Monday, July 27, 2015

Set goals,pray for them,work really hard to accomplish them, that is when the miracles happen

Hey y'all!

This past Friday marked the one month anniversary of when I entered the MTC! It feels like years have passed, but it can't possibly have already been a month haha! I am doing great!

The work is really picking up here, so I'm excited to see what the future has in store! For some excitement this week we got 2 new investigators!! One of them came up to us at the library and asked what our name tags were for. We were able to teach him the restoration and then set up another appointment for tomorrow! Our second new investigator is a man named Max. We found his name in the area book and set up an appointment with him. When we came to his house he told us that he's been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon every day. We taught him the restoration and he agreed to be baptized saying that this is what he has been waiting for. We were really excited and we hope everything goes well with him!! The next exciting this is we were able to meet with Skyler again last Tuesday! When we arrived at her house she told us she just found out she was leaving town in 20 minutes, but that we could still teach her! We gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read it. We texted her a few days ago and she said she had! We are really impressed by her! She doesn't get back in town until half way through August though, but we are glad she's reading!
We also had a pretty awesome miracle at Fort Jackson! We've set a goal to have 4 baptisms a week. We've been talking a lot about how we can accomplish this goal and what we as missionaries could be doing better. Last week we had four on date, but two of them didn't show up. This week we also had four on date, but then one of them didn't show up. We were feeling a little sad because we'd been working extra hard this week to meet our goal. Then one of the soldiers came up to us about 15 minutes before we were starting the baptism service and said how she's been coming to church and had some of the missionary lessons and decided she wanted to be baptized that day! We were really excited for her and it meant we made our goal!!
Another story from this week, but this time a funny one. One night at about 8:30 we came outside from a lesson and we were talking about how good it felt outside. Sister Ward and I declared that it should be that temperature all the time because it felt so nice. We got in our car and looked down at the thermometer and it was 95°! We laughed really hard and declared it must be hot when 95 felt really good!
So yeah the work continues to go on and we are keeping strong faith. This week I've learned the importance of goal setting. As missionaries we set goals every day and we work towards them. We have found that we don't reach our goals every day, in fact it is rare to meet them. But if we set these goals and pray for them and work really hard to accomplish them, that is when the miracles happen like finding Max in the area book or Private Smith coming to us to be baptized. I was also able to help a soldier on Fort Jackson understand this. He was talking about how he's not opposed to the idea of being baptized, he's just not sure he's ready yet. I was able to tell him about how when we set a specific goal, the Lord is able to help us in specific ways. He agreed to work towards the goal of being baptized on August 2nd. The Spirit really seemed to touch him about the importance of goals, but I would appreciate it if y'all could keep him in your prayers.

I am grateful to be a missionary and I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for the people of Lake Murray! I love y'all so much and I hope that all is well for you! Let me know if there's anything I can do for y'all!

Love always,

Sister Amy Bennett :)

I was really excited about how big the leaves on this tree were. We named him Momma Steve :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Focus on Loving :)

Hey y'all!!

Life continues to be great here in Lake Murray. We continue to work hard despite the 100 degrees temperature every day. I am even more grateful for the AC in the car! I've had some pretty fun adventures this week! The first was that they already sent me on an exchange!

So last Tuesday I was companions with Sister Millett in the Irmo ward for 24 hours. It was fun and I got to meet some really cool people there! Sister Millett is also really awesome and has been out for a while so she had some really good suggestions!

On Wednesday we had what is called "Family Day" at Fort Jackson. The families of soldiers who are graduating from Basic on the Thursday get to come spend the day with them on Wednesday. The 4 missionary companionships rotate going to these. We stay at the chapel and it provides a place for members to come as well as those who were baptized at Fort Jackson have the opportunity to introduce their families to the Church there. It's a neat experience. I also got my background check started so that I can get my real pass to get onto Fort Jackson!

Thursday we knocked into a 13 year old girl named S.. She was really open to the Restoration and invited us to come back today. We confirmed our appointment with her yesterday and she really does want us to come back so we are super excited to see how it goes! We also had a funny experience while knocking. We were knocking on someone's porch when we heard the garage start to open. We saw a car getting ready to pull into the driveway. Then the driver noticed we were on his porch so he quickly started to close the garage and pretended that he was using the circle to turn around. That gave us a good laugh, especially when he came back to his house only a few minutes later while we were knocking at the house across the street. Funny experiences always make the day better!

Friday we did a lot of service, which was awesome! Also one of our investigators, K., prayed out loud for the first time since she started meeting with the missionaries. (Which was about a year ago.) We were also really excited about that!

I want to talk a little bit more about how Fort Jackson works on Sundays. We show up at 8:30 and we start teaching soldiers who are there. (Soldiers arrive anytime between 7:30 and when Sacrament meeting starts at 9:30.) We finish teaching and interviewing those who are on date for baptism and teach any one else who is interested. We then have Sacrament meeting, which goes until 10:10. This week they had me share my Testimony in Sacrament meeting, so that was a cool opportunity. After Sacrament meeting we split up into classes. There is a class on the Restoration, a class on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a new member class, Relief Society, and Priesthood. While those are going on they hold the baptismal service. The AP's (who help teach at Fort Jackson) have a portable font that they bring and set up during Sacrament meeting. This week we had two baptisms, include Private C.! I was so happy and she talked about how much lighter and happier she felt afterwards! It was awesome! During the classes missionaries also pull aside soldiers who are on date to be baptized and teach them one on one. This week I taught Private R.. She is on date to be baptized next week and I taught her lessons 3,4, and 5. She is super excited and already has such a strong testimony. It is amazing to see the power of acting in faith. After classes are over we have about 10-15 more minutes to talk and teach soldiers. Then we have to leave the chapel by 11 so that the next denomination can set up for their meeting. It's an amazing experience and an awesome atmosphere!

A few more funny things about the great state of South Carolina! A popular ground covering is called pine straw. It is dried up pine needles. The stuff that we usually spend hours sweeping up from yards, they buy in bales and spread around. I think we should start selling ours online haha! Also no one here uses crosswalks, even when they are 10 feet away. It reminds me a lot of the scene in Mulan where her grandma is testing out the lucky cricket. haha!

Well as for a tender mercy from this week it would definitely be K. praying. The week I showed up we were considering dropping her, because she hadn't been progressing for a long time. We prayed about it and I got the answer that I needed to focus on loving her. As I focused on that she has made considerable progress and is already seeing what she needs to do to come closer to Christ. I hope that she remembers the progression she has made.

I think that's about it for news from Sister Bennett!! I hope y'all are doing well! Thanks for the letters, emails, and prayers!!!

Love always,

Sister Bennett :)

Amy on Exchanges day... in her LEMON BLOUSE!

Entering Ft. Jackson

By her study desk at her apartment!


Monday, July 13, 2015

We have to trust the Spirit & Welcome to South Carolina!!

Hey y'all!!!

I am in a time warp where I feel like I have been in South Carolina forever, when in reality I haven't even been here a full week haha! For starters, I'll talk about where I am and who I am serving with!!

My companion's name is Sister Ward! She joined the Church about 3 years ago. She is the only one in her family that joined. She has a super strong testimony and knows the scriptures really well, which is awesome! She is from Minnesota but went to school in Rexburg. She's 22 and in the same grade as Sarah Janis! So that's awesome! Oh another crazy thing is that with the number of incoming Sisters with me (12) there weren't enough trainers so President Turner (my Mission President) had to get a little creative. In Sister Ward's case that meant she just barely finished her own 12 week training and is now training me. I hope I don't have to train in 12 weeks!

I am serving in the Lake Murray ward! Since there are Elders in this ward as well, my area is only half of the ward! I am hopefully going to attach a picture below of my mission map. In case I don't, Lake Murray ward is in the city of Lexington, which is a suburb of Columbia! It's awesome. Another special opportunity I have as a Lake Murray Sister is that I get to be one of 8 missionaries who serves at Fort Jackson. Fort Jackson is a military base where there are lots of Soldiers for basic training. Each Sunday morning we get to drive up there and teach Soldiers before and after a Sacrament meeting. One thing interesting is that because there are so many Soldiers who are interested we don't teach in companionships. At one point I was teaching around 10 Soldiers all by myself! It's pretty crazy! They are all humble and ready to learn so they are baptized after about 2 weeks. Yesterday 2 Soldiers were baptized and we have around nine on track for next week! It's amazing! This week I taught Prive C. the last two lessons so she could be baptized next week. She is at basic training for the summer and then she will finish her senior year of high school. She first came to Church with her battle buddy (battle buddies are like companions where you have to be with them all the time). Next week she's going to bring one of her friends with her. She already has permission from her parents to be baptized. So keep your fingers crossed for her, and include her in your prayers! Also I would love to know more about the history of Fort Jackson so if anyone looks it up and emails it to me they will an electronic hug from me!

Also excitingness is that I am in an iPad mission! Church headquarters picked out 60 missions in the US and Canada to pilot a new program for mission iPads. My mission received them June 17, so we are still in the transition mode. Meaning someday iPads will be used for everything and we will have zero paper work. Like it will be our area and planner and a few other things like that, but we aren't doing that quite yet.

So a bit about missionary work or just general stuff with Lake Murray/South Carolina. There are a lot of people who when we knock into them they are too nice to tell us no, which we take as a yes. So we go around visiting a lot of potential investigators. Sometimes they are genuine investigators, and other times they surprised that we actually showed up again. It makes for fun adventures! There are also a lot of less actives and we've made it a goal to visit all of them, so we try to meet with them as well. Some of them are really awesome and still have lots of faith, but don't come to Church anyway. Some of them have a lot sadder stories. We met this couple this week, Brother and Sister S. They are awesome and super friendly. Brother S. has some funny conversations. Sister S. is all for coming back to Church, but Brother S. won't let her. It makes me sad, but I am happy to see that they still both have faith in Jesus Christ. Also another opportunity we have each week is to do service knocking for an hour. Meaning knock on doors down a street in our service clothes asking if they need help with anything. We normally do that on Saturday's. This Saturday we ended up not being able to because we were teaching lessons, so that was nice. But I am excited to do that this week!

Awesome thing about South Carolina is that there is seriously every kind of tree here. Like there will be a Palmetto tree, growing right next to a Pine tree, growing right next to all sorts of other trees you didn't know could exist in the same climate! Also they aren't very creative with their street names. In one neighborhood we were driving on Garden Arbor Lane, when we intersected with Garden Arbor Drive. Then we intersected with Garden Arbor Court. I am very grateful I am not the one driving because that happens a lot and is very confusing to me. Another thing is people tell us that we can't go into an air conditioned car and back out into the heat or guzzle a cold water bottle otherwise the monkey will get us. (meaning get heat stroke.) It's a pretty awesome way of saying it! So you'll hear people talking about getting monkeyed or things like that ha, ha!

So Sister Ward and I are at our apartments by ourselves. There used to be another set of sisters that lived there, but there are fewer Sisters in the mission than there used to be. But it's nice because we have a washer and dryer in the apartment. We also have a piano keyboard. I'm excited to get to play it later today!

Spiritual thought for this week is that we have to trust the Spirit. There are still a few things that I am learning (obviously), but that's the biggest one. Often times the Spirit will prompt me or my companion to do something that confuses me, but it turns out to be exactly what the investigator or less active needed. It's awesome how when we turn to the Lord, He really will guide us.
I hope life is good for y'all. I've decided y'all is the best phrase ever! I've already picked it up and am using it so much! It really is the best! Thanks for the letters and emails! Love y'all!


Sister Amy Bennett :)

 Amy and Sister Ward

Amy's mission. She is serving in the West Columbia Stake in the Lake Murray Ward.