Ben didn't say a bunch this week. He has a church issued debit card and he has his own debit card and we noticed that he takes money out from an ATM monthly and asked him why he does it that way and if it was safe to carry around cash. Cash was his Christmas present via his account as well. He said he does as few ATM transactions as possible to avoid fees for multiple transactions. The church card is Bank of America, which doesn't charge a fee but the bank owner of the ATM does. Likewise his personal debit card from a local bank here doesn't charge a fee, so he does minimize the fees. He usually pays a $1 or $2 ATM fee plus 1% exchange fee. From talking to other missionary parents, he's doing pretty well in that respect as fees can easily be $10 per transaction. His words regarding safety of his money:
I always carry money in the Kanga Pouch. In reality, we are pretty
safe from getting pick-pocketed here. I still carry my wallet with a
copy of my passport and I've never had a problem and I haven't met a
missionary that has been pick-pocketed but I would rather play it safe.
We had asked us to tell us about people he was teaching:
We don't really have investigators yet but we do have inactive members
that are progressing. A reactivation is equal to a baptism. In both
instances, we are helping others on the path to salvation.
Last week Ben told us he hadn't received any letters from us in three weeks. We do write to him every week. We also sent him a package because he needed contacts and we had to wait for the new flex spending year. The package included a box of brownie mix and some M&Ms:
Oh and can you send me recipes for cookies and brownies from scratch? I
had a zone conference on Thursday so I got my package (and six
letters!!!!) on that day. We made
the brownies and remembered how superior desserts from the United States
are so we want to try and bake some.
The most recent letter he got was three weeks ago, so some of those letters were from late November. The postal system there is not the greatest, but we're also not sure some of the hold up might not have been from the mission office. His former companion (recuperating in the office) said he gathered stuff for Ben.
We're hoping to start getting Ben's own updates for the blog and pictures soon. We'll post as soon as we do.