Monday, February 24, 2014

week 31 - Baptism!!!

Stake President, David, & Avery

Well I had the most amazing experience of baptizing someone for the first time on my mission this past Saturday!! It was one of the sister missionaries investigators, but he asked me to baptize him. It was so cool!! His name is David Hall. I had talked with him a lot at church, and his story is amazing. He is 74 years old, and was neighbors to our stake president here for about 7 or 8 years I think. He is the nicest old man you can ever meet. He is retired but all he does is serve other people in the community. He will do peoples gardens, fix their cars and homes, or just provide some extra food for people. He had studied about 15 different religions thoroughly, just in search of the right one. Then the stake president moved out of his house, and the sister missionaries moved into the house. When this happened the stake president asked the sisters to give David a present, and then try to take the opportunity to teach him. It went perfectly, and the sisters started to teach him!! It took some studing but he eventually found the Book of Mormon to be true and decided to be baptized and that was that! I can't even begin to explain how awesome it was to be able to baptize someone on my mission. It got me so excited for the people we are teaching that are so close to baptism!

So other than that AWESOME event, nothing major happened this week. In hindsight, it was actually a pretty bad week, and I think I need to step-up my game and work a little harder. We haven't heard from Aaron and Jacqui in 3 or 4 days, and they didn't come to church yesterday or show up for our appointment with them last night; so that's really worrying. I have faith though that everything will go alright. Our other solid investigators Kirsty and her 2 boys are a lot closer to wanting to be baptised, but we only saw them once this past week cause they've been really sick. They also didn't come to church so that was terrible!! Oh well that's the mission life.

As far as a good story non-spiritual, I don't really think I have any....
This morning after morning exercise Elder Grant was laying on his back with his leg sticking straight up trying to stretch his calf using an exercise band, and the band slipped off his foot and drilled him in his face!! Haha I was dying laughing. It was hillarious!! His eye is still puffed up and red right now.

So I did get a camera!! I haven't been carrying it around with me yet, because the case that came with it isn't a waterproof one, and I would like it to be, so I'm gonna go buy a real waterproof case before I start carrying it around in the pouring rain for a whole day! Don't worry Mom! I promise I will start taking more pictures! Today we're going to Dundonald castle, which apparently is a really small castle, but it'll be cool to at least check it out.

Well that does it for this week! Love you all so much!! Byeeeee!

Elder Benesch

Monday, February 17, 2014

Finally some PICTURES!

Ardrossan (which is North of Irvine where Avery lives) Notice the moss on the rooftops.

Not sure where these ruins are. But they are probably in Scotland.

I'm assuming these pictures where taken in Paisley.
Scotland/West conference 

Got to have a picture of the Guinness factory 

Proof that missionaries are still BOYS

Your guess is as good as mine.  I'm sure it was tasty.
 Pictures from Ireland
Gotta soak up the sun while you can!

Eating some kind of meat (wrapped like a burrito) every missionary has to try at least once!  FYI he didn't eat it again.

Avery & Seyi - a great conversion story (look at Nov. entries)

This is what happens to your shoes when you walk 10 miles a day.

Christmas spirit or is it the Broadway spirit?  They look like they're performing Singing in the Rain

Christmas at ward members house - Pentleton family

He got our garland! Each ball has a favorite scripture from friends & family.

week 30 - Lovin' the life

So I don't know how many times I say this, but I love the mission life!! It's sometimes way hard, and at night after we plan for the next day I usually just go to bed now, instead of relax or write in my journal (which I'm doing okay at keeping updated! Haha). Sometimes I stay up and read the missionary library books, but I've read it all already, and I kinda want to read something new, which kills me cause we are only allowed to read the missionary library!! But I will confess I broke the rule once. Elder Clement had this book with him called "Here We Stand" by Joseph Fielding McConkie. I finished it in a week just reading every night before bed and it's way good. Joseph Fielding McConkie was mission president in Scotland a while ago, but while he was here missionaries were baptizing like crazy. He is a BOSS. Mom, Dad, and Dakota you would all probably like it. Dakota should totally read that book before his mission. It really helped me understand more of my purpose as a missionary, and why we share the wonderful message of the gospel being restored to the earth through a modern day prophet, and the evidence of it which is the Book of Mormon. I would suggest that Dakota you make sure you understand the restoration well though as explained in preach my gospel chapter 3 lesson 1 before you read it though, just so you understand the book well. I think one of my favorite parts in it that I just think is kinda funny is when he says something along the lines of "God has not sent us out to bring the world the wonderful teachings of the family home evening manual, cause no matter how much you follow that manual, it really can't bring you salvation. We are called to share the Book of Mormon with the world and our message that God has once again called a prophet to the earth who leads and guides with priesthood authority as did the prophets of old." It also explains how our testimony is not dependent on the ancients, but on the fact that we have a living prophet. I think that is so important, and that's why it is the primary message we share with the world!!!

So Aaron and Jacqui are struggling to get the money for their wedding. They are just doing a really small wedding and then going out to dinner after with a close family, but they still want to buy rings and Jacqui wants a nice dress so that's why they need the money. Aaron is doing extra work, and because of that he missed church yesterday (bummer) but as long as it's just this one time it's okay haha. They still can't wait to be baptized which is awesome! They have a solid testimony of Joseph Smith now, and though their understanding is very basic, they realize how much the gospel can bless their lives and they are staying strong under opposition!! Their awesome.

That story about the olympics is pretty cool! I haven't heard anything about the olympics at all this year. People in Scotland don't care I guess! haha.
The weather in the south of England is really bad right now! Elder Grant (my companion)  is from where all the flooding is going on, but his family hasn't told him much so it must not be as bad where he lives. Every other person we talk to says it's bad, but we don't really know cause we don't get to look at the news!

I was thinking I haven't heard anything about Nessy yet!!! I've heard of missionaries going and visiting loch ness though and drinking a pint of the water from it (apparently it gives you magical powers) haha. All the sterotypes you hear about Scotland and Ireland such as nessy, leperchauns and kilts everywhere really aren't true! While I was in Ireland I never heard one thing about a leperchaun, which I thought was so weird! Haha although guys do wear kilts for weddings here in Scotland.

I love you all so much and thank you for the fun info and stories you send each week!!! Love ya!

Elder Benesch

Monday, February 10, 2014

week 29 - Scotland/West Conference

Avery's companion Elder Clement


We had an awesome week!! We had Scotland/West conference on this past tuesday, and it was great. Elder Herbertson, the area authority out here, was really cool and I got to learn a lot from him. He went on his mission to Atlanta, Georgia; and while he was there He preached sermons in a ton of big baptist churches!!! He and his companion would sometimes just walk into this huge church with like 4 to 500 people in it and just ask the preacher if they could give a sermon, and a lot of the time they said yes!! Haha it was cool cause it showed me that a lot of the times we need to be more bold when sharing the gospel. We are always worrying about what other people think, when in reality it shouldn't matter what others think of us. When we understand just how amazing it is that we are a part of the only true church on the earth, we naturally should want to help everyone find out for themselves what we have come to know to be true. We should desire that everyone come and learn of the restored gospel. This week we also found 2 new people to start teaching and so we've started to build a decent teaching pool. We also had a really good lesson last night with A. and J.. They are struggling to get even a little money so that they can at least buy rings for their wedding, so their baptism has been pushed back another week. So right now they are scheduled to be baptised on the 22nd of February. But anyway in last nights lesson we just really wanted to focus on strengthening their testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith, and the spirit was super strong!! They have really progressed these last few weeks, and it's amazing to see them grow so much. It's been such a wonderful experience for me to be there to watch them grow and become better individuals. I gave a talk yesterday on personal prayers and how essential they are in developing a relationship with our Father in heaven and it went well! It was actually a good reminder to me to make sure that every time I pray I am communicating and counselling with my Father in heaven, and not just saying empty words to him.

I'm really excited to hear about the temple! I definitely can't wait to go through it! I wish there was a temple in our mission boundaries that I could go to but there isn't so that's too bad. I was hoping that if A. and J. and their son C. get sealed while I'm still out here I could go with them, but it depends on what President Brown would decide. I think that would be so cool though!!

Peyton I think that story about the Frozen movie is awesome! haha I can totally imagine you just singing as loud as you can in the theatre with your friend. haha

As for the olympics, to show you how much people over here care about them, I haven't heard anything at all about them! In fact I had no Idea they were even going on!! Haha there's not a single ad or anything anywhere for the olympics so that's hilarious. Scottish people don't really care for them I guess!

And Mom I sent the USB with pictures of me on it and pictures of our flat so you'll have all those soon!! And the other thing is I have an 8gb SD in my camera right now, but for some reason the camera just doesn't save pictures to the SD card very well. It's so weird and I'm not sure if its the SD card that is the problem or the camera but anyways I did find out that I lost a lot of pictures from the MTC and when I travelled to mullingar. It's okay though cause I still have all the memories!!!!

Also I know I said this a few times, and I promise this isn't me being trunky or trying to be disobedient at all! haha, but did you guys check my facebook? Aaron and Jackie are trying to add me as a friend so we can stay in touch after my mission, and they said it hasn't been accepted yet. I'm pretty sure other members and investigators said they were going to add me as well so if you could just check for me and add them if they have sent a request or whatever that would be great!

Well that's all I got, I'll try looking for a picture of me on my usb now and send it to you mom!

Love y'all!!

Elder Benesch

week 28 - I love to see the Temple

Those pictures of the Gilbert Temple are so beautiful!! I can't wait to go there and check it out! I'm so excited to hear about all the exciting news that has come with the opening of the new temple! I'm pretty bummed about the Bronco's, but I guess you're right! At least they didn't win while I was on my mission! Hahaha who know's though maybe they'll take it next year.

My week wasn't too bad! I think I've been out long enough now that all the weeks are just starting to blend together and it's kinda hard to remember what actually happened when I write you guys on Mondays! I went on exchanges this past tuesday which was really good. Then we had some good lessons with A. and J. as well as this new investigator K.. K. is so awesome and she is definitely gonna be baptized. Hopefully while I'm still here, but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter, as long as she gets baptized! We were teaching her and her 4 kids who are 17, 13, 12, and 11 about the restoration this past week, (2nd time we taught her it, first for the kids) and she was basically helping us teach her kids! It was so awesome because it showed how strong her understanding of the need for a restoration of the church instead of a reformation, as well as the need for priesthood authority to be on the earth so ordinances for salvation can be performed properly. This week we are definitely gonna commit her to be baptized! This week we also did a lot of talking with people on the street, and I've really come to love it. I really enjoy talking with people about what they believe (which out here is nothing really ahah) and helping them realize that there is more to this life than just living and dying. Although I do get quite annoyed sometimes with people, especially when they just flat out say that everything we say makes sense, but they would rather not believe in anything because it's easier. It's hard sometimes, but it is helping me become a very patient and kind person!! Haha sometimes people's ignorance though is quite funny. Sorry this is kinda mean and rude but I have to laugh when someone say's they aren't interested because they're catholic, so then I ask something like how does having a faith in God help them in their lives and their response is "Oh, I don't believe in God." Religious views are sometimes really messed up over here hahaha.

So, I did get the package with the usb and cd in it. Dakota me and my zone leader approve of your ep. Haha I thought it was great! Totally hilarious. I'll be sending out the package back with the usb in it this week!! Some bad news though. I think I lost like 100 pictures or so from the beginning of my mission. They aren't on my memory card in my camera anymore, and I have no clue where they would have even gone but I just can't find them. They are most of the ones from the MTC, and the beginning of my days in mullingar. So that's a complete Bummer!!!!!!!!!
It's okay though it just means I'll have to come back here on vacation sometime in the future (distant future) and see all the cool sights again. It's mainly the preston temple that i'm really sad I won't have pictures of anymore.

So there are actually quite a few basketball hoops in parks out here! However no one ever uses them, and I have yet to play with other missionaries. (I'm playing mostly american football, trying to keep my arm in shape for baseball!) The courts in the parks though are really cool, they are all like big cages, and under the basketball hoop is a football goal. So mostly the courts are used for playing football, not basketball. I'll have to get a picture of the typical "football cage" type thing and send it to you guys next week. As for sightseeing in this area, there plenty of pretty coast that I've seen! (not taken pictures of yet cause i'm lazy) as well as one castle I know of. It's a tiny one though that is in ruins so I haven't tried to get out there yet. We will be spending one P-day this transfer on the Isle of Arran though! It'll be the first real sightseeing I've done on my mission, and it should be really good! Apparently there used to be a branch on the island and there are like 3 or 4 less-active members still out there so we're gonna try to find them while we go over!

Well I think that is all I have for you guys this week! I have learned so much so far from being out here, and I've learned to absolutely love learning in general!! So for your question of whether or not I'm as anxiously engaged as when I left, I would say I still am! Now just more anxiously engaged to learn, and then share what I learn and know to be true and that has blessed my life so much! Whereas before I was just wanting to be a missionary! Now I feel I understand more what it actually means to be a missionary!

I love you all!

Elder Benesch