Monday, December 30, 2013

Second to last day of 2013!

Can you believe 2013 is almost over? And then it will be two thousand FOURTEEN. Sick. That is just not allowed.

We had a good week this week, the highlight of which was SEEING MY FAMILY ON CHRISTMAS! That was just the best. The next time I see you will be Mother's Day and the one after that I'll be home! How crazy is that? I came out at the perfect time. Six months, Christmas, six months, Mother's Day, six months, home! 
I don't know if I mentioned this before, but we had been really struggling to find new investigators for a few weeks, so we did a complete overhaul of our area book. We separated all of the former and potential investigators (like 3 years worth) into groups based on which part of town they live and then we've been trying to contact every single one of them. So far it has been very fruitful.
A couple weeks ago we met a woman named Norma that had met the missionaries in the past, but was always working and didn't have time to actually sit down with them. Now she's not working, though, so she has time! On Monday we went over and talked to her a little bit about what we do as missionaries, Heavenly Father's love for us, and how His Gospel blesses families. Her two daughters were in the room and her husband in the back, but no one but her really listened. I think that her husband was listening from the other room, though, because on Saturday we went back with one of our members to explain to her what our Sunday services are like and invite her to church, and this time he was out in the living room participating and interested. We invited them to church, and ALL FOUR OF THEM CAME! Wife, husband, and the two kids. It was a miracle.
Last night we ate dinner with a couple from the ward that we don't know super well. It was amazing. The wife talked to us for a bit and then expressed some difficulties that she's been going through. She raised her kids in the church, taught them the Gospel, and did her best to teach them about the Savior, but now they are all grown and have all chosen to take different paths. Tears came to her eyes as she expressed her love for her children and her anguish over the choices that they were making. I felt prompted to tell her that as a representative of Jesus Christ, I know that Heavenly Father is pleased with her efforts and that He sees her heart and knows that it is good. Everyone else sees what we do and the fruits of our labors, which don't always accurately reflect our desires, but Heavenly Father knows what's inside. He knows who we truly are. The Spirit was strong as I testified of God's love for her and comforted her.

I love opportunities like that to make a little difference in someone's day. As a missionary they come all the time because people trust us with things they don't tell other people, and I always appreciate the chance to bear my testimony and console someone else.

Being a missionary is the best.
Other than that, nothing too outstanding has happened. We're working hard!
Keep on keepin' on!


Hermana Bennett

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas in pictures!!

hello everyone!


sorry this is short, but I wanted to send you some pictures since it's been forever!

is this not drop dead gorgeous? i know. i want to retire in north carolina.


Well, another week has gone by. Yeehaw.

We had some fun things this week, and I took lots of pictures, but............ still no SD card converter. So sorry. Hermana Johnson got food poisoning last Monday so she couldn't get it for me. She's going to try today, though, and then we have a mission Christmas program on Friday so hopefully I can get it there. Someday you will see pictures again!

On Tuesday Anthony Perkins from the Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission. Monday he met with the three most southern zones, and then Tuesday with the six northern ones. It was really good and I learned a lot. He talked to us about what we're doing well as a mission and what we need to improve. Plus I got to see my old district from Newport News, which was fun. Missionary functions are the best.

On Saturday we had the annual Elizabeth City Ward Christmas Social, which was fun. It was a potluck dinner and then we did a little live nativity program. It was super cute. And I was drafted as the angel! So that was fun. Luckily they had Brother Umphlett from the ward narrate the whole thing and all the "actors" just walked around, so I didn't have to do anything except stand there and look angelic.

After the activity we taught Adan, our only progressing investigator, the Word of Wisdom, and it went so well! He told us that he hasn't touched alcohol since we met him, and that was without us even saying anything. The Spirit just gave him a little nudge and he did it all on his own. He is great.

Other than that, things are going well. I've been pretty frustrated the past few weeks because it feels like we've been really ineffective in our efforts to find and teach new investigators. Everything is just so spread out and I can't find the Hispanics! But we're doing our best and letting God do the rest :)

That's pretty much it... not much to tell.

Have a great week! I love you!

Hermana Bennett

Funny funny Courtney :D

This wasn't really meant to be posted.. but I thought it was too funny not to post. We got this e-mail from Courtney about a week ago.

Hello family! I have a favor to ask. It's been a while since I've heard from Sam Laub, and she just got back from Ecuador. This lack of communication is simply not acceptable. Could you all text her and say,

"Your best buddy wants to hear from you. Please write her."

Thanks! Her number is 208-***-**** (I think). Amazing that I still remember that, wouldn't you agree?

If that doesn't work, then facebook would suffice.

You're great!

And please tell me if she's dead. Her silence is slightly concerning to me.

dddeeeccceeemmmbbbeeerrr 999ttthhh

I believe I wrote in my journal every single night this past week. It's a miracle. 

Let's see...

Oh, nope. I missed one day. December 6. My bad.


We have a really great investigator right now, Adan. He's the one that came to church last week. 

Well, I think we still have him. He didn't come to church yesterday even though we talked to him like an hour before. Then he sent us this super long message that we couldn't read because our phone is dumb and then we tried to call him a bunch of times and went to his house and he didn't answer, so I was pretty sure he dropped us. But then just now he texted us asking how we're doing! So we'll see.

Anyway, on Monday we had a great lesson with him about the Restoration of the Gospel, and on Saturday we taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation. He is amazing. When we ask him to read a scripture he will read it, stop, read it again, think for a minute, and then give this perfect explanation of what it says. I can literally see the Spirit working within him and teaching him. It is a tender mercy from the Lord to have such a great investigator right now while we're struggling to open this area.

The zone leaders' car was in this shop this week, so they had to take our car to a leadership conference in Portsmouth, which left us on foot for two days. That was fun. Hermana Brugman, being from Arizona, thinks it's freezing when it gets below like 50 degrees, while I'm chilling in a short sleeve shirt. It's pretty funny.

The stake choir also did an interpretation of The Forgotten Carols, which we got to go to on Saturday night. This was also a tender mercy because it's a borrowed tradition from Whitney and Brian to watch it every year... I didn't have to miss it for my one Christmas away!

The Christmas devotional last night was also good. Minus how orange they all looked. Bad lighting. But great spirit!

On the way home from the devotional last night Hermana Brugman commented on how much stronger she feels the Spirit now than she did before her mission, and it's so true. Before the mission I would feel the Spirit occasionally, but it was more of a general good feeling and didn't come that often. Now, though, I feel the Spirit so strong and so often. It's a difficult-to-describe feeling of pins and needles that hits me with a physical force. It usually starts in my chest and spreads, but only lasts for a few seconds. For me, I feel that this feeling testifies of truth. It comes when I read the scriptures, when I hear the prophet speak, when I hear hymns, etc. I love it! The Spirit is amazing.


How did that happen? I'm already a third done with my mission! And by the time I finish training Hermana Brugman I'll be almost half done!

I wish it would slow down. It's going too fast.

Well, you know what's next...


Hermana Bennett

PS. I should be getting my camera card converter back tomorrow so that I can finally send pictures next week.



Is what I am.

We eat so much here it is gross.

I guess before we came here the missionaries were only getting fed once or twice a week, so they called a missionary meal calendar coordinator, and now we get dinner every single night. Which is great, but also a little bit rough on my insides. When we come people make a big feast because it's a rare occasion for them, but what is that we're missionaries every day, which means that we eat those feasts EVERY DAY. We eat ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, and pie probably three to four times a week here. And if not that then chicken salad and more pie. Always pie. 

I feel like I have a continuous flow of food churning through my insides. 

It's kind of yucky.

But, I am truly grateful for the kindness of the members and the sacrifice that they make to feed us. I just wish that they would turn that kindness into salad instead of pie.

Anyway, we had a good week over here in North Carolina. Lots of things happened. Let me recap.

Tuesday we had exchanges with the sister training leaders. That went well, as always.

Wednesday we taught THREE lessons in one day! That is a ton for us. We also found a super golden investigator, Adan. We found him knocking doors and he is very nice. Hermana Brugman was so funny about it, though. She comes from a pretty well-off family and being in this low income area totally freaks her out. Adan lives in a trailer, and as we were heading to his house for an appointment later that night after finding him she told me that she was afraid that he would lock us in the trailer and do something to us. I told her that the Spirit would help us to know if someone had bad intentions. By the time we left the appointment she was gushing about how much she loves him :) He is great! Very humble and lots of potential. We did a baptismal invitation and he said that after he learns more that he would be baptized.

Thursday was Thanksgiving! We spent the entire day at the Anderson family's house cooking, eating, playing games, and decorating their tree. It was so fun and made me excited to create my own holiday traditions someday. Another highlight of the day was a little trick that the elders pulled on us. They spent the morning helping Brother Anderson with yard work while we cooked, and in the process found some half dead crawdads, which they then put in our shoes! Hermana Brugman found it first and freaked out. Silly elders. If you don't know what crawdads are, which I didn't until Thanksgiving, look them up on Google. They're like sick slimy alien creatures.

Friday we had district meeting and I can't remember what else. Good day.

Saturday we got stuck in the mud! We went out to South Mills to visit a less active, and they live on a little farm. It's been raining off and on over the past few days, so the ground is soft. (Oh, and everyone parks in the yard here.) So, not thinking anything about it, we parked our car next to their gravel driveway so that it would be out of the way and then went in to our lesson. We came out, tried to drive away, and we were just STUCK in the muck. Hna Brugman, who's from Arizona where apparently there is no mud, kept saying, "Just gun it!" as our tires were spinning away. Finally I made her get out to look and she said, "Oh, now I get it." Finally the member's husband heard us making all this noise revving our engine and came out to help us. He tried to pull us out with his tractor a few times, but the hook kept slipping off, so everyone ended up pushing from behind as I gave it the gas. Finally we were free! Pretty funny. Us city girls in skirts looked like downright fools out there stuck in the mud.

Sunday we studied, went to church, ate, studied, ate, and went home. It was the most unproductive day ever. So frustrating. BUT, we had an investigator in church! Adan came and loved it. He is golden.

So, as you can see, things are going well! We're learning the area and having some fun experiences. 

Sorry still no pictures. Someday. Maybe in a couple weeks.


Hermana Bennett