Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 2012 - Serve with your Might, Mind & Strength

2 July 2012
This week has been great!! We have been able to see many miracles and teach lots and lots of lessons.
The biggest miracle for the week was a lady called Delma. Just from a small act of service, we were able to find her. We were actually on splits and Elder Lambe was riding the bike around.  He stopped to help this man move some furniture inside his home. (I trained him well :P)  But here was this lady Delma. that watched this act of service from  her window.  After Elder Lambe had finished helping, she came outside and gave a note to Elder Lambe asking him to come around when he has time.
The following day we met Delma, the most beautiful spirit.  Turns out she nearly got baptised up in QLD 10 years ago but after a series of events ended up in Wagga.  She continued that she has been meaning to rock up at church this whole time, but didnt. She is such a nice lady!
Moral of the story: whether a full time missionary or member missionary, we always being watched. We are a peculiar people and people watch what we are doing. This is why it's so important to act in a dignified manner...
As strange as this might sound,  I really have grown a love for 'Fasting'.  Growing up, I always dreaded it, but now I have such a testimony of the power of the fast.  Whenever I fast I feel the presence of the spirit so strong in my life!
In general, I have really noticed the difference in myself.  This past month, I have really been focusing of becoming more Christlike.  As we know that the more Christlike we are, the more in tune with the spirit we are, and the more we qualify ourselves to receive the gifts of the spirit.
I feel the spirit alot stronger in my life and recognise the promptings of the spirit clearer.
Well after I send this email, I'm actually going to be driving down to Melbourne and staying at Presidents home tonight.  I have a leadership meeting to attend tomorrow which I'm looking forward to. It's been a long time since I have seen a large group of missionaries.
As for baptisms we are having a bit of a dry spell. We have a few dates but nothing too solid. At the same time, I feel at peace that the Lord's will, will be done as we serve with all our heart might mind and strength.
To be honest, I have been becoming more and more tired every day as a missionary.  It's getting to the point that I end each evening with headaches.  People in the branch are constantly commenting how tired I look.  It's ok though, because I'm just reminded of a quote I have by Elder Holland as he is talking about missionary work.  He compares the two years of service to a running race.  Once you run a race you should be collapsing over the line with nothing left in the tank.  If you have energy left, you ran the race wrong.  He goes on to compare this to missionary work as he says, you should have an ambulance waiting for you at the airport and you should have to be carried off the plane in a stretcher... if you have energy left at the end of your mission you ran the race wrong. ( or served wrong) So I guess im just pacing myself.
Having said that the past few weeks I have been praying for strength and energy to do the work. This morning I woke feeling the best I have in months.  It just adds to my testimony that I know if we align our will with His, the Lord answers our prayers.
I feel like I'm cheating in life, we have all this help and assistance in life as we live the gospel.  It's just not fair to those that don't know the truth... having said that, I love it!
 Elder T Bennallack

9 July 2012
It has truly been another swell week here in Wagga Wagga. The mornings are really freezing but it fines up quite nice during the day...

I really loved dad's email this week on the priesthood! I absolutely love that talk too! It's so true that we need the power of the priesthood. Actually just before we came to do emails, Elder Lambe and I went down to the hospital here to see a patient in the mental health ward. We went to go see this lady who tried to take her life a few days ago. She wasn't it a great state but having said that, we were able to listen to her jumbled words and then give her a priesthood blessing.  The Spirit was truly present. I love being a missionary because we are constantly called upon to assist or give blessings and to use the priesthood. Such a great power on the earth to bless others.

This week did start with a trip down to Melbourne. It was great to be able to spend some time with President and other missionaries. It was quite weird for me, because I only knew a hand full of the missionaries there. Because I have been out bush this whole time, I don't know many missionaries. But none the less, it was a trip well worth it because of the actual meeting.  A 5 hour meeting full of rich doctrine and ideas. As I went into the meeting seeking and praying for revelation for me, my area and my District, I came away uplifted and edified.

We got back to our area on Wednesday which didn't give us a whole lot of time to work with this week, but I feel like we used our time wisely as we were organised and planned. I think that's something huge that I have learnt out here... Organisation skills. Your time as a missionary is very precious, as a result I have learnt 'organisation is key', confirming appointments the night before, contacting investigators mid week etc etc. It's just great!

There was another great example this week of how the Spirit works. We were able to run into a less active member this past week who we didn't know lived here. His records weren't in Wagga so it was such a miracle to run into him. He wants to come back to church. I have learnt that a lot of the time we don't know we are being guided by the spirit, yet it is so important to be worthy of the spirit always. This allows us to truly be the hands of Jesus Christ as we are led by the spirit. I love it!

As for investigators, we have quite a few investigators who are coming along nicely but we were a little disappointed yesterday at church because only two came.. We were expecting 5 or 6.  I'm not too sure what happened, but there is opposition in all things.

Our focus this coming week is just to continue filtering our teaching pool, spending our time with the elect, while also finding new people. Things are going really well here. We have great trust in the branch... Trust is everything.
Elder T Bennallack.

16 July 2012
I LOVE my mission! I am soo happy! Life is so good!
Tiarny our recent convert went down to the mini convention in Melbourne this past weekend. There was a big group here from Wagga that went, including a few less actives, so I was very happy! Sounds like it went really well!
This week has been such a great week! Spiritually and just with good company..
The spiritual highlight of the week was an Indian family we are teaching. We have been teaching them for a while now, but on Saturday we felt inspired once inside to teach them all about the Plan of Salvation. The spirit was so strong in the room. It really struck a chord with them as they recognised the spirit. The father then came to church yesterday...and loved it!! We left that lesson feeling so uplifted and edified. It is so true that there is no greater joy then spreading the gospel!! I LOVE this work!
This past week we have been really thinking outside the box a lot when it comes to 'finding' ideas. There is a huge advantage being Australian serving in Australia because you know the people. You know how people think when it comes to religion and what could be effective and what would be less effective.  Missionary work has been done the same way for the last 50 years... tracting doors by the missionaries.  Although it may be effective in some parts of the world it brings minimal results here. Australians don't respond to well to 'door knockers' selling religion on their door step.  Anyway, so this whole past transfer we have been testing different things when it comes to sharing the gospel. We have such trust with the ward and it has been really good as we have been using that trust to find new people.
This past week we have received 10 referrals from the members. This has come as a result of thinking differently. We have been doing FHE's on Monday's. New member FHE's on Sunday's, Sports days on Saturday and this past week we helped put on a BBQ.  We have been meeting new quality people from all these things. At the moment we are working with Isaac as we are getting a long boarding group going, starting and ending in prayer, also a mountain bike activity as it's Elder Lambe's strength... It's about using our talents that we received before our mission, past experiences and the talents of the branch to further the work. It has been really successful! We were even, because of trust were invited out with the YSA to a huge bon fire party for a YSA in the ward. Instead of knocking doors at 8pm at night we are at a gathering with lots of YSA's and tons of non members. Its been so great! It's all about building those bridges...
Anyway, this is just something I have learned /found.
We have some great investigators coming through. Talking about using our talents, this past week we wet to an appointment with this much older lady named Delma that I mentioned before.  To help build trust, I see her knitting next to the couch.  I picked up some needles and wool and started knitting... using our talents we have been blessed with to further the work! (learning knitting in yr 6 as class was helpful!) Everyday I realise more and more why I'm serving here in Australia! I love it!
I am going to miss Elder Lambe. Transfers are next week. We have had some really fun time together! Today for P-day we went and did some very technical down hill mountain bike tracks.

 At one point we were surrounded by, I kid you not, over 60 knagaroos...
So President is hinting that I might be going down to the city, but we will see? There is going to be big changes in the zone this transfer, we will be driving down to Melbs for the transfer conference next Monday.
Thank you for your continual prayers.. I feel like I have a lot of energy of late which is great!
Elder T Bennallack

23 July 2012

This week has been an amazing LAST week for me here in Wagga. We were able to teach some awesome lessons which resulted on 5 investigators being at church yesterday which was great!
First, President came up to interview us on Saturday on the way through to Griffith for their Branch Conference. I was able to have a great chat with him at the chapel. It was really nice to hear him say that he is very proud of me and has complete confidence and trust in all that I do.  It made me feel really loved.  He then went on to say that he has a new calling for me and that he is going to call me as a Zone Leader.... I truly felt very humbled. I still feel like in new on the mission. There is still so much for me to learn, yet he has called me as a Zone Leader. I have been praying quite hard the last few days that the Lord may be able to qualify me for this responsibility. Although he wouldn't tell me exactly where I'm going to, I know it will be in Melbourne because I know im not going to Taz and I also know the Zone Leaders up here are staying.   I'm excited to be able to head down to the city and serve in a ward knowing that wherever I go  I will have a quality companion.
Speaking of companions, Elder lambe will be staying up here in Wagga just for another six weeks. then he will be moved.
I am truly going to miss him! We have had the best of times together. (We had our little sob session last night.)  It was just as sad leaving you guys coming out here as it was leaving Wagga. There is such a tight family there!
It was really nice to say goodbye to everyone at church yesterday though. I rocked up at church and I got handed all this farewell food and even gifts from the members here.. they are so nice! Marjorie even baked me a layered cake that said on the top "its so sad to see you go!" It was lovely!
The Branch president asked me to speak for 10 minutes yesterday as he postponed the last speaker so I could speak... woooops. Anyway, I felt like I spoke really well.  I talked about the strength of the branch being that all the members are here today because of their our own personal spiritual conversion.  I urged the congregation to become spiritually converted every day and how we need to saturate ourselves in the gospel. It was a great day!
At the moment I'm currently in Griffith emailing as we drove up this morning to pick up both the Elders here. They are both being doubled out, so I organised a trailer and drove up to pick them up. After emails today, I'll be driving down through Sheppaton to the mission home where we will stay tonight in preparation for Transfer meeting tomorrow.
It's bitter sweet to leave Wagga. There is so much happening here as we have quality families progressing! It's good though, I know that there is still so much to do up here. I also know that the area is is good hands with Elder Lambe.
I was quite excited to hear that one of my investigators I was teaching in Ballarat named Digby is getting baptised this coming week! Miracle!
Well know that all is well with me! I am truly am loving my mission! Melbourne is going to be great!
Elder T. Bennallack

30 July 2012 - Zone Leader in Melbourne

G'day from Knox City!
Wow what a week!!!.
So transfer meeting was on T uesday. Elder lambe has been put with a Philappino missionary, he will do great!
As for me I have been put with Elder Guyman From Utah. I was soo happy! I was thinking of all the Zone Leaders, and he was who I was wishing to go with! Plus he is in the area I was hoping to go to!  Elder Guyman was actually my Zone Leader when  I came out on my mission! haha he is the man! He has been my favourite Zone Leader by far and I'm so grateful to be serving with him!   I have learnt so much already.
We are serving in Croydon which was the Melbourne Central English Zone but is now the Moorondah Zone. My zone covers the whole Moorondah Stake which stake centre is the one in front of the temple. Im soo happy! It's so crazy how many people I have run into already. I'm guessing at least between 30 or 40.. It's crazy!
So there is a lot happening in the area but also a lot of room for improvement.  This past week we have spent probably 8 hours just planning for the zone. We have some great ideas on how to unite the zone to ensure that all areas baptise. This coming week were going to go down the Ringwood Station and as a zone, draw out the POS on the ground in chalk and then as a zone GQ around it teaching people. It will be good fun!
We will be setting up weekly sport nights at the Wantirna chapel for the YSA's, we are going to do a 'Christmas in July' thing but in August and busk at Knox City here.  We were able to organise to have a meeting with President this past week where we were able to run a lot of ideas past him which he loved!
We have seen soo many miracle's this past week as well! W have been able to solidify one of our baptismal dates for this coming Saturday and set another. We met this genius named Kent who read the Book of Mormon in less then a week and loved it! We have been able to find 11 new investigators so we have so much to do! And there is so much to do as a Zone Leader. I thought I was tired before, but it's crazy now.  I'm sick and have a new addition of bags under my eyes but I'm on top of the world actual loving life! We have such a busy transfer planned with so many days out of our area on exchanges but it just means that we need to be extra organised and make sure we are teaching only the elect that are truly prepared.
We were out tracting this week and I knocked on a door to find someone I used to know in Adelaide, it turns out she is less active now (has been for about a year), so I was very happy to knock on her door, I will definitely be getting her back at church! It's so cool how the Lord puts you into the areas where you are needed!  I was expecting to run into people I know, but not as many as I already have. I truly know I'm meant to be serving here in this area. It's quite funny to think that I'm emailing today from the shopping centre that I use to hang out at before the mission.
So many miracles, but not enough time to write. Not enough time to do anything. I don't even have time to write any letters. We are always back at the flat late and up at 5.30am a lot of mornings. Life is good though.
Elder T Bennallack.

June 2012 - Come Unto Christ

4 June 2012
This week has been another amazing week!
Lately we have been going bike riding for exercise in the morning... it's awesome! It's so good having a companion who used to race motorcross and downhill mountain bike racing.  We have found some really challenging but hard mountain bike trails near our flat so we are always getting up easily and going for big rides.. It’s great! Today were going on a hike up the hill called 'the Rock'.

Life is good with Elder Lambe. We have become the best of friends.

We have been doing a lot of study lately on the Pearl of Great Price and have been picking apart the Abraham covenant.  It's so awesome and interesting! I think I’m finally starting to get my head around it...

This week we have been focusing on trying to find a family that can add to the ward. We have been tracting the really rich houses with minimal results, but I know the Lord will place this family in our path.

Our investigator Marjorie is progressing really well.  We actually decided to move her baptism to Friday night instead of Saturday, so that should be going ahead this Friday.  We are all excited for her.  Elder Lambe will be doing the baptism. I’m proud very of her.
At church yesterday our investigator Kara is already past Alma in the Book of Mormon, in 3 weeks!  She is super strong!
We have transfers coming up next weekend which Elder Lambe and I am a little nervous about.  We have great things happening here and it would be a shame to leave, but I know the Lord knows best. (So just a heads up if you don’t have an email next Monday it probs has something to do with transfers.)

This past week we were asked to go and give this lady who was dying of cancer in hospital, a blessing. She is only expected to live a few more weeks. It was a very spiritual experience as the spirit was so strong.  We only gave her a comfort blessing but she felt the spirit.  It was a great opportunity to think about the loving mercy and justice within the plan that Heavenly Father has prepared for us. She is definitely on the right track to finding the gospel now.
Other cool news, Tiarny went down to Melbourne this past weekend to go do baptisms for the dead. She absolutely loved it! It makes us happy as missionaries to see our recent converts embrace the gospel...

Also I had my first double tea appointment this past week. We went to an appointment to go teach this South African YSA called Garlic who we met on the street.  After meeting the family we were invited to stay for dinner. So of course we didn’t miss the great teaching opportunity. The spirit was strong. After that, we went to our set dinner appointment.  Let’s just say, I think I broke the Word of Wisdom that night... eating way too much.

Each month the mission comes out with a newsletter of the news of the mission and of all the baptisms including a photo of each baptism.  Elder lambe and  I were quite looking forward to seeing three of our photos in this months newsletter.  I've never seen anyone have three photos, so we were excited.  It turns out they forgot to add any of our baptisms.. I thought about it a bit, and I'm actually glad they did.  We read in the scriptiures in Matthew 6 that once everyone knows about the good work you have done or are doing we have already recieved our reward.  It's not important to be recognised or anything. The only thing that's important is that they have come unto Christ.

Life is good up here in Wagga.
I’m grateful to be a part of this important work of gathering the house of Israel.

Elder T. Bennallack

12 June 2012
First things first, transfer news came through Saturday night and Elder Lambe and I are both staying together in Wagga for another 6 weeks! Sooo stoked! It's actually fairly rare for a companionship to be together for 3 transfers, but I'm so excited for it. We have great things happening.

Being the start of a new transfer too it also gives us a time to reflect and review our past 6 weeks. We really want to raise the bar this transfer and baptise families.  We're off to a good start as we were just able to set a date with a Burmese family last night for the 30th of June.  It was a couple that we had found tracting a few months ago, but I guess you could say, they fell through the cracks.  We are teaching 6 Burmese families but because of a lack of English and there being no translation of the Book of Mormon in their language, we have felt like we had hit a brick wall with all of them. Anyway, this couple by far have the best english and we were able to give them a pamphlet about Jospeh Smith in Burmese. I felt impressed that we had to go back and see them.  We went back last night and had one of he most spiritual lessons I have ever taught on my mission.  They both have such great faith and although they were baptised by immersion 15 years ago, they agreed to baptism as they said, "I know this is true". (referring to the Joseph Smith pamphlet) Miracle!

I guess everything this past week led up to Marjorie's Baptism which was such a spiritual experience. So Dad asked how did we find Marjorie?  We actually found her by going through our area book and visiting her.  She was a former investigator.  Missionaries 8 months ago found her but she never progressed.  We were able to go over and see her and after showing her some friendship, she started keeping her commitments by first coming to Ben Carters baptism.  The rest is history.

We ended up having the baptism on Saturday at 3pm and her daughter's family came down from Canberra for it. 
Although we tried really hard to gt a member to baptise her, Elder Lambe performed it.  Her fellowship was female, so she was closest to us as missionaries. She is doing great.
Baptism of Marjorie Luthy by Elder Lambe
On Sunday she was confirmed by the Branch President. Sunday was a great day. Ben Carter was also ordained a priest as he recieved the Priesthood. He has changed so much and is now thinking a little about a mission  :P   In fact, all of our recent converts are doing so well! It makes me so happy. The promise in Jacob 5 about us alongside with the Lord, receiving joy as we see the fruits of our labors, is so true!

As you heard last week we went on that hike up 'the Rock' and we actually did it again yesterday with all the YSA's for an activity. Such a great view.

We always read about these spiritual experiences happening on the mountian top   :P haha!

In District news: We travelled up to Griffith for a District Meeting last Tuesday.  Our District is so unified! No changes in the district with transfers, so Elder Howard will be dying (finishing his mission) at the end of this transfer.

Lately we have been eating alot of fruit. I love it! On the way back from Griffith we stopped on the side of the road and picked up 10kg of oranges for 6 dollars.. fresh oranges.. sooo good! Today we are going to buy another 20kg for 10 dollars.. hahah

Elder T Bennallack.

Here are some pictures from the zoo we visited:
An Emu



18 June 2012
So it's truely winter now in Wagga... I forgot how cold Australia gets.  It's not too much fun in the mornings though, because we dont have a heater but it's whatever...

This past week in Wagga to be honest with you, was quite slow... So many appointments fell through making the days seem very long.  It's ok, opposition in all things right?  It has definitely made me focus on the Christlike attribute of long-suffering.  Our main goal this transfer is to baptise a family. We have been fasting and praying quite hard for this to happen.  This past week we have been able to find a few quality candidates that fit the description, so we will see how things go this coming week.

There are no baptisms coming up at the moment except the Burmese family who's date will have to be pushed back... but it's still early in the transfer.  It's quite difficult teaching this Burmese family with no resources that they can read, but we have been praying for the gift of tongues.  The gifts of the spirit are awesome gifts to work towards.  I'm quite determined to not give up on these people though.  We were reading up on Burma through the church articles this past week. At the moment there is only 100 members in Burma, there is a population of 80 million living there.  It would be great to help the gospel progress in Burma. As of late, the military run government has softened up a bit and I think missionaries will be allowed in there soon.  It's a part of the Thailand mission at the moment. It's just cool to think of how the church is growing at the moment. I love reading about stuff like that.

Miracle for the week was while we were tracting. There was two mothers out the front of their house having a smoke so we went and spoke to them. It's so funny watching the faces of those you approach as they realise your coming to talk to them.. They weren't to happy to see us, but it's amazing watching the spirit work. After seeking Heaven Inspired Questions and through revelation we were able to teach them about the plan of salvation. They then started to open up about recent deaths and tragic events in the family. It was a choice experience to see as in Alma 5... to see their change of heart. I'm looking forward to teaching them again this coming week.

Elder T. Bennallack

25 June 2012
We drove up to Griffith again last Tuesday for District meeting and on the way back, Elder lambe saw his first koala in the wild.. so he was fair stoked.  We took some good pictures. He's quite lucky because they are quite rare to spot!

We're actually up in Griffith at the moment. We drove up here with the zone leaders this morning for a District P-day. It's my first one in 3 months so I'm excited. Were off to play a round of golf which is going to be so much fun! I picked up some leftie clubs and heaps of balls during the week in preparation for today. $2- yup thats right...

Elder lambe and I have been trying to be really thrifty lately with our money... it's hilarious. I love it though! We are actually budgeting sooo well! It's so rewarding.  If you just pretend you don't have the money then you don't spend it  :P

When it comes to the work, it has been a really good week. We have found some great investigators.
One is a man's name is Scott. We went and taught him on Saturday and he had the same views on the plan of salvation even before we taught it.  He loved it!! He was telling us that he thinks we came from God and we will return to him after this life which is a test... !!!! He's awesome!

Ben Carter our recent convert came out with us all day on Friday.  He's 19 years old, therefore mission age.  Ever since he was baptised, everyone has been asking him when he is going on his mission. I think this annoyed him a fair bit as it would me! He was very anti going on a mission.
Anyways, miracle for the week.  Ben spent all day with us from 10am till 9pm.. Long story short, after seeing many miracles and teaching spiritual lessons he was over the moon! He is really excited to serve a mission now! He talked to the branch president about it yesterday. He is solid.
Speaking of solid Tiarny was down at the temple again this weekend... she did three baptism sessions.. Shes loving the gospel... it's sooo good!

 Elder T Bennallack