Monday, February 24, 2014

Warmer weather = softer hearts

We had a great week this week! It has finally started warming up around here (although supposedly it's going to snow next week), and with the warmer weather people actually spend time outside, which makes the work a whole lot easier.
On Monday we ate dinner with Sister Barnhill and her husband, which was the best. They are so fun. She is a convert to the Church of about 15 years, but he is a lifelong Baptist. They got married four years ago and she decided to attend church with him for the sake of the marriage, which is a bummer, but says that she will always call herself a Mormon. We're still working on how to approach that whole situation. For now we just shared a scripture from the Bible with them and tried to keep things neutral, but hopefully in the future we'll be able to have some good discussion with him about the Church.
On Tuesday it got up into the 60s for the first time in forever, so we parked the car and walked around town. Best decision ever. Heavenly Father put so many people in our path because of that. Literally we would be walking and a Hispanic would just open the door and walk out onto the porch - right into our laps! He is so good to us. We weren't able to teach any lessons, but we will follow up with all of them and hopefully see some great things start up!
On Wednesday we found a new investigator!!! We went to Hertfort, a city about fifteen miles away, to knock doors in a big trailer park there. The first door we knocked was an American girl that wasn't all that interested, but we asked her if any of her neighbors were Hispanic and she pointed us across the street. We went over there, and the first one that we knocked let us right in. It's crazy because we actually met her three months ago in Walmart, on our very first Monday in Elizabeth City. She was there with a friend and I wasn't going to talk to them because it's always so awkward in Walmart, but I did it anyway because I wanted to be a good example to Hermana Brugman. Three months later it turns out that was a good choice!

On Thursday we led the youth activity for the night. We taught them how to play oompa loompa (a game they made up in the Richmond mission), and then took them out in groups of three to four to the relief society room for a special activity. We blindfolded them, then talked about Proverbs 3:5 and how we can't see God in this life, so we have to listen to the voices of the prophets and leaders of the Church to know how to avoid obstacles. The funny part, though, was that we didn't actually put any obstacles in the room. We just made up funny stuff for them to do and videotaped it, and then showed them all the videos after. It was hilarious. We had them hopping and crawling and all sorts of things to avoid those "obstacles." It was great.

On Saturday we went to Roper to visit Anibal and his family. It was the BEST. they are all so sweet, just like him. We talked for a while and then they fed us enchiladas (YUM), and then we talked some more. His mom and sister are super religious and are practically Mormons... except that they're Pentecostal. I despise that church. I want so badly to unite Anibal's family and help them all join the Church, but they are completely against the Book of Mormon. I don't know how to do it. We taught two Pentecostals, Aurelia and Jovita, in Newport news, and they were wonderful but also so stuck in their mode of thinking.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy Valentines Day and Presidents Day!

Hello world.
We had a good week out here. Not that much that is interesting to report, however. It involved lots of service to members (organizing spare rooms and cleaning new houses) because we haven't had many teaching appointments lately.
So instead of talking about my week, what I wanted to share is how much I LOVE THE SCRIPTURES.

I love them.
They are my best friends.
They are wonderful.
We are joined at the hip.
They are the sock to my hop.
They are the peanut to my butter.

They are the sun to my shine.

I would marry them if I could.

So far on my mission I have read the Book of Mormon one and a half times, the whole Doctrine and Covenants, the whole New Testament, and I'm a third of the way through the Old Testament. I love it so much. Before my mission I read the scriptures sometimes and marked things that I liked, but I didn't have much drive to go looking for answers in them. Now, though, my study is completely focused on other people, which leads me to look for answers to doctrinal questions and life problems that I've never thought of before. And you know what?











The answers are always in the scriptures! It's amazing.
It's like they're inspired or something.
Here are some pictures that I took this morning of my scriptures... I go a little crazy with the marking sometimes.

 Here I was studying about how to teach people about the authority of the Priesthood, and came across Alma 13. I've read this chapter probably ten times, but this time the words ordained, order, called, calling, and prepared starting sticking out to me, so I marked all of them in orange. And look how many there are! Suddenly this chapter took on a whole new meaning for me.
I've also been marking every variation of the word repentance in the whole Book of Mormon and it's EVERYWHERE. I love repentance.

This is Doctrine and Covenants section 31, where the Lord calls Thomas B. Marsh to serve a mission. It's the section that I read in the Provo temple that really convinced me to go. I have it marked up like crazy, but don't worry! There is a method to my madness:

yellow = things that I love
blue = promises
red = repentance/forgiveness/the Atonement

I have some other pictures, but they take forever to load.
The other amazing thing about the scriptures is that there is always more to learn. Every time I read them I find something that I have never noticed before. Depending on what investigator I'm studying for and what my focus is, things just miraculously appear to answer my questions.

For example, today during personal study both Hermana Brugman and I were studying about the authority of the Priesthood. One of the scriptures that I found was 3 Nephi 18:36-37, where the Lord gives to his disciples the authority to confer the power of the Holy Ghost. I marked it and thought, "That's the Melchizedek Priesthood! But what about the Aaronic Priesthood?" Then during companionship study she shared with me 3 Nephi 12:1-2, where it talks about the Lord giving His disciples the power to baptize. And there it was! The Aaronic Priesthood! It was so simple, but somehow, even after reading 3 Nephi tons of times, it had just never occurred to me that He really did give it to them in two steps, just like we do today. Wow.
It reminds me of 1 Nephi 16:28-29 where Nephi talks about the Liahona and how the instructions on it changed from time to time, according to the faith, diligence, and attention that they gave to it. That's just how it is with the scriptures! The more faith, diligence, and attention that we give to our scripture study, the more answers we will receive. The words on the page don't actually change, but it seems like they do because more and more comes to light with every reading.

Anyway, the point is, I love the scriptures.
A lot.
And I also love all of you!!! Have a great week.


Hermana Bennett

Monday, February 10, 2014

Slowest week of the mission, but also wonderful!

Well, this week we didn't teach one single lesson to investigators. The only "teaching" we did was a little spiritual thought that we share before futbol on Friday night every week.

But it's ok! I have faith that Heavenly Father will soon answer our prayers and bless us with investigators if we are diligent and obedient.
Here's an exciting story for the week that describes some of the crazy things that I get to do as a missionary that have nothing to do with missionary work at all.
On Friday night while Hermana Brugman was in the shower I was just lying in bed kind thinking about the day half asleep. All of the sudden the phone rings and it's Hermano Anibal, who is the member that kind of heads up futbol. This is how our conversation went:
Hola, hermano! How are you!
Good, hermana. We have a little problem.
The alarms are going off at the church.
In the whole building?

Yes, in the whole building.



Did a little kid pull it?

Yes, I think so.
Ok, I'll take care of it. Give me a few minutes.

So I call Brother Garrett, our ward clerk that lives super close by and let him know. Then I call Anibal back and say it's ok and that Brother Garrett is on his way. I'm thinking everything is good and then he says, "No, hermana. The fireman is already here." Ahhhhhhhh. More silence on both ends. Anibal doesn't speak English, so I had to talk to the fireman on the phone, explain the situation, and then call the bishop, whose call I had just missed because I was on the phone with the fireman. It turns out that the Church calls bishops immediately whenever the fire alarm gets pulled in their building, so unbeknownst to me he had been getting ready to run over to the church during this time. So I call him and tell him everything's fine and then call Anibal back and make sure it's all ok. The poor guy was so embarrassed.
And all of this happened in the five minutes that Hermana Brugman was in the shower. It was crazy and stressful, but it all turned out ok.

Just another thing to mark off on my list of weird skills that I have acquired on my mission: Translating to firemen over the phone.
Other skills: Spotting Hispanics, awkward conversations, replacing Jehovah's Witness pamphlets with ours in people's doors, saying "wow" a lot to avoid all the other words I used to say... the list goes on.

Speaking of Anibal, though, he is the BEST. He is the most humble and obedient member that I have ever met. He lives almost an hour away from the church and is the only member in his family, but drives all the way to Elizabeth City every Sunday to be there for Sacrament. One Sunday I thanked him for coming and he said, "Of course. I have to be here to renew my covenants."

Every missionary's dream!
My new project is his mom, sister, and son, who are pretty anti-Mormon. Every Friday I sit and chat with them for a good 45 minutes during soccer with the hopes of winning their hearts enough to let us teach them someday :)



Hermana Bennett

No good pictures this week, sorry.

Monday, February 3, 2014

More Snow!!!!

                                                               Snow ballet!!
The news of the week is.........


                                                              Attempt at being artsy!
And lots of it. On Tuesday we got about five inches, which really put a damper on our week. We weren't allowed to drive for all of Wednesday, Thursday, and part of Friday, so we walked! (good call on telling me to buy boots a while back, Mom).
Also, before I forget, Hermana Brugman and I found out yesterday that we're cousins! Through the Bennetts. Crazy, huh?
Saturday night we got transfer calls. And by that I mean that we didn't. Hermana Brugman and I are staying together here in Elizabeth City for at least six more weeks! I'm kind of happy, kind of sad. Happy because I don't feel like my work is done here, but sad because they took Outer Banks away from us. Hermana Valdez from up in New Kent, VA and Hermana Haywood from Gloucester, VA are coming down to be in the Outer Banks full time. It's great because they really need Spanish missionaries there, but I was also really hoping to be one of those Spanish missionaries there. There is so much potential and so many wonderful people.

It's all right, though. It's only an hour away, so we can do exchanges with them :) And I absolutely adore both of those hermanas. They are so fun. It will be great to have them in our district.
Not much more to report.
Hermana Bennett