Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Work Goes On

We did tell Ben about the tragedy of Dan Manwaring's death: I feel bad for what happened to the Manwaring family.  Send them my love.

Ben also had an ingrown toenail removed by the mission doctor and he is doing fine. The doctor, who is also a missionary, has access to information about all missionaries serving worldwide. Ben is the only Elder Hoose currently serving anywhere.

Here is the rest of what he sent for his blog:

This week in an effort to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ, I took the mission president's challenge to read the entire missionary handbook and note down everything in which I am not exactly obedient. I have been reviewing the list regularly and have improved in the points I wrote down. Throughout my life, improving in obedience has made me happier, more appreciative, and more sensitive to the Spirit.

We had a pretty good week down here. The family we have been working with is still progressing well. They are reading and praying as a family and having family home evenings. They are also consistently coming to church. Unfortunately, they still haven't accepted a baptismal date but still have a desire to be baptized. We also set a date for August 16 with another investigator who we have been teaching since I got here. Her mom has reactivated and she feels ready to make the covenant of baptism.

Monday, July 21, 2014


This week in an effort to be a better disciple of Christ I really focused in on praying for and searching for little opportunities to serve, and we were blessed with at least one opportunity every day. We pushed several cars to get them started, changed a couple tires, we helped fix up an investigator's ceiling, we have been teaching an Evangelical priest English, and a couple nights ago, we had a very interesting experience. It was 10:20, and we were within just a couple minutes from getting back to the house when a woman ran to us and told us that a man was following her. I went to the corner to see, and didn't see anyone, so I asked her if she had a place to stay. She told us that she was on her way home. She was shaking and almost hysteric so I told her not to worry and that we would walk to her home with her. I took her bags to lighten her load and just told her not to worry as we walked to her house. The only thing I said regarding the gospel was that she should say a prayer when she got home. We actually ended up walking for quite a ways and in a dangerous part of the sector, and I began to be concerned that she could be leading us into a trap. I have heard a lot here about even old women working with gangs to lead people into assaults. Elder Johnson and I both felt very safe despite the concern and where we were at that time of night. When we got to her apartment, she gave us her name and number to come and teach her about the gospel. We did arrive home late, but I think it was one of the exceptions President talks about. I'm sure that that experience was an answer to our prayers for opportunities to serve and I hope it will also be an answer to our prayers about finding people prepared to find the gospel.

As far as progress in the sector, the family we have been working with wants to be baptized, but they say they don't want to be baptized yet because the mother of the family will have to return to work at the end of August and won't be able to attend Church. I think we can help them to change their mind. I know that they are ready and I know that they know that they are ready. On a high note, the father has had a radical change and went from not having much interest to reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover, reading just about everything he can get his hands on, and watching Mormon Messages on the computer. It's amazing how much I have gotten to see this family grow.

I think that's it for the week.  It was a good one.  I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I love you all!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Birthday reflections

Monday was Ben's birthday. It was raining in Santiago.

It was another good week in El Pino. I turn 20 today and I have spent a lot of time thinking last night and this morning about the kind of 20 year old that I want to be. I prayerfully did a self-evaluation and pondered about what I would like to improve on this year of my life. Paul's words about becoming a man and putting away childish things kept coming to mind. These kinds of self-evaluations and goal setting always make me a better disciple of Christ. I should do them more frequently.

We had some great success yesterday with the family who I have been telling you about. The entire family of 6 came yesterday and now each has come three or more times. The father, who was last to gain a testimony, thanked me for what we brought to his family. There is nothing more sweet in the mission as those moments when less-active members or investigators thank you for what you have brought them. We are going to invite them to be baptized on the 26 of July.

Monday, July 7, 2014

First week of July

Here's this week's update:

We hiked a hill today as a mission.  The idea was that we look back and think about how much the mission has achieved in its first year and then have a vision for the following year at the top. We had a mission fast this last Sunday with the purpose of recieving revelation about what our vision for the mission is.

From the hill you get a great view of how much polllution there is in the air.  You can't see the city very well.  My new companion is from Gilbert, Arizona.  He has a great attitude and he knows his stuff pretty well.  His spanish is decent but he can't understand much.  I had the same problem.

Training and being a district leader is hard but its good.  I am learning a lot.

I only got one letter this week and it was from April 4.  It was missent to Guyana.

From Ben's letter to the mission president: Another week gone by. It was a tougher week with a much smaller number of lessons than I am used to. I suppose that's OK because it gives my new companion and I a lot of opportunities to practice contacting with all of our plans falling. He's also learning that we walk fast in this mission!

I have been telling you about the Sandoval family lately. The father was hit by a car while riding his bike last week. The front of the car was badly damaged and he could not feel his legs after the accident. He prayed in the ambulence that he would be able to support his family and was blessed not only to be able to feel his legs, but to wallk. Despite not wearing a helmet, his only injury was a chip in his tailbone. He took that blessing as a sign that it is time that he started placing a little more importance on the things of God. I very well beleive that it could have been a sign. The Lord works in mysterious ways. He and his wife went to Church for the first time together on Sunday.

As far as becoming a better disciple of Christ this week, I have memorized several more scriptures including Mosiah 27:14, Moses 3:19, Doctrine and Covenents 4, Alma 32:21, Mosiah 2:41, and a few quotes from Joseph Smith in Joseph Smith History. I have really grown to love memorizing scriptures in Spanish and have found it to be a great language study activity.

My companion is doing great. He bears simple and powerful testimony and he always has a good attitude. I am glad for the opportunity to learn from him.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ben is a Trainer

This week's email from Ben. He is continuing his duties as district leader and also is going to be training a new missionary for the next three months.

From his letter to the mission president: Finally done with days indoors for the world cup. This week I finally took your counsel to start memorizing scriptures. I memorized a couple of my favorites- Juan 3:16-17 and Mateo 22:36-40. Memorizing has absolutely made me a better disciple of Christ. It keeps me focused on my mission in moments of boredom and makes me a more independent missionary.

As far as progress in El Pino, we are working on getting an assignment for a reactivating member and I will feel comfortable calling him a complete reactivation. We also still have the Sandoval family near ready for baptism.

From his email home: I was mistaken when I said that people destroy stuff whether Chile wins or loses.  It turns out that they only really destroy stuff when they win.  We were allowed to go out and work on Saturday after the game.

It has rained a few times, once for a few days in a row and it drizzled this morning.  They say it rains a lot in the winter here but it's nothing in comparison to NY.  The mountains have snow and right after a rain they are completely white.  They're beautiful in winter.

The mission birthday party was really cool.  I was surprised to see myself in the movie they made.  Have you seen it? Its on President's Facebook. video