Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 10

Hello Family and Friends!

This past week I had many experiences that helped me grow and realize some areas I need to work on. It was a challenging week, with some really amazing moments in there too. Two of our investigators want to learn/practice English too. Hermana Clements and I realized they do not have a testimony of the Restoration - of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. So we went back to the basics and taught the first lesson of this in Spanish and English. I never realized how hard it is to think in both languages, translating is hard, but it was a great practice. Wednesday we had district meeting. President Jackson, his wife, and daughter that just got off her mission, were all there too. We had a wonderful discussion of the Atonement and how we can understand it better and how we can help our investigators understand it and apply it in their lives.

Thursday to Friday I went on intercambios to Alcala - another area of Madrid. I was with Hermana Bennet for the day. She was super nice. It was a little strange jumping into an area I know nothing about, but I made the best of it and learned from it. When I returned to Alcobendas Friday, Hermana Clements informed me that they had not had contact with Karen, our investigator who was supposed to be baptized Saturday. By that evening we found out she would not be able to make it to her baptism on Saturday. It was really hard news to come back to, but we have faith that we will be able to continue to meet with her and help her feel prepared in the future.

Last night all the missionaries in the Madrid area went to a devotional by Brad Wilcox - BYU professor and in charge of the foreign exchange program here. It was all in Spanish and I understood the just of it, wahoo! He talked about the family of Israel. I learned a lot, it was super interesting. Way too much to put here, but someday I can explain it all.

This week we loss a few investigators due to different reasons. And with the Karen situation, it made for a rough week. But I was reading the New Testament this morning about the life of Jesus and his apostles. I read a chapter where He performs miracles, then right after, his disciples have doubt and fear and are not understanding of the miracles Christ performed. I applied it to my own life and realized that there are miracles, no matter how small, in my life everyday and I need to recognize them, appreciate them, and be grateful for them. One miracle is Saturday, although we did not have a baptism, Hermana Clements and I ended up with hours of contacting time and got so many numbers of potential new investigators. The Lord is blessing us. I am so excited for general conference next weekend and Easter. I know that Christ lives. I am so grateful for the knowlege I have of Christ and His Gospel and the opportunity I have to share it.

I love you all! Thank you for all your emails and letters, it is great to hear from you.


Hermana Bingham

1. Hermana Clements and I enjoying the rain
2. Kebab - Turkish sandwiches they have everywhere here. You watch them heat the outside of this HUGE
chunk of meat then shave it off. The meat is a little sketch, but it tastes amazing.
3. Hermana Bennett and I during intercambios in Alcala
4. Isabela - an awesome girl (baptized a monthish ago) I taught during intercambios then randomly ran into her while in Madrid last night

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 9 - A Month in Alcobendas!‏

Dear Family and Friends,

As of tomorrow, I will have been in the field for a full month. So crazy. This week had it´s ups and downs, as always. It was super rainy and freezing all week which made our contacting times a little rough, the streets were pretty empty. But that is okay, we survived. I was very grateful that I decided to actually bring a pair of rainboots, they were handy this week.

Karen - baptism this Saturday! She is so awesome and active in the ward already. Her and her two kids come to the activities and love it. At FHE Friday she brought delicious empeñadas (I have no idea if that is spelled right). We had a great lesson with her and she is on board and excited for her baptism. I love her so much and am super happy for her.
Magy - We unfortunately have to move her baptism back to April because she was super sick this week so we were not able to meet with her much. She is still doing great and on board, just will not be prepared by this Saturday. Next month though!
Nancy and Roger - Also doing well. They are always receptive to our lessons. They have been doing well at reading and praying. The only concern with them is work schedules and being able to go to church, so we are working on that.
Maria - New investigator with baptismal date. She has two adorable little boys. She came to church yesterday. Her baptism will be a little further out because she lives in a pueblo so Hermana clements and I are only able to go to her house once a week. But she is awesome and prepared.

Other investigators are doing well too. I think one of my most interesting lessons this week was with a man from Palestine. He spoke little English but we were able to talk about God´s love for us and families and prayer. He was actually really interested in finding out more about Christianity, he had no background with it. He is a really cool guy and although we have many differences culturally, teaching him is a great experience. I realized how much I often take for granted the circumstances I was born into and the blessing of being raised with the gospel in my life.

I also had a cool experience in English class this week. I only had two of my regulars there (normally 3) that are both Catholic. One of them brought questions we could go through and answer to practice our English. One question was ´´What is the most valuable thing you have?´´ We interpretered it both money wise and sentimental. It lead to a great discussion with them about the gospel. Most of class was filled with that, I loved it.

Elder Bohne in district meeting made a comment that ¨It doesn´t matter.´´ He was referring to the fact that we may not speak perfectly, or know everything, or be able to answer every question perfectly, but it doesn´t matter. As missionaries we are set apart to represent Christ and help others come closer to Him.

We also had an awesome ward activity on Saturday. The missionaries (mostly Hermana Pavez) were in charge. Hermana Pavez chose the theme of Lehi´s vision of the tree of life. We set the whole church up into the vision. We had an iron rod - string -  that everyone was blind folded and lead throughout the church. Those who did not ever let go were led to the tree of life and those who did let go at some point were led to the great and spacious building. We then got together and talked about the experiences everyone had and symbolism. It turned out really well, even better than I thought it would. The Alcobendas ward is awesome.

1. Karen´s adorable daughter had fun with my hand
 2. Karen´s son gave me a diploma.. still not sure for what but I loved it
3. Our beautiful tree of life.. not bad for a bunch of missionaries with limited supplies
4. The church turned into a maze for the iron rod
5. Hermana Clements and I and the tree of life

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 8 - March 16, 2015

Dear Family and Friends, 

First of all, I need to tell my little sister Maegan Happy Birthday! She is currently serving in the Melbourne Australia Mission and doing great. Love and miss her tons!! Hope you had an awesome birthday Maegan and enjoy no longer being a teenager!

Next, I had a MUCH harder start to my week, but it is all good. There were a few amazing moments that made up for the hard moments. All week long we had appointment fall through. We only taught about half as many lessons as the previous week. But that did mean Hermana Clements and I had time to do lots of contacting! I´ll be honest, not my favorite thing, but H Clements is the best at it so I have a great example to follow and learn from.

We received a reference of a lady, Maria, who lives in the pueblos. In all other areas of Madrid, all missionaries take the buses to the pueblos for lessons when needed. But we have the AP´s and office elders with cars so usually they drive out there. But we were encouraged to have sisters teach this lady, so H. Clements and I took it. The pueblos are awesome. There are actual houses with backyards! And they are in the country more. It is pretty. We were given the not most clear directions, so ended up going a little (ok 30 min) further than we needed too. So that was unfortunate, but it happens. We made it to Maria´s house and she is awesome! I am excited to teach her.

As far as lessons go - we had one with Nancy and Roger. They did AWESOME with their commitments to read and pray. We discussed the chapter in the BOM they read and they had great insight and it was wonderful. They are so great. Nancy came to church and loved it. Unfortunately, we did not know but Roger works as a life guard during this season, every Sunday, so we are trying to work through that obstacle now. But Nancy is still on track for baptism april 11. When we went to our second lesson with Magy, she had been reading the BOM - even marked it up and had great questions - and praying. She was very receptive of the next lesson we taught as well. She unfortunately got called into work Sunday so did not come to church, but that is totally an obstacle we can work through. She loves the things we teach her and I love our lessons with her. Karen and her 2 kids came to church. They already have friends there which is awesome. They are also doing great. They come to the ward FHE every Friday. She even asked if she could bring a treat to the one this week. She is the sweetest. Her faith is continuing to grow and it is great to see how the things we teach touch her life. That is all our investigators with a date. We have many others that are struggling with one thing or another, but they are also all great and I love them all!

The other two Hermanas in our area had a baptism for their investigator, Angel, Saturday. It was at in the stake center by the MTC. Karen (investigator) and her 2 kids came, it was a great experience for them and I think they really enjoyed it. The baptism was beautiful and Angel is such an amazing man, he was already helping us in lessons and I know will be a great benefit to the Alcobendas ward. After the baptism, I ran into two of the teachers from the MTC that I love - that was super fun to talk to them for a bit!

As far as the Spanish goes, I have a story from yesterday to help explain. Andy, the ward mission leader, was teaching gospel essentials. The lesson was on the gifts of the Spirit. A few minutes into his lesson he explains that he is going to call on the missionaries to explain the gifts of the spirit as we go through them. The first one was the gift on tongues. He turns to me and says Hermana Bingham, will you please explain the role of the gift of tongues in your life. Way to put me on the spot. So I struggled my way through explaining what it is and how important it is in my life now and I know it is real - I can always speak Spanish way better when I am teaching about the gospel or bearing my testimony. He said thanks then asked if everyone understood everything I said. A few brave souls raised their hands. then he asked who understood the just of what I was saying and everyone mumbled yes and shook their head. haha. So basically, I am far from speaking well but I can at least normally fumble my way through conversations - about the gospel at least. Normal day to day tasks are still a ways to come. I do love the spanish language and learning it though. It is coming along slowly.

We had lunch at a recent convert´s house yesterday. She wanted us to teach her how to make cookies after. We had given her the list of ingredients. But Latins, love them, but they cook very different than us and do not really follow recipes like we do. In fact, measuring cups are not even a thing here as far as I know. So she did not have all the ingredients. We tried anyway. When we had to leave there was a cookie fiasco. She turned it into the delicious dessert bread thing - bizcocho - and gave us some later than night. I have no idea how she did it, but it was great. I was impressed. We need to make really American cookies sometime though and prove we actually can.

Last thing for this week quickly. I read an article by Boyd K. Packer in the April 2015 Liahona about the Atonement. He shared, ´´As mortals, we may not, indeed cannot, understand fully HOW the Savior fulfilled His atoning sacrifice. But for now the HOW is not as important as the WHY of His suffering.´´ I really liked this. The Atonement is hard to fully comprehend. But what is important is that we know Christ suffered for us so that we do not have to suffer the price of our sins because HE LOVES US. I know this is true.

I love you all!

Hermana Bingham

pic - Hermana Clements and I - definitely took it right now bc I took no others all week. and I made a goal to try to send one every week. I will come up with something more exciting for next week!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 9, 2015

Hola Familia y amigos!!

I have SO much to write this week. So if you get tired of reading.  I´m not offended. 

First off, Happy Birthday to my brother Bradley! The big 16 today! I hope to hear some great dating stories. And happy birthday this Saturday to my dad! He´s a few years older than 16... I hope you both have amazing birthdays! Love you tons!!

Second, I´m finally in the mission field! I am in the Alcobendas area, it covers Alcobendas and San Sebastian de los Reyes, both suburbs of Madrid. My trainer is Hermana Clements from Spanish Fork, Utah. I am loving the mission so far. I spent all Tuesday at the mission home. The Jacksons are amazing. We had a lot of scripture study, talking, and eating. Then finally that night we met at the stake center and found out our trainers and areas! About two hours later I was sitting in the church in Alcobendas teaching English class. That is the service activity we do every week - and I love it. I get to teach advanced (Hermana Clements does beginning) so basically just talk to the people in English. It´s wonderful. Then we had a lesson right after that. So there was no time wasted to start missionary work.

First, I want to talk about our investigators. We have many - we taught 22 lessons this past week. So I will mention the ones with baptismal dates for now. Karen - wonderful Dominican Republican lady with two beautiful, awesome children ages like 8 and 6 or so. I love our lessons with her, they are so spiritual and she is awesome and so sincere. She comes to the ward FHE (which is awesome! they have a huge turnout every week of members and investigators) but hasn´t been to church yet, which is our hold up. Hopefully next week. Nancy and her son Roger are also on baptismal date. They love learning and are also super nice. We are still working on getting them to church. So please pray for church attendance in this area.. that is one major thing we are struggling with. We had our first lesson with another lady, Magy, Friday and she accepted a baptismal date. She is golden. Was taught by some elders awhile back but moved and lost contact.

The ward here is very functioning which is great. We have an awesome ward mission leader and bishop and everything else. The bishop´s daughter plays a few hymns, so they were very excited when they heard I coul play a few more. So thank you to my parents for encouraging me to keep up with piano, and for my grandma reminding me I should really practice hymns before I come. This area is also the area of the mission home so we get the AP´s and office elders and senior office couple in our district, which I love. We walk alot. Don´t use the metro in this area. And it´s ALL hills, but I actually love it.

My address will be the mission home address for my whole mission. Currently living close I will get packages fast, but it could take awhile when I´m in the north or on the islands. 

I am really loving the mission. I hope my Spanish will improve so I can actually communicate better, but I know it will come more with time. Just got to be patient. I´m so grateful for the opportunity to serve here in Madrid.

Also, I forgot many people asked about the schedule.  We get up at 7 instead of 6:30 then have a 2 hour media dis when almost everything is closed from 2-4.  We eat then and have study time during that.  Then we don't have a dinner time, just snacks from people we visit, etc.  Have to be to our apt by 10.  Everything is a half hour later during the summer months.  I am super grateful for my schedule, it's wonderful!

Love you all!

Hermana Bingham

1. Madrid MTC district with Hermana Suarez
2. We got dominoes pizza our last night at the MTC!
3. I LOVE the Madrid Temple  
4. MTC district with Hermano and Hermana Ponsoda (siblings)

5. My Alcovendas ward missionaries out for pizza with Andres the ward mission leader and Tony - member of the ward
6. my example of the hills I get to walk all day

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bienvenida, a la Hermana Bingham!‏

We received your daughter into our mission Tuesday morning. We brought her to the Mission Home and fed her lunch. She was excited, and seemed ready to get to work. We enjoyed spending a good part of the day with her, to tell her about our Mission and to get to know her better. She is wonderful.
We met with her trainer to discuss the new 12 week training program. During this 12 week period, your daughter will have an extra hour of companion study each day, and will be given specific things that she must report to the Mission President. We know that this is an inspired program, and will help missionaries learn to be better teachers and better followers of Christ. Please encourage your daughter in this program. It will help her to develop tools that will help her to have a successful mission, and a more successful and fulfilling life after her mission.   
Hermana Bingham has been assigned to the Alcobendas area of Madrid, which is in the northeast of the city. She will work with Hermana Clements, who is from Utah. She is a happy, obedient missionary and will be a good first companion for your daughter. 
Please send any letters or packages to the Mission Office for the duration of her mission. We have such a large mission area and mail times are very unpredictable, so that if she gets transferred while the mail is in transit it is very difficult to track her down. Don’t forget to put her first name on the package! 
Our Preparation Day is on Monday. Hermana Bingham is instructed to email her immediate family every week. We look forward to getting to know her and working along side her in this great work here in the Spain, Madrid Mission. We already love her. Thank you for sharing her with us!
President and Sister Jackson
Spain, Madrid Mission

Monday, March 2, 2015

Park Pictures

Our teachers dress as ´tourists´ and go around and take pics of us while we are at the park proselyting. It´s pretty fun. These are a few pictures from the past couple of weeks.