Monday, December 30, 2013

It's A Wonderful Life!

Well, here I am, typing up another letter here in Perú. Time keeps on slipping, into the future... I love Space Jam.

Maybe just ignore that first line, especially if you have never seen Space Jam. or Kid President.

I am still in Canadá and i am still training. I am going to be honest with you, i still don't feel like i even know how to train. I am in a little bit of a funk. But, times like these are always followed by really awesome experiences, so get ready for the best email yet next week!

My Christmas was very different than other Chritmases I have had. All the fiestas here start at midnight, so we tried (and failed) to sleep the 24th. There were fireworks going off like crazy for about 2 hours. But, more importantly than that, we were able to teach Antony, a recent convert (one of the two baptisms we have had since i've been in this ward). He lives alone, and works in the banana market here. we scheduled an appointment with him the sunday before last to meet on the 24th, not realizing that it would be Christmas Eve. As i looked at my agenda for that day, I realized that we had made an appointment with him Christmas Eve night, and that more than likely, he would be out doing something to celebrate. But, (with more prompting from the spirit than i realized at the time) we ran over to meet him at the chapel anyway (since he lives in a part of town that we try to avoid after dark). We walked around the chapel, and saw a man sleeping on the grass. We almost didn't realize that it was, in fact, Antony. We got closer and started calling his name. He eventually woke up with a startle. It was obvious that he had been working and was really exhausted. The chapel was closed, so we sat on the grass with him and taught about the temple. He then started to give the most amazing testimony about how beautiful the story of the first vision of Joseph Smith is to him. While teaching Antony, i have noticed that he understands things in his very own, unique way. But as he began to tell us of how at first, he had may doubts about Joseph Smith and then about how he researched and prayed, and came to realize that Joseph was in fact a prophet, and that the priesthood is in fact very important to have, i realized that he had come to understand very well the Restoration. I was very impressed, and very very content to realize that we had not just baptized someone, but we had helped someone to become a convert (which is one of the fears i have: that i will baptize someone who will later become inactive. happens more often than not here). I then asked if he had plans for Christmas. he simply said no. I felt terrible. We were running late to go over to dinner with some members, but i knew that i would not enjoy anything if we had to leave antony alone on christmas. i sent a text to the family to see if he could join us. Stalling while waiting for a reply, we started walking in the direction of their house really slow. I was praying harder and harder that they would answer as we got closer and closer. Finally, we were almost there, and they still hadn't answered. I was stuck. I coudn't just invite someone to someone else's party, but i also didn't know how i could just leave Antony. Literally as i went to shake his hand to say goodbye, on the verge of tears, the phone started ringing. The sister who had invited us to dinner said of course antony could join us! And yet again, i had a very precise and direct answer to my prayers, which as happened over and over again on my mission. I wish that you could have seen how happy Antony was when we asked if he would like to join us. It was a very special Christmas, one that i will never forget.

so much more has happened this week, but i am just out of time to tell you! just know that this mission is very very worth every little pain that comes with being a missionary. I love it. It's the best thing I've done with my life.

Miss you all, and love you all!

Hna Bennett

The Castillo Family

Christmas caps for the whole mission

Monday, December 16, 2013

Parrot Prayers

hello all!

this week has been... well actually i don't really remember most of what happened... but i will try ha.

the other day we had one of the most memorable lessons i've ever had. We went to the house of a contact named julio that herman rubio and i taught on the sidewalk the other day (i was going to say "that we taught in the street," but then i realized that that might seem like we were actually teaching him in the street and that is not what happened at all. too many cars). anyways, we went to his house and he and his wife welcomed us in. we sat down, and the started telling us about their lives. they have been catholic since birth, have been married 52 years, and are very active in their church, so that was cool to see. the whole time, there was this chanting playing on their tv in the background, which was pretty except for their was really bad feedback and it was making this screeching noise the entire time, but i don't think they could hear it because they were a little older ha. anyways. julio started telling us about how his wife had been travelling the last couple weeks, and then she interrumpted with, "and i came home and found my husband fat. all he had eaten in those weeks was bread and cookies." and then julio looked just so cute and innocent and said, "but my love, I was HUNGRY!" we continued the lesson, and then in the middle of one of my sentences, julio said, "Wait, you have to see my bunny!" his wife was like, "Julio, they don't want to see your bunny." but nevertheless, he showed us to his backyard and sure enough, he had a pet bunny. he said, "it's my pet. not for eating." then he also tried to get his pet parrot to talk, but then said he was too cold to want to respond. ha so he said, "here, i'll show you my other pet parrot." We went back inside and he started clapping. all of the sudden, one of those sound activated parrots started squawking up on his shelf ha ha ha. we shared a little message with the two of them, which they said was nice, and then we asked the wife to say a prayer to close. she gave a beautifully sweet prayer, and as soon as she said amen, her husband said, "in the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost, AMEN!" and gave two loud claps to set off his toy parrot ha ha. He's the best!

Christmas here is going to be awesome. i think. people have told us that everyone will be a little bit more receptive to hearing about jesus christ, which is great news for us. we are seeing a lot of christmas lights and nativities go up. and, a lot of people are inviting us to come eat christmas dinner with them :)

i have to bear my testimony that our Heavenly Father is so very aware of each of us, and wants us to find joy, especially within our own families. we are given the people we have as family for very specific purposes, and i have been blessed with such a wonderful group of people, with whom i can't imagine life without. and that is the blessing of this gospel, that we can literally be together forever, even after this life, through the powers of the priesthood. i pray every day that we can, as a family, work towards achieving that goal. i hope you all can feel those prayers! i love you!

hna bennett

The Canada Christmas party guest of honor!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Training 101 and Intro to Paneton

A couple hours after we got done with emailing last time, Hna Rubio got the call about transfers. She is now in a new area, training (what a champ) and I am still in Canadá, also training! My companion is Hermana Llavilla, from Cusco, Peru. She has about two weeks in the mission and obviously someone thought it was a good idea for me to teach her how to be a missionary ha ha! It has been a good time for me to step up and take on some more responsibilty. Also, she has been to Macchu Picchu like 3 times and has all these connections and tips for me (aka Dad, i'm going to be sending you her suggested itinerary so you can start planning for next december ha). So far, we've done pretty well in this week! and, seeing how i don't have anyone to speak english with anymore, i am started to forget how to speak my own language a little.

We have had a couple lessons with a family that has been talking to the missionaries for about a year. There is Omar, Rosela, and their two kids Joselyn and Aaron. In our lessons this week, they told us that they know the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. They are now praying to know when they should be baptized. Sometimes i think as missionaries, we (myself included) get caught up in how fast we think others should progress. When i first got here, we questioned whether or not we should continue to teach this family, but we kept working with them. Now, after a year of missionaries coming and going, they are ready to move forward. I may even be able to see them get baptized. And, looking really far into a year in the future, i may even be on my mission when they enter they temple to be sealed as a family (which is already a goal that they are very set on). how cool is that?

We are also teaching a new investigator, named Fani. She has a two year old named nicolas who is the bomb. In the second lesson, we planned to invite her to baptism. As it got closer to the end of the lesson, i started getting nervous. I didn't want to push her away from us by asking her to be baptized (you would think i would be used to doing it by now, but sometimes, i let my own silly worries get in the way of being a missionary). but, all according to plan, we invited her to baptism. and you know what? she said yes. in that moment, i felt the spirit in the way the scriptures describe as a burning of the bosom. And it built up my testimony that we as missionaries have to put the same faith in God that we teach. When we put our confidence in him, we recieve the blessings he promises, every time.

i just want to leave my testimony with you all that i have seen this gospel change many many lives already in the short 6 months that i've been here. my own life has been changed by this experience. I invite all of you to feel this same thing. Pray. read (the bible, the book of mormon, and all of the modern-day revelation found through living prophets). and act on that which you find to be true. NEVER be afraid to act on what you know is true. i love you!

Hna Bennett

P.S. They have this stuff called paneton here, and it's probably similar to fruitcake (which i've never actually tried). I've eaten it like 3 times a day since december started. anyone out there have some good lines to use to get out of eating it? help a sister out. please

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Timeless Parable

This week has been full of so many emotions, but somehow i can really only remember the good ones.

the other day, we went to teach a sister who hasn't been coming to church because she recently had a spinal operation (I know, i know, what a lame excuse...) Earlier that day, during personal study, i had been drawn to the parable of the ten virgins. we decided to share it with her for the appointment we had lined up that day. As we began the lesson, she got very defensive. she said, "I told the other missionaries, and i am telling you. i still have my faith, i still read my scriptures and pray, i just can't go out very easily because of my operation." at this point, i was actually just thinking, "Well, okay, you can't blame her. let's just deliver this lesson since she hasn't been able to go to church in a while and it will lift her spirits." but as we started to teach about the ten virgins, i just realized how much this parable applies specifically to church members. And she did too. we asked her what could be represented by each of the parts of the story. she answered without much thought: we are the virgins, the bridegroom is the Lord, and the lamps are what we do to follow god... then her daughter stopped her and asked, "then what is the oil?" her mom stopped and thought for a while. Then she said, "You know what... the lamps our are testimonies, but the oil is what we do with our testimonies.Right now, i have my lamp, because i have my faith. but it's empty. i'm not doing enough. i need to attend church. i need to read my scriptures EVERY day. i need to go to the temple with my family and be sealed to them. at the day the lord comes, i can't ask someone else to borrow their temple recommend to hurry and go through the temple to be sealed to my family. I know i need to change." She then actually become emotional and said something that i will never forget. She said,"When you first came here, i thought, 'oh great, they're just going to preach at me.' and then you said you were going to talk about the 10 virgins and i thought, 'oh great, this story again?' but then, as you invited me to really think about it, i realized that god is completely aware of my situation, and that he wants me to come back and fill my lamp. and you sisters have some here, with your lamps spilling over, with this message to help me. thank you sisters for coming. you have blessed my life." and then i was just over, sitting in my chair, thinking, "how did she get all of that out of the crummy spanish that i just stumbled through?" The spirit truly works through us as missionaries, if we will allow it. Her statement about how my oil was above the brim touched my heart, and also compelled me to change, to become worthy of that image she had of us. I am grateful for these little reminders that i am, in fact, becoming a better missionary, and a stronger disciple of christ. there is always room for improvement, but it's always nice to realize how far you've come. i truly have changed so much for the better in these 5 and a half months, and it's all because of the love of my father in heaven.

thank you for your emails and letters, and love!

Con muchísimo amor, hna bennett


our district in a taxi

children asking me to sing one direction to them

a large hill overlooking lima

our zone struggles with pictures...

Peruvian Thanksgiving

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Surprise Baptism

It has been a pretty peaceful week here in San Luis.
Well, first off, we have not had a lot of investigators who are progressing here. and by "not a lot" I mean "zero." There are quite a few people who really like our visits because they like to talk about religion, but unfortunately, we just can't spend a lot of our time going to those kind of visits. We have tried contacting old investigators, tracting, asking for references, and teaching part member families, and we do have a lot of appointments lined up for the future that look like they have potential! We also have a lot of really aswesome members who are always giving us families to visit. There is one brother in the ward, Brother Zamudio, who owns a little juice shop and always tells us to come by. He is about as kind and jolly as a little old man could be. Whenever we stop by, he calls to anyone that walks by his shop and says, "These are missionaries. They come from other countries to teach the gospel." as he shakes their hands and won't let go until they stop and take out an appointment with us ha ha. he's the best!

hmmm what else... I recieved a call Saturday night from my old area, Santa Anita. A missionary who is there now asked if I remembered Prisila, an old investigator. I said, "Of Course!" Prisila was a woman we found one day when we went to a home and the family wasn't there. Prisila was just leaving the same apartment building with her friend as we walked out. Her friend, a member, stopped us and told us to visit her. As we started visiting her, it was obvious that she has a lot of faith in Christ. She already knew a lot about the church, and so had a lot of questions. I could tell that she really really wanted to believe the church was true, but she just had a hard time believing that joseph smith was a prophet. She would say things like, "One day, i want to serve a mission like you guys." And when she would come to the chapel, people would always think she was a member. She told us one week she wanted to be baptized, and we got everything all set up, but then a couple days before, she come to us crying and said she just couldn't be baptized because she wasn't sure. she said she needed time to think. it was really really sad for all of us. Well, this saturday, after i answered the missionary on the phone, she said,"okay, one second..." and then Prisila's voice some through! She said, "yep, i just got baptized!" I was so so happy! I still don't really know all the details because i could only talk long enough to say congratulations, but I can only suppose that she had received an answer to her prayers about Joseph Smith, that he was in fact a prophet. I know how amazing that answer is when we finally receive it, because i have experienced that process myself! I now have no doubt whatesoever that he was a prophet, that he restored the church of Christ on the earth, and that the Book of Mormon is proof of his truthfulness as a man called of God. If a person wants to know if this church is true, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, they HAVE to read the Book of Mormon. And if they will do that, and then sincerely ask, through prayer, if what they are reading is true, they'll receive this same answer. I promise.
I love you, and I am so thankful for all of your thoughts and prayers and letters and emails this Thanksgiving week!
Hermana Shae Lee Bennett
PS the other day some members found out my full name, and asked me why it was a chinese name... and then i was like, huh, shae lee really does sound chinese ha ha represent!

Monday, November 18, 2013

All is well in Canada (Peru)

This week was so, so good. We had TWO baptisms! Saturday was Antony. He came from Chiclayo (which is a city north of Lima) where he had received the missionaries and wanted to be baptized. He moved here to work in a banana market, and looked for a chapel for a month until he finally found one in another area from ours. The missionaries over there introduced us, and now he is a member of the church! He was even ordained to the priesthood yesterday! He's a funny one ha ha when we asked him to bear his testimony at the baptism, he said, "Remember to be punctual to church tomorrow." Which is actually really good advice here in Perú!
Karla has been investigating for like 3 years. I really just came right when she was already set on getting baptized, but it was still cool to be a part of such a big step in her life. In her confirmation, she was blessed to become a strong wife and mother, and I really feel that she will. I was touched realizing that these converts can truly make positive changes in the world. Seeing all of the inactive members of this area, I sometimes get a little scared of leaving any of the people I teach behind. But, we have to make sure that these people who are getting baptized are truly converted to the gospel, and that they have strong ties to the ward. Which is why I was so very happy yesterday as I realized that before church started, Antony had changed into a brand new set of church clothes that (I later found out) were given to him from ward members.
I wish I had just a half an hour more to write... there's so much I want to tell you! But with the few minutes I have left, I want to testify that this is God's true church; I cannot deny that. The Book of Mormon is the work of God, given to us by a true prophet, Joseph Smith. Today, we have the divine guidance of President Thomas S. Monson as he is directed by our Father in Heaven. Most of all, I know that Jesus Christ lives, and he loves us (which is such an understatement). All of us can feel that love as we pray to Him and learn of Him, and act like Him!
I love you all. Hasta luego!
Hna Bennett


Antony's Baptism

The baptism of Karla - the bishop baptized her. In this picture, they are both anxiously anticipating the freezing cold water of the baptismal font.

This one time my old landlady Betty made me a scarf for my birthday. then i realized that it works much better as a hat/artificial afro.

Hermana Rubio and me... she's funky

I feel that I have had a lot of mercies from god as I've tried to get over my shyness. I know I just need to open my mouth and talk, but sometimes it is just so intimidating and hard! I have definitely gotten better, and sometimes,when I feel like a failure, we find someone that is awesome, and it's like God is saying, "I understand it's hard for you... but next time you gotta just declare your purpose without fear!" and it has gotten easier and easier. 
I am also anticipating the days of the iPad ha ha we have to carry around an area book that weighs about 80 pounds, all handwritten. and the phones we use are about ten years old ha! And no Facebook for us yet. Someday the technology will catch up to us.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Antony and Karla

Some good news for this week! We've got two baptisms coming up for this week: Antony and Karla. Antony actually showed up to the chapel having already received missionaries in Chiclayo, ready for baptism. He's a funny one ha. I'll send pics when it happens.

We've been working a lot with members (active and inactive) and we're starting to see some potential there. It's kinda hard sometimes waiting for things to happen, but I think we're getting close to seeing some fruits of our labors.

Yeah, i'm just going to apologize right now for this letter being so scatterbrained... so sorry!

This week, we have spent a lot of time walking around, looking for people to teach. Sometimes, i'm just like, "When is the missionary work going to start? Why do we spend so much time just not doing anything but walking? What are we doing wrong?" The fact is, it's not going to be easy to find people who are ready to listen, no matter how life changing and beautiful the message is. Many are called, but few are chosen. But they ARE out there. I've already met many choice people, and that's what I remember when I start to question myself.

In other news, someone told me yesterday that my accent is muy muy bueno! Finally, i'm starting to get this Spanish thing ha! it's weird to think that I am actually having conversations with people in another language all day, every day.

Well, sorry that was so short and probably you're now thinking, "What was the point of that email?" ha ha but, I know this church is the true church, more and more every day. I know that Christ lives, and that our Heavenly Father still works miracles, and that he is always listening and waiting for us to listen back.

les amo mucho
Herman(a) Bennett

Here are pictures! and now i realize they're both of food...

 Us eating lasagna at a member's house. It was delicious.

One of the baby bananas they have here. There are a ton of different bananas. and the fruit is delicious.

i'm getting off the computer. until next week, my friends...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Being a missionary...

Hermana Shae Bennett, Perú Lima East Mission, June 19, 2013-December 2014

As of right now, I only have a few precious months of experience as a missionary. However, there are some things I have learned that, knowing such, I will never be the same.

The first is the protection that comes from our obedience. As missionaries, we are "dedicated," or set apart, to proclaim the word of God. We are given authority to preach His gospel. But, this authority can only be present when we obey the commandments upon which it is based. I have felt this Heavenly protection as I have left my home to come to a foreign country and converse almost constantly with strangers. There are times when I realize that God and His angels are in fact protecting me from the dangers that are constantly at work against me, both spiritual and physical. I can feel that power, and I know that I am only entitled to it when I am obedient to the commandments of God and the inspired rules from my mission president. There is a reason for every single rule, whether we understand it or not. Just be obedient! Not blindly, but faithfully.

The second is that MIRACLES HAPPEN. They happen all the time! I have had prayers answered, sometimes instantly. I have been fasting for something, and then seen the answer appear even before I've finished fasting. I've seen people change their lives. I've seen them offer their first prayers to talk to their Heavenly Father. I've seen them understand His love for them when they hadn't before. I've seen them gain a testimony of this Restored Gospel, as marvelous and maybe unbelievable as it might seem. And I've seen them take steps to show that they are ready to take upon them the name of Christ. Most of all (and maybe this is a little selfish of me to say) I've seen a miraculous change in myself. A lot of time I spend worrying about my faults, the things I don't do well as a missionary, the fact that I can't speak the language well, the times I feel I'm not being guided by the Spirit... But, every once in a while, when I take the time to look at myself now compared to myself before I left home, I realize how far I have come with the help of the Lord. I see how much my testimony has grown, how much bigger my capacity to love is, how I am slowly learning how to be more like my Savior. Miracles are happening within my own being. They happen every day! Take the time to see them, and to give thanks for them. Take a few moments every day to see the miracles that are happening in yourself. When you do this, you'll realize why you're on a mission.

The scripture cases i bought for my bday that finally came!

My new companion Hna. Rubio! It's crazy how much love I have for her already, and it's only been a couple weeks.

Friday, November 1, 2013

First transfer - O Canada

October 28, 2013

Well... I got transferred to a ward named Canadá (I actually have no idea why it is named that... sorry). I am now with Hermana Rubio, from California. I would attach a photo, but I got stuck with a computer without a USB slot :( This area is a lot nicer than Santa Anita, which means life as a missionary is a little harder ha! (and now everyone who has served/is serving somewhere other than South America is saying, "Now you know how we feel") The members are awesome though! I feel so loved already. Now we just need to find investigators.
I'm afraid I have been in a little bit of a slump. Leaving Santa Anita was kinda like when I left home. It's crazy how much you can come to love a place in only a couple months. Luckily I had a couple of experiences yesterday that helped me out.

The first was when the primary sang us a song. I noticed a little girl with a nametag that said "Future Missionary." My first thought was, "She wants to be like me..." and then my second thought was, "...but why?!" I then began to evaluate myself: what had I been doing for the last 4 months to earn the respect and admiration that so many people have for missionaries, and what was it about a mission that would make people want to go on one (missions are stinking hard!!!)? And then I was filled with the happiness that I've been able to have as I have taught people about their Savior, and as they've made decisions to change their lives for the better because of something I have shared as a missionary. THAT'S why I came on a mission (not for the recognition of bringing people to Christ, but for the privilege, mind you), even if I didn't really understand what I was getting myself into, and THAT'S why Ii am still out here, and it is better than I ever could have imagined if I wouldn't have experienced it myself.

I also had that opportunity to be present when a young man in the ward was set apart for his mission in New York yesterday. He actually was already out in his mission for 4 months when he hurt his foot and had to come home for surgery. During the time he was home, his dad was baptized after investigating for years! And, even though it was extremely difficult, he made it back to this point and decided to go back out on his mission, now with both of his parents as members. It was a very exciting experience (a little sad... I don't know if I'd be able to go through all those goodbyes again!) and it made me remember how excited i was to do missionary work when I was at that point.
I feel re-energized; I feel ready to become the type of missionary that little primary girl pictures when she puts on her future missionary button; I feel a stronger resolve to become the missionary that I myself have always wanted to be since I was the age of that little girl; and most importantly, I feel the support of my Savior as I am becoming the person that HE has always pictured me becoming. It's funny; I never realized how much I myself would change on my mission. There is so much room for improvement, and it is amazing how far I have come!

 This email was a little self-centered... oops! but next week, I plan on having a lot of successes to tell you about!

paz y amor
Hna Bennett

A sister missionary in Canada, Peru

Monday, October 21, 2013

MIssion Roller Coaster and Universally Adorable Funny Primary Programs

October 21, 2013

Well, it's transfer time! Today we find out who's going to be where for the next 6 weeks. There's this guy who lives in our area who is from Russia, and then moved to the U.S. and married a Peruvian woman and now they are living here, and he actually spent some time in Utah, so he's knows some stuff about the church and missionary work. He said to me (back when i was with Hermana Johnson), "It's kind of cruel what they do to you: give you a couple months to get used to an area and become friends with your companion, and then just tear you apart." Ha so right now, while i'm inclined to take the same opinion, I'm trying to remember that I will love my next area just as much as I love my dear Santa Anita. Sometimes, I'm even excited to get to know a new area and a new companion! It's just all part of the mission roller coaster.
Last week, we had interviews with the president. Halfway through mine, he stopped and said, "Your Spanish has improved so much! Remember how difficult the first interview was?" And then I actually thought back to those first couple months, and how far I've been blessed to come. Sometimes it's hard to see your own progress until someone else points it out to you. Even though I've got a ways to go, it's nice to know that I've already made some ground (is that a saying? i don't remember) in these 4 months.
I feel like I don't have much to report this week... things were kind of slow and a little difficult. We have a couple recent converts who have gotten back into some old bad habits with drugs and alcohol, which is even more sad based on the fact that they're 17 and 15 years old. But, on the other hand, two other young men who were baptized a couple weeks ago showed up yesterday in suits, ready to pass the sacrament! it was pretty amazing. We also had a primary program during sacrament meeting. It was as adorably funny as all the other primary programs I've seen in my life.
Sorry this email was a little lackluster; the next one will be much better, I promise! And a missionary's promise is the real deal, big time...
K i'm going to stop this rambling nonsense now. Love you all!
Hna Bennett

Monday, October 14, 2013

He's My Son too...

October 14, 2013

Buenos Días/tardes/noches/whatever time of day you are reading this.

Another week goes by in Santa Anita. There's only one more week left in this transfer, which means there's a possibility I will be leaving the area on Tuesday. I will cry on the day I have to leave here, I can guarantee you that; this has become my home! But such is the life of a missionary. And I know that I'll fall in love with the next area just the same. It's just hard to think that many of these people, I'll never see again. Facebook is such a blessing for that purpose ha! And also, it's funny to hear the way people here say "Facebook."

This week, we had a "training for the trained" conference with President Ardila and his wife, which was for all of the people who came in the same group with me and are finishing their 12 weeks of training. He has already told me that I'm going to be training soon (not enough experienced sisters to keep up with the big wave of new sisters), so that's terrifying. So, maybe because he wanted to test my Spanish skills, he kept calling on me during the conference ha ha! I don't know what happens, but every time he talks to me, I get so nervous that I forget everything I know in Spanish (I don't know why, he's one of the nicest men ever). In fact, after the conference, my companions turned to me and asked, "Hermana Bennett, what happened to your Spanish in there? It was terrible!" ha ha ha but really, it was terrible. Maybe he's rethinking this whole training thing.

Anyways, missionary work continues here. Right now, we are working with a couple of people towards their baptisms, which has been complicated. Esmeralda wants so badly to be baptized. She comes to church every week, pays her tithing, she obeys the word of wisdom, and even goes to seminary. The problem is that her mom doesn't want her to be baptized, for reasons that she won't tell us. I think she's heard things from non-Mormons about Mormons, so she has hesitations. We also are teaching Ali, who has been attending church regularly for years, and has read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover multiple times. The problem is, she lives with a man who is basically her husband (they've been together for 20 years and have 2 children), except for they're not married, so she can't be baptized. The problem is that he is married to another woman from when he was like 18 years old, and he first needs to divorce that woman to be married to Ali, and he doesn't want to do it, maybe because of how much money it costs, or maybe for other reasons, we don't know. It's a tricky situation and I can see the pain in her eyes when it comes up. These two are just so ready to be baptized, and it hurts them so much to not be. They are so strong, and I know they are going to be baptized someday. It's just the waiting that's hard.

Welllll, I can't really think of what else to say... mostly because I am sitting in a small room full of hot computers, sweating because the Peruvian summer is almost upon us. Oh, it's almost Halloween! Which is one of the best days of the year if you ask me. I will probably dress up as a missionary. And also, an investigator (Leydi) almost named her baby Sheli (how they would spell "Shae Lee" here) after me! We were at her house and she couldn't think of a name, so my companion told her to use mine ha. But i think her husband didn't like it... He just chuckled nervously when they said it to him.

Love from Perú,
Hna Bennett (or "Hermana Venet" as one member spelled it the other day)


P.S. I am reminded of a talk I read in the MTC. I probably already told you all about it, but it talked about a man whose son was very sick, on the edge of death. He started praying to God, asking how God could do this to his son. Then, the answer came to him, a voice saying, "He's my son too." I remember when I read this, I thought of my mom and dad, and how I was worried about you two, being so far away and all. That no matter how many years you live on this earth, you will always be God's child. He is taking care of you, even if there seem to be "complications," which are really inherent parts of this life. He loves you so much! He told me so when I was in the MTC, and the Spirit is reconfirming it now. The first lesson we teach, the very first lesson in Preach my Gospel, is that God is our loving Heavenly Father. It's so powerful a lesson that it's the one we start off with.

How do we forget the burnings of the bosom we have when we truly allow the spirit to talk to us? it's pretty crazy the things we forget with our human minds.


P.P.S. My companion and I had an argument about Christopher Columbus today ha! Well, not a real argument... anyways, in Spanish his name is really Cristobal Colon? what kind of name is Colon?

Spanish... somehow i'm getting the hang of it. I'd probably be a lot better if I would talk more, but I'm not good at that even in English! the hardest thing for me has been connecting with people--my usual social awkwardness. Last night I was actually feeling pretty bad about it, but then my companion told me, "God called you to be yourself as a missionary. Your personality is exactly what He needs here, so stop focusing on what you think you SHOULD be." It helped :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Felix's Baptism and the Best 21st Birthday

October 7 2013

I have to say that this week was full of some of the highest highs and lowest lows to date for this Hermana, but I really can only remember the good times! I felt like the most loved person in the world on my birthday. My companion arranged like 17 surprises for me ha! She has a heart as big as Peru. To top it all off, we got to see the baptism of Brother Felix on Sunday! When I first met him, I thought he said his name was "Feliz," (Spanish for 'happy') and I was like, "Oh makes sense, because he literally NEVER stops smiling." And then I found out his name was Felix, which is a nice name also. I like these pictures the best because they captured his true smile ha ha. After he was baptized he bore one of the best testimonies I have ever heard (granted, I have the Spanish vocabulary of a 7 year old. But the spirit translated for me, so we're good). He talked about how he felt the spirit during his prayers, and how he had never been interested in religion before. Because of the spirit he felt, he now knows that this is the true church. Because of conference, he wasn't confirmed after his baptism, so now we have to wait till Sunday for him to be confirmed with gift of the Holy Ghost. So, he's not OFFICIALLY a member, but give us a week, and it'll happen.

I hope all is well back in the US of A, and I hope everyone had/has the chance to listen to or read the talks from general conference. I saw the majority in Spanish. From what I understood, the brethren and sisters were just as awesome as ever! I really liked M. Russell Ballard's, but I might just be a biased misionera :)

I really feel so happy to have prophets and apostles to lead us today, just as in ancient times and the ministry of Jesus Christ. When Elder Cook visited us a couple weeks ago, he said during his testimony that he KNOWS the voice of the Savior. We are so connected to our Heavenly Father when we listen to those who have the power to talk to Him, namely apostles and prophets. We also have the opportunity to receive revelation for ourselves through our own conversations with God: our prayers. I know that I, and many others, have received answers from the Lord. That's how I know this church is true, and that there is a reason I need to be serving a mission in Lima, Peru right now. If I hadn't received this witness, I would have returned home months ago...

Love you all!
hna bennett


The baptism of Felix! It was such a happy [feliz] day :)

My dear companions who decorated my room while I was out

Cake number 1 of the day, with two other birthday elders

We didn't have a knife, so they cut the cake with some cardboard.

My pensionista,
who used to own a restaurant - so my food right now is really as good as it gets!
(which is pretty good, if I haven't made that clear)

My awesome birthday meal, tallarines verdes

One of our investigators, Esmeralda, and her mom at their store

Some members from the ward who bought a pizza for my bday
(Nikc, yes spelled ¨Nikc¨, Yusei, and Heydi)

Birthday Pizza!

Birthday Cake number 2! From the wonderful Grados Family.
I almost cried from my happiness. the people here are taking such good care of me.

They like to smash your face into your birthday cake here. I got off lucky

The Grados Family


Monday, September 30, 2013

George gets baptized!

September 30, 2013

well, this week was a good one (i think... i can't really remember anything too bad... except for the song we tried to sing at George's baptism ha ha everyone assumes white people can sing, but i think we're changing that stereotype here in the peru lima east mission)

we had a giant baptism on saturday! four young men became members of the church. Three of them belonged to the other sisters, but one was ours. George! I think i mentioned him last time as the one who didn't show up for his baptism. Turns out, he had a family emergency. But now he's a member of the church! It's crazy how much can change in a week. He was not very happy with us when he showed up and saw all the people who were going to watch his baptism... he almost didn't want to go through with it. but, luckily, he did. and he instantly changed afterwards. he was all smiles as he realized how many friends he had now! everyone in the ward just kind of surrounded and took him in as one of their own ha ha. it was so cool to be a part of. the next day, he was confirmed during sacrament. again, he was really nervous to go up in front of everyone. When i talked to him after, and asked how he felt, he said, "It was really... strange." I laughed and asked why. he said. "I was so nervous to go up there, but then, by the end, all i could feel was peace. I feel great!" Within a couple days, his whole countenance changed. Now, he has the gift of the holy ghost to help him in whatever place, at whatever time he needs it. it's such a privilege to be a part of this process.

what else has happened? hmmm. well, the brother of one of our investigators tried to teach me how to dance a salsa the other day. i'm not sure why, but obviously, it was pretty funny to them... then they asked me how we dance in the US. all i could think of was the fist pump... that was pretty funny for ALL of us. sorry, United States, i let ya down :(

until next time (con mucho amor)
hna bennett

Baptism of George!

there were three other young men getting baptized as well.
George is that cool guy in the back with a yellow towel. he looked way happier after the baptism...

here is the birthday present i got. it's a nativity inside of a llama - holla.

Hna Aguayo and I finally got to go to the temple :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Work Continues in Santa Anita

September 23, 2013
Well, the work continues here in Santa Anita! This week, we've found some new investigators :) but we've also had to drop some investigators :( that's always the worst. but some people just aren't ready.

On sunday, we are supposed to have a baptism for an investigator named George (not of the jungle, if you were wondering). Unfortunately, he didn't show up, and we haven't been able to get ahold of him.

It's interesting that in some parts of the world, it's a struggle to have baptisms, while here, sometimes we have people who want to get baptized just to get baptized! one of the struggles for us is making sure people are truly converted to this gospel before getting them to their baptism.

hmmm, que mas... well, i have to say that my spanish is improving quite a lot now that i have a latina companion. sometimes, i kind of just want to turn my mind off from all the translating i have to do all day, but it's getting easier. i'm trying hard to work on my accent now. some missionaries here are actually really good at the grammar and words, but the people can't understand what they're saying because of their accents ha ha!

The most spiritual part of this whole experience so far is that sometimes i testify of something, and while i'm speaking the words, the spirit testifies to me that they are true. This week on multiple occasions i was teaching about the Atonement of Christ when i realized how REAL the power of His sacrifice is, how perfectly he knows me, and how much he wants to help me whenever i have a problem. I was using my pocket knife the other day, and i sliced my finger open (que tonta). I was sitting in a car a couple days later, and i looked down at the cut when the thought came to me, "Jesus Christ knows the pain you felt when that happened." I thought, "But it wasn't even a big deal!" And then i felt the spirit SO strongly testify that it WAS a big deal for him, that he CHOSE to suffer for everyone of my pains, and of everyone's pains, so that he could perfectly understand us. this story maybe sounds a little silly or weird in email ha ha but i hope that if you are reading this, you can feel that your Savior, Jesus Christ, truly knows and loves you. This knowledge is what gets me through the hard times. Fasting really does work, i've already learned that.

Take care, and know that someone in Peru loves ya!

Hna Bennett


i got grandma's letter, not brody's.
i have been sick, but nothing serious. just adjusting!
i've had some dogs get pretty close, but nothing has happened yet! one lady said it might be our skirts that freak them out?? there's not much i can do about that ha ha
well, keep sending me news about home!

love you all!
hna bennett

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No Transfer-- happy to get some more time in Santa Anita

September 16, 2013

i did not get transferred, but Hna Johnson did :( i would be really sad if we weren't going to see each other after the mission, but luckily, we go to the same school! i am now with hna aguayo, a chilena. she is so stinking hilarious. and very patient with my lack of spanish skills.

i've come to love joseph smith a lot so far on the mission. and also, to appreciate more and more every day the restoration of the gospel of jesus christ. i love teaching it, and luckily, the people here are very receptive to it.

 yesterday, we were talking with a girl who was ready to get baptized this week, but then her brother said she couldn't until she turns 18. in this same day, the owner of the place she works at said we can't visit her there any more. and then, right when i was trying to help her get through everything and i was finishing a pretty heartfelt testimony, the radio turned on all on its own to some stupid rap song! ha. the adversary is so real, and is working so hard to stop everything good. it's the worst.

i probably will never downoad anything from your emails, sorry. i just am too worried about getting viruses, especially with the experiences i've heard about/had already with computers here. thanks for keeping me updated though! i do like to look at pics you send. i guess what happened with my memory card is i got a virus when i plugged it into the computer, so one of the elders is giving it to his pensionista to figure out, it sounds like they can figure it out, which is good! my new companion has 14 months in the mission, and lost her memory card with ALL of her pics from the whole mission in the move to this area. technology is so hard :( luckily, with facebook, i'll basically have access to all the pictures of all of my companions and converts when i get home. so that's one good aspect of social networking!

well, i'm going to write a big email now for everyone. i'll get pics to you when i can figure out how to to do it safely.

love you! and mom and dad: send me your conversion stories. as detailed as you care to make them!

love you all!

hna shae


Hola from Peru!

This week has been crazy (i think that is probably the most-used line in all of missionary work). We had cambios (not sure what that is called in english), which means we get calls tuesday night telling us if we need to move out to a new area the next morning at 6:30 in the morning ha it's pretty stressful. I am still in Santa Anita, but Hna Johnson was transferred to Surco. I am now with Hna Aguayo from Chile! She's awesome. She has more than a year in the mission, and I have already learned so much from her. The first thing she said to me was, "We are going to laugh. A LOT." And we have! ha ha. She always asks me to teach her how to dance to country music... just because i'm from the US...

Anyways... We have a baptism planned for this Saturday, for a guy named George. He's been coming to church for a few months, all on his own really. He's 20. When we started talking to him, he said, ¨When is the soonest i can get baptized?" it was pretty cool. So now, we're teaching all the necessary stuff!

We're also working towards the baptism of Esmeralda. She is so cool. I can picture her being like, general young women's president someday. Which is probably why she's facing so much opposition right now. First, the landlady of the store she works at told her that we can't meet her at her store any more because it looks bad to costumers (she honestly goes from school to work to bed, so we only can visit her at this store). then, in the same day, her brother told her she can't be baptized until she's 18. also, he refuses to talk to us. it's dang frustrating. but things this important always have opposition. i think that once we get through this, we'll all learn how strong we can be with the help of our heavenly father in our trials.

we have also had a lot of fun this week too. hna aguayo and I were organizing these boxes that have all the materials for our area when we found a cd marked "videos mormones." We were so excited to have some nice mormon messages for entertainment! so we stuck it in the dvd player, and waited anxiously to hear the voice of one of the apostles or something. But, to our dismay, the cd just started playing some spanish pop/rap song. we looked at the cd and found about 100 more songs like this one! ha ha ha! apparently some elder from a past transfer had been smuggling some unauthorized music into the apartment... so naturally, we decided to leave the cd on the desk of our sister leaders, with a note that said, "hermanas, we found this while organizing. we really think that video number three will have a great spiritual impact in your calling as sister leaders."

they never said anything about it to us...

well, things here are good! the weather's getting hot, but i will survive (probably). I just know that this church is true, more and more every day. It makes me happy more than i can express to know that I have a heavenly Father who wants to talk to me, and that i have a Savior who loves me enough that he suffered for every single one of heartaches and pains, so that he can help me when i experience them.

Send me emails; I have more time for internet now! Tell EVERYONE you know to write me. Not really.

les amo MUCHOOOO!

Hna Bennett


Goodbye Hna Johnson (last night together with Betty) 

Second Companion - Hermana aguayo from Chile!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Jaime gets baptized! (and visitors from home, sort of)

September 9, 2013

[Note: Stefani that Shae mentions below is Stefani Lively from our ward in Hooper. She is from Peru and went to visit her family this week - and was SOOOO gracious to take Shae a package for her birthday. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH STEFANI and BRIAN- you have no idea how much this means to Shae and us and we know it was not easy for you - and for Brian (her husband). This was an incredible act of kindness we will never forget - kenny]

This last saturday was the baptism of jaime! i tried to send a pic, but then my whole memory card got wiped somehow, so i'm kinda trying not to cry right now. i'll figure it out... anyways, back to jaime! he showed up, all dressed up in his suit and tie. he even sang a song! I'm glad he did, at a lot of the other baptisms i've been to, Hna Johnson and i have had to sing by ourselves ha ha so that's always interesting. then the next day at church, Jaime showed up with his tithing, already to go. there are so many amazing people here, i just feel so lucky to be able to serve them.

The spanish is coming along. I can understand ideas of conversations most of the time, but every once in a while I miss something and it kinda makes a huge difference in the conversation. I can usually express what i want to say, which is nice! i've definitely come a long way. it's hard to believe that someday, i'll actually be able to hold conversations with people, but i have faith it will happen, i have a year and a half to figure it out ha.

i think the thought that has caught my attention most this week is my growing testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. i though i had a pretty good understanding of it before i came, but i've quickly realized that this is one thing that i will never understand perfectly in this life. While i was teaching an investigator about the atonement, the thought came to me, ¨Why is it that the Atonement had to happen?¨ then a scripture in John chapter 15 or 16 i think, came to my head. it says something like - greater love hath no man than that who layeth down his life for his friend. Jesus Christ laid down his life for ALL. Furthermore, he took on the pains and sins and sufferings of ALL. There is nothing that anyone has ever done in the entire history of this world that has demonstrated as much love as Christ did during the Atonement. and He did it for ME. and for YOU. and i think when we have moments where we actually realize that we are THAT important to the Savior of the World, we can't help but be overcome with how powerful that is.

I hope these emails make sense ha sometimes my thoughts are in spanglish. i love you all, and hope you are well!

hna bennett


to my beloved familia!

WOW. you guys are the BEST. I happened to have to go to the mission home on tuesday, and was pleasantly surprised when one of the office elders dragged out a 50 pound bag full of stuff for me! do you have a way i can email Stephanie_ (no question mark on this keyboard, sorry...) she must have a had a hard time lugging that bag all the way from utah. i just feel so loved and happy whenever i think about how much work you all did for me! please don't try to send a bday package, this one is plenty, and i don't want you to send something that will probably get stolen. THANK YOU! I wish i could have met up with stephanie, but we really aren't supposed to work with people outside of our area. do you know where she is staying - which district_ maybe i can get in touch with the missionaries for her area. lima is a big city! probably has as many people in it as the whole state of utah. i hope she didn't have to come too far to bring it to me, public transportation is kinda horrible. but thank you all so much! when you see her, tell her gracias! and ask for her email address.

ha ha i'm so happy you sent pics, i was kinda bummed that i didn't bring a ton. don't worry about making me homesick, when i hear about all the fun you're having and the good reminders of home, it just makes me happy! I miss a lot of foods! cereal, milk, spaghetti... grandma's funeral potatoes! i think the reason i don't get homesick is because time is flying by so fast here! actually, my companions are always like, ¨hna bennett, why haven't you broken down yet_ everyone has a mental breakdown in the first transfer_¨ i think its a blessing that i've always wanted to serve a mission, because its making all the ups and downs much more bearable. i know why i'm here, and i'm ready to work!

love you all! work hard!

sister b


Jaime's baptism! he's the first person I've baptized that I taught from start to finish. Also, he sang a song at his baptism, so that was really really awesome.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Baptisms!!!

[NOTE: I got a few more pictures from Shae that I have added to old posts below so that they appear in their proper timeline - go below to see them - kb]


September 2, 2013

Well, it's already september, which is the beginning of my favorite season at home! But here, it's beginning to get hot. About every other day, it gets pretty warm, but then the other half of the time, it's still pretty cold.

This week we had three baptisms! Ok, i can't really take much credit for that, they already had received a lot of lessons before I came, but i did have the opportunity to teach Deysi in the weeks before her baptism. She's the adorable little angel in a white baptismal dress. I love teaching children! they are so intelligent and pick up on the messages so quickly. They just have so much energy to learn, and they have so much room in their hearts to believe. The three who were baptized were Deysi, her uncle Tino, and her grandma, Petrona. When they were confirmed with the gift of the Holy Ghost, i personally felt that same burning in my heart that i know they felt. I really think i would have a hard time if i wasn't able to see convert baptisms as often as i do, which is one pf many reasons i am grateful for my mission call to lima, peru.

I also had the opportunity to go to a big stake talent show this week. One of our investigators showed up, Hno Jaime (whose baptism is next saturday). And while we were waiting to start, he went up and started singing in front of the whole crowd ha ha! i wish you could see the change in him since the first day we found him. every time he prays, he thanks god for the missionaries who found him when he was stuck in a depression, and the other day, he even told us that he had thought about suicide right before we started talking to him. and now, he laughs all the time and sings improv karaoke at church activities! he also prays for my and hna johnson's families every night he told us, so never forget that there's one more person in the world who keeps you all in his prayers :)

Another cool experience at the talent show was with a kid named Luis Enrique. I walked in the building and saw this kid just standing, waiting for someone. He smiled and waved and shook my hand, but i really didn't think much about that because everyone does that to missionaries ha. But then, i thought, "Wow, he looks so familiar..." and i just could not think of why i would know this guy in Peru. It started to bug me, and i just kept staring at him ha ha. Then it hit me: I had contacted him in the street the first time i went tracting in the MTC! He did NOT want to talk to us. He wouldn't even look at us, and when he answered our questions, they were mumbled one word responses. but i just kept bugging him ha (which really isn't in my character, so i was kind of surprised. Hna blackwell, my mtc comp, also looked at me a little puzzled). Finally it came out that he had three Book of Mormons at home and that he had received the missionary lessons before, but didn't want to give up smoking to be baptized. We left him an invite to church and then moved on. we didn't even fill out a reference card for him because he was so uninterested. So i was pretty confused as to what he was doing at this church talent show. From what i could gather, two of the elders in my district work in his area, and i'm not sure how, but they started teaching him! If i understood correctly, he has a baptismal date coming up soon!! It was a testament to me that you really can't put it past anyone to have the ability to change. I'm glad this lesson came so early in my mission!

well, i just have one more thing to share. As we get closer to finishing my first transfer here, there are a couple missionaries who have only a week left in their missions. They are all so so sad to go home. To be honest, the first couple weeks here, i looked at them and thought, "man, it would be pretty nice to be that close to going home." But, as i've grown to love the people here, and prayed for the ability to fall in love completely with this mission, i can now understand their sadness. Yes, most of the time, it's really REALLY hard to be a missionary. But being able to focus all my heart and efforts on the gospel, and meeting such loving and genuinely, plain good people every single day, who are so giving and open to our message, it would be kind of heart-breaking to have to leave it. of course i miss home, but i really do love it here.

Take care everyone! if you want, you can send letters to me ha! dearelder or regular, they take about the same time i think. and emails are also nice to get! les amo mas que el mundo.

hna bennett


There was a quote from one of the last general conferences that says that missions shouldn't be the best time OF your life, but the best time FOR your life. the purpose of the mission is to prepare you to be a missionary for life, even when you have to worry about things like school and jobs and cars and kids and houses. my job here is so much easier than yours because i can devote every minute of every day (almost) to being a missionary, but you guys have to figure out how to do it while doing other important stuff. but i do have to say that my job is even better when the members give me people to talk to, and even EVEN better when they come with us to appointments. find people in the ward (less actives, part member families, or non members) and just don't be afraid to start talking to them. eventually you'll find a way to bring up the gospel, i promise. a lot of the stuff i've learned so far has been through regrets, like, "dang i should have talked to that family in the park" or "oh man, i shouldn't have been scared to talk about the first vision because i didn't want to scare them off." if someone is prepared and one of the elect that God has chosen to hear the gospel, you really CAN'T scare them off, but rather, you can give them the message they need most in their lives. anyways, ha ha that was a kind of a rant ha sorry, but it was just something that came to mind. become friends with the missionaries in the ward or area! they will LOVE you!

and also, i love you! :)

hna bennett

                 Deysi on the right with Uncle Tino, and her grandma Petrona

My companion and i re-enacted a little bit of church history.
Luckily, my comp understands my sense of humor.

Our first trip to the big city!