Thursday, June 26, 2014

Week 31: "The Call"

June 23, 2014
Dear ALL, 

Aloha! Once again, from the land of Idaho, your own living and true Sister Bennett! As of Thursday, I have been serving my mission for 7 months. I cannot believe time passes so quickly! That's not allowed. I think I've forgotten my first name. I never want to stop being Sister Bennett! (Or Sister Canada, whichever you prefer.) 

It's been a good week. I CANNOT believe it's already almost been an entire transfer since Sister Fiefia became my companion. Time flies when you have fun! And when you learn a lot. I have much yet to learn about being a trainer. 

For some reason, much of our success is among the senior population of our area. It's pretty incredible to see people in their 70's have a desire to change. It's also humbling to have them express gratitude for the help we are giving them. It's amazing that the Lord trusts us, just kids in our 20's, to do His work. Particularly, I'm grateful that we bring the Spirit with us, and that others recognize that. We couldn't do this work without it. Even one of our younger investigators who wasn't sure if she believed in God even feels it. I told her that even if she didn't recognize it, she feels the Spirit when she is with us. She wholeheartedly agreed, and told us that is why she likes us to come over so much!
I've also learned that being open, honest, and bold always seems worth it, and almost always is taken well if you show others that you truly love others and care about them. It's amazing how much being a missionary increases your love for others. 

I'm not ready to leave this area. I've been here for 4 and a half months, and I want to stay for 6 or 7 and a half. There is still work to do!
This weekend Patsy's being baptized! I'm excited for that. We've been working towards that for a while now. She's ready.

This Wednesday we went on exchanges - so once again I had the chance to spend the day with the amazing Sister Haas. I've never met anyone so motivated and hardworking. We had fun contacting many of our potential investigators. 

Remember when I told you that I planted an entire corn patch a couple weeks ago? Well, I went to follow up, and Joe told me it hadn't come up. I was taken aback. However, when I went to actually take a look, it had almost all come up! It looked great! I spent a good while weeding it, and making sure the rows were clear so nobody would kill them. I love that corn patch. It's mine. 

This Friday our ward put on a Dutch Oven cookoff. They decided to have us sing - which was exciting - but unfortunately it didn't work well in the setting due to sound issues. They apologized, but we were fine. Live and learn. :) At least I have some more sheet music to work with now! It's more fun songs too. I'm sure it will come in handy someday. By the way, the food at the activity was SO GOOD. Particularly the cobbler made in the dutch ovens. Now I've said too much. Mmm. 

Also, yesterday I had the chance to teach Gospel Principles. It was on the Holy Ghost, and so we had two volunteers that we took outside and blindfolded. Then, we altered the classroom to make it a maze, and had our volunteers try to make it, 1 at a time, through the classroom to an opposite door. They were told to listen to me - I shook my keys, and they had to follow the sound to safety - after they recognized that it lead them in the right way. However, I had everyone else in the room try to guide them away from the right path. One volunteer I would only shake my keys occasionally, and she was led astray for a while. The other I consistently shook them, and he wasn't dissuaded from the path. It was our little object lesson on the Holy Ghost, and the difference it makes to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was fun. 

I love you! I can't believe it's been a year since I've gotten my call, but am I ever grateful for it. There is no place I would rather be. Good luck with everything! I would love to hear from you. :)

Sister B. 

p.s. I forgot to tell you all about the highlight of my week! It was when we got to go to the temple as a district! It honestly felt like a vacation. I love going to the temple. Here are some pictures. :) The Boise temple is small, but very pretty. Of course.

Our district at the temple!
The "Danny Bennett" pose.
Fun at the Fife's. We had a special guest.

AND picture time.

Our district leaders.
All the Elders in the Zone.
I hate Chihwawas. As you can tell by my inability to spell it remotely correctly. They happen to be my least favorite dog of all time. But this baby one is so darn cute.

Week 30: "Ofa atu!"

June 17, 2014
Dear my ridiculously gifted and good-looking family and friends, 

This week has been a busy one! First off, Thursday was Sister Fiefia's birthday! What better way to say, "Welcome to North America" like throwing as many parties as possible? One Thursday, we did a surprise district lunch for her. We also ate at our Stake Patriarch's home. What an amazing couple. They had served a mission in Tonga for a few years, and so Sister Fiefia felt right at home with their pictures and home decor. They know plenty of people she knows! As we left they called out, "Ofa atu!" which means, "I love you!" in Tongan! That made her cry. (But in a good way.) It was a lovely night. Friday the ward also threw a potluck dinner party for her! A handful came, but it was a good night. 

Sister Fiefia has had some pretty incredible experiences. I would love to share one of my favorite stories she tells. A group of Tongan Elders and Sisters who were about to serve missions (about 10) went to Fiji to obtain visas. One of the days when they went to the shopping center (It was called Taboo House) to go buy mission clothes, they were stopped outside by four men, covered from head to toe, holding guns. They stopped the group, and one man said, "If you don't answer my question, I will shoot you." One of the Tongan Elders replied, "If the question is from the scriptures and the Bible, I will answer it. That's what we are here to study. If it is not, if it is about the world, we will not answer." The man then asked them to answer how many spokes were on a bicycle that was nearby. The Elder speaking replied,  "We are not here to count how many spokes are in the bicycle. We are here to serve our missions. If you want to shoot me, shoot me." The man said, "Go." So they went. 
She's overcome more than just a few closed doors to stand up for her faith, that's for sure. It's inspiring. She's definitely an example. 

We also had the chance to do a HUGE service project for Joe. He's not a member, but he's one of the coolest people I've met out here! Our entire district stayed at his acre lot from 8am to 4pm moving 6 cords of wood. (And that was only about 2/3's of the entire wood pile we were hauling!) We're talking about 7 or 8 years supply of firewood. It was awesome! My arms were aching by the end. As a matter of fact, they're still probably recovering. We get to finish up this Saturday! 

We made a goal on Wednesday to set aside a time where we just walked, and talked with EVERYONE that we came in contact with. It was awesome! I'm not a shy person, but I definitely can get out of my comfort zone more. The funny thing is, once I do it, I realize it's not a hard thing at all! 

Thursday morning we got up early to go play basketball. It was great! There was mostly Elders, but a girl from the area who plays on a college team joined us! It was a blast! Afterwards (since we went up against each other) we didn't even introduce ourselves, we just hugged, and said, "That was awesome". It was so much fun to play a good game of ball, especially when everyone is playing well. (Our team won the first game and lost the second.) What a good day. 

Lastly, this weekend our ward is throwing a Dutch Oven party. I can't wait! It's going to be delicious, and we've been inviting members to invite their friends to join us. :) Also, they asked me to sing! I'm still figuring out all the songs, but I know for sure that Sister Fiefia and I are going to sing a Tongan hymn together!

Well, I love you all! Best of luck, and make the best of the summer! It goes by way too fast!
Peace and love,
Sister Bennett

Doctrine and Covenants Section 18! 

The Service Project:

I lost.

My fierce companion. :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 29: "Taber Corn!"

June 9, 2014
Dear Family, Friends, and everyone in between. :)

This week we're emailing a little late due to a little doctor run, but all is well.
First item of business: What is happening in the NHL playoffs?!? I'm pretty sure I heard New York Rangers are in the finals, and believe it or not I chose them! AND I've never had a team of mine make it to the finals, so I might win this year! Huzzah!

Alright, and back to the mission. We've had some fun as a district doing a massive farmyard project on Saturday morning! I think we're weed/pulling/whacking professionals by now. I have a lovely farmer's tan from it. We were serving Joe - who's sense of humor reminds me of Dad. I think the highlight of the day was that I became the designated corn planter. Joe had no idea I had come from the corn capital of Canada (and proud of it), but he assigned me to it anyway! I've never planted so much corn consecutively. I must have spent a couple hours getting the rows right how I wanted them. Afterwards, Joe called out, "Hey Sister Canada! I'm going to call that patch Canadian Corn!" I told him that he should call it Taber corn. That's closer to the mark.
For all those that don't care about corn, I apologize, for it will always be a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Yes, I am from a hometown famous for its corn. Yes, I've even been in a local children's theatre production called "Corn Capers". Yes, I used to play hide and seek in cornfields. Corn is just weaved into the fibres of my being I guess. 

This week's been a fun one. I think learning how to train is kind of like learning how to raise a child. You learn as you go. Sister FieFia is on fire though! She's amazing! She has such a fire and passion for the work and for learning the Gospel! I love that girl. I'm trying to help her adjust to American culture, but it's definitely different here. 

Yesterday there was a Stake Priesthood meeting. Of course, we didn't go, but apparently President Carlson (the first Councillor in the Stake Presidency who is in our ward) talked about us Sisters over the pulpit, and he said a few nice (probably too nice) things about us. That made me laugh. All the Elders that attended texted us about it. 

Also, yesterday during sacrament at Heritage (the assisted living facility) we had a new lady who decided to join us with her dog, peaches. Well, she had never attended a service before, and so when the bread was passed she leaned to me and asked if she could feed her bread to her dog. I turned to her and whispered, "I wouldn't judge you for it" but all she heard was, "I wouldn't..." and so she popped it quickly into her mouth. :P I don't know if I've ever seen a dog in Sacrament meeting before now, but it was more than welcome! I think the old folks like it. 

On a more Spiritual note, it's amazing that even on the mission the Sabbath day is set apart. It makes such a difference to me. You see, lately I have been facing some feelings of discouragement because of a few things that have happened (or not happened) in our area. However, after attending sacrament meeting it was as though all those negative feelings melted away. It was a miracle! I'm so blessed to see miracles here all the time. I'm so grateful for the chance to serve, and to see that. I hope my mission continues to change me for the better, because I need to make a lot of improvements. But they will come! There was an interesting analogy given yesterday about a garden. The plants that had the most access to the Sun grew and flourished. That can be just like us. The more we allow the Son in our lives, and to truly feel His influence, the more ability we have to change for the better, and grow to reach our potential. I know that to be true. True change takes time and effort, but it's lasting, and worth it.

A great Message to look up is called, "The Will of God." It's one of my personal favorites. :)

I love you all! Have a great week! Go wrestle some Polar Bears!
<3 Sister Bennett

The Will of God

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 28: "I Know Kung-Fu"

June 2, 2014

You're all so important to me. 

And all gushy-ness aside, it's been a week! Yup. I've learned a lot, but isn't that true of any week on a mission? This was my first full week with Sister FieFia by my side, and we've done some fun things! We've talked to a Muslim family about their religion, we've knocked on a few doors, we've born testimony, we've had things lost in translation, and we've had fun. That's what counts.
One day, we knocked on a door of an older gentleman. He took a look at us, and asked, "convert anyone today?" I promptly responded, without thinking, "Yes!" I then continued. " - Myself." I don't think that's what he was expecting to hear. That's not what I was expecting to say, but I'm glad I did. :) It's true.
Knowing what to say. That sometimes is a struggle - but I look back on the past 6 months, and I have definitely seen growth. And I know there is more to come, even though it doesn't come immediately like I would like it to. Nevertheless, I have to press forward. :)
We also did service! We pulled weeds out in a huge garden on an acre lot, and man alive I loved it. I love working in the sun, working in nature, and being with good company. I showed them city-boys and girls how us Canadians farm girls get weeding done. :P All pride and patriotism aside, it was just nice to be outside. However, the sun took a toll on my companion. She had a headache the rest of the day. Tongan's don't like the sun. I'm trying to help her so that the culture shock is easier for her. The food here is a LOT different. "In Tonga, it's different! The food is good!"
One of the highlights of my week was talking to a lady from New York. We sat down and talked with her - she is a retired University Professor, an avid Boise State Fan, and a bible scholar. She has a Jewish and Catholic background. We talked to her about the restoration, and cleared up any questions and mis-information that she had. Afterwards, she contemplated and said, "You girls are cool. You're not scared like the Elders that tried to talk to me. And I like what you have to say." We'll meet with her again next week. It was the most "discussion" of a lesson I've ever had. Love it.
We also taught Patsy's daughter! She's doing it to show her mother that she is supportive, and I'm grateful for that. I love that she's open enough to listen, which is all we ask for. It's up to those we teach to accept and act on the message. That's what I love about the Gospel. It's all about choice. 
Next week is Sister FieFia's birthday, and members in the ward have taken it upon themselves to throw a big party for her next week!

I am highly jealous that I wasn't in Canada for the Canadian general broadcast! It sounded wonderful. 
Well, good luck to you! Remember to find joy in the journey - have fun, and don't be so serious! It's healthy. :) Be true to who you are, who you want to be, and what you stand for!
Sister Bennett

Gotta love Kneaders Unlimited French Toast! Us Sister's gathered together for Sister Haa's birthday. She may or may not be one of the best Sister Missionaries I know.

Sidewalk chalk creation

Sayin' Goodbye to Sister Roundy!

Sister Maness!

My BEAUTIFUL new companion, almost straight from the exotic kingdom of Tonga! (Which she refers to as the Kingdom of Heaven.) *drumroll* SISTER FIEFIA! Oh, and Mr. Deer. 

These are 3 magnets that I painted. The figurines were pre-formed, I simply added color and life to them. It feels good to be artistic again.

Week 27: "Malo e lelei!!"

May 27, 2014
Dearest Family and Friends,

It has been an incredibly eventful week, in the sense that I am now companions with the beautiful Sister Fiefia! She is from Tonga, and this is her first experience in North America. She was in the MTC for 8 weeks learning more English before coming out.

Sister Fiefia comes from a family of 12 kids! So much for me thinking I had a big family! She LOVES her family, and she is the first Sister to serve! There have been a few unique experiences we've had together. First, she has never seen domesticated cats. All the animals in Tonga are wild and not fit to live indoors. I loved her reaction to the first cat that walked in on us! She's also never seen squirrels, until she got here. I guess I was in a similar boat though, there are not many squirrels in the great plains of Southern Alberta.

She is such an example of faith, trust, and hard work. I am so excited to serve with her in this transfer! Although I have the assignment of training and being an English tutor, I think I'm going to learn as much from Sister Fiefia as she is going to learn from me. It was a cool experience to see these two new Sisters and two new Elders come into the mission, and to see the revelation process as our mission president assigned these missionaries to their trainers. 

Last Tuesday, our ward put on a Luau for the seniors in our area. It was a lot of fun! The entertainment fell through, so a few of us did spontaneous performances. Sister Fiefia sang a tongan hymn, and I got the crowd to sing "this little light of mine." Originally we were supposed to be outside, but we moved it to inside because of the rain. We created our own sunshine. :)

We've found some great potential investigators this week. We talked to a lady outside her home, gardening. She's from New York, and had a subtle accent. We had a great talk with her, and will be coming back to see her soon. Last night, we went to a less active/part member home, where we were welcomed with open arms. I played piano and we both sang for them, and they gave us a tour of their place, and shared homemade cheesecake with us! 

Well, I guess I just want to leave you all with this: Living the gospel, and striving to serve the Lord with all my heart, has had an incredible influence on my life. I have seen miracles and growth that I know I would not have had otherwise. I love my Savior with all my heart. I definitely have weaknesses, we all do. But I also know that as I strive to be the best I can be - who I truly want to be - that the Savior helps me move past those weaknesses. "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a checklist of things to do; rather, it lives in our hearts. The gospel 'is not weight. It is wings.' It carries us." 

Ofa atu! I love you all!  

Sister Bennett

Romans 1:16