Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Halloween (almost)

Well, we had a great week! I'm going to tell it in pictures.

Halloween is a-coming and everyone in our favorite trailer park has their decorations up. It's also starting to get cold. Everyone that told me that humidity makes hot hotter and cold colder was RIGHT! It's freezing. Luckily we are still having some warm days, but pretty soon we're going to have to bundle up every day.

First of all, these. This is actually from last week, but it's a funny story. Last Sunday we had dinner at a member's house and then went over to see a less active. Well, I failed to remember that they had asked me what my favorite food from Mexico was and offered to make it for us. So we get there, stuffed, they ask us if we want to eat, and I say, "Oh... do you already have food ready?" Hoping the answer is no. They say, "Yes, what you ordered!" Oops. We had no choice. So we each sat down to a plate of SIX of these things. I made it through four and then called it quits. Delicious, though!

We made one of our less actives, Angel, this sweet prayer rock. He loves it and has been praying every night since then!

They subsequently took us out to dinner on Friday night to a super authentic Mexican restaurant. Delicious :)
Angel is the less active, and his wife Judith, is a nonmember. We just met them a little over two weeks ago, but since then we've seen them three or four times a week. They both have so much potential and we're working hard to help them overcome the obstacles that they have. I love them so much I can't stand it. They're the best.

Friday night we carved pumpkins with one of the families in our branch. (sorry I can't figure out how to rotate it)

Do you like my CTR pumpkin? Once a missionary always a missionary.

Finally, the craziest thing happened to us a few days ago. Here it is from my journal:
For the past few days I kept feeling like we needed to go to this apartment complex called Heritage, but I kept brushing it aside because we've already knocked every single door there. Yesterday during our training, though, we were reading in Preach My Gospel about listening to the Spirit and I mentioned to Hermana Johnson that I kept having this feeling that we should go there, but didn't know whether or not it was the Spirit. Typical of Hermana Johnson, she looks over at her books and says, "I have these three books, one of which is Our Heritage. I'll close my eyes, you close yours. I'll mix the books up and you pick one. If it's Our Heritage, we go." (All of the books are the same size and material, so we couldn't tell). Just for fun I agreed, but silently said a prayer that if we were supposed to go there, Heavenly Father would help me to pick the right book. 
So we both close our eyes, she mixes the books for a bit, and then says go. I choose, we open our eyes, and it was Our Heritage! We both screamed.
Our appointment canceled on us for right after that, so we went straight to Heritage, praying to know what we were doing there.
Right when we got out of the car, a guy started to talk to us and I thought, "No way!" But then he got in his car and drove away before we could start a conversation. I thought we missed our chance. So then we knocked some doors that we knew were Hispanic, and even found two guys that were nice and open to listening, but couldn't go in because there was no woman home, so we referred them to the elders. Then we saw Eddy, a guy that we had met when we knocked before, and almost ran down to talk to him, but he also drove away. I started to give up hope.
Finally we decided to just walk to the back of the complex and start knocking from there because we still had another hour before dinner. So we walked all the way to the back, picked a building, walked up and knocked one of the four doors, and heard Spanish on the other side! We explained a little and the guy let us in - luckily his sister was home - and I made Hermana Johnson give the whole overview of who we are and what we do. He listened to the whole thing and then told us that he's already a member of our church! He was baptized five years ago but then drew away because he had to work a lot and felt bad that he couldn't fulfill al lof his responsibilities. He was super hesitant, but we got his name and number and are going to start visiting him regularly. 
The whole experience was just wild.  The words works in mysterious ways and the Spirit directs us even when we don't realize it. We had no reason to go back there, but we did anyway and ended up finding a "lost sheep." He just moved back three weeks ago, so we definitely wouldn't have found him earlier.
Pretty amazing! I feel like it's a perfect cookie cutter missionary story to share with future generations :)
Well, I have to go. Love you lots! Have a great week!
Hermana Bennett

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Well, folks, to be honest I am just not much in the mood to write a long email this week.


Here are some journal entries from the week:


Oct. 15

Six months ago if you had told me that one day I would be standing in the dark in the rain on a man's porch telling him that Jesus Christ could change him, I would have laughed at you. And yet there I was tonight, telling Jacob that Jesus could change him. I love it.


Oct. 16

Today we knocked one of our investigators that we thought had been avoiding us, and it turned out that her schedule was just crazy and her phone was broken :( She let us right in and started asking super good questions abut the church and authority. Innately she understands that authority comes from God, not from studying. Gold. And, best of all, she's been READING! We are so excited. We had a progressing investigator and we didn't even know it.


Oct. 18

My English is going to pot. Today I said orden for order, direction for address, and comprension for comprehension.


Oct. 20

Nobody wants the free gift of eternal life. Six people committed to come to church today and not one of them came. Played the piano for the primary program. Wanted to cry I was so nervous, but prayed a lot and it went well. Ate dinner twice. Barf. Thank goodness it's Monday tomorrow.


It was kind of a crazy week with lots of ups and downs, but we're moving on to better things this week! (Hopefully)


Also, Virginia really isn't that southern but every once in a while we see crazy things like this:

Two fishing poles, two confederate flags, and a redneck sticker. Classy.


Also, spider webs like this one abound.

Kinda hard to see, but look close and you'll see it. And then you'll want to cry like I do every time I see these. The only thing worse is their creators.

Welp, have a great week everyone! Love ya lots.


Hermana Bennett

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Well, if I were to pick one word to describe the past week it would be: WET. It has been raining literally nonstop for the past five days. Finally today the clouds have cleared up and we can see the SKY! I almost forgot how big, blue, and beautiful it is. The rain has been kind of fun though. It is crazy here. During the summer sometimes it would pour so hard that I could barely see the lines on the road when I was driving. Follow the lights in front of you! So fun. I love the storms.


Other than that, this week was pretty great. Here's one experience we had.


We finally got to meet Angel, a less active that I've only met briefly when he came to church one time a couple months ago. I know his story and felt impressed to share Moroni 8:8 with him, which says:


Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the bwhole need no physician, but they that are sick;


After reading this I talked a little bit about how we all have weaknesses that we are so aware of and seem impossible to change. Things that we do again and again and think, "I will never do that again." But then we mess up and think, "I will NEVER do that again." But then we do. Sometimes it's a daily battle. I testified that even those things can be overcome through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. No matter how low or unworthy we think we are, we are never too far gone for the Savior. He can and will forgive us and we can put those things behind us.


I think this scripture touched his heart and after that and he really opened up to us and told us about his experiences and what he feels like he is missing in life. He has some real struggles, but is very kind and sincere. I am determined to help him. We are going to start going by twice a week to help him feel the Spirit and feel supported in his efforts to live the Gospel and change his life.


This was the first thing we learned on the first day in the MTC, but I feel like I am learning and understanding it more every day: Missionary work is all about LOVE. If we don't love the Lord, we won't know why we're here. If we don't love the members, they won't trust us with their referrals. If we don't love our investigators and less actives, they won't feel any desire to change. Sometimes people drive me crazy because I know what they need and they just won't accept it, and sometimes 45-year-old adults act like children and I get frustrated with them, so I tell myself, "Just love them to death. Either they will change or they will die, and then at least you won't have to deal with them anymore." Haha. Pretty dramatic, but sometimes I just need something to keep me from tying them to a chair with nothing but the Book of Mormon in front of them so they will actually read the thing! Love, love, love, love, love, love, love.


The most amazing thing to me is that sometimes I honestly don't like people, but I can still love them. I try my best, but I just don't have it in me to like everyone. I can love them, though. I pray for help, and Heavenly Father helps me to feel the pure love that He has for them and to see their divine potential. It is a beautiful gift.


Well, that's all I have for this week.


Here's me pretending to be pregnant one day with my bag underneath my raincoat :)





Hermana Bennett


So remember how I was all excited about it being fall a while back? Summer is back with a vengeance. It was EIGHTY FIVE degrees today. What is that all about? And today was one of the cooler ones we've had this week. It's crazy.


The big news of this week is that we got FOUR new investigators, and they're both COUPLES with CHILDREN! FFFAAAMMMIIILLLIIIEEESSS! We're so excited.


The first two are a couple from the Dominican Republic. They just barely moved to Virginia and are still getting settled in. Super cute, four kids, way nice, and seem interested. It was pretty funny how we found them. About a week ago we walked through that whole trailer park writing down trailers that look potentially Hispanic (you learn the signs after a while). Then on Tuesday we started knocking each of those. As we were doing this, we passed some people outside so we asked them if any of their neighbors were Hispanic. He pointed to the end of the street, so we went down there. We knocked the trailer that we thought it was, and when I knocked the door, it pushed open a little bit. Pretty soon a dog pushed its way out of the now-open door and started growling and barking at us. I wasn't too scared, but my companions freaked out as we started walking away and wanted to run away and not knock the last trailer. That last trailer had a fenced-in yard, though, so I suggested that we go in there to escape from the dog. We did, successfully escaped the dog, knocked on their door, and they turned into new investigators! I don't know if there was any divine intervention or just a mean dog, but I like to think that he got so angry and chased us that way for a reason.


The other couple was a referral from the zone leaders that they found during a blitz last week. They are from Guatemala and super nice. They work on Sundays, though, which is going to be hard. Why must everyone work so much?


This week we also went to a nearby city, Poquoson, to see if there are any Hispanics there... there are not. It was an adroable little town, but definitely no Hispanics in sight. We found one Mexican restaurant in the whole place, went in, found Mexican workers, talked to them for a bit, and found out that they live in... Newport News! So much for that idea. It was a fun little trip, though.


Besides that, here are some funny little stories that I've been meaning to write about for a couple weeks and keep forgetting.


There is an 84-year-old lady in our branch, Hermana de la Cruz, that feeds our whole district every week. Most of my pictures are taken inside her house. She is the best person in the whole world. I love her. She's starting to feel the effects of her age and can't get around as well as she used to or remember everything, but she has maintained a wicked sense of humor and a firm testimony. You just never know what's going to come out of her mouth next. One day we got there for lunch and before we could finish knocking on the door she pulls it open fast, strikes a pose, and says, "Princesas! Por que nacieron tan bonitas?!" ("Princesses! Why were you born so beautiful?") Hahaha. Every time she hugs me she says, "Mi gringa mas linda." ("My beautiful white girl.") I adore her. And her food is the best.


This one only my mom will truly appreciate. We are teaching a Cuban family that just got to the states as political refugees about four months ago, so they're still VERY Cuban. The other day we were sitting talking to the two parents when the husband says, "Traeme un vaso de agua." ("Bring me a glass of water.") Without a blink, the wife dutifully gets up and brings him a glass of cold water. He drinks it all and simply says, "Mas." ("More."), so she brings him more. Then the son says, "Yo tambien tengo sed." ("I'm thirsty too.") So his mom brings him a glass. He drinks one sip and then hands it back to her and returns to what he is doing. And she does not complain one bit! I was amazed. All I could think about the whole time was, "Tengo un poco de sed." I was dying laughing inside. Hispanic men. Gotta love 'em. Especially Cubans. For some reason Cuban men in particular have no shame about their bellies and love to be shirtless. Makes for some slightly awkward situations for us, but it's all right. All in a day's work.


This will have to be last because I'm running out of time. My companion was on conference!!! Probably none of you even remember this, but Elder Valenzuela talked about the Mexico City MTC and it showed a bunch of pictures, one of which was of two hermanas walking around outside. Well, one of those hermanas was Hermana Johnson! Pretty exciting. My companion is famous! :)


All right, that will have to do for today.


I LOVE YOU!!! Have a great week.


Hermana Bennett

I have this habit of leaving my camera card plugged into the computer after I finish emailing, so I'm going to send pictures first and then write.


Here's my district before Hermana Hilton and Elder Goodwin left. Elder Goodwin wants to go into the military after the mission, so we bought him this cheap camo Walmart cake and surprised him with it. Pretty fun. They're the best!


 Hermana Johnson and I before leaving this morning. We're a party.


Sunday, October 6, 2013


First off, big news... I'M GOING TO BE IN A COMPANIONSHIP!!! For the whole four months that I've been a missionary, I've always been in trios (minus a few days when my trainer had gone home). Trios are great for a few reasons: We can take male members in the car with us, the person in the back can talk on the phone, there's more than just one person to talk to, etc. They're also hard for a few reasons: Instead of worrying about just the one relationship between you and your companion, you're worrying about SEVEN relationships: between each of you individually and the companionship as a whole. It's hard, and my patience has been starting to wear just a little bit thin. I look at people in companionships and think, "How easy would that be?" But, God answers prayers and one of my trainees is being transferred and I'm staying here with the other. :D :D :D Don't get me wrong, I love them both and I'm sad to see her go, but I'm also really excited to just have one companion for the next six weeks. My heart began dancing in glee when we got the news. ONLY ONE COMPANION!!! Yesssssssssssss.
That was last night. The whole week before was great, too!
On Tuesday we went to a trainers/trainees meeting in Chesapeake. At the beginning President Baker talked to all of us for a bit and had the trainees share their experiences with placing Books of Mormon and inviting people to be baptized. When my trainees were sharing their experiences my eyes started getting super watery all of the sudden (I had a pretty bad cold this week). President Baker looks at me, sees me apparently crying and says, "Do you have anything to share, Hermana Bennett?" thinking that I'm having some spiritual moment or something. I just said, "No... I'm only tearing up because I'm sick. I'm not actually crying." Ha. Great timing, eyes!
On Wednesday we got amazing news. We were in the church on our way to English class and accidentally walked into a Book of Mormon study class that the English missionaries give. There we found a man, Matt, that we had knocked into a month or so earlier and referred to the sisters. He's getting baptized in three weeks! AND the elders are going to start teaching his mom and his sister. It was so exciting and rewarding to see someone that we had found making that step and accepting the Gospel. We were on cloud nine all night.
We also got two new investigators this week. One we found tracting. Her trailer has a ton of "No trespassing" signs with things like: "Trespassors will be shot. Survivors will be shot twice." Very inviting :) Despite all of those, we knocked her door, and she turned out to be super nice! We set an appointment and later went back and taught the restoration of the Gospel and it went really well. She understood everything, had insightful questions, and was excited about reading the Book of Mormon. So amazing! The other new investigator was a referral from the zone leaders. We went to teach her and before we could even finish the lesson she said, "So when can you come back?" Whaaaat? Nobody says that! So much potential.
We also got chewed out by a crazy lady in a different trailer park this week. And I mean certifiably crazy. She was telling us about how she has visions and "discernments" and how she studies the Bible every day and our religion is mistaken, etc. It doesn't bother me... in fact it's kind of entertaining. I do get annoyed, though, when they're rude. Here's one of the notable exchanges that she and I had:
Me: "Are any of your neighbors Hispanic?"
Her: "Yes, but I'm not going to tell you which ones."
Me: "Oh, that's all right. We'll find them."
Her: "I'm sure you will."
Me: "You betcha."
Ha. I will find and baptize every last one of them! Just kidding. But really. People are crazy. The best part was when, in the middle of talking to us, she looks out the window and cackles like a witch, and then looks right back at us with a straight face and keeps talking. Ahhhhhh! It was at that point that I decided that we really needed to go. Run for your lives!!!
Newport News. Always an adventure.
Overall I'm doing really well. I love it here and I love being a missionary. One of the elders in our zone is going home tomorrow and so I've been thinking some about what it will be like to go home someday. I'm going to bawl my eyes out. I'm so attached to this place, these people, this life. They ARE my life. I can't imagine how I'll feel over a year from now.
Well, have a great week! Love ya lots.
Hermana Bennett
PS. No pictures this week, sorry!