Monday, September 26, 2016

Faith Requires Action

3 Nephi 12:19 And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled. 20 Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

"Little" friend that was walking out of our meeting

I wanted to share this scripture this week because a lot of the people that we taught have the mentality that if they believe in God and Jesus Christ that it is sufficient, but the prophets and their teachings help us understand that FAITH REQUIRES ACTION! Trusting Heavenly Father and His chosen servants means that we should do all we can to follow what they tell us, because not only it is for our peace and happiness in this life, but for the joy we can experience in the life to come through OBEDIENCE to God's commandments. I'm so grateful for the opportunity we have to see and hear from our living Prophet Thomas S. Monson and his apostles this coming weekend in General Conference.

This was a pretty long and difficult week, but the Lord is helping me learn patience and recognize his Spirit more in my life.

Leadership conference in Culiacan

On Tuesday, there was a Leadership Counsel in Culiacán for the Zone Leaders and District Leaders so I was invited to go. It was quite the journey to arrive: We went to the Interstate at 6 in the morning to take the bus and Elder Lopez, who is in a trio with the Zone Leaders in La Cruz, was going to get off the bus at Tanques and I was going to get on and everything would be fine. Elder Lopez didn't get off and so we thought it was a different bus but turns out that it was the correct one but he didn't get off. Later he accidently get off in an unknown pueblo that they thought was Tanques but wasn't. So Elder Lopez was lost and we didn't know what to do for a bit. But we went with a member to rescue Elder Lopez and then I went alone to Culiacán which was a weird experience not having a companion. I arrived safely and everyone made it to where they needed to be thanks to the Lord's guidance. (Elder Lopez must have been Elder Nevarro's companion for the day)

Mexican Night in the Tanques Branch

This week, I could feel and recognize the Holy Ghost more than I have before in the mission. In our morning preparations, we were more diligent, and proactive to read the Book of Mormon and that really set the tone for how the rest of our day went. I'm really grateful for the still small voice of the Spirit that teaches me and help me feel peace in times of difficulty.

Noche Mexicana

I struggled a little this week with patience for some of our investigators. Sometimes I am so passionate about this work because I want them to do what we invite them to do because we know it can change their life, but they don't. It's a little frustrating when they do not keep their commitments but I am learning that sometimes Lord wants me to do something better as His servant or develop patience. Even when I'm striving to have the Spirit always, I am understanding that I need to trust in Heavenly Father and His perfect timing.

Noche Mexicana (must be in the church)

Our investigators are doing alright. We have a new investigator named Nayeli who has a baptismal date for 29 of October! She is awesome and knows a lot about the Gospel and the scriptures. Other investigators we have are battling with addictions or problems of crime that they have committed and so it's been a good learning experience how to help them with their weakness and challenges applying the Atonement of Christ and the Gospel in their lives. It is so wonderful!

Pizza with Hna Irma

It's starting to cool down a little bit which is nice! A member brought us with our bikes to Boscoso and we did a few visits their before we went to Potrerillos which is pretty close and then worked there for the rest of the day.

Biking from Potrerillos to Tanques

We ended up riding our bikes through strong winds on our way back to Tanques which was a fun and scary experience seeing the lighting strike across our faces as we quickly pedaled back. Elder Navarro and I just finished washing our clothes by hand before we came and wrote today. Things are going well!

Rainstorm in Culiacan

I love this Gospel and I know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and has helped me become closer to my Savior!

Elder Bennett

Arco Iris(Rainbow)

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Little Moments

Alma 5:12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true. 13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.

Elder Nevarro completed his 7th week of training.

The Gospel truly does bless people's lives and especially families! We are truly blessed to have the fulness of the Gospel in the latter-days that has been revealed through a modern day prophet named Jospeh Smith. I KNOW this is His church. Not because my parents obligated me into this religion, but because I have felt in my heart and received an confirmation through humble prayer.

Today as we were returning from La Cruz after our district meeting and grocery shopping. We took a crowded bus, full of people talking loudly, without air conditioning, and a bumpy, uncomfortable ride. In the midst of all the commotion and distractions, I took out my Book of Mormon and began to read 3 Nephi 11, and as soon as I read the part about the Savior coming to the Americas, an overwhelming feeling of love, joy, and peace came over me. Again, the Spirit was confirming to me the love of God for me and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It is amazing the little moments that make me grateful for the Gospel in my life and my Eternal family back home.

Other Spiritual Experience this week! Yesterday, my companion and I were going to visit the people who we had planned for that day to share a short message with them, but when we went no one wanted to listen. Everyone told us, "Come back another day" and so we just moved on to look for the next person to visit. We were frustrated and we said what are we going to do, no one wants to listen to us. I felt that we should pray. I offered a prayer right there in the middle of the street on our bikes and we then went forth. The first house that we arrived at was a family eating dinner. The father came out and talked to us and said that he lived in Nebraska for a short time. And I was like "Wow, out of all places and all people, the first person we find is from Nebraska!" I know God answers prayers! We then went and had 3 first lessons and 2 lessons to members and 4 contacts. I was glad I could recognize when we needed the Lord's help in that moment, because He blessed us with the success we had the rest of the day.

Because of all the mud, I fell into a rusty barbed wire fence :(
We are starting to find out a little bit more about our investigators. Cindy and Ismael have a drinking problem that we didn't know about. They didn't come to church this week either and are a little worried. Their children are really excited when we come and are quick to tell there mom that they want to say prayers or go to church. We are grateful for the example of the kids that they are setting for their parents, now if we can help Cindy and Ismael to do the same! We also found out that Adrian has a drug addiction to marijuana. We now have a month teaching him and he has lost a lot of spirit since we first started teaching him. Leaving behind addictions is difficult, but with the help of the Savior, Adrian can overcome! Lastly, our new investigator named Chema (Jesus Maria), whom we put a baptismal date for 22 of October, has a serious crime that he committed in Washington and that's why he is here now. All these problems and difficulties can be resolved with sincere repentance and trust in our loving Heavenly Father.

I love missionary work! I am thankful for all the tests and trials I am facing because it will help my eternal progression towards eternal life. God is always there for us, no matter where we go. This next transfer I have decided to work on improving a Christ like attribute, virtue. I couldn't do this work without relying on Him and trusting in His ways, because His ways are perfect!

Thank you for the continuing love and support!

Elder Bennett

Monday, September 12, 2016

Transfer Day: Staying in Tanques

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Hey everyone!

This was an interesting week I would say. After writing the last Monday we received a phone call from Pte Gabaldón reminding of us to be obedient because it turns out that he didn't like very much that we went to Cosala or Celestino...but we repented and learned from our mistake. Moments like those I learn the most and strength my testimony of EXACT obedience.

On Tuesday, we made a trip up to Culiacán again to renew my migration card. My green card lasts for one year so we made a quick trip up to the offices where I filled out and signed some papers then went and took pictures for my new card and man was it a bad day to take a picture. Strong winds from a hurricane were passing through Culiacán and we had to leave super early in the morning to take the 2 hour bus ride didn't make a good combination for pictures haha. We heard that the missionaries in La Baja California brought their mattresses to the church to take refuge from a strong hurricane that hit in Los Cabos. No one was hurt so that's good.

Today is transfer day but Elder Navarro and I will be together another transfer here in Tanques. I now have 3 months in Tanques and now that we have good things happening I'm excited for what will happen the next month and a half. It is sure that we will have a baptism or two coming up! I'm also grateful for the opportunity I have to be will Elder Navarro and finish his training. Pte Gabaldón wanted all the trainers to make sure that the new missionaries baptize in their first 12 weeks and that's the goal that I have for my companion! Elder Navarro is a pretty fun guy! It'll be a good experience to be with him growing and learning as sevants of the Lord.

We have some investigators progressing and others not progressing. It has been a struggle still with Jaime from Boscoso to come to church. Every week he tells us that he will go but never does. But we will never lose the faith we have in him. It turns out that Adrian went back to work at his old job about 45 minutes away in La Cruz and didn't come to church this week and doesn't have a cell phone so we are not sure what will happen with him or his baptismal date. But, Cindy and Ismael and their children from Potrerillos have been coming to church and it's been great teaching them every week. We had Family Home Evening with some members in Potrerillos where we had several investigators come and we watched the Restoration video, super great! But the challenge with Cindy and Ismael is they aren't sure about a baptismal date so soon, so we testified that God can help prepare them and help them to know for themselves that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the kingdom on God here on the earth, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is true!
Famila Garcia

We had a scary experience with a member in the branch that was kidnapped.  I'm not sure what you would call it but she received a call and was told that if she didn't go to a specific place in Culiacán that she would kill her husband and kids. She was missing for 2 days when they found her in good health in a hotel room. We were able to give her a priesthood blessing of comfort during this difficult time. I was glad that I could bless and comfort this nice woman.

I know God has a specific plan for us. He knows and loves us. Not our will, but His.

Elder Bennett

Monday, September 5, 2016

Trials Bring Strength- 1 year in the Mission

1 Year!!!!

Alma 44:4 Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.

Hola a todos!

It has been a challenging week, but we were triumphant!

1 year down, 1 to go
Wow I have been in Mexico for one whole year! What an amazing, dificult, challenging yet rewarding year in the mission it has been. The next year will be full of unforgettable experiences now that I will be able to serve the Lord more fully and wisely.
Tradition to burn a shirt at one year

Our biggest test of this last week was moving...We only had to move about a block and a half from where we were living but the move seemed much longer than it should have been because Elder Navarro and I were moving everything. None of the members were able to help and so my companion and I carried our beds, the tables, chairs, books, refrigerator, and books by hand to our new smaller house. And it just so happened to be a million degrees that day as well so we slept super well Tuesday night because we were dead tired and burnt from the sun. This was the second time moving houses in the mission and it is not the most fun thing to do haha.
New house with brand new air conditioner- feels like Nebraska at night!!

The moving day had an effect on us physically for the rest of the week but we endured to the end of week exherting all of our strength for the Lord. We now have set days to go to Boscoso and Potrerillos and the members who live there feed us lunch at 2:00 pm so we can work there for the whole day. This area is much more interesting and fun when we can look for new people in these ranchos.

Cooking on the ironing board- #newhouseproblems
Ahh the work of a missionary is so amazing! I don't know I have faced a lot of difficulties in my areas so far in the mission but I know the challenges and problems I have faced with my companions has helped me become a better missionary and person, more dedicated to my God. Some days are just so scorching hot, the mosquitoes are so annoying, the unavoidable mud, rude people in the streets, and investigators that don't want progress. But there is one attribute of Christ I have developed through all of this.....LOVE! I have learned to have patience in my trials because I know that my Heavenly Father is patient with me! I have learned to serve Him unselfishly and be more humble with everyone. Great blessings have come in my life through the Gospel and sharing this message of hope with others!

Peter Piper Pizza
On Sunday we had our investigator Adrian attend church who is progressing for his baptismal date for 24 of September! It's been such a privilege to see this man change his life. We also had our investigators Cindy and Ismael with their four children attend church! They had a great first experience. This week we were teaching Cindy and Ismael and we challenged them to be baptized for 8 of October and later we found out that they were frightened by this challenge. We invited them to pray and ask the Lord personally if they should make this choice in their life. Our purpose as missionaries not is to gain more people in the church, but help people learn to live the Gospel for themselves and have peace in this life and joy in the eternity. 

Elder Navarro is so awesome! He sure knows how to make me laugh! Sometime we lose our patience with each other but at the end of the day we always end our planning session with a hug. I love training and helping him become a successful missionary!

Receiving the blessings of the Lord requires much more than a belief in Him, but requires us to live as an example, as a testimony of the faith and confidence we have in Him. The Gospel helps us have this eternal perspective of ourselves, God and the world. There is safety in obedience. This I know is true.

Elder Bennett