Monday, June 18, 2012

Semana 67: As A Missionary, Can I Say I'm A Jesus Freak Too?

Semana 67: As A Missionary, Can I Say I'm A Jesus Freak Too?

Yo dije WOW! Well it was another good week here in Price. Oh how things have changed since I first got into this area. The area is finally functioning like a normal area and we have work to do. It is interesting how we have worked so hard and endured to finally see progress in the final weeks of the transfer. This week we found two new women that are really interested in learning more about the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One lady, whose name is E#lena, is probably the happiest woman in Price. No kidding! She is a self proclaimed "Jesus freak" (more on that later). Happy late Father's Day as well! I love you daddyo! I hope your Father's Day was enjoyable. Dub, I hope your Father's Day was G-O-O-D as well. ;) I love ya! 

I suppose I will start with transfers that are always the biggest news every six weeks. On Sunday night at about seven we were over at the branch President's house when President Leonard called. Those unexpected phone calls from President are always scary, even on transfer night. I got the call and he told me I will.... BE GOING BACK TO ST. GEEZY! :D I'm pretty excited to say the least. I am going to miss Elder Ayala a ton and there are a handful of families here that I've grown really close to here that I will miss. It is funny how that happens in every area though. I will be on the west side of St. George in a part called Sunset. There is a senior couple of missionaries that have been working over there for about six months now and teaching a lot of people. They have just had a problem getting people into the waters of baptism so that is where I come in. I feel really grateful that I've been given this opportunity to just go in there and "harvest" so to speak. If there is a missionary in this mission that loves teaching more than me I don't know who it is. ESPECIALLY when it comes to teaching Hispanics! Latino soy de la cabeza a los pies! I will also be training a new missionary. I'm not really partial either way about training. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and do what the Lord asks of me. It will be weird training a missionary who does not already know Spanish but I'm going to be back en la tierra prometida. It is going to be a really good transfer.

Last Monday was an interesting evening. We went over to the Ramirez's with the intention to only be there for a few minutes. It doe3sn't look like David will be getting baptized right now and so we need to find the elect that are wanting to make and keep sacred covenants with our Father in Heaven. We started talking to Sister Ramirez and she said she has been thinking and she wants to go back to the Catholic Church. When I heard that my heart sunk. This is one of my most favorite families here and to think they might go back to the Catholic Church it just made me sad. Sister Ramirez was taught in English when she was baptized and so she never had gained a firm knowledge of the gospel. We spent almost the entire evening with her and agreed to retake the missionary lessons all over again. In the 10 years since Sister Ramirez was baptized we are only the second set of missionaries that have connected with this family. They are one of those families I know I was sent here for.

On Tuesday we got a call from the assistants to the mission President saying that an Elder was getting being emergency transferred and so the other Zone Leader, Elder Merrill, would be staying with us. I was a little apprehensive to have one of the Zone Leaders stay with us for multiple reasons but it has been a blast! Elder Merrill is from northern California (Grass Valley to be exact) and we just get along great. It is like we have been friends for a long time. 

Tuesday was also a good day because we also found Elena. I can't tell you how many doors I've knocked here in Price. I would assume it is in upwards of 500+ doors and sometimes (like in this instance) it paid off. For all of you that are members and are reading this, I invite you all to pray, ponder, read the scriptures, and fast to be lead to someone you could invite to church and invite to listen to the missionaries. The prophet Gordon B. Hinckley taught, "So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church. Whenever there is a member who introduces an investigator, there is an immediate support system. The member bears testimony of the truth of the work. He is anxious for the happiness of his investigator friend. He becomes excited as that friend makes progress in learning the gospel."

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it is ALL OF OUR responsibility to share the gospel. When we knocked Elena's door she just began talking a mile a minute. We explained we are the missionaries and how we teach about Jesus Christ and how His original church has been restored to the earth by a Prophet of God. Needless to say she was excited and LOVES Jesus. She is a self proclaimed "Jesus freak". This week we also invited Rosario, the lady we found last Saturday, to be baptized. She came to church yesterday and she should be getting baptized on the 30th or the 7th of July! Life is gooooood. 

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel." Now as a full-time missionary I wish I would have known how important it is to share the message of the restored gospel with EVERYONE. There really is no work greater than this. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and apreach the bgospel to every ccreature. He that abelieveth and is bbaptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be cdamned." (Mark16:15-16) It really is a simple but marvelous message we bring to the world. These are a hard two years but they really are the best two years. I'm livin' the dream. Vaya con Dios. 

Elder Bennion

Monday, June 11, 2012

Semana 66: In The Eleventh Hour He Answers Our Prayers

Semana 66: In The Eleventh Hour He Answers Our Prayers

Howdy family! First off, BUGGGGG! All I have to say is holy cow! Two days and you will be graduated! It seems like just yesterday you were a sophomore and I was graduating. It is crazy how fast time flies and it just gets faster! It has been a great week out here in Price. Nothing too crazy but, we definitely saw the Lord's hand in this work.

The week started out a little difficult on Monday because I got a little sunburned and dehydrated. We helped the woman that cuts our hair by unloading a 50 foot semi trailer of girls dress up clothes from China. Supposedly she sells them on Amazon but the truck was packed to the roof with boxes. Afterwards, we played Frisbee and so by the evening I was wiped out but we managed to teach four good lessons.

Tuesday through Thursday was all about the same. We knocked and knocked trying to find new people to teach and invite other people we have already talked to about the gospel but it was difficult. The biggest obstacle in Price is PRIDE. Many Hispanics work in the mines and work twelve hour shifts making $26 starting out. I was reading Helaman and it reminded me of Price. Look up Helaman 12:5 if you get a chance. I love the gospel so much and want to share my joy with the world! 

It wasn't until Friday that we went out to this little farming town outside of Price called Wellington. We had heard that a former investigator was back in town from Texas. So we drove out on this old country road with a slight idea of where this woman lives and a prayer in our hearts. We got out to about where we thought she lived and we saw a little Mexican boy running in front of this trailer. We pulled over, knocked the door of the trailer on the other side of the road (they are Mexican too) and then we knocked the door. Rosario opened the door and she has this huge smile on her face. Turns out she was really prepared to be baptized before. She had her baptismal interview, her husband bought her baptismal clothing and then one day he said she couldn't be baptized and then they moved. It was amazing to see how long and hard we have searched for someone who wanted the blessing of the gospel and then one day the Lord answered our prayers. "Trust in the Lord with all thine bheart; and lean not unto thinecown dunderstanding. In all thy ways aacknowledge him, and he shall bdirect thycpaths." (Proverbs 3:5&6) I know that He directs our paths. 

As if Friday wasn't reason enough to rejoice, on Sunday we showed up to church and five minutes before the sacrament meeting this man I've never seen before walks in. Everyone was really kind to him and greeted him. I ended up walking over to him and saying hi as well and introducing myself. We got to talking and he told me he has only been here in the U.S. for three days! Long story short he has been taught by the missionaries before but before he could be baptized he had to move. I will have to tell you more about his border crossing story later but those are my favorite stories. His is incredible but story is for another time. :) 

It is amazing to see the Lord do His work. As if having one new person that has been prepared is not enough, we were blessed with two new people to teach. It is nothing short of a miracle. At times it is not until the eleventh hour that the Lord reveals His hand unto us and we are blessed from on high. It is a lesson that I've been taught time and time again from my Father in Heaven. I think Jesus said it the best that it should be the will of our Father in Heaven that shall be done, not our own. "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" It is important to remember there is more than one step involved in bringing souls unto Christ. I know I'm doing what the Lord has called me to do in this part of His vineyard. I know that my Redeemer lives. Vaya con Dios.

Dios es amor,

Elder Bennion

P.S. Shadowing Dr.'s Hansen and Byers was a blast! I cannot wait to see more of it after the mission. I had the chance to see two cataract surgeries and I just loved it. I feel so comfortable in the O.R. I will have to write you more about it later or... tell you more about it on Christmas when we talk again. I love you family!

He looks so happy when he is in scrubs! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Semana 65: Enjoying It While I Still Got It

Semana 65: Enjoying It While I Still Got It

Que pasa familia? I hope everything is going well. I can't believe it is already June! Price is starting to heat up. We have had a few days that have been in the low 90's and we were out of miles for most of last week so we were on foot. I actually didn't mind it too much. Overall the week was a pretty good one. We didn't have a ton of success but it seemed like every day the Lord had a little miracle for us to experience and some lesson He needed to teach me.

The week started off really well. Usually preparation days are the worst because I’m struggling to refocus into Elder Bennion mode and for some reason our lessons always fall through but they didn't on Monday. We had a really good lesson with this guy named Andres. It has been awhile since anyone would actually hear us out and let us explain our message. We ended up meeting with him three times and then we found out he was moving to Huntington. :/ It is hard when there is potential and then someone moves but the other missionaries are already meeting with him so I know it is all apart of the plan de Dios.

Tuesday I had the opportunity to give a brother a blessing of comfort. He works in Colorado but his family lives here in Price. He was studying for his driver’s test and was overly stressed that he wouldn't be able to pass. I don't remember everything I said but I know I was able to relay what our father in Heaven wanted him to hear. That in itself was a blessing to me. We found out several days later he passed his test. I was pretty happy for him.

Wednesday Roy came over from Ephraim. Roy is the guy I met last year that is from Hawaii and teaches Hawaiian culture at his own halau (or school) on Hilo and lives in Ephraim during the summer. It has been almost a year since I've seen Roy so it was great to catch up. He said if I want to go out to Hilo and do Hawaiian studies between summer classes at BYU and BYUH I would be more than welcome to do it. I think it would be a blast to learn Hawaiian! If there are two cultures I love it is the Hispanics and Hawaiians. :) It is something we will have to talk about later. It was scary talking about life after the mission. Lately (especially in this area) I've been looking forward to the end of my mission and all the good things I have in store. But after talking with Roy I just felt sick to my stomach. lol Thinking about school and everything like that made me realize I'm not ready for this show to be over. I have so many more people to find before it is my time. It put into perspective how I need to enjoy this time even in the hard areas. There is beauty all around, when you find the love at home. ;)

Friday night (and Saturday afternoon) we went to the hospital to give a woman from the branch a blessing. She has been really sick and having epileptic seizures lately. She had brain cancer last year and has not been the same since then. We walked into the hospital and Elder Ayala didn't want to be there. ti is interesting how I don't mind hospitals, in fact, I kind of like them. I think Elder Ayala thinks I'm crazy for that but I love helping sick patients. For example with Anna, she just isn't the same person she was. Her face just is different than the pictures I've seen of her, her hair is really thin now and I just know it is not her. I can't help but think of what it will be like after the resurrection and I get to see people like Anna and Jared in their resurrected forms. I can't imagine how great my joy will be when we are perfect and we are reunited as friends and family in Heaven. Working in the medical field is a lot like missionary work, we are doing what Christ would do. There is so much joy in this work. "Remember the aworth of bsouls is great in the sight of God; And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will be your bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me!" (DyC 18:10,15,16) If there is a career that can make me feel half the joy I've felt as a missionary that is the career that is for me!

It is an amazingly short time we have as missionaries to be full-time witnesses of the the Savior Jesus Christ. There will never EVER be another two years as gratifying as these two years I have to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There will never be another two years in which I will feel the spirit this strong as I have day in and day out. These two years really are a sacred time to serve the Lord. I'm enjoying it while I still have it- that's for sure! :) Every day is just another day in paradise out here. I'm livin' the dream. Vaya con Dios.

Dios es amor,

Elder Bennion

P.S. Tell Kodi not to think about pulling an "Uncle Jim" at his graduation. It would be funny but it would have lasting consequences. Times are different. I love you bug. Finish out strong- the finish line is almost here.
 This picture was taken (probably a year ago)  by a visitor at the St. George Temple by Vicki Pincock. She and some family members were down in St George and happened to meet Elder Bennion. Although, we had never met them before, I am so grateful for her friendship. She got my email from Elder Bennion and sent me the sweetest note with this picture. She said she was just paying it forward. A lady had done that for her where her son is serving his mission. All you mom's out there know how nice it is to hear about your missionary! Brought tears to my eyes! Happy tears!!!

This picture I just got from Elder Bennion today. I couldn't help but notice the awesome tie! When I asked Elder Bennion about it he said someone by the name of Sister Wood had sent it to him. She is so good to ALL the missionaries!!!!