Monday, July 11, 2016

The work must go long to the terrific threesome:(

posing with my girls
Where to even begin....

Monday we did a YSA family home evening since we have a lot of YSA's in our area and we are trying to help strengthen them. Oscar, who was baptized in December, planned the whole thing and it was soooooo sweet to see him conduct and lead and bear his testimony. We had about 12 people there and 2 investigators so that was awesome!! We did a get to know you game where everyone says their first name and an adjective that matches the first letter of their name. It was hilarious!!! Here were some of them  "Joseph Smith Joel Jim, Piece of Bread Peace, Oscar Orange." They didn't quite get it but it made everyone laugh so its all good. Mid lesson a rat runs behind the couch and right by our feet and of course I freaked out but Joseph (the one who was baptized last week) couldn't stop laughing. Anyways, we were in charge of the activity so we thought it would be fun to bring the flour game. We didn't have a ton of time so we decided that we would sit out and let everyone else have a turn. But they get to the Elders and everyone starts chanting their names so we had to play. Sister Newey had a cold so she had a good excuse but i had nothing. And the flour stack was SO small!! I totally knocked it over...embarrassing right?? But the members loved it and it was way fun!!! I love family home evenings.

Oh also when we go emailing we park at this parking lot where there are a bunch of little kids that beg for food. It always breaks my heart and I wish we had something to give them. Two weeks ago I handed them all pass along cards with a picture of Christ and they loved it!! Last week they came running to the car saying, "Share me Jesus". I love that no matter what we do, as missionaries we are always getting to share and testify of Jesus Christ! I know that it was something so small but it really touches my heart to see these boys with the sweetest smiles all because of a picture of the Savior.

Winter is finally hitting Blantyre so its been pretty chilly and a little rainy the past week. On Tuesday it was raining on and off all day. It was SUPER muddy but really fun to be out preaching the gospel. Days like that just make me love mission even more!! We went to go watch the Restoration DVD with a less active and her house was super warm and we had just ate lunch so Sister Zohner and I were a little sleepy. Sister Newey was a champ....both of us though were struggling to keep our eyes open! Sister Newey starts teaching after the video and I look over at Sister Zohner and she is out! Hahahah I pulled myself together and taught after Sister Newey and then Sister Zohner was able to close the lesson but we both walked out of their so mad at each other for falling asleep. We couldn't stop laughing though because we were so tired and embarrassed! Sister Mhango though said that it brought back a lot of sweet memories for her from her baptism. While on our way to visit another less active, Sister Matale decided to take us on a short cut. It was through a little alley way and way muddy and she fell!! Sister Zohner ran over to help her up and Sister Matale is cracking up laughing saying "Who chose this way anyways?" Then we all start laughing and Sister Matale slaps Sister Zohner with a muddy hand.....thank goodness for water taps that are alll over!!! We finally got to the lesson and our feet were sooooooo gross!! We felt awful but Edward told us to not worry about it. During that lesson I was overwhelmed by the humility of him and all the people here. Here we were sitting in this small one room home on a reed mat with muddy feet and Sister Matale with a muddy skirt, and it didn't phase him one bit!! He just wanted to learn the gospel! I was also touched by the symbolism of our dirty feet and the purity and beauty of the gospel. There are things in our life that weigh us down, or worry us, or make us doubt but it doesn't matter what we have done or haven't done. The Lord takes us as we are. He doesn't care if we are muddy and wet. He doesn't care if we live in a big house or a small one. He and His atonement make it possible to be clean again. To be warm and dry and happy! I am soooo grateful that I get to walk around either the dusty or muddy streets of Malawi so that others can receive the joy of repentance and the gospel!!

 Fun in the Mud

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY MALAWI!!!! I think we were the only people who actually celebrated it...hahahah we kept saying "Happy Independence Day" to everyone and they didn't get it..oh well. A few people laughed though when we told them we were wearing Red, Green and Black in honor of the special day. This week, ok I probably say this every week, but I really enjoyed teaching with the members! I continue to be so amazed by them!! We were teaching this young man named Christopher with Susan and wow....Susan's testimony was incredible!! I've been teaching with her for a long time but this was the first time where she really was bold and testified so strongly of the Restored gospel. It is amazing to see your investigators grow in their faith but it is just as great to see members change!! My favorite lesson's this past week were with Vanderson who is going to be baptized next week!!!! He is 12 and doesn't speak English but since his brother, Oscar is a recent convert, and he has been coming to church consistently he can be baptized. Oscar translates and teaches with us and it is adorable!! This week I realized that they are the same years apart as me and Jacob and it made me cry as I thought of how much my family has helped me. I watched as Oscar helped his brother to learn the gospel and I thought about my own example to Jacob. It made me want to do and become so much better as well as grow in gratitude for all my siblings. I love my family!!! Vanderson was really nervous for his interview but he passed and I wish you could have seen Oscar tell Vanderson that he will be baptized next week!!! His smile melts my heart....and this will be the first baptism that Oscar will may be my most favorite baptism. Vanderson is such a sweet boy. For the past 2 weeks I have been really nervous about teaching him since he doesn't speak English. We have been working really hard to build the church here and so I was worried that he would become less active in a few short years. Last week I knelt down before personal study to know whether or not if we should continue teaching Vanderson. It was amazing because then I went to companionship study and my companions had been thinking about the same thing and we all received the same answer. We felt that if he kept coming to church and was excited to learn then we would keep going. Well this week was a miracle!! Usually we have to go on a search to find Vanderson, he is either playing football or marbles or doing something else, but this week he would come running to learn with a huge smile on his face!! I was really touched to see the Hand of the Lord once again help us and help Vanderson. I can't wait for next week!!!
  Vandason and Oscar!!
My favorite brothers

Regina is a member here and I have talked about her a lot. She has a learning disability but loves to come teaching with us! To communicate with her we talk really loud and slow and use super simple English. She teases us a bunch and is super funny and the past couple of weeks she tries to make us laugh by running away from us when we want to see her. Well we really wanted her to come teach with us so we told her we'd come pick her up at 5. She made some joke about her going to town or something but when 5 o'clock came around she was dressed up, scriptures in her backpack, and ready to go! Just seeing her, walking out with her crutch and a big smile brought tears to my eyes. Well we drive a little ways to the lesson and we all start getting out of the car but Regina yells "WAIT!" Startled, we all look at her and she says, "pempela." (prayer)
Regina said the sweetest prayer and the Spirit immediately filled the car. I am so grateful for her and she is such a great example to us!! The lesson went so well but the best was when Joseph prayed at the end. He says the most sincere prayers. But this time he prayed for Regina and thanked Heavenly Father for her testimony and asked that he would bless her. It was a highlight of my week for sure to hear one of our investigators praying for Regina and to see the faith that he has!!!! Mission gets better and better....

Regina Saka
I love this girl with all my heart!!!!

Thursday we went to teach a lesson and while we were waiting for Stanley to finishing bathing, we watched these little kids play a game where they throw a ring and try to get it through two rocks. We were cheering for them and they were getting so into it!!! Finally we decide to take a turn and boom...Sister Zohner gets it first try. We couldn't believe it. Then I did the exact same thing!!! I wish we could have recorded all the kids screaming and dancing. Way fun and I just love the simple joy the kids find here!!! Brother Fellium texted us on Wednesday saying he drank again and so we shouldn't come until later. We decided to just surprise him and see how he was doing on Thursday. We got there and Sister Zohner says, "So we got your text and we want you to know we still love you and so does Heavenly Father." He and his wife just look at us and then Brother Fellium's eyes get super big.....he didn't remember sending us a text. AWKWARD. Nonetheless we had a really good lesson with him but unfortunately he didn't come to church again. Keep praying for them! We had a busy day with a lot of fall throughs and trying to figure out what to do. We really need to see a new investigator but his sister wasn't there. We went on a hunt to find a female to join us but we couldn't find one. Just as I was saying "Sorry Beston, we will try and come see you tomorrow" I hear Regina's crutch and here she comes panting but smiling ready to join us!!! Another miracle by Regina. 
We didn't get to spend a lot of time in Chilomoni this week which was sad because tomorrow will be our last day in that area but we had some great lessons with Helen and Titus!!! We showed Helen the Restoration DVD and I have never seen anyone so into it!!! It got to the part where Joseph Smith is an adult and it shows a scene of him walking next to a river boat and Helen says, "oh yeah this one, he built an ark!!" hahahahah!!! She was making the funniest comments but the best part was when it was over and she said she couldn't wait to share it with all of her friends!!! I love her enthusiasm and joy for the gospel!

I was soooooo nervous for Vanderson's interview!!! Its been cold and when its cold one wants to do anything! We talked to him and Oscar about being at the church at 8 but they were still uncertain they would make it. They ended up being at the church even before our district leader was there!!! Church was incredible. It always is, I know but this Sunday was so good!!! The numbers were really low as we began sacrament meeting which is always hard for me. I was worried about it but then we sang the opening hymn and I actually turned around to look to see if miraculously a bunch of members and investigators came. I honestly think that there were angels with us yesterday. The saints were singing the best I have ever heard and the words of the hymns hit me with so much power. Joseph was confirmed and given a very sweet blessing. Then we began the sacrament hymn and right as we sang, "I know that my Redeemer lives" the young men stood up to bless the sacrament. Right then I was just hit again by the Spirit and felt a huge swell gratitude for the priesthood. I know with all my heart that this is Christ's church. I know that through the saving ordinances we really can have a life filled with joy and comfort and peace and love! I know that the Church here is so small. That our efforts are not anything spectacular. That we have a LOT to improve on but what we are doing is REAL. It is TRUE. And it is the LORD'S WORK.

I love being a missionary!!!! Life in Blantyre is bwino bwino. Sister Newey is going back to Chilomoni and will be training a new sister. Sister Zohner and I have a month left together. I am beyond grateful for what I have learned the past weeks that I have spent with two amazing missionaries. I will cherish the memories we shared and the work that we did together. It will be hard to be separated but I can't wait for what lies in store. Thank you all for your love and prayers. I can't tell you enough how much you each mean to me. 

Ndimakukonda Kwambili,
Sister Bingham

fun with rice
Sister Chirwa taught us how to shift through the rice to sort out the small pieces that they take out and use for porridge. we were really bad at it.....but it made her laugh!!! 

This is where we eat lunch almost everyday. We finally got Gladys and Loveness to come and take a picture with us!!! 

 Dinner at the Paselis!
A little blurry but not bad for a 5 year old....
 George trying to take a selfie

 Companion Jerseys
our heads are cut off. hahah 

Shoe repair
sister Zohner wore a hole through her last pair of shoes. Lucky for us we just stopped in our area and had this guy fix it. he gave her this high heel to stand in while she waited.

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