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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 70 - Powerhouse Stake Conference with Elder Liemar

Whattup!!!

Hey guys!  So I will send a long email this week because I only got emails from family pretty much!  

This week went really well, but it was absolutely insane!!!  We had a lot to accomplish over the weekend, and it absolutely killed me and Elder Nordfors.  We were dead this morning when we woke up and we didn't even workout cause we were so tired.  Oh well this week should be good, cause we only have 1 exchange and then MLC on Wednesday.  At stake conference we had a general authority come whose name was Elder Axel Liemar.  He was originally from Germany but has lived in the states a lot oh his life.  He was baptized as a 22 year old in 1985 while working in the states and then served a mission in Maryland a year later.  He was awesome!!  We got to talk to him a bit, and he was a really cool guy.  In conference he spent like 45 minutes just pleading with the members to give us people to teach, which I thought was so great because nowadays missionaries are pretty powerless when it comes to getting people to be interested in the church.  I was thinking today about how in our mission, missionaries have pretty much been proselyting here for over 150 years, and we still only have 7 stakes and 1 district in 3 countries.  I just really strongly feel that the only way the work in these countries will ever move forward is if the local members do all of the finding and we as missionaries become perfect teachers and just teach.  It's just like how we have to do it in the states as well, but it's just really apparent here that the traditional Mormon missionary style of proselyting that you always think of when you talk about missionaries doesn't really work anymore  It's evidenced in the fact that there are apparently over 5000 members of the church in Northern Ireland, and at stake conference I would say we had about 600.  Weekly across the stake there is an average of 800 members out at sacrament meeting.  So there's over 4,000 inactive members of the church, just in Northern Ireland alone!!  For the most part they were found by missionaries, taught and baptized, never really got to know any members, and then fell away after the missionaries left.  It's just so crazy how much that happens here!!!  Just like back home, members have to do their part to fellowship new converts.  Member missionary work is the only way anything is going to actually move forward here.

So Mom I thought it was cool that you were looking at those essays that the church has put out!!  I actually have read them all a while back, (I think in Irvine?)  cause if you remember that was when I was way into church history and studying that out!  It is really good that the church has put those out there, because there is way too much confusion about it all.  We get questioned about that kind of stuff almost every single day now, and it's good to try and point people in the right direction of where to find real answers for it.  

So this past week our training at zone conference went really well!!  We did a ton of work on it because we wanted to really make an impact on people and for it to be a training they remember, and so hopefully that's how it went!  We trained on how prayer and revelation are key in missionary work, and we talked a lot about what revelation is and how we get it.  We read from John 21: verses 3 and 6 and talked about when we do the work on our own we went be led to find people to teach, but when we listen to the voice of the lord to guide us as we find, then we wont' even be able to handle the amount of investigators we find! (the fish we said represent investigators in our little analogy we did with it)  We also did a cool activity where we had everyone sit quietly for a minute and think about what they could change as missionaries.  We then explained that the type of thoughts and feelings they got that were telling them they need to change was personal revelation from the Lord.  We used Stephen R. Covey's BYU devotional called an educated conscience to talk about how these messages we get from the Holy Ghost about what we should change are of a higher order than if an angel appeared and told us to change these very same things.  We also talked about prayer being a key part in it and then used the star of David to sort of hammer that point in.  The star of David is made up of 2 triangles, and in our church we actually use the star of David on some of our buildings.  It's on the assembly hall in temple square and on a few temples as well.  It has a few different meanings for our church, but one is the relationship between us and God through prayer and revelation.  The star is made up of 2 triangles, one which points up and one that points down.  The one pointing up symbolizes our prayers going up to God and the other pointing down symbolizes revelation coming back to us from God.  It was a really cool demonstration and I think everyone liked it!  

Also I found out my release date for you:  It's July 8th, so I'll actually be back like 2 weeks earlier than my 2 year mark.  But there you go, hope that helps with planning out stuff for when I get back!

Well I want you all to know that I love you and pray for you guys a lot!!  Keep being an awesome family and have a great week! 

Elder Benesch

Week 69 - Busyyyy, but good

Hello all!

So we've had an insanely busy week this past week, but it was good at the same time!  We have literally traveled all of Northern Ireland which is pretty insane, and we have racked up the miles on our car!  Hahah we went to Derry, Londonderry on tuesday for a district meeting and exchange with the elders there, and that city is on the western border of the country.  then we had to go into Antrim on wednesday for a meeting.  Then on thursday and friday we had to be in belfast cause of missionaries getting lost trying to travel to dublin, and then on saturday we had to go to coleraine which is like the northern tip of Ireland to interview someone for baptism!! So lot's of traveling, and it looks like we'll be doing a lot this week as well.  We have a zone interview training on Friday, so we'll be training a lot at that.  Then I'm going on exchanges to Dalkeith, which will be fun!  But it means lots of travel as well.  As far as how the missionary work has been going we found a new investigator this past week which was awesome!  Her name is Rebecca and she is a young mom who is looking for a kind of fresh start in life.  We're really hoping it goes well with her, because it seems like we found her at the perfect time in her life.  She just barely moved in to bangor, and is trying to come to know if God is there, so that way she can help her kids learn about God as they grow up.  I'll keep you updated on her progress!  We also found another young Mom named Nadine, who when we set up an appointment with her she didn't seem too interested, and when we came back she said she didn't think we would actually come.  But then we ended up having a pretty good lesson with her, so that's cool!  We're going to see her sometime this week, hopefully on tuesday, and so we're hoping that will go well.  They said they would want us to explain more about God's plan for us, and where we go after we die, so it seems like there is at least some interest there!!  We'll just keep on keeping on and hopefully the work will get moving here in Bangor!  

I thought that was way cool that you were able to have the sister missionaries over for the block party!!  That's an awesome way to help introduce people to the church!  So I was wondering if the gilbert mission still does that thing where they aren't allowed to tract at all and they just do service and visit members and teach people that the members refer them to or something like that.  I remember dad saying something like that to me in an email once, and I was just curious if that's still something there trying out!  The phoenix temple dedication sounds pretty awesome as well!  I can't believe how much has happened back home while I've been over here!!  It's crazy to think what it'll be like when I get back!!

Also, as far as when my release date is I have no idea.  I've got 6 transfers left on my mission pretty much, including this one we're in right now, and they are each 6 weeks, although one of them could be a 5 week transfer.  So my guess is my release date will be around mid-july.  It'll be a wednesday that I would get back on, so it could be the 8th, 15th or even the 22nd.  My guess would be the 8th, but I'll try to find out more if I can!

Hope you have a great week though, I love you all so much!!

Elder Benesch

Week 68 - Crazy moves week, but really good week!

So we've had a crazy week!  On moves day we had a ton of people leave, as well as a ton of mix-ups/missionaries missing buses/ferries being late.... the list goes on.   Ultimately it didn't mess us up too bad, but it was still pretty crazy.  Elder Austin down in Dublin had to deal with a lot though!  I think the craziest story I heard was the zone leaders in paisley had to drive a few people who missed their bus 2 hours to catch the ferry over to Ireland on time!!  Luckily I wasn't there for that one haha.  But after all the madness, we had some great success over the weekend.  We taught a man on saturday who is a bit of a nutcase but hey it's someone we can teach!  haha we'll see him again tonight and hopefully we can get our message across in a way that he'll understand and feel good about.  We also met a mother of 3 who is having us around this week, her husband is getting PHD in astrophysics, so it should be a really good family to teach if he's interested as well!  We also met a girl who is like 19 or 20 and has a 3 year old and is living on her own.  She's been thinking a lot about God lately, so it seems like a good time in her life to meet us!  We see her on tuesday, so hopefully that goes well!!  It's weird cause we haven't really done anything different this week from past weeks, but we're seeing some crazy good things happen!  I have no idea what it is, but we'll keep doing whatever it is that's working.

So I have some kinda bad news... I'm going to have to get a driving license.  Mine expires in a month and a half or so, and Elder Nordfors can't drive (too bad they didn't send me a companion who could drive still!)  And so I'll probably be using a lot of money over the next few weeks to get that going.  It costs me like 60 pounds to get my provisional and then like 15 for the theory test and then I'm hoping the mission will pay for the practical test.  Apparently its really tough though so I'm scared I'll fail and we won't have a car for a while!  So I think a northern ireland driving license is a good christmas present!!  So scratch the dictionary idea...

Congrats on the Ironman dad!!!  That is so sick that you got it done!!  I definitely want to do one when I get back, maybe after a few years though hahaha.  Also what is the Spartan race Dakota was wanting to do?

Well we only have a short time to email again because we have some stuff to take care of.  But I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

week 67 - New Compadre Again

So I will be getting another new companion which will be fun!  I was totally shocked when I found out Elder Thackeray was moving though!  He had only been here for 2 transfers, and we were so sure that we would be staying together for at least one more transfer!  But oh well I guess that's how it goes, my new companion is Elder Nordfors, who is an awesome missionary and I'm way pumped to serve with him.  He's from Utah and I've met him a few times and we get on really well.  He is a soccer player and I think he'll play for Utah Valley when he goes home, so I'm looking forward to picking up some skills from him!!  haha

So I'll have to make this a short email since we are doing move's planning, but as far as how the week went, we didn't really see a whole lot of success, but we were able to meet a less-active family and we're going to see them this Wednesday for dinner and then teach them a lesson afterwards!!  The dad was elders quorum president back when he was actively attending church, so it's cool that solid people like that are wanting to get back to church!  Hopefully we'll be able to do what we can to help them come back and stay active.  The ward is also really supportive, and I feel bad that we haven't been able to find someone to teach!  The ward is so ready for a baptism, and we really just need to go out and find someone to make that happen.  All it takes is hard diligent work and doing all we can to invite everyone to learn about the gospel!

Well I hope all goes well with the ironman dad!!  I'm excited to hear about the results on next Monday!  Thank you guys for all the love you show to me and all the prayers!  It helps so much!  Love you guys!!

Elder Benesch

P.S.  Hey I have an idea of something I may want for Christmas!!  I've been kinda wanting Noah Websters 1828 American English dictionary.  I have no idea where to get one or how much they would cost, but that may be something to check out for me!  I want it because it would have the definitions of the words used in Joseph Smiths time so they would probably give me the best understanding of what words in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants mean.  I think it would be an awesome thing to have while I study!!

This is the tiger that guarded the Paisley Zone Leader flat!! Haha every zone leader that served there has signed it for the past 3 years. It was originally found in Dalkeith and then a missionary took it with him to the flat in Paisley when he became a zone leader, and that's where it started! Haha just one of those funny mission traditions that come about.

week 66 - Just another week on the mish

So when I sat down to email today, I literally could think of nothing to email about!!  hahaha it was really just another week.  I just can't believe it's already Monday again!  Oh well I guess that's just shows how I'm totally in the missionary time warp!  The clocks went back an hour this last Saturday, and so now it's pitch black outside by 5:30 again, and it really feels like winter has set in.  People are starting to hide in their houses which doesn't help us when we want to go out and talk to people!!!  And then the one's that do go outside are a bit crazy for some reason haha.  Yesterday morning we went to do some street contacting in the city for a bit before church, and some old guy tried hitting Elder Thackeray with his cane.  It was so funny!!!  The poor guy just walked away after missing Elder Thackeray and was banging on the walls and the ground with his cane yelling and screaming the whole time.  So that was an exciting event I guess!  All the missionaries in the zone are getting sick right now which is a real bummer cause it's hindrance to the work moving forward.  We are struggling so much in our zone to get things moving, and now there's like 5 teams that are confined to their flats all day, and so they can't get out and find people.  Hopefully everyone else will start drinking orange juice and washing their hands so that they don't get sick as well!  On Wednesday we have MLC again which is really exciting since President Brown just got back a few days ago from a mission presidents seminar in Portugal, and so he should have some really good insights for us from the area presidency and other seventies that were there.  Maybe he'll even have some news for us on iPads!!!  But we'll just have to wait and see.

As far as recipe's for Pierce that I like, we really just eat a lot of boring stuff to stay healthy.  I make a ton of stir fry's, as well as indian curry's which is really popular over here.  Omelette's are great in the morning, but I mainly do this granola that I make myself which is really good.  It's this swiss muesli stuff mixed with peanut butter and honey to make some good granola.  I make a batch of it at the beginning of the week and then like halfway through the week and it does me good.  We also make spaghetti which is just easy to do.  Fajita's can be good as well and they can be kinda quick.  That's really about it!!  It's just hard to get creative on the mission since there's never time to cook.

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week!!  Bye!!
Love, 
Elder Benesch