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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 37: Estamos Viviendo La Vida Loca, No Hay Tiempo Para Dormir

BUENAS! I'm going to try to type this fast and get all this written out before time expires. Do you remember those old Geico commercials that would show something crazy like a boat getting destroyed or a car getting totaled and then it would say, "Life comes at you fast, Geico."? Well I feel like that is the way life is like right now. (In a good way!) Life is just coming at me fast and there is no time to slow down!!!

The week has been hectic like all the others this transfer. In fact it is so crazy we have lessons scheduled during P-day. I don't know if you remember one of my letters I wrote while in the MTC titled something to the effect of going to Eldorado, aka St. George and how excited I was to be teaching like crazy. It took awhile, but I found Eldorado. This past week we taught a grand total of 92 lessons, 11 people came to church, and 10 people have a baptismal date! It doesn't get any better than this! I can't even begin to describe how crazy it has been. The biggest miracle I've seen is just the way the Lord prepares these people to accept the message before we even begin teaching them.

This week there was a man who ran up to Elder Hayden, asked him if we are Mormon, and then said he wants to be baptized just like that. There was another man that answered his door and within ten minutes Elder Hayden invited him to be baptized and he said yes. Another woman that I had tried teaching four months ago here wasn't very receptive before. The main reason was because of her husband but since then he has been incarcerated and now she has a baptismal date! There is another woman we are teaching with a similar story and she is getting baptized next week. I think we have 4 baptisms set for next weekend. The Lord truly prepares people even before the missionaries come into the picture.

This week we got help from two other Elders who where serving in Hurricane because there are so many appointments and too many people for just Elder Hayden and I. It has definitely been a growing experience for me. I've grown accustomed to doing things a certain way and now having two new elders things have been extremely different. Elder Hayden and I are happy go lucky and maybe sometimes we are too relaxed about things but the work gets done and we have a blast doing it! This new Elder I've been working with is very straight laced and does things differently. On top of that he has less time in the mission so I'm having to take the lead on everything. I've been having to plan out EVERYTHING we do through out the day. It has been stressful at times and we have butted heads on several occasions. I will admit I'm hard headed and sometimes need to humble myself but I think that is what the Lord is teaching me. I'm being taught how to lead with love and that is a crucial skill to have. Contention is of the Devil. Plain and simple.

The past month has been a blast runnin' and gunnin' with Elder Hayden doing the Lord's work. This week has taught me several good lessons though. Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our aweakness that we may know that it is by his bgrace, and his great condescension unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things. Behold, great and marvelous are the aworks of the Lord. How bunsearchable are the depths of the cmysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man dknoweth of his eways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the frevelations of God. (Jacob 4:7&8) The Lord gives us challenges to learn and grow. Sometimes it would be nice to give up when I'm stressed out but I keep going because I just love these Hispanics! They will always have a special place in my heart.This work isn't about me, it's not about any other missionary. We have been called for two years to labor in His vineyard as instruments in the Lord's hands. What a privilege it is to witness these miracles. This is Eldorado; where we find, teach, and baptize! Vaya con Dios.

God is love,

Elder Bennion

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 36: Lose Yourself In The Moment

Hey mom! I don't have a ton of time today to write a whole bunch about the week and some of the good stories. I figured I would just ramble off a few of the first things that come to my mind. Hopefully some of the pictures will make up for the words that I lack.

It was another great week out here in San Geezy! We we’re super busy like usual teaching and preparing people for baptism. This week Javier and Pearla got baptized. It was great to see them finally get baptized. Javier is just an animal when it comes to reading the Book of Mormon. In one week he read all of 1st Nephi and half of 2nd Nephi. The coolest part of it all is that he understands what he is reading. It has been a great journey to watch them progress and come to love the Book of Mormon. I can just see Javier as an Elders quorum president in a short time. The craziest thing about their baptism was that because of stake conference, which is next week Javier and Pearla received the gift of the Holy Ghost right after their baptism. I was able to give Pearla the gift of the Holy Ghost and what a blessing that is to have in our lives.  Just a few hours earlier at church I gave Juana the gift of the Holy Ghost so it was a day full of giving blessings. Come to think of it I had to give another blessing earlier on during the week. I just love those experiences though because I'm communicating with our Father in Heaven on behalf of someone else.

Well my computer time is about to run out. I better run but this is what life is all about. Helping others come to know their Father in Heaven more fully. Vaya con Dios.

God is love,
Elder Bennion