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......

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