Monday, June 6, 2016

Fist bumping farewells

gettin' artistic!

This week felt like the longest but the shortest week of my mission but nonetheless it was AMAZING! And now as I am sitting down to write about it, I can hardly remember what happened. One thing about mission is that you have incredible experiences everyday and it sort of scares me that I won't be able to remember them all!!! I wish I could walk around with a GoPro on my head and record it all but then again you still wouldn't be able to feel the special spirit that literally cannot be described. Did you know that I just love being a missionary???
 last pictures together at our home

So Tuesday we went to the Blantyre Chapel to be there for the setting apart of 2 missionaries. One is Elder Mapinda from our Branch who we worked a lot with and Sister Tembo from another branch. As I walked into the room it was a HUGE flashback to almost one year ago when I was set apart as a missionary. Since being a missionary, I cry and everything so the tears just started to come as I thought of how much I have experienced this past year and how much I have grown and changed. Then as each missionary was blessed, I was intently listening to each word and I was reminded of how much our Father in Heaven loves us and how we have been given power and authority from Him to do His work. I felt almost like I was receiving a blessing myself as I listened to those sacred words. I also was overcome with joy and excitement as I looked at these two new missionaries about to embark on their journey. Part of me wished that I was in their shoes again but at the same time I was so grateful for my mission. The rest of the day, Sister Tembo was with us which was sooooo fun!! She is going to be amazing. Its been awesome to see investigators come to church, and to see investigators baptized, and to see less actives come back but to think of these young members going out to share the gospel and how much they will be changed and come back here to Blantyre and build the church...I just can't wait!!!! We got her on a bus that afternoon and sent her to Lilongwe where she would fly the next day to the Ghana MTC. Since the Church is so new here, we really get to be involved in a lot of different things like sending off missionaries and I just loved it! 
Sister Tembo going to Ghana!!!!
washing blankets!
with all the missionaries coming down from Lilongwe we had to round up all our extra blankets to send out to the other apartments. We had a big comforter that was super dirty. We told the zone leaders and they told us, "Oh no problem. Just wash it yourself! It won't be hard...just step on it in a big bucket. you don't even have to use your hands!" yeah it took sister Motsi and I over an hour!!! but it was hilarious

Wednesday we had a lot of running around to do but the highlight was by far picking up Sister Zohner from the airport. I was nervous and excited and I just didn't even know what to feel!!! But as soon as she came out those doors I was running to give her the biggest hug. One time I told you that she reminds me a lot of Chelsea Borup but she also reminds me of Katie so you can just imagine what our companionship is like. She served in Blantyre a year ago so its been really fun for her to be back and be reunited with some members again. She makes me laugh super hard but what I love most about Sister Zohner is how hard she works and how focused she is on her purpose. She really brings out the best in me and together, I really think we can help our area improve! We have big plans for the 10 weeks we have together (she goes home August 10th at could be at the airport:). 
 President and Sister Erickson

Thursday we had interviews with President Erickson. He has been an amazing mission president and has played a major role in my development as a missionary! I was really touched by his love and concern in this past interview we had together but how he really just wants me to serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength so that I will not only have a successful and meaningful 18 months, but a blessed life and eternity. I owe a lot to President Erickson and was really touched by how Heavenly Father has given us priesthood leaders to bless us and guide us on our journey through life. That evening we kicked off our combined zone conference with the missionaries from Lilongwe and it was really wonderful!! It was fun to be reunited with the other sisters but just to all be gathered together in one room....I know I have said it before but its the most amazing feeling. I just love looking around at the elders and sisters and thinking of what they have sacrificed and how they have come to know of the truth of the restored gospel. And then thinking about how much prayer and worry and study and work each one of them puts in everyday....and then I just sat there in utter awe to look down and see "Sister Bingham" and remember that I am a missionary too. I don't think I'll ever get over it and you might have to take my tag from me when its time......
"what do idaho people do in pictures?" 
Idaho girls!!!
Sister Brown, Zohner, and Bingham

Friday we finished the conference by talking about the temple and the covenants we have made. It brought the blessings of the temple into my life once again. But my most favorite part of the day and possibly the whole week was the testimony meeting that we had. Since it was the Ericksons last time in Malawi before they go home they wanted to have each missionary bear their testimony. Words can't describe it. We left feeling so grateful and ready to get back to our area to finally be teaching the gospel again! Update on investigators.....Joseph, 22 years old, we finally were able to see him again and is doing fantastic!! hopefully he will be baptized this month. He got lost coming to our district conference in Blantyre:( John Phiri had a hard time with drinking this week and we weren't able to see him but He came to the conference!! Alfred is doing great as well but is maybe going to Zombe (his home village) and then maybe South Africa so things are confusing. We found some new families and investigators this week so we are just excited to have this full week to figure everything out, get organized, and then get to work! 
 the great wall of maplot
 Regina my homegirl
carb load before the hike
Sunday we had district conference and we were all waiting outside as everyone started arriving. In pulls a bus full of Azungus...turns out it was the Nuskin interns that are here in Malawi. Sister Zohner and I told two of the primary girls from our branch that for every azungu they count and go say hi to, we would give them a treat. Hahaha they were so scared but they did it!! so now sister zohner and I owe them a lot of candy but it was really funny! The district conference was great. Halfway through we all stood and sang "We Thank Thee oh God for a Prophet." I love this song but what made it so special was being surrounded by so many saints millions of miles away from the Prophet who may have only heard him speak a few times through a rebroadcast of general conference yet they were all singing with so much power and faith.  There was no where in the whole word that I would rather be. Sorry, not even with you guys. I know that without a doubt that we have a prophet of God here on Earth. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He sacrificed more than we will ever imagine so that we can simply be happy. I know that nothing matters more than to live His gospel and honor the covenants we have made. It was a huge testimony to me that the Lord really is hastening his work today and that we are preparing the world for his coming. I was kinda busy saying hi to lots of people so I totally forgot to say goodbye to President and Sister Erickson but as he was walking out, President gave me a fist bump which was pretty funny since he is usually so serious but yeah....we still have them for a couple more weeks but I can't believe they are going!! 

Today we hiked the "Way of the Cross" which is on Mount Chilmoni, one of the 4 peaks sister Zohner and I are planning to climb. It is owned by the Catholic Church and they have 14 crosses up the path to the huge cross on the top. At each cross they have a bronze sculpture of different events of Christs Crucifixion. It was a short hike but it was really cool to just think of the Savior and all that He went through. We had our personal study at the top and it was incredible! I loved sitting up there overlooking the area and just feeling so close to Heavenly Father and the Savior. Sister Zohner and I spent some time just talking about how many people are out there and how much Heavenly Father loves them and how blessed we are to be 2 of the 14 missionaries to preach His gospel!! I loved being out hiking again but really what i love most is being a missionary.
 the guy taking our picture missed the cross but oh well.....
 Chilmoni Mountain!
 see the mountain in the background?? that's Ndirande Mountian...its the biggest one. 

 soooo happy!!!!!

Ndimakukonda kwambili!!!

Sister Bingham!!!!

our night guards

Our culinary art, I mean sister Bingham is the expert

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