Monday, September 28, 2015

Search the scriptures and remain open for an answer

Hey y'all!!!

This week had many adventures, but not nearly as many crazy stories as last week haha!!! So here are the highlights of my week:

On Monday Sister Webb and another Sister at my apartment (Sister Parker) wanted to color their hair, but they didn't want me and Sister Parker's companion (Sister Bowman) to have to sit there forever so we had a temporary exchange haha! It was fun to spend the day with Sister Bowman, but it was great when my companion came home haha!

On Wednesday we got a call from one of our investigators, C. (Her husband is the one that Sister Webb has been doing pushups for) She's not really been that solid of an investigator, but on Wednesday she called us up and asked for a church tour! We were thrilled and all our appointments for that day had fallen through, so we were available! Wahoo!!! While there she talked about how she felt peacful and relaxed, which she didn't at other churches. In the Chapel Sister Webb and I played the piano and sang for her. It was really cool to see how much that music brought the Spirit. C. was really touched, which was awesome! 
On Thursday we went with the Senior couple that serves on Fort Jackson to a basic training graduation ceremony! That was really cool to see! Especially since the soldiers under one of the people in our ward were the ones graduating! So that was fun to see him in action! We went to that with the Lake Murray Sisters as well so that was kinda crazy to spend half the day with Sister Ward haha! 

Another exciting thing that happened was the we finished putting all of our information from our area books into the iPads! yay!!! Also exciting is that this past week was the last week of my training, so now I am a full trained, ready to go missionary! haha :)

Here's where the week got crazy, and also where the subject line comes in! So Friday morning during studies the phone starts to vibrate and I see it is President Turner calling. Which only means one thing the Friday before transfers. That Sister Webb was getting a leadership calling. My heart broke as he told her she was being called as a Sister Training Leader, which would mean that Sister Webb would be leaving me all too soon. I spent the rest of the day worrying about remembering enough information to "take over" the area. But little did I know I didn't have to worry about that for much longer. After dinner we saw we had a missed call from one of the AP's and a text asking for us to call them back. We did and they calmly informed us that Columbia was being whitewashed. For those of you who don't know what that is, it means that both missionaries in the companionship are leaving the area and being replaced by two new sisters. They told us how we would need to do a few extra things to prepare our area for that. Then the informed me that I will be whitewashing my new area. So I'm being whitewashed to whitewash!!! On Saturdays the zone leaders sent out a voicemail saying which of the missionaries in the zone are being transferred. After each name they said a funny little saying. For mine they said, "Sister Bennett, you're one and done." Referring to the fact that this is will be my third area for my third transfer haha! It gave me a good laugh! So I'm sure next week I will have all sorts of stories about where I am, who am I with, how clueless we both are haha! So look forward to that ;) 
As for a little spiritual thought, the past couple days I have felt a little discouraged about how I've only stayed in each area 6 weeks. Being in an area that short is hard because I feel like I am finally getting to know the area and the people when I leave. I was feeling like I wasn't really able to be making a difference when I was there so short. This morning I was reading the September Ensign. I was reading an article about Joseph Smith while he lived in Harmony, Pennsylvania. At the end it says, 
"While Joseph and Emma lived at Harmony for only a brief time, their experiences in this valley were crucial to God's plan for the unfolding restoration of His gospel." 
After reading that I realized that I didn't need to be somewhere for a long time to make a difference. That the Lord really does know what He is doing and where I need to be. That it doesn't matter if I am in an area for 6 weeks, or 6 months. As long as I am working hard and by the Spirit, I'll make a difference. 
 So that was a cool experience that highlighted not only how the time spend in one area isn't what matters. But it also showed me how when we take time to study the scriptures or words from the living prophets, that something will touch us that will apply to our life right then. I know that can happen for all of us if we honestly search the scriptures and are open for an answer.
I love y'all so much and hope y'all have a blessed week! 

Love always,
Sister Amy Bennett

Ft. Jackson

Ft. Jackson group


Monday, September 21, 2015

God puts you exactly where you need to be!

Hey y'all!!

So this week has been... well a week haha! True to my subject line, this week has been a little bit of everything. Missionary work,hiking in a swamp, service opportunities, purposeful and accidental stalking, unnecessary zone drama, finding out your investigators is actually a less active, going back in time, Fort Jackson, and as always more missionary work!

So for starters missionary work has been good as ever! Some people are progressing faster than others and it is still very hard to get people to come to church. But we've hopefully found a few new investigators this week so we have our fingers crossed and a prayer in our hearts! 

We also went with our investigator Corinna last Monday to the Congaree nation park and we walked around on a board walk around the swamp! It was pretty fun!!!

We've had some fun service opportunities this week! The best of which is we got to volunteer at the soup kitchen that's downtown! It was really cool to be there with people from several different churches all trying to help others. It's cool how service really unifies people together! The funny part was I was in charge of passing out the sandwiches (luckily I had gloves on and I washed my hands several times afterwards) and the Elders in our ward were passing out tea! We all had a pretty good laugh about that! We also got to help our investigator John do all his yard work! It was hot and there were so many bugs, but I got to wear pants for a couple hours so I can't complain ;)

Now for our stalking adventure of the week. So Sister Webb was driving down the street and I was sitting there as a happy passenger when suddenly Sister Webb goes, "Sister Bennett! That's our bike!" I quickly followed her frantically pointing finger and I found myself looking at a man riding our very distinctive blue bike! Sister Webb was like, "What should we do?" And me being the very helpful junior companion had no idea. Sister Webb decided to take matters into her own hands and turned the car around and the turned at an intersection and turned around again so that she could pull the car into the cross walk and block the guy from crossing the street. She rolled down my window (because that's the side of the car that the guy was on) and she started talking to him. I don't know what came over her but the conversation went something like this:

"Hello sir. Where did you get that bike?"

"I bought it at Walmart."

"No I don't think so. Do you have a receipt?"

"Excuse me?"

"Yeah, our bikes were stolen like two weeks ago and that's our bike. I don't know if you were the one who stole it or you bought it from someone who stole it, but that's our bike." 

The man then informed us that he was insulted and then he rode around our car. Throughout that encounter I was just awkwardly sitting in the middle like "What is happening?" And I didn't know where to look. I looked at the man, then I looked at the ceiling, then at the dashboard, back at the man, at Sister Webb, at our bike. Apparently the look on my face was quite hilarious, which I can believe. So moral of the story is if your companion is going to talk to a man about having your stolen bike, make sure it is out her window, not yours. ;) We then pulled out our spy skills and followed the man at a safe distance. We followed him into a neighborhood that is very close to where we live. We were on the phone with the police telling them we were following a man on our bike. But unfortunately our distance was a little too safe and we lost him. We laughed really hard at this adventure. But that's not the end of the story. That night we were knocking in our apartment complex and we were outside talking with a member who lives there when suddenly on the other side of the fence this same made rode by on our bike again! Right by our apartment!! We were like "that's our bike again!!!" It was crazy! So that is the story of how we purposefully and accidentally stalked the man with our bike. 

Also funny story with one of our "investigators." We have been working with the grandson of a lady in our ward. He has had a really rough few years and it's been really cool working with him. At the very end of our third official lesson he mentioned to us that he had already been baptized in the LDS church by  his grandpa. His grandparents had failed to mention this to us, even when we invited him to pray about being baptized! haha! We had a good laugh about that! We are still working with him now, just as a less active instead an investigator haha! 

Also on Friday evening we went back in time, so that was pretty exciting! A man in our ward wrote a Patriotic concert/play called "Prologue to Freedom." We got permission to go to the performance because we had less actives and recent converts both in the play and in attendance. It was so much fun! It was also really cool because the Fort Jackson Army band was playing in it! Sister Webb and I had the time of our lives and it was actually really good! It was also really funny to see people in our ward dressed up all colonial style haha!! 

Now I know this email is long, but I have one more story to tell! With it no longer being summer, the number of soldiers is basic training has gone down, which means lower attendance at church. The past few weeks have been a little harder in the way of teaching lessons. This week I was set on teaching at least one lesson and talking to a lot of people. I talked to so many soldiers and none of them were interested in learning. (On Fort Jackson we can't technically proselyte so we have to ask "Would you like to learn more?") I was feeling a little discouraged that I was working so hard and I wasn't finding anyone to teach. I was praying that God would help my find an opportunity and I would be led to a soldier to talk to. There were only 10 minutes left before we had to leave the chapel and I had talked to almost all the soldiers who weren't in one of the classes. I finally sat down at the back off the restoration class and was hoping I could maybe talk to some of the soldiers there. I figured it may not be a lesson, but it'd still be hopefully doing some good. When the class ended a soldier and his battle buddy turned around and started talking to me. The soldier told me how his battle buddy, Private Weeks, had come to church a few weeks ago and they had been talking a little bit about it and that he has decided he wants to be baptized and so they were hoping I could teach him the next lesson. I then taught him the Plan of Salvation and put him on date for baptism. Here's where it gets really cool. I was talking a little bit about baptism with him and he said how his aunt had just been baptized a member of the LDS church. Private Weeks then went on to tell me how he had gotten a letter from this aunt saying she had been baptized and that her husband (who she had recently married) had just been diagnosed with a heart condition. He read that part of the letter out loud to his platoon. When he did the battle buddy who he was there with (I think his name is Private Shelton) suddenly was like "wait. My uncle was just diagnosed with a heart condition and his wife just got baptized. They said their names and they found out that their aunt and uncle had just gotten married to each other! Between having his aunt be baptized and his new cousin who just so happened to be in his platoon also being a member of the LDS church, he wanted to learn more. Isn't that such a cool story!!

I have learned very much this week that God puts you exactly where you need to be! Whether it is in the same platoon as your new cousin, or taking a shorter dinner break and then seeing a man riding your bike, or just being where ever. God is there helping each and every one of you and putting you exactly where you need to be. It's really cool to see and it is so apparent while serving a mission!

I hope that y'all are doing well! I love y'all so much and hope y'all have a blessed week!!
Love always,
Sister Amy Bennett :)

Serving meals

Helping with yard work!

at "Prologue to Freedom"

Monday, September 14, 2015

As Children of God we all have so much potential

Hey y'all!!

I hope that y'alls week was great! Our was good but boy are we busy! For starters on Monday we finally got the area book planner app for our iPads! This is exciting but it also means that we have to input ALL of the information for our hand written area books into the iPads. We have an hour a day for this, which doesn't sound like much, but when you add in the fact that I am still in training, a big chunk of our day is spent inside working on this or that haha! Luckily we don't have too much cabin fever yet! But I am super excited for the iPad area book! Putting all the information in has really helped me to get to know the area even better and when it is all done it will be great!! But we've still got a ways to go haha! 

The other thing that was busy this week was that we had Zone Conference! This was a lot of fun! We started off with car inspections. The senior missionary that is over cars is also on Fort Jackson and is over bikes! So I've gotten to know him and his wife (who is over housing) really well! They are kind of like my mission grandparents! I got to see them also on Thursday when we had to go to the mission office to get a replacement phone because ours randomly stopped receiving texts. Unfortunately they go home in November, but they live in Utah so I'm sure I'll see them again someday! After car inspections this senior couple did a training. We had to watch a bike safety video because of the bike accidents and stolen bikes (cough cough) in the last quarter! Everyone made sure Sister Webb and I were paying attention during the part on how not to get your bike stolen haha! After that we had trainings by President on having the vision to baptize and exercising faith as a power! We also had a training by the STL's on making every planning session a revelatory experience so it was a good day! 

One fun thing about this week is since my ward/area covers Fort Jackson we got to go on post and have dinner with members there! That was really crazy because Fort Jackson is like it's own little world! It was way fun to see more of the post though! Sister Webb and I are laughing because literally everyone we are teaching right now has a connection to the military. Either their parent(s) are in the military or are retired military, or their spouse is a drill sergeant haha! I'm learning way more about the army than I ever thought I would! It also leads to funny commitments such as Sister Webb doing push ups everyday to get one of the drill sergeants to commit to pray everyday! It was really cool because this drill sergeant, Jacob, is rarely home, so we don't get to teach him very much or follow up with commitments we leave him. So we committed him to pray everyday on Monday and on Tuesday we had dinner with a family on post. We pulled into a parking lot and we looked next to us and we were parked right next to Jacob's truck. He then came walking up to get in his car and we were able to talk to him a few minutes and follow up with him! It was a way cool experience and we learned that sometimes the Lord leads you to a specific parking spot without you even realizing it haha! 

Also Fort Jackson is as good as ever. We didn't have a baptism this week, but we all worked our hardest to reach out to even more soldiers and we put quite a few on date! This week I got to teach a class to soldiers that covered both lessons two and three (which is the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ). It's a little crazy teaching both of those lessons in like 15 minutes, but it really helps me to know the lessons and teach simply haha!

Other than that the only other thing that really happened this week is members in our ward got a call about two blue bikes for sale and they first thought they were our two stolen blue bikes and they were going to buy them back for us until they got there and saw they were two blue kids bikes! We thought it was really cool that they were willing to buy our bikes back for us! As far as our bikes go, luckily the mission office was able to find two extra bikes sitting in some back dark corner. Unfortunately they both have problems so we can't actually ride them yet haha! So we'll see what ends up happening there! 

But yeah, life is good over here in Columbia, South Carolina! Adventures happen every day, and the Lord really guides the work!  A spiritual thought I want to quickly share is from a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday. The speaker was talking about all the different identities we have (for example our Child of God identity, our dancer identity, our sibling identity, our student identity, etc.) and how they are all good identities and ways to balance them all out. It was a really cool talk! But one line he said that really stuck out to me was "Our eternal identity would not mean so much if it weren't for the atonement." I thought that was a really cool way of stating how as Children of God we all have so much potential. We all are born with the ability to become like God and inherit eternal life. But if we did not have the atonement. If Christ did not prepare a way back for us, none of that would matter. So this week I want y'all to pay more attention to how you use the atonement daily, because we all do! 

I love y'all so much and I hope y'all have a blessed week!

Love always,
Sister Amy Bennett :)

Serving here in South Carolina with heart!

Sister Webb and Sister Bennett

Zone Conference!

Sister Webb, Sister Bennett and a cute little doll

Helping serve... putting together a little kitchen set.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Focus on the basics, everything else falls in to place! :)

Hey y'all!!

This week was filled with many adventures that would go under the classification for out of the ordinary life of a missionary!

The first was that my companion Sister Webb was sick. On Tuesday we spent half of our day at the urgent care as we had all sorts of different nurses coming in and out and running many different tests on her. In the end none of the test came up as positive and so they gave her a z-pack and cough syrup and then told her she needed to get plenty of rest. So the rest of that day and the next day we stayed in for the most part. Sister Webb took really long naps on those days, which helped her to get better so that was great for her! It just meant that Sister Bennett was left with not much to do haha! I ended up spending majority of the time redoing out area map we have on the wall (which we have been meaning to do for a long time)! It was actually really fun and now I know my area (or at least the map of it) pretty well! That's been really useful for this week!

The next out of the ordinary adventure was on Saturday and will lead into an even better story! We had a fun service opportunity on Saturday evening to help one of our investigators, C., put together a little kitchen set she bought for her son! It was so fun to be building again! It almost felt like I was back in woodshop again! Here's where the story gets good! We had ridden our bikes over there to save on miles and we locked them up to the stop sign that's actually right outside her house. The sun had already set and C. had been asking us for the past like 20 minutes if it would be okay for us to ride our bikes home. We assured her that we were in a really safe area and lived only like half a mile away. We said goodbye to her and she walked us outside and the stop sign we had left our bikes on looked strangely empty. I was like, oh my eyes must be playing a trick on me in the dark. But as a car drove by, the shining headlights left undeniable proof that our bikes had in fact been stolen. There was no sign of them! The chain had been cut through and taken with the bikes. Which is really quite a shame because the Church bought them only 3 months ago. Luckily we were able to call the Sisters we live with to come pick us up. It was quite an unfortunate moment to have to call the senior missionary about our stolen bikes and then have to face him the next morning at Fort Jackson haha! He was able to laugh about it after a while and we told him that at least we still had our helmets (which we had brought inside with us) haha! But then he told us we had to make a police report, which we weren't exactly sure how to do that. Luckily there is a policeman who is a member (I actually knew him in my old area) who likes to park in the church parking lot to catch cars. We were able to call him and tell him what had happened. He called the deputy who has jurisdiction over the area our bikes were stolen from and we were able to make the report in person! We had a fun conversation with the deputy trying to explain how we don't actually own these bikes, but rather they are owned by the Church, but we are the ones who are in full use of them. She was very confused when we said they were owned by the church. She looked at us and said, "Well I can't put the victim down as Jesus." We wanted to tell her that she probably should since they are the Lord's bikes, but we figured that would just add to the confusion! Sister Webb and I have just laughed about this entire experience haha! So that's the story of how Columbia Sisters are no longer a biking area hahaha!!!

The other out of the ordinary experience we had this week was at Fort Jackson. During testimony one of the soldiers stood up and said a rap (that I'm assuming he wrote) as his testimony. Turns out he isn't a member and thought he was at a different church, but he's planning on coming back next week! But it was hard to keep a straight face, especially since I had never heard a rap testimony before! It was definitely one for the journal haha!!

Well I think that sums up my week pretty well!! Everything else was the usual... knocking on doors... appointments falling through... teaching our really cool nine year old investigator named J.! Well I guess we did have Zone Training Meeting which was out of the ordinary as well haha! It was good and we learned about serving the Lord with all our mind! Also we were asking J.'s mom, K., if she would give permission for J. to be baptized and she said she would if she thought he understood why he was getting baptized. He sat there and then explained baptism and the symbolism of it and answered all of his mom's questions, including what the sacrament was and why we need to take it every week! That really stood out to me and will be my spiritual experience for this week! I think a lot of times people get caught up in the complexity of things and we get to focused on what's this or what's that or who knows what, but really this Gospel is simple. When we break it down and focus on the basics, everything else falls in to place. We have been teaching J. in a totally different way because he is nine, but he's understood everything (even hard things) better than most of our adult investigators! He's a pretty special kid and it has taught me a lot about teaching simply! 

I hope that y'all have a great week! Know that I love y'all so much and am so grateful for your support! Have a marvelous week and hopefully you'll not have too many out of the ordinary adventures haha!

Love always,
Sister Amy Bennett :)

Sister Webb and I with a member who was being squished.

Me with our investigator's really cute little sister! :)