Monday, January 30, 2017

Indicative Initiative

What an indubitably incredible week, everyone! We had some great things happen! Unfortunately, I can't remember any of them, so I will resort to writing useless random things that may or may not be pertinent to anything. We had a worldwide missionary broadcast this week that changed our schedule as well as our key indicators that we report. 
We had a lot of success this week, although one of our on date investigators disappeared and we cannot contact him. We suspect he has gone to jail. Unfortunately, the mistakes we make in our past do affect our future. This is the half of agency that a lot of people don't like: accountability. However, without accountability we would never learn, and we would never change. There must be sin and punishment in order for their to be righteousness and happiness.
Anyway, we met with Cameron (an unbaptized child) and have taught him the first 3 lessons already. He is reading and praying, and is scheduled to be baptized this Saturday! We are very excited for him. We are also still teaching Emery, and he is doing well. He has already read the start of the Book of Mormon and he prays with us each time we meet with him. He is also on date to be baptized on the 18th. One of the times we met with him his less active father was across the room, and we could tell he was listening as he became very quiet and still. God reaches out to all of his children. He wants all of us to have His blessings in our lives.
Es uno milagro de Navidad! The season never ends. Anywhonk, I don't know what else to say, except for that I really really love my mission. I love how beautiful it is here. I am sure I will love the rugged beauty of Utah when I get back, but I will definitely miss the greenery that is up here. I won't miss how dark it gets here during the winter, though.
I love you all. I love the Gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I recommend you all go and look up Elder Gary E. Stevenson's Special Witness of Christ video about prophets and apostles.
Have a great week!

--
Elder Benge

Monday, January 23, 2017

2...4...6...0...1!

Who am I? Can I conceal myself forever more? Pretend I'm not the man I was before...
And must my name until I die be no more than an alibi? Must I lie? How can I ever face my fellow man? How can I ever face myself again? My soul belongs to God I know I made that bargain long ago! He gave me hope when hope was gone. He gave me strength to journey on. Who am I? Who am I? I'm Elder Gideon Benge. The same one that left for Tacoma Washington in October of 2015. Only not completely the same. I have learned and changed quite a bit, but I am essentially the same one that left on my mission. In fact, I think for the most part I am the same Gideon Benge that chose to come to this Earth and follow Heavenly Father's plan of happiness many many years ago.
Anywhickle, this week was absolutely awesome. We found a new investigator named Emory and it was such a tender mercy. We (Elder Budge and I) had the car at night. We wanted to save miles. We wanted to go inspire some members, but we wanted to do one close by to save miles. We were discussing who to go see, and one family kept coming up even though they are very old. Finally, we decided to go see this family because we kept thinking of them, even though we both didn't think they would have much potential. When we got there, they were surprised to see us, but they let us in. As we conversed with them, a young man in his lower teens walked in and started listening. We both felt prompted to direct our message at him, and we testified of prayer. I could tell he wanted to ask something, so we asked if anyone had any questions. He remained silent. We then said a closing prayer and after the prayer he spoke up. His voice was quiet and hesitant, and you could tell he was almost ashamed to ask.
"How can I know that there is a God?"
Wow what a wonderful question, and what boldness. We both knew that Satan was doing the best to keep him from asking. Ask, and ye shall receive. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Immediately after he asked, a scripture popped into my head. I shared with him Alma 22, and shared with him my testimony, and how I also had to come to find out for myself.
Elder Budge added his testimony to mine, and the Spirit strongly confirmed both of our witnesses. We encouraged him to read and to ask God. Apparently, Emory is the unbaptized grandson of the members we went to go visit. He and his less active father had moved in with them that week. 
He said he would read and pray, and also said he was interested in baptism. What an amazing experience. The Spirit is the single most important element in this work. We also put Cameron (another unbaptized child we found earlier) on date this week. We also found a way cool Guatemalan named Pablo this week and put him on date to be baptized. He is way solid. (I actually spoke Spanish to him, too! 3 words!)
I love my mission so much.
Ask, and ye shall receive. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
--
Elder Benge

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hearts Knit

 Is this the title of a missionary email or the title of a cheesy paperback romance novel?
Actually, the title comes from Mosiah 18:21

21 And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.

Now, I don't have much time this week, but I will say it was a spectacular week, for 2 reasons:
1. We got to go to the temple this week.
2. Rose was baptized and confirmed this week.
Amazing, right?
As I was standing in the temple, I began to feel a profound sense of peace and of love. As I looked out over all of my fellow missionaries, I just felt such a sense of love and unity with them. It was amazing. I truly saw them all as my brothers and sisters. I wanted so badly to see them in the celestial kingdom. The temple is a sacred place. The Spirit is powerful there, and profound. I am very grateful for the temple.
And, in other news, despite Rose's antagonistic in-laws, she was baptized on Saturday! YAY! Then, her father-in-law decided to pull a nasty trick. You see, he was a previous minister for another church, and his heart is full of hate and venom for Mormons (not sure why, I've never met the man).
Anyway, he knew that we would confirm her the Sunday following her baptism, so he did his best to keep her from coming to church. They took away the only available car and her phone so she couldn't contact anyone, and gave her a whole bunch of chores to do so that she couldn't come. We were all trying to figure out what to do, when her husband saved the day. We previously had thought he wasn't very supportive of her, and even thought he may have been contributing to the problems, but apparently he felt it was important for Rose to be confirmed, because he smuggled her out of the house in his car and brought her to his work and then texted some members to come and pick her up. (Nobody could pick her up at her own house because it was about 2 hours away). She made it to church barely in time to be confirmed in sacrament meeting. The wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. I definitely know that. Anyway, she is doing very well, after having dodged a bullet with her in-laws. (They won't allow copies of the Book of Mormon in the house, but we just showed her Gospel Library on her phone and she reads it that way)
Ha ha! Onward christian soldiers!
Anyway, I am so grateful to be out here. God's hand is definitely in this work! Have a great week!
--
Elder Benge

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Rose By Any Other Name

Jesus came to John the Baptist
in Judea long ago,
and was baptized by immersion
in the River Jordan's flow
Baptism is so important. It is the means by which God has prepared us to enter into a covenant with him that starts us on the covenant pathway which leads to dwelling eternally in his presence and having a fullness of joy. In baptism we show our willingness to take Christ's name upon us. and become his children. We commit to start a new life as his disciple. We choose to leave our old, natural self behind. (In case you are wondering, the part of ourselves we choose to try and leave behind is the part of ourselves that we are all secretly dissatisfied with anyway. It is the part of ourselves that is selfish, self-absorbed, unkind and unloving)
We all have a part of ourselves that we want to get rid of. We know it is not a part of our eternal character. I testify that it is through Jesus Christ and His restored Gospel that we can change and become a man or woman of Christ. His Atonement is a wonderful gift, that helps us become so much better. Not one of us is going to be instantly perfect because of this recommitment to Jesus Christ. It is a process and a pathway, with baptism as the beginning. Please don't ever give up on the goal because it is hard. I promise it is worth it. One of my favorite missionaries in the mission (Elder Hatfield) said in his departing testimony: "Our goal is perfection but we need to be happy with progression".
This is so true. We need to find joy in the journey without forgetting the greater joy that we know we will find in the destination.
I brought this topic up because Rose is getting baptized this week. We are so excited for her. Despite resistant family members, she has chosen to make this covenant with God, and she has kept her eye single to that goal despite all odds. We are so excited. I hope you all have a wonderful week, and be sure to keep in mind how powerful your example may be in influencing the life of another. Also, I love you all. I really do. I also love my companions here. I also learned how to flip coins and make them buzz through the air with terrifying speed. I am also very happy about that. I don't think my companions are, though. ;)
Adios.

--
Elder Benge

Monday, January 2, 2017

El Reloj Del Destino

Time is short, like a nervous man's fingernails. Hence, I may not have much of a letter today. However, this week was awesome! First of all, my companions are spectacular. Elder Jocelyn (Hurricane, UT) is tall and skinny, and way cool. He is the other zone leader, and is very hard working (and English speaking). He likes keeping things clean, which is good because so do I. The only exception is  my desk, which isn't unclean, per say, although it may rightfully be termed as disorderly. There is a difference. Elder Budge (Logan, UT) is a Spanish speaking missionary. He played football as a right guard in High School, and he certainly looks the part. He has a great sense of humor and a wonderful work ethic. He is fairly new, but is rapidly approaching the time he will no longer be called 'greenie'. He and I like to sing together. Finally, Elder Mu├▒oz (From Atlanta, Georgia [pronounced "Moon-yose"]) is also Spanish speaking, and he is fresh from the MTC (we are training him). He is a hard worker, funny, and humble. He is doing very well already, and is very willing to learn. As a companionship we work very hard, are very obedient, and have a lot of fun, which is exactly what a good missionary companionship should be like. This week we met a new investigator named Nick. He is going through some struggles right now, and it was so nice being able to testify to him. He committed to repentance and to make amends with a relative he wronged recently. He has profound sadness in his life right now, but I know that through Christ his exquisite sadness can become exquisite joy. I know of the power of the Atonement. I know that through Christ we can find joy and light, no matter what our circumstances may be. Happy New Year everyone. Take this fresh start as a time to commit yourself even stronger to Christ, your Savior and Redeemer. Have a wonderful week. Adios.

--
Elder Benge

Unique To The Blog: Scrambled District Supreme!

This is a picture from last transfer of us at the other district meeting.

--
Elder Benge