Monday, December 24, 2012

Semana: noventa y cinco Keep The Commandments

Semana: noventa y cinco

Keep The Commandments

Dear Family,

Why do I love this work so much? It doesn't seem to add up when I look back on the week but I love being a missionary. It is hard and I'm always tired but I LOVE being a Spanish missionary! This was a pretty good week. On Saturday the temperature dropped to the low forties with rain in town and snow on the surrounding mountains. It reminds me of home. I also got my Utah drivers license this week. I'm officially a Utah resident.
This past Monday was pretty uneventful for us. After going to the dry cleaners, orthodontist, Dixie State store, getting haircuts, and making Christmas cards we didn’t' have much time to play sports. We WERE really fortunate thought because the Carpenters have a maid that cleans the house so we had no cleaning to do and they got us food. They are just the nicest people. I'm so thankful for them. We did go out to Washington Fields and taught a couple that have two sons who are members, one of whom served a mission. They are really good people and gave us food but the problem is the father has worked seven days a week, usually working two to three jobs for twenty three years! The thing is though none of the fruits from his labors will mean anything after this life. I wish they would understand that.

 Tuesday was probably the best lesson day. We had several good lessons and we were well received. We had lunch at wingers with the Dixie State YSA elders and the Morgan’s (The visitor center president and his wife) showed up. It has been forever since I've seen them and I used to see them all the time when I was in the 28th branch because the Temple was in our area. Sister Morgan gave me a big hug and then after they left the waiter said they gave us $40 for lunch. They are another couple I just love. Elder Wright said they didn't get paid for as much last transfer but I've been very blessed my whole mission to have people be so kind to me. Tuesday was a good day.

Wednesday Dr. Cain came out teaching with us. He lives only a few blocks from Hannah. He is about 6'8 so you would think he would be really imposing with the Hispanics but he has delivered hundreds, maybe thousands of babies here in St. George so a lot of Hispanics know him. Our night was really full and we are really becoming good friends with our investigators. They just need to come to church!

Thursday was long but Friday was good. We had choir practice for the Christmas concert the 23rd at the tabernacle. President Leonard is even going to sing with us. Afterwards we had a zone training meeting. It was good but sometimes I feel like we get a little redundant in the meetings. Maybe that is just because of how long I've been out. We had a really good dinner/ lesson with the Garcia’s. They showed us a few magic tricks and then we showed them how to make the gospel chicken out of a towel (it is a really good lesson). Angel came out with us as well and we had some more good lessons. It was a good day. Not much happened Saturday. We had our branch Christmas party but only two semi-former investigators came. Our biggest problem is getting our investigators to church here. I just don't know what more we can do. What we need is help form the members.

Sunday I spoke in the Carpenter's ward and then in the Paradise branch. Overall it was a good week. It just seemed to fly by fast. Remember to replace fear with faith and have a great week. Vaya con Dios.

Dios es amor,

Elder Bennion

Monday, December 10, 2012

Semana noventa y cuatro: If I Could Turn Back Time

Semana noventa y cuatro:

If I Could Turn Back Time

Dear Family,

There is nothing like Christmas in Dixie. :) I could probably finish my email and say nothing more and that would sum up my week. It felt like driving home when we started coming down the hill in the transfer van and I saw the lights of St. George. This town is magical, like something straight out of a Disney movie. ;) haha I just love it here! I bet you are excited for Bug to come home from school for Christmas break. I hope you have felt up to doing a little bit of Christmas decorating. It seems like every year we are thrown a curve ball at Christmas time but life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain. Speaking of Christmas decorating, I got the presents from the mission office to give to people and my led mini Christmas tree. The activity day girls from church and Sister Grove also sent me a really cool package with little presents to open for 12 days of Christmas. Please tell them thank you so much and I thought it was really cleaver!

Monday night hard had having to say goodbye to everyone. I will email you some of the pictures. I felt REALLY sick on Monday but I didn't say anything because I didn't want you to worry or tell me I needed to take something or rest. lol If I look horrible in the pictures, you will know why. I'm feeling better now but it lasted for several days. There is not time to rest out here. There were several people that were wanting me to baptize them so I'm sad I had to leave before that but it is part of being a missionary.

Tuesday was just a travel day. It felt like the whole day I was in a car but it really wasn't that bad. My new companion, Elder Wright, is from Southern Georgia and talks like it too. He is a great person and is working really hard to learn Spanish. He has a lot to learn but he reminds me of myself way back when I started out in certain ways. The family we live with are the greatest and most giving people I've ever lived with on my mission. I feel like I'm living with Grandpa and Grandma Candy. They are very well off but are humble and live like the dignified saints that they are. I can't say enough good about them. It took all of two hours of being in St. George to see people I knew. We went to McDonald's to grab some food really quickly and in walked Hanah and Missy. I about died!!! I felt super weird (I don't know why) but it was good at the same time to see family. There were several other times during the week where I ran into people I knew. Even knocking on doors, and the people from a year ago remembered me.

The rest of the week was filled with lessons, some with people I had visited over a year ago and other with people I've never met. Some of the converts I have from the 28th branch have moved over here so it has been good to see them. Mari's husband Julian still is not a member and I'm hoping he is finally ready. He is just a jokester! Angel, from the Sunset branch, came out with us on Sunday night. He got his mission call and is going to Pocatello Idaho in February. It was a lot of fun getting to go out with him and teach like before.

Overall the area is about as difficult as it was over a year ago. People always say they are too busy ecsetera ecsetera but persistence is the key. Being back in St. George has made me reflect a lot on my time in St. George and all the great experiences here. It is a bitter pill to swallow that my time is almost up. I wish there was a way to turn back time and relive my 'golden days' but there is not. Right now it is hard to believe life could get any better than serving a mission. Nothing, not money, education, or dating compares to the joy of serving the Lord. I'm thankful to be in a full Spanish area again and sleep, talking in Spanish again. :) It is better being in St. George with little work than being up north with little work. It is important to be thankful for what you have. Keep us in your prayers so that we may find the elect. Vaya con Dios.

Dios es amor,

Elder Bennion

"achoose you bthis day whom ye will cserve... as for me and my dhouse, we will eserve the Lord." (Joshua 


Semana noventa y tres: Back to St. Geezy For The Last Time

Semana noventa y tres:
Back to St. Geezy For The Last Time

My family,
Well transfer time has come and only on more remaining. I'm headed down to St. George, Pineview/Washington area to be more exact. I knew I would most likely be transferred but I was really hoping to go back to St. George Spanish or just stay in Ephraim. We have 8 people preparing to be baptized in December and I was looking forward to their baptisms. I'm praying Elder H   can hold it all together and no one falls through. That worries me the most. It has been neat to see the transformation of this area over the past transfer. It has really taken off and I've become part of the fabric of these people's lives. I'm just torn about leaving. This area has become my second favorite place to serve. Pineview is a full Spanish area which will be fun. I'm excited to speak Spanish again but the area was really hard when I left last time. My new companion's name is Elder Wright, I will be follow-up training him which nothing is new. The average age of all my companions has to lower than 5 months now. I guess the Lord has a purpose for me there, even if it is only six weeks. I am looking forward to it!

This was a really good week overall! Monday night we invited Carley to be baptized on the 22nd of December and she gladly accepted. We recommitted Ivan to be baptized the 22nd and he said that was too far away! He should be getting baptized the 15th of December. We also taught R____ with Bishop Wheeler. The lesson went a lot longer than anticipated but it was a great lesson of pure Book of Mormon testimony. The spirit was very strong during the lesson. Now R_____ just has to pray to know that it is true. If anyone has doubts in their testimony of the Book of Mormon, Elder Holland's video entitled, 'Testimony of the Book of Mormon' just brings resounding belief that it is indeed a book from God.

 Tuesday was a good day. We knocked several doors of less-active families and had the opportunity to share some good messages with them. We had a lesson with C____ and tithing seems to be the biggest thing holding him back. I said a little more about that on my voice recordings. We went back on Wednesday to share with him what President Leonard told me and he was visibly upset. IT makes me sad something like tithing will hold someone back from a complete remission of sins. Christ said, " If any man will come after me, let him adeny himself, and take up hisbcross, and cfollow me.d aFor whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will blose his life for my sake shall cfind it... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Mat. 16:24-25, 6:21) And if that is not enough of a call to action this reminder in John14:15 is, "If ye alove me, bkeep my ccommandments." The thing is, The Church will keep growing without one families tithing. The Church will still build temples and meeting houses but we cannot receive all the blessings of the Lord without keeping the law of tithing. Something my mission has taught me is that tithing is NOT about the money! This church needs real growth, not baptismal statistics. The purpose of the gospel is to bring about eternal life and unite eternal families. That cannot be done without the temple and living the commandments is a prerequisite to temple attendance.

Saturday was a busy day. We went to the stake baptismal service to support a girl named Socorro from the Spanish branch. After her baptism she decided she wanted me to confirm her a member of the church and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. I was honored to do it. Then we went to Erica's Aunt's funeral in Moroni. The woman wasn't a member but it was a great opportunity for the church to help out a family in need. She was Catholic but supposedly the Catholic church charges $150 for funerals. I had no idea funerals and baptisms cost money in the Catholic church. I got to say the closing prayer as well and as everyone left we passed out pictures of Christ with our phone number on it. Anytime is a good time for missionary work.

Well I wish I could write more but I have to pack and say goodbye. The mission just flies by! When I'm finally on my game the the mission comes to an end. I love these people here so much! I'm livin' the dream! Vaya con Dios!

Dios es amor,

Elder Bennion 

Semana: 92 It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Semana: 92

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Happy late Thanksgiving! I hope Thanksgiving was good wherever you were. It has been funny, back home most people put up Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving and for the most part that is true here but there has been a good amount of people that put up decorations before Thanksgiving. I thought it was a bit strange but I'm loving the Holiday spirit. It makes me miss home more than last year but I'm not trunky. Christmas will definitely be a bitter sweet day this year. :)

It was another good week here in Ephraim. Exchanges on Monday went really well. Elder Isbell and I had a blast teaching together. My favorite lessons was to a group of people at a drug rehab center. The gospel has a way of brightening the darkest of places and giving hope to the hopeless. Tuesday we went and had lunch at a pizza place in Mt. Pleasant. We went back to the back and I made my won pizza. It was a first for me and it turned out really good. The mission and especially being a missionary in Utah opens doors to so many fun things I've never done.

One thing I did miss out on was our lesson with R______. Supposedly it didn't go too well and the lesson was off the topic I had planned on Elder H  and Elder Niumatalolo talking about. He is a cunning man that's for sure. Today we are going to have Bishop Wheeler accompany us as our fellow shipper. I can't wait to teach with him! He was more than happy to go with us- he is just the greatest guy. Only in Utah do you get on a first name basis with emeritus seventy. :)

Our lesson with C____ took longer than I thought it would on Wednesday. We had to explain the word of wisdom and C____ had some reservations about it. The lesson ended well but I'm praying he will be ready for his baptism on Saturday.  We taught him last night and tithing seems to be the straw that broke the camel's back. He said that it is impossible to pay all his bills, send money to his children in Mexico, and to help out his parents. We read with him the scripture in Malachi about the Lord opening the windows of heaven and pouring out enough blessings that he couldn't receive them all but right now he doesn't have the faith the Lord will keep his promise. It really makes me sad because that is the only thing holding him back. Please keep him in your prayers. I also saw Elder Brown and his family on Wednesday. They were coming through the mission to see everywhere Elder Brown (Jason) served. It was ironic to see him in the area he trained me in. I just love being a missionary!

Thanksgiving was a good day. I felt weird because we were not supposed to knock doors but that is all I'm used to. It felt strange and foreign to be a missionary but not be out doing missionary things. The Christiansens had family come down for Thanksgiving so it was different to share our living space and come home to people watching things in the theater area but it was just fine. I think Elder H____ was more fazed by it than I was. The mission is all about learning to be flexible and rolling with the punches. Since we couldn't have normal lessons, out of the seven or so offers to have Thanksgiving dinner we decided to eat with part member families. It worked out really well and we were stuffed in the process. That evening we had a district activity. I suggested we do it at the institute building and it was a lot of fun. We played basketball, pool, air hockey, ping pong, and dodge ball. That was probably the best part of Thanksgiving. I have had a lot of fun with the elders in our district. There are a few I hope will stay lifelong friends.

On Saturday CJ got baptized and I had the privilege to confirm him. It was a really great baptism and I cannot wait to see him grow and one day serves a mission. He did a solo and sang Nephi's courage. He is fearless in being a beacon unto his family and friends. He is a very special kid.

Things have gotten better with Elder H. We had a long talk on Wednesday and he has begun to keep the rules of the mission and made the resolve to finish out his mission striving to be obedient. It has been really great. I've grown to understand him better and to know where he is coming from. Thanks mom and mom #2 for the advice. :) Make it a great week and enjoy the Holiday season! Vaya con Dios!

Soli deo glorial,
(Greek for "to God alone be the glory")

Elder Bennion

A few weeks ago we got a referral to teach Pamela Anderson then on Sunday we got a referral to teach Scarlett Johansen. Who knew movie stars live in Ephraim? ;)