Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22nd

Such a crazy, fun, stressful, amazing week.  We spend Monday-Thursday as translators for a Chinese senior couple on the Tasmania Senior Missionary Retreat.  On Sunday Christina was baptized!
Here are the highlights of the trip:
1.     This happened.
I actually got to pet a Tasmanian Devil.  They usually do not allow people to touch them, but since it was raining hard when we got to the Wildlife Park, they brought the animals to us.
2.     Also got a selfie with a wallaby.

3.     I got to witness Sister C’s first time being in the snow when we went to the top of Mt. Wellington.  It was a complete BLIZZARD and I was pretty sure we were going to be blown off the mountain, but Sis C was so excited!

4.     WE went to Port Arthur! It was the biggest convict prison in Tasmania where all of the worst convicts would be shipped off to.  It was not as impressive as I thought it would be because a lot of it was under construction, but still……
Criminals built these buildings while being shackled to each other.

5.     We got to spend time with the Lins!  They are such great people and it was fun translating for them and showing them Tassie.  In conclusion….sign me up to be a senior missionary.  They are living the dream.

Christina’s baptism went really well.  She was so prepared and happy.  The ward welcomed her in with open arms.  She also got the chance to bear her testimony and it was so rock solid.  We are so lucky we got the chance to teach and be taught by her.  She is going to be a fantastic member of the church.

Spirital thought:
One of the senior missionaries shared with us a quote.  It states: “The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue.  It is the integrity you demonstrate towards the faith you do have and the truth you already know."  This quote reminded me a LOT of Christina.  She studied math and science as her majors in uni and it was hard for her at first to develop faith.  However she was willing to keep the commandments, pray, read the scriptures, and go to church as as she did these things her faith started to grow.  However she still expressed to us just a few weeks before her baptism how unworthy she felt to make a covenant wit the Lord.  She felt she did not have enough faith or enough knowledge to be baptized.  We asked her to pray about it and through prayer she realized the concept that is stated so well in the quote the senior missionary said to us later on. God does not expect us to know everything or to believe everything all at once.  He simply asks us to act on the faith and truth we already have.  His call is not to be perfect now, but to “Walk with Him”, as it states in Moses 6:34.  And as we do this, He promises’ us that His spirit will be upon us and that He will abide in us.
I love you all.  See you in less than 2 months (Where does time go?!?)
Sister Sarah Bennion

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 15th

Here is some of what happened this week!
1.        We had exchanges with some sisters in Launceston (which is on the north edge of Tasmania.  We are on the southernmost part, so we had a nice road trip J).  It was so strange to go into an English speaking area for finding and teaching!  But it was a great experience; both the Launie sisters and their area are really fantastic.
2.       The mission president instituted a new rule.  Sister missionaries and elders cannot be in the same car without another member of the opposite sex in the car.  This would be no problem IF it were not for the fact that we don’t have a car…and officially our area is the bottom HALF of Tasmania…BUT, luckily we have been blessed with members willing to drive us to church, ward council meetings, etc..
3.       We met a guy from Taiwan on the street that is not a Christian or a member of any church who said he believes in the “ministering of angels” Not something you hear every day.  We set up an appointment with him and will hopefully meet this next week.
4.       Sis C and I found out this next week we are going to join senior missionary couples on a 3 day tour around Tasmania (so we can translate for the Linns, one of the senior couples who are from Mainland China and speak no English)!  I will let you know how that went next week.
5.     Christina called us on Tuesday night of last week and said she prayed and got the answer she was suppose to be baptized!!!  So exciting.  Even after almost a year and a half, I am still awed and amazed by the fact that people who a few months ago knew near to nothing about God can talk with Him, find answers from Him and change their life for Him.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing!
6.       Spiritual Thought: In one of our church meetings yesterday, temple and temple attendance were discussed.  As they discussed the importance of attending the temple and the blessings received from the temple.  I was surprised to see many of the people listening to the lesson were in tears.  AS I continued to listen to the lesson I realized how much harder it was for the people here on the island of Tasmania to get to ta temple.  I have always lived in close proximity to a temple and have started to overlook what a blessing that it is.  In that same lesson, a quote was mentioned that also caught my attention, “The temple is for worthy people, not perfect people.”  I think that besides geographical distance, another factor that can stop people from going to the temple is fear that they are not good enough or prepared enough to make the sacred eternally significant vows in the temple. But, I think it helps me to realize that as long as I am doing my best, repenting, and trying to follow Jesus Christ, I do not need to feel like I am not prepared or good enough to be in the house of God.  I feel like I really want to gain a stronger testimony of the temple and the importance of performing the ordinances inside the temple.
Love you all! Have a great week! 

Love, Sister Bennion

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 8th

Another beautiful week in Tasmania!  I would never guess that we are just coming out of winter, we have been spoiled.   I swear Tasmania is Australia’s best kept secret.  This last week, Sister Chan and I were able to give a training in District Meeting on finding.  It turned out pretty well, we did a role play at the end where we had missionaries close their eyes and randomly grab a pamphlet, then use the pamphlet in a finding situations.  It definitely pushed some of the missionaries, especially on elder who picked a law of chastity pamphlet.
After the District Meeting we went outside to find that a member had prepared us all a HUGE lunch.  She made more than 100 sandwiches with soup and dessert.  She told us we were expected to eat EVERYTHING.  There are 10 people in our district and everyone was full with 80 sandwiches still left.  We ended up just passing the sandwich platter around the table over and over again with everyone taking a sandwich each time it went around.  So many sandwiches. BUT we finished everything…SUCCESS!
One thing I found out this week: Sister Chan HATES dogs. Hates, hates, dogs.  Every time a person with a dog passes us on the street she runs past and says, “They tried to kill me!” Today as we were doing morning run, two dogs on leashes across the street from us ran across the street from us and ran into each other, started barking at each other and doing other typical dog things.  After we ran past them, Sis. Chan turned to me with a complete serious face and said, “There was a war.” HaHa.
In our ward’s relief society lesson this past week the topic was faith.  The Relief Society President, who was teaching the lesson, shared a quote that I loved.  It stated, “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone.  The shell cracks, it’s insides come out and everything changes.  To someone who doesn’t understand growth it looks like complete destruction.”  Often  in the church we hear the scripture from Alma 32:28 where faith in the “word” is compared to a see.   It is something you plant in your heart and see grow over time if it is nourished.  But I think one of the lines of the scripture that I often overlook is the “if” clause presented at the beginning of the scripture. It says that the see can start to grow IF you do not cast it out by your unbelief.” And why would someone cast out that see of faith?  Because in order for faith to grow there needs to be change and that a change can be painful.  However, as a missionary, I can testify that it is from perseverance and continued efforts to increase faith that we can start to see the blessings that faith brings and it is at this point that faith does “enlarge the soul” and “enlighten understanding”
Love you all!  Have a fantastic week!

Sister Sarah Bennion

September 1st

I got a new companion this week.  Her name is Sister Chan, she is from Taiwan.  She is a great missionary (she literally talks to EVERYONE.  Keeps me on my toes) and I am really excited to be serving with her down here is Tasmania.  I already miss Sis. Seeley a LOT (especially during morning exercises.  The quality since Sister Seeley left has declined by heaps!)  Sis. Chan is appalled that Tasmania has so many hills.  Her catchphrase during our morning jog is I’ll do anything for the Lord”….but change is good. 
Great experience of the week we finally ran into Juncker again.  Juncker was one of our investigators that had quit smoking in order to be baptized, but had fallen off the face of the earth about a month ago.  He would not answer phone calls or texts and every time we visited his house, his roommates said, “He was at school or work”. We were walking by his house this last week and I had a feeling we should stop by again.  We knocked on his door and his WIFE answered!  She said she had arrived from China a few days ago and after we talked a little about what we do as missionaries she said she wanted to know more about Jesus Christ! So cool! 
Later that same night we went to Christina’s house and taught her about the Holy Ghost.  She asked us for an example of times we had followed promptings from the Spirit and we shared with her the experience from earlier that day with Juncker’s wife.  As I was telling her how we had tried to get a hold of Juncher over the last month, I used a phrase we had visited his house about a thousand times.  Christina interrupted and said, “That’s harassment!” ha ha! Probably shouldn’t exaggerate with Christina around.
In one of our meetings this last week, someone gave a training on the subject of conversion.  In that training we used an analogy, likening our testimonies to nail.  He then explained that in order for a nail to with stand the necessary hammering, you must apply some initial pressure to it and keep it steady.  Our testimonies are the same. They need pressure.  I think that pressure can come in the form of commandments, callings, church attendance, and other things worthy things that may seem to press on our time and energy, but also help us spiritually perspire for the eventual hammering of trials, temptations, opposition and questions.  As we hold firmly to our testimony and apply pressure, we can truly become converted.
Love you all!  Thanks for your prayers!

Love, Sister Sarah Bennion