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 

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