Monday, August 22, 2016

Mission Complete

Well hello everyone! 

So I'm writing to a couple more people this week than usual, so I'm going to fill everyone in on a couple details. I'm finishing my mission this week! On Thursday. I'm going home 2 weeks early so that I can start school at BYU next week. Crazy! So I wanted to send one last final letter to everybody. 

We were going to have a final baptism this week for our investigator Yassir. Unfortunatlely, he got a really bad fever and he started throwing up and just wasn't able to get ready in the end. But, I'm not too worried about him. He's progressing really well still, and if he keeps praying like he is right now I know that he'll be able to be baptized this week. It's kind of sad that I'm not going to be there, but I'm not worried about it. We had a great last week though... We worked super hard in spite of the fact that my companion Elder Correa is more burnt than pan casero left in the horno over night. He's a great guy. I actually get along with him really well, and we're great friends. But that's the truth of it. But we finished strong, had quite a few more lessons this week than normal, which I definitely was grateful for. I received a lot of blessings this last week. 

And... I can't believe I'm almost done. It doesn't feel real yet, to be honest. But it is real. And I'm going to miss these best two years a lot. But I couldn't ask for anything else. I literally read that this week in Alma 29:6. But I will be forever grateful for everything I've learned over these 2 years. For all the experiences I've had, for the testimony that I've received, for the people I've met that have changed my life, especially the companions I've had, and that I've been able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help even just a couple people come unto him. I wouldn't change this experience for the world. It's changed me forever. I think if I tried to be more specific than that about what I've learned it would take up a few more pages, and I don't want to write all of that, and I doubt that everyone wants to read all that. But these really were the best two years, as cliche as that sounds. 

More than anything else that I've learned on the mission I've come to know one thing for certain: Living the gospel is what makes me happy. I never knew that before the mission. And I wasn't very good at it before the mission either. But I realized very early in my mission, from the first couple months, that obeying God's commandments and living his gospel is what brings us true happiness. I've had hard times in my mission, and I know I'll have much harder times later in my life, but I know that living the gospel keeps me happy in spite of those circumstances. So, I'm going to keep doing that. 

Shoutout to Elder Clarke and my MTC friends... Whom I'm abandoning. Sorry I won't see you guys in a couple weeks. And another shout out to Elder Romero, Levander, and Castillo, who I will also be abandoning. Hahaha. 

And another shoutout to Grandma Ashcroft, who I hope is recovering very well from her knee surgery. 

And... I love you all. I'll see most of you on Friday :)

Elder Bingham
We ate lunch with President and Hermana Goates yesterday!
Elder Correa wanted to dance in their house.
Elevator selfie. Like old times when I was in the office. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

A bit of a poopy week

Hi everyone! 

I'm glad to hear everyone had a good week. That's a bit weird that the ward boundaries changed! Oh well. I probably won't be living there. 

You know... Our week wasn't too bad! It was just a little poopy. Literally. 

So... Everything was going about normal until about Thursday. Then Elder Correa woke up with a lot of stomach pains, and a lot of diarrea. A LOT. That's why I said this week was a poopy week. Anyway, he was really really REALLY sick. So that meant we couldn't leave the pensh from Thursday through Sunday. So... That sucked! I've never been so long in the pensh. But, at the same time I learned lots of things, like how to care for sick people,how to serve my companion better... I had lots of time to catch up on my journal and the My Plan thing that all the dying missionaries have to do... It was good. I guess. You've got to count your blessings...

And we ALMOST had a baptism this week. Yassir was really close! He had his baptismal interview on Thursday, but unfortunately he didn't pass the interview. It came up that he actually still hadn't prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true and stuff, and he also still wasn't really sure why he was being baptized again if he had already been baptized. He wants to be baptized! But he wasn't so sure on that part. We thought we had explained those things pretty good... But apparently not. So we're going to postpone the baptism... And we hope to still be able to baptize him this saturday! I believe that if he does his part and prays to know... Then we'll have another baptism before I leave. Pray for him!

So... This is my last full week as a missionary. We plan on kicking butt this week. I hope nobody gets sick this week. 

I don't have much else to say... Except SEE YOU ALL NEXT WEEK! That's never felt so real. 

Elder Bingham

Elder Correa sick in bed

Selfies with people and old comps that died this last transfer

My last zone....

Monday, August 8, 2016

Still going strong

Well hey everybody! 

I'm glad everyone had a great week. Congratulations to Lauren and Nate! Hey! You should ask Lauren if she wants me to bring her something Argentine... Like mate! I figure she's probably missing things from Argentina. 

Well, week 1 of the transfer went surprisingly well. Elder Correa's really great, and he's actually being better than usual supposedly. I have no idea why, but I've for sure been blessed. We're still working really hard, and we're going to have a baptism this week! I think the change in area might have helped him... I think his biggest problem (from what President told me) is that he spent a lot of unneccessary time in people's houses in his last area because he was really good friends with them. Well now he doesn't know anybody super well, so I'm just taking him to all the important places that we need to go to, and we don't waste time in people's houses. So yeah! There's a few other things I'm getting used to about him, but we get along great, and he's been behaving himself well. He's kind of at the point in his mission where he doesn't really care about lots of the rules because he's almost home, but I've kept it in line well I think. I've got to pick my battles as well, but I'm just hoping we can keep progressing from here. So, things are going well here. 

I honestly don't know what else to say, just that I'm really excited that I'm ending the misison with another baptism. Yassir came to church for the 3rd time this week, and he's so ready! We've got to teach one more lesson, have a baptismal interview, and he's ready! I'm so excited. We're working in reactivating his uncle and grandpa still, but they're really close as well. We're really excited here!

My goal for now is to keep going strong with Elder Correa, and to endure to the end. I want to leave this area in good shape for the new missionaries that come next transfer. Since we're both finishing this transfer, there will be 2 new missionaries next transfer. I want to leave them with lots of investigators to work with. It's been difficult recently to find new investigators, and we dropped quite a few last transfer as well. And we're going to baptize one this transfer. So... If we don't find new investigators before I leave, there won't be a lot for them to do. So I hope to have some more success with that this week.

Well, that's about it! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Bingham

Monday, August 1, 2016

Literally the last transfer call I expected

Hi guys! Sounds like everyone had a great week! Let me tell you about mine!

So finally we had a better week in the area. We almost had normal numbers, and that was awesome cause we're working in 2 areas. We found a couple new investigators this week, and that made me really excited! Plus our investigator Yassir came to church again, so he's progressing really well for his baptism! I'm so excited! Also Ricardo came to church for the first time this transfer! He's finally in good enough health to do so. It was so great to see him again. 

And this Sunday we got transfer calls. We were really excited to get them, because we're really sick of this complicated situation that were in. And I don't know how President pulled it off, due to the lack of missionaries that were coming this transfer, but Elder Yugsi and I are both returning to our respective areas, with comps for each of us. Elder Yugsi is going to train. Now we won't have to work in 2 areas. I considered it a miracle, because I'm not going to be here for the whole transfer, and I had no idea what President was going to do with me. But I'm staying here in Sarmiento, my 5th transfer in the area. And my 10th transfer in this stake. I've been here for over a year. It's awesome. 

But here's the part I didn't see coming at all: I've got another special assignment from President. He called me again last night, just like he did when I was going to get Elder Yugar. He told me that he was proud of how well I did with Elder Yugar, and for that reason he's sending me this assignment.  My comp's name is Elder Correa. He's from Chile, and he's got the same amount of time in the mission that I do. In other words, he goes home at the end of the transfer. Here's the special assignment: Elder Correa is... well... In missonary language (I'm not sure if other missionaries say this in other parts of the world) we'd consider Elder Correa a bit apostate. He's got a really big problem for obedience. He doesn't do anything super extreme, he's been obedient enough to stay in the mission. But he has problems with his companions for this reason. President told me this last night: I'm supposed to help him end his mission as well as possible, in the tiny bit of time that I have left. I've known Elder Correa basically since I've been in the office. And I've heard lots of interesting things about him. The best part I suppose... Is that apparently he gets along well with lots of his comps. He just has lots of obedience problems. So... You get the idea. 

I didn't see this one coming. President has never ever EVER sent 2 missionaries together that are going home the same transfer. I'm most worried for this: I want to get along well with him, but I'm scared that it's going to be harder for me to be obedient in order to do it. I want to end my mission well.

So... Pray for me! Love you guys! I'm praying for you!

Elder Bingham

Making plantanes! Those green banana things! Delicious!

A bus selfie

Me and Elder Yugsi drawn by an 8 year old. I wish I had a tie like that.
Plaza Independencia
District Meeting
Plaza Independencia
District Meeting

Baptism of the Hermanas this week with Elder Warner
Another selfie
One more 

Cooking something

Monday, July 25, 2016

Little tiny miracles

Well hey family!

So we're still getting used to the whole working-in-2-areas thing. But hey... We had a tiny bit of success this week. Our week wasn't completely lousy. Plus... I didn't get robbed! So, that's a bonus. 

Well, where to start? Honestly not much happened this week. But one really good thing did happen! So I'm not sure if I ever told you guys, but we've been teaching this part-member family for quite some time now. There names are Alberto, Diego, and Yassir. Alberto is the grandpa, Diego is the son, and Yassir is the grandson, and the nephew of Diego. Alberto and Diego are inactive members, and Yassir isn't a member. He's 12 years old. And he's super dope! He had a baptismal date for the 30th of July, but he went to Chile with his mom for winter vacations. So his baptismal date fell, because he hasn't come to church yet. So we haven't had contact with them for these last 2 weeks. But he got back on Friday! And so we went on taught them on Saturday, and put a baptismal date for the 20th of August, my last Saturday before I come home. His mom was there that night because she was the one who brought him from Chile, and we talked to her about everything, and she's not a member. But she gave her permission for him to be baptized! We came by to pick up Yassir on Sunday for church and left the baptismal record with her to sign, and we've got permission now. And Yassir came to church! So he's progressing super well! We're going to have a baptism for sure practically. I'm so excited! 

What else.... I don't really know! Ricardo's getting a little bit better. He still hasn't been able to come to church, and we haven't seen him either. But I talked to him on the phone this week and he's getting a little better, he's just busy going to the doctor like all the time. 

I get my final transfer call this week... I think President is going to leave me in my area. I hope. I've got an end of mission miracle baptism coming up. And I don't really want to go to a new area for 3 1/2 weeks. But I just hope he's able to make a change about the current rut we're stuck in, working in 2 areas. It complicates everything. The problem is that President has sent home a ton of missionaries this transfer, and there's a ton that are leaving at the end of the transfer, and the number of elders coming is about the same. So he won't be able to fill many areas back up. And he's closed a lot this transfer. There just aren't missionaries in the mission any more! Or at least a lot less than there should be. So I have no idea what President is going to do with me for this transfer, for that reason. I'm not making it easy for him either, cause I'm leaving early. We'll see what happens. 

But for now, I'm going to keep looking for the little tiny miracles like Yassir. The days have been hard recently because we haven't found much to do, but what we have we're holding onto. And I'm grateful for that at least. 

Love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Bingham
We tried making chicken. It turned out okay.
Elder Yugsi is a goof. He bought these glasses and likes to scare the primary children

Selfie with some statues.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The struggles of living 2 lives

Hi guys! 

This week was fun. As I already told everyone... Elder Yugar went home this week. I'm now solo with Elder Yugsi. And it's been a blast. But it's also been a huge struggle. Let me tell you how we do things here now. 

So... Basically we switch between areas every other day. We work one day in Sarmiento (my area) and one day in Estanzuela (Elder Yugsi's area). We sleep in whatever area we're working in that day, and then in the morning we travel back to the other one, because the morning's aren't as effective for working. 

Perks of having 2 areas:
  • We have 2 cell phones.
  • We have 2 apartments. 
  • We have double the lunches! We won't ever go hungry this transfer.
  • I'm exploring new places! I was getting a little tired of Sarmiento.
  • I've now worked in every single ward in the Godoy Cruz Stake. I've been in 5 of the wards, and gone on intercambios in the other 3. I haven't left the stake for 13 months. 
Downfalls of having 2 areas:
  • We have to travel every day
  • It's a lot harder to visit people. Because they tell us "Come by on Wednesday!" But on Wednesday we have to be in the other area. It's a little difficult to find new investigators for that same reason. We're just trying to hold onto what we already have.
  • We have to do intercambios on Sundays with the office Elders so that we can each go to our own wards.
  • My food and clothes are scattered between 2 apartments. 
  • My new area is kind of dangerous, and we got robbed yesterday. 
Yeah... Not to freak you out or anything. We're both okay. They just pulled out a gun on us and took our cell phones. It was stupid. Oh well. Don't worry about us. We're fine. I was grateful for the Lord's protection. It could've been worse. We were probably about a kilometer from one of the more dangerous areas of the mission. We thought we were at a pretty safe distance, but I guess when you're there on Sundays at 5 in the afternoon when nobody is outside that complicates things a bit. 

So all in all... We're getting the hang of things a bit. It's a new thing for me. We've got 2 more weeks of living like this. But, even though it's way hard to teach people. I'm really grateful to have a comp that I not only get along with, but that I enjoy being with. And I'm not babysitting anymore. It's a nice change. We've also seen the Lord's hand this week, even though we've hardly taught anything. We've talked to a bunch of people on the street, and we've got a lot of names to contact this week. 

I love you all! One more thing: Pray for Ricardo! He's been super sick recently and hasn't come to church for 4 weeks. I've forgotten to write about that in my last letters. But he could use the blessings. 

Elder Bingham

District foto
Final pic of our trio
The aftermath of the robbing... They shot us a couple times in the face with their gun but we put band-aids on so we're okay.

I'm totally kidding we just put BBQ sauce on our faces. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Some big changes

Well hi family! I feel like there's a lot of things I have to tell you guys this week!

So for starters, I've got a new comp. I'm in a trio actually. His name is Elder Yugsi, from Ecuador. He's a hoot. This week has been a lot more fun than I've been used to thanks to him. But the reason why I've got two comps now is that our mission right now is lacking a lot of missionaries. The group that just barely went home was gigantic, and there's been like 5 missionaries that have gone home in the middle of the transfer. Elder Yugsi is in my district, and he had a mini missionary. There was actually a lot of mini missionaries in our mission at the beginning of the transfer. But they've run out. And Elder Yugsi's mini missionary went home last monday, for unknown reasons. So now he's stuck with us because he doesn't have a companion, and that also means that we have to work in our area and his area. That's been really difficult. We have to spend a lot of time traveling, and there's not really a lot of time to find new investigators in either area. So we're just focusing on really small parts of both areas where we have things to do and finding more people in those parts of the area. It's interesting. Plus is sucks to teach... Because everyone's so used to teaching in pairs, that when one missionary stops talking it's like "whose turn is it to talk?" And it's just awkward. But we're getting used to it. 

On Wednesday I had my last interview with President Goates, before the FINAL interview, where he talks to everyone about stuff like marriage and stuff. That's coming up. But it was my last normal interview. We had a good chat about how I can help Elder Yugar, how to work in 2 different areas, how to be in a trio, etc. It was great. 

Thursday we had intercambios with the zone leaders. I went with our new zone leader Elder Hakes and also Elder Yugar. And WEIRD CRAP went down. Our last lesson for the night was with some recent converts and ex-investigators of mine, two girls that are 19 and 18 years old. The older one has fallen into the temptation a couple times since her baptism of drinking when she goes to big parties and stuff. So we were helping her with that. But Elder Yugar went nuts. I've never seen him like this before. He started attacking them really hard and made them feel really bad, and he didn't do it with any love. They felt really pressured and offended, and me and Elder Hakes were trying to stabilize the situation. But in the end we just shared a quick thought and left. And then we tried to make Elder Yugar understand and learn why he couldn't be like that in a lesson, and we're not really sure what happened after that. He didn't talk to anyone else the rest of the night. 

We got to the pensh and he isolated himself from everyone else. He was standing in the open window leaning out, and we got kind of nervous so Elder Hakes convinced him to move away from the window. He sat down on the floor facing the wall and didn't say anything. Then at 10:30 it was time for bed, so we tried getting him to go to bed but he wouldn't budge. And that was when we realized he was actually unconscious. UNCONSCIOUS! We called President, called the bishop of the ward to come take him to the hospital, and tried waking him up. We loosened his tie and collar, elevated his legs, and he finally woke up coughing. They went to the hospital anyway. They tested his blood and stuff, and everything was normal. Nobody slept much that night. 

So yeah. Everything was back to normal in the morning. But on Saturday morning I got a phone call from President. He wanted to talk to me and Elder Yugar. So we went to the office for more interviews. I went in first, and President told me that the area doctors want to send him home. President was trying to get an idea of the situation, and we basically came to this conclusion: I can handle Elder Yugar. It's worked well so far. But we don't know what will happen when I go home. He might have another episode like this one. So President talked to Elder Yugar, and he's going to fast and pray to decide if he's going to send him home or not. We still don't know what he's decided, but I imagine we'll find out this week. 

Sorry for the long letter, but I felt like there was a lot of important stuff. I'm going to end now, but I hope everything goes well this week. I love you all! 

Elder Bingham

So I didn't finish my Cyber time this morning before we left for our p-day activity, but since then there are MORE BIG CHANGES. 

So we went with a bunch of other missionaries to this place called Potrerillos. It's this really pretty lake in the mountains. We took lots of awesome pictures that I'm going to send now. 

But on our way out I got a call from President Goates. It seems that Elder Yugar is going home tomorrow. So.... Looks like I'll be solo with Elder Yugsi now. It was so sad to tell him. It felt like I was breaking the news to someone about the death of a family member. He was really sad. I was really sad. It seems I've really come to love the guy. Even though he's really bizarre. He's good now... I think he's gotten used to the idea now. But, there's another update from here. 

You can add this to the other letter. 

Elder Bingham

Porfa? Or por favor? Or please?

Porfa? Or por favor? Or please?
I found a cat!
Making empanadas and eating chorizo with the ward for the 9 de Julio!
Making it rain