Monday, June 29, 2015

Grateful for all I'm learning!‏

Family and friends, 

Well I'm going to start this email off with the funniest story of the
week. Hermana Clements and I had a lesson with a man that we had
talked to on the streets a few weeks ago. In Spain, there are big
apartment buildings with doorbells to all the apartments in the
building - such as 1 a-d, 2 a-d, etc. We rang the doorbell to 2a,
talked to the man, he let us in, we were feeling lazy so took the
elevator. We pressed 2 (at least thought), but somehow ended up on
level 3, unknowingly. A kind woman answered (a lot of people share
apartments here), said this man went to run an errand but should be
right back so we can wait in her kitchen. We did, for about 10 minutes
then decided to call him. He answered and said he was home. We
explained we were at his apt waiting in his kitchen, and he responded
'I don't think so... What does it look like?' We described it, he said
he thought we were in 3a, we left the kitchen and talked to another
random girl which confirmed that. Awkward. So we left them with our
card and exited, went down a level, and found 2a. The man told us he
could hear us talking above him. Haha. He and his wife found it funny
though, it was a great ice breaker for the lesson. :) So even though
we were awkwardly waiting in literally a random kitchen, it's okay.
I'm convinced the other sweet lady needs the gospel in her life. 

This week we have had some great lessons. We have also struggled some
because suddenly everyone is leaving for vacation (many people take a
month to 2 month vacations), super busy with work, or just seems to
not have much time to meet. Edward and Mostafa (both with baptismal
dates) fall into the crazy work category. Luckily we were able to meet
with each of them, but no with the same frequency that we would like.
They both are doing well though and are still loving it and

I also had intercambios this week and went to Torrejón with Hermana
Baxter. It was fun to see a new area and serve with a different
companion for the day. I learned a lot from the experience. 

This Tuesday I had a great personal study, then on Wednesday read a
talk from Elder Bednar that my dad sent me that went along with it
perfectly. And our district meeting had to do with my studies, it was
great. I was just having one of those moments in which I felt slightly
inadequate for the job. But this week I have truly learned that
"...God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the
things which are mighty" 1 Corinthians 1:27. And that He will "make
weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27). I know that as I
use the atonement in my life to overcome my weaknesses, I will develop
the Christlike attributes that are needed for me to be a successful
missionary! I'm grateful for everything I am learning and for the
opportunity to share the wonderful news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Thanks for the emails from all! I appreciate them! Love you all! Have
a great week! 

Hermana Bingham
Mission shoes... I've been super glueing them a lot these days so they don't snap in half. Haha
We made mini cheesecakes for Karen's birthday!
There is a 'work out' park that we pass by the church everyday. We
decided to try it out one of the mornings this week. Everything has NO
resistance but it was fun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Novel email.. Because the week was so great!‏

Family and friends!!

It has been a great week. Last Monday we left the piso with it being hot and clouds in the far distance. By 7:30, it was pouring. And all our lessons failed. No one would let us in their houses. Everyone fled from the streets except for us. We were freezing and soaked. Then our ward mission leader called us to let us know we could stop by and visit his family - they are some less actives that we visit. Simon, his dad, was the cutest. He hung our sweaters by the heater to dry (dryers don't exist here). Made us hot cocoa and snacks. Simon and Mercedes are like my parents here in Spain, I love them so much!! While talking about less actives, we had another awesome lesson with a less active and she opened up to us. Her and Simon were at church yesterday! I'm always just as excited to see them in church as I am to see investigators.

Random input: I read Hermana Clements version of our great Monday story and it it WAY more interesting, so I had to send it. Remember, she like writing plays and stuff so she's way better at this kind of stuff. Sorry my stories are lame compared to hers. Okay so in the eyes of Hermana Clements:

So, my favorite part of the week is the following true story about out returning memos active, Simon. 

When we left the apartment this afternoon to go save the world from the devil, the sky looked perfectly normal. A couple clouds, but nothing to be too concerned about. We had even debated on whether or not to bring a sweater. As the warm afternoon wore on, a few slightly heavy looking clouds made me a little nervous, but I was far from preoccupied about it. I would completely change my mind within the hour.
Frantically shoving the Book of Mormon in my backpack to keep it as dry as possible, we trudge through the flooded streets of Alcobendas. We are literally the only people crazy enough to brave the sudden downpour. Everyone else has managed to find refuge in their homes, and the rest have all fled the flood by seeking shelter in the metro. A tempting idea, but we have lessons to get to. 
Dripping and chattering, we arrive at Ricardo's place. Silently praying with all my heart that he will be somehow crazy enough to let in two dripping sister missionaries, I ring the bell and wait. Nothing. My heart sinking, I ring again. More silence confirms my worst fears, as my shaking hands fumble for the phone. All I get is his voice mail. My companion and I lock eyes.... All of our backup plans involve a lot of walking. A spark of hope flashes across my mind, almost corresponding exactly with the most recent flash of lightning across the sky. Nancy answers my phone call almost immediately.
"Hey Nancy!" I say cheerfully, trying my best to drown out the chattering of my teeth with an excessive amount of perkiness.
"Hello dear." She answers in the usual fashion. "Dear" accompanies almost all of Nancy's opening lines.
I give the classic how-are-you-doing spiel for as long as I can before cutting to the chase.
"So we were wondering if it would be possible to pass by a little earlier tonight. Are you and Roger home right now by chance?" 
I had obviously pinned way too much hope on the idea of them being able to rescue us from the storm, because I about die as I hear the negative response fall from her lips. Not only is she not home now, but she is not going to arrive in time to see us at all that night. Great. With all the energy I could muster, I confirm our appointment for the following Wednesday, and bid her farewell. Both Hermana Bingham and I feel like sitting down right there on the sidewalk and having a two-minute cry. Rationalizing that such a moment would do very little good, and only make us dirtier, we set off to pass by for a few more people. Surely one of them would have it in them to let us in. We were dead wrong. 
Completely out of options, we make our way to the metro to make a few phone calls. This quickly proves to be an ineffective use of our time, as the abundance of rain avoiders made it impossible to hear anyone on the other line. We are in the middle of making what seemed to be a less than fun game plan for the rest of the evening, we gat a call from Mission Leader Andy. 
"Simon is at home, and so are Alexi and Mercedes." He suggests after hearing of our miserable predicament. 
Chuckling at his reference to his father as "Simon", I thank him profusely. We are on the very next metro to the Vera home. 
Simon lets us in the very moment he realizes it was us who rang the doorbell. The look of concern-meets-pure-love on his face just melts me as he takes in the sight of our soaking wet clothes and hair. He shuts down our protests for getting his house wet as he rushes to set up the space heater. He sets us up nice and cozy on the best plastic chairs in the house, carefully lacing up our sweaters to dry, burying us up to our necks in a blanket, and emerging from the kitchen with steaming hot chocolate with cheese and crackers on the side. The evening grows old as we chat it up with him and his wife, Mercedes, and my heart is at the point of bursting with love for this man when I look at the time. I hold the worlds quickest debate in my mind as Obedience clobbers Desire, and I announce that we have to go. We share a spiritual though, which, despite my best attempts, could not convey the gratitude I felt. But while my efforts are insufficient, the spirit manages to get my message across. Simon in soon in tears, and so am I. It hurts him to let us go back out into the storm to get home, but I don't feel cold at all as I step back into the rain.

Yup, her version wins! Haha. We LOVE the Veras!

Anyway, I've learned a lot this week basically about using my time wisely. In district meeting, we watched the talk by Elder Randall Ridd about using technology wisely. He talked about how we live in a time with many more choices to make, but that also means that we have more responsibility. He talked about 4 points that were great (you can go read them :) ) but one of my favorite things he said was that we must be proactive. I know the times I've used technology poorly, even just wasting time, is when I'm bored. My mission leader also said this week that "if we are hoping for something, we better work for it and do something about it". It's easy for me to think of things that I want/desire but I need to be proactive in making goals and actually working towards making my 'righteous desires' happen.

President and Hermana Jackson leave in a week, then the Packs will be here. I had an interview with President Jackson this week. He is a great man with a lot of helpful advice, I am going to miss him a lot. We also asked Hermana Jackson to help us in a lesson this week. Last minute, president peeked his head in the door and asked if he could join. I was a little freaked out at first, having my mission president in my lesson, but it turned out to be a great lesson and awesome experience. They both had great feedback and suggestions on how we could help this investigator progress more to be ready for baptism.

On Saturday we went out to one of the pueblos in search of an old address of someone, an investigator who lives there and we haven't been able to reach, and an inactive member. It started out looking like a waste of time with doors not being answered. BUT we ended up getting the number of the person living at the random address, a powerful lesson with the inactive, and waiting for the bus I saw our old investigator with her kids playing outside across the street! A blessings-filled day.

Yesterday in church Karen (our recent convert) gave an awesome talk on the sacrament! She made it personal and everyone felt the Spirit! I was so proud of her! :) Also, Sarah gave her farewell. She leaves this week for the Barcelona Spain Mission. She was such a great help for us in lessons. I'm going to miss her! She's going to be an awesome missionary!

I hope you all have a great week! The church is true! I'm so grateful to get to be sharing the gospel as a full-time missionary, it makes me so happy! Love you all!

Hermana Bingham

It POURED! Hermana Clements and I loving the rainstorm!
Our favorite 100 random mini sandwich place again.
Sarah leaves for the Madrid MTC then the Barcelona Mission on Wednesday!  (Sorry these ones are blurry)
Hermana Staker, me (not sure why I'm so cheesy..but oh well), Sarah, H Clements, H Harper

Monday, June 15, 2015

No more Alcobendas ward!‏

Family and friends!
This week has had its ups and downs, but that is mission life!  Really the hardest part has been every single perfectly confirmed day with members and all completely fail.  It just put us doing a lot of back and forth walking for nothing.  I just wish people would say they can't make it if they can't instead of not showing up. But it's all good.  :)  We will made the best of it.  Found some awesome people in the streets and passed by some people in their homes and were actually able to talk with them.  Also, I don't remember if I've mentioned our investigator Mostafa yet, but he's awesome!  He was born in morocco but moved to Spain as a teenager so has a Islamic/Catholic religious background.  But now he wants to be Mormon!  He loves everything we teach and he learns in church and at the FHE activities.  He immediately applies it to his own life.  And knows it's good and right and wants it for his family.  He's such a friendly man too.  I'm really excited for him.
This week we also got our iPads!  I love using the gospel library app for studying.  They have been very helpful in lessons too.  Obviously our main and most important tool in conversion is still the BOM but there are also amazing things we are able to do with the iPads.  Technology is definitely a blessing in the Lords work.
Oh one more cool random thing.  In church yesterday the stake president said that everything for the new church building here has been approved!  Its going to be so nice.  They need a bigger space.  Also, we are no longer the Alcobendas ward.  We are now the San Sebastian  de Los Reyes ward (since that is the city the building is actually in).  I hope you all are doing great!  Thanks for all the support!
Hermana Bingham

Monday, June 8, 2015

Quick update on some investigators and Courage!‏

Family and Friends!

I feel like I just wrote you all yesterday, and here I am again. I am still loving the work here in Alcobendas! Here are a few investigator/recent convert updates:
Nancy and Roger - ´´unfortunately´´ Roger´s arm was only sprained, not broken, so he is back to work and not able to come to church. We are working hard on getting both their work schedules changed. We taught them how to have an FHE this week and it was super fun. They are great.
Karen and kids - Taught them how to hold an FHE as well. Such a fun day. She cooked delicious empanadas for us. She was also asigned to speak in sacrament meeting in a few weeks and is excited for it! She is so cute! Love them!
Mayra - New, found her in area book. Super awesome. Has searched for the truth with catholics, jehovah´s witnesses, evangelists, and now us. She is super  cool, accepting, and has the desire to really know.
Mostafa - From morocco but moved to spain when about 15 so has a Muslim/Catholic mixed religious background, all he wants is the best for his family and to really know what is right
David - still teaching, he is progressing lots, he came to church and was searching the scriptures (the Guia alot - like the spanish version of the index, but not going to lie, even cooler because it combines the bible dictionary with the index) during testimony meeting about the topics talked about, he decided our next lesson is going to be on Thomas S. Monson

We had a great district meeting on Wednesday about courage and whenever we have fear we should pray. It was really great. I actually was thinking about one of my favorite quotes from the movie ´´We Bought a Zoo´´ - something about the fact the we only need ´10 seconds of insane courage!´ It is so true and applicable to about every aspect of life. I find in missionary work, such as contacting, as soon as I start talking with someone it is easy - I just need those 10 seconds of insane courage to get me started. :)

I am very grateful to be serving here in Spain! I have learned so much. I can already see a difference in myself and can think of many ways my lilfe will be changed in the future by this great experience. Thanks to all of you for your support!! Love you all!

Hermana Bingham

Monday, June 1, 2015

Miracles in Alcobendas!‏

Family and Friends!!

It has been a wonderful week here in Alcobendas! Hermana Clements and I are making our third transfer together the best one! Knowing the area and how we work with each other has been a huge blessing in working very effectively. We have been able to see many miracles this week!

We met with a man named Katungo this week. About 2 weeks ago, he literally ran after us yelling ´´Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ´´ over and over (we were running to an apointment we did not want to be late to). Sadly, we wanted to keep running because people yell at us all the time, but do not normally have nice things to say. But eventually we stopped and he told us he was a member, but inactive for 7-8 years. and ready to start coming again. He had all the missionary language material for teaching the gospel in spanish (he is from Africa and speaks English.. and about 5 other languages now) with him, in his bag because he loved going out with the missionaries and teach. We were able to meet with him this week. He taught us the Restoration and Plan of Salvation, quoting scriptures and all. It was cool. We figured out why he had not been going to church. He had a work trip in Barcelona this weekend but said he will be at church next week. He is really awesome, has tons of faith, and knows so much! I am excited for him.

I have also mentioned Nancy and Roger (mother and son) who we teach. They have not been able to come to church due to work schedules, it has been an ongoing struggle. When we visited them this week, Roger´s arm was in a cast. He broke it. He works as a lifeguard. The doctor told him he could not work until his arm was healed, which means he came to church!! They live pretty far so it was awesome to see a teenage boy´s faith as he took the metro across the city, ´´early´´ in the morning, to come to church. He is great. Who knew breaking an arm could be such a blessing. :)

We have also had other small miracles such as be able to use the members more in lessons and finding many new people to teach. I am excited for all our new investigators.

We also watched a really cool video in district meeting this week, I think it is called ´´lift´´. You should all try to find it and watch it. It is about a woman in a wheelchair who needs to be put in bed every night so a bunch of men from their ward volunteer. It talks about the change of their attitude as they came to really love Kathy, the lady. A quote I loved is basically that we heal the body by turning inward, but that does not work to heal the soul, we have to turn outward. I am starting to see the importance of service and gaining the trust and love of others as a missionary.

I am so grateful to be serving a mission! I love you all so much!!

Hermana Bingham

pic: this was on a bulletin board in the church building, it is slightly cheesy, but it is a periodic table, so natural I loved it. sorry it is in spanish...