Monday, June 27, 2016

"My Joy is Full"

The Majesty of Malawi

YO YO YO YO....(Helen's words as she steps into the font) this week was another one of those crazy, miracle filled missionary weeks!!! Funny how we do the same things every single week yet it still is absolutely incredible and packed with new adventures and lessons learned. The threesome is still going strong and I am even more grateful to be companions with Sister Newey and Sister Zohner!

We visited a less active last week who wasn't that interested in the lesson. Well this week we showed up at her house and she is rushing to leave to go play Netball. All the sudden the words come out of my mouth, "Sister Mahango we are planning a district relief society netball tournament can you help us plan it?" She immediately turns around and jumps onto the couch right next to me and yells "YES!" hahaha she was so pumped. Hey if netball brings her back to church...but we actually did get together with the District Relief Society President and planned it out and it really is so neat to be so involved with strengthening the church here in Blantyre.  Everyday I continue to be touched by the pioneers of Malawi.

Brother Mwale FINALLY made it to an appointment with us after trying for weeks which was a miracle but then we go to the lesson and it was with a lady who really isn't serious which was such a bummer. I remember feeling so sad that whole lesson because Brother Mwale was there and the lesson was a referral from another member. As we were walking away though and I was lost in my disappointment, Brother Mwale says, "I feel SO much joy right now! I am so grateful I got to share my testimony and do missionary work!!!" He could not wipe the smile off his face!!! This totally turned my day around as I realized that although our lesson was a flop, Brother Mwale felt the Spirit and the joy of being in the service of the Lord. 

Sister Fellium is doing so great!!! Its crazy to think just a few weeks ago she was so against the church. She has been a member for a year now but this week we had a lesson with her and her son Patrick about the Book of Mormon. We asked how their reading has been but turns out that they really don't even understand its importance at all. We decided to go over everything and it was a really neat experience to be there and teach them how much the Book of Mormon has helped me in my life! But I just loved being there. Its kinda crazy that they have been members for so long yet didn't even know what the Book of Mormon is or how we have it today. I was SO humbled that afternoon as I looked at my two companions and realized what huge eternal responsibility has been given us but how much joy is found as we lose ourselves in the work. 

We had the funniest lesson I think I've ever had!!!! Beauty, Grace's 11 year old daughter, was home alone and we hadn't seen her in awhile. We go inside and its pitch power....what's new right??? Well usually she lights a candle but I guess she wasn't feeling it. So we say the prayer having no idea what we are going to teach. Then the inspiration comes that we should have her memorize a scripture. The first scripture that pops into my head is 1 Nephi 3:7. classic I know but I thought it would be an easy one. I use our phone to read the scripture to make sure we get it right and then everyone was repeating after me. We decided to do it slow motion and then as fast as we could. I don't know if that was what started to make us laugh or if it was the fact we literally could not see anything but Sister Newey and I were gonners.  I guess it was just one of those times when something funny happens and then you can't stop. Sister Zohner was trying to pull us together but then Beauty started laughing and it was a lost cause. Ok actually it wasn't at all!! We all memorized the scripture and we built a better relationship with Beauty who is super super shy.

Joel is my favorite. He got the priesthood last Sunday but because we are balancing two branches right now we missed it! When he told me I was soooooooo happy!!! He is doing incredible. We are reteaching him the lessons and this week I gave him the Plan of Salvation pictures (shout out to Mom...they are the best!!!) and told him to do the best he could. Not only did he put them in perfect order but he then went and explained the entire Plan of Salvation perfectly and with so much detail. He is the best. He has been practicing the sacrament prayers all week too. We saw him again and he told us he had 51 questions for us. hahaha we started the lesson sort of nervous for what he'd have to say and he goes, "So what question do you have for me?" hahaha but he really did have so many questions about the gospel which I just loved!! He has such a sincere desire to learn and is progressing so well. He is teaching someone he works with and hopefully we can go meet him later this week cause he just so happens to stay in Chilimoni (our other area). But he was asking a lot about repentance and was using an example of someone who kills another person. He kept asking more and more questions so sister Zohner says, "Joel...have you ever killed anyone?" totally joking but then 100% serious Joel responds, "yes." he didn't hear her right. hahahaha you should have seen the look on sister Newey's face!!!! Bottom line Joel is doing fantastic and he was a ray of sunshine this week when I was feeling discouraged by some investigators who are failing to progress. 

Titus (who was baptized on Sunday) is the best missionary!! Ever lesson he brings friends. Anyways This week were teaching Titus and it was getting late so we had to hurry. We left with him Alma 17 but I started telling him a brief summary of the chapter. I was telling him about Alma the younger and the angel appearing to him and I said, "An angel" then I hear this I start again, "An angel" more yelling. I start a third time "an angel" and finally I listen to the yelling and it's Titus' little sister and cousin yelling "SHAI!!!"" Shai is the cousin's name and they thought I was talking about Titus' little cousin named Angel so they were yelling back. Too funny. Titus finally prayed for us in English!!! A lot of people here speak great English but will only pray in Chichewa. This week though Titus, Helen, and Beauty all prayed for us in English. I know it sounds so small but it touched my heart and was incredible to hear. But Titus's baptism was so great. He gave such a sweet testimony and was getting really emotional. And he was wearing a white shirt and tie and I got so excited for him to not only hold the priesthood but also be a missionary. Helen's baptism was sweet as well. I don't have words to describe her but she is just funny. She said that she felt "very nice and good" after her baptism though. I love all the different kinds of people we get to meet and love and teach as missionaries!!!

Helen....the funniest woman in all of Malawi
 Helen's and Titus' Baptisms

The branch activity was a success!!!! It was soooooooo much fun and so great!!! We did a presentation about member missionary work and tried to get them pumped about going out with us. We had 20 youth/YSA there! We then played football and did king of the court 3 vs. 3 and holy cow they are sooooooo good at football!!! It was the first time on my mission that we really got to play and boy do I miss sports! I also am so rusty but it was just really great to be with the members. It was good to show them that we can have fun and are just like them but also to help them realize how important and special being a missionary is. They really are the future of the church here and I believe that the success of the church relies on them serving missions. 

Branch Activity!!!


Refreshments at the Branch Activity
Mashed sweet potatoes and "Puffs"....we loved them!!!

Church was super great as always. I thought a lot about the Savior all Sunday and during the Sacrament I was reading in the New Testament about His resurrection and what He did with that limited time He had. It was so incredible to read His words that He spoke to His apostles about going and preaching His gospel and then to realize that is exactly what I am doing right now. What I have been doing the past year and what I get to still do for the next 6 months. I thought over the week and was filled with so much joy!!! Things still don't go right all the time, we have disappointments on the daily, but we get to experience the greatest happiness as we serve as missionaries. We were able to have 2 baptisms this week and Joseph will be getting baptized on Saturday. The Lord truly is blessing us more than I can believe. We came home on Sunday and just sat in  the car as we each shared what we were grateful for. We all came to the conclusion that we were most grateful for the Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, none of this would be possible. 

Well I have about a million other hilarious stories and a million other spiritual stories (Mom I may be exaggerating but its close) but all in all mission is great. President and Sister Erickson go home this week:( But i can't wait for President and Sister Kupu!!!! Thank you sooooooooo much for the prayers and emails!! I have the best family. I have the best mission. Life is so great and my joy truly is full.

Ndimakukonda kwambili,
Sister Bingham

The toilet at our favorite restaurant
Sister Newey is a pro:)

Dolica (in the grey shirt) is a random girl that every time she sees me she runs and gives me a huge hug!!! She walked with us to a lesson and while we were waiting for them we played games with her. She is adorable! I love the little kids so much!

When Muslims propose to you.....
So about a month ago we ran into this guy who was wearing these white robes. He told us his name was God and kept saying all this weird stuff. We were trying to get him to leave but then he asked, "Are you married?" I told him yes. Then he asked if i had any kids. I said yes I have one. Then he said, "I want to marry her!!" Well this week we ran into him again so i told Sister Newey and Sister Zohner to start walking fast. We walked all the way to Sister Felliums but instead of the usual custom of stopping outside the door and saying "Odi?" we just walked straight into her house and HE FOLLOWED US IN!!! Of course we were all laughing but I was trying to motion to Sister Fellium to get him to go away. Sister Fellium says, "You are welcome!!" hahahah anyways he would not leave and kept asking to marry me and Sister Zohner sneaked a picture. 

 nice right???
 Sister Newey was the only one brave enough for this pit toilet.

 PIGS in Africa!!!

Yes that is an avocado and yes they are that big here
also I bought that Patagonia jacket for $1.50......

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pinch me, I'm dreaming.....


-You get to have family home evenings with members and you completely forget that they actually aren’t your real family because you love them so much and they love you as well! We asked Chikondi last week if there was anything we could do to help her and she asked us to come do family night. Her sister Regina and she are the only members in their home (hopefully Peace can get baptized soon) so we wanted to include her mother and grandmother. They ended up being really late but we did a lesson on Gratitude and made everyone sit in a circle and we went around  a bunch of times saying what we were grateful for but you couldn’t repeat what had already been said. Despite all the laughs, I felt the Spirit very strong as I realized how much we truly have been blessed with. I also was touched as very few material things were mentioned. I am grateful that we were able to include their mom and for her to also participate! It doesn’t matter what we believe, Heavenly Father loves us and blesses us the same. It was sad though as we shared such principles as baptism, and eternal families, and the Holy Ghost that she doesn’t have quite yet. I know that as we take time to count our many blessings, we will be instantly filled with much joy but we will also be able to reflect on areas in our life that we can improve on.


-You get asked to give a presentation in District Meeting on a talk by Elder Oaks but instead you accidentally present on a talk by Elder Andersen but it all works out because then your district leader gives a short summary on the correct talk. My bad….but both talks were about our purpose as missionaries and teaching the doctrine of Christ. As I studied for this, I was greatly touched by the call that I have, that is so closely linked to the duty of the Apostles, to teach such simple yet eternal truths. My favorite quote though was, “Pray that with the help of our Savior, you will act so that you can look back, on your missionary service with the sweet recollections that come from being faithful and true.” As much as I need to work on helping others to live the gospel, I myself need to apply the same principles in my life. I still make so many mistakes each day but I am humbled as I look back and have seen how much the Atonement has made up for many of my weaknesses.

-You go to say your prayers before bed and ask, “What do you I need to work on?” You receive the answer, “Trust in me and all will be well.” You finish your prayer, wondering what is in store, and immediately get 2 texts of investigators cancelling their appointments. You stress all next morning and but try to have faith in the answer from the Lord the night before. You don’t know what to do but are prompted to go check on Brother John Phiri who has been missing all week. You show up at his house and guess who is there?? BROTHER JOHN PHIRI! As we started that lesson, I was already so content and happy with the miracle we had just been a part of. We had a great lesson with him as we are focusing on helping him overcome his Word of Wisdom problem. He still had a hard week but he came to church! I am grateful for this experience for a lot of reasons but mainly how it taught me to constantly seek to improve and the Lord will bless our plans in ways we may not expect.

-You get to see families learn and grow in the gospel together!!! Brother Fellium is sincerely striving to prepare for baptism and Sister Fellium is right there by his side. When we teach them, she doesn’t say anything profound and doesn’t necessarily jump in to share her testimony but her quiet support is incredible. Their families has had quite the challenges. Now that they both are on board and understand how much the gospel can help them, their progress is so much better!!! Families truly are ordained of God and are the best way for us to gain the testimonies that we need. On Sunday, Brother and Sister Fellium were not only answer questions in gospel principles but were giving such great comments and helping others to learn! It was awesome and I am so excited for this family. The biggest concern right now is the Brother Fellium wants to wait until August because its too cold. We told him we’d bring him lots of towels so hopefully July 17th will be the big day!

-You lose 3 families the week before so you set goals to find new families. Despite doing all that you can think of to find and teach families, it seems like nothing is working. So then you set a companionship goal  to pray for families and you strive to increase your faith. You still feel like nothing is happening but then all the sudden during Zone Meeting, during a presentation on Setting Goals, you realize that although you haven’t  received the families you wanted, you found new investigators, you got referrals from members, and you taught less actives and members you haven’t seen in awhile. The Lord works in mysterious ways and I am grateful for how we were blessed this week even though it wasn’t quite the way I had thought or wanted really. I am also grateful for the revelation that I was able to receive during Zone Meeting and what one of the elders said that made me to realize what the Lord had done for our area! P.S. we actually just now had the family we were supposed to see tonight say we shouldn’t come tonight and that they will call us when they want us to come….Missionary work 
is funny sometimesJ

-You and your companions have to give a presentation in Zone Meeting so to break the ice Sister Zohner comes up with the idea to ask everyone what their favorite ice cream is and why. Then we would say, “Good. Now we know all your voices are working so you have no excuses for not participating.” Well on the way to our meeting, we thought it would be funny to guess what each elder would say. For one of the elders, Sister Zohner guesses he will say, “Vanilla because its plain.” We get to the meeting, all is well, we start asking the elders and then all the sudden we hear, “I like vanilla ice cream because its plain.” I lost it….I could not stop laughing. It was really embarrassing actually and I felt really bad for the elder but anywho….we presented on diligence and my favorite thing from what I learned was that diligence for me is continuous repentance. Its doing your best, making mistakes, but waking up the next day ready to do a little bit better.

-You go to a lesson with an investigator that is set for baptism in 2 days. He has passed his interview and is so ready! But then after you pray he gets all quiet and says, “Sisters I am so sorry.” You could have heard a pin drop as each of us went dead silent. Then he says, “I forgot to read the chapter you left with me.” We all were SO relieved because we all thought he was going to say he didn’t want to be baptized or something bad happened. Titus is great though! He will be baptized next week!!

-You try to teach an investigator about the importance of prayer and so you start telling her how happy it makes you. You tell her that as missionaries you pray 20+ times a day (its 12 if you don’t count any prayers in lessons) and then testify that you have never been so happy in your life! Well instead of her going along with it, she thinks that you are trying to have a competition with her so she starts telling you how many prayers she will have each day. She tells you she will pray when she wakes up, when she goes outside, when she goes to the bathroom, when she cooks, when she eats, when she takes Panado (Tylenol), when she sleeps, and she went on and on and on. FINALLY she concludes with, “We’ll see Sister Bingham who says the most prayers! I’ll tell you next time, but I’m going to beat you!” Hahahah we were dying! Helen is probably the funniest person in all of Malawi. She is 50 years old but I totally thought she was 70. She had her baptismal interview yesterday and right before our district leader walks in she frantically looks at Sister Zohner and I and goes, “ I forgot everything!!! Tell me the answers! Quick quick!” She did great though and boy was she excited that she is getting baptized. She comes out from the interview all sad and saying, “I failed, I failed everything!” But then she started telling us how well she did and was saying, “Today, I am number 1!” You have to meet her someday. She is great and I love how she has made a lot of changes in her life. I know that it is really hard, especially as she has been doing certain things for so long but she knows what is right and has faith to do it!

-You are sitting in Sacrament meeting and a little girl, probably a year old, walks around the corner, and sees Sister Zohner. Her eyes get a little bit bigger. Then she sees Sister Newey and her eyes get bigger. Then she sees you and  doesn’t know what to do! She stares at the three of us for about 3 minutes and then starts bawling! No one comes to get her and we have no idea what to do! We were trying to help and not laugh at the same time. We have had quite the adventures this past week going around as 3 azungus. Two nights in a row we had 30 kids escort us back to our car. The first night they were chanting “A-ZUN-GU!” over and over and the second night they were chanting “HOW ARE YOU?” hahah the kids still continue to melt my heart though and I love all the funny moments that happen each day.

-You have a lesson with a member and at the end she bears her testimony and expresses her gratitude for the missionaries that taught her the gospel and goes on to say how much she loves every single missionary. You are so overwhelmed by her love and have a HUGE realization of how blessed you are the be a part of such an incredible work that you start to cry. You think of those missionaries that first taught her and now hear her powerful testimony as District Relief Society President. Then you think of the people you have taught while serving and wonder what they will become, who they will teach. Then you think of how many people are praying for the missionaries and you can hardly believe how many miracles and blessings you have witnessed. Then your eyes start to sting cause your sunscreen mixes with your tears and then all the sudden the power comes on so instead of being able to hide your tears in the dark, everyone can see. But nonetheless, I love being a missionary and love the members so much and appreciate their powerful testimonies!

I could just go on and on about all that I learned and experienced this week but words and time don’t suffice. Just know that I love it here. I love sharing the gospel. I love bearing my witness of the Savior. I love wearing His name every day, all day. I love my companions. I love the beauty of Malawi. I love the Book of Mormon. I love the words of prophets.  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.


Sister Bingham

p.s. today we went to Majeti Wildlife Reserve and did a guided jeep tour… wasn’t even real life. Seriously I felt like I was dreaming! We got to see hippos, elephants, warthogs, kudu, waterbucks, impalas, crocodiles, hartebeasts, and nyalas. Its about an hour drive from Blantyre and the drive it self was incredible!! It felt like I was home again driving through beautiful mountain valleys. But I wish I could have done it with my family!!!! 

Kamuzu Overlook




soccer with kids!!!

Malawian Pancakes
Uncle B gave us free pancakes!! Lol.
 Water pumps donated by the church!

We saw this guy walking down the side of the road so I pulled over and asked to take a picture. my comps thought I was crazy!
Classic Blantyre