Monday, June 27, 2016

The Dysfunctional Dinner Disaster

11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of [having pictures sent home in the emails of Elder Benge]:

12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek [pictures of Elder Benge], and shall not find [them].

                                                                                                                Amos 8:11-12 (NBRFEV New Benge Revised and Falsely Edited Version of the Bible)

Yeah, sorry about the lack of pictures. I keep forgetting my camera, forgetting to take pictures, and/or running out of time while emailing. The pictures will come some time, but I shall make no promises or guarantees concering what that time might be. The most interesting part of the week came at our dinner on Thursday. You see, we have about 12 different families in the ward with the last name of Prometheusslayerofgiants*, and one of them signed up on our dinner calendar. That morning, we called in order to confirm our dinner, but we called the wrong Prometheusslayerofgiants family. Instead of telling us we had called the wrong family, they just assumed that they had forgotten that they'd signed up that day. During dinner that night, we got a call from another Prometheusslayerofgiants family informing us of our heretical ways... oops. You know, it's at times like this that I'm glad my last name is Benge, and not something that people can remember. I mean, let's be honest, unless you're related to me, you've probably said my last name wrong a time or two in your life. You were probably hoping that I didn't notice, but I did, and soon retribution will be mine. No, I'm kidding about that retribution part. Sometimes, after I've been in a ward for 4 months they still call me Elder Benjee, or else Elder Bungee-jump, or Elder Binge, or Elder Ben-gay (Which I've never been, by the way), or Elder Bengershalalhashbaz, or something that just baffles the mind of the avid annunciator. I know that many of you out there can sympathize, especially if you have a name like Haruch, Isaac, Blatter, Jemay, Syndillaphideyer, Behunin, or something else that just gets predictably, yet atrociously mangled every single time somebody new reads your name before they hear it (or spells your name before they read it). Also, if I have inadvertently offended you by misspelling or even just by including your name on that previous list, I apologize profusely and ask for your forgiveness.:) I will attempt to make it up to you some time in the near future by doing something vague and unspecific.

Anyway, this week was a great one. We had an investigator come to church which is always a double bonus plus. Her name is Flora the Dragonslayer* (actually, it's just Cari), and she is on date for baptism this Saturday! We are very excited for her. She is progressing very well, and if you remember to, please prayer for her (using her real name, not her alias) to be able to have the strength and faith to overcome her issues with the Word of Wisdom.

Just a note on that, addictions are very potent and destructive. Beware of addictions. It is very easy to let yourself become addicted or habitually attached to something unawares. That is how Satan traps you. Be constantly vigilant, my dear friends and family. Do not allow the adversary to 'catch you by surprise'. When I say "surprise" I'm not talking about the harmless and funny surprises like walking in to the bathroom and being attacked by your friend in a gorilla suit, no I am talking about the sinister, evil type of surprise in which you realize that you suddenly have lost control over your behavior whenever something triggers you. 

God is all about freedom. Satan is all about addiction and loss of freedom. Follow God.

  27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and allthings are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

 Have a great week, my friends!

*name has been changed in order to protect their secret identity. 

Yes, that is actually this individual's real name
Elder Benge

Monday, June 20, 2016

Oh, Deer: A Story Of Crab Cakes And Campsites

Nanu Nanu! 
I spoke to a deer friend this week. I'm not sure what happened to him, doe.
Yesterday, Elder MacQueen and I were knocking in a very rural area called Grapeview: Land of Eternal Driveways. 'Tis a very unpopulated area, and I have never seen any grapes there, but there are some beautiful views. Thus, I have decided that the title "Grapeview" is only 50% justified. Maybe someone with a weird accent came there when it was first discovered and, looking over the scenic view of the hood canal, promptly said, "Wow! Dis place has a grape view!"
Anyway, Elder MacQueen and I were strutting about in this semi-uninhabited woodland when we discovered that we were standing in the middle of a cluster of deer. I'm not sure if the correct word is "cluster", but it sounded better than "a raiding-party of deer", so I went with it. Anyway, there were three deer, each on a different side of us. I think the scene evoked my baser nature, as I promptly plucked a clump of leaves off of a nearby tree and said, in rudimentary English something like: "Come here, you deery deery poofu baby. Come on. You know you want it. See the figgy wiggly leavesy weavesies?" and so on and so forth. You know, I'm not sure why we try and talk in lesser English every time we talk to an animal. They don't understand us either way. Would it have really made much of a difference if I had instead spoken in crisp, clipped British accent and said: "Ah, yes, you noble beast. Come hither, and partake of the greenery I have so ardently plucked for thee from the tender branches of a nearby sapling. Never fear, I shall not harm thee, wandering one."
 That would have been much more respectable way to have spoken to creation of God. Of course, we do the same things to each other as humans. We speak condescendingly, or we refuse to communicate altogether, or we yell and we cuss or whatever, exposing the crude ways of the natural man. We ignore the fact that we are all children of God, despite the fact that it is our most defining quality. Fortunately, no matter what nationality or background we come from, we all have a common language: The language of the Spirit. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost. He is a medium of communication between us and our Heavenly Father, yes, but he also helps us communicate with and understand others, and even ourselves. From the subtle promptings of the Holy Ghost, we receive light and understanding. I love the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Now ask yourself this: "How often do I seek the Holy Ghost in my life?" 
Do you keep all your thoughts oriented toward Heavenly Father, or do you just do that when you pray. That is what we should be striving for. Not one of us is perfect, but we should keep that in mind at all times. I can promise you that the more you seek a connection with God in your life, the more you will feel is presence drawing nearer.
Now, I almost forgot. We had someone feed us crab cakes this week, and they were simply magnificent. Absolutely blasted delicious they were. We also met as a mission at a place called Zion's camp and did some activities there. For those of you who know about AP camp, the activities we did at Zion's camp were strikingly similar to the ones we did at AP camp. Ooh... mysterious... It was a lot of fun! I love my mission. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the whole world at this time. Have a great week, everyone. I love you all. 

Elder Benge

Monday, June 13, 2016

Turbo The Shadowstalker

Sounds like a NASCAR driver mixed with an evil ninja assassin-psycho, and it would probably make for a blood curdling and terrifying movie. However, the true story is neither terrifying nor does it have anything to do with a psychotic ex-professional racer slaying innocent individuals in dark alleyways as his actions are recorded from exotic camera angles and viewed with accompanying music that magnifies the dread and horror felt by the viewer. In case anyone is wondering, I really dislike such horror movies, as well as any other movie that basks in darkness. Shouldn't we be trying to fill our lives with good and uplifting things, rather than glorifying atrocious acts done by depraved individuals who enjoy desecrating the commandments of our loving Father in Heaven. In other words, be careful what you put into your mind, dear friends. The media is powerful, but so are your peers, and the people you associate with. Every single thing in this world conveys one or more messages. The message is either for our Savior, or else it is opposed to the powers of truth and righteousness. Sometimes, we find media that sends mixed messages. We are given some wise  counsel in Moroni 10:30 regarding such things:
And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
Wow. Clear and succinct, isn't it? It's sharp and powerful as a two edged sword, and extremely applicable to us in these days. I exhort you along with Moroni to forsake the evil things in your life.
Anyway, enough talking about important, applicable, inspiring things. Not really. I'll copy and paste that at the end just so you remember the important things. But without further ado, allow me to share the absolute pinnacle of interestingness that happened this week. Which is not very interesting. We were knocking in a very rural area, and as we were walking up certain dwelling place, a car drove up to us from out of the driveway. They informed us that they were not interested in our religious dealings, and then gave this wise piece of council: "Also, please don't let our dogs follow you." By this time, by the way, their two obnoxious dogs (one puppy named Turbo, and another who remained anonymous, although hereafter we shall refer to him as "Gruffy") had run up to us and were sniffing us curiously. The two people then proceeded to drive away with no further instructions. Needless to say, the dogs followed us, despite our best efforts to shake them off. After about an hour of infuriating stalking, we were finally able to "get rid of them" (if you know what I mean*.
Anyway, we've just been trying to find people who will listen. All week long. That's it. So, yeah. That's about it.  Farewell

 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.

Elder Benge

P.s. We didn't kill the dogs. We finally were able to dump Gruffy and Turbo off at the house. It was prayer that made the difference. What a miracle.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Papier Mâchéte

The sun beat down upon the jungle of thick blackberry vines. Bees were swarming in the heat, busily gathering a 1-year supply of pollen. Suddenly this scene of diligent tranquility was thrown into chaos as bar of steel sliced through the humid air, splitting pestiferous and spiky stalks and cleaving leaves with a brutal force unfamiliar to the previously docile habitat. Who was this new and unprecedented Obliterator of Foliage? Herein is the answer: Elder Gideon Benge, wielding a machete, and gritting his teeth in determination, his bronze-toned skin sticky with the sweat and exhaustion only thick humidity and scorching heat can bring. It was without a doubt one of the coolest moments of my life. I felt like the protagonist in some ridiculously exaggerated action/adventure movie called "Operation: Jungle Skirmisher". Well, it was either that or some intense drama called "Elder Jacob Jackson Shaving". In case you are wondering why I had a machete, I will inform you that we were doing a service project which included clearing a huge 
lot infested with voluptuous brambles by using pruning shears, other unfamiliar tools, and 
Anyway, this week was the first week of transfers, and I love Elder MacQueen. He has a great appreciation for things that uncultured people refer to as "nerdy". We have some great fun. This morning, actually, we had somewhat of an incident in which he hermetically sliced his hands open on a glass cup that unexpectedly shattered within the precincts of the sink. The gash was bloody and large, but we fixed it up quicker than you could say "Oh my gauze!", which is exactly what we fixed it up with: my gauze. Alright, I may have stretched the truth a little. We didn't fix it up very quickly. In fact, we spent a few intrepid and seemingly eternal moments running around the apartment like truncated baboons trying to discover if either one of us had had the foresight to pack a first-aid kit when we came on our missions. Fortunately, I had one (although I'm going to give the credit to God for helping me remember it) and everything was taken care of.
As for a thought, I would like to quickly talk about Alma 31. In this chapter, Alma heads a mission to some spiritually delinquent people known as the Zoramites. Alma and his brethren are astonished at their corrupted measure of worship in which they go up on to a high tower (called the Rameumptom, for you Book of Mormon buffs) and recite an incredibly prideful prayer that builds up their already inflated egos while simultaneously condemning everyone else in the world as reprobates. Now, I am going to say something, and I hope nobody out there is as astonished as Alma was when I say this: There are a lot of people in the world that struggle with that exact same problem. I know, because I've met a few of them. Our world is teeming with apostate Ammonihahites, Zoramites, Individuals After the Order of Nehor (or IAONs for short), Misled Lamanites, etc. However, there are also many Moroni's, Righeous Nephites, Anti-Nephi-Lehis, True Christians, etc out there. I know, because I have met and am friends with many of them. My friends, I love you. Be a light in this world of darkness. Help those who are burdened and struggling under the weight of the false traditions they have been taught. Above all, have charity for everyone. They are your brothers and sisters, and no matter how lost or wicked they may seem, they all have a divine spark within them.

Elder Benge

Wednesday, June 1, 2016