Monday, June 30, 2014

So the Darkness Shall Be Light

So last week was crazy, but mostly because we were doing all we could to find a new apartment. We have been looking for 2 months now, but it is hard to house search and proselyte at the same time. Finally, after it rained SUPER hard, it was unbearable in our house and the mission presidents wife came to visit us and told us we had to move no matter what haha. like water was leaking from the ceiling onto my companions bed and pillow, which in a matter of hours had mold. the walls have mold, our dressers have mold, and everything is that much more humid as a result. Everytime we tried to shower with hot water, our whole electricity was going out. and right now it is so cold some days and cold showers are like a polar dip haha. and finally one night we came home and 5 rats came running out of our kitchen. haha fun fun fun, but Hma Zambrano drove us around in her car (i couldnt barely believe i was sitting in a normal car! haha) for a solid day, bought us hamburgers (WHAT!) and we finally found a fourth floor apt that is new and awesome! i will send pics next week. The flemmy cough (gross, sorry) i have had for weeks magically disappeared this week, and i think it is thanks to the complete lack of mold in our new place haha. 
Besides that, we had emergency transfers because a couple of the hermanas are really sick and had to be brought in from outside areas. Sadly, Hma Mullisaca was transferred. That was a sad, sad day because she is my best friend i have made on my mission. However, the focus of our mission is to teach, not our friends, thus i was also grateful to get my new companion Hma Judd, a north american who has the same amount of time as me on my mission and actually we were in Bogota together too. It is hard because our spanish is the same, thus we cant progress as much language wise as we could have with latina companions, but we are both fluent enough to do absolutely everything just not 100% grammatically correct hahaha. 
This sunday we had our ward conference. it was happy and sad. every sunday like i said before is a psychological test haha, because so many people promise us they will come and then dont, even when we try to accompany from their homes or send members to pick them up. This sunday our investigator Delia did not come because she partied the night before, even though the week before she went to church, told us she loved it and always wanted to come, and had accepted a baptism date. However, we do have a baptism next week that we have been preparing for a while. Rafael is a 14 year old whose dad has been inactive for years, however the few priests we have in our ward befriended Rafael and have shown him an amazing example. We were hesitant to baptize him because young kids often are inactive very fast after their baptisms, but we followed the rules for our mission in order to have better chances of retaining him, we tried to reactivate his Dad (he refuses for now), we had him start his Duty to God, he has attended church for 2 months consecutively now, and we organized a plan of retention with the Young Mens leaders and our stake president. 
I LOVED our ward conference. our stake president is one of those little men who is 10 times more powerful than any physically big man. He understands his culture and the gospel and talks with the spirit, with love but with power. i just think he is such a prime of example of real priesthood power. He specifically talked to the men of our ward about not being "machista". He said, "sometimes i ask the men in my quorums what they have done recently to prove to their wives they should still love them (haha) and often they say to me oh! i helped her wash the clothes or i helped her cook some food. And then i think to myself How incredibly distorted we are in our way of thinking, We didnt marry washing machines, and we didnt marry Cooks. We married women who are our equals and we love them. If you think the role of your wife is to wash the clothes (remember here, washing clothes is a process that takes hours, a whole day almost if your family is big) you are wrong. Dont tell me you helped her wash the clothes one time. Go home and wash all the clothes, because it is your role too." and he talked more profoundly about how we do not stoop to our culture, we do not believe in being Machista. He said your wife is your equal companion, and that he was sad to know that their are still many men in the church treating their wives with condecension. It was such a good talk, especially after knowing myself many of the experiences of women here, in and out of the church.  
Also, i had a little boost of strength the other day. During my last transfer in Montero, my first time as senior companion, i had felt really sad because we didnt have a baptism, and barely any investigators progressing (i didnt realize then that this is pretty normal in this mission, our areas are pretty difficult) and i felt like it was my fault that i couldnt speak spanish well enough or i wasnt leading well enough etc. my mission president told me to trust in God and his timing and ways. In my last 2 weeks in Montero, we found a family. The parents werent married and the dad had a drinking problem, but we taught them about God as their HeavenlyFather and invited them to church, and to our surprise the whole family came to church with us my last Sunday and i was thrilled. We taught them the restoration, and they committed to me that they would pray about Joseph Smith. The last time we tried to pass by for an appointment before my transfer, we found the dad drunk and the mom had left the home angry. I was sad, but told my companion to please try to work with them, as well as some of the leaders in our ward, and i left a short letter for the family telling them i knew i didnt know them too well but to please continue listening to the lessons and going to church,  and that i knew it is true. 
Well now, almost 2 whole transfers later, my old companion in Montero told me that this family has accepted a marriage date and baptism date for the 12th of July! The parents and children. I then realized that a lot of us in this mission do not have many baptisms. One elder was in the ward i am presently in for almost 8 months of his mission and only had 2 converts, who are sisters. But it doesnt matter, because we are all working towards the same goal and for the same God, and sometimes we are the ones who light the spark or plant the seed, sometimes we have the wonderful privilege of seeing it grow strong, and sometimes we transfer just in time to see only the fruits or the baptism, but even then we will be part of this persons process as we reteach them as a recent convert. It doesnt matter - all that matters is that we were there in our time and tried hard to do the will of God, and eventually in the right time people will accept and be blessed. I told my mission president i was thankful for his advice and that i could see now that sometimes we just cant see what we can start if we dont lose hope and just try to share what we have. He told me if i wanted i can attend the baptism of this family in Montero. 
I want you all to know that i love being here, i love sharing a message of truth and hope, many people can not see past the blinders of the world in order to understand the immensity of what we are offering, and for many i really dont believe it is their fault, but i love a quote by TS Elliot that is kind of what it will be like for the minds and hearts of people who are now living in hopelessness, when they are first exposed to the glorious love of our Savior when all will be revealed - "So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing" the burdens of sadness of numberless people will be lifted through the atonement, and they will see their true potential, a path of light instead of dead ends of obscurity. 

Love you all, 
Hermana Bingham 

Monday, June 16, 2014

From Bolivia to You


Dear Family and Friends, 

How are your summers? Actually, dont tell me because i´ll only be jealous haha. We are just livin under water here, rain rain and more rain and so so humid, entonces no puedo secar mis ropas y estoy llevando ropas humidas todos los dias, que, como dicen las viajitas, van a resfriarme hasta los huesos. I just really love the sun, but besides that I really like my area. it took some getting used to after almost 5 months in my first area, but i am enjoying the members and investigators here. The only thing is sometimes it is hard to stay positive and hopeful. We face a lot of discouragement, and Sundays are like a psychological emotional test, because 8 or 9 investigators promised you they would come to church and only 1 or 2 come (maybe). And everyone promises to read a page in the book of mormon or say a prayer, but then when we visit them they didnt do either, because they dont have time to pray, etc, etc. and its just impossible that they can gain testimonies if they never pray, read, or attend! it is SO hard to get people to keep commitments, and so so extremely hard to get in contact with people or visit them consecutively, because they culture here does not allow for a schedule or commitments. However, i am trying to trust more in God, be more humble and realize this is his work, not mine, and that without his strenght i can do nothing. i know he prepares ways for people, i just have to have more faith that there are ways in which some day our investigators will be baptized, I will tell you about our three investigators who all inevitably will be baptized, but each have one giant problem hindering them during my transfers here in Paraiso, so i dont know if i will see their baptisms :(. 

Gabriel is the man who i wrote about last time, who had his baptism date Saturday. I still have no idea exactly what happened, because he was so prepared. he found us in the chapel one sunday, we didnt find him. hes been investigating for years, he has a huge doctrinal knowledge, he´s read more of the BOM than many of the members of our ward, and he told us he had no fears and his goal was not only baptism, but the temple. Then, 2 days before his baptism, we couldnt contact him. he had never not answered his phone (which is a tiny miracle here) and had always anxiously awaited us at his house. but the two days before his baptism, and the day of his baptism, he didnt answer any of our calls. we waited in the chapel with some members to see if he would appear, and he never came. He didnt come to church either. We finally found him in his apartment this week, after calling him through a private number. He acted very strangely and told us that the only reason he wasnt being baptized is because he has a new shift at his work and he cant attend sacrament meeting now. We were so confused because before he had been testifying about the church and acting as though no earthly thing could change his commitment. We talked about sacrifice and the importance of the baptismal covenant and promised that the bishop would stop by to visit him, but now the bishop can get in contact with him either. 
Then there is Joel, the boyfriend of Jennifer whose family we recently reactivated. This family is amazing, and is not only active now, but acting as leaders in our ward. Joel is so ready to be baptized, he attends everysunday and every activity during the week, he bore his testimony in sacrament, is reading scriptures and praying with Jennifer every day in their home, and is an active and loving father to their baby. The only thing preventing his baptism is legal problems with their papers in order to get married. and these things can take a lot of time here. Thus i dont know if i will see his baptism but i really hope so. 
Raiza is the feminist. We had an amazing lesson with her about the restoration. She has been taught by 6 or 8 other missionaries, so she has somewhat of a background, but we asked her what her feelings were now. She told us that she feels more comfortable with me and hna mullisaca than ever before, because we can relate with her and she can be sincere with us about her doubts. she said that through our lesson about the priesthood, this doubt is practically not a problem for her anymore, and she knows joseph smith really saw God and that the church is true. We were like PERFECT we need to set a goal for your baptism. We were going to extend a date for the first week of july, but then she told us her personal goal was for the END OF THIS YEAR. We asked why she thought she needed to take so much time, and she opened up a little and told us she had some major sins or problems from her past (as basically a hippee drugee) that she needs to work out herself, but she didnt tell us any details, and she is always afraid she will fail after her baptism with keeping the commandments. but she wouldnt budge on that she needs to work things out for months apparently. We were disappointed because we just want her to understand that she can be clean through her baptism, and will have the help of the Holy Ghost to fend temptation after her baptism. but we have another lesson this week and are going to try to help her understand repentance better. but even so, if she needs till the end of the year, it is okay with me, as long as she can truly stay strong enough to get baptized. 
Besides this i have had some humbling experiences lately with some extremely impoverished families. There is the Galarza family, the mom and three daughters were baptized right before i got here, but now things are looking grim. they live in basically the ruined skeleton of a construction site or something, with tin as a roof, but it is completely open in the front. it always smells like human waste, and the floor is just rock. The mom has cancer, but no money to pay for treatment. the church was paying for a bit, and im not sure exactly what happened, but i think they werent using the money to pay for her treatments. but now the mom is so sick she cant even walk, and there are four little kids who are always alone, including a little handicapped girl. However, the members of our ward and the bishop are constantly visiting, and we visit often, and we called to have the elders and bishop give a priesthood blessing. it is a really sad situation all around, but the least we can all do is serve to bring a little light into their lives now through the gospel. 
There is another family of a man and woman named Henry and Darlin. The wife was an old investigator that we searched out. Her and her two daughters attended church two sundays ago and told us how their father is a drunk and they dont know what to do. they live in a tiny rock "apartment" and out front is just tons of trash and dirty chickens and dogs and such. We had a really beautiful experience with them yesterday. We were out front amongst the trash and chickens and mud, and miracle of all miracles, the dad and mom and daughters were all present for our lesson. we talked about love and change in the family. the wife kept trying to accuse the dad for all his drunkeness and saying that she had threatened to leave him again and again, and he was accusing her of losing their money through gambling, and the daughters just break my heart, the 17 year old is hardened by her life i think so she acts like none of it really matters, but the 13 year old kept saying again and again she just doesnt want to fight with her family anymore. we told them we needed to focus on the good things about each other, and had them all say things they like about their family, we explained the sacrifice of Christ, which allows us to change if we can turn towards him, and asked if they would all say a family prayer each night until we visit again wednesday. then to end, we asked if we could say a prayer with them right there in the mud and trash, on our knees. we all knelt and held hands, and the father, who is the drunk, said the prayer. i dont know if they can feel the same things as us yet, but it is experiences like these that just show how much people need the plan and pattern of god in their lives. i dont know if this family will progress, they are deep deep in problems, but we are going to try to do what we can and trust in god, that maybe we can make a difference, if they can feel even a little bit that god loves and accepts them, and that change is possible. 

thank you for all your support and prayers, i love you all
Hermana Bingham 

Monday, June 2, 2014



Dear Family and Friends,

This week i got sick for the first time on my mission. my companions had the same thing, each of us about one day apart. it was horrible, like my whole entire body was aching, but luckily it wasnt dengue. so anyway our excitement level has been a little down this week, but i am slowly recuperating now haha. 
This week will be having the baptism of Gabriel. Its going to be so great, he is so ready. He was just one of those auto-baptisms that fell into our area by chance. He has been an investigator since 2010, has attended church and general conference, and when he finally was ready to baptize, he moved into our ward because of school. so we literally only had to help him integrate into our ward for 3 sundays, and review the missionary lessons that he basically already knows by heart. So, we werent really a part of his conversion process, but its a privilege to know him because his story of searching the truth for almost 4 years is so impressive, and now he is completely solid. unlike a lot of other converts who baptize within months, he really really understands that baptism is just the entrance and that his true goal is the temple. 
Besides Gabriel we are also working with an 18 year old name Mario. he is a QUADRUPLET!! haha there are only two sets of quadruplets in bolivia. i just want to baptize him and his 3 quadruplet sisters because it would be so different and cool haha but i think his conversion is going to take a long time. Mario and his sisters live in a house together without adult supervision, because like so many other parents here, their parents are in spain or argentina working and their kids just live on their own for years. But all mario does is go to university during the week and parties on the weekend. We almost dropped him because although he is very interested in the lessons and says it all makes perfect sense, he cant imagine his life without alcohol. but then he attended church two sundays in a row! we couldnt believe it. he said that he felt something different and real from the members, something he had never felt in catholic mass. like the people were genuinely interested in him and are sincerely trying to live good lives. obviously he felt the spirit of being at church. but the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity are huge hindrances for him so i dont know how much farther we will get with him. 
My favorite family, the Clavijo Family, was inactive for years, until two sisters before us found them while street contacting. they didnt even want to let the missionaries in, but i think because they were girls they let them in, and they ended up feeling the spirit again. this is a family whose dad was a high councilor, and him and his wife have four daughters. They were converted about 8 years ago and sealed in the  temple and everything, but fell away after some members did some unimaginably bad things, including that their oldest daughter was kidnapped by a returned missionary. however three companion sets have worked with them now, and i was able to be a part of something so cool. We had a family home evening with them and our bishop and his wife. we thought maybe the bishop would lead everything, but Bro Clavijo took control right away. he bore testimony and told us that as a family, they had made the decision together that they were all going to return. his wife was crying and also bore testimony, and two of his daughters as well. It was incredible. this was about 3 weeks ago, and since then they have attended every sunday, and activities during the week, accepted callings, and the dad went with his daughter to Cochabamba to do baptisms in the temple with the youth. yesterday he bore testimony in sacrament about this experience. and to our surprise, the boyfriend of the oldest daughter who we have been teaching and teaching, and who will be baptized as soon as their papers for marraige are cleared, also bore his testimony in sacrament. after the dad told us he didnt know what we had done in order to get Joel to bare his testimony in church, but that he wanted to thank us. 
We also met with Raiza again yesterday, the feminist socialist who has troubles with the priesthood. We used a terrific talk from the priesthood session of conference about the keys of the priesthood by dallin h. oaks that talks specifically about women, and how women use priesthood authority in all of their callings when they are set apart for these callings by a priesthood holder. We talked about how we have different responsibilities in order to have order and maximize the number of people blessed in the kingdom of God on earth, but how this in no way means we are unequal. then we shared my fave scrip about the priesthood in D&C 121. It clearly talks about how the spirit of God is literally offended if the priesthood is used for unrighteous dominion, for vanity or pride, etc, but that the only way it can be used correctly is with humility and love and to bless the lives of others and not to benefit the ego of the user. Raiza started to cry and marked the verses in her own triplet. She said that she has not been baptized because she could not understand why men like her uncle and father had the priesthood, but were often very very bad examples, but someone like her mother who had always been the faithful one, could not have this power of god. it just breaks my heart to hear things like this. its so true. there are so many mothers and wives here who are clinging to the gospel because they know it is true and are trying to help their broken families, but the husbands and fathers dont take things seriously and do things that hurt their wives and children. We bore testimony to Raiza that when a man is using his priesthood authority correctly he will not be a bad example, he will respect his wife and they will make all of their decisions together. he will understand that the power of god is not a dominating force to be used for the vanity of his ego but to enrich the lives of others when he as a possesor of this power increases in humility and personal worthiness in order to better serve. i used my own dad as an example in my testimony, because my father knows the worth of women, he relies on my mother as his equal, and he increases in humility and love every year. this is the manifestation of when priesthood power is used correctly, not brute dominion and authority over others. We told Raiza to reread those verses in D&C and to pray specifically about the priesthood, and that God could give her an assurance and security that no book or professor could give her. She told us she would and we will be meeting with her again this week to check her progress. We are praying that she will finally be able to accept the invitation to be baptized after all these years! 
Besides all of this, i had to give a talk in a multi zone conference this week haha. I was so nervous because i am the "youngest" missionary in the mission who is not from a spanish speaking country, as in no other north americans have come after me. so i was super nervous about my spanish. and president had asked me to speak on why we are on our missions, why we push forward, and why we complete our missions (because we have had about 3 girls go home early in the last 6 months, and a bunch of boys about 8 months ago). but everything went great, and i was able to clearly give my talk in spanish haha. 

love you all!

La Vida Loca


Family and Friends!

Its been a good week here in Paraiso. besides that we couldnt get into our apartment last night because the padlock got too rusted from the rain, so we were out on the street with the two rabid dogs who are always hanging around. this apartment is very interesting... like the electricity cuts out every day,  and every time it rains there are little parasites in the water in these sketch buckets my companion uses to clean her close, and im pretty sure we have mice, and we get eaten by mosquitos in the night. my other area was way poorer but we lived in a relatively "nice" apartment according to bolivian standards, and now we live in one of the richest parts of santa cruz and im living like i did in africa. pero pues asi es la vida... 

anyways the highlight of the week was meeting Raiza!! it was weird, like i met myself in an alternate dimension bolivian form. she has been an investigator for years, her whole family are members, and she openly admits she knows shell be baptized someday, but she just cant get her mind around some concepts of the church because she is a liberal feminist. luckily god put me and h. mullisaca (who would practically be a raging anti american socialist right now if it wasnt for the church, but now is just a really spiritual intellectual socialist and only slightly anti american haha) together, and we can relate perfectly with raiza. we are so ready to study so much in the scriptures and conference talks and to show her that we can have our intellectual passions and back equality but that the spirit ultimately teaches us absolute truth and testimony and that we can trust in God that his precepts are correct and bring perfect equality and happiness. 

i dont have much time, but we are going to meet with raiza again saturday so we´ll see how it goes! we have a few other awesome people too that i will write about later. but i am doing great here, feeling so much more comfortable with spanish, and learning so much from God and the people. love you all, you are all in my prayers. 

love hermana bingham 



I Almost Walked Into A War


Dear Family and Friends,
This has been a CRAY week hahaa. First off, I got to play futbol with like 40 elders for my last pday in Montero for 3 hours. It was awesome! I love playing with the Latinos because they are hilarious, Donde aprendio como jugar futbol?? Usted es mejor que los otros gringos…!! And that night we had a family home evening with the Arrodondos, and we watched the short version of the Restoration vid with Erick, one of the many young admirers of the Arrodondo girls. I swear their family has given us more references than all the rest of our ward members combined, but they are always guys between the ages of 19 and 21.. Los Arrodonds are trying to flirt to convert. BUT it was hilarious because after the vid (when i was wiping my tears haha) i turned to Erick (who kind of looks like a thug) and asked him how he felt. And he basically had nothing to say at that moment, so i was wondering if it was all a waste, until right before he had to leave he was like Do you sell this movie? I want to buy this movie. Hahaha and it was so funny to me that this thug kid was trying to buy the Restoration off of me. Anyway, hopefully he´ll be baptized someday and not just to impress Carla Arrodondo.
Anyway, the next day I had an intercambio. Bless the heart of Sister Diaz – she is Mexican American from Los Angeles and has always been fluent in both languages, and she is this awesome 22 year old slightly liberal Mormon convert with an amazing testimony – she knew that i was probably struggling with my companion, because my companion has a bit of a rep, so she arranged the intercambio so that i could spend the day in the center of santa cruz with her, and my zone leader who is awesome – a Puerto Rican American who also was fluent in both before his mission – told us to talk in English so that i could get my feelings out to someone hahaha. Anyway the apartment in Equipetrol with Sister Diaz is on a second floor, and early in the morning during our studies it started raining so so hard until all the streets around us were flooded. The other two girls in the house are two north americans from utah so all of us decided it was a primetime to do service because peoples cars were getting stuck, so we ran outside and literally the water was above our knees, but we freed peoples cars, including a van uphill, and carried schoolchildren on our backs across the street because they literally could not cross, and the whole time people on the sides of the streets were laughing and shouting because of us, the 4 crazy american girls in sopping skirts who were saving the people of santa cruz. It was the greatest, and hilarious.
The next day when my companion met up with us in the city and we started to head back to Montero, there was ANOTHER protest (the last time we had to make a travel from santa cruz to montero, our trip which usually lasts 1 hour was  4 HOURS stuck in the jungle). Anyway this time was a little more serious. Our trufi was at a dead stop with hundreds of other autos and people were bailing to walk. I thought if we could just walk a little bit further to a little town ahead we could catch a taxi to Montero. So we bailed and started walking to, but right before we reached the town we heard what sounded like gunshots and people started running the opposite direction. We ran a little ways to create some distance, and when we looked back we could see that protesters in a field were throwing small hand bombs and the police were launching smoke bombs or tear gas or something. Anyway we walked a safe distance away and again had to wait forever before things calmed down enough that we could catch a bus that was crossing over.
Then the NEXT day we had transfers, and like i expected, i was transfered. I was so happy to change companions, but i was so sad to leave my first area. There are so many people there that i love. However i felt good about the way i left the area. We started our cambio with no one, and when i left we had about 5 investigadors, including the Familia Davalos. I just hope that my old companion and her new latina companion will do all they can to help these people. Now my area is completely different. I am in Paraiso, a richer part of Santa Cruz. These people have cars and actual houses. Montero was hard enough to have investigators, because everyone is so hardcore catholic – now we are in a zone that is hardcore catholic and has money. There has not been very many baptisms here, and again we are starting the cambio out with no investigators. I am in a trio, which is different and three girls is never a good thing hahah, however i LOVE my companion H. Mullisaca. She´s from La Paz and has served in three missions now, Cochabamba while waiting for her visa, Venezuela until things got so bad there that they kicked everyone out except Venezuelans, and now here. She is awesome, and we work really well together. My other companion is Sister Cucul from Guatemala. She is a little bit more difficult because she says like 5 words a day only hahah. But we are going to work with her.
Anyways, i will let you guys know how it goes in Paraiso! I feel like i am in a different country now haha. I love you all, thank you for all your support and letters and prayers.
Love, Hermana Bingham 

Happy Pascua!


This week has been really so great. This cambio has been a struggle for me, my companion is not motivated, and we started out the cambio having absolutely no one progressing and no investigators because right at the end with my last companion we had lost several because of traveling or family problems. and then throughout this whole cambio, we have not had barely any references (PLEASE give references to the  missionaries in your wards - i feel their pain!! almost every convert is from a reference, knocking doors really is not effective), and so we have been knocking doors and being rejected and i have been struggling because i have been acting as senior companion and feeling like everything is my fault because i dont speak spanish perfectly and i am not totally familiar with the culture, etc etc. However, i spoke with my presidente a little at a recent zone meeting, and was reminded to calm down and trust in the lord. i have been trying to do that, to calm down and pray to him as my loving and personal father that i can have the strength to always try harder as a missionary, but also put things in his hand and work in his way. This last week we set a date of baptism with Nicole, an 18 year old whose family is really catholic, but who is interested in our message of the restoration, Mariela the 26 year old sister of a recent convert has attended church twice now and is participating the relief society activities, and we found the Familia Davalos. We met with the parents for a tiny bit to talk about prayer, and then one time more Saturday to share the Restoration and Joseph Smith. it is a real blessing that neither really have a history with the catholic church, only evangelical. The evangelicals are always more open to listen to us hahaha. Anyways, yesterday, their whole family attended church, for all 3 hours, the parents in their classes, and their 4 children in their own classes. when we couldnt get ahold of them by phone we practically ran to their home at 8:45 to remind them, and the dad was outside shaving like "yeah i know thats why im shaving" haha. i couldnt believe it, it is SO HARD to get people, 1. to remain interested after hearing about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, 2. to actually show up at the church at 9:30 am, especially because the culture here is so slow and without a fixed schedule, and 3) stay for the whole thing!! Whaddaheck!!! The Bishop invited them to his house, and we have a big huge festival this week that they are going to attend. 
Anyway, i dont know what will happen with this family. the parents arent married and there are still so many things to learn. i am going to try to have every faith that they will be baptized. However, i think i am going to be transferred this week and they will be left in the hands of my ward, and possibly my companera... but i know God can help any situation to work out. i am so grateful to Him for this amazing blessing in the very last week of this long cambio, haha. if anything, i know the seed of faith is now planted in the hearts of this family. I just hope they will let it grow and allow themselves to view their own incredible potentials and make the changes necessary to realize the wonderful blessings of the gospel. i gave them a book of mormon yesterday with a note of testimony inside, and if i do transfer i am going to leave them a personal note to move foward with faith. 

I have also been able to have my testimony of working with the members strenghthened recently. We had been working with Jaime, a 23 year old guy who knows the church is true, but basically out of laziness stopped coming for a year. We had met with him multiple times trying to encourage him to return to church. it wasnt until we brought Jexael, his friend who we baptized about a month ago, to his home to help with a lesson. Jexael bore strong testimony of the gospel, of sacrifce, and of obedience, and since then Jaime has been attending about every other week and soon will be given a calling. I had a similar experience with Betty, a woman of probably about 65 years who has also been inactive for over a year, but says she knows its all true. i had visited her with all three of my companions many many times. and every time she used the excuse that she works sundays and cant give up the money she can make. we brought Ana Maria, an older woman in our ward who literally serves everyone all the time, and this woman told her own story of how she prayed and prayed and almost lost her job when she, after also being inactive for almost a year, decided church attendence was more important than money. And remember these people are extremely poor, basically living in what we would call dumps. After her testimony, Betty cried, and since then has also attended church about every other week. I know that if we as members, can ask the missionaries how we can help, our testimonies and experiences will convey the spirit to the hearts of people who are in need. Please volunteer yourself to accompany the missionaries in your wards, or invite friends over for a family home evening and bring the missionaries, or give them references, even if its a friends in a different state. the church´s system of organization is incredible. i could give my mission office a reference in the states right now and they could have missionaries in the specific area alerted before the end of this week. 

Anyway, besides all this, weird things continually happen as usual. one pastor woman prayed for our lost souls at the end of a lesson haha. one of my many old men admirers tried to chat me up with more aggression than normal until i turned and told him somos misioneras de la iglesia de jesucristo, nos gustaria invitarle a las 9:30 todo los domingos, haha. and i guess it was a pretty big turn off because thats when he stopped following me. One morning i woke up and walked into our bathroom only to find larva squirming around on our toilet seat. Bolivia is just surprising me around every corner hahah. 

I love you all so much. today our internet was the worst ever, so sorry to all the people i didnt write back!
Hermana Bingham 

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WOWW was conference not the greatest!!! and best of all i got to watch all the general sessions IN ENGLISH. i wanted to cry just at the thought haha. i can understand in spanish, but still takes a lot of concentration on each individual word, and it is just easier to relax and feel the spirit in my own language when i can take in ideas all at once. it was just me and 3 north american elders in a little stuffy room, but i could feel the love and spirit of conference and it has reinforced my faith so much. 
i cant believe during college i barely took advantage of conference. what an absolute loss on my part. i actually am so dumb! so sorry to people who knew that when i didnt. but to any of you who are hoping my realization of my inadequacies means im losing my feminism or race-awareness - sorry not sorry!! hahaha because i am still just as equality striving as ever, actually even more after watching talk after talk in conference about pure religion, pure discipleship, which means the pure love of christ - unconditional and equal love, respect, and awe for every human creature regardless of where they are from, what they have done, what they look like, gender, race, etc. i LOVE our prophet because he constantly teaches this doctrine, charity and nonjudgement. 
some of my favorites were Holland, Bednar, and Christopherson. I love talks about the Atonement and how expansive it is. Every single injustice and abuse worldwide will be made right through this incomprehensible act of love, and He truly is the light of the world. like Holland said, the world is full of broken people, families, communities, and like Christopherson said the simple solution to these complex problems is the acceptance of absolute unchanging truth, and the willingness to keep our covenants through unbridled, consecrated LOVE of others. 

Anyway, i realize that i always just right about abstract concepts or my testimony and maybe some of you would like to know what i actually do here day after day. so i will describe one typical day for you now, using my missionary agenda, el dia viernes 4 de abril:

I woke up at 6:30, knelt and prayed trying not to fall back asleep on my knees haha, and then did my stretches and futbol exercises haha. got ready and did my one hour personal study, lectura en el libro de mormon y un poco en el capitulo de predicad mi evangelio - como reconocer el espiritu. We then had companionship study for an hour and finished our lesson plans for the day, then two hours of weekly planning, which we do once a week every friday. After almuerzo, which was probably some type of soup with unidentifiable animal parts meat and then rice and more unidentifiable animal parts meat haha, we headed to visit a woman named rosemary

rosemary lives in a one room with her husband and three kids literally in like the pit of a gas station. when we are standing in her doorway, there is a semi truck about 5 feet away from our faces, lifted up on stands making it literally almost hang over her doorway. it is filthy, and i think her husband may be a drunk, but she comes out to greet us anyway, and to let us talk. she doesnt seem to have much hope in her eyes, but she listens and answers our questions about her relationship with god. the problem is she cant progress much with us because she is not married to her spouse, and he does not want to get married, and he does not want to join in our lessons. this is extremely typical. 

later we visit with marleni, a 23 year old who lives in a barrio of our area that only has dirt and mud roads. she lives with her 3 other sisters alone. she accepts our message with interest, but because she is studying medicine and all her practices in the hospital are on sunday she refuses to join us at church. 

Angela is an old lady we find in her home with one grandson, a little boy, who she tells us is her companion every day haha. like most of the old people we encounter, she allows us to talk, talks to us about her past and her kids, but when we try to extend invitations she explains that she is catholic through and through haha. 

A 19 year old girl  ward sends us a text that her inactive brother is in town and we should stop by to teach. her name is maribel, and her and her mama are two of the strongest members in our ward. however her papa and brothers are all inactive, and work in "el campo" each and every sunday. this is a huge problem we have with converting or activating men. many of them work out in the jungle and only see their wives and families at rare times throughout the week. however, we stop by and teach her 30 year old brother how to pray, because he has forgotten, and bear testimony that he can truly develop a relationship with God. 

The most frustrating thing here that i have always taken for granted in the States, is that there is never silence. we struggle constantly to try to have the spirit in our lessons here, but there is constant noise every second of every day. we are teaching in tiny homes that are half inside and half outside, with the never ceasing sound of motorbikes zooming back in every part of this town, stray dogs constantly barking, and tons of babies crying because they are home all day with their moms only. it is so hard to foster an environment where we can have a tiny bit of peace, and tiny bit of quiet. i swear almost every time i try to bear testimony, a dog starts going crazy, a baby wont stop crying, the investigadors cell phone rings, or there are fifty motorbikes in a row. it is the worst feeling to know they are just not feeling the conviction that i feel, and they are so distracted by all the noise around us. 

but i am going to keep trying hard. thank you for your prayers, and please continue to pray specifically that we can find people who are prepared for this message. 

love hermana bingham 



I dont have much time this week, but i want to thank you guys for DA BIRFDAY LUV!! I am truly an ancient old lady now, but its okay. my birthday was actually so great!! i got to pick up a sloth, like you saw in the pic, so as if THAT wasnt enough for one day, my zone leaders (who are great) bought me a cake and me and my companion and 30 elders sang and ate cake. and then later my companion and i and our favorite ward missionary Ericka Rojas went shopping for my birthday futbol. i bought one with the brazilian flag because i have decided i am from brazil since people here literally talk to me in portugese because they just assume i am brazilian and i love it. after my mission i am going to visit brazil (but thailand first). and after that our mission presidents wife visited with another cake! and even the mission president! i dont know why they were in montero, or if it was literally just to bring me cake, but what cuties. and then we had a noche de hogar with the familia arrodondo, one of my faves, and they "secretly invited" other people from our ward, and we had a little testimony meeting and then salchi papa-ish food (i dont know what its called) and MAS TORTA!!!!! wooo. haha. so it was really awesome. Anyways, next week i will actually write about my investigadors instead of just about me HA. 

love cass