Monday, July 24, 2017

Chugga Chugga

This week we got transfer calls. I now only have two transfers left. Time goes too quickly. However, I did receive some exciting news about the transfer. I am going to TRAIN! (Chugga chugga whoo whoo!) Elder Bane is going to be leaving and heading off to Lincoln area. I am really excited, and I am sure this area is going to do great these next two transfers. Other than that, not much has happened this week. Elder Bane crashed his bike and broke his pedals. That was interesting. 
Other than that..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
I know not what to say.
I am excited for next transfer.
Ether 12 is a great chapter. I thought a lot about it this week. It certainly is true that God can make is strong in spite of our weaknesses. 
We cannot worry about the choices others make, we just need to be sure that we are always doing the best we can to follow God and to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as we do that, we will see that our influence has had a greatly positive effect on those we serve, even if we think we didn't help anyone. Have a great week everyone. I am grateful for the time I have out here, and I love it. Serving God always worth it, and he always gives us so much in return.

Elder Benge

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Fly Like An Eagle, Squirt Like A Jellyfish"

This is a very silly skit from a Christmas party in 2015. Elder Benge said I should post it.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Knock Knock

*Knock knock*
"Who's there?"
"It's the missionaries!"
"Not interested!"
"Okay, have a great day!"

*Knock Knock*
"Who's there?"
"It's the missionaries"
"The missionaries!"
"We're the Mormons."
"Oh. Not interested"
"Okay, I hope you have a wonderful day."

*Knock knock*
Door opens
"Hello, how are you doing--"
"Get the [heck] out of here!"
"Okay, bye."

*Knock knock*
There is a scuffle of movement behind the door. The peephole goes dark as someone looks through, unsuccessfully trying to observe us without being noticed. The peephole goes light again as the persons backs away, terrified of the Mormons who have come to brainwash them.
*knock knock knock*

*Knock knock*
"Come in!"
(You awkwardly exchange looks with your companion)
"It's the missionaries!"
"Never mind, go away!"

Well, now you know what I did all week. Yep. I knocked and knocked and knocked. We had a sit down lesson with Tom, who seemed semi-interested, but then he bailed on the next appointment and didn't come to church or answer or texts. Oh well, we'll figure something out. Marvin was too busy with work to even meet with us this week, which was a disappointment. Elder Bane's bike has some really messed up tires, and he tries to avoid riding it if possible. We end up walking a lot because of that. This area is probably the booniest area in all of what we call "Central Conference" (which contains Lakewood and Tacoma). We end up walking on desolate dusty roads and I don't even feel like I am serving in one of the "Central" areas, which are generally known for being fast-paced, high populated areas. It is still fun, though.
That is all I have got, friends. Sorry about that.
The scripture of the week is taken from the Book of Jacob, chapter 7, verse 23.
(This is after Sherem has led many people astray, but is confounded and renounces is false teachings just as he dies, and then everyone stops following the false paths).
23 And it came to pass that peace and the love of God was restored again among the people; and they searched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man.
Search the scriptures, my friends. They bring peace and love into your lives, and protect against the deceptions of the adversary. The scriptures are filled with truth and light, and will protect us from the philosophies of man and the temptations of the adversary, as long as we read the humbly and sincerely. Be a seeker of truth. I love the scriptures. I definitely know that the Book of Mormon is true. I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Elder Benge

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Story of Stinkton

This is a random story I just whipped out in a few minutes.

Once upon a time there was an prodigious clod of dirt. His name was Stinkton. Now, Stinkton was a very stinky clod of dirt, and his stench was known throughout all the land of the clods. Stinkton was very self-conscious of his scent, and could often be found in the corner of the community gardens singing a sad song that went something like this:
O that I were not
a clod that smelled of rot.
Then perhaps my heart could find a gal.
She would be my honey sweet,
and she could be my queenly treat.
And we could then call each other 'pal'.

Every day, Stinkton would weep in the garden and sing is sad song of longing. One day, a beautiful womanly dirt clod with fine curves was wondering through the garden, when she heard is longing cry. She found his voice so alluring, her mind completely blocked out the awful stench she smelt, and she was completely enraptured by his voice. Mindlessly, she followed his call like a sailor following a siren, to at last she entered the clearing where he stood. There she stood, transfixed, as Stinkton mournfully finished his song. Then he looked up, and saw her. "What do you want?" He said bluntly.
"I want you." She whispered back seductively.
For a moment, he was at a loss for words. Finally, he managed to stammer, "Well, then. Let us be wed immediately!"
And so they were. And they lived happily ever after for the rest of time and all eternity and had many baby dirt clods, even as the sands of the sea, (or the dirt of the forest).
Elder Benge

An Invitation To Come Home

This week passed by in an exceedingly quick manner. On Independence day we got to go to a little party with the District and the Zone Leaders. We had a meeting where we got to meet our new mission President, President Leishman. At the meeting he shared a video of a talk Elder Holland gave to the new mission presidents in the MTC which I would like to briefly relate to you. A young man left home vowing never to return again. He was in Idaho. He went and joined the Hell's Angels and got into an appalling life style. One day he woke up in an trashed apartment having no idea how he had gotten there. He took it as a too-late wake up call, and drove all the way across the country to California (by some sort of arbitrary decision). There he started getting involved with the local Hell's Angels again. One day as he sat on the porch of his beaten up trailer home, he saw two missionaries coming down the street. The very sight of them filled him with rage, bitterness, and resentment. He watched as they approached his house, and laughed as his two vicious pit bulls charged the fence frothing and gnashing their teeth. Part of him wished the fence was not there. The missionaries quickly backed away from the fence and kept walking. Then, they suddenly stopped, talked for a while, and came back toward them man who was laughing cruelly at them and his two savage canines. Again, the dogs charged the fence with their usual ferocity, but when they drew near the missionaries, both dogs suddenly stopped, quieted, bowed their heads and turned and walked back to the porch and sat down. The man was stunned, as were the missionaries. The missionaries then opened the gate and walked in, heading toward the man. They began a conversation, in which he told them how stupid they were for coming in. One of the missionaries asked, "So, are you from around here?"
He replied that he was from Idaho originally, and named the town he was from.
The missionary asked "Oh, do you know Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so?"
The man replied. 'Those are my parents".
The missionary paused, and reached out his hand and said. "Those are my parents, too. They have been praying for you at family prayer every night for the last 20 years. God has sent me here to invite you to come home."
Over time, the man, helped by his brother who he didn't even know existed, repented and came back home to his family and became active in the church and is now sealed in the temple to a wonderful woman. How amazing is that? Think about how many people had to be prompted by the Holy Ghost for all of that to happen! We are where we are for a reason!
We are out here to invite people to come home. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the kind of person I have become because of my Savior.
I don't have anything else to report on for this week, but I did want to be able to share that amazing story with you. I hope you all have a great week! Farewell.

Elder Benge

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Heir Assumes

Well, President Blatter is officially dead, dead, and gone. President Leashman is our new magistrate as of last Friday. I haven't had the opportunity to meet him yet, although we heard is voice on Sunday over a conference call. On Wednesday we will have a meet and greet with him and his wife, so that should be fun. Other than that, not much happened this week. I crashed my bike and knocked the rest of that day with a torn pant knee and bloody palms. I felt like a zombie.
"Grhaafdaghsz... We here to bahptize ur BRAINZZZ!"
Sometimes, I feel like there are a lot people treat us like we are zombies knocking on their door. "Watch out for those Mormons! They say they want to share a message with you that will bring happiness in your life and help you increase your faith in Jesus Christ, but I know that secretly they just want to CONSUME YOUR BRAINS!!!" It's okay that some people treat us like that, though, because there are still a lot of very kind people out here. I was reminded this week quite a few times of the many nice people that still exist as many people have offered us water or give us water when we ask. It gets quite humid in the heat out here, and when you are on bike, you get thirsty quick. I am very grateful for the nice people out here who are willing to give us water.
Anyway, I am grateful for my testimony. I am grateful I can be on a mission at this time. I love the Lord. I love the Book of Mormon, and how it has brought be closer to Christ. It really has. It testifies of Christ. It teaches that through Him, we can receive eternal life. I do know that Jesus Christ lives, and that he speaks to us today through modern day prophets. I encourage anyone who does not have that testimony to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. An answer will come. God always answers the sincere prayers of humble seekers.
Have a wonderful week, and I love you all.

Elder Benge

Monday, June 26, 2017

Pedal To The Metal

Today was my first full week on bike! It was actually a lot of fun, pedaling the metal. As we knocked doors, it was fun peddling, though it tested my mettle. I must always remember never to pettle, so that I may earn a heavenly medal. Last but not least, when I see flowers, I do not meddle with the petals: Especially if it's nettle. Instead, I settle.
Honestly, I can't think of much that happened this week. We had a goodbye meeting with President and Sister Blatter. They are going to be leaving this Friday, and President Leashman will be coming in. That will be exciting.
This past few days were stiflingly hot. The humidity was so bad I felt like I was in King Kong's armpit. However, it was a nice change from the eternal rains of winter. 
I made some delicious meals this week. I poured Raisin Bran cereal into a hot dog bun, then I put ketchup, ranch, and mustard on it and ate it. It wasn't all that bad. I tried it with a cereal similar to fruit loops as well, which wasn't bad, although it was definitely better with Raisin Bran. Never to fear, missionaries always survive, even if they don't buy quite enough groceries on P-day! ('Twas my fault, I was lacking in foresight).
Honestly, I am out of things to say. Here is a wonderful scripture taken from the book of Mormon in the Book of Mormon, about the Book of Mormon:
16 And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light; for it shall be brought out of darkness unto light, according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God.
Morrmon 8:16

The Book of Mormon truly is such a blessing. The world was in darkness and in bondage under apostasy. But our loving Father in Heaven so fit to release us from this darkness. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to a young, inquiring Joseph Smith and put in motion the restoration of all things.
Just think how much light has come into the world from the Restoration. Look at how beautifully and purely the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. Look at the blessing we have of modern day propehts and apostles. What a gift. What a blessing. Look at the redeeming work for the dead that is done in temples for those who did not have an opportunity to even be on the earth when the Gospel was present. Look how this time blesses all of the human family! Look at how it blesses you personally and individually. I am so grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it happened. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really did appear to Joseph Smith on that soft and sacred day. I am grateful for the truth and light that has come into my life as I have sought to gain a personal testimony of these things. I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Elder Benge

Monday, June 19, 2017

Agents of P.E.T.A.

This week was quite entertaining. For the most part, we knocked doors. Sometimes, we would talk to people. We put somebody on date to be baptized. We pray that he will have the courage to take work off on Sundays so he can reach his baptismal date. However, the week suddenly took a sharp turn when God decided that we need not limit our work to the salvation of human souls only, but that we ought to try our hand at rescuing various animals in their temporal form. A few days ago, Elder Bane and I were trudging along the roadside, which runs parallel to a deep ditch meant for channeling rainwater. The rain was coming down with moderate intensity, but the ditch did not yet much water flowing through it (the rain having just started). We were startled when from the grassy depths of the ditch suddenly emerged two sodden kittens, bedraggled yet cute. I was stunned. "What ho! Behold yonder creatures, dirty and disheveled, sodden and soaked! What ought we to do, dear fellow?"
I called out to Elder Bane."What have we to do with them?" he retorted. "Pets we cannot have, and our hearts are here pledged to continue knocking on the deafened and darkened homes."
"Alright," said I, "but the nameless creatures must yet be named, for how could they enter into the kingdom of heaven if they cannot be identified by any such sort of title? This one shall be called Cayden."
"And this shall be Jasper" He replied.
Then, we knocked on. Pretty soon, it was time to head to our dinner appointment. As we passed by the ditch again, we saw Cayden and Jasper again, and I just didn't have the heart to let them die there. So, we picked them up and walked with them, not knowing what we were going to do. We got to the main road where the car was parked, and realized we could do nothing. We could not take them home. So we left them in some bushes by the road, hoping they'd be safe. As we walked away, Jasper came out, meowing in desperation. A car on the road noticed him, and slowed down. A girl got out, and started heading towards the kittens. She was determined not to let them day. Cayden and Jasper had been saved. 
Later that day, we found a large, beautiful butterfly lying on the ground, unable to fly because it was too wet. We picked it up, named him Jude, and then walked him to a house with an alcove where a friendly lady was fascinated with him and asked us to leave him under the protection of her outcropping porch roof. 
It was awesome. We saved a bunch of animals, and it made the day very entertaining and very unprecedented.
Other than that, I don't know what else to inform you all of. I found the complete works of William Shakespeare in our apartment. That was cool. Also, I forgot to tell you last week that right before I left we put that family with unmarried parents on date for marriage so that the girlfriend could be baptized. They did a remarkable job of having the courage to talk to her parents about it.
Also, here is one of my favorite scriptures (it is an Isaiah scripture, but it is also in the Book of Mormon):
18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments—then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.
 1 Nephi 20:18 (Isaiah 48:18)
Remember the deep peace and power that come as we strive to obey the commandments of our Father in Heaven. Our willingness to demonstrate faith and humility (like the Savior did) in following the Father's will, will determine our spiritual success in this life. I hope you all have a great week.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Meatball Quesadilla

Good day, fellows. This week started out nice and ended with a plot twist worthy of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. We started out the week by going to a Zone Conference at Zion's Camp and doing a ropes course. It was a lot of fun, and Elder Quinton and I had the opportunity to be in charge of the "Trust Fall" activity. It was quite enjoyable, especially the infrequent occasions when someone would let out a  piercing, involuntary scream as they fell back (Normally the sisters where the ones screaming, but not always). On Saturday, we got transfer calls. I was convinced I was going to be staying, because Elder Quinton had already spent a very long time here. However, we were terribly startled when President informed us that I would be leaving after just 2 transfers, and Elder Quinton would be staying for his 5th transfer there. I am going to be leaving tomorrow for Lakewood. My new companion will be Elder Bane. For those of you who are interested, Lakewood is a very sketchy, ghetto place. Crime and drugs are rampant. In fact, the city of Lakewood commonly appears on the TV show "Cops". 
This is going to be a fun transfer. This is going to be the most city I have ever had in one of my areas. It will be interesting.
There is a good chance that this will also be my last area, but as we have just witnessed, the Lord often throws some plot twists into our lives just when we least expect it.

Well, that is about all I have for the week, so let me relate a dream I had last night:
I was eating food with my dad. My father finished what he was eating, but he wanted more. He put a tortilla on his plate, and then put about 12 meatballs on the tortilla, and put a tiny sprinkle of cheese on it. He then carefully placed another tortilla on top of his masterpiece, and handed me the plate. He asked me to go and put his quesadilla in the microwave for him. I walked over a few steps to the microwave and put the plate in, but I then realized that all of the meatballs but two had somehow disappeared during my short trip over to the microwave. I informed my father, and he got very stressed out about it. I was very stressed out, too. I searched frantically for the missing meatballs, but to no avail.They had mysteriously disappeared. Then I woke up.

The moral of the story is that sometimes, we get stressed out by little things in life (like meatballs disappearing from our quesadilla). When we start to get worked up about these little things, we just need to take a step back and realize: "Wow. I just saw 10 meatballs magically disappear from a quesadilla. That is amazing. It will probably never happen again in my entire life. Besides, the world isn't ending. It's just a meatball quesadilla. No big deal. This will make a great story one day for my grandchildren."
So there you go. That is the secret to avoiding the small stresses in life. 
We can even use this strategy to avoid larger stresses in life. Next time you are stressed out about some difficult thing that has arisen in your life, I challenge you to just say. "Heck, what am I freaking out about? In the eyes of the Lord, this is just a meatball quesadilla! He knows what is going on and he has a plan for me!"
Then, go and pray that you will be able to learn whatever you need to from the experience.

Also, if somebody wants to make a meatball quesadilla and then send a picture to me of them eating it, it would probably make my day.
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Fare thee well.
Elder Benge

Monday, June 5, 2017

Clay Babies

Sorry I didn't write much of a letter last week. Fortunately for you, nothing much really happened last week anyway, so you didn't miss out on too much. 
It also just so happens that not much of anything interesting happened this week, either. This leaves us at a stalemate. If I don't have anything to write, what shall you read? What will my mother say? Will she beat me with her metaphorical stick of chastisement?
Therefore, I shall grasp at straws.
Last Monday, we went to Bella Bella Beach on Fox Island (an island in our area). Fun fact about Bella Bella Beach, a.k.a BBB=B^3= B(B*B)=B*(B+B[B-1]), is that on (B^2)*B you can find some  strange looking rocks called "Clay Babies." These naturally sculpted clay figures can only be found in nature in two places in the world. One of which is x where x=B(B+(B/4)[4y-4]) where 2yB+1=2B^2+1 (solve for x), and the other place in the world is some random beach in Japan. So that is cool. I actually found a clay baby, and it was very exciting. I will raise it as my own. Hopefully someday it will grow up just like me.
Anyway, our part member family is doing well. The mother of the family was able to talk to her mother about marriage and they are working out a marriage date right now! Soon, they will be on date for both marriage and baptism! That is so exciting. Other than that, not much has happened this week. We found a lady and her children who had been taught before and were planning on being baptized but had to move before they could be baptized. We will meet with them in a couple of days, so that should be exciting, too.
This week we will be having a zone conference with half of the mission at a place called Zion's camp (located in my current zone, and my old area, Belfair). It should be a lot of fun.
The rain has finally subsided here in western Washington, and most of the last few days have been beautiful and sunny. How wonderful it is to finally see the sun.
I love you all. I know that this work is the work of the Lord. I know that he watches out for us, and that he is in control of it all. The world may seem crazy, but remember that all things are truly in the Lord's hands. I know that for sure. Have a wonderful week, and here is a great scripture from the Book of Mosiah about Jesus Christ:
9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
Mosiah 16:9
Elder Benge