Monday, December 5, 2011

December 2011 - Ballarat

5 December 2011

Seriously, when I got off the plane, I couldn't understand some people!  I guess it doesn't help being in the country where it's so thick, but still I have to really focus to understand people! And I didn't think I had an accent at all! But I guess I was wrong.. everyone I talk to thinks I'm American??? whaaaa?? I say I'm from Adelaide, and they're like, but you have an American accent? hmmm I'm not sure how I feel about this... secretly I miss America alot! I love it there aye... but shhh..

This week has gone sooo fast! It's crazy!!
We had 5 at church yesterday with the sixth coming after Sacrament meeting so we couldn't count him. Our two baptismal dates aren't that strong, but it's ok, we set another 3 this week for the Blake family! They are solid!! They are soo excited! The father and mother and ninteen year old daughter.  Plus they have two younger ones, so I'm really excited for them! They are going to be baptised on the 31st of December. They have been at church the last two weeks and love it!  I'm so proud of the ward for embracing them!!   I was so nervous yesterday, because one of their daughters, who is 8, has a mild case of autism, her name is Bella.  During testimony meeting she was running around the whole chapel being so loud! Her parents weren't doing anything, as well.  I was praying so hard that no one would offend them.  It was amazing though! An older man took her, loved her and then took her up to the pulpit where she told her parents (our investgators) she loves them! The spirit was so strong, I was so glad! They are seriously so excited for their baptism!  They were sussing the font yesterday.. We were also able to give them a blessing yesterday!

We are getting more and more organised here.  I have learnt so much from the Assistants!  It was so good to go out with them!  The biggest thing I learnt was in Preach My Gospel (PMG) under 'Finding People' chapter 9. It talkes about talking to people.  Now, I feel I'm good at teaching 45 min lessons and really helping people understand, but I need to work on my 5 and 15 min lessons.  As missionaries (from PMG) "we are to teach simple restored truths".  I always thought because it's our unique message, but its "so the Spirit can testify that we are servants of the Lord".  It doesn't matter if people understand our message or not, that comes over time, but we are to testify of restored truths so the Spirit can work.  If people feel the Spirit and have a positive experience with us, they will invite us back and then we can work on helping them understand.  I thought it was awesome!  I'm really excited about implementing the things I learn!

We had another great week this week! We taught 12 other lessongs and 23 in total :P The zone is doing great!  I want you to know all is well!  I'm loving Ballarat and Elder Howard! He's the man!
Elder B2

12 December 2011

Our zone at the Australia Melbourne Temple

So glad to hear things went smoothly with leaving America... This week has been another super quick but awesome week! As much as I love exchanges, I hate them at the same time.. We were only in Ballarat 3 1/2 days this week because we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders in Footscray, a Temple trip and a follow up training with the President! All were awesome and it was cool to sorta see what the Adelaide Temple is like inside because its the same as Melbourne right?? But I have such a love for my investigators and we need to be in Ballarat too.  This coming week we are out of town two days with another two exchanges, one in Horsham and the other in Melton...

Going back to that exchange with the Zone Leaders in Footscray. We stayed there the night. In the morning we had some service planned but before that we had an hour of contacting. Miracles ayy! We spoke to 5 people plus chased down the postman on his little motorbike and got three return appts from it! Man I should be in Footscray.. haha jokes, but the work is pumping over there.. The other day I was at the Footscray station and has some spare time so I was just talking to people who I referred to the local missionaries, which resulted in them going to church yesterday in Footscray! loving life..

One of the miracles during the week:
We tracked into this lady called Ray Rumble. She has really strong beliefs and strong ties to the Church of England.  We have been able to teach her twice now. The last lesson was a really bold lesson and we were talking about authority.  We did it really well though as we asked her alot of questions about her baptism 67 years ago. We helped her realise that her authority has just come from man and wasn't valid.  This was a really huge pill for her to swallow though, as her husband and a lot of her kids had passed and she thought they were all saved beacuse they were all baptised.  Obviously we taught her Gods plan but she got way defensive as you would.  I was able to hold my ground though and relate it back to the Book of Mormon, saying she can find out if these things are true by reading and praying. We came back yesterday and she has read... but she was too scared to pray because she didn't want to know.  We were able to really soften her heart as we both were prompted by the spirit.  I said and did some crazy things that I never would of dreamed of doing if it wasnt for the spirit. But I was able to pray for her and then got her to pray after. It was such a solid lesson as she knew everything was weighing on this one prayer... the Spirit was so strong! About two seconds after she said 'Amen' the Sirit just peirced all of our souls! It was sooo strong! maybe evern stronger that when I prayed for myself?? It was such a testimony builder for me! she was nearly bourght to tears as your could see it in her eyes! but you gotta love prideful Australians.. She was trying to deny it... we helped her realise that was the Spirit. She just kept saying 'I dont know, I dont know'. She then said 'hmmm I'll get there, I'll get there'.  We left her to have a big think about everything and we're going to go see her again. We have a prefect fellowship person who is also a convert from the Church of England who will help us reassure her of this huge step in her life! We are really looking foward to seeing her this week and hopfully setting a date!

Things you see in the Australian bush!!
 We have a few we are hoping to set dates with this week.. the work is exploding here!
Ballarat.... they've found gold here before and were finding gold here now!!

All is well with Elder Howard! we are both working so hard right now are really earning our pillows each night!
Love Elder T Bennallack B2

PS. I've been reading the war chapters in the Book of Mormon lately with Alma and Helaman.. What's one of the biggest Christlike attributes? Personally I think its humility.. there are chapters and chapters in the scriptures repeating this over and over again! That whole pride circle! When we are humble, we are blessed and when we are prideful we are destroyed! My patriarchal blessing backs this up! The first and last paragraph warns me to stay humble! I need to continue to work on this, being humble... we read that there were hundreds of records kept in America let alone the world, but we have 531 precious pages of the Book of Mormon... Think about it, like a 5th of the book is dedicated to being humble as we read that pride cycle... Anyways, I thought it was cool.  That's just the biggest thing I get out of the scriptures at the moment.

19 December 2011
It saddened me to hear about Nana! I love her so much! Please send her my love!! She has been an amazing, positive infuence in my life! My prayers and thoughts are with her and you guys..

4-Wheel Driving whilst on exchange in Horsham

This week has been super fustrating.  We have a possible 9 baptismal dates that are slipping through our fingers because we don't have the k's to go visit them and we have been out of town... It's challenging having a limit on k's.. Ballarat is super big and hilly too, so it's just not effective to ride our bikes everywhere.  But we can drive to an area and then ride around the area. Also, we were only in Ballarat 3 days this week due to exchanges to Melton and Horsham!

Miracle of the week. 97 people at church yesterday!! That's a miracle! This week we have really focused on visiting less actives beacuse we realise that we need to strengthen our own members before reaching out.  Just like Nephi in Helaman taught his own people before converting the Lamanites.  Alot of less actives came! It was great, but at the same time there are huge issues in the ward... It's just an old ward and there is a bunch of clicks, but we're working on it.

I found a bread maker and a crock pot in the flat.. made a mean kangaroo pot roast last night and made my first loaf of bread.. it was sooo good!!

We have been getting really organised this past week with pin maps and we just finished going through the whole area book which hasn't been looked at for years. It's full of gold with investigators being dropped for no reason, just because missionaries were transfered.  We read through hundreds and have a lot of people to visit now. We have it all worked out in areas so if an appointment in an area falls through, we have someone we can see in the same area. (save on km's)
We are so looking foward to the next week...
honestly I know it's bad, but I couldn't care less for Christmas like I usually do, presents etc. like it's just another day out here in the mission.  It dosen't even go through my mind, but it is a great time of the year to teach about Christ...
Elder T Bennallack (B2)

25 December 2011 - Merry Christmas Elder T Bennallack:

Skyping with the whole family including Elder J Bennallack in
Besancon, France Lyon Mission.

Special Christmas phone call from Elder T Bennallack to his Nana to say a last goodbye to her..

26 December 2011
Heeeeeeeeeeeee's the birthday boy!!
50... That's awesome! I hope you have an amazing day! And an awesome party!!

BIG NEWS my companion has been transfered!!!! Well he's still here, but he got a call last night at 10:30 pm telling him to pack his bags. So it's crazy! We are way busy today packing then we're off to Wanterna again in the morning for transfers. I wonder who my new comp is going to be?
Exciting times, but at the same time I feel bad because he won't get to see the Blakes baptised. We saw them today and they told us there conversion process.  They are so solid! They have asked me to baptise them which is a real privilege... It looks like for this Saturday only the parents will get baptised because we want Bec, the 19 year old  to really have a firm testimony before she makes those covenants with God and as for Bella who is the 8 year old with mild autism, they want her to be able to understand better whats she's doing. So in time.  But the parents are really set and stoked.

Talk to you next week with my new companion...