Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Mon, Dec 23, 2013

Hola famila and friends!! Merry Christmas!!

Christmas tree and homemade ornaments from home
I really cannot believe that it is already Christmas. The fact that it is 90 degrees and blazing hot doesn't help much to add to the holiday feeling.... haha I keep forgetting it's Christmas and keep trying to make visits with people and I just get blank stares and then "uh.... no but you can come Thursday!" haha Here they celebrate Christmas on the 24th, and so today everyone is busy buzzing around with last minute preparations for tomorrow. A holiday tradition here is to make homemade tamales, which I am sure we will try as we will be working normally, contacting and teaching like every other day. I am super excited to call home and get to see your faces and hear your voices - I think that will be my favorite gift this Christmas. I feel like it's come at just the right time to give me the boost I need to keep my chin up and keep on keeping on! 
This week was much different than the last, yet still stressful in it's own way. I feel like I have a lot on my mind and sometimes I struggle keeping it straight. For example, I have lost our keys or locked them in the house 3 times in the past 2 weeks. THREE TIMES!!!!!!!! It's a little funny to think back on our adventures on trying to get inside our locked house. I'm actually quite impressed with our improvising skills. I think I will write a book when I get home - The Many Ways To Break In to Your Own Home: A guide for the scatterbrained.... 

It includes sticking your head through the bars of your windows to see better, 101 ways to utilize a curtain bar (including trying to reach the padlock around the corner, inching the keys closer when you leave them on your desk, etc), cheerleading missionaries over the back wall of your house to get in through the backdoor which you just so happened to leave unlocked, and special instructions on how approach the dueño (owner) of your apartments to come rescue you yet again. I think I will sale many copies... Oh the memories. And the battle scars. (I have a huge bruise on my right arm from trying to unlock the padlock with the curtain bar)...

But in all seriousness I really need to work on getting my head on straight! I think I just have lots and lots of things on my mind. Investigators, recent converts, mi hija and training her well, all the enfermos (sick), AND trying to find new people to teach. I know that I can do it with the Lord's help. I just need a little extra faith and little by little things are looking up :)

One of the challenges that I have found in this transfer is talking with people and finding new people to teach. As the trainee I got accustomed to already having investigators to teach and being super busy that trying to find new people wasn't something I thought about a lot. Now that I'm the trainer and the numbers of our investigators are starting to dwindle, I feel the pressure of talking to people and contacting all the more. One weakness that me and my companion have come to find that we share, is opening our mouths and talking with everyone. Talking with people I don't know has always been a weakness I've had and coming on the mission doesn't make these weaknesses magically go away. I remember that it was something that I struggled with in nursing as well, having to talk to people I don't know for 12 hours straight! Though it's a weakness that I have, and it is extremely frustrating, I continue to try and try and I'm getting better. I've prayed more in these past two weeks than ever before. Some days are better than others, but the good thing is that there is improvement. One morning when I was particularly frustrated with myself, I opened up my scriptures and read D&C 68:1-12. I've read them several times since and they bring me a lot of comfort. Also D&C 60:2-3 helps to motivate me (the hard way). As I have put forth more of an effort, I see more and more miracles every day. One day in particular one of our appointments fell through, so I said to my companion, "Alright Hermana... We're finding someone new to teach right now!" We entered the gates of a family that was painting their house and we started helping them, skirt and all. I've found that it's better to just do now and think later :) It turned out to be a really incredible experience. A family of 10 people lived in that house! Most are Catholics but admitted that they don't really practice. The family was warm and welcome and willing to listen. The grandpa kept asking us what he could do to increase his faith in Christ. One of the daughter's even came to church with us on Sunday! I feel the spirit so strong in their house and when we teach them. If we hadn't opened our mouths, we would have missed out on finding this family. It helps to motivate me to keep trying, even if it's hard. 

I almost forgot to mention the baptism of little Mirnita!!!! She got baptized Saturday with 2 others from the ward. President Klein baptized them. It was very beautiful and I was grateful to be a part of it! These niños are super special :)

 Baptism of little Mirnita!

I sure love you all :) The holidays are an incredible time of year to think about what matters most. As I have been away from home and seen the way life can be, I am more and more grateful for the life I have been given. For the family and friends that have blessed my life and continue to bless it every day. Have the Merriest of Christmases!!! Sending lots of loves (and "warm" wishes.... literally) from here in Honduras. Until next week!

Hermana Bennett

Monday, December 16, 2013

What a week....

Wow.... Where do I even begin with this week?

It was super crazy and super stressful and all of the above. Thursday morning, the very first day with my new companion (which happened to be the very first day of her mission here in Honduras), I received a phone call from a missionary who was having really bad stomach pains. From the sound of her voice she was not doing so well. I gave her my usual counsel, told her to rest, drink lots of fluids, and the works. A few hours later she called again. It was getting a lot worse and I could tell by the sound of her voice that she was NOT okay. We grabbed our bags as fast as we could, called our taxista friend, and headed to pick her up at her house to head to the emergency room. When we got to her house she was super weak, struggling to stand up straight and in a lot of pain. We went to the closest hospital to us - luckily it was a good one! This began a weekend full of lots of tests, doctors, nurses, pokes and prods as they tried to determine what was causing her pain. As the nurse, I stayed with her for the two days that she was there. First they thought it was kidney stones, then they thought it was appendicitis (although is wasn´t the typical symptoms of appendicitis), and then finally determined towards the end that it was just a really bad case of an intestinal infection. With me being in the hospital with Hermana M, my companion experienced lots of exchanges! First she went with Hermana C to San Juan, then with Hermana L to work in our area, and then back with Hermana C. Being cooped up in a hospital for 2 days with someone means getting to know them really well. I´m so grateful for the time that I was able to spend with Hermana M, I learned a lot from her example. It was a unique experience - sharing the gospel with nurses was a highlight :) There really aren´t words to describe the experience that I had with Hermana M. I´m really grateful to be the nurse of this mission. Though it´s hard to juggle the two, I wouldn´t have it any other way. I love the opportunity I have to use my skills to serve others, and I am learning soo much every opportunity that I get to do so. I´m learning just how much Heavenly Father is in control and how much he watches out for us. 

This week, more than any other week, I´ve learned just how imperfect I am. I´d have to say it´s been one of the most humbling weeks of my life. I learned that it´s okay not to be okay. That it´s okay to cry. It´s okay to get stressed and it´s okay to not have all the answers. I think it´s in my nature to try and hide how I´m feeling, but keeping things bottled up is not the answer! Because eventually it´s all going to come spilling over.... haha. I had a few personal breakdowns - one in an empty waiting room as hermana morales was getting a ct scan, another on the phone with my mission president, etc.... I learned that in the moments in which we feel the most alone, that´s when Heavenly Father is right there with us, waiting to give us a little reminder to trust Him - that everything is going to work out the way it needs to. I learned how much He blesses us through those around us. Someone to give you a hug, someone to run and get a copy of the keys that you somehow lost en route to the hospital, someone to sneak in the hospital late at night to bring you dinner because you didn´t get to eat much all day, someone who is willing to sift through garbage to try and find a miniature harddrive that you lost, someone to tell you not to worry, that you´re doing a good job. I´m grateful for my companion who is so patient! I can´t imagine how crazy this week must have been for her, considering it was her first moments of the mission. But I guess this means that from here on out we can take whatever comes our way.... haha 

Yesterday I got the opportunity to play the piano for the stake christmas chorus. They asked for my help last Sunday, and with the week I had I was unable to practice, but somehow it all worked out! I was able to play just fine for all the ward choirs and the missionaries. The primary sang as well. We had a member playing the flute with me as well with someone using the traingle as well as the twinkly bell sounding thingies (i can´t remember what they are called...). It´s amazing just how much music can fill the soul and make everything seem all better. It felt so good to play and the spirit of Christmas was strong. I´m grateful for the talents that Heavenly Father has blessed me with, especially being able to play the piano!
Things are a little rough with investigators in our area, so the next coming weeks we will be focusing our efforts on finding new people to teach. Time to get creative!
I love you all - I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season and that you have an opportunity to serve those around you. Sending lots of love from here in Honduras :)        
I can´t believe that next week is Christmas!! When did that happen?

Merry Christmas to all!!
Hermana Bennett

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Transfer #4 - Training

Wed December 11, 2013

Hola mi familia and friends!

Me and Hermana L

I cannot believe that this transfer is already over. Holy cow it flew by! I feel like it was just yesterday that me and Hermana L started working together. I learned so many things with her this transfer, one of them being the importance of obedience and diligence. Half way through the transfer we recommitted ourselves to be as obedient as possible to the study schedule and to all of the other mission norms and the difference between the first half and the second were like night and day! We saw more miracles and had more spiritual experiences. More than anything we had the spirit with us. It is so vital to have the spirit with us as missionaries. One thing I have learned about having more rules to follow is that it give us more opportunities to be obedient. More obedience = more spirit! And more spirit = more miracles. I´m glad I´ve been able to learn this lesson early on.

Wednesday morning I received a phone call saying that in less than an hour I needed to be in a meeting for future trainers. Come again? Yes.... Future trainers. I just barely finished my own in-field training and the Lord has decided to have me train one of his new missionaries! Wait, aren´t I new too? I´m deeply humbled for this opportunity. I know that I will learn a lot and that it will help me to step it up and really work hard to set a good example for my new companion. 

Hermana Aparicio and Hermana Bennett

Speaking of which, my new companion is Hermana A! She is 23 and from Peru. She was just baptized 2 years ago with all of her family minus her dad. How cool is that? I know that her testimony will be a HUGE blessing in the lives of investigators, as she was just in their place a short time ago. I know that I am going to learn a lot from her and I am really excited to see what this transfer has in store for the both of us. Training is a huge responsibility and though it gives me quite the nerves, I know that with the Lord´s help I can do it :) Hermana R is also training and she´s been out the same amount as me. I think we´ll be a good support for each other! This means that I will still be in my area for Christmas! I really love my area and the people that I have come to know. If I am going to be away from my family for Christmas, at least I can still feel like I am at "home¨ with other people that I have come to love.

This was the week of the TARANTULAS.... Eeeewwww. One night I was talking to Hermana Klein about some enfermos when all of a sudden I screamed because there was a tarantula under our study table! Then the very next day, I heard a comotion and scream coming from the back porch. Hermana L encountered a tarantula next to the pila when she went out to wash clothes.... it took a good 20 minutes before we got up the courage to kill it. Yikes! 

On friday we went out teaching with a member in our ward named S. Her dog "dolfy" is always accompanying us as well and is so full of energy! It was a little scary because that energy of his placed him right in front of a car and he got hit right in front of our eyes! Luckily after about five minutes, he was off pouncing around again with the same energy, though a little weary of cars. Hopefully the experience will teach him to be a little more careful! 

On saturday we had the baptism of our dear niño S! Everything went well and there were so many people that attended to support him. Lots of other niños were there and they gave the talks and said the prayers. It was very special. It makes me happy to see a child so full of excitement about the gospel. We will be continuing to visit him and I pray that he can keep this same excitement for the rest of his life, and bless the lives of many as a missionary himself! M, his cousin that is also 9, also wants to be baptized. In her prayer the other day she said, "please bless that I can be a missionary too someday" It was so cute :) This day was full of lots and lots of work and we got back to our house pretty whooped! Yet, we still had to study.... haha Just as we were about to finish, Hermana L was reading out loud from preach my gospel and all of a sudden her words started slurring together a little and she started replacing words with other words that weren´t correct and all of a sudden she dropped off completely. She had fallen asleep mid sentence!!!

Things are going well here in Honduras. I´m so grateful for the experiences I am having and the things that I am learning. I love you all and I hope you are all going well. Until Next Week!!

Hermana Bennett

Monday, December 2, 2013

Back to the heat....

Hello to my friends and family! I hope you are recovering from your Thanskgiving comas :) I expect that you all ate well. I enjoyed a little ice cream from the pulpería with my companion to celebrate!

I feel like I was just writing an email not too long ago... Maybe that´s cause it really wasn´t that long ago! This email will probably be shorter so all those that don´t read due to length can feel free to proceed :) haha 

The past week was cold and wet! It´s funny to say cold because it was only low 70´s upper 60´s, but the dramatic change left us shivering! I only brought one cardigan (thanks to abby and scott), which was well used. This meant that there was lots and lots of MUD. The majority of our area is dirt roads so that meant that we were trecking through mud the majority of the time. I´m surprised (and quite relieved) that I never fell. At one point we were trying to get down from what´s called the BORDO (board) in las flores and it was a slippery slide. A man riding by on a motorcycle saw our distress and came to our rescue. We had quite the laugh, and it made for a good contact! Today, the sun was out and shining. For about 5 minutes I was thinking oh how wonderful! But.... Now I´m just hot... haha

I can´t believe this is the last full week of this transfer... Holy cow this transfer flew by! This past week we´ve been finding so many new people to teach and we are making such good progress with those that we have been teaching that I really don´t want to leave! I feel like this next transfer we´ll really be seeing the fruit of our labors. Plus, I absolutely LOVE the members in this area as well and would love to spend Christmas here. But of course in the words of Doris Day, Qué será, será! Whatever will be will be. I´ll go where the Lord needs me. ... but it would be nice to stay here too :) 

Yesterday at church was so wonderful. All of the little kids that we are teaching got up and bore their testimonies! I see the light in their eyes and their excitement about the gospel is contangeous. It´s funny because they all call me Hermana Belett... haha it´s endearing. One will be getting baptized this Saturday! The other doesn´t have the same support system in her home and so we are still trying to work with her family to see what we can do. We´ve been praying really hard about her, and yesterday I read in Acts 10:47 when Peter says, How can we deny baptism to those who have received the Spirit as well as we have? I have a lot of peace in my heart about this little girl :) The light in her eyes is so bright. I know it will all work out! 

I love you all! Until next week! I´ll let you know whether I´m getting transferred or not.
Hermana Bennett

¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias! (Happy Thanksgiving Day)

Thursday - November 28th, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Honduras! I hope that you are all enjoying turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed vegetables, yams with marshmellows, homemade dinner rolls, and pie... Lots of pie! Mmmmm.... I should stop before my mouth starts watering. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving here so you better enjoy it for me! haha. My Thanksgiving meal consisted of getting a burger with some of the missionaries in my zone. I also splurged and bought some Doritos as the store (they're more expensive since they are imported). I think me and Hermana L are also going to buy an ice cream for later to celebrate. I'll try not to think of how deliciously you are all eating right about now!! 

This was quite the week! We finished out our zone conferences on Wednesday. We invited our Investigator G to come and bear her testimony for all of the missionaries and she did :) and it was beautiful. She has had some struggles to come to the point where she is at, but she is looking forward to getting baptized and I pray that all works out for her to make this step in her life! Me and Hmna L were pretty exhausted after our week of travel and no p-day. After planning one night I said the prayer to finish it up. After I said Amen.... Silence..... She had fallen asleep during the prayer!!! Haha I just sat there and waited for her to wake up and realize what she had done. It only took 30 seconds or so but it was hilarious. We got a good laugh out of it. On Friday we had to prepare for the weekend of staying in our houses due to the elections. It was just a safety precaution since sometimes there are problems with riots or uprisings. So we stalked up on our food and water supply to get us through. However... I had a blonde moment. Just as we were headed out the door to start working I decided to fill up my water bottle with the brand new 5 gallon jug we had just bought. 
It was on the counter and I was in a hurry... I think you can guess what happened next. It was all in slow motion - the jug slipped off the counter, I frantically struggled to catch it but it was too heavy, and SLAM!!! The bottom busted open and 5 gallons of water gushed out in all directions, flooding our kitchen, front room, back hallway and my bedroom... uhh... whoops? Hermana L hurried and tried to help me and we finally got the top cap on and turned it upside down to stop the water works from flowing. It was one of those moments where all we could do was laugh... laugh... and laugh... luckily the floor was tile so we just mopped it all out the front door. It took a while but our floor was quite spotless afterwards! 

Our weekend couped up in the house wasn't all that bad. I think Hmna L and I were in need of a little bit of a descansa! (rest) We had some really good study sessions, watched some church movies, made some crafts, experimented with some postres (desserts) i made rice krispies!! yum!, cleaned our apartment spotless, washed clothes in the pila, and updated our area book! (which I was sooo happy about).

On Sunday we were given one hour to go to church and then come right back. Both J and G met us at our house to walk with us which made us very happy! When we got back to the apartment afterwards, to our dismay, we realized that we had grabbed the wrong keys that belonged to the other hermanas. The words or our AP that had become an inside joke of the mission kept running through my mind, "NO PUEDEN SALIR DE LA CASA, PARA NADA!!!" (Can not get out of the house, for nothingWell... what happens if we're locked out of our casa?? Luckily we were able to call the dueño (owner) and he came to rescue us after a while. It was pretty funny. 

On Tuesday it was back to work! But it was COOOOOLLLLLDD! I never thought I would feel cold her in Honduras. It was funny though because I looked at the thermometer on my clock and it said 70 degrees.... haha But everyone was in their jackets and sweaters and beanies and hardly anyone was out on the streets. I had borrowed my umbrella to the bishop's wife and so I was left to just stick it out in the rain. It wasn't too bad actually. I quite enjoyed it to be honest! I felt like it was a little taste of home :) 

We are currently teaching a group of niños that have stolen my heart away. I love them so much! We are currently helping S get ready for his baptism in a week and then his neighbor friend, M (who also is nine years old) is listening to the lessons as well. When we turn down the street to their houses they all go running inside to get their libros de mormon, hymnbooks and all the pamphlets we have given them and they are ready to learn! They always read their assigments and then can recall what we taught them the previous time. They make me so happy. Yesterday M told us that she told her mom she can't drink coffee anymore. When her mom asked her why she told her because God says that it's bad for our bodies! Right now we are also teaching her mom, in hopes that we can help her whole family to be blessed with what she is learning. M really wants to be baptized and so we are working on helping her get a good support system so that she can continue to stay active once she is a member. I love seeing the light in their eyes. I love the innocence of kids. 

I feel so blessed to be able to be apart of this work. I get to see more and more everyday just how much this work isn't ours it's the Lord's. As imperfect of a missionary that I am, it all seems to work out. I've come to see the importance of studying and trying my best to be obedient to have the spirit. As long as I am trying my best, the Lord can work with my imperfections to fulfil his work. I can't believe that it's already almost December. This transfer has FLOWN by! I don't want to leave this area yet!!! I'm praying that I can stay here for at least one more transfer... but I know that whatever happens is according to the will of the Lord... But one more transfer would be nice? (hint hint....)

I love you all! This Thanksgiving I am so thankful for all of the support and love and prayers back home that keeps me going each day. I am so thankful for my family and friends that have kept me on the right path. I am SOO thankful for this Gospel. I know with all my heart that it is true. There is no way that I can deny it. I have come to learn that in a world where everthing is uncertain, when all around us things are constantly changing, we can rely on the one thing that is constant and will never change, and that is the knowledge that God is our Heavenly Father and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior. They live, They love us, and Their purpose is to bring us back to them in the end. How blessed we are to be apart of this work! To get back to live with our families for forever, and to bring as many people with us as we can. 

Hermana Bennett