Monday, January 27, 2014

week 26 - Getting a new companion!!!

Man this would happen the year I'm on my mission!!! Next thing you know the Suns will be in the NBA finals with all their young guys and the D-Backs in the World Series!!
haha Dale who is a huge Cardinals fan was on his mission when they went to the Super Bowl, and he told me the same would happen to me!!! Guess he was right.

So I just realized that I completely forget to tell you guys last week that this week is moves week!!! It's all good though, I am going to be staying in Irvine anyway, but I am getting a new companion! His name is Elder Grant, and he is from England! He's been serving for quite a while (at least that's what I hear, I haven't met him yet) so this'll be a great opportunity for me to learn, especially since all my other companions have been pretty young missionaries! He'll be the district leader here as well. So I'm excited for that, although I'm a little sad that Elder Clement is leaving, he was a really good missionary to serve with and we got along really well. He taught me a lot and we had an absolute blast together! I can't believe that at the end of this week 1/4 of my mission will be over! It's going by way to fast! Haha.

There isn't that much other news for this week, we are still plugging away and working to get some new people to teach. We have some really solid potential investigators that we have appointments with this week so we'll be able to get some new people to add to our teaching pool soon! With the crazy week of moves though I'm a little scared that we will lose some of the momentum we have developed, but it just means we'll have to compensate and work harder!

So Dad, as far as I know the activity rate over here is pretty low. If I remember right in Mullingar, our branch had about 30 active members, but on our branch list we had almost 400 members. Now that is obviously not very accurate because I guarantee a lot of the people on the list had just moved away, but that still show's you it's pretty bad over here. Our ward in Irvine is probably one of the better wards in the mission when it comes to activity, and we have about 100-125 coming out regularly, but we have a TON of less-actives here. It's so annoying cause most of the less-actives have just stopped coming to church because of someone offending them, or they see someone who comes to church doing something wrong so they don't want to be apart of it anymore.  It's so hard because we try to talk to people about forgiveness, especially how we are to forgive ALL men, and it goes in one ear and out the other. So I guess my spiritual side of the email this week is all about how we are to forgive everyone around us. We should never criticize someone so much because of the wrongs they do, when we ourselves are imperfect. I believe it is a great blessing that God has commanded us to forgive all men. In a way it gives us more time to work out our own salvation, because we don't need to spend time evaluating others and judging them. We can forgive everyone, and spend our time to work on improving ourselves and helping others see how they can improve as well. Hopefully that made sense to you guys. Sometimes it's hard for me to explain things I think of quickly in my emails to you guys!!

Also to answer your other question dad, our investigators have to come to church 3 weeks in a row in order to be baptized. We have the same problem here with lots of people being baptized and then going inactive. It's a lot better now though than in the past. 

Anyway on a happier note you'll be glad to hear Aaron and Jackie will be getting married on valentines day and then baptized the day after!!!! They are progressing well and I am super excited for them!

Also I know Dad you were curious about the number of baptisms in our mission, and although I don't have the actual numbers. I can tell you the average per missionary per year is 0.99. So basically on average it's a baptism per missionary per year which means our mission is probably at around 210 baptisms or so per year. Our mission president said his goal is for each missionary to baptize 8 total on their mission so 4 per year, so in other words we have some work ahead of us to reach presidents goals for the mission.

Well that does it for this week, I love you all so much and hope you guys keep on doing well!

Elder Benesch