Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 26: Voy A Washington

Hey family! That includes EVERYONE! We are all brothers and sisters of God. :) I hope life is going well and you are enjoying the last few weeks of summer. Usually this time of the year I'm dreading the rainy weather coming back and the start of school. I was fortunate last year to not have to worry about the cold weather in Hawaii and this year I don't have to dread September. I'm actually excited for September and a little cooler weather. San Geezy is HOT! There were four days this past week that were around 105 degrees. Saturday was really humid and I'm not going to lie, it was horrible.
We did a lot of walking this week all over the st. George Vally trying to find new people to teach. There is a plethora of hispanics in St. George. More than I could have ever imagined but the key is finding them home. They work like... well Mexicans and when they are not working they play soccer or go to Las Vegas. It basically takes divine inspiration to catch them at a time when we can talk with them. We met a couple new people that have a desire to learn and that is music to my ears.
Thursday was a funny day. Dixie College as well as Dixie High started up last Monday so there are a lot more young adults in St. George. I thought we got honked at a lot before school was in but now I feel like Elder Leguizamon and I are in a beauty pageant when we walk. Constantly I'm waving to someone driving by. Thursday we were walking by Dixie College and we needed to fill out water bottles because it was blazing hot. We walked into the arts building and asked where the drinking fountains were. We were getting a drink and some girls said "hi" and asked where we were from. Elder Leguizamon was still chugging water so I told them where I was from and that Elder Leguiz is from Argentina. I told them he is new and doesn't know very much english. One girl looked at him as he was drinking and says, "Aww, he looks so thirsty." It was hilarious because I would then translate things from engish to spanish for him and he would answer in broken english. They talked to him like a little kid. After we left we couldn't help but laugh.
One of my favorite things about serving in St. George is the kindness members show to us as missionaries. They often offer us rides and are eager to feed us for dinner. Just the other day we were walking and a man named Nolan Grey picked us up. He had a ram bar, boots, flashlights, and and other things that a SWAT officer would have. Come to find out he worked with Uncle Tim when he was an officer here! it amazes me how every week I seem to meet someone who I know or that knows my family or friends. I feel so fortunate to receive all the love and support out here. I love this work and at times feel blessed beyond measure by my Heavenly Father to be serving in Zion.
this week I was thinking a lot about what I could give up in order to be a better missionary and grow closer to my Father in Heaven. After some pondering, D&C 121:34-36 came to mind. I read the scripture and felt an overwhelming feeling I knew what I could change. (If you haven't got up to read that scripture already, go do so now and then continue reading) A lot of times we become complacent in our actions. We feel as if we have done what is asked of us, things are going good, we are on the mountain top. Many are called, in fact we are all called by God to do His work, and yet so few are chosen. Why is this? This life is all about progress. If I've learned one thing on my mission I've learned that this life is a refiners fire. We start out as raw material. Nothing too special but full of potential. Then we begin this journey through the fire and flames. It is hot, we are pounded day in and day out by the adversary, bent, pressured, and tried. When all is said and done what we all want is to come out of the fire a gleaming and valiant sword which stands for righteousness and honor. In order to become that perfectly crafted sword we must endure, we must constantly improve in order to become sharp. I know that God is the perfect blacksmith. Trying me, testing me, throwing me in the fire so that one day i will be battle hardened. Never stop looking for avenues in which you can improve yourself. Become more like the Savior. I know He lives. I know He loves us more than we will ever know. I'm so thankful for this time I've been given to serve Him. I'm truly livin' the dream! Vaya con Dios.
God is love,
Elder Bennion
P.S. I forgot to mention I'm getting transferred to Pineview/ Washington spanish, hence the title of this weeks letter. I'm so excited to be going out there! This is an area I've been dieing to serve in for awhile. My companion is going to be Elder Lopez again as well so we should have a good old time. Well I have to go!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 24: The Gospel Is Beautifully Simple and Simply Beautiful

Hey my beautiful family and friends. What a great week it has been here in St. George. So many wonderful things happened. I'm not exactly sure where to start. I didn't write last week so there are a few good things to share this week.

Two weeks ago Elder Leguizamon and I were out walking to a person's house and we get to the cross walk and there are two girls in a PT cruiser with the top down. I took a closer look and it was my friend Maze who I met at BYUH. She is going to Dixie and we got to talk to talk for a second. It was one of those little tender mercies from the Lord that lifted my spirits and energized me. Then just last Saturday Elder L and I were walking past Dixie High and this SUV pulls up and this woman in the back says "Cameron!" I look over and it was Bishop Nielson's wife! Bishop Nielson was my bishop in my college ward back at BYUH. They moved recently but how small of a world is it when they see me on the street of St. George, recognize me, and pull over? It is so neat when you randomly see people you know like that.

On Tuesday my "fairy Godmother" brought me a ton of food. Us Elders went out to lunch and when we got back to the house there was food and a few other things and what not from my fairy Godmother. Mom, tell Trisha she is too good to me! Last week you sent the Nordies stuff and now this?! I feel so blessed. I feel so lucky and loved. I feel so blessed to be in the service of the Lord and to be receiving so much. I just want everyone who has been so good to me to know how much I appreciate you.

We really had a lot of success teaching productive lessons this week. As a missionary you go through times where you are teaching and your message seems to fall upon deaf ears. As it says in 2Nephi 9:31 "And wo unto the deaf that will not hear; for they will perish." Jesus Christ never minced his words about what we must do in order to enter into the Kingdom of heaven. I really took a lot of time this week to study the New Testament and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Leguizamon and I taught clearly, effectively, and with boldness. It paid off. We were able to find people who really do have potential and a desire to know more about Heavenly Father. The people that really are not reading or praying were dropped and that is how it should be. I refuse to waste one precious minute of my mission teaching someone who will not make and keep commitments when I could be out finding someone who wants to come closer to Christ. It is hard. I won't deny it, walking 4 or more hours a day in 100 plus degree heat is challenging. It is physically and mentally draining at times but knowing I'm giving my everything to find and teach people the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is worth it. Not having a car makes this area much more difficult but when I walk in the door of our house at 9 pm and I'm sweaty, sore, and tired beyond belief I know that I can kneel and ask my Father in Heaven for anything because I literally gave everything I had. That is what the mission is about. Giving everything you have to the Lord even when you don't think you have anything left. That is when He can bless us. As Dallin H. Oaks said, "The intensity of our desires (all members) to share the gospel is a great indicator of the extent of our personal conversion."

This past Sunday Martin and Carmen were married and then baptized. It was a great experience. I had been waiting for this day for awhile. Martin has been so set on a baptism for so long. To see him and Carmen make a commitment to marry and then get baptized was indescribable. I know that because of the covenants they made their family will have the opportunity to become an eternal family. Nothing beats that joy. Not the newest iPhone, not boating with friends and family on a hot summer day, not even Disneyland beats that joy.

This gospel is so beautifully simple and simply beautiful. When we understand the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ we come to a pedigree of knowledge. Knowledge that nothing else should come before our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I just love this work. There is nothing that cannot be done by me and God. I know He lives. I know He loves us and wants us to return to live with Him.

Vaya con Dios.

God is love,

Elder Bennion

P.S. Thank you Kendra and Aria for writing Elder Beach. He was so happy! I really appreciate you taking the time to do that for me. He is a good person and we all want a friend. if anyone else wants to write a good person write Elder Beach. His mailing address is Elder Nathan Beach 107 S. 1470 E. Suite 304 St. George Ut. 84790.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Week 22: I Need To Be A Justice Of The Peace

It's hard to believe another week has passed and I'm already writing my weekly email again. For starters this week was full of miracles! I can't seem to fully comprehend all the good stuff that is happening in St. George. It seems to be a combination of a lot of great things happening with the people we are teaching and me just loving St. George. When I opened my called that December night and it all was finally confirmed to me, what I had known all along, that I would be serving in the Utah St. George mission I knew I would just love it out here. I didn't fully know why but after finally serving IN St. George I know why. I could easily live out here because it's such a cool city!

Last Monday was my first P-day in St. George, so we got a ride with the other two elders we live with (Elder Hepworth and Elder Beach) and went to Walmart in Bloomington. I've been in Utah now for 5 months and not until now have I seen a polygamist family! It was so strange to see. What is so strange to me is how open they are about it. They dress like pioneers and it's so easy to spot them.

Tuesday it rained in St. George, which was extremely out of the ordinary. It was really muggy and humid and as we were walking down the street this Hispanic man offers us a ride. We were trying to go really far up to the north east corner of our area by the industrial park, which takes over an hour to walk to. We got in the car and his 5-year-old daughter was with him. As we talk to him he seemed like a member but we were not sure, so we finally asked him and he said he has been to church many times and he wants to get baptized, but he needs to get married first. He said him and his girlfriend want to get married and baptized! My mouth dropped. What are the odds a non-member that only speaks Spanish picks us up and had already been taught and wants to be baptized!? It's the most rewarding thing ever to see people wanting baptism enough to also want to get married. We have 7 people that really could get baptized this transfer and it is just mind boggling to me. I know we are having so much success because of our hard work, obedience, and love for these people. I'm just so excited for all the potential August has for Elder Leguizamon and I. It's indescribable to explain my joy to someone who hasn't served a mission. This area just rocks! St. George is definitely the promised land of the mission.

I gotta run. P-days in St. George are super busy! It is a lot of fun having so many Elders and Sisters around to do activities with. Remember our strength as children of God is found in obedience to the commandments of God. I know this is true. We receive so many blessings from being pure, going to church, and serving our brothers and sisters whole heartedly. It is amazing how freed you are when you are living your life in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. So many people do not fully understand the purpose of life and as Latter-Day Saints we know. We know why we are here and what we need to do to have eternal happiness. Remember why you are here. Replace fear with faith. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion