Monday, August 21, 2017

The Semi-Super Bowl (Missionary Style)

Here are some pictures from zone activity last week:

(From Left to Right)
Top Row: E. Jocelyn, E. Reynolds, E. Allen, E. Carr, E. Robb, E. Benge
Middle Row: E. Meik, E. Howell, S. York, E. Pisciotta, E. Rosquist
Bottom Row: S. Kreutz(I think that's how it's spelled), S. Baldwin, S. Fisher
Elder Benge

The Words Will Choke In Your Mouth

This week was really interesting. We had to drop a few people and that was sad. We found a couple more people and it will be exciting to teach them. By far the most exciting parts of this week were when my companion, dear Elder Robb, choked on his food. It actually happened two different times this week (once at a member meal). I want to preface this by saying that I am very grateful that he survived and that nothing bad happened... but I must also admit that what happened was way funny. It is going to make a good memory some day for him and for me. The only reason it was funny was because the food never clogged his throat all the way, which meant he could still breathe. So it was still really awkward and embarrassing, but at least he was doing fine. I have made sure I am up to date on "how to help your companion while he is choking" skills, so next it won't be as awkward. I am very grateful that everything ended well, though.
I will say that that was definitely one of the most exciting member meals I have ever been to.
Anyway, other than that I cannot think of a single interesting thing to share with you that will last more than a sentence, so here are some random, inspid things for your mind to munch on: I have a flat tire on my bike. Elder Robb is a really good artist and has made a lot of his own comic book superheros. I got my hair cut. I have been looking out the library window at the solar eclispe while I've been emailing (using solar eclipse viewing technology, of course.) [P.s. a rice krispy treat wrapper works remarkably well]{Don't worry, I also have an official viewer that meets the transmission requirements of EN 1836:2005 & AS/NZS 1338.1:1992 For Eclipse Filters. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds reliable #ethos}.
Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful day. Don't eat your mashed potatoes or your chicken too quick!

Elder Benge

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Whole 9-9 Yards

This week was actually interesting. That is good, because it means I have at least some semi-interesting morsel of information to share with you (at least, I found it interesting. You may still be bored, but you can just keep your cutting remarks to yourself, Fujong!).
Anyway, on Friday, our entire mission had a 9-9. This meant we knocked doors from 9 am to 9 pm without taking any breaks for lunch, dinner, or going to the bathroom (Just kidding, we'd use gas station facilities and such* when we needed.). Our zone made the day extra special by having every companionship knock in someone else's area in the zone. Elder Robb and I were assigned, alongside Elder Pisciotta and Elder Carr (another companionship in our district) to knock in the Lakewood ward. Contained within the Lakewood ward boundaries is a group of apartment complexes known to the missionaries as "Chocolate City" (for reasons I will only tell the avid seeker). This knocking spot is renowned throughout the mission as the best, sketchiest, most ghetto knocking spot in the entire mission. Suffice to say, it was a very fun knocking session. It was definitely very ghetto. I am very glad I had the opportunity to knock there. The day was long, but very rewarding. We packed many PB&J's into a bag and brought them with us all day. We found a lot of new people for the Lakewood missionaries to teach. (They found a few people for us to teach as well.)
The other most interesting part of the week was that I was asked to give a talk in church on Sunday. So, yesterday I got up and gave a talk on... how to overcome challenges in marriage. Yes. That is the topic I was given. So, I drew upon my years of wisdom as the Bachelor§ I am and told everyone how they ought to be married. 
It was pretty funny. I was replacing someone else who had had to cancel, but it was still really funny having a missionary give a talk on marriage.
We had another lesson with Eric this week. Elder Robb did well as we taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Eric admitted that the only thing keeping him from feeling ready to be baptized is that he still hasn't put a full honest effort into reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. Lessons with Eric are always very spiritual, and I really enjoy teaching him. We invited him to redouble his efforts on reading the Book of Mormon. I pray that he will. I know he has felt the spirit and knows that what we teach is true, he is just too hesitant right now to take a baptismal date (we have invited him several times).
Anyway, I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so simple. It is so profound. It is so powerful. Christ has changed my life, and he has changed me. He continues to change me as I allow him to. 
May we all allow Christ into our hearts, and allow him to continually change and mold us.
I hope you all have a beautiful week full of fresh raspberries, free food samples at the grocery store, happy infants, and bright rays of sunshine. I love you all. Please pray for the people out here in Washington, as well as the people around you so that you may have missionary opportunities as well.
19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.
                              - 1 Nephi 10:19
Elder Benge
*bushes, trees, obscured clearings, the houses of random strangers, roadside port-a-potties, empty water bottles, nearby unlocked missionary apartments, ditches, less-frequented roadsides, shopping centers, fast food restaurants, members' homes, etc.

§ I am the Bachelor.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Super Fly Pic

​This was a super spontaneous picture, but I thought it ended up looking really good. Something about the layout is just really pleasing to the eye (At least to my eye).

Elder Benge

Slow Week 'Til Fast Sunday

As the title of the email clearly illustrates, this week was a rather slow one. We found a few new. Nothing much exciting was happening. We were really praying that would start finding some more people. On Sunday, Ashley didn't come to church, and we were really disappointed. Then, right before dinner we biked up to the member we were eating at at the top of the area and decided to knock there before dinner (which was a slight change of plans). On about the 3rd door we knocked, someone opened the door and said "How did you know we needed you?"
I'm not going to lie, I honestly thought they were joking or just needed to move their couch or something. Nope, they had actually just been praying and trying to get a hold of the missionaries even going to the extent of just barely sending in a referral for themselves on so that their daughter could get a blessing before going in for ear surgery the next day. They were members, but they weren't from the ward and were just taking care of someone who had just had a stroke, so they didn't know how to get a hold of someone. So we gave the daughter a blessing, as well as the older gentleman who had just had a stroke. It was a small thing,  it was a small thing, but it was a relief to know that God was using us as angels to answer prayers. Sometimes it is nice to know that God really is using you for something. We then went to dinner and got a bunch of great referrals from the member, and then we knocked doors and found a less active very interested in coming to church and a solid new investigator. It was very nice. 

Now, for other miscellaneous moments of mystification for the week:
We met a weird Asian guy who explained to us how God was a single-celled organism started all alone and then made the universe out of circles. It was an interesting conversation. He would ask us really random questions and then compliment us if we got the answer right (of course, it was just a guessing game as we would try to figure out his the details of his obscure belief system.)
Here are  some excerpts from the conversation:
Him: What part of our body does God dwell in?
Me: The heart!
Him: Close...
Me: Um.... the sternum.
(He stares at me blankly)
Robb: The brain!
Him: Yes! What part of the brain?
Me: The cerebral cortex!
Him: You are very smart. That is very close.
(I am now at a loss for words because I don't know very many other parts of the brain and I have no idea how close they are to each other)
Him: What is the most sacred part of the body?
Me: Ummm... The heart! No, wait! The tongue!
Him: Wow. You got it right on. It is the vein that goes directly from the heart to the tongue. 
Him: What do these circles look like?
Me: Er...  A flower?
Him: Yes, very close. A flower is part of it.
Me: The circle of life?
Him: Wow. You are 98% right. It is the flower... of life.
Me: Ahh, silly me! Of course.

Suffice to say, it was a very interesting conversation. I wonder how many crazy people I have talked to on my mission. Probably a good amount. Anyway, I will stop boring you with my life, and I will permit you to return to that which was previously keeping you occupied. Adios.
Elder Benge

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Great Train Robb-ery

This week has been amazing. My very new, greenie companion is Elder Colby John Robb. He is from Syracuse Utah, and he is very awesome. We are already getting along really well, and he is a great missionary. He has also taught me a few moves from Krav Maga (a type of martial arts). Now I am ready to beat someone up just in case someone decides to jump the poor missionaries.
We have met a lot of Samoans this week, and they are very nice. They love feeding the missionaries and giving them things. Sometimes they drive by and hand you money or boxes of food. It is way awesome. 
This letter feels disjointed, and I apologize for that. I am just spitting out random things from the week as I think of them.
We got an investigator named Anthony to church this week and introduced him to some members. We were very excited when he came, as he was a little bit late and we were getting scared, thinking he wasn't coming. 
We have found a few potentials this week, and we are really hoping they will go somewhere. This transfer looks like it is going to be great, and I am way excited to be with Elder Robb. He is a great guy. 
I definitely know that God watches over each of us. We are the sheep in his flock, and he knows us each by name. He calls to each of us, and it is up to us to respond to the good shepherd's voice. He calls us in his own name, to signify that we are his. We become his and take his name upon us as we make sacred covenants, such as baptism. I am very grateful for the restored truths of the Gospel. Many people out there do not understand the beautiful simplicity of the fullness of the Gospel. They have been confused by the philosophies of man.
We had the opportunity to teach the primary children this week. As we taught, I felt the Spirit testify to me of the truthfulness of the restoration. I realized how very blessed these children were to be raised with such precious pearls of truth. I urge us all (myself included) to not take for granted what we have been given! Have a wonderful week! Ta ta, cheerio!

Elder Benge

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