Monday, April 25, 2016

Me voy a Leganés‏

Family and friends, 
I don't even know exactly where to start, but it seems like a lot has
happened this week. It started as a pretty normal week- some pretty
rough times and miracles all in the same day. Hermana Hill and I spent
lots of time trying to find some new investigators that would
progress. Our most creative activity was using her artistic talent and
using chalk in the park to draw superman and Christ and strike up
conversations with people then ask what superheroes and Christ have in
common. Some had to really think and some immediately said they both
save people. It was a fun activity. We also taught the special sabbath
day devotional to a few other members and I felt the spirit strong. I
think two of those lessons were some of my spiritual highlights from
the whole week. 
On Friday we had an awesome 1st annual Styrofoam Derby activity with
the branch. It took quite a bit of preparation, but was completely
worth it. There was a great turn out and the branch had a blast. 
Everyone took good care of me on my bday Saturday. Hermana Hill woke
up in the middle of the night to decorate the piso with balloons and
birthday signs. Members called. The Bakes made dinner and a birthday
cake for me. And after dinner we found out about transfers. Everyone
stayed, but me. I'm headed to Leganés, a small town to the southwest
of Madrid. My new companion will be Hermana Smith. I already miss
Santiago and the people. A short 12 weeks didn't seem like enough. And
to realize I have my 11 more weeks in Leganés then home is even more
crazy. I'm excited to get to know and love more people here in Spain! 
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Love you! 
Hermana Bingham 
Umbrellas don't help too much when the rain comes at a 90 degree angle
Susi, Gabriella, and Laura with their styrofoam derby cupcake car
What do superman and Christ have in common?
Do I dress for the black stormy side or sunny blue side?  haha that's Santiago
Birthday cake
1st Annual Santiago Styrofoam Derby

Monday, April 18, 2016

Visit to farm and James grave‏

Dear Family and Friends, 
This week was good. We had some good lessons with a few of our
investigators and members. Hermana Hill and I were talking about all
the people we visit and the privilege it is. Literally about 2/3 of
the people we teach are special in their own way- psychological
problems, depression, addictions, etc. We could easily look at it as
how hard it is, but we feel honored that the Lord trusts us to take
care of these children of His. Each one of them literally has a need
for the gospel and the healing effects of the Atonement of Jesus
Christ and we get to be the messengers of the wonderful news. 
On Tuesday night we went out and visited the branch president,
President Goyes, and his family who live out about and hour in the
country on a farm. We had a little family home evening. After, Hermana
Goyes asked if we wanted some fresh milk and eggs. We said yes, then
realized a few minutes later she had left to go get it right off the
farm. President Goyes invited us to go look and gave us a small tour.
It was pretty cool. And I found out I like fresh milk. 
This week I also had the opportunity to meet a less active member who
was the first man baptized in Santiago. Him and his wife are so sweet
and kind, great people. It breaks my heart when the rush of life keeps
people from making it to church and enjoy all the blessings of living
the gospel. He had some amazing experiences to share. It was also his
simple testimony to a friend years ago that converted the biggest
active family - kids/grandkids- of our branch here. We never know what
the affect of sharing a simple testimony could be. 
Yesterday in church we talked a lot about love. I have seen how
important love in missionary work is. Two great blessings came from
showing this love. Hermana Hill and I have been trying to get ahold of
two members and haven't been able to for quite awhile and were sad we
couldn't. We went to both of their houses about two weeks ago and left
them a little nice note with our number. Yesterday one of them called
us to let us know her phone had been stolen and the only way she could
get ahold of us is from that note which had our number. The other has
just been really busy but found the note in the back of her mailbox
and just helped her remember we're here and love her and sent us a
text to be able to come visit her. I know as we show little acts of
kindness it really softens people's hearts. 
For pday today we went to the cathedral here and visited where the
apostle James is supposedly buried. Also, the Bakes went to Madrid
this weekend and there's a Costco there now so they brought us some
delicious treats. And I keep forgetting to mention this, but they
speak Gallego here. Almost everyone speaks Spanish as well, but I'm
getting to learn some Gallego - very little. All the signs are in
Gallego so I learn random phrases. It's a Spanish and Portuguese mix.
I think that's about it for the week. Hope you all have a great one! 
Love you! 
Hermana Bingham

Goyes farm
Our friend Jose
James grave
My building! (Quimica=chemical) There is a university here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Miracles keep coming‏

Family and Friends, 
I had another wonderful week. Heavenly Father continues to bless us. 
The saddest part of the week happened Monday evening. We were supposed
to go back to Alcobendas, my first area, to work before going to the
mission home. I was sooo excited to work there and visit a few people,
but we had a delay getting there. On the renfe train we were at one
stop where we had to change trains and after 3 trains coming by then
saying it was out of service we heard there was an 'obstruction' on
the track (never found out what) so we went in metro which took a long
time and we got to Alcobendas just in time to leave for the mission
home. It was a bummer, but hopefully I'll get another opportunity. I
did get to talk to Karen (recent convert) and her kids on the phone
for a few minutes and they're doing great!Hermana Hill and I with 4
other hermanas from the north and islands slept at the mission home
then we had concilio on Tuesday. I love concilio. It's a huge blessing
to be a part of. This month we talked about the importance of our
teaching skills and how to improve them. I had another moment where I
realized so many of my experiences now will be a huge blessing for the
rest of my life, not just these 18 months. 
We got back to Santiago really late Tuesday night. We had a few really
good lessons on Tuesday. A new man we have been teaching is doing
great, and it is partially thanks to a member who has been helping us
out. Belinda (the member) is awesome. She's taken time to show him
where the church is, just be his friend, and bear great testimonies in
the lesson. I'm grateful for the help we receive. We also taught a new
man where the lesson opened my eyes a bit. Long story short, I am so
grateful to be raised in the gospel and understand the importance and
need of living the gospel.
Wednesday we went to A Coruña for zone training. They just got a new
chapel there that is beautiful! And huge! Can't wait for the day when
Santiago has a chapel. The work is slowly progressing and we pray to
be able to get a stake up here in the north. The training went well. I
learned lots from all the comments made. After we came back to
Santiago with the A Coruña hermanas and we had intercambios. I was
with Hermana Robertson, who's been in the field for a month. I love
new missionaries. Even without understanding everything they give such
a powerful, pure testimony during lessons that really help. We saw
miracles together, including meeting with a less active that I've been
trying to meet with since I've been here and set some great goals. 
One more great experience was a lesson we had with another new,
Alexander. We met on Sunday in a park area because we couldn't find a
member to meet inside. We were under a covering, but it was pouring
and cold. He invited us to a cafe for hot cocoa. He has a cousin
that's a member and knows quite a bit about our beliefs. He knew we
wouldn't buy it, but said that's why he would. We felt bad because it
was so cold bit we explained WHY it was so important to us to keep the
sabbath day holy and why we felt uncomfortable doing that. It ended up
being a great teaching and learning opportunity, and he patiently sat
in the cold for 30 minutes. Shows his commitment to me as well. 
Sorry I didn't even express how well the week really went in this
email, but it really was great. I'm loving Santiago and my mission in
general more and more each week. 
Love you all! 
Hermana Bingham 
Breakfast crew for Concilio
Visit to Vigo for pday

That storm coming in...We didn't quite make it out of the hike to the car in time
Ellie (our good GPS friend) took us on quite the backroad adventure

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Wonderful week in the mission!‏

Family and Friends! 
It has been an amazing, spiritual, humbling, miracle-filled week for
me. On Tuesday we had zone conference. What most impressed me in the
meeting was the importance to include the Lord in missionary work, His
work. I had a humbling experience and felt silly for acting this way
for so long - but I had gotten caught up in how I need to be more
creative for finding, I need to work harder, I need to figure out how
to teach and touch these people, I, I... Yeah I think I made my point.
I was humbled as I remembered that is has nothing to do with me, it's
the Lord's work and He will help me as I ask and seek for His help.
Hermana Hill and I tried to apply what we learned immediately that
evening. Long story short, we had an appointment with a man at 6:30
who just moved here and number is from another country which our phone
can't contact so through helpful members we had the lesson set up, but
no way to confirm it. We were in the park, and as many days in
Santiago, the sky was full of grey clouds, ready to rain any minute.
Separately, and unconscious that the other was doing it, Hermana Hill
and I prayed that 1) the man would come and 2) it wouldn't rain until
after the lesson- it could pour right after, but wait until we
finished. About 15 minutes late the man showed up, we had a great
lesson with him, we prayed, stood up from the bench, and literally
within seconds it was pouring. I know it wasn't a coincidence.
Heavenly Father answers prayers. We also had a cool experience
knocking doors this week. The truth is I haven't found too much
success doing it throughout my mission, but with the situation we had
a few minutes and it was pouring and thought maybe we should try. We
got inside a building, prayed to know where we should go. I thought 4,
Hermana Hill 7 so we did both floors. Between the 3 doors on each
floor we picked one and in both cases had great conversations and an
invitation to come back. I know that was with the help of the Lord as
well. These are only 2 of the many miracles we've witnessed is week. 
Another highlight of the week was general conference. I feel blessed I
was able to listen to it all (besides Sunday afternoon still because
of time difference). There were many talks I loved and I was able to
receive answers to some questions. I'm not going to list all my
favorites but I loved Elder Stevenson's analogy of priesthood keys,
Elder Bednar's explanation of how baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost,
and the sacrament are related, and Sister Oscarson's question of 'do I
REALLY believe it?'. I felt like there was a big emphasis on saving
the lost sheep, reaching out and loving all, truly living and
believing what we know, and remembering who we are. With a lot of
other great stuff in between. I'm so grateful to have living prophets
and apostles and the opportunity to literally hear what Heavenly
Father wants me to hear every six months. 
I have a funny dog story to add for the week as well. Hermana Hill and
I wanted to stop by someone's house that lives out in the country. The
Bakes drove us out, but as we got closer the roads got smaller and
rougher so Hermana Hill and I got out of the car to walk the rest of
the way. We were casually walking down this dirt path out in the
middle of no where (picture beautiful green country with wild flowers,
really far apart houses, picturesque basically) when a little
ferocious dog started barking at us and running toward us. My first
instinct was run, but realized it could easily outrun me. So we just
froze there. Two of its little dog friends joined, blocking our path.
We didn't know if we should go back, ask the Bakes to drive us, wait,
or what. As we sat contemplating our options we couldn't help crying
of laughter at ourselves for being in such a dilemma over three little
dogs. In the end we played the slowly walk method and we were fine, no
dog attacks, but I was grateful that I'm not serving out in the
country with loose animals normally. :) 
Between conferences yesterday Hermana Hill and I flew down to Madrid
so we can be here for our leadership meeting Tuesday morning. We got
to the stake center in Pavones right at 6 when conference was
starting. It was fun being back in my old building. And a huge tender
mercy to see many people from my previous area. On top of that, I get
to go to my first area tonight to work before heading to the mission
home. I hope to be able to find some of the old people I taught. It's
going to be great! 
I'm so grateful to be serving here in Spain. I continue to see
miracles and have experiences that change me for the better. I'm
grateful I choose to serve a mission. I know the church that Jesus
Christ established has been restored. We have the priesthood keys on
the earth that make it possible to live with our Heavenly Father
again. His plan for us is a plan of love. 
Hope you all enjoyed conference and have a wonderful week! Love you all! 
Hermana Bingham 
Santiago Zone

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Happy Easter!

Hola Family and Friends! 
Hope you all had a great Easter yesterday! I think I mentioned last
week that they celebrate a whole Easter week here, so many people were
out of school and work and on vacations. A whole one of our
investigators stayed in Santiago, but we still had a good week. Okay,
it also was honestly a little bit of a long week. Hermana Hill and I
have applied the quote "push it, push it, to the limit, limit" to our
current mission life. Some of my most challenging times in the mission
have been the best, especially looking back. And the awesome miracles
also come soon after the challenging times. We are just setting up for
the miracles. :) 
We've had some really good finding experiences this week. Miracles are
already starting. We were challenged to really push our comfort limits
and not just say "hey we are missionaries", but to have more fun and
talk to them like normal people first. It's been fun. Hermana Hill and
I have our favorite park now to go talk with people. We found a super
cool man, Ramón, that was just reading on a bench and also some high
school boys who were playing soccer and they taught us to do a trick.
During intercambios, we talked with a lady who was doing the Camino de
Santiago and had a great conversation with her. 
Sorry this is a short email, can't really think of anything else. I'm
now in Vigo with the zone for a zone pday then a zone conference
tomorrow. We were going to take a boat to a small island, but sadly
there is a big storm so we can't. It will still be a fun day. Love you
Hermana Bingham 
Some new friends

Churros and chocolate with Sheila
Comida with Angie and Hermana Hinton during intercambios
Fourth Sunday dinner with branch