Tuesday, September 9, 2014


September 9, 2014
Dear Family, and those who feel like family,

First off, TRUE BLUE!! Atta be BYU for beating Texas!! :D I was so happy to hear that! Cheer loud and strong for me! On Sunday our Relief Society teacher called BYU fans something along the lines of "freaky" and I was all like, "hey!" Everyone laughed. 

I had a few incredible experiences this past week and day.

First off, on Thursday we had dinner with the Arnolds in Hidden Springs. Now, if that doesn't ring a bell (Dad) think Coach Arnold. And if that doesn't ring a bell, think Danny Ainge, one of the most well-known BYU point guards in history. :) Yup, the head coach of Danny Ainge was in my ward, and we got to share a lovely meal with him and his wife!! I talked to them about how my Dad is the biggest BYU fan in the world, and how my parents basically named one of their children after Danny Ainge (even though I know you won't quite admit to that. :P) They told us some cool experiences they had at BYU. It was so cool. They moved back to Utah this weekend. 

We had the chance to attend two baptisms this Saturday! The first was a 10 year old girl, Skylar, who we've been teaching in our ward. The second was a 78 year old woman in my first area, Anne Johns! It was amazing to see her baptized. I never thought it would be able to happen. It amazing how the people choosing to be baptized couldn't be more different, and yet the Spirit and covenants made were exactly the same. I am so grateful I had a chance to play even the smallest part in those decisions. 

On our way to Anne's baptism, we got lost downtown. We almost didn't go, because we were going to be late, but I'm glad we did. As we were stuck in traffic, suddenly Sister McClellan piped up, "I know why the traffics so crazy right now!" and we both said unanimously, "BOISE STATE GAME!" Yup, we were blocked off by a sea of orange and blue. 

One thing I love about Sister Mac (that's what I call her) is her "twitter". It's a notebook that she'll put quotes, or funny moments that happened to us. She likes to write down random things I say. Of course, she hash-tags almost all of them. 

We had P-Day today since we had the chance to attend the temple! What a serene place. I am so grateful for every opportunity we get to go, since they are few and far between as a missionary, considering we have a temple so close to us. We've had the BEST P-Days this transfer. It really is like a fresh start when you're doing something different every P-Day. 

The weather here is gorgeous! I have to say, it's still been in the 80's-90's. Glorious. 

Also, I love being inviting to sing musical numbers by the way of the grape-vine. We dropped by one of our Bishop's homes to visit with him and his family briefly. When we got in, Sister Hansen said, "I hear you're singing at our son's mission farewell on the 21st!" "Oh! ...Yes I am!" I had never heard of it, until then! But I won't turn down any opportunity to serve in that way. In fact, in Relief Society I sat down, when our Relief Society President asked me, "Which songs are you playing on the piano for us today?" Uhhh. Well, I played two of the five songs that I actually know. Thank goodness I learned those before my mission, but I wish I knew how to play piano better! One day. 

One of the coolest things we are doing is teaching two teenagers, one is sixteen and her sister is eighteen. Their mom was baptized in 2011, and she is amazing! I've found that I LOVE working with youth, probably more than anything. It's so much fun, and it is definitely rewarding. We had a lesson with them last night on faith. It was so fun to just have a discussion about it with a newly married couple in our ward. 

One experience I like to share about growing faith is about my last semester at BYU. I remember at the beginning of the semester I was reflecting on how stressful my past semester had been, and how I was not managing time or building friendships or having fun like I wanted to. Well, I went to a very good friend at the beginning of the semester, and we talked about it. He told me he could help me schedule out my time, but he wasn't going to do that. He simply gave me the advice to truly search and study the scriptures, and especially the Book of Mormon, every day. He promised me that if I put my time in for the Lord, the Lord would help me with the rest. Well, I took that to heart. It's amazing how, as I diligently studied that semester, I was able to get a 4.0 average, I was able to make some of the best friendships I've ever had, and I started a period in my life of being happier than I've ever been. There has been a notable, tangible difference in my life since that time. Ether 12:6 - we receive no witness until AFTER the trial of our faith. The Lord doesn't work the way the world works. :) I am so grateful for this gospel in my life. I'm grateful for the small and simple things I can do each day that make me happier. 

I love you!! Keep track of the miracles and blessings in your life! There are so many. 

Sister Rachel Bennett
Hebrews 11:1,6. 

P.p.s. MANY pictures to come. 

We went to the zoo with CASSI! She happens to be one of my favorite people on planet earth. She's a recent convert in our ward.  

Pre-Zoo Shenanigans
Sister Frances is actually the coolest.

My favorite creature at the zoo.

 We had to say goodbye to Chuck!! He's off to Germany for a month! 80 years old and heading off to Germany for fun to be with friends. As Sister McClellan would say, "What a Baller." 

The original district! Reunited.

Week 41: "BLACK WIDOW"

September 1, 2014
Dear All,

I don't have much time this PDAY...We get to go to the Boise Zoo today!! I'll send lots of pictures next week. Yes.
Yes, we were plagued by the GIANT MOTHER of all Black Widows. It was on our garbage can. She was nefarious. We live with an 80 year old woman who is the one who moves the outdoor garbage back and forth. Yes, I'm in shock that she is still alive. Anyways, we asked the Elders to kill it since their area is where I live, but....they were too afraid. So, I took a big stick, wound up, and hit it as hard as I could. And it still lived! But after much effort, it was utterly defeated. 

Who knew I'd have to deal with poisonous crawling fiends in Boise Idaho?

We went tracting this week, in Rolling Hills (out in the middle of nowhere, in the midst of beautiful houses and rolling desert hill scenery.) We ran into a couple people who wanted to chat! Haha, one man saw us, and immediately called out, come in!! Too bad we couldn't - there wasn't a third female. People who talked to us were mostly interested in missionary lifestyle. Other than that, other people are nice, but totally close off when we talk about the gospel. So many people have heard so many things about the church from sources, good or bad. I wish people would just come to know for themselves what we believe, rather than relying on others. But it's not my choice, it's theirs, and that's ok. :) It was a fun day. But seriously, it was so fun! Especially when the first thing you see when the door opens is a Great Dane.

Working hard brings blessings! Let me tell you, this area is the IDEAL of all missionaries. It is missionary Zion. Why? Because the members are pumped. They are 100% on track missionary minded, and I LOVE it. We get an average of 3 un-asked for referrals per week, and that is incredible. I think I got 6 of those in the space of 3 months in my last area.

Yesterday there was an awkward moment. We visited a less active, whose boyfriend was there. When I introduced myself, 'Sister Bennett from Canada' was what was in my mind, and "Sister Canada" is what came out. Gloriously embarrassing. Yup, I can't get more awkward sometimes.

Sister Mac (my nickname for her) LOVES walking! Which is awesome, because I love walking too! But we decided to go on a small hike to find a house, I think it took an hour total. Ha, adventures. I think we get along so well because we've both come from large families. We're chill. Honestly, I feel so MYSELF with her. Oh, it's fun. ;)
We found two potential investigators from referrals! We have appointments with them this week. :)

Sister Mac told me that she doesn't think she's met anyone that loves cats as much as I do. I can name some people - but I took it as a compliment. :)

Have I told y'all that we teach a Book of Mormon class? It is so much fun! It's small, but we hope that the numbers will grow.

Teenagers are punks. We walked past a couple that asked if we wanted to buy drugs. Ha, at least they know our standards enough to make fun of them. They could be more creative though.

Oh! This week we went out with our 80 year old tech savvy, plane-flying investigator Chuck...to Chuck-a-rama! He loves that place. He flies as a hobby, and was showing off some videos and pictures of his flying gadgets. So cool! He's leaving to Germany this week.

AND the highlight of the week. One of our investigators, Louis, is every missionaries dream when it comes to teaching. He is one of the most sincere people I've ever met. Last night he sent us a text, telling us thank you for volunteering to serve our missions, complimenting us, and telling us that he is proud knowing we are part of his journey and testimony. Let me tell you, that couldn't have come at a  better time for me. It meant so much. He is going to the Ogden Temple open house and Temple Square in Salt Lake for fun today. :)

I love being out here serving this mission. I know this Gospel blesses lives. Being out here has blessed mine so much. Best year and a half, that's for sure.

Remember who you are and what you stand for!

-Sister Bennett

Week 40: "Well, We've Started"

August 25, 2014
Dear Y'all,

This week we've walked. And walked. And walked. And honestly, it's been the best. I hope I always am blessed with companions that love to walk.

One day we were walking. And contacting along the way. At one point, we pass a 30 or so year old walking his dog. Sister McClellan called out, "I love your dog!", and immediately came the almost snide reply. "Do you love your GOD?" We didn't know how to react! I said, "absolutely!" and Sister McClellan paused, and said, "Clever." What was funny though was how he said it. If you've seen the animated Book of Mormon series, he sounded exactly like Laman and Lemuel! Oh the irony. 

Oh! We also saw Orlando Bloom riding a bike down the street. Both of us stopped, and did a 180 degree turn, because we weren't sure what had just happened. :P Well, it was at least his doppelganger. Crazy. 

I feel like on the mission, just when you start feeling confident in your ability to talk with people, is when the Lord puts you in an area where people are more prone to reject you. Well, that can't get me down. :) Not this Sister. There is so much potential here! At least in Hillside. Hidden Springs...is being prepared. The great thing is the members are SUPER enthusiastic about doing missionary work. The not so great thing is...there's not much work. Yet! I love being in that ward though, especially to learn from some people we come in contact with. We found a great street contact - a lady who was almost baptized when she was 18, but didn't because of outside pressures. We gave her a Book of Mormon. :) Also in Hidden Springs, we had a community Family History Event.  It was successful. :) We were able to share the Family Proclamation with some people there. Our ward mission leader is now coordinating it so that we have a Family History Night monthly. It's was held at the Merc - kind of the town center, with a restaurant, a pub, grocery area and a public room. The kids often play outside of it. The Merc is all the hype in Hidden Springs. 

I think the key to Hidden Springs is just finding opportunities to serve and get better known in the community, since it is so small. Unfortunately, some people reject service because they think our intent is to convert them. Not so, we simply want to serve any way that we can, but you can't tell that to people.
In Hillside, we have a few people that we're working with. I LOVE any teaching opportunity that we have. After every lesson, we leave an invitation or a commitment. Last lesson we had, we taught the law of Chastity, and extended a commitment for our investigator to live it, to which he replied, "Holy cow!" I've never had that reaction before! He wants to live it though. :) 

At the beginning of that said lesson, I felt prompted to show the video "He Will Give you Help," because he was struggling with the death of his best friend's brother. It turned to be the perfect way to begin the lesson. I'm so grateful for the Spirit in this work. We would be completely lost and futile without it, that's my sincere testimony. 

Last night I was woken up at 11:11 by a HUGE thunderstorm.  I was tempted to watch it, but I was so tired I just fell right back asleep after closing the window.

I think the highlight of my week was watching the Broadcast of the Meridian Temple Groundbreaking. L.Tom Perry has been expected to come for the last few months (he was to attend a stake conference of the last stake I served in) but David A. Bednar ended up being the one to come, because of personal matters Elder Perry had to attend to. The Spirit was so strong! Since coming on a mission my appreciation and love for temples has multiplied. I love the feeling I have when I attend the temple, and I'm so grateful for that opportunity, especially on my mission. Oh, and our Bishop (who had tickets) took two of our investigators! They loved it. I think my favorite part of the broadcast was when they did the symbolic shoveling of the dirt for the cornerstone. You could faintly hear Elder Bednar say, "Well, we've started!" The Meridian temple should be built in 3 years.

At first I was bummed that I got transferred two weeks before an apostle came to my old area, but I don't feel that way at all anymore. I'm glad I'm here. I've been so happy, especially serving with Sister McClellan. We should be sisters. AND she has the same fashion sense as I do. 

I could say I don't love you. But that would be the worst lie I've told in my life.

My recent scripture of the day is JOHN 10: 9-10. Oh, and if you haven't read Jesus the Christ, you should. It's incredible.

Until next week!

-Sister Bennett

P.s. Pictures to come!

The First Few: We got to attend the BOISE FAIR! We got a ticket free - because we pushed residents of a nearby Assisted Living. Esther and I had a grand time.

All of us Elders and Sisters at the Fair.
This house is ridiculous.
So in honor of the occasion: 

I would like to introduce you to Sister Canada.

Week 39: "I Love My Mission"

August 18, 2014
Dear Amigos and Amigas,

I cannot believe that it's only been a week since I've been transferred into this ward, and since I've been put with Sister McClellan! She literally looks like she could be my Sister. We've had a great week together. I already love her. :)

I love the two wards I'm serving in! One is a residential area close to downtown - and is very diverse. The other ward consists of a pop-up storybook kind of village of about 2500. It's hidden in the Boise Hills. It pops up out of nowhere! It's literally the nicest neighborhood I've ever been in. Yes, there indeed are some houses as big as castles. It's out of control. I'll show you pictures when I take them. :)

My sense of direction has not served me well. I still don't know how to get anywhere. BUT, I'm learning! It'll probably take me 3 - 4 and a half months to figure it out, like my last area. :P The leadership in these wards is AMAZING. We have the chance to work with amazing men and women who are our Bishops, Relief Society Presidents, and Ward Mission Leaders. There is an enthusiasm for missionary work here, and it's easy to catch the Spirit. We also have many investigators and members we have to work with - at least in the Hillside ward. :P Hidden Springs is working on that.

Hidden Springs, I admit, is the most unique ward I've served in. It is a very well off community, and personally I'm used to - and comfortable with - talking and working with people of more humble circumstances. So this will be a change for me, and it most likely will take me getting more out of my comfort zone, which is always good. God's love and Gospel is for all people, and I have faith that people are being prepared in that area to receive the Gospel. It's fun to see that missionary work is the same, and yet so very different based on the community, and so I'll probably be learning some new ways to approach the work here. :P I already love the people I've met though. It's really a beautiful place - every street looks almost the same! I'll send you pictures...after I take them. :)

Random experience of the week - we drove out a few miles on a gravel road out from Hidden Springs to this awesome house. Unfortunately the family was not yet home - so I took my companion exploring a bit. We found a dead baby birdy that I made a grave for, I almost touched a lizard until it almost attacked me, and we got scared by a huge snake that slithered by. I love adventures.

By the way, I met someone from TABER in Hidden Springs! AND someone from RAYMOND! Their names are Tim and Kara Dudley! And Kara used to be a FRANCIS! Sweet! Tender Mercy. It was so awesome to get to know them - and BONUS when we dropped by Tim's parents from Raymond were there, and they were raving about 1) How amazing a certain Sunder West is at sports (yes, I'll claim her as my cousin) and 2) How amazing the Cardston theatre cast is this year. Oh man. I promise it didn't make me miss home TOO much.

In the Hillside ward, I found Riries! In fact, President Ririe is in the Stake Presidency, and he said that some of his Ririe branch went where but MAGRATH Alberta! That means that's Grandma's ancestors! So from now on I'm going to call them cousins. :)

On the missionary side of things, we've done a lot of walking, we've had the chance to talk to a lot of new people (especially for me) and we've taught a few discussions, and even invited a family to baptism! We have a goal to teach every family in the ward the Restoration, which has gone well. Also, we are teaching a family from Burma, and a family from the Congo! So cool! These people are amazing. We also have an 80 year old investigator named Chuck. He reminds me of a boy scout. 

We also have impeccably bad timing at some times. For example, we unfortunately decided to visit someone 2 minutes after they had been evicted.

I'm growing a testimony of the gift of discernment. And sometimes I just say too much. :P We met a less active man and his son, and got in a good conversation with him. We learned he is a house builder, and so I asked him what he majored in. He replied, "painting." I immediately got excited and asked him if he had some of his work he could show me. He said no - he didn't do that anymore. Then I joked, "You mean, you're one of those people who majored in painting and dreamed of making it, but when things didn't pan out the way you wanted to you threw out all your paints and swore to never touch a paintbrush again?"

Just by his look, I knew that's exactly what happened, so I said - "but if that's really what happened I'm sorry!" He then told me that that was in fact what happened to him. Haha oh dear. :) We were able to have a conversation for about another 7 minutes, and then as we said goodbye, he told me - referring back to his painting, "you really nailed that one on the head."

And - my favorite. Sister McClellan. She is amazing! We are going to learn so much from each other. She's a hard worker. She's good at getting to the point and getting things done. She's organized, and she teaches with amazing clarity. I love to listen to her teach - she really teaches as someone called of God, and I feel the Spirit every time. :) She's been out 4 and a half months, and this is her first area. She also has pretty much the same fashion sense as I do, which is a bonus. She's from Florida, Tennessee, and Phoenix Arizona. We laugh a lot. She likes to call me crazy. She also uses words such as "Ratchet." For example, "my hair is so ratchet today." What?! It's great.

Well, this work is true. The scriptures are some of my most prized possessions. I love the Spirit, which guides and directs me in my life. I don't know where I would be without it, but I know for a fact I wouldn't be as happy as I am now with it. :) Most of all, I love my Savior, and I love having the chance to share that with people every day.

You're all my favorite,

Sister Bennett

P.s. This is the longest email I've ever written. I half-heartedly apologize.


Sister McClellan. Told you we're sisters.

Gerry. The hippy gangster bullfrog. I love him.

Week 38: "Goodbyes and Graham Wafer Delight..."

August 11, 2014
Dear Family, 

Well, pull out your novels and get a snack because Chapter 3 of the life of this Sister Missionary is over, and a new Chapter is about to start! 

I really don't know where to begin, other than to say that I am not particularly good at saying goodbye in my opinion. But, I've been blessed to have been serving in the Bel Air Ward for 6 months. It feels like home, but I know it's time to leave. It's in God's hands now. :) And Sister Fiefia and Kingsolver's of course. :) 

I learned so much from being with my Tongan companion. Sister Fiefia was an incredible example to me of strength, faith, endurance, and humility. I definitely learned that I have a lot to work on, and she was just such a good example to me. Also, I learned a good amount of Tongan. Ok, only a few words here and there. One day I'll be fluent. I would love to go teach English in Tonga one day! Sister Fiefia wants me to. I'm so lucky I got to train her. She trained me. 

So much has happened this week...I don't know if I'll be able to express it all with the short time I have.

1) The BODILY's came to church!! The Bodily's are a less active family who have two kids that have not yet been baptized. Their kids LOVE us now! I've been working with them for the past 6 months, and slowly but surely they have progressed, and yesterday was one of those moments that don't seem like they actually happened but they did...The Bel Air Sisters are going to start teaching them every week now! Which is such a contrast from not even getting in the door at first! All from the faith of a child...

1.5) We had a unique service opportunity. We're teaching a lady who is struggling financially. Well, she's trying to come up with the funds for her to attend her son's wedding. She has the plane and motel covered, but she had none left over for food or transportation. Well, in a lesson we tried to come up with good ideas of ways she can come up with the extra money, and nothing seemed to be available. But then on Friday our appointment cancelled and we felt as though we should go over and see her, and immediately she said, "I thought of something! I have an old freezer that is currently unused I can sell!" Well, we wasted no time in helping her put it up on Craig's list. Afterwards, we watched the video, "Mountains to Climb", and the spirit was incredibly strong, stronger than I've ever felt in her home. She was touched - it took her a while to talk afterwards. I'm grateful we had the chance to go over and help her - temporally and spiritually.  

2) It was my birthday. :) What better way to celebrate my 21st birthday than serving the Lord? Sister Fiefia sure wanted to make it special. In Tonga there are HUGE celebrations when someone turns 21. I think she told me around 15 cows were butchered in celebration for hers, and many friends came and took portions of the meat home. :) Well, I'm afraid I didn't have any cows put down for me, but I did have bacon! I invited some good missionary friends (with permission) for a breakfast at Kneaders. Gotta love unlimited french toast, and somehow I ate 4. Needless to say I didn't need food for the rest of the day. They're HUGE. And then that evening we did service! I got to clean and sing, and it was actually incredibly refreshing just to not think about anything and clean. And sing. One of the tender mercies. :)

3) A member family who I was close to went to Canada! AND they stayed at what but the South Country Inn in Cardston! Small world! (I worked there a year ago!) They were telling me about the staff, and I definitely knew the people they described! That made me happy. :) They gave me some Caramilk bars. I love Canadian chocolate. Of course I had to share it with the Americans here. 

4) Transfer calls...and yes, I'm being transferred, away from my home away from home. So of course, I packed in about an hour, and then made my rounds to say goodbye. Easier said than done. I've been so impacted by those I've met in this area. Oh, I also got asked to sing another impromptu solo in the assisted living sacrament meeting since I was leaving. I chose to sing my favorite verses of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and bore testimony of the Savior. I love those older folks so much. They've made a difference in my life, that's for sure. 

Now I'm with Sister McClellan from Florida! She is beautiful, she could come straight out of a Jane Austin novel. She comes from a family of 10 kids, and I think I'm going to love serving with her. She's been out for 4 and a half months. I've heard so many good things about the wards I'm about to serve in. I'm serving in the Hillside and Hidden Spring wards, they are right by the Boise rolling hills (I refuse to call them mountains.) 

Well, to go unpack and sleep. I love you.

Sister Bennett