Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2012 - 'The Fruits of Our Labours'

2 January 2012

This week has been a great week!! First things first.  We went down to transfers on Tuesday and Elder Howard has been transferrd to Hampton Park in the Samoan program.  So he's now learning Samoan! I'm happy for him, that will be exciting!

My new companion, new District Leader and new trainer is Elder McNeil form Utah!!! HE is the man ay! I think we get along so well because I get to reminisce about America.. hahah

President has put alot of trust in us both becasue he is only six weeks ahead of me!! He has only been out one transfer longer then me! Together, we only have 3 transfers of experinece.  Although we are lacking in experience and skills we both have a huge desire to work hard and be exactly obedient! I know that as we do this, the Lord will make up for the rest! I love it!!  The other missionaries in our District are nearly going home, yet our Dstrict Leader is a missionary that has only been out six weeks longer than myself! I love the trust that President has put in the both of us and we will not let him down. We have been thinking how we can best help the District, because they might not like to listen to us fresh 'goldens'.  I know that we can lead by example though. Actions speak louder than words.

Elder Bennallack, Marie & John Blake, Elder McNeil

The baptism was amazing on Saturday!! John and Marie were so prepared!! I had the privilege to baptise them both.  It was the first time I have ever baptised someone.  Their testimonies are so strong, which they both shared after the baptism.  We had about 40 people there and about half were non members!! It was awesome to get them to see the baptism...

It was just a miracle to be able to see their countenance change as they become closer to Christ.  I know that  baptism was only just the first step through that gateway.  I'm excited for the family to progress and hopefully in the not so distant future, be sealed as a family.  John was interviewed yesterday for the Priesthood and we were able to help Rebecca, their daughter, really gain her own testimony this past week, and set a date with her for the 14th in a couple of weeks.  It would be amazing if John could baptise his daughter... So all went well with the baptism!

This week has been an amazing week, we have been working so hard! We have found 8 new investigators which is great because the investigator pool was starting to get a little stale.  It was also the first New Years since I was about six that I didn't see the New Year come in, and although it was just another regular day, it was a great opportunity to make some 'new year' goals to help myself become closer to the Lord and personally progress throughout this next year.  With one goal of mine being able to do 35 chin ups :P

The miracle of the week was church yesterday.  We found out that the average attendance for the past year was 86, with past averages only between 60 - 70 people.  Yesterday we had 140 people at church! The chapel was full!! It was a great testimony meeting centered around missionary work. It's great what we have been able to do with the ward. They are all so excited for the work. We do have dates for baptism with investigators for the next 4 Saturdays.. but I don't know how many will go through? We have made a transfer goal to baptise six this transfer... We felt the Spirit when we were making this goal and we know it's possible. So hopefully the rest of the tansfer goes well! I'm excited for the area, I'm excited for my companion and I'm excited for the work!

I love this gospel!
(Hopefully Nana is ok? I pray for her everyday!)
Elder T. Bennallack B2

9 January 2012
This week has been a great week! We have spent alot of the week going through the ward list and updating it all.  Most addresses we go to, the less actives have moved out 3 or 4 years ago. So it's good to put all this information down, even through it's not showing much success towards missionary work, we're here to serve the ward, so that's what we're doing.
We have still had a great week though, finding some new solid investigators.  We haven't recieved a referral from anyone, but we're working really hard on changing that.

Yesterday was really awesome, John Blake recieved the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the Office of Priest.  He asked me to do that, which was really awesome for me to be able to do that! I love using the Priesthood, you can just feel the power of it everytime you're asked to use it.  We're waiting on a calling for John soon, so all should be good! The Bishop has plans for him, and they continue to progress and love coming to church...
We are continuing to teach their daughter now.  She will get there, whether it's this Saturday the 14th, or later this transfer, she will get there.  She wants to get baptised, she just wants to make sure she knows everything, so we're working with that.

We taught a fairly bold lesson this week. It was the first time we have taught this lady, however she rocked up to the appointment with hickies all over her neck. Following a prompting, the first thing we taught her was the law of chastity. It was straight up, but it was awesome! And we now have a baptismal date with her. It's February 18th, but that's beacause we need to organise her to get married first.  They both walked a good 10kms to get to church yesterday. Committed..

Elder McNeil and I continue to work hard. I've never been shy talking to anyone and I'm really good at just having a conversation with somone.  But it's when you have to talk about the gospel, that's when I loose them.  But the Lord needs to have His hand in all things, so the fact that I'm a little shy talking about the gospel with some people is a good thing, because that means I get to pray to the Lord for confidence and rely on him.

On other news, my loaves of bread ar getting better and better!  The bread maker has a timer on it too, so we wake up to the bread maker going off in the morning.. it's awesome!! I also brought a pasta maker this week.. (I'll be taking this one home with me) Gotta love fresh pasta! Sooo good!                               

We have interviews with President this week, so it will be great to be able to chat with him.
Love Elder T Bennallack  (B2).

16 January 2012
This is our flat in Ballarat..
This week has been a great week...
We're flying through investigators like none other.. The Mission President introduced a new stat for the mission called 'New Contact' which is the same as a new inestigator, but you don't need to say a prayer with them.  So it's really good just talking to people on the street, teaching a principle of the gospel and getting a return appointment to go back and see them.  By doing this, we got 19 'New Contacts' this week! It was a miracle!

We have done alot of testing, and it's all about finding what 'finding' methods work in your area.  We have found that contacting people around the mall (a bit like Rundle Mall in Adelaide or 16th Street in Denver) and also around the main lake is alot more effective than door knocking.  So the work is booming!  It's still a bit hard though, because we're getting to the point that we are having to drop investigators that are still progressing but just not as quickly as others.  I feel bad because they are still solid, but we are blessed with a lot of investigators...I guess reading that, that's not the worst complaint, maybe one day we might need to have another set of missionares here in this huge area to help us.  We find ourselves teaching all day on most days, struggling to find time to eat and to get our hour of fresh finding in. It's good that there is much to do.

As for baptismal days, we were supposed to baptise Rebecca and Bella this week, but they have all come down with gastro, so we couldn't see them all week.  They weren't at church on Sunday and this Sunday they're all away on holidays, so we will have to push it back until the 28th or 4th of Feb?? It's ok though.

As for our other dates, we continue to set some each week but some fall away just as quick. We had 7 at church yesterday but not not one of our investigators that we were expecting!  It was a little frustrating. We organised for members of the ward to pick up our golden investigators and we were waiting for them, only to find out that our members forgot to pick them up.  Ooops.. the other one of our investigators was sick.  I guess this happens, church is always a little stressful, but at the same time I try to really think about that thing that Dad told me, about not worrying about things I have no control over.

Elder McNeil is great! We both get along really well. We both work hard and laugh even harder...

It was great having an interview with President on Wednesday, and then I saw him again on Saturday for a Baptism in Werribee that we travelled to via Geelong and Footscray. But it's always great to see them both! I have such a love for them, they both are a perfect example of quiet dignity.
My interview with persident wasn't anything what I was expecting. We ended up talking about the Young Single Adults (YSA) in Melbourne. He's very concerned about them and he knows I know a few. He was sort of suggesting to move me into the city? Maybe I wouldn't be surprised if I leave next transfer? He wants to work with the YSA alot more because youth and YSA are struggling over here.
Here is my growing library... it's getting bigger and bigger!

All is well here in Ballarat, the work continues to move foward. I have been able to help two people stop smoking now, as they prepare for their baptismal dates, so we have alot of lighters around our home, which knowing me is not a very wise thing.. haha

We have Elder Cook coming this week with a few of the Seventies, so I'm really looking foward to meeting him for the second time at our mission conference this Saturday.

Elder T Bennallack B2

PS. The best memory I have of Nana was at my baptism. She gave me a card and accidently put two 20 dollar notes in instead of one. I remember both Mum and Dad encouraged me to be honest and tell her, and return one 20 dollar note. I will always remember the look on her face when I told her.  She made me feel so special and loved! I love her dearly!

25 January 2012
I have actually been out of my area for 5 concecutive days this past week.. I've travelled to Werribee, Geelong, Footscray a few times, Aararat, Horsham for a day and Wanterna for the conference. So I've just been exchanging like mad and just spending alot of time travelling. The life of a missionary! I left last Thursday and got back Monday night...

(Elder Bennallack's Nana passed away on 18 January 2012).  Thanks for calling President about Nana, Dad. I love that man, he game me a call that night and we had a good chat. Honestly, I thought I would feel sad, but I was quite at peace. Like you said Dad, there is minimal mourning in death, only sin. I felt quite peaceful to know that she loves us all and is now in a better place. You have all been in my prayers because I know the Holy Ghost is a great comforter. It is one of his main roles. I hope plans all go well with the funeral.  It will be a great time to reflect her life!

We have been going through soo many investigators. It's like sand slipping though our hands. They come and go. We dropped alot because they weren't progressing and a few dropped us.  This made me really think. There is something we can do as missionaries to minamise this. I love preach my gospel, and the 8 fundamentals. They have answers to any question. With the guidance of the Spirit, you can always find where you're lacking and how to fix the problem. It all comes down to keeping commitments. Investigators won't progress and show true repentance if they don't keep their commitments. So this leads to inspired questions.  We need to make sure we are focusing on asking inspired questions, but not only that, inspired promises.  This is where I was lacking. Making inspired promises. As missionaries, we have been set apart and have the authority to promise blessings. We have really been trying to implement this into our teaching. People are not going to keep their commintments if there isn't a benefit for them. By asking inspired questions, to help them relise why it's important to find out for themselves and promising bold SPECIFIC blessings to them, they will want to keep there commitments. We as missionaries need to have faith that God will have our backs as we make inspired promises directed by the Spirit.

This has been the focus for me the last week. Keeping this in mind, yesterday we were able to set 3 new baptismal dates and move 2.  Miracles left right and centre yesterday as we followed the promptings of the Spirit.

One that I'm really excited about is a girl called Teagan.  Have I told you about the chef people yet?
Well that's what we call them. We tracted into this house, it's like a huge party frat house.  There are alot of YSA living there and they are all extreemly worldly.  I was excited about these people because they are exactly the same as my school friends. I know these people, I know how they work and can relate to them.  It's so true that every experience before your mission helps you for your mission. Anyway, although it is a hugh slow long process working with these people, we have been able to really gain all their trust as we be oursleves. after several visits over the past few weeks, we now have 9 new investigators that are all young YSA's.  We have been able to turn athiests to Christians and yesterday, we were able to set a date with one of them!! Two really opened up to us and told us how they feel guilty, and how this isn't really making them happy and the rest of it.. one is moving to QLD today, although but the other, we were able to set a date with for next month. Such a Miracle! I really feel like I've been given a second chance at High School.  During High School, I had alot of respect from the rest of the grade/school, they all knew I was a member, but I never acted upon it or used it to build the kingdom.  Now as a missionary, we are able to do this. The ward had no YSA program. There is no active YSA. It's just what the ward needs, a bunch of cool YSA.  There is alot of less active YSA, but I'm hoping and praying we can get a 'domino' effect happening now as they can all continue to progress! (we call them the chef people because they're chef apprentices by day and party by night).

President Korte (Firle Stake President) with Elder Bennallack
at Wanterna for conferences with Elder Quentin Cook.
 On other news, it was really good meeting Elder Quentin Cook again for the second time. The whole conference was just inspirational.  It's really fueled my fire and makes me really excited about the work.  This happened often at zone conferences and district meetings as well.  It's important to not let that fire die off a day later, to continue to work and keep feeding that fire.
Soo funny story. I was on exchanges with Horsham on Friday and the Elders told me I was talking in my sleep... Bad side of it is that I talk in my sleep. Good news is, that they said I was bearing my testimony in my sleep. hahah! well at least I'm trying to keep and eye single to the work.

 Haha! that's actually alot of what Eder Cook talked about. You're going to be a fustrated missionary if you have one foot in, and one foot out the door. You need to loose yourself in the work.

Elder T Bennallack (B2)

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