Monday, October 21, 2013

Hurray for Baptisms!

Monday October 21, 2013
Hola familia and friends!
This has been quite the week. We have been working working working.... Holy cow... we are finding so many people to teach and there are only 2 of us to teach them! Well... basically 1 because we have to be at the same place at the same time always :) This week we were planning and we wrote down all of the people´s names that we were teaching and there were almost 30... Wow we are blessed to be in this area! I feel like the people are so humble and willing to listen. I absolutely LOVE teaching people in their little huts for houses, surrounded by green shrubery and rivers and dirt roads. It´s a completely different world. As Hermana Klein has said, it´s like camping in Sunday Clothes :) It makes me so grateful for what I have and for where I´ve been blessed to grow up. It´s humbling to see the little kids running around with hardly any food and in the same clothes everyday that are filthy and covered in dirt and holes. No running water, and cooking over fires. And then just a 25 minute bus ride to the other end of our area where we live and the houses seem like paradise in comparison!

We had the amazing blessing to participate in the baptism of our investigator P! Our prayers were answered!! Everything leading up to the baptism was soooo hectic... We thought that we had planned everything out that we needed to, but the morning of everything came crashing down... haha we found out that the majority of our priesthood holders had left for a youth activity (Super Sábado), there was no one to fill the font, no baptismal clothing, and no one to help.... so... we took matters into our own hands!
It's blazing HOT!!!!
We hurried ourselves to the chapel in the blazing heat (I don´t think I´ve ever experienced heat like that!), and then, dripping in sweat, started searching the churchhouse high and low for baptismal clothing. No luck... nada... So we borrowed a white skirt from the sisters that live above us and then grabbed on of my white tops. Then, we started filling the font and found out that there was a slow leak in the plug and the water wasn´t staying... Sooo, I was on my hands and knees in the water (in my skirt) trying to fix the plug to no availe. Soo... we improvised with a plastic baggy and my hair tie to try an plug it up and it finally worked.
Improvising a slow leak in the baptismal font!

Ahhh! Then we hurried and caught a bus to pick up P for the baptism.  Before heading to the church, we stopped at a recent converts restaurant to grab a quick lunch and we were able to have a really good chat with her and talked about staying strong and remaining faithful until the end. That baptism isn´t the end, but the beginning. I felt so much peace and knew that everything was going to work out. It may have been a stressful morning, but when it came time for the service all went well :) P bore a sweet testimony and I know that she is going to be an incredible assest to Heavenly Father as a member of this church!
The theme of this week was inactivos. It seemed like every reference we contacted turned out to be a member of the church that had long since gone inactive. Literally, I almost stopped being surprised when we would find out that they had already been baptized years previously. It made me really sad... I was studying in 1 Nephi 8 about the tree of life and I couldn´t help but feel like Lehi. He partakes of the fruit and then wants everyone else to do the same. He sees his family in the distance as if they don´t know where to go or what to do. He shouts for them and beckons them forward "Here!!! Here is the fruit! This is what you want, this is what will bless you!" - some choose to listen, whereas others choose not to. Then he sees multitudes of peoples who arrive and partake of the fruit, but then eventually became ashamed and embarrassed from the people mocking them and making fun of them in the building that they fall away and are lost. It´s sad to hear of those that were "feeling" there way after the great and spacious building with no direction. Then at the end of the chapter Lehi begs his sons to remain faithful, to keep the commandments and be blessed, and then he "ceases to speak to them." With so many people to teach and so many things that we have to do, I feel like this is the attitude that me and Hermana B need to have. We need to preach, teach, exhort, and invite with all our efforts and do all we can to help people find the way, and then allow them to use their agency to decide whether they will follow or not. Though it breaks your heart when they don´t (like I imagine Lehi´s heart broke over his sons), there are those that will - and these are the people that need our best efforts!

I love it here, have I said that enough?

Until next week!! Which,bytheway, won´t be until wednesday becauses of cambios (changes? I can´t remember what they are called). Can you believe I´m already almost done with my first "cambio"???

Les Amo!!!!!  (I love you)
Hermana Bennett

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And so it begins...!


Monday - October 14, 2013
Beautiful Honduras
Hola mi familia! Other week has come and gone. I don`t know how it happened, but it seemed like all in one day - all within the same 2 hours - everyone decided to get sick! There was one period where I received call after call right after each other. Literally, I would hang up and then it would start ringing again with someone new! I was a little overwhelmed at first, but the miracle was that most of them were North American and I could actually talk to them :)  There were a few that I would pass on to Hermana Baltazar, she would get all of the symptoms and information, hang up and explain everything to me, then I`d have to figure out the plan of action, try and translate it all in spanish, explain it to Hermana Baltazar the best I could, and then she would call and explain it to the missionary with the issue..... haha Ahhhh! But seriously I love it :) I know that I can do hard things with Christ`s help. And I`m not alone! My mission president`s wife has been SUPER helpful, as well as my mission president. They keep reassuring me that we are a team and that they are there to help.

This week more than any other, our plans kept falling through, including our baptism on Saturday. We would plan the day, then a bunch of nursing stuff would come up and we would have to completely change it. Then we would walk and walk and walk and no one would be home, and none of our lessons would work out how we wanted. There was one night in particular in which we had done absolutely EVERYTHING we could, but there literally was no other options. It was too dark to walk to other areas and no one was home in the area we were in. So... We bought a topogigio (popsicle in a bag) (oh my goodness... so delicious) and a chocobanana, sat ourselves on the curb outside our apartment, and just let ourselves be still, look at the stars, listen to the night sounds, take a deep breath. And I felt peace :) Then after a little while, other options came up and we were able to finish out the night giving a Book of Mormon to a neighbor and bearing testimony of it`s truthfulness. My mission president said something that really helped me in an interview with him yesterday. That this really isn`t our work - it`s His (Jesus Christ). There is no way we could possibly do all of the things we are expected to do, and yet somehow they get done. All He expects of us is to do all we can, and then get out of the way and let Him to the rest :) I`ve heard that over and over, but I`m seeing more and more everyday just how true that is. Our "stats" were the lowest they`ve ever been and we didn`t reach hardly any of our goals, yet somehow we had 13 investigators in sacrament meeting yesterday... What?! I was beyond grateful. It was nothing we had done, no way! We tried our best, doing all we could, and then the Lord stepped in and did the rest.

So on Saturday, I traveled with my companion and then another companionship to the hospital in San Pedro Sula so one of the sisters could get a CT scan. Before we went back we stopped by a food court in the city and there were so many American restaurants!!! We ended up eating at KFC and then getting a Wendy`s frosty for dessert.... haha mmmmmmm it was so delicious! A little taste of home :) One thing I think they need in the states are Pulperìas. What a brilliant idea - in the neighborhoods, there are several houses that have little mini stores in them. So if you are trying to make something for dinner and are missing an egg or a cup of milk, instead of scrambling to find one from a neighbor or having to get in your car and drive to a store, hey... just walk next door and huzzah! It really is so convenient. Maybe I`ll start my own when I get home... haha. There are a bunch of houses in different areas that sell what are called topogigios - all it is is some form of fruit blended up in a blender and then frozen in a little plastic baggy. You just bite off a corner and enjoy. My favorite is the coconut ones! It`s super easy, too. Milk, sugar, coconut, cinnamon, blend it all up, put it in a baggy and freeze it! Tried something new... Of course the member made me try it before telling me what it was... haha It`s called sopa de mondogo - wasn`t super gross, actually it wasn`t bad. Apparently it`s super common here. It`s a soup with cow stomach, cow foot, and cow tongue with veggies and potatoes... haha
Sopa de Mondogo
One thing I am learning from the members here in this ward is selfless service. Oh how happy it makes my heart. We had just finished a lesson with P, our investigator getting baptized on Saturday (fingers crossed). She is in the process of building a little hut in the back of her house and it was just her and a family friend doing it all by themselves. As we were walking to another visit, we ran into all the young men and leaders and bishopric who had just been helping a member lay cement for a house. So, we recruited all of them to help and at the drop of a hat they gathered their tools and headed to Paola`s! I will always remember the look on her face as we entered her yard with an army of helping hands. The feeling one gets through service is so awesome!

I don`t know why I didn`t find more opportunities to serve when I was at home. I`m determined to be better! I seriously love the people in this ward. They are incredible :) The youth especially are so strong and spiritual. It`s awesome!

One last miracle before I end. A few weeks ago we contacted a man on a bike at a banana stand who said he lived in Oro Verde. I felt like I needed to ask for his number so we could get a hold of him, but I hesitated and then he was gone :( I prayed and prayed and prayed that we would be able to find him. We tried to find him, but we didn`t even know his name and so it didn`t go anywhere. I still prayed that somehow we would find him. On a particularly unsuccessful night this week when all of our plans had fallen through, we had just started walking away from an investigators house (who wasn`t home... of course) and I see this man pass by us on a bike. It was him! We were able to flag him down (hna Baltazar shouted "HERMANO!" really loud to get his attention.... haha) and got his information so we can return another day. My prayer may not have been answered right away, but it was answered several weeks later :) It`s a testimony that our prayers are always answered... not necessarily when we want them or how we want them to be, but they are answered. In Alma 5 it talks about how Alma had to pray and fast "many days" before knowing the truth for himself. The key is to not stop praying and to not lose faith. Trusting in Heavenly Father includes trusting in his timing.

I love you all! I hope that this fall season is treating you all well. Someone PLEASE carve a pumpkin for me.... haha Until next week!
Hermana Bennett

Got my first haircut from a member!
Lots of walking!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hello!!! and Octubre!!

Monday September 30, 2013 

Hello to people that I love! I don`t have time to write today. Me and my companion traveled to San Pedro Sula (by bus and taxi....) To meet with president and hna Klein about my nursing responsibilities. It took up most of our Pday so we will write another day! Just wanted to let you know so you didn`t worry. No time tomorrow because we`ll be working in Los Flores all afternoon but we`ll try Wednesday. Love you!

Wednesday October 2, 2013

Wow! I can`t believe it`s already October. I`ve officially been in Honduras for 2 weeks now, but it feels like MUCH longer. Sometimes I forget that it`s been that short of time. Sorry this email is coming a few days late. 

Hermana Bennett and Klein
On Monday I traveled to San Pedro Sula with my companion to meet with Hermana Klein to discuss some of my nursing roles. She left today to be in the states for a week - she has a brand new Niñeta! So the responsibilities will fall on me for the next week. It soon became apparent that she had left today, since I have already received several calls... haha 
I`m grateful for the time I got to spend with President and his wife. They are incredible people full of so much love! President calmed some of my worries by saying that even though I have this dual calling, he won`t be "land-locking" me in an area just so I can be close to the mission office. He`ll send me wherever the Lord needs. I`m grateful for that! Yes I`m the nurse, but since the office is outside of our mission, the majority of the responsibilities will be fulfilled over the phone. If I can do that close to the mission home now, I can do it 3 hours from the mission home as well. I`m excited to have these extra responsibilities, but to also get to focus on the work as well!

FHE with President and Hna Klein
Last P-day was another treat, because several companionship's of sisters got the chance to go to the mission HOME and have a dinner and FHE with President. The home is beautiful!! It was nice to get a healthy home-cooked dinner and a spiritual thought from President. We learned about Job, and how in one instance he was exclaming that he couldn`t find his God anywhere. He was searching and searching but could not find him, but said that although he didn`t know where God was, God knew where he was. I don`t know the exact wording in English, but basically even when we are in hard times and we feel lost, we are never lost to Heavenly Father. He knows exactly where we are and He will never leave us alone in our trials.

Home-cooked dinner at President and Hna Klein's

This week we have been focusing on working in Los Flores. I really do love the people and the environment there. One of the members that is always going with us to lessons is named S. One day we were walking to an appointment and here comes Santiago over the hill with his little herd of vacas (cows) and machete :) There really are no words to describe this area - I will try to sneak a picture but I don`t know when I will be able to. There are cows and goats and chickens all over the place. Pigs in people`s yards. The houses are mostly one or two room huts. It`s incredible. It also makes me feel a little guilty that I have SOOO much back at home and didn`t realize how blessed I was. You almost have to experience places like this to truly appreciate how blessed we are to live where we live. To have air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, to be able to turn on the water from the faucet and brush your teeth without worries of catching a parasite, to have a garbage man comes once a week to pick up your trash instead of putting it on in your own personal garbage dump in your backyard... Just to name a few.

I was able to watch the Relief Society General Conference in English :) Oh the joy of the sound of my own language and the ability to understand! I LOVED it... Such incredible talks about convenants. That`s really what life is all about - preparing to meet God, and we do that through making and KEEPING sacred covenants. That`s what are goal is. Everything we do here is revolved around helping people realize the importants of making covenants with God, not just accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior and having that be sufficient. I loved the analogy with the new Provo City Temple. People asked, "how could Heavenly Father let this beautiful building be destroyed?" But the truth is, that Heavenly Father had much better plans for that building. He cleansed and purified it from the inside out, to prepare it to become a sacred and Holy place where His Spirit could dwell. And so it is with us :) Sometimes we don`t understand the trials we go through, but when we have an eternal perspective, we can realize that Heavenly Father has much better things in store for us if we endure it well.

I hope that you are all doing well and enjoying the fall season! (I`m trying not to be a little envious... haha) I love you all!!
Until next week :)

Hermana Bennett

Feliz Conferencia General!

Monday - October 7, 2013

Hola familia and friends! Wow, another P-day. Where did the week go? I don`t even know where to start, because I forgot to keep a little post-it reminder that I usually do every week in my journal... whoops :)

So let`s start with General Conference. Wow!!! Such a great weekend of spiritual edification from our inspired leaders. I got to watch it in English in a special room just for gringos :) Hermana Peterson was my companion for the few hours that we were watching. I was really grateful for this because I really wanted to understand the words that they were saying. I don`t know if it`s because I`m here on a mission, but I learned more from this conference than ever before. I feel like I got something out of every talk! I was also grateful that we had several investigators come to a few of the sessions. We were promised that if they could come hear the prophet and apostles speak, they would have a spiritual experience. And that really is key - one of our biggest hurdles is getting people to actual come to church. They say they will... but.... yeah.... Without coming to church to really see and feel for themselves, it`s hard for them to see why it matters to them.

A big theme I found this conference was how important it is for us ALL to be sharing the gospel. Missionaries and members need to come together to spread the word. I`ve really seen this in practice here. The successes we have had have mostly been references from members! There was also a theme of warning... That the world his moving away from the Lord faster and faster, and as members of His church we have to have the courage to stand up for what is right and what we believe in. 

Pres. Uchtdorf... that talk was awesome... So incredible. "Top reasons why anyone would want to be a member of our church... Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.... Come, join with us, there is room for you here." I also really loved the talk on being meek and humble. One thing that really hit me was how when the Savior was on the cross, after everything that had been done to him, He still asked Heavenly Father to forgive them "for they know not what they do." It made me think about my situation as a missionary. We have people reject us and not want to talk to us, and it`s easy to get offended when they won`t listen - but Christ had it so much worse, and still loved them and forgave them. I`ve been praying to have this attitude. When the people don`t want to listen, laugh, lie to avoid talking to us, or even glare and give dirty looks it`s because they "know not what they do." If they really knew and understood the message we had to share and the blessing it could be in their lives, they would listen. That`s a perspective that I`ve been trying to have these past couple of days and I`ve seen it change the way I see people - I feel more love for them. When they don`t want to listen, instead of being sad because of a blow to my pride, I`m legitimately sad that they are missing out on the blessings of the gospel. 

I loved Elder Ballard`s talk on missionary work and his advice for missionaries. After we left the session we took his advice "If you want to teach more people, you have to talk to more people." We had some interesting experiences in doing so, but we also found a man walking with his daughter to teach. We found out that his wife and son are members and have an appointment with him this week :) I really could go on and on about conference! I´m excited to get the next issue of the Ensign, so I can study them all :)

Celebrating Hna T's Bday between
conference sessions at a member's house

Interesting experiences of this week: Almost got bit by a dog for the first time in my life (I could literally feel it´s hot breath and whiskers against my leg as it took a furious snap at my calf) and now I`m afraid of all dogs... haha Luckily the girl that owned it swatted it away just in time! Went to work in San Jose for the first time and got stranded there because the buses decided not to come back.... So... we walked to Las Flores. By the time we arrived we were caked in dust from head to foot! What an adventure! A scorpion crawled across my flip flop while I was washing off my feet in our pila out back... I screamed out loud! ...Got accused of trying to steal a boyfriend away because I had asked him for his number so we could share more... haha we were like "uh... well you`re always welcome at our worship services, have a nice day, bye!"

Planning session 

Fruit - Lychees :)

I hope that you are all doing well and that you all had the chance to watch conference. If not - that`s the beauty of technology now a days :) Read up!!!  I love you all and hope you have a great week :)

Hermana Bennett