Saturday, January 31, 2015

El Fin Se Acerca..... (The End is Coming)

Monday January 26, 2015

 Hello Family and Friends!

This has been an incredible week here in Tela. Does this really have to end? It's starting to hit me more and more... I think I have been in denial this whole transfer. On Wednesday (Webb's day!!) We went visiting families with Elder and Hermana Webb. We visited a family that is just absolutely incredible. They have 10 children!! But the spirit was super strong and Elder Webb was talking about having hope for the future. They have 3 daughters that are coming up on the age of being able to serve missions and he asked Hermana Andújar and I to share some of our experiences that we have had as missionaries. At one point in the lesson Elder Webb got a little emotional and then said, "Hermana Bennett only has 2 weeks left of her mission here in Honduras... She's loves her mission... and she loves Honduras..." and then it all hit me. It was like a flood all at once.... Noooo!!!!!!! I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. This is hard. My heart is literally ripped in two... So many different emotions... It was a very tender moment. My mission has meant so much to me. There really will never be words adequate enough to describe just how much my mission has done for me, how much I have learned about myself, the gospel, my Savior and just how much I NEED Him! 

We have some incredible investigators right now! I just love them!  V, a recent convert that is 12 years old, went out visiting with us last week and invited us to visit her neighbor with us. There is a grandma, mother, and daughter and they are so awesome! The daughter asked us for a book of mormon in english because she went to a bilingual school and understands what she reads better in english. When we gave it to her she immediately started reading it while we were teaching the restoration. Every now and then she would pipe in and say things like, "woah, I totally believe in Joseph Smith! This angel Moroni told him that his name would be had for good and for evil in all nations..... so he already knew that people would say bad things about him.... wow!" or "This says that the Book of Mormon was complied by a man named Mormon and he gave it to his son who hid them and then he appeared to Joseph to give him the plates... how awesome!" haha we could have almost just sat back and let her teach the lesson :) By the time we left she had already read like 30 pages... haha The Book of Mormon is powerful! We also had a lot of experiences in which the people were led to us. In two different occasions we had people stop us in the street while we were walking and asking us to come and visit them.... um... okay!!! There is a part in Preach my Gospel that says that either we will be led to the people, or they will be led to us. That is so true :) 

J and F are doing great :) They are so happy and excited to be members of the church! It's awesome to get to see how finally entering into the first covenant can bring so much joy and peace. I love this place. I love Tela and I love the people here! I love this branch and all the members. Things are really looking up for this branch and we are just seeing the start of it! I'm excited to hear how this branch is doing a year from now! I love you all and I hope that you are enjoying this last week of January. Why does time have to go by so fast? I'm just going to try and soak in as much as I can. Gulp... I can't believe this is my last full week... deep breath.... There was a change in the mission so that we will no longer be having transfer meetings. Weird! Now our leaders will just call and say who has transfers and where they are going and we will just have to travel directly to our new area (i guess when I say "we" I mean the other missionaries....). So that means that I will have another P-day because usually transfer week mondays are a normal work day but not anymore. So guess what that means?? Next Monday is my last P-day.... EVER. 

Until Next Week (literally.... I will see you next week...)
Hermana Bennett

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lancetilla, Mud, and Another Baptism :)

Monday January 19, 2015
Hey Family and Friends! 

This has been another great week. It's been super rainy and cold, but I think maybe that's just Heavenly Father helping me not to be too shocked with the freezing cold that I'll be coming home to. The weather here is a little bipolar. One minute it will be sunny and blazing hot, we'll teach a lesson, come out a half hour later and the sky is dark and it's a torrential downpour... haha we never know so we always carry umbrellas regardless of how the sky looks. 

Saturday we had another baptism! J got baptized :)Thanks for all the prayers his way! Because of the rain, the water in the baptismal font was an ugly green/brown color... bleck!! We tried putting Clorox in it to see if it would help, but it didn't do much. Luckily he was a good sport and understood that the ordinance of baptism was more important than the quality of water in which it was performed.... :) He doesn't have much support from his family, sadly none of them came... but the branch was super supportive of him and we're excited to see him progress in the gospel! 

We have same great investigators right now and we had some great experiences with them this week. There is a sister and her dad that have visited with 8 different sets of missionaries over the years!! And they all have arrived at their house without knowing their previous time with missionaries. That makes me and Hermana A missionaries number 15 and 16 to teach their family. On Friday she told us that there is something about the church that just pulls her in, but she can't explain it. We talked to her about the Spirit :) She told some of her friends and family that she was going to start going to the ¨mormon church¨ and got some varied responses.... right now it is a little tough when it comes to what other people think. But I know that her time will come, and maybe it's now! We also have another named J. We found him about a month ago, we were passing his house on our way home one night and it was super late, but it was one of the moments where the Spirit was like, "go to this house!!" he left on vacation for a while but now he is back. We came back and he had invited his cousin to listen with him and was prepared with all his questions. We hope he progresses :) 


Today was probably one of the most adventurous P-days I've ever had! It was awesome :) We went to a botanical garden called Lancetilla. It apparently is one of the botanical gardens that has the most variety of exotic plants, trees and fruit in the world.  It's winter here so there weren't a lot in bloom but it was still beautiful. 

A family of members lives about an hour hike ABOVE the garden so we set off early in the morning to visit them for breakfast.

Since it has been raining the mud was NUTS. It continued to pour rain the entire hike up. I borrowed Elder W's boots and they were a lifesaver. We also had to cross several rivers almost up to the waist but it was exciting! 

There are also lychees trees on all sides up the trails so that was fun! In the garden there was a fruit called mata sabor that the also call the miracle fruit. It's a little fruit that changes the tastebuds in your mouth so that everything is sweet. I remembered that Matt had gotten a packet of those candies for Christmas one year and it was awesome to see it in real life! One of the elders ate it and then ate a sour fruit and it really does work... haha 

Funny story of the week. We went to P for a zone meeting so we went to Wendy's for lunch. We sat down and were eating when all of a sudden my companion dripped ketchup all over her face from the hamburger! So we were all laughing and she said "thank goodness it didn't get on my skirt!" and in that exact moment I knocked over my full cup of grape soda and the entire contents poured onto my lap and all over my skirt.... yeah... So I got to go home 2 hours on a bus with a giant purple stain all down the front of my skirt that had soaked through to the back as well... We had a good laugh about it. It was either laugh or cry so I chose to laugh... :) 

Things are still going well - just trying to hang in there and soak up every moment :) I love my mission and I love being a missionary. There really aren't words to describe my gratitude for having this experience in my life :) Sure love you all and hope that you have a great week!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Surprise!!! A long awaited Baptism :)

Monday Jan 12, 2015
Hello friends and family! 

This week was great here in Honduras. On Thursday we were going about our normal business when we received a telephone call from President Klein with the best news!! Hermano F was able to get baptized!!!! We were so excited we starting jumping up and down in the middle of the street... haha The bad news is that the other day he was riding his bike along the beach and a stray wave came in all of a sudden and pulled him into the ocean and he lost his phone.... :( So we couldn't get a hold of him and he lives up this mountain and leaves to work so he usually is only there when we have set appointments with him. So we had to wait until the next day to let him know. We got there and said, "guess what, you get to be baptized!" and he said, "when??" and we said, "Tomorrow!!" haha and then we told him about his baptismal interview and again he asked, "when??" and we said, "right now!!" haha so he hurried and got ready and we climbed down the mountain to head to the church for his interview and then Saturday he was baptized :)

It was so great. He has been waiting for a while to get the go ahead and has endured patiently always coming to church and all the activities and inviting all his friends. There were so many people in the branch there supporting him and the spirit was super strong. He is going to be a great strength to the branch! It was awesome as well because our mission leader, H, got to baptize him. He is a convert of 6 months and it was his first one! He was super excited about it. 

This week we have been doing a lot of contacting!! We have found that here in T, we will find people that are super excited and progress, and then the next week they disappear or don't want to receive us anymore. So this week we focused a ton on replenishing our pool of investigators! It made for lots of fun and interesting experiences :) haha we met a lot of people from different faiths and shared with them. There are so many good people in this world in all faiths! It does  make it a little difficult for them to accept our message, but I know that God is merciful to the faithful and will help prepare their hearts for the day when they can accept the fullness of the Gospel. Hopefully in this life!! We can just do our part to little by little help them to open up their hearts. There was a lot of rain again, but it came in spurts. But when it came, it poured!! There is a part right by the cemetery at the bottom of a hill that we have to cross to get back home and on several occasions it had turned into a lake and we had to cross it with water up to our knees! The bottoms of our skirts would get a little wet.... haha it was quite the experience, I just had to not think about whatever was in the water that kept brushing up against our legs.... haha 

We're on the home stretch! I'm so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve as a missionary and I am trying to finish out as strong as I can. It can be a little tough at times but I am studying that missionary chapters in Alma again and learning a lot from the sons of Mosiah and Alma and Amulek. They endured a lot of trials, but they kept going! :) There really aren't words to express how much I love being a missionary, but luckily it doesn't have to end here. We can keep serving our whole lives, just in a different part of the Lord's Vineyard :)

Love you all!
Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Climbing Mountains and Beach BBQ's - It's 2015 in Honduras!

Monday Jan 5, 2015

Hola mi querida familia y amigos!!

I hope that this brand new year had found you all happy and well! It's definitely un año nuevo (a new year) here in Honduras. We had a good time in an area called T, that is a garifina community. You have to be garifina (i hope i'm spelling that right) in order to live there. But it has the most beautiful beach I've ever seen! (and that's saying a lot here in Honduras) The sand was sooooo soft.

There are some members that live there that invited us to come to their little house by the beach to celebrate with some bbq'd meat and good company :) It's a community with lots of culture! 

At one point a man came running into our little area all painted in black with a mask and loincloth and whistle and was getting all in our faces and dancing around. He was right in front of us with his hand outstretched, i think he was asking 
for money but i gave him a peace of my meat instead and he took it and ran off.... haha It was so cool to be there. We spent the majority of the day visiting less active members and part member families. The firecrackers and fireworks weren't as loud as Christmas, but they were the more pretty kind... haha it still was nuts because throughout December lots of families make life-size dolls and leave them out front for people to pass by and give them money (and people actually give them money) and then on new year's they explode them at midnight! That was what brought the most ruckus... haha but it's an interesting tradition. 

This week was awesome because we went to visit an investigator, and it turns out that he moved houses. He met us at he bottom of the hill with a sister from the branch and told us that he now lived in a house up the hill another 15 minute walk and that there was a family there that wanted us to visit them. We were like, Let's go!!! It was a steep hill... haha but the vista is super bonita! You can see the ocean off in the distance on the way up the hill. There was a super awesome family at the top of the hill and they are so receptive and humble! The dad came down to an activity that the quorum had and loved it. There is a 19 year old daughter who is reading the Book of Mormon with F and is super interested. It makes climbing the mountain all the worth while! haha The other day we were trying to find a man that we had talked to on the street a couple of weeks ago and when we found his house only his mom was home. But she invited us in and we started to share with her. We asked her if she had ever visited the church and she said that she had been several times. We asked if she had been baptized and she said, "no... but oh how much I would love to be baptized!" we were caught a little off guard but told her that we would help her prepare for a certain date and she said absolutely, there is nothing holding me back.... haha the only reason she had stopped visiting the church is because she got sick, but was now better and ready to go to church again. It was a tender mercy that we found her :) I love moments like that!!!

In my personal study I have been reviewing the talks from this past conference and this week I learned just how important the law of the fast is!!! (from Bishop Dean M. Davies) He mentioned a scripture in Isaiah 58 that I had never read before that talked about the blessing of fasting and giving our fast offerings. Holy cow! My favorite part is when it is saying that we will pray to God and He will say "here I am." I have a huge testimony of fasting, but now I have a bigger testimony of fast offerings as well. I recommend that talk! 

I also learned something new in my companion's English book... haha CTR not only stands for choose the right, but also for our baptismal covenants:
C - Commandments, keep them all!
T - Take upon the name of Christ
R - Remember Christ always
Cool, huh? I don't know why I never caught on to that.... 

They rearranged the branch presidency this week and we're excited for what this year has in store for this branch!!! There are over 900 members of the church here in tela and only 70-80 active members.... sad huh? It's super common to be contacting and find members by accident! But with Elder and Hermana W here there are lots of people coming back to church. The Lord is DEFINITELY hastening His work, and here in T we get to see that first hand. Everyone here can feel it, I can wait to see how this branch will be this time next year :)

Sure love you all! I hope you have a great first week of the year :)

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett 

Multizone p-day on the beach in Tela!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

¡Prospero Año Nuevo! 2015

December 29, 2014
Hello to my wonderful family and friends! 

This has been quite the week full of lots of experiences. Last night my companion and I commented that it felt like one of the longest weeks ever.... haha but it was a good one. It was Christmas! It was awesome to get to call and talk and see your faces again! You all look wonderful and happy :) 

Christmas in Honduras was great this year, because it was spent with lots of people that I love. Christmas Eve is the main holiday here and most of the festivities are done on this day. Working was a little hard because most people were distracted and busy and didn't really want to interrupt their day with listening to a message, but that's okay! That night we went to a members house that doesn't have any extended family near by. We spent the evening with them, Elder and Hermana Webb, the elders in our branch, and then a member couple that was visiting also dropped by. The wife lives in the states and the husband here in Honduras. They have been married a little over a year, and this is only the second time they have seen each other since their wedding! Crazy!! I think that would be way hard!! But it was a SUPER special night. It was a group that consisted of people from the states, from Honduras, from Guatemala, from Puerto Rico, and from Nicaragua - all separated from our extended families. We had a little testimony meeting where we shared our thoughts on Christmas and one mentioned that this was a little taste of what Zion would be like. Though we are all from different parts of the world, this gospel unites us and we are all part of one big great family :) No matter where we go in the world, we will always have a home! It was kind of funny - I was translating all of the Spanish into English for the Webb's and Hermana A was translating all the English into Spanish for the rest. So when it was my turn to share my thought I was just going to speak in English and have Hermana A translate. Well... I had just started and I got a little emotional (the spirit was SUPER strong) and all of a sudden I switched into Spanish without realizing it! We all got a good laugh about it. I decided it was too hard to try and do it in English so I just did it in Spanish! It's a weird moment when my own native language becomes the difficult one! haha When all the returned missionaries would struggle I didn't think that really happened.... But i guess it does!

Christmas Eve night was like a warzone! All month there have been firecrackers going off here and there, but this night is was crazy. Not just firecrackers but homemade bombs made out of newspaper and who knows what. We woke up at 11:30 and couldn't sleep. It was nuts. Then at midnight it was chaos!!!! I can't imagine what it will be like on New Year´s Eve?!! It was good though because at 2 in the morning it started pouring a torrential downpour which sent everyone in their houses. But that meant we woke up to a surprise Christmas morning with the floor covered in water! We still have no idea how it got in because our beds weren't wet, just the floor. And we are on the second floor? It was quite the Christmas present... haha 

We visited one of our investigators that is preparing for baptism. He lives deep in the jungle with a whole bunch of old cement houses and paths that look like ruins. It's pretty sweet. When we got there he took off his hat to show us his new hair cut and he had a snake in it!!! It took us way off guard! He said that he had found it that morning and that it was renting his hat as a home for a while... haha. He is super awesome. He took us over to his neighbors house and was bearing his testimony about how we need to be baptized. We're hoping he can get baptized soon! Lots of prayers his way would be great!

Love you all. Wishing you an amazing New years. 2014 has been an incredible year for me. I don't think there are words to describe all the things I have learned and the experiences I have had. I am forever changed :) Looking forward to 2015 and getting to apply everything I've learned here!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Friday, January 2, 2015

He Lives - Merry Christmas!!!

December 22, 2014
Hello Family and friends! 

FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!! Wow I can't believe that we are already at that time! It's a wonderful time to be a missionary :) This week went by so fast, but looking back I feel like so many things happened! This week was our multizone conferences. The theme for this one was "the Living Christ" and we focused on Him :) It was amazing I absolutely loved it. All of the zones submitted a Christmas video of acts of service that we did in the month of November and they compiled them all together and made it into a video of Honduras San Pedro Sula East missionaries "going about doing good..." It was fun and it made me smile and feel the spirit at the same time. Serving really does make you happy! President Klein asked me to recite the Living Christ to start off the testimony meeting that we had. I had memorized when I was 16 for Personal Progress, and the older I get the more and more it means to me. When I started reciting it I felt the Spirit soooo strong and I could barely get through it. He Lives!!! He really does! And I love Him. I feel like a lot of times in my life, like at Oakcrest and here on the mission, I am always making sure that people understand what Jesus Christ did for them, but in that moment I feel like I finally realized what He did for ME.

At the multizones we also got to give all the missionaries their flu shots.... muahahaha... President said that it was the moment to see who were boys and who were men :) It was fun! We even got my companion and hermana olivas in to do some shots too. I let Hermana Andújar experiment on me.... gulp it was all funny until it was my turn. haha But I love being the nurse and I love getting to spend so much time with Hermana Klein! She is just so wonderful. 

This week we had some neat experiences with investigators. There was one lady that was having this internal debate. She liked what we were saying but she just felt like all churches are true and that it doesn't matter where you go as long as you go. She is trying to decide whether or not she goes to the US with her son and just recently changed her life around and didn't want to go there and fall back into the old routine. In our studies my companion felt strongly that we needed to give her the Book of Mormon. Right when I pulled it out it was like a lightbulb switched on in her head, she said, "you guys are the mormons? One of the families that I might stay with in the US said that they are Mormons, too" The spirit was super strong when we explained that the Book of Mormon was the evidence that our church was the only true and living church on the earth and she was super attentive and excited to read and pray to see if it was true. We assured her that the church was the same in all parts of the world, and that she could attend church with her family in the states :) Her whole attitude changed around thanks to the Book of Mormon. We were also walking one night and decided to stop by a house and give them a pass-a-long card for He is the Gift. A young-man came out, said thanks and then when we asked if we could come back again he said, sure... haha When we arrived a few days later for the visit he was actually waiting for us, card in hand, ready to hear our message! He hadn't even seen the video, but he was anxious to hear what we had to say. He accepted the invitation to be baptized, even though we didn't really teach much, just got to know him a little. That to me is a testimony that conversion isn't really all about what you KNOW, but more about what you FEEL. And when you receive a witness from the Spirit and feel that it is true, that is when your knowledge can increase.

Oh I forgot to mention! today we had a Christmas lunch with the Webb's and I ate funeral potatoes.... yes FUNERAL POTATOES!!!! And homemade rolls, and apple-banana salad that i made and roasted ham... yum.... a typical American Christmas lunch! it was wonderful :) :)

I hope that you all have an AMAZING Christmas this week! I'm excited to be able to call and talk to you for one last time in the year 2014! Love you lots!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Él Es La Dádiva (He is The Gift)

Monday December 15, 2014

Hello family and friends! 

I'm not quite sure what to say in this email, maybe because I feel like I just wrote on Wednesday.... haha I am here in T Hermana A, and we are working our tails off! She is awesome, we get along really well. We are super similar and have a lot of similar life experiences. We teach well together and are having a lot of success in just the past 4 days. I feel  like I have already been here for a long time. The church has a message going around right now called, "he is the gift" with a video that is super bonito :) We have a million pass-a-long cards and we decided that we would give out as many as possible everyday to as many people as we can. I love it because it gives us a very non pressuring way to stop people on the streets and talk to them, then we can see if they are nice and want to know more or if we will just say, "okay have a nice day..." haha it's a great way to plant seeds as well as find future investigators! We have lots of people that are getting ready for baptism and we are finding lots of people that seem positive. I heard someone say once that God gives the best references, we just have to talk to them when He puts them in our path! I feel so happy right now, I feel like I am sprinting to the finish and I want to work as hard as I can. I really don't want this feeling to end. I never thought I would be one of those missionaries that didn't want to come home... haha but there is just something so different about this lifestyle that I know is most likely a once in a lifetime experience, but the feeling that it brings doesn't have to end. One chapter will come to a close, but God will just call us to work in a different part of His vineyard, now better equipped with the things we have learned here.

There are paved roads here in T, as well as dirt roads. It's a pretty good mix when it comes to lifestyle - rich and poor. One of our investigators lives right in the middle of the jungle... super pretty! It is a branch here, but the branch is growing. We have the Senior Couple working with this branch and the one next to us. Yesterday we helped to translate for them in a temple prep class and the spirit was so strong. Oh how much i MISS the temple with my whole being!!! The class was just a huge reminder of the great blessing we have to have so many temples close. The branch just got back from a temple trip and you can feel the difference in the air. I will never take it for granted again.

Today for P-day we went to a hotel restaurant called Maya Vista that has an incredible view! On the menu it says that to stay there for one night is only $50.... haha Who needs Hawaii when I can come to T and stay for so cheap?? :) 

Funny experience for the week. We were walking upstairs to our apartment and Hma A pulled the keys out of her backpack and they somehow whipped out of her hand went sliding across the floor and off the roof (there is a small space between the wall/railing and the ground). We panicked for a second but then realized that they were still on the roof of the house next door. I had to climb over the wall and hang off the side of the house to try and reach them, but i couldn't. So H. Andújar had to hold my hand and sustain my weight while i tried to bend even further back to try and reach them until i finally grabbed hold of them and she pulled me back over... haha it reminded me of the movies when the people are hanging off a building holding on for dear life to the person above that is trying to save them! We had a good laugh about it. It was quite the experience!

I hope you have a great week and are getting as excited for Christmas as I am!!! Wahoo!!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett