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