Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 21 - Scotland is COLD but I love it!

Hello everybody, I am in Irvine, Scotland!!! It's really cold here, but it's all good cause we are teaching a ton of people right now! We have 3 people who want to be baptized in January. Two are a young couple (Aaron and Jackie) that just need to get married and then they can be baptized. The other is a guy named Alec who's pretty chill. We also have some other people who we found recently that are totally interested and have a great desire to learn! It's so crazy how much faster the work goes here in Scotland compared to Ireland. It's literally like I went into a different mission or something! We were barely teaching 12 lessons a week in Mullingar, and then I come here and teach 13 lessons in 3 days! It's insane how so many more people are totally prepared for the gospel here compared to Ireland. My companion is pretty cool! He's from Austin, Texas and says Y'all a lot haha. He's a good missionary and we're gonna get some work done this moves! It's a little crazy this week though because he isn't gonna be here! He is singing in this missionary choir that is going to travel around Scotland and do a bunch of concerts. So Elder Goldie and I are companions again for the week! His companion left too, and our area's are right next to each other so we are just gonna work in both area's for the whole week. It's pretty cool to be able to serve with Elder Goldie again and this week is gonna be so much fun. So the people here are pretty different compared to the Irish! It's funny cause so far tracting seems to be the most effective way of finding people here, which was not the case in Ireland. People here when you knock on their door they actually answer! It's so weird! haha and then they actually give us a chance to talk! It's so good though, but it is crazy how much easier it is here to teach someone a lesson on the doorstep. My new flat is absolutely amazing! I love it. We have some weights I can use to work out with and a lot of room to do stuff that will keep me in shape. The members of the ward are awesome too. They feed us all the time! This week I think we're gonna have to cancel some meal appointments cause we have so many! haha the food so far has been amazing, and I've even tried haggus and black pudding! (Look up what they are). I'm not a big fan of either but they're typical Scottish meals so I had to try it! haha.
So when I came to the area from Ireland I got to stop in Glasgow for a little and it seems like a pretty cool city! I don't think I'll be able to get there too often though. It isn't in our zone, plus we aren't allowed to leave our area for P-days and all the zone meetings and zone conferences are in Irvine cause we're the most central part of the paisley zone. But who knows! One day I could serve there!

Well I think that's it from me this week. Thanks for the love and support! I can't wait to talk on Christmas! Love you all!
Elder Benesch

Fun facts we found out about Irvine
It's an industrial, coastal city.  His apartment is just around the corner from the church building (well the building they have church in, which is called the Galt House).  The sunrises at 8:50am and the sunsets at 3:45pm!  He won't be working on his tan!  The average temperature for this time of year is a high of 45 and low of 33.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Week 20 - Off to Paisley

Hello everyone!
So my days in Mullingar are over! (well at least for now, who knows maybe they'll send me back later on! But that probably won't happen)
I am being transferred to Irvine in Scotland! It's in the Paisley zone. It is on the southwest coast of Scotland!!! I'm pretty excited about it. It'll be really sad to leave Mullingar, but at the same time I think I am ready for the next chapter of my mission to start! My new companion will be Elder Clement. He is the District leader in my district there so I'll be his junior companion. I've heard he is an awesome missionary so I am excited for the opportunity to learn from him! The best part is Elder Austin will be moving to Paisley Zone with me!!!! Haha we're never going to get rid of each other! So we'll still be seeing each other at zone meetings and zone conferences all the time! At this rate we'll probably be serving our entire missions together in either the same zone or district until we're companions. It's pretty cool though!
Well this week was a little slow and B. asked us to stop visiting him until the new year, so that really sucked. But then we had a real good visit with Seyi and talked with him more about the gift of the Holy Ghost, and he is so pumped for baptism! I really can't wait for him to move to England so he can be baptized. Our branch is slowly starting to jump on board with what we have been telling them for a while about missionary work, and they've been inviting more of their friends to church! They haven't been too interested but at least the members are inviting people to find out more! It's so good to see the joy that comes into the members homes as they invite their friends to hear the gospel.
Well sorry this email is short, even though we get to email today, it isn't actually our p-day so duty calls! Time to go do some missionary work!!
I love you all and hope to hear everything goes well with the Christmas party!
P.S. thanks for the sports news! Keep it coming! Oh and I sent you a package that should come this week! Plus I sent a usb stick with pictures on it in the mail to you! Pray that they both get there safely!!!!

Elder Benesch

Week 19 - Time of my Life!

So I completely forgot it was Thanksgiving this past week, until someone reminded me of it! Haha it's kinda weird not celebrating Thanksgiving. Everyone here starts putting up their Christmas decorations like right after Halloween by the way! So I've already been gearing up for Christmas for a month! I did get the amazon package you got for me, and it's kinda big! So if I move I probably will have to open it or else it won't exactly fit in my suitcase... So I may have to open it before christmas. I'll try not to though!
This week went okay, all of our appointments fell through and we haven't seen S. or B. in a week. We have no clue what is going on with B.. He says that he is still reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday to find out if it's true and he just hasn't found his answer yet, but then he decided he didn't want to come to church yesterday. We haven't seen him in a week since he's been so busy lately and so we don't know what's holding him back from going to church. He told us on the phone that if he does get his answer then he will still be baptized so it seems he is still interested, but we just won't really know whats going on until we get to meet with him sometime soon. So that's kinda hard to deal with, plus on top of that S. was super busy this week and we couldn't find a time where we were both free. However we did have some good success in teaching people on the street and while tracting so we have some decent potential investigators that we can hopefully start teaching sometime this week! Our branch is also starting to do a little more missionary work as well so that's good! One of the young women in our branch brought her friend to church, and she was pretty curious about everything! We don't know if we'll actually be able to teach her, but at least we may have planted a seed! We also had 3 other people show up! Their names are M., D., and F.. They came like a month and a half ago and seemed just curious at first but enjoyed church and wanted to learn more. Then they just fell off the map and we didn't see them or hear from them forever until they just showed up at church yesterday! The hard part is they live about a 40 minute drive from Mullingar and we have no way of getting there. There is no public translation that takes us anywhere near where they live so we have to rely on whether or not they'll come visit us in Mullingar or one of the members can take time out of their day to drive us there. They said they would come next Sunday and we could talk more then so we'll see how that goes! It was awesome to have them show up though because we definitely needed to have a little pick me up after the rough week. We have to just keep working hard so that we can start finding more people to teach!
By the way next Monday I'll know if I am being moved or if I'm staying!!!! The moves call is on Dec. 8th so the 9th I'll let you guys know where I'm going if I'm leaving or if I am staying here in Mullingar. I can't believe how fast these past 5 weeks have gone! It seems like yesterday I was emailing you and telling you I got a new companion! It's crazy!! I'm loving every second of it and am so happy to be in Ireland. I love being a missionary and being able to serve the lord. It's definitely the best time of my life so far!
I love you all so much and thank you for all the support!
Elder Benesch

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 18 - A Good Week

So I have to start off with the best news this week. Our investigator B. agreed to be baptized as soon as he gets his answer that it is true!! I'm pretty excited for that, especially because he seems to already have gotten an answer that it is true pretty much! We taught him on Tuesday this past week and before we started teaching he said that his life has changed ever since he met us. He didn't know what it was but something has just made him feel happier all the time! He then told us that he didn't really think he would become Mormon though. But then during the lesson the spirit was so strong and I invited him to be baptized and he agreed!! It was so cool to see him change from "don't think I'll become Mormon" to "yeah I'll be baptized." I'm really hoping and praying that he gets an answer and know's that it's true. He was going to come to church with us yesterday but then his ex-wife planned a lunch for their kids, and he was watching after them for the weekend so he had to go to that instead. He seemed really sad when he called us and let us know he couldn't make it, but told us that for sure he is coming next week! It's so great to see someone progressing in the way that he is! The Lord has definitely prepared him to listen to us. Then on this past Thursday we had zone conference which are always my favorite! I love listening to President Brown. He spoke a lot on obedience and how important it is for us to make obedience a quest instead of a limitation. When we are striving and seeking to be obedient in life, we are actually happier!! Whenever we see being obedient as a limitation, we are never truly happy. It's kinda the whole grass is greener on the other side type thing. If we are always saying, "I'll be happy after I do this" or for example "I'll be happy when I go home from my mission," then we aren't happy right now. If we aren't happy now then what's the point? So I've learned that I need to find the way to be the happiest I can now, and not think that I'll be happier down the road. The best way to be happy now is by following the Lord, because our Heavenly Father loves us so much and wants us to be happy! So why wouldn't I do what He says right now? He wants me to be happy!! Haha, I love this quote from a talk called the Fourth Missionary: "following God is the only intelligent thing to do." It's so true, we truly don't understand what we need, so we should exercise faith in the Lord and understand He knows what we need better than we do. Then we should move forward with faith relying on the lord.

Dakota I really hope that you won't have to get surgery! Either way I'll be praying that you'll heal up for next season. Since you have no idea what to do with your time maybe you can go crazy on studying Preach My Gospel! ahahaha. It will definitely help you on your mission if you study it a lot before you go. Maybe just take 15 minutes a day looking it over so you get familiar with it. I love studying PMG so much, it's a great tool to use as missionaries and hopefully by the end of my mission I'll be able to quote every word of it!

Dad the TT bike is sweet looking! I remember you telling me about the Pat Tillman design and I like it a lot! It turned out really nice! None of my companions family is in to cycling at all, and surprisingly enough he hasn't cooked me any Italian dishes! I've taught him to cook more than he's taught me! Haha maybe I'll make him teach me some Italian secret or something with cooking pasta. 

Malia that sounds like so much fun to do a movie night outside!!! What movie did you watch? That hot chocolate sounds really good to, we have hot chocolate a lot cause it gets so cold here!! Love you!

Mama I'll get a picture of S. and send it to you guys soon! I'm also gonna start buying all the christmas presents I'm gonna send home and a usb drive with all the pictures on it for you guys!

Ethan that's so crazy that you can stick a whole wing in your mouth and pull it out clean!!! I wish I could do that man! Haha just make sure you don't choke or something. Keep working hard with school, and read your scriptures!

Peyton I hope everything is going well with school and stuff! Keep being good and don't get into too much trouble. I'm excited for you to try the medical stuff at Campo! That sounds like it would be a good experience for you! It's kinda exciting to be thinking about your future already, so have fun with it!

Love you all so much!

Elder Benesch

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Got to "talk" with Avery

Lucky for me I woke up in the middle of the night and checked to see if we had received an email from Avery yet.  We hadn't - so I stayed up and checked every 10 minutes (don't judge me I'm a typical mom who misses her missionary!)  I was rewarded by being able to "talk" with Avery for about 30 minutes.  Got to love technology!

  • Celeste:   I can't sleep are you still there?
  • Avery:  yeah! Sorry about that, I didn't see the email till just now and I wasn't expecting to get one back!
  • Celeste:  Well I wasn't sure either. I can't believe Seyi is going to move! The Lord is watching out for him.  How's it working with your comp.?  Are you celebrating Thanksgiving?
  • Avery:   Yeah Heavenly Father is always looking after his children. We just have to put our trust in him and it all works out!! My comp is awesome! We are working hard and I can definitely see the blessings. He's struggling with getting used to the amount of success we have in Mullingar though. I had to give him a blessing the other night cause it got so bad. But he'll be fine! They don't celebrate Thanksgiving, so I'm not either! and if you send the packages to the mission home and I stay anywhere in Ireland I will not get the packages for a while. Elder Goldie had been in Ireland or the north his whole mission and just barely moved to Scotland and found out the mission home had a package for him from about 6 months ago.
  • Celeste:  Good to know. Did you get a letter from us? We had planned on doing your Christmas package tomorrow night since we finally get to have a family night on a Mon. I'm so glad you started in Mullingar and hopefully it will be your only time in a non-productive area. Dad is getting all excited about Ironman stuff again. So he might start training.  I hope he does an official one he would love it.
  • Avery:  I got the letter! So I have all the Christmas present ideas, I will be sending home the package with all that stuff before the end of this moves. That all sounds good! I'm definitely glad I started in Mullingar too, I absolutely love it here! Like I said I don't want to leave this moves but probably will. That sounds like dad! It would be really cool though if he did an Ironman!
  • Celeste: Did you hear about the typhoon? Carly's area was fine but several missions had to be evacuated & it took several days before they were able to get everyone out. Dad works with someone who has family there & his cousin lives in a town/village that was wiped out. The only way he knew they were safe was because he saw a picture on the news of his cousin & his family on their balcony watching the flood, dead bodies & trash go by!
  • Avery:  Yeah it's all so sad. It's very good to hear that Carly is safe though!!! Elder Celestini didn't understand it all at first but when I explained it to him he said he wanted to sell his ferrari back home and give all the money to the churches humanitarian aid for the phillipines!
  • Celeste:  Yep it was devastating.  I just woke up Dad & he wants to know how many baptisms does your mission average?
  • Avery:  ummmm, I'm not totally sure but I can get that info for you next P-day, on average I would say about 30 baptisms a month if we are doing well as a mission. So there's 210 missionaries, so about 110 companionships and only 30 baptisms on a typical month.
  • Celeste:  Dad wants to know if you gained any weight?  The mission president said to send stuff to them so you don't have to pay but would you rather I sent stuff to you now? 
  • Avery:  I don't think I've gained any weight yet but im not totally sure since I haven't weighed myself since I left! I feel like im still in pretty good shape, although I'm definitely not in the same shape I was during baseball season!  I didn't know we would have to pay. I didn't have to pay when the package for my scriptures came. I just know that if you send it to the mission home and I don't go to Scotland I may not get it for a while. I've learned not to trust the mission home to provide stuff for the missionaries in Ireland. They don't even send us supplies like pamphlets and BOM's(The Dublin zone has almost run out of BOM's to give away, we have 3 left so we are only using them for solid people we talk to).  As I said I don't need a whole lot so if you don't send anything until after we know If I move or not that's totally fine with me. My computer time is almost up so I gotta go.  This was fun!  Love ya guys!

week 17 - a fun week

So this week went pretty well, we had some good lessons, including a very good first lesson with this guy named B.! We taught the entire plan of salvation and he totally believes everything we taught him! He is a single dad (divorced) raising kids. His kids are younger, but are starting to get old enough to ask questions about religion and stuff like that. He said he shares with them what he believes, but since he has never really belonged to a specific religion, he doesn't really know how to teach them. So he feels at this time in his life he is looking for more structure to his beliefs, and so far he really likes what we have taught him! Tomorrow we will be teaching him and inviting him to be baptized so its gonna be awesome!!! We also taught S. this week and found out that he is for sure going to be moving to England! Don't know if I told you guys this before so let me explain the situation. S.'s son an amazing soccer player. He is 12 years old, and S., who was pro, says that he is almost better than him already. D. has been invited to go train with the Tottenham football academy, which is BIG time. Tottenham is one of the premier league clubs over in England, or in other words the highest level. The SHOW haha. So S. will be able to leave his contract with the team he coaches with now, because they understand that this is the chance of a lifetime for his son to make it in professional soccer. So in other words.... We told S. that as soon as he gets over to England to look for a job where he doesn't have to work on Sunday, and find the missionaries as soon as possible and ask them to baptize him!!! He agreed to that and so Seyi is going to be baptized!! He had already been planning it all out before we even told him to find missionaries in England to baptize him. It's so cool to see the Lord prepare a way for people who are ready to be baptized, be baptized!!! I'm so excited for him!

So other than that we had another cool experience last night. So this guy and his wife who are from New Zealand were visiting family here in Ireland. They came to church at our branch on sunday, and the guy who's name was Brother K., asked for help with going out and giving his cousin a priesthood blessing. Sadly none of the brethren in the branch stepped up (our branch is still not working very well) so we had to help this brother out. His cousin lived about a 50-60 minute drive out into the countryside in the middle of nowhere in county cavan. So we spent quite a good chunk of our proselyting time doing this, but it was needed. Brother K.'s cousin, T., had Parkinson's disease and it was getting very bad. T. is catholic and I guess he decided he wasn't going to the doctor for it either, and just had the local Priest give him a blessing. But he also asked for Brother K. to give a priesthood blessing. So we gave T. a blessing, and it was actually a really powerful experience for me. It also taught me how important doing our priesthood duties is, becuase this man really needed a blessing, and it was sad to see no one in our branch really jump at the opportunity to fulfill their priesthood duty. I know the lord has given us the priesthood to do his work on this earth, and with that we have a duty to do what the lord wants us to, and not whatever we want to do.

So I think that's about all that happened this week that was really cool! Dakota it's a bummer to hear about what happened with the game! Next year you guys will definitely take care of business! I'm really glad to hear that the physical therapy is going well. It may suck but be diligent. It's just like missionary work, be diligent so you can reap the blesssings! Haha

E-dog. Is food all you think about? Haha just kiddin man, no my companion says you can't get any pizza out of a vending machine in Italy. Sorry bro!! And to let you know, I walk about 12 miles every day. I don't know how many steps that is cause I don't have the pedometer with me right now, but I've been using it every day and I'm gonna keep track of how many miles I walk per week for my whole mission!

Mom i'm not too cold at night, but I may be if I get moved to Scotland! haha Elder Goldie says that he sleeps with jeans and his hoodie on so that he stays warm enough over there. But he said that the work is SO much quicker over there. People actually listen and he is already seeing way more success than he was in mullingar. The funny thing is that he says he may even be working less over there, but see's more success! Haha oh well, I still absolutely love serving here in Mullingar, and I hope by some small chance I stay here for one more move!! But we'll have to wait and see.

Well thats it from me this week love you all!!!

Elder Benesch

Elder Celestini 

Monday, November 11, 2013


I love this picture of Avery!  He looks so happy!
Avery's new companion - Elder Celestini from Rome, Italy!
Avery showing off his futbol skills!
Mullingar, Ireland

The benefit of his apartment's location is that he gets to watch professional games - hurling & gaelic futbol.
I'm assuming this is a map of his district.

Some of the great missionaries he's able to work with!

week 16 - Slower Week

Hello everyone!
So this week was on the slower. We had like 15 people we had met in the street/tracted that we were really trying to focus on becoming new investigators, and none of them ended up wanting us to teach them. That meant we did a lot of walking all over town, and didn't teach a whole lot of lessons, so that was a bummer. We worked hard though so we were both happy with ourselves and not to upset over it. At the end of the day all we can do is invite people to listen to us and its up to them whether or not they want to listen! Elder Goldie is in Scotland now and he said its ridiculous how much faster the work is over there. He said they had a bad week this past week, while compared to Mullingar standards it was an amazing week! Haha so I guess we can't be too hard on ourselves for not having too much success. It's just this is a tougher area! While Elder Celestini was visiting with Pres. Brown I got to play a little basketball in the church building with Elder Austin! It was so much fun to play basketball again and it was awesome seeing Elder Austin as well. We also did a little shopping in Dublin since we were out there, and I found some pretty cool souvenirs! I also got a few presents to send home for you guys and so I'll send those when I get the Christmas list and buy some other stuff to send home to you guys! So more info on Elder Celestini, He is a legit missionary! Haha, he is a hard worker, but has had some really tough companions to deal with. All his companions except for his trainer have been really lazy. But he is a good missionary, he struggles a little with the language sometimes but it works fine cause I kinda just do all of the talking when it's someone he can't really understand. He is a Dentist! In Italy they don't go to university to learn how to be a dentist. When you go to high school you choose your career and study just for that. So when he was 14 he started studying to be a dentist and finished his studying when he was 18 and is a legit dentist now! You can look him up on facebook if you don't believe he's a model, his name is Riccardo Celestini and he apparently has a business page for him as a model. Also I've seen a picture of him and his ferrari, its so cool!! haha  He is really modest about it all though! He is such an awesome guy that has some really cool stories and has a great desire to serve the lord and work hard.

So to answer some of your questions: My favorite non-american food is definitely Kebabs!!! They are amazing but really unhealthy. I don't even know how to explain them to you guys. I think they're some kind of eastern european food but are found all over europe. Just look them up online.

I will most likely leave Mullingar after this moves. However anything can happen! It all depends on what the Lord wants for me to do! But for the most part missionaries don't stay in their first area for more than 3 moves. The next moves is around the beginning of December (I think its like dec. 11th or around there) so I will probably be spending Christmas somewhere else in the mission other than Mullingar! If I have it my way though I would stay here in Mullingar one more moves so until the end of January.

Peyton, Ireland is freezing cold! The worst part is everyone keeps telling me that this is just the beginning. Plus Scotland is even colder than Ireland! And I'm dying already!! haha so this winter will be a big adjustment for me I think!

Alright well I think that's everything for this week! Love you all so much and its always great to hear from you!

Elder Benesch

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 15 - going well

So this email will be short since, me and elder Celestini have to go to Dublin today. President is there and wants to meet with Elder Celestini about something. We have no clue if its good or bad and he's freaked out about it, especially since he asked us to travel a bunch on our P-day. Elder Celestini is pretty cool by the way! He's 21 and has been out on his mission 10 months, and is from Rome, Italy. He never spoke english before his mission but speaks pretty good now! He worked as a model in Italy, and then also as a Dentist for a little before his mission. It's crazy!!!

We've had a good week, S. came to Church!!! He got this Sunday off from work because of halloween break. As soon as he found out he didn't have to work he said he yelled out loud, I CAN GO TO CHURCH!!! Haha he is such an awesome guy, and I really hope he can be baptized someday! I know he will be because he has some great faith and knows its all true, and maybe it's just not now that he can be baptized but later on. We also had one of the members bring their friend to church! That was legit, we taught her during Sunday school and she listened really intently and is hoping to come next Sunday! The bummer is they live about an hour drive away and she works all the time so we have no clue how to get out to her house and teach her during the week. So all we can really do right now is hope and pray she comes to church again! We haven't heard anymore from C. so that sucks. It seemed like she was really interested so I don't know what happened there. Other than that the week has been good!

One more thing, It is getting freezing cold, so I bought some more cold weather clothes last week.The call letter doesn't tell you how it really is going to be. Even the big heavy coat I bought hasn't held up to well in the freezing rain, its warm, but the rain gets through and then it gets kinda cold.

But don't worry I am doing fine and loving the cold weather! I'm welcoming in the winter with open arms! haha

I'm sorry this email is so short but we can only email for like a little less than an hour today and I wanna send some pictures as well. Love you all and I will write more next week! I really loved all the stories you kids shared with me about halloween and your thoughts on your knee and how the savior can help Dakota! Love you guys!

Elder Benesch

Week 14 - New Comp!

So just to let you know how moves or transfers works, we get a call on Sunday night letting us know what is happening. Then on Monday we email family to let them know what is happening. Then Wednesday is P-day or travel day for those that are leaving!

So I am officially staying in Mullingar for another 6 weeks which is what I was hoping for! Elder Goldie is leaving, which we were both kinda bummed about. We knew it would probably happen but we were hoping we could both stay together for one more moves cause the work here in Mullingar is starting to look up! My new companion is coming over from Scotland, and he is from Rome, Italy! His name is Elder Celestini, he's gonna be my senior companion and he's been out about 8 or 9 months I think. He's 6 weeks ahead of Elder Goldie. I'm really excited because I've heard he's a hard worker and that's exactly what the area needs right now! So yeah I'm pretty pumped! I also can't believe that it's already been 3 months since I left. That's an eighth of my mission gone already! It's going to fast, although I've realized an important principle. So far on my mission I've been thinking of how fast the 2 years go by and how I don't want it to go by fast. I don't want to stop sharing the gospel and go home when the 2 years is up. But then I realized I don't have to stop sharing the gospel when I go home after 2 years. I can share the gospel every day of my life if I want to! No one ever said that after the mission we have to stop! We can share the gospel with someone every single day. I know that it's not some new principle I've learned, but since I've been out I think I've understood more how I can share the gospel every day of my life, not just every day of my mission.
This week went awesome! We had 2 mini-missionaries with us for 3 days and so from Tuesday to Thursday I had a different companion! There names were Jonathan and Joe, and they're 2 young men in our branch that are preparing for missions. We got it approved by our mission president to have them stay with us for 3 days and serve mini-missions so that they can prepare for their missions and that we could get more work done. Which we totally did! It was great to be able to get to some towns outside of Mullingar that are still in our area because one companionship could leave Mullingar, while the other could go to Athlone or Longford. We found some people that I'm really excited to teach because they actually seem interested!! One is a single mom named C., she has 2 kids and is starting to look at Christianity. She said she is interested in changing her life around and is excited to meet with us! I'm so pumped!!!! We also had 2 investigators show up to church this week! This week was just all around amazing and I think its all because we've been working really hard here the past 3 months and Heavenly Father is blessing us now for all that hard work we've done. I'm really hoping that me and Elder Celestini can keep up this success!!!
So now to answer the question of the week: Fast food is about the same. We eat pizza every tuesday after district meeting and then I've had Supermac's (irish version of Carl's Jr. pretty much) once and a few Kebabs. Which I have a question for dad. Do you know what Kebabs are and did you have them in Spain? They're a European thing, and they are so good! But they are also extremely unhealthy!!! haha I literally feel myself get fatter when I eat one. I've had 3 so far on my mission and they are pretty intense to eat!
I love all the stories you guys share with me about back home! Keep letting me know how everything is going!
Love you all so much!

Almost forgot to answer Ethan's questions.
Dude I'm in Ireland, so there are no bagpipes at all! Haha bagpipes are a Scottish thing. Bro you need to do some research! hahah just kidding buddy. I'm hoping to stay in Ireland my whole mission but that probably won't happen. I really want to go to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Missionaries usually get some cool stories there! By the way to give you guys a little more info on our mission, there really are 3 countries that it covers. Ireland and Northern Ireland are NOT the same country. The 2 kinda hate each other so I wouldn't get those confused! haha

Flat Stanley

Malia had a class assignment to send her Flat Stanley around the world to people she knows so they can take pictures with him.  So here is Flat Stanley's adventures in Ireland.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What's the crack?

What's the Crack!?!

This week was pretty slow, but I did have some cool experiences! Just about every appointment/try by we had fell through this week. It was pretty frustrating to have every person we wanted to teach this week tell us we couldn't this week, but at the same time I know I did all that I could this week and that is all that Heavenly Father asks of me. One great experience I got out of it though was after we tried by 3 people and our appointment with S. fell through. I was really bummed and just started praying in my heart that we could teach someone. I knew that we were doing all the Lord asked of us, and were being good missionaries, but at the same time I wanted to share the gospel with someone! There was no outside walking around to talk to since it was pouring rain, and it really didn't look like we would find someone. But I kept praying in my heart that there would be someone that we could teach, and all of a sudden someone pulled up in car and yelled out at us "Who's your prophet?" It was so crazy cause we then taught him all about modern day prophets and the restoration. Sadly he didn't agree with a lot, and he wouldn't give us any of his information so that we could visit him again, but we taught him for almost 30 minutes and for me it was an answer to my prayer. That was the 3rd time something like that has happened to me on my mission, and every time it has happened my testimony of prayer has grown so much! The power of prayer is real!! Heavenly Father understands us and wants us to be successful and happy in this life. When we are obedient, he will help us do His work. Another cool thing that happened this week was I got some new workout equipment for free! This story is kinda funny and starts a week and a half ago. I started to catch a cold like 2 Friday's ago, and so I stopped working out in the mornings. I only felt sick for a couple of days but didn't start working out again, so for a week I didn't work out. Then last Thursday we had a training from the zone leaders about how important it is to workout in the mornings and eat right! They explained how every part of the missionary daily schedule is inspired and written by general authorities and will help us be happier and more successful as missionaries. I realized that over the week where I wasn't working out, I was much more tired, which lead to me being a little more grumpy about the fact that no one was talking to us, keeping appointments, or answering the door. Then the day after the zone leaders training we were doing service for C. and his family. They're moving and we were helping out. They came across some weights, and a bar and asked if we wanted it! Of course we said yes, and so I now have some new workout equipment to use to keep in shape and I can tell you that working out in the mornings definitely makes me happier!!! It was kinda funny how it all played out. Heavenly Father was just throwing me a bone and saying, "here's your workout stuff, quit complaining, start working out again, and get back to having joy while doing my work!" haha, goes to show Heavenly Father has a sense of humor! I think that's about it for this week, so now I'll have to answer all the questions you guys have!

Dad: We are able to do service. We've done a lot for C., we've helped our branch president out some and also done some work for a local charity shop. It is something we are asked to do on our missions! It's not like a requirement but it's something we should be doing as representatives of Christ. Service is a great tool for finding, and so if we see someone working in their yard or doing whatever as we walk by, we offer our help. I don't know the whole political situation over here but I know that it is definitely not good! I've even heard there is a guy who serves in their congress (its not called that but its similar to our congress) who has super long hair, wears t-shirts to every political meeting, and all he ever talks about is legalizing marijuana. So to put it simply I would say there government is pretty messed up. The country is pretty bad off economically. Of the 8 or 9 Melchizedek priesthood holders in our branch I think only 3 have jobs. Their version of welfare over here is ridiculous though! People get paid 100 euro (like 130 dollars) a week because they dropped out of school and don't have a job. The worst part about it all is that some of the people dropped out of school just to get the money! So yeah to put it simply, Ireland is a total mess. But a lot of that goes on back home too, I just see more of it out here.  

Mom: I can open pictures that you email me! And I'm gonna tell you this cause I have a feeling you'll actually do it! I was thinking that a cool thing to do would be to save all the emails I send home! I write in my journal every other night, but it would be cool to have all the emails I sent home so I can just go through the weeks of my mission after I come home. It would just be like a cool summary of my whole mission!

Dakota: That totally sucks about your knee! I was really hoping that it wasn't that bad so I'm really sorry man! I've never had to sit out a whole year before so I don't even have any advice to give you other than keep getting strong like you said you're gonna do! I'm gonna start trying to bulk up to now that I have this new workout equipment! Its like the weight set dad has where you put the weight on and then twist on the clip, I have a bar, and then 2 dumbell bars that I can put weight on as well for curls and that kind of stuff. I'm so pumped!!! We'll have to see who's upper body can get bigger faster! Haha

Peyton! good to hear that you are doing well! That is an awesome joke you pulled on the family with the black eye!! I love it! haha and the volleyball jersey being soaking wet TOTALLY sounds like the good old Peyton we all love! Haha I miss you and keep doing well in school and volleyball! Always remember that your Heavenly Father loves you so much!!!

Ethan: E dog I gotta tell you thank you so much for keeping me updated on the sports man! Keep letting me know how your football team does man, and keep practicing and working hard! You'll have to let me know who wins the world series! Make sure you help Dakota get back in shape too! Love ya bro!

Malia! You're halloween costume looks so awesome! I think that is the best costume I've ever seen! Who knew you were such a redneck!  You'll have so much fun on halloween! Get a ton of candy! Which by the way, sometime I'll have to send you some candy from Ireland or the U.K. The chocolate over here is SO much better than the chocolate in the U.S. I probably will never eat chocolate again when I come home because It'll never be as good as the chocolate over here! I gotta be careful I don't eat too much though cause I could get fat!! haha Love you Malia!

Well I think that about does it for this email. Oct. 27th, next sunday, is moves call! So next monday when I email you I'll most likely (98% sure) have a new companion! I'll also find out if I'm moving or staying in Mullingar! I'll most likely stay because usually when you finish training the trainer leaves and an older missionary comes in and senior companion with the missionary that just finished training. It's crazy to think I'm almost done with being trained and it takes 3 months! Its all going by so fast for me!
So i'm excited to see what happens!

Love you all so much!

Elder Benesch

P.S.  I totally forget to tell you guys about the pedometer you sent!! It's so legit! I'm so glad you sent it because it is so cool to use! I'm walking on average about 8-9 miles a day the past few weeks. I'm recording how far I walk every day for the rest of my mission!
Also I attached a really cool talk called "The Fourth Missionary" that I like a lot. Apparently it goes around our mission a lot from missionary to missionary. It's by mission president speaking to his mission and explains about the different types of missionaries there are, but I think what it teaches applies to all of us no matter where we are in life. Whether we are serving a full-time mission or as a Sunday-school teacher, it applies to everyone. We should always strive to be "The Fourth Missionary" our entire lives. I really like it and would encourage you to read it! It's pretty long, but it's worth it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week 12 - Rollercoaster Week

rollercoaster This week was pretty crazy, it started off so awesome!! Monday we had a fun P-day, and then Tuesday our zone leader Elder Lee came and spent the day here in Mullingar. He started his mission in this area so it was crazy to see how he was in my shoes a year and a half ago, but he felt like it was yesterday. So that was a great experience learning from Elder Lee for the day on exchanges, and then on Wednesday we went on exchanges again! I was with Elder Barney who has only been out 6 weeks more than me. It was super fun serving with him, He has a full-ride to play football (quarterback) at Weber State when he goes back home! Oh and my district leader Elder Wightman has a full-ride for track at Utah-State when he gets back home too! Our district is legit! Haha so the first half of the week was awesome, but then we hit the second half of the week. For some reason the second half of the week was super slow, and everyone we went to see or teach either didn't answer or told us to go away. It was pretty rough. But even with all the rejection, we still had some good experiences. On Friday we went to teach M., who we've only taught once before, and he wasn't there. When he didn't answer, I said it's because we're supposed to find someone else, and sure enough the second door we knocked on a college kid answered and listened to us for a little. We taught the restoration to him and even though he thought it sounded far-fetched, he took a Book of Mormon, said he would read it, and said we could come back and see how it went. I felt the spirit as I taught, and that helped me understand that I have been doing all that I can as a missionary, and I have to leave the rest up to the Lord. Even though its a bummer, I have to respect when other people choose not to listen to us, because everyone has their agency.

Even though we didn't teach a whole lot of lessons to investigators this week, we found a lot of people that said we could stop by their house this coming week, so hopefully we'll find some new investigators out of those people!

I just realized I sound kinda negative in this email, but I want you guys to know that I am still happier than ever! Sharing the gospel is such a great blessing to me in my life. I know that I am growing as an individual every day I go out and serve, and it's so cool to see how much I've already changed! Well that about does it for me this week.

Mom, you're totally right about making sacrifices to lift up our brothers and sisters. I'm really hoping our branch begins to understand that principle because that could really help it progress and grow. I'm glad to hear that you are doing so well with work, keep it up! You are helping those girls in their lives so much. There is a quote in preach my gospel, chapter 2. I don't know the exact page or who it's by (its either a prophet or an apostle) since I don't have my preach my gospel with me but it says: "A study of the gospel will change behavior faster than a study of behavior will change behavior." I just thought that was a really cool quote from a general authority, and its something that I think is so true in life. Look at how missionaries change when they come home after studying the gospel for 2 years!

Also the letters with stories from other missionaries we know are pretty cool. But you don't have to send those too often. Honestly, emailing is just fine with me. I'm not like most missionaries where I'm dying to get post from home!

I'm glad to hear that all you kids are doing well too! E dog thanks for the stats man!! Peyton you're team sounds amazing! Keep up the good work and go out and win the championship! Shooting guns sounds like fun! I'll have to tell the members here about that, Guns are completely banned over here so they were shocked when I told them I've shot a gun before. They think us Americans with our guns are crazy! haha

I hope to hear that Dakota's knee is okay, pcl or acl sounds bad. It's definitely a bummer though man! Sorry dude! Work hard and do all the physical therapy stuff you need to get it healed so you aren't out too long!

Last thing, here's some fun Irish slang:
the way the Irish say "What's up?" is "What's the crack?" or "What's the story?" instead of saying "good" they say "grand" i.e. "I'm grand" instead of "I'm good" or "that food was grand!" instead of "that food was good!" Instead of saying something like "that person over there..." they say "your man over there..." they say your man even if its a girl they are talking about! if something is cool, they say "that was deadly."

There's a lot more but I can't think of what else, but I'll probably come home talking like this!!

Love you all so much, and thank you all for your support and prayers. It really means a lot that you are all so supportive of me and have helped me so much so far on my mission!

Elder Benesch

Week 11 - We're all MISSIONARIES!

Hello part-time missionaries!! (aka mi familia)

General Conference was AWESOME! I haven't even watched all the sessions yet but I'm so pumped up by it! NOW is the time for missionary work to go crazy! I got to watch all the Saturday sessions on Sunday, and we're going to just find time throughout the week to watch the other sessions. We just watched the 2 Saturday sessions with a member family last night. They fed us lunch and then we watched General Conference. We were supposed to go spend the night in Dublin on Saturday and watch all the sessions on Sunday with all the missionaries from our zone, but our zone leaders never told our district that in time.... (by the way we're known as the banished district in our mission). It takes us about an hour on a train to get to Dublin and the last train that goes from Mullingar to Dublin on Saturday is at 8 pm, and we found out we could come to Dublin at about 8:30 pm on Saturday night. So us and the Sligo missionaries, who NEVER get to see any other missionaries, had to stay and fend for ourselves to find a place to watch conference. So sadly I didn't get to go to Dublin, and we didn't get to attend a baptism!!! What a bummer. Alright now I'm done ranting about the lack of information our zone leaders give to our district. It didn't matter anyway cause I had a great experience watching conference, and I still learned so much from hearing the words of the prophets and apostles who spoke. I could literally write for the entire 2 hours about how awesome conference was so I'll stop there!! I will say though that member missionary work is going to be extremely important for this hastening of the work to go forward. We as full-time missionaries really can't do it without a joint-effort from the members as well. So I would encourage you guys to all do a little more missionary work! Believe it or not it will go a LONG way in helping the work progress. My challenge to you guys is to actually do the invitation that Elder Ballard left with all the members! Talk to 1 person about the gospel before this Christmas, (and I want to add a little more), invite one family to have the missionaries teach them in your home. I promise that if you do this you will find it's a lot easier than you think to share the gospel! And I promise that you guys will feel God's love for you more than ever before!

So some other stuff that happened this week. We found a new investigator!!! His name is M., and he is very curious about what we believe. He just recently got out of prison, and he is a bit of a rough guy, but he is super curious so it's awesome! We taught him a little bit of everything the first time we met with him because he asked so many questions! At the end before we left he said it all seems to make more sense than the Catholic church (he was raised catholic). We are seeing him for the second time tonight and are going to invite him to be baptized! I'm pumped! I also went on exchanges with my new DL, and he is pretty cool! He's from Idaho, and he taught me a lot! I love exchanges because I learn a lot from the different missionaries and how they approach talking with people and that kind of stuff. I got to lead out my area for the first time this exchange as well so that was cool! That means my DL came here to Mullingar, and I was in charge of doing everything basically! It was a good experience because it showed me how much I've improved as a missionary so far, and helped me know that I'm doing well! Me and my DL Elder Wightman got along really well, and had an awesome time. We talked a lot about the trials we face as missionaries in Ireland, but we both feel like its truly a blessing in disguise! We are being strengthened and refined so much more than if we went to a place where we would have a baptism almost every week! I just read this week about Zion's Camp, (look it up if you don't know a lot about it) and how the men that were in it, almost all were called into major leadership positions in the church after they withstood the trials they faced with strength. All in the camp that became leaders expressed that those trials they had to overcome helped them become the leaders the Lord needed them to be. The entire purpose of the camp's march was for the Lord to find those who could be his leaders. Those who could deal with the trials. We are going through the refiners fire to become what the Lord needs us to be throughout our lives. Me and Elder Wightman talked a lot about it, and it's just kinda cool to think about. Other than that I can't think of any other cool experiences that happened this week. Just a ton of searching for those who will listen to the message of the restored gospel!!

As for the type of proselyting we do dad, we do both tracting and street-contacting. When we go out finding we just literally try to talk and have friendly conversations with every person we see. We try not to go up to people on the street and say "would you like to hear a message about..." because no one is gonna listen to us if we stick to that. We really just try to spark up friendly conversations that lead into us teaching a gospel principle that will actually apply to that individual. So say its a mother walking with her 2 kids, we'll talk about how much the gospel can bless families and then tie it into the restoration right away. We have much more success just talking with people normally than going up and saying we have a message to share. We also ask everyone for referrals, even if we just met them for the first time and they wanted nothing to do with us.

Its good to hear about all the sports news! Dakota and Ethan I'm so pumped for the both of you! I definitely love hearing about the success you both are having! Keep up the good work! Please let me know more about baseball news! I will give you guys an assignment! I wanna hear how Didi Gregorious, Adam Eaton, Patrick Corbin, and AJ Pollock's seasons finished. Just let me know some of their stats and stuff, also how did Bryce Harper and Mike Trout do? Keep me updated on the playoffs too. Sorry, I just start thinking of all this stuff I wanna find out during this 2 hours to emailing. It's like the only time I get to think about sports other than soccer! I think that's everything, so thank you for the emails and info!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Week 10 Pictures for Mom - which means I don't eat this week!

What up home!!
So this week was pretty average, we taught S. and C. and a couple other people on the street who all said what they seem to always say, "thats nice but I don't believe in God!" Haha but we're working hard and I know we'll find the people we need to find eventually. I've been getting a little hard on myself lately since we're not having success finding new people, but I have to realize that we're in one of the hardest areas in one of the toughest missions. So I gotta be a little less hard on myself! I have a funny story about that. Elder Goldie's friend is on a mission in Spain right now, but his visa was messed up so he spent his first 3 months in Salt Lake. He had something like 3 or 4 baptisms in those 3 months, and then finally got over to Spain. When he got there he was shocked because nobody would listen to him! He said he would talk to 300 people in a day and 298 would say no, and the other 2 are gypsies. Elder Goldie made fun of him and emailed him "Welcome to Europe!!" Haha that story helped me realize that I can't be too hard on myself when it comes to the amount of success we have. My new district leader is named Elder Wightman and he is pretty sweet! I get to go on exchanges with him thisTuesday so I'm pretty pumped for that. I'm also really excited about general conference, considering it's the Super Bowl for missionaries!
So this is for Mom: First of all, it costs some precious food/travel money for me to send pictures home so that's why I haven't sent any! Sorry! It just comes with being in Mullingar. Scotty can use a usb drive every week when he emails, plus he doesn't have to pay for it.... or travel across Ireland every week.... So I think I have a good excuse! Haha. You were right about the shoes though! I am going to buy more today because my feet are absolutely killing me. I got a huge blister on my left foot this week and it's been hurting so bad this whole week, and I can't give it time to heal since we have to walk everywhere. But its all good!
Dad's Questions: We eat pretty good, but we don't have a lot of time to cook. The first couple weeks I was here I was making a lot of good stuff, but I've realized now that I'd rather get to bed on time then stay up a little later to make fajitas or banana bread or whatever. I've been eating lots of pasta, spaghetti, grilled ham and cheese, pb and j, omelets, chicken quesadilla's with these herbal tortillas (cause that's the only tortillas they have), and just good old cereal and oatmeal. As for heat we haven't had to use it that much yet, but our flat is nice and has heaters in every room. Plus we're on the top floor and all the heat from the other rooms below us rise up into our room! So we're good.
Peyton: So glad to hear you're doing good in volleyball and choir! Sounds like fun! And just so you don't get beat up by an Irishman, Ireland is NOT a part of the U.K.!! Haha the Republic of Ireland reallllyyyyy doesn't like the U.K. so they would get mad if you said they were a part of it! Bagpipes are ridiculously expensive! Like we're talking a couple thousand dollars so I don't think i'll be getting any... sorry! (unless you want to buy me some!) haha love ya!!
Dakota/Ethan: I figure I'll put you together since you both talked about football! You guys sound like you're both doing well in football! E-dog it sounds like your making some Boss catches! haha, and Dakota that sounds like a real tough loss. It'll be a good test for your team though to see how you guys bounce back! Good teams have to be able to come back after losses pretty quick. Especially in high school football cause you guys don't have a lot of games to prove you're playoff worthy. Keep up the hard work and you're gonna win state!!
Well that does it, love you all and thanks for all you do for me!!!
Elder Benesch

Here's some pictures of Mullingar

Courthouse & library (where we email from)  in Mullingar

This is where we play soccer on Pday & the next picture is where we go to church (it's the office at the end)

This is downtown Dublin & me with Elder Frost

Sligo & a Free Mason's building

Proof that I do cook (yum! fajitas) & me on a typical day after tracking - soaking wet!

Just a little side note - I popped the color on almost all these pictures because it was sooooo gray & overcast, that the pictures didn't do justice to the beauty of the area

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Week 9, I'm liking the European Fashion!

Well this week went pretty well! Because it was moves week our P-day was on Wednesday, even though we still emailed on Monday, so it totally threw me off! I was just barely getting into the routine and then this week just kinda messed with my head. S. is doing awesome now! We taught him twice this week and when we saw him on Tuesday, before we could even leave him a reading assignment, he just yelled out "will you give me homework for next time?" He then assigned himself like 30 pages to read in the Book of Mormon for Thursday.  Then on Thursday we showed up and he had 3 pages full of notes on the 30 pages he read! He has such an awesome desire to learn and so I really am hoping and praying that he finds a way to get work off on Sundays before the 5 year contract is up. Yesterday we also had the Dublin stake conference so that was pretty cool! We got to see all the missionaries in our zone and I got to hang out with Elder Austin quite a bit so that was fun. President Brown was also there and we had some time where all of us missionaries just talked with him about the work before conference started. It was a great experience! President Brown is such an awesome mission president! We had some trouble traveling to Dublin though. Since the train wouldn't get us there in time for conference Sunday morning, we stayed the night on Saturday in Dublin with the Elders in the Mount Joy area. Problem was our train should've arrived in Dublin at 9pm, but it was delayed and we didn't get there until 10pm. Then me and Elder Goldie have no idea where to go, because both of us have only been to Dublin like 3 or 4 times so we ended up getting off the bus a little too early, and walked the streets of Dublin on a Saturday night until we finally made it to the Mount Joy elder's flat at 11! Missionaries are supposed to be inside at 9 so we were a little late... But it all worked out and I just thought it was pretty funny. Traveling in our mission is so crazy! Our mission also just lost 3 cars so it's gonna get even worse since we all have to rely on public transportation (which is really unreliable, especially in Ireland) even more! Well that's about all that happened this week, we got fed 3 times so that was cool! We've been consistently fed about 2 times a week which is great for being in a tiny little branch.

So Malia, I will definitely do the Flat Stanley thing for you! I'll probably just take pictures with him in town outside the cathedral because that's about the only thing that looks exciting here! I'll try finding some other cool places to take pictures with him though.
It sounds like all you kiddo's are having fun back home! I totally remembered it was your birthday Ethan and then last monday when I emailed I forgot to tell you Happy Birthday! Sounds like you got a pretty sweet present though. Maybe I'll try to find something cool from Ireland to send home to you! Mullingar doesn't have that much cool stuff though. I haven't even found a cool souvenir to buy yet other than maybe a Hurl, which is the wooden bat they use in hurling. But its huge and I'd rather not drag that around my whole mission! I'll probably buy one right before I go home.

Another thing you might think is funny is I'm already starting to like the "fashion" over here! Haha I love their white shirts, they're so much nicer and look way cooler than our american style white shirts. There's a place in town where you can get white shirts for like 2.50 euro! So before I leave here I'll buy like 3 or 4 and then I'll have about 8 shirts total, which should last me the rest of my mission. Which speaking of clothes, I bought some more stuff this week. I got my winter stuff like a hat, gloves, and another jumper (sweater) cause it is getting cold. Apparently in the winter missionaries wear thermals, then a white shirt, then a jumper, then a suit coat, and then they're heavy coat on top of all that, plus a beanie, scarf and gloves. So I decided I should probably prepare for the cold a little better! I didn't get a scarf since my coat zips up pretty high, but if I do ending up needing a scarf I'll get one. I also got a messenger bag. Missionaries coming out into the field aren't allowed to bring backpacks anymore, and all of us missionaries who have been out already can keep using backpacks but they would prefer for us to use a messenger bag, so I figured I would get one since they do look nicer and more professional. Sooner or later all the missionaries are probably going to have to have them anyway so I just got mine now.

Well that's it I think! I'm glad to hear that you all are doing well! Keep having fun back home and don't stop looking for missionary opportunities! After all every single member of the church is a missionary, and we should always look to help people find the happiness that we all have in our lives! Love you all!

Elder Benesch

Week 8, 9/16/2013

Hello everyone!
Well yesterday was the first time I've had moves calls while out in the field! My district leader is going to Limerick to be the Zone leader there, and then one Elder in my district is going to Clonsilla and his companion is going to stay in Dundalk and train a new missionary! So I'll have a new district leader for this moves. And to answer your question Dad, Elder Goldie will train me for the 3 months! Moves calls, or maybe you called them transfers in your day, are usually every 6 weeks. New missionaries are trained for 2 moves or 12 weeks, and it's very rare that a new missionary has a different trainer for the second moves of his training but it does happen sometimes! But not for me. So me and Elder Goldie will be in Mullingar for another 6 weeks and then most likely one of us will stay while the other will leave. But I'll worry about that in 6 weeks! Oh the other thing I was gonna tell you guys, I didn't mean that people in Ireland hug a lot, I meant that all the missionaries in our mission hug each other instead of shaking hands when we see each other, not the actual people in Ireland. Our mission president is a hugger and so all of us missionaries hug each other. But people in Ireland are pretty mean and grumpy, so we're lucky if someone even smiles at us, let alone hug us! Haha so I don't remember who asked it but no it isn't hard to avoid girls trying to hug us out here.

This week went pretty well, we didn't teach as many lessons but the few we did teach went well. We taught S. one lesson, and going in to the lesson we were pretty sure we were gonna drop him. He hadn't been reading scriptures or praying at all, and every time we asked him to, he said he couldn't because it made him feel guilty about not attending church because of his work. We basically taught him that even though he can't attend church right now because of work, that God doesn't want him to completely stop following Him. We told him that God asks us to do everything in our ability to follow Him, and if we have faith, God will always provide a way for us to follow Him. It was so awesome because we've taught S. this before, but me and Elder Goldie felt during the lesson that we should say it in a little bit different way, and all of a sudden, everything seemed to click for him. He realized that he should read the Book of Mormon, pray every day, and follow all the commandments because those are things that he can do, and that God wants him to do those things. He also said he will come to church every chance he gets, so in the summer when the soccer season is over, he said for those 4 months he will be at church every single week. We were so happy to hear that, and it goes to show how we as missionaries can't focus on the numbers (how many baptisms we get, or how many lessons we teach) but really on the fact that the numbers we record are actual people. If we just wanted numbers we wouldn't have helped S. realize that maybe while he is under this 5 year contract he can't be baptized because work keeps him from attending church. But maybe in 5 years or even before that a way will be provided where he doesn't have to coach on Sundays and as long as he is continually living the gospel to the best of his ability, he can be baptized then.
Another cool thing was we taught a lesson to these 2 guys on the street who were out knocking on doors trying to sell these energy meters to people. One of them apparently was named the number 1 hurling player in all of Ireland 2 years ago!(which by the way hurling is not a professional sport so all of the guys who play have to do jobs on the side just to survive, which is crazy cause apparently a lot of people go to see the games! You would think they would at least make some money!). So I have now offically taught a professional Nigerian Soccer player and one of the best Hurling players in Ireland!

Well that's about all that happened this week, it's starting to get really cold and windy, and then when you add rain in it gets really bad, but it's kinda fun cause it actually makes me feel more like a missionary! (I know, kinda weird) 

We are working hard to find new investigators to teach, and we are really focusing on helping the branch become stronger. The youth are so solid in our branch, and me and Elder Goldie have discussed with the branch president of how we can have the youth basically set the example for others. Me and Elder Goldie are going to run youth nights every Thursday now, but only for the first couple times to help the youth understand how it works, and then we're letting them run themselves pretty much. 

I think we have helped this area a lot already, and now hopefully we can help it even more! I know the Lord wants me to keep learning and working hard, and if I show him how willing I am to do His work, that's when He will lead us to His precious people that He has prepared to be taught by us. The Lord isn't going to provide us with people to teach when we aren't doing our part, mainly because we are dealing with peoples eternal salvation. The Lord won't trust us with people he has prepared unless we are doing our part and being as diligent as we can in doing His work. I love being a missionary!! 

Love you all!

Elder Benesch

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 7 Here comes the cold!

Well this week went well! Elder Goldie is totally good now so we got a full week of missionary work in. It was actually the most lessons we've taught in a week since I've been out so that was awesome! We didn't get any new investigators (a new investigator is classified as someone you meet, set up an appointment, teach them a lesson at that appointment and set up another time to meet) but we got like 5 potentials (people we stop and set up appointments with) we're going by this week! We've actually had quite a few potentials since I've been here, but none of them ever keep appointments so that's a bummer. But hopefully this week one of them will at least! I didn't realize this but there hasn't actually been a new investigator here in this area since S., and they found him like 3 months ago. So this could be a big week! Speaking of S. he is having a hard time.  He is so sad about not being able to come to church that he has stopped praying, reading the BOM, and doing anything involving church. He is totally focused on his coaching job and basically nothing else. The worst part is he knows its all true and wants to get baptized! He just hasn't figured out a way to do work and go to church on Sundays. The less-active young man we are teaching came to church with us yesterday! He didn't really like it though so that wasn't good. He said a lot of the people there show up, talk about living a good life and doing what is right, and then the minute church was over they just went back to being typical Irish people. It just goes to show that people are always watching us as members of the church whether we know it or not. We should all be setting examples for those people so that they will have a desire to follow Christ, like we are. The cold weather is definitely coming!!! I can't leave the flat now without a jacket on and it rained quite a bit this week. Apparently in the middle of winter it gets dark at like 4 in the afternoon! So that'll be fun stopping people on the street when it's pitch black and me and my companion are wearing these huge all black trench coats. I'm actually kinda excited to see peoples reactions to that!
I had a really cool experience while on exchanges this week! I went to Sligo again but this time with Elder Barney, who has only been out 6 weeks (1 moves) longer than me. It was awesome going with him because we were both young and just excited to go work! So here's some background you need to know before the story: There was a general authority (don't remember his name) who had a revelation during general conference that all European missionaries should do the following every night when they plan for the next day: Write down in their planners who they will find the next day, what they will either teach or have to do to find them, when they will find them, and where they will find them. So every night, every European missionary does that now. When I was on exchanges, the who what when where Elder Barney had written down was: We'll find a man who we will have to go out of our way to talk to, while we are walking from our last teaching appointment to the flat, between 9 and 9:30 pm. So right after the last appointment we had we started walking back to the flat and we saw a guy walking towards us. Elder Barney said that's are guy for who, what, where, when and basically right after he said it, the guy crossed the street and started walking the opposite direction! So me and Elder Barney start following him and basically chase him down, and right before he crosses the street again Elder Barney just yells out to him and he comes over all happy to talk to us! We found out he had only been in Sligo for a few hours and we set up a time to visit with him the next day and talk more about the BOM! It was really cool to see how when you tell the Lord where you will be and when you will be there, He will put the people in your path that you need to find. I'll have to find out at district meeting if anything happened with the guy.

Something I've been wanted to tell you guys to do since the MTC but just keep forgetting, is to check out MTC devotionals done by some of the apostles on youtube!! Mainly check out any MTC devotionals done by Elder Bednar and Elder Holland. They are awesome, especially when giving devotionals cause they are a little more personal. A real good youtube video of an MTC devotional is called "Missionary Work and the Atonement" I don't know if that's the title for sure but it'll be pretty close. It's by Elder Eyring and Elder Holland so search both their names and the title and you'll find it. The video kind of combines both their talks together into different segments and it's such a cool message! It's cool to hear Elder Holland talk to missionaries cause he basically turns into a football coach pumping us up to go out and do work!! There was a really good one we watched in the MTC by him but I have no clue what it's called. It looked like it might've been 5 or 6 years ago, but it was about the importance of using Preach My Gospel and actually being converted yourself before you go out and try converting someone else. So try looking those up if you have time!

I do like getting stories from Colin and Carly! It's fun to read up on how they're doing, especially cause I only really have time to email back family. I try emailing back at least one or two other people but I usually only get to one other person. The pedometer idea will be cool! Don't forget to keep me updated on the whole sports stuff too, I really enjoying hearing about sports from back home, especially the kids games, instead of Gaelic and Hurling. Continue letting me know how the baseball world is too! I'm getting really good at soccer though, maybe I'll turn into a soccer player when I get back home! I saw Elder Austin at Zone meeting again this week and I don't think he realizes how lucky he has it! Him and all the missionaries in Dublin, which is pretty much our whole zone besides our district of 6 missionaries and a few other companionships, get together for every P-day! Me and Elder Goldie just get stuck playing soccer together and with our less-active sometimes. We're too far away from anyone else and since we don't have a car we can't go out and visit anywhere either. So I haven't taken a lot of new pictures... Sorry mom. Oh well it's still a blast playing soccer!

I'm so happy to be out here on my mission and I can't believe how much I'm growing spiritually! It's only been like a month and a half too! 2 years won't be long enough! (I say that now but I guess we'll have to see if that changes over 2 years haha)
Love and miss you all!