Monday, April 24, 2017

Take Five

The greatest miracle of the transfer happened this week. Up until this week, we really struggled to find new investigators. We hadn't found anyone (Except for a bro who seemed semi-solid and normal, but when we came back, answered the door with disheveled hair, a jacket and plaid button-up shirt on, and.... no pants or anything other than that. It was a little strange. He then proceeded to spew forth a bunch of pathetic anti mormon stuff he had been pumped with from the internet).
Anyway, my companion and I had been praying to find a family that we could teach and baptize (I had been specifically praying for a family of 5). Well, on Thursday, we knocked on a door and a black man answered, and the first thing he said was: 
"I've been reading your book."
My companion, a little taken aback, responded, "The Book of Mormon?"
"Yeah. I'm on page..... 28, I think. One sec, let me go  get it."
Elder Quinton and I exchanged a surprised look, and then he returned, and soon a wonderful Gospel conversation developed.
He had met missionaries before and been given the Book of Mormon. He really respected some white missionaries that he had met in "the Hood" when he was living in California. He also really wanted to come to church now. He also happened to have a wife and 3 children, ages 16, 14, and 12. We invited him to be baptized, and he asked; "Is the water gonna be cold? I guess even if it was I could do it."
We reassured him that the water would indeed be warm.
Anyway, it was a very tender mercy. He does not have a specific baptismal date yet, but we assigned him to read Moroni 10 and pray about it, and he did it. We will follow up with him more at our first scheduled meeting this Tuesday.
He and his wife even came to church this week, but they came at the wrong time, thinking we had said it was at 11 instead of at 1. They had to leave because his wife had work, but it was still way cool. I am very grateful for our loving Heavenly Father, who does indeed hear and answer our prayers. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. This week was a good one, and I am so grateful we finally found someone to teach! Now we just need to go out and find some more.
The area here in Gig Harbor is very beautiful, despite the fickle weather. It alternates every 20 minutes between pounding rain and effulgent sunshine. Sometimes we even get a 20 minute hailstorm followed by unimpeded sun. A lot of the time it is raining while the sun is shining brilliantly upon us. It is very intriguing.
Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful week!
10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.
11 Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.
12 And now, beloved, marvel not that I tell you these things; for why not speak of the atonement of Christ, and attain to a perfect knowledge of him, as to attain to the knowledge of a resurrection and the world to come?
Jacob 4:10-12
Seek not to counsel the Lord, but instead be reconciled to his will through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Wow. What great principle. What a great scripture. There is a lot you can learn from that. Attain to a perfect knowledge of Christ through the Atonement. That is how we become reconciled with God.

Elder Benge

Monday, April 17, 2017

18 Months And What Do You Get? Another Day Older And Deeper In Debt

First of all, I would like to wish you all a Jolly Easter! I am so grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and for His Resurrection. We do not have to suffer any of our pains forever, neither spiritual nor physical, because of Jesus Christ. 10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit. (2 Nephi 9:10. See also, vs 11-16)
So yes. I am very grateful for Jesus Christ. Without him, this life would have no purpose, and we would have absolutely no hope.
I reached my 18 month mark this week. It is very strange to see how far I have come, and also how quickly time goes. I definitely don't feel like God is indebted to me because of my mission, but I instead feel even more indebted to God for his many blessings. It reminds me of Mosiah 2:21-24

21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.

24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

Life is pretty amazing. We were blessed these last few days to finally find a few new investigators. We were very grateful to find them to teach, because Glenna dropped us this week and so did our only other investigators who were even close to progressing. It was sad, but agency is necessary.
We also met an amazingly humble less active this week who struggles with an addiction related to the Word of Wisdom. He humbly told us of his struggles and meekly pleaded for our support and help. The Spirit filled us all as we testified of Christ's mercy and his power in helping us overcome our temptations, sins, and weaknesses. I am excited to meet with him again and help him overcome this hurdle in his life. It is so nice to meet humble people. It is such a blessing to be called to teach the pleasing word of God to the poor in spirit who are willing to listen. There is no greater call.
May you all have a wonderful week.
Elder Benge

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Face of Fear

This is real fear. I thought he was about to drop me off the log. The picture was taken at the opportune time. Wow. What a great memory caught on camera.

Elder Benge

Take A Hike!

Every once in a while while knocking doors, we meet a slightly peeved individual who, upon seeing us, immediate shouts "Take a hike!" and dramatically gestures at us, as if without the excessive histrionics their unkindness would be insufficient to make us leave. I have often been tempted to ask them if they know of any good hiking spots nearby where we could go, but I always bite my tongue. I have learned that generally angry people do not have sense of humor, and any response to them other than fear (including good-naturedness and kindness) only serve to infuriate and enrage them further. If you don't take them as seriously as they want you to, they take it as a personal offense against them, their family, their dog, and their favorite footwear. I know this not just because I have met angry people before, but mostly because I have, it times in my life, been an angry person. I would be a liar if I side I have never been like the angry people on the other side of the door. Really, I should have more compassion on these people. I don't know why they are angry. They could have just slammed their finger in the door. Or maybe they had a child who died and their preacher told them that their 2 year old daughter was burning in hell because she was never baptized, and now they just intensely dislike religious people. You never know. It is not a good idea to poke the giant, stoke the flames of rage, or incite someone to a state of infuriated madness. It is always better to handle things with charity and compassion, and to do your best to leave the campsite better than you found it.
Anyway, thanks for reading my meaningless blathers. 
I couldn't think of anything to write about this week other than the fact that we took a hike last P-day, and it led my mind off on a wild tangent.
I suppose we did have a wonderful meeting this week where we learned about disciplining our minds and giving 100% of our attention, focus, desires to the Lord. It is very difficult, but we need to be all in. We need to be standing up on the inside, not just the outside. I really learned a lot and have been striving to incorporate what I learned in my daily walk. It is way hard, but I have made some improvement.
Finding new investigators this week has been a struggle. Nobody has seemed interested in talking to us. We have been praying and fasting and working our calves off to find someone to teach. Our success right now may be hard to measure, but I am confident that God has something wonderful in store for us and for this area. I do not doubt that God has a plan for the salvation of each of his children, even the easily angered ones. All people are children of God, and all people deserve an opportunity for salvation. No matter how far gone. 
I love this work, and I truly do know that it is God's work, and that it is for us, His children. I know that God loves each one of us, otherwise he would not have sent His Only Begotten Son for us. In fact, if he didn't love us, He wouldn't have even sent us here in the first place.
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Here is a picture of the hike: (Only 3 companionships came to the hike from the whole zone, which was kind of weird)

Left To Right: Elder Quinton, Elder Porter, Elder Benge, Elder Stapley, Sister Parker, Sister Christiansen
Elder Benge

Jane's The Name

Elder Benge

Crazy Awesome Janie

Janie is a homeless lady in Centralia who we became quite attached to.
Elder Benge

Monday, April 3, 2017

Transfer Day Trio

​Transfer day. This is a pic with me, Elder Stuart, and my new companion, Elder Quinton.

Elder Benge

A Day In The Life Of A Missionary

This happened a little bit before I came into the area. Yes. It really did happen (This is a note from the primary that was given to the Elders after the incident). The Elders got maced in the face by a mean old man who was salty because someone knocked on his door at 6:00 at night. He called the police and then the police chewed him out. :)
Elder Benge

Your Girlfriend Reminds Me Of A Story About Airplanes

Ha ha ha..... This is how you help a companion who may be a little girl trunky. (This is from my last area, we altered a picture in his calendar from home.)

Elder Benge

Hide-Away Porter

Elder Porter, hiding in a hide-a-way bed. He has been confined there by the matchless strength of Elder Quinton.
Elder Benge

A Whistle From The West

I have decided that here in Washington, I am in one of the wettest and westest parts of the west you can get to in the world. I mean, I suppose Hawaii counts as the West maybe, but if you go more west than the West, you end up in the East. Wha...? I suppose that's what you get for living on a globe. So, there you go. I am in the westernmost West.
General Conference was the highlight of the week, as I'm sure it was for many of you, too. It was interesting watching some of the sessions at member's homes with our investigators. We were at our Ward Mission Leader's home for the Sunday afternoon session with Glenna, one of our best investigators. It was during that session that Joaquin E. Costa gave his talk about his conversion and addressed it to nonmembers. Elder Quinton looked over at Glenna during the talk and noticed she was teary-eyed. She was very impressed with all of conference. She is very close to baptism. We just have to be help her choose a specific date and stick to it. Although she has been unwilling to set a specific date each time we bring up baptism, we can tell it has been on her mind. She brings it up of her own accord and has been continuing to take baby steps toward it. We committed her to say a specific prayer asking specifically if the church was true and if  Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon was true. I think she will get baptized soon. Please pray for her to be able to progress and be baptized! It will bless her life so much!
We also ate some Persian food this week at a recent convert's home. It was pretty blasted good. 
Other than that, I am not sure what else to say. I liked so many talks from conference. They talked a lot about building faith in Jesus Christ by doing the small things every day (Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass... Alma 37:6-7)
There were talks about studying Christ's life and the document: "The Living Christ".
There were many talks on the Holy Ghost.
There were many talks about the Plan of Salvation God has created for us.
There were many talks on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
I had many questions answered, some of them very specific.
I really liked Elder M. Russel Ballard's talk on goals. I found it very profound and insightful. It is so important to understand your purpose wherever you are, and to have plans and goals to fulfill our purpose. We are so blessed in the Gospel to actually understand our purpose. 
Whatever insights you had in General Conference, don't forget about them! Remember those things you planned on doing and changing, and implement those changes in your life.
I love you all. I am done now. Here is a picture:

Elder Porter in a phone booth... with no phone.

Elder Benge