Monday, April 25, 2016


No, we don't have a TV. That was also part of the joke.

Elder Benge

Forced Entrée

Thank you for taking the time to skim, read, delete, or burn this letter. Your participation is greatly appreciated.
Just last Wednesday, I did an incredibly stupid thing. In fact, for those of you who know me in at least some small degree will be surprised that I haven't yet written home about something incredibly spacey that I have done (Unless I have written about such an incident, which if I did, I have already blotted the occasion from memory)
Before I tell you about my incident, I would like to tell you that our apartment was broken into last week. The most interesting detail of this story however, is not what happened, but actually who did it, or "whodunnit", as either an uneducated fool or an entertainment marketing specialist would say. What is it with us humans? Why do we find misspellings and grammatical genocide so appealing in  logos, brand names, team names, and other marketing devices? We just end a plural noun with a 'Z' instead of an 'S' and somehow that makes it instantly cool. The Hornets = Average. The Hornetz = Wickedly awesome! Grav-E. Just spelling things weird or throwing in RanDum capital letters and such makes it kool, I guess. I want to open a Mexican restaurant and call it "Tawko SLAWDERR-Howse: Where the animals be gettin' slawderred be4 yer eyes"!
Sorry. I got way distracted by that.
Anyway, the perpetrator of the crime was.... *drum roll*... our Bishop! That's right! He got jealous of our TV and in a moment's bad decision became a deplorable reprobate with no respect to property, life, religion, or human decency. (Get it? Unfortunately, I think only my family is going to get that one. Remember that one Family Home Evening, Andrew?)
Anyway, our Bishop was, in fact, not the intruder. I was. You see, we accidentally locked our car keys and house keys in the apartment.
Before Elders came to the area, we had Sisters in the area. One day, they came home to find that someone had broken into their apartment. Hence the reason they changed it to Elders instead of Sisters. They did not, however, change apartments.
Because of this, we were always very scrupulous about locking all the doors to the apartment. In fact we were more careful about that then remembering to bring our keys with us. Yep. So, I ended up getting a boost from Elder Lee, scaling the side of the building and and clambering around on a short outcropping as I tried to remove the screen in front of our upstairs bedroom window. Well, suffice to say, I found out how the other intruder had gotten in so easily, and had a little bit of an adrenal rush myself in the process.
The whole process was made much funnier due to the fact that one of our neighbor's four year old boy was witnessing the entire process, and I had to keep exhorting and reminding him that he should not try this at home. I kept saying: "This is dangerous. Do not ever do this. Be safe." I also was mentally cautioning him not to tell his mother what he had seen, nor ever give her any inclination to believe that he had seen the missionaries next door do anything sketchy at all.
I think he turned out all right, especially because a few days later, as we were exiting our apartment, he ran up to us and told us: "I've been safe!". I hastily commended him for his wisdom and urged him to keep it up. We have become pretty good friends with that four year old. I quite look forward to seeing him outside. He is way funny, and so is his two year old sister.The moral of this story is: You cannot force someone to feel the Spirit. You cannot convert someone by "breaking and entering" so to speak. They have to open their hearts and accept it of their own free will.
Now, why did I entitle this letter as Forced Entrée, you may ask? Well, here's why: As you have already heard (and perhaps forgotten), my companion is from Korea, and therefore, foreign to some things we have here. A few weeks ago, a member took us out to eat at a restaurant. Elder Lee asked me what Bleu Cheese was, and I cautioned him that it was very strong and he might not like it. He eventually decided to order the item of interest anyway, despite my advice. 
He was given a large slab of chicken on a bun doused in a sauce which was a mixture of bleu cheese and buffalo (the meal was called "Blue Buffalo"). Well, to make a short story even shorter, he did not like it one bit. He did not want to be rude, though, so he just suffered all the way through dinner, and told me how awful it was afterward. The moral of the story is, God has given us prophets to warn us about things, and if we choose not to heed their warnings, we will inevitably suffer the consequences. Listen to the prophets.

Just on another less spiritually applicable note, Elder Lee also had strawberry shortcake for the first time this week. I found him eating the shortcake by itself and commenting on "how good the bread was." (Mary Antoinette, anyone?). Well, I showed him how the strawberries go on the bread, and how it was actually cake. 
I love the mission. Have a great week, tout les monde!

Elder Benge

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pictures of You, Pictures of Me (Actually, just me)

Elder Benge

A-MAZE-ing Grace

Unholy Hopscotch, yesterday we had an exceedingly frightful experience. Allow me to relate my indelible tale:
Elder Lee and I had a dinner appointment scheduled with a member. Now, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Rather, the opposite is true; we have more member meals per week than scheduled teaching visits with investigators (Only on frightfully bad weeks which, of course, scarcely take place in the Wa-Tac). Anyway, we typed the address into my Global Positioning System device, and set off, feeling hopeful and ignorant, like Winnie the Pooh upon seeing a stack of honey jars.
 We began to feel a little uneasy and squeamish after 30 minutes of driving on dirt and gravel backwood backward and whack board roads. However, we decided that going back would be backwards and boded (I lack words) as bad for our schedule, and so we continued undaunted on our present course. Unfortunately, there were sketchy "roads" branching off from the road we were on, but the GPS only showed the road we were on. After a while, we found our way barred by a metal gate, much to our irritation. Rather than choosing to go back the way we had come, we decided to take a gamble (something frowned upon in the church) and try to find our way past the gate by travelling upon what Lehi called "forbidden paths". Of course, in this case they were just unknown roads, but we got totally lost. After going off on to one of these roads and founding our way again barricaded, we turned around and turned on to what we thought was the right road. However, instead of leading back to where we thought it went, we ran into another gate. Now, this was quite perplexing because we thought we were on the main road travelling back the way we had come. Unfortunately, just because we wanted to believe it didn't make it true, and we wound up thoroughly lost. Fortunately, after praying and pondering, we eventually discovered where we had erred, and were able to make it back to the right road. Yes, we had to go back the way we had come, and take a loop to travel on a completely alternate course to arrive at our destination. I am proud to admit that we were only an hour late to hour appointment. (We were originally going to be 15 minutes early). Now, that may have been a little confusing and long winded tale, but here is the motto: We cannot forge our own way to salvation. God has prepared one way to get there. We may be deceived and start going on the wrong path, but we need to be humble enough to change our course and turn around once we find out we are wrong. Yes, the right way is a little bit inconvenient for the natural man, but it was intended to be that way. Salvation was never easy, but it is worth it, and it is easy compared to what the Savior had to go through to make it possible. I also learned that God gives us everything we need to find the right way. We have the Holy Ghost, we have the prophets, and we have the scriptures. Sometimes, we just need to ponder. That's all it took to get back on to the right path. I just had to take time to think logically. God gave us a brain for a reason. Study it out in your mind. Rely on Him. Be humble.

I will now quickly report on the family we are working with: They had their baptismal date moved to the 24th, because they had a few other things they wanted to work on. Still, they are progressing very well. I am so happy when I see how well they are doing, and as I think about the progress they have made.
Today I studied Mosiah 4:11-12. I would encourage all of you to read these verses as well, and ponder them.
Sorry about the jumbled letter. I did not have much time today. I love you all. Have a great week!

Elder Benge

Monday, April 11, 2016

Elder Who! Part 1: The Landing

After being converted to Christianity by Paul while visiting Corinth, Doctor Who (now Elder Who, and newly regenerated) is called on a mission by Isaiah to serve in the Watac in the year 2016. These are pictures of his adventure.


Elder Benge

De Tour of Uchtdorf

Please read the following in the accent of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, and imagine that he is taking you on a tour of a fantastic, beautiful library bordering the ocean, with a vibrant green carpet of moss. Imagine the warmth of sunlight streaming through the skylights and leaves, and ancient tomes and volumes sitting in orderly rows upon living shelves hewn into the sides enormous trees. Consider this story as a very large extended metaphor, or perhaps and analogous story full of rich parallels, or perhaps even a profound parable of epic proportions. Otherwise, you may consider it just another peculiar fantasy from your beloved (maybe), yet strange (certainly) friend, even Elder Benge:

My dear brethren and sisteren. Welcome to the State Library of Wa-Tac. Today, we will be taking you on a tour of our Belfair wing of the library. Before we begin, please note that we consider and prefer everything in here to be recyclable, biodegradable, completely sustainable, or inconsequentially disposable. When I say everything, I mean everything. That includes cars in the parking lot, trash receptacles, your shoes, the building, the foundation, the computers, and unfortunately, your children, spouse, and family relationships.
Now, on with the tour. Over here on the left, we have our religious section. Now, as you can see, it is rather empty. In fact, the large majority of the books you do see on the shelves are themselves just hollow casings with no pages. They are simply facades we have planted because our number of actual religious texts is lacking in both quantity and, in some places, quality as well.
We have Mormon Books, JW books, generic Christian pamphlets, a scarce few Catholic pamphlets, and some other thin books and pamphlets. We also have a few very outdated texts on Judaism.
If you are looking for a light, easy read that requires not much concentration or effort on your part, I would suggest anything but the Book of Mormon, er... that is to say... the book about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Although, henceforth we shall refer to them as "Mormons"). If you are looking for a life changing book, I would suggest the Book about Mormons, but I warn you that it actually will require some effort on your part. It is, however, the only book that brings a sense of lasting fulfillment. (It is, compared to the others, the unabridged version of Les Miserables, while the others are like abridged versions of books in the Magic Treehouse series, at least in level of depth)
Over in this corner, we have some books about atheism. However, there is some skepticism about who wrote the books, and where they came from. As we have never met the authors ourselves, our reasoning leads us to believe that the books were created from a fortunate coincidence when one of our librarians accidentally dropped a box of paper and an ink cartridge. Either that, or they are the results of a very long process of evolution beginning with a pool of primordial soup that was struck by lightning. In either case, we have reason to believe that the books weren't actually written by anyone, but rather the result of some preposterous accident.
Now, we shall continue on. Over here we have our most popular books:
How to Take Care of More Than A Dozen Mean-Spirited Dogs by Fir E. Monsterson
Why You Should Have Multiple Dogs Instead of Any Children by Harry Houndini
Bipolar Sky Gods Amongst Us by Rayne R. Shynne
Oops. That should be in the religious section.
The Seattle Seahawks by Noom Bar XII
Oops. That should be in the religious section, too.
 Anyway, as you can see, we have a lovely library, and we invite you to visit as often as you'd like. And that concludes our tour, so farewell to you all.

Anyway, I just really wanted to write that. I suppose it was rather satirizing, but it is pretty true. Another comment. I suppose it tells a lot about a city when you see more recreational marijuana stores than churches as you drive down the street.
In all honesty, though, I love it here. Last week was fantastic. We had our family of five come to church, and they are scheduled for baptism this Saturday! I am excited. Thank you for your prayers, and please keep praying! Prayer is so powerful! Have a wonderful week.

Elder Benge

Monday, April 4, 2016

Blog Exclusive! Part 1 of a Poem

A rough draft of a poem I wrote that may or may not be good. Please don't judge too harshly.
Part 1:
Learn the lessons of the water.
The water does not care who washes in it.
It rains upon us all.
Without it, there is no life.
The water is plentiful enough for all who come to drink.
It boils, steams, rinses, washes, heats, cools, freezes
soaks, moistens, lubricates, gives,. nourishes, heals, carries,
and sculpts.
Water is powerful.
Those who resist the might of water are swept away.
Yet, it does not control us, but serves those who will respect it.
O, that we would all be as the water.

Elder Benge

Empyrean Conscience and General Conference

My mind is blank, my bed is made,
My hopes are dashed, my faith doth fade.
But when I knock on heaven's door,
I am renewed; my prayers are heard.
                          -Extemporaneous poem by Elder Gideon Walker Benge
Last week was packed with meetings, prominent dates, and a fantastic General Conference.
Before I begin my breathtaking account of my near-death experience that happened on Friday, I would like to quickly express my personal and fervent opinion that General Conference is awesome. I personally found Elder Dale G. Renlund's insights to be profound and meaningful to me. I will probably expound upon such ponderances at the conclusion of my thoughts. (Also, in case you haven't noticed, I do include made up words in my letters, and I am totally okay with it.)
So, on Friday, I was strolling nonchalantly down the street, when all of a sudden, a meteor of overly exaggerated proportions the size of John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence whizzed inches from my pretentious and oversized cranium and slammed into the sidewalk in front of me in a burst of flames that caused a nearby parked vehicle to explode, sending crude shrapnel hurtling through the air, narrowly missing my companion and me. Good thing we were protected, right? 
Anyway, happy late April Fool's Day everyone!
Now, I don't have much time left, so I guess I should say that nothing as crazy as my aforementioned fable has actually happened this week. There has been some sorrow in relation to investigators we have been teaching, but there is still hope, and there will always be hope for them. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf's superb conference address comes to mind)
I also loved Elder Renlund's insight about how the greater the distance between the giver and the receiver is, the more the receiver feels entitled.
Folks, please don't feel like you are entitled. Frankly, it's rather obnoxious and completely disrespectful when we act as if God "owes" us something. He has given us much more than we have ever deserved already. Focus more on doing your best than on what you feel God is obligated to bless you with, and be grateful no matter what.
I love the Lord. 
Here is a scripture for those of you who want to know what can be done to magnify our callings and responsibilities:
Jacob 1:19
I love you all! Have a good week!

Elder Benge