Monday, June 24, 2013

"Don't be afraid of the silence"

Hello family! I can't believe I'm already emailing much happened this week but it went by SO so fast!! I don't even know where to begin. Sadly this week we had to drop 3 of our investigators, one being Teng who I so sad :( That's what's hard about a mission, is seeing these people receive the gospel but are too prideful or don't understand enough to progress and then you have to drop them because it just gets to be a waste of time... But we also got 2 with baptismal dates and I think they are VERY promising!!! YAY :) Cathy, I absolutely love her, is about 30 and has a little girl named Chloe that's so adorable! But our lessons with her are so spiritual, and she's very smart so she asks some really good questions but always the gospel answers them in a way the world doesn't, and she said that every time she prays and reads the Book of Mormon she knows it's true, and she knows Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father. I was SO happy when I heard that, because my goal has been to memorize the first vision in Tagalog, so when I said it to her a couple lessons ago and she got tears in her eyes I knew that it was the beginning of her really receiving what we were teaching. I cannot wait for her to be baptized :) Also the 2nd, is Winnie. I don't know if I've talked about her yet, but I love their family. Her husband (they're actually not married and that's the ONE thing that keeps us moving her bap. date) is inactive, but all of their kids have been baptized. She comes to church every sunday, and when we gave her a hymnbook she was So so excited. She wants to be baptized so bad and knows it's what she needs to do, but the marriage thing gets in the way and it's so hard! So I pray every day that God will help them be able to do that, with it being expensive and a HUGE pain here in the Philippines, I just hope they'll have the desire enough that through a miracle from God, it'll happen. I want it to so bad for their adorable family!
Then, on Wednesday we had exchanges with the sister training leaders! It was an Amazing experience. I was praying so hard before that Sister Nunez (the sister I went with) would be understanding and loving to me and help me because I was nervous about being the one to give directions to tric drivers and getting us to our appointments, but she was SO NICE. I actually started crying during our personal study because she was asking about my family and Colton and just about life back home and she was so so loving. Then during the day we ran out of appointments because it was FLOODING so bad (we call it "swimming in the black river" because it's up to your knees and literally black with garbage and grossness...but it's ok because I'll only have these experiences once!) and a lot of people we couldn't teach, so we did tracting for about an hour and a half in this really nice subdivision and were able to find this man we began teaching who is SO prepared! He has heart problems, and awhile ago he was put in the hospital and given 24 hours to live, but he's still going today! He said he's so grateful to our Heavenly Father for that, and me and Sister Mabini are grateful because we know it's so that he'd have a chance to hear the gospel. We had a very spiritual moment with him...we invited him to pray and we all knelt down, and then it was SILENT for about 5 minutes. He didn't pray out loud, but afterwards me and Sister Mabini were talking about it and we both had the thought of "don't be afraid of silence right now" so we know that whatever he was praying in his mind or thinking, the spirit was working through him.
Tapos, (then) on Thursday we had our first follow-up training and I got to see all my batch mates from the MTC!!! I was so happy :) I love them and miss them so much! But after talking with them I realized how lucky I am. They're all really struggling and having conflicts with their companions over language and culture, but I got so lucky with Sister Mabini because she's really understanding about my needs as an american..haha like toilet paper and foods that I want! And she was actually an English tutor so we can communicate well, our problem is just not talking enough in Tagalog that I learn it! ha So I really am grateful for the trainer I got. This week was hard though because we had a really hard time reaching our numbers, but we both keep trying to stay positive and work harder! It's the small moments with those few investigators that are progressing that make the hard times worth it :)
AND FINALLY....I ate...Balut! ahhhh. haha And frog! One night we went to meet with President Santos, our district president (like a stake pres.) and he fed us frog! It actually tasted just like chicken and was really good :) ha Then me and sister mabini had the crazy desire to go buy balut and bring it home!
So...we did. And I'll be honest I took one bite of that stuff and had to gag it down and oh boy. I think we got older ones because they were Big and had tons of feathers which  was gross. I can't believe Colton said he liked it when he tried it because I was absolutely disgusted and I don't know if I'll try it again..ha I know I will but it's still nasty! Sister Mabini took these pictures of me as I sat there for 5 minutes just getting the courage to eat it! ha SO crazy :) My mission is definitely one BIG adventure! Well thank you all SO SO much for your love and support, I love you so much!!!

Sister Benesch :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I am a Child of God

Hello Family!

Well it's SO crazy, but another week has gone by!!! This week so much happened, I don't even know where to start! I'm so sad I can't tell you everything, it'd be too hard, but a few stories stand out :) AND I had a very eventful night on Tuesday, but I wrote you a letter about it so I'll let you wait it out for those stories ;) But on Saturday we got to go to a baptism, the other sister in our area had 2, and even though they weren't our investigators it was an amazing experience. To watch people of all ages be baptized, a little boy, a new mom about 30, and a blind old watch them all go completely under the water and come out clean was an experience I'll never forget. It's special to watch our little cousins get baptized, but this experience helped me see just how important baptism is. It's the first step we make into entering God's kingdom, and it is such a sacred thing! The covenants we make are incredible and we need to keep those everyday to show our love to Heavenly Father. It was a great experience.
The other experience that I think will be one of the single most humbling experiences I'll have, happened yesterday. We went to the home of a less-active mother named Vinos. Her husband is no longer in the picture and she has a 12 year old girl and 7 year old boy with special needs. This house was so dark, and dirty, and hot, and really I just wanted to cry looking at it. The kids running around had no clothes most the time, or the ones they did have were partial and just rags. When I first met the little boy I thought he was only 3 because of how skinny he was...his legs are smaller than my wrists! I saw no food anywhere, the "kitchen" they had outside was just black from cooking with a fire, and there was no fridge. But then we started the lesson by singing 'I am a Child of God'...then I REALLY wanted to burst into tears. I could literally see the spirit filling that dark room, it felt almost like a dungeon, and I knew how much God loved this family. They had basically nothing yet were so kind to me and seemed to be positive and optimistic. I will never forget them and that experience...I have SO much at home and take it all for granted. God truly has blessed us so much, it's incredible!
Teaching these families who have so little, yet are so kind to us give me such a great desire to learn Tagalog! I want to be able to really talk with them and understand what they're going through so I can help them see how much the Gospel blesses us. I can see how much this mission will change me, but it'll be an incredible experience. Last night we had dinner at a members, and I learned how to make Puto! They're really yummy rice cakes with cheese (one thing I've learned is that Filipinos LOVE mixing sweet breads and sugar with cheese! ha) It sounds weird, but it's actually good! So I'm starting to write down recipes of things I eat that are yummy to bring home so we can have a big Filipino feast!! I've eaten Tuyo, dried fish!!! which I'll send a picture, because it looked HORRID..ha But actually is good :) You eat Everything, and it's just crunchy! Also quail (is that the right spelling??) eggs and they're good! Speaking of food...I found out I drink about a gallon of water a day!! ha Crazy. OH and I've definitely lost weight. I'm wearing the skirt that Grammy made me right now and it's practically falling off! It's ok to wear, but maybe not for too long...ha SO that's pretty cool!! But I'm doing great, and I love everything here!! Even though there are some hard things, I know that in 16 months I get to come home to the BEST family and friends ever, and I'll be so blessed for serving here. I love you all, thank you for the support!
Awhile ago Colton told me about how much he loves the first 30 chapters or so of Alma, and honestly I wondered why because I thought Alma was boring..ha BUT I've really started reading the Book of Mormon and searching for those good things in each verse...and that is now my Favorite section of the whole book! Read somewhere between Alma 17-22...the faith of the people is incredible. There truly is a God who loves us SO much, and wants us to be happy. I'm so lucky to be teaching this gospel :)
Love you so much!!

Sister Benesch

P.S. Alright...well the Tuyo is that dried fish I have attractively hanging out of my mouth :) ha It doesn't taste too bad but it is pretty salty!!

Then our red tongues...ha Sister Mabini asked me one night if I wanted apple juice, so of course I said yes and was So excited!! Ha THEN turns out, their apple juice here is just powdered, like kool-aid! That's exactly what it tasted like. ha So yes one thing I'm excited for when I get home is real apple juice :) along with a lot of other foods

...and THEN the cow thing. ha This was on the way to Brother Teng's, and even though I look ok here, I was like screaming trying to get past it because it kept walking at me really fast! But you can't tell, but where the camera was is rice fields, so really there isn't much land to run on! hahaha If you could have seen me you'd laugh so hard :) It's so fun being here!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

First assignment - Baliwag

Hello my favoritest family ever!!! I miss you all, and love you so much, but I LOVE it here!! Last Wednesday we woke up at the MTC at 4:45, then went to Pres. and Sister Sperry's home. And I met my trainer!!
 Her name is Sister Mabini and she's absolutely Amazing! She just finished her training and is now training me, but she is the nicest, most optimistic person I've ever met! She makes it SO easy being here, because she really is like my sister. I've been able to improve my Tagalog and teach lessons because she pushes me, but it's so great!! She's from the Philippines, so she speaks Tagalog and it helps me learn faster! Even though I can't really understand a lot of what's going on in the lessons I feel the spirit SO strong and I know that the message we share is true. I absolutely LOVE the people here too, they're all so nice and accepting! We went to church yesterday for the first time, and it's a tiny branch, however everyone was so happy to meet me and just immediately loving. We also had a family home evening with a less-active family last night, and the branch mission leader and branch missionaries came and it was one of the funnest nights so far!
They're all pretty young guys and so they're hilarious, and we just had a blast! It's easy to not get homesick because I really feel like everyone here is my family! I love it so so much :) But they all make fun of my puffy feet..haha They weren't bad at the MTC but now that I'm in the heat and we have NO AC in our apartment, just small fans, it looks like I have elephantitis! hahah I don't know how to spell that...pero it's ok because that just means when I get back to Utah I'll lose like 10 pounds from puffiness ;) But I've really tried every day to have an optimistic attitude, Colton's mom sent me a really good email about remembering that the day will always end if it's bad, and just enjoy the work. So I've made that my goal and it's made each day so amazing! Even though it's dirty here and everything is different, and I'm walking in rain that floods within minutes because it's all fun and I just love what I'm doing :) I really am so grateful to be on a mission!! Also, on Wednesday I got dad's letter!! Thanks paps :) I love you!

OH...mail is SO much easier than we thought. So for my mission they do mail runs every two weeks and that's when I send and receive the mail that came during that time. Pouch is the easiest, and probably only way, we should send it, and you can use envelopes! You just write a normal letter, and address it how you've been addressing the single paper, and write pouch in the bottom right corner. You only need one stamp to get it to Salt Lake and then it comes to me in 2 or 3 weeks. But it's really easy and you could probably even get some pictures folded into the paper!

But the address I gave you for the P.O. box at the Quezon City post office, send ALL my packages to that address!  It's just like a normal letter, but it's through the church so it actually gets to me! ha 

But I hope everyone's doing good, I love you SO MUCH!! You're the BEST family I could ask for, I appreciate you more every single day :)

LOVE, Sister Benesch

PS -- Actually our apartment is really nice! It's 2 stories, the bottom is a big room with a table and kitchen, and my bathroom, YES I have a shower however it has like zero pressure and doesn't really work so I use a bucket and scoopy thing..haha very interesting :) and it's cold water! But it's so hot that it just feels really good! And then upstairs is a room where our desks are and we study, we have a balcony that we don't use except to dry our clothes that we hand wash!! ha And then our bedroom with a bunkbed and "mattress" ha it's comfortable enough...and then Sister Mabini's bathroom. And we haven't had any bugs or anything and we have like 4 fans that we always have blowing on us, so it's good! our meals have been interesting though...just throwing together Random things we find in the fridge :P 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bracelets and Cockroaches

Hello my Favorite family!! :) Well this is bittersweet because it's my LAST time emailing you in the MTC! How crazy is that?? My Pdays will be Mondays, so after today I'll email on Sunday night for you people! (so in a week and a half) I can't wait to tell you all about my experiences in the field! BUT...this week I have some pretty good stories :) So the Elder Liu quote of the week is "Kalama...I know why you moved. Dangerous!!!" haha So I used to sit by Sister Kalama in class but her and her companion switched with Elder Liu Kiraren, and I scared Liu while he was studying and that's what he said to Sister Kalama right after! It was so hilarious :) He also found out I want to be a teacher and he said he was scared for the little children! haha He is just hilarious. But also, we watched an old devotional from the Provo MTC on Tuesday and guess who I saw in it!! RILEY :) ha It was crazy, he was singing in the choir! It was so weird to see him since I haven't in like 2's so exciting that he's coming home in like 2 months! Time really does fly by.

I got to go proselyting again on Wednesday and it was a Blast!! This time we went to the Quezon City Mission (a little closer to my mission than Manila) and it was BEAUTIFUL! We were on like a mountain with Tons of trees and beautiful plants, but the houses are still So so so sad. It's just these cemement buildings that are falling apart with curtains for doors, and some walls, and then there's tin for the roof. We were teaching 2 teenage girls and then there were like 5 little kids, and 5 of us missionaries because me and Sister Amone went with a threesome, and we were All crammed on 5 chairs with like our knees touching because the house was so tiny. But there was a little girl named Saria that was Adorable!! She kept looking at me and smiling, and I gave her some of those bracelets I brought and then we were leaving and she just kept waving and waving! I absolutely love everyone here. We were walking up this really steep road though and there were Tons of kids like running by us yelling "Missionaries! I love you!!" It was so stinking adorable :) I can't wait to get into the field! It was amazing though, because all the houses share walls you can always hear tons of noise and music is blasting, but the second you begin to teach the spirit just fills the room and it's like nothing going on around us matters. We also taught some other teenage girls (a lot of the people they teach here are kids or teenagers!) But they lived in the top of this building that was more in the city, so you walk in the "front door" which is this Tiny little gate, and then go up about 8 sets of STEEP stairs, and there's like a 2 room "apartment" at the top and they have basically nothing. So sad! So we taught in their bedroom and their beds are just these boards with no mattresses or pillows or anything..But the people are just So nice and humble and grateful for what they have! I honestly feel like a spoiled brat sometimes being here..ha I will never take anything for granted again. It's an amazing experience!
When we were done proselyting we came back and I had a Great surprise! I got Both of Grammy and Grampy's letters!! I was so excited :) What is their email address so I can email them? But it sounds like everyone is doing great! Grammy asked if I was adjusting to the weather yet, and honestly I have not! ha It's SO so so hot outside it amazes me every time, and we're going into the field right when rainy season is beginning, and I have NEVER in my life heard thunder the way it sounds here! The rain just POURS down...I can totally see how it's going to flood now. I have some Big adventures ahead!

Speaking of adventures...I had a Horrible experience last night. There was a HUGE HUGE HUGE cockroach running around in our bathroom and I really think I had a heartattack! ha We got 2 more roommates (so we have 5 in a room) and they're both from New Zealand and they're Hilarious! But me and Sister Tehei were screaming SO loud and we made Sister Amone get out of her bed and come kill it. It was SO scary!!! haha I'm nervous for all the things I'll see that are even Worse in the field! Like they have Huge rats here that get into the apartments...I am going to come home so brave!! ha But I hope everyone is doing Great! I miss you all so much, and I love you tons!! Read D&C 31:3-6. It's the scripture that actually helps me to not miss home, but just enjoy my mission. I have never been happier with any other decision I made, than to come on a mission!! It's absolutely incredible :)
Love you ALL!

Sister Benesch
Here is a picture of Carly and some other Sisters emailing their families and friends.