Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 27th

How is everything going stateside?  Tassie is still good; its warming up here!  We also went to Mello this last Thursday for a meeting and it was HOT (We have been up to Melb so many times in the last few months.  By mid-Nov I might have enough frequent flier points to ride business class from Melb to the USA haha!) the meeting we went to was really great though. They shared a recording of a talk by Simon Sinek called "Why good leaders make you feel safe." (Approved by Pres Maxwell because he is not a member of the church :)) It was really eye-opening; it make me realize how important it is to really care about the people you work with.  Sinek shared a story in the speech about a company that was in heavy debt during a financial crisis and needed a couple million dollars.  Some of the leaders of the company discussed laying off people, but the head of the company refused to do so.  He instead announced that everyone in the company would have to take four weeks of unpaid vacation sometime over the next few months.  He said they could take it all at once or a bit by bit over the period of time.  His reasoning it it is better that everyone go a little without than for anyone to lose their job.  The response from the company was enormous.  The company made twice the amount of money they needed to cover the debt.  Many of the worker who were more well-off took extra days of unpaid vacation so others could go to work. The point of the speech: when you provide a safe environment for those who you work over or around, people will respond with trust. Jesus Christ is of course the best example of this.  He was bold in his defense of truth, but still responded with forgiveness and compassion to the repentant.  His motive for everything He did was LOVE and it made all the difference.  
Other than the meeting, we have seen a lot of progress with a lot of our instigators.  Especially Harry.  We shared with him about the temple this last week and he was really into it!  We asked him if he would like to go to the temple with the ward on November to do baptisms and he said "YES!"  Not sure how it will work though...Because his date for Nov. 9th and he would still have to wait a week to get the gift of the Holy Ghost and get a recommend...oh well.  We will work it our somehow if he really wants to go up to Melbourne for it. 
Sister Chan just said to me this morning, "You're going home in 3 weeks. Hash-tag" Weird to think about.  Got to use every moment!
Love Sister Bennion
Before Russell Falls....
                                                              Nice and soggy after  Russell Falls!

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20th

How is everything going in the USA?  Life is good in Tassie.  Really, really good.  Sister Chan and I have been completely blessed these last few weeks.  It is finals time for most uni students right now (aka the time where all Chinese students go into study hibernation for a month and have absolutely no time to meet with missionaries), bu we are still teaching some really prepared people right now.  One of them is named Jack. He is a really cool guy.  He loves NBA basketball and has a ton of Michael Jordan shoes (which I learned long ago from Chris Bates is a big deal for guys :)) Another is Harry (I think I talked about him a little last week). He loves the Book of Mormon and has read to Alma 20 already.  called us last Saturday night (side note: I hate getting calls on Saturday night because typically it is an investigator calling to say they can't come to church, etc).  We asked him what was up and responded, "Nothing.  I just wanted to know, can I come to church tomorrow?"  Haha I have never had an investigator ask permission to come to church he is just so prepared.
Also, I can't remember if we've already told you this or not, bu....we have a car!  For the 1st time on my mission!  It has been really nice to get places faster.  Cars are awesome.
Funny moment of the week:  
We have a new Elder in our district named Elder Kumano (originally from Japan).  He was assigned to give a training in our district meeting this last week.  Our district leader, who was conducting the meeting introduced the training by saying, "Now we will be privileged to hear from Elder Kumano who will give his training in his native language of Japanese.  Subtitles will be shown on the screen below" hahahah
Spiritual Thought:
I read through the book of Job this last week.  I found it very interesting, especially the dialogue between Satan and God at the beginning of the book (and the fact that in Job 1:6 it talks about the children of God presenting themselves before the sounds like the equivalent of a Bishop's interview to me.  Also I did not realize before reading the book all the way through that about 35 of the 42 chapters are Job's "friends" counseling Job to repent (because they are sure that God would not allow so many bad things to happen to a righteous man and Job arguing back, asserting his own righteousness.  Finally, in the chapter 32, one of Job's friends, Eligu, angrily criticizing Job for "rebelling against God" by refusing to admit his own fault.  His harsh criticism goes on until chapter 38.  I know if I were Job at this point, I would be thoroughly confused and begin to doubt whether I HAD done something wrong and if all the misfortune really was a punishment from God.  I think it is significant that when the Lord's reply to Job's prayers finally comes in chapter 38, it states "The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind." when I read that , I thought of the Lord's voice not coming out of a real whirlwind, but a whirlwind of confusion and uncertainty, or as Joseph Smith puts it in his own account, "a tumult of opinions." In the April 2014 General Conference, Elder Lancer E Corbridge said, "Opposition, criticism and antagonism are companions to the truth." I have definitely seen the truth of that statement on my mission.  There is definitely a whirlwind of worldly voices that try to convince those who follow the commandments of God that they are in the wrong, many of which, like Job's friends, do so with what they feel is good intent. The most important thing, however is always to be listening for the voice of The Lord, which pierces through such whirlwinds and testifies of truth.
Love you all! Hope you have a fantastic week!
Love Sister Bennion

                                                      Constitution Dock in Hobart


Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13th

General Conference was so good!   I feel like being on a mission has really opened my eyes to what a blessing being able to listen to the prophet and his apostles twice a year is.  A lot of the talks given were direct answers to my prayers as well as to the prayers and questions of Harry, our  investigator who went to the Sunday sessions of conference.  One example we had a lesson with Harry between the morning and afternoon session and he shared with us a scripture he had read in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 9:51), which basically states “do not spend money for that which is of no worth.” He then asked us what kind of things are of worth and we asked him to think and pray about it.  Then, we went to the afternoon session and Elder Scott gave an awesome talk on the 4 keys to conversion aka: what is of worth.  I love General Conference!  Funny Sister Chen line of the week: We have a former investigator named John who is a member of the Baptist church. We run into him a lot because the church he attends is on the street where we often go to do street contracting.  He is really nice, but it is always a little bit awkward running into him.  Last Saturday I saw him walking up the street and said to Sis. Chan, “Look who it is again.”  Sister Chan looked up for a second and offhandedly said, John the Baptist” hahahaha .  It cracked me up.
Spiritual Thought:
I was ready this last week the Bible story of Elijah.  It is one that I had not read entirely in the past and I felt like I got a lot out of it.  I especially liked the part where Elijah gathers all the people to Mt. Carmel fir the showdown between him and the priests of Baal.  But, the part that stood out to me most was not the challenge between Elijah and the priests of Baal itself, but the question Elijah asks to the gathered Israelites on Mt Carmel.  He said, “How long halt ye between two opinions?  If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” As I watched conference this last weekend, that statement kept coming back to my head.  The message I kept getting from every session of conference was that there is no room for neutrality as a member of the church.  We have to make a choice and consecrate ourselves to it.  Because God will make demands of us (I loved the quote by Elder Christofferson, “A god who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a god that doesn’t exist.”) and those demands will require sacrifice.  But, as we commit ourselves to following the Lord with not just our might and strength, but our mind and heart as well, we will find the fullness of peace, happiness and blessings alluded to so often in the scriptures.
Love you!!! Have a great week.

Love, Sis. Bennion
Proof I really can cook!

This is what happens when you look a the same picture of Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove every day for a year and a half!

Because we can only have posters in our flat that are from the gospel art book or are of apostles and prophets......

On top of Mt. Wellington!
Grandma's (she has all missionaries call her grandma because she does not have an kids)
 birthday party.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 6th

Hey Family!
It’s been such a fantastic week here in Tasmania!  First, some big news: we found out transfer news…I’m staying in Tassie with Sister Chan!!! I was so excited when I found out. I really love this area a lot and I’m glad I have some more time here! I’m also grateful I get to be with Sister Chan another transfer, she is pretty hilarious. Example: Just yesterday after having a huge member feed of tacos, I saw her in the kitchen eating some leftover curry and rice from the last night.  When I asked her why she was still eating, she answered, “If I don’t eat rice or noodles every day I feel like I dishonor my ancestors.” Hahaha.
Cool experience of the week: Two Sundays ago, we did not have any investigators at church.  Sister Chan and I discussed it later that night and decided we wanted to focus on helping people attend sacrament the next week.  We started mentioning it in every prayer.  Because we were out of our area at meetings for 3 days, we were not able to meet with many of our investigators, but we kept praying to have people go to church. And in the last few days of the week, 6 people committed to coming to church and four of them actually came!  One of those 4 was just someone we met on the street on Friday and invited to church.   Two of the others had never gone to church before.  It really made me realize once again how aware Heavenly Father is of us and how willing He is to answer our prayers.  “Ask and you shall receive.”
I was reading the story of Balaam this last week from the book of Numbers in the Bible.  It is one of the stories I remember being told as a bedtime story many times when I was younger.  Balak the king of Moab is afraid of the Israelites and bribes Balaam, a prophet, to come and curse the Israelites.  Balaam is commanded not to go, but leaves anyway.  AS he is traveling to Moab, an angel appears in his path with a sword, unseen by everyone except the donkey Balaam is riding.  The donkey saves Balaam three times by swerving out of the way of the angel.  Balaam, not understanding why the donkey is behaving so strangely angrily starts to beat the donkey.  They (here come the part I loved as a kid) the Lord opens the donkey’s mouth so it can talk to Balaam.  The Lord also opens Balaam’s eyes so he sees the angel with the sword, who would of killed him if not for his donkey.  That’s as far as I knew the story before (probably because my attention span as a child tuckered out after the talking donkey part). However, as I had the chance to read through the story again, I was able to find out the ending of this story.  Balaam continued to Moab to see Balak. However, to the king’s dismay, Balaam blesses the Israelites rather than cursing them.  In Numbers 24, Balak angrily commands Balaam to leave.  He tells Balaam in verse 11, “I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the Lord kept they back from honour.”  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  I feel like there are many members of the church who have been told that because they follow the commandments of God they are being held back from prestige, promotions, riches, opportunity, or honour.  But I love Balaam’s rely to the king in verse 13: “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak.”  Balaam understood the concept that faithful followers of Christ throughout the history have realized; no amount of honour or glory we receive form man can in the least compare to the honour and glory we get from the Lord as we follow His commandments EXACTLY.

I love you all and pray for you often!!  Have a great week! Love, Sister Bennion
My zone in Tassie!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September 29th

Fun Fact: I am on a plane flying to Melbourne right now!  No, I have not been transferred…yet (I find out this Saturday if I get transferred or stay in Tassie for my last 6 weeks….nerve racking), Sis Chan and I are just going to a missionary council and we were lucky enough to get to travel up on a Monday.  Do you know what that means? P-day in Melbourne City!! Woohoo!
Christina received the gift of the Holy Ghost this week! She is officially a member of the church. And, we were able to finally meet with some of the people we have contacted in the last few weeks in other words, everything it well in Sandy Bay, Tasmania.  Oh, funny story though  Well…I thought it was funny. One of the recent converts in our ward has had issues getting to church lately, so we shared with him the story of the 10 virgins in the lesson we had with him this last week.  We told how the 10 virgins represent members of the church, the lamps represent our testimonies, and the oil represents true conversion.  We then explained to him how the oil of conversion cannot be shared, but must be gained individually, etc.  The recent convert then told us that the main reason he was not coming to church regularly anymore was because he did not have a car and he felt awkward asking ward members to drive him there.  The only person he felt comfortable asking was another recent convert who had a car and has not been going to church lately.  He then told us that last Sunday, they were both planning on coming to church, but his friend's car was having oil problems.  I took this opportunity to Say, “See? Just the point we wanted to make.  You can’t live off borrowed oil.”  Ba-dum-chee.  I thought I was hilarious. No one else got it!
A few weeks ago, we received a training on yielding to your companion.  During the training they drew a picture.of a big mountain with narrow pathways and two mountain goats with big horns meeting on the mountain.  They explained that the pathway the goats had to walk on was too narrow to allow the goat to pass by each other and asked what we thought the goats did when they encountered this kind of situation.  Many of the people in our zone (including me) answered by saying that the goats probably used their horns to butt heads and thereby clear the pathway. The person giving the training responded that in their situation, what really happens is one of the goats kneels and the other jumps over the kneeling goat! Isn't that so interesting!  I defiantly feel like I learned a really good lesson form this story: there are times in relationships with companions (or really anyone) that you have to be the one who kneels.  The Savior gave the best example of yielding when He submitted Himself completely to the will of the Father.  Humility is so vital and definitely a Christlike attribute I would like to work on.  Love you all!!
                                                          Goats Meeting on the High Mountain

Have a fantastic week! Love Sister Bennion