Monday, February 29, 2016

Behold: The Mutated Chicken of the Sea!


Elder Benge

The Sweetest Moment

Elder Benge

The Waters of WATAC: Font Side

Hello, everyone! This week has been absolutely fantastic! Now, I don't have much time to write, nor do I have many jokes to spew this week, so I will have to content myself with writing a vaguely normal letter to all of you this week. *Crowds start cheering in the distance*
In order to commemorate the awesome baptism that happened this week, I am going start messing with the font sizes (emphasis on the word 'font').
Well, all three transfers I've been here my companion and I have been praying earnestly that we would be able to see a baptism of one of the people in this area that we have come to love so much. I knew that the time would inevitably come that I would be called to depart from this wonderful area, and I knew the time was drawing near.
Well, my prayers were answered, in a completely different way than I expected (as usual). Let me cite your minds forward to the past:
My first day in this area, one of the first doors we knocked on was a young lady named Kaley. She was my first new investigator. A month later, we ended up having to drop her (she just wasn't very interested). Well, during the time we were teaching her, we acquired her phone number to better contact her. Now, fast forward a few months: In some seemingly un-serendipitous  (but secretly, serendipitous) turn of events, the sister missionaries in our ward broke both of their phones, and had to get replacements. As a result, we transferred all of the contacts in our phones over to them so that they could have the numbers of the ward again. This also gave them access to some of our investigator's numbers. We didn't think about it much at the time. Later, the sisters contacted all the investigator contacts in their contact list to see if they could come back and teach anyone. Kaley responded, showing some interest again, or at least showing that she was willing to be visited again. Well, when the sisters went over, they met Sam, Kaley's boyfriend (who was rarely there). He had just barely been called to go to boot camp, and suddenly religion had started pressing heavily upon his mind. Well, to make a long story short, Sam was very interested in the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Soon, Kaley became interested, too. You should have seen how surprised I was when Kaley and Sam walked into church! I was so happy. Last Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to baptize and confirm Kaley, and Elder Poland baptized and confirmed Sam. It was amazing. Heavenly Father prepared a way so that I could see my first ever investigator baptized. Right before I left the area I loved so much. It was one of the best (if not the best) experiences in my life.
Which brings me to my next point: I am going to now be in the Belfair area in the Gig Harbor stake. My companion will be Elder Lee, from Korea. I don't know much else, but I am very excited.  I love you all. I testify that God answers prayers. I know he loves us, and has a plan for every person we come in contact with. 
I will leave you all with this challenge: Do family history work, and do missionary work. I promise that you will be grateful for that decision. Have a good week!
Elder Benge

Monday, February 22, 2016

Calamari, Calling Mari, And Monsters

"Moreover, the word of the Lord said unto me: Take thee a great phone, and text in it with a man's fingers concerning Maher-shalal-hash-tag."
Isaiah 8:1 (New Modern Translation for Technology Dependent Youth)
Well, I can't ignore prophetic direction, even though I have no idea how to use hashtags and have no previous experience with them #cellularnoob. This week was very interesting. I ate calamari for the first time, and it was very... interesting #textureofundercookedcarrots #sortoffirmandstringyatthesametime.  I will attach some pictures if possible.
Quote of the week: "I think I might be turning into a monster."
The reason it was so funny is because the guy that said it was dead serious. He actually thought he was turning into a monster. It was way strange. #bremertonlandofcrazies
I don't have much time to write, but we had some great spiritual experiences happen. It is way fun to be a servant of the Lord. Following the Spirit is probably the most satisfying thing in the world #unrelatedhashtag. We were done knocking a sketchy trailer park, when Elder Poland felt like we should go left, instead of going right, to where our car was. Well, we went right, and then we found  a man walking towards us in the rain. Well, we taught him and it was a really cool experience. The Spirit was very strong. We also decided to drop by a former we'd had, and when we did, we ended up giving her a tour of the church, and teaching the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, the Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity, all in one session. It was absolutely amazing, especially considering that we weren't planning any of that at all, and I'd never even taught the Word of Wisdom to someone who actually had problems with any of it. It was way cool #throughGodallthingsarepossible. Sorry I don't have much time left, but it is absolutely amazing to be in the service of God. I love being able to bless people's lives by telling them why we are here, where we were before this life, and where we will go after this life. I testify that God has a plan for us. I know that He lives and loves us, and that He is reaching out to us trying to help us. I know that for a fact. Choose now to follow Him. Choose to trust in His plan for you, and you will be very blessed. 
#Haveagoodweek #Thestakepresidenthereisabsolutelyawesome #IwishIcouldwritemore #sorryifyouredisappointedinthisletter #sorryifyoufindmyhashtaggingskillsappalling #ThereareseriouslyalotofcrazypeoplehereinBremerton
#thechurchistrue #Ilovebeingamissionary #calamariissquidfyi
#randomscriptureoftheweekisDaniel11:13 #thatscripturereallywascompletelyrandomlychosen

Elder Benge

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Semi-Unhampered, Choice-Making Basis for Action: AGENT C!!!!

(Dooby dooby doo ba)
(Distant sounds of explosions.Blasts of flak cannons rock the aircraft. Agent C, in paratrooper gear, prepares to be ejected from the aircraft behind enemy lines. His radio crackles and springs to life.)
Red 5 (from radio): Red 5 to Agent C! Come in Agent C!

Agent C: Roger that, Red 5. I am ready to be air dropped behind enemy lines!

Red 5: Not yet, Agent C! We've just received new air drop protocol from headquarters! Before being air dropped, it is highly recommended that you be baptized! After drop we would then be able to leave you in the responsible hands of our Allstate Ward Black Ops Squad down on the ground!

Agent C: That's a no go, Red 5. I am not willing to be baptized.
 (Another blast rocks the aircraft. Agent C stumbles and falls to his knees.)
Red 5: Agent C! Are you really going to ignore protocol and then  carelessly toss your puny form into the turbulent night air to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine? I mean, uh, the  storm?

(Agent C makes no reply. He tosses his radio to the side, and leaps out of the open hatch. His limp form is briefly highlighted in a flash of lightning as he is buffeted by the tumultuous weather, before being swallowed up in the darkness of the night. Again, the radio crackles to life as Red 5 vainly attempts to communicate with Agent C)
Red 5: Agent C? Are you there?
(brief silence)
Agent C! Come in Agent C!
(Red 5 lets out a sigh of frustration and realization)
Let's return to base. We've dropped him.

Anyway, that story has absolutely no application at all to missionary work. Just kidding. That actually happened to practically all of our investigators this week, but hope is not lost. Agency is a vital part of the plan of salvation, and without it we would all be hopelessly lost, and completely hindered in our progression, like Congress on a bad day. In fact, we had an amazing experience this week as we taught Nancy. We were teaching her and her two older children, and no one was paying attention. Elder Poland was trying to bear testimony, and the older children were being disruptive Nancy was distracted. The Spirit was kept impressing me to speak up and in a sense, regain their attention, but it was a very intimidating prospect, because what I was told to say was very sharp, very clear, and not sugar coated in any way shape or form. I finally worked up the courage to speak up, it was amazing. The Spirit backed me up completely, and all disruptions temporarily ceased as everyone's attention was quickly called back to our message. One of the children then tried to prove antagonistic by asking questions rapidly to distract us. By the Spirit, we quickly answered each of his questions and then reciprocated with questions of our own, until he fell silent. Our message continued, and it was amazing. Many more things happened that night, and it was incredible how the Spirit led Elder Poland and I specifically to resolve and address Nancy's concerns. Finally, we reached the conclusion of our meeting, after she finally declined to continue learning. That's right. She declined. It was sad, but I knew with all my heart that we had given her a completely fair opportunity to accept it, and afterwards Elder Poland and I were absolutely awestruck at the divine guidance we had received. This taught me two things: 
1. God will not force us to follow him. Everyone has the option to reject the offer, no matter how strong the Spirit testifies of the truth to them. If that were not so, then every single person who ever spoke to President Thomas S. Monson would immediately be baptized.
2. The Spirit is our sword. It is our strength. If we do not teach by the Spirit, then we shall not teach. It is so important to be in tune with the Spirit, because with out it our work would be fruitless. The lesson with Nancy would have been absolutely pathetic without the Spirit there. We are merely instruments in the Lord's hands.
It is wonderful isn't it? I must go now, but I testify that this is the Lord's kingdom here on the Earth. I know that the church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Elder Benge

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Star Spanglished Banner, Deluge and Delusions, and Other Short Stories By Elder E. Allen Poe

Hola señoritas and gentleman! Caliente!
Somos misioneros #iglesia!
Well, I've got a story about a telltale corazón! Or, in other words, I will tell a tale from the heart!
This week was absolutely awesome, but so much happened that I am not quite sure where to begin. Random thought: The same sodality that exists in this life will be perpetuated throughout the eternities!
We met a crazy guy this week outside of Winco that thought we were Nazis. Once we allayed that concern, I started teaching him the restoration, but it quickly became apparent that he was not mentally capable or willing to understand our message. Seriously, this guy was loony. So, I just asked him if we could say a prayer, with him, to which he responded that he would only let us pray if we said a prayer in a different dialect. Well, I certainly wasn't going to let that stop me.
I then informed him that I could pray in a different language called 'Spanglish'. Well, it sufficeth me to say that he permitted me to supplicate, and I said a very succinct prayer in that was mostly in English, but it incorporated a few churchy and applicable words that I did know in Spanish. Basically, I blessed him to have peace in his heart and to know which church was true. It was pretty fun, though. There is no end to the interesting experiences that happen on the mission. (That sentence should be added into one of the later verses of "If You Could Hie To Kolob")
In fact, just a few days later I was on an exchange with Elder Franks,  (the previous Assistant to the President). We ran into some totally whacko guy who kept claiming that his name was "Water Increaser Bridge", and somehow because of that in combination with some sort of 
Jewish- Mysticism-tree-of-life-and-reincarnation-of-King-Tut-Zodiac-sign-Sagittarius-astrological-combination-pseudoscientific-calculation he had come to the conclusion that he was God. I know. Unholy blasphemy is correct. At that point, I asked him where his glory was, and he told me it was his face. Yep. Crazy. At times like that, I realize that I would never, ever in a million years have been able to experience anything like that except on my mission. It is one of the peculiarities that is a large part of mission life, and I honestly have come to relish quirky experiences like that. You just have to be able to enjoy them. However, although I always enjoy talking to crazy people, it makes me sad to see how messed up the world is. A lot of times people have had complete mental craters blasted into their brains because of drug usage, and it is really sad to look at. It is really quite sad to see how depraved society has become. Will it end? Nevermore. Oh wait, just kidding! That's why we're out here, changing the world one heart at a time. Will the truth of the Gospel ever be lost from the earth again? Nevermore! Will this dispensation fall into apostasy like so many others before us? Nevermore!
The priesthood will never again be taken from the earth (see Oliver Cowdery's account of the Restoration of the Priesthood, D&C 13, referenced in the footnotes)
So, we need to do our temple and missionary work! That is our job! To do missionary work on both sides of the veil! How great is God, to trust is with the work of salvation among so many of our brothers and sisters! Let us not take lightly the responsibilities with which we have been entrusted. We have great power given from God, yes, but also great responsibility, for with great power comes great responsibility. Seriously. That quote is basically just a different translation of a verse from the Doctrine and Covenants.

I suppose I should also mention that our room flooded this week. That was interesting. I should also mention the best part of the week! The Sisters in our ward had a baptism this week. Her name is Paulette, and she asked me to baptize her! It was an amazing experience!  It felt so good!
I know that this church is true. I know that God called me here for a specific reason. I know that He loves every one of His children, and that He has planned and prepared this world so that we can all have the very best opportunity to receive all that He has. God looks upon our hearts, and our motivations. If our motivations are righteous, He can and will strengthen and guide us to do what is right. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we truly can lay hold upon every good thing. Have a good week, everyone!
Mosiah 4:11

--Elder Benge

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Acrostic Lacrosse Stick


Shell Gas Station

You're welcome.
Elder Benge

Acronyms and Anachronisms of Anaphlactic Assonance

Holy Toledo! This week has been spectacular! .
Some times I feel like the Kleen-X used to clean up Attila the Hun's face after his untimely demise. Or else I feel like a medieval acrostic lacrosse stick used to deposit apostate agnostics. In other words, I feel like an instrument in the hands of one greater than I. 
I am really sorry. To be totally and completely honest, I am way too scatterbrained and mentally expatiating to actually write a coherent letter at this time. I apologize for the inconvenience.
It sufficeth me to say, however, that the church is true, and that Christ can help us overcome all of our difficulties. That I testify of. We are still working hard. Some cool things that happened this week: We knocked on a guy's door, and he told us he wasn't interested. After we had knocked a few more doors, he came outside from his house and told us he'd started thinking about some things after we'd left. We invited him to church, and things went well. We also knocked on a man's door who basically invited himself to church and invited us to give him the lessons. That was cool. Anyway, I just wanted invite you all to read 1 Nephi 8:11-12. That  is why I am out here. 
I love you all. Have a good week.

Elder Benge