Monday, October 10, 2016

If everything went right I'd be worried

Mission is always full of surprises and this week was definitely one of those weeks that was completely flipped upside down but nonetheless is was incredible!!! Sister Porter is now companions with Sister Arok and myself and we are now covering 3 areas! We went to the hospital 3 different times this week but all is well!

Branch Devotional

 We literally RAN to Family Home Evening after the most stressful preparation day. We got to FHE half an hour late, we didn't have our scriptures, and we didn't bring a cake (we always bring cake and the members love it SO much). We ended up throwing together a quick lesson but it sort of reminded me how no matter how hard we try, we will never be perfect and a thought back to the quote by Elder Holland, "In this gospel, we get credit for trying". We tried...but we taught them another fun game that had us all crying we were laughing so hard. It continues to amaze me how the simplest games make them laugh so much! The past couple of Mondays have been the highlight of my week as I literally feel like I am with my own family because how much I LOVE the members of Ndirande. We came home to no power....this week we hardly had power and it just makes me so sad for the people in Blantyre. We were given these solar lights by President and Sister Erickson that we take with us teaching. It has been really neat to bring them to lessons. #1- we can actually see each other and read from the scriptures. #2- it has reminded me of the power and light of the message that we missionaries carry. I wish you could see how the solar lights transform the humble homes that we visit but even greater than that, the peace and joy that fills the room in our lessons as we teach and testify of Christ and His gospel. It is always been hard for me to leave the lesson as we have to take our lights with us but this week I felt great comfort as I was reminded that the things we shared will continue to light their lives.

We went to our new area!!! It is the other half in Ndirande and it feels like it is a completely different world! Sister Arok and I absolutely loved it. The entire day she kept asking me, "Is it nice to be out of Maplot?" I guess I had forgotten that I have spent the last 7 months in about a square mile of an it is nice to have a bigger area but we are a little overwhelmed. We spent the day with one of our members who showed us all the members, less actives, and investigators. I have spent a lot of time wondering why we have been given this new area and struggling to know exactly how we can help. It has less people that are self-reliant and that speak English so we are going to have to work hard and rely on the Lord to find success. Sister Arok and I both feel that missionary work was going all to well for us the past couple of weeks so its time that we have something that really challenges us. Something that is a strength for the both of us is building strong relationships with the members and so we know that one reason we have been sent there is to help them and love them. We did a lesson with the Frank family about gratitude and went around the room about 5 times naming things that we are grateful for. The room was instantly filled with a new joy and special spirit as we were able to count our many blessings. It was during that lesson that I was once again overwhelmed by everything! I really can't believe how happy I am! How much I am learning! How many people the Lord is preparing! How many new challenges I am given to become better! How beautiful the world is and the poeple of Malawi! How much I love my family! How much my companion is teaching me! How true the gospel is! There is so much to be grateful for.But want to know the best thing about our new area??? We have an investigator named Sister Restoration! She is great but the only problem is that she broke her leg and doesn't get the cast off until the end of October:( We saw miracles in our area though. We had a rough lesson with a young man named Skinner. He was just not hearing anything about Joseph Smith or the Restoration. I was getting frustrated and then I looked around at us.Sister Porter was practically sitting in dirt, Sister Arok was sitting on a brick with her knees up to her chin it was so low to the ground, and I was smashed in between them. Here we were trying so hard to help him understand the most important thing that he had ever been taught and he had no idea!!! We ended up having to just end the lesson and he wouldn't give us his phone number to set up another appointment. Then what do you know....Sunday morning at 8:45 in walks Skinner. We could hardly believe it! I am so grateful for the power of the Holy Ghost that helps us when we can't do anything more. I am grateful that when we are diligent and try our very best, that miracles still happen! I am grateful for these small experiences that happen all day everyday that strengthen my own testimony. 

Thursday we spent the morning at the hospital with the other sisters cause someone came down with a stomach bug. Then we rushed over to the other sisters to help with their weekly planning. Then we rushed to our area for a couple of hours before going back to help the sisters. It was a lot of running around and not a lot of time in our area but I am grateful for my calling as Sister Training Leader because it helps me to be more patient, loving, and nuturing. I sometimes worry that I am not good enough or that I can't ever say the right things to the sisters when they need my help. One particular night this week I was feeling so inadequate. Then I was given a letter from Breck Steele that was sent in February. You know made me laugh and cry at the same time. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of all of our needs. And I know that the Savior does not just help His sheep but He even reaches out to those who He has called to help be their shepherds. 

Sister Arok turned 9 months this week so we went with Susan to the market and bought a chicken for dinner!!! Sister Porter hadn't killed a chicken so we made her do it. Then Susan helped me learn how to clean it. She forgot to tell me that in Malawian culture if you talk while plucking out the feathers, they will grow back while you cook it.....She was convinced it would happen!!!! We went to our other area and ended dropping a lot of investigators who just aren't ready to hear the gospel yet. We even had to drop the Makunganya family:( The worst part of it though was all the investigators that we felt we needed to stop teaching all came to church!!!! But we have learned that we need to have faith that the Lord will lead us to those who really are prepared and who will be a great strength to the church. We ended up spending another couple hours at the hosptial again but we went back to our area for one last lesson with Deborah. We brought 3 recent converts with us and we taught her about missionary work. We did a bunch of role plays and I could not stop smiling as I watched the joy of the gospel radiate from Vaida, Linley, and Joseph. We then had dinner at Susans and ate the chicken we killed that morning....don't worry. I will make it for you when I get home.

9 Months Dinner for Sister Arok

We showed up to watch general conference on Saturday. We start the first session....get 5 minutes into it and it just stops. They hadn't downloaded it correctly. I couldn't help but just laugh. Luckily we jumped into the car and got another flash from the District President and only started it 45 minutes late!!! It was absolutely amazing! I could go on and on and on about all that I learned. Saturday was amazing because of how much member missionary work was discussed. Members are by far the most important part of missionary work. I loved Elder Yamashita's talk about being ambitious for Christ! After watching I told both my companions to get ready for our lesson because teaching the gospel after watching conference is only just about the greatest thing ever. the past 2 days, I was able to apply so much what I learned into my teaching. I am SO grateful for prophets and apostles! Sunday was just as great. I still feel like I am on a spiritual high from Conference. I know you all watched it but unless you have served as a missionary in a small branch and watched conference from half way across the world, I am not sure if you will know exactly how I felt. The words of President Erying really touched my heart as I looked around at our small, humble branch in Ndirande."Just as we sometimes cannot see the results of our own service given on the Sabbath, we may not be able to see the cumulative effects of other servants of the Lord. But the Lord is building His kingdom quietly through His faithful and humble servants, with little fanfare, toward its glorious millennial future. It takes the Holy Spirit to see the growing grandeur." It gave me great hope for the future and great gratitude for the work that we are doing now. Our recent convert, Addsum LOVED conference! He couldn't stop talking about "that one Linda". hahah he loved sister reeves talk! I could just keep talking and talking about conference!!!! 
General Conference in Ndirande

I am loving being a missionary more and more each day! I love that it isn't easy but I love how much I am learning. I love the Book of Mormon and how it literally was written for us today. I read this week in Alma 22 about King Lamoni's father and then that day, we went and taught a father who is coming to know of the Savior and His great atoning sacrifice through our teachings. I have learned countless lessons in the past 16 months that I have served but overall I have learned one very important lesson. It is all true. My testimony isn't necessarily growing bigger, its just growing stronger as the simple doctrines of Christ become more a part of my life. 

Ndimakukonda Kwambili,
Sister Bingham

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