Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Go to the Pink House"

Hola Familia and Friends!

I hope that this week has been a good one for you. Since when did July go by so fast?? This week was actually super good here in Mezapa. Unfortunately a lot of our investigators have been slowly starting to stop progressing, and a few have started hiding from us, but so it is with the work of salvation. We just can´t bring people kicking and screaming to the Celestial Kingdom… as much as we want to! But when these things happen it just means that we´ve planted our seeds, we´ve done all we can and it´s time to find others that have been prepared. When appointments fall through it just gives us an opportunity to really let the spirit guide. These week we´ve had a lot of those moments. We found a family that just barely moved in to the house just down the street from us, and the father was wearing a “calle” shirt, totally had flash backs to Team Gear! Haha He let us in and we found out that he just recently started attending a church, but he said that he wasn´t sure just where God needed him and that he just wants to follow his will whether it was in the church he was in or in ours. The spirit was super strong! But…. then his pastor drove by in his super nice decked out suburban (diezmos??) and I could tell he was a little uncomfortable after. It´s moments like that when I just repeat in my head, “power, authority, and truth… power, authority and truth!!”

M and his family are doing awesome. He went out to visit with the elders the other day and is super solid. On Saturday his family came to the soccer activity we have every week and we had a lot of fun. I felt like I was with family. I will always be so grateful for missionary work and for the people that we get to serve, and grow to love!! We´ve been teaching the whole family now, and three of his daughters are preparing for baptism mid-august!! Unfortunately I probably won´t be here which just about rips my heart out (president hinted to me in interviews that I probably will be getting transferred… AND it might even be before actual transfers…. I started to cry… haha Mezapa has stolen my heart!! But like I always say “que sera, sera” Where ever the Lord needs me I will go!)

Had a really neat experience the other day. We were walking to an appointment after several others had fallen through and I had the distinct impression come to me, “go to the pink house.” It was SO clear, that we turned down a back road and headed to the pink house that had come to my mind and there we found a woman sitting alone on her porch and were able to introduce ourselves and she let us in. Her name is E. We started teaching her and found out that her greatest desire was to have her family reunited again, that she had a son in the USA that she hasn´t seen for over 20 years. We were able to teach her about eternal families and promised her that if she accepted this gospel with faith, she would see her family together again. The spirit was SO STRONG! I know without a doubt that we were needed in that house and that exact moment. She was all ears and I know she felt it, too. I´m excited to go back and teach her again!

I was reading a talk by Elder Ballard from this last conference and I thought I would just repeat what he said. He challenged all members of the church to have Preach My Gospel, to study it and put it into practice. It´s manual for missionaries, which means all of us, right??! He also challenged us to invite at least one person every quarter of the year (which means 4  times a year) to meet with the missionaries. I know that this is not just a suggestion from an apostol, but from Heavenly Father himself! And if he asked us to do it, that means we can J My challenge is to pray to know who you can invite, and trust that He will lead us to the one. It´s okay if they don´t accept right away, this work isn´t ours, it´s the Lords. All he requires is that we do our part. Try it! Get blessed!!!
Sure love you all. Next week I complete a year….. uhhhhh…..
Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Happy P-day!

Monday July 21, 2014
Hola family! 

Hope that all is well and that you had a great week. Things have been good here in Honduras. Very hot.... need I say more?

Things have been okay with our investigators, though we are in the process of finding more. There comes a point when we have to decide if an investigator is going to progress or no, and sometimes we have to be realistic and, in the words of Manuel, "let the Lord do His work in His time". It has a way of ripping your heart out, when you just want them to understand just how many blessing they could have! But just like Elder Holland has said, Salvation isn´t an easy process. It wasn´t easy for Him, so it won´t be easy for us either. Manuel is super pilas by the way! Yesterday he recieved the priesthood and is preparing to go to the temple in a few weeks to do baptisms. He is so excited about the church, and his next goal is to be able to baptize some of his children. We are starting to teach them specifically and help them to prepare. 

I was studying a chapter in Corinthians this week and something really stuck out to me. It was talking about how as members of the church, people look to us as examples, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing.... It was talking about when those that are weak follow after the bad example of one that is suppost to be strong (so and so watched this movie and is the president of young womens so it´s not that bad right??), it is like we are sinning against Christ, because He died for them! It warned against being a stumblingblock for our neighbors. Sometimes we don´t realize just how much of an influence we can have on another person, and we never know who is watching! But the main thing that stuck out to me was when it said, "for whom Christ died." This week I feel like I have been looking at those around me in a new light. Christ died for each and every person personally, no matter who they are! It´s helps to put the worth of souls into perspective. 

The other day we found a woman while we were trying to find the house of a reference. She is a member of a very prominent church here in Mezapa, but we found out that lately she hasn´t been able to attend because of some family issues. But we sat with her and taught her about the restoration and the spirit was very strong! We asked if she had been baptized in her church and she said no. Which honestly is a huge miracle, one of the biggest challenges we have is that the majority of people have been baptized in their congregations, and have been taught that one can only be baptized once or else they are sinning (so let´s just say it makes it much easier when they haven´t). We challenged her for baptism and she said that she would prepare and was pretty excited about it. She said that she would read and pray, and it was actually sincere :) Then when she was giving us water at the end of the lesson we entered her house and saw a picture of her and her husband at their wedding... Double miracle!!! They are married!!! I have high hopes for this family :) Prayers would be wonderful. We found another family that live close to us. They have a huge yard with lots of fruit trees. 

Nances - Picture from internet courtesy of:

On the way home one night we found a bunch of little fruit called nances that had recently fallen from the tree onto the street and were collecting them to wash them and eat them. The mom came out and offered to give us a bag full of them :) then we started talking and found out she is a nurse like me! The next day we came back and taught her and she was super interested and had lots of questions. She is also a member of another very prominent church (and lives right in front of it and has culto in her house sometimes), but the Lord has His way of preparing His children. She invited us to stay for lunch and we were able to meet the whole family and gain their confidence. She also gave us some cacao and it is nothing like what I imagined it would be!


I thought that since it was used to make chocolate it would be brown... haha but it is a green fruit with slimy white seeds that you suck on and then spit out. It is super tart, and reminds me of the taste of a raspberry. Inside the white seed it is super dark purple, but once it is in the air for a while it turns dark brown. Interesting... I feel like I´m finding new fruit everyday!!!! haha

Sure do love you all! So grateful to be a member of the true church of Christ... How often do we take that for granted? I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here. There really aren´t words. Thanks for all your love and support.

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Lost without my Agenda!!!

Monday July 14, 2014
Hola family and friends! 

This was a great weekend. Manuel got baptized!

It was a happy day for all of us. I feel super grateful that I got to be a part of his conversion. He was one of those golden, prepared people and I know that he will be a great member and future leader of the church here in Mezapa. We are starting to teach his daughters and the goal is that he will be able to have the priesthood soon and get to baptize them :) How awesome is that? Yesterday we were at his house and he told us just how grateful he was to have finally found the true church of God. He says that after being baptized he feels much more secure in his relationship with God and His understanding of the gospel :)

It has been RAINING!!! raining lots and lots. And then when it finishes the sun comes out and the whole world just steams.... haha there has also been huge lightning storms. The other night it was right above our heads and we went outside to watch (the power went out so it was pitch black and than huge flashes of light and thunder). Haven´t ever experienced lightning like that before. 

Cool story.  We have been teaching a mom and daughter that are Catholics.  The mom loves to listen but I'm not so sure she's interested.  But her eleven year old daughter read the book of Mormon and then prayed about it.  When we asked her about her experience she said that she had a dream that she was walking down a path and that all of a sudden a man dressed all in white appeared to her and though it scared her at first he told her that the book of Mormon was true. When she woke up she said that now she knows it's true! It's an experience that she'll always be able to remember.  I've found on my mission just how pure and innocent the faith is of the young.  No wonder we're told to become like little children!!

This week has been a little rough since we have´t had our missionary agendas! Oh no! We haven´t gotten our new ones for this transfer and we feel like chickens with our heads cut off. This work is a work of order and if we can´t plan very well things just feel off. We did our best with what we had... haha it´s crazy just how much one becomes accustomed to planning out every hour of every day and how lost one feels when unable to do so in the same way. I'm going to have to get myself one of this return missionary planners when i get home... haha

sure love you al and hope you have a great week!

Until next week
Hermana Bennett

Baptisms, Iguanas, Dead Cows, and Getting Eaten Alive - Welcome to Honduras!

July 9, 2014
Hola family and friends! 

Writing to you from the wonderful land of............ Mezapa! Still here :) Me and hermana olivas didn´t have transfers and are super happy and excited about it. This will be three transfers together, which is actually a long time to be with the same companion. It´s a good thing we get along so well! I think that being together so long has helped us to be able to really open up and be honest with how we are feeling and our hopes and desires for the work here in Mezapa. We are learning a lot from each other and helping eachother overcome weaknesses and be a little bit better each day. I feel like I´m learning what it means to really enjoy the mission! Were are a like in so many ways. She has become one of my closest friends here in the mission and I am very grateful for her :)

We had a baptism on Saturday! Yefri (Jeffrey with catrachan spelling), the son of G, got baptized and confirmed on Sunday. It was a wonderful experience. 

I love this family with all my heart and am so grateful that the Lord led us to them. He was so happy afterwards and told his mom that she needed to go and get him a white shirt and tie to wear to church on Sundays! Now starts his preparation to receive the preisthood next year and he is already talking about when he serves a mission :) His little sister is 4 years old and every time we come she gets super excited and wants to say the prayer and even has the first verse of "we are all enlisted" memorized and sings it over and over again. I know that little by little their dad will see how much the Gospel is blessing them and will choose to join the family in their spiritual progression. We´ve also been teaching a 16 year old joven named JE that was also supposed to get baptized on Sunday morning. He has been coming to church every week and all of the activities that we have and is super excited about the gospel. We´ve been teaching him for about 3 months now, and the other day we went with him and he said, "hermanas I think I´m ready to be baptized!" It took us a little off guard because he had been going back and forth about it, but we prayed about it to see if he really was ready and when I opened my scriptures the first thing I read was "and thus they were prepared..." haha and I just felt a lot of peace. He has been so excited to be able to receive the Spirit and go to the temple. We just had a little set back in the fact that for someone younger than 18 we need a parent´s signature, and unfortunately we haven´t been able to get one. The dad feels that it is too early and that he needs more time to prepare for a baptism. He was super bummed, but didn´t lose faith. We know that miracles exist and that very soon he will be able to get baptized. Just need lots of prayers, patience, and faith! M had some conflicts with his work but is preparing for this Saturday. He is completely firm in his decision and says that he knows that this is the true church of God!

I ate an iguana this week. They live in the palm trees so they knock them out of the trees, kill them and eat them. .. Yum!

Happy fourth of july! I celebrated in a very unexpected way when we were walking towards a members house and ran into the other sisters that were going to the same members house to teach a lesson so we decided to do it together. They live right next to where they butcher cows and we just so happened to walk by right as they were butchering a cow.... Blehck!!!! It was graphic. The poor thing, the look on his face was so sad. Almost like he was looking at all the men surrounding him and thinking, "ouch that hurts... why are you doing that to me???"  I´ve always eaten cows but never watched one die. Then they skinned it and chopped it up and threw it over there shoulders and tossed it into the back of an old pickup truck. Yummy! Can anyone say Sopa de Mondongo?? (please no...)

Funny story. We were teaching one of our investigators who has felt like he hasn´t been able to receive an answer to his prayers about the Book of Mormon and he told us, "I even slept with the book of mormon on my face to see if I could have a dream or something but... nothing!" We all had a laugh about it and then were able to explain how we receive answers to our prayers and also about praying with real intent, not just out of curiousity but with a real and true desire to know if it is true or not. I really have a firm testimony of Moroni´s promise, but there are key words in the scripture. We must to pray with real intent, being willing to act on the answer that God gives us, in order to recieve and answer. Today in the transfers meeting a recent convert bore her testimony of how she came to know that it was true. She said she was on her knees for 2 hours, pleading with God to give her an answer, with tears running down her face the whole time. She refused to stop until she received her answer. It almost reminded me of Enos - then when God answered her in a very real way she kept on praying in gratitude. She said when she opened her eyes the world looked different. More bright, more hopeful. She was able to say that she KNOWS this is the true church of God because it was Him that revealed it to here. Such a powerful experience! 

I know that this church is the only true church on the face of this earth, with living prophets and continued revelation. I know it now more than ever before! I am so grateful that I get to be apart of this work!

Hope that you all enjoyed the independence day festivities and that you continue to enjoy the summer! Shout out to Bart and his engagement, as well as Dakota with his farewell coming up!! So exciting, I couldn´t be more happier :) I love you all and think of you often (in a good way!)

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

PS - don´t let the bed bugs bite has taken on a whole new meaning to me. They actually exist! And they actually bite! This week we had a big problem and me and my companion were dying.... (sometimes if we sit on a couch that has them, we can bring them home in our clothes) We´ve had to leave our mattresses out in the sun and put our clothes in dark bags out in the sun to kill them all as well as our suitcases. That´s one thing I WON´T miss... haha I counted the other day out of curiosity and I had 55 bites... no joke

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mezapa my love!

Hola friends and family. 

Another week here in Honduras. Did I mention it is the last week of this transfer? Nuts. It has been a pretty good week. Lots of challenges but one becomes accustomed to those here in the mission. We found a bat in our back porch one morning. At first we didn`t know what it was... it had the tail of a rat, the body of a frog, and the face of a dog... what?? And when we were half asleep bright and early we were so confused! but then it spread it`s wings and we were like okay it`s a bat! then we helped it find a tree so it could sleep... haha 

The beginning of this week was great because on Monday night I got to spend the night in my first area! Me and hermana S went to visit the R family. I think it was at just the right time because they were having a little bit of struggles, but we were able to help give them some animo (encourage) and it was just so wonderful to see them again! I feel like when I leave this place, I will leave lots of little pieces of my heart with theses people :) Then the next morning we got to go to a meeting with Elder Ochoa of the Seventy and he taught us a lot about our purposes as missionaries to baptize. It`s the greatest act of love we can show to our brothers and sisters, helping them to make their first covenant with God so they can go back and live with him someday! It was a good reminder. When I came out I kept thinking that I didn`t want it to be about how many people I would help to be baptized. I didn`t want it to be about numbers, but it´s also important to realize that the ONLY way these people can be saved is by receiving a baptism by the authority of God. That`s why it`s our purpose to Preach the Gospel and Baptize!!! That day I went with Hermana S to get her MRI and they let me be in the room with her while she was getting the MRI.... yeah.... definitely NOT in the USA!! But it was fun to sit there and talk while she was getting the MRI, though I may have gotten an extra dose of radiation.... haha

Sad day, our super awesome investigator JG told us that he can`t visit with us anymore because his dad forbid it. SO SAD! But everyone has their agency... It just amazes me sometimes that when their kids are out at parties, or who knows what they don`t say a thing, but the second they start to visit with missionaries they throw a fit and forbid them from meeting with us... Shouldn`t it be the opposite? But at least we were able to plant the seeds and hopefully one day soon he will be able to have the gospel again in his life.

We had a miracle. On Sunday the church attendance went up by 30 people!! (and in a branch where only 60-70 people come, that`s A LOT). I was so happy and content :) We`re really working hard to help this branch grow. I was reading in Our Heritage the other day about how when the church first started there were only few people, but people with great faith. It reminded me a lot of this branch. I´m super grateful for the opportunity I get to have to serve in an area that is brand new to the gospel and getting to see the faith of the members here to come to church each week in a house that doesn`t have air conditioning when it is 110 degrees outside yet all still happy and content and working hard in this work of salvation!

Last week mom asked me what I miss about America.... So I thought of a few things and mainly I miss CARPET (there are absolutely no houses with carpet here!), Ovens (how I would love to cook with an oven), snow (because I`m sweating), a washing machine, my hair, feeling clean, not being called fat, drinking water or cooking with water straight from the tap, a blender, my car, and pretty much that`s what I could think of. Things I will miss about Honduras when I leave: homemade TORITILLAS!!! (of flour and corn), being squished on a bus with a million other people, having people sell things on the buses (like fruit and water and belts and wallets, and antibiotics and candy... haha), being able to buy a banana from someone selling them in the street by hanging out the window of the bus when it is stopped to exchange money and product (it`s actually quite comical), all the fruit, palm trees, GREEN lushness, super friendly people, pulperias, pilas, bucket showers, platenos and green bananas, and much much more... I sure will miss this place! There´s just nothing like it. 

Sure love you all! I´ll let you know next week if I`m staying or going... sure hope I`m staying with hermana O one more transfer. We really work well together and I just love this place with all my heart. But Que serà, serà! whatever will be will be! 

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Picture: the water line is always broken, but today it gave us a pretty site :)