Monday, May 30, 2011

Week 14: Being A Missionary Is So Much Better Than Being A Normal Person

I hope Memorial Day is going well or went well for everyone. This is the unofficial start to summer, which I have been waiting for! Summer vacation started last Thursday here in Sanpete County. For most of the week it still felt like spring with all the rain but the weekend turned out to be pretty nice and now it is back to rain. I can already tell I'm going to miss boating this summer. If I can't wakeboard, I guess being a missionary is a good substitute... who am I kidding this is way better. :)

I went through the Manti Temple for the first time on Tuesday. All I have to say is WOW! I feel so blessed to have some of the most storied and historical Temples in my mission. The Manti Temple was dedicated in 1888! That puts the Temple at a whopping 123 years old. The opportunity we have to go to the temple as latter-day saints is such a blessing for me.

Elder Brown and I were out on the farms teaching a lot this week. The Nor Best turkey plant is out here towards Moroni so raising turkeys is big business. It was funny though because we were on a farm looking for an investigator and I felt like I was in the movie Chicken Run! haha I wonder if these thousands of turkeys know they are being raised just meat? Honestly turkeys are not the smartest animals so I doubt it but it was just funny to think of these turkeys trying to escape. The smell is so bad out here at times too. If you get a westerly wind blowing, boy does Moroni smell. The whole town ends up smelling rancid yet no one notices it! They all say they have gotten used to it and don't smell it. haha

The work has been going good out here for the most part. We had a couple rough days this past week where appointments fell through or where everyone just rejected our message. Those really are the worst days as a missionary. At least for me it is. You really find out who you are as a man though from these days. Two days this week in particular were brutal. It's those days that I turn to my Father in Heaven for strength. It's through humble prayer I know I can always receive comfort. I know He is the only one that can soften the hearts of these people and He helps us find people who are ready to receive the full gospel of Jesus Christ. I firmly believe our character is not measured by how we act when the times are good. Rather, it is how we act when the burdens of life placed upon us seem insurmountable, that we preserver and continue to look for the good in life. In the scriptures faith has always been built in times of desperation and despair not times of good and plenty.

Saturday was the Scandinavian festival/ parade here in Ephraim. I'm just going to say this was one of the best days of the mission so far. My cheeks were killing me by the end of the day because I was smiling so much. We probably talked to over 60 people (easily) and got a few good referrals. Being a missionary really is better than being a normal person. I don't see how anyone could dislike being a missionary. EVERYONE and their dog wants to talk to you and find out where you are from. I think I should have just tattooed Vancouver Washington to my forehead. Sometimes we would be tracking down Hispanics and we would get stopped by the white people who wanted to talk. haha Everywhere you turn you hear "Hey missionaries". People are way too generous in offering you money for food too. I think five different people offered us money. I kind of wish people would just offer us good referrals instead of money as a way to contribute. I would much rather have solid referrals over money any day. It was cool seeing everyone from the branch out and about. We saw President Montoya, President Barton, brother Gordillo, the Arnaldsons, the Chamberlains, and a bunch of other families. Shout out to the Chamberlains if you are reading this. :)

We were told by a few people we really should have been in the parade as missionaries! If I get the chance to be transferred back to Ephraim next summer I definitely would do it in a heartbeat! Just thinking about Saturday makes me laugh. Missionaries aren't celebrities, plus I look like a dork out here so I have a hard time understanding what the big deal is. Elder Brown and I came to the conclusion it's the name tag that says JESUCRISTO on it. :) Ohhhh maaaan. Such a good time! Elder Brown got pretty sun burned. I got a little burned on my nose and cheeks but that was about it. I have a nice collar tan line now too! It looks funny when I see myself in the mirror but what can I say.. I'MMMA MISSIONARY!

We also went on splits this week. I really like splits because I get to use my Spanish more. Normally my Spanish is so-so when I go with Elder Brown (at least that's how I feel) but when I am under the gun I do pretty alright. I think I work better under pressure and when I have to shoulder the burden. I feel the spirit help me out and even more when I'm on splits and that in it’s self is one of the greatest feelings in the world. The power of the spirit using you as an instrument is indescribable.

Well I have one more full week till transfers. Elder Brown and I are going to make this week count! It's time to give 'em Heaven. You never know when it will be your time to go. Elder Brown and I have really hit our stride. I think we could do a lot of good together one more transfer but we will see what the Lord has planned for us. Just remember sometimes God will bring us low and humble us before he will lift and exalt us. We must know pain in order to know joy. Quoting my mom: " To not believe is to not have faith in God's plan. God's plan is perfect." I love you mom. Thank you for everything. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Final days at MTC to 1st area Ephraim/Manti Utah

Elder Brown new member and Elder Bennion

Beautiful farm land in Utah

Manti Temple out in the distance

Out tracking

Manti Temple

Manti Temple

Elder Bennion...bahhhhhhh

Manti Temple
Baptism in Ephraim Utah

Elder Brown and Elder Bennion Ephraim Utah

MTC Days

MTC days

MTC days

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Week 13: Woah Woah Woahskie Broskie The Gospel Is a GOOD Thing

Hey ya'll another week is in the book and I couldn't be having a better time. The weather has been so strange here the past week. I swear it feels like I'm in Washington. One morning I woke up and Elder Brown and I went out to go over to Snow College to work out. (We are there almost every morning from ) I was still half asleep and I thought that I was walking out to a spring morning in Vancouver. This week Elder Brown and I made it a goal to really talk to everyone we saw. The funny thing is that even though 95% of the people we talk to are nice you always get a few unhappy campers. What is crazy is the people who are the meanest to us and say some of the craziest things are the members who have fallen away from the church. You would think it would be non members who would want nothing to do with us but nope, it is the in actives you get an earful from. It makes me sad to see these people so unhappy and not being to experience the joys and love of having Heavenly Father in their lives.

I've started to become bolder in my approaches with people this past week. If I've learned one thing from the RM's they all say they wish they had not been afraid to talk to people. Granted you need to have tact but I'm trying to be less shy about sharing the gospel with people. A lot of times people need you to be straight with them and not sugar coat things in order for them to understand which is a change for me. The greatest thing of all though is we have the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I know what I'm sharing and saying will benefit everyone's lives.

This we we put several people on date to be baptized. Two of them are sheep herders so the key will be to getting them to come to church and be ready to be baptized before they head to the fields in the mountains. On Friday Elder Brown and I went on splits for the first time! I never have had to teach by myself so this definitely helped me grow in my teaching ability. It was definitely a bit overwhelming at first but I said a prayer and knew I had been given all the tools I needed to teach. I ended up teaching Edgardo, Wilder (he is preparing to be baptized), and 3 other sheep herders. I invited one to be baptized but he said no. He just isn't ready I suppose and wants to talk with his family first. After these lessons we were driving back home and I reflected on my time in the field so far. It is amazing how in 3 weeks time I'm able to plan, teach, and invite people to be baptized all on my own. Sometimes I just stop and humbly bow my head and thank my Father in Heaven for these gifts, talents and experiences he is blessing me with.

Thursday night President Leonard stopped by to do a planning session with Elder Brown and I. It was a really good day and that made the planning session go even better. Sometimes it is all you can do to get through a planning session, make all your calls for the following day, and write in the area book at after a long hard days work but you find some way to always get it done. On Friday we had interviews and our district meeting with President and sister Leonard. I just love President Leonard! I just hope one day I get to serve in St. George so I can be closer to President Leonard and learn more from him! He is a choice individual and an exemplary example of the kind of man I want to be. Transfers happen June 8th, I have a feeling Elder Brown might be out of here. :/ Luckily that day isn't for a couple of weeks though. Today Elder Brown and I are headed to the Manti Temple! We were able to switch our P day to Tuesday so we could go. I have been dying to go ever since the day I got to Ephraim.

I hope this week goes well for everyone. I'm definitely looking forward to it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think being a missionary could be this much fun. I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world. If you work hard and have a desire to do good, the Lord will bless you. Pray as if everything depends on God. Then get up off your knees and work as if everything depends on you. I promise that if you do this you will be blessed and rewarded. Find the little nuggets of joy in your life. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Worth Of Souls Is Great In the Sight Of GOD...BAPTISMS!

Wow this week seemed to fly by! It only seems like a few days ago I was writing my last weekly letter. I hope life is treating you all well. Hopefully the weather has been better in Washington and Hawaii than it has been here. For some reason it has been really wet here which from what I hear is abnormal. Today is really nice for some reason though so maybe it is going to get hotter.
This week Elder Brown and I were pretty occupied with preparing for Edgardo and Pablo's baptisms. We were busy teaching them every day and making sure they were completely prepared. Satan (Yes I spelled it correct KRT) is working his hardest on people right before their baptism. That tricky Devil! Tuesday we were at Edgardo's planning his baptismal program and he choose me to give a talk. I was so honored he waned me to give it but at the same time I was scared. My Spanish is atrocious and I had to speak in front of a group of native speakers. I guess this experience was preparing me for my 20 minute talk I have to give in two weeks during sacrament.

So my most embarrassing thing that happened this week happened while we were at the stake center. We were at the stake center looking for a video to share with Pablo from I went to the bathroom to get some toilet paper from a stall and so I bent over and my pens fall out of my shirt pocket and into the toilet! I was so mad. So I'm standing there trying to make the decision, do I reach in and grab them or do I just say forget that and leave them. The water was clean (THANKFULLY) but still I have major germ issues and just the thought of reaching into a toilet was killing me! Finally I just said what the heck and reached into the toilet and grabbed them. I think I washed my hands and pens for five minutes in the scalding hot water. I just remember thinking to myself how I never would have done that before my mission. Elder Brown got a good laugh out of it... and I did too after I stopped thinking of how nayyyyysty that was.

Since we had baptisms this week I went on exchanges to the Gunnison area, aka La Pistola Espanola. haha It covers Gunnion, Richfeild, Monroe, Loa, and some other towns that I can't think of right now. The area is gigantic but it was a blast getting to see a new area especially when Richfield seems big compared to Ephraim. I did find out this week though that my area actually goes from Sterling all the way to Indianola! Indianola is literally on the mission boundaries. As soon as we got out to Richfield though a fellow shipper gave us a ride and his car shuts off while we were driving! We were driving down
Main Street
(I think) in Monroe and his car overheated! Elder Haire is on of the craziest elders I know. He just  was dying laughing the whole time. You would think it would have been a bad day after that but it just made the day that much more exciting. We didn't get home until late but Thursday was a blast!

Skip to Saturday and all I can say is WOW! I love this work! There is a ton of other great aspects to missionary work besides baptisms and I hope other missionaries (including myself) remember that from time to time but baptisms are incredible!!!! All the hard work finally pays off when you see these two great men in white and in the baptismal font. Seriously I could do this forever if all people were desirerous to learn of the gospel. Helping people find eternal salvation really makes you realize how insignificant other things of the world are. My talk went... so-so. I don't think I did that well but luckily this day was about Edgardo and Pablo, not me. Elder Brown and I felt like we were going to burst from all the food we ate. Surprisingly though I have lost weight since being in Ephraim. I'm not getting fat Kaylee. ;) Elder Brown says it's because we eat with the white people mostly and not Hispanics. Having Snow College a couple blocks from our house helps a ton too. It keeps us in shape.

Sunday Edgardo and Pablo received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Edgardo asked me if I would confirm him a member after his baptism. I prepared how to say everything in Spanish but at the last minute brother Hirst did it. I was a little bummed and Edgardo had wanted me to but I wasn't going to throw a fit about it. What counts is Edgardo now has the constant companion of the Holy Ghost.

It is just amazing to see the little things you take for granted when you are not a missionary. I just feel so blessed and close to my Father in Heaven doing His work. How blessed are we to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives!? I know we have the one and only true church here on the Earth today. "Yea, I know that I'm nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in His strength I can do all things; yea behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise His name forever." Alma 26:12 We are only as strong as our faith in God and Jesus Christ. Through them we can receive and perform many miracles. Take care of yourselves and serve your brothers and sisters. I can promise that you will find joy in your labors. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion

Monday, May 9, 2011

Address UPDATE

Here is Elder Bennion's mailing address
 107 S. 1470 E. Ste 104
St. George, Utah 84790 

Even thought he is in Ephraim it is best to send it to this address. It will be forwarded to him.
Please only send things via USPS/ US Post office NOT UPS or Fedex.

Here is a map of Utah. He is on I 89 in about the middle of the state.

Asombro Me Da

Asombro Me Da

Asombro me da el amor que me da Jesus. Confuso estoy pro su gracia y por Su luz, y tiemblo alver que por me El Su vida dio; por mi, tan indigno, Su sangre l derramo. Cuan a sombroso es que por a marme asi muriera El por mi. Cuan asombroso es lo que dio por mi.

Que onda familia, amigos, y amigas? I hope your weekend was great and your Mother's Day was fantastic. I just want to share a scripture in Alma 56:47-48 and it says, talking about the army of Helaman, "Now they had never fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their father than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: we do not doubt our mothers knew it." I just want you to know mama how thankful I am for all you have taught me. You were the one whose example I always followed growing up. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for the mother God gave me. One Mother's Day down... one more to go. You have taught me and helped me be the person I am today and for that I can never thank you enough. I love you to the moon and back!

As far as my week has been, it has been great! It's funny to me how I though I was busy in the MTC. Now, I really know what busy is. Even on P-days when you would think you could get a break you don't and infact I have less time to prepare in the field than I did in the MTC. That is just the life of a missionary though and I wouldn't trade for anything! If you obey the schedule to a "T" you really have not time to do anything but work. We get home at 9:30 most nights and then always fill in the area book, plan, and make calls for the following day. By that time you are so exhausted you crawl to your bed, thank Heavenly Father for the great day, and fall asleep. Finding time to write in my journal is rough. Finding time for language study is even harder. With all the struggles though I love it. It keeps you focused and you remember 24/7 why you are doing this. It is to serve your fellow man and to serve God. I'M LIVIN' THE DREAM! :)
The investigators we are teaching are doing really well. We have two investigators who should be baptized this coming Saturday! I CANNOT WAIT for that day! Pablo is 10 and just is the greatest little boy. His mom Erika is amazing as well. She has had a rough life but her testimony is rock solid. She and I were crying together the first time I met her when she bore her testimony to me. What is so cool too is that Pablo's dad, Marshal, has the aronic priesthood so he will be able to baptize his son. This family has just made so many good choices to get their life on the right track in the gospel. I couldn't be more proud of them! The second baptism is for Edgardo. Edgardo is a sheep herder from Peru. Edgardo is such a nice and humble man. His wife and child live in Peru but he is here in the U.S. to make a living for his family. He reads the Book of Mormon with out us asking him and his knowledge of the Book of Mormon being true is so cool to see. It is so rewarding to see two different individuals desires to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into the waters of baptism. This area has only seen two baptisms total in the past 14 months since it has been opened and now we will have two more! I have such a strong testimony of the Lord preparing people for baptism when the time is right. Missionaries need to be obedient, diligent, and prayerful in order to find at what at times can seem like a needle in a hay stack. These are the Lord's children and we as missionaries and members of this church have the responsibility to bring them back unto the fold.

Overall, life here in Ephraim is good. My expectations of baptisms might have been a little bit high coming into this area but it has been a major blessing. It has taught me more humility and it has taught me to be grateful for each and every person who wants to hear the gospel.

In Isaiah 61:1-3 it says, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that morn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be glorified. I have really taken this scripture to heart and really adopted it as my mission creed. I just love this work and when people really are interested my eyes light up! As I teach the gospel the more I feel the spirit touching my life and it is better than any adrenaline rush you could receive. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. It feels so great to know and say that. Have a good week everyone! School is almost out! Hang in there.

God is love. Vaya con Dios.
Elder Bennion

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week 10: God Must Have A Sense Of Humor

Hola mujeres y caballeros! Ha cido loco durante esta semana pasada. Muchas cosas cambiado para mi.
I wasn't able to write last week with the change in schedule at the MTC. They are trying something new so I wasn't able to get time to email. Since, so much has happened I'm just going to summarize my last week in the MTC to a few things. The greatest thing that happened was being able to see Richard G. Scott of the 12 Apostles speak and then the following week Dallan H. Oaks of the 12 spoke as well. To be in the presence of an apostle is unlike anything else. You can tell there is something special about them when they walk in the room. The MTC really was a great place looking back on it. Yes, I was completely ready to leave by the time I got out but now I realize how nice it was to have an environment free from worldly distractions where I was able to learn and grow so much. I know I took that time for granted and now that I'm in the field I realize how little time you have to study.
Now, there is two reasons for this weeks title. The first reason is because the night I was preparing to leave the MTC I set my alarm for 3:15 am. I was supposed to leave at 4:00 am and I though that would give me plenty of time to leave. My alarm ended up not going off and I woke up at 4:30 am. I was in shock! I was running around like the family on Home Alone when they woke up late and about missed their flight. Long story short, I made it to the airport, made a couple phone calls, and literally RAN to my gate. The gate was closed but some how the man let me on and I made my flight. It was so great getting to St. George. As, I'm going over to meet my mission president I see a man in a cowboy hat and a lady with him. I did a double take and it was my Grandpa Bennion and Aunt Crystal!!! :D I think I hugged grandpa eight times or so. It was so great to see him! If you read this grandpa I would love copies of the pictures! Side note: It is really cool being in Utah. I have been told by multiple people how special my last name is. I guess there has been a lot of important Bennion's in church leadership positions, at BYUI, and the President of Snow College in Ephraim was a Bennion. I was lucky enough to ride with President Leonard back to the mission home. I know I'm going to sound like every other missionary but I HAVE THE BEST MISSION PRESIDENT! You have no idea! There is just something about President Leonard. He is full of wisdom, he treats you with respect/ doesn't talk down to you, and he just made me feel comfortable around him for the short time I was with him. On top of that he was a dentist so I CANNOT WAIT to learn more about that from him. The mission home is beautiful and it is set on a golf course. I cannot believe how many golf courses there are in St. George! After we had interviews we went over to the stake center where we got oriented and met our new companions. My companion's name is Elder Brown. He is from Philadelphia but originally lived in England till he was 10 so he has a bit of an accent. He also attended BYU for a year prior to his mission. I don't think I could have been matched up with a better trainer. Elder Brown is a very hard working and diligent individual. He is obedient 100% of the time and I admire that because it helps both of us hold each other to higher standards. I have a firm belief in the blessings that come from being obedient. The area I am serving in is... EPHRAIM UTAH! I found it funny how in one day I drove an hour north to Salt Lake City, flew south to St. George, and then drove all the way to Ephraim. I believe Ephraim is only an hour and fifteen minutes or so from Provo. We cover 5 stakes and the cities we cover are; Ephraim, Manti, Moroni, Fountain Green, and Mt. Pleasant. It really is exciting. I cannot wait for the day I get to go through the Manti Temple! It is a magnificent Temple. You can see the Temple at night from the north end of Ephraim which is a good 8 miles away. It looks like a brilliant castle up on the hill. Currently Elder Brown and I live in a church owned house across the street from Snow College in Ephraim. Unfortunately they are tearing it down, along with all the other houses on the block to make a gigantic stake center. We don't know where we are moving yet but it will be within the next few weeks or so we have been told.
It is strange living in such a small town. I feel like I'm in Wyoming and the cabin isn't too far away. There are actually sheep farmers that live in cabins just like the one in Wyoming but they are even smaller than the second cabin up there. Most of the people living out here are farmers. Lamming is one of the main jobs Hispanics do out here. It seems like I'm living in a Serta bed commercial because everywhere I look I see sheep. It is amazing how many people live in the "trilas" out here. It has really humbled me to see the conditions people live in even though we are in the United States. My heart goes out to them and I love them even more because of their hardships. I have met several families and within 30 minutes of knowing them I love them like my brother or sister. It is because of that love that I want to share the gospel with them. I want what is best for them and I know without one single doubt in my entire being this is the restored church of Jesus Christ.
I have so many other stories I wish I could share but time is a precious commodity and I have very little of that at the moment. I just want you all to know this is my testimony, I know this church is true, I know that faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring till the end is the only way by which we may reach the Celestial Kingdom and live in the presence of God. I feel privileged to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There are obstacles we all must overcome in our lives and life is not easy, but all things are possible when we have faith and follow the example of Jesus Christ. Rely on God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. Always remember to love one another. Vaya con Dios.
Elder Bennion
P.S. If anyone wants to write me a shopping list I would appreciate it. I'm clueless when it comes to shopping for groceries. Sorry mom... I know you taught me better. :P