Monday, March 31, 2014

Sick week...

Well, the news of the week is: I was ill.
Monday night my throat started hurting during the evening, but I figured it was just allergies and tried to sleep. By the next morning, though, I could feel that allergies, it was not. It wasn't anything serious, just a pretty intense cold, but it kept us inside for the better part of the week.  Because of that, not much happened.

One really good news is: I finished a whole journal! This is only the second time I've ever filled a whole journal, and definitely the fastest that it's ever happened. You can thank Hermana Brugman for really getting me into the habit of writing every night.
Other than that, there's not too much to report. Let me see if I have any stories in my handy dandy FULL journal!
Yes, yes I do. Lucky you.

On Thursday we went to West Point to see Ramiro, our only Hispanic member. He is hilarious. He told me to tell me cold "que se vaya, en el nombre de Jesus." (to leave, in the name of Jesus) Well, I didn't really want to do that, so I just said "vete" (leave) and then moved on. He obviously wasn't satisfied with that, though, so when he said the closing prayer, he did it for me - commanded my cold to leave in the name of Jesus. Haha. He also told me to eat some cinnamon with some sugar and that would make it better. Hispanics. Gotta love 'em.
Saturday was the first ever General Women's Meeting! We watched the broadcast here in the branch building in New Kent, and it was so wonderful. Before that, though, they had a little get-together with waffles and ice cream (random, but delicious) and funny pictures.
For example:

My companion and I and the other two sisters that we share the branch with. They are so fun.
Anyway, the broadcast was wonderful, and it made me so proud to be a Latter-day Saint woman. With all of us standing together we are truly a force for good in the world. I especially loved when President Eyring said, "You are one of the favored few," referring to the fact that as members of the Church we are among the few in the history of the world that have the privilege of the Restored Gospel in this life. What a privilege, indeed! And what a responsibility.

Last night we dropped our only investigator, so pray that we find some more soon!

Tracting here is so different. In West Point there is enough of a city that we can walk around door to door, but anywhere else we basically have to drive down the country roads looking for signs of Hispanics. It's great!

Have a wonderful week!


Hermana Bennett

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Kent!

Well, here I am, in Providence Forge, VA! I never dreamed of being in a place such as this on my mission, but here I am and here I will stay for at least the next six weeks and probably for the new four to five months.

Anyway, before I get into that, here's how my last few days in Elizabeth City went, plus lots of pictures!

Last Sunday we saw Lola! I think maybe I already sent a picture of her last week, but I don't remember. She's the best. And she said that she would start coming back to church! So hopefully that actually happens.

On Monday (St. Patrick's Day) Sister Anderson took us out to lunch at Taco Bell. She's a member that we have spent quite a bit of time with. I will miss her!

Then for dinner we ate with Brother Jackson and his wife, Sissy. She made crockpot chicken taco chili from just for me :) It was sooooo delicious and was comfort food to me because I made it like every other week in college. Yum. Poor Brother Jackson though hates anything delicious, so he made a turkey and mayonnaise sandwich while us three women feasted on chiken chili and salad with avocado lime dressing. :) I am so sad to leave Sissy behind. She is great.

On Tuesday the Pendletons, the couple that feeds us lunch every Sunday, had us over for breakfast to say goodbye! They used to own a bed and breakfast in Homer, Alaska, and are so cute. They made us fruit cups, french toast with real french bread, eggs, jowls (a bacon-ish thing made from pig cheeks), and homemade mashed potatoes. Sooooo delicious! Even the jowls. I love them.

Here's Kelly and Nadia Begazo, our only two "Hispanic" children, even though they refuse to speak Spanish. They are so cute. Kelly is my mini-me and I told her that she can come live with me in the west for a summer when she gets older :)

On Wednesday we had dinner with Luz and Pilar, two other Hispanic members here. They are so funny. They made sooooooooooo much delicious food for all six of us missionaries. It was delicious!


That dinner was held at Sister Hughes house, who I absolutely adore. I want to adopt her as my third grandma.

I could add more pictures, but I'm running out of time. Grrr and now I tried to put one of Hermana Brugman and I together as companions for the last time, but it won't send. She is hilarious and I miss her guts! We were together for four long, hard months, which made us really close. Leaving your companion is so hard! It feels like we were married and now I had to divorce her and marry someone else. It's weird.

 Other things:

On Thursday I was feeling kind of nervous to leave, and opened up my Book of Mormon randomly. The first verse I read was Helaman 5:47, which says something about, "Peace, peace be unto you, for I the Lord am with you." or something like that. Wow.

Hermana Johnson is training, which makes me a grandma!

And now this:
On my very first night in New Kent we got STUCK IN THE MUD. Bad. Mom, you would have died. We were driving home from a dinner appointment and it was already kind of late, around 9:15. Dark as pitch because there are no street lights out here in the forest. We're going along just fine following the GPS when it tell us to turn down a dirt road. I looked at my companion and said, "Have you driven on this before?" "Yes." So I think, "Ok, well, the GPS is set to take us the route that uses the least amount of miles, so I'm sure this is just a little dirt road that will lead us out quickly." So on and on we drive. Pretty soon I start seeing a few little muddy areas and I say again, "Now are you sure that you've driven on this before?" "Yes, I think so." To her benefit, she's only been in the area for one transfer, so she's learning everything too. A few minutes later I say, "I'm just worried about us getting stuck in the..." we come to a quick stop "...mud."
Now when I say stuck, I mean STUCK. Bad. The mud was like a foot deep and we were right in it in this little teeny corolla. And I was MAD.
So I try and try to get us out.. forward, backward, forward, backwrad. Wheels spinning like crazy.
I think, "Well, we got ourselves into this mess, we can get ourselves out." I take off my shoes, step out into the orange mud in bare feet, and start trying to push the car IN A SKIRT. Useless. Utterly useless. I literally started crying. I told Heavenly Father, "I am in New Kent, Virginia, where I don't really want to be. I am tired. I am wet. I am cold. We are stuck. Please get us out."

Finally my companion starts making calls and gets a hold of the relief society president, who calls a man called Brother Adams, who comes and finds us on this random dirt road and pulls us out with his big truck. At 10:15 at night.

Thank goodness we didn't get eaten by wolves.

Have a great week!


Hermana Bennett

Monday, March 17, 2014

Heading out!

I need to stop loving my areas.

Every time I get to the point where I feel like, "Now I know why I'm here and I never want to leave," Heavenly Father says, "Time's up!" On Thursday I will leave Elizabeth City and head to New Kent, Virginia! I have mixed feelings about it: sad, excited, nervous, overwhelmed, etc. I love the people here, and the thought of leaving them in the hands of other missionaries is devastating. At the same time, getting transferred is an amazing opportunity to start over from scratch and reinvent yourself as a missionary if you want. I know that I will learn things in New Kent that I couldn't learn anywhere else, and hopefully touch some hearts along the way as well.
Let the packing begin.
Other than that, we had a good week. Highlights:

This dress. Essentially it's a polo that goes down to your knees, and I love it with all my heart. Got it at Salvation Army for two dollars and sleep in it every night.

Tuesday we helped our bishop's wife do yard work and paint the inside of their house. So fun.

Funny story on Wednesday. For dinner a member took all six of us missionaries out to dinner at Chick-fil-A (yummmm!). Both Hermana Brugman and I drank 32 oz cups of water while we were there, not really thinking anything of it. Well, about half an hour later we were driving in the car pretty far away from the city when it hit us. We needed a bathroom and we needed it quick. There were no gas stations nearby, so we decided to stop at the closest member's home to use their bathroom. Most awkward door approach ever: "Hi, nice to see you. We have a strange request. May we use your bathroom?" She let us in, though, and then we sat down and talked with her for a bit. Even though it's strange to say, I think we came at a perfect time. She is struggling with some family issues and we were able to share a few scriptures with her and help her feel loved. So... thank you, bladder! If it weren't for you we never would have stopped.
Thursday was Lola's birthday (she's one of our few Hispanic members), so we decided to do something really nice. We made two little signs, one in English and one in Spanish, that said, "Happy birthday! We love you!" and taped them on her door along with some Takis and Mamuts (yummy Mexican snacks) that we bought. She loved it. On Saturday we saw her in person for the first time in like a month and half and committed her to come back to church and prepare to go to the temple in April to do baptisms for the dead. Food never fails! :)Tonight we had the most spiritually intense lesson of my mission with Shelby. She didn't come to church yesterday, so we went in with the intention of telling her (in nicer words) that she didn't do her part to prepare for baptism and we were going to have to change her date or drop her. We didn't really know how to go about it, though, so we prayed and I asked the Lord to make us His mouthpieces because we did not know what to say. Well, prayer works. The Spirit worked through us and was incredibly strong throughout the whole lesson. I saw her cry and truly engage in the discussion for the first time. Amazing.

And finally, these are the two companionships of elders that we share Elizabeth City with, pretending to be asleep on the bishop's couch. They drive me nuts and sometimes I want to punch them where it hurts, but they're also great elders. We have a special group here in Elizabeth City. I will miss them!

Elder Haight, Elder Harbertson, Elder Lainhart, Elder Lechtenberg

Next time you hear from me I'll be back in Virginia! Wish me luck!

Hermana Bennett

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10!

I think I finally took some pictures this week. Let's see...

Yes! This is Hermana Valdez. She's one of the hermanas that took over Nags Head for us. She is the BEST! And also very little :)
We had zone conference this week, which was great as always. I usually go into big long meetings like that with kind of bad attitude, but within half an hour Heavenly Father smacks me with the Spirit and says, "Hey! Put a smile on! Maybe then you could actually get some revelation!" And he's always right. It turned out wonderful and I got some good ideas of things that we can do in our area.

More to come...

Hermana Haywood. She has beautiful long hair.
Funny story about long hair...

Today as we were walking to the library we passed a guy coming out of his house and said hello. He says, "Hey, honey." A bit awkward, but we are in the south, so we didn't think much of it. As we walked away, though, he said, "Hey, keep your hair long!" We turned around and looked at him, sure that we had heard wrong, and he said it again, "Hey, keep your hair long!" Nope, heard right. We kind of laughed and kept walking away and he yelled, "You know what the Bible says, don'tcha?" Hahaha. It's true. The Bible does say that women should have long hair.
It's funny, too, because for the past five months (ask any of my companions) I've had this constant battle in my head about my hair: Cut it off, grow it out, cut it off, grow it out, cut it off, grow it out. Both are so appealing. I like it long and I can do so many fun braids and buns and things with it, but then sometimes I'm just so tired of it and I want to chop it all off so I can be cool in the summer. Right now though I'm leaning toward the keep it side, and this guy sealed the deal! Until a few days from now, that is, when I have a bad hair day...
Anyway, moving on...

Anyone remember her? This is Sydney Jensen, from the Sherbrook ward way back in the day! I was her YCL when she was like 13. Now we're missionaries together! Crazy, huh? Every time I see her I get so happy.

Ahhhh I have two pictures that I really want to send, but the computer says that they're too big. Sorry. I'll just tell a story...

A few days ago we were going around visiting less actives and a funny thing happened. After stopping at one house, I looked at my GPS to see what members were close by, and we saw a name that we didn't recognize. We said, "Well, if we don't know the name, they're probably less active, so let's stop by." We went over, knocked on the door, and as soon as she opened we knew who she was: the sister that works in activity days. Completely active. Oops. Awkward. So we covered it up and said, "We were just in the area and wanted to drop by because we've never been here before!" Haha. Real smooth. So we got talking and she is the nicest thing. I asked her about her missionary efforts and she got to talking about her family. By and by she tells us about her less-active husband and kids and how she just prays that God will bring them back. I shared with her one of my favorite scriptures, 3 Nephi 18:32, which talks about how we should never give up on people because we don't know when they might repent and come back, and we could be the means for that change. She loved it and even wrote it down.

Overall it was a great experience, and I like to think that maybe God directed us to her to share that scripture with her. I hope so!

At the end she said, "Well, I like to make goody bags for my grandkids when they come over. Can I make you a goody bag?" Of course we said yes. Well, that goody bag turned into everything you see in that picture. (the one that won't send!) Pancake mix, syrup, crackers, granola bars, chips, chicken, corn, soup, mac & cheese, spaghetti, sauce, potatoes... and more! Wow! She is so kind. We have been very blessed lately with people taking us grocery shopping and giving us food... I haven't had to spend hardly any money in like a month!
 Oh, ALSO, we went to Salvation Army this morning to shop and I got three skirts, a shirt, and a nightgown for $12.44. Maybe I'll do a fashion shoot and send the pictures next week ;)
 Other highlights:
On Saturday two strangers (Hispanics) told me that my Spanish is really good. So rewarding! We also found some great potential investigators.
Anibal got his patriarchal blessing on Saturday :D
We taught Shelby in the Pendleton's home. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! Before that they fed us halibut from Alaska for dinner. Yummmmmmmm.
That's it!

Hermana Bennett

Monday, March 3, 2014

Great week!

We had a wonderful week!
Here are some miracles and funny stories:
On Monday we ate dinner with Brother Jackson and his wife, who is not a member. It was wonderful. Apparently she usually hides when people try to share a scripture or anything, but we connected with her about foods we like and dogs and photography and things, and then she stayed for the scripture! It was great. Baby steps.
WE SET SHELBY FOR BAPTISM!!! March 29. On Wednesday we taught her the Word of Wisdom and it went great. So excited!
I talked to Angel, my favorite less-active member from Newport News, for the first time in three and a half months. He is doing well. He quit drinking for A MONTH AND A HALF, but then started again after a bad conversation with his kids a couple weeks ago. So that was both wonderful and really sad news. What made me feel really good, though, was he said, "You started all of this. The other missionaries built off of what you did, but you're the one that gave me the courage to try." It's nice to hear that you're making a real difference every once in a while.
During a lesson with Sister Eason about scripture study we got talking about Revelations and the seven-headed beast somehow. I always use my Spanish scriptures and just translate out of them for English work, so I was looking at it and confused the work cuerno (horn) with cuello (neck) and said, "It had seven heads and ten necks." Hermana Brugman immediately was like, "What??" and then died laughing as she imagined three headless necks swaying around. Oops. Spirit = gone.
We went to the church to make a countdown calendar for Shelby - what we still need to talk about before her baptism and what days it will happen - and while we were there watched the new Mormon Message about bullying. At one point both Hermana Brugman and I were crying because it was so sad, and then we heard someone come into the church building. We both stood up and hid in the corner like panicked little chickens trying to wipe away the tears in case whoever it was wanted to come into the Family History Center. Well, it was the biking elders, and they came waltzing right in: "Heyyy!... woah," as we're standing there still trying to wipe away the tears and also cracking up because it's so ridiculous. Great timing, elders!
I have taken zero pictures lately, sorry! I will be better this week, I promise!


Hermana Bennett