Monday, May 30, 2016

Zohner and Bingham Round 2

The Branch!
Can you find me?

Sister Zohner and I are back together!!! I wanted to cry, scream, laugh, jump for joy, run around when the zone leaders told me but I honestly didn't believe them. I thought they were kidding on the phone. Sister Zohner and I were emailing back and forth last Monday joking about how we were going to be back together and what do you know...dreams do come true. BUT leaving Sister Kgwetiane will be really hard. Luckily she has just been transferred to be with Sister Newey in the other area here in Blantyre so I will still be able to see her at least once a week. Its been a hard but amazing 3 months together and I wouldn't trade it for the world! She has taught me SO much and even though we are probably the two most opposite people you could put together, I am grateful for her and the time that we were given to serve together. She is the greatest example to me of enduring to the end and putting her faith in the strengthening power of Christ's Atonement. I will miss her. 

Monday: We had a lesson with the Muringa family. They, just like a ton of the families that we teach here, are very very very active in their current church. The father has some big calling in the Pentecostal church he goes to but he really wants to know more and loves what we have shared so far. We went with the plan of just starting from the beginning and see how far we got. We started talking about families and he has such a great understanding of his role as a father, probably better than a lot of people I have met here. Anyways I felt a prompting to give him The Family: A Proclamation to the World and as I gave it to him, I was overwhelmed by the love that I have for my family and how blessed our family has been because of two wonderful parents who embraced the principles of that document. We then started to discuss the importance of prophets and the member that was there pulled out his tablet and was able to read a part of President Monson's most recent conference address (I got super jealous for all those missionaries who get i pads and how it must help them so much to teach! but all is well....i mean I'm in Africa so how could I possibly complain). It really just hit me in that moment that we truly have a LIVING and TRUE prophet of God here on Earth. I don't think that Brother Muringa fully understood what this means and how it can bless him, but he seemed to feel the spirit and I could see in him an interest that I know will grow as he sincerely seeks to learn more. 

Tuesday: We had quite the surprise at our district meeting when the Shurtz family came to the chapel. It was really fun to talk to them and to hear that they know the Pugmires and Wrights!! This sounds super pathetic but it almost made me cry. I miss those Sunday dinners:) We had so many appointments fall through but we were able to see this new investigator who is a Muslim and it was such a cool lesson! Did you know there are tons of Muslims in Malawi? I didn't. Anyways we get there, her neighbor told us she really wants to know more about Jesus Christ, so we are really pumped. She starts telling us that she is from Mozambique and that she is in 10th grade so she can get a high school degree from Malawi and then start working. She is enrolled in a Bible Knowledge Class and said she is really struggling and wants us to help her prepare for her exams. My heart kind of sunk as I was worried that she just wanted to mooch answers off of us. But we went forward and helped her to learn of our purpose as missionaries and how the Restored gospel can really bless her life. Before we knew it, she was opening up to us about some challenges she is facing and that she really feels that she needs Christ in her life. Its pretty amazing that there are people who don't even know Christ or don't believe in Him. Especially since I have learned so much of the Savior and His teachings while serving, I can't imagine how hard life would be without the knowledge I have of His love, grace, and mercy. How incredible that we get to be the ones to introduce her to the most perfect, most forgiving, most loving, most humble, man that has walked the earth and who know reigns in the Heaven's above, just waiting to help her in her trials. Actually, this week we ran into an azungu and he was wearing an Oklahoma Sooners hat so i struck up a conversation. He and his son were traveling to Mozambique where they go into the villages and "teach people the name of Jesus." I was really grateful for their service and how they actually are preparing the people to someday accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ but also I just felt a greater testimony of the truth of our church and our work as missionaries. It is soooo much more than that and it is so much more difficult and demanding but it is so much more rewarding and holds so much more eternal significance. I have been reminded time and time again that this really is the Lord's work.

Wednesday:I went on exchanges with Sister Motsi and oh how great it was to be reunited and teaching together again after serving together for 6 months and then been separated for 5. It was interesting to see how much we have changed and grown but still are the same old sisters. She is amazing though and the whole day we were just laughing and talking about so many great memories that we shared together! We went to see a member named Sister Frank who went to the temple about 10 years ago. We taught about how she can still receive the blessings she felt when she was in the house of the Lord even though she lives SO far away from the temple. She is one of my favorite members because she is always smiling! And what I love most about Sister Frank is that she sort of struggles to express herself in English. She speaks great but sometimes its just hard but throughout the whole lesson, she wasn't afraid to tell us what she felt and knew to be true, even though it was difficult to say. I could just feel her desire to share her testimony and how much she recognizes the Hand of the Lord in her life. In fact, both Sister Motsi and I noticed this and talked about how incredible she is to just look past her weaknesses and find joy in the gospel! We invited the district president, President Matale to join us for a lesson with Grace who was just baptized but she wasn't home. We went next door to a less active and President Matale went right in the house and started to give Happy the 24 year old son FIRE about not coming to church. He was so bold but also his testimony of keeping the sabbath day holy was filled with so much power and love that I myself found a greater desire to find more ways to truly sanctify that day. I love love love how closely we are able to serve with the leaders here in Malawi and how much they sacrifice. President Matale has a family and work and is district president yet still finds time to just come a teach a few lessons with us sisters that don't even live in his area. I know that he works with a lot of other companionships and I was so humbled by his service and dedication to the gospel. We have been asked to study a couple talks about consecration and although the Church is still so new here, I feel that sometimes the members live this celestial law so much better than where the church is much more established and the temple is so near. And i don't think that they even realize it. They just serve with a smile and they don't expect any recognition. It makes me sad that someday I will leave the humble people of Zambia and Malawi but I will be forever changed by their examples. That day we asked Susan, a member, if there was anything we could do to help after teaching a lesson in her home. Susan always says no but she actually said yes which actually wasn't good cause it made us late for our next appointment. But all was well. We had to fetch water for her and I have a FHE activity for the fam Go get 5 gallon buckets and walk out to the hose by the raspberries. then with a bucket in each hand walk into the house, down the stairs and back up the stairs. That will give you a little bit of an idea of the daily life for people here. Nonetheless, my arms were sore the next day. Hahah but I love the simplicity of life here. that night as we were driving home, I just looked over at Sister Motsi and realized how much she means to me! We spent some of the most growing and best months of my life together and now that she is going to Lilongwe we may not see each other again. Mission is hard and sad sometimes....but I think and hope that we will continue to stay close our whole lives!

Thursday: We went and saw Sister Fellium who said she is done with the church because she was offended. We have been trying to see her every week and just slowly help her remember the blessings of the gospel. This week she told us that she has really been questioning her standing before the Lord and where her spiritual life is. This small comment brought so much hope to me for her!! And guess what?!?! She came to church!!! I know that as we pray and do all we can to help others come back, and as we exercise patience that we will witness miracles. Sister Fellium has a soft spot in my heart and when she told me she was giving up on her faith I actually cried. I have also learned as a missionary that the more we love the people, the greater Christlike love we strive to develop, the more aware we are of the tender mercies of the Lord. Sometimes it can be so hard to love and I admit that at times I just think it isn't possible but we represent the Savior who loves more than we can imagine and so i am extremely grateful for His help in my calling and especially when i fall short.  

Friday: We finally got to talk to Alinafe about coming to church and he is still facing a lot of persecution from his father but he has so much faith it really is amazing! And he has a desire to serve a mission. I got the strongest impression during our lesson with him that I need to do all I can to get him out serving and so I am really excited to continue to meet with him in the upcoming weeks and months. It seems sort of impossible for him to serve a mission and when I got that prompting I thought "how in the world is this going to happen" but one HUGE lesson I have learned is that when we receive a prompting from the Spirit we must act. And when we do and put our trust in the Lord, all things are possible. Its going to be tricky to help Alinafe but I gave him my copy of "our Search for Happiness" to give to his father and will continue to pray that his heart will be softened. One quote that I read that more and ending up sharing in two different lessons that day was by President Monson. "The path is difficult but the promise is real." This has been something that has helped me with different challenges throughout the week but also is what I am realizing is something that we really need to help our investigators to understand. Unfortunately, ok actually fortunately, the journey back to live with Heavenly Father isn't easy. It is not just something we wake up one morning and go and do but it takes sincere repentance and commitment and faith and obedience and diligence and humility and hard work, but the blessings are eternal and incredible! so its worth it. Its worth it to walk far to church each Sunday. Its worth it to take those few minutes even if you are so tired to kneel in prayer to talk to heavenly father. Its worth it to wake up a little early to study the scriptures. Its worth it to work and save so that you can go to the temple and be sealed with your family. Whatever it is, its worth it. I promise. So does the Prophet and so does our loving Heavenly Father.

Saturday: We got to teach another new family!!! The mother is a pastor at her church and pretty set in her ways but the father seems ready for the gospel. We were just getting to know him when all the sudden he said that he had seen the Book of Mormon at his friend's house a long time ago. It was such a small miracle but I just was hit by the Spirit when he said that. Its actually pretty amazing to find how many people here have some connection to the church but I ended up expressing to Brother Mbewe how much the Book of Mormon means to me and that it truly is the hand of the Lord that has brought it back into his life and now he can learn of it himself and receive the fullness of the gospel. I love these tiny yet significant miracles that occur throughout the day! They really help me to just loose myself in the work and remember why I am here and how much i love it!!!

One more of the Branch

Sunday: Brother John Phiri, the old happy man that I love so much, came!!! He hasn't come for the past 2 weeks and we have struggled to meet with him. His sister told us he has been drinking even more so it was really sad for us. We told him about priesthood blessings though and after church he asked for one. We were able to join him and it was such a wonderful experience. We were in the tiny branch presidents office and there sat Brother Phiri surrounded by 4 worthy Priesthood holders. The blessing was given and the words were really great and even I myself felt the strength of the Lord bless me. I was really touched as I sat there and tried to just take it all in. Most of the times we see the Priesthood blessing us in big events such as baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost but I was really touched by the simplicity of the power of God that helps us just to comfort or strengthen us against trials and temptations. Heavenly Father loves us so much that He has given us access to the powers of heaven to help us in our personal struggles. It was absolutely amazing as I realized the love of God and His son Jesus Christ and how aware they are of us. How much they love this little old man, Brother Phiri. Ahh it gives me just chills thinking about it. Sister Kgwetiane was talking to someone and I was walking Brother Phiri out the gate to go home. I shook his hand and told him how much I loved the blessing and how I hoped it would give him the courage to have faith and continue to prepare for his baptism. He just smiled and said, "Sister Bingham, thank you so much. I won't disappoint you!" 

This week was amazing! I know that is was because of the extra prayers from my family and I couldn't have done it without you! This week is going to be crazy and so great! Tomorrow we get to be there for the setting apart of a member from the branch who is going to ghana. A sister from another branch is also going so she gets to spend the rest of the day with us! Then we will take her to the bus that night to go to Lilongwe. Then on Wednesday we go pick up Sister Zohner from the airport. Man, its going to be the best reunion!!! Then Thursday we have interviews and that afternoon the missionaries from Lilongwe come down and we start a combined zone conference. Fridaymorning we have a discussion about consecration and sacrifice and a testimony meeting because its our last conference with President and Sister Erickson. Its going to be really hard to say goodbye to them!!! Then Saturday and Sunday we have our district conference. Mission is so great!! I love it. I love my family. Life is oh so good!!!!

Ndimakukondani Kwambili,
Sister Bingham

P.s. my favorite quote of the week!
"Cherish your spiritual burdens because God will converse with you through them and will use you to do his work if you carry them well. " -Elder Holland

No comments:

Post a Comment