Monday, July 25, 2016

Ain't Got No Grills

But now we do have a grill. Why? Because one of our investigators is simply fantastic and called up one day and asked us if we wanted an electric grill. Well, we couldn't say no, and soon we had a grill. What a great man. He will definitely get baptized now. 
Anyway, I am really sorry to all of you people out there, because unfortunately I do not have very much time left this week to write. I wasn't paying attention to time and I got caught up in other things, such as metaphorical tuna nets and such. Next week I think I will give you all a rundown on all of the people we are teaching here. I love this zone and area! It is so awesome.
The scripture message of the day is based off of 3 Nephi 5:3
3 Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night.
What principle do we learn from this? If you are struggling with something, a certain temptation or sin or whatever, then you replace it with something else, something good and wholesome. Read your scriptures any time you are tempted, or else read the Ensign, or call your mom on the phone or something! Go serve a friend, or go befriend a lonely taco, or go eat a delicious looking person, whatever it takes to make your day better! 

Here is a missionary parody I am working on right now. I will just give you a brief snippet of it:

First in my class at the MTC!
Got skills, I'm a scholar of PMG.
Gonna go baptize 20 UBC's ,
and teach some peeps that they can't drink tea!

If you can tell what song that's a parody of, you win an incredible, yet intangible and invisible prize for your efforts.
Have a great week, hooplahs!
Elder Benge, out!

Elder Benge

Monday, July 18, 2016

Unsavory Salt Savvy

    Holy canoodling, Olympia is awesome! Just as a reminder to those of you with short term memory loss, I was transferred last week to the Olympia 2nd ward last week to be with Elder Hathaway. Elder Hathaway is really awesome. I really like him as a companion, and he has a great work ethic. This is going to be an awesome transfer. Recently, I have been thinking about the strange things that I say. Those of you who know me know that I often cycle through different "catchphrases", and favorite words, and things like that. For example, some words I have gone through periods of obsession over include (but are not limited to): Smooch, dotard, baby/babies (that one is a perpetual favorite), smoochenheimer, meister, writhe, ridonculous, "C'est la vie, c'est la guerre, c'est la pomme de terre", destroyed!, Babo, and so on. I know there were more, but I can't think of any now. Anyway, you get the point.
    Some of my favorite sayings and words now include: Tokinis (Bikinis for your toes), Smokini (smoking bikinis for your toes), Holy Toledo, salty ("That guy was way salty"), bub, "What the what?".
My all time favorite new saying is actually one that has helped me get through rough and difficult circumstances: "I asked for this in the Pre-Earth Life!"
Why do I like that? Well, it's true. We are all here on the earth because we chose to come down to earth. We new we'd be challenged and opposed and hurt and scared and whatever. We relished the thrill of a challenge, but mostly we were awed by the idea that our Heavenly Father would help us to experience the happiness he enjoys. I am so grateful for this earth life. Yes, it is hard, but it is so worth it. 
Speaking of such things, the mission life is also like that. I asked to have some challenges, and yes there are challenges. However, I have had some of the happiest experiences of my entire life out here, and I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. So yes, I love it out here. Speaking of challenges, we met a lot of salty people this week. Salty, of course, because they had been sprinkled with sodium chloride crystals, and they... oh wait. That's not true. Actually, in this sense, many missionaries use the word "salty" to mean that people are angry, easily peeved, ornery, unkind, etc. Needless to say, we meet a lot of salty people. This week especially we met some salty people. And when I say salty, I mean slug-killing, Levite-sprinkling, table-toppping salty. Mmmmm... pretzels. However, I was also thinking about how salt is used in the scriptures. Matthew 5:13 reads:
13 ¶Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Salt was used in Old Testament times as a symbol of the covenant "The salt of the covenant". We, as the salt of the earth, are the covenant people. Take some time to just think about your covenants. Do we really understand how important they are? The most powerful being in the entire universe has made us promises that we can receive through obedience, and they are guaranteed. Don't take your covenants lightly, or else your just unsavory salt, that just makes all of us savorily-salted-people really salty, doesn't it?
Have a great week!

Elder Benge

Monday, July 11, 2016

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Oh wait! I have some pictures of me and my companion eating ice cream on a pier!
1-2: Me eating ice cream with a dog in the background.
3-4: Us posing in front of watery grave.
5. Epic head turn.

Elder Benge


That is a picture of a messy desk. It may or may not be my desk....... Apparently, I haven't taken any pictures in a long time. Sorry.
Elder Benge

The Legend of ZLda: Siege On Olympia

An alternate title would be: "Why Flirtatious Laurels Are Good For Missionary Work... Sometimes".
This week we were very blessed. You see, last week we had 6 people lined up to come to church, and nobody came, which was very sad. This week, however, we had 5 people lined up to come to church, and 5 people came. Of course, only 4 of the attendees were included in the original invitees, but that's still good. (In other words, we had an unprecedented arrival come to church, while also having somebody else not come.)
Cari did not come, due to some reasons (her ride never picked her up. We have verified that to be true because her ride did not come to church either). She is still reading the Book of Mormon and has come to church many times several,  and so she will still be baptized this coming Saturday. Rob and Cyndi finally came to church, and they brought their 15 year old son, Nathan, which was a wonderful surprise. He had never seem interested before, but he'd decided he wanted to come to church this week. Well, apparently he got really bored in sacrament meeting and wanted to go home. The moment sacrament ended, we walked quickly over to Rob and Cyndi and asked them if they were going to stay for the rest of the classes, when they reluctantly told us that they would probably have to go home because of Nathan. At that moment we all turned to look at Nathan, but we couldn't find him for several seconds, because he was being swarmed by all of the laurels and miamaids in the ward. Boy, he was suddenly grinning and happy, without a care in the world. Rob turned to us with a knowing smile on his face. "I think we may stay." 
That was a happy moment. Who knew that laurels and miamaids could actually use their powers of beguilement for good?  Of course they can, and and most of them do! (The problems come in the rare instances when they use their powers to turn into evil temptresses that prey upon the weak-minded) By the time the perfume and pheromone cloud had faded, Nathan was completely convinced that church was the place for him. We also had Miranda come to church. We had taught her again on Saturday, and were able to (by the Spirit) resolve some of her concerns about getting baptized. I am so grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. What a huge blessing it is!
On another important note, we got our transfer calls this week. I have been called to The Olympia 2nd ward with Elder Hathaway. We will be the Zone Leaders there. I'm not sure how it's going to work out, but I'm sure God knows what He's doing. I think it will be fun to go to the capital, although I've heard that the streets are rife with sketchy individuals.
We have an ice cream store here in the Belfair area called Kayaks & Cones*. Their claim to fame is that they are "The Home of Geoduck Ice Cream". In case you are wondering; no, a geoduck (pronounced Gooey-Duck) is not a mix breed between a Geodude and a Psyduck. It is actually a large clam with a weird looking appendage. I encourage you to look up a picture of one now if you have never heard of them before. Anyway, we went to the ice cream place because I wanted to get a picture of me eating the ice cream, but apparently they only have it at certain times of the year, and I just barely missed it. In fact, they will have it in stock the moment I get into Olympia.  :(
Anyway, I suppose that's all I have until next time. So, without further ado, adieu.

* Have you ever noticed that the word 'kayak' is a palindrome. So is 'Stressed desserts', and so is 'Dr. Awkward'. Hmmm. salami hogs.

Elder Benge

Monday, July 4, 2016

Blog Exclusive! An Explanation of Papier Mâchéte!

I just wanted to use a bunch of vocabulary words that didn't make sense, so all of the words that are italicized are non-true or even non applicable adjectives.
Have a great life.

Elder Benge

Willing To March Into Hell For A Heavenly Cause

I forgot to title my last email, so there it is: Willing To March Into Hell For A Heavenly Cause.

Elder Benge

You should probably eat your vegetables before your mission, because you probably won't eat very many on your mission (at least if you go state side). It is very interesting. We don't have too much time to eat, and we usually don't like spending the time cooking anyway. In addition to the time constraints, vegetables do not last very long, and most people just don't take the time to buy them. Of course, when we eat with members we get vegetables (usually), but we don't eat as much as we should. 
I've noticed that I go through different phases of culinary cravings. Recently, I have decided that ice cream is very delicious. However, I am starting to realize that I really miss vegetables. I know, it sounds weird, but if you are an adult and you are reading this, you should probably go buy some vegetables for your local missionaries, and then chastise them on how they should eat healthier. It would probably be very good for them.
Yummmm.... spinach sounds delectable right now. *In the background, you hear the sound of my mother passing out as she begins fretting over her son who needs to eat more vegetables.
Don't worry, mum! I'll buy some spinach today!
This week was nice. I would like to tell you a little bit of a secret about Washington. Washington is infested with invasive blackberry bushes. They are spiking and they catch on your slacks all the time. Their vines are like the thorny appendages of thousands of small Kraken children that are just beginning to hatch in the ground. They have been here all year long pricking and poking, and sometimes it's hard to kick against the pricks, but they have just recently started blooming and bearing buds and blackberries. Oh boy! I've only eaten a couple, because they aren't ripe yet, but I've heard some wonderful tales about how missionaries live in a blackberry paradise during the summer. I may not eat my quota of vegetables, but I've gotten plenty of fresh fruit.
I would like to just say that not much happened this week. Cari's baptismal date was moved back to this week, so keep praying for her. We are struggling with getting our other investigators to come to church, but they all have so much potential. Now, a patriotic message from our producer:
I feel that a lot of people spend vast amounts of time griping about the country. You hear things all over such as: "Donald Trump eats children! Blah blah blah..." "Hilary Clinton wants to transform everyone into dinosaurs and make us fend for ourselves! Blah blah blah..." "Obama poops candy! Blech blech blech...." "In a couple of months, America will have turned communist! Blah bloopty bleep...." "I'm blue! Da ba dee da ba di..." and so on and so on.
 Now, I'm not going to be one of those guys who pretends that everything is fine and dandy and goes around saying "Who cares about the problems in the world? I think if we put flowers in our hair and offer to hold hands with everyone, everything will be alright!".
No. That's not my message. My message is that we need to be grateful. There is good in the world, and we need to work for it. We need to do our very best to be sure that we are living the ideal of what America was meant to be, and more importantly, we should be striving to be as righteous as the people of Zion. In all reality, we are the people of Zion. So spend less time complaining, and do the very best you can. If you feel like there is some sort of impending and unavoidable problem, don't just whine, do something about it.
"And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them."
So, how can we improve this blessed country of ours? Be more like Jesus Christ. Keep your covenants. Strive daily to be the very best that you can. Each week, take some time during the sacrament to reflect on your week and to make resolutions to improve, and then stick to those resolutions. We can't just sit around waiting for someone else to change our circumstances, not even if we are just waiting for God to change our circumstances.
1 Nephi 7:17-18 reads:

17 But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.

 18 And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.

Nephi didn't pray to have his circumstances changed, he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances. Be grateful at all times. Always remember the mercies of the Lord concerning you. Trouble always comes when we forget the hand of God in our lives. 
I think one of my favorite examples of all time when it comes to being righteous and a patriot is Captain Moroni. I would encourage all of you to take some time to look at his example on this wonderful Independence Day. I would like to end with 2 scriptures. One is a quote from Captain Moroni's epistle to Pahoran. At this time, Moroni and his men were placed in a very dire circumstance due to the wickedness of some people in his home country. This is what he wrote to them (Alma 60:28):

28 Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear; and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country, and it is because of your iniquity that we have suffered so much loss.

Wow. Powerful words from a powerful and righteous man. Here is the other scripture (Alma 48:10)

10 And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians.
Anyway, I'm out of time, but look at that last scripture and remember what we are fighting for. Agency, the family, our Father and his plan for us. What nobler cause is there. Never forget what you are fighting for. Until next time, God bless America, and may he always bless those who will fight for what is right no matter what the odds.

Elder Benge