Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 28th

THIS WEEK. Oh my goodness, where to begin! It has been the craziest, most stressful, and most completely and utterly amazing week I have experienced on my mission!
For the last few weeks, we have been teaching this girl from Shanghai named Emily. The elders who were in the area before us found her and she is one of the most prepared people I have ever met. She goes to church just about every Sunday, knows the Book of Mormon is true, and has a super strong testimony that God lives and loves her. However, she was really hesitant to get baptized. The elders had set a couple baptism dates with her, but each time the date approached, she felt unprepared or a concern came up. About a month ago, when we first got into the area, Emily let us know that she was going to move to Sydney on August 1st and told us that she had decided she wanted to be baptized there, because she felt like it would be a fresh start for her. We told her that we would respect her decision and continued to teach her the lessons over the next few weeks. However, this past week, both Sister S and I got the feeling that we should invite her to be baptized again. So, we went over tithing with her (the last thing she needed to know) and afterwards, went over the Baptismal Interview Questions (without telling her they were Baptism Interview Questions :) ) and she passed it with flying colors. We let her know that she was prepared and invited her to be baptized the coming weekend. She went home, prayed about it, and sent us a text that night saying she wanted to be baptized that Sunday! We spent the next 3 days scrambling to get everything done, but it was SO WORTH IT! It was amazing to see her dressed in white and looking so happy!! Ahhh. I love this work.
Love you all! Look for miracles, they happen!!
-Sister Sarah Bennion

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 21st

Crazy week!!
Sorry, because of all of the BYU application stuff, this will not be the best email (let us all take a moment to dwell on how weird it is that I will have to apply to BYU classes again soon...ahhhh...real life). But here is a few really cool experiences from the past week!
1. We got a text from a roommate of a less active that said, "my name is Christina, I want english help and also to know the purpose of life. Can we meet this week?" so awesome.
2. We met a less active named Michael a few weeks ago. He is a really nice guy, just super busy and stressed about tests and visa stuff. He said that we could contact him after a couple of weeks so, last Saturday, we texted to see how he was doing. He responded, "Great! See you at church tomorrow!" and then he came! For the first time in a year! Everyone in the ward was so happy to see him.
I was reading through the Christlike attributes session and noticed in the introduction that it said "All Christlike attributes are a gift from God." I think it is interesting that the first Christlike attribute mentioned is faith in Jesus Christ. My companion and I were talking about it later and discussed how we both have always felt like faith is our job. It is something that we have to work on and then eventually develop. But, according to preach my gospel, faith is in fact, a gift from God. Great faith is not the finishing line to a life of living righteously, it is a gift bestowed to us along the way by the Lord to motivate us to do and be better and must be asked for through "great prayer and fasting." 
Love you all!
-Sister Bennion

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14th

Thank you so much for the emails this week! I got a total of 46, RECORD BREAKING! I love you all and I felt very very loved in return :)
I am so happy the whole family got back together! And I loved loved loved the Michael narwhal shirt story. Oh my goodness. I am still cracking up.
Another great week in Tassie! We had a complete miracle day last Wednesday and were able to find two rock solid awesome people as we were on our way to a lesson! Their names are Hank and Joe. Haha, some of the names the Chinese exchange students pick are so random, I love it. We invited Hank to come to dinner with us at one of the member families' home. He just came to Australia a few weeks ago and so his English is still not the best, but he seemed to really enjoy it. He told the husband that he thought his mustache was very handsome. Good times. :)
I realized this last week that it had been about a year since I got my last priesthood blessing and felt like I needed to get one. Sister S said that she wanted one as well, so we were able to ask our Zone Leaders for one after District Meeting. It was exactly what I needed. Some of the things that the elder giving me the blessing said was a direct answer to my prayers. It definitely strengthened my appreciation for the restoration of the priesthood and made me realize what a blessing it has been throughout my life. I love this Gospel!
Love you all!
-Sister Bennion 

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7th

I realized last Friday it is the first time in my life that I have not been in America for Independance day! Super weird. Luckily, we have rocking members who got us a 4th of July package with Oreos, Tim-Tams, Antac biscuits, and sparklers, so we still got to celebrate the holiday in a very American fashion :)
We had a really great week. We were able to contact and meet with a lot of former investigators and met with some of the people we had found in weeks previous that have a ton of potential!
Two miracles of the week:
1) We met with this Chinese guy from Inner Mongolia who is a member of one of the local Baptist churches. He has really great English, so he started off just talking to us completely in English and was asking questions "How much success do Mormons have with the Chinese people in this area?" "Do people actually want to meet with you?" "Where do you go to find people?"  and other slightly awkward, seeking intel kind of questions. Finally, he asked, "Why do you use a Book of Mormon? Isn't one Bible enough?" We started to explain to him about prophets and asked him if we could speak Chinese to explain more clearly. He was pretty shocked that we could speak Chinese well (well for foreigners at least :) ) and, after we started speaking Chinese, he started really listening to what we were saying. In the end, he agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was the word of God, as well as meet again this next week.
2) We had a ton of contacts in our phone that we had not been able to get a hold of and knew nothing about. So, for weekly planning last week, we took the time to send a mass text to all of the investigator contacts in the phone saying that we were the new missionaries in the area and asking if there was a good time we could meet next week. We got a text back a minute later from one of the contacts we had texted that said "I am coming to church on Sunday!" And she did! Her name is Catherine and she is one of the most prepared people I have ever met. She said that she had met with missionaries for the first time about a year ago, but, because she had gone back to China for a few months, she had lost contact with them. She already believes in God and Jesus Christ and is eager to learn more! So cool!
Love you all!

-Sister Bennion