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

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mission Tour!

Hola familia y amigos! 

This week was pretty crazy.... And mostly exhausting. But it was a good one. Me and my companion had to do lots of traveling to finish the divisions that we had left, which meant going from one end of the misson to the other! How many people can say that they got to know their ENTIRE mission... haha it was great. We had a pretty crazy experience on our way to Trujillo. Last week there was a crazy storm on the coastline and a bridge gave way. In my mission their is only one highway that passes through all cities, which meant a halt in all transportation in between ceiba and Olanchito/Trujillo. By the time we wanted to travel, everyone was saying that it was fine, we just had to get out and walk across and take another bus on the other side. ten minutes tops.... WRONG!!! We had to walk a good hour and a half and the wheel of my suitcase broke five minutes in (these roads aren't necesarily smooth....) Not to mention it was the one day the sun decided to come through... haha It was like the movies when there is a natural disaster and all the cars are piled up on each other and people walking in between them with their suitcases. Utter chaos... but it made for quite the memory. I never thought I would ever experience anything like it! Especially being in the middle of a third world country that isn't necessarily the safest, with two foreigners in their skirts and suitcases....haha  but God sent us angels to watch over us.... a man from the bus we were on walked behind us the whole time to keep us safe and to watch out for creepers. There was also another young man that offered to carry my suitcase without charging me because he could see I was struggling. I am thankful for earthly angels :) God definitely watches over his missionaries.

We had some good experiences in the divisions. I love getting to know all of the sisters. I was reunited with Hermana Despain for a day! It was super fun. We contacted all day long and found so many prepared people! It was fun to see the progress that we have had in our teaching from the MTC until now :) Talking with as many people as possible is so important. Even though we got rejected a lot, it also meant finding more people! There was one lady who was all excited about hearing a message about Christ and asked us what church we were from. We said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she said oh okay. That's not the Mormons right? And we explained that it was the same and she said.... "Oh.... we don't associate with Mormons... Kids!!! Everyone inside!!!" She gathered all her kids and even her dog and then slammed the door with us standing there awkwardly.... uh.... it turned out to be good though because a young man came out a little later as we were passing and we asked him why they didn't receive us. Then he said that he was just a neighbor but that he had some family that were members and accepted that we could stop by and teach him! And he even gave us a pastelito :) haha It was inspired. And hopefully one day she can know it's true too. Traveling was fun, but it was much better to be back working in our own area. I love this place. Sadly I have transfers so I only got to enjoy it for 2 weeks... but it was two incredible weeks and I learned so much in such a short time! Hermana Alfaro and I get along super well, also :)

I will have to let you know where I will be spending Christmas! And my last transfer of the mission.... holy cow... I don't like thinking about it. So I won't! I hope you all have a great week!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

SMILE!! It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)

December 1, 2014

Hello family and friends! 

This week was absolutely amazing. It's been another crazy week with lots of changes, but I'm starting to really be grateful for these surprise experiences.... haha So Wednesday was hard because I had to say goodbye to my companion Hermana Rioja :( But just like she always said, Heavenly Father knows why we go through these things we are going through, and it will all work out in the way He wants it to.
Saying goodbye to Hemana Rioja

Then I headed off to Porvenir with Hermana Alfaro from Costa Rica!
New Companion Hermana Alfaro

We are working Soooooo well together and I love this place! I feel like I am home again... haha it's back to dirt roads, cold bucket showers, fire ovens, and chickens, cows, horses. Mmmmm :) I think I'm in heaven.

I have had a permanent smile on my face I think. It is really beautiful too and the people so nice!! It is the ward of Hermana Juarez, the mini missionary that was with me in La Paz a little less than a year ago! It was awesome to see her again :) 

There really aren't very many words today. I am just so grateful to God... I can't explain it. Me and Hermana Alfaro got here on the same day to Honduras and we have been talking a lot and reminiscing all of the wonderful experiences we have had here and all of the things we have learned and witnessed. She gave me a talk to read called "The Challenging and Testifying Missionary" that was written in 1961, and my whole outlook on the mission changed in an instant. Holy cow that talk is incredible. I think that every single missionary and future missionary needs to read it! It changed how I worked this week and we have seen so many miracles. We are talking people like crazy, inviting people to be baptized like crazy, and seeing lots and lots of successes! There are 2 experiences that particularly stick out to me. We asked a random lady for references and she gave us the name of a young man that lived in front of her. We contacted him and invited him to church but weren't able to visit him in the days before. To our surprise he showed up with his little sister! We went to teach him that afternoon and he accepted the invitation to be baptized this month :) He is really excited about it and is excited to make changes in his life. It was a testimony to me that God really does know who He wants in His church, and there is nothing we can really do to destroy that. We just get to decide if we want to help or hinder, and we get the privilege to be apart of it. 

The other was an experience when we were contacting and having no luck.. it had been raining all week... it even got down to the 60's!!! we were FREEZING!!!!! It's weird to say it was freezing when it was in the high 60's, but we were. and everyone was bundled up and shut in their houses without opening up. So we said a prayer that we would be led to someone that needed us in that moment. Then we showed up at a house that was clear back in the distance. We debated whether we should enter the gate without permission, but then decided that they would either get mad at us and tell us to leave, or accept our visit... haha either option wasn't all that bad, so we entered so we could go right up to the door and knock. A woman came out, and it turns out that the sisters had seen her before in the house of a member. She seemed really skeptical but let us in and the spirit was super strong. We've taught her a couple of times, and the spirit is always really strong. The look on her face says, "I don't know why I let you in, and I don't know why I am listening to your message, but I just can't stop listening....." haha that is the spirit for you. I know that prayer is real and if we have faith we will see miracles. 

This passed week a humanitarian group from the states (i think it was from the church) called "smile brigade" came and helped the youth here in honduras who are getting ready to serve missions to get all of their dental work done. It was an honor and a priveledge to get to see the fruits of the service that they gave afterwards and just how grateful the people here are! The sacrament meeting yesterday was just the youth bearing their testimonies of their experience and gratitute. There was a teenage girl who had lost the majority of her teeth and always felt self conscious and never smiled at people, but they put implants in her gums and now she has a full set of teeth, something that would be impossible here because of how expensive it is, but these people have truly changed her life. She can't stop smiling, and she bore her testimony in tears saying how grateful she was to heavenly father to have her smile back. We never know just how much an act of service can truly change the lives of others. It makes me want to do humanitarian work!!! 

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!! Today is December!!! What??? I am getting so excited with all the lights, and christmas trees. Last christmas I was a little stressed out.... haha but this year I am just so happy and excited to celebrate the season! He Is The Gift is a great way we can share our excitment with others.

Love you all! 
Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

My Hero

November 24, 2014

Companion Hermana Rioja

Where to start... Wow I don't even know where to begin! Well, I'll start off at the end of the story. I am writing from the comfortable home of my mission president :) comfortable bed, warm shower, washer and dryer to clean my luggage full of clothes, fast internet to upload my pictures and a fully stocked kitchen with all the ingredients and appliances one would want to cook. I have been happy and content cooking meals for my companion with spices and vegetables and the works! I was making pasta for dinner and I thought to myself, wouldn't it be so wonderful to have some frozen cauliflower, broccoli and carrots?? Then I opened up the freezer and vuala!! There it was.... haha God must love me.  

So now I guess I should tell you how we got here. For the past few months my companion has been struggling with increasing back pain bless her heart :( Being a missionary in a third world country where you have to walk and climb mountains with all your books in your bag makes having back pain the pits! So lately I've been carrying all the things in my bag and we've been taking it slow. Tuesday we went to the doctor and got an MRI, one look at it and though I'm not the greatest at reading them, I could tell that it looked like she had a bulging disk. After getting the results from the doctor we were right :( She had degenerative disk problems with a bulging disk that was putting pressure on nerves causing pain. Buuuuuuut since she is a trooper we decided to still go to Roatán for our divisions. So we went! And then a huge storm came in!!! I keep saying that I've never been in a storm so bad, and then it just keeps getting worse and worse.... haha maybe I should just stop saying that? It was raining SOOOOO hard we were soaked to the bone in 10 seconds and our umbrellas were worthless. But it was funny and we laughed... but then we found out that because of the weather the ferry wouldn't be running... And then we stopped laughing...... haha So we were STUCK on the little island for an extra day, and my companion's pain was getting worse and worse. It was so bad that she couldn't even sleep on her bed but would sleep on the floor because it was more comfortable. When we finally got on the yacht back she sat on the floor :( When we got back we were in the apartment for most of the time. She didn't want to stay and rest so we compromised that we would rest for a little bit and then go out for a little bit. On Saturday it took a turn for the worse. We were headed to our last appointment and she just couldn't go on anymore. We had to sit down on the curb and she no longer had strength in her limbs and couldn't move her arms or her face so it was difficult to speak. It turned into an emergency situation... There really aren't words to describe the situation and everything we went through, but all I know is that Heavenly Father is a God of miracles. As we were sitting there waiting for our taxi driver to show up, Derian came out of no where and was able to help us. He listened to the Spirit (that he now has) and was inspired to be right where we needed him when we needed him. We were able to get a blessing from the elders and our taxi driver and we switched houses with the elders for a night because she couldn't climb the three flights of stairs to our apartment. In the morning we got the news, they were going to close down our area for a bit :( Hermana Rioja would be going back to Peru and I was being pulled from the area to go to different area at 2:00 that afternoon. Only 8 hours later!! It hit like a ton of bricks.... I didn't want to leave yet! What about saying goodbye to our investigators and to the members?? What about all the new people we had found?? At first I asked if there was anyway for me to stay and to have another missionary get sent here so that our area wouldn't grow cold. But after talking to President, we prayed and His will was otherwise..... gaaaahhh! But though it ripped my heart out, I had peace. This is not MY work it is HIS and He knows best. The elders there will take care of the area, our investigators, and recent converts until more sisters get sent and it will all work out the way it is supposed to. With Heavenly Father there is no such thing as surprises :) I know without a doubt that our companionship was inspired and that we were supposed to be together again. Hermana Rioja is my HERO. Like I said, there just aren't words to describe what we experienced this week... but she is the strongest person I know and an incredible missionary. She has literally given every single part of herself to this work more than anyone I know. And even when she is in excruciating pain she still finds a way to stay positive and to have a smile on her face. I have learned so much from her and am so grateful to have been her companion. I think the bond we have created in this last little while will last a lifetime :) So here we are in President's house taking it easy and recuperating until she is well enough for a flight home and then me? welp.... I'll be back in La Lima again in an area called Porvenir! It will most likely just be for the rest of this change and then I'll be off to another area. I am grateful that Heavenly Father is teaching me to be okay with change and with surprises. It's also teaching me to never take for granted the moments that I have with these people here. We never know when we will have to say goodbye :(

I'm so thankful to be a missionary and for all the things I am learning and experiencing. This has seriously been some of the most incredible months of my life and I know it is preparing me for more things to come. I'm so thankful that I got to serve in La Ceiba and for all of the people I was able to meet and to grow to love. I still love the quote from President Uchtdorf. There are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings :) 

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. I hope that this week you all enjoy Thanksgiving!! Save me a piece of pumpkin pie please.... haha Shout out to the Bushnell Family and their new addition! I can't wait to meet Baby Bushnell!!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tender Mercies

I don't have much time to write today because we are here in Trujillo (we had to wake up at 3am to travel.... ugh....) If we get back in time I'll write something a little bit more exciting!

This week we I did a lot of teaching in English! For some reason we found a lot of Methodists this week and the majority of them are English speaking, so I got to practice my english teaching skills and I got to watch the Restoration in English for once, it was weird. I felt like their voices didn't sound right.... haha I feel like a lot of the people we found this week were led to us, as well as us being led to them. One old lady said that she saw us pass and then prayed and prayed that we would come back because she felt that God had sent us to her. I remember seeing her dog and thinking it was dead so we went back to check on it and there she was on the porch :) We passed by another lady who was sitting in her front yard and we just said hi, and all of a sudden she was opening the gate and pulling out chairs and sending her granddaughter for her eyeglasses. We asked if she had spoken with missionaries before and she was like.... uh.... no... haha but later she said that she had been super lonely and praying for company and that God sent us to her and she was beaming with happiness :) I love small and tender mercies like that. We found a few inactive members who have been inactive for YEARS with their families all nonmembers which is awesome :) I also had a testimony builder of asking references from the members. We asked a member and she remembered a young man they had visited almost a year ago. When we got to the house and asked for him a lady shouted no one by that name lives here!! As we were leaving a man ran out and called us back to explain that the person we were looking for had moved. We found out that the man we were talking to was just there visiting random, but that his parents were members living in San Pedro but looking for an apartment here in Ceiba. We hurried and helped him find an apartment in OUR area so that he can live there and we can teach him with his parents :) haha I felt like we were walking around without doing as much teaching this week but that we had a lot of miracles in finding people. Then at the end of the week it turned out that we had more lessons than we've ever had before! kind of like a fish and bread experience ;) 

I've really got to go now but I love you all and I'll write moire next week! The bus is going to leave us!!! haha

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Opening an Area!

November 10, 2015

Okay... So I'm not really opening an area. But it sure feels like we are starting from square one! They officially changed the ward boundaries which took away half of our area (the more receptive half as well as the majority of our progressing investigators) and then we got a little bit of the area of the Elders. I think Heavenly Father is making sure I learn patience, charity, what it means to be a true disciple of Christ and to have more faith and trust in Him. I won't lie, it was a little rough this week. We decided that it was our responsibility to give each and every person in our area (because it's that small.... haha) the opportunity to either reject our message or accept it. In that way we can truly say that we are doing all we can and that we are doing our part. Along with that attitude also comes a realization that talking with more people means more rejection, but it also means finding those that might have fallen through the cracks otherwise. Rejection is hard, it hurts. Not because they are rejecting "us," but because they just don't understand what they could have if they just listen for five minutes! It's not like we haven't been rejected before, it's a common occurence. But, one day was particularly rough for us. I was losing my patience with the smirks and giggles, people running and hiding (one couple hurried and ran in their house and slammed the door, then opened their blinds to see if we were coming and when they saw us they hurried and shut them again after gasping loudly... haha). So we just took a few minutes to just sit and be and breath.... and then off again :) Heavenly Father has sent me little messages this week that have kept me going. Ether 12:23-29 (see below) was exactly what I needed and I felt like He was talking to me in that moment. Sometimes I think I forget just how much we can relate to the people in the Scriptures and the things they went through, too. And just like Moroni in verse 29, when I read those words, "I was comforted." Then there was a quote on the wall of another missionary's house that was from Elder Holland's talk "Missionary Work and the Atonement" that really hit me as well. I put a link to the talk and it's the last section if you wanted to read it. (see below) I've also seen a pattern in my mission. Whenever things get tough, He always sends me and opportunity to be the full-time NURSE for a moment :) I think He knows how much it helps me to get to put on my nursing hat every now and then. We got a call last night about a sister that was having some difficulties and were off to travel to San Pedro Sula today for doctor's visits and tests. I don't know why but it just makes me feel better! 
We are still working with an older gentleman named O who has been getting excited about the church. He took us to his friend's house, a younger man (well younger than him... haha) with His wife and two kids and we had an amazing lesson with them. His friend had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon and the spirit was really strong. In the end he said, "wow, this really is the key. If this book is true, than the church is true; it's ALL true!" I love it when they come to their own conclusions like that without us having to say anything. It's a testimony that it is the Spirit that does the teaching, not us. He said he wanted to read it all and that he would pray that night to see if it was true. I'm excited to see where things can go and I hope we can teach his whole family! We may have had some hard moments this week, but we've also had lots of miracles and we've found lots of people that we might not have found otherwise. That makes it all worth it :) We have a lot of work cut out for us! 
I heard that it snowed in the mountains. MMMmmmmm.... enjoy it! I miss snow sooooo much. And everyone here says that it's been their dream since childhood to see snow falling in real life! I don't think we realize how blessed we are to have 4 marked seasons. Being away from it has made me more grateful for snow :) yippee! The sun is back. yaaaayyyy..... (sarcastic tone) Sure love you all! Have a great week!
Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

 23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;
 24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.
 25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold ourweakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.
 26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying:Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;
 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theirweakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

The Atonement and the Missionary - 

Almost everything I have said here has been an aid directed toward the missionary process, ultimately toward the investigator. May I close with an extended testimony about how focusing on the Atonement helps full-time and member missionaries and mission leaders.
Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree, 17 was the chief Apostle then and is the chief Apostle now, the Great High Priest, the chief cornerstone of His Church in this last and greatest of all dispensations. I testify that He lives, that the whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.
On that first Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene first thought she saw a gardener. Well, she did—the Gardener who cultivated Eden and who endured Gethsemane. The Gardener who gave us the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the cedars of Lebanon, the tree of life.
I declare Him to be the Savior of the world, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls, the Bright and Morning Star. I know that our garments can be washed white only in the blood of that Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. I know that we are lifted up unto life because He was lifted up unto death, that He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and with His stripes we are healed. I bear witness that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief because upon Him were laid the transgressions of us all. 18
I bear witness that He came from God as a God to bind up the brokenhearted, to dry the tears from every eye, to proclaim liberty to the captive and open the prison doors to them that are bound. 19 I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sorpresa!!! (surprise)

Hey familia and friends! 

This has been a great transfers week. Guess who my companion is??? HERMANA RIOJA!!! Yes.... the same Hermana Rioja that was my companion in La Paz :) We were super surprised but I'm super excited about it. I know that transfers are inspired and that we are together again for a reason. President says we are finishing what we started, since we only 2/3 of a transfer together. Before transfers I was praying really hard for Heavenly Father to send me a companion that would help me to finish out my mission happy, excited, and working hard! This week we've been echaring fuego (on fire) and having a lot of success. It's been SUPER rainy and Hermana R had forgotten her umbrella in her last area so we were soaked to the bone all day long, but it's hard to not be happy and excited with Hermana R whether we are wet from head to toe or not.... haha But we are freezing our tails off.... It's like 75 degrees outside and we are shivering like crazy! I don't know what I am going to do when I have to walk outside in the SNOW.... uh oh... 

This week we have been focusing on gaining confidence with the members and finding new people to teach. They are going to be rearranging ward boundaries which cuts our area in half (which means half of our investigators....). So we really need to work to find new people in the other half of our area that will be staying. Plus there comes a certain point when some investigators just sadly stop progressing. That part is the hardest I think :( But we learned in a leader's counsel meeting that there are two errors that missionaries make. They aren't patient enough and stop trying too early, or they try to force progression when it just isn't their time yet. We have to remember that sometimes we are called to plant, and others to harvest. The key is recognizing when it is time to let them go for a while. 

The other day we went to visit an older member that hasn't been able to come to church due to health reasons. Her attitude really made an impact on me. When we asked her what had happened in regards to her health her immediate reply was, "fìjese, que Dios me ama" (you know what? God loves me....) She said that though she was struggling with her health it was a testimony of just how much God loves her, because it was these times that she felt most near him, and could feel his love the strongest. I hope that I can have that attitude during all my trials and struggles as well. There was also another night when we stopped by unannounced at another member's house and she was in the middle of making cupcakes so we jumped right in to helped her and just enjoyed a little bit of time getting to know her and drying off a bit after being caught in the rain for a while. Before we left we shared a message with her, and then when we finished she said, "you know, I was feeling really down a little while ago, and just look how much God loves me for sending you two to my house." I feel like it's moments like this that I really feel like I'm fulfilling my missionary duties :) It's so true. Missionary work just can't be done by just the missionaries. Members and full-time missionaries need to work together! Gaining a relationship with the members is just as important as all other aspects of the work. 

Quote of the day: "Selective Obedience brings Selective Blessings" - Jorg Kleginstat(or something like that)

I love you all! I'm getting super excited for this Holiday Season :) Really the only thing I want for Christmas is handwritten letters and pictures from home.... (hint hint) I hope that you have a fantastic week! Happy November!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Another Transfer Week!

October 27, 2014
This transfer went by really fast... Maybe because it was only four weeks.... haha but still! It was a super busy transfer, but we're hanging in there. President..... ahem.... I mean a little birdie told us early that Hermana S has transfers. Nooooo!!! But it's okay. It was fun to be with another North American for these past two transfers because we could relate really well and had a lot in common. We got along super well, saw lots of miracles, and learned a lot from each other. Our spanish skills struggled a little bit.... haha so maybe this will be a good thing. This will be her last transfer, EVER, so we thought she might stay but the Lord's ways are always higher than ours, and He knows best :) I'm excited to see who my new companion will be!

I forgot to bring my agenda (whoops) so I hope that I can remember everything that happened.... This week we have been focusing a lot on finding new investigators. Our area has been a little neglected because of the crazy stuff that happened so I almost feel like we are starting from zero, but we've been able to open our mouths more and talk to more people. We have to get creative in our area because it's so unique from every other area that I have been in or visited! We have some promising futures and contacts so we'll see how these next weeks go.

We did a lot of traveling for divisions! I got to do divisions with my old companion Hermana Rioja in Olanchito, so that was fun. She works her tail off.... We had 9 lessons in one day! We also went to Trujillo again and I worked with Hermana T. Trujillo is super bonito as always and it was fun to work with Hermana T. We have a lot in common and were able to have a really good heart to heart about what we want to get out of our missions. I told her that my biggest fear is going home from my mission the same person that I was when I got here. I feel like Heavenly Father has taught me so much and that last thing I want to do is fall back into the same routines and the same weaknesses. I feel like I have been a little exhausted mentally and physically this past transfer but we were really able to help eachother get remotivated to work hard and really thrust in the sickle. That night there was a huge storm! There area is right on the ocean and the water was super choppy and it was really windy. Right after we got back to the house it started pouring like I've never seen it pour before! (And I've seen some pretty big storms here so that is saying a lot) There was water literally POURING off of their roof in buckets and the sky was super red. There was lots and lots of lighting that was super close and it lasted for hours. It was nuts. The rest of the week has continued to be stormy and we are freezing our tails off at 75 degrees..... haha everyone is all bundled up in their sweaters. You'd think it was winter or something! It's crazy how cold I feel but it's really not that cold. I think I'm going to die when I have to be in SNOW. 

Yesterday our recent convert D blessed the sacrament! And he did so well... :) I felt like a proud parent.... haha It is a huge blessing to get to see how the gospel blesses and changes lives and to see them progress. He is a different person and much happier. 

I hope that you are enjoying your week and that October has been a great month! I can't believe it's already NOVEMBER! NOooooo!!! I'm starting to slightly freak out... haha I love you all! Please keep me updated with your lives. I would love to hear how you are all doing :) Thank you for all your love and support!

Hasta La Proxima Semana,
Hermana Bennett

The week when nothing went according to plan....

October 20, 2014

Wow..... I love being a missionary!!!! I LOVE it! I LOVVVVVEEE IT!!!! haha it's weeks like these that just make me realize how much of a blessing it is to do real missionary work and to work hard. Have you ever heard the saying you don't realize what you have until it's gone? Yeah.... I testify of the truthfulness of that statement :) This week, my 3 callings came calling... (mission nurse, sister training leader, full time missionary) and it made for quite the chaotic experience. We weren't able to work much in our area until the last couple of days because of it and the absence of working was super hard!

Since last week was super out of the normal, we were looking forward to a week that was more on the tranquila side. We had consejo de lideres (leaders council)on tuesday which meant traveling and not working either, and in our prayer at the end of the day we thanked Heavenly Father that we were going to have a normal day with some really important lessons on wednesday and were excited....... uh... NOT. Wednesday turned out to be one of the craziest days of my entire mission!!! We got to know our taxista friend, Z, really well because we were practically with him all day! He was like our personal chauffer. It's good cause he's a recent convert. We had a sister missionary that we have been working with who has had really bad knee problems who was getting ready to go home on medical release so we were running a lot of errands for her and helping her with her companion because they couldn't leave the house and it was nuts. We had to run to the store to get them food, run to the pharmacy for medicine, run to the store again to get pillows for her legs, run to the pulperia (store) to get them ice, run to the internet cafe to make copies and off to the bus station to send off documents for immigration, etc etc etc. Finally we were getting ready to go to some important lessons around 6pm annnnnnnd the power went out in our part of the city. Nooooo!!!! When the power goes out it's really dangerous and we have to go back to our houses. Me and Hermana S just sat there dumbfounded for a second and almost burst into tears right in the middle of the internet cafe. Buuuut they are things that we can't control so we just took a deep breath and went back to the sister's apartment in another colony and spent some time with them. It was probably really good to be there for the sister when she needed us, and maybe it was Heavenly Father's way of telling us that it was okay.

Thursday we went to Roatan to do divisions and it was an incredible day. We had some really great lessons and I felt the spirit so strong. We didn't have time to do two separate divisions with the two different companionships, so we were in a trio for the day. One thing I love about the companionship I was with is how much they "preach by the way" and open their mouths with everyone. Waiting in line at the grocery store, walking out of appointments, walking down the streets. They literally talk with EVERYONE they can! I feel like because they are so faithful in that aspect, God puts the people in their path because he trusts that they will talk to them. I learned a lot from being with them for a day. At one point this young teenage girl walked past us and said, what church do you guys go to? We introduced ourselves and invited her to church and got her address to visit her and all of a sudden she said, "oh how much I would love to be apart of your church!!!" and she gave Hermana Z a HUGE hug and was super excited. It kind of caught us off guard, but it was awesome :) Someone once told me that God gives the best references, we just have to trust that he'll put them in our path. 

I had a sweet experience on the bus ride home from La Paz after the leadership council. A few rows up from me there was a young father holding his baby, and he kept lifting her up to play and every time he would she would look right at me and give me the biggest smile! It was so adorable. All of a sudden I felt an overwhelming love for her and for her family and I began to pray that this little girl and her family would have the gospel in their lives and have the blessings that come with it. Then, I had the distinct thought come to my mind, "well, then do something about it!" The bus was full and there wasn't really an opportunity for us to go talk to them, but there was an elder sitting right behind them so I handed him a folleto (brochure) with our name and number for him to give to the dad. It was perfect timing because right after he gave it to them and explained it to them they reached the place where they were to get off and they were gone. It was a reminder to me that sometimes we pray and pray for something and expect Heavenly Father to do it all for us. But we need to act! He needs us to help them. We need to pray as if it all depends on the Lord, and then act as if it all depends on us and He will open the doors for everything to work out :)

I sure love you all and am so grateful for your love and support. I hope you have a great week!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Spiritual Impressions, Answered Prayers, and Baptisms!

October 13, 2014
Hola familia and friends.... 

Wow.... What a week! I look back to the last monday and it's crazy to see how much has happened. It was a little nuts that's for sure! I think that Heavenly Father is trying to teach me to be okay with last minute changes, and not having a panic attack when things don't go as planned... haha

At the beginning of the week we had plans to go to Roatan again for divisions. We would have been their from wednesday to friday. We had planned out our whole transfer just perfectly with divisions because we only have 4 weeks to do them this time. On tuesday we went to the doctor with one of our sisters who has been having knee pain and we were brainstorming with President Klein on what we could do to help her and had thought of several options, but the conclusión was to say lots of prayers and sleep on it. That night while we were planning for the next day we felt uneasy about going to Roatan. After praying about it we decided that it would be best if we didn't go even though we didn't know why. Oh how inspired that was!

Reason #1 why we shouldn't have gone to Roatan: The next morning we received a phone call saying that they were going to be pulling the other sister missionaries out of our area and putting in elders, within the next 2 days! Which meant chaos!! Okay is wasn't that bad... Just meant that the next couples of days were full of house-hunting for the elders, packing, cleaning, and moving. We also moved out of our apartment and into the apartment of the sisters which has a little bit more room so we had to pack up and deep clean. It was definitely out of the normal missionary routine.

Reason #2: On Wednesday morning the sisters from Roatan called us to ask if we had arrived yet and if everything was okay. Turns out there was a huge tropical storm and we would have been caught in it on the yacht over, or even worse possibly stuck on roatan for longer than expected!

Reason #3 (the best of them all): One of our investigators got baptized! Hooray!! D, who has been visiting with the missionaries for almost 8 months now, finally made the decisión to be baptized. It was so amazing. He'd been really scared because he was afraid of falling after getting baptized, but he has been attending church regularly (even in a white shirt and tie) and went to early morning seminary for the entire year! On wednesday night we had a super spiritual spur of the moment lesson about the atonement and how we don't need to be perfect to get baptized and how baptism is just the "first fruits of repentance" (Moroni 8:25). There was a peace in the lesson and then all of a sudden he said, "okay. call the elders. Tell them I'm getting baptized and I want my interview, NOW." And so it was! It was super late so we were afraid they weren't going to be able to come and they weren't answering their phone. Every now and then he would say, "no no mejor otro dia..." (no no better another day) and then he would shake his head and with determination say, "NO! I have to do this today!" haha so we said a prayer together that they would be able to come and that they would call us back and right before we said amen, the phone starting ringing and it was them :) Tender mercies :) So they came, had the interview, gave the green light, and on Saturday he was baptized :) He was so excited and happy. 
Afterwards he bore his testimony about just how much this góspel has changed his life. He was confirmed on Sunday and the whole ward gave their sustaining sign and he was all smiles all day. He is almost a completely different person and he has a light about him. I love seeing this góspel change lives :) That night he showed up during our meeting with our ward misión leader with two of his buddies wanting to share the góspel with them. Pilas! I can't imagine what would have happened if we had gone to roatan and missed the lesson we had on wednesday!

Super grateful for the Gift of the Spirit that we have to guide our everyday lives. It was a huge testimony to me of just how important it is to follow even the subtlest of spiritual impressions. It wasn't like the spirit was yelling at us and telling us not to go, it was actually very subtle. But how grateful we are that we listened!

Loved the Relief Society lesson we had this week about living in the world but not of the world by Joseph Fielding Smith. There was a part that REALLY stuck out to me. It was under the section, "the promised blessings to the faithful are far greater than the temporal pleasures of the world" It talks about how sometimes many members fo the church may wonder why we, who are striving to live the góspel (keep the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, pay our tithing, keep the sabbath day holy etc etc), always seem to have trials, whereas those who embrace the world's standards and disregard all morals, values and commandments, seem to prosper. I LOVED the answer... I'll copy and paste it because it's so much better with his words:

"The answer is simple thing. If sometimes, and once in while do, go to football game or baseball game or some other place of amusement, invariably will be surrounded by men and women who are puffing on cigarettes or cigars or 
dirty pipes. It gets very annoying, and get little disturbed. will turn to Sister Smith, and will say something to her, and 
she will say, “Well, now, you know what you have taught me. You are in their‍ world. This is their world.” And that sort of brings me back to my senses. Yes, we are in their world, but we do not have to be of it. So, as this is their world we are living in, they prosper, but, my good brethren and sisters, their world is coming to its end.…The day will come when we will not have this‍ world. It will be changed. We will get better worldWe will get one that is righteous, because when Christ comes, he will cleanse the earth."

I love that! My companion showed me a scripture this morning in D&C88:25-26 that says the same this. This temporal world is going to die, God is going to cleanse it, and the righteous will inherit a better, eternal world instead :) It's a good reminder to keep an eternal perspective!

I love you all! Somebody please see, "Meet the Mormons" for me. I'm dying to see it... I hope you all have a great week and are enjoying the changing colors of fall!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennnett