Amar y Servir

Amar y Servir

Monday, February 29, 2016

So I've got a New Compañero, Dimos un Discurso el Domingo, Prefiero Español

So I've got a new companion named Elder Studyvin. He is quite the goof but it makes it fun and exciting. It was quite funny how we got into speaking Spanish most of the time as well.  One thing that is important to know is that there are a good amount of companionships that typically start out mostly Spanish for about a week. Following which is regresses to a mix and English eventually speaks more.  However, when Elder Studyvin said "hola!" a switch flipped in my head and I started speaking to him in Spanish.  

Last night with one of the youth was the first time we had a conversation in English since Wednesday. I'm liking all this Spanish.

So someone we've been working with is named Luz.  She is a super cool mom of 6 kids, which is quite a handful.  We went by to visit her to see how she was doing Saturday night, because we've been trying to keep in contact with her.  When we were talking to her at the front door, there were some kids playing on the side yard.  She told them to not kick the ball around, and it seemed like she had been worn out that day from a lot of work and trying to be patient with them.  As we turned back to invite her to church, we heard a ball kicked then a crash and some shattering. 

It was like we were in a movie.

As soon as that happened, she put a big smile on her face, but was evident she wasn't happy. We knew what she meant and she said to pray for her so that she doesn't "kill her kids" because that was the 6th window broken that month.  Just as she told us this one of her little boys said that not one, but two windows were broken.  Yep it made sense why she was still asleep when we passed by in the morning before church to invite her.  The son told us that she had a bad headache and was really worn out.  So we left an invitation to a baptism the Hermana's in the Ward were having. 

It was a great baptism. Turns out that one of our investigators that has been really hesitant to accept a baptismal date, despite many missionaries passing by for 2-years and his wife wanting to get married and baptized since day one.  While he didn't go to church, after the baptism he didn't want to leave because he loved the Spirit that he felt there.  Hopefully that can help him realize what is waiting for him.

The work continues to progress. I'm working to have a greater focus on 
Christ.  The talk I gave this past Sunday in Sacrament meeting which talked on that very subject.  The theme basically talked about how in the first part of my mission I felt that is missed something and I couldn't figure out what it was.  As I continued throughout my mission, I did everyone I could to be happy and be the best I could.  What came to my full attention was that my focused was a little erred. The focus that I have been able to attain that has changed my enjoyment of my mission by a large margin, is putting my focus completely on no longer improving myself for personal benefit, but placing it on Christ.  I can honestly say that I have not been so worried and stressed nearly as much, but have been getting so much more done and enjoying life so much more.

Christ really is the Center of Everything. The more that we can come to recognize this, we come to see what our life was truly made to become. To be fill with joy.

Some iPad shot of the sunset :)

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Transfers, Baptisms for the dead, 12 investigators @Ch

So transfers are upon us once again after a quick fly by of what doesn't even feel like 6 weeks. (Hopefully this next 7 transfer week can slow it down a bit :). Right now I am a little surprised because I had only been with Elder Salinas for a whole transfer.  Which is a bit of a bummer because we had a lot of fun and made some good changes in the Estrella ward.  Now I get to host another amazing companion which I get to meet tomorrow.  (President called and told us who the new missionaries in our zone will be, of the which 8 missionaries are getting transferred!  All but one companionship will be getting a new missionary!). My companion will be Elder Studyvan.  He is a missionary that has been out since July.  I'm pretty excited.

Fun moment.  We were able to take Rosario, our recent convert who was baptized back in January, to do baptisms for the dead.  It was super fun and Rosario was able to get over her fears and have an enjoyable experience.  By the end, she was making a lot of jokes and full of laughs. 

So this past week I got sick on Friday and had to stay in Saturday-Monday.  So we weren't able to get much work done.  However,  the Lord didn't lose a pace.  When we passed by an investigators house, Luz, that we visited Thursday, she said she would come to church.  With a little skip in our step and tissues in my nose and pocket, we tucked ourselves onto a bench so I wouldn't get anyone else sick.  As the sacrament meeting began, Mariana and her husband came, along with Rosario and her kids.  So Luz didn't come we were bummed, but we were still able to participate in the conferring to the gift of the Holy Ghost to Mariana. 

As the sacrament meeting progressed, we sung the first hymn and we're going through announcements and moving onto the sacrament.  While we were singing we had a pleasant surprise.  Luz and the 5 kids that were with her came walking in!  I was so pleased to see them there because we've been working with Luz for a period of time and she has been doing everything we have invited her to do, including praying about whether she should be baptized.  So we finished the meeting, we tried to hurry over before they could sneak away and go home. (One thing that happens is that once they are out the doors, they are gone, a very small chance of getting them to walk back in.).  So we were working through the members with our Ward mission leader, and we saw here leave the sacrament room.  We tried to hurry, but I felt that we were a little to slow.

But I was met with another marvelous sight.  The members were all over them and were already taking them to the classes!  We didn't even have time to even say it was nice to see them.  Turns out, some of them had daughters that were friends going to the same school and another member, who is a returning less active, totally took Luz under her arm straight to class as if they were friends.  The gospel principles class went really well, thanks to the second counsellor in the stake presidency teaching.  He taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ and gave a powerful message on the blessings and the reasons why those investigating the church should be baptized.  I am pretty sure that after that lesson that all of our investigators, especially Mariana's husband, are much more motivated to enter into the covenant and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  I am honestly impressed and humbled to be fortunate enough to be able to serve in this Ward.  

I've been waiting for over a year to take this picture!  Yeah I can walk on water.... Sorta...

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Let's get down to work; Marriage "wuv tuwo wav iz what brings us togeva today", After that you can be Baptized

Febrero 11, 2016

Entrevista con presidente Griffin "yo quiero que crea en su mismo"  We were fortunate and were able to have interviews with President Griffin this week.  One of the things that he told me was that I had "carried [my] fair share of the load", saying that I have worked hard and worked well.  The only thing that he wants me to be able to take home, if it was the only other thing, was that I would believe in myself.  To me that is something that I would not be to against that idea.  I would agree with him.  It is like the whole idea that we have to love others as you love yourself.  You have to truly love yourself if you want to truly love others.  Same could be applied to faith.  You cannot have faith in God that he can help you achieve something if you dont' even believe in yourself in the first place.

Febrero 13, 2016

Service moving rocks for 3 hrs. (1hr 15min the whole pile). That is something we have started to try and take more advantage of here.  It is called JustServe.  So we spread this pile out pretty fast.  It reminded me a lot of when we would move mulch for those long periods of time... And even more time... And even more time... Till it was finally manageable.  I definitely miss doing that.  Good memories doing yard work. 

Abril's Birthday party, Rosario's daughter, turned out really well.  The Ward supported and some of the members went and talked with Rosario's husband, who has been infadoso lately.  Turns out, one of the members had actually taught him with the missionaries before a few years back.  The discussion turned out well and they hopefully can keep working with him so that he may one day come around and open up to accepting the gospel in his life as well.  Besides, April was super happy that Elder Salinas and I came and said happy birthday.  Especially when we gave her a fish that our neighbors gave us after we helped them move.
(It was a beta fish)

Febrero 14, 2016

Sunday was Mariana's baptism.  As we prepared, there was a lot of things that happened that made it a great day.  Starting from getting just a few minutes late to PEC and the bishopric joking about us being late to us seeing an extremely big amount of investigators at church today (just Elder Salinas and I had 8!)  Then we were late to their wedding (which we didn't realize that we needed to be there) but it all worked out to be full of the Spirit.  I felt something so special when they made the covenant.  It gave me such a sensation of confirmation that this is what God wanted them to do and that he was content. 

Then we had the baptism.  Another wonderful Spirit was felt, even though some of us had little slip ups.  As Obispo Cid and Mariana got in the water, the cold water because the water heater doesn't work, the most surreal experience filled my heart.  Out of everything that Mariana has had to go through through these almost 2 years, she was finally able to enter the water and begin her new life of the covenant.  From someone who is so serious almost no joke can get her to even grin, she was al smiles tonight.

We also shared the video of when Jesus was baptized.  As we were sharing our testimonies, Hna Navas put a face as to indicate that I needed to smile, which put a big smile on my face.  As we were watching the video I was reminded of what we were learning in the Gospel Principles class on what talked about repentance.  What came to my understanding is that I lacked something.  When John the Baptist was baptizing  both Jesus and other faithful saints that desired to be obedient to the Father.  One thing that stuck out to me was how John showed so much love to those that made this covenant.  I have felt that love from time to time.  A love that one feels for those around him, just as Christ feels love for everyone of us.  There has not been anything so sweet as having experienced that more profoundly for a greater group of people down here in Arizona.

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

Monday, February 8, 2016

Barrio Estrella stepping up, English Class, We hit standards of excellence after 9 months in being the West Maricopa Zone!!

This week was full of a great number of things, but I will take the time to focus on the highlights.

Febrero 4, 2016

So the family we have been working with that asked us 2 weeks ago to visit their home are going to be baptized this coming Sunday.  It was quite a blur of events that were difficult to record all of them, but I will share what I have recorded thus far.

 Qué pasó ayer con los Bañuelos y presidente Cid
  • So we had our second lesson with the Banuelos where Presidente Florencio Cid and Hermano Jesus Figueroa were present as well.  In the lesson Elder Salinas and I stood back in awe as Presidente Cid took control of the visit and guided them through what they wanted and what needed to be done.  I was very impressed in not only how Presidente Cid was able to manipulate the conversation and control it in how he desired, but also how sincere the desires were to be baptized by la hermana Mariana and her husband, Ernesto.  What I loved about it was when they asked how soon they could be baptized.  This is what caught me by surprise.  They wanted to be baptized the 14th!! Presidente Cid accepted that and we set up the lessons to get started.  I felt that this was a miracle occurring before our eyes in that I still am trying to grasp how quickly this is all happening.

With all of this we have been visiting with them almost every day to get through all of the lessons to prepare them for the baptismal interview questions.  What is great about this whole process is that they have been taught previously by the missionaries, so they know a great deal of the things we go over.  There are many times where Ernesto, the husband, will share things that he learned in the gospel principles classes and her wife, who is typically a very serious faced individual, is smiling a lot more and participating.  

One thing to note is that since day one, Mariana knew the church was true.  She remained faithful trying to attend church when she could, but her husband wasn't so sure and held back.  Now that we have begun visiting with them, the husband is the one taking the helm in asking the questions and participating where he can.  It has been quite the treat working with them.

One thing we also started was English class.  The sister that was teaching had been teaching for a year.  She was getting worn out and there was a couple weeks that no one came, so with that she had us meet with her.  When we got there at the church, around 8:30pm after a lesson we had with an investigator, Luz Mejia, she basically gave everything to us and then just took off.  Like what you see in cartoons when a character has a bomb about to explode and gives it to an innocent bystander who watches helplessly as it is about to explode in their hands.

So we got together with the hermanas that serve in the Ward with us and we collaborated about what we could do to make this class a success.  If we can get this going and make it popular, we could potentially find some new investigators to teach.  With that in mind we took the resources that we had and began making flyers and pass along cards.  We even made a fun Facebook post on the webpage that had been previously established. (Surprisingly there were about 140 people on the page!)

So we waited out for a month until February to start the classes again.  We invited members and had the leaders announce them in the classes so that those that were interested could go.  We put forth a good amount of effort and I was praying pretty well that there would be good attendance.  There was a recent convert family, Magda Lopez (she was the one baptized before Rosario), that showed a great deal of interest in the classes.  So I was hopeful that at least they would show.  

Then Thursday came.

I regret not taking a picture, but I will next week.  We had a turn out of about 10-13 people!  I had only seen 4 in the previous class I had seen.  As the class got underway, we were able to take the format we set out for the class and things went fairly smoothly.  I was extremely happy for how things turned out.  (Funny note: I ended up teaching the majority of the class because the other hermana, hna Navas, that typically would have helped was on splits teaching a lesson and I was with two fairly new companions that weren't really sure what to do.  They started getting the hang of it though near the end.). At the end of the class everyone was laughing and having a fun time and all were walking away saying a phrase or two that they had learned in the class.  I was still experiencing some butterflies from the stress I had before the class, but it was really fun.  :)  I can defiantly say that the Spirit was there helping because as soon as I began teaching, it flowed very naturally and I felt very calm and confident.  I even was making a lot of fun jokes that helped lighten the mood and put the new people in the class at ease.

Febrero 5, 2016

We had fish tacos for a members birthday. (This was amazing, fish taco, carne asada, and a bunch of chile, pasta salad, and many more things)

Febrero 6, 2016

These are from a member that is from El Salvador.  It is a torta with chicken, lettuce, tomato, and some other really good stuff.  Imagine the size of two hands, and a little bigger, and eat that twice.  Yep, Latino food is THAT GOOD.

So we passed by some former investigators to see if we could start working with them... It was their daughters birthday, who turned 8, and they love the missionaries.  So they opened the door and first thing they said was "want some food?"  We knew this was the only way to get into the door, and I was stuffed from what you see above, so we accepted and ate some really good food.  We were able to set some things up for us visiting them again soon and we even gave a blessing to one of the members there, who is a less active member, who was sick.  

(Elder Salinas)

A Ward initiative that we are trying to get going of showing our love to Christ this time of season.

Rosario's daughter, Abril, is a lot like Haley in that she is on top of things and even though her birthday is next week, she has started decorating her home for her birthday!

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

Monday, February 1, 2016

Letter to young men

To start out, I want to say how much I owe to those that were my
leaders in the scouting program.  My life would not be the same
without them.

Throughout the whole process, the fun mutual/scouting activities in
the church and people's backyards, the many memories of the crazy
scouting camp outs, and the many other meetings which don't need to be
listed, I have learned so many valuable lessons.  Lessons of hard work
(long hikes beyond what I knew I could accomplish and those tents that
were not going to set up and put away themselves) , creativeness (some
of those scout cheers we had to put together were quite the pieces of
work), and friendship (some of my greatest lifelong friends and
greatest memories were with those I did all of these adventures with)
all added a great sense of value to my life.

Along with that, probably one of the greatest things that I was able
to experience on these trips, was growing my testimony of the Savior
with my friends and fellow leaders.  What I have come to realize on my
mission is that one of the greatest things that we can have in this
life are the relationships we have.  Those countless merit badge
classes, and those countless hours that were necessary to complete
them (except for the service hours, those were counted), was where I
was able to develop those relationships.  This is where I became what
I consider to be the best person I could be.

If I would say one thing about scouting, it would be that it is an
amazing way to  provide a way on how to learn new things and find what
we are good at.  As we go through this process, we learn who we truly
are.  Which in turn will help us be better prepared for what the Lord
will require of us..  I understand now that scouting was not only just
to have a good time, but it was to prepare me to be the best person I
can be.

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅