Monday, November 17, 2014

No. Time.

Well, once again, I have lots to say and little time. My apologies.

This week was wonderful.

I ate tacos de lengua (cow tongue tacos). They were surprisingly good.

Raechel had her baptismal interview and is doing wonderfully. She's amazing.

I only have one week left to be a missionary. Sad.

I get to see all of you in a week. EXCITING!

God is good. Christ is our Savior. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet.

Love,

Hermana Bennett

PS:  We went on an unofficial, private tour of NASA this morning :) Pretty fun!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Wow!

Well, I think that I had a bunch of things to write about this week, but I've forgotten it all now. The only thing I can think about is that MY LITTLE SISTER IS ENGAGED!!!

I just about fainted when I found out. Not even oxygen to supply all of this excitement!

It will be nice to have something to focus on accomplishing when I get home. One of my biggest worries is that I will feel purposeless without a nametag on, but now I have a purpose! Thank you, little sister.

Well, our week was pretty good, I think. I feel so much joy in the work right now. It's wonderful.

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, November 3, 2014

Great week!

This week was so wonderful.

On Monday night we got a call from Kalie, our relief society president, asking us to meet with Raechel at a certain time"for reasons that she could not disclose. Ha. Her boyfriend was going to propose and they wanted us to distract her :)

So we did, and first of all, the lesson went AMAZING. We reviewed the baptismal interview questions with her, and she is ready. So ready. Plus it was really fun to be with her, knowing that it was her last few hours as an un-engaged person.

Then she went and got proposed to! We don't know exactly how it happened yet because she wants to tell us in person, but we'll find out tomorrow. She is seriously the best. Last week she talked about how she's doing this not only for her, but for her future family. How she's so excited to be sealed in the temple with Coby and to raise her family in the church so that she can give her kids a better life than she had.

HEART MELTED.

I just adore her.

Anyway, on Saturday we had what they called a "Social Media Day." All of our whole mission, members from the local congregations went out with the missionaries all day, from 7:30 am until 9:30 pm, took pictures of everything we did, and posted them to social media. The goal was to sweep the internet with pictures of what real missionaries do all day long, and to show them that we are indeed real, approachable people. It was fun.

That's about it.

Yesterday I bore my testimony in fast and testimony meeting for the last time as a full-time missionary. Wahhhhhhh.

Have a great week!

Love,
Hermana Bennett


The best trio ever!



                                           Williamsburg is beautiful in the fall!


 The Piggotts. They have a son on a mission in Nampa right now. I told them I'd go find him and take him and his companion out to lunch :)

Ha!

Monday, October 27, 2014

YES!

Raechel is getting baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Lord has been teaching me over the course of my mission to not base my success off of numerical results. It's been a difficult lesson to learn, but I'm grateful for it. I've learned to not compare myself to others and instead to judge myself off of the Lord's standards, which are often much kinder than ours.

That said, it's really nice to finally have a baptism.

It's been over fourteen months!

That's a lot of days of hard, seemingly fruitless labor.

Last Sunday Raechel went to church with the goal to receive an answer about whether or not she should be baptized on November 22. I fasted and prayed that day that something would be said or done that would stick out to her, and that she would have the courage to recognize it and act upon it.

Well, the Lord delivered.

The children did their little program that day, and as they sang the song, "I Am a Child of God," Raechel get her answer. The phrase "rich blessings are in store" stuck out to her, and the Spirit confirmed to her that she doesn't have to fear this step. It is the right thing to do, and the Lord will bless her immensely for it.

WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I am so excited to see someone that I love so much take this step in life. It will bring her so much peace and happiness... ETERNAL peace and happiness.

Rich blessings ARE in store!

That's pretty much it. The rest of the week involved a lot of talking to people on the streets. It was great!

Have a wonderful, miracle-filled week!

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, October 20, 2014

Icebergs.

My friend Jacob said in his email this week that he had an "iceberg moment" with his companion, and I really liked it, so I'm adopting it for the topic of this email. We, too, had some good iceberg moments here.
The biggest was with Raechel, a girl that I've been working with since New Kent. She missed her first baptismal date a month ago and has been super reluctant to set a new one since then. We have been really struggling to understand why, because she is completely ready. One hundred percent. Inside she has lots of different concerns and questions, but she only lets about an eight of them show, and the rest she keeps hidden (just like an iceberg). Finally, though, we got to see most of it. A big part came during an impromptu lesson about the Atonement. Then we met again, with just us and her, and talked more. We were able to resolve a lot of her concerns, and she seems to feel more comfortable now. So exciting.

Another was with was with our investigator, James. We have been meeting with him for the past month or so, and he has been really struggling to understand our doctrine on the Atonement. Works vs. grace, justice vs. mercy, etc. Finally this week we had a lesson with him in the Williamsburg chapel, and it went so well. The Spirit was strong and a lot of it seemed to click with him. At one point he stopped and said, "Wow. I guess you believe a lot closer to what I believe than I had been thinking." In his case it was really our doctrine that was the iceberg, and he that had to uncover it all. But it finally worked, and he should be coming to church this week.
We also had a powerful exchange with two of our sisters. All of them have issues. We all do. It's just asking the right questions to figure out what they are. It takes relying on the Spirit, which is really exhausting, but so worth it.
So, I guess the point is, patience yields results, and the Spirit is wonderful.
Love,

Monday, October 13, 2014

Technology.

This week my eyes were opened to how much missionaries live in the stone ages.

A few days ago we were supposed to meet someone on campus, and she had told us where to meet her in a text. Unfortunately, we forgot the phone at home, so we had no way to find her. But I thought to myself, "It's ok! We'll just go to her dorm room and find a neighbor that has her phone number and they can call her for us!" A very resourceful idea, if I do say so myself.

First we had to convince a random student to illegally let us into the dorm building though. Sorry William and Mary campus police. Thank you random guy that trusted three girls in skirts.

So we got up there and started knocking on doors, but it turns out that none of them had her number. "What in the world?" I thought to myself. "How do these people communicate?"
After talking to a few of her neighbors with no luck, one of them said, "Have you tried facebooking her or anything?"

I looked at her, dumbstruck. Facebook. Facebooking. The magical place where you can be friends with strangers and strangers with friends. Huh. "No. No, we have not. Could you do that for us?"

And she did! She facebooked her right there, and we arranged the whole thing! No phone involved whatsoever. Just mysterious, incredibly useful instant internet communication. Wow.

And right then and there I gained a testimony that Facebook can be used for good. So much good. An apostle said so:

"I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood." 
- Elder David A. Bednar


Have a great week!

Love,
Hermana Bennett


Monday, October 6, 2014

General conference.

Um, so, was anyone else blown away by Jorg Klebingat, whoever he is? HIS TALK WAS SO AMAZING!!! Also Elder Christofferson, Elder Ballard, Elder Scott, Elder Bednar, the native speakers. Conference = two days of heaven.

A cool experience that I had with General Conference this time around:

Our mission president encourages us to come to conferences and meetings with specific questions in mind in order to open our hearts up to revelation. I did that last October and in April and it was good, but this time it was even better. Let me tell you why.

First, I prayed about it and came up with three specific questions:

1. How do I find people to teach?
2. How do I make the transition from being a missionary to being a normal person again (a trunky questions, I know. Don't judge.)
3. Teach me more about justice and mercy.

Then, as Conference went, I wrote down almost exclusively things that the speakers said or that the Spirit taught me that corresponded to those questions. If it answered number one, I put a one in front of it, number two with a two, etc. This helped me to worry less about writing down notes (because what's the point, really, when you can read the talks again as many times as you want), and more about making Conference a meaningful revelatory experience. Doing this, I got so many good insights and ideas.

But that's not it! Today during my personal study I started compiling all of the revelation that I received by number. All the ones together, all the twos together, all the threes together. Soon I will have a complete, comprehensive answer to each question that I can refer back to whenever. After I'm done with that I'm going to set specific goals for myself so that I can transform my revelation into action.

It's been great. Much more meaningful for me.

Transfer calls happened. Sister Bassett is going to Nags Head and I am staying here. Two other sisters are coming to be my companions and we will make a sister training leader trio! It will be interesting, for sure, but it's what the Lord wants, so it's the best option.

Have a great week! Go watch Conference if you didn't get the chance!

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, September 29, 2014

Excited for general conference!

There is a poster next to me right now that says, "Missing Downton Abbey?" YES! Yes, yes, yes, I am missing Downton Abbey! You have no idea how much I miss Downton Abbey! Ha. Some things never change, even after sixteen months.

Anyway, we had a good week here.

Things that I learned:

Hermana Belnap taught me something really profound on exchanges. We were teaching someone the Plan of Salvation and she said, "The purpose of this life is to prepare, and just like any kind of preparation, it has to come in steps. Just think of getting ready in the morning. Even though you do the same thing every day, you can't get ready all at once. You have to do things one step at a time. It's the same with this life. We can't prepare all at once. God has given us certain steps to follow to prepare to meet Him." Wow! I always teach people about preparing to meet God, but I had never thought of using the analogy of preparing for something else. In steps. Maybe it's a duh moment for everyone else, but I loved it.

We had another great exchange with the Newport News 1st sisters, who live in my first apartment on the mission. It was so fun to go back there and remember what it felt like to be a new little baby missionary and have no idea what I was doing.

Other than that, things are basically the same. Going well.


SO EXCITED FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Esta semana

Twas a good week.

We went on three exchanges, all of which were wonderful. I learn so much from the sisters that I serve.

We also had zone conference in Virginia Beach this week. The theme was Doctrine and Covenants 6:36: "Look unto me in every though; doubt not, fear not." For the first half of the day we received trainings on how to care for our physical, mental, and emotional health. It was really great. They taught us about simple meditation techniques and about the importance of a balanced diet and exercise. Because missionary life is STRESSFUL!

After lunch President and Sister Baker gave trainings on replacing fear with faith and talking with everyone. It was so powerful.

We are teaching some great people right now, all from very different religious backgrounds...

One was raised Muslim, but is now agnostic.

A non-denominational Christian.

A Presbyterian.

A Christian girl raised by atheistic parents. Her teenage "rebellion" was going to church.

And a few others.

So much good life experience! I am learning a lot.

Have a great week!

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, September 15, 2014

This week.

I have tons to say and very little time, so I'm going to use my Mavis Beacon skills and type this super fast. Sorry if there are lots of typos.

This week was really good, with some amazing miracles, and also a bit sad, with some disappointments.

I'll start with the good.

This week I FINALLY started to feel like I have a purpose here in the YSA. It takes me a good eight weeks to get used to a new area, which is how long I have been here. I'm finally starting to feel at home, though.

On Wednesday we had one of the best lessons EVER. We have a super great investigator, Laura, and this week our branch president had us, her, and another one of our members over for dinner. She seemed to feel really at home there, and it went well. After the dinner we read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon with her, and then talked about fasting. She has done it before! Wow! We committed her to pick a baptismal date, and then fast and pray on Sunday at stake conference to know for sure if this is right for her. She accepted! The member that we brought to fellowship her did great, and offered to drive Laura to church. It was all so wonderful. Like picture perfect missionary work. So rewarding.

A sister missionary from the Poquoson ward got home this week and called us within hours of getting off the plane to see when she could come out with us. She is so cute. She served her mission in Argentina, so the whole speaking English thing is tough for her. At someone's door she was like, "We're here comparting a testimonio about... Never mind. You just talk." Haha. Spanglish. I want to be like that. Out with the missionaries every day!

We met with a great guy that we found at the activities festival at William and Mary a few weeks back. He is super cool and seems genuinely interested.

Later that night we had dinner with two RMs in our branch. They invited a nonmember to be the third female, and it turns out that she is golden! We taught her the restoration, she liked it, and accepted the invitation to meet with us again. MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK. So much better than missionary missionary work.

We went on exchanges with the Poquoson sisters, and I got to ride bikes for the first time in my mission! IT WAS SO FUN. I loved it. Plus it wasn't that hot - in fact we got drenched in the rain - so it was nice. I wish that I could be on bikes more. Sitting in the car all the time is the worst.

Stake conference happened. Crazy because for stake conference a year ago, I was in this very same place, going to the chapel on Denbigh. Newport News feels like my home stake by now! The stake president here, President Hamilton, is the best. I think that I was sent to Virginia in part just to meet him. In the Saturday evening session he talked about the appropriate use of technology, and encouraged us to join in Elder Bednar's invitation to flood the Earth with uplifting messages.

Another theme that the Spirit brought to my attention during stake conference was the glorious hope of the Gospel. It struck me again and again how much hope I have gained through the course of my mission. Seeing families that work, Priesthood holders that love and serve their families, and people that have turned their lives around has helped me to trust in the Lord's promises like never before. I feel that the future is bright, that I CAN have a happy, successful family, that pure, Christlike love, really does exist. I didn't feel those things as much 15 months ago.

I could say more, but my time is up.

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, September 8, 2014

Great week!


I have very little time left, so I'll just send a quick update.

Things are going so well here! For basically the first time in thirteen months, I have progressing investigators. I feel like I am finally, finally, FINALLY seeing the results of my hard work. God has been very kind to us.

A bunch of returned missionaries have moved back to Williamsburg for school, and they are so helpful with the work. They are all on fire with missionary work and finding people for us to teach!

I got to see Raechel, my investigator from New Kent, again. She is doing really well and is super ready for baptism. I am so proud of her.

On Saturday we walked around William and Mary campus talking to people and handing out pass-along cards. We call that street contacting. I have not done it very much on my mission because it just hasn't worked very well logistically in the areas that I've been in, but on campus it works great! So fun.
 

Virginians love trucks and Jesus.

Have a great week!

Love,
Hermana Bennett


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Great week.

This week was wonderful. Let me share a few miracle stories with you!

We met with a girl named Laura, an investigator that left for the summer and is now back. She believes in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and is basically just deciding whether or not she wants to be baptized. This is a huge tender mercy because we have been struggling to find solid investigators. God is good!


We created a display board for the activities fair at William and Mary...


Doesn't it look great? One of our member's moms helped us out with it. Another miracle because we could not have done this on our own!

Heavenly Father helped Sister Bassett and I successfully give a SEVENTY MINUTE TRAINING at zone meeting on Friday. One of the zone leaders in the Newport News North zone went home early to start school, so his companion was left solo to run zone meeting. Insert sister training leaders, at your service! We were a bit nervous, but the Spirit stepped in and it went really well.

We couldn't find our phone one morning as we were preparing to leave. Finally we kneeled down to pray to ask for help to find it. We closed our eyes, Sister Bassett said, "Dear Heavenly Father," and then stopped praying. I waited for a moment and then opened my eyes, only to see her holding up the phone! It had been hiding under a piece of paper, right by where we kneeled down to pray. Not only is God good, but He also has a sense of humor.

We taught the Plan of Salvation to a friend of one of our members. After teaching the pre-earth life and veil, she stopped, smiled, and said, "Wow. That... makes sense somehow. Wow." Sister Bassett and I just looked at each other like, ARE YOU SEEING WHAT I'M SEEING?! You could literally see the Spirit telling her right there that it was true. So amazing.

While knocking doors this gruff older lady opened the door, we introduced ourselves, and she said, "I'm a Baptist." We said, "Well, we talk to people of every religion... blah blah blah." Pretty soon she let us right in! Soon we got to talking about the Book of Mormon. She told us that she didn't like the Mormon faith because it was selfish. I said, "Well, that's interesting. You may have been taught some things that aren't true, because this religion is all about Jesus Christ and service." After that she let us teach the whole restoration! When we tried to commit her to read the Book of Mormon she was super hesitant, so we each read one of our favorite scriptures, the Spirit touched her heart, and she said yes. Then yesterday we called her and she actually did read!

THE SPIRIT IS SO POWERFUL.

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, August 25, 2014

The long week of exchanges are over!

Good news from this week:

Our exchanges are over for this transfer! Eight twenty-four hour exchanges in three weeks was a lot! Now we can breathe on focus on our area a little more.

We had a fun sisters' preparation day! We did a 'Christmas in August' theme, with a Christmas tree, gingerbread houses, white elephant, and a movie.

We hit most of our goals! Finally. Most of my mission has been spent really struggling to reach our goals, but last week we almost did it! The Lord is blessing us.

Here are some pictures, because I have been really bad about sending pictures lately.



This is a giant snake skin that a lady in Jamestown found in her yard. It's six feet long. Welcome to the jungle!




Somehow this pass-along card of Jesus was just chilling out on our backseat one day... We enjoyed that quite a bit. He's always with us!


Me, Sister Romney, and Sister Burr, inside a fake boat at the Yorktown museum.


Me and Sister Burr. Love this girl.



The Yorktown battle memorial.



A baby goat!


A giant leaf at Colonial Williamsburg.



Cuddling up with good old Ronald during a potty break at McDonald's.



One thing that I love about Virginia are the clouds. We just don't get clouds out west like they do here. So beautiful.

That's it! Now it's time to go. Love you lots!

Love,
Hermana Bennett

Monday, August 18, 2014

The week of exchanges.

This week we were on exchange ALL WEEK!

Tuesday to Wednesday
Wednesday to Thursday
Thursday evening our mission president's wife came out with us
Friday to Saturday

By Saturday night we were exhausted. Exchanges are SO fun, but they're also physically and emotionally draining. You're trying to be a good example of obedience and diligence, as well as minister to the sisters' needs, which could be anything!

But it was good. I am learning a lot about how to be a leader and how to help others. I love it.

Anyway, back to the fun stuff! On Monday we went to Yorktown with the Poquoson sisters. It was amazing to see where the last major battle of the Revolutionary War took place.

Also, I highly recommend going out proselyting with the mission president's wife. So many miracles happened! For weeks we have been knocking doors, knocking doors, and knocking more doors, with very little success, and then with her we taught three lessons in the space of a few hours! Crazy.

That's about it. Have a great week!

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week three in the News.

This week can be described in one word: DOORS. The university in our area, William and Mary, is on summer break right now, and therefore all of our young single adults are MIA. So we're struggling a little to find investigators and teach, but it should pick up when September comes and school starts up again.

In the meantime we'll keep on rockin' on, knockin' on a billion doors :)

The Lord is giving my little miracles to keep me going, though...

On Monday I found out something amazing. Almost a year ago I knocked on a door with my two trainees and met a man named Matt. After some pushing we convinced him to let missionaries come over, and he ended up getting baptized. Well, on Monday I found out that Matt's best friend, Milo, just got baptized a few weeks ago. Tracting really works! Because of one door knocked, two people have been brought to the Gospel fold. What a blessing. And a tender mercy from the Lord to allow me to come back to Newport News and see the results of my labors here.

On Tuesday we went tracting at 8 PM in a place we call Ritztown. They're these super nice apartments that are really well lit, so we feel safe knocking doors there at night. At the second door we knocked, a man opened the door, looked at us, and said, "Who sent you?" We said, "Oh, so you know who we are?" He said, "Yes, I have a son on a mission, but I'm less active. Did the bishop send you?" We're like, "...No... we're just knocking doors." Then, with tears in his eyes, he told us that he had strayed from the truth, but that he was ready to come back. He told us that we were a light to him and thanked us for coming. We sent the elders to him and later found out that just before we knocked on his door, Jon had been talking to a friend about religion, wondering where God was, and then we showed up. Wow. Perfect timing. What a blessing to be used by the Lord as an answer to their prayers. Also, his son is on a Spanish speaking mission in Provo, so I'm totally going to go find him when I'm back there and ask how his dad is doing.

On Wednesday I got to go on exchanges with my granddaughter :) (one of my trainees trained her). She is so cute and it was fun to spend the day with her. She is in the Spanish branch, so I got to see some of the members from there. So fun.

The rest of the week was good, but nothing super incredible to report.

I LOVE YOU!!!

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week number infinity

Was I never not a missionary? Will I ever be not a missionary? It doesn't feel like it. This is just ME.

Yesterday two sisters that served here were back for a visit after their missions. It was so weird to see them again and have them introduce themselves as their first names. And I could see their knees! And they didn't have nametags on! It was a strange experience. They are living regular life... what is that? Ahhhhhh.

Anyway, we had a good week. I went on my first exchange as a sister training leader, and it went really well. It's crazy how when you are called to serve someone, your love for them automatically multiplies. I love these sisters so much.

We are struggling to find new investigators, so we have been knocking doors a lot. So fun. The other day we met a nice black lady from the Holiness Bible Church who believed just about everything that is opposite of what we believe. It was crazy. A whole other set of doctrine. She was really funny.

We are also working on talking with everyone, even when it's awkward. As a result of that, we met a crazy drunk Jamaican man who spent twenty minutes telling us about a dream that he had in which lots of people were walking and there was a big ravine that he fell into and then some people castrated a dog. Awkward. I tried to relate it to Lehi's dream in 1 Nephi 8, but it was a no-go.

That's all I have for today. Keep on keepin' on.

Love,

Hermana Bennett

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back in the News!

I am so happy.

Newport News has had my heart since I left, and now I'm back! Hurrah. Simply driving down the streets brings back fun memories from being trained and training here. And yesterday I got to see Rosalio and Melina (the couple that got married and baptized last year) for the first time in eight months, which was the best. Melina and I both cried so much. They are doing GREAT. Melina is in the relief society presidency and Rosalio is in the elders quorum presidency and they are going to the temple to get sealed soon! <3 <3 <3

Other highlights from the week:

On Monday in New Kent we visited a media referral. A 23-year-old guy that ordered a Book of Mormon off of mormon.org. We brought a couple members and taught him the whole restoration. He seems golden. It's sad to leave that area right when things are picking up, but it's ok. The Lord wants me here.

I also had a really good experience with one of the youth in the New Kent branch before leaving. One of my goals up there was to help the youth, and especially the young women, see that being a missionary is really fun and that you don't have to be boring to be a missionary. I tried hard to interact with them a lot and share stories about our work, hoping to touch their hearts at least a little. Well, on Tuesday one of the 17-year-old young women came with us to a lesson and afterward told us that she has decided to go on a mission. Then she said, "All of the sisters, but especially you, Sister Bennett, made me actually consider it."

MUSIC TO MY EARS. That made me so happy. Even if all I did my whole mission was help one girl decide to go on a mission, that means that I will vicariously influence all of the people that she influences, which makes it so worth it.

On Thursday we had transfer meeting, and then I came to Zion! Life here as a YSA missionary is a lot like being a Spanish missionary. We have to tract a lot and seek out our investigators like needles in a haystack, but it's fun. All of the members are super nice and seem pretty missionary minded.

Anyway, that's about it! Lovin' life in the News.


Hermana Bennett

Monday, July 21, 2014

Transfer!

Well, the expectedly unexpected happened, and I'm getting transferred!
To.............

...............

...................

............................

......................

.......................................

..............................

..................
Guess. Think about my favorite place in the whole wide world....
Newport News!!!!
Saturday:
We are sitting in the apartment finishing our weekly planning, calm as could be. Just a few minutes earlier we had talked about how peaceful we both felt because we were ninety nine percent sure that we were not getting a call. That would be crazy.

Then the phone rings. I grab it: Main Office.
Me: "Hermana, it's the main office!"
She looks at me with a blank stare.
Me: "It's the main office, hermana!"
Still nothing.
Me: "Do you know what this means?"
Her: "Well, answer it!"
Me: "Oh, yeah. Hello, this is the New Kent sisters."

President Baker: "Hello, New Kent sisters, this is President Baker. How are you?"

Me: "Good, but I was not expecting this call at all!"
President: "Well, it's a bit of a surprise for me as well. Are you ready to hear the news?"
Me: "Yes."

President: "Sister Bennett, you are being transferred to the Virginia Peninsula Young Single Adult branch to be a sister training leader. Your companion will be Sister Bassett."
Me: "Woah. I was not expecting that AT ALL."
President: "Yes, well, it's a bit of an experiment. I've never done this before. You will be a zebra companionship. Will you accept this assignment?"

Me: "Of course!"

President: "Now, Sister Bennett, as a sister training leader you will be expected to be a strict Preach My Gospel missionary. Will you commit to do this?"
Me: "Yes, President."
Crazy. Crazy crazy crazy. My feelings are:

Happiness. I get to go back to Newport News! My home. I get to see Rosalio and Melina and all of the members from the Spanish branch that I love so dearly.

Nervousness. I will be a YSA missionary. That's so AWKWARD!
Inadequacy. Even after a year I'm still just barely figuring out this whole missionary thing. How in the world can I help anyone else?
Excitement. Sister Bassett is the bomb.com. I get to shop at Walmart again!
Sadness. I have really come to love this area and these people. I don't want to leave them.

Trust. The Lord will help me. If He thinks I can do it, I can do it.
So that's my big news! Who woulda thunk? Not I.
Here's my new address:
759 Bellows Way #303
Newport News, VA 23602

We also had interviews with President Baker earlier this week, set Raechel for baptism on August 23, and had exchanges with the sister training leaders. It was wonderful!

I LOVE YOU!!!

Love,
Hermana Bennett

Monday, July 14, 2014

This week.

This week is going to be a random jumble of a bunch of things. Sorry.

On Monday we had a sisters' preparation day at a member's house in Williamsburg. Here's the view from their backyard.

Yes, that is real life. Nice backyard, private beach and dock, and a beautiful view of the James River. Livin' the high life out here in Virginia :)
We started teaching our branch president's son's girlfriend, and she is AMAZING. Tons of potential. I am so excited. We are going to invite her to be baptized tomorrow.

It's HOT.

Yes, that is also real life. Ahhhhhh. I am blessed to be in a country with air conditioning everywhere, though, so it's not really that bad.
Things that people say in Virginia that I love:
"In Jesus' name we pray. Amen."
"Y'all be careful out there."
"Have a blessed day."
"Right much" and "right many." As in: "We had an activity and right many people came!"
"How y'all doin?"
"Honey" "Sweetie" "My love"

People here are so nice. I love it.
I saw an "I'm a Mormon" video the other day about an artist, and one of her paintings was called, "Be Where Your Feet Are." I loved it, and I've made that my motto. My feet are in Virginia on a mission, and that's where I want my head and heart to be too. There are lots of distractions out there, but I don't want any part of it.
Hermana Bennett is my name, and Hermana Bennett is my game :)

I LOVE YOU!!!

Love,
Hermana Bennett

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day Week.

A week of crazy and miracles.
On Monday we made tacos, met a new less active couple, had a terrible lesson with Jeremy, and almost hit a deer on the way home. My first encounter ever with a deer on the road. Screamed like a little girl, but we didn't die, so that's what counts.
I also hit a rabbit a few days ago...

Sorry, Mother Nature.
Tuesday and Wednesday were good. Hot and sticky. We visited lots of people and helped a nonmember family move into their new house in Toano.
On Thursday we had another terrible lesson with Jeremy. It came out that he doesn't believe in the Priesthood. He said, "My son just broke his collar bone two days ago. If y'all really have the Priesthood, then call one of your men over here to heal him." Ahhhh. I wanted to whip open the Book of Mormon and read to him about Korihor and then quote Joseph Smith, who said, "He that seeketh after a sign is an adulterer."
But I refrained. Instead I just looked at him and said, "Jeremy, you know as well as we do that you can't ask God for a sign. It doesn't work that way."
We are going to have to drop him soon because all he wants to do is Bible bash. So frustrating.
That night we survived a hurricane! Just kidding. There really was a hurricane, but it didn't come anywhere near here and all we got was some rain and nice cool temperatures for the Fourth of July.
We got the day off from proselyting, so we went to Williamsburg to shop (first time I saw a Target in over six months), and then went to a member's house for dinner. We tried to go to Colonial Williamsburg to watch fireworks with them, but parking was a nightmare, so we ended up just going home. I was fine with it, though, because after spending the last three months in New Kent--far, far away from civilization--all of the cars and crowds were way overwhelming to me.
Yesterday we got three new investigators! Yeehaw.
Anyway, God is good. The standard of truth has been erected, and no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.
I LOVE YOU!!!

Hermana Bennett

Monday, June 30, 2014

Yo.

Hello all,

Sorry for my absence last week. We had just gotten back from fishing... I was hot, sunburned, and tired, and didn't really feel like writing a long email about the week.
Things are going well out here in New Kent, Virginia, though. The trees are still tall, the air is still wet, and the people are still THE BEST. I love this place.
News... We are still teaching Jeremy. I don't remember if I've talked about him before or not. Last week we met with him in the church building along with our branch mission leader and another member. We did a building tour and then showed a Mormon Message about the Spirit and talked about how he needs to come to church in order to receive an answer from the Spirit about this. He is held back by the fact that he teaches Sunday School at his church, and it's at the same time as ours. Such a struggle.
The highlight of the lesson, though, was our branch mission leader. At one point he said, "What do you teach to those Sunday School kids? To search for their own answers, right? Now, I'm not going to call you a hypocrite, because that would be rude, but how can you rightly teach them to search if you're not doing everything in your power to get an answer about this?"
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!

It was so bold, but it was perfect, and Jeremy took it really well.
I think that if I were to have met Jeremy a year ago, I would have been super intimidated to teach him, because he has tons of questions and knows the Bible by heart. Now, though, I love the challenge. I have read the whole Bible, I know the Book of Mormon much better than before, and my testimony and understanding have grown. I love feeling the Spirit bring ideas and scriptures to mind as I talk. IT IS AMAZING.
Being a missionary is the best.
We are also trying to work closely with the members here. We set a goal as a companionship to meet every single member in the branch within the next two transfers. It might sound easy, but there are so many less actives here that the members don't even recognize a lot of their names. Addresses are wrong, phone numbers are wrong, and the people are either super busy or just plain good at avoiding church people. We're getting them, though. If I've learned anything on my mission, it's how to track people down! We're going to find them, meet them, bring them back to church, and baptize all their friends and family!

Times keeps going faster and faster, and I have been working hard lately to give myself more to the work than ever before. I have known all along that my mission will come to an end, but it's really hitting me now. Probably because my current companion goes home in two months. Because of that constant reminder, I am pushing myself to give it all to God. Everything. Heart and soul, strength and spirit. It's the best.

I LOVE YOU!!!

Have a great Independence Day.

Love,
Hermana Bennett

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gone fishing!

Guess what we did today? Went fishing!
That's my first ever fish. He's a blue gill from Kent Lake in Quinton, Virginia. He's teeny, but, hey. I caught him.
I LOVE YOU!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hermanister Bennett!

Do you like my new title? I am no longer a full-fledged hermana, but I will never be a sister, so I found a nice compromise. Hermanister.
Things are great here in my neck of the woods.


On Monday we bought Virginia souvenirs and took some fun pictures...

 Hehe.
I had some fun with it.

​<3 Virginia <3
This is Sister Mahler, one of the sisters that went to Poquoson (puh-ko-sn).
We also met the sisters' main investigator, Jeremy. He's awesome. He is a deacon in the Southern Baptist church, but he doesn't believe that his church is true. He goes because he teaches a Sunday school class to first and second graders, and he is committed to teaching them the true doctrine, and not "the watered-down stuff the Baptist church teaches." (in his own words) Haha. I am really excited to work with him.
For the next couple days we went around with the sisters, meeting their investigators and less active members they work with, and then on Thursday we had transfers!

That was a crazy day. Woke up, packed up two cars, drove to Poquoson, unloaded the sisters, drove to Portsmouth, went to transfer meeting, drove home, unpacked Hermana Malmrose's stuff, went to an appointment with Jeremy, went to dinner with Sister Kennedy, came home and unpacked some more, planned, wrote in the journal, and then fell into bed.

Hermana Malmrose is GREAT. I am really excited to work with her. We are ready to set this place on fire together.
Other highlights:
Our church building was struck by lightning.
We committed a friend of one of our members to baptism :)
Life is good!

Sorry that this is a long one.

Have a great week!

Love,
Hermana Bennett

Monday, June 9, 2014

One year and transfers!

I have two major items of business to address this morning.


1. I hit my year mark!

Here I am blowing out the candle on my makeshift "cake" to celebrate my birthday.



Time has both dragged and flown. Crazy how that happens. I am looking forward to these last six months. I know more or less what I'm doing, I trust the Lord, and I'm ready to work hard!


2. Transfer calls!

On Saturday we got called, and the very unexpected happen. My companion, Hermana Harrison, is getting transferred to Nags Head, and Hermana Malmrose from a neighboring area is coming here to be my companion. On top of that, the two English sisters that we have been sharing this area with are being taken out, and Hermana Malmrose and I are going to take over the whole area, both Spanish and English.

I'm going to be an English missionary! Ahh. I'm really excited to actually have work to do, but also nervous because Americans are kind of scary. I much prefer Hispanics. I'm also completely unfamiliar with my English scriptures now because I've barely touched them in a year.

It should be fun!

Love you all. Hope you have a great week.

Hermana Bennett

Monday, June 2, 2014

Last week of May!

It's June! One year ago today I was set apart as a missionary. Can you believe it? I can't.
Let me tell you a story from this week that sums up the joys of Spanish missionary work in New Kent, Virginia.
On Tuesday we went to Charles City to contact a Dish 500 that the sisters gave us.

(Pause: Dish 500 is the kind that has the Spanish channels on it. If a house has one, it is 95% guaranteed that there are Hispanics there, so we love them.)

They weren't home, so we walked down the dirt road to talk to their neighbors. Only the last one of them was home, and he didn't know any Hispanics, but told us to, "go out, turn right at the church, then left at 618, go down a little ways and you'll see Adkins store on the left. The guy in there will know." Some good ol' country directions for you.
We did what he said, and it turns out that the man that runs the store is Pakistani, but speaks Spanish because he is married to a Mexican woman. They live in Richmond, which is out of our mission, but he said that Hispanics come into the store all the time and that he will ask them where they live.
We'll go back in a couple weeks to follow up and hopefully get some referrals from him!

Haha. You definitely won't read about this finding technique in Preach My Gospel, but we do what we gotta do.
We also had some really good, really bold discussions with Ramiro, our only Hispanic member. I think that he is FINALLY beginning to understand the importance of the Book of Mormon and this Church.
I made this for him to show him how the Priesthood comes directly from Jesus Christ to man.

Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. We got a copy of Bro Cummings' Priesthood line, who conferred the Aaronic Priesthood to Ramiro, and then I beautified it. Technically this is Bro. Cummings' Melchizedek Priesthood line, but whatever. It was the visual that I wanted.

While I was at it, I took a picture of my desk...

Life as a missionary. Scriptures galore and multiple notebooks for different kinds of notes. My lack of organization has not improved, unfortunately.
And here's a picture of me and Shawna!


I did her hair and makeup and then dressed her up pretty the other day because she's great and she deserves it.

Anyway, it was a good week. The weather is beautiful right now. Not too hot, not too cold... all you need is a light jacket!

Love ya lots.

Hermana Bennett

Monday, May 26, 2014

What a week!

This week was up, down, up, down, down, down, down, down, down, up, down, up, down, down. Hermana Harrison got sick with a cold, I got a 24-hour stomach flu, then the next day the same cold that she had. Yuck. Also, all of my pictures from the past year are possibly lost. Bahhhhh.
For the ups, though, we got two new investigators! One is Aura, a former investigator. She is from Guatemala and is so sweet. She never learned how to read or write in her language, and doesn't speak English, so helping her kindergarten-age daughter with her homework is a struggle. Because of that we have started going over a couple of times a week to tell her what the teacher newsletter says and help her daughter practice reading, match, etc. Their house has been crazy in the past few weeks with sickness, too, but finally we were able to have a little Gospel discussion with Aura and set another appointment, so we are excited.

The other is Jenny, another former investigator that we finally got in contact with. She seems very sincere and humble.
Yesterday we had a zone sisters' preparation day, for which we went to Colonial Williamsburg. It was fun, but I've been there a few times at this point, so it wasn't as cool as the first time. I tried to get creative with my pictures, though, since I've taken some there before.
Here's Thomas Jefferson and I. He can't keep his hands off me.


And here's another pretty one. Virginia is BEAUTIFUL.


This is what they do to disobedient missionaries.


And here are some sheep!
I took a picture of them because A) they're cute, and B) missionary work symbolism!
Also, we've started playing Apples to Apples during our English classes sometimes because it's way more fun than just sitting there lecturing, and a great way to learn words. Here are the cards that I won the first night. Supposedly what you win describes you, and... I think these do the job! ;)


I love you! Have a great week!

Hermana Bennett


Monday, May 19, 2014

Service and exchanges

Not too much happened this week, but we did do lot of service. On Monday we helped Shawna clean her house for a home study the next day (she's currently fighting for custody of her kids), and on Saturday we helped a less-active lady clean her FOURTEEN BEDROOM house. It's ginormous, but also in ruins. I'm afraid that our window washing and floor cleaning didn't really do much to help the situation, but at least she felt cared for, right?
Right.

We also had exchanges with the sister training leaders, which I always love. I got to go to Newport News with Sister Caldwell.

 <3 <3 <3 Newport News <3 <3 <3
It's so fun to go back there and reminisce on the days when I had investigators and taught lessons.

But really.
I love it there and miss it a lot. I also love New Kent, though. Just differently.

Anyway, that's about it.
Let me find a fun picture to jazz up this boring post.



This is the Wright brothers memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Love,
Hermana Bennett


Monday, May 5, 2014

THE BEST WEEK EVER!

You know how sometimes I get on and have nothing to say? Well, this is not one of those weeks. SO MANY THINGS HAPPENED.
First, my birthday was on Tuesday! I am now 21 years old and officially an old lady. For morning exercise I worked out my arms while opening the package from my mom. My companion and the sisters worked out their eyelids by blinking as they watched me do it.

Ha.


Kindly ignore the terribleness of this photo. I had just woken up. Anyway, Mom, you did great! Everything was wonderful and the music was exactly what I wanted. <3 thank you <3

Later, during our lunch break, the sisters sent me on a wild scavenger hunt around the house, finding clues that led me to the destination.



They are so cute. The prize was Wheat Thins and a granola bar :) They know me so well!
The rest of the week passed without much happening until Saturday, when the greatest day of my mission occurred.

ELDER BEDNAR CAME.

We weren't supposed to talk about it until it actually happened, but on this weekend Elder Bednar came for a giant priesthood leadership meeting, so he met with a bunch of other groups as well, which included the missionaries! Both our mission and the Richmond mission gathered in Richmond on Saturday morning to receive his training and instruction.
All of it was great, but the highlight was that...

I TALKED TO HIM.
In preparation for our big meeting with Elder Bednar, we were asked to read and annotate three of his talks, and to come prepared to learn from the Spirit about the messages contained in them. Then in the conference, rather than giving a talk, he he led a giant group discussion with all 500 missionaries about them. First he asked us what we had learned, and that was when I raised my hand. I probably would have been too afraid to talk in front of him, but I felt that pounding in my chest that I feel when the Lord wants me to bear my testimony, so I knew that I had to speak up.
When he called on me I stood up, shaking like a dried up leaf on a windy autumn day, and expressed my thoughts. He asked me to expound on it, then thanked me, I sat down, and he spoke about it as well. I honestly don't remember much of what he said for the next few minutes because I was a little in shock, but the important part is that I TALKED TO AN APOSTLE OF THE LORD.
The rest of the meeting was unbelievable, and by the end of the three hours I was exhausted from being so spiritually engaged for so long.
I also got to see lots of people that I haven't seen in a while, like old companions!


Here's Hermana Brugman, the one that I was with in Elizabeth City. I accidentally left my camera on vibrant colors after taking pictures of the trees, so it looks kind of crazy, but that's all right. We were together for four months! Love her.

The reason my camera was on vibrant colors. This is a little exaggerated, but not much.

This is Mystie and JB, the kids of one of my favorite members. The picture on the whiteboard is me :)

Oh, and Sister Burr and I did all of these puzzles in the past month. Ha. I swear we really do work. We just puzzle in every break we get.

Did I already send you a picture of my granddaughter? Well, this is her. This is at my old apartment in Newport News.

On Sunday Elder Bednar spoke again in our stake conference, but we didn't get to go to Newport News to see him. Instead we watched it broadcasted in our building here in New Kent. I had to translate the whole meeting to Ramiro, which was hard. Elder Bednar talks fast. One amazing gift that I receive when I am translating, though, is the gift of tongues. I always pray for it, and I can feel the Holy Ghost aiding me. I still don't speak perfectly, but my capacity is definitely enlarged.
Anyway, it was a great week! Full of fun memories and spiritual feasting.
I LOVE YOU!!!

Love,

Hermana Bennett