Monday, December 28, 2015

Feliz Navidad

Hola everyone I don't have much time to write my letter this week but it was a wonderful week full of service and love. This week we were able to provide a lot of service for people. A lot of the white folk that live in this area put together a drive to give baskets full of food, toiletries and other things for families in Teacapan who don't have a lot. We were able to help a lot with that. It was so good to be able to help people in that way and serve others like Christ would.

We also had more service at Hno Johns and Joanns where we helped organize their house for a fiesta on Noche Bueno. We had a wonderful Italian meal and we spent Christmas eve with a lot of gringos who speak English so that was kinda surprising to me here in Mexico haha.
Christmas Eve

Noche Bueno (fiesta at John & Joann's)
Gifts from John & Joann
On Christmas we talked to our families which was the highlight of my week. It was so good to be able to talk to my family and see them.
Christmas Morning- thank goodness Grandma's package made it on time!
video
A short video of our phone call. Not great quality. Jameson is explaining why he didn't get his package and how to pronounce Teacapan. Pay no attention to our voices.

Christmas Day at John & Joann's
They asked to share my testimony in Spanish. They didn't understand any of it I think but the Spirit was strong and I know that this experience of a mission has made me appreciate what I have and the knowledge of this Gospel and Eternal Families is such an amazing blessing in my life. I know that God has a perfect plan for each of us and we all can receive the blessings he has waiting for us to receive. Thank you everyone for your love, prayers and support, especially during this holiday season. Feliz Navidad and Prospero Año!
Prospero Ano

Elder Bennett


Tambora Beach

Monday, December 21, 2015

Multizona and Branch Activity


With the donkey


Hey everyone! Feliz Navidad!!

It is such a privilege to be in the service of the Lord and serving and teaching children of our Heavenly Father, our brothers and sisters. This is such a wonderful time of the year. I love Christmas and spending time with loved ones and more importantly celebrating the birth of our Savior and Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ. We had a great multizone conference with Presidente Velez and Hermana Velez talked focused a lot on the Savior. He asked us what we are going to give to the Lord this Christmas. We talked a lot about the attributes of Christ. Patience, love, kindness, service, charity, humiltiy, diligence, and many more. It really made me think about Christmas more than I ever have. 
Waiting for the Multizona to start
Elders Erickson, Finlayson y Bennett
Esquinapa zona
With Elder Castillo and Hermana Velez
After the devotional we then played musical chairs with all the missionaries in the zone which was a great time. 
Musical Chairs
Presidente Velez playing musical chairs
We then ate lunch and watched the movie Inside Out! It was great to see Elder Moncayo and meet other missionaries in the mission.
Reunited with Elder Moncayo

Last Saturday we had our Branch Christmas Party which was a great success! Elder Castillo and I arrived at about 3 o'clock and we started preparing the food for the party. We cooked up a pig and we made about 250 tacos for everyone that came!
Elder Castillo's father is a butcher so they processed the pig

150 tacos
It was such a great time with friends and people in the branch. We had the Nativity play and I played the role of the angel which went pretty good! We also had the opportunity to hit pinatas and listen to musical numbers. I love Teacapan and the members here.
The angel speaking to Mary

For Unto you a Child is Born
Entering in on the donkey
The 3 Wisemen
Everyone in the live nativity

Pinata
This last week was a little difficult having lessons and missionary work due to the parties and fiestas but next week we are going to work more diligently!

I am truly loving Mexico. Its different, but so worth it. Elder Holland says that we always remember our first Christmas away from home. His was during his mission in England and on Christmas Day they knocked on doors all day and had no success, but it was the first time he truly understood the Savior's birth and why we celebrate Christmas! I may be away from home, but I am truly understanding and learning more about the reason for the season and its truly awesome. Christmas is within our hearts and Jesus Christ is our light in all things. Even if the world is starting to get darker, we can remain in the light through Jesus Christ and his Atonement.

I get to talk to my family this week via Skype and I am sooo exicted! It will be so good to see and talk to them!

I love this time of the year and for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I wish everyone Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Año! Take care everyone! Gracias por todo!


Elder Bennett
Fishing again today

Lupita Beach

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beautiful Teacapan

Hey everyone cómo están?

Me on the rocks
Well, I am doing just fine here in Mexico! Things are going well with my companion and I.
Elder Castillo caught a baby sting ray today
We had a little bit of progress by our investigators this week which was good to see. One guys that we contacted told us that he wants to be baptized which was a bit of a shock because we have barely taught him anything and we didn't even challenge him to baptism. It's amazing what the Spirit can do to people. Another young couple that we are currently teaching are doing well with our lessons with them. They were amazed when we told them that children don't need to be baptized when they are children because they don't sins. They have two young kids and they are so willing to listen to us and hear our message about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also had a great first lesson with a young lady named Alejandra. She was really interested in our message and we have a appointment with her tonight.

Fish that we caught and ate last week

This last week we were contacting in the street and not having any success on Thursday I believe. I had a prayer in my heart that we would find more people to teach and immediately the Lord answered my prayer and we found 4 contacts which was a lot in just one day. Once again, I know that God does listen and answer every prayer we offer.

Cross on the Malecon
Last Tuesday we went on exchanges with the missionaries in Escuinapa and I was with Elder Adrian, our district leader, here in Teacapan for a few days. We traded ties and I got a sweet blue tie from Peru. We had a some good lessons with members in the time that I was with him. I also received a package from my Grandma and Grandpa Koski which was pretty exciting. On Wednesday we went to the store in Escuinapa called the Ley and bought groceries. The store had a bunch of Christmas stuff and Christmas music which reminded me of home a little bit.

The Plaza is all decorated with lights
Christmas here isn't as big as it is in the United States. They don't play Christmas music on the radio and not many people put up Christmas trees. However some people do get into the Christmas spirit than others and every once in a while we will see someone wearing a Santa Hat, lol. The kids don't think that Santa brings presents, Santa is just a figure of Christmas in Mexico. They believe that Reyes Magos (Wise Men) brings presents for all the kids.

Beautiful Teacapan
We had an interesting weekend. On Saturday, it poured all day long and we couldn't leave our house which was unusual. We just stayed in the house and read articles in the Church magazines and studied the Book of Mormon.

Saturday was the day of the Virgin in all of  Mexico, I don't think the Lord wanted us to work that day

On Sunday we had the opportunity to witness the dedication of the Tijuana Temple which was a special event. President Uchtdorf dedicated the temple and told a cool story of how 200 sisters traveled to the nearest temple from Tijuana (San Diego) and cleaned the church before and after every dedicatory session and had trouble crossing the border but with prayer, fasting and faith they all made it. After the dedication we watched the Cultural Celebration and saw thousands of youth sing and dance which was amazing.
picture from lds.org

This week I really realized how much of an impact not only I am having on others but how much the mission has allowed for my own personal testimony and faith to grow. Through studying, testifying, and teaching of Christ everyday I really have grown to love and be more like Him. I am so grateful for his love, grace, and mercy for us, especially for His great act of love for us by accomplishing the Atonement. I know He lives and that He wants all of His children to come unto him.

The Sea
We are looking forward to the multi zone conference this week where we will have a Christmas party with a bunch of missionaries and with Pres Velez and his wife. We will probably hit a pinata!


Thanks for the love and support! Feliz Navidad!

Elder Bennett

The Malecon
 Pictures from last cambio:

Eating at a taco place after playing soccer


Elder Moreira esta "muerto" which means he finished his mish


Me and Elder Villeda



Monday, December 7, 2015

The Importance of Being Bold

Sunset in Teacapan



Hola everyone and buenas dias!


It was another great week here in Teacapan, Mexico! We had another busy week of a zone meeting, an activity, lessons, tracting, studying, praying, reading, laughing and eating as well! We went to Escuinapa on Saturday for a Zone Meeting given by our Zone Leaders Elder Hernandez and Elder Taveras which was really great! We learned the importance of being bold and never having fear in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We watched a really powerful video by President Henry B. Eyring about how we are called of God and that it is direct relevation from God where missionaries are called to serve. It made me realize even more the importance of my calling as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints and that I was meant to serve in Teacapan to teach, serve, and uplift someone here.
Zone Meeting

This was the second week with my new companion Elder Castillo and things couldn't be better with him. At first things were kinda rough to be honest and I had troubles getting along with him. But this week I got on my knees and prayed for the love, charity, and patience like Christ and this week went a lot better and we had more success! I accepted him for who he his and myself and him were able to feel the Spirit more abundantly in our lessons and in our casa. I have a strong testimony that God answers each and every one of our prayers. This last week I saw the Lord a lot in my life through answered prayers. I am really grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and for his son Jesus Christ.
On the road to Cristo Rey

This week we had more success in our goals and plans for the week. It is getting easier to plan and get around Teacapan because I know this place really well. It reminds me of Syracuse a little bit. It really cool being able to talk about Christmas and the reason we celebrate it. A lot of the people we contact in the street dont know why we celebrate Christmas so it is special to be able to share a pass along card and bear testimony about the Birth of the Savior. #HaNacidoUnSalvador It has cooled down a little bit here but not much and it is still pretty warm. People here are starting to get in the Christmas spirit by putting up lights in their homes or businesses. Some people have Christmas trees and others have the Virgin Mary with lights around here since she is a big figure for the Catholic church and there are many Catholics here in Mexico. There are so many good people here in Mexico and sharing similar beliefs in God and Jesus Christ is great.


Last Saturday we had the activity at the new church building here in Teacapan. We told everyone that it is at 6 o clock and at 6 o clock only five people had come so we were kinda discouraged. We waited a little longer and by 6 30 about fifty people had showed up! The movie was shown on a projector and we had popcorn and it turned out very well! We were very pleased and happy that people were able to watch it since there are no movie theaters here for people to watch it on.
Meet the Mormons Movie Activity



Today for preparation day we washed our clothes and went with a member, Mosiah, to go fishing on the malecon. 
The Malecon
We caught 13 fish. My companion caught 8 and I caught 5. I caught a catfish which was the biggest and also a pufferfish that is kinda dangerous so we put that one back haha. When we were fishing we were offered drugs and I also saw a guy in a Nebraska shirt haha. We also found out that we live next to a narco, which is a drug dealer but he is a nice man.
Fishing

My first fish I caught!
Pufferfish
Catfish

I want to bear my testimony that I know this church is true and that Christ lives! I know he loves each and every one of us. He demonstrated his love by performing the Atonement. I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses our lives immensely. Thanks for the prayers and support! Take Care! Feliz Navidad!


Elder Bennett
Cat and really large mouse

Monday, November 30, 2015

Last week's missing pictures and the first week with Elder Castillo




Here are the missing pictures from last week.

train tracks in Esquinapa
More parade pictures from Revolution de Mexico










Painting at Hermana Isabels

I almost got splashed, haha!

Pictures by the sea


Goodbye to Elder Moncayo- not fun!






Buenas dias!


This was a challenging week I would say but it was good. My new companion arrived to Teacapan last Wednesday and since then we have got right to work. We have been very busy visiting the members and riding our bikes around Teacapan to help him know the people and the area better. My companion is Elder Castillo from Mexico City. His last area was in Los Cabos so it was a long journey here. He has 9 months in the mission. He is a kind, lovable person. He is very knowledgeable in the scriptures like Elder Moncayo. I like that he is very sincere in bearing his testimony. I will finish my 12 week training with him this cambio. There are definitely tests and trials with a new companion and I've definitely learned patience, charity, and kindness with both of my companions so far. When I look passed the little things I am not used to things are so much better for me and him.

My new companion Elder Castillo from Mexico City
It has been a little difficult trying to plan and help him know the area and the people and it has been a test of faith but I know I am strengthen by the Lord each day as I truly give my best effort. At first my planning wasn't very good and we were riding our bikes all over town and not having success. Because of this I know the Lord was trying to teach me something. However at the end of the week we had success. We were blessed with a busy schedule for next with a lot of appointments and an activity at the church on Saturday. We had to change the date again to watch Meet The Mormons at the new Casa de Oracion so it is this Saturday for sure haha!


This week we had our first Sunday in the new Casa de Oracion which was awesome! The new building used to be a hotel so it has many rooms and a big space in the middle for activities. 

New Casa de Oracion in Teacapan
The first Sunday was great. We had 62 members attend church which is the most we've had since I have been here. It is a little bit of a walk to the new building but that is okay. We also taught the Gospel Principles class which was good! 
Classrooms- it used to be a hotel- we might get to live here
The branch is planning an activity for Christmas coming up on the 19th of this month. We are going to slaughter a pig and have 500 tacos and games, dancing, and a Nativity. Of course they ask me to be the angel because I'm a gringo right? We invited all the people who live around the new church building to come to church and we had a few people come to see what it was like which was good.
The pig that we are going to eat for our Christmas activity

This last week we had another hurricane come our way. Hurricane Sandra, category 4. Nothing major happened. Just storming and lots of rain again. It was really refreshing this week since it was cloudy and the sun wasn't beating down on us. The bad part is the streets are full of rain and mud and it gets up on our pants when we ride our bikes which isn't fun. But this is Mexico and this is the way things are down here I guess haha.


We didn't have thanksgiving here unfortunately. We just ate a members house like usual which was good as usual. We had crabs caught from the sea with Hermana Ana which was new for me. Turns out I really like crab! 
Crabs at Hermana Ana's- yum!
Today for P day we went with a member who is 19, like us, and is going to serve a mission, to a Japanese restaurant here in Teacapan. I ordered sushi and an egg roll which turned out to be very good. This was my first time eating sushi. I talked to the owner a little bit because he is from Japan but he married his wife who lives here in Mexico so he knows English, Spanish and Japanese which was cool.
Japanese restaurant in Teacapan
My first time trying sushi

This last week we went to Cristo Rey and it was difficult because it was really windy from the hurricane winds. We taught two lessons to the members there which was really awesome. We taught two parables. We taught one from the Bible about the rich man and the beggar and taught that this is the time to meet God and the other was in Doctrine and Covenants. I really felt the Spirit when we taught the lessons and I know it was the right things for them to hear.


This week we were contacting in the street and we went to a man's house that had shown some interest before so we went to his house and we knocked on the fence of his house and said the usual Buenas Tardes and nobody came. But I had a prayer in my heart that someone would come and after a few minutes he came. Nothing came from it but its just the little answered prayers that strengthen my testimony and faith in God and Jesus Christ.


I love this Gospel and the opportunity I have to be here in Teacapan! Thanks for your prayers and support. Cuidese!


Elder Bennett