Thursday, March 26, 2015

Week 70: "Findlay-Less"

March 23, 2015

Dear Family,

We found out a week and a half ago that we were losing our child! Another Sister that was training lost her companion who was also waiting for a visa for Taiwan, and so, lo and behold, she was separated from us. I know I've only been with a single companion all my mission, but it doesn't feel like it now! It's so...quiet. It's crazy!

So, other than adjusting to that, we had two special opportunities this week.

Sister Zelaya and I got to go to the Endowment session of Cassie, who we both worked with! It was amazing to be able to go to the temple with her! It was a special experience for all of us.

We also had the chance to be in attendance to another Sister's Patriarchal blessing, which was absolutely incredible. The Spirit was so strong, it felt like a church or a temple in the Patriarch's home.

So, remember when I mentioned we were teaching David, a guy who grew up in Taber? Well, now we are teaching his son, Josh, and he is sosoooo awesome! He was just so open minded and interested in what we had to say.

We had dinner with a lady from the Czech Republic, Eliska. Gosh, she's a fireball. She grew up in an orphanage, and had to eventually escape her country to come to America. She's went through a LOT in her life, and yet is the kindest person I have ever met! She wants us to come back and teach her more.

We also found another potential investigator through an active lds lady that moved in the ward, who is taking her non-member granddaughter to church!

I think the Lord is just pouring out miracles on us. We've seen so much happen, and we are working hard.

We're coming up to the end of Sister Zelaya's mission! I can't believe it, two more weeks and she'll be back in North Carolina. I'm so lucky to be with her! Hopefully I am not a distraction...I like to tease her about things back home. But I also like to help her focus. Healthy balances, right?

Okie, Have a great week y'all! Remember who you are and what you stand for! Keep on being the examples that you are.

The Gospel is true!

-Sister Rachel Bennett

Week 69: "BYE TO Fan Jie Mei"

March 16, 2015

Dear Everyone,

This week we had a crazy, busy week. Just to put things in perspective, the standard of excellence for this mission is 20 lessons in a week, and we had 27. I have two awesome, motivated companions.

I think the miracles of this week were yesterday, on Sunday. David came to church again!! We also saw a few others at church that we haven't seen for a while. I was SO happy when I saw David walk through the door. I was saying prayers that he would, since we didn't see him at the beginning, and then five seconds later he walked in! 

We've been doing something so special as a mission. We've been given an "Atonement" reading booklet, with talks on the atonement. We're reading one a day until Easter, and it's been amazing to solely focus on Christ, and truly come to understand Him, and how everything is centered on Him. It is something special. I also have one more paragraph to go before I've finished memorizing, "The Living Christ." I challenge all of you to center your studies on Christ to prepare for Easter! It will make a difference.

Moments of awesome: We had a dinner with a non-member, Scott, and his little girl! And...he made us Steak! Seriously, the nicest guy. We went to the Dixons (Bro Dixon is a councillor in the bishopric), and they talked about a frog in their pond that keeps them up at night. Well, us Sisters would have none of that, so we went frog hunting! Sister Zelaya started singing for it to come out...and then Brother Dixon turned on his waterfall, AND WE SAW IT HOP! And so naturally we all yelled at it, and Brother Dixon caught it! We put it in a jar and safely it got carried away.

Sometimes the miracles are in the small things, the things that seem insignificant to anyone but ourselves. But I'll tell you now, that that is how my testimony has been built, and it's a rock.

And now to the sad news. Another new missionary, Sister Carlson, got her visa for Taiwan, so she'll be leaving. As a consequence, Sister Findlay is going to leave us to replace her and be a new companion to the Sister that is staying. I'm so sad to see her go! She's hilarious. I could write quotes from her all day. Her favorite thing to say was, "You do You!" She's definitely herself, no matter what. I admire that! She's made a big difference in this area.

I love you! Have a great week!

Sister Bennett

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 68: "Hark All Ye Nations"

Dear Family,

It's been an amazing week. We saw so many miracles.

The first miracle was that TIFFANY was baptized!! Honestly, I believe that was one of the highlights of the mission. The night before...I got asked to give the talk on baptism, and sing a musical number with another Sister! It was cool to see how the Spirit can really hasten preparation. I felt like I needed to focus on names - how God knows Tiffany by name, how when we are baptized we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ....etc. It all came together! Cassie was able to drive us down, and it was awesome to see her! It was SO good to see so many people I love from my last area, and Tiffany was just GLOWING. Also, Sister Capitan was so excited as well. This is her first investigator she's began teaching from beginning to end (or we'll call baptism a new beginning haha). The Spirit was so strong! I would love to send you pictures. I'm so proud of her. I've seen her make so many changes for good in her life.

That very same day, Sister Zelaya had a baptism too! Sister Holman and her had taught this man (in the Spanish area), and Sister Galarza got transferred in. BOTH of these Sisters are going home this week! It was cool to see them with their parents, who came to pick them up, at their very last baptism. Sister Holman lived with me in my very first area, and so it was amazing to see how she's grown, and to meet her parents and sister. There are nine kids in her family too! It was interesting to be at the baptism that was in all Spanish. The Spirit was strong there, too! And Spanish people know how to party. Afterwards there was homemade beans, pico de gio (I don't know how to spell it), and chips, and horchata, and everything that is good in life. Yum.

And now to talk about that morning. SHERI DEW came to our stake, and spoke to the Relief Society women!! We went with a reactivating woman, JJ, who is SO awesome.

It was incredible. She is a powerful speaker. She recently wrote a book which apparently has many things she said written in it...I think it has the atonement in the title? Anyway, I would highly recommend reading it. She began by telling us that we weren't there to see her. She wasn't worth the time, and neither was she worth getting fancied up on a Saturday morning instead of staying in our pajamas. However, she said, the Spirit was worth it, and if the Spirit spoke to us in any way while listening to her, then it made it more than worth it.

I'll tell you now that she was right. Personal revelation is more valuable than anything, and the Spirit was there. I was able to find answers to my questions, and I know my companions were able to as well.

Some things she shared really stood out to me. 1) Questions are good. Especially if we are willing to work for our answer. 2) Spiritual truth comes from WRESTLING for our answers. Anything meaningful comes because we worked for it. That's why Enos and Alma both describe their coming to know the Lord as a wrestle. 3) The Lord is in need of women in this church who are educated, who deeply KNOW and have a TESTIMONY of this gospel. 
There was so much more, but I don't want to write a novel. It suffices me to say that it was inspiring, and revelatory. She shared a lot of personal experiences, especially about being 62 and single in the church, being a CEO of Deseret book, finding out that in a way we are all mothers, etc.

The last miracle I want to share is with a less-active gentleman we met last week, David. We asked where he was from, and he said, "Canada." I straightened up in my chair, and asked, "Where?!" He responded, "A place called Taber." "NO WAY! That's where I'm from!!" I was able to share the mormon message from Taber, "He Will Give You Help." It seemed to touch him. He hasn't been in church since he was 17. Well, we went back this week, and again it was perfect timing. We were able to talk to him more, and I told him my parents know his grandparents really well! He told me that his parents know Dennis Bennett, who is my grandpa! Small world. Well, Sister Zelaya shared an inspired message about doing the will of the Father, and we talked about getting out of our comfort zone, and searching for answers from God by doing His will. As we left, we invited him to church (I was singing), kind of as a last thought as we were walking towards the car. He asked when and where, and then we left. Well, the next day to my surprise, HE WAS THERE!! We were so happy! I honestly couldn't believe it. God works in mysterious ways, but I'm so grateful for his help and Spirit.

This work is true! God really cares. I challenge you all to seek to know how the Spirit speaks to you. Pray to know how to recognize those promptings. That's the only way we can come to know and truly cherish the truthfulness of the Gospel.

I love you! You all mean so much to me, and I'm so lucky to have family and friends like you!

Sister Bennett.

P.s. Transfers came, and we're all staying. :) Oh, and Sister Capitan is STAYING a 5th transfer in my last area, and training! She'll do good.

P.p.s. FUNNY MOMENTS: We went to Primary, and before we went up to talk, a member of the Bishopric was talking to the junior Primary. He asked them who the Prophet was today. A kid shouted, "Jesus!" and another kid responded, "It's Mario!"

The innocence of children. One of them went up to me and said, "Why did you dye your hair black? It looks weird."

Our sacrament meeting was unique. There was 6 speakers, and 2 musical numbers. It was all about hymns, and peoples favorite hymns. To be able to make it through, each talk had to be 5 minutes max. They were warned that if they went too long, the podium would move up or down to remind them. Well, this old guy gets up to speak. Five minutes pass, and the podium goes up slightly. Ignored. Two more minutes pass, and the podium goes down. Ignored. Two more minutes pass, and the gentleman made a comment about being able to talk all day if he wanted to, but that wasn't Bishop's plan. At that remark, the podium went WAY up and down haha. We all laughed. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Week 67: "I'm a Nerd, and that's a Good Thing."

March 2, 2015
Dear Family and Friends,

Extra Extra! It's been a good week! Come hear all about it!

It's been such a blessing-filled week! I've been so excited to let you all know what has happened.

LAST Saturday, LOUIS got married to a good LDS girl! I can't believe it! I couldn't be there in person, but my heart was there. TIFFANY from my last area is getting baptizedTHIS Saturday! I jumped up and down when I heard. Also, Sheri Dew is coming to our Stake this Saturday! And transfer calls are this Saturday? It'll be a big day.

We ran into a man named Jim while tracting a couple weeks ago. He at first said he was good, and that he was fine with his church. Well, we asked him what faith he attended - he said Calvary Chapel. We then gave him a Book of Mormon, which he willingly accepted. Well, fast forward to Tuesday. We came back, and surprisingly he invited us right in! He said he had skimmed through, and he didn't think it correlated at all with the Bible. Well, we talked about the cross-references at the bottom of page, and taught him more about the Book of Mormon, what it's about, and how it came to be. He was very kind and open-minded, and invited us to come back in a few weeks after he's looked into it some more. Pray for a miracle with Jim!

We also ran into an atheist man, who I actually really liked. However, I think he likes debate for the sake of debating. You could tell he wasn't open to considering anything we said from the get-go. And he had the audacity to tell me that as a woman I am devalued and disregarded in the church. Ooh. Pause button. Talk about one of the very things that gets me a little fiery. I let him know in the kindest way I could at that moment how very valuable women are in the church, and how men and women are equal, and that positions in the church aren't sought for for personal attainment or "rank", but rather they are seen as opportunities to serve. I also described the ways women serve in the church on every level, and how men and women worked together. He debated back, of course, but at least we were able to defend ourselves a little bit.

We then asked if he's ever tried to know if God was there. He said yes, and we asked him what he expected his answer to be. He said he expected a sign. All I could think of was Alma 30 haha. I laughed in my heart. Well, I like him. He admitted to us at the end that if he has respect for any religion it is ours, because we take care of our own.

What I learned from that experience, and what I'm here to say that God doesn't work that way. He works through faith, and humility, in small and simple ways. I can't deny the witnesses I've received that God is there. It's come through study and reading. It's come through peace. It's come through my questions being answered, and through guidance. And it comes through time, usually. I've put it to the test. If you're doubting, I challenge you to put it to the test as well. Read the witnesses. Ponder. Pray in faith. I know God answers a sincere heart.

We also committed a single Dad and his daughter to prepare for baptism! They are the SWEETEST. We watched Finding Faith in Christ, and afterwards asked them what their favorite part was. Both of them responded about a miracle that Jesus performed, in which he healed a man's blindness, and had the man's daughter in front of him so that she'd be the first thing he would see when he opened his eyes. We were able to bear our testimonies that families are strengthened as we act on our faith, and come unto Christ. The end was my favorite. We asked Lily to pray, and so she did....and she asked Heavenly Father that us Sisters would get off our "probation" soon so that we could go home to our families! Hahah we couldn't stop laughing!

As well, we're teaching a family, who has a fourteen year old boy who previously hasn't shown much interest. However, he agreed to prepare to be baptized! Right before, we asked him if he wanted to be clean, and he responded, "Well, I just took a shower!" He's a great kid.

We met a less active man...and we asked him where he was from. He responded, "Canada." I bolted up straight in my chair and asked, "Where?" He said, "It's a small place, it's called Taber, Alberta. " "THAT'S WHERE I'M FROM!!" Wow, that was a miracle! His grandpa even worked in the sugar factory! I can't wait to go back and see him again.

Things finally seem like they are moving forward here. I guess it takes about a transfer to do so when you've whitewashed an area. I would truly and deeply appreciate your prayers.

I love you! 
-Sister Bennett

P.s. We had Stake Conference yesterday, and it was broadcast in from another Meridian Ward, and L.Tom.Perry was at it! He spoke, and it was amazing! Did you know that on New Years (this year or last) he was watching a football game, and he went over to get some candy and he got excited about a play and fell? And broke 6 ribs? And yet now, at 93, he's still up and about. I almost felt like he needed help standing at the pulpit, but he seemed fine! And he is so funny. He talked about going to Broadway plays as well. It made him seem all the more relate-able. He talked about Character - how it isn't what we inherit, or what our reputation is. Rather, it's who we are at the core. Our reputation is the shadow of our character.

There was two other great speakers who spoke on change and avoiding contention. I loved it, and also, a less active came! She's determined to be active again.

P.p.s. Hehe. I dyed my hair! Dark. It's a semi-permanent dye, and I love it. It actually didn't turn out as dark as Sister Benjamin and I expected (she does hair for a living), but we still like it! I also got cleopatra bangs. I like change too much, I guess. I would send pictures, but I can't find my camera anywhere. 

Week 66: "Mary, Did You Know?"

February 23, 2015

I'm wearing a mini blanket on my head, because I'm cold, and that's what my companion offered to me. Anywho, all the Elders told me I look like Mary, and then they started singing Mary Did You Know to me. And now they're playing their respective favorite versions. Fun.

This week was a busy one again! I don't even remember what went on, only that it was a busy one. 
My companion says it the best. Every Sunday is an orchestration. Seeing who's there, who isn't, texting Bishop to see if he sees people we can't, finding all the people on our list of who to talk to...we had two less actives at church, which was awesome, but one that we thought for sure would come didn't, which was disappointing. But that's the life of a missionary. We came into this area with not too much real progressive investigator work, but we're working (hard) on that. Right now we are doing a lot of less active work though, since there is a huge amount of work in this ward.

Ok! So this week. I forgot I brought my journal here, so now I remember!

Tuesday: We went to an eye doctor for Sister Zelaya. Dr Koefed. He has 11 KIDS. That rivals you Mom and Dad. What were you thinking? Haha he's one of a kind. He has a daughter serving in the Edmonton Alberta mission, so if you see her, holler!

Wednesday: The new Missionary meeting. Probably one of the most inspirational meetings I've been to for a good long while. I LOVED it. I wrote in my journal that the Spirit was there in Abundance. President gave a comment that I just thought was profound. He talked about true love - which is Charity. He said that the feeling of love is just one faucet, one appendage to what love truly is. True love is GIVING. Giving of ourselves. The scripture didn't say God so loved the world that his heart was warm and fuzzy. It says that God so loved the world that he GAVE his Only Begotten Son. He did the hardest thing he could possibly do. He gave up his son, his Only Begotten Son, out of pure love, so that his Son could experience the pain, the suffering, the anguish it took to die for us. It was never meant to be easy. What do we give because we have true love?

I've been thinking a lot about that lately. It was a fantastic meeting. A Sister Missionary who is leaving soon bore the most powerful testimony on Christ. She's usually hilarious and a little sassy, but here she just opened up, and cried. I couldn't take it. I cried too.

Wednesday night we joined the Priest Quorum for mutual, and told how we came to be on a mission, and then opened it up for a Q and A. I think they loved it! They asked questions such as: How best to prepare, what are some of the struggles of a missionary, how do you best adapt to the schedule, what are some experiences that we've had, etc. The Spirit was quite strong there as well. Those kids are hilarious.

Best news of the week! Thursday! I FOUND OUT LOUIS IS GETTING MARRIED!!! To a good LDS girl! Aaaaaaaah! I was hopping up and down when I found that out! :D :D :D

Friday was bittersweet. We moved out of the Sperry's, into our ward. I was sad to leave Sam, the fat cat. We actually live in their backyard, which is in Kuna, which is out of the mission! Aaah! We're illegal (except that it's approved. :P) We have a mother-in-law house to ourselves, which I guess is nice.

Saturday I caught a GOLD SNITCH! I'm Harry Potter! We were driving to Noodles n' Company behind Elders after a district meeting....and they had a golden snitch on their antenna thing on the back of their car. So as we were stopped at a big intersection on a main road, I decided to run out of our car, snag the snitch, and then run back. The adrenaline. I was so happy.

I have such a strong testimony of this Gospel. It is true. God does everything out of his love for us. It may be hard to understand sometimes, especially when we go through things that humble us, but it is true. I had a great study about the atonement this morning. Alma 34. This is real. This is true. I love you!

Sister Bennett

Week 65: "I like Turtles."

February 16, 2015
Dear Everyone,

My thoughts are so scattered, so this might be a short one.

We had a cool tracting experience! We tracted into a man, who immediately said, "I'm Christian, I'm good." But then we got to know him, and asked him what church he goes to - Calvary Chapel (of course.) But we just showed we were interested in his life, and what he believes in, and I think he really opened up to us about his believe in Christ. And then I felt like I should give him a Book of Mormon, and so I bore my testimony of how it's brought me closer to my Savior. He immediately accepted it, said, "I've been wondering about the Book of Mormon. I promise I will read it!" That was a mini-miracle. It's amazing how no matter how opposed someone can seem, you can still open doors if you love, and bear your testimony, and share what you know to be true.

Also, last week Sister Zelaya got an email from her brother who is on a mission in South America. As you know, Elder Nelson came here a month ago, and two weeks afterwards he visited her brothers mission. When he saw his nametag, he said, "Zelaya! I've seen that name somewhere recently!" Wow! Of all the thousands of people he's seen, he remembered a simple name. That was so cool to me.

Speaking of General Authorities, one of the members of our ward (Brother Bateman) has a sister married to Elder Hollands son! So basically the Hollands are in the family now! He told us some hilarious stories, and some touching ones as well. My favorite was about a time when Elder and Sister Holland were on the road for about a month. They got home from their trip, and they were exhausted. They had a family dinner which involved the Bateman family, and as they were eating Elder Holland was basically falling asleep in his chair. Sister Bateman asked if he wanted to lie down on one of the beds in another room. He thanked her, but asked if instead, he could lie down on the floor by the family, so that he still could hear their voices and feel like a part of the conversation. Time with his grandkids is rare, and he sacrifices so much being away from his family, that every second was precious. Sister Bateman agreed, and he fell asleep on the floor within seconds. I thought that spoke so much of his character, and who the General Authorities are, and just how much they sacrifice.

I've also learned that I need to be myself - no matter what - because that's what Heavenly Father wants me to be. I can be my best self through Him, but he doesn't want me to lose my individuality or personality in the process. 
I met a lady (the mom of one of our reactivating ladies, and she's SO spunky and cool.) who belongs to the TRA - The Temple Riders Association. It's a group of members of the church who LOVE to ride motorcycles, and so they travel around the United States to temples, and end up doing Temple work! A non-member methodist preacher ended up joining them on these rides, and now he's taking the discussions, and loving everything he learns.

Anywho, we're moving at the end of this week again, so we'll be living in our area! Unfortunately that means we have to move out of the Sperry's, which is sad. I love them, and their home is beautiful.

Have a good week! Pictures to come!

Sister Bennett

The Triforce at the Temple. 
Oh, and Sister CLUFF joined us! <3

 We're all in this together.

Attractive, as always.

Week 64: "An Eye for an Eye....A Roll for a Roll"

February 12, 2015
Dear Family,

It's temple Thursday! What I look forward to the most! Which means that I didn't have the chance to write last Monday, so I hope you'll all forgive me.

I feel like I have two weeks to write about! I'll just focus on last week:

We were so busy! It's been a blast, because we are working so hard. That's the way I like it, and it feels good to be able to do so. There is a lot to do in this Amity Ward!

We decided to go tracting down a block of small townhouses. Well, after a few knocks we met a lady from the Czech Republic! At first she was like, "I'm not LDS!" but as we got talking she let us in! Long story short, she chatted up a storm, gave us coconut oil for our skin and chocolates, and said we can be her daughters. She showed us a Book of Mormon that had been given to her in her language. When she was around 20, her and her husband had to escape from her country and come to America. It's amazing what she's been through. We are going back soon. We also tracted into a house where a son was taking care of his Elderly mother. He didn't seem too thrilled to see us, or thrilled about anything really, but we asked if we could come in and say a prayer for them. He accepted! We came, prayed, and then sang to his mother. We went back this week and they let us in again.

We had a great lesson with the Elkins. We felt like we should talk about prayer, and when we got there, we felt like we should read from Joseph Smith History about his prayer. :) As we were reading the First Vision, Wes Elkins (the Dad) stopped. He had been reactivated - his story is that he was not making good decisions in his life, and ended up turning to prayer. Well, God led him to give himself up to go to Jail. He did so, and in Jail he came across a Book of Mormon. He picked it up to read it because he wanted to prove his Mom that she was wrong, since she's an active member. Well, you know the drill. He read it, felt the Spirit, and knew it was true. He changed his life, and now he's trying to get active in the church. So, when he stopped in the lesson, he raised his hand and bore the most powerful testimony of Joseph Smith and the first vision. He said, "It isn't a gimmick, it isn't just a story. It is true, and I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet." He then went on to point out how that text was written by Joseph, and that it was a completely different feel than the words in the Book of Mormon in the sense of how it was written. He then bore his testimony to his family that the Book of Mormon was not written by Joseph, or made up by him. It was translated, and it was the word of God. I don't think I've felt the Spirit stronger in a lesson than at that moment. 

We also had a Zone Conference! They asked me to do a five minute training on repentance. Well, what they didn't tell me was that President and Sister Winder were going to be there! Well, it turned out really well. I talked about Newton's Laws - F = ma, and if an object is not met by any force it will continue in the same direction and speed. But then I related it to this world - no object is going to have no forces acting on it. For example, a hockey puck is met by gravity, friction on the ice, the ice melting, hockey sticks, skates, goalies, and so forth. In this life, we can't just coast. We can't just expect to stay the same continuously. That's what Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden, and it wasn't part of Gods plan for them to be there forever. They had to face opposition, and they had to to grow to reach their potential. In this life there are forces for good, and forces for the adversary. We can't stay in one place. We either turn to the Lord and progress, or let various temptations help us lose sight of what's important, or the spiritual experiences we've had. I referenced Elder Holland's talk, "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence," which is AMAZING and you all should read it. In the talk he compares life to an athletic contest, and how it "isn't over until it is over". No matter what spiritually enlightening experience we have today, tomorrow Satan's going to fight to try to get us to lose sight of that. That's why repentance and change are so important, so we continuously are RE turning to the light. Repentance = Remember = Return to God. I think it went well. President Winder said he really liked it, so that must mean it was OK.

The highlight of my week was Sunday though! On my very first dinner appointment with the first Councillor in the Bishopric he found out that I could sing. He immediately half-jokingly asked if I would sing a musical number the following Sunday. Haha he found out I was serious though, because I accepted! I always pray about the song to sing, and I felt like opening my hymn book one morning as I studied and pondered about it. I turned right to "I Stand All Amazed," and I felt strongly like that was the one. I called the pianist I had been referred to, and she had the exact version (Michael Hicks) that I had wanted to sing. She mentioned that it had been sung a year ago, so it was a decent amount of time between being sung, but was I sure? Yes, I replied.

We invited a few less active members to come to church, and three of them did! One was a certain Brother Cary, who's daughter is a singer. Well, when I looked at the music I had been given by my pianist, I noticed that it was signed by a Leia Cary...His daughter who was the singer, who had served a mission! She had sung it before her mission, and then bought the sheet music for Sister Dixon, her piano player! And now here I was, at a missionary farewell, singing that same song. I know the Lord directed me to sing that to touch his heart. But wait, there is more of a miracle. After I sang, and I truly felt as though the Lord helped me, the soon-to-be-Sister-missionary who was giving her farewell talk got up, and tearing up said that she knows the Lord is aware of her and sent her a tender mercy because a Sister Missionary sang her favorite hymn that day.

There are miracles every day, we just have to have our eyes open to see them. I love the Lord, and I love this work!

Have a great week!

Sister Bennett

Week 63: "Fa Mulan!"

                                                                                                                                                         February 2, 2015


We are a trilingual companionship!

Monday we moved in - the house we live in is SO NICE. Guaranteed, the NICEST place I've lived in on my mission. We have a lot of space, the entire upstairs to ourselves, and a walk in closet. Oh, and a piano. And a cat, Sam. Basically, it's awesome.

Tuesday - the big reveal. We went to meet our companion! I admit, I was a little nervous, but not as nervous as I was when I was set to train by myself. When we got there, we couldn't help but "survey" the new greenies. Two in particular caught our eye. One from Brazil, and one who is a visa waiter. Well, turns out we are now a trio-companionship with Sister Findlay! She is amazing! She is from Murray Utah, and she learned Mandarin Chinese in the MTC because she is going to Taiwan on her mission once she gets her Visa! Her mom is from the Philippines, so she is half Philippino. The same mission Rick served in! Rick, you should send her a mandarin email!

Wow, I'm paired with two spiritual powerhouses. We've had a lot of fun, we've met SO many people in this new ward, and we feel as though the Lord was truly inspired to put us here. There is so much potential. Sister Findlay seems like a seasoned veteran missionary already. There is so much power when she bears her testimony!

Wednesday - We got permission from President to go down to my last area so I could be there for my Hidden Springs Roadshow. The kids did so well! I'm going to MISS that ward, I love the people so much. They surprised me with flowers. It was a lot of fun. Also, got to say Hi to Sister Capitan again, which was great. I'm already missing her.

The Meridian 14 ward that I'm serving in now is awesome. That's the only way I can describe it. We feel so much support already, and it's just the first week. The members are amazing. They're already putting us to work. We met an awesome recent convert - Sam Fornero. I told him he should move to Canada, and he was all like, "---- No!" Hahahah he keeps things fresh. We also met an investigator - Shige. She's 89! Haha, when we first came she didn't answer, and the member we were with got super worried! We knocked on the front door and the back, and then called. The Sister we were with kept on saying - this is not good, this is not like her, etc. Then we knocked again, and Shige answered! She had the phone in her hand, and she told us that the lady she was talking to just wouldn't shut up! Hahaha spunky. She came here from Japan when she was in her 20's I think. Every night she reads 10 verses of the Book of Mormon - First in English, then in Japanese. She is currently reading in 3rd Nephi 11, which is cool because that is what we were inspired to share with her. She is going to retake the discussions once she has finished reading 3rd Nephi 11 - 27, the Chapters that are the account of Christ's visit to the Americas. We respect that. She is so awesome.

A trio is a lot of fun. I'm in the process of learning Spanish and Mandarin. We named our GPS Fa Mulan, because we have it speaking in Mandarin. Hmmm. We went tracting with Sister Findlay, and everyone was exceptionally nice to us, even though we didn't get in anywhere. That surprised her.

Through it all, I've been feeling confirmation after confirmation that this is where I need to be, and I need to Trust in the Lord. He knows what he's doing. Alma 19:6.

Sister Bennett

This is my artwork that I submitted into a Christian Art Gallery for the Vineyard church, through an artist that I got to know well in my last area. :) 
Hopefully we'll be able to go to the Gallery itself. Our Mission President's wife told me to take an investigator, so that's the plan.

Saying Goodbye to Sister Capitan! 
Saying goodbye to the Shea Girls! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 62: "Triple Whammy and AMITY for the win!"

January 26, 2015
Dear Family,

I can't believe how much I feel like I have to email you today. This week was incredible.

CHAPTER 1: An Apostle Comes To Boise. 

I'll start off with my highlight. This Saturday we had Elder Russell M. Nelson, his wife Wendy Nelson, Elder Martino of the Seventy and his wife, and Elder Alder (an area seventy) and his wife come to our mission for a special mission Conference. We started out by taking a picture all together, and then they went inside, and greeted us all with a handshake, one by one. It was something else to be able to look in Elder Nelson's eyes, shake his hand, and tell him a heartfelt thank-you for all he does. I am SO grateful for him. I am so grateful for the leadership in this church! Especially that he would take the time to spend time with 224 18-23 year olds. I'll never forget it. He came when I was in the MTC, and he came to Taber when I was a teenager, where I also had the chance to shake his hand!

The Spirit was incredibly strong. I got to sing in the choir - we sang #41 - Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise. Elder Nelson let us know that the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve had just sang that together two days previously, and Elder Nelson remembered because he had to practice playing piano for it! Could you imagine, being a 90 year old retired heart surgeon who is still willing to practice piano so a small group of men can sing?

I had a second row spot, which was really cool. ALL of the speakers were amazing. The Spirit was incredibly strong. I particularly loved hearing Sister Wendy Watson Nelson speak - apparently we have the same common ancestor. She assured us that when the scriptures say that Angels are round about us to bear us up, those aren't just pretty words on a page. It is very real - on this side and the other side. I've seen it.

I remember a lot of the talks seemed to center on the hastening of the work, and the gathering of the twelve tribes of Isreal. Elder Nelson explained to us the Greek roots of repentance, gave us advice on who we want to be for the rest of our lives. He also gave us a blessing, which was very special. I left inspired, and feeling confident and able to go and serve the Lord. :) I KNOW beyond a doubt this gospel is true, and that God calls and qualifies ordinary men and women to do his work, and to accomplish amazing things.

CHAPTER 2: Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles.

This week was a week of goodbyes. I'm being transferred from one of the most incredible areas of my entire mission! I'll miss the Hillside and Hidden Springs wards. I'll miss the people that I grew to love. We had some amazing lessons and opportunities, and the Spirit confirmed to me so strongly that the Lord has accepted the work I've done there. We also were able to find 3 very potential investigators that week...but the miracle came Sunday night when we were getting ready to go. We got a phone call from a member in Hidden Springs, saying his young (youth!) home teaching companion had invited a man in a part-member family to take the discussions, and he very willingly accepted!! That means there is a new investigator in Hidden Springs for the first time in over a YEAR! That is an answer to my prayers, and it was amazing to see it come to pass right as I was leaving. What a MIRACLE.

I also have come to know that the little things matter in the eyes of the Lord, and he DOES here our prayers. Prayers invite a great power. Over the last month, I had lost two items that were very important to me. I lost my hymn book with my name engraved in it, and my Banana Republic scarf that I had bought right before my mission. I had lost it about a month previous, and I had no idea where they could have gone. I remember praying several times that they would be found. Now, to put this in perspective, these could be anywhere in the two wards that I cover, which would be hundreds of homes. It was Friday - the last day that I was proselyting in the Hillside Ward. That morning I said a very specific prayer, asking that I would be led to contact those homes to find my items. That was at 9. After telling my companion, she expressed doubts - she had prayed about her debit card, but she hadn't found it. I told her that sometimes it was contrary to God's plan, but I KNEW that I would be able to find those items with the Lords help.

10:00 - our appointment cancels, and so on the whim we call an investigator that we don't get a hold of too often, and she tells us immediately to come over! We do so..and the first thing she says when we come is, "You left your book here!" She hands me my hymnbook off of her piano. Miracle #1.

We had intended to see Virginia on Sunday, but her work gave her time off Friday, and so she asked if we would prefer coming then. We felt like we should, and that was another miracle. We had a great visit with her, and decided to try a potential investigator who lived not far away. We knocked - no answer. Both of us needed to use the restroom, so we decided to go walking - and we got slightly lost. After relocating ourselves, we decided to try a member rather than the less active who lived across the street. Immediately when we knocked on the door they answered - which is strange because they've NEVER been home in the afternoons when I've tried in the 6 months I've been there...but they were home! And the first thing they said was, "Hey! We have something for you!" And they brought out MY SCARF!! Miracle #2. It just incredibly fell into place. I KNOW the Lord directed us exactly to where we needed to go, and he cared that those things are important to me! Instead of spending an hour calling and texting everyone that I could, we went out to work, and it all worked out, however unlikely it was. The odds are ever in your favor when you trust the Lord!

Just wait, there is more. When we walked out to the car, our potential investigator was outside! She had been looking for us, and even knocking on her member neighbors door to find us. She said when she heard us knock, she quickly went to watch the videos that we had given her when we came the week prior. They touched her heart, and she was determined to find us. When she did, she had an incredible amount of questions for her, and we taught her the first lesson, and she wants to learn more! She was a little weary of us and what our "end goal" was. At the end she asked, at first we replied, "to bring others closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ." Completely true, but apparently not good enough for her. She asked again, and finally I replied, "For families to go to the temple so they can be together forever." I explained that yes, the first step to that was baptism, but we DO NOT have a quota, and we aren't out here for statistics. She pondered about that answer. It ended with us getting her number, and her asking us to set up another visit! I know she felt the Spirit, both before our visit (which was why she wanted to talk with us) and during our visit. Things "made sense" to her. That's what the Gospel can do! Miracle #3! I love this work.

CHAPTER 3: This is the End. But Ends Bring New Beginnings.

On Saturday, at 4:00 sharp, transfer calls came. It's crazy to think that I've been with Sister Capitan for 4 and a half months - 3 transfers. I knew change was coming, but I had a feeling I would be shocked by the transfer call. happened! I am now companions with Sister Zelaya, who has been a Spanish sister almost her entire mission. She's from North Carolina, and was born in El Salvador. But wait, there is more. We are going to be in a TRIO, and will be CO-TRAINING a new missionary as Co-Senior companions! Also, we are going to AMITY 4 - in Meridian, and we'll be Whitewashing the area (we'll both be new to the area.) What an adventure! I'm ready for the fresh start, and excited for the prospects. Although I will really miss my last area, I'm looking forward to the prospects of the new! Can't wait to find out who our baby is! I've never imagined I'd be in a trio, but the Lord had other tings in store for us. I know Sister Zelaya fairly well, so this will be fun!

I love you all! You're just incredible, and amazing examples to me. Take care, Til We Meet Again.
Sister Rachel Bennett

The Idaho Boise Mission with Elder Nelson, Sister Nelson, Elder and Sister Martino of the 70, and Elder and Sister Alder of the 70!
SO cool.

Love Sister Bennett

Week 61: "I Have a Feeling...That This Week's Gonna Be a Good Week"

January 19, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Siblings, Aunts, Uncles, Grandma, Grandpa, Adopted Mothers, Fathers, Siblings, and Good Friends,

Can you believe that It is a week away until I've been here for 6 months? I can't believe it. Transfers are this Saturday again, which means that I'll have 3 transfers on my mission. But I'm not dwelling on that.

I'm so excited. Elder Russell M. Nelson is coming to see us missionaries this Saturday as well. He is going to greet us all personally. I feel like I have a connection with him. He came to our Taber Stake When I was about 14, and I remember shaking his hand there. He came to the MTC when I was there, and I got to sing in a choir for him. And now, I get to sing in another missionary choir for him as he comes here! I'm been trying my best to prepare spiritually for it, because I know this is a great chance to receive inspiration. Elder Martino of the Seventy is also coming, and is speaking to our Stake in a Special Stake Conference, which apparently rarely happens. I'm excited to hear what they have to say.

This week was a great one. I don't even remember what happened. I just remember it was good. I need to be better at writing in a journal! I'm still working on directing a roadshow for the Youth of Hidden Springs, and I love it! However, it was absolutely crazy trying to work with 30 teenagers running around. The next smaller rehearsal was much better. It's going to be funny.

It's warm enough that we had the chance to do some walking. Several appointments we made weren't home, which was disappointing. But walking was enjoyable, even in the rain. We tried to contact as many people as we could that we've never met before. That's one of my favorite things to do.

We had a fantastic Book of Mormon class, and a great new member discussion with Louis afterward. 
Well, things are good. I'll talk to you all later. Bennett, out.

Your Sister.

Ok, I remembered about this week! 1st.

I went on an AMAZING split the other day, with a girl who is graduating and going to Utah State University. She is auditioning for a music program there. Holy smokes she is beautiful. She had never been out with missionaries before, so she was excited. While Sister Capitan stayed and taught 8 year olds with another graduate, I took her to a remote house, where an old less active farmer and his wife were, and we had a really good talk about prayer with Jean. I asked Audrey to bear her testimony, and it was so powerful! She also asked me audition advice, since we're both singers. She thought I was in a music program at BYU. It was probably the highlight of my week to be a missionary with her. Her Mom pulled me aside at Sacrament meeting and thanked me for taking her out, that it really made an impact on Audrey. That was my favorite moment of the week.

We helped some sisters out that were sick. I got to see Alfie Boe sing with Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and I melted. I miss professional, amazing performances like that. Ok, gotta go, love you!

Week 60: "The Field is White!"

January 12, 2015
Dear my Snow-ridden blizzard blighted tundra trapped family!
And everyone else, of course.

CANADA! Oh how I miss blizzards, and giant snow drifts. I rather loved the pictures of Tia Yolanda walking through the drifts. You're so funny Yola! I wonder how those poor missionaries are doing up there...That's REAL cold. We have nothing to complain about down here.

This week was a very busy one. We had an incredibly inspirational Zone Meeting, in which they challenged us to find a new investigator within 72 hours. They challenged us to pray every hour to be able to achieve our goal. Well, our Zone by the end found about 24 new investigators, and many potentials. Unfortunately on our end we had so much opportunity lined up, but nothing went through, and all our appointments cancelled. But hey, at least we were out there doing it. That's what I'm all about. So I'm happy about it. And we found 4 new potentials, and an 11 year old to teach, so it wasn't unsuccessful. :) Also, at the end of our 3rd day I was set and determined to find a new investigator. We knocked into this sweet, refugee Muslim family. We shared a part of the restoration, but then their friend who could speak some English had to go. That was a unique experience.

Also, I've had a couple unique opportunities! A non-member family who we did art with on a P-Day is submitting my art piece into a gallery at their church! I did a write up on what my piece means to me, and I wrote about being a missionary, and about recognizing God's light rather than focusing on darkness, and opposition in all things. I'm so excited to see it! Sister Winder gave me permission to go if we take an investigator to it. :)

Also, the Hidden Springs Ward asked me to direct their Youth mini roadshow! The Stake is putting on a "missionary" night where they'll be performing. I'm so excited, right now I'm working on re-writing the script to add more humor into it. I'm adding references to Frozen, Princess Bride, and Tangled, as well as other things. It's going to be so much fun.

Can you believe Sister Capitan and I have been together for 4 months now? Craziness.

I know more happened this week, but I can't for the life of me think of what to say. 

I love, I love, I love you! You make me perfectly and incandescently happy.
Sister Bennett

Week 59: "No Subject"

January 5, 2015
Yah teeh shi ma, doo shi zheii, doo shi tlchinii, ha eei?
Try to break that code. ;)

And that's why I can't speak Navajo everybody.


This was an interesting week. It's odd how the weeks with the highest highs are almost always accompanied with the lowest lows. I guess that's what happens when your heart is in something.

I can't believe the miracles though! I have a firm testimony that fasting and prayer brings miracles. The other day, Sister Capitan and I set a goal to find 5 new investigators in the next 3 weeks of the transfer, especially since I believe I am going to have to move on and let this area go after the end of this transfer. (Ugh!) Well, following that goal, we were able to get in touch with a lady who we had street-contacted - 3 times - and taught her about the restoration, the plan of salvation, and about the Book of Mormon on the street! Well, finally we had a meeting - in Starbucks - and were able to have a great discussion with her about Joseph Smith, church history, the church's stance on gay marriage, among other things. Her best question in my eyes was, "Why Jesus? Why was he the one chosen to die for us? Wasn't it hard for him, why didn't he just let someone else do it? I mean, he didn't WANT to die, did he?" Well, we promised her we would answer her question next time we saw her.

We also were able to contact a man that referred himself via over 6 months ago. He had NEVER been home until I briefly met him on an exchange, which was a miracle. He had recently had his arm amputated since he had gotten into a dirt biking accident, and it's caused him to really ponder about his purpose, and his relationship with God. We were briefly able to teach him about the Resurrection, and got a return appointment!

The next miracle - we set up a return appointment with two other potential investigators. However, they had to postpone, but they really want to learn and make God more of a part of their life!

And THEN, we decided to contact another potential investigator, but ended up talking to his Muslim neighbor from San Francisco. He was cool, but not interested in our message. However, he said, "My neighbors a preacher! Go talk to him!" We did, and asked if we could come back and teach him about our faith. He accepted! 
And then something I never expected happened - we got two Hidden Springs referrals! One is a family that is inviting their friend to be taught, and another was a Media referral!

Wow, the Lord has blessed us so much. I love spreading this Gospel. I can't tell you how many times people not of our faith have told us that we carry a special spirit about us. It's not something I boast in - in fact, I know I could not carry this responsibility at all on my own. I'm just so grateful that the Lord has given me this chance to serve him, no matter how large or small my service may be.

Well, you are all in my prayers. You inspire me! I'm going to send pictures soon.

-Sister Bennett

We built the ultimate blanket fort in our apartment. And then we slept in it. Starting off the new year right.

Week 58: "HAPPY NEW YEAR!!"

December 29, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,


It's been an incredible week! I can't believe 2014 is coming to a close. Can you believe I spent the entirety of this year out here serving the Lord on a mission? And then I think of those that spent 3 or more years serving missions in the historical times. That is complete dedication.

Early this week, before I get into Christmas, I want to talk about Tuesday! It was AWESOME. We went on an exchange, and I stayed in the area with Sister Pratt. Not only did we have great conversations, were able to quote movies (including Princess Bride), and talk musical theatre, but we saw miracles! We walked for FOUR hours close by the borders of our area in downtown. At one point we had a lady pull over in her van to talk to us. She said that she hasn't answered the door, and she hasn't come to church because she suffers from major PTSD. However, she has a strong testimony of the Gospel, and has had two sons that have served missions. We know the Spirit prompted her to talk to us at that time. :) We had a wonderful conversation, and shared a He is the Gift card with her. We also met new people I had never before been able to contact. My favorite moment of the day thought, was a man we didn't even talk to. As we were walking, we saw someone doing a strange dance on the road, with a HUGE boom box on his shoulder. As we got closer, we discovered he was playing nothing short of MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This." We said hi, but we weren't sure if the guy saw us there. Oh, how glorious.

Thank you. Thank you all for the incredible support that I've felt this Christmas season. You've been such a blessing to me, and you really helped me feel the Spirit of love and of Christ (which is the same thing in my eyes) this season.

I want to tell you a little about my Christmas.

Christmas Eve we spent the morning with the Shea family. Oh how I love them! Pictures are included. We talked about gifts, and about how God has given us spiritual gifts, it's just up to us to come to know what they are. :) And companion got sick. We were a little homeward bound until that evening. A family, the Mahlers, shared their traditional Christmas eve with us. They went out to the Flying Pie for pizza! It was an awesome scene, and we had fun with their family. I drew a (blue creature...what's it called?) from Avatar on the Thank you note. They have them up all over the walls. Afterwards, I had an amazing conversation with their daughter about Disney, and her experience working in Disneyworld. She recommends it for everyone. I want to work for Disney.

Then, we went home again due to Sister Capitan's sickness...and I opened my Christmas PJ's. "I LOVE STAR WARS & BYU COUGARS" pajamas???!!! What could be better??! I was bouncing off the walls I was so excited. Mom and Dad, those ones are the biggest hit yet.

I thought I had outgrown this years ago, but for some reason I couldn't sleep all through the night that night. Ha. 
Of course, in the morning I jumped on my companion, saying "It's CHRISTMAS!" and I think she got out of bed quicker than I've ever seen her! We opened gifts, studied, and went to a members, the Roberts, for crepes. :) I love them. Crepes are my favorite. And then we went to the Bramwells for my favorite part of the day, TALKING TO FAMILY!!! Wow, everything and nothing gets said. I don't think I've felt so scattered ever. Thank you for everything. At first when I called, I couldn't even say anything when Diane answered the phone. I wasn't pranking you, dead serious. I love you guys.

The Bramwells played Settlers of Cataan with us as we took turns skyping, and then made Clam Chowder in sourdough bread bowls, which also happens to be my favorite. They had a simple Christmas since their daughter was married a few days previous, and their trip was basically their Christmas. They all had superhero pajamas. Sweet. We had the chance to share a Christmas message with them, which was wonderful.

Then we went to the Drennons for dinner! They are a less active convert and part member family. There are ELEVEN kids in their family, and with the extended it was CRAZY and felt like home. I challenged myself to memorize all the adults names in the room by the end of the night, since I was told it was impossible. Success! I was so full afterwards. I love them.

Then, we visited a recent convert. She was all alone, having a quiet Christmas evening. We gave her a card, and shared a Christmas thought. As we left, my companion (who is a recent convert herself) turned to me and said, "you know how you told me that we should never turn down a spiritual prompting?" I replied, yes. She said, "Well, the Spirit kept on telling me to go home and make a stocking for her." Let's go! So we did, and it was so very sweet to give it to her. Then, even though we were exhausted and it was getting late, we felt like we should make another one for another recent convert. We did, and that was such a miracle. Right when we got there, he told us we could come in because a lady friend of his was going to be there in a minute. 30 seconds later she came. We gave him his stocking, and then we all watched "He is the Gift." The Spirit was so strong as we bore testimony of Christ and the Spirit of Christmas. We knelt and said a prayer - and some tears were shed. Dear family, I've never felt the Spirit stronger on Christmas as we had the chance to serve. I can't believe how strong the Spirit was. I'll never forget it, and I'm so grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for coming here for me. I'm so grateful I'm here to stand as a witness that He lives, and loves everyone. :)

I love you all! I hope you can keep this Spirit with you year round.

Sister Bennett

Christmas Morning Chaos

You have the ROBERTS in the first picture! I love them! Tami Roberts is the mom. We have Tim Roberts at the kitchen's helm, and Michael Roberts has the best shirt ever!

The view from the backyard!

One big family.
A few days after Christmas we came upon this house. Looks like a Christmas hurricane attacked the yard.

More Christmas.

And more Christmas.

My companion likes to abuse me ;)