Monday, December 26, 2016

Three Ships Go Sailing

I don't have much to say today. Not really. MERRY CHRISTMAS, TOUT LE MONDE! My family is wonderful. It was so great to see them over Skype. They also sent me some packages, and it was truly wonderful. Christmas time is a wonderful time, so long as we remember the true purpose behind the season, and are not caught up in consumerism and coveting, and monetary insufficiencies, and advertisments, and store sales. Giving to others is wonderful, but it is most important that we are grateful this season, and remember Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came to earth and atoned for our sins. We should see Christmas as an excuse to focus even more on Christ and to recommit ourselves to him with even more determination, not as an excuse to go and splurge. 
'Nough said.
The ward here is wonderful. They take great care of us. This ward has treated us the best out of all of the wards I have served in on my entire mission (and all of my wards have exceeded expectations). This area is doing wonderfully right now. We have 3 people who are on date to be baptized within the next month, and 2 others who have committed to be baptized but for some reason or another have not yet nailed down a specific time (or have had to change it).
Rose should be baptized this coming week, and we are so excited for her.
As for transfer news (because we got our transfer calls on Christmas Eve), I will be the only one out of our foursome who is staying. Elder Pisciotta is heading to Silverdale, Elder Payne is off to Raymond, and Elder Rogers is off to Ocean Shores. This leaves me to usher in Elders Jocelyn (The other Zone Leader), Budge, and a greenie. (Budge and the greenie being Spanish missionaries).
Anyway, I am very excited to have the opportunity to bring these three Elders in. It may be a little stressful, but I doubt it will be too bad. 
This last transfer was amazing, and I think the coming transfer will be as well.
Have a wonderful week, everyone, and Happy New Year!
Elder Benge

Monday, December 19, 2016

#LightTheHouse (Unique To This Blog)

Here is a picture of Christmas lights taken by my companion Elder Rogers. They certainly went the full 9 yards on this house (or perhaps more like 600 yards of Christmas lights). They even had music and moving parts! Unfortunately, neither the music nor the movement is captured in this photo.

Elder Benge

Incompatible Compendium (MAD LIBS)

Incompatible Compendium
unit of time:_________________
adjective:  _________________
adjective ending in 'est':______________
verb ending in 'ing':________________
same noun as last time:_______________
he/she/it (corresponding to the last noun):______________________
he/she/it (same as last 'he/she/it'):________
famous historical person:________________
name of person in room:________________________
famous modern person:__________________
verb ending in 'ing':_________________

_________   ___________,  everyone! This week was a very ___________ one! Perhaps the
 adjective      unit of time                                                      adjective

_____________________ thing that happened was when we met a crazy ___________ while we 
 adjective ending in 'est'                                                                            noun

were _________________ in a(n) ____________ neighborhood a few nights ago. Well, when we
          verb ending in 'ing'               adjective

knocked on the crazy _______________________'s door, ___________ came out and showed us
                                    same noun as last time                he/she/it

pictures that were taped to the ___________. ______________! It was weird! __________ had 
                                                  noun             exclamation                           he/she/it

pictures of ________________________,   _____________________,  _____________________, 
                    famous historical person         name of person in room      famous modern person

and even a picture of a stuffed _____________ doll ___________________ a _____________.
                                                   noun                    verb ending in 'ing'              noun

What a(n) ___________ day.
So, anyway, sorry about that. It seemed like a great idea, so I tried it. In case you were wondering what the real story was, we met a crazy lady while knocking doors who had pictures of Jesus, Elvis, and a bunch of other macho-looking/famous dudes taped all over her door. It was a very surreal experience.
The Christmas season truly is great. Yesterday we got to go to a large musical Christmas event put on by our stake. Our investigator Rose came and we were able to show her the baptismal font afterward. She is way awesome, and will definitely be baptized on the 30th. The musical event itself was worthwhile, the performers decent. I am quite sure that some of the sopranos at least contributed to the legend of the banshee as we know it today (just kidding).
Anyway, I was thinking a lot about Joseph the (surrogate) father of Jesus Christ. I feel that Joseph is often overlooked in the nativity story. What an overwhelming responsibility, to be the earthly substitute guardian of the Savior of the World. How very inadequate he must have felt. How relieved he must have been to know that he could still marry Mary!
We know little about him, but we do know that he was a very good man, and followed the law of Moses. Anyway, my point is, many of you will do great things that will go overlooked by mankind. Do not worry about that! Our Heavenly Father sees every single thing that you do, and will repay you for all! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior! I am grateful for this Christmas season, and I am especially grateful that I can have this time devoted to God in order to serve him and help my brothers and sisters. I hope you all have a wonderful week!  ________________!
  farewell salutation

Elder Benge

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter Album: The Album Cover

​This will be the album cover for my first Christmas album. I mean, doesn't that just look so abstract and generically symbolic?
Elder Benge

Blog X-clusive! Christmas Charity

Crazy thing happened this week. I was walking along in the snow and I had forgotten my gloves at home. No big deal. I had just thrown a couple snowballs, and my hands were very cold (although at this point it didn't really bother me at all).
Anyway, Elder Rogers and I were street contacting downtown, and we talked to a group of wonderful homeless men for a brief time. As we shook their hands, one of them spoke. "Your hands are freezing! Would you like my gloves?" he slurred, his speech slightly impeded by alcohol.
I was stunned. "I'm fine," I stammered, "you can keep your gloves. I just left mine at home..."
Wow. Who would have that. That was probably the most kindness I had been shown all day, and it came from such an unexpected source.
Merry Christmas.
Elder Benge

A Sprinkling From On High

Santa Claus is coming.... *bzzzz* ... home for the holidays!... And since there's no place to go, let... Good King Wenceslas...wish you a merry Christmas and a... silent night. 
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeeer, had... pine cones and holly berries...underneath the mistletoe last night... singing polly-wolly-doodle-alla-day!
Merry Christmas everyone! The Christmas miracle of the week was that it SNOWED! Honestly, it was one of the best days of my entire mission. At night right before we turned in we built a snow-missionary. Random snowball fights would break out in the middle of our knocking sessions. Downtown Centralia actually looked pleasant in the snow. In all honesty, I didn't even know that I liked snow until that day. Sometimes something has to be taken from you before you realize how much you actually love it.
The day after the snow storm, of course, was not nearly as much fun, because it rained and we ended up tromping through freezing slush through hours on end, but it was a small price to pay for a moment in parad-ice. Despite all the spontaneous fun and frigid slippage of the week, we actually had a very successful week. We found a lot of new investigators, and had a few great people come to church. One investigator who came to church was named Rose. She had been invited by a member to come, and had not been introduced to us at all yet. Well, we met her, and set up a time later that day to meet with her in a member's home. I didn't get to go to the appointment, but she is on date to be baptized on the 30th, so (as it says in the old Dixie melody) "Shout hallelujah! Praise His holy name!" We are very excited, and grateful that we were able to meet Rose.
In other news.... umm... Centralia had a 'lighted tractor parade', which in and of itself shows quite accurately what kind of town Centralia is. (Not in a bad way, just in a very accurate way). I wouldn't be surprised if my dad had 'lighted tractor parades' in his hometown when he was growing up.
Other than that, I don't have much to say, just a lot of pictures which are very, very overdue. So with that in mind, adieu.

Elder Benge


Us at our best.
You can call me iron man.

Elder Benge

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Geriatric Ward

'Twas another great week in Western Washington, and all the world is green! And really wet. We are actually getting some snow today, which is really uncommon here in Washington. I am excited for it. If we get enough, we may have a snowball fight for part of zone activity today. I have a few notes on the week to tell you about.
1. I got in my first bike wreck on my entire mission! Yay! I was riding a bike around a corner and slipped in a slime-patch of wet leaves lying on the sidewalk. My bike skidded sideways and I landed on my back. It didn't hurt, but it was funny seeing the face of the man driving the car who was passing at the time.
2. This ward here is awesome, but also very... er..... experienced. They have many years of wisdom behind them. Really though, it does feel more like we are in a retirement home than a church at times, but all of the people are really awesome anyways, and I love it. 
3. Basically, the only people here who aren't old consist of the Hispanic members of the ward, who usually some English. However, I generally don't have as much interaction with them, due to the fact that Elders Pisciotta and Payne are both Spanish missionaries, and deal with that. It is very interesting being in a sacrament meeting where there is somebody up on the stand translating everything. I am tempted just to go up and try to confuse them, but I won't. Probably. (I could just go up and start rambling on and on about physics equations and values and constants and every once in a while throw in some technical sounding bit of fake jargon: "And then you divide the velocity by the angular acceleration to find the number of psidreochonics being released during the reaction..."

Anyway, that is really it. I am happy to see that it is again that time of year where Christmas is in the minds and hearts of the people. I love the Christmas spirit. I have already seen some wonderful acts of service done here, and it cheers my heart. Someone keeps crocheting scarves and stapling them in plastic bags to trees that line the road so that the homeless population can keep themselves warm. What a great thing to do!
Anyway, I challenge you all to watch the Church's new Christmas video "Light The World", and then look at and do the activities listed for each day on the "In 25 Ways. Over 25 Days" calendar. It is a wonderful thing to do. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, and a happy December 7 as well.

Elder Benge