Monday, November 9, 2015

The ARRESToration of the Gospel

Dear all you peoples who I am writing to write now,
Again, the subject line lies. I didn't get arrested. Not quite. But, we did get in trouble with the police twice. Obviously, I am super happy about that. Or something. More on that later...
Time is flying by. It seems like only two days ago I was writing to you all. It's weird. In fact, time is going more quickly than the candy from a freshly broken pinata at a party of 8 year old children. However, I love what I have the privilege of doing here. Every time I see a family, or a baby, or when I see the Gospel bless someone's life, I remember why I am here. One of the most used words in the book of Mormon is remember, or some other variation of that (like "have ye so soon forgotten?") I promise you that as you try to remember your spiritual experiences and how you have seen the Lord's hand in your life, you will more fully feel the Spirit and be able to receive even more blessings as you show gratitude for those you have received. Speaking of remembering, we have the wonderful opportunity of helping an inactive remember these things as we are teaching her 10 year old son, Michael, in hopes that he will be baptized. We knocked into this family recently and have already taught Michael the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. He came to church yesterday with his mother and it was amazing. Sister Van Gelder (That is Michael's mom, by the way) actually bore her testimony to Michael about baptism in our second lesson. It was amazing, and the Spirit was there very powerfully. We might actually baptize him this week, which would be way awesome. I love being able to see Sister Van Gelder remember why she was baptized, and watch her realize that she needs to be at church. It is a wonderful calling as a missionary to be called to create spiritual sparks of testimony in people in the hopes that they will allow it to ignite and turn into the fire of conversion. It is when we see that fire in people that we know it is all worth it. Of course, a fire will burn out if you don't tend to it. We must actively work on our conversion, or we will lose what we have been given.
Next interesting thing: I have the wonderful privilege of being able to teach knowledgeable atheist. When I say knowledgeable, I mean in secular things of course. In a spiritual sense, atheists the opposite of knowledgeable. No offense, atheists. The only reason Neil, the atheist, is listening to us is because of Pascal's Wager (if you don't know what it is, look it up, because it's awesome). However, we are going to have to really follow the Spirit with him, because he doesn't take the evidences that we readily accept. Alma tells Korihor that the motion of the planets and the stars and everything testify that there is a Supreme Creator. I definitely agree. However, most atheists refuse this evidence despite it's blatancy. Seriously, if you actually take the time to think about it from a logical perspective, there is no blasted way we could be here without a God. Seriously. Think about how the universe is created. Of course the real problem with atheists like Neil is that they focus so much on their logic and their secular thinking that they demand secular evidence of spiritual things. It's ridiculous. Of course, secular evidence exists for spiritual things, but we must have spiritual experiences to gain a testimony of spiritual things (think about Laman and Lemuel. They saw an angel, but they still fell away. That is because they weren't converted, and they weren't seeking spiritual evidence, they would only accept physical evidence. That isn't how God works). The problem with Neil is that it is going to be hard to get him to seek these spiritual things. Once he does, he will get a witness, but getting them to take that first step is hard. What I can say for Neil is that he does have the "desire to know" that it talks about in Alma 32, and he is letting it act on him. In fact, for the next month he is going to live as a Mormon. He is going to keep the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, attend church and keep the Sabbath day holy, pray morning and night, read the Book of Mormon daily, and pray to know that these things are true. It's the Mormon experiment. I know that if he is sincere in all that he does, he will receive that witness. God will never allow one of his children that is sincerely seeking the light to wander in darkness.
Sorry that this letter is so long. I have to go pretty soon.
About getting arrested, we were knocking on a Naval base, and apparently, we are not allowed to proselyte on the base without express permission from the commanding Naval officer, so some guy called the cops on us. It was funny. The cop passed us twice, and only saw us the third time, which was at the end of our knocking session in that area. So, really, it didn't even stop us from knocking the area, which was a miracle. We met so many less actives in there, and met so many people that were willing to listen. Most of these people had never had the opportunity to meet missionaries because of the rules. It was amazing. We planted so many seeds there that night, and we have a lot of potentials we can go back and visit. (We don't need permission to visit people that we set up appointments with. We checked)
I know the church is true. Follow the prophets and apostles. They know what they are doing. If any of you have questions concerning the recent church decision, go to or and watch the church's news announcement about it with D. Todd Christofferson. That should clear things up. Have a good life! Let Us All Press On! 

Elder Benge

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