Amar y Servir

Amar y Servir

Monday, May 23, 2016

Working Effectively Doesn't Mean Filling Your Day with More "To Do's"

Working Effectively Doesn't Mean Filling Your Day with More "To Do's"

Thanks dad for the amazing email on that analogy with the shell and the stages of life.  It was an answer to a prayer and gave me the right focus I need to fill out my mission right.  Mom, thanks for helping with college things.  That is an answer to prayers as well and I feel much more settled.  This will make it easier to stay focused and not preoccupied with college things while proselyting.  You both are stalwarts in my life.  I am glad I have you both.

So as mom has done so well to always praise me for my efforts, I have found my fire for writing poems be reignited, dad's poem was a great read.  So here is one I am currently working on.  When I get home I want to see different poem structures and find new ways to write.

The Divine Dove

A voice soft and delicate,
Heard clearly though inaudible.
Where nothing will replicate,
Which the world finds insensible.

The message is distinguished,
Be sure to give ear.
Wherein is the pain relinquished
a message soft and clear.

The voice is not its own,
But that of the master.
Such understanding has grown
When heed is given faster.

Behold the Holy Spirit,
Feel his presence grow.
Notice your soul be lit
As you see the revelation flow.

Your soul He will sanctify,
Of a once considered loss.
As to gold does fire purify
He removes all the dross.

No man is out of His reach
We only need to change.
Let him our hearts breach
And with our life, rearrange.

Of His power and majesty
No words can describe.
Nor the happiness so readily
To all does He provide.

To this member of the godhead 
This tribute has been borne
From one whom He readily lead
To show a Savior is borne.

I give thanks to him
For all that he has done
To fill a heart once dim
The light of God's Son.

This poem will be a favorite of mine, because my testimony will be borne within.  So I'll get to explaining the title.

So this past week was one of true sacrifice.  Throughout the whole week, we were fighting a lack of motivation and great frustration.  This has been an interesting cycle on my mission because I have noticed a pattern.  When I first get into an area, the first third of the experience has required work.  Diligent and dedicated work.  Nothing resulted to a great degree, with the exception of my first area with Elder Taylor.

As I have been in this area, there was the usual 2-3 weeks getting adjusted and familiarizing myself with the Ward and investigators.  We spent time dropping a lot of investigators that weren't progressing and revising our planning process.  By week four we were running a high average in key indicators, with the exception of sacrament meeting attendance.  We were getting by week five an average of about 3-4 people on date (which is nearly double of standards of excellence, a mission-wide standard).  However, right when it seemed like we were on track to having some baptisms in the beginning of June and a good number on date for the latter part, we have found ourself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

This progressed through the week and we took turns taking the heat.  I would have a hard night and wasn't capable of doing anything but just taking a relaxing exercise from Adjusting to Missionary life and going to sleep.  Or Elder Quaresma taking a really hard hit Sunday night to today.  He was so stressed and wasn't giving himself a chance to rest and relax (because he didn't feel that he had done enough or was good enough at something) that most of Monday he was vomiting and full of diarrhea.  He tried going out for a few hours, which resulted in an amazing lesson with a 70 yr old man who has been married to an active Mormon wife for nearly 50 years, nearly crying and full of the Spirit.  He even said it himself "I guess that might be some sort of sign huh?". Following another puking session and diarrhea, he tried to go for another hour, despite my efforts to persuade him to rest.  He lasted only 45min and had to go back.  The rest of the night was really hard for him.  

When it came time to sleep, me and Elder Bunn were talking and he came out of the bedroom in tears asking for us to stop talking.  He couldn't sleep and his whole body was hurting.  He couldn't understand what was happening and mentioned that nothing like this has ever happened before.  

He asked me to pray for him.  

And so I did.

I can say it was one of the best prayers I have ever offered on my mission.  Words came out of my mouth that I haven't used scarcely before.  Faith was in every statement, and the honest communication felt like the most open prayer that I have offered with God.  It was as if He was there with us and we were in conversation explaining the situation and asking for his aid.  Before the prayer was concluded, he was calm, relaxed and soon after was able to fall asleep.

The power of prayer is more than asking or giving thanks.  It is enabling power that allows us to connect with our Father in Heaven, a power which opens the channels between this probationary state to a light that can illuminate any darkened or troubled soul.  As we continue to learn how to open the flood gates, which we readily hold back, we can find a greater sense of purpose in this life and an ever more personal connection with our Father.

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's raining. It's pouring. New investigators are soaring.

So this week we worked exceptionally well this week.  It was partly due to us working harder, e.g. Talking to more people, setting up for members to come with us, knocking on neighbors doors to hear if they were interested in learning about the gospel, etc.  However, I would attribute most of our success this week to the hand of the Lord.  We've been working hard lately and dropping a lot of our investigators and doing our best to carry out our carefully planned out days.  We were starting to see some success and have found that many of the investigators that we found were quite interested in the message we had to share.  Some we were able to set on date, and others who are willing to learn more.  It hasn't come without a price though, this weekend was really trying for us in that we had someone on the phone calling us all sorts of bad things, just because I misdialed the number, and being so drained emotionally, mentally, physically, and to a degree spiritually as well.  We were worn out big time by the time Sunday came around.  It was a wonderful week regardless.

I have noticed that in my mission it comes down to just a few simple things.  The qualifications are as such:
  • A desire to serve with a willing mind
  • Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ
  • Diligence and patience
  • And above all, Charity
There are countless others such as humility, but when it comes down to it.  If we can truly dedicate ourselves to serve others and invite them to come unto Christ, there will be great happiness in the field and success, according to the will and circumstances of the Lord.

There was a great scripture shared in sacrament meeting when they were reorganizing the new bishopric in the Switzer Canyon Ward D&C 64:32 "But all things must come to pass in their time.

33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

34 Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days."

So let us trust in the Lord's will and truly seek it out in our lives.  Life is short, so let's not take a long time trying to figure out what He has provided for us and requires of us.  And I share these things, thanks to the wonderful revelation I have received as I have shared this, in His name, even Jesus Christ.  Amen.

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

I don't think I have ever been in the hospital or have given nearly as many blessings as I have in the past 5 weeks that I have been here in Flagstaff.  (Well the hospital is in our area... And a lot of members ask for us... And many of them are Native American from the reservations...)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day Follow-up

This week was good.  We started tracting a little and we actually are finding some people that have some potential and getting new people off to the side.  Got a little sick from being in the cold, but a 2.5 hrs power nap should help a little.

I really enjoyed seeing the Fam.  It's fun to see the girls growing up so fast and mom and dad not aging a day.  I was bummed out not being able to talk to Zachy.  I want you to know Zach that you inspire me in the things you share in your emails.  Keep it up!  Your dedicated service to the Lord is being reflected in your countenance.  You are my best bud and I hope you know that.

It was super fun to hear about the missionary moments that you all have been having lately.  As it says in PMG "no effort goes to waste". You are all examples of that.  It truly has been the greatest gift for me to see all of you developing your testimonies and sharing them with others.

In my interview with President Griffin I was told that he was more than content with all of the effort I have put into my mission.  It was nice to have that confirmation when I wasn't sure if I have done enough.  After this weekend, and your email dad, I know that I am doing everything that has been required of me.  I hope that this cold doesn't last too long or get too serious.

Love you all so much!

Photo shoot with Elder Bunn ;)

"Favela bro"

Photo shoot with our ride

🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅

Monday, May 2, 2016

Colleg, Bruiser, Dejavu Experience

It is so good to hear from all of you.  It is hard to hear that Bruiser might not make it for much longer, I am really going to miss that happy playful atmosphere in my life.  It reminds me of when Bentley passed.  I remember crying when I first found out.  I remember when I was younger praying that he would a least last until I was gone on my mission.  Just how I had prayed that Ryan Brooks not to move for the same reason.  Not to longer after Bentley was put down, I remember just having s tough day.  I was in need of comfort.  During that time I prayed for some peace and I specifically remember seeing Bently, happy and healthy, come right up next to me.  I got to spend a few minutes with him and it really helped me through that moment.  I have seen him a few other occasions on my mission, especially when I needed a friend.  May I recommend, Zach. That whatever my become of Bruiser and you may need some comfort, I bet your "friends" would love more than anything to take some time to be with you.  I love you all so much, to quote dad "that it hurts."  I look forward to the day that I can hug you all again and spend some good quality family time together.  I love you all, have a great week. 

This is an experience that I had last night.
Contacting the guy in the wheelchair on the street. Reminds me from earlier in my mission when I passed by a mother and her precious son in the wheelchair on my bike.  As we approached them, I felt such a overwhelming love for the little boy and wanted to do something to make him happy.  But as I had that feeling, I also experienced some apprehension in not knowing what I would do. So I had passed them by, but less than 30 seconds later I turned around and had my companion to come back with me to go looking for the little boy and his mom.  They were nowhere to be found.  I was perplexed because there was no way that they could've gone very far.  So we biked for a while trying to guess where they might've been, but it was too late. This experienced has been with me for a long time.  I promised that I would do better in following promptings, such as this, and reach out where I can in love.

Last night was a similar experience.  This time it was a grown man.  He was in a wheelchair and it was late at night, just like unto the first experience that I had.  As we were driving by I only caught a glimse of his figure and him working to move down the street.  In that moment I experienced that same impression.  Yet again, I continued driving down the street.  The interesting thing was that it left the same hole that did the previous experience.  I knew that I couldn't pass by this opportunity.  So I turned around, despite not knowing what I was going to do, and went back to go find this man.  When we had returned back down the street, we found him still on the corner where we had left him.  We got out of the car and went to go talk to him and see if there was anything that we could do for him.  He was a little drunk and wasn't necessarily very interested in anything other than a few dollars.  I explained that we couldn't offer much but we could offer a prayer.  His reaction caught me a little off guard.  He went off for a little about how his life had been hard to him and that he couldn't count on anyone.  He, alike many Navaho people here, was baptized young, but eventually fell away.  The reason why he was in a wheelchair was because he got shot in the leg.  I made the effort to share how God was still there and that Jesus Christ suffered for us so that he can help us, but it wasn't to much use.  I look back and realize that I could've approached the situation better on many different levels, including showing more love, concern, and sympathy for the situation.  However, the man had clearly been through a lot and was trying to get away from his problems from his drinking and the setting was difficult to convey something that might be of use to him.  After a few minutes, I realized that we couldn't do much for him so we wished him the best.  As we were leaving, the youth that was with us, Luis Velasco, who is a convert of about four years and is preparing to go on a mission next year, said something that caught my attention.  

After discussing with this man for about 5 minutes, we were leaving our best wishes and were making our way back to the car.  When we shook hands and began to walk back, Luis said to this man "hey we love you man".  When he said that, the man gave his thanks and said that's was what he needed.  What I learned that night is that sometimes, what people really need is not always to hear about Jesus Christ through words, but more of feel more of Jesus Christ in their lives.  I know when we can communicate more through the Spirit and impart of our love to others, that's where we can mend wounds and heal hearts, and one day, help someone back onto the path.

My new district in Flagstaff.

Abril, Aaron, and Mauricio.