Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 25th another week in San Diego!

Another great week in San Diego! So much went on this last week, but I'll try to just talk about a few people.

Maria: We met up with Maria last Sunday (I think I told you a little bit about it in my letter, but I'll recap a little). We were walking by her garden and commented on how gorgeous it was. Maria already knew my companion, Sister Montgomery, because she had given Maria a Spanish Book of Mormon and referred her to some Spanish-speaking sisters in the area, but she had dropped those missionaries and did not seem that eager to talk to us at first. But after a little bit of chatting, she let us into her garden and started sharing with us stories from her life. Her life had been pretty rough and she really believes that God got her through it all. She talked to us for a while and I was so tempted to pop in something about the Mormon church, but I had a feeling that I should just listen. After 45 mins, she said, "Why don't we meet up later this week and you girls can tell me your testimonies of Jesus?" We agreed rather enthusiastically. So, last Thursday, we met in her garden again. She brought us veggies from her garden to eat and shared with us how her life was going. Then we were able to talk about our lives a little and have a Bible/Book of Mormon study. It all went great, but, as we were about to leave, Maria mentioned that she was really troubled with a decision that she had to make. Sister Montgomery asked her if Maria wanted a priesthood blessing after explaining a little what the blessing was. I was thinking, "What are you doing, Sister Montgomery! You are moving way too fast!" But Maria accepted the offer to have a blessing! We called up the elders in our district and the blessing went really well. The Spirit was there and you could tell that Maria felt it. I am so grateful for a companion that is wiser than I am! 

Liz: Liz is a college student that is roommates with a member. Sister Montgomery had met her once before at a dinner, but had not seen her since, so yesterday, we decided to go over to the member's apartment and see if we could teach Liz and the member together. When we got there Liz answered the door and welcomed us in. The member was still out at work, but we got to have a great conversation with Liz. We found out that she had already taken some of the missionary lessons and, a year ago, had gone to the LDS church with some of her good friends for a month! She said that she stopped going, because she got hung up on the rule that we couldn't drink coffee. We told her more about the Word of Wisdom and having faith and she seemed to understand what we were saying. And she invited us to come back next week! So excited!

Edmund: Edmund is a golden investigator. Seriously. He comes from Hong Kong (unfortunately, he speaks Cantonese instead of Mandarin. Curses!) and is in San Diego finishing college. About a month ago, he visited Salt Lake City and, after seeing the temple, he decided he would check out the church in San Diego. He just appeared at church three Sundays ago and has been going ever since. He has been taking the lessons as well and is reading the Book of Mormon regularly. He even went to a Family Home Evening at a member's house with us yesterday! We asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said he would like a little more time to make sure it is true before committing, but I really think that he is going to receive confirmation that the church is true soon! Unfortunately, he is moving to San Francisco in August, but I know that the Lord will make sure everything works out. According to His will. 

I am really loving this area and loving my companion! I really lucked out, she is an awesome trainer and she knows the area really well (she has been in this same area all 5 months of her mission). Funny story: Last Wednesday, Sister Montgomery went on an exchange (where two sisters switch companions for a day) and I was left to fend for myself in San Diego with a companion that had only been out a few more weeks than me! And I had no idea how to get anywhere! I really had not paid any attention to directions the past week and, boy, did I regret it! It took us an hour just to get home (went the wrong way on the freeway...) and, once we were finally back, we were doing U-turns all over the place. We were also missing the piece of the map that we needed to get around. A lot of our turns were guided by the Spirit haha. But it was really fun to get to know another companion and we still got a lot of missionary work done, so it was all good. Sister Montgomery promised to prepare me better next exchange. 

I'll end my email with a spiritual thought. We had the opportunity to visit the Mormon Battalion a few weeks ago and it was such a cool experience. Basically, it told the story of the saints who were called away from their trek west to fight in a war. A captain came to the Latter-day Saint camp soon after the Saints were kicked out of Nauvoo and told Brigham Young that they need a couple hundred of the Mormon men to help fight in a war. The saints were not happy that they had to fight for a government that had done nothing for them a few months earlier, but the prophet counseled them to go, so many of the men left their families and went out. One of my favorite parts of the story was from the beginning, when the saints were first joining the army. They were each suppose to receive a uniform that marked them as members of the US army. However, the army was out of uniforms and instead gave the saints a certain amount of money to buy clothes. The saints were able to keep the clothes they had and send the money to support their families while they were gone. This money proved to be a great blessing, but I can't help thinking how disappointing it must have been for the saints to not have those army uniforms. It was the thing that would have marked them as soldiers and helped them feel that they fit in. One girl in my district mentioned that sometimes the Lord will do the same to us. He strips us of our "uniforms," or whatever we think forms our identity, but will always gives us innumerable blessings that more than compensate for it.

My new address is:
Sister Sarah Bennion
California San Diego Mission
7404 Armstrong PL
San Diego, CA

I love you guys so much! Thanks for the emails and prayers! Still no word about my visa (I was told it could anywhere between 3-9 weeks), but I am loving the opportunity I've had to have a "second" mission! Tell Aunt Robin I am going to the temple next week and I am so excited to see her!! I loved seeing Mary's dress; keep sending me pictures of wedding prep! 


Sister Sarah Bennion

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