Monday, April 25, 2016

A long one cause things are picking up in Blantyre!!!

 This is Bingham. A lady named a puppy after me!  This week she came running over saying "Have you seen Bigum??? Bigum is getting so big! Bigum is getting so big!" hahah I had no idea what she was talking about!!! Lol here he is!!!
My girls

April 25th…what?? Time is going by faster and faster each week and guess what less than 2 weeks and I will get to talk to you!!!!! It feels like yesterday we were talking at Christmas. But I guess I’m still excited to see you…just a little though. This week though...maybe that is why time is just going so fast. So much happened this week!!!!

Tuesday we had district meeting and at the beginning a deaf man walks into the church. Our district leader, Elder Alexander knows a little sign language so between the two of us we were trying to communicate with him. We were really struggling but we were able to talk a little bit and found out that he has met the missionaries before. It took quite awhile but we finally were able to explain to him that we would talk to the Elders that stay in his area and talk to a deaf member who is in the Zingwangwa Branch here in Blantyre. Elder Alexander and I were talking after district meeting and we both were so grateful that we had learned sign language and that we could now use it in our missionary work. It has been really amazing on mission to have so many experiences where previous experiences in my life have prepared me for this specific calling. I am so rusty on my sign language but I know that Heavenly Father gives us many gifts, even if we think we aren’t good at them or they aren’t 100% perfect, so that we can help bless His children and teach them the gospel.  It was really awesome to also reflect on how his inability to hear could have been the reason that led him to church and I was also so touched by how happy he was when it seems like he would have every reason to be discouraged. I know it will be difficult for him to have the gospel but I know that his life can be greatly blessed and someday he will have an equal opportunity to hear and accept the gospel and receive all of God’s blessings. After district meeting a bunch of the elders and then us 4 sisters were invited to a member of the Blantyre 2nd branch house to eat lunch and to do service for her. We all were pretty excited but then we met the member….Niledi. The next hour was the craziest hour of my entire mission!! I thought I had experienced some pretty crazy stuff but it has been nothing compared to this. And I can’t even explain it. But we are pretty sure that she has some African Witchcraft, Voo doo shan shan going on but she was insane!!! Yelling and dancing all over the place and preaching and shouting and praying. Oh man I can’t wait to show you when I get home. She was telling us she is the queen and then was calling her ancestors and then started to impersonate her ancestors  and then mixing all this stuff with things about the Church . It was taking all of my will power to not just bust up laughing but at the exact same time I was kinda freaked out. So we got out of there….and turns out she was taken to the hospital but yeah April 19, 2016 will never be a day to be forgotten. That evening we finally had an opportunity to meet with both Peace and her mom to discuss their concerns about Peace’s baptism. The mom was finally honest with us and told us she just isn’t comfortable and would like to know more about the church before her daughter is baptized. We are SO happy that she was honest with us because before she kept saying everything was fine, it just was Peace who was nervous. We set an appointment for today to explain our purpose as missionaries and teach her more about the church. The more and more we talk to the mom I am seeing more and more how uninterested she is about the church but I know that with time that Peace will be able to be baptized.  We have been praying a lot and I have seen time and time again prayers being answered in the mission field and I know that miracles happen all the time. Just yesterday I got a call from the Lilongwe sisters telling me that Brother ABK, who we taught back when I was there, was baptized!!! Mission work is just the greatest! I know that things don’t always happen exactly when I want them to but the work still goes forward and as missionaries continue to take over where we left off, then finally are the fruits of our labor and that of the Lord come to pass. I guess we really will never fully be able to know the influence of our service and it just makes me want to do more. Find more people, teach more people, serve more people, love more people, no matter how slow their progress is, the more that I and my companion do, the more that the missionaries over the years will have to work with and find success in.

Wednesday started off so good and I was just dying to have mom here with me cause the sky was the most perfect blue!! Seriously Mom, I thought about you the entire day. I have been really grateful for little things of God’s creations that help me feel His love and awareness of me and my mission. At MLC and various meetings, we have been discussing improving our teaching skills and helping our investigators to truly make and keep the commitments we extend. This is a big challenge we face here in Africa that I have talked about before. The people are soooooo spiritual and love God and the gospel but committing to act is a little difficult for them. So anyways its been something I focused on this last week and really it is what I am here to do. I have been called to teach. It can be easy as a missionary to get caught up thinking and worrying about or focusing on other things when what is most important is our teaching skills. Yes I have been teaching the restored gospel everyday for over 10 months now yet I still struggle and have SO much to work on. There definitely have been weeks were I just feel like I am an awful teacher and have to rely so much on my companion and the spirit to make up for my weaknesses. This week though as a put a great focus on my personal studies to focus on my investigators and work hard in every single lesson, I saw a lot of blessings. I felt so much better after lessons. President Erickson taught us last week at MLC about a certain teaching technique and as I worked to implement it, even though it was sort of awkward at first, it was incredible!! I am soooo grateful for a mission president who receives inspiriation not on just who we should be companions with or what area we should serve in but also is there to help us with something as simple as helping our investigators accept commitments by the way that we teach. I know that when we listen and apply the principles that we receive from our priesthood leaders, no matter how small or insignificant they may seems, that we will better fulfill our callings and even find more joy in them. I still have a LOT to work on as far as teaching but I love the opportunity that we have to just improve and improve each and every day! I also focused a lot on using the scriptures more and they are so powerful!! I’ve been trying to plan out specific scriptures for the individual needs of each person we see and its been amazing as the lessons go so well and we are able to use those prepared scriptures. I love the scriptures and they have been a source of much help and guidance lately and I just want everyone else to have that same blessing. Ok sorry enough about what I’ve been trying to work on….We saw Gift that morning and he has this friend Joseph who is really interested in the message we share and is really enthusiastic! Its been really touching to find so many new investigators through Gift. Gift is great. He wants to do what is right, he is just shy and it is taking him a little bit longer to understand the importance of what we share with him and he struggles to find the courage to change and come to church without his cousin who is sort of less active. Anyways he has introduced us to so many friends and its just wonderful that even though Gift’s progression is slow, he is leading us to more of God’s children. More opportunities to build up His kingdom and truly bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man here in Ndirande. Alfred is another investigator who is just doing great! We taught him the beginning of the first lesson last week and he would not stop talking about how much he loved church. We taught him about Prophets and he was like “Oh yeah you are explaining dispensations and we are now in the final dispensation.” Uhhh…what investigator let alone member here ever knows about the word dispensation. Seriously my comp and I were pumped after the lesson. He is doing great and has really taught me the importance of Church in gaining a testimony. As we were walking to Alfred’s lesson, we had Raphael and Linda from the branch with us. Raphael is going to Ghana in June for his mission and we were talking about it and he was telling me about all the challenges he is facing now that he has his call. He is having troubles at work and stays alone and feels so many temptations. He is nervous about leaving and he has no one to support him at home. He knows the gospel is true without a doubt but is just scared. It was an incredible opportunity for me to bear my testimony of missionary work and that there is absolutely nothing better or more important or that will bring more blessings in his life than serving a mission. I can’t imagine how hard it is for him, honestly I was quite humbled that afternoon about how blessed I am with the support of my family and friends, but I know that his life will be changed. He will gain a strong testimony. He will be more prepared to be a father and husband and priesthood holder. It will bless his family here. We talked for about 15 minutes about how wonderful a mission is and it was probably more uplifting for me as I testified to him of all the good about mission. It was interesting because of some things that have been happening this week, I was feeling really down and discouraged but talking to him made me realize how much I have grown and changed and how much my testimony has been strengthened. I feel like I could honestly give a testimony about everything! You experience it all as a missionary and I know that it will be the best preparation for the rest of my life. Anyways I really loved just having that chance to talk with him and help him as he is about to be in my position serving the people of Ghana. I love little moments like this that aren’t shown in our numbers that we report but still help us fulfilling our missionary purpose.

Thursday we met with Grace. Her 3 children are members and she has been taught for almost a year now. Right when she gets ready for baptism, she leaves town for awhile for business and then comes back. Well now she is back for good and so she is on date for May 15th! She is doing so good!! But we went to her house and she told us about how she is now going to start selling alcohol. She assured us again and again that she wouldn’t be drinking it, just selling it. My companion immediately looks at her and says, “Well Grace you won’t be getting baptized then!” I was kind of taken back by my comps quick and blunt response and even found myself justifying it. I have really grown close to Grace and want her to be baptized so bad! She is so diligent and has so much faith that I overlooked this new problem. I am really, really, really grateful though for Sister Kgwetiane who listened to the Spirit. We then were able to have a powerful lesson with her about the Word of Wisdom and that no matter how hard things may seem, Heavenly Father blesses us when we are obedient. Grace seemed pretty quiet that lesson and it was even hard to teach her that because she wants to get baptized and it just doing her best to provide for her family. They have so little and this is definitely one way she can make money. But my thoughts kept pulling back to Mosiah 2:41. How grateful I am for the knowledge I have been taught from my own parents to put my trust in the Lord, be obedient, and then I shall be happy. I know that Grace can do it! It won’t be easy. I know she is now in a stressful situation but she can do it! And she isn’t alone. We will be there. The branch presidency is there to support her and most importantly the Savior will be there. Sometimes as missionaries we have to teach scary things. It’s hard when someone has so little and we ask them to give up what they have to follow the Savior but its worth it. Every sacrifice we make is worth it. We saw a member Tessa that day and taught her about the temple. She is so great! We asked her why she wants to go to the temple and her response was, “I know my life will be complete without it. It just feels empty.” This was so inspiring to me and I was so strengthened by her simple, powerful testimony. I know that it is the faith and testimony of the Saints like Tessa that brought the temple to Zimbabwe and someday it will be here in Malawi. Finally we ended the day by teaching Oscar’s, a recent convert, younger siblings. They have been coming to church for weeks but Oscar has been so busy he hasn’t been able to teach with us but we finally were able to! My favorite part of the lesson was watching Oscar helping his siblings learn the gospel. He was so concerned that they were really understanding the lesson and I was so touched by his love and concern. Obviously I felt a huge rush of gratitude for my own siblings. For their examples and testimonies that helped me to know of Heavenly Father’s plan for us and how we can live with Him again. I know that families really are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. The most important lives we will influence are those of our family. And they can be eternal! I enjoyed so much watching this older brother help his siblings and felt my role was so small. I felt grateful that we could help them but really it was Oscar who was doing the most. Missionaries really do so little in the work. And its funny how the less we do, the more that families and members do, the more successful we are! But the role that we do play is vital and so we need to do our best to help that initial step for our investigators. I think that we don’t realize how often we are doing missionary work in our lives and I hope that I will continue to make it a priority my whole life. We weren’t able to teach Joel because we didn’t have a female to teach with us but we got to talking to him and he has been reading the scriptures like crazy! He told me that “I am not just going to read the entire Book of Mormon but I am going to memorize it!!” hahah Joel cracks me up and I’m continually touched by his progress.

Friday Sister Kgwetiane got really sick so we stayed inside that day but I read this super quote by Brigham Young that changed my perspective on a lot of things. “It is our duty to improve upon every blessing the Lord gives to us.” I loved this so much and it helped me to find more joy in the simple things that we do and to take every opportunity that I have to do my best. To not relax when life is good, when something goes well, but to continue to find a way to do more and improve. Around 5 that evening I was a little restless so I asked my comp if I could just walk around the house for about 15 minutes. You should have seen the sunset!!! It was so amazing and I just loved being in Heavenly Father’s creations. There is this “mountain” that we can see from our house and on the top of the mountain is one tree. It is standing there all alone. I noticed it a couple weeks ago but now everyday I look at it and I draw so much strength from it up there. It sounds kinda dumb but time and time again I have been amazed at how exactly when I need it, Heavenly Father sends me a little sign that He loves me. I was filled with so much joy that evening as I just walked around and hummed hymns (yes I did it in honor of my humming father). I was reminded once again how blessed I am to be here. That the church is true and that The Savior, Jesus Christ lives!

Saturday we had a little extra time in the afternoon so we went to go and see if we could help Bell since we haven’t been teaching him. He agreed to let us wash clothes for him. My companion was talking to his neighbor who happened to be a former investigator while I was helping Bell. Bell just cracks me up but today was the funniest. I asked him how often he does wash….every week or every other week. I could not stop laughing when he said, “Ahhhh sometimes every two years!!” hahahah a part of me just wanted to drop the shirt I was washing and get out of there but it was really uplifting to serve him and just remind him that we still love and care for him. And guess what??? He came to church the next day!!!!!! We went to see Thoko who we’ve taught once and found a less active who stays next to her at home. Irene, the less active, joined us for the lesson and was sharing her testimony left and right. It was incredible!! Irene has some family problems and has to go stay with her brother every weekend and a whole bunch of other things keeping her from church but that lesson really taught me the importance and the power of having a testimony. Although things get in the way, and our testimony does grow dim, the embers are always there! It gave me hope for other people both here in Africa but also at home. And if we seek to give them opportunities to share and live their testimonies, then it might be that very spark that helps them to come back!

Sunday was THE BEST!!! We had 8 investigators at church!!! The church was packed!! We had people sitting outside even. They definitely need to get a bigger building for us. It was really humbling that even though we didn’t have a ton of time in the area due to different issues, our investigators are still progressing and coming to church! I know that it is because of the Hand of the Lord that is making up for our limitations. I know that as my companion and I have had struggles but have put our faith in Him, He has helped us and our investigators. We went to go help the Primary because they haven’t had anyone teaching singing time since none of the teachers know the songs and it was soooooo fun! I love those little kids and you should have heard their sweet little singing voices as they sang about trying to follow the Savior. Its amazing how we can be in the presence of little children or listening to Prophets and Apostles at General Conference and feel the exact same spirit. Joel had his baptismal interview and will be getting baptized next week!!!! It was so awesome and a little emotional for me actually because I have been able to be with Joel since he very first started learning the gospel until now. To watch him change and be filled with so much more joy!! I feel like I could go home now. Seeing Joel and being apart of this experience makes everything worth it! We asked him how the scriptures have helped him and he gave this amazing response about how now he knows about God’s plan for him and that he can receive so many blessings now and in the future as he is obedient. He said it better than that and more than that but it was a once in a lifetime feeling to be there and listen to him. I know that a lot of missionaries don’t get such opportunities to see their investigators get baptized and I am just really grateful that I have been able to be a part of such a miracle. We did so little and honestly Joel was prepared by the Lord for the gospel. Man I am just so excited for him to get baptized. He was super nervous for his interview and then after he told me, “That was it??? I could do that 3 more times and it would be so nice!” hahahah he’s great. While the district leader was interviewing him, we were talking to Elder Tshabalala and I have been dying to tell you his life story. He never knew his father, and grew up with his aunt and uncle. When he was 11 he went back to live with his mom for a couple months and then she died. So he went back to his uncle who then died in 2009. From their he went to live with another uncle who died and the wife chased him and his siblings. So for the past 3 or 4 years he has been caring for and providing for his 16 year old brother and 21 year old half sister. He was trying to finish high school and was making money by playing soccer. He met the missionaries when he was 16 and is the only member of his family. And now he is here serving a mission!!! I asked who is caring for his siblings and he said he just have to leave them. His bishop said he’d check up on them but he hasn’t heard from his family since he left. I wanted to cry hearing this story. Seriously the missionaries here continue to amaze me!!! I wish you all could met them and to hear their testimonies and serve with them. I think that is why I was sent here. So I could learn and be blessed by them. Anyways, that night we went to the Sisters and had a little devotional about Gratitude. It was really awesome as we all discussed how much we have been blessed with both on mission and in our lives overall! It was a much needed booster to help all of us to “reach the peak” and to enjoy to the end. I am so grateful for the sisters who help me be better and improve. As we were discussing though I just wanted to let you know that you, my family, are definitely one of my top blessings. I love you all so much!!!

Hope this week is fantastic and you keep learning and growing lots!!!
Ndimakukondani kwambili,
Sister Bingham

Friday, April 22, 2016

Teaching by the Spirit - From Alli March 2016

Teaching by the spirit is one of the most important yet most challenging things to do as a missionary. I have found that it all begins with our own personal obedience and consecration. The more humble you are and the more dedicated you are to your responsibility, the greater the opportunity you allow for the Spirit to enter into your heart and the hearts of your investigators. I have found that absolutely nothing I say or could say, nothing I have done or could do will be able to change or inspire anyone's life. We have been called to represent the Savior, Jesus Christ. It is not about us. It is about allowing His words, His love, and His spirit to touch the lives of those we teach. In order to allow this to happen, we must be living according to His teachings. We must be following in His footsteps and relying on Him to make up for our weaknesses. I have had countless experiences of being in a lesson and not knowing what to say at all. I remember thinking so many times, "How can we help this person? How will they ever understand? What should we say? What invitation should we leave with them?" and being stressed because I didn't have an answer. But as I recognized that I was truly not capable of doing anything and that I needed divine help, was I then only able to have my mouth literally be filled with words that were exactly what that specific person needed to hear. Another thing I have learned about teaching by the Spirit is to ACTIVELY listen to its promptings. It takes physical concentration and effort but the more we act, the more often those promptings come. One specific example was with an investigator that I love so dearly! Still to this day she isn't baptized but we had very powerful spiritual moments together. She was taught by some Elders about a year before we happened to end up at her home by accident. She invited us in and before we knew it, we were seeing her and her family every week. One lesson she opened up to us and told us that she really wanted to know that the church was true but every time she prayed, she would have a dark feeling, get really confused, and get a headache. I remember my companion and I pausing as she told us that for a moment...then I felt the strongest impression to promise her that if she prayed that night, that she wouldn't have those feelings, and that she would find the answer she is searching for. Those words were not mine....I don't think I would be able to promise such a blessing without the influence of the Holy Ghost. As we closed that lesson, Sister Sambe (the investigator) got really emotional and thanked us for bringing the Spirit into her home. She continued to doubt but she later told me that she knew the church was true. that the priesthood had been restored through Joseph Smith but she still needed time to make the final transition and be baptized. From that moment on, I felt a greater connection with the Sambe family and continue to keep in touch even though I have been transferred. I know that she isn't a member of the church, but I am grateful that through the Holy Ghost, we could help her to feel its presence in her life and to help her to be able to build a relationship with our Heavenly Father through prayer.I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and I know that it is the only way that I have found any success as a missionary. I am grateful for the Sacrament that we partake of each week that enables us to be worthy to have this gift. Cherish the sacrament, be obedient, be consecrated, be humble, and you will be able to perform miracles for the Lord through the power of the Holy Ghost. 

much love,
Sister Bingham

Monday, April 18, 2016

Lovin, livin, laughing

You should see how stamped up my passport is!! I think I've filled up 10 pages now with all the different transfers, visas, and MLCS.

my homegirls....

Thursday we taught Alfred who we met a couple weeks ago and from our first impression I thought he was a total punk but he is just the opposite and once again I discovered that the gospel is for everyone! Alfred is 22 and does sort of odd jobs but is in a point in his life where he doesn’t really know what to do. He stays with his older sister who lost her husband last year and Alfred told us that he feels like he has a lot of responsibilities to help physically and emotionally support his sister and her family. I immediately thought of the people in Alma that were able to accept and live the gospel because of their circumstances that allowed them to be humble. Albert is very interested and really takes to heart what we teach. I love how he doesn’t just listen and agree immediately but he takes time to just ponder over it, even during the lessons. He has helped me to evaluate myself and how much time I take when I study to just ponder over it and internalize exactly what I am reading. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and try to study, study, and study every little thing for each investigator that I just rush through it and so I want to try extra hard to take more time to REALLY understand and to apply what I study. Anyways Alfred came to church and he accepted a date to be baptized. As I have been thinking about Alfred, I am very touched and grateful how Heavenly Father led him into our path and how much the gospel can truly change his life. I don’t think Alfred can completely can see all the blessings yet but we can!! That is what has been a huge lesson I have learned as a missionary. Heavenly Father can see and knows what blessings are in store for us but unfortunately we can’t. That is why faith is an essential and the first principle of the gospel.  And I am sooo grateful for the little knowledge that I do have of those eternal blessings and the many experiences where I have been allowed to just have a little taste of that eternal joy because it has provided me with an incredible amount of hope! And I am so grateful that we get to help Alfred to gain this same hope that will help him in his situation now and throughout life. We saw Joel that night and we were teaching him about the Law of Chastity. We started by asking him a few questions to find out what he already knows about it and he explained it PERFECTLY! I had to pull out my planner to look to see if we had already taught him and just somehow forgot. Nope…Joel is just so prepared!! Seriously he has been a tender mercy to me the past couple of weeks because every time we leave his lessons, I am just walking on cloud 9. He just shines and is filled with so much happiness which if you were to look at his life you would wonder why….he has so little according to the worlds standards and lives alone. Being a missionary is a blessing because I feel sooooo far from the distractions and temptations of the world and it has helped me to realize what is most important in my life and to experience what brings me true happiness. Mom and Dad helped me learn that as well and I am so grateful for them! But being here has just tripled it and Joel has been another example to me that will hopeful help me instill this for the rest of my life! The gospel of Jesus Christ is where it is at. It’s the recipe for happiness and if we live just those 5 simple principles we need not worry or fear.

After conference refreshments...
the classic bread and Sobo.(its a juice that they love soooo much)

Friday we went to see this family that we met a couple weeks ago…the one who I helped push water jugs in a wheel barrow for. Anyways they came to conference last week….don’t know if I told you that! Unfortunately Brother and Sister Lobeni weren’t home but John Phiri, sister Lobeni’s brother, was home and he could not stop talking about Conference!! He loved it so much!! His neighbor Mercy who unfortunately is a pastor at another church so utterly refuses to join the church also came to conference and couldn’t stop talking about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I love how they were able to touch the heart of a little old woman all the way in Ndirande, Malawi. Yes she may not want to be baptized yet it was really amazing to hear how much she loved the songs and even felt the spirit. So John is the cutest and has the best smile and I wish with all my heart  you could see this man especially when he talks about the gospel. He still has a long ways to go and a lot of things to learn but he accepted a date to be baptized!!! We saw Sister Katunga who is a less active and we have been putting a greater effort in reaching out to her. It seems like she is never at home so we have been trying just to stop by to say hello. We finally found her at home though and just read a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon. It wasn’t anything big and fancy but it was a really neat experience for me to just feel the powerful spirit the Book of Mormon brings, especially as I thought of how much she needed to just feel the Spirit. I don’t know all that she does but I can’t imagine not coming to church every week and getting that spiritual nourishment that I always get. Sister Katunga suffers from a lot of health problems and is having difficulty seeing so it was really humbling to be able to be her eyes for her and read from the Book of Mormon. And she was so appreciative of it! I know she struggles to understand the scriptures but she knows that we should read them and that it will bless her. I now have a greater appreciation for my eyes and for the Savior who is the ultimate healer. And because He is not here on the Earth now, we get to be not just His eyes but His hands. And sometimes we may think something as small as reading  6 verses of the Book of Mormon won’t do anything but when we are on the errand of the Lord, it means everything to the Savior. And guess what??? Sister Katunga came to church this week!!!! It brought me so much joy to see her walking in after a couple weeks of going out of our way to befriend and love her.  

I took a picture of these kids every time I come they demand pictures from me! Oh well they are adorable!!!

Saturday we were waiting for a less active for what seemed like forever!! We didn’t know if we should leave or not but I just kept feeling like we should wait. We then met some friends of another investigator and while we were waiting we helped them to make rings out of bolts. They gave us sand paper and bolts that they say they just find on the ground or send little kids to go find them…don’t know if they steal them or what…it was kind of weird and they were kinda sketchy young men…anyways we filled down the bolts for half an hour and then finally Enala came and I am really grateful for a companion who agreed to sacrifice some of our lunch time, even when she wasn’t feeling well, so that we could have a lesson. We had a great lesson with Enala about doing family history and gave her a My Family book to work on. The branch president has asked us to meet with all the members and help them to all be temple worthy. It can be difficult because the temple is SO far away but the Zimbabwe temple will be here soon! I also remember President Monson saying how the most important thing is for us to have a and be worthy of a temple recommend. I am grateful that even if we are far from the temple, we can still feel its power in our lives by always keeping a temple recommend. We can still have the blessings of the temple as we show Heavenly Father that we have a desire to go to the temple. And I know that the more that the members here prepare themselves, the more that Heavenly Father will be able to provide a way for them to get there. I also was really touched during that lesson to see the hand of the Lord blessing the work and making more of His blessings available to His children as we taught about the new temple in Zimbabwe. We saw Alfred again and we taught him with Raphael who recently received his mission call to Ghana Accra West Mission. He was about 30 minutes late to the lesson which was a little bit frustrating because we had other people we needed to see but then he walked in the door with sweat just dripping down his face and says, “Sorry sisters I’ve been with the Elders all day and we went to visit a family that stays sooooo far away and I’ve been running to get here.” All the frustration that I felt earlier just went away as I was so humbled by the diligence and love of this soon to be missionary. Raphael inspired me that day to give more to the Lord and this work. I just love the members here and I am so grateful for how they help us! I think they may do more than even the members back home…ok maybe I don’t really know but they continue to amaze me. And I love the simple testimonies that they give in lessons! They bring a special spirit that helps the investigators to relate and feel more comfortable with the gospel. I can’t wait for Raphael to get out in the field and I know that he will be amazing! Another thing that I learned this week….we aren’t just here to help investigators but as we serve and teach the members here…we are preparing them to go out and be missionaries themselves. I don’t think missionaries really understand the impact they have on the world. It definitely doesn’t end at their area boundaries. This has helped me on rough days where our investigators don’t progress or appointments fall through. I am not trying to say that I am amazing and doing so much but I am just grateful to know that my small efforts aren’t just going to waste and I find a lot of joy being able to serve others!
sketchy bridge in our area
Sunday was interesting. We woke up and I was feeling so good and excited because it was Peace’s baptism. There is always something special about baptism days! Well then we got a call that we should talk to Peace’s cousin. We hurry and call Chikondi and she tells us that Peace’s mom is now refusing to allow Peace to get baptized. We grabbed our things and hurried to go figure out what was going on. Oh and in the middle of all this craziness I remember that we had planned on singing at the baptism and hadn’t practiced once!! My companion, who has an amazing voice, starts singing “When I am Baptized” and “When Jesus Christ was baptized” and I’m trying to learn it and listen but I am so stressed and distraught over what was happening that the tears just started to come. As I listened to the words of the beautiful primary songs I just couldn’t understand why Peace’s mom wouldn’t let her daughter participate in something so incredible. I just wanted Peace to be able to have her sins washed away and to feel that incredible joy that we all felt when we were baptized and that I continue to feel each day. We got to Peace’s house and talked with her mom. Her mom told us that Peace was the one who was saying she wasn’t ready to be baptized yet. And so we left not really knowing what to do. Peace came to church though and when we talked to her she said that it was her mom who wasn’t letting her to be baptized but that she can in a couple weeks. We still aren’t totally sure but your prayers would be much appreciated. I know that it will be able to happen but it still is sad and hard for us because of the changes we have seen in Peace and how happy she is at church.  But until then, We will put our trust in the Lord and do our best to help soften the heart of Peace’s mom. In all of eternity what do all these disappointments really matter. Will it matter that something we desire comes today or tomorrow or in a month? Mission is challenging and I am learning to demand less from my Father in Heaven and to just be happy with what I am experiencing now. I am learning to also be patient with my own growth and weaknesses and understanding bit by bit that the person I want to become and the work I want to accomplish will happen, maybe just not as quickly as I want. I am also grateful that perfection isn’t going to happen in this life, that it is an eternal achievement. After church we were able to see Lucy, a recent convert who we haven’t seen in FOREVER! She was cooking when we got their and gave us a piece of grilled goat meat and it was soooo good. Have we ever had that at home? Anyways George is her son and is my best friend! I love this kid. In the middle of the lesson he runs inside the house and just starts taking off his pants! All the sudden his underwear is off and he is running around the house! Then he climbs up on the couch looking for something on the shelf and then stands there saying over and over again “Palibe” which means “gone.” Hahahah he was looking for toilet paper but man he was making me laugh. Finally Lucy gets him some newspaper and he runs off to the pit toilet. Too funny….Lucy is doing well though and we went over the word of wisdom with her. The entire lesson though I just felt like what we were teaching her wasn’t really for her. It was for George. Ok yes, Lucy needs to know and live the word of wisdom but I realized how much it will be a blessing for her son. That he will be the one most benefited by the truths of the gospel as he grows up. I thought of how different George’s life will be if Lucy never was baptized. I am so grateful for my own mother who has one of the strongest testimonies that I know and has been such a strength to me throughout my life and especially as a missionary. I love how much the gospel blesses our families and that families are eternal!!! I am so grateful that those funny moments like George looking for toilet paper don’t have to end when we die! That we get to be with those that make us the happiest for forever! The gospel really is wonderful isn’t it?

Well family Malawi is great. I still love it! I love my companion. I love the struggles we face. I love how much I am learning. I love being a missionary. I know that the Savior lives. I know that as we look for His hand in our lives that we will be amazed at how much He knows us and is aware of us. I know that this is his true church and that the power of God is only found there. I know that as we make and keep our covenants we will find the peace that isn’t found anywhere else and that we will be happy. Have another great week!!! Less than 3 weeks and I get to see all your beautiful faces!!!
Sister Bingham
 our house
 our house
seriously its beautiful and I can't believe how nice it is!!!!
 the backyard

 shucking maize for dayzzz....

 General Conference in the Ndirande Branch!

 MLC with the comp
Minibus adventures!
Since the Beals are no longer here a member from the district came to pick us up from the bus station in his minibus!!!!

Funniest moment of the week...
So i was doing my usual morning laps around the house and all the sudden I hear this loud THUD and I look at found this dead chameleon that just fell out of the tree!!! I freaked out and ran inside to go get my camera, all the while thinking "my family is going to love this story!" So i take the picture and then run to go tell our guard, Osmond. Hahah i was so pumped about it and was like "You will never believe it!!! You have to come see this!!!" hahahah he then just looks a me like an idiot and tells me that its been there for a couple days. I argued with him for like ten minutes because I know I heard a thud and then it was there. but he kept saying it had been there for a couple days. Oh well its still cool

 Museum Pics
Blantyre Museum!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Photos from Zone conference - Blantyre Zone
March 2016

 Sisters Kgwetiane and Bingham

April 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Chills, Conferences, Councils, and Corn Dogs....jk they don't have corn dogs in Malawi

Hey so this email will be quick because we just have a little bit of time and then Monday I'll be emailing so I don't want to bore you....but it has been amazing week and a half and one of a lot of growth! Winter has come in Malawi and I have become quite the wimp...I literally put on as many warm things that I owe. So my longest skirt and two that is a half sleeve. Haha I didn't think it would get this cold but it was kinda fun being cold again. But now as I am writing this its blazing hot again so Malawi is keeping me on my toes.
I'll do a little high and low of each day...

Monday we watched Women's Conference at the Beals. Confession, Sister Beal put a homemade lasagna on the table and I honestly had to hold back the tears to see something made with so much love. I have become so grateful for something so simple as a homemade meal but it meant so much to me! Needless to say Mom, mission has made me so grateful for you! The Broadcast was incredible and I did not want it to end. And I know each of you loved it as well but I am convinced that being here in Africa made it so much more dear to my heart. It was really awesome to be instructed and inspired to serve and love more and it just made me soooooo much more grateful to be here and to serve as a missionary. I once again discovered a new resolve to enjoy every single moment and to LOVE more. 

Tuesday We laid it down with Bell and pretty much said that if he doesn't keep his commitments and come to church, we won't be able to keep visiting him. It was really hard to tell him this as i love Bell so much but it has blessed me to understand the importance of obedience and that Heavenly Father wants to apply mercy, made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but He also has to be just. Mercy truly cannot rob justice. We haven't visited Bell since that day but we have seen him a couple times and we will go visit later this week but its been a great strength to me to know that I can still pray for him and to remember that Heavenly Father has a plan. Someday, I know it, Bell will be able to be baptized. 

Wednesday was a day packed with service and guess what???? I CARRIED WATER ON MY HEAD!!! Sister Fellium, a less active was convinced that I couldn't do it so of course the stubborn ol' Sister Bingham came out and I argued with her for like 15 minutes that I could do it. She finally asked her neighbors if I could fetch water for them and she let me do it. She made me first fill the bucket half way, then when i did it she said I could do it 3/4 full and finally I did a full bucket!! I never would tell Sister Fellium but my neck hurt that entire day. hahahah it was such a fun experience though and Cynthia (Sister Fellium's niece) loved doing it with me! It was also so humbling that entire day as I passed women, after women carrying water and other various heavy objects on their head. I am continued to be amazed by the women here and not just their physical strength, but many of the women that I meet have so much spiritual strength and continue to press forward with a trust in God and a smile on their face. I never hear complaints, I never see tears. I think I have just become used to it but that day I was impressed more than I ever have by the women and really all of the men and children here. Also another HUGE tender mercy that day that even now makes me tear up was we had sort of a crazy companion was really sick all day and we had fall throughs and other things happen and I was just feeling a little on the low side. Then Cynthia looks at me and she loves to joke around with me but with all seriousness she says, "Sister Bingham, do you know that I love you?" I could hardly respond to her but I finally choked out the words "Yes." Then she folded her arms, sticks out her hip and says, "But do you really know?" Little did that 14 year old girl know that she brought a ray of sunshine into a cloudy day and that her words were exactly what I needed to hear. It has been incredible to watch how much Heavenly Father loves His children everywhere in the world and how He makes it possible for all of them to receive what they need, exactly according to their needs. I have seen this time and time again in the mission field in so many different people's lives. But that day, I knew that Heavenly Father loves His missionaries. That He loves me! That He is allowing me to serve His children not only to help and teach them, but so I can learn and be blessed. I know it was sort of a selfish high of the day but it was one of my more touching moments of the week. 

Thursday we saw Joel, the perfect investigator! he really is....before the lesson we were just talking outside of his tiny, one room home. I need to send you a picture of where he lives....anyways we were just talking and he says, "Sister Bingham I can't stop thinking about the celestial kingdom! Now whenever anyone asks me where I am a citizen from I tell them the celestial kingdom!!" LOL how great is he?! Sometimes I can doubt how well we are doing in the area because some missionaries are baptizing or have tons of progressing investigators but today as we walked home from Joel's lesson, I realized that we didn't need 3 people like Joel. We had 1 Joel and why should I seek more? Too often I just ask Heavenly Father for a LONG list of things and blessings but I realized that maybe, ok not maybe, I definitely need to open my eyes and to see my blessings. Even the simplest, smallest blessing is a blessing. And if we have to teach 5 ok lessons a day and finish with Joel then how blessed are we!! 

Friday we went to help Blessings build his house but he said it was too cold to build. I was really sad because I really wanted to learn how to build a house but hopefully we can help this next week. We had worn jeans though and so we just taught the next couple lessons in them and this is super random but i had a total "I just want to ride a horse" moment soooooo bad. #idahoprobs. Anyways that day we went and saw Peace, the 10 year old, and went through the baptismal interview questions and guess what?!?! She passed her interview and will be baptized this Sunday! Soooo happy for this sweet little girl. She really is so sweet, especially when we are teaching her. She plays Mila like a maniac and is sort of the boss of all the kids that live around her but whenever we start a lesson, there is a change about her and she really has such a desire to learn and to feel the spirit and become better. I am grateful for her strong faith and commitment without the support of her parents. I don't know how the kids do it here....I would be so lost and definitely not in Africa serving a mission without my parents. I am so grateful for families and the emphasis the Church places on strengthening our families. I am grateful that we have been able to teach Peace so that someday she can build her own family!

Saturday we watched conference and it was SO GREAT!!! It was really something else being gathered with a few of the members, and 2 investigators!!! and to listen to the words of the apostles. I can't even begin to express all my feelings from conference but let me just tell you. Conference is the absolute best as a missionary. It was also amazing to hear their testimonies and then immediately after go out and testify of those exact same truths. I don't remember who gave the talk about less actives but it really hit me strong. That night we had a fall through and then we felt impressed to go visit this less active named Gift. His father died and then a year later his wife died and so he is just really struggling to come to church. he is afraid the memories of his loved ones will come back and I just think he feels forsaken and alone. We have visited him once before and this time was really powerful. My companion and I walked away from his house and I remember just thinking how we had reached out in rescue to one of Heavenly Father's lost sheep. We had done our best in representing the Savior, the Shepherd, and following the counsel of our leaders. Yes, Gift is still struggling. No he didn't come to watch conference the next day but I know that he felt the spirit. And I know that our efforts were not wasted. I know that as we truly reach out in love to whoever it is that is lost, not only them, but we will be able to be drawn back closer to the Savior. 

Sunday HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE WORLDS BEST DAD!!! I couldn't help but be so grateful for my father while Elder Christofferson was speaking. Thanks to the example and faith of my father, I am following in his footsteps and serving a mission! Love you dad! conference was too great to write about but probably the same as every missionary in the world, the cherry on top was Elder Hollands talk. It was a much needed talk to just know that Heavenly Father blesses us for just trying.Mission is filled with so many amazing moments and so much joy but occasionally we get a little down in the dumps. I think a lot of this comes because we just expect so much out of ourselves! The more dedicated we become, the more we begin to understand our purpose, the more we learn of the Savior and His atonement, the more we grow in love for the people we serve, the more we begin to feel like we have so many weaknesses and we will never be able to do all we want! His talk really brought a lot of comfort and helped me to just do my best and leave the rest to the Lord. Conference was so inspiring though and I can't wait to get the talks and read them all again! We left that afternoon and said goodbye to the sad! and we rode on a bus to Lilongwe. Being reunited with Sister Ratema and Sister Brown and Sister Mukweya was the best and I finally met Sister Kinikini who is also amazing. I have been overwhelmed by the spirituality and strength of every sister in the mission. Over the past week I was privileged to see all the sisters but 4 of them in the mission! I know we are just 20 but still how great is that?

Monday-Wednesday we had Mission Leadership Council with all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the mission. it was the last live one with the Ericksons so that was weird but it was so great! I will write more about it on Monday but I left once again uplifted and encouraged to do more, be more, serve more, love more. This mission is really consecrated and so line with what Heavenly Father wants and I just feel blessed to be a part of it. Also it was sooooooo great to hear all about my old areas and how everyone is doing. I wish I had time to update all of you but people are doing great.We flew back to Lilongwe 

Wednesday morning and then rode the bus to Blantyre and then was picked up by a local member in his minibus. hahah I'll send a picture but it was so fun. It reminded me of the Eagle High Spirit bus of the Steele's.
Well Family I love you with all my heart and soul! I still love being a missionary and can't believe how fast the time is flying. Reach that peak!!
Ndimakukondani Kwambili,
Sister Bingham