Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Surgeries, Arriving Missionaries, and Pijamadas! (sleepovers)!

August 25, 2014
Wow... I feel like I have had a month's worth of experiences in just this one week! I don`t even know where to start. I`ll try not to have this be a novel.... haha 

Monday night - Got to visit while we were staying in La Paz :) Their daughter-in-law and two grandkids also got baptized just a few weeks ago! Their wedding plans are coming along and they are doing absolutely wonderful :)

Tuesday - Got to go to the airport to to pick up the newly arriving missionaries! It was so fun :) It brought back a lot of memories from just a short year ago when that was me! We had quite a long day with trainings and presentations (and we ate ALOT.... wendy's for breakfast, baleadas for a snack, pizza for lunch, and then a big dinner provided for all of us by a member... holy cow my stomach was not happy with me!) 

C came to the church house and I got to visit with her for a while :) That night Hermana T and her companion Hermana B were here and she had a giant blister thing on her leg! After consulting with all the doctors they decided it would be best if we drained it sterily and then kept it wrapped and compressed. My first surgery performed in the mission.... haha we recorded it and ate Cool Ranch Doritos that we found in the pharmacy to distract from the pain. It reminded me of when Uncle David used Jelly Bellies to distract me from the pain after burning my leg when I was five and mom had to do dressing changes... haha 

Wednesday - the crazy day of transfers and traveling! That night we had a noche de hogar (home evening) with some recent converts and had to run to the pulperia real quick to get some ham. There we found a man who had just recently came back from being in the states and it turns out that he had attended the church there a ton with his brother who was a member that had recently passed away. He was super excited to talk to us and excited to go to church!

Friday - Went to visit a less-active member who has been inactive for almost 15 years after being super active previously. We had quite a powerful lesson with her, which mainly consisted of her talking and venting and coming to her own conclusions of what was right and what she needed to do. Sometimes as missionaries that's what we need to do, LISTEN! Upon leaving she was super hopeful and determined to come back no matter how hard it would be. She even came to the Ward activity we had that night! It was a Culture Night! We had lots of acts by the ward members and then typical honduras food (baleadas, catrachitas, pastelitos/empanadas, and horchata) and then at the end we gave a tour of the churchhouse and the different church organizations. It was awesome because it started POURING raining right after we finished. Perfect timing :)

Sunday - one of the sisters has to go home for knee problems so we got permission from president to throw her a surprise slumber party to help lift her spirits! It was probably the most awesome slumber party.... (maybe because I haven't had one for so long) it was fun because her companion hid the keys to their apartment in a cereal box in the garbage so we could get in. The other companionship's in the area came to help decorate her house and we waited in the dark with candles until she came home to surprise her :) We had borrowed a projector and watched Tangled, ate popcorn, did face masks and just enjoyed ourselves. I really love my calling :)

Okay sorry for the novel... haha I`m really loving it here in Ceiba and am loving being a missionary! I hope you are all well!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Transfers week!

August 18, 2014
Hey family! 

Another transfers week. I´m writing from my hometown of La Paz! Wow.... we´ve been traveling traveling traveling, but it just makes for a change in the routine. Today me and hermana sherman got to get up bright and early to catch a bus at 4:30am to get to SPS in time to pick up a new Hermana from the airport! She came a day earlier, because most will be coming tomorrow. She is our first missionary from puerto rico! So here we are spending some time in my first area :) I´m super content. As we were walking to the internet cafe I saw a familiar face... C!! When we saw each other we both came running to give each other a hug, both with tears. Oh it just made my whole day! I wasn´t sure I would ever get to see her in person again. She is baptized, going to church, going strong, and told me that she has already started preparing to go on a mission :) This truly is what makes missionary work so worth it :)

It´s been a busy week. On tuesday, we did the whole 4:30am bus thing to come to a leadership council meeting in la paz and then took a detour to a different area to visit one of the sisters who was having some struggles with her health. We got to travel there with some of the other sister training leaders, including my "mother" hermana baltazar! We´ve been in separate parts of the mission ever since my first transfer with her so it was great to be able to rub shoulders with her again. After visiting with the sister we went to catch the bus back to ceiba. It was already pretty late, and the bus station was closed so we bought a bag of lychees, sat on the curb and waited 30 minutes for the next bus to pass by. I´m getting a lot of these sit there and reflect moments... haha I love just looking around and soaking it all in. Here we are in the middle of tropical nowhere, thousands of miles from family, in a culture completely different from our own, and yet somehow this place has become our home. 

We did divisions twice this week with the areas closest to us. I worked with Hermana T and then Hermana O. I really love getting to know the other sisters, their areas and their investigators. With Hermana T - I felt like we hiked all day long - her area is FULL of big huge hills in the back country! But I felt right at home :) With Hermana O her area is very residential with huge mansions so it´s a little tougher crowd. We spent the majority of time contacting to get references and find new people. It was a lot of fun! We ended up contacting a lot of the guards that work at the houses and got references for other missionaries in other areas. I used to be so afraid of contacting but now I really enjoy it. Yes, sometimes it makes for some awkward and uncomfortable moments, but that´s why we have companions! We saw a man trying to start his motorcycle and went to talk to him and after a while he said, "let me guess, you are from Utah??" Turns out he was a member.... 2nd counselor in a bishopric, actually. Super funny... haha but he gave us lots of references. We also found this lady that was working on her stove outside and sang her a hymn. Then we found out that she had met with missionaries like 15 years previously and had learned all about the book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She seemed super interested in learning more. I love meeting people like that! Missionaries who planted seeds years and years ago and then coming along later to harvest them. It´s a testimony to me that no work we do is wasted. It all counts!!

This week was a little tough in our own area because EVERYTHING was falling through and we were hardly getting into any houses. We walked and walked and contacted, but the people weren´t interested or were hiding. But sometimes that is just how it is with missionary work. We were okay though, we still tried to keep our spirits up! On saturday it was a little difficult because we were a little tired from doing divisions and my spanglish started popping out.... haha we walked to this house and I asked the guy that came out, "is your mom home?" Then Hermana S turned to me and said, "wait, does he speak english??" hahaha I didn´t even realize that I was speaking in english! Every now and then an english word will come out without me even realizing it!

The church is true! Love this work, love this gospel. We really are so blessed to have the priesthood! I hope you have a great week!!!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Friday, August 15, 2014

Preaching in Paradise!

Hello Family and friends! 

This has been an incredible week here in La Ceiba. I`m loving it here. I feel like I`ve already been here for forever. It`s funny how that works sometimes. I feel like every time I have gone to a new area things just click. I know that this where the Lord needs me to be! 

Me and Hermana Sherman are having a lot of fun, and working really well together :) It`s kind of refreshing to be able to talk in English sometimes... haha I feel like we`ve already been companions for a while, too!

This week we have been working hard. We did a lot of contacting and have found a lot of new people to teach. Had lots of miracles in the process! Among which was finding a young man who happened to be locked out of his house when we passed by so there was no escaping... haha after talking for a few minutes he asked us what baptism was and we had an awesome lesson! Also found a young college student who had just recently changed her life around and found God, which was a huge testimony of how the atonement really can change lives I was also able to get to know the people that they were already teaching and they are sooooo great :) I even taught my first lesson in english! haha We contacted a lady and she was talking on the phone in this weird language... after a while we finally realized it was english! She is from Roaton where the natives mostly speak english with a HEAVY islander accent. It was surprisingly super difficult, but the spirit was really strong :) It was nice because we had to stick to the basics and really think about what we were saying. Hermana Sherman had a copy of Come Unto Jesus in her himnario and it was perfect! It talked about coming unto jesus in every nation, land and isle of the sea :)

Friday we got to go to Roaton! It was SOOOO beautiful! I did divisions with Hermana Harrison, and her area runs right along the ocean. It was so cool and peaceful. It was awesome to teach the people there. We taught in one house that reminded of the princess and the frog, the hut where the old lady witch lives. I felt like I was in bayou in the deep south with all the houses on the ocean, the green lush, and all the people speaking an unrecognizable english :) but we had some incredible lessons and felt the spirit lots.
We were locked out of the house when we got back waiting for the other sisters, so we broke out the pretzels, sat on the porch and and just watched the ocean. Everytime I have a moment to just sit and ponder like that I just remember how
incredibly blessed I am to be here.... Meeting people from all  walks of life and getting to hear their individual and unique stories. It reminds me that God knows each one of us personally and knows us perfectly. How awesome :) The yacht ride was fun! It wasn`t too choppy so we didn`t get sick :)

Funny story -  we were contacting because all our citas fell through and we were having no luck. So we prayed and then the next thing we saw was a woman pass by with her umbrella and we were like, "oh yeah, she`s the one!" so we went to hurry and talk with her and were practically chasing after her and when we finally caught up and started talking, she wouldn`t slow down her walking and we were trying to start up a conversation and she crossed the street so we followed her and then she went to enter a school and we were like, "what`s your naaamme??" but.... she entered the school and disappeared... fail... haha it`s was SOOOOOO awkward but we had a really good laugh about it. So it is with missionary work. Lots of awkward moments that you laugh about later... but hey at least we tried!

This week we did a service project with my zone, we painted a school yard and helped clean up their garden area.

Love you all! Hope you have a great week!

Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett

Monday, August 4, 2014

One year = Change change change!!!

Wow... I don`t know even where to start with this email. Today I am writing you from Las Colinas in La Ceiba (it`s about 4 hours from San Pedro Sula)! When President hinted to me that I might be getting transferred I wasn´t expecting it to be so soon, but... Lo and behold, here I am. I got the call on Thursday night saying that I would be leaving on Monday. So soon! I was a little sad, okay a lot sad. I have fallen in love with Mezapa! And I have had such an incredible time with Hermana Olivas. But so it is with the mission and so it is with life... I just keep thinking of Elder Uchtdorf`s talk from last conference about how we are eternal beings and that endings just aren`t apart of our nature. But that there never really are true endings, just little interruptions, and everlasting beginnings. He also threw in another little twist... Not only would I be transferred to La Ceiba, but I would be serving as una Lider Entrenadora (Sister Training Leader) with Hermana Sherman! Definitely wasn`t expecting that! I`m super excited to see all the wonderful things that I will be able to learn from this new calling. It will be interesting to juggle full time missionary, nurse, AND sister training leader - but hey, with God all things are possible :) This new change means that Hermana Olivas will also be helping me out with nursing things, taking some of the more routine calls like fever, diarrhea, stomach ache, etc. This means I`ll still get to talk with her and keep in touch every now and then. I`m excited because this means I get to do divisions with the other sisters! 

This friday we get to go to Roatòn :) Yippee! This place is a whole different world from mezapa. Paved roads... what? Where are the horses and cows? Where are all the churches on every corner??? haha it`s almost like a mini culture shock... I also never thought I would EVER have a gringa companion! I`ve just gotten so used to have my companion save me if I ever don`t understand. Today at the grocery store the lady was asking us something about our change and we both were struggling to understand and finally we said, "no no gracias". She looked at us funny, but gave us our change. Then later we figured out that she had asked us if we wanted to donate the little cents to some charity fund and we were like, "NO!" How terrible... haha but when we finally figured it out we were like "oh of course!! yes yes!" This is going to mean that I have to focus a lot more during language study... haha 
Boy did it tug at the heart strings to say goodbye to Mezapa. I definitely have left a little piece of my heart there. This week was packed full of lots of experiences. One day we went to visit hermana I and to our absolute dismay he was drunk :( 7 months without even a drop of alcohol and a week before his baptism he gave in to temptation. It just goes to show how much Satan doesn`t want us to make these covenants. We were able to go back with him a couple of days later when he was sober and he was soooo devastated, but without us even saying anything he recognized that him putting off his baptism for so long, and making excuses not to go to church had left time for Satan to grab a hold of him and make him fall. He was determined to change and we had an incredible lesson with him on repentance and the importance of baptism. We compared it to a man riding a motorcycle without a helmet. 50 times he could ride it without a problema but the ONE time he makes a small error and crashes it could mean the end of his life. Baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost is like our way of putting on our spiritual protection. Our helmet that keeps us safe from the adversary. The elders were able to give him a blessing and he is determined to get baptized this Saturday and never look back! I`m hoping and praying that he will be able to hold out strong and follow through! M and his daughters are doing wonderfully :) Every lesson with them is just so fun and spiritual. His daughters are preparing for baptism the 23rd of August and C is even going to give a small talk in the Primary Program next week. It was sooo hard to say goodbye, but I`m so grateful for modern technology and that we will still be able to have contact through phone, social networks, etc. It seems like this last week we found a bunch of new people that seem super promising. I`m excited to hear from Hermana Olivas to see how things go with them.
Funny story - we were teaching our neighbors that had just moved in and we were right in the middle of teaching and testifying and the spirit was strong when all of a sudden, WHAM!! The plastic chair underneath me collapsed and I fell backwards right on my back..... We sat there for a few seconds trying to figure out what had just happened and then all burst out laughing. My pride was slightly wounded, but it was a nice way to break the ice....
Well sorry for the novel, I hope that everyone is having a great week! I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am for this past year and all of the experiences I have had and all of the lessons I have learned. I can definitely say that I look at the world through different eyes. I keep thinking back at all the times that I resisted the feeling of needing to go on a mission (I will be honest, for the longest time I did NOT want to go), but am so happy that Heavenly Father loves me enough to have been patiently persistent :) To have nudged me just enough to soften my heart and open it up to accept His will for me. I can`t imagine missing out on this incredible blessing, all the people I have met, miracles I have seen and lessons I have learned. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the Lord`s work. Time sure does fly!
Until Next Week,
Hermana Bennett