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

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