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