Monday, January 6, 2014

Spirit of Power and of Love and of a Sound Mind

Dearest family and friends,

How is everyone and can you believe it is 2014??? I can´t, and it reminded me that i will be an ancient spinster by the time i get home - 24! haha. Weathered and worn with bolivian mosquito bites and possibly rabid dog bites because this week a dog tried to bite me but luckily i whipped my fingers right outta his nast mouth. 

Besides that, things have been really good. i am still the most inpatient person ever, and hate myself every day that i cannot magically speak or understand spanish. however, the lord has blessed me so incredibly much this week that i could not help feeling happy and more and more realizing i am meant to be here. First of all, things were starting to get bad with my bolivian companion because it was so hard for her to understand why i cant speak spanish. so she was being extremely short with me and getting frustrated and i thought i was going to die. but then a small miracle happened and she decided to read about the attributes of christ in the liahona. she must have really been touched by the spirit because she told me all about how she wanted to work specifically on charity and patience, and both of decided to make it our new goal to attempt to have patience in all things. since then, things are averagely frustrating, but our relationship has improved so much and our ability to communicate the important things regardless of the language situation. in turn, i have tried to exhibit more love and patience and have started to learn so much from hermana rivero and really really respect her. she is actually such an excellent girl. And even both of us have seen my spanish progress little by liiiittle over the last two and half weeks, and she has even been incorporating the book of mormon in so many of our lessons, even in the first visits, as i suggested. 

This week i resolved to try to stop thinking about how hard things are and about how easy life would be at home and just think more about the people and attempt to be less selfish. Wow. God immediately has blessed with a deeper love for everyone here, and i have felt the truthfulness of this gospel stronger this week than in any recent time i can remember besides some of the times at the mtc. Personal and companion study time is an immense spiritual aid. We search the scriptures for help in our lessons, and when i read those words i can´t help but feel my testimony grow, like literally an expansion of my mind and trust in God. A lot of my struggles in the past have been intellectual doubts and mental disputation because of what the world tells me to know and what the spirit tells me to know, and when i read the scriptures it is like a light breaking through those confusions and reassuring me that this has to be true. This has helped me so much in my teaching and bearing testimony, because before i was afraid that with my always-questioning personality i would not be able to bear a genuine testimony to these people. but now i feel more and more confidant telling everyone that i have a testimony of these things. This week we went to the home of a family in our ward to ask for references and share a couple scriptures. the dad is a peruvian returned missionary and both have been members all their live. this is pretty rare in our area - our ward has maybe about 50% activity and even a lot of the active members are struggling. anyway, i felt the spirit so strong with this family. the contrast between them and some of the broken homes we visit was so stark. it was not a physical contrast - this family lived in the same crumbling concrete shack like home with mostly no roof and dirt and concrete for a floor, just like the other people we visit - but the contrast in feeling was incredible. the kids were so happy, the moms face was lit  up with kindness, the dad talked to his wife and children with respect and tenderness. it was the closest i have felt here to being in my own home, and i KNEW it was because of the example of jesus christ and the application of his gospel. it just made my resolve stronger to try to share what i have. 

This week was really interesting with investigators. we have one girl getting baptized in two weeks, she is the sister of another recent convert. it has been so interesting teaching her new concepts and seeing her overcome some things and understand why, such as with the word of wisdom. she has really grown and is excited to become a member. Jose Flores is a very lonely man whose wife died a few years ago and whose children do not really take care of him. he expressed his sorrow and my companion shared D&C 122. its super and short and i was almost feeling chills. that scripture is perfect for understanding the true nature of God, as literally a loving, perfect father who is with us "for ever and ever." We also are teaching Fatima and actually got all the way to the restauration! usually people have been dropping us before then. i am praying that she will continue to remain interested. i testified multiple times that i knew if she prayed about our message she would receive an answer in order to know for herself. she lives in a dirty little shack with several children, and a man who doesnt believe in God and straight up told us family is not super important to him. it just made me want this for her so much more. 

anyway, my new motto is 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind" So beautiful right? Every single one of our fondest dreams can be realized through Jesus Christ and his perfect doctrine. I want you guys to know that i am so happy to be here, learning more and more each day about this doctrine and attempting to serve God´s incredible children. Love you all. 

Interesting tidbits: i have to cut off one of my ringlets for an inactive hermana in our ward because she said she would only come to church if i would give her one, so i agreed, and she came!  i got called the devil by some crazy man who saw me teaching, actually a she-devil "diabla" haha.  my kill count of cockroaches is perhaps in the double digits. 

Love, Hermana Bingham

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