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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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

week 46 - Deja-vu with area's this week!

Hello everybody!
This week was a really long one, but it was awesome at the same time!  We've been super busy lately and I've never been as tired on my mission as I've been the past few days, but it's definately been worth it.  We had zone interview training this past Wednesday and we trained missionaries for 4 hours during it!!!  It was rough but fun at the same time because President gave us some really good things to train on.  We taught about the Godhead and why the doctrine is so crucial for us to understand and why we need our investigators to understand the doctrine.  We also trained about how we need to remember the incredible calling we have been given as full-time missionaries!  It was awesome cause we had each missionary read through their mission call letter again, and it's incredible to see how the blessings promised in the letter are already being realized by us!  The biggest one I noticed for myself was the promise that as we come out to serve, we would gain greater knowledge and a greater testimony of the restoration of the gospel.  That is something that has definitely happened for me!!!  It's been so cool to see my understanding and knowledge of the restoration increase in the way it has and also my own testimony of it has grown immeasurably! 
Another cool thing that happened this week was I went on exchanges to both Irvine and Dalkeith!!!!  So I got to go to 2 of my previous areas and do some work there again.  In Irvine I got to teach 4 people that I taught while I was there.  I saw Aaron and Jacqui, Kirsty, and a man named Charles Blakely.  Aaron and Jacqui were still the same, struggling to organize their wedding.  (they've become what we call "eternigators")  But it's okay they will definitely get married and baptized soon, they just need some help from the ward in getting organized.  Then we taught Kirsty, who is getting baptized in a few weeks!  She is almost completely off cigarettes and is ready to take this next step forward in her life!  It was awesome to teach her again, and I was so excited to see how well she has progressed since I left.  I asked President Brown today in my email if I could drive down for her baptism (it's only like 45 min away) and so we'll see what he says about it.  Then I got to go on exchange with Elder Boehme back to Dalkeith the next day!  That was fun as well, but not as exciting as going back to Irvine cause I only left Dalkeith like 2 weeks ago.  Luckily if I stay zone leader I get to have the chance to go on exchanges to Dalkeith just about every transfer.  While I was in Dalkeith we had lunch with the Johnstones who fed us every Saturday when I was there.  It was good seeing them again.  So yeah it was a pretty cool week!
I have to apologize mom, I have taken 0 pictures since I've been here..... but don't worry I'll start taking more now!!  I'm just gonna leave my camera in the car so I have it when I want it.  As far as anything for the package I really can't think of anything that I would want!  If you send another usb I could then put all the pictures I took on it and send that to you.  Also we haven't done any sightseeing since i've been here!  I don't know if there is really that much to see around Paisley, it's kinda one of the dirtiest and nastiest cities in Scotland.  It's basically part of Glasgow, which apparently has been called the armpit of europe.... so yeah we don't do much sight seeing.
chaws sound awesome!!  haha too bad I'm on a bit of a diet right now with Elder Windhausen haha. (for those of you who don't know what chaws is Rex ate it on his mission - it's basically spaghetti sauce with babybel cheese melted in it over rigatoni noodles) I'm really worried I'm gonna start putting on tons of weight being in a car area, so I'm eating super healthy!!!  We have tons of fruit and vegetables and basically just eat rice and chicken.  But those did remind me of some of the funny recipe's I've learned since I've been in the mission!  There are these things called samoan's (i'll send a picture of one) that are absolutely terrible for you, but taste pretty good actually.  So you take an instant noodle packet, and put the noodles in some boiling water for like 30 sec. just to soften them up a bit.  Then you start making scrambled eggs and you put the flavoring packet that comes with the noodles into the eggs before you put the eggs in the pan.  then you put the eggs in the pan and put the noodles on the egg so that they all kind of cook together.  Then you take it out and put it between 2 pieces of toasted bread and eat it like a sandwich!!  Sooooo bad for you but its quick and easy and that's why missionaries make them!  haha
As for a healthier recipe that is popular in our mission.  We use this cereal stuff called Muesli and mix it with melted peanut butter and honey to make some granola that you can eat every morning for the week!  Its way good, especially if you put fresh fruit in with it.
Well that's it for this week, love you all!
P.S.  Peyton have fun at efy and don't have a COW!!! hahahahaha (kota should know what that means)
Elder Benesch

This is what a missionary eats!  The Samoan! I can see why Avery's concerned about his weight!

week 45 - Z-Day Fun!

We had a blast yesterday!!!!  So it was zone-development day again yesterday, which if you remember that's where the whole zone gets together and we just hang out for a day.  President Brown want's it to build more unity in the mission and help us blow off a little steam.  It definitely did that for me!  We just played rugby, football, american football, ultimate frisbee, and then some funny games that the sisters came up with.  Then we had a BBQ outside the church in paisley.  It was a ton of fun!  Although it was a lot more stressful this time around since me and Elder Windhausen were in charge of it all.  We had to make sure everyone was being safe and keeping mission rules which is sometimes annoying... but it's whatever.  We also had Mission Leadership Council this past week in Edinburgh which was awesome!!!!  It's where all the zone leaders meet with the AP's and President Brown and they train us on the direction they want the mission to go.  We also discuss about how things are going in the mission and ways to improve.  I learned a ton about our mission and most importantly learned just how much the Lord directs his work here in Scotland/Ireland through President Brown.  Our investigators are doing well!!  Xiao is the coolest man ever!!!  I forgot what I've told you about him so I'll just tell you it again just in case.  He is a professor for a university in China and is over here doing some research.  He is RIDICULOUSLY smart and loves to learn.  He can't get baptized yet because he doesn't know what the Chinese government will do to him if he does get baptized.  Hopefully that will be resolved because we are having him email a former missionary from China named Elder Luo who served in Chinatown here in Scotland and was really good at resolving these kind of concerns with Chinese people. (Did I ever tell you that we have 3 area's in our mission that are Chinese speaking?  So about 6 missionaries in our mission got their calls to Scotland/Ireland, chinese speaking)  anyways, he loves to learn and will be baptized as soon as we find out it's okay!  We're teaching him again tonight so hopefully we'll find out if he's been able to get in touch with Elder Luo.  Hannah and Nikki are still looking good for their baptisms on June 22nd, they just need to learn some more.  They struggle a bit with understanding the things we teach them, so we're working really hard to help them understand what they need to before baptism.  Also our investigator Neil Farren is going to be baptized hopefully on June 21st!  He is disabled and has been since he was young.  I think he's paralyzed from the waist down.  He's a hilarious guy who love's Jesus.  We have zone training on Thursday.  I have to train for 4 hours during it! ugh!  Teaching other missionaries is something I started to like as a district leader, but training a TON of missionaries for 4 hours doesn't sound that appealing.  Oh well I gotta get over it and get used to it now! 
 
Peyton:  What all do you have planned for the summer?  Also what new songs have you been learning on the ukelele?  If you ever get bored over the summer you could learn to play some hymns, then voice record yourself playing them and send them to me!  Haha it might become some famous music to listen to in our mission!  Every one in our mission has USB sticks with all their music on it cause the little portable dvd players we get to watch The District on lets you play music through the usb.  So some elders that are good at music write songs and record them and give it to all the other missionaries they know, so then their music gets famous!  But only in the mission because when you go home you don't really listen to the same music anymore haha.  So yeah you could be famous in the Scotland/Ireland mission if you write a good song on the ukelele!!
 
Ethan:  Dude I can't believe that you cleared half the wake that many times and landed it easy!!  You're gonna be throwing tantrums by the time I get back!!!  I can't wait to wakeboard again, I miss it a lot, so you'll have to do it a lot for me man!  I went on exchange with a missionary named Elder Thackeray this past week and he's really big into wakeboarding.  His family has a houseboat at lake powell and so that was pretty much all we talked about when we went on exchange because it was the first time either of us had met someone that knew how to wakeboard!!  Also bro at our zone development day yesterday we were playing american football and I almost returned a kickoff for a touchdown with out any blockers.  Everyone on my team was behind me when I caught the ball and instead of waiting for them I just went for it and juked out like 8 people!  Sadly there was an elder from australia who was really quick and tagged me when I was one yard away from the end zone.  I was really happy though cause even though I think i'm getting slower on my mission I'm still fast enough to juke some of the younger athletic missionaries who just came out and are still in shape! haha
 
Malia!!:  So what are you planning to do this summer?  Basketball camp sounds like it will be a ton of fun!  You'll have to let me know how it goes!  it's too bad you weren't able to get up on the ski's at the lake, but don't worry you'll be able to do it next time!!  I bet by the time I get home you'll be able to do a backflip on the ski's!!  haha what do you think?  Well I hope you have a really fun summer and don't watch too much TV or you just might drive Mom crazy!!  hahah
 
That's really exciting mom that you are finally done with your reports and stuff!!  I bet that's such a huge relief!!  One step closer to being done with it all.  And I know I really can't believe that it's been 10 months already.  It's scary how fast it goes!  Elder Windhausen goes home in about 4 months and it's weird cause he has to start thinking about university and stuff so much.  I'm really scared to get to that point on my mission cause I still am totally second guessing myself with what I want to do!  Luckily since I still have some time left I just push it aside and forget about it.  But it's scary to think I'll have to figure it out one day, and it'll come faster than I want it to!
 
My current address: 14 Millview Crescent, Flat 2/2, Johnstone, PA5 8QA, Scotland, United Kingdom
 
That's all for this week, I love you all so much!  Bye!!
 
Elder Benesch

week 44 - 1st week in Johnston

So the first few days in Johnstone (that's the area we're actually in) have been pretty good!  I'm loving having the car and it's been so nice not having to walk all over!!!  We also have 2 people we're teaching that are going to be baptized the end of June!  So that's really exciting, plus we should have another guy that we will have set a date for his baptism really soon as well.  The ward is quite big!  We had 114 out at sacrament meeting yesterday, which was really exciting!!  They were very welcoming to me and I can't wait to get to meet everyone.  We have a really cool ward mission leader as well.  He is an absolute BEAST when it comes to gospel knowledge.  He has a massive bookshelf just full of tons of books written by apostles and prophets, and he's read them all.  He helps us out a lot with finding joint-teaches so that's really good as well.  As far as being a zone leader, we have to do lots of stuff.  We do quite a lot of exchanges.  For every transfer we go on an exchange with every district leader (so 4), the AP's, and every missionary that is being trained (we have 2 in our zone this transfer).  So that alone can get a bit crazy planning for, plus we have to go to each district leaders district meeting, and then we have to train the zone usually once a transfer, plus we plan zone development day, and do a bunch of reports for the Paisley stake every week.  Then we also have meetings with the high councilmen over missionary work for the Paisley stake and talk about the work.  And then there is something called Mission leadership council in Edinburgh that all the zone leaders go to once a month, and President Brown trains us on his vision for the mission, which we then have to carry out and make sure it starts happening in our zones.  And we do that by holding meetings with the district leaders every month and basically train them on how to do the things President Brown wants us to do.  So we're pretty busy, but it's good cause I love being busy, and we still find time to work in our own area.
So the numbers you were wondering about dad: in our mission every 9.7 new investigators we get we have a baptism.  Everywhere else in Europe averages around 20 new investigators per baptism.  However we still baptize way less than everyone else around us.  So basically what happens in our mission is no one ever wants to meet with us, but when we finally do find someone to teach, there is a much greater chance they will be baptized.  Better than in any other Europe mission.  So President Brown wants us to keep that average of 9.7new = 1 baptism and then just find a ton more new investigators!  That way our total number of baptisms goes up a lot!
Well I'm glad to hear you all have been keeping so well!  I'm really jealous of Dakota going on the cruise!  Being closer to the west coast of Scotland means cold weather again!  It's a lot colder here than it is in Edinburgh, so that's something I'll have to get used to.  I love you all so much and miss you!
Elder Benesch