Monday, November 28, 2016

Slippin' and Slidin'

A member had to borrow my camera for something so this is the only picture I have from the week! 
Sister Mulomba from Zimbabwe and Sister Asemnyinah from Ghana:)

Rain season is here and in the words of my dear father, the roads have been very “snotty” but not even muddy roads have slowed down the work of the Lord in Ndola. Sister Reid and I experienced greater success this week that we have yet and we have had much to rejoice over!! We taught many lessons this week and were even able to focus a lot of our efforts on strengthening recent converts and less actives and we witnessed many tender mercies.

FHE: We went to the Mpundus who I had taught when I was here but Brother Mpundu and his two daughters were baptized after I was transferred. They are an incredible family but are facing major challenges right now. Brother Mpundu hasn’t been paid in almost 5 months now and so hasn’t been coming to church. It has been too hard for him to sacrifice the money to travel to church and he has to spend his Sundays doing odd jobs to have enough to provide food and other necessities for the family. He does have a bike though and since Sister Reid and I are trying to lay the foundation for a future branch in his area, he will play a vital role in that. He taught the lesson about having faith amidst the great trials we face. You can imagine how touching of a lesson it was to hear him testify of the power of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ and we only know very little of all that they are facing. We committed the family to act on what their father taught by coming to church at least twice a month. We committed Brother Mpundu to ride his bike and make the sacrifice so the Lord could bless them for their obedience. It was difficult for us to do and but the longer I serve as a missionary the greater my trust in the Lord that he will fulfill his promises. GUESS WHO CAME TO CHURCH AFTER NOT COMING FOR 5 MONTHS?!?! BROTHER MPUNDU!!! And his daughter Mercy gave a wonderful talk in Sacrament Meeting about serving with Christlike love.

Andrew is on date to be baptized on Christmas!! He is progressing so well!!! He told Brother Thole who has been the best fellowshipper, that he feels as if he has finally found where he belongs. We taught him the Book of Mormon as well as the Plan of Salvation this week. He is really quiet but his understanding is incredible!!! Brother Thole was teaching in the lesson about baptisms for the dead and asked him a few difficult questions and he answered them perfectly! Another miracle for me as I realized how Heavenly Father is continuing to prepare hearts to hear and accept the restored gospel.

Wednesday I was blessed to go on a half day exchange with Sister Asemnyinah. She reminds me a LOT of Breck Steele so I love being with her!! Things didn’t go like we wanted but we ended up being able to meet with the Mwapes. We hadn’t scheduled an appointment with them and we didn’t have a member to teach with us. I said a silent prayer in my heart and then we made our way to the lesson. Sister Chalwe, a nearby member, was not only home but was very excited to go teach with us! The Mwapes were extremely touched by her testimony and the faith that she has and it really softened their heart to have a lesson with us. We taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ and even though they have been taught the Restoration and we have reviewed it a couple of times, the Priesthood finally clicked!!! And even the mother who has been hesitant to learn was engaged the entire lesson. I am grateful that we were able to quickly know who to teach, who to teach with us, what to teach, and how to teach. I am grateful that as we prayed and then went forth not knowing exactly what would happen, we were able to bless the Mwape family with the knowledge of the simple truths that our Savior has taught us.

Thanksgiving didn’t really feel like Thanksgiving but there was MUCH to be grateful for!!! We ended up experiencing a lot of fall throughs and all our back ups fell through. Sister Reid suggested that we go see the Sambes. I wrote about them a bunch when I first served in Ndola but they really didn’t progress much with the Sisters since I was here. They sort of gave the Sambes a break but we both felt that we should go visit them. We got to their house and Sister Sambe was shocked to see me! Oh side note…I had written them a letter while serving in Blantyre and they had responded so we have kept sort of in contact. Anyways she was so happy to know that I was back in Ndola. Right as we started the lesson I had another prompting remind me that I was sent here for a reason….We read Alma 5:26 and then I asked her her thoughts on the scripture hoping to gauge her testimony and her desire to progress. She explained the verse SO well and then began to tell us an incredible story. She told us that just the day before she thought about the missionaries (the sisters haven’t been there for probably 6 weeks) and not only missed us but especially missed the message that we share. And she felt a strong impression to start reading the Book of Mormon again…then we came the very next day.  She was amazed at how we happened to come back and shared that she knows there is a purpose behind it. It was a big blessing to me as well to come back and to teach her once again. She didn’t come to church but I know that our visit brought the Spirit into her life and that she is once again going to have an opportunity to accept the restored gospel. The Lord ways truly are higher than ours…..

We were able to work with 19 different members from the branch! We worked with Sister Nonde who has been a member for over 10 years. She bore a powerful testimony in each lesson that she taught with us.  It was my first time taking her to go teaching with us and when we were dropping her off after a few lessons I found out it was her first time EVER teaching with the missionaries. She loved going and asked if she would be able to go with us each week. It was amazing to hear how much the spirit of missionary work touched her heart and to see her now catch the fire!

Brother Nkhole is the husband to our recent converts that we baptized 2 weeks ago. Since I first got to the area, we have been praying to have his heart be softened so that he may be able to experience the blessings of the restored gospel with his family. We felt that for our gift to the Savior, we would complete the Nkhole family. He has been difficult to get a hold of but this week we were able to teach him twice!!! And at the end of one of the lessons, I asked how he has felt as we have been teaching him. Before he answered his wife, who normally is very quiet and reserved, told us about how her husband was telling her how he always feels peace when we come over. It was such a small tender mercy but we count it as a miracle that his heart is slowly softening.

We discussed with our Branch Presidency about starting group devotionals in a part of our area that is very far from the Church. It costs about 11 kwacha per person to travel to and from church and so we felt that to strengthen the members and to lay a foundation for a future branch of the church, we should gather families and individuals once a week. We met with the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency that stays in the far area and he has agreed to hold the devotionals at his house and he and his wife are more than excited!!! We read from the Book of Ether with them about the power of faith and acting upon faith as well as the power of prayer. We connected it to our vision for the devotionals. Great things are happening in our area and I told the sisters that I am getting overwhelmed about going home. There is just way too much to be done and too many miracles happening that I can’t leave!

Ok so I have grown a great love and appreciation for the Sacrament while serving as a missionary. It has become so much more meaningful in my life and my main source of peace and joy. But I am pretty sure that over 75% of the Sacrament meetings that I have had on my mission, I have cried. Hahaha I just always get really emotional as I think over the significance of my calling and how much I love being here and the specific people that have become such a large part of my life. I only have 2 more Sundays after yesterday and it was a hard hit especially since we had a wonderful Sunday! We had more investigators at church than in the past and a lot of less actives. During Relief Society I was trying to soak it all in. I wish you could be in our Relief Society…hahah it is pretty different from home and hard to explain but I looked around the room yesterday and was overwhelmed with love for these women! I don’t know if they will ever know how much I love them and look up to them! I love the simplicity of the church here and I also reflected a lot on the relationship that I have developed with my Savior through my experience.

I am really doing so well and just this week I was telling Sister Reid how much I love teaching!! How much I love being a missionary and that I never want it to end. This week I felt extra grateful especially as I greatly missed the members and recent converts from Ndirande. As I was missing them, I realized how blessed we are to love and serve so many of Heavenly Father’s children and to learn from them. Although I am far from them, and may never see most of them ever again, I continue to be blessed by their testimonies and faith. Last week Sister Porter told me that 2 different people that I taught in Ndirande have been baptized!!!! I could hardly believe how the Lord prepared those people and although I wasn’t there to witness the baptisms, I am filled with immeasurable joy!!! John Phiri, the old man that had a struggle with the Word of Wisdom was baptized on Sunday! And Peace who was supposed to be baptized in April was baptized! And Sister Thueson told me that another man that I taught in Lilongwe was baptized yesterday!!!

I am almost finished with The Book of Mormon but Ether 12 was especially meaningful this past week. At since it was Thanksgiving, this chapter reminded me of the many blessings that I am grateful for!! Here are just a few…
-Prophets, both those of old and our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson
- The Holy Ghost that is given to us and is felt by our investigators that convert us to the Savior and His gospel
-The sacred calling to be representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The diligent examples of the people of the Book of Mormon
-The promised blessings of serving with all our heart, might, mind, and strength
- The hope that the Plan of Salvation brings
- Faith that anchors us to the Savior
-The faith of my fathers
- My weaknesses that have been given to me that help me to be humble and rely of the Lord
-The grace that is administered through the Atonement of Jesus Christ
- The gift of charity that can be given through mighty prayer
- The selfless service and example of Christ
-The knowledge that the Restoration brings that Christ lives!

There are too many blessings to count! Another incredible week has come and gone and I don’t have many left but I know that is enough to do what the Lord expects. I guess it all is summed up in a quote I found this week by Elder Holland "The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have 
brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and 
remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do 
with blessings and truths and events that wilyet be efficacious in our lives." -Elder Jeffery R. Holland

Nalikutemwa Sana Sana,
Sister Bingham

more pictures from MLC:

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