Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 29: Life Is All About Cycles

Well hey there! I hope everything is going well back there at the homestead. I'm feeling a little sick today. I've had a fever, runny nose, and a really scratchy throat since Friday. I've been taking vitamins and medication. I don't feel much better yet. I probably need more sleep but I don't have time. We have a lot of set appointments through out the day and I know how blessed you are when you are doing the Lord's work.

The past week was full of ups and downs. It seemed like everything was cycling up and then out of nowhere a curve ball would come in and frustrate me. Last P-day was probably one of the best I've had so far. We were able to get a lot done and I got to see two people I just love! Usually in the evening on Monday's our lessons don't tend to go that well. It could be in part due to the lack of focus but also a lot of times people cancel on us. This P-day was different. I was really excited to work because the day had already went really well. The best lesson of the day night was with the Montono family. We met this family a week ago and they are just great. I can joke around with them. One time I pretended to have a "zeta" accent from Spain and Norma just laughed and laughed. Anyway, we taught them the plan of salvation and they said yes to being baptized on October first. The husband, wife, and boy can be baptized but they also have two daughters that are not of the age of baptism yet.

Another great investigator we have is this man named Fernando and now his brother Jiro. Fernando has been taught awhile but hasn't been baptized because his wife is Catholic. Jiro is really cool and both seem receptive to the gospel. Jiro is on date for the 8th of October. I love teaching people like Jiro and Fernando because they are my friends. i would hang out with them if I wasn't serving a mission. It makes teaching more personal when you genuinely care for these people. It also breaks your heart even more if they don't accept the message of the restored gospel but you can't go into it thinking that way. If you never are susceptible to heart break you will never truly learn to love.

This week we went on exchanges with the zone leaders since Elder Lopez is the district leader. My companion for Friday was Elder Bautistia from Stockholm Sweden. He is a character for sure but we had a blast. I was a bit nervous to be the only one who spoke Spanish. Being with Elder Lopez, he loves to talk so I usually have to make my own time to talk during the lessons. I've had two native Spanish companions the last two transfers so I've been able to rely on them if I don't know what I want to say. I prayed I would have the ability to teach and understand what people were saying and I had no problems. The gift of tongues amazes me at times because I feel as if I can say so much and other times I feel like I'm incompetent when it comes to Spanish. All I can is say, is I know the gift of tongues is real. The Lord blesses us when we are obedient and willing to humble ourselves.

Life is all about cycles. We are constantly moving, changing, progressing, and evolving. For better or for worse. A lot of time life is difficult. Jesus Christ taught faith is the first thing we must have in order to have eternal life. In D&C 54:10 a revelation was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith which said, "And again, be patient in tribulation until I come; and behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls, Even so. Amen." The words, "they who have sought me" pricked my heart. It is those who accept His will and His gospel in this life it is they will receive the reward in the spirit world. In the life to come. It's hard sometimes, okay, all the time to have patience with people who deny this church, which I know to be the only true church on the earth today. Most of the time people do not accept our message and it makes me sad. Ninety percent of the time you are faced with disappointment in the mission and it tries my patience like nothing I've ever done. Some how, some way though I know this is helping and preparing me. This is where the champions of life are made. Through faith and patience nothing is insurmountable. The Lord will come soon enough and I want to be able to say I've done all I could. I tried my best. I've survived every trial and test! This will probably be the hardest thing I've ever come to love. Replace fear with faith. I KNOW He lives. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 28: Trust In The Lord With All Thine Heart; And Lean Not unto Thine Own Understanding. In All Ways Acknowledge Him, And He Shall Direct Thy Paths

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! It has been a really fast week but I've missed you lots! I hope your birthday was good. Two years in a row I've missed your birthday. :/ Maybe by next year it won't be as hard but just know how much I love you. It's weird thinking I was in Hawai'i last year at this time and you had flown home. Before I know it February will be here and I will have been serving for a year. Life can just pass you by if you are not constantly moving forward.

Preparation day was a lot of fun last week. Having a car makes things ten times easier. We go to a lot more stores and play soccer still. We went to the golf store last p-day and I got to see the new clubs and hit the new drivers. I have a lot hate relationship with p-days. It's nice to have a well deserved break but by the time 6:00 pm rolls around I'm starting to think about things that “Cameron” likes to do and then I'm forced to refocus on what “Elder Bennion's” purpose is. It's the same feeling I get every fall when school starts. I'm excited to go back, but I'm a little sad as well.

On Tuesday we went to these town homes looking for a former investigator but we didn't have the address so we just started knocking on doors. The first door we knocked on this blonde pregnant woman opened the door. To make a long story short, we talked to Sarah and her husband Jeff. Sarah is from Vancouver and was in the Harmony ward! Her brother, Sam who was serving in Atlanta Georgia, is really good friends with Zach Reeves! Through Zach I knew Sam. Sam was actually the kid that was driving when Kodi was trying to go off campus in the trunk of the car! haha (you can delete this if it seems inappropriate lol) It is just funny what a small world it is!

Thinking back on the week I realize we actually saw a lot of miracles, I just tend to forget them as the week goes on. One of my favorite things that happened this week came on Thursday. It was about 8:45 pm and we had one more person we wanted to contact. This duplex we had been looking for was hard to find because there are four sets of them on the same road and we usually go knock the door at night when it is already dark outside. The past two times we had knocked the door and no one was home. This time we rechecked the address and realized we had been knocking the wrong letter "A". We were about to walk past the door we had knocked twice before but I could tell someone was home. I told Elder Lopez there had to be a reason we had come to this house before so why not knock the door and get directions to where we needed to go. This fifteen-year-old girl named Brittany answered the door. She couldn't tell us where to go but I began talking to her and asked if she had talked with missionaries before and if it would be all right if I sent the sister missionaries over to talk with her. She said yes and so I told the sisters about her. Saturday I came to find out in DTM (District Training Meeting) that the sisters had went by and the grandma welcomed them in with no hesitation. They had recently experienced a death in the family and have never talked with missionaries. The sister missionaries said it is really looking promising!

Saturday afternoon we were contacting a referral given to us by the sisters. Again, we had knocked that door twice and no one was home. I had this thought that there is a reason we are here right now so instead of getting in the car we started walking. I saw this house with an older suburban that had a Nike sticker and that just looked Hispanic to me. Then Elder Lopez said, "Oh yeah, the virgin!" and he started crossing the street. There was a plaque on the house of the virgin marry so we knocked the door and talked to this man named ‘Nino.’ He was muy amigable and receptive to our message so now we have a return appointment with him. It really was a testimony builder to see the Lord give me promptings like that.

Sometimes you don't even understand what the Holy Ghost is directing you to do but you just have to learn to go with it. I feel so blessed when I'm able to look back at situations like these and know I was worthy and in tune enough with the Holy Ghost to receive promptings to go find people who are not in the fold of my Father. There is a verse in the hymn "I'll go Where you want me to go" (Pg. 270) that says, "...But if by a still, small voice he calls To paths that I do not know, I'll answer, dear Lord with my hand in thine: I'll go where you want me to go." The Lord's hand is in this work. This is HIS church and HIS children. I'm so blessed to be one of His 53,000 missionaries. Never forget the importance of missionary work. Whether your are a full-time missionary or not, it is our duty as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to find. Members are the primary finding tool for missionaries and it is the missionary’s primary job to teach the gospel. I challenge you all to find one new person for the missionaries to teach. That is the responsibility of us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Make it a great week and replace fear with faith. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WEEK 27:Welcome To Potentialville, Number Of Hispanics Wanting To Put Christ First... To Be Determined

Happy late Labor Day! Everyone is basically back in school and I'm hoping the weather will start to cool down. I'm not walking now but the steering wheel in the car gets so hot! I literally can't touch it. I've tried covering it with a towel yet it still manages to feel like I'm gripping the sun.

Well this was my first full week in Washington. It is funny what a change Washington is from downtown St. George. Washington is much newer, with lots of stores, and BIG houses. It reminds me a lot east Vancouver and Camas. I kind of feel more at home here. I can't really explain it. I can't decide if that is a good or bad thing either.

I've been really busy this week since both Elder Lopez and I are new to this area. Meeting people that have been talking to the missionaries, finding new people to teach, and meeting church leadership keeps our planners full. On top of that Elder Lopez is the district leader so we are always doing baptism interviews at the Visitor Center at the Temple. Elder Lopez did about five last week and he has at least four this week planned. Elder Lopez is the Elder I served with in Ephraim for 1 1/2 weeks. He is from Tijuana Mexico. He has really grown as a missionary since I previously served with him so I'm glad we have the chance to serve together down here.

This area I'm serving in right now is interesting though. In St. George Spanish none of the people I taught spoke English. Now our most consistent investigators speak English. I feel pretty comfortable speaking Spanish now and they want to speak English! I'm fine with teaching in English and I feel the words I say in English have more power but I liked the challenge of having to teach in Spanish. Plus Elder Lopez has a much easier time teaching in Spanish. His English is really good but he like to talk a lot and when he teaches in English the lessons tend to drag on and on.

This week we have been teaching this girl named Michelle who doesn't believe in Jesus Christ. She believes there is a God and that Satan exists (She read the Satan bible and was in to wicken stuff...) but she doesn't believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It has been rough teaching her really rough. There have been lessons where I feel the spirit so strongly I'm fighting to hold back tears and she is oblivious to the Holy Ghost which is so present in the room. I was reading in Mosiah 3:17 which says "... I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given or any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." We watched Finding Faith In Christ last time we taught her and I can't count how many time I could have cried and I am not a crier. I can't come close to putting into words my unwavering testimony in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know He was the Lamb of God. I know that my Redeemer lives and it kills me someone could have been so hurt so many times as a child to not have a faith in something that is so omnipotent in my life. Being a parent is a sacred responsibility and is sad to see the aftermath of irresponsible parenting. After this week and teaching this girl, studying the fundamental, and the doctrine of Christ I have an even greater love for Him. This is the true church. This is my testimony. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion