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