Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday May 9, 2016

It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good to hear and see all of you!!!!! We just have the best family in all the world...I'm convinced. I love all the families here but they don't beat you! Last night we came home and Sister Kgwetiane had a migrane so she went straight to bed. I was eating dinner alone and just thinking about the week and the day and skyping you. In our dining room (yes our house is that fancy) there is a big world map. I sat across from it and just looked at America and then Malawi. Then America, then Malawi. We are SO FAR from each other! It still amazes me. But anyways I was thinking about how much I missed you but how I really love being here. That I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! As hard as it was to see you and talk to you, I am so happy with life right now! I only wish I could just move you all to Malawi. I continued to look at that map for awhile and I just felt an overwhelming rush of gratitude for prayer and how it has helped me to feel so close to each of you! Anyways there were a million more things I wish we could have talked about and I realized how much we talked about me and my mission but I really do care about and love each one of you. Thank you for making me feel so appreciated, loved, and important. You continue to bless me each and everyday! Thank you for raising such wonderful children and for teaching them the gospel. I think my favorite part of yesterday was hearing those cute nieces and nephews sing I'm a Child of God. I am soooo happy that they are building their own testimonies and I couldn't help but think about each of them someday serving a mission and teaching children all over the world those simple truths we learn from that primary song. They have such a bright future and its all because of the gospel which is so amazing!!!
carrying water!!!!

Well this past week was really awesome but its going to be a shorter one this week:) 
Monday all the missionaries in the zone went to a local soccer game at the stadium here. It was the Blantyre Wizards vs. the Zomba Red Lions. They crowd was soooooo into it and it was so much fun!!!! They celebrate and react differently so we were probably enjoying the crowd just as much as the game. It made me miss playing out on the field for sure.
 soccer game with the zone!
 Pretty sure us missionaries were the only white people there
 this man would not get out of our picture and also just grabbed my bag and I was SO nervous he was going to steal it!!! 

 That Bingham soccer blood runs too deep in our family.

...that night we had a really incredible lesson with an older couple. It was the first time teaching the husband, (we taught the wife about a month ago) and turns out the member we took ended up knowing the family! it was a tender mercy for sure. We went to just have an introductory lesson as usual but this month as a mission we have been focusing on our "how to begin teaching" and so I really wanted to apply the principles we've been studying. Instead of our usual first lesson, we felt prompted to teach and testify of the temple. The wife is not really open to the church but it was amazing to see how as we listened to the Spirit and taught the blessings of the temple and eternal families, the husband was so captivated and immediately interested in what we had to share. I am so grateful that the Spirit works so individually and can help us to know exactly what to share. I have been studying the Doctrine and Covenants where this principle is taught again and again and again. I know that as we learn to individually love the people we teach, we will be much more successful. Maybe not always successful as in helping them get baptized but we will develop that Christlike love for them and help them draw nearer to the Savior.

We taught Gift who is the one who works 14 hours a day for 700 kwacha. we had a super simple lesson where we were just reading from the book of mormon since he struggles to understand it. Anyways during the lesson I was trying really hard to focus on his needs and listening to the spirit. I spent a lot of time that morning wondering how to best help him progress. During the lesson, Linda the 17 year old member who was teaching with us told Gift "Heavenly Father wants you to read the Book of Mormon so he WILL help you to understand even if it seems so hard now." Number 1 this is so true. Number 2 Gift needed that reminder and encouragment. Number 3 it helped to answer my own prayer as I felt very inadequate in my calling lately. I even made me tear up as I realized how much Heavenly Father is aware of me and for how often He blesses us through other people. Linda was there serving Gift yet comforted me through her own testimony. I also felt that I never would have received that answer if I had been striving to be a better missionary to meet the needs of our investigator. Never before have the words, "the best way to find ourselves is when we lose our selves in the service of others" rang more true than in that lesson that day.

Funny moment of the week...we went to go see John Phiri and unfortunately he wasn't there so we were just talking with his sister, Sister Lobeni. She was telling us about how he is still struggling with drinking and that is why he wasn't there today. then she said "You know what?! I am going to tell him to go take a bath and then lock him in there until you come back!!" hahaha she always cracks me up. you have to meet her someday.
We ended up seeing John Phiri the next day. He is improving on keeping the word of wisdom or in his words, "reducing" but he is still struggling. He is really doing great though! We taught him the Plan of Salvation and asked what he desires for his life here on earth and even in the next life. He told us he wants to get married, have a successful career, and just be happy. He is 65 but I was so humbled by his simple goals and aspirations. And when he told me this, I couldn't help but scream out, "You need the gospel of Jesus Christ!" ok maybe he won't find a wife or a job but he will find happiness, of that I know without a doubt. And not just mortal happiness but eternal happiness! I love the hope that the plan of salvation brings. I love that we have been given this life to prepare us to live with Heavenly Father again and that we sometimes have to pass through struggles so that we will be more qualified to inherit the blessings of heaven. I love seeing the circumstances of the people here and just knowing what they will someday get to enjoy! I love being able to be the one to teach them such truths and to actually witness them changing and being filled with the same joy and hope I have! 

Sunday was just the best!! Not only because I got to talk to you but Joel was confirmed and Grace is going to be baptized next week!! It was so incredible to watch, well listen, to Joel receive the Holy Ghost. I just kept thinking about how much it has helped me in my missionary work and with gaining my own testimony. I can't imagine how much it will help Joel as he beings his own journey to the Celestial Kingdom or what he calls his "hometown." He finally was able to share with us his testimony in English yesterday and I should have him write it down. He told us how he wants to bring someone else into the gospel just as his friend Raphael did for him. To think of the influence that he will have made me just so happy and grateful that we could be able to teach him. Joel is incredible. He has made my time in Ndirande wonderful and I know the Lord has sooooooo much more for me to do here but I am grateful for how He has blessed us in helping one of His children. Joel also said some really great comments in gospel principles class and his testimony is growing everyday! I sat next to Grace in Sacrament meeting and right before we partook of the Sacrament I was thinking about all the struggles of the week and a lot of my own mistakes and weaknesses. As I started to feel overwhelmed I looked over at Grace and she gave me a big smile, with her front teeth missing and all! I was so grateful for this tender mercy and for the love I feel from her and many people in this area. They help lighten my burdens and point me to the Savior just as Grace helped me to soften my heart so by the time the bread reached me, I was able to feel the love, mercy and grace of the Savior. Without Grace's smile, I may have been too wound up in my troubles to feel the true power of His atonement. 
 the primary presidency

I am just incredibly grateful for the Savior this past week and how my mission, my daily experiences are drawing closer to Him. The feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty and discouragement still come but there was a quote that really summed up what I learned this past week. "If I feel like a teardrop in the rain when I meant to be a river, God sees the ocean in me." I know Heavenly Father knows the desires of our heart. And I know that just as Elder Holland said we do get credit and blessings for trying. So I'm going to keep on trying here in Malawi!

Well I love you all. You all have changed so much, I can hardly believe it! Have such a great week!!!!

Ndimakukondani Kwambili,
Sister Bingham

 fhe last week with the paseli family!

Sister Fellium's wig
she insisted that I put on her wig!!! what do you think???

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