Wednesday, December 21, 2011

So, when Cameron got baptized Feb 2010 Caleb Duncan was here in Vancouver serving his mission. He is from Cedar City Utah and is now going to law school in Nebraska but while he was home for Christmas break, he took the time to go and visit Elder Bennion in St. George!!! How cool is this??? Not to mention he got pictures! Can I say, LOVE IT?! Makes me happy! Thank you Caleb again for your kindness and friendship. I know it means a lot to Cameron!  and to ME :) 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 42: Saving People From La Migra AKA Immigration

Sometimes I worry that I'm having too much fun serving Heavenly Father out here in San Geezy.  :P This was one of those weeks were I served so many people and had so much fun doing it! It really is silly but the old saying, "what goes up must come down" makes me wonder when it is going to come down and things are going to get tough. I have had a really good past few months out here. Granted, there have been many trials but they all have been worked out.

Miracles happened this week! Tuesday we visited the daughter of a recent convert. She is 23 years old, a single parent, and has two children. We always are taught to invite people to be baptized during the first lesson to understand how they feel and what we need to do to best prepare them for the essential ordnance of baptism. More often than not, people do not accept the invitation to be baptized right away but this girl did! She was so prepared! It was a testimony builder for me to see that God is always preparing people. Just on Tuesday two more people accepted the Savior's invitation to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God.

It is interesting how I have served in the same area for 5 months now, yet we are still finding new people to teach.

Thursday morning was interesting... All the Elders got up and we played dodge ball in the cultural hall. Things were going great until Elder Bagley and I went for the same ball. I bent down to get the ball as Elder Bagley slid for the ball. His face collided with my knee and lets just say it was not pretty. My knee literally has two tooth marks and it bled pretty good. Elder Bagley's face was even worse. His upper lip was split wide open and he ended up needing 25 stitches! I felt really bad. That taught me to never start morning sports with out an opening prayer again.

Friday was another crazy busy day. The craziest part of the day was going to the city offices to help translate for an investigator that needed a daycare license. The police had came by and told her if she didn't get a license she would get a ticket. Of course, like most people we teach, she doesn't have a green card so the police were setting her up for immigration to come and get her! I never thought I would work so hard to make sure someone wouldn't get deported but that is what the mission does. I am starting to understand a small fraction of the love our Savior showed when he died for us. That love Christ showed us is AMAZING!

There were some other silly things Elder Valdez and I did that involved Santa hats, sunglasses, and the Temple visitor center. But that is a story for another time. What would the mission or life for that matter be with out a little fun? :)

As I think of this Christmas season I remember the story of the Inn keeper that turned away the Joseph and Mary, Christ’s mother who was heavy with child away. "Away in a manger no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head." How many of us at this time of the year are turning the Savior away? How many have shut the doors to the LDS missionaries with out first fully hearing their message? How many of us turn Christ away in the shows/movies that we watch? In the music we listen to? Ask yourself, am I doing all I can to allow Christ into my life? If not we are missing out on the feelings of peace, comfort, and joy, which are all associated with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Replace fear with faith and know that Christ will never turn away. He is the reason for the season. I know "He" lives. I know this is His one and only church. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Vaya Con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion

Monday, December 12, 2011

address till beginning of Feb.

VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE!! The address below has been corrected! I was given an incorrect address previously. This one is correct!!! 

Elder Cameron Bennion
454 S 500 E.
St George, UT 84770

For those who are thinking of sending him a Christmas card ;)

Week 41: Thanks Elder Bennion, For Baptizing My Mom

Guess what?! Thirteen days till Christmas! It seems to be approaching so fast! Part of me is excited for Christmas, mainly because we get to call home. It's unfair slightly that the international missionaries get to use skype to call home but it is pointless to cry over spilled milk. Other than getting to call home I just wish it would stay Christmas longer. I love all the lights at the Temple and Christmas trees in people's houses. It is not like home where everyone has a real Christmas tree. Come to think of it, I have not seen a single Christmas tree lot in St. George.

This past week was really hectic for some reason. We taught a total of 55 lessons; we had 13 people at church, and two baptisms. I think ever since last transfer with Elder Hayden I've had this permanent twitch on my right eye lid from the lack of sleep. We usually don't get to bed any earlier than 11 pm and we are always up by 6 am. As grandma says though, sleep when you are dead right? ;)

Our first baptism was on Sunday at 5:30pm for Manuel. Manuel is a really great kid that just was so ready for the gospel. We found Manuel driving through a subdivision and I saw a Hispanic boy playing outside. Call it what you want, but I call it guidance from the Lord. I wrote down the address and came back a week later. We were warmly received and now about a month and a half later Manuel was baptized. This was one of those times where Heavenly Father directly guided us to the place we needed to be. I loved this baptism because it was more than just Manuel's baptism. It was his family that needed it just as much as he did to re encounter the road that leads to the Temple where they can be sealed as a family for eternity.

The second baptism was at 8:00pm For Juana. I met Juana six months ago when I was first in this area. Juana has three kids who are all members, but she has faced a lot of challenges in her life. When I first met Juana my hopes of her joining the church were slim, but these past months though, she has made tremendous progress. I'm so proud of her breaking her smoking habit and making the decision which she has known to be right for so long. The best part of the night didn't come before the baptism while we were taking pictures. It didn't come while we were in the baptismal font. The best part of the night came after almost everyone had left the chapel when we were shutting off the lights. Rene came up to me, I gave him a hug, and he said, "Thanks Elder Bennion for baptizing my mom." It doesn't get any better than that.

This past Monday, Elder Valdez and I went to the Temple. It has only been two months since I've been to the Temple because we made a mission Temple trip not too long ago but there is something special about dedicating P-day to the Lord. After getting out of the Temple I looked up at this magnificent building that is over 100 years old. I looked around at the surrounding buildings and just thought to myself how incredible this one house of the Lord is. This one building is responsible for every other building in St. George. It is quite awe-inspiring when you come to the realization of the grand importance of Temples. So many have no idea the blessings that come from entering the Temple. I know that if more people did, it would become a desire of their hearts to become worthy to enter into the House of the Lord. As the children's hymn says, "I love to see the Temple I'm going there someday, to feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to pray. The Temple is a holy place where we are sealed together. As a child of God, I'VE LEARNED THE TRUTH: a family is forever."

I know this church is true and I know because we have Temples families CAN be together forever. During this time of the year we are blessed to remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, which without him, nothing would be possible. I'm truly livin' the dream. Vaya con Dios.

Dios es amor,

Elder Bennion

He really loves this town.....

 If you look carefully he made a scripture case out of photos...One was of him, Kodi and I on the steps of the St. George Temple when he was just 4 years old... Isn't he a handsome missionary? ;) just sayin'!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This Year for Christmas... author Unknown

This Year For Christmas

I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Claus, My decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and fun.
I've bought him all white clothes because... This year I'm giving Christ
my son.

I've spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred.
I've reread November's Ensign, Felt strength come from His words.
Our family prays more frequently. My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because, This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers, gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion , their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence, I'll miss his smile a ton
For two years we will pray for him, I'm giving Christ my son.

I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their shine.
He's always hungered for the part of him, that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard, His choice and mine are one.
I'll put my faith in God's hand, This year, I'm giving Him my son.
Past gifts have lost their glitter; I think I finally understand
Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing's done.
My gift has taken years to make, This year... I'm giving Christ my son.

I know there's One who understands, the sacrifice I'm making.
Who knows the gift I willingly give, The toll it will be taking.
For He has done it all before Greater love - there could be none.
For years ago God gave to me, His only begotten son.

The hands I washed, the hands I held, The hands I taught to pray;
Now knock on doors to find the ones Who will listen to what he'll say.
Because I know Christ needs him, Until all the gathering's done,
My gift has taken years to make. This year...I'm giving Christ my son.

 I know that Elder Bennion won't be reading this till after his mission, but I hope he knows how very proud I am of him and what a joy and priviledge it is to be his Momma. I know this is where he is supposed to be. Thank you to all of you who love and support him. I know he is so appreciative even if he doesn't always write back. <3

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 40: He Is The Reason For The Season

Hey everyone,
I hope you all had a great week. Crazy to think one year ago I was just now getting home from Hawaii and receiving my mission call to St. George. It's been cold out here this past week. I expected high sixties and low seventies in the winter but it isn't! The past week has been in the fifties and in the twenties at night! Fortunately, we still have a car for the rest of the transfer but I have a feeling next transfer we will be walking. Before I forget, if you send me packages for Christmas send them to 454 S. 500 E. Packages to the mission office are taking forever. I feel like packages could get to China faster than they get to me. Also, I got a package of candy from the dentist that weighs close to ten pounds so I don't think I will be needing candy or gum for Christmas. That was definitely the most surprising package I've ever received.

This week was really good in a lot of respects. Tuesday we had zone conference with Elder Zivic of The Seventy. He and his wife are from Argentina. It always is a pleasure to be in the presence of a special witness of Jesus Christ. We didn't learn anything new or groundbreaking from Elder Zivic but more so, I received a reaffirmation of the things we are doing right.

On Friday night we had our branch Christmas party. A lot of people came out for the party. What can I say, other than Latinos love pachangas. It was hectic just like the Halloween party, trying to talk with everyone and let them know how important they are to me. I sat there for a few minutes just looking out over all the people and I just felt so happy. I looked at all the faces I've come to know and all the people I've taught and baptized. It was a very nostalgic moment for me because I remembered why I'm here. Seeing all these people in the true Church of Jesus Christ makes my struggles all worth it. I have a framed picture on my night stand of Jesus that says, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." A mission is not easy. You are tested mentally, physically, and spiritually. There are times when nothing is going right, when I feel like I'm alone, and where I feel like the grass is much greener on the other side.  In these instances it would be easy to say I've already done my part in the time I've spent serving the Lord. It would be easy to say I've already baptized more people than most missionaries do in their respective missions. Why subject myself to the hardships of a mission, and then I remember why I do it. I do it because the worth of one soul is great in the sight of God. More importantly how great will be my joy if I should bring many souls unto my Father in Heaven.

On Saturday Elder Valdez and I took a couple to the visitor center to watch the new Joseph Smith video. We got done watching the film and Josh, who is an inactive member of the church, undoubtedly felt the spirit that was present in the theater. I bore my testimony of The Book Of Mormon, of Joseph Smith, and this couple said they believed that it was true as well. For me that experience was monumental as a missionary. I realized there are inactive members that have fallen so far away from the path of righteousness they have lost their own testimonies. It really saddens me to see that. I also realized from that experience that whether Rosario gets baptized or not I fulfilled my purpose to the fullest extent of my abilities. My testimony also grew in the knowledge of the love of our Savior has for each and everyone of us. He wants us to know of Him and His church. We just need to have the desires to find it. Make it a great week and replace fear with faith. I know my Savior lives. He is the reason for the season. I have felt his profound love for me. I know this church is true. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion

Elder Cameron Bennion and Elder Cody Hayden

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 39: La Obra Se Sigue Moviendo

HO HO HO TIME FOR CHRISTMAS! Gosh I just love the holidays. We are officially in the countdown to Christmas. It is crazy how that time of the year is already here again. It's been funny here in Utah; people seem to get ready for Christmas much quicker than back home. Some people had Christmas decorations up in early November! Now, a lot more people have decorations up, but it made me laugh to see Christmas stuff in early November.

This week has been a crazy one. What's new though, right? I think the difference between this week and the previous hectic weeks is that I'm shouldering more of the load while I'm training a new companion. My new companions’ name is Elder Valdez. He is from Guatemala but came out of Layton Utah. He has been a really great son so far! hehehe When we went into the relief society room and we were looking at all the new missionaries I saw him and figured he would be my companion. Elder Hayden and I had seen his picture in the mission office and Elder Hayden “called” me getting Elder Valdez. Speaking of Elder Hayden, he went home the same morning I got assigned to Elder Valdez. On Thanksgiving I saw a picture of him at the airport in Redmond with his family. He looked really happy. We had way too many fun times to even count!

This past week has been weird for me seeing so many missionaries I know go home or prepare to go home in two weeks. It's weird to me to think I'm training a new missionary that less than one month ago was just a regular person. It makes me feel old in a sense and at the same time I'm missing the Elders that I looked up to when I was a “greenie.”

Training has not been as hard as I expected it to be, which is a blessing. The hardest thing about training is just planning out our day on my own. Having to plan who we will visit and at what time so that we can be using our time effectively is crucial. Anyone can be a missionary but it takes a concerted effort to make sure you are maximizing these two years we have been called to serve. On top of that, I forget at times Elder Valdez doesn't know some of the little things and I just expect him to already know what to do. I have the up most faith in him that he is going to become a great missionary.

This week I also did something I've never done before and that is baptismal interviews. I expected it to be hard but it is actually a lot of fun. I love doing baptismal interviews because something I've learned is that we all have a different story one reason as to why we love this church so much. Leadership has also taught me to have more respect for numbers. Looking at how other companionships are doing number-wise helps me to know how to help them and help our area as well. Patience and Christ-like love have been attributes I have grown in the past week. I have more love for the Elders and Sisters in our district and I want them to succeed.

The mission is going really well right now. At times it feels like the world is resting on my shoulders with all the hats I'm wearing right now but I love it out here in San Geezy. In times of need I remember my Heavenly Father is only a prayer away. Replace fear with faith.

We had another baptism yesterday and it went really well. The members came out in truckloads for the service. I just love these members of the 28th branch aka "La rama verdadera". I feel like this branch is home to me. The members always want to feed us and I feel their love every Sunday when I see them. I'm so thankful for this area, my Father in Heaven's vineyard! I'm thankful for the members and I'm thankful for my family. Thank you for all you do for me! I love you mom! Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 38: It's Been Nine Months And... I'm Having A Boy!

I was going to wait and explain the title of this letter later on but I thought it sounds a little sketchy to let your imagination run wild. Yesterday we got transfer calls and President informed me that I will be training a new elder this transfer. I don't know his name or anything about him yet but I know I'm training. In the mission when you train you receive a "child" and you are their "father". I've been out nine months now so it's ironic that I'm training at nine months. haha

This week has gone really well again. Elder Hayden had an interview with President Leonard early on in the week and President was complementing Elder Hayden on the area and how we taught 82 non-member lessons and 10 less active or recent convert lessons. President was saying how that will be a mission record for a VERY long time. Fast forward one week later and we taught 98 lessons! December is looking really good as far as baptisms go. We should be having a very white Christmas as in having a lot of people dressed in white for their baptisms.

One of my favorite moments this week was getting to see William and Gloria get married. They have been taught for two years now and they just have never been able to commit to getting married. They finally got married on Wednesday and are going to be baptized in December. Elder Hayden and I were the witnesses and it just makes me so happy when I see couples get married and then get baptized. It shows a lot faith and commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

This has also been Elder Hayden's last full week in the mission. He goes home early Wednesday and Tuesday he will be doing things with President and Sister Leonard. I never could have expected to have the transfer we had. It has just been a blast serving with him and his GINORMUS EGO! I have a strong testimony that fun doesn't come from breaking rules but rather working hard and only worrying about the people you are teaching brings fun. I'm living the dream right now!!! I've learned a lot about the mission from that crazy kid.

 And I will aremember the covenant which I have made with my people; and I have covenanted with them that I would bgather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the cland of their fathers for their inheritance, which is the land of Jerusalem, which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father. (3Nephi20:29) The Lord gathers people in His own due time. It's been a blast seeing the Lord prepare so many people for Elder Hayden and I to teach. I'm nervous and excited for the following transfer and to see what will happen. There is a lot of responsibility training. The mission goes on though. Missionaries come in and missionaries go but the goal always remains the same. Find, teach, and baptize, bringing souls unto the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Replace fear with faith. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion