Monday, March 10, 2014

Finding the Balance

The weather here in Chosica is one of the biggest blessings in my mission life right now! it is cool, sometimes rainy (with a chance of mudslides but i'm assuming someone will alert us if that's a problem) and less humid than in Lima. This week we had to go to the main city to go to the doctor (my companion got a stomach parasite, and ulcers, and something called gastritis. The Peruvian response to all the northamericans getting sick: "Well, you guys have stomachs that can only handle baby food" ha) and the weather in Lima is disgustingly hot and humid and i am here just livin it up in the rain.
As far as missionary work goes... it's been a slow week for me. But somehow, time is going by very quickly, and i finally had this panic of, "oh no i am going to be home soon and i need to get to work and use every second i've got." There's just a hard balance of spiritual and temporal things that i've got to figure out (and now, everyone who's already returned from a mission is thinking, "wait till you actually get back to real life and can't devote every day to preaching the gospel")
I've learned a lot here, and i know that it's all going to help me get to where i want to be in the future. I know i wouldn't be able to get through all of life's up and downs if I didn't have a Savior who has already been to all my lowest lows and back, and knows personally what i am going through and how very possible it is to make it through. That's the best reason to have hope if I've ever heard one! and i know, and have felt, and always feel that that hope is true, and that He lives.
love you all
Hna Bennett

P.S. here is a picture of me and companion who every says we are twinsies, but i wasn't fully convinced until she came today wearing a whale shirt and i just happened to have my own... also, mc hammer pants are in style here and i could not be happier

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Bad Things, Good People

Well this week was my first week in my new area, Chosica, in the El Sol ward, with Hermana Cornu who is like a laugh a minute ha ha i am actually just laughing with her right now because she is sitting right next to me reading this... Luckily the weather here is a lot less hot than it was in Lima. it actually rains a lot, which i was super excited about until they told me it is mudslide season ha. we seriously go hiking up this one mountain every day to make visits. i have seen some very humble homes this week. there are also some parts of our area that remind me of the part where you get on Pirates at Disneyland, so that makes me happy. Maybe someone out there will know what i mean.
     What can i share with you this week? hmmm. well, yesterday was interesting because we ended up teaching the plan of salvation in almost all of our lessons. we got to the home of a woman who has been less active for about 10 years (almost right after she got baptized) and we were planning on teaching the restoration. but for some reason, i just didn't feel that that was right. so, by some miracle, her microwave went off and she said, "oh one second" and left. My and Hermana Cornu turned to each other and it was like, "Lesson 2?" "Yeah, lesson 2!" and our game plan was set. so the sister came back and we said the prayer, and as soon as we finished with the amen, she started off on a little bit of her life story. She told us that recently, she has been fighing a lot with her son and husband, which are the only family she has really. She told us that she feels very lonely, and that she has even had thoughts of suicide. she told us that she didn't understand how God could love her, or anyone, if he would allow such bad things to happen in the world. I was just kinda amazed, because i could feel the answers forming in my head. and could feel the truth of them in my heart as i said them. i even surprised myself at how well we were able to respond to that tough question, but of course, it was purely by the spirit.
     There is a scripture in Moses, chapter 7 verse 32ish, i believe, where the prophet Enos (or is it Enoch? ha ha i am the worst at scriptural context remembering) is taken up in a vision by the Lord, and is shown all kinds of wars and just really horrible things that are going to come to pass in the world before Christ comes again. Enoch/Enos then looks up at the Lord and sees that he is crying. He asks something to the effect of "Lord, how can you be crying, if you are all-knowing and all-powerful, and have already seen this all before?" and The Lord responds, "These are your brothers; they are my own creations. i have given them the commandments to help them be happy. but they have used their agency for the wrong. they have even come to hate their own blood." that was a lot of paraphrasing by hermana bennett, but the point of this is that God doesn't like to see our pains any more than we do. he has given us the commandments to help us avoid these pains, but he has also given us agency, and will never force us to do anything no matter how much he knows it will help us. And when we use that agency to make wrong choices, it not only hurts ourselves, but many others. that is one answer to the question, "why do bad things happen to good people?"
    the other answer is that some of our difficulties here on this earth are just part of the reason we decided to come here: to be tested, to grow and overcome, and to earn the mansion that our Savior is preparing for us in His Father's Kingdom. It's the truth: we wouldn't know the good without the bad. So when you find yourself wondering, "Why me?" look for what you're supposed to be getting out of these problems you're facing. remember that God is with you every step of the way, and don't forget that you are His, He loves you, and He wants you to be able to pull through even more than you want to be able to pull through. it's easier said than done, but if i ever start to complain about the hard times, just remind me of this email.
  lots of love wherever this email finds you,
hna bennett
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Some members of the Canada Bishopric keeping it classy

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Manuel, who will soon be baptized in the Canada ward

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Hermana Helena Inga and I
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This is my new companion, Hermana Cornu!
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My new Chosicano view

Monday, February 24, 2014

Maria's Baptism Day

Hola to all!
This week, we got to see another baptism! It really is super cool to see things changing in this area. Just in time for transfers.... But seriously, I really am glad to see that this ward is progressing, whether i get to stay and enjoy it or not.
Maria is the name of the sister who got baptized. She has been investigating the church for years. Her daughters are members, and one is very active, and making plans to get married in the temple it looks like. Maria has wanted to get baptized for some time, but only recently got married. We have been working a lot with her to give her the little push she needed to actually get baptized after so much waiting. It was a hectic flurry to get everything ready, but it turned out pretty sweet. The primary just happened to be in an activity, so they were able to sing the Baptism Song (i think that's actually what the name of the song is... if you don't know what i'm talking about, it's a really beautiful children's hymn that talks about how the earth is clean right after rain, which is similar to us right after baptism). After everything, we went to give her a hug, and she said to Hermana Llavilla, "Thank you two for coming to my house all the time to help me finally get baptized." So that made all the running to and from visits worth it.
Today, they will be announcing transfers. I have had 4 and a half months in this area so far (more than half of my mission). of course it will be sad to leave, but i am also excited for the opportunity to get to know a different area and different people. Such is the dilemma of transfers.
I know that a lot more happened this week, but i just can't remember much ha ha my brain just kind of turns off on preparation days now...
i hope all is well wherever this letter finds you!
con mucho cariño
Hermana S. Bennett (because i feel weird writing my name after so much time being called Hermana)

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Maria's baptism

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Baptism of Jesus

Well, next tuesday is transfer day, so i might (lets be honest, i am probably getting transferred) be emailing from a different land next monday. I have had four and half months here in Canadá, so i am excited for whatever change comes this next week. sidenote: there isnt a functioning apostrophe or question mark on this keyboard, but i still press the key every time i want to do either. so i just want you to appreciate my attempts to be grammatically correct.

This week, we had a couple baptisms in the ward! the elders had one on Saturday, and we had one on sunday. We also have one, possibly 2, planned for Saturday, and a couple investigators who are getting ready for following weeks. Just when i am about to leave... ha ha Just kidding. Something i have really come to appreciate, and not get too frustrated about, is Gods timing, which is really the only thing that matters.

Hermano Jesús Quispe was the baptism saturday. We tried really hard to get a lot of people to come out, but once it was time for the baptism to start, there was only him, his girlfriend, and a couple members of her family. Eventually, two members showed up, and later the second counselor came so that we would have a member of the bishopric present. At first, i felt pretty bad, like we should have done more to have more people there, maybe even brought refreshments and prepared a musical number or something. But, as i was getting ready to share a message about the Holy Ghost, I realized that, no matter how simple or small this baptism seemed, our Heavenly Father was, in fact, very present in that baptismal service, and that was really all that mattered. I was filled with peace as Jesús was baptized in the font. It was a very quiet, short minute that he was in the water, but it was perfect. It was perhaps very similar to the baptism of Jesus Christ that we read about in the bible and the book of mormon. I dont remember it saying anything about how many spectators there were, or great music coming out of heaven; only Jesus, his cousin John, and His Father in Heaven, who was looking down, very happy to share that moment with Him. Thats how it should be.

Hmmm, somehow, i have ran out of time (yet again) but i hope that all is well wherever this email finds you. I am learning so much about so much here ha. I know that i am working for a true and living God. And i am very grateful for that.
take care, until next time :)
Hna Bennett

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Santiagito, the son of the Castillos
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The Baptism of Jesus! (sounds funny in English...)
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Sister Reunion
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Hna Llavilla and I with our high quality crowns
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with the Obrigawitch

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Priesthood Miracle

Hello to all from here in Canadá, Perú.
     This week was really a faith builder for me. Everyday i teach people of the importance of the priesthood, the power of God given to us to act in His name here on earth. I always testify of how important it is that this power was restored to the earth after Christ and His apostles were persecuted until the death, and as consequence, the priesthood was lost until the time that José Smith (as we call him down south) restored it. But just the other day, i was reminded how real the priesthood power is.
     I found myself very sick the other night, with a horrible migraine from walking in the sun all day. It was so bad that i was just waiting until we could get back to the room so i could start crying ha ha, but, my companion needed to eat dinner. we went to the house of our cook, and i just kind of crumpled up on the couch. Then her husband, the first counselor to the bishop, came home. Just as we were about to leave, I realized that i needed to ask him for a priesthood blessing of health. It was a short, simple blessing, but as soon as he lifted his hands, I felt absolutely fine. In my head, i was like, "Wait, are you serious?" ha ha. It was the most immediate relief i ever remember having from a blessing of health. I have seen and experienced many such immediate answers, to prayers and blessings, on my mission. When i see these answers, i often find myself thinking the same thing, "Are you serious?" with that tone of disbelief, and then i realized how many blessings I am missing out on because my first reaction is one of disbelief.
   There is a scripture, Ether 12:18 and 19, that talks about "the eye of faith." These verses teach us of how, first we have to see things with our eyes of faith BEFORE we can see them actually happen. We have to have such faith that the will in fact come to pass that we can actually SEE how it will be when it happens. And that is something that i, as some people call pessimism but i call it being realistic, need to improve drastically. I think it's time for me to really change my attitude into one of "yes it can happen" so that i can actually start seeing the results that i want, and more importantly, the results that my Heavenly Father wants. It's time to forget myself and go to work, like our President Hinckley always advised us. That means it's time to stop seeing things in my limited perspective, and start seeing them in God's perspective. That's when the miracles will start happening. I just had to get an ugly migraine to figure all this out :)
    Well, apart from all that, things are good! we are working a lot with members now, and slowly getting more support. it is so so so much easier to help people progress in the gospel when we have the testimonies of members to back us up. i still have not been hit by a water balloon, for all of you who were worried about that. I have realized that seeing Peruvian hairless dogs doesn't even phase me now. and.... I know that the gospel i am sharing is true. more and more every day. i love you all! until next time.... ¡CUIDENSE!
Hermana Shae Bennett

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dinner with the Marcas

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dodging Carnavales

Well, i am still here in Lima, Perú on my mission. I am still in the Canada ward. And i am still training Hermana Llavilla from Cusco! We are working hard (there is always so much to do) and we are seeing a lot of cool stuff here.
We are also having some hard times with some investigators. They just aren't doing much to show they really value our visits with them (they cancel on us, they don't come to church when they say they will, we find out that they told us fake names that really aren't their names ha ha), but it's always a really spiritual experience when we actually get to teach them. They are always just on the point of committing to change, but then they decide not to. It's a little hard on us, but i can't complain too much.
Despite some rough spots, we have so many good times here in the mission! We were able to teach an investigator, her name's Maria, after months of trying to meet up with her. Her 2 daughters are members, but one is not active in the church. Her other daughter is very active, and is a big reason for why Maria wants to get baptized. Maria has been waiting a long time to get baptized because she wasn't married to her husband more than three weeks ago. She was waiting and waiting for her husband to decide to get baptized so they could do it together, but he just isn't ready and doesn't want to. When we asked her why she wanted to be baptized, she said that she was too old to wait any longer, and that her soul is at stake. We kept trying to visit her, but she would always have other things going on, or she would be too tired to visit with us. So of course, we got a little discouraged ha. But finally, the other day, she let us come visit her. She actually asked us, "Well, what do I need to do to get baptized? I think i'll just have to do it without my husband..." The truth is, she is very very prepared to be baptized; she has all the desires to do it, and is very humble and willing to do whatever the lord asks of her. I'm a little ashamed to admit that i got a little frustrated with the situation, especially since we tried for weeks to visit her, and she would say things like, "I'm too tired today, maybe another day." But hearing her pray in this lesson we had, i realized that she was just in the process of getting ready, and that i just needed a little more patience. I'm working on it ha.

In other news, apparently February is the month of Carnavales here in peru! Which means that everyone runs around with water guns and water balloons and gets other people wet! ha in some parts, they fill them with paint instead of water. I have been trying to find some reassurance that they'll only attack the people who are participating, but all anyone ever tells me is, "I don't think they'll get you..." So that should be fun!

and now they are kicking me off the computer ha ha
con amor!
hna bennett

Monday, January 27, 2014

Muchas Blessings

This week has been a really good one. We are seeing a lot of improvement in the way we work, and the blessings are muchas!

We got to have a pretty cool lesson this week with Lenny. We went to his house in the afternoon, but he wasn't home. Later, in the evening, an appointment fell through, so we felt we should go see if Lenny was home. He had come back, and his aunt and uncle were also there (the are very active members, who are planning on going on a mission as a couple). The uncle said, "It looks like the spirit has brought us all together!" Lenny was very excited to talk about the Fall of Adam and Eve (which had been the topic in Sunday School yesterday). He said that he really liked how we looked at it, not as a sin that all of us carry around, but as a transgression that was a vital part of God`s plan, so that all of us would be able to come to earth. He has also been reading in the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson, we asked him if he would prepare to be baptized one week earlier than what we had originally talked about. He said, "Would that be possible?" and we said, "of course!" He accepted, and told us that he had been out of the house earlier, but then he felt the need to return to the house. He didn't know that we would be coming, but he decided to follow that feeling and returned. His uncle said the same thing, that he was serious when he said the Spirit had brought us all together. And of course, we were all just like, "whoa." The most awesome part is that he's only like 26 years old. That means it is possible that he can leave on mission someday! how cool would that be? I truly feel that he is a person that has "been kept from the truth only because he knew not where to find it."

the other day we went with a member to talk to an investigator named Jorge. He is so close to getting baptized, he is just always so busy. We went with Hno Cunibertti. We got there and saw Jorge talking with to friends in front of his house. Hno. Cunibertti started yelling, "Hey Jorge!" and when he didn't hear, Hno Cunibertti picked up some rocks and started throwing them in his direction to get his attention. In my head, I was like, "Brother Cunibertti, what's up with that?" We talked to him and he told us, "I'm sorry, but i actually have to leave with my family." We re-scheduled, and as we were walking away, Hno Cunibertti told us, "I'm going to go back in ten minutes to make sure those guys left. They're 7th day adventists, and we can't let them get Jorge!" ha ha ha i was dying ha ha.

hmmm.. what else is going on? we had interviews with President Ardila this week. I really love and respect him and his wife. I passed! ha
and also, our neighbor always listens to America's top 40 in the mornings when we are studying. it's rough trying to read the scriptures to lady gaga. but we shall survive. I have really come to love latin music though.. Marc Antony has a new song call "Vivir la Vida," which i can't complain if i happen to hear it while riding the bus.

wellll, that's it for now. les quiero mucho!