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!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 6 - Slow Week

Hello Everyone!

Well this week was a little on the slow side because Elder Goldie had strep throat so we stayed in the flat the whole week. This week was the first time I felt like my mission was going by slowly, so it just goes to show that when you are out working hard, you really do forget yourself and stop worrying about time! Elder Goldie slept pretty much every day so I got to do a TON of studying haha. It was good though! I decided 2 weeks ago that I wanted to take a paperback Book of Mormon and read all the way through it and mark it up with a ton of thoughts and revelation I received while reading. I've already made it to Alma 31 which is a little over halfway, and on every page, every bit of white is pretty much written on! Haha I was thinking it would be cool to read a BOM and mark it up during the first 2 moves and then do it again on another paperback BOM over the last 2 moves of my mission (moves are 6 weeks by the way) and see how my thoughts while reading were different at the beginning and end of my mission. I got to go in to Dublin for Zone Conference on Thursday and learned a ton from that! President Brown is such an awesome mission president and I love the training he gave us. I also got to see Scotty there! That was pretty cool to see him and a couple other elders that were in my group. All of us new elders got to bare our testimonies at the beginning of Zone Conference so that was pretty cool as well. I also went on exchanges with my district leader this week in Sligo, which is basically on the west coast of Ireland. So I've now been on the west and east coast of Ireland! Exchanges are awesome because you get to see how other missionaries do things and for me that is really helpful because I'm still figuring out how to be a missionary! I'm enjoying the mission so much, and I'm getting very excited about the work in Mullingar! The branch has started to come around and it feels like they are getting excited about missionary work so that will be a huge help to us with finding new investigators and then having people fellowship those investigators when they come to church. That's pretty much everything that happened this week though! (like I said, kinda a slower week). Elder Goldie is feeling better today so hopefully we'll get a lot done this coming week! To answer some of your questions, I haven't played any Hurling or Gaelic Football yet, but we do have a Sliotar (ball used in Hurling) and a Gaelic Football in the flat! Mostly I play a ton of soccer on p-day. Since we live so far away from everyone else in our District, we can't get together and play so me, Elder Goldie, and Caelum our less-active we are teaching, usually just go to the pitch and play soccer together. I'm getting really good at juggling a soccer ball, and my goal is to be pro at it when I get back home! Haha I do it all the time in the flat when I need a quick break from studying. I exercise every morning and I usually just do an ab/bands workout, because that is about all we have room for. I'm gonna be pretty ripped by the time I get home!.... actually probably not. I also got the letter from you guys just today so I'm gonna read it after we finish emailing and shopping!
The scripture for my mission plaque you can use is Helaman 5:12, It's my favorite!

Dakota: That experience you had with your friend is so awesome man! Being led by the Spirit to know what to say is up there as one of the coolest things I've felt on my mission so far. It's great to feel like the Lord is able to do his work through you. I love it! I studied it a little this morning when I was reading in Alma 26, it talks about how Ammon and his brethren were so happy and rejoiced in the fact that they were able to be instruments in the Lord's hand in bringing souls unto salvation. Letting the Spirit guide you when you teach is the best way to be an instrument in the Lord's hand and to have the Lord do his work through you! And that is awesome that you knocked a kid out in football, and it's pretty sweet to hear that you're starting! It definitely would suck to see your buddy get hurt, but you're right, thats football. Keep working hard and don't forget to study the scriptures every day!