Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We are so blessed

Hello Family!!
Well today my email will be a little short so that I still have some stories for tomorrow when I get to SKYPE you!!!! AHH :) :) This week was probably one of the weeks I learned the Most in my whole mission. Honestly I feel like I changed as a person just in a week..ha But I had some great experiences. Well last Wednesday was pretty hard, but I really felt Heavenly Father's love for me so much, and I realized just how much I need to rely on Him every single day. At the Christmas Conference I got to see all my friends!!!! Sister Miner and Sister Kalama will probably be my best friends for the rest of my life.
Also at Christmas conference we got to watch the movie Ephraim's rescue and it was INCREDIBLE!! I pretty much bawled through the whole thing..ha But it was so so so good. It amazed me how he was always so prepared to do whatever he could, and was always worthy to use that gift God had given him. Watching all that the pioneers went through crossing the plains made me so grateful for all I have here..because sometimes I feel pretty down but I see that I really am so so blessed.
Also this week I think I got hit with death as I call it...when I get colds here it is like ridiculous..It literally feels like there is cement in my nose and my cough sounds like I have whooping cough or bronchitis or something..it's terrible! But we just keep working and I'm getting better slowly :) I get rashes on my hands too which is pretty weird...but hey I figure it's just one of those other perks of serving in the Philippines.
Also some news on our investigators...we have one named Daizel that is like our best friend! Actually we were going to drop her, but we decided to go back one more time before Christmas and we were talking to her about some of her concerns, and found out that she really does want to get baptized just had heard some rumors about the church so we talked about it and she accepted a baptism date!!! We were Shocked and so so excited!!!! This really is God's work..I am so excited :) Well family I love you so much..I finally opened my Christmas package!! THANK YOU!!!! Literally all the beauty products...probably the Best gift I could ever get. I actually feel Clean now!! ha Maybe I'll try to make it last so that before I come home I can try to clean myself and not smell too bad when I get home ;) Thank you so so much!! I love you so so much, and I cannot wait to talk to you tomorrow!!!!!!!! MERRY MERRY Christmas I love you so much!!!! :)
Love,
Sister Benesch


 Merry Christmas from the San Mateo missionaries!!
OH And do you see the American, Elder Jones? I found out he was best friends with Chris in elementary!! ha Do Holly and Rohn recognize him? It was pretty cool to talk about my family with someone that knew them :)
And then the other pictures is the little girls of the Tripoli family (my Favorite family I've ever met in my life) and this was our Christmas with them...I seriously cannot explain the feelings of love and gratitude I had as we celebrated with them...they are so so grateful for the little they have, and they're willing to give it all. Man I love the people here!!! Love you :)

Christmas Caroling

Hello family!!!
Well sadly I'm trying to SQUISH my email into short time we have today because we got to go to the TEMPLE!!!

And we're busy...so I'll try to fit in stories but sorry if this one is a little shorter!!!
First, I want to tell dad my big news of the week! One memory I have very vividly is when you were trying to teach me to take pills and I just couldn't, so you yelled at me. WELL This week I hit swallowing 5 at one time! So that was an accomplishment :) Anyway...besides that, this week was pretty good! We've had a ton of meetings and activities so we haven't had a ton of work, but it's been fun. Actually on our one full day of work this week we were able to teach sister Grace and her family again and it went Great! We found her so prepared, then she was just kind of dying on us...it was so so sad to see Satan immediately attacking and taking her down, when we knew their family was ready. Then our schedule got busy and because she was no longer progressing we didn't go to her, but we did this week and she was So excited to see us! She told us how much she missed us and how guilty she felt that she hadn't gone to church because she knows that this is the church where she needs to be. She promised to come to church and begin reading the Book of Mormon, and we also were able to talk to her about getting married to her husband so that she'd be ready for baptism, and when we told her it'd be free at the church she was SO excited!! The spirit was so strong, and I really do know that she'll be a member. It'll be hard, but I think she's getting stronger now. I'm so grateful :)
Also this week we were able to start our Christmas Caroling! As a district we go to each other's areas different nights and carol with Santa hats and it is So much fun!! We have been able to meet a lot more people that we hadn't before, actually tonight is in our area so hopefully we can get some great new potential investigators!! OH and speaking of Christmas..I got the Watt's package this week. Tell them thank you so much!!! The pajamas are adorable :) I love you people :)

Alright so for the last story...tomorrow is our Christmas conference with the mission and I'm SO excited!! Us four sisters have planned out our dance...and it's going to be awesome!! Me and Sister Surio start out singing lines to the little mermaid song all changed up...sounds like this "I've got bug bites on my arms a plenty..I've got heat rash and fungus galore. You want lice in your hair? I've got plenty! There it is, I found one, nope there's more!..." and so on. ha And then Sister Bautista and Criste come in with You Don't Know You're Beautiful and we all start dancing...anyway all of it put together is awesome!!! It'll be hilarious. I'll send pictures for sure :) I'm really becoming a real pop star! haha Just kidding :)
And I guess one more fun fact...every once in awhile there's TONS of cats all crying at the same time, and one morning I asked Sister Surio "Do you know why all those babies are crying?" hahaha I obviously need more experience with animals.. anyway. I'm learning a lot here :) I love you all so much. I know without a doubt that this church is true. I had an amazing experience in the temple today and I know that the name I went through for accepted the Gospel on the other side. This is God's kingdom here on earth. I love you so much!!!
Love,
Sister Benesch


PS. these pics are...The BEAUTIFUL waterfall we went to last week, me and Sister Surio in our Adorbs christmas hats, and us at the temple this morning at about 5:30 :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

All I want for Christmas is more lice shampoo, more lice shampoo, ...

Hello Family!!!! AHHH malapit na ang pasko!! I am so excited for Christmas :)
How are you all doing?? SO this week was pretty crazy. I have TONS of stories, and sadly I had lots of pictures to go with those stories but the computer shop we're at we can't connect our cameras so there are none today :( BUT the stories are still pretty  great! I guess I'll start with myself, I am a walking pharmacy. ha So pretty much every morning I shower (of course) and then I put on my heat rash powder, my fungus cream on my feet (now Chels isn't the only fungus foot! gross..) and NOW I have added lice shampoo and a little comb. Yes, that's right, I got hit with lice for the first time ever and I think I want to die. So the first day we figured out why my head was SO itchy all the sisters were around me with the combs...usually a normal case of lice has about 4-5 little lice, or atleast under ten. But not me, I'm special when I get little illnesses or weird things. I think I had for sure more than 30 and there were some BIG ones that you had to kill on the paper and there was blood and everything! Grabe.... As in you cannot understand. It was terrible!! So I've been dealing with that this week, and the number has gone down but I still get a few each day, luckily they're dying off now :) The day we found them was exciting though, because we came home and washed EVERYTHING, boiled everything, and washed my sheets and towels with hot water...however that meant I had to do it pot by pot of boiling water from our little stove because we don't have hot water..ha It was nuts!! So that was good times. Then besides that I just have vitamins and calcium supplements I have to take on top of my prescription...It nuts! But it really is so much fun :)
My next story is about a funeral we went to. A lady in the ward passed away so we went to the family's house for a necrology, and it was so so sad!! Her and her kids were members, but her husband wasn't. During the program he just started crying and crying and I felt so bad! I had to hold in tears myself...but it just really got me thinking about life and how much time we waste in our lives with the things that aren't important. Worrying about jobs, school, things other people do to us...there is SO much more than this life here and if we actually understood the eternities and God's plan I think we'd be so much happier. Me and Sister Surio started reading the Bible Dictionary every companion study to start connecting the Bible stories to Book of Mormon and it's been a HUGE learning experience to actually know the gospel and feel so much more that we truly do have a Heavenly Father who loves us. He has a plan for all of us, and all we have to do is trust Him and then watch that plan unfold in our lives according to His will..it's amazing!
Then today was pretty fun! We had a zone activity and we went to this crazy old church that the muslims used way back when the spanish came in and were driving them out..it's up in the mountains hidden away and it's beautiful! Then we went to Wawa dam which is....describable. It is gorgeous!! It's so green, high in the mountain, and just tons of water around these white rocks you can climb on and then a huge waterfall..I wish so bad i could send pictures! Even though it doesn't do it justice, it's incredible :) There are so so many beautiful places here, I'm so lucky to be here!!
Then just for a few random things...There's this old filipina woman that's probably like 4'7'' and every time we pass her on the street she laughs and points at me saying "Amerikana!" and I have no idea why!! haha It's pretty funny though :) and we saw Beth again!!!! Ah she's HILARIOUS. She invited us to her house this sunday for a party so I'll let you know how that goes ;) OH ps my next 3 pdays will be different...next week it will be wednesday for our temple day, the next wednesday for CHRISTMAS AND I CAN SKYPE YOU!!!! (I'll let you know what time maybe next week), and then the next Tuesday for transfers....crazy that I'll be done with training Sister Surio, it's gone crazy fast! SO ya, just so you don't expect emails sunday night and they don't come :) Oh also, I spoke in sacrament yesterday about Christlike attributes and realized I have a LOT more to improve before I come home ;) I'll keep working! ha But I love you all so so much, thank you for all the support!!! See you SOON!! Over computer atleast :) ha
LOVE,
Sister Benesch

I totally forgot to tell you about our baptism!! It was a success....for the Philippines :) meaning, there were only us missionaries, the bishop and ward mission leader there. None of our speakers showed up, but it still went pretty good!! Gelo and Red were both SO excited, and the spirit was so strong. They're amazing people :) And Gelo's wife had her baby last week that we got to meet and he's ADORABLE! Man I miss holding babies...so so cute :) I'll try to send pictures next week!! love you all :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving Ice Cream

Hello family!!!
 Well we finally found out when actual Thanksgiving was and got to celebrate....by ourselves!! :) haha It actually was really fun though! We had follow-up training that day which was really good, and we got actual American pizza and I literally almost cried...Then after we got home and did studies we taught a lesson. We taught a part-member family about temples and it was so cool! Sister Lani was just baptized with their 2 daughters a year ago so she's getting ready to go, and then Tatay (that's dad in Tagalog) is our investigator but he's no where near progressing..ha but he actually was interested for this lesson, so I hope it planted a seed in him :)
And then after that Sister Surio and I sprinted to the palegke to buy Christmas decorations and our "thanksgiving feast" to surprise the other sisters!!! We decorated our adorable apartment, and then had a feast of ice cream, chocolate sauce, and candy!! So it wasn't quite a turkey Christmas (which would be impossible since they don't have turkey here..ha) but we had a blast! Sister Surio made all our investigators talk about what they're grateful for in our lessons, and it was hilarious :) ha
 Also this week we had stake conference, and they let the missionaries go to the adult session! It was so great, one of the speakers was the 2nd councelor (is that spelled right??) and he's this HUGE guy, who started off his talk describing all this delicious food and making these little noises with how delicious it sounded..I was like peeing my pants! Anyway, he related it to sharing the gospel with our friends, because the gospel really is the "sweetest, purest fruit" they can partake of. It was a great talk! And then they had a choir. Sadly..a lot of filipinos are kind of tone deaf..so they did pretty good and it was a pretty song, however me and Sister Surio were a little bit irreverant. She kept whispering "do you see that Nanay with one tooth??" hahaha and then this old man was walking by with his pants way high, and his daughter reaches out, grabs him by the pants and pulls him into the bench so fast he looked like he'd actually had a heart attack!! Poor little guy..haha So I was already giggling..(Yes, I know it's bad) and then the choir hit their last note. It was literally like in the cartoons when it breaks glass!! I could not for the life of me hold in my laughter!! The elder behind me was like "Sheesh Sister Benesch control yourself, you'll offend the nanays!" But it was so funny :) Man it was good times. Then on Sunday sadly was a little boring, but one of our less-actives came and I got him to wear a white shirt and tie!! He didn't before because he was offended, and it was quite childish, but he didn't want to 'show respect to the bishop'...so I just talked with him about how it's Christ's church and everything we do is for our Heavenly Father. So he showed up looking real nice and I was so proud :) He's about 60 so I told him I was proud and he looked real guapo and he just punched my arm..haha Atleast he obeyed :)

We also have an Amazing new family of investigators!! Sister Grace was an investigator before but moved before her baptism, but she moved back and we started teaching her, and her husband and they have 6 kids with the oldest 8 years old! So we have baptism dates for those 3 at the end of this month and I'm so excited!! Their kids are Crazy but so adorable, so it's quite a circus when we teach there but we have fun :) I just feel so much love there! They also have a son with down syndrome, and whenver we go he yells "Sisters!! Kumusta?!" and he's so excited we're there! He's my new little buddy here. So they're progressing, and then we have 2 baptisms this Saturday which I'm way excited for! Brother Red and Gelo, they passed their interviews (wheew..) and now we're just waiting for Saturday. They're so hilarious, I'm so happy for them :)
 Besides that nothing else really happened this week...but I really am absolutely loving everything. It's such a crazy adventure everyday, but I'll just have lots and lots of stories for when I get home! Happy birthday month Donald!! Next year I'll make up for my lack of presents this year ;) Oh also I learned I have no talents...ha We're trying to prepare something for the talent show we're having at our Christmas conference and I tried dancing, singing, acting...Sister Surio laughed at everything! But I think the 4 sisters in our apartment are going to all sing together and it'll be great :) I'll let you know what we end up deciding!! But I did feel pretty worthless...ha not really I'll just work harder and improving the little bit of talent I do have and blow you all away when I get home! I love you all SO MUCH! Thanks for everything :)
Love,
Sister Benesch



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crazy lady and flesh eating fish

Hello hello everybody :)
This week was pretty great, a little slow honestly...but alright! We didn't have quite as much teaching as we usually get, however we now have 4 investigators progressing to baptism, and for here that is like Amazing!! I am so so excited :) We have Sister Grace, her daughter, and then Gelo and Red that will now be getting baptized December 7. So there isn't a ton of work going on, but we atleast have them and they're all way solid so we're pretty excited about that :)
Also this week, for some reason me and Sister Surio thought it was Thanksgiving. haha Needless to say we were VERY disappointed when we found out it wasn't, but hey we still have it this week! And it's the same day as follow-up training so I think we'll get some kind of celebration! It's kinda hard here because Filipinos don't celebrate it, and so all the Americans in our zone want to do something, but the filipinos don't and so it's kinda causing problems...so we'll see if we do anything. But we have follow-up training so I'll get to see Sister Tupa'i and eat some good food so it'll be good :) ALSO, I am writing my "Thankful Journal" to send you in the mail to put in the binder so I'm not left out this year!! So be looking for that.
And now today....we had a pretty crazy zone activity earlier! We went to this spa/resort place where we played on this playground and it was Way super fun..haha And then we got to stick our feet in this pond and the fish would come and nibble on your feet! It was so cool...so we sat there for like an hour with fish eating our feet :)
haha It didn't hurt, it just tickled way bad!! But it was pretty awesome.
AND my very very favorite story now for the week....We got this new investigator named Beth, and actually I don't know if she's new because we're not going back, but the whole time we were there I just thought about Syd. Sydney, you would have been peeing your pants!! So she stopped us on the street and starts talking to us in english, but she sounds just like sid the sloth!!! And her hair is combed Straight back and then she has this long dress and socks with flip-flops..haha I was holding in my laughter. So she says she really wants to go to church but doesn't know where the mormon church is here, so we got way excited and asked if we could come in and teach her and she let us...well. She is CRAZY. Like she really is insane... We sat down and started the lesson and she just talked and talked and talked without a break for about 30 minutes and I can't say everything she said, because all of it I was like Dying trying to hold in my laughter!! But I will tell you she used the words "erotic dances" (while doing movements) and told us how babies are formed and then how the woman gives birth, all these crazy medical things, and then there was this little girl that was walking around with one of those eye masks you sleep with just with her arms straight out bumping into things...haha It was the craziest thing ever! But probably one of my favorite lessons of my Whole mission because it was so so hilarious! She also had these statues that I think were supposed to be Adam and Eve, but it was just a naked man and naked woman...Man me and Sister Surio were dying afterwards. Just everything about it was hilarious because of what she was saying, and talking like sid the sloth Only in english-she refused to speak Tagalog for some reason-and then the outfit and hair. I just wish Sydney was there to meet her :) (Syd I think I will nickname you Beth now instead of Gale ;) haha) So it was a pretty good week, not too eventful, but I'm doing great and just loving it still :) I love you all so so much and hope you have a great week!!!
Love,
Sister Benesch


PS here's us sittin at the fishy pond :) And I had to send another of my feet so you can see how bad my tan lines are getting..I think they'll be there the rest of my life!!! haha

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bowling, Sushi, & Ice Cream - Now that's living

Hello everybody!! Man this week really was way crazy, I can't even think where to start. I made a list so I'll start at the top, this email might just be all over the place as I try to fit everything in. First off, last night we had a goodbye party for and elder in our ward that's going home, and we had this frosting fight that was hilarious and so much fun!! However then they made me eat balut again...and it wasn't quite as bad as last time but I still don't think I like it very much! Also this week, one night we were walking home and there's a certain area we walk by that there's a lot of kuyas (just look up the word kuya) ha but they all know us, and so we're walking by and then I start hearing my name being yelled from some house, and then another one like turns and bows at us as we walk by...hahaha I get some of the funniest responses here being american. But don't worry about it, I'm totally safe mom :) Then today was WAY fun! Because there are lots of people going home we went bowling
and out to a Delicious korean/chinese/asian food place that was so so delicious.
In the center of the table they have this hot palet that you put all you can eat fish, meats...basta asian foods and it cooks it. They had unlimited sushi and ice cream..it was so good! So today was a ton of fun, and definitely something we needed to just relax and have fun :) Because I do have some really good friends going home that I'm so sad about..but I guess it's just part of the mission.
Now I want to talk about Tacloban though. That was where the huge typhoon was...(Oh and I found out Sister Mabini's family is all ok, however they're now struggling with food. But no one died so I was SO relieve!!) However there's a few stories I want to share. This week I've seen so many images and heard stories that have just ripped my heart out. There's an elder here who lost every single member of his family and his home. He of course is staying here because he has nothing to go home to, but it is SO so sad..I just wanted to cry for him, I actually served with him in Baliwag and he is only like 2 transfers into the mission. I just want to cry right now talking about it..he's SO so so great and I feel so bad. Also, Elder Howey's companion's brother was there (all the missionaries are being transferred in the Manila mission, Quezon City, and ours) and so they got to go talk to his brother and others at the MTC while they were staying there. He told me one story about a sister who said that they were right in the center of the storm, but when it started they went to the top of their house thinking they'd be safe from the floods. Within 10 minutes the water was up the stairs and there was no way out because most the windows here have bars over them. They literally thought they were going to die..so they knelt and prayed, then noticed a small space in the wall covered by a wood plank. The sister was samoan, so she ran at the wall and busted it, and then they all clawed (I say that because Elder Howey said she showed him her bruised and scabbed hands from literally clawing out of the cement walls) and they all managed to get out as the water rose and swim to safety... I can't even imagine. I just here these stories and see on the news how terrible it is. I know if I were at home I'd feel bad, but then move on with life. Here it's my people now. I can understand what they're saying when they're heartbroken and wondering if their families are ok...or if anyone is even still alive. I'm sorry I don't want this to be a sad email, it's just really effected me, and I've realized how to really be humble and appreciative of all we have. I've learned so much being here, I couldn't be more grateful. Family I love you so much! Remember that this is the One true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today, and that we have a living prophet leading it today. Stay worthy and ready, you never know what could happen. I love you all with all my heart, and I am LOVING it here so much!!! I'm in love with missionary work :)
LOVE,
Sister Benesch

PS This is me and my awesome friends bowling and eating at the asian place with the COOLEST asian ever, Elder Wu who's going home :(

Monday, November 11, 2013

How to kill a snake

Hello family, I hope you are all doing great!  Sister Surio and I are going to be best friends forever and go on awesome family vacations together :) ha She's really great. I had lots and lots of great experiences this week though, and I really do know that being here is the Only thing for me right now-it brings me So so much happiness. I am in love with missionary work :) It will test you to your very limits...but the rewards truly are like in my call "happiness that I have not yet known." It's amazing!
So a few funny things I'd like to share this week...I learned the Filipino way to kill snakes!! haha We were walking down this road when all these men stopped us, then we saw a big gross snake in the road. So they throw a board on it and then call in all the jeepnies!! They run it over one by one, and after each jeep they check to see if it's dead. They're all checking it and yelling "Python iyan!!" and not letting us walk by, but it really wasn't a python :) ha It was just so funny to watch them all freaking out. But I think then Heavenly Father wanted me to see how it felt and the other experience is ME freaking out! We were walking to an appointment the other night and saw these 2 HUGE rats running around the streets and down the gutters. I literally couldn't even walk, I had no idea what to do. Sister Surio too...we were SO scared! Then she just takes off running down the road leaving me there with the rats running around, so I couldn't even breath and was like screaming running after her! This man was watching us and I'm sure he was very confused about what was going on and the crazy American running around screaming from a few rats... haha It was gross!!
We also had some really great spiritual experiences this week that really helped me remember why I'm really here. There's a family in our ward, the Tripoli family, and they are my very favorite!! My heroes really :) They're so poor, but SO so strong. (I sent a picture a couple weeks ago with one of the little girls) but we walked by last night and Pingky told us that they were having some problems.. SO there's Nanay (the grandma) and then her two daughters and son, and then all the grandchildren..all living together that we visit each of them. Sorry if you're confused :) But we found out they were having problems so we shared with Nanay, Grace (one of her daughters) and then Pingky's kids and had the most spiritual lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked a lot about Faith, and about the healing power of Repentance. Not just for our sins, but also for all of our pains in life. I was able to share this scripture that I had only found that morning in my studies and they were crying and the spirit really was so strong. I know that I will love them forever, and I know that those are the reasons why I've been called here. I am so so grateful that I have this chance to be an instrument of the hands of the Lord to bring such peace and happiness to people's lives.
Now about today...It's still morning but we've already been partying hard here in the Philippines! ha We woke up this morning at 3:15...yes 3:15 am. The elders picked us up at our apartment and we hiked up this mountain, we got to the top about 6 for the sunrise!! However...it was so smoggy and rainy that we didn't even see it, it just was all the sudden light! haha A little disappointing...and literally it was straight up for 2 hours..I didn't think I'd be able to make it really! But we still had lots of fun, and then afterwards we were able to go to the other missionary's bishop's house for buko! Or, baby coconut! ha They got them down straight from the tree and chopped them open then we drank the coconut water and scraped out the buko, and they also had the brown ones that the coconut is a little harder, and that's my favorite way to eat it! Anyway it was absolutely delicious.
So needless to say, I am doing fantastic. I know that this is where God has called me to serve Him, and as long as I stay faithful and do my very best I can be successful, and happier than I can imagine. I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have of the Gospel and the light it brings into my life. I know that this church is true, I know that God is our Heavenly Father and loves us, I know that He truly has a plan for all of us. I couldn't be more grateful for all that I have. I love you all so so much!!! Take care :)

Love,
Sister Benesch


PS this might just be the best picture so far on my mission :) There was a way cool waterfall too up where we were but sadly the program on this computer changed and my camera won't show up...So I'll have to figure that out..

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Before the Typhoon

We just received a quick note from Carly this week so I did not post it.  Even though she did not say anything about it, I think they were busy getting ready for the big storm.  She did send some photos though.
Carly preparing Tilapia.  Her cousin Robbie will be proud.

She got to go to the Temple.  This will now be a monthly occurrence in her new area.

Here she is with the other Sisters in her house.

We received an email yesterday (11/9) that all the missionaries in her mission are fine and safe.  They just received a lot of rain from this massive Typhoon.  We are hoping for a new email on Sunday night.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Carly and Trixie, Sittin' in a Tree ...

Hello hello everybody,
Man this week was Crazy!! We have not had near enough time to get everything done that we need to, but we've done a LOT and had some great great experiences. It was so great :)
So first I'll tell you why I'm emailing later today...we had a Way fun Pday at Avilon Zoo! It's pretty close to the status of Hogle Zoo, so it's pretty good.
We saw lots of way awesome animals and it was fun just to relax and have fun after the crazy week we had. AND I met my new best friend, Trixie!! She's the chimpanzee that I have those Awesome pictures with, she was so great! haha She'd smile at you and give high fives and kisses, it was so awesome!
But now about our amazing crazy week.
I've really really felt so blessed to have Sister Surio as my trainee. As a missionary it's pretty much inevitable that you will hit a point where you kinda start slacking just a little, just because of getting used to everything and it starting to feel a little robotic..ha But me and her have made a goal to just keep working our very very hardest and really strive to do All that we can for the people we're teaching, and I can say that as soon as you give your all...plus a little more, Heavenly Father will step in a miracles will begin to happen. We received a referral from the office this week of a boy named Shingo. He had seen about the BOM on facebook before and so went to mormon.org to put his name on there as someone interested in listening to missionaries. So we went and found him, and let me just say he's the most Amazing person ever. He is SO prepared!! We were able to teach his aunt and uncle that he lives with and another 11 year old girl (he's 18) and as we taught the spirit was so strong and he just soaked everything in. Well then yesterday at church, about 2 minutes before the meeting started he walked in! You may not understand how amazing that is...like that NEVER happens here! We have to try hard to even get members to come! So we were SO excited, and it was the primary program too which made it even greater! Then we were able to go back last night and teach them again, and the spirit was so strong, they were crying, and they all accepted baptism dates, including Shingo's friend that was there. I feel so good about them. We also got another new investigator this week named Grace, a friend of one of the YW in the ward who also is so interested and accepted a bap date..and we love her!! She's absolutely adorable, and so smart. So this week I really learned the importance of working hard, and then working a little harder. I will say there have been days that we were waking up early and skipping meal hours just to fit in all the things we have to do, but we do now have 10 people working towards baptism, and I feel like I've never been closer to the spirit. It's been such an amazing experience and I'm definitely being stretched. I absolutely love the work we're doing, and even though I am exhausted, it's the most amazing feeling of exhaustion that just brings so much Happiness.
Also this week, we made it a goal to knock on every day of our area..ha But the first day we started we actually ended up knocking on a members house that we hadn't met yet, and she was SO nice. And...SO RICH. We went inside and it actually looked like an american house, with a bathroom that had a FLOOR and the toilet FLUSHED. Oh my goodness I literally almost cried in there. haha And so we were able to talk to her, and then help her set up lots of Christmas decorations!! It was so much fun. She's in the YW presidency so they invited us to come to workshops with the young women on things that will help them either on their missions or in the future, so that should be fun! But it was a really really great week and I feel so blessed. I know that this is the work of God, and there is Nothing that can stop it. As we give all of ourselves to serve Him and keep the work going forth, He will help us and we will see miracles. I love you all so much!!
Love,
Sister Benesch


PS Here's some nice pictures of me and Sister Surio's tired eyes...haha And my new best friend in San Mateo (the daughter of Pingky) and this crazy lizard thing that I actually held and it was totally scary!!!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Carland!

Hello family, can anyone else believe it's almost the end of October?? I remember thinking it was crazy when it was August and all the sudden we're almost to November! Crazy really. But this week was really good. We've gotten to know where our investigator's houses are and met more members, the people here are incredible! This ward is very missionary focused, one part of that is hard though because their goal is us to get 10 baptisms a month and so of course they're behind because that's a LOT, so it's up to me and Sister Surio to get like 30! ha It'll be fun :) So this week some pretty great things happened.
We had an investigator named Pingky that was preparing for baptism, however she'd been baptized before they just hadn't found her records so we were going to rebaptize her...but then on Sunday they found it so she isn't getting baptized now but it's great news because now their family can start working toward the temple! They're the most amazing people. We were able to teach her and her husband and three of their kids last night. Their oldest is 17 but less active because of his job, but he was so excited to listen and was setting an appointment for us to come back and we had the most amazing talk about the temple...I love them so much I really pray I'll be able to see them sealed in the temple here on my mission!! They're incredible :)
Also on Wednesday we were able to participate in the proselyting activity for the MTC, so I had two Americans come and work with me, and it was so fun to see them trying so hard to talk to the people, but they would always look to me for translation..ha But the sisters never gave up and I really noticed from them how much I've grown here on the mission. I remember when I did that activity and couldn't speak anything and was so scared to even talk to anyone, but now only 6 months later I am the one approaching people and actually translating, and it's amazing! I really have such a strong testimony in the gift of tongues, and receiving help from our Heavenly Father to do His work here on earth.
We also had an investigator come to church that we weren't able to meet yet, his name is Red and he's like the perfect investigator! He is so receptive and wants to learn and is just so humble, but he just has that look about him that he's already a priesthood holder..we have an appointment with him Wednesday and Saturday so I'm very excited to teach him :) Hopefully He'll be the first of our 30 baptisms! ha
Last Monday we went to our Ward Mission Leaders for FHE, he actually has it every Monday, but it was a blast! We had delicious food, and played uno! But they play so that whoever wins gets to put coal on the losers face, and me and Sister Surio were the only ones with clean faces at the end of the night. I was real proud of myself :) haha The poor elders were covered..
Also, training is going great. It's really hard sometimes because I forget the things she doesn't know yet so I get pretty stressed with trying to do everything about missionary work, at the same time teaching how to do it..But it's great and I love Sister Surio. One thing I love about being companions with her is that we have Amazing talks during our studies in the morning. We're reading Moses and Abraham together and we've really talked so deeply about God and His creations, this morning we were talking about Kolob and how in the scheme of Eternity Satan really has NO power, so it's so sad when we let him in because we all have the seeds of Godhood within us, and it's never that we're not powerful enough to overcome him, but because we forget that our agency is our power to choose the right all the time. I just really love everything I've been learning and I feel myself growing so much. I truly LOVE being a missionary! Greatest experience Ever :)
We also have this hilarious map hanging on our wall we made...it's called Carlland!
There's a subdivision in our area called that, but we thought it was pretty funny, so we made it into like a Filipino amusement park and it's so hilarious.

(Here is a satellite photo of the Carland Subdivision from Google - these are some of the streets that Carly is roaming)

Maybe when we're done I'll send it home in a letter so you can see it :) We're like using all the missionary and investigators names with different rides or restaurants and stuff inside Carlland..it's So awesome! So don't worry about me, I'm just Loving Loving Loving it so much here. Honestly I see now that I will just cry when it's time to leave..I love it so much! Thank you for all your support, I love you all and pray for you everyday!
Love,

Sister Benesch :)

(Here is the church that Carly and her companion attend)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Russian Monopoly

Hello family, it's been quite a week! Before I left Baliwag I think I had about 6 birthday parties with members and missionaries..ha So it was actually a great birthday! I'll miss everyone in Baliwag so so much. SO...On Wednesday we traveled to meet our trainees!
I am now training Sister Surio, and let me just say Heavenly Father loves me. She's absolutely amazing! She was born here actually in this mission, then when she was 9 her family moved to San Francisco, so she's fluent in Tagalog and English. She went to BYU for 2 years before coming here and she was in the nursing program...Let's just say I feel a little inadequate like she is more beautiful and smarter and greater in every way. ha Just joking, but she's absolutely amazing I feel like I'm not even training. We get along great too.
We are living with two other sisters, Sister Criste who is training Sister Bautista from Las Vegas, and we have a blast together! I really just feel like I'm living with my best friends. It makes opening the area a lot easier, because even though the work is so hard and I'm really stressed with trying to train and open up the area here in San Mateo, it is just fun being with the other sisters. We found this Monopoly game in our apartment, but all the names are in Russian! So we have this on-going game of that and it's hilarious!! Sister Criste (filipina) was picking her piece to use and was so excited when she picked up the dog and said "I know this one! I want the horse." I started laughing SO hard and told her "aso iyan!!" which means "that's a dog!" but maybe it was funnier in the moment... But I think these next few months I'll really learn a lot, and especially improve my Tagalog because we all try to speak it to help Sister Bautista learn it, but I think it'll help me just as much. Sometimes I think about the fact that I'm actually bilingual and it's amazing to me :) ha Crazy really!!
Our first day in the area we were just walking around getting lost trying to follow this map, ha but we were blessed to accidentally meet this amazing member that brought us around to meet people..it was a true answer to prayers!! And by the way I'm sorry if any of this doesn't make sense, I'm finding it a little hard to speak in English...spell check is saving me right now! haha But anyway, after that we didn't have much work because we finally got to watch General Conference!!! It was AMAZING. I felt the spirit so so strong, it truly was an incredible weekend. I agree with President Monson that everything was so inspired. Actually one thing I love about Sister Surio is she loves talking about deep doctrine, which I've really learned to love to study on my mission so we have some Great talks..but we were talking about the second coming and how close it really is. But after conference I really felt that you could give it a title of "Just hold on a little longer and do the simple things, the end is almost here" I just really feel that it's coming so fast. It's such an exciting time!! But I really am so grateful for all the blessings I've seen just in the last few days...When I think about what I've been asked to do as a trainer and in an area I don't know, leaving all my friends I feel that I should want to cry, but I'm just SO Happy and feel completely great about it. I love it here :)
So sadly I don't have too many stories yet, but this will be a full week of work and actually finding all our investigators and those we teach so I'm sure I'll have some good ones next week! I love you all so so much, thank you for all your support! It really makes it a lot easier to be here knowing I have you all at home. Love you so much!!  SO glad to hear Grampy's surgery went ok, tell him I love him and am praying for him!
Love,

Sister Benesch

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Birthday Transfer

Hello family, oh my goodness I don't even have words for this week...actually I have way too many! ha I can't even possibly fit in everything that happened, but I'll try to get all the real good parts! So it actually started just after emailing last Pday. Actually I wrote you a letter about it, but I'll write here too because it really effected me... while we were emailing Sister Tupa'i started crying, but she said she was ok and so I just figured she was homesick while talking to her family. But then she acted really weird the rest the day and, although I feel terrible now, I actually got a little annoyed with her and was pretty impatient. Well later that night she told me that she found out her mom has cancer. She was talking about it while trying to eat some food because she hadn't eaten all day, and was just crying. As I watched her my heart literally just broke... She was really struggling. Remember that in the last 2 transfers her parents split up, her mom moved to New Zealand, her grandpa died, and now she received that news. And I truly felt that Heavenly Father was disappointed in my actions of judging her and being impatient. I have never felt more humbled in my life, and over this last week my love for her has grown so much! I will probably cry saying bye to her tomorrow, I've learned SO much about humility and faith from her. But after she told me that we decided to fast the next day for her mom. It was a really neat experience together and I truly felt the spirit so strong. Then on a funnier note...we got SO hungry, on our way home from working that day at about 9 we stopped and bought ice cream then literally Ran home with it in our hands so it wouldn't melt before we could say our prayer to close our fast..hahaha It was hilarious!
> Now speaking of saying bye to her tomorrow...this next transfer is going to be HARD. I will be transfering, saying bye to Baliwag :( But not only that...I will be opening an area. It's called Montalban, San Mateo I, but I'm most excited that it's in the city so now I'll be able to go to the temple once a transfer! SO happy about that :) AND finally the last part..I will be training!! And wait it's not over. I will be training an american! Her name is Sister Surio and she's from California, which means that I will be opening an area with a companion who speaks almost no Tagalog. I think President has a little too much trust in me..ha It is going to be Extremely difficult, but I actually have a really good feeling about it so I think it'll be good :) Wish me luck!!
> Also this week was great, because I truly have another family here in Baliwag!  I had a whole birthday weekend :) On Sunday we went to Sister Lily's in the Branch for dinner, then Monday after transfer announcements we went with the zone to this buffet...it was Amazing! ALL you can eat and it had a chocolate fountain! Delicious :) And the workers sang happy birthday to me and another Elder and brought us cake! Sadly it was mocha so we couldn't eat it, but I wanted to SO bad.. ha But it's ok! They had a drawing of names from each table out of the whole restaurant, and they picked Sister Tupa'i's name so we won a cake!! We then ate it later that night at a FHE that we had at a members with other members and missionaries for my birthday party! Elder Howey, my zone leader, gave me macaroni and cheese!!! I was pretty excited :) I really have had a Great birthday, I feel so loved by all the members and I'll be sad to leave. But it really is just the Filipino culture, so I think that's how my whole mission will be. I really do love the people here :) Except annoying investigators who won't do Anything..ha Just joking, I do love the people.
> ALSO! Thank you thank you thank you all for the package!!! I finally got to open it this morning and I was so stinking excited! We're going to use a member's oven later to make the brownies! :) And thanks so much for the hilarious cards, I love you all SO much! Also special thanks to Skyler, I'm Very very proud of his special creative talents, his card was definitely spectacular. haha I love you all so much! Thank you for all your support. I truly could not be happier than where I am right now. Serving here is the hardest thing I've ever done, but I absolutely love it. I feel myself grow every single day, thank you for everything :) Love you all so much!!
> Love,

> Sister Benesch :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bald and Clumsy

Hello hello hello family! Sorry I missed you today earlier emailing, we had quite the adventure as a zone! ha We went to Banal na Bundok again (the mountain with the statues of Jesus, and the zoo with the crazy monkey!) And me and Sister Tupa'i got a sweet picture riding these huge giraffes!! But that'll be one you'll have to wait to see because I want to send different ones for you to see of the rest our adventure :) After that, we went to...(oh PS we woke up and left at 4 am for this day!!)...but we went to Jesus Mountain.

 You have to walk quite a long way and cross this big river, and it's Gorgeous!! Then when you get to the top there are three HUGE statues of "the godhead" in human form. It's pretty cool but it feels a little weird because it's a catholic site and so of course it's not a spiritual experience...but it was really pretty and cool to see!
And now I can say I've stood on Jesus' lap before. ha I was actually the only sister that got up there, the other ones were so lame! It was something I know our family would have had a lot of fun doing :) ...it's beautiful! And I'll send it so you can be jealous :) ha SO it was really fun, especially crossing the big river on this "barge" thing that the Filipinos would pull across the water as we stood on it. Quite exciting! Sadly I got sunburned though so my face is all red and it makes it even Hotter which is miserable! Speaking of, I can't believe it snowed there!! Crazy. Here it's coming out of the colder season and getting very very hot again, so actually I'm a little jealous! I honestly don't remember what it feels like to sleep at night or get ready in the morning without sweating... It'll be nice next year when I get some cool dry weather ;)
Other than our great adventure, this week wasn't too eventful. However, we have been blessed with an amazing new investigator!! Yay :) She actually is the neighbor of one of the less-actives we teach, and her name is Yam. (Like yum really..haha) and she is really really receptive and I can tell that she already is beginning to love the gospel. One thing that's hard is her husband is really ayaw, which means he doesn't want anything to do with it because he's devoted to his religion, which is hard because she didn't come to church and has him saying things that kinda work against what we're trying to do. But we try our very best, and we've had some real spiritual experiences with her so I'm very happy about that :)
Also just a few random facts about me I thought you might like hearing about...I am going bald. But really I lose so much hair here, I think I've already lost as much as Syd has on her head! haha Actually a lot of the sisters here say they have like half the hair they come with...I don't know why! But it sure makes me grateful for my thick thick hair so it isn't noticeable :) Also...I was exercising the other morning and doing yoga, and had the bright idea to see if I could still get up into a headstand from when I was taking the class at Utah State. Well. I got up and was real proud, then I started to fall backward and hit our couch SO hard. But the thing about the furniture here is that it's all made of wood...my shin hit it SO SO hard, I was just rolling on the ground in pain! I screamed and sister Tupa'i didn't even check on me. haha So now I have a big bruise on my leg and it hurt pretty bad walking the first day, but I made a nice little ice pack and I'm all good :) ha Also I'm really beginning to appreciate the nice safe place we live at home. The word Baliu in tagalog means crazy, and that's where Baliuag got its name actually. And it's true! I won't lie, earlier today I saw a completely naked old beggar woman on the street. It's crazy! I just wanted to come back to Utah and cleanse my eyes...hahah So it's definitely an adventure.
I really am learning so much every single day though, especially as I really read the scriptures and I can feel my testimony growing so much! Being on a mission is the very hardest thing I've ever done, but I am so grateful for the opportunity and I know it'll just make me a better person. Thank you for all your support, I love you all SO much!!! xoxox
Love,
Sister Benesch

PS next time I email you I'll be turning 20, because it's transfers which means I'll email Tuesday on my birthday!! WOO it's finally here! Love you all :)
PSS I forgot to tell you a great story from this week...I got hit by a tric!!! haha It actually is funny because I didn't get hurt, luckily my bag just took the blow and my body turned and my arm kinda flew out...
Sister Tupa'i and Sis Rosana thought I was really hurt...but the tric driver just kept driving and looking back all scared! Sis Rosana said he was probably thinking he couldn't stop incase I wanted money from him because I'm american..ha But it was a new experience. Gotta love the transportation here :) Love you all!!!


(I pulled this photo of a "tric" from the internet - Ron)


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Late post

(This was a post from a few weeks ago that I forgot to publish)

Bestest family ever:) Hello! How are you all??
Well this week was pretty good, lots of adventures as usual! I guess I'll get my dreaded story out of the way first...ha Singing at Mission Tour. Well Mission Tour itself was so great, I learned so much! Elder Echo Hawk and his wife had some really great talks, I loved it!! And then our zone got up for the musical number and me and Sis Tupa'i began to sing...well. I was SO SO nervous I thought my heart would explode out of me, and literally my voice would NOT come out...it was like a squeeking sound! hahaha Embarrassing. Luckily I just had to let out a little giggle and then after just one line I got it together and it was actually really pretty, but that first line was a total failure!! I'm proud of myself though :)
Then another hilarious story...we were teaching a recent convert this week, an old man that I can't understand Anything he says..but he has a lot of pets, and I got a hilarious picture of his kitten nursing on his dog!! I didn't know that was really possible ha but it was hilarious. It's a very strange picture.
This week we walked a LOT and had more appointments than usual fall through, I think one day we literally walked for 5 hours straight.. And I wish I'd taken a picture to send, but my shoes have holes in the bottom of them and literally my toes and heels are just touching the ground as I walk :P I will be buying new ones today for sure!  But it's really been a lot of fun, and me and Sister Tupa'i make it fun with lots of pictures :)
I also got to speak in church again yesterday. My topic was the restored church so it was pretty easy. I spoke with another Elder though and it was funny because it was like we were a married couple introducing ourselves into the ward or something..ha But actually I'm finding it way easy to speak now and give talks from all the teaching, so that's a blessing! But over all it was a good week, not many cool stories because sadly we have like 0 progressing investigators still but we're working hard trying to find one!
I love you all SO much, thank you for all your support and everything you do for me! I found a new favorite quote this week...It's "Our discipleship will be developed and proven not by the type of trials we're faced with, but how we endure them." I really like it because I think that's the biggest thing I've learned here on my mission. Everything about your life depends on your attitude and your responses  to the things you face. Hope you all have a great week! :)
Love you,

Sister Benesch

"Go up, thou bald head"

Hellllllo family man this week literally flew by!! I actually feel like today should not be Pday already, but I'm happy it is :) ha Actually we were going to have a zone activity today at Banal na Bundok again, but it was cancelled because of the rain...SO much rain. But that's ok because now we have extra time today and maybe I can actually take the first nap of my whole mission!! That'd be exciting. Anyway, this week was pretty good! Sadly our investigators are like diminishing even though we're trying hard to talk to everyone and find new ones, we just have less and less to teach. But we got a referral from the branch that we contacted, it's this old lady with one leg and she's hilarious!! I was trying to show her an object lesson with a pen on why prophets are so important, but she just kept repeating everything I'd say instead of following directions! Like I had her close her eyes and try to follow my fist with hers, then compared it to both holding a pen and how she could follow easily...maybe it doesn't make sense in writing..ha Anyway she just was closing her eyes repeating over and over "sundin ang Diyos, sundin ang Diyos..." and Sister Tupa'i just burst out laughing!! haha It was hilarious.. I hope we'll find a way for her to come to church, but it'll be hard because she can't on her own. We've been able to find more less-active, literally from the 700 members here in Baliwag only 125 go to church (that's why it's still a branch) and so there's a Lot of less actives that we don't know! But it's so sad when we find them and teach and they just tell us that they were mormon date (before) but now they are catholic, or born again, or iglesia ni Cristo...or one of the other million religions here. It's just sad that they have no desire to return and I just don't understand how you could forget the blessings of the gospel when you've had it before, and then settle for another religion with so much less. Satan really gets a hold of some people's hearts, and it's devastating.
But we had exchanges this week with the sister training leaders, and it was a lot of fun because we got to travel to their area this time! We left friday night and rode a jeep for like 3 hours to get there, then came back saturday so we were Exhausted at church yesterday..ha But it was really fun. They had a service project so we got to meet more missionaries and hang out with them. Because of that and then the travel home we only had time to teach one lesson, but we taught these people that they had just found that were also LA (less active) and they were truly the most humble people I've ever met, I immediately had the greatest love for them and wish so bad I could go back! Maybe I'll get transferred to that area sometime and can go teach them :) But it was a great experience. It was sad because Sister Winger (one of the sister training leaders I really like) is going home this transfer so it was my last time to see her...I've really made such good friends with a lot of the missionaries here it'll be sad when more start going home! Part of the mission I guess. But while we were there they had Mac and cheese that sister winger's family had sent her...oh my Goodness that stuff is amazing! I never knew I could miss it so much..haha If anyone wants to send me any, feel free ;)
But overall it was a really good week, a little rough with trying to just find anyone who is actually interested in the Gospel, but I know there's gotta be atleast one person here ready, we'll keep working hard on trying to find them! Oh, and I've been reading the Bible and found a great verse in 2 Kings 2: 23 that made me think about uncle Jon...share it with him and tell me what he says ;) haha I love you all SO much! Thanks for everything, I literally couldn't get through some of the things I'm faced with here if it wasn't for the Amazing support I have. I love you :)

Love, Sister Benesch


Here are some pictures of the Gonzales family...pretty much my very favorite here! They're less active, but the most amazing, nicest people in the world! Nanay (the mama) is the most hilarious person in the WORLD, and then Micheal is there son with down syndrome! I will really miss them when I leave Baliwag....


Monday, September 16, 2013

Sometimes you just have to giggle

Bestest family ever:) Hello! How are you all??
Well this week was pretty good, lots of adventures as usual! I guess I'll get my dreaded story out of the way first...ha Singing at Mission Tour. Well Mission Tour itself was so great, I learned so much! Elder Echo Hawk and his wife had some really great talks, I loved it!! And then our zone got up for the musical number and me and Sis Tupa'i began to sing...well. I was SO SO nervous I thought my heart would explode out of me, and literally my voice would NOT come out...it was like a squeeking sound! hahaha Embarrassing. Luckily I just had to let out a little giggle and then after just one line I got it together and it was actually really pretty, but that first line was a total failure!! I'm proud of myself though :)

Then another hilarious story...we were teaching a recent convert this week, an old man that I can't understand Anything he says..but he has a lot of pets, and I got a hilarious picture of his kitten nursing on his dog!! I didn't know that was really possible ha but it was hilarious. It's a very strange picture.
This week we walked a LOT and had more appointments than usual fall through, I think one day we literally walked for 5 hours straight.. And I wish I'd taken a picture to send, but my shoes have holes in the bottom of them and literally my toes and heels are just touching the ground as I walk :P I will be buying new ones today for sure!  But it's really been a lot of fun, and me and Sister Tupa'i make it fun with lots of pictures :)
I also got to speak in church again yesterday. My topic was the restored church so it was pretty easy. I spoke with another Elder though and it was funny because it was like we were a married couple introducing ourselves into the ward or something..ha But actually I'm finding it way easy to speak now and give talks from all the teaching, so that's a blessing! But over all it was a good week, not many cool stories because sadly we have like 0 progressing investigators still but we're working hard trying to find one!

I love you all SO much, thank you for all your support and everything you do for me! I found a new favorite quote this week...It's "Our discipleship will be developed and proven not by the type of trials we're faced with, but how we endure them." I really like it because I think that's the biggest thing I've learned here on my mission. Everything about your life depends on your attitude and your responses  to the things you face. Hope you all have a great week! :)
Love you,

Sister Benesch

Whiplash!

Hello family, wow this week was pretty crazy! I have lots of great stories for you :) Well I don't know about great, but lots of stories..haha Let me first start with..I LOVE my companion!!! She is the strongest person I have ever met, she's absolutely amazing. Just last month she got a call from President Sperry and he had to talk to her, and told her that her parents had informed them that they split up and her mom had moved from Samoa to New Zealand with her brothers and sisters, but her dad was staying in Samoa. Then 2 weeks later she got another call that her grandpa had died...So so hard. But she stays so strong and knows that what she's doing is right. She was converted 2 years ago, and just as she was leaving on her mission her mom also was baptized but they're the only members in her family. She just shows me that no matter how hard life gets, you can really make it through! She's so great. One Hilarious story though that I think I laugh at every day still...we were going to our district meeting on Tuesday and riding a jeep with the zone leaders, but the jeep kept breaking down. Well one time it was going pretty fast and Immediately broke down, and I think I blacked out a minute from whiplash and then when I could see normal, I saw Sister Tupa'i ALL the way down on her stomach on the bench, and had slid all the way up to the driver...hahaha It was so hilarious!! I honestly am laughing so hard right now thinking about it and she's telling me to shut up :)
I also learned this week (like Every day of my mission) just how blessed I am for the knowledge I have. As we teach people each day that tell us they don't have a desire to go to the temple with their family, or they don't care about what we teach, I try to not get discouraged but just be grateful that I know how important it is for myself and am receiving those blessings. I can really see the HUGE difference of having the Gospel, it brings SO SO SO much happiness. God truly blesses those who are obedient. Which I have really seen in our work. It's really hard for us because of the language, and we can't understand people a lot, but we've gone out every day on time and not come home early and done our very best to find and teach, and actually my numbers have never been better! We've exceeded our goals, we actually found 10 new investigators, and the standard for the mission is 4! ha We talked to a Lot of people and I just feel so so great about it because I know we were blessed for doing our best.
Also...I have some news. I think you will all DIE when you read this, but I will be singing on Wednesday during Mission Tour for a general authority! ha Elder Echohawk of the Area Presidency is coming, and our zone was asked to do a musical number. I was asked to put it together, so we're singing Joseph's smith's first prayer...BUT Sister Tupa'i and I are singing the first verse in Samoan! Yes, it'll be quite interesting. Just us two...so hopefully I don't just hurt everyone's ears..ha But actually it sounds really pretty :) So that'll be a new experience to sing in front of lots of people!!
Speaking of funny things...let me just tell you about Thursday. It was like the "typical missionary story" filled Day. So we were walking to our first appointment and of course she wasn't home, so we Kept walking And then all throughout the day our appointments fell through and we were trying to just teach SOMEONE it was so hard, but finally our last appointment we found a recent convert who isn't' coming to church and taught her and her gay uncle, who actually is Very interested!! ha So it was interesting just because of what we teach, but he was absolutely hilarious and so nice. And then we were blessed with dinner at Sis. Rosanna's house (they work with us every sunday, it's the little lady that drives us around on "Beatrice" if you remember, and I LOVE THEM) and so yet again, we were blessed for enduring :) That's what I learned this week...just endure it while trying your very best and everything will work out! I love you all so so much, I miss you tons!!! I hope all is well at home :)
LOVE,

Sister Benesch

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Companion

Hello family!! Alofa atu is Samoan for I love you! So I am now with Sister Tupa'i...and I love her with all my heart but let's just say this will be a very challenging transfer.
We get along great and she's like best friends with Sister Kalama because they lived in the same house before, and we have fun together! But...She's Samoan and it's been hard for her to speak english, much less learn Tagalog, so with both of us knowing very little  Tagalog trying to teach lessons and find people to teach it's quite interesting! And  so so hard to find people to teach. Luckily we haven't gotten lost yet too because I don't know some of the street names to tell Tric drivers..ha It's quite the adventure! We realized we're just going to have to get through this together, and hope that we don't completely run the area into the ground with our language barrier..ha I'm trying to get a better attitude about it, and I'm doing better than before :) I'm just so so grateful that atleast we do have fun together and get along, because if we didn't than I think it may just be impossible for us. So I know that we'll have challenges, but Heavenly Father is aware of what we need to be able to get through those challenges.
And because I'm no longer training we have more hours in the day to work with less studies, so now we're out from 12-9 (and here in our mission because it's SO expensive to go home in the middle of the day, it's very rare we go home for dinner) and so it can be some very long days out in the heat trying to find people to teach, sometimes we're stuck with like 4 hours at the end of the day with no more appointments and just not really knowing what to do..ha But we've always found somehow to get something productive done, and it's been ok. Hopefully it'll just improve as we get more used to it. But I love you so so so much, thinking of all of you helps me get through the hard days here! You're the best :) I hope everyone is doing fantastic.
Love,

Sister Benesch

Friday, August 30, 2013

Crazy Rain

Hello Family, it has been a Crazy week!!!
It started out with a Total typhoon...that caused us to be stuck in our house for days!!! It actually was pretty boring.. We just played a lot of truth or dare and I got in some good hours of zumba and naps! ha It was a nice break I guess, but also a little boring with no work. By Wednesday we still couldn't go out and work, but we traveled the 2 hours to our Zone Conference, which was amazing! We got to listen to President and Sister Sperry talk and the zone leaders and APs, and they all had a lot of really good things that were so helpful. I learned a lot about studying and being prepared for our investigators, and really serving with everything we have, and forgetting ourselves. It was a really great meeting and I really felt so strong that I'm supposed to be here, and there are people here being prepared for me, I just need to find them!
By Thursday we were finally able to have our first day of work, and it was so nice! We were still walking through some floods, but it wasn't too bad, and it was nice to teach some lessons-although my Tagalog by then was already getting a little rusty..ha Sadly there's not any really interesting stories as far as investigators go because the only one actually progressing is Winnie, and they still haven't put their papers in..BUT Alex (her 'husband') came to church the last 3 sundays and has been participating in class and talking about how the gospel has blessed him, and so I really think it's helping in their progress. So hopefully Soon! We're going to teach her tonight so hopefully we can figure out that last push they need.
Also, yesterday was pretty crazy. Of course, it was the theme of this week. But at our district meeting they announced transfers! Sister Mabini is transfering and her new companion will be Sister Kalama!! I am SO jealous! ha They'll have so much fun together. And my new companion is Sister Tupa'i, she's from Samoa and I heard she's way nice. Her and Sister Collins are pretty good friends (Sister Collins is from my batch also and I really like her) SO I think it'll be another good transfer, with a great companion! I'm excited to be done training :) However after that we had a meeting to rediscuss the area splits for Baliwag with the new elders coming, and in the end they decided to switch one of the sister companionships to Bustos (near Baliwag) and the zone leaders would come here, so we'll have 2 sets of elders and 1 set of sisters now... So yesterday within 3 hours me and SIster Mabini were packed and moved back into our old apartment, and the other sisters were moved to Bustos! It was pretty crazy...and sadly another day with no work :( But I'm trying to have a good attitude about the old apartment, it's just not as nice as the other house. But now I get to find a new house that they'll move us into in 2 more transfers when another set of sisters comes...so lots of changes! But it's exciting :) It's kinda funny that me and Sister Mabini are going back and ending right where we started! I'm pretty sad to see her go, I've really learned to love her and I'm so grateful she was my trainer! I have learned SO much, I told her I can really feel that I'm already a different person, but it's a lot better than I was before! Even though that does not sound humble at all..ha But lots of crazy changes going on, so I'm just going with the flow :)
I guess that's all for this week, it was busy but at the same time slow because of just sitting in our house..hopefully there won't be more big storms like that! But I love you all SO much, thanks for everything, you're the BEST!!! And happy birthday this week pappy!! :)
Love you all,
Sister Benesch

Monday, August 19, 2013

Would you like some pig ears for the road?

Hello family!!
Well another week has gone by, and of course it was crazy fast!! We had a Very fun zone activity this morning! We went to Biak na Bato, and it is Gorgeous!!! We "hiked" around some trails and there were beautiful cliffs and trees and a big (brown) river, ha but it was so green! I also saw a bunch of crazy bugs that were pretty freaky and a spider that was black and yellow and literally maybe bigger than my hand!! It was like pure jungle...it was amazing! Sadly we couldn't go in any caves,
but we just took lots of pictures :) And as you can see we have matching shirts...it's our District shirt we all got made, and it means "You can do it!" After our activity we went to Rockwood for lunch, it's a very nice and very delicious restaurant! It was so fun with our whole zone just hanging out and being able to distress a little, and I had very yummy shrimp that Zach would be very jealous of.
As far as this week goes, it was a good week! I really learned this week how the spirit guides us to those who are prepared. We were down to the last appointment of the day and had to chose between 2 people, and I felt that maybe we should go to one and then as we were walking I didn't really know about it, and then we remembered a lady we'd talked to that said we could come by her house. We spent maybe 20 minutes asking around and couldn't find her house and no one knew her, so we were going to give up, then the member working with us stopped and asked this man, and immediately we found her house...at the last person we asked. We were able to teach their whole family and got 4 new investigators, and actually they seem very interested and sincere! Filipinos have a tendency to pretend to be interested when they really aren't and that's why there are SO MANY less-actives because people just get baptized because they don't want to say no, and then don't stay in the church. But they seem to have a real desire so I'm excited to go back!
We also have another new investigator that does all her reading and says she's gotten answers that our message is true, she just hasn't come to church (like all our investigators...no one comes!) but we were teaching her one day, and we teach her in a parked jeep next to her "tindahan", or where she sells meat and snacks on the side of this little dirt road...but we were teaching and I started feeling So so so sick and like everything was closing in. I made it through the lesson, and stepped out, and then she offered us pig ears!! Ahh it was such a horrible experience, I literally thought I was going to die..ha But luckily after that we went home for just a little bit to recover and went back to work and it was all ok, but that was one moment in the mission I really didn't know how in the world I'd make it to the closing prayer..ha Many interesting experiences here in the Philippines!
But I really love the work, and everything is going great. I love you all SO much, thank you for all your support and all you do for me! You're the BEST! Have a wonderful wonderful week! Oh and I keep learning lots of recipes and am getting pretty good at cooking Filipino food, so be excited for that ;) Except that with that and my new addiction to Ministop ice cream (a convenience store) I may be gaining my weight back...Not good. But I love you!!
Love,
Sister Benesch :)


PS picture of us and sister Cathy!!! I love her :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Typhoon

Hello family! I thought I'd make "Typhoon" the subject of this one because that's what's happening outside right now! I don't know how it'll go with us at the palengke shopping for food, but it'll be an adventure :) It's crazy how much water actually comes down!! But this week was really great, so many stories!! Yet I get to emailing and forget them..ha

But we had Cathy's baptism! YAY!!! It was so so great :) I'm SO sad I forgot my camera to send pictures, but I will next week! She was just glowing before the service started, and then as I watched her go down into the water I felt the spirit so so strong, and afterwards she was just crying :) She bore her testimony and said that the first time she came to church she actually promised herself that she wouldn't come back because the beliefs were so different than hers (she was Iglesia before, or from The Church of Christ) but then she came back the next sunday and we started teaching her and since then she's been reading the Book of Mormon and knows the church is true, and was so happy. It was so amazing :)

But more good news....Winnie is malapit na (SO CLOSE) so getting married!!! Her 'husband' came to church this sunday and so they have all the papers, they just need to get a photocopy of his id! I am so excited :) She said that at Cathy's baptism she felt like it was practically her getting baptized. She's so excited, and of course I'm so happy!! :) So lots of good news with them. As for the rest of our investigators it's slow progress because even with the ones that read, none come to church. Except one new one!! His name is Jeff and he's a referral from some members, and he's come to church every week and is reading the BOM and has a baptismal date for September 7th!! So I really hope he continues to progress, but it's absolutely amazing how you can see your investigators truly change as they accept the gospel :) I love this work!

I love you all, thank you for all your support :) I really do love being a missionary, and I am SO so grateful for this opportunity! I realize now that I was so far from who I thought I was, but now I can become better here. It's a huge blessing. I love you all, I know that this is the true church and it was restored by Joseph Smith, a true prophet called by God. Have an amazing week! :)
Love,
Sister Benesch


PS Tell Alex good luck on his mission!! He'll do great :)

OH and actually yes (about Holly's letter) I got like 10 letters this week!! Tell everyone in the family thank you SO much, made me so happy! :) I got one from her, Marnie, Ava, Grammy, Chels...I got a lot! ha So thank you to everyone :)