Tuesday, June 14, 2016

1 year down, 2 areas, and 3 azungus

This week was so insane and I don't even know where to begin.....but first things first I am now in a threesome!!! Sister Kgwetiane went home this past week so Sister Newey is now with Sister Zohner and I. Why would they put 3 azungus together??? I don't know but it has been so amazing being with the 2 of them! I was honestly a little nervous because teaching with 3 people is hard and now we had to focus on two areas and split our time but it has been working really well. Teaching is great! We still kind of struggle a little bit but we are improving everyday. They both make me laugh really hard which is good and bad. Bad because sometimes Sister Zohner starts telling an analogy (she is super great at these and makes the lesson fit each person) about watermelons and asks, "How many watermelons come from 2 seeds?" Our investigator responds, "A lot!" Sister Zohner looks at him and says, "No you only have 2 seeds!" and Mike answers again, "a lot." and Sister Zohner again says, "No you only have 2 seeds!" Sister Newey and I just lost it and could not stop laughing. or when we go to say our companionship prayer at the end of the day and we are just so tired from the day and talking about the great and spiritual funny things of the day and then they ask me to pray. For some reason I just start laughing and they start laughing and we couldnt' stop for so long!! Everytime I would say, "Dear..." and then I'd laugh again. Ok but I promise we are serious and we had some really incredible experiences this week. But I love Sister Newey and Sister Zohner and can't wait for you to meet them!!!

We went to go teach the Mbewe's who I was SO excited about! We had taught them once before and they seemed so interested. Well we get there, and we brought a member, Watipaso, with us. Things are going well then the neighbor, who we are also teaching, walks in and tries to start bashing with us about prophets. The lesson just went downhill from there....Brother Mbewe pretty much told us that he learned absolutely nothing and that next time we need to come with a specific topic. Then when we tried to leave because they weren't really listening and every time we went to say something, they would just interrupt. Even after Watipaso bore a POWERFUL testimony they wanted to hear none of it! But Sister Zohner started to explain that we needed to go and Brother Mbewe slams the table and yells, "NO! you are missionaries and you are not doing your job if you just leave after 1 hour. you need to stay the whole day. you are not doing what Christ would do." It was kind of crazy and we were trying everything to just testify of the Savior and leave peacefully but Sister Mbewe ended up calling Sister Zohner short tempered and all this stuff. It was really sad to walk out of their house and just think about what they were missing out on. It was interesting because honestly in Zambia and Malawi, we don't get rejected that much so it was really unexpected but made me appreciate once again that I get to be a witness of Jesus Christ through the good and the bad. I also felt a great appreciation for my testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel. Although the Mbewe family didn't accept it, I still have a knowledge that God lives, that Christ's Church is once again here on earth and that we have the gospel to guide us back to live with them again! Another bummer of the day was after a super great lesson with the sister of our investigator Joseph, she told us she is moving to the village for 3 or 4 months. Missionary work!!! its great!!!! Joseph though is doing well. He is on date for July 3rd! Its kind of crazy how we had such a terrible lesson and then to go and see Joseph. I know that the Lord truly prepares many hearts for us and our simple, but vital role in finding and teaching them is a responsibility that I am cherishing more and more each day!
Saying goodbye to Sister Kgwetiane was hard but I am happy that she is home now so that she can heal. It was sort of surreal to take her to the airport and send her off.....it was actually a really neat experience for me to ponder about my service and think of what I still have left to do! So yep now we are in a tripanionship and we split our area Ndirande, and Sister Newey's Chilimoni. President Erickson said that Ndirande is the focus but we need to keep Chilimoni "warm." So our plans for now are WednesdayThursday, in Ndirande and TuesdayFriday in Chilimoni and then Saturdays and Sundays will just be switching back and forth. It takes about 20 mintues to get from one area to the other unless traffic is bad. I love Chilimoni already!! Its so incredible that I get this unique opportunity to serve in another part of Blantyre. I love the members and investigators just like all my other areas and feel so blessed to be in our current situation. Chilimoni is a sweet area. VERY, VERY humble circumstances. This week we were meeting with a family and turns out that Malawi is a huge crisis because of the low rainfall and things are looking really bad for the country. And I think I knew before I came but Malawi is the poorest country in the world. My heart ached that night as I thought of the struggles that the people already face and to think that its going to get worse was hard to hear. The investigator was telling us how when other countries send aid it often goes to the villages but the people here in Blantyre are also in need and help doesn't usually come since they are "in the city." But anyways this week I thought a lot about how this is one of the signs of the second coming and how important our purpose is as missionaries. We have been sent here to prepare them for this and it really is the only solution to what they are facing. My personal studies this week were focused on Doctrine and Covenants and I am almost finished so I've been reading the marriage sections...don't worry mom and dad, I still have 6 months until i get home:) Anyways I have been amazed to realize how much is in store for us and how many more plans Heavenly Father has for us in the next life. A quote I loved though was "A man is saved only as fast as he gains knowledge." I know the more that we learn, the more we live the gospel, the more obedient we are, the more we turn to Christ, the more prepared we will be for when He not only returns again but for what lays ahead in eternity.
Sister Mozambique is a muslim mother that we are teaching. She is still in the beginning of learning the gospel but honestly one of the most touching moments this past week was hearing her pray. We taught her the correct pattern of prayer and she said the simplest yet sweetest prayer! Right after she prayed she said, "Was that ok?" The 3 of us all had the biggest smiles on my face. Sister Mozambique has a long ways to go but to be there and hearing her say probably one of her first prayers said in the name of Jesus Christ.....words don't do it justice. I love love love that no matter what happens each day, we are constantly given opportunities for God's children to draw closer to Him and even commune with Him. Not all of them progress quite like we want and its frustrating and disappointing at times, but the longer I serve, the greater I realize that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. We met with a boy named Christopher that met the missionaries about 3 years ago and just felt like he should come to church. He is really prepared to hear the gospel and already has a small testimony of the restoration after one visit! He even brought a friend to the lesson. This seems something small but because of different things, our area has been a little dry and I have spent a lot of time praying that we could find more of Heavenly Father's prepared children. And this week we were blessed with Christopher! It was actually during his lesson that I was overwhelmed by the blessing of prayer in my life and then I was just looking around in the lesson and had another "Am I seriously a missionary right now in Africa? Do I even realize what I am a part of?" Man mission just gets better and better.
Saturday I brought a soccer ball to our coordination meeting with our Branch Mission Leader and you should have seen the faces of the kids!! We are planning a branch soccer tournament/missionary fireside next Saturday and I am sooo excited. That night we came home to no power...Black outs were everyday in Zambia but actually since being in Malawi its been power 24/7. So anyways we were stressed because i didn't know if we forgot the zone leaders to buy us electricity units or that there was a blackout. The week had been so crazy i totally forgot about that. Since we didn't have power we couldn't cook and with fast Sunday we were sort of freaking out. hahah long story short we made a quick trip to KFC and you should have seen us 3 Americans...hahah it was like Christmas or something. Sunday was so crazy! We went to Blantyre 1st Branch for Sacrament meeting We were given the opportunity to bear our testimonies since Sister Zohner and I were new in the branch, and it was a high of my week for sure. Right after the sacrament and pondering on the covenants i made at baptism and in the temple, and then standing up and testifying of the Savior and Heavenly Father was something I can't really describe. I just really, really love being a missionary because of moments like this. . Then we headed to Ndirande Branch and caught the end of sacrament and went to some of gospel principles. Brother Fellium came to church which was crazy! We dropped him a long time ago because of word of wisdom problems and then his wife left the church but she has been coming the past 3 weeks and then to see him there!!! so great. then we rushed back to Blantyre 1st for Titus to get interviewed for baptism. Then we went back to Ndirande for Coordination meeting with our branch president. CRAZY i know!! But that afternoon we finally got to see Joel after a couple of weeks of not meeting with him. He is just as great as ever. Still learning the gospel and taking everything in. At the end of our lesson he had so many questions about the temple and man i just love seeing him continue to grow in his testimony and progress in the gospel. He is amazing and a living testimony that the gospel can bless anyone's life and as we feast on the scriptures and the words of the living prophets (he LOVES the Liahonas) that we can find the answers to help us be happy!
This morning we woke up and made our way to Michiru Nature Reserve. A couple weeks ago Sister Newey had gone with her district and walked around but told us that we could hike to the peak. Obviously Sister Zohner and I were all over this! We started at 8 and got to the top around 10. It was amazing!! so beautiful and there were baboons!! But as we got closer to the top it was super foggy and cold and we couldn't see anything! We then read President Monson's talk from conference "Choices" and each bore our testimony. Then all the sudden the clouds started to part and we were able to look at all of Blantyre and the reserve is really beautiful. It was pretty incredible. I love hiking as you know but it was pretty cool to be hiking in Africa as a missionary. I felt really close to my Heavenly Father. This week I hit my one year mark which is insane!! How has one year already flown by?? Sister Newey and Sister Zohner keep me pretty busy but I have thought about my mission so far and what lies ahead and its mixed feelings. Feelings of that I am still not everything that I thought I would be as a missionary and not accomplishing all that I want but at the exact same time, I am in utter awe at what I have been blessed to experience and witness. But one thing that I am sooooo grateful for is the knowledge that I have gained of the Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives, I know He loves us, I know that He has experienced all that we face. I know that His restored gospel, His power and authority is here on earth. I know that because of Him, all of us can overcome sin and weakness. I know that this is His work and I feel extremely humbled to be a part of it. 6 months left.....its scary and exciting and sad and happy and I just can't wait to make everyday count until then.

the map of our hike today

 Michiru Mountain!
 i promise we were on top of a mountain but it was super foggy!


Well, I love you all!!! Mission is great. I am happier than I have ever been. Malawi has stolen my heart. Have the best week. Enjoy the Grand Canyon for me!!!!
Sister Bingham!

 my 1 year breakfast
I have the best companions!!!!
 Regina...my favorite
she never stops laughing!i love her!
 For Grandpa Anderson - Lion's Club Malawi way

 the lunch spot
rice and beans. our new favorite
 the great wall of Maplot
we stood on this wall and yelled at the top of our lungs for Peace for a good 10 minutes....she never came:(
 fun with fish

the cutest 12 year old ever! it was his birthday so we gave him sweets and he was so happy!!! he is in Chilimoni (sister Newey's area) and was confirmed Sunday


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