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