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