Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 27th

Hey Family!

This week was a little rough. We had a lot of finding and not a lot of success. But, we did really see a lot of miracles this week. One of them was one of our investigators we have not seen in a long time came in with a few of her friends. She said that she could not stay for long and had to go, but after we asked her how she was doing she started crying right there in front of us in the middle of the chapel building. We took her into one of the room and were able to have a great talk with her. She has been really stressed lately. She has a very demanding job and cannot quit it, because she needs it to pay for both her own schooling and her brother's. We were able to listen to her and say a prayer with her at the end. Listening to her really made me realize yet again how important the Gospel is. Everyone in their life experiences times when it seems like trials are never-ending. The Gospel provides much needed perspective. It reminds us that these times really are a small moment and there are blessing waiting for those who endure them well.

Oh. One more thing. I got a call from the mission president last week and...
I'm going to be double-training! Sister Huang and I are getting a new companion, fresh out of Sichuan, China on Wednesday. She did not even go to the MTC, because she could not get a US visa in time.  

Love you all! Have a great week!!

-Sister Bennion


This week was hard. Our investigator pool is low and we spent a lot of the week finding. And we did not have much success with that either. A lot of people just waved us off or are not interested or are "busy". Many of the new contacts we did get are not in our area, which is still okay, because it still building the church, but it still does not help the area my companion and I were given.

Most frustrating of all is the teaching. We met with a couple of our investigators, but I feel like what we are teaching does not hit any of them or make them want to change at all. One of them are still puzzling over the existence of God after the 5th time we have met with him!!  I just feel like I do not understand their concerns and I know that should not matter because it is really the Lord that understands them and the Lord that makes it all work, but I also know that my companion and I have a huge responsibility to teach clearly and to FEEL the Spirit in my lessons, something that I do not feel like I have felt much. I have been out here almost 9 months. I really thought I would be a pro by now. I can understand a lot more of Chinese (thank goodness) , but my speaking is still so-so. I have started waking up 30 minutes earlier than my companion with the Zone Leaders' permission and even then, I do not know what to focus on or what things to improve. It does not seem like there is time in the day for me to improve.   

And. I found out on Saturday that I am going to be training another new missionary from China who speaks no English and did not go to the MTC, because she had visa problems.

Teaching, training, funding, learning, baptizing, training.

And then, you sent me your email.

"Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing [only one thing] is [truly] needful.”

Swooooop. Peace. When I read that line from Sister Holland's talk, I remembered that this is not at all about me being able to do everything alone and being able to do it well. It is about me finding the Lord and taking the time to prepare myself and those around me for eternal life. I have really realized on my mission that never before in my life have I kept doing something that I was not good at immediately. I have really been blessed by the Lord in the fact that everything that I needed to do well or wanted to do well has always been within the power of my improvement. I have always prayed and read scripture, but I had never felt a burning urge to. Just as we can't appreciate water until after we have experienced thirst, I cannot become the person I need to be if I am never tried and strengthened. All my life, I have been given all the spiritual and temporal things I needed without work. I really think that the Lord is letting me struggle right now, letting me strengthen my faith. I know I still have a way to go and a lot of trials to face. Like the people of Limhi, the Lord did not see fit to remove any burdens yet. But, I do know that, if I keep my mind and goals centred on the Lord and let Him walk with me, He will give me all I need to become the missionary my investigators need.

I love you. Thank you so much for the email.

-Sister Bennion

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20th

One word to describe this week: hot. 


It reached up to 47 degrees Celsius, a whooping 115 degrees Fahrenheit. So. incredibly. painful. Our flat does not have air conditioning and its on the top floor of our complex so it was felt even hotter in our flat then outside. Sister Huang and I could not get any sleep the first night. Luckily, we were able to get a fan from the office before the worst part of the heat wave hit. On the 45 degree day, all of our appointments canceled, because it was too hot and so we had to go finding for most of the day. It was not the most productive. I was bearing my testimony to this one girl and she just sat there with her mouth slightly open, not responding at all. I asked her if she would be interested in learning more and she responded, "I'm sorry, I did not get a word you said. I can't focus. I need to lie down" and left holding her head haha. So bad. BUT, we did have the opportunity to meet with a really great girl this last week. She is a referral from one of the elders. Her name is Jackie and she really seems like she has a lot of interest in learning more about the Gospel. 

Sister H and I have borrowed the Doctrine and Covenant DVDs that are used in seminary class and we have LOVED watching the videos during dinner. Some of the segment are preeeeetty 80s, but I feel like I have gotten a lot out of it. There was one segment we watched recently on receiving and understanding personal revelation. It stated: 

"Revelation comes in many different forms. Peace is one form of personal revelation.There are many others. Through the Holy Ghost, our loving Heavenly Father can send revelations in the forms of impressions, thoughts, promptings, remembering, comfort, or even guilt for sin." 

I really think that last revelation that the Heavenly Father sends is very interesting. Why in the world is guilt for sin classified as revelation? As I thought about it more, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of revelation is to help us come into greater alignment with the Lord. This alignment can only be done as we repent of anything that keeps us away from God. As we recognize and feel guilt for our sins, it helps us acknowledge our Savior and begin the process to become more like Him.  I have been working on repenting daily these last few weeks, especially before Sunday when we have to take the sacrament, and it has really helped me feel a lot more happiness and peace (even in the heat haha). The ability to repent is really such a blessing.

I love you all so much!

-Sister Bennion

Emma it is good to hear that you are doing well! And concerning basketball, I heard a great quote lately. It is "Pressure is a privilege." No one improves if they do not feel pressure to aim higher and be better. I know you will be able to work with this pressure and it will help you become an even better basketball player and all around person!

LOVE, Sister Bennion

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 13th


I am so glad that you all got my presents! I hope that you can feel my love for you and again, so sorry they did not make it in time for Christmas!

Wow. I can not believe that Craig Lyle is gone. It happened so fast. It really just reminds me how important the work I am doing is. It is not "selling religion" or convincing people. It is answering the real questions of the soul. I am so grateful for Rawly's example in staying on his mission. I know without a doubt that the Lord will bless Him throughout his life for his willingness to serve the Lord. Lyle family, I love you so much and I will be praying for you.

This last week, I have ran into a lot of people who say that they prefer to "live in the moment". One instance that really stands out is one man that we met on the street last week who gave us that answer. We asked him if he had any big questions that he had been searching for an answer to and he responded he did not. We listed a few questions for him, namely "Where do we go after we die" and "Where were we before we were born?" After we asked him these questions he said with wide eyes "There are answers to those?" I am here to testify that there is answers to all of the soul searching questions. There is a loving Heavenly Father. There is a purpose to life. There is a plan created from the foundation of the world that CAN heal the infirmed, CAN bring peace to the afflicted, and CAN comfort the broken hearted. As we learn more about this plan, we receive the amazing and blessed confirmation that we are not alone here! We have friends, leaders, prophets, angels, and family both here and on the other side of the veil.  Above all, we have the unfailing companionship of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has felt every pain we have or will ever feel. 

I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It is real, it is important, and it is worth every sacrifice. 

-Sister Bennion

Sorry for the pretty solemn letter. There are a couple of things that happened this week:

-Tram next to our house out for construction. Having to walk 3 hours home the first night with our sister training leaders (we were on exchanges). This walk included a mile sprint by Sister F and I by the end so we could grab the car and pick up Sister H (her ankle was really hurting). 

-Teaching English class twice! Unable to pronounce the word heroine (I kept saying heroin. ahhhhhh.) 

-Kangaroo. Still very happy about that. 

-President interviews. I was really able to learn a lot from him, he is a really amazing mission president. 

-Traced my genealogy line back to Adam while waiting for interviews!! 

I TOUCHED A KANGAROO. It took 2 hours and 30 dollars, but it happened. Checked off the bucket list.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 6th


Everything is still pretty good out here in Melbourne.  We did a lot of finding this past week, because a lot of our investigators and recent converts just went home for the holidays. We found some pretty great people and are really excited to meet with them this week. One girl we were talking to straight up said, "Are you Christian? Can I join you?" Answer: YES. 

One of our progressing investigators, Jared, is doing well too. He is reading, praying, and attending all hours of church. He has a concern though that is keeping him from getting a confirmation of if what we are saying is true. We are not sure exactly what it is yet and are praying that we will have the spiritual sensitivity to know what we need to ask to find out and resolve his concern. 

Sister Huang is so funny. She is still not a huge fan of finding and so this past week helped her out a LOT. We started out finding together, but after a while, I asked if she would be okay with separating. Sister Huang seemed pretty nervous about it, so I pointed out a guy that was sitting alone and suggested that she talk to him. She passed by him once...then twice...then a third time, before coming back to me, sticking out her hand and saying "Give me strength!" I shook her hand and she turned around straightaway and talked to him haha.

I read a quote this week that really stuck with me. It relates missionary work to the story of Moses and the Israelites' sacrifice. It states:

"After receiving his commissiofrom the Lord, Moses returned to Egypt to lead the children of Israel out of captivity. Plague after plague failed to secure their freedom, leading to the 10th and final plague: “For will pass througthe land of Egypt this nightand will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12). (...)The Lord instructed His people to offer sacrifice, lamb “without blemish” (verse 5), and to collect the blood from the sacrifice. They were then to take of the blood”and apply it to the entrance of each home—“the two side posts and … the upper door post” (verse 7)—with this promise: “And when I see the blood, will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you”(verse 13). The blood used by the Israelites, symbolic of thSavior’s future Atonement, was product of the sacrifice they had offered. Nevertheless,the sacrifice and the blood alone would not have been sufficient to obtain the promised blessing. Without the application of the blood to the doorposts, the sacrifice would have been in vain. 
As result of that sacrifice, we return from our missions with our own gifts: The gift of faith. The gift of testimony. The gift of understanding therole of the Spirit. The gift odaily gospel study. The gift of having servedour Savior. Gifts carefully packaged in worscriptures, tattered copies of Preach My Gospel, missionary journals, and grateful hearts. However, as with the children of Israel, the ongoing blessings associated with missionary service require application after the sacrifice."
We can go to church every Sunday, follow the commandments, pay tithing, and serve a full time mission. But unless we are really applying the sacrifices we give, our sacrifice will amount to nothing. The Lord does not just ask for our might, mind, and strength; he asks for our heart! My goal this year is to do that, to live in a way that I can be wholeheartedly aligned with the Lord. I can become a missionary in everything I do, and not just Sarah Bennion doing missionary things. 
So...a commitment! Give the Lord your heart this year. Apply the sacrifices you make for Him. Be aligned. Be happy.
I can't believe I only have less than a year left! Time is flying by way too fast. But, I am excited for the miracles and blessings that I know 2014 holds! 
-Sister Bennion

Hey momma! 

Hope that your winter break has been great! I love all the pictures that you sent! Everyone looks so happy!! Keep up the great missionary work and know that I love you so much! 

I showed a picture of the the family to a Chinese guy in my district and he said "Wait zoom in on your dad." I did and he looked for a second and said "Your dad is very handsome. Like a movie star" hahahahahaha 

LOVE Sister Bennion

Looks like Lulu!
Crazy faced

December 30th

Talking with the family this last week was so crazy!! 

On Christmas after talking with you all, Sister Huang and I were able to meet with one of the sisters in our ward for dinner. She brought her two children, both of which are in their 20s and not members of the church. We were able to talk to her daughter a lot. By the end, she was getting up to leave and her mom asked her if she would come to the church to play ping pong with us. She said yes! I'm not sure if it is all going to work out (going from ping pong to gospel teaching is going to be a stretch haha), but I really have faith that as long as we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will know how to introduce the Gospel to her.

We also met with Alex on Christmas. He was not very happy when he met with us. He had watched a video on Youtube of a Chinese Christian woman bashing Buddhism (and his mother is a devote Buddhist, so he felt very affronted). We started teaching him the 10 commandments, but he asked us if we could learn about something else. So we read Alma 7 with him and talked about what the meaning of being Christian is. He calmed down a lot throughout the lesson (the Book of Mormon really is so amazing), but said that he really wants to see miracle before he is baptized. Tomorrow we will meet again with him and really emphasize the importance of faith proceeding miracles and RECOGNIZING miracles (he said that he does not consider being able to quit smoking as a miracle. Said it was his own willpower...). 

One of our progressing investigators, Jared, came to church for the 3rd time yesterday! He has been reading the Book of Mormon and reading scriptures (up to 1 Nephi 19), but he says he still is not sure if God is hearing his prayers. We were able to teach him more about prayer and asked him to ask a specific questions in his prayers in order to get a specific answer. He promised to do so and said a rocking closing prayer (in which he asked a specific question. Jared is the best.)

 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not aalone, because the Father is with me. 
 "It is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

December 23rd



Foong Yee's whole family came to our ward Christmas party! Her mom really bonded with some of the women in our ward and said that she really wants to have us over for dinner sometime! She is just about one of the sweetest ladies and we hope that we can start teaching the whole family soon! We also had our ward Christmas party last week. Each zone made a short trailer using a Disney movie and connecting that movie with missionary work. Our movie was Beauty and the Beast and our trailer turned out really good. I think President Maxwell mentioned that he is sending a copy of the video home, so if you watch it, look out for me in my starring role as neglected Aussie #2. 

 Sister G got transferred last Wednesday! So now it is just me and Sister H (Sister H and I? Ahhh. English. My brain seems to think I don't need it anymore, even though I REALLY do, because my Chinese is still definitely not top notch haha). Sister Huang is really just about the nicest person in the world. And she is super cute. Sister Goldrup and I introduced her to Milo last week (its an Australian drink that is SO GOOD and tastes a little like hot chocolate) and has been drinking some nearly every day since then. Except instead of pouring some into a mug, she uses a bowl haha. So Chinese. Another funny quirk: she will addresses me as "Companion" sometimes haha. Love her so much. I feel so lucky to be able to teach and serve with her. She has a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and is willing to work hard. She twisted her ankle this last week as we were coming back from dropping off Sister G and it has swelled a lot since. It looks really painful, but she has not complained once. We started a system where she makes calls to potential investigators while I find people on the street. It has worked really well so far and has actually been a blessing, because my companions and I have not called potentials in a long time. 

Christmas is here! One of the questions we have asked some of our investigators lately is what the meaning of Christmas is. I have been thinking of the question myself as I have taught and studied the last few days. I know the basic answer; Christmas is about the Savior and about remembering his birth. But, one of the main reasons His birth is significant is because of the event that shortly proceeded His death, His infinite Atonement. As I have studied more about the Atonement, I have really loved the testimony Alma bears his testimony of  Christ to the righteous people in Gideon in Alma chapter 7, which states:

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccorhis people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

One of my favorite lines is the beginning of verse 13, "the Spirit knoweth all things, nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh." I have really realized on my mission that sometimes it is not enough to just "know" something. There is a lot of thing that I knew before coming on my mission that have been strengthened through personal experience and, many times, suffering. The Savior knew that it was not enough for him to know about our pain. He needed to feel it, to really understand what it is like to be alone, infirmed, broken, or lost. These verse really put the Savior's call to "mourn with those that mourn" in new context for me. This counsel given on the Sermon on the Mount is a call to be like the Savior, to not just "know" that people are having problems, but to feel and understand them, to have enough charity and love for others that you have a true desire to help them. That is what Christmas means in the end. It is a chance to remember to use the Atonement in your life, to feel His love, but to also apply it in the lives of those around you, to help everyone feel Christ's infinite love through you. I love being a missionary. I love these people in Australia. I love teaching others of the power of the Atonement and seeing it change their lives. 

I love you all so much! It was so weird calling home for 5 minutes last week. It made me realize that I have not said my first name in a really long time haha. I'm excited to skype you all this Wednesday!! 

-Sister Bennion

I promise I do have presents for you all!! They just will not make it there for Christmas....so sorry!! 

I taught my companion how to say "Build a bridge and get over it." I thought Rachel would like that :)

Wow!! Grumpy man making us poison oak soap???? Miracles happen. Go Emma!

I love talking to you all so much! I'm sorry my mind blanked halfway through and I could not tell you guys any funny stories!!! (I remembered them all later that night....) I resolved to write down points to tell you next mother's day so I do not make a similar mistake :)

Funny story:
I got a call from the Zone leaders this morning. They said they needed to ask a huge favor. I expected something big and so I told them whatever they needed me to do I was willing. Then, they said that they had received a box in their Christmas package that they thought was macaroons, but really was macaroon mix. And they wanted me to make them and give it to them. WOW. Soooo, today, I spent making macaroons haha.Why do people think I can cook. Its beyond me.