Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21st

Hello everyone!! Happy Easter! 

 We got transfer news last Saturday and I am still in the City (for the 7th transfer. This will be my 9th month in the same area). Pretty crazy haha. But I am really grateful. I LOVE our branch. I have grown super close to a lot of members and I was not ready to say goodbye to them yet. We also have some really great investigators right now. One is a member referral that we were able to meet with last week. She went to a baptismal service with her member friend, Yomi, and after talking with her for a while, she started asking questions about the Gospel. She came to church on Sunday. LOVE MEMBER REFERRALS. 

I was thinking a lot about Elder Holland's general conference talk on the cost of discipleship this past week, especially in conjunction with this quote I found from the Prophet Joseph Smith.

“God never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of His law and ordinances."  

There has been many times in these last few months that I have been the receiving side of a "Not interested"  before I have even had time to give a "Hello" or been walking down the street with my companion and had someone cross to the other side of the street when they see our tags. Some people treat the message we share as an inconvenience,and view talking with us on the street as something that stands in the way of them and their dinner appointment or uni studies. It is easy to start to get in that mind set as well, to start to lose confidence as you are rejected again and again. But, the thing that always gets me back out finding for hours every day or making calls at 9:30 at night is that I know that what Joseph Smith said in the above quote is true. I have seen it fulfilled in the lives of the missionaries around me, the lives of the members of the members of our branch, and my own life. I know that as we follow the Lord's commandments and as we seek to do His will, we will find eternal happiness. And I know that the Lord's commandments in their fullest are found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I know that this message is something that leads to happiness and is definitely not something that inconveniences anyone. In Elder Hollland's words: " Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them. (...) It is a strait path, and it is a narrow path without a great deal of latitude at some points, but it can be thrillingly and successfully traveled, “with … steadfastness in Christ, … a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.”19 In courageously pursuing such a course, you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, youcannot fall. Asking people to repent and come to Christ is not something that is, was, or ever will be popular. But it is something that is worth it and I am growing to love more and more every day. 

Love you all tons!

-Sister Bennion

The story of the prodical daughter:

One day, there was a girl who served a mission. She was young and a little naive, but she loved the Lord and wanted to serve. So, she went across the world according to the call of a prophet and began her service. She was careful and thrifty with her money, abstaining from buying anything but the necessities. Until, one fateful day she realized something that changed the very fabric of her miserly being. She needed a side bag. The mission rules had changed and now a side bag was mandatory. So she started her search for a large side bag, but none could be found. She began to lose hope as, store after store, she still could not find a suitable bag. By Christmas time, she was feeling down. Then, her mother gave her an email, saying that she had put a little extra money in the girls credit card. This filled the girl with yet more despair because she hated shopping. THen, one day, as she was walking by a store on P-day, she spotted it. A sidebag. And not just any sidebag, but the perfect sidebag, the one that she had been looking for. She entered the store and found that one of her investigators worked there. She asked the price of the bag and was told it was costly. But, she wanted the bag badly and was told it would be 60% percent off. "Buy it" her investigator said. Buy it, her companion said. Sinking under the stress, the girl bought it and left the store quickly with her pricey purchase. However, the bag soon became a weight on her conscious. Every time she looked at it, she felt the guilt, especially when Christmas presents came and her mother had in fact bought her a lot of stuff. She did not buy any further purchases for herself, but the guilt was still there. Finally, at general conference, there was a talk about living in your means and the girl decided to tell her beloved and wise, oh great mother....................................

That is the story of how I bought a 130 dollar bag on my mission. I'm sorry. I will finish the story in the next email. 

Love you.

I'm foolish.

-Sister Bennion
                                                                       The BAG

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14th

I LOVED CONFERENCE. It was so fantastic. 

Conference talk that reminded me of Mom:
"What are You Thinking?" by Elder W. Craig Zwick. The story where the wife jumps out of the speeding car to "save the baby" was too much for me. Such a Kristi Bennion thing to do (Reminded me of the "Get me out of here" incident of 2012)

Conference talk that reminded me of Dad:
"If Ye Lack Wisdom" by Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis. He had such a Papa Gru accent. I was trying so hard to stop myself from bursting up laughing the whole time (because it really was an awesome talk)

My favourite talk was President Uchtdorf's on gratitude. I have been feeling like my prayers have not been as meaningful as I would like them to be lately and, even after looking at what Preach my Gospel said on the subject, I still felt like I was missing something. After listening to his talk I realized what it was: genuine gratitude no matter what my situation is.

Another great conference experience has to do with one of our investigators. She is one of the nicest, happiest people I have ever had the privilege of teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but is not sure God exist, even after  meeting us for about 3 to 4 weeks. She agreed to come to conference last week and we told her to prepare a few questions that she had beforehand. We told her that, as she went to conference and really listened with an open heart to the messages she heard, she would find answers to all of the questions she had prepared. She could only come to the morning session of general conference and had to leave quickly after it had finished. But, that night, she sent us a text telling us how much she had loved conference and how it had really helped her faith in Jesus Christ and God grow. She also told us that she really wants to pray and attend church regularly.  

I am so grateful for the amazing, inspired leaders of our church. I am grateful that God has given us a modern day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and I am so grateful for the revelation that we are able to receive.

(Except from Sarah's letter to Rachel)
 I definitely think that obedience  it is a Christlike attribute that is worth strengthening, especially in the next few years, when every decision you make is important. As for counsel, I have 2 thoughts to share:

1) Last week, we had mission president interviews, where all the missionaries in our zone get to sit one on one with the mission president for about 10 minutes. When the mission president finished talking to me, he ended with a spiritual thought that I thought was very interesting. He told about the story of the Battle of Waterloo, where the French soldiers, headed by Napoleon, were fighting the British. The battle was barely won by the British and was a pivotal turning point in the war. At the end of the battle, some people asked the Duke who was over the British soldiers what the secret was that produced the outcome of the battle. The Duke answered: "The British soldiers were not any stronger or more courageous than the French soldiers. They were just strong and courageous for 5 minutes longer."  The mission president then went on to talk about the importance of pulling through to the end, of knocking on one more door, making one more phone call at 9:30pm, and making sure personal study is an hour instead of 55 mins. When he was talking about it, I realized something that I needed to work on. I think of myself as an obedient missionary. But, as you know, time management is not one of my strengths and there are some times when my personal study is 5 minutes late. I realized how important it is to really nail down those things that seem little, but can make all the difference in the long run. Obedience is not just about being exact on the huge rules/commandments (Word of wisdom, law of chastity, etc), but following what seems like the "little ones" with the same exactness.  

2) Last month, I gave a training in our Zone Meeting about obedience. In it, I used one of the stories I found when reading from the Bible in my personal study. It is in 1 Kings . It tells about King Saul, who was commanded by God to destroy all of the Amalekites and all their possessions. King Saul went over with his armies and wiped out all of the Amalekites....except their king. He also spared "all that was good" of the Amalekites' possessions. Samuel the prophet visited him later and saw that Saul had not obeyed the Lord exactly. When Saul protested that he had just kept the Amalekites possessions because the people wanted to sacrifice them to the Lord, Samuel responded: "To obey is better than to sacrifice." God is our Heavenly Father. He knows us thoroughly and gives us commandments to protect us, teach us, and help us grow. He expects us not just to be obedient to these commandments, but exactly obedient.

I love you so much! Have a great week and know that you are always in my prayers!

-Sister Bennion

I just received this facebook letter from Sandra Qiu who just completed a mini mission with Sarah:
Hey Sister Bennion's mom,thanks for accepting my friend request! Yea,Sister Bennion is a very awesome Missionary, love her so much and I hope you enjoy Sister Bennion's pictures, have a nice day!
11 hours ago
Sandra did you serve in her ward with her? How is her Chinese doing?
4 hours ago

I'm not a full time Missionary.I'm from Malaysia and I have a three months holiday working visa in Aus(i came here right after my high school final exam so i have plenty of time waiting college/uni to start and also because i have relatives here).Because i'm hitting the mission age in Jan 2015 ,i really wanted to know whether i want to go on a mission or not so I asked the Sister Missionaries(Sister Bennion and Sister Chen)to let experience one day doing missionary work.When Sister Bennion knows that I wanted to do that,she planned everything(made me a tag,all of us did potluck, made me a Missionary planner, make sure I wear the right attire)and let me feel like i'm a real Missionary,she's so awesome!!!She speaks super great Chinese especially when she's teaching lessons(i've joined several of their discussion).She speaks fluently and I really couldn't describe in words cause she's way too good.Sometimes when Sister Chen and some of the member are learning English, Sister Bennion and me will companionship and go out proselyting(we called that gq-ing).She always try her best to speaks as much Chinese as she can (i think thats how she improve her Chinese so fast and speaks so good Chinese).
Sarah cooked this!!!!  

Sister Bennion & Mini Missionary Sister Qui

                                                            The feast that Sarah cooked!
                                                         The planner & tag she made for Sister Qiu

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7th


Another fantastic week in Melbourne City! The only thing that could have been improved? General conference. We still have to wait a week. It's killing me. But, I am really excited for the chance to get to hear from the prophet and his apostles! I've already prepared some questions that I want to find answers for as I listen to the sessions. So pumped.

On another note, we had president interviews this past week! Sister Chen was able to do the whole interview with President Maxwell without a translator present, which was pretty awesome. President Maxwell is a great, great mission president; we are very lucky to have him at the head of our mission.

Miracle of the week: Last week, we invited everyone we met with to church. There were about three people who told us to call them Saturday to confirm. So, last Saturday, we called those people up and were informed by all of them that they were busy, had too much homework, etc. We quickly realized that we would not likely have anyone at church that week. We started calling people who had come to church in the past and they all also said they could not come/were not interested. Finally, at 8:58pm, we decided to just call one more number before we started planning. It was someone who I had met 4 weeks ago and had not set a time to meet with us because she was too busy. The girl answered the phone and after asking her how her day was and listening to the answer, I straight up asked her if she would be able to come to church tomorrow....and she said yes. She was there the next day along with her boyfriend and they both agreed to meet next week and hear more about our message :) 

Spiritual thought: In my personal study, I have been reading about about the war chapters in Alma for the last couple days. As I was finishing the chapters, I came across a verse I thought was really interesting. It is Alma 62: 41. It states:  But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened becausof their aafflictionsinsomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.
When we go through trials in our lives, we have two choices. We can choose to be embittered by our experiences or we can humble ourselves and turn to God.  "Life is 5% of what happens and 95% how you react to what happens"

Thank you for the emails and pictures! You are all in my prayers!

-Sister Bennion

Mama! Everything is going good! We got the skirts and I LOVE mine! Sister Chen loved the dress, but thought the skirt is too bright, because, although she likes bright colors generally, she feels she looks better in gray or black....should have listened to my mother :) BUT a miracle came out of that skirt! I was wondering what I should do with it, because it is too small for me. I decided just to bring it to a church meeting and give it to a sister missionary that was really tiny. But, when I got to the meeting I started talking to one of the members that has become a really good friend of mine. She is one of the strongest members of the branch, but she often dresses immodestly ( modesty is a problem in our ward for everyone...). When I was talking to her, I had a prompting to give her the skirt. She was a little surprised, but gratefully accepted it. After we went to Relief Society together and guess what the lesson was focused on? Modesty at church meetings! She texted us later that night, thanking us for the modest skirt and said she would wear it next week to church :) HOORAY! 

Love you!! Thank you so much!