Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31st

So, last week, we were pretty nervous about teaching Qing about the Word of Wisdom. She had not had any questions with anything she had been taught thus far (and had already read the complete Book of Mormon AND the dictionary, because she said "it did not feel right to not read every page" haha) and we knew this was the last thing that could possibly present a problem. Sister C and I prayed for the Lord to prepare us to teach and Qing to be taught. We sat down to teach her and, after saying a prayer, introduced the Word of Wisdom to her. We had her read the things that the Lord has asked us to avoid off the pamphlet and after reading, she said, "No problem. I have never liked any of these things. I really feel they are not good for our bodies." We sat there stunned for a half a second then proceeded to teach her all the rest of the commandments, including the 10 commandments, Sabbath day, Law of Chastity, Tithing, and fasting. She agreed to them all and was BAPTIZED this last week! She is such a prepared daughter of God and I feel so completely blessed to have the opportunity to play a small part in her journey into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Qing has two sons, one in Australia and one in China. The one in Australia is not very interested (for now) in learning more about the church, but when Qing told her older son she was getting baptized, he said that he wanted to find the branch in their hometown right away! (and another miracle, there happens to actually BE a small branch in their hometown in China!) 

Another amazing experience, Sister C had the opportunity to go to the temple this last week! She loved the peaceful feeling that was there and is excited to go again! 

I love you all! Keep looking for missionary opportunities! Everyone needs this Gospel and there are people "who are only kept from the truth because they d know not where to find it". Have courage, have faith :)

-Sister Bennion

Mary's Letter from Sarah:

Mary I really wish I had your dedication!!! It is really amazing and takes a lot of confidence in both yourself and the Lord to keep knocking, texting, calling. I know that is one thing I struggle at. I like to put things into categories in my mind. This one is an investigator, this is a former, this person is interested, this person is not. It is really hard for me to stick with someone who is not progressing or to keep talking when the person on the street isn't responding. I want to just go to the next, go to the people who are really interested, and forget about anything that could create an awkward situation for me or the person I work with. Thanks for being an example, like always, to me. God completely blessed me with a sister who is just about perfect in every way. I think that is why He wanted me to be the one going a mission, so that I wouldn't just try to copy everything you do haha. I think God wants me to really think about how I can make things work better in my area and rely on Him for any help to make me weaknesses into strengths. 

I love you so much. The blog entry was genius. Home run. 

-Sister Bennion

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 24th


You lucky dogs! Hope everything is going good over there :) stay safe!! 

This last week was great! We were able to see a lot of progress with our investigators and have definitely seen some miracles this week! One of them was that almost all of our new investigators this week brought friends with them to their lessons! One of the girls we met with brought her friend, Letitia (yes, her name is Letitia haha). When Letitia met with us, she had a million questions. They Why do you believe in God? Why do people pray? Why spend time going to church? As soon as we opened our mouth to answer, she would ask another question. We felt a prompting that we should teach her all of Lesson 1, the Restoration, something that we rarely do when we are meeting for the first time with someone without any Christian background. But we started to teach, focusing particularly on Jesus Christ and the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. As we mentioned Joseph Smith's story and proceeded to his account of the 1st vision, her questions lessened and she started to listening more intently. It was so cool, we definitely could tell that she was feeling something. By the end of the lesson, she and her friend both agreed to read the Book of Mormon every night and be baptized if they know what it says is true.

On another note, I found out that a referral I gave to some of the Chinese sisters in Doncaster ward is getting baptized this weekend! Wooohooo! I love it when that happen :) 

-Sister Bennion

Mary's Letter from Sarah:

I KNOW RIGHT? No cancun for us. But look on the bright side, Rachel has to swim with the dolphins. Sweet karma.

I am doing great here in Melbourne. By the end of this transfer, I will have been in the area I am in now for 9 MONTHS! Craziness. I think I am going to be transfered soon sadly. I absolutely love the ward I am in and it will be hard to leave, especially knowing I will not likely come back. I have really been blessed to spend so much time their already. 

Ok, I am going to write more about this next week in my family email, but because you are not in Cancun, I thought I'd tell you the news first... QING IS GETTING BAPTIZED NEXT WEEK! We were getting ready to teach her the Word of Wisdom last week and were pretty nervous, because it is usually the thing that most older Chinese people have a problem with. We prayed a lot for the Lord to help us know what to say and to prepare Qing so she would be willing to commit to following the commandments. We sat down to teach her and, after saying a prayer, introduced the Word of Wisdom to her. We had her read the things that the Lord has asked us to avoid off the pamphlet and after reading, she said, "No problem. I have never liked any of these things. I really feel they are not good for our bodies." We sat there stunned for a half a second then proceeded to teach her all the rest of the commandments, including the 10 commandments, Sabbath day, Law of Chastity, Tithing, and fasting. She agreed to them all. 

Flawless merriment. I kept saying to my companion "This ones for the good guys!"

Not really. But it was close.

Ahhh! That video will not download! I am in a bad emailing place this week...I will try to watch it next week. I will try to imagine what it contains until then haha

Love you!!!

-Sister Bennion
Couple missionaries moved into the apartment right underneath us and gave us some food this week!! It is the first time I have not eaten rice for dinner in a long time...I am becoming Asian...ahhhhh.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17th


Great week. We were able to meet with Qing a couple of times (our most progressing investigator). She is 20 pages away from finishing the Book of Mormon (she has only had it for 2 weeks!! So amazing) and she feels like it is the word of God. We asked her if she had prayed about it and about if Joseph Smith is a prophet and she admitted that she had not yet. We invited her to do so and she accepted. We will meet with her again this week and see how she is doing and, hopefully, she will be prepared for baptism by next week! 

Miracle of the week: We got a text from a new investigator last Monday that said, ''No offense, but does your church practice polygamy?'' Que panic. I have never seen an investigator that has responded well to that topic, especially one like her, who we have only met with once. We prayed and then felt that we should answer back simply explaining that it was a part of our early church's history, but was discontinued in 1890 and then express that we would love to explain more when we met next week. We waited a while, but she did not answer back. We were about to give up hope when we received a text that said she would love to understand more and that she was willing to keep an open mind. She came to church this last Sunday and we were able to answer her questions and set another appointment. So grateful. I really feel the Lord has blessed us a lot.

I recently came across a quote from Brigham Young that stated: ''Before we condemn, we should wait until the heavens clearly indicate a fault in a father, brother, sister, wife, husband, or neighbor (and might I add, a companion or investigator). And if heaven declares a fault, wait until the Holy Ghost manifests to you that such is a fault.'' I really love this thought. It is definitely something I have to continue to work on both on my mission, and throughout the rest of my life. 

Time's almost up, love you all!
-Sister Bennion
Autumn on the tram tracks in Melbourne, AustraliaBeautiful autumn day along the Yarra River, Melbourne, Australia

We’ve been blessed with a few gorgeous autumn days lately: bright blue and sunny skies, vibrant changing leaves, a crispness in the air that almost makes you want to take your jacket off.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 10th


Another great week in Melbourne :) We were able to really get some great teaching experience this week for Sister C (we just got our transfer news last Saturday and Sister C and I will be companions for another transfer!! Woohoo!). We have such an amazing investigator right now. She has already read more than 200 pages of the Book of Mormon (in a week!) and says that, although she does not completely understand everything she reads, she can feel the Spirit. We hit our first problem last week though...she has a parent guardian visa and she said that the visa limits her from working or studying when she is in Australia until her son is 18. She had talked to her visa agent in China about joining church and he said that it would be better to wait until August when her son turned 18 before when got involved in any religious activity. When she told Sister C and I, we had no idea how to help her. We went home that night and prayed that the Lord would help us know what to do. I had a feeling I should  call our Branch President for advise. I talked with him briefly over the phone about our investigators predicament and he told us that there would be no problem and asked us to invite our investigator to meet with him before church the next day. Our investigator accepted and we went to his office together the next morning. Our branch president had prepared a TV screen that showed the parent guardian visa requirements and was able to explain to her very clearly that the visa could not restrict religious activity. Our investigator left the office happy and looking forward to her baptismal date later this month :) I'm so grateful for an amazing branch president who was so willing to take the time to help!

I was reading the story of the 10 lepers this week again. Briefly, the story goes like this: One day the Savior entered a village where there were 10 lepers. These 10 lepers came to the Savior and said, “Master, have mercy upon us; havemercy upon us who have that terrible ailment of leprosy.” And He said to the 10 lepers, “Go show yourself unto the priest”—which they did. As they went to the priest, they were cleansed, all 10 of them. A short time later, one of themreturned to the Savior and fell on his face and his hands and his knees, thanking the Savior for blessing him and making him well from that terrible disease. And the Savior said to that one man: “Weren’t there 10? What has happened tothe other nine? Where are they?” The Savior then told the man, "Arise, go thy way. Thy faith has made you whole."

I have heard this story many, many times throughout my life. But, as I read it this last week, I had 2 new ideas that came to my mind that changed my perspective on the story.

1. Luke 17:14 says "As they went (to the priest), they were cleansed." It was not in the presence of the priest that the lepers were cleansed, but in the journey. I think that perhaps one of the reasons that 9 of the lepers did not return to thank Christ is that they perhaps did not ascribe the miracle to him. They might have been so focused on act of visiting the priest to be cleansed as a confirmation of Christ's power that, when they were cleansed along the way, they did not recognize the Savior's hand in their healing. Perhaps the grateful leper was the only one who was able to connect the miracle with the Savior's advise to visit the priest. It makes me reconsider: when answer to our prayers come in ways I do not expect  or possibly want, how quick am I to recognize the source?  

2. I love that last line. "Thy faith has made you whole." All of the lepers were cleansed physically, but only one was made whole, mind, body, and spirit. And it is in that state that we can find happiness that outlast any bodily frailties.
LOVE YOU ALL! Congrats to Rachel on her play success!

-Sister Bennion

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 3rd


How's it going? Hope everything is going well! I can't believe Louie is home! Wow. Time flies.

In our zone conference last week, our mission president gave a training on success. During the training, he shared with us the story of Eric Liddell, a famous runner for England. He was also a devout Christian and would not run races on Sunday. He infuriated the British leadership by refusing to run the 100m prelim race for the Olympics that was held on a Sunday, even when under enormous pressure. He instead ran the 400m prelim, a race he ultimately won. When describing his strategy for running the 400m, Liddell stated: "I run the first 200 meters as fast as I can and, with the Lord's help, I run the 2nd 200 meters even faster." 

 It is really weird that that I am halfway through my mission. In a way, it feels like I just started. But, as our mission president shared with us Liddell's story and that quote, it made me think a lot about how I ran races in high school. I always felt like I was going as fast as I can the first 200m, but the last 200m I gave everything I had.

I am 200m into my mission. I have done well so far. I have worked hard, helped people learn about the Gospel, tried to serve all I can. But, it is still not enough. I have always been someone who can finish stronger than I start. I want to give the Lord everything I have these last couple months. I want to work harder than I ever have before. I want to convert and be converted. I want to do all I can to make myself into an effective instrument that He can use whatever the circumstance. 

"The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecution may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." 

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

-Sister Bennion