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!!!!!


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