Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week 3 & 4: Watch out Virginia.. Here comes Hermana Bennett!!

Hello from Virginia!!! Man I was so excited to share the news that I'm going to be in the Chesapeake mission, but the elders in the office already told you! Oh well :)


Anyway, yeah, my first area is Newport News, which is about an hour and a half east of Richmond and only about twenty minutes away from the beach. In fact we're having a ward activity on the beach this Saturday, so I'll be sure to take some pictures! I really like the city so far. It actually reminds me a lot of Meridian, except that there are a million times more trees. It's just kind of a normal American city and feels just like home. Minus the fact that we spend most of our time in trailer parks, which I'm still getting used to.

I'm still technically in the Richmond mission right now, but it splits only July 1 and then I'll officially be in the Virginia Chesapeake mission... which means that all those addresses I so diligently put up so people could write me are wrong! So sad. While I'm thinking about it, my address for the next few months is:



Some mail would be great! ;)


I'm in a trio again, just like in the MTC. Hermana Karson is also semi-new, but has been out for about nine weeks so she definitely knows a lot more than me. She's from Texas and is great! And then Hermana Flores is our trainer. I'll be with her for this transfer and the next, and after that she goes home! I hope I make a good last companion. And guess where she's from in Mexico? PUEBLA! She lived just about 45 minutes away from Tehuacan. Crazy, huh? She is a convert and came on a mission after she got baptized three years ago, which I think is amazing. She moved to the states when she was 16, though, so her English is really good. We still speak a lot of English, but I'm trying to speak as much Spanish as I can.


We serve in a branch with four other elders, which seems like a ton of missionaries for so few people, but we have a huge area to cover so we keep busy. The branch is great! It's really little, but the members are so nice and enthusiastic about missionary work. Which is great because we rely on them a lot for fellowshipping and rides for investigators.


Well, I just found out that I have less time than I thought, so I have to go! If I have more time at the end I'll come back and write more.




Hermana Bennett


PS. Look who I found in the MTC! Ignore my hair. Bad hair day.

And my companions! I'm the juniorest of the juniors out here, but I feel like a monster walking around with these two! They are so short :)

This is a dog in a fish tank. Ha.

Side note: Posing with elders is SO AWKWARD. We're not allowed to touch them except for handshakes, so we're creative as we can be, but mostly it just looks awful!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week 2: MTC

Hola! Second week in the MTC accomplished! I don't remember if I said this last week, but time here in the MTC is so crazy. I feel like I'm living in a time warp. By the time I go to bed every night I can't even remember lunch, let alone breakfast, because the day was so long, but then at the same time I feel like I just got here yesterday and it's been two weeks! So crazy.


Anyway, here are some things that happened this week.


Last Thursday we had in-field orientation. Basically we spent all day in big meetings and workshops learning about the little things that are important as a missionary that you never learn in class. We talked about finding people to teach, goal setting, interacting with members, etc. I really enjoyed this day. It helped me to feel more confident about heading out to the field and what my day to day schedule will be like. I can't believe that I'm actually going to be out there doing these things soon!


On Friday we taught at the TRC (Training Resource Center) for the first time. This is where people from the community come in and act like non-members of less-active members and we talk to them and teach them a lesson. I'm learning that one of the most important parts of being a missionary is that first visit that you have with people where you get to know them, understand expectations, and try to discern their needs so that you can tailor your message to them as an individual rather than just teaching a memorized discussion. This first TRC visit went really well. In fact our entire district got back at the end and we were all on fire with missionary work! Even though they were only pretending, it felt good to teach someone other than our teacher.


Sunday was Father's Day, which was a little hard but also really good. We didn't do too much talking about fathers, so I did all right. I tried to focus on the positive, like ten years in the future when I'm married and have kids and what we'll do for Father's Day then. Thinking about those things made it a lot easier.


Other than that, we've just been doing basically the same things every day as always. Only four of the nine of our district are left now - the rest have left for their missions - so our class is very small! It's crazy how close we all grew to each other in such a short time. I will miss them so much.


I love being a missionary! I know that there will be plenty of hard times, but I have a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and this work.


Well, I feel like this letter is really short, but I don't have much else to say. I will be leaving for Virginia in just a few days, which I'm so excited for! I'm a teensy bit nervous to travel all that way by myself, but I'll just play the lost missionary card and I'm sure people will help me ;)


Sorry I can't send any pictures. For some reason the MTC computers are rejecting picture uploads today, so it's a no-go on that one. It will be much easier once I get out into the field I think. Don't worry, I am still taking lots of pictures!



Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 1: Dropping Off Your Missionary / The MTC

On Wednesday June 5th Courtney officially went into the MTC! Luckily we (the sisters) were able to make it down to send her off, which was very special. The MTC has a very efficient method of dropping off missionaries, they told us, "Make sure you say your goodbyes beforehand because you won't have time when it comes to the drop-off.." Boy were they serious! You pull up with a whole bunch of other cars, pull over and a helper missionary snatches your missionary out of the car, grabs their luggage, you get liike one more hug and they're off and running! It was very quick..

Thankfully we were warned, and therefore we DID say our goodbyes beforehand. We went up by the Provo Temple and took some pictures, gave hugs, and said adios! Here are a few of the pictures..

Kenzie decided to wear two different earrings for the occasion!

Just today I recieved a letter from Courtney to Mom via e-mail.. I haven't been able to get the rest of the pictures on here yet but I will put the letter up anyway, I know Courtney's fans have been anxiously waiting to hear from her!


This is the motto I came up with for my life so far... The MTC: physically hungry, spiritually fed.


Haha! Really though. I feel like I am hungry all. the. time. We get up at 5:30, shower, get ready, go to breakfast, and then go to class or do personal study/companionship study/teaching/gym (whatever the schedule calls for that day) until lunch at 11. After that we do any of those above mentioned things again until 4, when we have dinner. I know, right? Dinner at 4? So early! Then we have more things until 9:30 when we get to go back to our rooms. Quiet time starts at 10:15 and lights out at 10:30. And let me tell you, by 10:30 I am EXHAUSTED and so ready to sleep, but also starving because I ate dinner six hours ago! Let's just say I've grown pretty accustomed to the feeling of hunger :) Oh well. I'm sure the members will feed me well when I get out to Virginia.


Ok, now let me get down to the good stuff. Right after you dropped me off my host missionary took me to get my name tag, scriptures, etc. I feel like I will remember that moment of having the nametag put on me for the first time for the rest of my life. I've been waiting for the chance to wear it for so long, and I am loving it! It's pretty hard to forget your purpose when the name Jesus Christ is literally right next to your heart. I still have those moments where I see my companions and I in a reflection of a window or something and I think, "Look! Missionaries!" And then that shock comes that it's me! I'm a missionary! Woah. After that she took me to my bedroom to drop off my stuff (I live on the fourth floor, so that was fun), and then we went to my classroom to meet my teacher and my district.


I LOVE MY DISTRICT. I seriously think that I got put in the greatest district at the MTC. It's not what I was expecting at all, but they are so wonderful. First of all, 6 out of the 9 members of our district are native speakers. I definitely came in thinking that I would have some of the most Spanish experience of anyone in my class, but boy was I wrong! They all speak English as well, but grew up with Spanish speaking parents. Because of that our district is treated just like an English speaking district, but in Spanish. We don't do any language study at all. I don't mind it, but it definitely shows me that I have a lot to work on as far as the Spanish goes. I'm in a trio companionship, and my two companions are Hermana Croft from Arizona and Hermana Jaramillo from Colombia. I love both of them! I think we work together really well, especially considering how hard it can be to be in a trio sometimes. Luckily we don't have any problems, which I am grateful for. There are six elders in our district as well, and they are all great. Two of them are my age or older, but the rest are younger, and so far I have been so impressed with them. They are incredibly kind and respectful and have strong testimonies. It's really sad because we're all going to different missions, so we won't see each other out in the field. We've only been here for a week, but we all feel like best friends, almost like family. I love them!


Now, being a missionary. It's a lot harder than I expected, but also a lot more wonderful than I ever imagined. And I'm still only in the MTC! To practice teaching, two of our teachers pretend to be investigators and we go in and give them the lessons, etc. The first one was SO awkward. All we were supposed to do was go in there and get to know them for 15 minutes, and maybe leave a spiritual thought. We had no idea what we were doing and it was very unimpressive. The next times teaching have gone better, though. We've taught the first lesson twice, and are starting to get the hang of it. The hard part for me is that we're supposed to focus completely on the investigator and the spirit to know what to say, but all I can think about is saying the right thing in the right way! We watched a really good devotional by Elder Bednar the other night, though, that helped me a lot. He compared the natural man to the cookie monster... most of the time we think, "I want this and I want it now!" To apply it to missionaries, we think, "I want investigators, baptisms, and perfect language skills now!" Well, guess what? It's just not going to happen. He said multiple times, "It's not about you!" I love how straight up Elder Bednar is. But it's true. If we're doing what we're supposed to, our greatest convert will be ourselves, but we have to completely forget ourselves and focus on others in order to do that. If we're thinking about ourselves and our needs it just won't happen.


The other big thing that I have learned so far is how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly love us. Obviously this was a big part of my testimony already, given what I spoke about at my farewell, but I have become even more sure of it in just a week here. Heavenly Father loves His children more than we can even grasp. He knows every single one of them by name and has a hand in their lives. And it is my privelege to go out and find some of those beloved children and invite them to find peace and happiness through coming closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ. What a marvelous blessing!


What else? Mom, you'll be glad to know that my skirts are holding up great. I've only worn a couple of them so far, but they are doing wonderfully!


Well, my time is just about up, but I want you to know that I love you all and I love being a missionary! And, family, don't worry. I'm taking lots of pictures. I set a goal to take two to three pictures a day so that I'll have lots of things to show you.


I LOVE YOU!!! The Church is true, and the book is blue! (The Book of Mormon, that is)


Hermana Bennett