Amar y Servir

Amar y Servir

Monday, April 25, 2016

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

This week was a testimony builder for me.  To many factors, one of the greatest being Elder Quaresma.  So this week we had so many lessons
scheduled and we were excited, however, as the week progressed, we
find that nearly all of our lessons were being canceled.  We just
didn't understand why.  I knew that it was the will of God and that we
should accept what he desires, but what Elder Quaresma did changed my
whole perspective entirely on what it means to respect the will of
God.  Even though we were running into cancelation after cancelation,
this missionary never gave up.  He continued to call and set up
appointments, get members set for every lesson.  He would pray
earnestly that we could reach our goals for the week and find those
that would help us achieve them.  He worked harder and prayed more
earnestly as things seemed more dreer.  Even when it seemed like we
had done everything we could, he would always go one step further.
One prayer more, one more phone call, one more invitation to hear a
message of Jesus Christ.

As Saturday came, we were short on multiple levels to accomplish what
we set out to do.  However, we had many lessons that were set.  We had
more than just lessons.  We had miracles.  Saturday we had all the
lessons needed and at church we hit our goal to investigators at
church. The prayers were all answered in full!!

Throughout the whole night Saturday we had Michael Vasquez with us.
This man has gone through so much and is fighting to get through
personal trials.  At the end of the night to take him home, he
mentioned that in our last visit, which was completely in Spanish, he
felt a special Spirit so strong. "That one, for some reason, really
hit me."  What took me buy surprise, was when Elder Quaresma asked if
we could share a quick 5 minute lesson with him as well.  Michael
accepted and we shared a video of President Uctdorf on the story of
the Ugly Duckling in helping us to discover "our true identity."  The
Spirit was so sweet in that setting and at the end he offered the
closing prayer.  In his prayer, he mentioned of his struggles and his
sincere desires.  This reminded me of a trial that I had in my youth.
I remembered the one thing, out of everything I did, that helped me
overcome this trial.  It was reading in the Book of Mormon daily.  So,
with this, I invited Michael to do the very same thing.  To read in
the Book of Mormon every day, and if he did so, assuring that he did
not miss a day, he would have the strength to overcome the temptations
he has been experiencing.  Even if he may falter, not to give up
either, each time we fall down we can and will have the power to stand

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

24 de Abril de 2016, Baptism of Susana Lyman Meza!!

- Luis velasco and sister Freer made it possible so that we could go
down to the baptism. Such a wonderful experience before and after
getting to know them. Truly remarkable people.  While I was on the
ride back, I got talking with sister freer on my father, Ryan Benson,
my hero.  The more I explained who my father was and is, I had a deep
sense of gratitude and humility to recollect what my father had gone
through to provide for me and my life.  He, along with my angel
mother, sacrificed so much so that I could have more than comfortable
life and bright future.  I will be forever grateful for what he has
done for me.  I look up to that man as my greatest hero, as far as
imperfect human beings go that is. :)

Monday, April 18, 2016

I Saw Snow, I have a Brazilian Companion, Too much English

Let's start with a great quote from Elder Holland:

In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.  Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”6The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.

When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to have faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not!  Don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.

Leaving Estrella.

Leaving is always hard for me.  Partly because I subconsciously try to hide or dismiss how I feel, in order to avoid the tears and hard goodbyes.  I was visiting a few people and was able to say the best goodbyes that I could, but the last was tough.  It was saying goodbye to our recent converts that were baptized just last Sunday.  Abril, the oldest at 14yrs, was super close to crying while I was there.  It was hard to say bye to Aaron, Mauricio and Abril.  But I know that we'll all be friends for a long time.  There were so many people here that changed my life for the better and I will have a special place in my heart.  I know that it was a tremendous blessing to be able to serve amongst such a good hearted people.

My area in Flagstaff.

So coming into Flagstaff was amazing to say in the least.  I share that quote that mom gave me because it ties into how my experience was coming into the area.  The second day here we were asked to go to the local hospital to give a blessing.  We drove over before dinner and gave a blessing to a sister that was surrounded by her loving family.  All their feelings were visible in their faces.  We went and gave her a blessing of health.  The Spirit was sweet and assuring.  After the blessing was pronounced in the name of Christ, I turned to see some crying.  I realize now, looking back, that the blessing did more than heal her body and spirit.  It healed her family's spirits as well.  I am grateful to be able to relate to you all the wonderful things that occur on my mission, because some come as I am able to share with you what the Lord has given to me.

The trees and night of snow has been fun, and I have had to adjust to cooler temperatures.  But I've been enjoying it a lot.  It almost feels like I am on vacation!  Well... We do live right behind the theatre that we watched Captain America in.  Super cool right!?

A little about my companion.

He is the trainee of my trainee, in missionary slang terms: grandson. Yes it is crazy to think about it.  My companion is from Brasilia Brasil, the Capitol.  He can speak all three!! He is one of my best and favorite companions for sure!!  He has the most amazing of balance fun, hardwork, and spirituality.  He is someone that radiates the light of Christ, when putting him against a background of missionaries, that is saying something.  I feel so blessed to be serving with this dedicated elder for the last 12 weeks of my mission.

He is Humble, Meek, Christlike in so many ways, and works hard. One of the best I have been with in my entire mission. He inspires me to be better whenever I am around him.  I also learned that he really likes cats. He calls them "cuchito" and meows every time he sees one.  Haha he is such a ball!  I am going to enjoy being with this amazing Elder.

He has taken control of the area well. We have already met with the bishops in the two wards (English areas... Wow this is super different. Same church and everything... But wow are things different). We've got good relationships with the wards. Coordinations run well with both willing to help, especially Peak View.  We cover the Switzer Canyon Ward, Peak View Ward, and a Spanish group here. 

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Transfer week, I'm going to Flagstaff

So I found out I am going to Flagstaff for my last two transfers of my mission.  This will be bitter sweet for me.  We had a wonderful end of a transfer here in Estrella West area.  We had the APM approach set up with the WML and Elders quorum and just had to set a day with a willing young men's aux.  the Ward is popping with success and I'll miss this Ward.  We were taking a recent convert to the temple to do baptisms for the dead and have many investigators that are going to be confirmed and baptized in these next three to four weeks.  

The highlights were many, especially seeing Abril, Mauricio and Aaron Salazar get baptized before I left.  I told Elder Studyvin about a month ago, "if I can see those three get baptized before I leave, my mission would be made."  God respected that desire and many miracles occurred to make that happen.  Even though I won't be able to see them be confirmed or go to do baptisms for the dead with our recent convert Mariana Banuelos this Saturday, I feel like I did everything I could do to help further the Lord's work here.  I will have many life long friends here and will forever have in my heart the West Maricopa Zone and the amazing people, members and missionaries, that I have gotten to know.

I am super excited to venture out of the valley and see what flagstaff has and what we can get moving there.  Have a great week!

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

Monday, April 4, 2016

General Conference weekend, my last.

This week is pretty awesome and I've enjoyed the roller coaster ride of the week this has been. We have been really busy with one of most productive weeks that I've had in almost a year.  We can working really hard with the five people we have on date.  Next Sunday will be able to see Abril, Mauricio, and Aaron (who are Rosario's kids) enter into the waters of baptism and the following week receive the Holy Ghost.  I am super excited!

This general conference had a lot of good things that had a lot of good take aways.  There were many that worked together that helped me and gave good guidance for what I am experiencing.  The main things that stuck out to me was that we are children of our Heavenly Father, Humility in our trials, Temples are important places to be, the Atonement can reconstruct our lives, and the importance to focus on families.

(I just got out in a game called werewolf.  It's basically Mafia, and I got killed the first night in both games... I am not very pleased with that...)

So out of all of the talks Elder Hallstrom and Elder Uctdorf on the topic of repentance really stuck out to me. Yet here some of our most favorite quotes and takeaways.

President Eyring
We need to pray for others, while they are teaching us, praying, or in any other righteous endeavor.  As we do this the Spirit can be magnified.  One thing that we are invited to do as missionaries is pray for our companion as they teach.

Elder Hallstrom
To know that we are children of our Heavenly Father "is essential to Salvation"

Elder Uctdorf
"The sheep is worthy to be rescued simply because he is loved."
"The steps of faith are called obedience"
"There is nothing good unless we do it"

What I have learned from this general conference, virtual family fireside, and other scriptures (D&C 121:7-8; Mosiah 14:10) is that there will be trials in our lives that we cannot control.  The things we will face in this life is not within our power.  There is a reason why we are always and forever will be "unprofitable servants".  It is because the Lord allows us to be tried and tested.  So that we can become more powerful, humble, and meek servants of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The answer doesn't always come as we may hope it will.  With variables such as time, method of deliverance, and to what extent the aid is given, we will always we tried and tested (D&C 24:8) "21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. 22 Nevertheless--whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day." (Mosiah 23:21-22) 

I know that the patience of Job is not accomplished through a comfortable life.  However, I know that the Lord will be with us every step of the way.  If we do our best to endure patiently in faith (which is being active rather than passive), we will find peace in this life that surpasseth all understanding.  The Lord said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅