Monday, May 25, 2015

Karen AND David´s Baptism‏

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been SO GREAT! There were definitely many miracles. The biggest one was that Karen AND David were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost this weekend. Karen has been debating if David should wait until he is older and really understands it more, but with lots of prayers, she told us Friday night it was okay for him to be baptized as well! So we had the interview for him that night and a wonderful weekend for the two of them. I have loved being able to see them change their lives and increase their testimony in the Savior. They are a great family and I can´t wait to see what other great blessings and things they will experience in their lives. I have also seen little miracles such as finding people on the street to teach when lessons fail and we have a member with us, being able to finally meet with a less-active that we have been trying to meet with my whole time here, having a talk in sacrament meeting being just what an investigator needed, and so on. Missionary work is great.

I also had a district meeting Wednesday that I loved. I learned a lot about making sure my focus is always on the Atonement. My desire to share the gospel should be to help others have the opportunity to apply the Atonement in their lives. I also need to remember the importance of the Atonement in my own life. I especially learned that I can apply the Atonement when I feel inadequate in any aspect.

We went to the ward activity this week as well. It was a physical activity - they ran and did some other exercises before we were able to make it after studies. They also had the men, women, and children split up doing yoga, games, etc. They played volleyball and other things. It was a good turnout and really fun! I love the Alcobendas ward!

Also.. it was transfer week! Hermana Clements and I were both ´sure´ that Hermana Clements was going to be leaving. But we are both staying! I am excited for another transfer with Hermana Clements! I am really excited to get to be her companion longer, she has been awesome. This also means that my training is officially over. It has gone by way too fast. I cannot believe I have been in the field for 3 full months. I can´t imagine doing anything else though. I love the gospel and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so happy and grateful for the opportunity to share this message with the people here in Spain.

Love you all!
Hermana Bingham

Pics are from Karen and David´s baptism. We were able to do it in the bishop´s pool because it is ´´summer´´ - the water was still freezing!
more pics of baptism and one from ward activity
We took pictures with a few people during the week thinking one of us was leaving.. so here are a few more
1 - all the Alcobendas hermanas with Eusebio
2 - us with Nancy and Roger
3 - me with Alia, Andy´s daughter
4 - us with Maria Antonia

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Week of Learning‏

Family and Friends,

First off, I want to say congrats to Kelsey and Isaac! I just found out I am going to be an aunt to a cute little niece!! I am excited.

I am not even sure how to express everything from this week, but it has definitely been one of learning for me. First of all, we had intercambios. I stayed in Alcobendas - Hermana Cabrera came. I learned a lot. First of all, Hermana Cabrera doesn´t speak much English so we spoke Spanish the whole time. And actually being in charge of an area helped me learn the importance of planning every little detail correctly, leading lessons and contacting with someone new as a companion. It is hard to explain, but it was a great experience. We also had zone conference on Friday (with all the zones in the Madrid area). The AP´s (Elder Ridd and Gentry) taught about the 5 covenants we make as members and as missionaries, we made another by accepting our call. We discussed what we must do and the great blessing the Lord promises us. President Jackson talked about the agents verse objects concept that we discussed in the iPad training recently. He gave lots of examples in our lives and in the scriptures (such as the liahona) when a simple object becomes a wonderful tool that brings miracles when there is an agent (us) to use it. Something he said that I love is ´´Conviction is worthless unless converted into conduct.´´ Actually acting on our decisions, faith, committments, goals, etc is a huge part of really living the gospel and becoming the person we have the potential to become. Hermana Jackson talked about boldness - it is necessary in each step of missionary work. I loved how she shared the example of Peter - who denied Christ, starting off not bold, but later in his life preached of Christ and died doing so. I suggest reading the story of Peter again, it is awesome! We also had a great lesson at the ward FHE by Cristina. She taught the plan of salvation and focused a lot on why we live where we live, have the parents we have, friends we have, and our purpose here. It was really interesting. It really made me think about how much I take for granted growing up in a home with the gospel (thanks mom and dad!) and how blessed I am with this, education, family, friends, etc. Cristina said something cool that I liked ´´Coincidences are anonymous miracles of God.´´ I know that was a crazy long paragraph, and I still didn´t explain half of my thoughts/things I learned this week. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn so much from the Spirit. I am here to teach others, but in turn increase my knowlege and understanding so much.

As far as investigator updates go:
Karen, David (8), Alison (6) -  still doing great!!, Karen is super excited for her baptism THIS SATURDAY!, she still wants David to be older before he is baptized when he understands more of the committment he is making, David and Alison always want to pray and talk about being baptized and being missionaries like us, I love them tons!!

David - a man we have met with twice now, he is super intelligent, read all of 1 Nefi by the time we met with him the second time - about a week, he has been to church, has real desire to learn more

Ricardo and daughters Sofia and Stefy - awesome family, also very smart, have a baptismal date now, working on getting them to church Sundays, but doing well

I do not have exciting updates on the rest of the people we visit, but still working hard on teaching them and helping them in whatever ways we can.

The new senior couple is in the office now - the Larsens. I miss the Chappels a lot, but the Larsens are great too. We had a lesson where we needed a women to enter the home and found out 20 min before we needed someone. Hermana Larsen came and saved us! Elder Larsen went for a walk during it then came back with muffins for us. They are super cute and helpful. I am excited to have them here. Having a senior couple in the area is a huge blessing.

Hope you all have had a great week!

Hermana Bingham

1 - with Hermana Clements and Hermana Larsen
2 - at FHE with Simon and Mercedes and our ward mission leader Andy

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother´s Day = Skype!!!‏

Family and Friends,

This week has been great. Yesterday, I got to skype my family! I love them so much! It was so great to see them and talk to them, the time went way fast. Talking to them felt like I had just left for the mission, even though it has been over 4 months. Time is crazy.

This Thursday we had the entire mission together (first time since the Canary Islands have been part of the mission) for the iPad training. I went expecting guidelines, specific training, with some spiritual stuff as well. I was wrong. It was a great spiritual experience with hardly any specific training. Elder Dykes and Elder Allen talked a lot about how we have been taught the correct principles and now we just get to apply them to something new. They talked about how we are the agents and in control and the iPads are simply an object. They mentioned how blessed we are to learn, in a controlled environment, how to use technology in a way that it doesn´t take over our lives and we can use it as a tool. Our most important tool will still be the Book of Mormon and the teacher still the Holy Ghost. I am really exciting for this opportunity.

This week we taught two sisters, Sofia and Stefy, a few times. They are super sweet and accepting and smart. They have a baptismal date in June. We also taught a man, David. He knows a lot and had a lot of great questions. He came to church yesterday as well. Karen and her kids are still doing great. We are still waiting on having approval for her son´s baptism. She has the mindset that someone should be older and understand the committment they are making more fully before being baptized. We are helping her understand God made the age of accountability 8 and her son is that age, has a testimony, wants to be baptized, and wants to live the gospel. We hope they can both be baptized on the same day (May 23) as a family. :)

This week, over a course of a few different experiences, I learned - again- that missionary work is not easy (even though I absolutely love it and am extremely grateful for this opportunity). I have realized things that I can work on and improve. I am grateful to have those experiences and to get to work on becoming better each day. I know that this work is the work of the Lord. I know through the Atonement I can become more like Him each day.

Thank you for all your love and support! Love you all!

Hermana Bingham

pics: The Chappels (senior couple that has been serving in the office) left back to the states today. I am going to miss them tons! They took care of us missionaries here in Alcobendas so much. I have some great memories with them and am so grateful for their service!!

Here is a photo of the whole mission during our training.  I am on the last row of girls on the middle-leftish... good luck finding me. :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

I think I´m dreaming in Spanish.. :)‏

Family and Friends!

It has been another great week here in Alcobendas. First, to explain my subject. The story reveals a slightly embarrassing fact about me, but I think it is worth it. One morning this past week Hermana Clements asked me if I remembered my dream. I asked why, and she said I was sleep talking the night before, but in Spanish this time. haha. She hadn´t even told me but apparently I had slept talk plenty of times before in English, she just found it funny it was in Spanish this time. I thought it was hilarious and was actually super excited that apparently my dreams are in Spanish. haha. I think it is a turning point.

This week has been pretty typical, but it was good. Karen and her kids are still doing awesome!! She sent Hermana Clements and I the cutest text basically telling us how grateful she is for this change in her life and for us helping her make it. She is precious and is going to be a rock solid member. She had all the missionaries over for lunch Saturday and made delicious food, she is an awesome cook. We had a great first lesson with a dad and his two teenage daughters. One of the less-actives that we teach came to church yesterday, wahoo!

We had a really good district meeting. We talked a lot about our purpose as missionaries. We are not here to simply help people have better lives or even to get them baptized. We are here to help people make the necessary covents to have eternal life and eternal families. We talked a lot about our focus needing to be that end, not baptism. It reminded me of the day Brad´s temple work was done and how happy our family was -  that is what we are trying to bring to others.

The ward also had a talent show Friday. The missionaries did a skit with the Elders acting the sisters and vice versa where someone is the head, and someone else is the arms of the body. It actually turned out hilarious. I have a video of it, but I think it is to long to share through email unfortunately.

I did not have time to tell you about last pday. We went to Segovia. It is basically a city that is how I pictured Spain before I actually got here, Cathedral, Castle, old aqueduct, and gorgeous countryside around it. It was super pretty and really fun, even though it was freezing there. Today for p-day we went to the Madrid Open for tennis. I saw some famous players, but unfortunately I do not follow tennis so did not know them. It was awesome to watch them play though. All 10 missionaries from Alcobendas, the Chappels (senior couple), and Jacksons (mission president and wife) came. It was really fun.

Yesterday was mother´s day here in Spain. The primary kids sang a cute song for the moms. It just made me realize that I get to skype my family in a week! Thanks to all the moms out there, especially mine and my grandmas!! Love you all lots!

I hope you all have an awesome week! Love you!

Hermana Bingham

1.  this is how you find meat here.. a little sketch. there is a warehouse with these delicious sandwiches that I wonder how we do not get sick from eating them. haha
2. great turnout at the ward talent show!
3 & 4 - the madrid open

these are all Segovia pictures