Monday, August 8, 2016

Know Your Leader

Mission Leadership Council, reunions with old companions, riding kabazas in Lilongwe again, sending Sister Zohner off, meeting my new companion.....this week was sort of crazy but one that was inspiring and motivating. I don't have a lot to report on but I just want to let you all know that I LOVE being a missionary, with all my heart. It's funny how I know the roads like the back of my hands, I know what each member will wear on Sunday, I know exactly how our guard will greet us each night, I know how many kilometers we will drive each day, yet there continues to be lessons learned and testimonies strengthened every hour of every day. 

Tuesday I spent the day in Lilongwe which was so great to see the sisters that side! I also was able to go to the church for district meeting which was my favorite! I got to see the Branch President but the best was Precious who was baptized right after I left there. I got to sit and talk to him for a couple minutes. Man nothing gets better than going back to your old area and seeing your investigator living the gospel faithfully. He told me about some struggles he is facing in his life but he told me that because of the gospel, he is happy! As we were walking away I said, "Precious, keep on smiling because I love your smile!" Then he said, "I love you too!!" opps....but hey it melt my heart and made me so grateful for the many people I have met here and have taught. It also reminded me of the importance of planting seeds everywhere I go. The more that I plant, the more that will grow. 

Members in Lilongwe
The one on the far right is Precious who was baptized the week after I left Lilongwe and is one of my favorites!!!

Wednesday and Thursday we had our Mission Leadership Council. Words don't really do justice for the Spirit that was there and the testimonies that were given. A lot of the focus was just being better missionaries and teachers of the restored gospel. We were there as leaders to discuss and help each other to fulfill our calling but I loved the simple reminder that my first and foremost duty is to "declare repentance". I came away from the meeting with an entire page of things I need to improve on, implement, do more of, etc. But a repeated phrase from the council was "Know Your Leader". These words stuck with me and have been on my mind a lot the past couple of days. I am grateful for the reminder I was given that it isn't me who will change anyone's life. I am not here to seek the approval of my mission president. I am not here to impress my companions or other missionaries. I am here to invite others to come unto Christ. I am here to become like Him. I am here to do what He would do if He were in Malawi. I am here to learn and do His will. I am here to know Him. 

Thursday afternoon we hopped onto a plane and made our way back to Malawi. Oh at MLC, President Kupu told us who our companions were. We went into MLC sort of guessing but we didn't really know....My new companion is Sister Arok!!! She is from Craig and Kathy Anderson's home ward. Both her parents are from South Sudan but she grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya. When she was 9 she moved to Utah and has lived there ever since. I remember her from BYU my freshman year and we have some mutual friends which is cool. She is amazing though. I have been out on mission twice as long as she has yet I feel like she is 10 times better of a missionary than me. The first two days together I felt like all I could focus on was my weaknesses as she has so many strengths But i quickly realized that she is here to help me become more like the Savior and to lift me to higher ground. I love her and can't wait to serve with her. This companionship is just another chance for me to realize that Heavenly Father does love and know us and has a plan for us. He will provide us with people and experiences that will help us become who He knows we can.

The branch already loves her!! Brother Mbawa (the first counselor in the branch presidency) stood up and said, "Today I have gained a testimony. When I met Sister Arok and found out there is Christianity in Sudan. Brothers and Sisters God is coming soon." We died laughing.....

Updates on the area. Joseph and Vanderson are still killing it. We retaught the Plan of Salvation to Joseph and all the sudden it just hit him mid lesson that his family is in spirit prison until he goes to the temple. He put both hands over his mouth and gasped when he realized it...He also borrowed Meet the Mormons from a member and could not stop talking about it!! We met with Angie Mpepe again and she is progressing so well. Unfortunately she is going to the village this week. But at MLC we talked a lot about the story from Acts 10 and how the Lord prepared Cornelious for Peter to teach. President Kupu told us, "If you haven't had an experience like this GO FIND IT!" I have witnessed a lot of tender mercies and Angie is one of them. It is a big responsibility for me to now take care of the blessings the Lord has given but its exciting. Lucy and Grace and also doing so well!!! Grace was baptized in May and she is a completely different person now. She is more happy, more outgoing, more kind. Yesterday as we taught her I could hardly believe it! Mission continues to amaze me. We also found 2 more families!!! 

Fast Sunday was the cherry on top for the week. SO many people got up to bare their testimony and each time that a member stood up, my heart was filled with so much love and gratitude for them and my time here. I can't believe its been 5 months that I have been here!! It seems like just yesterday I was here. Anyways what touched me the most was that every person testified of our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Their flames of faith continues to add to my own fire and helped me to go out that day and share my testimony with the power and authority that we missionaries have been given. I know I have a lot of flaws, I can't answer every question but I know that Joseph Smith was called by God to restore Christ's church on the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Christ lives. My testimony is simple yet I cherish it and am grateful for how it has been strengthened the past 14 months. 

This morning I said goodbye to Sister Zohner at the airport. She changed my mission and her friendship will always be so dear to me. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and I honestly just feel this huge new desire to GET TO WORK. Time is slipping....Hope you have a great week!!! Share your testimony with someone in a new way that you haven't ever before. 

Ndimakukonda Kwambili,

Sister Bingham

Sister Kinikini and I were so excited!!!!

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