Thursday, February 27, 2014

Week 14: "Whahooaaee?"

Dearest Family and Friends,

Well, good things come and good things go. It looks like it's time for me to say goodbye to the Boise South area...because I got transferred! I have a new adventure to look forward to, that's for sure. I'm going to the Boise West Stake. I get the opportunity to open a new area and be a senior companion! After three months! It's going to be a challenge, but that's what missions are for right? Live and learn. My new companion is Sister Roundy - from North Carolina.

That being said, I'm really sad to leave the Shoshone Ward. I really grew to love the people there, and I expected that I would stay rather than go, but I guess the Lord had other plans for me. It was pretty incredible to see people change for the better in the small time I was given to serve there. One of these people is our dear Kathryn who got baptized a month ago. She gave us a written copy of her testimony last week, and in it told us of miracles that have happened in her life in the past while. One of these happened about three weeks before her baptism. She has a lot of problems with her health, to the degree that it was even a struggle for her to be able to get up and make it to even the 1 pm church meeting. One day as we taught her, I felt very strongly that I needed to ask her if she needed a blessing. She said she would love one. In her testimony, she writes that when she received this blessing, not only was she healthy enough to go to church the next day, but it was as if she felt something lift out of her - her depression. To this day she says that she has not felt depressed since receiving that blessing, and that she's happier than she has ever been in her life. It's been a month since her baptism, and about two months since she received that blessing. That is a miracle. She seems so calm and confident now. Even her son who does not share our faith has noticed the change. Also, she now is now making it to her ward which is now at 9 am, and staying for the full 3 hours. I feel so blessed and grateful to have been able to see those miracles in Kathryn's life. 

There are so many people I am going to miss, but I know that there are more people I'm going to have the chance to grow to know and love in this new ward that I am being transferred into. Watch out, Boise West. Here comes the Canadian. A family that I so dearly love calls me the "Crazy Canadian Cat Lady." Proud of it. Speaking of Canada, I feel more and more patriotic every day. I'm glad we did so well in the Olympics! It was definitely a sacrifice foregoing watching them this year! Nonetheless I LOVE being a Canadian, I love being a missionary, and I feel like I directly represent Canada in this area. A few of my friends have told me when I said goodbye that when they think of Canada they'll think of me. Hopefully I'm doing a good job representing the homeland wherever I go. I get teased mercilessly, but - much thanks to having four older brothers - I think I can take it. ;) I've got thick skin. It's the redneck in me.

Well, I love ya! Keep on being yourselves! Good luck with all your shenanigans. 

Te amo te quiero,

- Hermana Bennett

P.s. Pictures! 

We had a district lunch before transfer calls were made. Have you heard of Proof shades? Missionaries get a sick (as in a fabulous) discount on them. I stole a pair briefly.
Sister Allen and I with Whisper! She's so sweet. 

This is my first time ever making cupcakes. Who knew? It's a landmark in my life. 

Sister Allen and I matched when we sang together in church. She picked out my outfit. ;) She's a pink kind of gal.

Week 13: "Walkin' on Sunshine"

Dear famzies and friendzos,

How was Valentines Day?! What could be better than a day celebrating love? Go on any dates? Ali, Nathan and Jeff reported back to me *nod of approval* but I still haven't heard from anyone else!

That's alright. I forgive you. We got a text that morning from our AP's wishing us a Happy Valentines, and reminding us to lock our hearts. Don't worry - I've got that covered. ;) Gotta love the life of a missionary. 
That Valentine's morning we spread our love by saving a cat! We swung by to visit Joyce, and we noticed her cat wasn't there. We immediately ran outside, calling the cat's name. Using my farm girl instincts I followed the loud meows until I found her stuck up in a tree across the street at the neighbors. She doesn't have front claws so she couldn't climb down! We ended up getting a ladder to save her. As well, that day we dropped by a lady who has been dealing with a lot of muscle problems recently. While there, her husband's barbershop quartet happened to drop in, so they sang all of their songs for us! I've gotten more gifts for Valentines Day as a missionary from our friends than I ever have before in my past life. :D I definitely feel loved by the people we see and work with in this area!

The day after Valentines Day, we were in the turning lane when a truck two vehicles ahead of us stalled! Sister Allen and I, along with a few others got out and helped push this truck through the intersection, over to the side of the road. As we headed back, I noticed that someone else who had helped push - a guy who looked a little older than myself - was looking at me, and at my nametag. He started talking to me, and asked me what my name was. I knew he had read my nametag, but nonetheless I still replied, "Sister Bennett." He then told me his name, and then said, "I go to Calvary Chapel! I know its not Mormon but..." I replied something like "That's great!", and then headed back to my car because we were in the middle of the road. It looked like he wanted to ask something more as I left. As I got in the car he finally called out, "You're really beautiful by the way!" Sister Allen and I had a good laugh about that one.

Last week, I had a few opportunities to sing. I was asked to sing at a Zone Conference, and sang, "Abide with Me." It's one of my favorite hymns, so that was a cool experience. I think it went well. This past Sunday Sister Allen and I sang a duet - Amazing Grace. The first two verses we alternated singing solo, and then for the next two I harmonized. That was fun as well. However, I think my highlight was visiting a lady - Shauna - whom we have never met before. At first it was a little awkward (meeting people for the first time can be that way), but then we got talking music. She is an incredible piano player, and is a paid accompanist for several Catholic Mass services, as well as for several choirs. When she found out I was in Les Miserables this past summer she got really excited and immediately jumped to her piano. We proceeded to have a jam session. Huzzah. It's been a while since I've had a chance to sing and just belt so freely, especially to music that I know and love. Pure happiness. :) She also played some jazz songs for Sister Allen to sing to. By the end we were talking musicals and artists like good friends, and tied in a spiritual thought to it as well. She invited us to come back any time we would like! I'm planning on taking her up that offer. :) 

There have been a few people we've met this week that we haven't been able to see before. A few individuals told us they've been waiting for missionaries to come by, and they want us to continue to visit, and help them spiritually, since their current circumstances do not allow them to come to church. I feel lucky to work with these people. One family we visit runs what they would like to become a non-profit organization. They gather donations all around the city - such as furniture and clothes. Then they travel to donate these things to the homes of those in need. Right now this project is being funded on their own money, which is pretty incredible to me considering their situation. I can tell they just love it. Since their house was filled to the brim with donated furniture we ended up talking outside for about an hour. 

One more funny story! There are a few kids in the ward who get excited to see us. We were sitting in church in the second last row during sacrament meeting, and during sacrament a six year old stood up on a bench near the front, pointed back to us, and yelled so the entire chapel could hear, "Look! The Sister Missionaries!!"

Well, I love you all. Thanks for all your support and prayers! 

Sister B. 

P.s. It was 60 degrees outside yesterday. In February. Can I say ridiculous? Ridiculous. 

Sister A & B lookin' fine!  I'm going to miss that Sister Allen!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 12: "Freeeeedooomm!!"

Dear my most humble, wonderful family,

How are you? How is everything going up in the great white North? Are you watching the Olympics? I hear that Canada is doing really well, which is awesome. It's definitely a sacrifice not to watch them.

What a wonderful week! I continue to enjoy being a missionary more and more. I love that we meet and talk with all types of people. It causes me to reflect often on who I want to be.

First and foremost, we found two new investigators this week! We found Yasmin through tracting. We knocked on her door, and she ended up letting us in! (Which rarely happens.) She was younger, like us, so it was almost a relief talking to her, since so often we work with people that are far older than us. We'll be teaching her the first lesson this week. :) Also, we teach a lady who used to be inactive but now wants to get back to church and become temple worthy. She asked us to re-teach her the lessons so she understands the simple doctrines of the gospel more fully. That's one of the most important things I feel we do as missionaries - we help people build foundations in the gospel. Once your foundation is firm, you understand the small things so much better, such as the commandments. So, we began to teach her, and she ended up inviting a friend who is a former investigator. The funny thing is that when Sister Allen was in her past area she had visited this lady's home and asked if she wanted to learn more, and at that time she said no! But now she does want to learn more!  Things truly happen in the Lord's timing, that's for sure. You learn a lot of patience as missionaries.

I had the chance to sing in church yesterday! I sang, "Oh Lord, My Redeemer." It went really well.

We also had a lot of fun this week. Since it snowed (a lot in Boise standards) we decided to build a snowman as a district! It was HUGE - about eight or nine feet tall. It took six of us to lift the second snowball onto the first. We had a blast doing so though - and we got drenched since it was raining! Good day. Our district gets along really well. Earlier this week we had a snowball fight as a Zone...until the zone leader accidentally hit me square in the eyes. Even though it hurt, I thought it was funny. It took a couple days for my left eye to feel 100% though. My zone leader felt awful.

Sister Allen and I also started getting up at 6am four times a week to go workout at the gym with some sisters in our ward. It's pretty hard core. I love it! It's amazing how much energy I have every day.

One thing I absolutely love about the mission is seeing the positive changes the gospel can bring in people's lives. I've been reflecting on it for the past few days, and I've found that people's confidence grows and evolves as they come to know that they truly are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father, and that they have a divine potential. I feel as though it's easy in the world to feel unimportant, or that you're not measuring up to some standard, whether that is wealth, popularity, prestige, ideals about body image, talents etc. But as you come to know Heavenly Father, and of his plan, you know more of your purpose, and I feel like it's easier to focus on the important things. To love others, to serve, and to seek knowledge and understanding. To not to lift yourself up by putting others down, but rather to continually work to become the best you can be. To come to know who we really are, and to continually strive to be better. That's why I love the Gospel. :)

Well, I love you! I'm sorry I write novels, I'll be better next week! Oh, and happy Valentines this week! I expect reports on all the hot dates you went on. ;)


Sister Rachel Bennett

Sister Bennett and Sister Allen taught the Gospel Principles class during Sunday School

Week 11: "Dear the Fam Jam"

Dear Everyone, 

It's been a great week! Boise has been warming up. Yesterday we had 43 degree weather. Yes. But regardless whether the weather is good or bad, I love it here in Boise.

Every week we get together with our adopted "Mom", Joyce. We either do something fun (baking, spa nights etc.) or we go out to eat. This week, since it was Chinese New Years, Joyce treated us to Mongolian Grill. Delicious. We teach her a lesson every week as well. She doesn't have much of a background in the church, despite being baptized when she was 8. However, her son joined the church when he was at university, and has married in the temple. This, along with our visits, has made Joyce more curious about learning about the Gospel. We love her very much, and we've had a great experience teaching her. She's coming to church to see me sing this week. I'm excited. :)

Beautiful makeup courtesy of a seven-year-old
One Mormon message that we showed Joyce is called "Origin." It's a really good one. You should look it up!

(so you didn't have to... here it is!)

Another highlight of the week is that Sister Allen's dad sent us Enya CD's in the mail! As long as music is uplifting, non-distracting from our purpose, and doesn't take away from the Spirit, we can listen to it. And Enya definitely qualifies! She's amazing.

I went on exchanges with Sister Hatch this week as well. In our (however limited) free time she is teaching me basic dance skills, since I love to learn, and I really want to grow in that area. It's so fun! I've been practicing a lot when I can. I'll be a dancer when I get home - just wait. I can almost do the splits!

Sister Bennett in a hand chair

You meet all sorts of people on the mission with all degrees of perspectives, education, and backgrounds. That's one of the things I love the most! I love that the Gospel can be a blessing to everyone who accepts it, no matter who they are. Right now, along with reading the Book of Mormon, I'm studying the New Testament in the Gospel of John. It's pretty incredible to study the life of Jesus, who he was to the people, and the incredible things he did. He really was the best example, and the master teacher.  John has been my favorite book so far.

Ooh! We met a man in our ward, Harold,who is 85, and still out flying airplanes and teaching piloting! He's been flying all his life, and I'm pretty sure he has been a pilot in the Air Force. He's pretty awesome. He shared with us the book he wrote about all his flying experiences. He can talk your ear off, but I still love him. He has an incredible testimony of the Book of Mormon. He didn't come to church for over a year since he was an Area 70 and when that leadership was no longer needed he was offended since he was no longer was recognized as a 70. However he came to church the last two weeks, and he bore his testimony yesterday!

Well, I have to go. Preparation Days are definitely busy! I love you all!

Sister Bennett

Week 10: "You're a Wizard, Harry."

Dear family,

Sometimes I wish I was a Wizard. Then I could have an owl that could carry letters to everyone, and I wouldn't have to know where they were. But, alas, I cannot. I am a mere Sister Missionary.

That being said, let me tell you a little about this week!

Kathryn's baptism was this Saturday! The service was beautiful. Kathryn is sick often, and has struggles even leaving her home many days, but the day of her baptism she was just glowing and healthy. She was calm, and happy. Two strong Elders were in the font to make sure she'd be ok. It was a cool experience. I sang Amazing Grace after the baptism, which was a really cool opportunity to share my testimony through song. Kathryn and her son Samuel (who doesn't want anything to do with the church, but still came to support his Mom) were both really appreciative, especially since they both have rarely heard the full version of the song. The next day, Kathryn was up bright and early for her confirmation at the 9:00 am ward. This in itself was a miracle since she in the past has had struggles going to the 1:00 ward because of her health. She has so much faith. I really admire her for that.

Sister Bennett, Kathryn, and Sister Allen at Kathryn's baptism.
 Three families that we go and visit that are less active came to our Sacrament meeting yesterday! That was pretty amazing to see all of them.

Ha, I always thought I could talk a lot...but I've learned that listening is an important skill to have too, to balance that out. Some people we see - if we let them - can talk for half an hour straight without letting us get a word in edgewise. That takes skill.....A skill that I never want to have. :P Unless I end up being a motivational speaker or something, but hey, let's not get too far ahead of myself.

Sister Allen continues to be the nicest, sweetest person I know.

Have I ever mentioned that I am proud to be a Canadian? I love being from such a wonderful country, that many people here know too little about. Speaking of which, one of our investigators, Ann, has driven through Taber! She's about 80 - and she has so much spunk. Before her husband passed away, they used to go up to Medicine Hat from Idaho for Shepard's Pie. They would drive up to Lethbridge too. That was so cool to hear. I love her.

Well, take care! This next week's going to be a good one!

Love ya!

Sister Bennett

Pictures from a service project they did.

Reindeer swing!
Now you see me....

Now you don't...

Week 9: "Eventful Week!"


Where to start? I guess with today! We didn't have PDay on Monday because we are going to the temple today! I'm excited to go to the temple again. It's been too long. It's such a blessing!

Kathryn, one of our investigators, is getting baptized this week! I'm so happy! This will be the first baptism of someone I had the chance to help teach. She is wonderful. She's a 60 + year old lady, who is the nicest, most sweetest person I've ever met. She even bejeweled her Book of Mormon with little pink glue on jewels. I love her. She even asked me to sing for her baptism, and when I asked her what song she would like me to sing, she told me that she wanted me to sing Amazing Grace! As if! I love that song! I'm so excited to serve in that way, but I still have to practice and learn it. She's been postponing her baptism for 3 months, so it's exciting to see things actually happen, and to be there for it. Oh blessings. I'm excited for that on Saturday.

The bejeweled Book of Mormon!
So....I had a embarrassing experience. One day we left the house early to go to an appointment, and when we came back we found the kitchen floor completely covered in a swampy/foamy state! I screamed! Turns out, I accidentally put dish soap in the Dishwasher instead of Dishwashing fluid! Ooops....! Luckily we had help cleaning that up. Definitely not going to be doing that again.

I also had the unique chance to go on an exchange into a Spanish area for a day! So fun, except I didn't understand much! We made churros, served a recent convert, and visited an investigator who is waiting to be baptized! It was a fun and spiritual experience. I learned a lot of Spanish phrases. Apparently I learn fast and have a good accent! Yay! I would love to learn Spanish one day. I have many Spanish friends.

The Spirit truly leads and guides us in this work. This work is the truth! If you don't believe me, go and read the Book of Mormon, and find out for yourself.:) That book is incredibly powerful. I love reading from it.

Well, that's all folks. Till next time,

Sister Rachel Bennett

P.s. Animals love me. I don't know what it is, but they are always content perching on my lap and letting me pet them, even if they aren't usually friendly. Do I smell weird or something? I don't know. 
P.p.s. Thanks for all the letters! I love hearing from everyone! I'll try to respond the best I can in other emails.

At an old train/historic site

Week 8: "Mission Impossible"

Dear my dear Family,

This week was great! I'm so tired, but thankfully there is the inspired thing called P-Days. I'm definitely going to take a nap.

So: First thing first. I didn't get transferred! Sister Allen and I get to stay here another six weeks. I'm very grateful. We're doing good work in this area. One of my highlights is definitely Sister Sundquist. We call her mom. Her son is an active member, but she was baptized as a child and then never went, so she really doesn't know anything about the church. Well, after we developed a really good bond with her (over spa-nights, treat & craft making, going out for sushi & mongolian food, pizza nights, and many spiritual thoughts) she agreed to take our lessons! Also, she came to church with us yesterday! And liked it! Everything that was said seemed perfect for her. I just hope she continues to want to learn more after we're gone. She's been through a lot in her life, and that's been hard on her faith. But I know that she has it, deep down. This week we are taking her out for Breakfast and teaching her the Plan of Salvation.

Did I tell you about Asmaa? She's originally from Iraq, and used to be Muslim, but now she goes to church every week and is learning more. She always has so many questions, which is great. It's interesting to teach someone with a background in the Muslim religion, and the Koran. But we love her, and she loves us. She's such an incredible woman.

You meet so many cool people on missions. Oh, and by the way, for New Years, Boise did a potato drop. They literally dropped a giant potato. They would. 

Well, I love you all. Just so you know, I'm still my crazy self. I still like wearing fun makeup (that's not too crazy but still fun) and doing my hair. I still sing all of the time. Plus, thanks to some unreasonable cheap thrift stores, I have some new fun outfits to wear. I've found some fun skirts and blouses. I wish you could see them. ;) I feel more me than ever!

Good luck with all your shenanigans!

Sister Rachie Bennett

The zone!

Week 7: "Guacamole"

Dear Family,

This week has been an interesting week!

Couple experiences.

1. We went on exchanges, so I got to lead the area for the first time ever. Aah! So I decided that we should visit a widow who can't come to church that Bishop asked us to visit once a week. We did, and her caretaker came in who isn't a member. She asked us about how long we serve etc, and then I asked her if she knew why we were called Mormons. She didn't, and that led to us teaching her a 10 minute version of the Restoration, I bore my testimony, and we gave her a Book of Mormon, a Restoration Pamphlet, and our number! She shared some experiences she has had with us. It was really, really cool. I hope she wants to learn more!

2. We went on exchange #2 (My comp is a Sister Training Leader) and she left me here in this area so that I could have a lesson with one of our investigators, Kent, who we haven't been able to meet with since I've been here. I think the discussion went really really well. He wants to repent and be baptized! He's so cool. He's been to prison for two years and is on parole, but has completely changed his life for his family. He told us a whole bunch of cool experiences, like the one time he lived like a hermit for two years in the mountains, without electricity, sewage etc. He learned his ways from a famous old hermit who had lived that way most of his life, and was an Idahoian legend. He said that life was so peaceful for him. But he knows now that he can't go back to his old ways because of his family. I could go on and on with his stories. He's so cool.

Sounds like you had lovely holidays! Good luck with your New Years resolutions! The work feels like it's moving along here. I sure hope it is. And say Hi to the Sister's for me! Hopefully they're nice.

Love you all, 
Sister Rachie

Week 6: "Happy New Years!"

Dear familia,

It was so good to talk to everyone!! I loved it so much. I realized how much louder I am when I'm with my family. I like it. It feels natural.

Y'all looked so great! It's a great blessing, to have the technology of skype! I couldn't imagine calling you without seeing you!

So our mission has made the goal to get 500 investigators before January 7. We are about 65% there, so we definitely need prayers! I know that if we have faith and work hard, we can do it. Apparently in my area when I was out on exchanges Sister Allen and her temporary companion picked up 2 new investigators for our area. A miracle! Next time I want to be in our area though.

I love hearing about your missionary experiences! This morning for study we felt like we should look at some Mormon Messages to share with our investigators/less actives...and we watched one called, "A Work in Progress" about Tyler Haws! It was so good. We're going to share it. You should look it up!

A small miracle happened. We teach an investigator, Kathryn, who is in about her 70's. She is pretty solid about the church, has a baptismal date, but she really struggles with coming to church because of her many health problems. I felt like I should ask her if she would like a blessing. She said yes, so the elders went by on Saturday. She said she felt as though a weight was lifted from her, and she felt more cheerful after the blessing, and she made it to church! She even used a cane instead of a walker. I love her. She gave me a journal for Christmas that says, "Be Beautiful. Be Yourself." I loved it.

Well, I can't think of much else to tell you. Life is good! I love having long, productive days. I love getting up early! I find I function really well until around 6:00pm. Then I crash. But that's ok, I push through.

One of my favorite scriptures of mine right now is D&C 50:40-45. 

Sister Rachie


Dear family,

This one will be very short, but this is a very exciting season!
I'm dramatic sometimes.

I'm so excited to Skype y'all! It'll definitely be on Christmas day, sorry if you won't be there! I may be able to make a couple other quick calls to family if I have time. I have 45 minutes total. Lucky for me, I'm blessed enough to have a plentitude of family! I make up words sometimes too.

Have a great Bennett family Christmas, and Christmas Eve! I hope you got my package by now! 
Don't worry, I'm not too homesick. I have a great family, but I'm happy to be here! 
My companion will call on Christmas eve to make arrangements for our call.

BY THE WAY: You should ALL watch Ephraim's Rescue! It's SO good! We watched it in the MTC, and at my mission Christmas party. I cried, and it takes a lot to make me cry in a movie. So Mom, you'll definitely need some kleenex's. :) It's really inspiring, and is highly based on true events! ALSO, I KNOW 5 people in the movie, all of which went to BYU, and 3 of which are my personal friends! So cool. I really hope you get to see it.

Time for me to go, but I'll see you all on the blessed day of Christmas! 
Remember the true meaning! The Savior lives!

Sister Rachie Ann. 


Whitney Houston reference anyone?

As you can tell, my brain is fried. I just spend around 45 minutes reading emails from everyone! Cookbooks, Basketball, Snow, Missionary work, Boston, Dates...So much! But I sincerely have been learning these past weeks why missionaries love mail so much...It's AWESOME to hear from the people we love! And encouraging. Even if I probably won't have time at all to answer all that I want to, I was so happy to hear from all of you! Plus, I ended up laughing out loud several times. Our family is hilarious. I *sniff* love you all. I'm very excited to talk to you on Christmas!!! (By the way, it'll be either later Christmas morning or early Christmas afternoon - a member family offered to feed us Christmas breakfast! Plus we have a dinner appointment that day with another member, so it should be a lovely day. We're not allowed to proselyte on Christmas, so we're filling the day with member appointments. Best Christmas ever!)

I don't even know what to write, there was so much! But I have no time, so hopefully this email isn't too scattered! 

Today in my scripture study I had the insight that faith overcomes fear, not by removing fear but by giving you the strength to act contrary to it! And act opposite than you would if you were motivated to act because of fear!

As missionaries we learn that we can teach people the doctrines and fundamentals of the gospel all we want, but unless people have a sincere desire to try those things out on their own, they can only progress at a certain rate. Progression comes (as you help them feel the spirit and the love God has for them) when they have a desire for themselves and act on that desire!

Just so you know, I would love pictures from anyone and everyone! I find I don't have any pictures to share my family with everyone, and I regret not having them! The world needs to know how much I love my family.

Missionary work can be a little bit discouraging sometimes! There are many unopened doors, cancelled appointments, and less-actives telling us they are no longer interested. Time isn't filled like I expected it to be.  It can be sad, but you just have to look at the bright side of things! There are so many miracles in missionary work! We had a Ward Christmas Party, and several less active families we see and an investigator came! The other day, my companion had an impression that we should go see if we could serve a less-active lady who is often sick. Turns out she really needed our help! We helped her by coloring with her kids, helping them make sugar cookies, saving the dough that was crumbly, and teaching them a message about Jesus, who is the center of everything and especially of Christmas! Sister Ray was very grateful that we showed up. I love her. Also, my companion and I are fasting to be able to find people to teach and get referrals, and I know that as we exercise our faith and put forth the efforts the Lord will bless us!

I have often felt the Spirit testify to me that the work that I'm involved in is true, and that it is right for me to be here. There is nothing more comforting than knowing that you're doing what the Lord would have you do. Nothing. Remember that. I always want to have the Spirit in my life. It is so powerful. I feel lost without it, especially when things aren't going how I expect or want them to go. You learn that life isn't going to be perfect, but apparently perfection isn't what we need. What we need is to learn, grow, and become even better than we have been. 
I love the Gospel so much!

Guess what I also love? My family! Have a great week everyone! Go and do! I'm just full of wisdom today. Haha just kidding, the Spirit is the only true teacher.

Sister Bennett Junior

P.s. My biggest personal trial this week? Some friends told me that they saw The Hobbit 2 opening night, and they said that it is an absolutely incredible movie. AAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I knew it would be! Withdrawal symptoms ensue. That's ok. I'll be strong.

Week 3: "I Want to be a Missionary Now!"

Dear Family,

MERRY CHRISTMAS SEASON EVERYONE! I admit, I've always been a bit of a Scrooge. Christmas season just wasn't my thing. Maybe it was the snow, I'm not sure. But now I'm so excited for Christmas!! Christmas music makes me happy, lights make me happy, and most of all - Sharing the beautiful message of the life and gospel of Jesus Christ! It brings so much happiness and joy to people - and that's what Christmas all about. :) Talk about a mighty change of heart, eh?

So I hear it's bitterly cold and thus miserable in Canada. (Ha, just kidding.) It's cold here too. Brrr. I don't like it, but that's ok. It makes me all the more grateful when people let us in!

Every time we get rejected, I think of the Alma and Amulek cartoon, and that makes me laugh a little on the inside, and even more motivated to do work! Hello, my name is Alma. *Slam*. Hello, my name is *Slam*. Hello - *Slam* He- *Slam*. So good.

I try to sing as much as I can! Luckily my companion is a singer too, so we are a musical household. We want to go caroling as we tract before Christmas, to share the beautiful Christmas message. Speaking of, we want to make cheap and simple but cute ornaments to give out as we tract - Ali (or anyone else!), do you have any ideas you can send me, and the approximate cost?

People like to feed us well. Apparently this mission is known for people gaining 30 pounds. Eeek! That will not happen to me! I'm pretty diligent in working out in the mornings, and I try to eat superbly healthy (Spinach salads for the win.) so I'm determined that that won't happen to me. I want to leave the mission better than I came out.

We have some pretty amazing people to visit and teach. The mission is unlike anything I really expected it to be. I've learned that it's important to work hard and have the spirit, but it is also important to de-stress and have fun! The mission is like real life, except for the fact that we are called and set apart as representatives as Jesus Christ, and thus we do all we can to fulfill that calling. How great is our calling! :)

We had a baptism in our area, a ten year old girl named Savannah. :) My companion and I put the program together, and also sang a musical number, "A Child's Prayer." Also, our area is pretty poor. We get to visit some great families. We even visit some less active ex-convicts! I love them. 2/3 of our ward is less active, so we're going to have to work on that.

My first lesson ever was amazing. Two people who didn't know much about religion but really wanted to learn about the Gospel came in. We taught them about the Restoration, and then my companion asked them if they would be baptized, and they said yes! The Spirit was so strong. I wasn't expecting to see a miracle like that so early in the mission. We still have to teach them the rest of the lessons, but I'm really excited about it. One of them, Michael, said that he had been searching for religion his entire life, and this is the most truth he's ever found, and that he feels really good about it. Katie said she felt really good about it as well. The Spirit is the best and only teacher!

I have an amazing trainer, Sister Allen. She is a hard worker, and we get along really well. We have fun together. Luckily she doesn't think I'm too weird. Yet.

I really want to learn Spanish! I live with two Spanish Sisters, and there is a family that is our neighbors, the Martell's, who are the ultimate missionary family. They are good friends with all of us, and feed us all the time. It's a young couple, and the wife, Kayla, is from the Dominican Republic! So cool, but that means I need to learn more Spanish to talk with her more!

Oh, another random event. We were walking home one evening when randomly a twenty-something year old man came up to us, and was like, "hey, do you have one of them bibles?" We were like, "uhh, you mean a Book of Mormon?!" And he was like, "Yah, I want one!" These things just don't happen! He apologized because he thought he was bothering us, but we told him he wasn't at all! We gave him one, along with our number and a pass along card. Hopefully he reads it! That book changes lives. It's changed mine.

Well, there's nothing much else I can think of to say about me. I love you my familia! I hope you aren't bored to tears with my letters, and I hope they aren't too long! I like getting real mail too. :) Good luck getting ready for Christmas and everything else, and remember the true meaning of the season!

Go and Do - What can I say more?

Sister Rachie Bennett.

P.s. A good friend of mine nicknamed me "Diva." I thought that was super ironic. :P 

Week 2: "Where's a Map?"

Dearest Bennetts,

I'M IN BOISE IDAHO! This is crazy. I have so much to learn!

Yesterday we got up at 3:00 am in order to get on our bus, then train, then tram, to get to the airport. It was blizzarding the entire time! That's the first time we've encountered snow in Utah. We finally got on our flight - a tiny jet. I loved it! It was super pretty flying (this was my first time ever.) However, as much as I wanted to stay awake and gaze out the window, my body was having none of that. I fell asleep with my mouth wide open. Missionary friends made fun of me, and took pictures. That was just fantastic.

The MTC really is unlike anything else you'll experience. It was like I was in a little bubble. And now, I'm in the real world. It's strange to be back.

Yesterday I met my mission President, President Winder, and he's awesome!

Did I mention that my MTC Branch President was 4'11? He was so short! BUT, a convert to the church, and a spiritual giant. I felt lucky to have him as our leader.

President Winder is awesome too! He told me that he saw our "Mother's and Daughter's" Mormon message, and talked about how awesome my mom must be. I agreed. It was surprising to me though, because no-one ever recognizes me from that. I wonder how he found out about that. Cool though.

My companion (Sister Allen) seems really cool. She really wants to work hard. I do too, so I'm excited about that. She's also into music. She's a jazz singer, and a music therapy major. I'm tired from missing so much sleep yesterday, but hopefully I get my second wind.

I'm safe! It's cold here, but not as cold as Canadian blizzards, as I see from those crazy pictures. Can I say I'm glad to be here right now?

Well, there is so much to be learned. I'm definitely going to be getting out of my comfort zone, and that's good. My motto back when I was home was "life begins at the edge of your comfort zone." It's the truth! There's a more spiritual quote about getting out of your comfort zone, but I don't remember it at the moment.

Hermana Bennett! I live in an apartment with my companion and two Hermanas! I want to pick up more Spanish. 
I get made fun of daily for being Canadian, but I just embrace it.

Come what may and love it! I'm safe, and I'll write y'all on my next PDay! (Monday)

Peace and love, 
Sister Bennett

Note from Ali: Here's the Mothers and Daughters Mormon Message she was referring to! Enjoy :)

Week 1: "My Dear Bilbo Bennetts"

My dearest family,

I LOVE YOU ALL! I think you come to appreciate that more and more as a missionary. I feel as though I need more emails though! Keep them coming!

Two things I can tell you right now.

1. The MTC is hard. And stressful. 

I have so much to learn and grow as I try my hardest to become the best missionary I can be. I've learned so much! The best way 100% of the time, is to learn through the spirit. You also learn through having fun! AND last but not least (because it happens all the time), you learn through making mistakes. :P And saying the wrong thing. FOR EXAMPLE, my very first "mock" lesson with my teacher (Brother Weber) he was a playing a character named Dan that we've been teaching almost every day. The very first lesson we had gone in just having learned the importance of inviting others to be baptized, and so after our first lesson about prayer, I popped the question! And "Dan" was like, 'you mean, you want me to be Mormon?' and I replied, "Yupp!" Ha. I've learned a bit more about teaching since. 

My district is amazing. We all have such a love and care for each other. We get along so well. These are honestly some of my best friends. And our teachers are fantastic. The best ways to learn is not for people to tell you things. The best way to learn is for you to figure it out yourself. Our teachers are really good at facilitating our discovery process.

Speaking of friends, I LOVE my companion Sister Willard! We have so much fun together. She's from just out of Vegas, and she wants to work so hard! We had to come up with a list of 50 things we love about our companions, and it was easy to go beyond that. I love it. She's an awesome missionary to work with. We're both going to Boise, so hopefully we'll see more of each other. :)

I've been busier than I've been in my life, but I'm a little extra busy now because I got called as a Zone Sister Training Leader. I guess Heavenly Father has a thing or two to teach me. I absolutely love the girls in my Zone.
Oh, so in the MTC there is a sort of simulated teaching program. in which members (who are exceptional actors) or real investigators come and get taught by the new missionaries. It's called TRC. Lucky for sister Willard and I, both people we taught were real investigators! I'm a lot less nervous to teach than I thought I would be. I think it's because I realize I'm not perfect, and that it's ok if I make mistakes! As long as I try and improve and love the people I'm teaching and try to have the Spirit with me, I'll be ok. The Spirit works miracles!

It's important to have fun too. And I've had a ton of that. I get made fun of all the time being Canadian. And I'm not drinking the orange juice! Only once! And I'm keeping to my one chocolate milk a day quota, thank you very much. And I'm eating relatively healthy. I feel like I've been completely myself while I'm here. So nice. 
Time is crazy here! Two days could have passed, a month, it's all the same. I can't believe I've been here for a week.

A general authority is coming to visit us tomorrow for Thanksgiving! I get to sing in the choir for him. It's going to be great, I can't wait to find out who it is. Oh, and I auditioned for a solo! I sang "Oh Lord, My Redeemer." The two sisters in the MTC presidency that were there loved it, but they couldn't have me in any programs since I leave on Tuesday and the program for the Sunday meeting is already set. They want me to sing it in my Zone if I can. That was a cool experience. I felt good about it. I think one way I can share the gospel is to share my talents. :) My district told me that they're going to miss my singing.

I feel like I've only told you a small portion of everything I've experienced here, but time is of the essence, so I must depart. I love you all.

Sister Rachel Bennett

P.s. My first and foremost piece of advice - seek personal revelation! It's amazing how life changes when you strive to make Heavenly Father center to what you do.