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!

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