Monday, August 29, 2016

Count Your Blessings

I haven't had to lead the music in the entire 6 months that I have been serving in Ndirande Branch so I guess it was about time for the branch to hear my lovely singing voice:) The closing hymn was "Count Your Blessings" and as I looked out at our small but mighty branch, I couldn't help but feel so much gratitude for being blessed to serve here. I know I say that all the time but I can't express how much the Lord has been blessing us and how much JOY missionary work brings to me!!! 
                                                       Babies of the Branch

 We had a family cancel for FHE on us so last minute so we hurried and called The Chirwas and the Paselis and it was a success!!! Watipaso, who just put in his papers, taught a great lesson about developing Christlike attributes. I couldn't help but feel so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ. I looked around at the youth in the room and felt so much excitement and anticipation for how they would grow and develop as they serve as missionaries someday! Developing these characteristics are so important and its been amazing to realize that the more I strive to lose myself in the work, the more I have grown in each attribute. I am FAR from perfect in any of them but I have definitely seen changes.  Vaida, Beauty, Joyce, Sister Chirwa were all particpating and once agian it was so great to be gathered with families who are striving to live the gospel. We had baked a box cake for refreshments and everyone could not stop talking about how good it was. We drove the Paseli's home since it was dark and when Vaida was getting out of the car she says, "We cleaned the pan with the cake in it for you!" When we got home and grabbed it out of the back seat it was licked clean!!!! Who knew a plain vanilla cake with no frosting could be so good! Mission has definitely taught me to love the simple things in life.

  Family Home Evening with the Paseli's and Chirwas

We had a lot of things going on this week that interrupted our proselyting....We had to go to the immigrationg office twice. I had forgot to tell the district member who is in charge of our visas that I needed to report to the immigration office a couple weeks ago...opps! But he was able to work it all out. I am so thankful that Malawi is so welcoming to us missionaries! Then we had to go pick up Sister Porter from the airport and her flight was 2 hours late. But it was sooo exciting to pick her up and to live with her!!! She knows a ton of people from home so its been fun. Then we had meetings with the Assistants for a total of 5 hours on Saturday which was actually mission changing!! Turns out we had reporting our key indicators wrong this whole time....we also were trained on how to make our meetings on mission more interactive and how to be more diligent in our planning and proseltying. Sister Arok and I were both bummed at first that we had to spend so much time away from our investigators and members but then we both walked away feel so encouraged and ready to work with greater enthusiasm and faith! And somehow despite all these unplanned interuptions, we had a lot of succes!! 

John Phiri hasn't drank in 8 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We went to visit him after Church yesterday and could not stop smiling the entire lesson! He is SO happy and we can see changes in him physically, emotionally and spiritually. Sister Arok and I were so humbled by the enabling power of the Atonemnet that we taught about last week with him. I have learned so much about repentance through this sweet old man. He has struggled with the Word of Wisdom for so long but has a sincere desire to change. That is all that it begins with and all that the Savior asks of us. And as we do our best, He is able to strengthen us in our weaknesses. After seeing him yesterday I felt like I could just as well come home. Seeing him come so far was amazing!!!! He is on date for September 25th and we can't wait! Oh funny story...Phiri means hill or mountain so we were talking about it with him and he said we can call him John Hill. Shout out to Bishop Hill!!

Tionge is another investigator who has been prepared by the Lord. She came to church last week and this week and loves it! We went to Young Womens with her because the other 18 year old girls are the YW leaders. We asked her to choose a song and she choose "Count Your Blessings" because she loved it so much! We saw her a couple times throughout the week and she is keeping all her commitments and has the biggest smile each time we teach her. I am amazed at how quickly she is not just learning but applying the gospel in her life. Yesterday we told her she can't drink tea anymore. She was a little shocked but after taking a minute she was determined to follow the Prophets counsel.

Joseph is still doing amazing! He received the Priesthood! After Church he was talking with Sister Arok about how much he loved the closing hymn and then he said, "Ahhh! From morning up to now?!?! I can't even begin to count my blessings!" It was only 10 am at this point. I love how happy the gospel has made him and how obedient he is. 

We found some new families this week!!!! Thank you for all your prayers! Unfortunately we couldn't meet with a lot of the families but we are excited to see them this next week. Vaida Paseli was gone all week which was weird cause we see her about everyday but then she came and worked with us yesterday. At church she told us she had something really important to tell us. Later that day she told us that she had been praying to know how to help her family and help her dad want to be taught the gospel. She hadn't received an answer but felt that the missionaries could help her.then in  sacrament meeting a talk was given about reading the scriptures as a family. She felt the Spirit so strong and knew that was what her family needed. She asked us to come a teach her family the importance of daily family scripture study. I was so touched by this young girl who is so concerned with the spiritual welfare of her family and who listens so intensely to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. She is such a great example to me!

This week flew by and I didn't even have time to write about it in my journal since Sister Arok and I have permission to stay out later and so its hard to remember all the great things.  But our area really is doing so great! We have 9 people on date for September! I am learning more and more each day as I have been focusing most of my studies on the very basics of missionary work and the gospel. I love the Book of Mormon and the special Spirit it brings into each of my days. I love you all!!!!

This week we have Mission Tour with Elder Ellis from the 70! We can't wait!!!!

Nalikutemwa Sana,

Sister Bingham

 Lunch with Sister Fellium and Sister Paseli

 Way of the Cross with My girls

The picture with Sister Arok and I is a pose that Zambian and Malawians LOVE to do and we have no idea why.......

Fun with Peace 
Agogo and Cows Feet

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