Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 56: "I'M STAYING, BABY!"

December 15, 2014
Dear my rays of sunshine,

Yes, great news - I get to stay here for a third transfer with Sister Capitan! I've never been so happy about a transfer call. I feel so incredibly blessed to be here. This means I will have spent 4/5ths of my mission serving in Boise, rather than in Meridian, Star, or Eagle.

Are you all getting in the Christmas Spirit? What kind of things have you been up to? I don't know if I've ever been as excited for Christmas as I am now. I just love this season out on the mission. People are so much more open to hearing about Christ. I don't think I've ever felt as much gratitude as I do now for this season, and the true meaning of it.

This week has been a little different than most, as many Christmas events happened. We had our Missionary Christmas Party! That was a lot of fun. Many Elders and Sisters shared talents - uni-cycling, Polynesian dancing, singing parodies, harmonica, violin, etc. Then came the devotional part. I had the chance to sing "Mary Did You Know." I accidentally switched some lyrics, but it went alright. It was a great experience. And there was great food!

We had our Hillside Ward Party - and a few less active families came, which was awesome. The primary kids sang, the Elders Quorum Sang, and they asked me to sing as well.

We got in to some non-members homes in Hidden Springs, and were able to share, "He is the Gift" with them. Overall the reception of it is very positive.

The highlight of the week was putting on the Progressive Nativity at a farm in Hidden Springs! This is the first time they've put it on - we were there when the idea came up in Ward Council. So cool to see things from beginning to end. At the last minute, the night before, they asked if I could be in it. Of course I said yes. Sister Capitan rocked it at the end, talking to people as they had food and hot chocolate, and giving out "Joy to the World" dvd's and showing He is the Gift continuously on a computer and giving out cards. They had me in the Bethlehem Scene. People would gather in groups of 10, and be led by a young man guide. They would first take them to an Inn. Outside of the inn was a fire with a family huddled. I was be a towns person, and sing "Oh little Town of Bethlehem" to start the scene off. Then a narrator would quote Luke 2, and Mary and Joseph would come in and knock on the door - only to be told there is no room in the inn. Then they would walk off. This process was repeated for two hours - probably about 25 - 30 times. I bet over 200 went through, most of them not members of our faith. :) It was an amazing missionary opportunity. It was cold, but fun. I tried to switch up my scene every time, interacting with it in different ways.

The next scene was the three kings with their gifts, pointing out the star in the distance. They sang "We Three Kings". Next, the group was led out to the edge of the farm lawn, where shepherds were herding sheep - and the angels came, told of Christ's birth, and sang.

And at the very end, was the stable with the baby. Yes, they had a live baby in it. :) What was amazing was what happened when it was all over. The actors got to see the scenes as we went through the last time, and so the wise men went in to get pictures "presenting" the gifts to the baby Jesus. When they came in, baby Jesus sat up, and smiled a huge smile, reaching out towards the wise men. It's definitely something seeing three grown men almost cry.

Keep on pressing forward! It all will work out in the end. I love you all so much, and my appreciation grows in this season. It's all about family, and I can't help but smile when I think of memories of our crazy family. The Temple President's wife spoke in Stake Conference about her kid's most memorable Christmas's. It was never memories the gifts they received. It was always memories of the feelings they had. I know that that is true in my life.

May we all feel that joy.


Week 55: "Now that I've caught up sending pictures..."

December 8, 2014

Sometimes pictures are worth more than 1000 words...

This was from two weeks ago.

#snow. The beginning. 

#stuck. The middle.

#hewaswaitingforthelikesofustonotmakeit. The End. 

NEFF OR NOTHING - Our current theme. Two transfers ago we had a greenie come into the district named Elder Neff...and we cover Neff street...what a coincidence! 

Walking on water. :)

Temple Day! We have the privilege of attending the temple once every three months. I look forward to it always! This trip was particularly special for me. 

She doesn't know how to play guitar folks. But she was given one! She's coo, I guess...

Elizabeth's baptism!

Saying goodbye to Elder Ferrell. We'll miss him. 


Sunglass day.

Neff or Nothing x 2. My compie is talented. 

Shenanigans of the Dread Pirate Capitan. She keeps things interesting!

Pretty snow!

Dear Family,

This week has been an amazing week. I can't believe this second transfer with Sister Capitan has passed so quickly. Transfer calls are in a week. I don't want to leave.

So, since time is short, here are some things I loved about this week.

-FHE with Louis and the Zendel family on Monday. It was a fantastic night. We talked about testimony-changing prayers. (Such as Enos had.)

-Serving, going out with Cassi (a recent convert) and keeping busy. We were led by the spirit that night to find a great family we can work with.

-Getting my hair cut!

-Having another amazing lesson with Yvette (from the Congo.) We brought French Speaking Bishop Sturgill from another ward, and does that man have the Spirit. Yvette is really interested in learning more.

-Our Book of Mormon class went SO well. Tiffany was the only investigator that made it, but as the Elders taught we were able to get in a really good discussion about the Book of Mormon, the history behind it, and how much sacrifice and effort went into these people preserving and recording these records so that in a future day it could help others. Tiffany texted us that night. She said she had a lot of fun with us, and that's the first time she's had fun studying scriptures in a long time. She's just an amazing person to be acquainted with, much less teach. I could go on, but I'll choose not to.

-Friday we decided to walk the streets, and try doors we never had before. We got to meet several new people, and we had the change to share He is the Gift cards with many people along the way.

-Saturday was an awesome day. We started out by helping a really cool lady move. She's a member, but temporarily she's helping out a friend and allowing him to stay. Well, at first when he saw us he started making fun of us and the Book of Mormon. He told us of times that he wasn't particularly nice to Elders, to put it nicely. Well, during our service we could just see his attitude change. He thanked us so many times, and at the end told us we really earned our badges with him that day. He's such a nice guy, I'm glad we were able to help them out. That evening we were in Hidden Springs, and struggling to know where to go or what to do, so we went tracting! And we saw ANOTHER miracle come out of service! A lady we met at her door looked at us and said, "You're the ladies that worked so hard helping us at the barn! Come in!" We had an amazing visit with them, and were able to share He is the Gift. It was probably one of the most positive tracting experiences I've ever had. Afterwards, we had dinner with the Roberts, and their son was wearing a ZELDA shirt and hoodie! I was so jealous. We got in a great nerd conversation.

Well, enough about me and my weeks. What about all of you? I want to know what's going on. :) Are you all ready for Christmas? What are your plans? I'm looking forward to it. Tomorrow we have our mission Christmas party. I'm going to sing Mary Did You Know. I'm excited.

I love you all! Thank you so much for being there. Your prayers really have meant a lot on my behalf. Things have been going so well here. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. I don't want it to end.

Take care!

-Sister Rachel Bennett

Week 54: "#Sharethegift"

December 1, 2014

So this is my weekly email! First off, I'd like to let you all know that missionaries really do look forward to emailing time each week. :) And I would just like to thank you all for making my days. It is SO sweet to hear from my family and friends about the things that are going on in their lives.

I CANNOT believe it's already DECEMBER? Does time fly that quickly? Well, it's Christmas season, and I actually really do love Christmas's on the mission. I found in my past that I had started to dread Christmas. So, I decided to make a change. I decided to really attempt to make it personally about what Christmas is centered on: Jesus Christ. I found that as my focus changed, my joy in the season grew abundantly. SO...I've decided what gift you can all give me for Christmas. :) Have you heard of the new initiative put out by the Church called "He is the Gift?" It's a video that will be advertized over December on youtube as well as on Times Square among other places. It's just GOOD. The website the video is found on is centered on Jesus Christ, and what we believe about Him, and how we can discover and draw closer to him. If people so choose after watching the video they can scroll through the website. So, in everyone's December issue of the Ensign they were given 9 pass along cards for He is the Gift. My request is that you find one person, it doesn't matter who it may be, to share it with. :) Or you can share it online, it's up to you. That would be the greatest gift to me, to know that knowledge and testimony of the Savior is being shared. I love my Savior so much. He really is the best gift that's ever been given to me.

This week was abundant! Elizabeth was baptized on Wednesday night, and it was just an amazing experience. She's been taught for over a year, so there were a lot of missionaries there. Later on Elizabeth said that her feeling at her baptism could only be described as the way she imagines she will feel when she goes to heaven and sees her family waiting for her there to welcome her. It was so special. What was cool was that I felt like I should invite Sister Haas, Elder Odiorne, and his comp to sing with me. Well, we figured out what song we were to sing (Be Still My Soul), but we didn't have time to practice until RIGHT before the baptism. Well, we didn't have much time, and yet it was amazing how we all received inspiration as to how to sing and break up the song so that it was interesting, unique, and spiritual. It went amazing. The Spirit definitely provides when time is not provided. :)

We also did community service through St. Vincents for thanksgiving! We helped load turkeys, potatoes, and boxes with thanksgiving dinner items onto carts, and then load them into cars of those who needed a little extra help this year for a meal. It was SO rewarding, and cool to be able to work in such a large group for such a good cause. They provided thousands of turkey dinners over the period of a couple days. I was the "Large" turkey dinner girl. I think the biggest turkey I had on my cart was 22 lbs.

Thanksgiving dinner was awesome. I've found families away from home here. :) We also found a new investigator on Thanksgiving night!

I'm grateful for YOU! Have a good week and don't freeze in the snow!

Sister Bennett

Here's all the missionaries (left in the mission) that taught Elizabeth! Elizabeth's in the middle. :) 

Week 53: "I Love Turkey!"

November 24, 2014
Hola! Yateeh! Konnichiwa!

Navajo is a next to impossible language to learn. Have you ever heard of the Navajo Co-talkers (wind-talkers) of World War 2? They were able to send radio messages for the United States army without the Japanese breaking the code. It's a pretty darn cool story if I say so myself - and that's my companion's heritage!

It's been a good....4 days! The temple was absolutely amazing. It was exactly what I needed, and the Lord decided to send me even more tender mercies in the form of a member from my last area that I LOVE! :) Afterwards, us and another set of Sisters did CAFE RIO because it's Cafe Rio, and Target. I love Target. I think you can't be a Sister Missionary here without becoming prone to a slight addiction to it.

FRIDAY I had the chance to serve my very first day in Meridian! Haha yes it is different than Boise, but luckily the core of the work is the same. I missed Boise, but Sister Gummow and I had fun. We were able to meet some interesting people, and see spontaneous miracles that we prayed for!

Saturday was one of the best days of the mission. We spent the morning in service of one of my favorite people (Heather!) who is getting ready to have family over for thanksgiving. We had a blast. Sister Capitan was given a guitar? Don't ask me where she stores all the things she's given. ;) Then, we watched half of Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration with the Shea girls and their mom, Robyn. That was awesome. We had a good chat with Robyn afterwards about her first temple experience, and then we went over to our Bishop's home to do planning! For dinner we had a thanksgiving dinner, and early one with the Fales. Brother Fales was a linebacker for BYU at one point, and his wife is a dancer! Their kids to sports and arts. :) That evening we were able to coordinate two priesthood blessings, and I can't even begin to describe the Spirit that surrounds those. I'm grateful for supportive members of our ward who are willing to take time out of their evening to serve.

Sunday was a little rough, but there were those little shining moments. Seeing familiar faces in church, laughing at President Ririe's hilarity in Stake Correlation, putting together ideas for our districts Stomp performance for the Christmas talent show...

And today! Oh, it was wonderful. I was able to receive some wonderful advice from Sister Winder. I'm so lucky to be serving with her. (Our mission President's wife.) Also, we were involved in a Boise-wide charity project, providing Turkey dinners for those that aren't able to provide them on their own! It was such a fun four hours, and it flew by!

I love you all. Service always makes the heart lighter.

Sister Bennett

Week 52: "Happy 1 Year"

November 20, 2014
Dearest Darlingest Friendsies and Famsickles.

Well, after making you gag because of all the cuteness, I...Well. I'm writing you a letter! Because I love you.
Today as Thursday! Why am I writing today? Well, our PDay was switched, because we get to go to the TEMPLE today!! :)

What an amazing year mark gift! You see, a year ago on November 20th I entered the MTC! It's kind of mind-blowing in a way. I can't believe I've been out here that long. I've learned, loved, and changed so much. I feel old. I want to live out my mission like my Zone Leader told us - he said he wanted to leave his mission tired. I want to keep on running to that finish line, and yes, I definitely want to leave tired.

So today is a PDay, and Monday is going to be another PDay! There are two other sisters that came out with me that are also hitting their year mark, so we want to do something awesome today.

It SNOWED this last week! What was crazy was that Boise hasn't seen this much snow (9 and a half inches - Canadians, don't laugh at us) in years! So...story time. We were driving in Hidden Springs during the snow storm, where we were working. Well, first we got stuck on a hill since we were parked on an incline, and our car has no traction whatsoever. Some nice people in the neighborhood helped us out. Afterwards though, we headed back to Boise, and we tried to make it up a huge hill at night....and our car couldn't make it! Luckily there was a police waiting on the hill for people like us, so he got us turned around so we could go the long way around back to Boise. We have since gotten chains for our tires. :)

Sister Capitan always keeps things fresh. I love serving with a convert, it just adds so much dimension to our work. :) And the Spirit speaks to her so much! She says it's almost like it is persistently bugging her until she cannot ignore it anymore. We've seen miracles through her promptings, that's for sure! I'm so glad there are two of us, and not just one.

Much to Sister Capitan's delight, members made lamb for us the other day! I've never tried it before, but with the mint jelly it was quite delicious.

We had the chance to teach Tiffany the Plan of Salvation. She had so many questions, which I loved! I love answering questions. I love meeting new people and finding out where they come from, and what they have been taught or believe. Tiff loved learning about the pre-existence and about Adam and Eve. She was contemplating about everything we taught her - she's going to study and pray about it. :) I love that. We're not asking others to take what we say without question. We're inviting others to study and come to know for themselves it is true.

I had an amazing epiphany the other day. Every time the Spirit prompts me to bear testimony of things such as the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Plan of Salvation, and especially of Jesus Christ, that is the Spirit confirming to me that it is true. I can't tell you how many times I've been prompted to testify of these things. I know that these things are true, with all of my heart. I love my Heavenly Father, and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know they live, and they are away of the details of my life.

Have a great week!

-Sister Bennett