Tuesday, September 9, 2014

6 more weeks

July 28
On Sunday brother Butch Pagunsan got the priesthood! We went in and watched him receive it in Elder's Quorum and it was so cool! He was promised again that as he stays obedient his family will go to the temple :) Just working with their family alone has been so rewarding! We also took the most adorable picture of their 12 year old Andrie in front of the church with his white shirt, tie, and holding his scriptures and Duty to God! The changes and progress we've seen in them has been like miracle after miracle every single day. We walked by them the other day and all 6 of them were on the motorcycle! (Not unusual here..) but it was so cute because they all just looked So happy and seem to have this light about them. They are such special people, and I love them so much :) We've been able to work more with our investigator Corazon. I don't remember if I told you about her, but she has suffered her whole life from abuse from her son and husband and as we've worked with her over the last few weeks it's been Such a miracle to see the changes! She's been coming to church and when we walk past she looks so happy spending time with her family! The other night we were teaching her and I asked her if she felt any different, just because we've seen so many changes, and she just got the biggest smile on her face saying how much happier she is and how much things have changed. Then as we went on to talk about how much God loves her she just almost started crying, but also couldn't stop smiling because of how happy she is. It's been amazing for me to see the gospel really work in people's lives and see them change and find happiness. That really is all the gospel is about :) OH and almost the Most important thing...we had transfer announcements! So me and Sister Porter are going to stay together the next 2 weeks and nothing will change, so that will be tons of fun! BUT her replacement....is....SISTER MINER!!!!!! We are going to be companions again!! I am SO SO SO excited!! ha I just can't even hold it in :) Of course there are still challenges but I continue to learn everyday that the more I trust in Heavenly Father and stay obedient I'm so happy even when there are trials. I love you all so much and miss you tons!!
August 3
On Wednesday it was transfer day and there were very few transfers across the whole mission so when Sister Wilson transferred she had no one to go with, and she can't go by herself because it's dangerous. So me and Sister Porter were the lucky ones to bring her! ha We left our house at 8 am and got on 2 different buses, to finally end up in her new area of Malolos at noon! It took AGES, and I was starving and dizzy! But we did have a blessing.  It was super exciting because I got to see Sister Mabini! She's sister Wilson's new companion, which is funny becuase Sister Wilson is the trainee of Sister Surio, who is my trainee, and Sister Mabini is my trainer! So it's just staying in the family :) ha So it was fun to see her, because I probably won't ever again :( I really love her SO much!  Then
Thursday we had a service project with our district and it was super fun! We mixed cement to build a house. ha It was the first time I've ever done that and my body was so sore after, but it was super fun! It even started raining in the middle so that made it interesting..ha I really love the service here because it's things I will probably never do again in my whole life. Can you think of a single person in America who would invite the missionaries over to mix cement and build their house for them? haha It's more fun in the Philippines ;)
August 31
We also had a baptismal interview for Dominic and he passed!! They've had some problems getting all the paperwork done for the marriage sadly...but this wednesday they're supposed to get it all done, so hopefully it will all happen next Saturday!!!! I'm so so so excited :) They're for sure my favorite couple I've ever taught, I wish you could meet their baby Spade! He's basically my best friend. Michelle jokes that he thinks I'm his mom now because everytime he sees me he gets SO excited and starts screaming and running, and then whenever we say bye he like Screams crying! I love him so much :)
So the area is still doing awesome, I really don't even want to think that I might be leaving it! I'm still praying for some kind of miracle that I can stay :) But I guess we'll just see. The work is so rewarding though, I know that Heavenly Father is giving us so many blessings because we're doing our best...obedience really does bring blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles. I love you so much!!!
September 8
Hope you had a great week!! We had a pretty interesting week ourselves this week :) We had a big adventure on Wednesday!!! So when we came into the mission we got xrays done at the MTC, and then every missionary has to get them again 6 weeks before we go home to check that we don't have tuberculosis...so that was our adventure! Me, Sister Miner, and Sister Kalama went down to the MTC and got some xrays done. And good news...NO TB :) ha But it was so fun being back there and thinking about the great times we had together there, I can't believe how long it's been! We also snuck around the MTC a little bit and took some pictures of our old classroom and stuff :) haha It was so fun!

Sadly we did not have a wedding or baptism on Saturday because some things are still not done with paperwork...I honestly don't really know what the problem is but we're just trying to patiently wait :) However, we got a new investigator that is incredible! She lives with a member and is helping take care of their kids, and when we taught her the first time she was really interested and listened and loved everything, but we didn't quite know how much she wanted it. Then yesterday we went and taught her, and after we talked about the Book of Mormon she just starting crying to us saying that she feels like she's been lost and confused for so long and she finally feels like it's all coming together. And then she asked US when she can get baptized before we could even bring it up! It was so amazing. And her baptism date is set for October 11. OH I forgot!! I am NOT transferring and neither is Sister Miner!!! I am SO SO excited! I don't know how it'll work with a pull-in of sisters for the STL area, but I'm not really complaining :) ha I really feel like we have so much more to do here. I feel Heavenly Father helping us in the work everyday, and the miracles never stop.

Sister Benesch

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Hello everyone!
Honestly I can't really believe that I'm already emailing again..I almost don't know what to say because I feel like I just emailed! ha But it's been an incredible week :) Last Pday was super fun because we went souvenir shopping! Let me just say, ALL of you should be super excited ;) Then we started out our week great and had exchanges! We went to the sisters in the city though, and let me just say I never want to be assigned there. It was SO hot, so many people, dirty and crowded...but we still had fun. I worked with 2 sisters I've never worked with before so it was way fun to get to know them and learn from them. I have so much fun on exchanges just meeting tons of new people, it's great!

Then when we did work in our area it was great! Seriously the miracles just continue. We were teaching a less active that has had a really hard life. Since the beginning of teaching her she tells us "Sorry sisters, but I just can't change"..because since she was young and married she's suffered abuse from her husband and then even her son when he was older abused her many times. The stories she shares literally make me sick to my stomach...but it's incredible because as we teach her about the Atonement and our Savior she really is changing! She even prayed that her heart would be softened and she would not be guilty anymore, because she knows that it's wrong of her not to forgive. She's never said that before, or even admitted that she too had a part of forgiveness! It is so amazing to watch the gospel work in her life. So even though she says she can't change, she is! We're thinking to have her start writing a journal so that she too can see the changes...because it's so incredible!

We also had another incredible lesson with our investigator Rodel who's really been progressing. His baptism won't be awhile because we're helping him get over his word of wisdom problems..but he's incredible! We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation, and Bishop and his wife were there with us so that was awesome...but he just kept asking a lot of questions and every single one of them could be answered in the Book of Mormon. I didn't really realize it, it just felt like normal teaching, but then he commented that when he was asking these questions he really thought we wouldn't know the answer because it was hard and he doesn't know anyone that does know the answer...but then every time we did! He just held the Book of Mormon in his hands and said "this book really has everything"..It was so incredible! Such an awesome testimony building experience.
Then we had our first MLC (mission leadership committee) meeting with President Bertin and it was awesome! Honestly I missed President and Sister Sperry, but just listening to President and Sister Bertin I really felt that they truly are the ones called here right now. I think they're going to do incredible things with this mission, and I already love them so much!
We also had some awesome progress with the Pagunsan family! They're all baptized and the dad is working toward his baptism date...but one of their sons was having terrible pains in his head on Saturday night. While we were teaching he was just screaming and crying! So we called a member to come over and give a blessing, and sadly we couldn't stay because of curfew, but they told us the next day that immediately after the blessing he was just calm and slept peacefully all night! It was such a wonderful experience for their family. And then yesterday (at church) they were all fasting and paid their fast offerings and tithing without us even reminding them! And their 12 year old son was interviewed to receive the priesthood! It is just so incredible to watch their progress. I love them with all my heart.

This area just continues to grow and progress..it's so incredible! I'm so blessed to be here. Oh one funny thing...a lady I met at church asked if I was Brazilian..haha I honestly don't even know what people look like there but I get the feeling it's not like me...but it was funny :) Well I love you all so much!!! Thank you for all you do :)

Sister Benesch

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kisses from Elias

Hello there, Happy Anniversary mom and dad! :)
Hope you are all doing great, I miss you all TONS but I'm doing so good! I absolutely love this area. Literally we just see miracles happen every single day. We had an awesome week this week too...We had our first exchanges with the sisters and it was a blast! I worked with one sister I've never met before, but she's from Georgia and has this Awesome accent and is absolutely hilarious! So that was fun, and then on Thursday I worked with a sister that I worked with before in my last area so we're already close and it was a blast too. It's just so fun having exchanges and being able to see my own progression so far in the mission as I work with the other sisters and they look to me for advice..it's a lot of pressure but I've learned so much! It's crazy too with our schedule and how busy we are..I think I haven't eaten a real meal of food for like 5 days, and that was at McDonalds. ha So it's been crazy but it's fun :)
We have some Incredible people right now that we're teaching though! We have an investigator named Rodel and we're teaching him and his kids, and he seriously is so prepared! I might have told you a little about him already, but this week his lessons were just amazing. I love teaching him because as we teach he practically quotes back the doctrine with this huge smile on his face because he's so happy and excited to be learning it all! There are a few challenges we'll have to work through with him, but he's seriously incredible. I always walk out of lessons with him and his family thinking "This is why I'm here!" It's so great!
Then we have the Pagunsan family! They are my Favorite maybe on my entire mission!!! They're incredible :) They have 4 crazy little boys that are adorable and all of them have been baptized but the dad (I told you about him last time) but teaching this week was great because even though their boys are usually loud and crazy they're just listening better and better! Their little boy Elias is SOO cute too! He's 3 years old and he just like hangs on us as we teach kissing our cheeks over and over! haha I love him soo much :)
The members here are so great too. It's my first area that really everyone is just 100% willing to work with us whenever we need them, and we've never gone a week without getting referrals! And then they go with us to their referrals to teach! It's so incredible. I feel like that's why the work here is so incredible, because almost everyone we teach already has great friends in the church. So we're seeing so many miracles and blessings, we just come home every night completely exhausted and happy :) But I miss you and love you all!! Thank you for all you do :)

Sister Benesch

Dance Team

Hello Hello, first off...I can't believe that this is the last week of June!! Time flies. Second, how are you all? I am doing so great, I absolutely LOVE it here! Honestly sometimes last transfer I kind of felt like I needed to be somewhere else and had a hard time connecting to the area...now that I've transfered here I feel so strongly that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. The area is exploding in work and I know that I will see so many miracles here! The members are great, the investigators are great, and the work is just progressing so much! It's been an incredible first week here :)
So for some stories...The first full day after I got here Sister Porter had to go get Xrays (this is her last transfer!!) and so I hung out with another sister who's companion also went. We woke up early and traveled for about an hour to meet them, then me and her went back to our apartment for a few hours and just kinda studied and hung out, and then we went back to the meeting point.
Then on Saturday we had a full day of work and we just went everywhere in our area contacting referrals and finding people to teach, and we got 10 new investigators!! It was incredible! Me and Sister Porter both feel that we're being so blessed, people are practically being thrown at us to teach, it's so great! We also were able to give 6 new baptismal dates and so we have high hopes for a lot of baptisms :)
Also, it's hilarious because there are 6 people in our house and 5 are Americans! So all of us want to lose weight..(the poor single Filipina is in training..ha But she's great!!) But my new housemate is SISTER KALAMA!!!!! (YES I get to live with her and I'm SO excited!!! It's a blast!!) But anyway..she has these workout videos that we all do together and it's hilariosu! We call it our dance team :) haha So it's been so much fun. Hopefully I'll finally lose the rice belly I got here!
And finally, we got really exciting news yesterday from the ward! We have 2 families we're teaching that either the mom or dad is a member and the other is wanting to be baptized, but they both need to be married still!! It's so hard here...but the ward said they'd take care of all the paperwork online and pay for it! SO hopefully we'll be having a double wedding and baptism on July 26!! We're so excited about that...it'll be my first (and probably last) wedding and I absolutely can't wait. Pray for that one :) ha So everything is really going amazing here, we're working so hard! Hopefully we can keep up with everything...I think Heavenly Father trusts us a lot. There are so so so many miracles everyday :)
I love you and miss you all so much, thank you for everything!!! Hope you're having a great week :) LOVE YOU!

Sister Benesch

PS Here are some pictures of me and Sister Porter and then the sisters in our house ..haha It's such a blast!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Transfer to San Jose Del Monte

Hello everybody!!
Hope all is going well, sorry I couldn't talk to you today, we had a sports fest thing at the church this morning with our zone so we couldn't email till now, but this week was pretty good! It started out pretty interesting on Tuesday when we had to suddenly take a 2 hour trip to one of the zones close to us for a sister having some problems...so that was interesting! So we rode a jeep up there and talked to her, ate some dinner and then came home. ha It was so tiring, but it was the first time we actually had a problem so that's pretty good for a whole transfer! It felt good too being able to help her out and just by talking to her about everything I could see everything I've learned being here and how much I've changed...I'm getting pretty smart here ;) ha So that was interesting...
Then the rest the week we just had normal work. It was our first full week in our area the whole transfer so honestly it was kind of long trying to find things to do, but it was good too because we were able to get some new investigators and really work hard with our investigators and people here, so although it was hot and tiring it was rewarding :) Then on Saturday I learned that it was Father's Day this weekend pala!! I didn't even know..ha So HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD! Hope you had a great day, I love you so much :) Luckily, unlike last year, I didn't cry at church this year when they did the little Father's Day presentation, so I'm getting better! ha Hope it was good though for you guys at home.
And then finally...yesterday I got my news. I am transferring!!! Ya I didn't believe the zone leaders when they told me, I fought them to see the papers with transfers on it, but it's true! So I was only one transfer here, and now I'll be transferring to San Jose Del Monte, and there are some pretty good things about that. First, it's back with some mountains and more trees so it will be cooler, and second, I will have a temple day again!! Woo :) That's what I'm most excited about. I'm excited too because my new companion is Sister Porter, and she's from Logan! She's super nice and we talk about how great Cache Valley is..ha This will be her last transfer so it'll be the first missionary I "kill" and I'm pretty excited! I think it'll be a great transfer :)
So then today for my last Pday here we went to SM (the big mall here) and had a delicious lunch that Angie got us,
and I bought a couple new skirts since mine are pretty worn out after the last 14 months..ha and just had a good day :) I'm honestly pretty tired now, and don't even want to think about packing, but I'm excited for my new adventure. And I'm pretty sure this will be my last area, which is so weird to think about! It'll be good.
Sorry this email is so short, I don't have many stories...OH WAIT. I do have a story....this will make dad laugh ;) So every Tuesday we have follow-up calls with our district leader, so I was talking to him on the phone when I saw a RAT in our house! We've had a problem for awhile seeing the poop and stuff but I'd never actually seen it, and this time I DID. I immediately jumped on a chair screaming my head off! My poor DL just on the phone, probably holding it like 5 feet away, tried to tell me how to get rid of it and then honestly I don't know what else he said but I just ended up hanging up..haha And so I made sister Lorenzo come down and make room under this door that goes outside for it to go out (at this time it was under our fridge) and of course it wasn't coming out after my screaming...so she said "Alright. You have two choices. To stand on that chair all night and sleep there with the rat, or come down and we'll go upstairs and sleep nice with our door closed." Well it took a few minutes trying to convince myself, but I got down and ran up the stairs making this sound of have screaming half something I can't even explain...Sister Lorenzo literally just fell down laughing so hard at me! So basically I am way more scared of rats than I thought I was, but I blame it on dad! Because I think I recall a story of him jumping on the table when he saw a little mouse...haha :) So that was interesting. But that's about it... Oh and I also found out this week that Lea Salonga is my hero. If you don't know who she is, she's the voice behind almost ALL the Disney princesses and is Incredible. Her voice makes my heart want to explode...thanks to Angie forcing me to listen to her song. (Don't worry, I repented) haha Just kidding, but seriously she's incredible. Just look her up :) Well...
Hope you're all doing great, I love you and miss you all so much!!!
Sister Benesch

PS here is me and Angie earlier at the church, and then the perfect comparison of "American size" and "Filipino size" hahaha Hilarious :

The girl with the "red sweaty face"

Hello everyone, hope you're all doing great!
So this week had a lot of mixed feelings, but I'll focus on the good :) On Wednesday we had exchanges again and this time we went to...BALIWAG!!! I was so excited!! Actually first we went to a different area in that zone called Bustos and had exchanges with the sisters there. It was so much fun because I worked with Sister Deguplo who is still training, and I love working with trainees! They're just so excited to work and do their best and usually have no problems, and she was just like that! We had fun together. There was one appointment we tried to go to, and the jeep ride was like 45 minutes (their area is HUGE!) and so that was crazy, but we ended up at the house of this Tatay (old man) that was just adorable! You know how I'm kinda weird about cute old people..haha But anyway, he's an investigator, but the only reason he's not baptized is because he can't pay to go to church every sunday because it's so far. But in less than a week he'd read from Alma to Ether! He's awesome. He also gave me a fan because of my "red sweaty face"..haha Embarrassing. Anyway, there was no girl home so we couldn't teach, but we told him we'd walk up the street to his daughter in law's house and he could follow later, because we can't walk together...so anyway we're waiting there when we see him coming all slow, but he just wanted us to teach him so bad he was asking everyone! Sadly no one was willing, including his daughter in law so we just had to leave...that was sad. But Sister Deguplo bought mangos from him so he had money to go to church! He was great. And the other great part about working in that area is that Elder Liu is their neighbor!!! ha I was so excited to see him again, he's hilarious :)

Then on Thursday they had a CSP so I got to hang out more with my buddy...and although it was hot working out weeding and digging up tree stumps it was fun. Actually on Monday I got sick, and then until Saturday I didn't get better, so at the CSP I was kinda at my height of sickness and it was a little miserable...I cried that morning secretly in the bathroom because I didn't want to go. ha But I was ok. ha THEN I got to work with Sister Pristopher back where I grew up in the mission! I actually lived with her before when I was companions with Sister Patrus, she's also Pakistani and she's hilarious! I absolutely love her :) So we had fun. After we taught the lessons they'd planned for that day we went to visit some of my old friends, and so I got to see Sister Rosanna who I love SO much, and her nanay!! They were so excited to see me :) And even though they're so poor they bought us pizza! Actually Nanay was funny...I left her some earrings when I left the area and she told me that she keeps them safe for when she goes out with her friends and then she makes sure to tell everyone that they come from America :) haha She's still less active but she's hilarious and I love her anyway!! And then I saw Melanie, she was a YSA that I was so close with and it was just so fun! I felt like I got a little taste of how it'd be getting home...going so long not seeing someone you love and then when you see them you realize just how much you missed them! I was so happy :) So it was sad to say bye...but it was great to see them.
So besides that, we didn't get much done in our own area because when we got home Friday I was still doing terrible and so we just took a sick day..but it was good because I got better and then we could work a full day on Saturday :) But yesterday at church was hilarious because one of our investigators brought her adorable son who is like 3 or 4...and all during sacrament he was so cute! Whenever we'd sing he'd get up and grab the hymnbook and then climb back on the bench and open it to a random page and start signing along. Then during prayers he'd fold his little hands in his lap and bow his head then look up every once in awhile to see if it was over..(yes, I was peeking ;) haha) And it just melted my heart! Little kids are so precious :) So I had lots of fun hanging out with him at church. The only problem with his parents is they're not married yet and his dad doesn't really show much interest..but his mom is ready to go! So we're just waiting...but his dad is starting to show more and more interest so hopefully soon :)
So the work is going good, sadly no baptisms yet on the horizon...ha but hopefully some coming since we're done with exchanges and have a couple solid weeks until they start again! But I love you all so much!!! Hope you had fun in Moab and are having a good summer :)
Sister Benesch

PS Elder Liu said to say Hello just as always :) ha And then I thought you may want to see my big fat swollen hand with the rash I had when I was sick....the joys of serving in the hottest place EVER. But don't worry, it's normal now :)

Email from June 1

Hello everybody :)
I can't believe it's already June!! That means that it's summer now there and in just a few more months your Favorite Sister Benesch will be coming home! But I'm not counting ;) ha Actually this week was really good. I got to go to my first MLC (mission leadership council) and it was actually way fun! The workshops on leadership were so good, but actually most of the day was just about us as missionaries. How we can really be excited about the work and do our best. It was a good day to just think about all I've been able to do while I've been here and set goals for what I want to be able to do with the time I have left. And then the food was great for lunch so that just made everything ;) ha But it really was great to be able to see that side of the mission and just how much work so many people put into this for all these investigators and less-actives and they just don't even know it...Heavenly Father spends a lot of time trying to show us what to do in life and sometimes we just don't even notice.
And then on Saturday we had mission tour with Elder Craig C. Christensen and it was so fun! I really like him, his talk was great and then with Elder Ardern there too it was so motivating to keep doing our best in this work. They talked a lot about obedience and diligence and how we just don't have time anymore to do anything that may divert the work of the Lord. It was so great! I felt real pumped that day to keep going hard even though it's So hot :) ha Luckily it's getting closer to rainy season!! I think my very favorite part of mission tour though was when Elder Christensen was bearing his testimony about President Monson. At one point he was saying that he wished we could see the man he is behind the pulpit, and then he said "he is a minister." It was such a simple phrase but really touched my heart. I truly know that President Monson has been called of God and he is our greatest example on earth for us right now. He is such a great example of service and loving others and sharing the gospel. I really love him so much! So that was really powerful, and then it was also fun to be with the whole mission and see so many of my friends!! I didn't realize how much I missed them till I saw them, so we took lots of pictures and had so much fun..but sadly I forgot my camera. So maybe next week I can send some :)
Also a great story from this week...I don't remember if I told you a couple weeks ago about the elders taking 45 minutes to guess my first name and I owed them ice cream, but now they just say it all the time randomly to like catch me off guard, and it's so weird!! ha
So besides all that, the work is going pretty good. Honestly right now is a little hard with very little progress with our investigators and less actives, and I just don't really know what else to do..but we're going to keep trying with tracting and finding activities.
Sorry this email is so short, I just can't really think of stories from this week!! But I love you all so much, I couldn't be here without you!! Happy Summer :)

Sister Benesch