Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Easter!

Hola familia and friends! 

Happy Easter! It´s been a great week to reflect on what our Savior did for us in his Atonement, and the miracle of His Resurrection. They don´t really do much to celebrate Easter here - in church I don´t even remember anyone mentioning anything about the resurrection which made me a little sad. Here in Honduras they celebrate the whole week, but if you´re not Catholic, it generally means a week spent at the beach (probably because it is also known as the hottest week of the year!). I overheard on the news at a pulpería that there were over 18,000 people at the beaches... woah... Here in mezapa lots of people go to the river to swim. Which meant for us a week full of empty streets and abandoned houses! It was a little crazy.... haha I felt a little bad because it was my companions first experience here in mezapa and the back up plans of our back up plans fell through and it meant for lots of days of walking around and talking with those who happened to be in their houses :) haha but in the end we were able to find people and had some neat experiences that we wouldn´t have found had otherwise so I´m happy :) Me and my companion are working really well together! She is from Nicaragua and the first member of her family to be baptized in the church. Her younger brothers followed her example, but the rest of her family aren´t members. It really is amazing the testimony of a recent convert in helping investigators to take a step back and really think and ponder about what we are sharing, instead of just writing us off in the beginning.
We had a neat experience the other day. We had tried and failed to find any of our investigators in our agenda which meant contacting. We stopped at a house and a man came out completely drunk. We talked to him a little bit but it was soon apparent that it wasn´t going to do any good trying to teach him the way he was. I was ready to move on, but then he mentioned that there was a woman in the house we could talk to. I was a little reluctant to enter but my companion said, "vamos!" so we did :) We found a woman washing clothes in the pila out back. She only had one leg, the other was amputated a year ago for diabetes. We started talking with her a little bit and she was super open and friendly. Soon she told us that she actually a member of the church, but when she moved here she didn´t think there was a church here and started attending an Evangelical church. We sat and listened to her story for quite some time and I was amazed at the faith and the hope of this woman despite all of her trials! She was super surprised when we told her that there is a church here and told us if she had known she would have never started assisting another. Hopefully we can help her to come back! She is now a leader in another church, so it might be a little hard, but we invited her to pray and ask God what she should do and she agreed. We´ll see how it goes! Things with our other investigators are going well. I really do have a lot of love in my heart for these people :) ... I love being a missionary!

Saturday there was a ton rain! It was a huge blessing (even though all my clothes were hanging on the line... haha) and the temperatures have dropped just a bit and there is a little more of a cool breeze. A little bit of a break from all this heat... :) Rain meant that the lights went out again for a while, I´m starting to get used to living by the light of a candle! haha 

I sure love you lots! I hope you are having an amazing week :) Shout out to Dakota for getting his mission call - that is so exciting!! And to the Allred's for the new addition to their family :)

Until next week!
Hermana Bennett

Hermana's in Mezapa

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It smells like fish.... Feliz Semana Santa!

Hello family! 

Can´t believe it´s already time for transfers again... This transfer flew by! It seems like each transfer goes by faster and faster. 

Goodbye to Hermana Maldonado

On Monday night when they called to tell us about transfers all of us sisters were huddled around the phone with it in on speaker waiting anxiously while Elder San Andres took his time telling us who was going and who was staying. The suspense! En fin, Hermana Maldonado and Hermana Ashcraft had transfers. I´m super happy to be staying here in Mezapa, I really do love it here! I´m now with Hermana Olivas de Nicaragua. 

Hello to new companion Hermana Olivas

It was funny, on the bus ride here she was sitting behind us and we were talking and joking and saying that we were going to be companions and would you look at that? Companions! We had a good laugh after. It seems like after having so many companions already, it´s a lot easier to adjust to a new companion. It doesn´t really matter who you´re with if you have love, patience and the same purpose :) She is a convert of 3 years - I love it!

This past week was full of lots of great experiences. On Tuesday we past the day with  a heat that I´ve NEVER experienced before in my life. It was sooooo hot. When we got back to the house for lunch and looked at the thermometer.... 122 degrees. 

122 degrees F'

Is that possible? Yikes! We´re melting here! haha but that night we had a pretty good break from the heat. We walked outside our apartment and there was sooooo much wind. It was a little eerie because in the distance we could see a wall of polvo (powder) coming towards us and then it would pass super quick in a swirly fashion (if you can picture what that would look like...) De repente (suddenly) the lights went out! It´s super dark here when there are no lights. There was a church down the street that had a concert going on and all of a sudden the music stopped and then a bunch of people went running... I personally was enjoying myself, the wind felt soooo nice. The next day it felt super chilly and when we looked at the thermometer? 102 degrees..... haha a bunch of people were repairing their roofs (since the majority are just tin slabs), and we passed a bunch of houses with big rocks that had been tossed on the roof to prevent the slabs from getting picked up with the wind. Apparently there had been a tornado! It left us without power and running water for a few days, but that´s what candles are for :)

Lately we have been finding some incredible people to teach! We are currently teaching a women, who wasn´t super religious but was receptive from day one. She is reading the Book of Mormon and when we asked her what she was learning she gaves us a complete resumen of 1 nephi:1-5 that went a little like this, "well I´m learning a lot about how much faith these people had back then. How Nephi´s dad Lehi told them they had to go back and get the plates from this man Laban which I get the impression he was pretty powerful, and how he still went even when his brothers beat him up about it. And then how another family came out with them in the desert but I can´t remember their name. If I came and told you we had to go live in that mountain because God told me to would you come with me??" we were almost speechless! Also the other day we were in Los Pinos when our citas fell through so we prayed to be led to someone that was prepared for us. Then we met a young mother whose husband is in the army. She told us that she just recently starting going to a church because she wanted to be closer to God. We taught her and then found out that her and her spouse are officially and legally wed! Hooray!!! That is sooo uncommon here. We came back another day when her husband was there and taught them both about eternal families and the spirit was so strong. Now they are both reading the Book of Mormon and preparing for baptism :) I really do love being a missionary. The happiest I am is when I´ve spent the day working as hard as I can and can come home satisfied that I´ve done my part. There really is no other joy to compare to it. 

The other day we contacted a woman and taught her about prayer. She seemed nervous and was hiding a fat lip with a rag for the first part of the lesson. In the end we asked her to say the prayer but she didn´t want to. In the end she finally agreed to say it and halfway through she broke down in tears and said one of the most sincere prayers I have heard. When she finished she opened up and let us know of the trials she was having. We were able to testify of her divine worth and gave her a Book of Mormon. She was going to move to a different pueblo the next day, but she was super excited to read it and we were able to give her number to the missionaries that are in that area. I hope they can find her!

This week in my personal study I´ve been learning about patience with Alma 32. Specifically verses 41 and 42. We always think about this chapter talking about how faith is like a seed we have to plant, but sometimes we forget what comes next. Once we plant the seed, we have to nourish it or it will die! Sometimes it´s hard to keep going when the blessings aren´t immediate or when the progress is slow, but if we can look forward to the fruit that we can have later on, if we can have patience and keep going, eventually we will be able to enjoy the fruits that come. It´s something that has been really helping me - I need to learn patience!!! And I need to be patient while I am learning patience!!! haha 

I hope that all is going well and that you enjoy this Easter weekend! This week is called Semana Santa. It´s a Catholic Holiday and the tradition is that they can´t eat meat. So everywhere you go there is fish... And it sure smells great.... haha but in the end let us always remember the amazing reality of Christ´s resurrecion and what he did for us. I´m so grateful for my Savior. Though He suffered and died for us, how wonderful it is to have the knowledge that He lives today! Let us do all we can to be close to Him and enjoy the happiness and peace He can give us. 

Love you all!
Hermana Bennett

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Hey family and friends. 

What an INCREDIBLE conference, verdad (truth)?? I don´t know if it´s because I´m on the mission or what, but I ate up every single word that was spoken and loved every single talk! Seriously I was almost in tears with how happy I was. Can I just say before I say anything else just how blessed we are to have this Gospel in our lives? While listening to each session I was filled with such a sweet joy and peace that was almost overwhelming. I can´t describe how amazing I felt, and can honestly say that I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that this church is true. That Heavenly Father lives and loves us, that Jesus Christ is our loving Savior, that Joseph Smith was chosen as a prophet of God to restore the plenitud of the gospel in our times, that Thomas S. Monson is a true and LIVING prophet and that we are blessed beyond words to be led and guided by Jesus Christ himself through his servants. I learned something from each talk and am excited to get to read them and study them again. Some of the highlights for me was Elder Holland´s talk when he mentioned that sometimes this world wants a God that pats them on the head and tells them to run along and pick marigold´s, instead of a God that actually expects them to keep His commandments (wait.. you want me to go to church???). Sister Stephens talk when she said that this gospel is not just a checklist of things to do, but lives within our hearts - it is not weight but wings! Elder Bednar´s talk when he mentioned that it is often the load that gives us the spiritual traction to get out of danger and difficulties and safely home to our Father in Heaven. Elder Uchtdorf´s talk about an attitude of gratitute - not to be grateful "for" all things, but "in" all things. The talk that mentioned the Olympic athletes and the sense of urgency we should have as our time on earth is only a mere "4 minutes" to perform and then we have a whole eternity to think about how we did, and though some may feel that 
they´ve already blown it, that their four minutes are already a disaster, that the atonement of Jesus Christ can make up for these flaws and imperfections and allow us to continue forward and "finish the race." I loved Elder Anderson´s talk when he said that the world has changed it´s laws on marriage, but God has not and will not. I loved President Monson´s invitation to go back to the basics and to LOVE one another!!!! I could go on and on and highlight what I loved from each of the talks but that would take forever and I´m sure you all don´t want to read a novel :) What and incredible and inspiring conference for us all! 

Shoutout to Natalie Dallimore - I saw her in a Mormon commercial just after the first session of conference and almost fell out of my chair I was so excited! haha also to Alicia Johnston-Wood, Audrey Roper, "Neon," and Cydnie Dial. It´s always a treat to see familiar faces in the choirs of the Conferences! Especially now, being so far from home. I remember leaving the stake center to catch our bus back for the hour ride to Mezapa with the greatest feeling of peace, I looked at all the people surrounding us on the streets, on the bus, in our little pueblo and having a desire that each of them could feel it, too. Seriously, I don´t think we often grasp how urgent it is that we can share this gospel with as many people as we can, to give them the opportunity to feel the happiness and joy that we have felt, and to have the hope that this gospel gives us. It isn´t easy, and sometimes really sad, when people decide not to listen due to their own agency :( but so it is with the life of a missionary, they come and some go, but I´m comforted to know that no work is wasted! That sometimes Heavenly Father needs us to prepare His children for when the time is right for them. Each time we share our testimony or show our example we are helping them take another step towards their own conversion, even if it´s later down the road.

This was a pretty good week! We´ve been doing a lot of contacting and finding new people, and we´ve had a lot of good experiences in the process. It seems like a lot of the families we are finding aren´t married, and Honduras just recently changed it´s marriage laws so that it is SUPER expensive to get married, so that has been one of our biggest challenges recently. But we are a people who believe in miracles, so we can´t lose the faith!

One day this week, we decided to take a different, quicker route to get to a different colony within our pueblo from a colony called Los Pinos that is the furthest away from anything. It´s a back road that runs along a palm tree forest. As we were walking along, suddenly right in front of us in the middle of the path was a giant snake! My heart jumped into my throat and I screamed... haha Hermana Maldonado jumped clear back and ran off a distance because I had scared her. It was one of those snakes that are red and black striped that I´ve only seen in the movies. The ones that are apparently super poisonous. Luckly after further observation, we realized that it was recently dead..... haha but that didn´t stop us from walking super cautiously around it practically carrying each other until we were a safe distance away. I kept imagining it suddenly jumping at us... We had a good laugh about it, but it made me remember that we truly are protected as missionaries when we are trying our best. President Klein once said that when we arrive home at night and say, "gee what a great day," that the angels are saying, "YOU thought it was a great day.... but you didn´t even notice what kind of a day WE had protecting you!" It´s so true, and I´m so grateful for it!

I sure do love you all and am grateful for your prayers and your support. Don´t forget how blessed we are!! Until next week :)

Hermana Bennett