Monday, December 26, 2016

Navidad en Mazatlan

Moroni 10:4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
Christmas Gifts

I love these verses! This is one of the scriptures of the Book of Mormon that truly strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ and of His Gospel. I know that we can receive answers to our prayers when we pray with faith and real intent, like the Prophet Moroni invites us to do. We can know the TRUTH OF ALL THINGS- what a wonderful blessing of a loving Father in Heaven who is willing to lead us, guide us, and help us know the truth of all things.

Hola a todos desde Mazatlan!

What a wonderful Navidad my companion and I had here in Albatros.
With Elder Sanchez
We were able to have lots of trials and tests this week due to the Holiday season and everyone buying gifts and leaving town and having family arrive to their homes. Not many recieved us but we were able to gain a testimony of patience and the importance of keeping a good attitude and having the Spirit of Christ in our lives.

With Jesus

We were able to eat a lot of yummy food this week! Camarones rancheros, cochinita pibil, tortas de pescado, and lots of pastel!
I think Elder Sanchez and I are going to do better about going on a run everyday to burn some calories haha.

The highlight of the week was when I talked to my family for Skype! Wow did I miss their faces! A three-way Skype with Connor in Utah and I in Mexico and mom, dad and Genna in Arizona. It sure was a struggle talking in English again, some words just came out naturally so I was talking in Spanglish haha. I now recongize more than ever the blessings of an eternal family. I know that we are a family forever and these great blessings we have thanks to the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have definitely done a lot of spiritually growing here in Mazatlan. I love teaching and talking to new people every day. I love how when I extend commitments to my investigators that they are growing and I am too and that's why I feel so motivated to share this great message of hope and love with everyone. I know this is the only way that we can return to our Heavenly Father's presence again one day, when we do our part to learn of Him and act in obedience!
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Helping Mash Potatoes
Helping Out
I love Christmas! It wasn't a very white Christmas more than the sand of the beach but I am grateful for this time of the year to think of the Savior and reflect on His life. He is the Light of the World and brings us peace and joy through His infinite Atonement. He is my best friend!
Christmas Day with the Hernadez Family

Hope everyone has a Prospero Año!

Elder Bennett

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Spirit of Christmas

Hola Feliz Navidad!

“When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ Spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning." -First Presidency

Cocos helados y preparados

I wanted to share this important message from the inspired leaders of Christ's Church. I know that this is an amazing time of the year to be able to reflect on how our year went, spend time with our loved ones, and eat lots of food! But there is a reason more important to think about personally and with those we love: Jesus Christ. I know that Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the World. I know He is the Only Begotten Son of the Father and was chosen in the premortal realm to be the Savior of the World. I know that He paid the price of our sins to satisfy the demands of justice. I know that if we truly repent that we can receive grace and mercy from the Father. I know that Christ's Atonement is the central part of God's plan of Happiness and it's because of Him that we can be forgiven, comforted and illuminated. He is the Light of the World!

This was another crazy week due to the many trips to Culiacan for my visa.....Ugh. But finally the secretaries of the mission were able to get things figured out and I am no longer illegal so that is comforting. I can now focus on the work and no have to worry about leaving the country again haha!
2 Trips to Culiacan this week- should finally be legal!

I love this time of the year! I can finally feel the Christmas Spirit again as the people put lights on their houses and their Christmas trees. There is lots of talk of turkey this year so that should make up for missing Thanksgiving haha. In the stores, they are playing Christmas music and in Church we are preparing for the Christmas party and singing Christmas hymns.
Let the Christmas Parties begin! Lots of Posados!

On Sunday at church, a large group of members from Utah came in. Every year they come down for vacation and give a lunch on Christmas day for all the missionaries in Mazatlan. It was cool to see lots of people back from the States. I was able to translate for a lady from Utah to a lady in the Albatros Ward telling her that she thought about her all year after helping her buy appliances for her home. They both start crying and it was such a happy moment. I love the joy of service and the positive impact that it has on our lives.
Photo my Mom received from a Sister who was visiting

This week I caught a little cold. You would think I would be fine dealing with this time of cool weather when in Nebraska it is super freezing but I think it is from showering in cold water. I love the climate right now in Mazatlan.

Played basketball as a zone today on the malecon
Our investigators are slowing progressing. We have an investigator, Lupita, that is going through lots of hard times right now and we were able to pray and fast for her this week. We are praying that she will progress and the Lord will provide a way for her to assist church. We also have Jasemin, Marcela, Norma, Armando, Mili and la Familia Sanchez that we are teaching!

Yummy pan from Panama Bakery

Hope everyone has a fun and safe Christmas! Feliz Navidad!

Elder Bennett

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Little Trip to the USA

Hola buenas tardes!

“For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.”
—2 Nephi 31:3

I learned this week that as missionaries we need to speak with clarity and plainness, with the intention that our investigators truly understand the doctrine. President Packer said “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.” I know that if truly come to know, understand, and apply the doctrine of Christ in our lives, we will experience a change of heart. This change of heart will motivate us to always follow Christ and do as He did. I am grateful for the knowledge of the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, because I know that God loves me and all His children to restore His Gospel in these lasts days.
Breakfast in the USA

This has been one of the craziest weeks of the mission! I received a call from the secretaries on Tuesday saying that I will be going on a trip for 3 days with a man that works for the church. They told me there was a problem in my papers (error of the secretary) when I went to renew my visa. The people who work for immigration didn't accept my papers and told me that I have to take out a new visa. So that resulted in a plane ride to Mexico City, then to Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas. I left for Mexico City on Thursday morning from the airport in Culiacan.

I didn't think I would be returning there until 2 years was up but it was necessary so I wouldn't be deported from Mexico. Rodrigo Hernandez, who is in charge of all the visas for the foreigners serving in Mexico, came with me on the trip. He is really nice! We flew to Ciudad Juarez Chihuahua together and stayed in a hotel.
Hotel we stayed in Cuidad Juarez

Then the next morning we drove a rental car to El Paso, Texas. It was 32 degrees in Chihuahua, thankfully I brought my jacket so I didn't freeze haha. It was very interesting crossing the border, they can be pretty rough.
Crossing the Border back to the US
El Paso
We went to the consulate and everything went smoothly. 
New Visa
We had time after taking out my visa to do a little shopping. Hno Rodrigo shopped for his two little boys for Christmas and I bought a few gifts for my district. Hno Rodgrigo was really nervous driving in United States and ran two stop signs and got pulled over by the plaza security, but luckily we didn't get a ticket. It felt really weird to be back in the US and talking English again.

We almost weren't able to cross the border back into Mexico because we didn't know that we had to cancel my green card from last year before taking out a new visa. 
Ready to head back to Mexico
Leaving the USA- back to Mexico
We said a prayer and they were able to allow us back into Mexico so we could make it on time for our flight on Saturday morning. We were able to see the temple in Ciudad Juarez and take pictures.

Cuidad Juarez Temple
We wanted to do a session but it was being cleaned. We got back to Mexico and waited all day in the airport for my flight back to Mazatlan at 4 oclock. 
Waiting all day to head back to Mazatlan

We didn't have a whole lot of lessons this week due to my little trip but I am reunited with my companion and we are ready to put baptismal dates and for serving everyone this Christmas season!

It has now warmed up again here in Mazatlan. We will be finally moving to the new apartment here in the next few weeks!

Hope everyone has a great Christmas season!

Elder Bennett

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ask and it shall be given you!

Hey Everyone!

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

I want to share a miracle that happened this week. For about a month, Elder Sanchez and I have been trying to find a new casa to live in, but we hadn't any luck finding one. We prayed almost everyday to find a good, safe place, a little more centered in our area, but we didn't have much luck. One of the departments that we looked at was pretty expensive, the owner was asking $6000 pesos, we explained that we were missionaries and that we would pay on time every month and she dropped the price of the rent to $4000 pesos, but it still was out of the price range. We only receive $3500 max to pay for the rent. We told the owner thank you for your time and we left a blessing for her and her home and we left. A few weeks later, we received a call that she could rent the house for $3500, the price we had been wanting. It was a huge relief to know that we could touch this lady's heart that through her the Lord blessed us with an answer to our prayers. I know that we have to been patient when we ask God for answers to our needs and questions. I know God answers prayers and does not cease to be a God of miracles!
Beautiful  Mazatlan

This has been a very good week!

The temperatures have finally gotten cooler here in Mazatlan. It's been 60s, 70s más o menos. Fall has finally arrived here to Mexico haha! I never has felt so comfortable walking in the streets all days than now.

Monument by the Aquarium
Elder Sanchez and I will be companions for this next transfer here in Albatros. I will be the District Leader again so that will be a good experience! I love helping others!

Beautiful Sunset
We had quite a few lessons this week that we were able to help our investigators progress! We have one investigator named Lupita who we are working with. She has a big familia, but she is the only one listening to us as of now. She is very close to the Spirit and we have had very spiritual moments with her. Tomorrow we will see if she has received an answer to her prayers concerning baptism. We have other families that we are teaching that need lots of prayers: The Familia Regalado, Familia Sanchez, Familia Guzman. Little by little we are helping these people come closer to Christ and learn of His true Gospel!
District Meeting fun

The Church's Christmas initiative this year #IluminaElMundo has been going good! We have been able to watch the video in with a few people and it's been a great experience helping people learn of Christ and the perfect example that he has set for us. Like it shows in the video, we have to follow His example so we can learn to be like Him and feel His love for us. I love this Holiday season.
Last Mazatlan Oeste zone pic

On Sunday, I had the special opportunity to translate for a man that came from Idaho Falls for vacation every year. He told the congregation that he has been coming here for 12 years and he loves coming to Barrio Albatros. I could feel the Spirit through his testimony. A valiant woman who was blinded from sickness bore here simple testimony and the Spirit of God filled the Sacrament room. I know this is God's true church.
Members fro Idaho Falls
Hope everyone has a great week and a happy holiday season.

Pday at Carl Jr's

Monday, November 28, 2016

A God of Miracles

Hey everyone!

St Mark 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
Mazatlan Sunset

I want to give my testimony of the blessings of Priesthood power. This week was very special because we had various opportunities to give Priesthood blessings. I am so grateful to have the power and authority of God and be worthy to exercise it. As Priesthood holders we have the same power and authority that Christ used to create the earth and all things. It's the same power that he confirmed to His Apostles more than 2000 years ago. I know that as I continue to remain worthy to exercise this God-given authority than I can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to be able to cast out devils and heal the sick.

Had to replace his brown shoes- thank goodness for Amazon!

This was a pretty good week! my companion Elder Sanchez sometimes worries me because he is not the go-getter type of missionary. It's been a challenge for him to take initiative and do things on his own like contact someone in the street, start a lesson, or update the area book. I've been trying to help him improve with these things. But we are getting along and having success!
2 Story Chapel

 We have been starting to have more lessons so we are excited. We have found some families that are really awesome and prepared to hear the Gospel. Knowing that Heavenly Father has prepared families to hear our message brings my great joy.
Perro Caliente~Hot Dog

This week I went on splits with Elder Cancino. He's from my generation and we arrived to the mission the same day. He is a super nice guy! He's my district leader as well.
Splits with Elder Cancion & pic with the Zone Leaders
We had a very special experience on Thursday when we were working in Albatros and we found the Tirado Family. They have a loved one that is very sick. All his family members are very sad because he now has one year being sick and is breathing through a tube. We were able to explain that we have to power and authority to heal this man according to the faith he and his family have in our Heavenly Father and that anything is possible with faith in Him. All the ladies who were present were in tears at the end of the blessings. I know that God hasn't ceased to be a God of miracles.

We still haven't found an apartment...But a plus for this week was that the weather has been starting to cool down finally! In the night we don't have turn up the air conditioning as much haha. But in the day it is still very warm! We didn't have any Thanksgiving dinner so that was a little sad :( Transfers are next week and I think that Elder Sanchez and I will stay another transfer.
Pizza on Pday!

I hope everyone has a great week! Thanks for the prayers and support!

Elder Bennett