Monday, March 10, 2014

Finding the Balance

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

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

Displaying IMG_2474.JPG

Displaying IMG_2484.JPG

Displaying IMG_2497.JPG

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bad Things, Good People

Well this week was my first week in my new area, Chosica, in the El Sol ward, with Hermana Cornu who is like a laugh a minute ha ha i am actually just laughing with her right now because she is sitting right next to me reading this... Luckily the weather here is a lot less hot than it was in Lima. it actually rains a lot, which i was super excited about until they told me it is mudslide season ha. we seriously go hiking up this one mountain every day to make visits. i have seen some very humble homes this week. there are also some parts of our area that remind me of the part where you get on Pirates at Disneyland, so that makes me happy. Maybe someone out there will know what i mean.
     What can i share with you this week? hmmm. well, yesterday was interesting because we ended up teaching the plan of salvation in almost all of our lessons. we got to the home of a woman who has been less active for about 10 years (almost right after she got baptized) and we were planning on teaching the restoration. but for some reason, i just didn't feel that that was right. so, by some miracle, her microwave went off and she said, "oh one second" and left. My and Hermana Cornu turned to each other and it was like, "Lesson 2?" "Yeah, lesson 2!" and our game plan was set. so the sister came back and we said the prayer, and as soon as we finished with the amen, she started off on a little bit of her life story. She told us that recently, she has been fighing a lot with her son and husband, which are the only family she has really. She told us that she feels very lonely, and that she has even had thoughts of suicide. she told us that she didn't understand how God could love her, or anyone, if he would allow such bad things to happen in the world. I was just kinda amazed, because i could feel the answers forming in my head. and could feel the truth of them in my heart as i said them. i even surprised myself at how well we were able to respond to that tough question, but of course, it was purely by the spirit.
     There is a scripture in Moses, chapter 7 verse 32ish, i believe, where the prophet Enos (or is it Enoch? ha ha i am the worst at scriptural context remembering) is taken up in a vision by the Lord, and is shown all kinds of wars and just really horrible things that are going to come to pass in the world before Christ comes again. Enoch/Enos then looks up at the Lord and sees that he is crying. He asks something to the effect of "Lord, how can you be crying, if you are all-knowing and all-powerful, and have already seen this all before?" and The Lord responds, "These are your brothers; they are my own creations. i have given them the commandments to help them be happy. but they have used their agency for the wrong. they have even come to hate their own blood." that was a lot of paraphrasing by hermana bennett, but the point of this is that God doesn't like to see our pains any more than we do. he has given us the commandments to help us avoid these pains, but he has also given us agency, and will never force us to do anything no matter how much he knows it will help us. And when we use that agency to make wrong choices, it not only hurts ourselves, but many others. that is one answer to the question, "why do bad things happen to good people?"
    the other answer is that some of our difficulties here on this earth are just part of the reason we decided to come here: to be tested, to grow and overcome, and to earn the mansion that our Savior is preparing for us in His Father's Kingdom. It's the truth: we wouldn't know the good without the bad. So when you find yourself wondering, "Why me?" look for what you're supposed to be getting out of these problems you're facing. remember that God is with you every step of the way, and don't forget that you are His, He loves you, and He wants you to be able to pull through even more than you want to be able to pull through. it's easier said than done, but if i ever start to complain about the hard times, just remind me of this email.
  lots of love wherever this email finds you,
hna bennett
Displaying IMG_2427.JPG
Some members of the Canada Bishopric keeping it classy

Displaying IMG_2425.JPG
Manuel, who will soon be baptized in the Canada ward

Displaying IMG_2447.JPG
Hermana Helena Inga and I
Displaying IMG_2456.JPG
This is my new companion, Hermana Cornu!
Displaying IMG_2455.JPG
My new Chosicano view

Monday, February 24, 2014

Maria's Baptism Day

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

Displaying IMG_2420.JPG
Maria's baptism

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Baptism of Jesus

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

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

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

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

Displaying IMG_2354.JPG
Santiagito, the son of the Castillos
Displaying IMG_2363.JPG
The Baptism of Jesus! (sounds funny in English...)
Displaying IMG_2372.JPG
Sister Reunion
Displaying IMG_2370.JPG
Hna Llavilla and I with our high quality crowns
Displaying IMG_2374.JPG
with the Obrigawitch

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Priesthood Miracle

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

Displaying IMG_2376.JPG
dinner with the Marcas

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dodging Carnavales

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

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

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Muchas Blessings

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Mission is Changing Me

This week, we accomplished some things here in el barrio Canadá!
Hna Llavilla and I are working on improving our tracting skills, so we have put the goal to talk to at least two people on the way to every appointment. We have met some pretty interesting folks ha ha and also, we are getting more new investigators! So that's awesome.

We started teaching Leny this week. He is the nephew of a couple in the ward, the Zumayetas. He has come to church the last two weeks, and the young single adults have already taken him in, which is really cool! He asked if we could come visit him after church, so of COURSE we went. He had already read the first 14 chapters of the Book of Mormon. When we asked him what he thought about it, he said that there is a lot of good counsel in it, and that it's really interesting. He's just really thirsting for the truth, and now we get the opportunity to help him along (but really, he's doing it mostly on his own). We invited him to be baptized the 9th of Febuary. He said. "Well first, i need to read the Book of Mormon, meditate about it, and then i'll need to pray to God about it." (see: the second to last paragraph of the introduction of the Book of Mormon, which says exactly that). But he said that of course he would be baptized if he found the Book of Mormon to be true. We have a lot of high hopes for this hermano.

We are also on the lookout for any less actives that we can find. The other day, we went to the house of a less active whose mom was receiving the missionaries before. The house is actually connected to a store that the family owns, so we entered in through the store. There was a woman working at the counter, and she asked us, "What do you want?" so we asked, "Is Maria (the mom) home?" This woman looked at us and said, "She left." We then tried to see if she would be interested in hearing our message. "What's your name?" we asked. She answered, "Ilda." She then said she was too busy to talk to us. All of the sudden, another girl appeared and said, "Hermanas, how are you?!" She was Carol, the daughter who is a less active member. We greeted her and said, "Hey! When can we come talk to your mom?" She looked at us a little confused, and then said, "My mom is right here..." pointing at "Ilda." and, here comes the best part... Her mom glared at her daughter and growled, "No. MARIA left." and then the three of us (my companion, me and Carol) just started laughing awkwardly. ha ha. we haven't had a single follow-up with maria/ilda.

And then, yesterday, we had a pretty profound experience, at least for me. We were running like crazy to meet Antony at the church for a lesson. When we got there, we waited for half an hour, and he didn't show up. I remembered something a sister from my MTC district told us. She said that her older sister had learned on her mission that the majority of times that we go to appointments, people aren't going to be there. She said that God knows that as well, and that he is always putting people in our paths that we need to talk to. Her advice was that whenever we go to an appointment and they aren't home, to look around for people to talk to. As we left the church, I thought of that advice and saw a man sitting on the grass. I told my companion to contact him (ha ha I'm the worst trainer ever). As soon as we started to talk, he said, "please, i do not want to talk to anyone." We sat silent for a minute, not really knowing what to say, and he started to talk again. "Two months ago, my baby girl died. Right now i am fighting with God. How could he do this to us? I see families all the time celebrating and having a good time with all their children and aunts and uncles, and God took my baby from me." Again, we sat silent for a minute. All i could think to say is that "I know that families can be together, even after death." My companion asked if he would like to talk to someone, and he said no. I testified that I know that God loves this man, and he said to me, "Don't tell me that. How can God love me if he took my baby from me?" I asked if i could leave him a picture of Christ. He said, "ok." I happened to have a pass along card with a picture of Christ smiling with a group of little children. on the back was a message about the family. I gave it to him, and he said, "Thank you." And then, we left. I was dying inside. I think i maybe felt a little bit of the pain Heavenly Father feels when he sees his children suffering, even to the point where they question His love for them. I also thought, "What was I supposed to say to this man? Why didn't i have the words to comfort him?" I thought that this was the man we were supposed to find and help, but in the end, all we could do was give him a picture. I felt so...terrible. And then, it slowly started raining. In perú. in the middle of summer. I honestly felt as if it was a moment for me, that our Heavenly Father was in reality crying for this man, His son, in this painful time of his life. I was also given the assurance that our short conversation with him was enough, was what we were there to do for him at that point in time. Who knows what will happen in the future. I pray that something we said will help him realize that God is very aware of him, especially in these heartbreaking moments.

The mission is changing me. I am becoming a more sensitive person, and I am learning the beauty of humility. I am learning patience and brotherly kindness. Maybe someday, i will even learn how to love my enemies. Through all of this, i am learning more about our Savior and Heavenly Father. I know they are real and that they live.

Hermana Bennett

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Years

here is a short email. oops. i will try to do better bext week....
This week we had some really good times! First of all, it was Hna Llavilla's birthday, so we went to the house of the Castillo family to eat some tres leches (a vanilla and a chocolate cake) with some people from the ward.

The other days, we taught some people about the Gospel. Right now we are working a lot with Elena. She has 6 children (all grown) and speaks quechua, a native language of Peru (she is from a province outside of Lima). She has been attending the last three weeks, and has a lot of faith in Jesus Christ. Yesterday, we were running late to pick her up to go to church. All of the sudden, we saw her turn the corner from her house. She started waving and smiling, and as she got closer, she said, "Well, it looks like i'm picking you two up today!" ha she's the best. Maybe i will be here to see her baptism.

Today, the elders are going to play futbooollll for p day. but us sisters can't play with elders, and there are only four of us in this area, so we're going to go shopping for some better summer clothes in a huge market called Gamarra. Everything is super super cheap. Like, 5 dollars for a Peru soccer jersey! holla.
i would take pictures, but i'm pretty sure someone would steal my camera in Gamarra. sorry.

Also, my pensionista had a guinea pig in her fridge for a couple weeks. I was so close to getting to try it! but, alas, they used it for a party. someday.

welll, this was a weird letter. i am going to commit myself to writing a good one next week...

DON'T YOU.... FORGET ABOUT ME.... (to the tune of that one song on breakfast club/pitch perfect)
k bye ha
Hna Bennett

new years with some investigators and member

Monday, January 6, 2014

hola 2K14

Helloooo to all and happy 2014!
We celebrated by talking about our expectations for the next year and how we're going to accomplish them, and then going to bed at 10:30! ha ha

This week, I don't really have one story that sticks out in my mind to tell you. I would be ungrateful to say it was an uneventful week, but i just will have to see if anyone comes to mind to tell you about as i write.

I was watching a video yesterday about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a mormon message with pictures of Christ during His life and scriptures desribing the way he selfessly lived and sacrificed Himself for us. As I felt the Spirit testifying of the truth of that message, i realized that, somehow in acting as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, i had somewhat forgotten about Jesus Christ and that everything i am here doing is to help people remember that He lives and loves us. I had become over-worried with numbers of investigators with baptismal dates and how many had attended church that day and other numbers that we have to report that i really had not been focusing on whether or not i had been testifying of His love to all that would hear me out. How is that possible? I guess the perfectionist in me got to focused on numbers. But, it explains a lot of the lack of succes i have been feeling here the last couple weeks. How could i share the gospel of Jesus Christ without putting all of my mind and heart into what it actually means to live His Gospel? We have to have hope, love, charity, patience, and long-suffering, just like He does. Without that, we will NEVER progress in this life. Furthermore, unless we feel the power of the Atonement in our lives, will we never feel the need to follow Christ; without understanding the Atonement, we will never understand joy in this life or the life to come.
This year, i hope to come to understand that Atoning sacrifice more. While i can never completely understand with my human mind all that our Savior went through, and all of the love He has for us, and can always feel in my heart that it is very powerful and very real when i take the time to remember. Let us ALWAYS remember Him, because i can assure you that He always remembers each of us.

Con mucho cariño,
Hna Bennett