Monday, January 25, 2016

Weird and White

Mosiah 2:41
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Large statue of Christ

Hey everyone!

This has been a week of learning and experiencing! Lots of things happened this week: we had a Worldwide Missionary training broadcast which was really good! We received counsel from the Apostles and Leaders of the church about the importance of prayer, teaching with the Spirit, working with the members, and asking everyone for references.

Selfies with Elder Cruz
We learned from our Zone Leaders this week not to fear when talking to people and to contact everyone! They told me that people already think we are weird enough because we are missionaries and plus I'm white so that makes me even more weird here in Mexico haha. But they told me that there is nothing to lose when inviting others to come unto Christ and bearing simple testimony.
The statue is really big

I was blessed this week with the ability to open my mouth and talk to people. We had really good success in our goals for this week. We really focused on contacting people. We had some interesting experiences. An old lady with no teeth came up to us and started singing and started calling us Santiago and Juan and then talked about how great Presidents Kennedy and Obama are and also told me that I have beautiful eyes. I tried so hard to keep from laughing, it was so funny.

We finally had a chance this week to visit with our investigator Fransisco and help him prepare for the waters of baptism. We know that he is ready for this step in his life and we are excited for him. His only challenge is that he drinks a lot of coffee and we are fasting and praying a lot this week that he can stop and faithfully follow the commandments of God.

An awesome experience we had this week was we visited a less active member and her cousin and wife who aren't members let us in and we talked for a while and we just about left but felt that we should stay so we did and Pauline the less active came and we had a really spiritual first lesson to Juan and his wife!

Pday fun in Culiacan
We have been going to the gym these past few weeks and it's been really fun! It reminds me of the summer mornings in the weight room for football. This week we were fed hamburgers the size of a large plate and it was the most American thing I've done in a long time haha. The weather here in Culiacan is starting to get really warm and it's still January! The people say that it gets really strong in May.
A really big hamburger

Each day of my mission I realize how much the Lord has blessed my life in so many ways. I am an instrument in the hands of God and serving His children brings me the most joy! I love being a missionary and growing closer to our Heavenly Father each day in my experiences of joy and affliction. I know this is the most important thing I am doing my life and my experiences here will last a lifetime.

Thanks for everything! God Bless!

Elder Bennett

Package from the Dunsters
Package from the Petersons
Casa pictures finally!

Study area
Bedroom-AC unit

Monday, January 18, 2016

Another week in Culiacan

Hola everyone!

Another week here in Culiacan and it has been full of ups and downs. First of all this week was pretty difficult having lessons with our investigators because they have been busy but I did get the chance to meet our investigator who will be baptized on the 30th of this month, Fransisco, he doing really well and it's cool to see him make this important covenant with God! We are really happy for him. This week we did however have pretty good success in teaching lessons to the members here. Slowly I've been learning the area and the people here and the truth is I love it. We have been fed really well since I've been here. Lots of tacos, chicken, and sopa. Some things I've heard that people eat here is iguanas and Menudo which is cow stomach, I'm looking forward to eating that haha.
We gave a cat that an Elder kept in our casa to our investigator Alejandro
This week we paid to go to the gym and it has been great because it's a good way to start the day. I've made a lot of friends here in the mission as well. Today for P-day we went to the biggest mall here in Culiacan. There's a lot of people here and lots of things going on so its a bit crazy. We also went to the Centro where there are a lot of businesses and I ate the best tacos I've ever eaten in my life at a place called Tacos de Moreno.

Best tacos I've ever eaten in my life
Bridge to La Forum- a huge mall

Things have been great with my companion Elder Cruz. We are both pretty new and we are trying our best efforts to serve the Lord. I tried contacting more this week and talking to people in the streets but I'm still not very good at it haha. Lots of people are accustomed to their religion and don't want to change but we know that through a Prophet Joseph Smith the same church that was organized on the earth when Christ came is here and that it can bring so much happiness and blessings.
Statue in our area

In the lessons with people I have seen that my Spanish has came a lot more easier to me with the help of the Spirit. I am on the Lord's errand and I have called of God to teach to all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I know that through His divine help I am help to understand and speak the Spanish language easier. I am so grateful for His help to bring to pass the eternal life and immortality of man.
Catholic Church downtown
I am convinced that missionary work is not easy. I have seen the struggles, trials, rejection every day of the mission. However, I love this work that I am doing and I have learned and grown so much in the 4 and 1/2 months I have here in the mission. The message that we are teaching is the most important thing that people need to know in this life. Yes, it's sad when people don't accept but I know that there is reason for everything and everyone will have a chance to hear of God's great plan.
Juan showed us around today
Church of Jesus Malverde

Jesus Malverde was a drug dealer here and was like Robin Hood and gave a lot to the people. 

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

Elder Bennett

Monday, January 11, 2016

Buenas Tarde from Culiacán Sinaloa Mexico!

Hey Everyone
Buenas Tarde from Culiacán Sinaloa Mexico!

Things have been pretty challenging this week trying to learn a new area, new members, new investigators, new companion, everything new pretty much haha. But it has been a week where my testimony has been strengthened. My faith has strengthened in the Lord and His ways. Elder Cruz is a great companion. He has made it easier to learn things with. He always has a great attitude about everything and that helps me out a lot because the life of the mission is not easy.

Elder Cruz and I
I met a lot of the ward members this week and our pool of investigators- those who we are teaching. In our ward in Los Pinos there are a lot of old people haha! I met most of them and they are all wonderful, strong members with a lot of insight and wisdom. On Sunday I had the opportunity to give my first talk in this area. I gave a 10 minute talk in Spanish and talked about the importance of proclaiming the Gospel. There was an awesome quote I used in my talk by President Heber J Grant and he said that we have a responsibility to share the Gospel with others because we have the knowledge of God's great plan for His children and we need to share these blessings with others.

Governor's Building
We have an investigator with a baptismal date for January 31. We have a few others that we are teaching and working on right now. The lessons have been going good the first few times that I've taught.
Awesome sunset!

Our area here in Culiacan is pretty big. We cover about 5 colonias here in our area of Los Pinos. There is a steep hill that we have to walk up almost everyday. And all we do is walk! There are no bikes. The first few days were kinda tiring from walking so much. It is sooo much different than Teacapan. There are a lot of businesses, cars, buses, people just going all the time. It's a big city, probably just a little bigger than Omaha. 
Cool view of our area!

My highlight of the week was when I tried praying a specific prayer. I remembered counsel that I learned in the CCM and I prayed specifically for someone to contact us. And that's exactly what happened. A man named Marco approached us and said he wants to talk to us! That was so cool for me.

The mission is full of fun, crazy, and spiritual experiences. This week we ate sushi with peanut butter which is pretty good by the way. The mission is hard but I wouldn't trade my time here for the world. Thanks for the support and prayers. God bless! Adios
Zone pday games!
Cool Car
Elder Bennett

Monday, January 4, 2016

Feliz Año 2016

Hey Everyone!

Feliz Año 2016! What a wonderful new year it is to set goals and start fresh. 
Lantern on New Year's Eve

New Years we went to the Hernandez Family who live right underneath our casa and ate tamales, sopa, pollo and drank horchata

I have a new start in a new area with a new companero. I am in Los Pinos in Culiacan Sinaloa. Los Pinos is close to downtown kinda. I am with Elder Cruz who was in my zone in my first cambio in Esquinapa. Elder Cruz is a fun loving guy and is very spirited and happy. He has one more cambio than I do in the mission so we are both the senor companion. He is from Chiapas Mexico and doesn't know much English but that's okay because I can understand Spanish very well right now!

We found out the cambios on Saturday night so on Saturday night after we finished working I washed my clothes at Hna. Isabels. On Sunday, it was fast Sunday and my last Sunday in Teacapan so I bore my testimony in front of everybody. 
Last sunset in Teacapan
It was a very special Sunday also because a youth in the ward recieved his mission call to Quito Ecudaor. That was a special moment because it reminded me how excited and nervous I was when I opened my mission call.
Mosiah opened his mission call to Ecuador

So all of Sunday I went to the members homes and investigators to say my goodbyes. I took pictures with them and had them write a little message in my missionary notebook. It was definitely sad leaving Teacapan. I am so close with the members and people there. They are like family to me. 
Familia Hernandez Garcia

Familia Hernandez Cortez (this family shared the videos from the last post)
Familia in Cristo Rey
Santiago and Mario
I gave my USA shirt to Alvin

The hardest to say bye to was my first investigator, Narciso. I cried a little bit. He is struggling right now and is wanting to start drinking again so he needs prayers.
Saying goodbye to Narciso

Sunday night I packed everything and it was pretty difficult. Packing is not my favorite haha. 
Adios Teacapan
In the morning, Hno Zenon gave us a ride to Escuinapa where I opened my Christmas package from my parents with the help of all the missionaries in the zone which was fun haha.
Last District Meeting in Esquinapa
I said bye to Elder Castillo and all the missionaries in Esquinapa and then Elder Ayalla and I took the AUS Bus to Culiacan. The bus showed the movies Pearl Harbor and Paul Blart Mall Cop 2.

We arrived to Culiacan five hours later and then took a taxi to the mission office where I met my new companion. We arrived to the new house which is a lot bigger and nicer than Teacapan so that's good!

I am excited for this new change in the mission! It is such a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, explore Mexico and experience their culture. I love love Mexico and the people here. I love this work that I am doing and I cant wait to invite people unto Christ and be baptized here in Los Pinos! Baptism is the key to the door to the kingdom of God and is an opportunity to start a new life and be washed of their sins.

I know this church is true! I wish everyone a wonderful and happy new year! God Bless

Gracias por todo! Les amo😊

Elder Bennett

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Cambio a Los Pinos en Culiacan

I got a few phone call and then several videos tonight from a dear brother in Jameson's branch in Teacapan. Totally made my night!