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.

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