the smallest I have been in. Anyways here is a quick update about my new area!!!

Monday:After emailing we went to the Lilongwe Wildlife was kinda lame but we saw some monkeys and crocodiles and lions but it was more like a zoo. it was really fun though just walking through the trees in the reserve!! oh and turns out there are only 15 lions left in Malawi and we saw 2 of them so that's pretty cool! 
 Lilongwe wildlife reserve
does the baboon bring back any memories?? hahah i laughed so hard when i saw this!!!

the zone leaders made us these brownies after losing a bet with us. the bet was who could teach the most families in the week

Tuesday: We had lunch at the Chipapals and then a lesson with their niece who is probably going to be baptized soon. anyways as we were closing the lesson I realized how much i had grown to love this family and how much they meant to me. We were teaching Sheena about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I was telling her how somethings we have to do really really hard things but as we trust in our Savior, remember the covenants we made at baptism, listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, study our scriptures, listen to the prophet, and pray then we can find joy! It is hard to leave places and go to new places, but that lesson made me realize the importance of enduring to the end and how it is a constant effort on our part but we don't have to do it alone. The Savior is there with us every step of the way. We had a couple other great lessons and we stopped by to see how Brother ABK was doing since he was so sick on Sunday. He is doing a lot better but still was struggling. We told him I was leaving and he said, "If this was a voting matter...I'd vote no. And a STRONG NO! A BIG NO! A POWERFUL NO!! NO PLUS PLUS PLUS PLUS!!" hahaha I will miss that man with all my heart and glad that I was able to meet him and learn from him. 
 Goodbyes at Chipapalas
I asked to take a funny picture and Brother Chipapala said that we should all say "HEY!!!!" hahah hes the greatest

Wednesday: We picked up Sister Newey from the airport which was so awesome!! she is from Ogden and is serving here  in Blantyre with Sister Motsi. Oh yeah another plus of Blantyre...I get to be with Sister Motsi again! Anyways it seems like just yesterday I was the one arriving here on mission...time is flying! She is really great and i loved getting to know her and i am grateful we will get to be together here in Blantyre. We said goodbye to the other was rough saying goodbye to Sister Brown, Sister Ratema, and Sister Mukweya. I really got so close with each of them!! I love the relationships we build as missionaries but then we get separated and who knows if i will get to see some of them after mission. But what a blessing to have spent the time together that we have. It makes me want to cherish my time with each of my companions from now on. The bus ride was LONG...we sat in there very back and it was so cramped but the 2 hours that it was still light were beautiful!! mom...we for sure should do it. 
Ndirande Mountain

Thursday: We had Mission Leadership Council over Skype which as always was inspiring! I love President and Sister Erickson more and more and especially after we gather as missionaries. President Erickson talked about how he looks at each of our pictures during transfers and receives revelation about where to send us. It was a much needed comfort as I kind of felt out of place and alone in the new area. We spent the rest of the day in the area and it really is great. They recently dropped a lot of investigators so we have a lot of work cut out for us trying to find new investigators and there are a TON of less actives but it was a great first day! We have a hilarious investigator named Bell. He is a 63 year old Muslim with his front 4 teeth missing but is a really humble, inspired man. He has a problem with smoking though....he told us he smokes 2 to 3 cigarettes everyday but HE IS NOT ADDICTED! And he knows how to stop and can help anyone stop but then when we asked him to go throw his cigarettes that he had away he wouldn't do it. He was making me laugh but it was also a really sweet lesson to talk about how we can't overcome some things in life on our own. But as we turn to the Savior, and His atonement, we can receive the strength that we need. I am so grateful for the Word of Wisdom as well as the Prophet Joseph Smith who received this revelation. I am grateful for the blessings we receive as we obey this commandment and have been seeing these blessings in the physical demands of missionary work. When we taught brother Bell about the Word of Wisdom, I realized that sometimes I don't recognize what blessings we have been promised. There are so many blessings in store for us, if we only would open our eyes then we would see them! This is what I have learned recently as I have been studying. Its when we learn more of the gospel of Jesus Christ, when we read the words of our prophet, apostles, and leaders then we begin to find so many wonderful promises for us as we are obedient. This gospel is truly amazing. That night my companion was sick so she went to bed early and I tried setting the alarm when I went to bed but I did something wrong and it sent of the alarms and my companion said that the men would be coming and I was freaking out and trying to call them to tell them it was an was so stressful but all was well...they didn't come. hahah it was pretty hilarious though cause my companion was half asleep so she laughed about it in the morning with me.

cute kids playing in the river after a rainstorm

Friday: We had a bunch of fall-throughs but we got to see a lot of members and less actives. My favorite lesson of the day was with a less active named Irene. She is 18 years old and her mom is refusing her to come to church. We read with her from Mosiah 24 and explained how she can be strengthened so that the burdens she is currently facing will become light upon her shoulders. Verses 14 and 15 really hit me hard during that lesson and made me super emotional as I thought of how I have been helped during different struggles both as a missionary and before. I also felt so grateful for my parents who have supported me and encouraged me in everything that I have done. I realized how much we need families and how families need the gospel to make them united and strong. I can't imagine what Irene is going through but I was grateful that in that moment, we were there to represent the one who can help her. I am so grateful for the words that we were inspired to say and the Spirit that we felt as we were able to comfort Irene in a time of great need. I am so grateful for times like these that make missionary work the BEST THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD! That night we had our zone leadership council and we talked about building a legacy here in Blantyre. This seems like a really great zone full of motivated missionaries...another tender mercy that confirmed to me that I was sent here so that I can learn and grow and become better. Oh we had our meeting in the Blantyre chapel...i need to send pictures because it is absolutely beautiful!!!! I didn't realize how much I have missed chapels...

Saturday: It was a super busy day! We tried to have an English class but no one showed up but we experienced a miracle! the lock on the door was jammed and for 30 minutes we sat there trying to open it. Then we decided to say a prayer and 5 minutes later it was open! I am so grateful for the power of prayer! I was kind of discouraged that no one showed up for our class and we had some fall-throughs earlier that day and as we walked away from our tiny meeting house I remember just thinking of all the saints around the world. The church is so small here and sometimes it feels like we aren't doing much good here and everything is so dysfunctional but I was reminded of all my friends serving missions in probably very similar situations and was overwhelmed by the opportunity to be here. Yes the church is small and the work can be disappointing at times but I have learned to strive to keep an eternal perspective. I am grateful for the ward and family that I grew up in that helps me continue pushing forward so that the people here in Malawi can enjoy the same thing. What is the most amazing thing though is how happy and faithful the members are without all of that! It amazes me the longer and longer I serve as a missionary.

Sunday:My favorite day of the week. Sundays are the best on mission! We had sacrament meeting last so more people would be there. My companion and I sit in the very back so we can see everyone and I had the most spiritual sacrament meeting just sitting there listening to everyone's testimonies. They are so strong!! Anyways as I was sitting in the small branch I realized that even though I have been here for a few days, I already felt so much love for and from the people of Ndirande. I thought of how amazing this branch was. I thought of how big our ward was back home and I honestly believe that going back to big wards is going to be a struggle...I will forever miss and love these small branches that I get to serve in. I can't express what I felt but I love the Ndirande branch. I love the faithful saints who strive their very best to fulfill their callings, who walk far to come to church, and who sacrifice so much just to partake of the sacrament. It truly is so humbling to serve as a missionary here and as I bore my own testimony in front of them I felt an even greater amount of love. I read a talk about Charity and have found that we can best love, serve, help, inspire, those around us by bearing and living our testimonies. My testimony has grown KWAMBILI since coming on mission and I still have so much to learn, but the testimony that I do have is my greatest possession and I feel so honored to have so many opportunities to share it and build it each day. Once again MISSION IS THE BEST. We had some great lessons after church. One with a 20 year old named Joel who is SOOOO prepared to hear the gospel. This was another tender mercy as I left behind some dear investigators in Lilongwe. We taught 4 siblings of 2 recent converts and it was really fun and sweet to teach little kids. I am inspired by their faith, and yearning to learn the gospel. Finally we saw a family where the father is an investigator and his wife and kids are members/less active. I guess missionaries have been teaching the father for a long time and guess what.....The very first thing he told us in the lesson was "I have chosen April 3rd to be baptized!" I am so happy for them!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We then visited the funeral of the sister of one of the branch members. Funerals are something else here in Malawi. All the women sit outside the house and all the men sit out on the street. and EVERYONE comes to the funeral and they all stay for hours. Family and close friends go inside the house and they cry and mourn and I wish I could have videoed what it sounds like. It is really awful and sad. It made me really grateful for the plan of salvation and I felt a burning desire to share it with as many people as I can. As we sat there for about 45 minutes I was just looking around at all the women. I realized how much I love the people. I truly truly truly love Malawians and Zambians. I love their culture. I love their strengths. I love their differences. I love their devotion and faith. I love their love and support they have for each other. I love everything about them and I am soooooooo grateful that I have been given this opportunity to be immersed in such an incredible culture for 18 months. How lucky am I? How blessed am I? Life is truly wonderful. I know that as we take a few moments, look around, and count our blessings...our stresses and our trials begin to melt and we begin to see the sunshine that is all around us. 

Well it was a life-changing week for me and I love Blantyre! My companion is super great. She is from outside of Johannesburg, South Africa from a family of 5 children. They are all members but her dad died about 10 years ago. She is 24 years old and has had many many health problems as a missionary but is one of the strongest missionaries I have met. She has helped me to use the scriptures more and to seek the guidance of the spirit. I am grateful for her and who she is helping me become. I am grateful for my family and miss you a whole lot!!!! keep on truckin.....

Ndimakukondani Kwambili,
Sister Bingham 

 love those mountains!

one of our investigators house. when i first saw the rocks guess what my initial thoughts were.."this would be a perfect kitchen for backpacking."