Monday, April 4, 2016

Blantyre Blessings

I don’t even know where to start and I can hardly remember the week because I am so excited about all that I heard from Conference from all of you!!! Honestly the greatest news was to hear the announcement of the Zimbabwe temple!! I don’t know how close it is really is to Zambia and Malawi but it definitely is closer than Johannesburg so that means that more of the members and recent converts will be able to go to the temple! I hear of people going to Zimbabwe all the time and I know it will still be a sacrifice for the Saints to go to the temple but it is an incredible blessing and such a great encouragement to see that the work of the Lord is truly hastening! The zone leaders called Sister Motsi as soon as they found out so she actually told me this morning when we picked them up to go shopping but honestly my heart has been so full of joy as I have pondered on how much the temple means to me and how much the people I have served mean to me and now they are closer than ever before! Also shout out to Elder Ssengooba and President Erickson for making it on the big screen! He is one of the assistants and really is an amazing missionary. He actually served in the Ndirande Branch a couple months ago. We are going to watch the women's session tonight at the Beals and then on Saturday and Sunday we are watching the rest of conference at our meeting house. I love all your insights and what you felt during conference and I have never been soooooo excited to watch as I am now. I am so grateful for the Prophet and Apostles and its been really neat to bear testimony of them to so many people. To share with them that we have a true and living prophet and that we can hear him speak to us, here in little ol’ Malawi this weekend!

Tuesday was Zone Conference and it was absolutely amazing! Elder and Sister Beal gave their departing testimonies and even though I have only served around them for a couple weeks, they have been great examples to me and have an incredible amount of love for the people here. They don’t necessarily do exactly what we young, full time missionaries do but they are really involved with helping the members and establishing the church and I am sure they feel like their impact has been small but they really do so much for the church here in Blantyre. They will be greatly missed. I can’t even start to explain what I learned and felt but bottom line…I know that without a doubt that this is the Lord’s work and His church. It was absolutely incredible to sit there and to look around at all of the Elders and Sisters  and to see each one of them anxiously engaged in striving to bring about our Heavenly Father’s purpose and blessings for His children in Malawi and Zambia. I thought of what we all could have been doing with our lives yet here we are. And we aren’t just serving…but we are constantly trying to figure out what we could do better, what do the people need, what should we focus on. This work is really inspired and I am so grateful for my leaders who help me to be a better missionary. I am especially grateful for President and Sister Erickson as well and they have shaped so much of my mission and even who I want to be in the future. I left the conference inspired, uplifted, and ready to go to work. But I think every time that we step up our game, Satan works even harder because I felt like so much what I had determined to change and work on was sooooo hard! But then again…why should something so important be so easy? What would be accomplished if just after hearing something and then trying it once worked? We wouldn’t learn or grow at all so now looking back on the week I am really grateful that I struggled to implement what I had learned and that now I understand it will take greater patience, diligence, and faith to become the missionary that I envisioned I want to be during our Zone Conference.

Sister Newey is the greatest!!! We were able to go on exchanges this past week and she came into my area. The day was really great….usually for some reason funny things always happen on exchanges like a lot of appointments will fall through which stress me out but the day went so smoothly! It was so great to build a relationship with each other and to even help each other with the current struggles we both are facing. She brought a much needed hope and joy into my mission and I really feel once again that I was sent to this area to learn from the sisters.  Here I have been called to help her yet I am positive she helped me even more. I love her new missionary spirit and her bold, and powerful testimony. She taught me a lot that day and won’t be a day that I forget. One of our investigators, Gift, received an answer to his prayer that he should be baptized on May 1st!!! When he told me I was sooooooo happy because a lot of people struggle here to receive answers and a lot of the times when we follow up they say, “I’m still waiting for an answer. “ Gift however really had a strong desire to know, he didn’t 100% know how answers come but he expressed how he felt a warm, and comforting feeling and he that was enough for him. His simple faith and trust in that prompting was really inspiring to me and made me so grateful for the blessing of prayer in the decisions we face in life.  We were waiting to teach Peace, the 10 year old girl, and while we were waiting we were able to help her neighbors shuck the maize or remove all the kernels from the husk so that they can take it to the mill and make it into flour for nzima.

 Shucking Corn for dayzzz.....
Now that the maize is starting to be harvested we have been able to find lots of opportunities to serve. This little girl named Angela loves to put her face RIGHT next to ours in pictures...i literally thought she was going to kiss me. 

 I have been dying to try it and it was seriously the best even though our fingers were sore! Hahah kinda pathetic but as we were helping a bunch of little kids came running over to join us. We can’t really communicate with them so I asked them to sing us some Chichewa songs. I had each kid sing a different song and when we got to Shiloh, Peace’s younger brother who has been coming to church, He started singing “follow the Prophet” which touched my heart!! Then Sister Newey and I joined in and it was just a really awesome spiritually moment to be gathered with these children singing a primary song. My mind has drawn back again and again to the scriptures that teach us that we must become like little children in order to inherit the kingdom of God. 

Shortly after this the kids taught us how to play “Mila” (pronounced me-la) and I was so excited to play. First time I get in to play and they hit me first try…hahah I guess my dodge-ball skills are a little rusty but it was so much fun!! Can’t wait to teach you all but I don’t think it will be the same without the Malawian dirt and the homemade plastic bag ball that they use….

Thursday  we went and saw a less active who told us last week that she was “quitting the Church. I give up!” It was really hard to know what to say to her but we taught about following the prophet and emphasized a lot on how she can receive the guidance that she needs now more than ever in her life. I have really grown to love Sister Fellium and I actually got really emotional during the lesson to hear her still continue to express how she doesn’t have faith anymore and that she is done. It is sooooo hard to see people leave something that has meant so much to me in my life. Mission isn’t anywhere near the struggles that any of the people here face but it does have its rough days and I have been strengthened beyond what I ever could have imagined the past 9 months and I know that Sister Fellium can be helped just as much, if not more! Actually maybe that is what is so hard about a mission. We do our best to serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength and yet people still choose to not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and when they do so we feel unsuccessful. BUT I learned that we can still be happy and we can still love no matter the decisions of others. Happiness is definitely a choice and while I do have moments of discouragement and frustration, I can truly say that I have never been so happy in all my life. As I think why this is I have realized that I have never been so obedient and true to my covenants before. If there is one thing that I will take home with me is that all we need to do is the live the 5 basic steps of the gospel and then we will have joy and peace. When we choose to live other wise…things go wrong. I do know that Sister Fellium at one point had a testimony and I know that someday, hopefully soon, she will feel that spark within to rekindle that fire that we have all felt whether at church, in the temple, praying, reading the scriptrues etc. I know that at one point she knew this was the true church and that she will be able to come back. I know that Heavenly Father loves her and He doesn’t want us to give up on her. I am grateful to be called to leave the 99 and find the one even though I really don’t know exactly everything I should say or do. And I am grateful for the opportunity we have to repent and the knowledge I have that no matter what we do, the Savior is always waiting with open arms to receive us.

Friday you will never believe what happened….WE SAW A LION!!!! Aprils Fools!!!! The other sisters pulled a little prank on us but every time I tried to say something to someone and then said”April Fools” they didn’t get it…Hahah but I laughed so hard when I read about dad and Brooklyn's prank! This day really was full of pranks though….we set an appointment to go help a less active wash clothes but she wasn’t there so we went around to different women washing, since there is always someone washing, and no one would let us help! I was sick of it so I just started helping this lady even though you could tell she didn’t want us to. I think they feel bad but I guess it helped me to realize that sometimes I need to humble myself and let others serve me more. That can be hard sometimes. It was really sad that we couldn’t communicate with that women but as we walked away I felt a quiet reassurance that someday she would be able to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I also felt a calm feeling that through our small act of service, she will remember the missionaries and the Church and that her heart will be open to the message. It was really incredible to hear that small and simple impression but really brought joy to me. After that we went to see Gift and my companion wasn’t feeling well at all. Enala, Gift’s cousin who was supposed to teach with us for that lesson and the next was gone, and Gift was no where to be seen. It was hot and I just remember being so down that I even said a silent prayer to please have a miracle so that we could either have a lesson or know what to do next. Almost instantly, Gift walked around the corner with a neighbor so we were able to teach him! He even brought another friend that seemed really interested! And we even found a female to come to our next appointment with us. The hand of the Lord really was with us that day and I was overwhelmed by the blessings that just kept coming and coming, no matter how small they were.

I love fasting so much!! I honestly was kinda worried to fast because I sometimes get so exhausted but I honestly felt so energized throughout the whole day. It was also really incredible to even receive answers to what I was fasting for that very same day. I also was impressed at the end of the day to not have everything that I was in need of or those I was fasting for be helped. I felt that I need to continue to pray and sustain my faith and rely more on the Savior and even then if the things I fasted for, don’t happen that I need to trust that all is well and that agency is one of God’s greatest gifts no matter how it is used. Anyways we got to church and as we started, the building felt so empty. The very first few moments of discouragement started to creep as we didn’t have investigators there but I felt I needed to count my blessings. Throughout the entire meeting I counted soooo many!! And our investigators came! Peace, John, Joel, Madaliso, and Vanderson! And I felt an overwhelming amount of love for the members and what I have learned from each of them. Sister Katunga….she has taught me perseverance and to smile. Peace has taught me to love my siblings even more. Osmond has taught me to not let the judgement of others lose my testimony. Tessa has taught me to stay positive and fulfill my calling. Sister Mbawa has taught me humility and the quiet strength of faith and obedience. Brother Nyenyezi has taught me to serve when asked. Praise has taught me to not just know the gospel but to live it. Regina has taught me to ignore my physical incapability and feel the joy the gospel brings to all. And our branch president, President Amos has taught me to put the Lord first. Obviously each and every single one of these people and lessons I have learned have a story behind them and I can’t wait to tell you them all!! I love the members of the Ndirande branch and all the members from Kalambo and Ndola. I feel so privileged to learn and grow from the pioneers here and I found a greater desire this week to build stronger relationships with them and cherish the time that I have. That afternoon we were able to meet with Joel who is incredibly prepared to hear the gospel. I really don’t think I have ever met anyone so spiritually in tune and ready! He takes notes in every meeting and constantly has questions and reads everything we give him. He even asked if we could meet with him every single day! He has really helped me to know that Heavenly Father is preparing people for us. That there are people ready and willing to hear the gospel and that really my role is soooo small in helping them because they already are prepared. I really feel like I don’t have to do much because of his faith.  Faith = miracles. We scheduled his baptism for May 1st but with how he is progressing, he may be baptized sooner! It has been so great to have Joel to lift our spirits and it has helped me to continue working hard to find more people like him. It has also made me grateful for our other investigators that make me study harder and more and seek the spirit even more in lessons. They are not any less in Heavenly Father’s eyes or my eyes and I really have felt so much love for all the kinds of people we teach. Those who accept, those you struggle to keep commitments, and those who completely turn us away.

The work in Ndirande is rolling forth and blessings are continuing to come everyday. I am so grateful for how much I am learning!!! I am so grateful for my companion. I am grateful for the sun, and moon, and stars and the beauties that are all around us. I am grateful for the Savior. I finally was able to finish Jesus the Christ this week and I still can’t believe that I am one of his missionaries in Africa. I love my family more than ever and miss you all so much!!!! Keep it up fam!!!
Ndimakukondani Kwambili,
Sister Bingham

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