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