Last email…..hopefully you weren’t expecting much because 1. There hasn’t been power all day until now. 2. We had to run a ton of errands for the mission. 3. We went to a game camp this morning and held a python so we really don’t have that much time today…..but we went down to Lusaka this past week for a combined zone conference/ Christmas activity and I talked to President Kupu about extending my mission! Hope it is ok with everyone!!!
Just kidding…but as much as I have been trying to deny the fact that I’m coming home, it has been quite the struggle the past couple of days to accept it. It is one of the most surreal feelings I have ever experienced. And now to have to put it into a few short words is a difficult task. I just don’t think I can adequately express how I feel right now. On Friday I was asked to give a farewell testimony in our combined zone conference. At that point it still hadn’t registered that I was going home but it still was an incredible experience to be gathered with 30+ missionaries, many that have become my dearest friends, and bear my testimony. Yesterday our Branch President asked that I speak about my mission in Sacrament meeting. I got a little teary eyed before I spoke and Gift, our 11 year old recent convert, leans over and says “Sister Bingham, why are you crying?” That is when it hit. Standing up in a branch filled with many saints that I love and talking about the BEST 18 months of my life was harder than I thought. I shared with them stories, miracles, and lessons I have learned. I laughed and I cried as I spoke but as I stood there I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be a missionary. To have been called to serve in this specific mission. And to have been blessed to everyday teach and testify of our Savior Jesus Christ. There has been countless times when I have realized that the Lord calls missionaries for a greater purpose than to just share the gospel with others. He calls us to shape, and refine us, to make us more like Christ. We definitely don’t go through anything near what He did, but as I spoke yesterday I felt so close to my Savior. I thought of all the nights I had spent on my knees seeking guidance and blessings for investigators. I thought of walking in the hot sun to teach the gospel. I thought of the joy I saw when brothers and sisters came out of the waters of baptism. I thought of the hours of study I had done. I thought of those who didn’t accept what we had to share. I thought of lives I saw changed and joy brought into families. I thought of the changes in my own life! Many of the branch and you, probably all of the branch and you, won’t know what my past 18 months fully entailed. Just as the Savior, we may know bits and pieces of his life. We may have His words recorded in the scriptures. We may understand a part of His love for us and for Heavenly Father but to fully comprehend it, is impossible. How humbled and grateful I am to have been given a time to grow in my own understanding of the Savior and to experience a bit of His divinity through my short 18 month mission.
As it all comes to a close I have had feelings of doubt and wonder if it was enough. Did I pray enough? Did I work hard enough? Did I love enough? Did I baptize enough? How comforting it is to know that HE knows. And to know that my service continues! It isn’t over. Yes it will never be the same and who knows if I’ll ever get to be here in Zambia and Malawi but the Lord does not call young missionaries only, He calls ALL! His invitation is to everyone. My 18 months were training ground so that I will be better prepared, better qualified and build a stronger desire to go and share the light and joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I look forward to being reunited soon and to be able to share with you all of it because I can’t do so over email. But one thing I would like to share is for all who read this. SERVE A MISSION. It doesn’t matter who you are or what kind of mission or when it is. Do it and you will never ever experience so much joy! The lord needs more missionaries. And he will strengthen you! He truly calls the weak and simple to proclaim the gospel and it isn’t an easy task but was it easy for Him???
Ok I love you all so much!!!! THANK YOU for the prayers, constant love and support and emails every week. I really couldn’t have done it without you. I know that Heavenly Father has blessed our family so much and if there is one thing that I have learned while being away from you is that we have the best family and I am so grateful we will be together forever. SEE YOU !!!!!!