Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is going to have to best quick, sorry. I lost track of time and only have thirteen minutes to write this!
Updates from my journal:


P-day! Love it. I twas a good one. We emailed and then sent to Walmart, where I bought a Garmin! Up until now we've had this old dumb Magellan GPS that was horrible and we were getting lost constantly. It was free, though -- some elders gave it to us -- so I was going to just tough it out and not spend the money, but today I snapped and bought me a nice GPS! It is the best purchase I've ever made. No more getting lost constantly. No more stressful drives! I seriously feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Sooooo happy. Now I know that wherever we need to go we can just plug it in and be there in no time!


Well, not much to report for the past three days. Hermana Brugman got really sick so we had to stay in for two days. Today we took a break from driving and walked around the whole city. Met some cool potentials! Then we ate dinner. Twice. Last night Sister Morris was signed up to feed us all, so we showed up and started talking to her and she says, "Yeah, tomorrow I'm having y'all over at 7!" Then the awkwardness ensued. Pretty soon both sets of elders were there trying to act like they had just so happened to also drop by. so they left and we shared a scripture and left too. So, as you can see, we had no choice but to eat with her. The problem was that we already had a dinner appointment for the next day. Rather than reschedule, though, we just did them both! So full. Good practice for Thanksgiving.

Hermana Brugman is doing well. Frustrated with the language, as all trainees are. I wake up every day determined to speak to her only in Spanish, but she understands next to nothing and I get impatient and switch back to English. It's hard. I don't know how to help someone learn. Just learn! I don't know.
Overall things are going well! We're learning the area and the people and improving day by day.

On a completely different note, my new favorite hymn is "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy." It's a men's hymn and is the most beautiful thing in the world. Not the way that it's written in the English hymnbook, though. It has a higher melody that I don't like. Just the lower part. Ahhhhhh it speaks to me. And even better in Spanish! That, a version of "Be Still, My Soul," and "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" are my FAVORITES. Sung my men. Predictable, I know, but so beautiful.

Well, gotta run.

Hermana Bennett


Monday, November 18, 2013

Estoy en Carolina del Norte!

Hello, hello, hello from the South!

Wow. The difference between Virginia and North Carolina is huge. Now I feel like I'm actually in the south. It's fun!

Leaving Newport News was so hard. I miss it. It's like I have poured my whole heart and soul into those people. They are my everything. When I left I felt like I left a huge chunk of me behind. Good days, bad days, triumphs, devastation. It's crazy how attached I am to them. Ahhhhh I cry every day inside when I think about how much I miss them. I took tons of really great pictures, but I still don't have my little converter thing, so I'll have to send them in a few weeks when I get it.

My new companion is Hermana Brugman, from Chandler, Arizona. (finally! not from Utah!) She's super nice. I think we'll get along great. She's athletic (played basketball at Dixie State for a year before coming out here), which is also a nice change from previous companions. Yay for real exercise in the morning!

 Now let me tell you a little bit about my new area...

It's huge. The whole zone, in fact. We cover like eight different cities. We have to drive a ton. English ward with a Spanish group. About nine Spanish speaking members. We're the first sister missionaries this ward had in five years and they LOVE us, which is great, but also stinks because they want us to do tons of English work. I don't want to do English work! I'm a Spanish missionary! Oh well. We share the ward with the zone leaders and some biking elders, which is fun. They are a little less awkward than some elders I've met, but also a little weirder.

As you can tell, everything is just SO different. I feel like I'm starting my mission all over. Relearning how to work with the members, where to go, how to find people, how to use our time most effectively. And all with a little baby trainee that has no idea what she's doing! So far we've spent our days just meeting the members and talking to them about their perspective of the work in this area so that we can work in the most effective way possible over the next three months.

Oh, before I forget, here's my new address:
905 Poindexter St.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Look it up on google earth! We live in the bottom floor of a house and it is ADORABLE. After you look at the house do a 180 and look at the view. So beautiful. We have this nice field right across the street and then just water and trees. It makes morning exercise quite enjoyable.
Things that I have already noticed about the South:

People are SO nice. Southern hospitality is real.

Lots of people are still racist. Yuck.
The scenery is BEAUTIFUL. Virginia is gorgeous, but North Carolina just puts it to shame. It's like the difference between the terrestrial and celestial kingdoms ;)

It's warm here. I'm in a skirt and short sleeved shirt today and it feels great. Jealous?

I want to live here, I think. My companion took some stunning photos of the scenery, but she forgot her camera cord today. I'll have her send them to me next week and then I'll send them to y'all! (haha. y'all.)
So, things are going well! Different, but well. I'm excited.
Have a great week y'all!


Hermana Bennett

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Well, the day has finally come. I'm getting transferred! Wow. I'm being moved to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, which is about three hours away from where I am now. We're "whitewashing" the area, which means that both of the missionaries that are there now are leaving and we're both coming in fresh. And extra fresh, because my companion is a greenie! That's right, I'm training again. I have lots of emotions, but overall I would say that I am looking forward to the growth that I will make there. I have a feeling that it's going to be a lot different from Newport News, so I will learn a lot. They've never had hermanas there before, just elders, so hopefully their area book and apartment aren't too much of a mess... we'll see.

 I forgot my journal (again. seems to happen more often than not), so I'm trying to think about last week. Oh, we went on exchanges with the sister training leaders (sort of like zone leaders, but just for sisters). I was honestly dreading it, but it went really well! I learned a ton from Sister Banner about planning and personal study and being bold and establishing your purpose and all sorts of things. It was great. Hermana Johnson and I have been able to put those things that we learned into practice over the past few days and have seen great results.

 Sunday night we had an amazing lesson with a woman named Alma, her mom, and two of their friends. The spirit was SO strong. Probably the strongest that I've felt it during a lesson on my mission. We brought our recent convert, Melina, with us, and taught them about the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost. They understood really well and all committed to read it, pray about it, and be baptized when they know that it's true. After the lesson we knelt down and they asked me to say the prayer. As I was praying the spirit was SO POWERFUL there. I couldn't believe it. Then we employed something that we had learned in district meeting the week before, which is to leave right after the closing prayer so that they can feel the difference between the spirit that was there with you and how it leaves as they return to normal activities. I love it. Because often after lessons and closing prayers people want you to stay so they offer you water or juice or whatever and you start talking about other things, and the spirit slowly slides away without anyone noticing. It makes it harder for them to notice the difference in how they feel when you're there talking about the Gospel and when you're not there. Anyway, we did that and I feel like it went really well. We're going to go back tonight to see how they're reading is going and answer any questions.

 Last night we did FHE with Rosalio and Melina (those same recent converts). It was so sad to say goodbye to them. I've been there with them since their first lesson, their wedding, baptism, first time praying in church, callings, everything. I can't stand to leave, but they are incredibly strong and I know that they'll do just fine without me. And in nine months they can go to the temple and be sealed!

 It's crazy to me how much I love the people here. Saying goodbye is hard, but I know that I have to do it.

Funny story. The first picture is with a little girl named Melanie Flores. In primary during sharing time they were talking about temporal blessings and in particular about our five senses. Each of the children got a little piece of paper with one of the senses written on it and had to think of a blessing that had to do with that sense. For example, if I got sight I could say, "I use my eyes to read the scriptures." Well, Melanie got hearing and said, "I can hear Hermana Bennett!" So Hermana Self wrote "Hermana Bennett" on the board for the blessing. It was adorable. The other pictures are Rosalio and Melina and their kids. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH IT HURTS.

 Well, I should probably go. Sorry this letter was so disorganized.

 Have a great week everyone!


 Hermana Bennett

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jalo. (That's Colombian for hello!)

Well, I forgot my journal this week. I feel like I had a ton to tell you, but now of course I can't remember anything.

 Let me think about each day at a time...

 Monday was p-day! Woot. Not too much to report there.

 Tuesday we had a mission-wide sisters' conference. The theme was "Too blessed to be stressed," so we heard about gratitude and humor and things like that. They also fed us Hawaiian haystacks for lunch. There was a clothing exchange, and I found some surprisingly good things.

 Wednesday... not a clue. Oh! We went and saw Angel, the less active that we've been working with a lot. We read Mosiah 4:11-12 with him and talked about the importance of scripture study, prayer, and church attendance in retaining a remission of our sins.

 Ohh, now I remember Monday. I fasted! Because Sunday night we met with Angel and he told us about the things that he has gone through in life and how he feels tired and hopeless at this point. He doesn't think that God can forgive him or that he can change. Right there in his kitching I started crying like a little girl.

In my defense, he cried too.

 Anyway, on Monday I was feeling like I needed some heavenly help.

 You see, people often expect us, as missionaries, to be super humans. We should never be sad, tired, or angry, and we should always know the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. Well, it's just not so. I am a twenty-year-old girl and I'm as ignorant as the next kid with a nametag on. I do, however, have the authority to receive revelation for the people in my stewardship. And if there was ever an hermana in need of revelation, it was I.

 Angel's situation raised questions that I had never thought about before. He was baptized, and one of the requirements for baptism is complete repentance of all your sins, which means that he should already be free from his past mistakes. Why, then, does he still feel the guilt and pain? Is it just because he can't forgive himself, or did God revoke his forgiveness? Is that even possible? Never in my life had I thought about these things before, at least not seriously. So Monday I fasted, asking Heavenly Father to help me to understand and to just bring peace to my soul about the situation.

Well, it worked. By the end of the day I felt calm and peaceful, and I know that that change did not come from my own power. I also found an answer in the scriptures, and it surprised me. I had always thought that once God had forgiven us, that was it - the sins were gone. But it says in various places that we have to RETAIN a remission of our sins. Retain? Woah. Mind blown. Like King Benjamin says in Mosiah, one-time repentance is not enough. We have to humble ourselves continually, pray daily, and endure to the end (continue striving to keep all of the commandments), in order to rejoice, be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of our sins. Big learning moment for me.

 This is something that I'm learning on my mission. I don't understand ANYTHING. I do, but I don't. Every day we teach about faith, repentance, the Atonement, the love of God, prayer, and other principles. I understand them, but at the same time, I understand nothing. What is faith, really? How can I even begin to comprehend the grand scope of the Atonement? I've listened to Brad Wilcox's talk about grace about five times and it still just blows my mind when I try to comprehend it. I also read the Pearl of Great Price over the last few days and my mind just about exploded. Because of this, Mosiah 4:9 has become one of my favorite scriptures:

 Believe in aGod; believe that he is, and that he bcreated all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all cwisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not dcomprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

 Simply put, I have a mortal brain, and I just can't wrap my head around the perfection of the Gospel. So I just believe and do my best, trusting that someday I will understand.

 Thursday was Halloween! We had to stop proselyting when it got dark, so the stake president's family had our entire zone of missionaries over for pizza and fun. After that we went to Angel's house to help them make tamales for their Halloween party the next day.

All I remember about Friday is eating, and eating, and eating some more. People think the missionaries starve, but really all we do is grow... outward.

 Saturday we did exchanges with the hermanas in Gloucester. Hermana Karson came here to be with me and Hermana Johnson went up there with her companions. It was way fun! I thoroughly enjoyed being with Hermana Karson again for the day, and we got some good work done.

 Sunday was crazy. Two of our less actives had committed to come to church and then fell through, which was really disappointing. By the time we got to church I was not in the mood to smile and greet all of the branch members, but it turned out fine. We had some good classes, testimony meeting was great as always, and then after church we had a couple really good appointments and dinner with a family from the branch.

 So, as always, a wonderful and terrible week! I never knew that life could be so amazing and so awful all at the same time, but that's how it is out here. By the end of every week I think, "I never want to live that week again." And at the same time I think, "Wow. I am so blessed to be here. I love this." Pretty crazy.

 Well, I LOVE YOU! Have a great week.

 Hermana Bennett