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