Monday, January 26, 2015

Latest email and some pictures

From Ben's most recent email:

This week was kind of interesting.  A bird flew into our apartment in the morning.  I will try to send a picture.  

One of our old (former, not elderly)  investigators died two nights ago.  Death is still strange and hard to accept for me.  She was a really great lady.  We had an appointment with her this week.  She had a cardiac arrest which was a huge surprise because she was relatively young and of good health.  

We rescued a puppy from getting hit by a car and gave it our homeless friend on the corner.  He was really grateful because he lost his puppy a few weeks ago.   

Speaking of pictures, here are some from his most recent SD card:

A selfie of Ben's soccer battle wound

A night view of part of the Santiago suburbs

Bread Ben made (he loves the bread there)

The hike was nice, unfortunately the atmosphere didn't cooperate

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our apolgies for no updates

Please accept my apologies for not updating Ben's blog in so long. I have a goal to do better.

We did Skype with Ben on Christmas day and he looked and sounded well.  He is currently a zone leader and got a new companion from Peru the week before Christmas. He likes his companion very much and says they are working very hard.

Last preparation day he went on a hike with some other missionaries and encountered a tarantula. Ben being Ben, he caught the thing and sent us this picture:

Yes, we did tell Ben it's probably not a good idea to put a wild tarantula (this wasn't anyone's pet) on your face, but it had already happened and we couldn't very well run the thousands of miles down there to swat it off his face (or attempt to knock some sense into his head). Pres. Cook if you see this you do have our permission to do anything you would do as a parent in this case!

Ben did send us some other pictures on an SD card, I will post them next time.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ben told us he sent a letter but forgot to put in his SD card. He says he's working on another.
"I have constantly been thinking this week about what I am doing with my time. It has certainly made me a more urgent worker. We contact more and our lessons are more focused. We have improved, but there is more work to be done. We have both become better disciples of Christ with more urgency in the work.

I am still getting to know the sector but I am getting to know the people well. There is a lot of potential in a lot of them. There is plenty of work to do here.

We did several acts of service this week. We helped an old couple with their patio and we also went t oEl Bosque to clean out a house in El Bosque but the owner is a hoarder and bailed out last minute. She didn't want us to throw her stuff out. At least we tried."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Training is done, Ben is a zone leader

Apologies for taking so long to post this. Ben also sent a post last week, but it is very long and needs to be transcribed.

Ben was transferred to a new area, which was not unexpected since he was finished training the new missionary and he had been in that area for over six months. In addition Ben is now a zone leader. (The mission is divided into several regional zones each headed by a pair of zone leaders who are responsible for training and general welfare of the missionaries among other things. Each zone is further divided into districts.)

From his email:

Referring to the Tioga soccer team: It looks like this will be the year for a winning season.

I am glad that Liz and Luke and Gabe are doing alright.  I am out of time again.  It goes by so fast writing home.

I was very humbled yesterday. In addition to leaving an area that I fell in love with, I lost my journal. Hopefully I left it in the office and not on the bus. There's more of a chance of it finding its way back that way. It made me realize that I don't have a single possession more valuable than my journal. The records of my time serving the Lord and the people here and learning and growing as a person are absolutely priceless. It has motivated me though. The experience reminded me of my absolute dependence in the Lord. Unfortunately it sometimes takes something tragic to realize that. It also reminded me that I must take advantage of every moment here. The memories and growth will last forever, even without my journal. Although painful, losing my journal has made me a better disciple of Christ.
I left El Pino in good shape. There is still a lot of work to do and there are many less actives with potential as well as a few good investigators. I don't know a whole lot about Los Nogales yet, so I am sure I will have more to say next week.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sept. 11

Sept. 11 is the anniversary of the 1973 coup in Chile that put Pinochet in power. Because that is another opportunity for some to commit mayhem, missionaries have to remain in their apartments Wednesday evening and Thursday all day. They are supposed to deep clean their apartments, but how long can that take with 4 guys? They are planning to barbeque some meat, and Ben is planning to write.

Another week in El Pino. The sector is progressing well. It was a weird week. We had an enormous number of plans fall. Maybe more than I have ever seen in my mission, or maybe I am just forgetting about my first two whitewashes already. Almost appearing to make up for the fallen plans, members seemed to just fall into our lap to do divisions with us. In all of my time here, I have never had so many divisions. Also, our brother who was baptized last week received the priesthood on Sunday and he and the recent convert of Elder White and Elder Escobar, have both done divisions with us. They also both have home teaching assignments.

As for service, we only ended up teaching the English class and pushing a few cars with dead batteries. Its too bad that as it gets warmer we won't have that service opportunity so much.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Two Weeks In One

Our apologies we didn't get Ben's stuff posted last week. This week we're posting both weeks, starting with last week:

This week, in an effort to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ, I spent a lot of my personal study focused on humility. I started with President Benson's talk "Beware of Pride." I wrote down a list of attributes of pride and the corresponding attributes of humility. Pride is certainly a very misunderstood thing. I never realized how often I sinned before I read that talk for the first time 10 months ago. I am trying to apply your model to become consecrated to humility. I am beginning with learning about humility, then I will practice it, and later I hope to become a truly humble person.

We had a great week in El Pino. The family we have been working with will be baptized on Saturday at 6:00. Their third daughter will turn 8 in October and her father will be able to baptize her. I am so grateful to have been able to see the miracle of their progression. We also had an especially beautiful experience on Sunday. When I arrived to El Pino, we taught a family and I was able to see the entire family return to Church after 10 years of inactivity. They attended three times as a family. Unfortunately, something happened shortly after and not long ago, the husband and wife separated. They haven't gone to Church in three or four months now and we haven't been able to teach them until Saturday. We brought one of his old friends with us and just let them talk. We didn't have to say much, but by the end of a very heart-felt discussion between the two, he promised to return to Church.

We had a three service activities this week. We participated in the event for children in San Bernardo, did service in the Bishop's Storehouse and continued with our English class. Attendance rose 500 percent in the class - we increased from 1 student to 5."

And this week: 
Congrats about soccer (Tioga won 2-1) and I am glad Luke and Liz are doing well. 
My way of doing district meetings has changed a little bit over time. At first, I would stand up front with the whiteboard and give a lesson. There were pros and cons of that. Everyone paid attention and everyone behaved really well, in fact a lot of the district took notes, but nobody participated very much. I also felt as though I was elevating myself above the district and did not feel comfortable. Now, I sit down in front of the district and we discuss things. We have been spending district meeting talking about the vision. Yesterday, we discussed knowing. I really enjoyed it because everyone participated a lot, and I learned a lot more. Less people take notes and they're a little more rowdy sometimes, but I think that directing district meeting in this way has made be a better disciple of Christ. I learn more and I feel less prideful. Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to learn so much from being a district leader.
As far as actual progress goes in the sector, we finally were able to baptize the family. It was a beautiful baptism and the other elders in the ward had a baptism the same day. The father of the family has already been interviewed to receive the priesthood and we are working on getting the family assignments or callings and getting them to the temple to do baptisms for the dead in a couple weeks. It has been a great privilege to see the progression of the family from the very first lesson. I feel so blessed. They are a wonderful family and will be a great strength to the ward.

We are continuing with the English class as a weekly service opportunity.

I'll get pictures to you next week.

(We had heard there was an earthquake he hadn't told us about): The earthquake was exciting.  It was during the baptismal interview! The mom said it was the Spirit.  Have a great week!