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Thursday, December 25, 2014

week 74 - Passed my theory (driving test) and LOVING Dundee!

week 73 - Off to serve in Dundee, Scotland

Well I forgot to let you know that it was moves week this week, mainly because I thought there was no chance that I would move! But I was wrong, and so I'm moving this week to Dundee, where I'll serve in the Bingham ward there! Apparently it's a really good ward, so that'll be good, as well I'll be serving with Elder Preece who was in the MTC with me. He'll be fun to serve with so it should be good. I'm really sad to leave Bangor though, it's such a good place to be, and so many good things were starting to happen across the stake and in our own area, but oh well, thats okay. My companion Elder Nordfors was awesome as well, so I'm really bummed that I'm not serving with him anymore either. Dundee is gonna be freezing cold too!! hahah it's on the east coast of Scotland, and it's kind of in a bay area so the wind from the ocean is going to kill me! hahaha, good thing I have a nice coat for the winter!! I'm probably going to buy some new thermals and stuff though, cause I'll probably need it. I'll have to let you know next week what the plans for skyping and stuff is because it'll be different now since I'm in a new area!! Hopefully it'll be around the same time though so you can get a bit of christmas morning and talk to me around 10 or 11.

Well with moves we have to do loads of planning, so it's a kinda short email this week, but I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Benesch

week 72 - Christmas Concerts

Hello everyone!!

So we had a pretty good week!! We got 2 new investigators who are pretty awesome!! One was a woman named K., who referred herself to us through mormon.org, and we got to teach her a lesson this past Wednesday. It was 2 days before her wedding which was pretty crazy!!! And the best part is that one of the things that attracted her to the church was the fact that we teach about how marriage can be an eternal thing, something that isn't just for this life. So teaching her 2 days before her wedding was the perfect time to talk about eternal families and the restoration of the gospel with her. She's on her honeymoon now though so we won't see her for a week or two, but when she get's back she is really excited to meet with us again!! Our other new investigator is a man named B. He's 25 and used to be a really strong Christian but has kind of fallen away from that. When we talked about the Book of Mormon with him, he was pretty interested because he always felt like there should be more to Christianity than what he knew. So he's going to start reading this week, and we're so pumped for him!! He really wants to come to know God again, and so as long as he reads the Book of Mormon, it'll definitely happen for him! So seeing those two was probably the highlight of the week for us. We also had a really good activity on Saturday night, where 30 missionaries from our mission sang in a Christmas choir concert at the stake center in Belfast. They did an awesome job and there were a ton of non-members there so it was pretty successful!! Hopefully some good things come from it!

It's good to hear you're doing a bit better Peyton!! And by the way I thought that was a really funny story about how you fell asleep in a tree house! haha sounds like a classic goofy Peyton moment!!

I'm kind of sad that I'll miss Shelly's wedding!! I didn't realize it was coming up so soon! you'll have to say congrats to her from me!!

Well I love you all!!! Have a great week!!
Elder Benesch

week 71 - #ShareTheGift

So first off, Happy Thanksgiving!!! I did remember that it was Thanksgiving, but it wasn't exactly a big deal or anything. The whole day when we talked with people we approached them by saying "so we're American, and it's Thanksgiving back home, so what are you grateful for?" and then we just cheekily talk about how we're grateful for the Savior and then next thing you know you're teaching the restoration to them haha. It was really fun though! Now we're doing the same exact thing pretty much but with Christmas, and it works perfect because the church is doing a massive push this month about remembering Christ during the Christmas season with this new initiative called He Is The Gift. there's a cool video and a new website called christmas.mormon.org that the church is doing some massive advertising for!! They bought youtube's masthead space on their home page to play a 30 second version of the he is the gift video all day December 7th!! They also rented a ton of the billboards in time's square from December 1st to January 1st. All of the missionaries get new pass along cards to hand out, and then there should also be 9 pass-along cards in the December issue of the Ensign for you guys to hand out!!! Members don't get them in the UK Ensign though:( It's definitely geared more toward the states, so you guys better take advantage of all this cool stuff going on since we don't really get to that much over here in the UK!!! We get the online stuff and the pass along card at least, and so we're doing all we can to get it really big in Northern Ireland this Christmas. Last Friday we did a zone meeting on it to get everyone in the zone pumped for it, and then yesterday we did a presentation on it to the YSA in the stake to get them to hashtag ShareTheGift!!! You guys should get on board and do it to!!! Invite all your friends to watch the video so we can sweep the world with the message of Christ this Christmas!!!

So Malia I heard that you were the only girl to play in the Turkey Bowl and that you scored a touchdown!! You did better than me when I tried playing football! I didn't even score a touchdown!! haha keep being awesome!

Peyton sports med sounds like an awesome class to do!! I bet you'll really like it! I kinda wish that I took that class while I was in high school cause then I could have figured out whether or not I would have like doing that as a career! I've been praying for your migraines to go away and I'll keep on praying!! Hopefully they'll go away soon!!

Love
Elder Benesch

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 70 - Powerhouse Stake Conference with Elder Liemar

Whattup!!!

Hey guys!  So I will send a long email this week because I only got emails from family pretty much!  

This week went really well, but it was absolutely insane!!!  We had a lot to accomplish over the weekend, and it absolutely killed me and Elder Nordfors.  We were dead this morning when we woke up and we didn't even workout cause we were so tired.  Oh well this week should be good, cause we only have 1 exchange and then MLC on Wednesday.  At stake conference we had a general authority come whose name was Elder Axel Liemar.  He was originally from Germany but has lived in the states a lot oh his life.  He was baptized as a 22 year old in 1985 while working in the states and then served a mission in Maryland a year later.  He was awesome!!  We got to talk to him a bit, and he was a really cool guy.  In conference he spent like 45 minutes just pleading with the members to give us people to teach, which I thought was so great because nowadays missionaries are pretty powerless when it comes to getting people to be interested in the church.  I was thinking today about how in our mission, missionaries have pretty much been proselyting here for over 150 years, and we still only have 7 stakes and 1 district in 3 countries.  I just really strongly feel that the only way the work in these countries will ever move forward is if the local members do all of the finding and we as missionaries become perfect teachers and just teach.  It's just like how we have to do it in the states as well, but it's just really apparent here that the traditional Mormon missionary style of proselyting that you always think of when you talk about missionaries doesn't really work anymore  It's evidenced in the fact that there are apparently over 5000 members of the church in Northern Ireland, and at stake conference I would say we had about 600.  Weekly across the stake there is an average of 800 members out at sacrament meeting.  So there's over 4,000 inactive members of the church, just in Northern Ireland alone!!  For the most part they were found by missionaries, taught and baptized, never really got to know any members, and then fell away after the missionaries left.  It's just so crazy how much that happens here!!!  Just like back home, members have to do their part to fellowship new converts.  Member missionary work is the only way anything is going to actually move forward here.

So Mom I thought it was cool that you were looking at those essays that the church has put out!!  I actually have read them all a while back, (I think in Irvine?)  cause if you remember that was when I was way into church history and studying that out!  It is really good that the church has put those out there, because there is way too much confusion about it all.  We get questioned about that kind of stuff almost every single day now, and it's good to try and point people in the right direction of where to find real answers for it.  

So this past week our training at zone conference went really well!!  We did a ton of work on it because we wanted to really make an impact on people and for it to be a training they remember, and so hopefully that's how it went!  We trained on how prayer and revelation are key in missionary work, and we talked a lot about what revelation is and how we get it.  We read from John 21: verses 3 and 6 and talked about when we do the work on our own we went be led to find people to teach, but when we listen to the voice of the lord to guide us as we find, then we wont' even be able to handle the amount of investigators we find! (the fish we said represent investigators in our little analogy we did with it)  We also did a cool activity where we had everyone sit quietly for a minute and think about what they could change as missionaries.  We then explained that the type of thoughts and feelings they got that were telling them they need to change was personal revelation from the Lord.  We used Stephen R. Covey's BYU devotional called an educated conscience to talk about how these messages we get from the Holy Ghost about what we should change are of a higher order than if an angel appeared and told us to change these very same things.  We also talked about prayer being a key part in it and then used the star of David to sort of hammer that point in.  The star of David is made up of 2 triangles, and in our church we actually use the star of David on some of our buildings.  It's on the assembly hall in temple square and on a few temples as well.  It has a few different meanings for our church, but one is the relationship between us and God through prayer and revelation.  The star is made up of 2 triangles, one which points up and one that points down.  The one pointing up symbolizes our prayers going up to God and the other pointing down symbolizes revelation coming back to us from God.  It was a really cool demonstration and I think everyone liked it!  

Also I found out my release date for you:  It's July 8th, so I'll actually be back like 2 weeks earlier than my 2 year mark.  But there you go, hope that helps with planning out stuff for when I get back!

Well I want you all to know that I love you and pray for you guys a lot!!  Keep being an awesome family and have a great week! 

Elder Benesch

Week 69 - Busyyyy, but good

Hello all!

So we've had an insanely busy week this past week, but it was good at the same time!  We have literally traveled all of Northern Ireland which is pretty insane, and we have racked up the miles on our car!  Hahah we went to Derry, Londonderry on tuesday for a district meeting and exchange with the elders there, and that city is on the western border of the country.  then we had to go into Antrim on wednesday for a meeting.  Then on thursday and friday we had to be in belfast cause of missionaries getting lost trying to travel to dublin, and then on saturday we had to go to coleraine which is like the northern tip of Ireland to interview someone for baptism!! So lot's of traveling, and it looks like we'll be doing a lot this week as well.  We have a zone interview training on Friday, so we'll be training a lot at that.  Then I'm going on exchanges to Dalkeith, which will be fun!  But it means lots of travel as well.  As far as how the missionary work has been going we found a new investigator this past week which was awesome!  Her name is Rebecca and she is a young mom who is looking for a kind of fresh start in life.  We're really hoping it goes well with her, because it seems like we found her at the perfect time in her life.  She just barely moved in to bangor, and is trying to come to know if God is there, so that way she can help her kids learn about God as they grow up.  I'll keep you updated on her progress!  We also found another young Mom named Nadine, who when we set up an appointment with her she didn't seem too interested, and when we came back she said she didn't think we would actually come.  But then we ended up having a pretty good lesson with her, so that's cool!  We're going to see her sometime this week, hopefully on tuesday, and so we're hoping that will go well.  They said they would want us to explain more about God's plan for us, and where we go after we die, so it seems like there is at least some interest there!!  We'll just keep on keeping on and hopefully the work will get moving here in Bangor!  

I thought that was way cool that you were able to have the sister missionaries over for the block party!!  That's an awesome way to help introduce people to the church!  So I was wondering if the gilbert mission still does that thing where they aren't allowed to tract at all and they just do service and visit members and teach people that the members refer them to or something like that.  I remember dad saying something like that to me in an email once, and I was just curious if that's still something there trying out!  The phoenix temple dedication sounds pretty awesome as well!  I can't believe how much has happened back home while I've been over here!!  It's crazy to think what it'll be like when I get back!!

Also, as far as when my release date is I have no idea.  I've got 6 transfers left on my mission pretty much, including this one we're in right now, and they are each 6 weeks, although one of them could be a 5 week transfer.  So my guess is my release date will be around mid-july.  It'll be a wednesday that I would get back on, so it could be the 8th, 15th or even the 22nd.  My guess would be the 8th, but I'll try to find out more if I can!

Hope you have a great week though, I love you all so much!!

Elder Benesch

Week 68 - Crazy moves week, but really good week!

So we've had a crazy week!  On moves day we had a ton of people leave, as well as a ton of mix-ups/missionaries missing buses/ferries being late.... the list goes on.   Ultimately it didn't mess us up too bad, but it was still pretty crazy.  Elder Austin down in Dublin had to deal with a lot though!  I think the craziest story I heard was the zone leaders in paisley had to drive a few people who missed their bus 2 hours to catch the ferry over to Ireland on time!!  Luckily I wasn't there for that one haha.  But after all the madness, we had some great success over the weekend.  We taught a man on saturday who is a bit of a nutcase but hey it's someone we can teach!  haha we'll see him again tonight and hopefully we can get our message across in a way that he'll understand and feel good about.  We also met a mother of 3 who is having us around this week, her husband is getting PHD in astrophysics, so it should be a really good family to teach if he's interested as well!  We also met a girl who is like 19 or 20 and has a 3 year old and is living on her own.  She's been thinking a lot about God lately, so it seems like a good time in her life to meet us!  We see her on tuesday, so hopefully that goes well!!  It's weird cause we haven't really done anything different this week from past weeks, but we're seeing some crazy good things happen!  I have no idea what it is, but we'll keep doing whatever it is that's working.

So I have some kinda bad news... I'm going to have to get a driving license.  Mine expires in a month and a half or so, and Elder Nordfors can't drive (too bad they didn't send me a companion who could drive still!)  And so I'll probably be using a lot of money over the next few weeks to get that going.  It costs me like 60 pounds to get my provisional and then like 15 for the theory test and then I'm hoping the mission will pay for the practical test.  Apparently its really tough though so I'm scared I'll fail and we won't have a car for a while!  So I think a northern ireland driving license is a good christmas present!!  So scratch the dictionary idea...

Congrats on the Ironman dad!!!  That is so sick that you got it done!!  I definitely want to do one when I get back, maybe after a few years though hahaha.  Also what is the Spartan race Dakota was wanting to do?

Well we only have a short time to email again because we have some stuff to take care of.  But I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

week 67 - New Compadre Again

So I will be getting another new companion which will be fun!  I was totally shocked when I found out Elder Thackeray was moving though!  He had only been here for 2 transfers, and we were so sure that we would be staying together for at least one more transfer!  But oh well I guess that's how it goes, my new companion is Elder Nordfors, who is an awesome missionary and I'm way pumped to serve with him.  He's from Utah and I've met him a few times and we get on really well.  He is a soccer player and I think he'll play for Utah Valley when he goes home, so I'm looking forward to picking up some skills from him!!  haha

So I'll have to make this a short email since we are doing move's planning, but as far as how the week went, we didn't really see a whole lot of success, but we were able to meet a less-active family and we're going to see them this Wednesday for dinner and then teach them a lesson afterwards!!  The dad was elders quorum president back when he was actively attending church, so it's cool that solid people like that are wanting to get back to church!  Hopefully we'll be able to do what we can to help them come back and stay active.  The ward is also really supportive, and I feel bad that we haven't been able to find someone to teach!  The ward is so ready for a baptism, and we really just need to go out and find someone to make that happen.  All it takes is hard diligent work and doing all we can to invite everyone to learn about the gospel!

Well I hope all goes well with the ironman dad!!  I'm excited to hear about the results on next Monday!  Thank you guys for all the love you show to me and all the prayers!  It helps so much!  Love you guys!!

Elder Benesch

P.S.  Hey I have an idea of something I may want for Christmas!!  I've been kinda wanting Noah Websters 1828 American English dictionary.  I have no idea where to get one or how much they would cost, but that may be something to check out for me!  I want it because it would have the definitions of the words used in Joseph Smiths time so they would probably give me the best understanding of what words in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants mean.  I think it would be an awesome thing to have while I study!!

This is the tiger that guarded the Paisley Zone Leader flat!! Haha every zone leader that served there has signed it for the past 3 years. It was originally found in Dalkeith and then a missionary took it with him to the flat in Paisley when he became a zone leader, and that's where it started! Haha just one of those funny mission traditions that come about.

week 66 - Just another week on the mish

So when I sat down to email today, I literally could think of nothing to email about!!  hahaha it was really just another week.  I just can't believe it's already Monday again!  Oh well I guess that's just shows how I'm totally in the missionary time warp!  The clocks went back an hour this last Saturday, and so now it's pitch black outside by 5:30 again, and it really feels like winter has set in.  People are starting to hide in their houses which doesn't help us when we want to go out and talk to people!!!  And then the one's that do go outside are a bit crazy for some reason haha.  Yesterday morning we went to do some street contacting in the city for a bit before church, and some old guy tried hitting Elder Thackeray with his cane.  It was so funny!!!  The poor guy just walked away after missing Elder Thackeray and was banging on the walls and the ground with his cane yelling and screaming the whole time.  So that was an exciting event I guess!  All the missionaries in the zone are getting sick right now which is a real bummer cause it's hindrance to the work moving forward.  We are struggling so much in our zone to get things moving, and now there's like 5 teams that are confined to their flats all day, and so they can't get out and find people.  Hopefully everyone else will start drinking orange juice and washing their hands so that they don't get sick as well!  On Wednesday we have MLC again which is really exciting since President Brown just got back a few days ago from a mission presidents seminar in Portugal, and so he should have some really good insights for us from the area presidency and other seventies that were there.  Maybe he'll even have some news for us on iPads!!!  But we'll just have to wait and see.

As far as recipe's for Pierce that I like, we really just eat a lot of boring stuff to stay healthy.  I make a ton of stir fry's, as well as indian curry's which is really popular over here.  Omelette's are great in the morning, but I mainly do this granola that I make myself which is really good.  It's this swiss muesli stuff mixed with peanut butter and honey to make some good granola.  I make a batch of it at the beginning of the week and then like halfway through the week and it does me good.  We also make spaghetti which is just easy to do.  Fajita's can be good as well and they can be kinda quick.  That's really about it!!  It's just hard to get creative on the mission since there's never time to cook.

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week!!  Bye!!
Love, 
Elder Benesch

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

week 65 - Good Study of Faith for Zone Conference

Hey everyone!!  It was a pretty busy week with zone conference and some meetings stuff, but it was awesome as well!!  Preparing for zone conference was the coolest part I think for me, because I did a ton of studying on the principle of faith and how it can make an impact on our efforts in missionary work.  It was really interesting to read just a ton of talks about faith and to just go really in depth into what it is, and I learned a ton about it!!  At the same time though I have even more questions now than I had before about how faith really works, which is cool as well!  But one cool thing me and my companion found in the Book of Mormon was in Ether 12:14 where it talks about how because of the faith of Nephi and Lehi, a change was wrought upon the lamanites and they were baptized with fire and with the holy ghost.  So because of the immense faith of 2 missionaries a ton of lamanite hearts were changed by the Holy Ghost!!  It made us realize that we can't always just use other peoples agency as an excuse when we don't help someone have a change of heart.  We can have an effect on things like that, because the Lord has great power, but he exercises that power according to the faith of men. (Moroni 10:7)  So if we have a TON of faith, the lord can use more spiritual power to change the hearts of the children of men.  In other words, we CAN actually effect whether or not peoples hearts change by determining how much power the Lord can use. If we have weak faith, then the lord will only be able to use a small amount of power to try and change the hearts of those we speak to. if we have faith like Nephi and Lehi, or the Brother of Jared, or like Ammon, or any one else that saw miracles happen in their lives because they had exceedingly great faith, then the lord is able to use much greater power, and will be able to cause a mighty change of heart to happen in people!!  It made me want to develop a ton more faith, so I'm still doing some study of it right now!  We also met a few new people to start teaching named J. and K..  They're both kinda atheist at the moment, but we'll see what happens after they read through the book of mormon and try praying!

Other than that I can't think of anything else to exciting to report to you all about!  Haha, there probably is something else, but I don't really remember...

So dad I was actually thinking about school and stuff after my mission a lot this past week!  (I'm not at all trunky though don't worry haha)  Mainly since Elder Windhausen went home last transfer and is stuck waiting to start school for a year cause he didn't get all of his application stuff in on time; he didn't want to bother with it while he was out here on his mission.  And it just made me think that I don't want something like that to happen to me!!! I've been thinking a lot about philosophy as a major though and then going into law school, but I would want to find out if philosophy is actually a good thing to study to prepare me for law school.  I might email my philosophy professor at SVU about it, he's emailed me a couple times since I've been out and so maybe he could let me know what would be best.  Since Elder Cook's talk at conference I've been really thinking about whether or not I should make baseball a focus after my mission though!!  I think I should definitely put education as a higher priority when I'm choosing which school to go to.  But oh well... as you can tell I don't really know what to do yet!!  I still have plenty of time to decide though.

Congratulations on finishing your licensure test mom!!!!!!!  Wooooooo!!!
I'm very happy for you and glad that you've been able to do so well in your studies, now you're officially smarter than Dad is!!!  Hahah

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Benesch
Flying to Edinburgh for zone leadership stuff.


Monday, October 20, 2014

P-day at Giants Causeway

Avery went to the Giants Causeway in Ireland. It's an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.






week 64 - Good fun at Z-Day

So this past week was quite a good one!  We kicked it off with a great zone-development day, had a few good lessons throughout the week, and then had an awesome sabbath.  Zone-development was one of the best I've had yet; we played a game called Yoga Football!  Which is basically where you go out on a full size soccer field, and play soccer using a big exercise ball!!  You are allowed to use your hands as well which makes it a bit easier, and we played with 28 people so that was awesome!  We'll definitely have to try it when I get home haha.  We also had a testimony meeting at the end, and that was a great spiritually uplifting experience for all of us.  There is a senior couple in Belfast, Elder and Sister Forsyth, and they cooked food for us and it was amazing!!  It was really nice having them there as well.  Then we got to teach a few less-active members throughout the week, and our lessons went really well with them!  One of them, M., was at church yesterday and she will meet with the Bishop next Sunday to just catch up and help her get back on the path of following Jesus Christ!  That was pretty exciting for us because it's good to see some success since nothing else really seems to be going our way at the moment!  Yesterday we were invited by one of the members of the stake presidency to go a stake single adult fireside and lead a discussion about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was a great experience!  The spirit was especially strong, and I was really happy to have been able to be there and get to do a little more teaching then we've been doing lately!!  So all in all it wasn't too bad of a week!

I still can't believe how much is happening with all the family on Dad's side!!  That's totally crazy!!!  Everything is going to have changed a lot by the time I get back!  It'd be really funny if Carly was married as well by next July haha.  And thanks for the baseball news, I appreciate it!  I can't believe the Royals have gone that far, they were terrible when I left!  Things change quick I guess.  And that is such a cool picture of Dakota's touchdown!!  Good job Dakota!!!!  I wish I could've been there to see it, it would've been pretty cool.

Well I want you guys to know that I love you and keep being an amazing family!!

Elder Benesch

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 63 - Conference was AMAZING!

Oh man I absolutely love general conference as a missionary!  Its so cool to be able to spend all day sunday just listening to conference with tons of other missionaries around.  We got to watch all the sessions except for the sunday afternoon session.  I was just going to download it to my usb so we could listen to it, but it's the only session not available for download yet!!  Oh well, I'll listen to it next week.  I'm glad that all you guys got the chance to watch all the sessions and learn from it!  It's such a special thing to know that there are prophets and apostles on the earth today that can tell us exactly what the will of the Lord is for each of us.  I especially liked this conference though because It answered so many of my questions that I have had recently about missionary work!!  Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Neil L. Anderson's talks were so good, and it really helped me think about the way I respond to people that shut us down and tell us that everything we believe and share about is false.  In Bangor most of the people are actually good christians (mainly born-agains), but with that they tend to not like the Book of Mormon as they feel the Bible is the infallible word of God and nothing else can possibly be taken as scripture.  They also don't like the idea of a prophet on the earth so they hate on Joseph Smith a lot as well.  Needless to say they can get pretty intense about their beliefs and if we're not careful we can start bashing with them.  I struggle big time with it because I just can't comprehend how people who are such strong believers in Jesus Christ can reject something that tells everyone who reads it to come unto Christ!  Haha I just really wish people would take time to at least hear us out and let us explain about the Book of Mormon and what our message is that we share.  Oh well, just gotta keep on moving!  We still have no investigators right now which is a bit of a struggle, but there is a girl who just barely started to come back to church and she invited her friend who was also less-active to come back and she's decided that she might try!  So we're teaching them both tonight at our ward mission leaders home which will be good.  Hopefully they have lot's of non-member friends we can have them invite to meet with us!!  Last P-day we went to Giants Causeway which apparently is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world!!  It was so cool!!  I absolutely loved checking it out.  I'll send some pictures of it.  Apparently the way it was formed was by lava that cooled really fast and as a result you get some crazy hexagonic shaped rocks all over the place!!  It was such a pretty place and it reminded me of just how incredible all the creations that God has made are!!  

Dude E-dog!!  Congrats on your touchdown man!!  You'll have to send me a play by play of how it went!!  Haha and Dakota you haven't scored a touchdown yet??  For some reason I thought you did, oh well, just score this week haha.  Definitely keep me updated on how you too are doing though!!  I love hearing about it!

Oh yeah, so dad, I would like some more info on the playoffs if thats cool!  I don't even know who is in it or anything, what you said about the nationals is the first time I've heard anything about it, so just let me know what's going on!  And I haven't really heard anything about Rory Mclroy, but mayble I'll ask some members about him.  He's from Northern Ireland but I don't know if he lives near Bangor or not.  Bangor is a pretty rich area so I could see him living out here.

Well I love you all, and hope and pray that life keeps going well for you!!

Elder Benesch

Week 62 - First week in Belfast

This has been such an amazing week!!!  I am so happy to be serving here in Bangor.  The ward is so incredible, and they do such a good job with taking care of us and trying to help us see some success!  Plus the stake is amazing as well!  The stake president wants to help us out as much as he can, and he pushes missionary work really well!!  He is constantly inviting members to be better as missionaries, and he himself is great at member missionary work!  As of right now we don't have anyone we are working with, so that's a bummer... but the first night I was here we did find someone and taught him the first lesson the next day and we are supposed to meet up with him sometime this week!  He said he would come to church but didn't show, and has told us he's not sure what time he could meet this week, so he isn't very solid, but oh well, he's all we got to work with for now.  Hopefully he stays interested and meets with us again because the gospel could provide a lot of healing that he needs in his life just now.  

I had no idea carly is coming home from her mission in a few weeks!!  That's insane!  I thought she still had a while left.  And I also had no clue shelly was dating someone, that's so crazy that she's engaged now!!!  Too bad I won't be home for it... That's some really exciting stuff that's been happening!  You'll have to tell her congrats from me.  

Also I feel really bad that I didn't tell you happy birthday e-dog.  Time just goes so fast out here and gets flipped upside down that I don't even realise when any big events from back home are supposed to be going on.  (I even forgot that the baseball season is like almost over, I was thinking the all-star break would've been coming up soon haha).  Anyways happy late birthday!!!!! It's so cool that you're a deacon now man!  I can't wait to come back home and see how much bigger you are.  Also keep being a beast with the football man!

Peyton that is so exciting that you got your patriarchal blessing!  That would've been such a cool thing to have been home for.  Patriarchal blessings contain some powerful promises in them, and can be such a big help for you throughout your life!

Well, I love you guys so much, and hope everything is going well.  Thanks for being such a great family and also being so supportive of me while I'm out here!!  Keep letting me know if I forget stuff, cause I guarantee I will.  Not to make excuses or anything, but life is way busy lately.  Oh yeah and I'm still a zone leader dad, so I still got a ton of stuff to do.  A few days ago we planned for a meeting while we drove across the entire country of Northern Ireland to interview someone for baptism.  (They got baptised this past sunday so it was totally worth it!)  but it's just always so crazy having to take care of so much stuff.  We go to coleraine today, and then fly to edinburgh for a meeting on wednesday, and then we have exchanges this friday as well, plus we have to plan out our zone development day sometime this week for next tuesday, and blah blah blah... it never ends!!  I shouldn't complain though because it is really good sometimes.

Anyway I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!

Elder Benesch

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

week 61 - Moving to Bangor!!! (Northern Ireland)

So I just got a new assignment to go serve in Belfast with Elder Thackeray!  I'm really sad to leave Paisley, it's been one of my favorite area's so far, and I had a ton of fun serving here and working with the members.  Oh well that's just how mission's go though right?  haha Elder Austin also became a zone leader this transfer so I'll get to see him again at mission leadership council in a few weeks.  Plus we'll be on the ferry over to Ireland together!! (He's the new Dublin ZL)  It's been like half a year since our paths have crossed so that'll be fun.  The ward I'm going to is called the Bangor 1st ward, and it's in a pretty nice part of northern Ireland, just like a 30-45 minute drive outside of Belfast I think.  The stake president is really cool and apparently we work with him a lot so that's really exciting!!
I can't email that long today because we have to take care of all the travel plans, and there is a TON that happened this transfer, so I just want you all to know I love you and will email you a lot more next week!!

Elder Benesch

week 60 - Ward Conference

As we were driving I saw this island that reminded me of Narnia

This one is just so you can see how cool we are when we drive in our car down the streets of Paisley with our Ammon action figure and our rubber ducky on the dash board!! haha

Finally played some golf in Scotland.

I think this is Elder Andrews - Avery forgot to give any details since they were obviously golfing!


Well we had an alright week!  It was ward conference so that was good.  The stake president, President Yates is a great speaker and gave a wonderful talk about the love the Lord has for us and how the Lord wants to help us write the gospel of Jesus Christ in our hearts, so that it becomes a way of life for us and not something we simply know about and try to live occasionally.  We also are starting to meet with the stake leaders more often to try and improve the relationships between the missionaries in the zone and the members of the stake which is so awesome!  It's so important for members and missionaries to come together in this work cause that's really the most effective way for success to be seen!!  I'm not trunky or anything... but whenever I talk about this kind of stuff it always makes me excited to go home and start being a member missionary and inviting tons of people that I meet to learn about the Church!  But I'll just focus on the people I meet over here for now haha.  So to answer Malia's question about if I do anything other than preach the gospel, sometimes we do some really fun stuff on P-Day!!  This last week we went to a driving range!! (I'll send some pictures)  and it was a blast.  Everyone was looking at us funny though since we were terrible at golf. 
 
The referendum is starting to get HUGE over here.  The streets are literally packed with people all the time screaming "vote YES" and it's so annoying!!  Along with that everyone that we try to talk to only wants to talk with us about the vote, and it's harder to get people to talk with us about the Gospel!  Oh well it'll be over this week!

Well I think that is it for this week!!  I love you all so much and am so thankful for all the prayers and support you guys give! 
 
One love,
 
Elder Benesch

week 59 - Great experiences at Stake Conference 9/8/14

Not sure who this bloke is but he is definitely Scottish


This past week was a pretty enjoyable one!!  We had a great zone meeting on Tuesday, and then an awesome mission leadership council where we were able to learn a lot about the principle of faith and President Brown gave some pretty cool insights about it.  We also had some good conversation about what the mission needs and overall I felt really uplifted afterwards!!  Then we had a couple good exchanges and to finish off the week we had Stake Conference which was definitely the highlight!  There was a visiting Area Authority Seventy whose name I don't think I can spell correctly hhaha.  It was Elder Fingela, he was from Germany and He Was AWESOME!!!  He gave some wonderful talks and presentations about how missionary work needs to be done by the members in order for the work to hasten here in Europe!  He talked a lot about all of the simple ways there are to invite our friends to learn about the gospel, or at the very least attend a sacrament meeting or any other church activity.  His emphasis was primarily on inviting EVERYONE instead of picking just 1 person or family to work on at a time, which is perfect because that is what we have been trying to emphasize with the members here!  He shared a cool story about the youth from a stake in Hungary.  There were about 74 youth from the stake, and after a fireside on missionary work, each one of them wrote down 10 friends they could invite to attend FSY (their version of EFY).  They then invited each of those people and from their stake there were over 100 youth that attended FSY that year!  Meaning they had brought with them over 26 non-members to attend.  Just goes to show that the more people you invite, the higher the chance that you will have someone attend (funny how that works isn't it?? haha)  So we have been pushing this big time with members, having them focus on ways they can invite everyone they know instead of focusing on 1 individual they have picked to work on.  What was awesome as well is I got some time (like 2-3 min.) to talk with Elder Fingela after conference about how we as missionaries can present this idea to members in all of our appointments with them, and he gave me some way good ideas that we're starting to use!  Hopefully the members will catch the vision now!
Another cool part of stake conference was that I got to see a ton of people from Irvine!  It was awesome talking with some of them again, and I'm pretty blessed to have been able to get to know them all and have seen them again.
The trio has been alright so far!  I'm not sure if we'll be in a trio still after this transfer or not, but we'll find out in a few weeks!  And the vote has been going crazy over here!  The other day I was on exchange in Pollok which is basically in Glasgow, and we were knocking on some doors when out of nowhere 50 no vote campaigners came out of nowhere knocking on doors and telling people to vote no!!!  It was a bit crazy, so we had to leave and go knock some other area.  I just can't wait for it all to be over so people stop asking us what we're voting for in the referendum!!
 
Well thats about it for this week, love you all so much!!
 
Elder Benesch

week 58 - Miracles this week! 9/1/14

So we had a pretty incredible week!!  We've been working really hard to find new people to teach since Andrew was baptized and have been really struggling, but we finally had a breakthrough!  We found a woman named N. and she is incredible!!  Our first lesson with her was a great experience.  Right after we said the opening prayer, she broke down in tears and started to say she needed to come to our church and she also felt like she needed to stop smoking as well as drinking coffee and tea!!  (This is all before we've taught her anything)  It was amazing to see the Holy Ghost working on her heart and letting her know immediately what it was she needed to do to become closer to God.  We were able to then teach a great lesson about the atonement of Jesus Christ as well as establish with here that we are going to show her the steps she needs to take in her life to have the atonement change her as an individual, and we ultimately invited her to be baptized to which she said she would once she came to know it was true and felt ready to make the step in her life!  So that was our little miracle of the week!  We also found 2 other people who are quite prepared to listen to what we teach, and when we visited this one woman named L., we brought Hannah and Andrew along with us, and they had a great experience teaching someone for the first time!!  Hannah couldn't stop talking about it afterwards and she wants to go out and share the gospel with others all the time now!!  It was so awesome to have them out there with us, and you can really see the changes for the better that is happening in their lives now!  We are hoping that Andrew can get the Aaronic Priesthood soon, but I think we're still waiting on his records to come so it might be a bit of time. 
 
Well I love you all and hope you have an awesome week!!  Bye!!!!
 
Elder Benesch

week 57 - Tough week, but z-day was awesome! 8/26/14

Well, we had a really difficult week.  We didn't teach a single investigator lesson.  We now only have 2 investigators that are willing to meet with us, and they only want to meet like once every 2 weeks or so.  And then both of them didn't come to church on Sunday!  So it was just a real bummer all the way around.  But even though it was such a tough week, I still feel really good about myself, because I know we did everything that we possibly could to invite others to come unto Christ!  Whether or not people choose to listen to us is out of our control, and therefore does not determine our success.  Our success can only be determined by the things that we can control, and we definitely did the best we could with the things we can control and I know because of that we were successful in the eyes of the Lord this week!  Even with all the bad stuff that happened this week, there is still plenty of good that I can tell you all about though!  Our investigator D. has been studying the Book of Mormon quite a lot over the past week and he said he's progressing really well with it!  So even though we didn't get to see him all week, it was good to know that he is still interested and is trying to learn more about the Book of Mormon.  Also we had an awesome zone-development day yesterday!  We played kickball, soccer, american football, and then a bunch of fun games like mafia, uno, and other card games.  Then we had some good hamburgers and chicken burgers for dinner, and finished the day with an amazing testimony meeting!!  The testimony meeting was definitely the highlight.  Someone had said at MLC that they thought it might be a good idea to do a testimony meeting at the end of z-day and we decided to try it, and we were so glad we did!!  It was an incredible spiritual experience for me, and gave me a much needed boost to continue to work hard and fight on with sharing the gospel with everyone I can!  Elder Penman has been doing really well!  He is definitely a good example to me and Elder Andrews of someone who wants to work hard and help others.  He has a strong testimony of how the gospel can truly help us in our lives and it's great to see him testify of that to people on the street!  It's just too bad that we didn't have the area going better for him when he got here!  Oh well what can you do.
 
So I want to say thank you Mom for all the recipe's!!  I'll have to try a few out this week. 
 
Malia that's so cool that you were able to find your wallet!!!  I bet you were really happy, love you too!
 
E-dog, that's pretty impressive that you were able to wakesurf for that long my man!!  By the time I get back you'll probably be better at it  than I am!!!  haha we'll have to have a competition when I get back!
 
I haven't heard anything about a volcano in Iceland, that's crazy if it is going to have a big impact on Britain!!  It was definitely a bit colder this week than the weeks before, but it wasn't a major difference.  And no there was no snow this week.  I have still yet to see snow in Ireland or Scotland since I've been out, but maybe this winter will be the one since last winter apparently wasn't as bad as it usually is.  (I'm a bit scared for it, I won't lie haha)
 
Well I think that's it for this week, Love you!!!
 
Elder Benesch

Thursday, August 21, 2014

week 56 - Me & Elder Andrews are training Elder Penman

So our new trainee is Elder Penman from Ogden Utah!  Haha he's my first companion that I've served with that's been from Utah, so that broke my hopes of being one of the few missionaries that never have a companion from Utah, I thought it would've been quite the accomplishment but oh well.  He's a pretty good kid, and he has a great desire to share the gospel with others, he just doesn't quite know what to say yet!!  Haha, its reminded me a lot of when I was being trained and I was always so worried about what to say and how to say it, it took me like 3 weeks to realize that it's just talking to people and that it's not really that hard to do haha.  I think he'll figure it out quicker than I did though, cause he's pretty prepared to be a missionary.  Andrew was confirmed yesterday and so that was really cool to be a part of!  We had a great lesson about the Holy Ghost with him and every time we teach him and Hannah I'm always so impressed with their knowledge and understanding of the gospel already!!  We're giving them a gospel principles manual to start studying together, and hopefully that will really help them continue to learn.  We taught a new guy named D. this past week as well who said if he found out that the Book of Mormon is true that he would be baptized!!  Elder Penman was the one who invited him to be baptized and he was super nervous about it but did a great job.  It was a really spiritual lesson, and I'm excited to keep teaching D. in the coming weeks.  Those protein pancakes sound pretty good to me and I'm going to have to try those out tonight!!!  Thanks for the recipe mom!  Also if you have any other recipes for quick meals that take less than 20-30 minutes to prepare and cook that would be awesome.  I've been trying to come up with new things to cook cause me and Elder Andrews are getting a bit tired of the regular meals we cook.  We have a lot of other meals that we can cook, but they all take too long to make in the short amount of time we get for dinner, so we always end up making stir fry's, spaghetti, or just sandwiches really fast and stuff like that.  Well that's about it for this week, I love you all and miss you guys!! 
Elder Benesch

week 55 - I'm training a new missionary!

So we had a total shocker last night when we got our moves call, me and Elder Andrews will be staying together for another transfer, but we're going to be training a new missionary at the same time!  It's gonna be absolutely crazy!!  They normally don't have zone leaders train, but because this group coming in is so big, they are having 5 of the 8 zone leader areas train.  So I'll be in a trio companionship, which will be a first for me and it'll be interesting to see how it will work.  All I know is it means I'm gonna be ridiculously busy this next transfer, especially since we have 2 big meetings this transfer that we will be training at, and then we'll have like 7 or 8 exchanges that we'll go on.  There's lots of work to be done! 
So as far as how the week went, Andrew's baptism went really well!!!  Our recent convert Hannah gave an awesome talk during it!  She was really nervous, but ended up doing incredibly well and even said afterwards that she would be open to give it a try again!!  After he was baptized Andrew bore his testimony and it was so powerful!  The spirit was very strong, and I felt so blessed to have been a part of the conversion process for Andrew.  He's learned so much these past few months, and has become a great guy and true follower of Jesus Christ.  Him and Hannah are also planning on going to the temple as soon as they can to do baptisms!!  We are helping them get started on their family history so they can take names with them when they go.  It's great to see so much success happening right now in paisley!  We've been struggling to find new people to teach, but we've got a few now that we've started to work with, and they are pretty nice people so we'll have to hope and pray that they go somewhere.
Well I don't have a whole lot of time because we have to do moves planning, but I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!
Elder Benesch

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week 54 - New people to listen

So we had an alright week, we found a few people who had us around for a lesson and said we could come back, so that was cool!!  Hannah was in the closing ceremony of the commonwealth games yesterday so she missed church, but she said she had a really good time and she's excited for church next week, cause Andrew will be getting baptized!!!  Andrew is super prepared and has learned so much these past few months.  He's so awesome!  We had some really good lessons with him this past week as well.  We'll probably see him a lot this week just to make sure everything is good with him leading up to his baptism.  I also got to go on exchange with Elder Boehme (he's the one who is from mesa and played baseball at mountain view) this past week and sadly, the baseball gloves you got me were not designed to catch a ball thrown over 40 miles an hour.  They both got pretty shredded and about 5 minutes in to our game of catch for morning exercise, there were massive holes in the webbing of the gloves and the ball would go straight through them!!!  So that was a little sad...  but on the bright side the baseballs are totally fine!! hahah speaking of baseball thank you so much for sending some good baseball news!!!  I appreciate it a lot!!!  That was crazy to hear about Peyton, hopefully everything is okay there.  I'll definitely be praying!!!  I thought it was funny that you mentioned how you are watching byu devotionals mom, cause I listen to a ton of them in the car!!!  Instead of listening to music we just listen to talks, and a lot of the one's I have on my usb are byu devotionals.  There are some really good ones that have really helped with learning a lot about the gospel and the doctrines of the church!  

Well I love you all and am glad to hear that you are doing so well, keep the faith as you grind out the last days of the summer before school starts!!  

Elder Benesch

Week 53

Hello everyone! 
It was a pretty long week, we had a few investigators drop us and then to finish it off, no investigators came to church on sunday!  It was a bummer, but we did our best so oh well!  We did get something really cool and exciting going with the stake though!  We were working with the high councilman over misisonary work in the stake and we came up with the idea that every ward sets a goal for how many member-present lessons they want their misisonaries to teach, and then come up with some specific plans to make it happen!  It'll take a while to get it going, but at least we're starting to get the leaders in the stake and wards to make missionary work a more active part of their agenda's!!  Hopefully all works out and we'll start seeing more help from the members.  We also had a few good lessons with Andrew this week, and his baptismal interview is going to be tomorrow.  He is super prepared and I can't wait for his baptism!!  
So mom I did get the package and all the cookies were just fine!!!  I ate them all in like 3 days though and I think my body fat percentage increased like 2%..... but oh well what can you do.  Haha well I was super jealous to hear about all the exciting things going on back home.  I was especially jealous of all the illegal fireworks the little kids got to do!!!!  That used to be my favorite part about going to colorado and utah in the summer!!  That was also really cool to hear about Pierce's song!!  He's gonna be famous one day!!  haha just remember, I was the first one to teach him to play guitar, so all that talent came from yours truly :) hahah just kidding, I still can't play anything on guitar. 
Elder Benesch

Monday, July 21, 2014

week 52 - Great Conference with Elder Dyches

Happy vacations everyone!!  Sounds like you all are going to be having an awesome week.  Hopefully all goes well and you enjoy yourselves!! (Don't go too crazy Dakota hahahaha) 
 
This past week was awesome!  The conference we had with Elder Dyches was incredible and we learned a ton of great stuff that is really going to help our mission out I think.  I grew so much just from learning about the principle of Agency from him and how much it helps us as missionaries to have a correct understanding of the principle of agency.  I learned a whole lot about taking full responsibility for the things I can control, and not worrying so much about what I have no control over, because that actually diminishes my agency.  If I let the choice of another determine my happiness, then that means that other person has taken away my ability to decide whether or not I want to be happy.  So I am really working on staying in control of what I can control and not allowing what I can't control affect me as a person.  I also got lots of other cool ideas for how to get members to like us as well as getting better involved with the ward, so I can't wait to start implementing them here in Paisley!!
 
Hannah got confirmed yesterday, and that was a great experience, she said she had one of the best weeks of her life this past week and feels so much better than she ever has before.  I'm so happy she has made the choice to follow the savior!  Her boyfriend Andrew is still progressing well, and he'll be baptized in August.  He's quite excited about it, and wants Hannah to speak at his baptism!  That'll be really cool to see her give her first talk.  Our investigators Neil and Nikola have decided that they don't want to be baptized anymore.  We did just about all we could to resolve Neil's concerns but He is a pretty stubborn guy, and he isn't budging.  We might see Nikki tomorrow and hopefully we'll be able to figure out what's going on with her then.
 
So I will send some pictures today, and I am going to mail a little package home this week with a USB with all my pictures I've taken so far on my mission on it.  I've gotten really bad at taking pictures, it's just so hard to remember to take any!  I'll work on it though mom.
 
That's insane that Christian Stoddard is getting home this week!!!  That went by really fast.  I'll have to email him and say congrats.
 
Well I think that is all from me for the week, I love you all and hope everything is going well!  Bye!!!!!
 
Elder Benesch
Hannah's baptism


Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 51 - Hannah's Baptism

So Hannah got baptized yesterday!!!  It was so cool!  I feel like I've had quite a few people that get close to being baptized while I've been out, but they never quite get there, so it was really cool to see someone finally go through with it!!  The service went really well, and I was the one to actually perform the baptism which was a really good experience as well.  We had a couple of other investigators at the baptism, and they all felt the spirit very strongly!  A few of them that were there want to get baptized now as well, and then on top of it all, we went out knocking right after the baptism was over, and we found 3 REALLY solid people to start teaching!  It was a day of miracles yesterday, and I really felt the lord's hand in the work guiding us and directing us.  It's so cool!!!

This week we also have Elder Timothy J. Dyches coming to tour our mission, so we have a big conference with him on wednesday.  All the leaders have a meeting with him at 8 in the morning, and then he is speaking to all the missionary's in the paisley and glasgow zones at 10 and the meeting will end at 2.  So it should be a long day of instruction, but it will be a very good one!  Elder Dyches is in the Europe Area Presidency, and I think he spoke at conference last october, but don't quote me on that.  I'm pretty excited for it!  So I think I got all the packages you guys sent me!  I got the one with the CTR ring and all the other goodies, plus the one with the 2 gloves from amazon.  I also just bought a baseball from elder bailey, because there was not a single store in all of Paisley that had a baseball!  And Paisley has some pretty good shopping!!  But oh well at least I got a ball.  And if you want mom you could send some treats for my year mark!  It's up to you though, I'm not too big on celebrating things like that.  (you know how I am about birthdays)  Other than that I don't think there is much more new's for you guys this week.  I love you all so much and hope you can make it through the dog days of summer!!!

THE Elder Benesch

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

week 50 - New Comp.

So it's the start of another transfer!!!
Elder Andrews is an awesome guy!  He is a total redneck from Wyoming.  And it works out well cause the other new missionary serving in the Paisley ward is named Elder Wells, and he is a straight up redneck as well!!!  haha today they're going to go rope some stuff for P-day while me and Elder White throw a football around and play a little baseball.  That's if I can find a baseball somewhere!!  I'm not sure if anywhere sells baseballs here, but if I can't find one, Elder Bailey has a few extra that he brought with him from home so he said he'd give me one to use.  This past week was insane with moves.  It's really stressful as a zone leader, because if anything goes wrong you are the one that has to sort it out.  We had a missionary leave his suitcase in Glasgow, and we didn't find out he left it until he was in Belfast in Northern Ireland!  Then when we phoned the Belfast zone leaders and tried to coordinate with them how to get his bag over there, the missionary who left his suitcase had their phone with him in Dublin!  hahaha it was so funny.  Sadly that was apparently a pretty easy moves day, so I'm scared for the next one now. We are working a lot with Hannah this week and everything seems to be going smoothly for the baptism on the 13th!  She is really excited and has come a long way.  We also found out that Xiao, is stuck in London for the next week and then is going back to China.  The Chinese embassy is making him stay in London instead of coming back up to Paisley for his last week.  He was such an awesome guy!!  So that was a real bummer that we couldn't baptize him before he left.  He will hopefully find a way to get to Hong Kong and get baptized after he goes home.  Hannah's boyfriend Andrew is also doing really well!  We are teaching him now and he'll probably get baptized during this transfer, like in the first week of August or something.   So things are going pretty well here in Paisley!!  I definitely will miss Elder Windhausen, but it'll be good to serve with Elder Andrews now.  Also thanks for all the birthday wishes and stuff!  It was awesome!!  So far I've only bought a £30 suit with the b-day money.  So today I'm going to get a few more things (baseball, sunglasses for in the car, and probably a new shirt or tie or something).  Also I think I might order some stuff from deseret book today.  Tell mema, grandpa D and grandad that I'm so grateful for the money and the gifts they sent for my birthday!!!  I love you all so much and miss you!
 
Elder Benesch

week 49 - short letter - planning transfers

So sorry this will be a really short email cause we are super busy today.  We have to plan out how all the missionaries in the zone are going to move around the mission and make sure they all have companions and all that jazz. Haha it's really annoying and tedious, but that's alright.  I'll be getting a new companion by the way!!  His name is Elder Andrews and he's way cool.  I think he's from Montana or something, so that'll be cool.  I can't believe how quick this past transfer went!  We were so busy all the time.  Me and Elder Windhausen realized yesterday that we haven't even taken a picture with each other yet!  We'll have to take one today.  Love you all and thanks for the birthday presents and stuff!

Elder Benesch

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

week 48 - Another person wants to be baptized!!!!

So we had some awesome news last night!!
Our investigator Hannah is going to be baptized on July 6th, and she is really excited for it.  So much so that she invited her boyfriend to church to check it out, and then he absolutely loved it!!  We got a text from Hannah last night saying that he (his name is Andrew) wants to become a member of our church!!!  It was so cool!  So we will start teaching him now, and help him to start preparing for baptism.  We are still waiting on news from one of the local pools that has a lift for people in wheelchairs so that we can baptize Neil, but he is still completely set on baptism and can't wait for it!  He is awesome so that's really cool.  Plus Xiao still wants to be a secret Mormon, and so we will need to set a baptismal date for him pretty soon, cause he goes home in the middle of July.  It's crazy to have this many people that desire to be baptized though!!  I almost don't even know what to do!!  Hahah i'm defninitely not complaining though.  We also had some good fun on exchanges with some missionaries. One that I went on was with Elder Griffin, who goes home in a week or so.  It was kinda frightening cause I realized how quick the next year could go, and how I actually have to start thinking about what i'll do after my mission more seriously!  He talked about how if I want to go to BYU I would have to start applying in january/february of next year, and thats only like 7 months away!!! haha I still am pretty sure I will just do a year of community college, but I also want to make sure I'm where I'm meant to be and I haven't really given it much thought/prayer.  I'll figure it out though.  Oh I also gave a talk in sacrement meeting yesterday, and that went well.
 
 It sounds like you guys are having a pretty exciting summer so far!!  EFY sounds awesome peyton!  I'm glad you had such a good experience there, and also that you didn't have a COW ;) haha well.... except the guy that punched you....  And that's really cool that you are thinking about getting your patriarchal blessing!!  It is definitely something that can really help you through life, and if you feel it's been on your mind for a while, then it probably is the right time.  That's one of the ways the spirit prompts us to things!  By havning something occupy our mind and press upon our feelings.  that's how joseph smith was prompted to share something really important with the members of the church! in D&C 128:1  I'm excited for you! 
 
Also I haven't gotten my package yet from Amazon.co.uk, but i'm looking out for it!!  Did you send it to the mission home or to my flat??  I will also use the birthday money wisely!  haha if it's okay I probably won't spend it all, and will just wait until next boxing day when the sells are ridiculous, and then I'll buy some really good clothes and suits and stuff... although I might buy just one nice shirt and suit next P-day... :)
 
The movie you guys should watch to celebrate my birthday is.........
 
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2!!!!!!!
 
Also tell grandpa benesch I love him and miss him and hope that he heals quickly!!  I'll have to write him and grandma a letter soon.
 
Love you all!
 
Elder Benesch

week 47 - Good Week of Exchanges

It was a pretty good week!  We taught a lot of lessons and found a few new people, but then our investigators Hannah, Nikola, and Xiao didn't come to church.  We are probably going to push Hannah and Nikki's baptisms back a few weeks because we both feel they aren't converted enough, and we're going for Conversion not Baptisms.  So we want them to come to church a few more times and receive a little stronger witness that this is the path in life they need to take.  Xiao is awesome though.  We still haven't figured out if the Chinese government will let him get baptized, but he told us he just wants to be a "secret mormon"  hahah.  We taught him about priesthood this past week and he loved it!  He is such an intelligent person, and I love teaching him because you don't really have to simplify things the way you do for just about every Scottish person - just kidding hahaha.  We can give him basically all the knowledge we have on the subject we are teaching him, and at the end of the lesson he will recap how he understands the subject of the lesson, and every time I've taught him he's been perfect at understanding gospel principles!  He usually gives me and Elder Windhausen some insights as well that we never thought of!!  It's also really funny to hear him talk about what he is reading in the Book of Mormon.  The translation apparently can be a little confusing for him sometimes (he has a Chinese Book of Mormon he studies) so he'll ask us questions like what is the "fruit of eternity found in Alma chapter 32?" and just funny things like that.  I also went on exchange with Elder Jaeger White this past week, who's been out about 2 months, and he is from Gilbert as well!  He went to Perry, and lives just on Val Vista and Ocotillo road I think.  He's a pretty funny kid that is super pumped up to be a missionary, and so it was fun to be around him and talk about good ol AZ.  We knew some of the same people from back home as well!  He's so young though!!!!  It's weird seeing 18 year olds out here, cause they are seriously so young and sometimes very immature!!!  It's good though cause sometimes it helps keep things exciting as well.  I think that's it for the week though, I love you all!!

I forgot to include in the email about the world cup!!  It is absolutely INSANE over here!!!!!!!  hahahah  I seriously can't believe how crazy they go about it, especially since Scotland isn't even in it!  All the movie theatres here play all the games live on the big screens, and every time we knock on doors they say "sorry we're watching football! no time for you guys!"  haha and no they definitely don't support England.  The Scottish people really don't like the English so they were all for the Italians over here the other night.  All the members constantly text us the scores to the games, and we didn't even ask them to!!!  My companion is getting a bit trunky with it, but he made the decision that he will not let it affect the work and he's doing good so far!  Germany plays tonight though so that could be bad, especially if we walk by a bunch of pubs and see the game on inside.  Sometimes its a good street contacting approach to just start talking about the world cup with people! Then they start to get friendly and then you hit em with the Book of Mormon!! hahaha little tricks are always the best :)  My favorite is when you are out tracting you ask to use their bathroom, and while you're in the toilet you're companion teaches them.  We only do that when absolutely no one is listening though hah.

Elder Benesch