January 26, 2015Dear 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.
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, atsharp, 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. Well...it 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!
Love Sister Bennett