Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 2013 Miracles!

1 April 2013 - Easter Monday
Well I'm actually off to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) today to see the 'Cats' and the 'Hawks' play (AFL Football). You have no idea how excited I am for it! President gave us permission so I can teach Elder Kirklin, seeing that it's a Monday game  :P 
The famous MCG!
This week has been an amazing week, we have been working really hard and everything seems to be falling into place.
Mahinth's baptism, baptised by Elder Kirklin
We finished the week with another baptism which was really rewarding.  His name is Mahinth.  He is Sri Lankan.  I have so much love for him. I am so excited with the progress we are making with the Sri Lankan population here.  
Our goal is to have a Sri-Lankan branch within a year.
Yesterday at church I was able to confirm him, what a blessing.  We have been thinking how we can make church more appealing for these great Sri Lankan people.  Over the past 6 weeks we have had over 30 different Sir Lankans come to church but only maybe 20% come back, this is because they don't understand.  The ones that come back, come for the Sunday School class in Tamil. We have been looking into getting a translating system where the members can wear a headset and have sacrament meeting translated to them, they cost a few thousand dollars though, so we came up with an alternative. We asked everyone to bring headphones to church and we plugged them into their phones, then we did a huge conference call. It worked perfectly. We had everyone put their phones on mute so there was no back feed and then we had the translator talk into our phone. They loved it!! I love technology!
We have a busy week coming up. Transfers are in a week so we were at Presidents last night talking about it all. We will be meeting with him a lot more over the coming week.
I love this work.
Elder Bennallack

2 April 2013
What a game at the MCG!! I was loving life so much! My companion is officially converted to AFL Football :P He now has bought a leather game ball.

I was unable to finish emailing last night, we were very busy, so just sending a few lines this morning as we are sorting out a few more things in the office for our meetings this morning. I'm on an exchange with the Chinese missionaries today which will be interesting. I was able to see the Chinese Branch yesterday which is right downtown. It is beautiful!
Elder Bennallack


8 April 2013

It has been one heck of a week!  I don’t think I ever updated you on our March goal of 75 baptisms. We didn’t quite hit it, but in the end we baptized 68 people in March.  We were all still so thrilled with that effort though, because the record before that was 53.  The Lord is truly hastening his work!

We have been able to work out transfers this past week which has been fun. It was a lot easier doing it this transfer than last.  I’m not sure if it’s because it's the second time around, or if it’s because it’s a smaller transfer, maybe a bit of both.  We're organized though and ready to go!

I’m really excited about my new companion. He doesn’t know he is being called as an assistant yet but he will do a great job. His name is Elder Bellon. His is form Utah:P I love American companions! He loves hunting and what not just like Elder Guymon.  He is a great missionary! He has been out one transfer longer then me, so he still has a long time left which is great!


On other news, we have just opened a second branch up in downtown Melbourne.  It is at the same building as the Chinese branch, it’s an ‘International branch’ targeting Vietnamese in the city. They have the sacrament meeting in English with translators and then split off into different classes in different languages; we are all quite excited about it!


Elder Lambe is being made a Zone Leader this transfer which is exciting for him.  Even better is that he will be serving in the same ward as me in Dandenong.  He is doing great.


Well, we have the 'Golden’s' coming in on Wednesday. We were suppose to have 27 come in, except all the American's from Provo, including all of the sisters didn’t get their visa’s in time so they have been sent off to other missions temporarily until their visa’s come through, maybe next transfer? So now we only have 9 coming in.

I’m really excited to watch conference this coming weekend!
Elder Bennallack

15 April 2013
It has been one busy week this past week, we were able to accomplish so much and I know it was because we took a few hours out of the week to plan.  Planning and organisation is key.
We actually have four missionaries in our area for a few weeks which is absolutely great, this is because Elder Kirklin doesn't leave till the 23rd of this month.  It's great having four because it gives us a lot of flexibility in visiting the mission while our own investigators are still being taught.  We have been driving around in Sister Lifferth's car the past week which is nice.  This coming week we're actually going to be out of our area all week.  We're off touring the mission with President as he conducts interviews.  It's going to be a great opportunity to influence the mission this week as we accompany him. 
In between all of the interviews, I'm actually going to be going on exchanges with Ballarat and Wagga, I'm quite excited!  We have great missionaries in both locations, it's going to be highly beneficial exchanging in their area especially  because I served in both areas so I will be able to help them out a little with fresh ideas. Wagga has actually just been doubled in, so it will be great to endorse them to members up there. 

More about last week: We saw some great miracles, the biggest were on Saturday.  I was on an exchange with Elder Lambe because he is a new Zone Leader.  As we were reviewing the plans for the day in the morning together, I was reminded that there was actually a baptismal service on that night.  Bishop's daughter and an investigator were being baptised.  I was thinking 'wouldn't it be nice if we could baptise someone tonight?'  The program was all set, the members invited, it would be convenient.  I then thought, 'why don't we?'


We set plans.  Later in the day we visited with one of our most progressing investigators, his name is Francis, he has a great story but another time.

Francis has been reading the Book of Mormon every day, praying and coming to church.  He has been taught everything, he was ready.  I committed him to be baptised  that evening, and he excitingly accepted.  I then went and organised the 'whites' while Elder Lambe did the interview. 
After seeing such a miracle and being on a spiritual high, we then thought 'Why cant we baptise another one of our investigators tonight? We have a few hours?'
We made some phone calls and arranged to meet with another one of our progressing investigators, Seliyan, half an hour before the baptismal service at the chapel.
We had faith so we bought some spare 'whites' with us in the car to the chapel.  Seliyan has been coming to church for a long time and had been taught everything but wouldn't ever make his baptismal date because he wanted to know more. We sat down with him and proceeded to ask him a few questions: "Seliyan, have your been reading the Book of Mormon?" "Every day" he excitingly replied.  I then asked "have you prayed about the Book of Mormon? Do you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet? Do you believe Jesus Christ's church has been restored?" "Yes, yes, yes" he replied.  The spirit was very strong as I invited him to be baptised... in 20 minutes.  He paused for a second but as the Holy Spirit touched his heart he accepted!  Just as practiced earlier, I got the 'whites' from the car as Elder Lambe interviewed him. 

Francis' baptism...
Both Francis and Seliyan were baptised Friday night at 5pm. The day started  without any baptismal dates and ending with two baptisms, what a huge miracle!

... and Seliyan's baptism

It's blatantly obvious to see how the Lord is hastening his work as miracles are raining upon us in our area.  I have such a testimony on the converting power of God.  We are just guides and his hands here in Dandenong.  Faith is an action word, as is repentance.  In our area we have really been focusing on only those that keep their commitments, those that don't, we make record of them and drop them for a later time.  The field is white ready to harvest.  We have been filtering through investigators like flour through a sieve, but I know that those we are getting baptised are ready to make that first covenant in the gospel because the spirit has confirmed to their heart and mind of the validity and truth of this restored gospel.  Faith and repentance prepares one for baptism. 

Group photo before Francis' baptism
 (My new companion Elder Bellon is next to me, right of pic)
Our recent converts we have are amazing, they truly are the pioneers of the Gospel in Sri Lanka.

I was grateful for the missionary focus at General Conference.  The message rang loud and clear that members are to step up and assist the full time missionaries. We need to take courage and extend the blessing of the gospel to those we love around us.  I know that there are people within your social circles that are prepared to receive the message of this restored gospel.  I challenge each of you that read this to spend some time on your knees and let the Spirit of God touch your heart and mind as to who of those you know are ready to hear the gospel.  When we receive this promoting, I again invite you to act.  I might not know everything, but I know that as we act, we come closer to our maker.  As our friends act, they develop faith which leads them to change and grow, to develop fresh views about God as defined in the bible dictionary under 'repentance'  which prepares one for the blessings of baptism.

I know this church is true. I love this work and am so excited how quickly the spiritual gathering of Israel is taking place throughout the world.  I feel honoured to be a part of this cause as a full time representative of Jesus Christ. Remember badge or no badge, every member a missionary, take courage and act.
Thank you for your constant support and prayers on my behalf.
Elder Bennallack

22 April 2013
We have been touring the mission with President this past week and still have another week of it this coming week. We have been having a big training meeting with the zone while each missionary waits for their interview with President.  On average, they have gone for three hours which is a fairly long meeting.  We have been averaging two zones a day which means two three hour meetings every day. We have a few more zones to visit this coming week. As tiring as it is,I am on such a spiritual high!  We have become really close to President and Sister Lifferth this week.  One night we were stuck in traffic with them and so we ended up having hilarious chats for the three hour drive home, I love them so much!  It’s such a blessing being an Assistant because you get to know the Mission President and wife on such a personal level. I have learnt so much from them.
Well in between the interviews, we managed to travel to Ballarat for a quick exchange which was beneficial. We also spent three days touring the District in NSW. I was in Wagga yesterday which was crazy. I had half a day to kick start the mew missionaries that had just been doubled into the area, it was great.
Well there isn’t too much news from my end this week I have just been busy out of our area. I will leave you with one miracle from the week though:
We only had three or four hours in Ballarat for our exchange and in that time we wanted to cover all forms of the work, namely, planning, finding and teaching. We had an appointment at 5:30pm and I knew it would be dark after we were finished with the appointment so I was very eager to do some tracting beforehand.  We were driving to our appointment with five minutes up our sleeve.  As we drove past this street, I felt an impression to turn around and spend five minutes tracting that street, so we did.  After getting out of the car I said to my companion, ‘Elder, we only have five minutes which door do we need to knock on?’  He chose a door but they weren’t home.  As we looked around, I felt another strong prompting to tract a set of units 100 metres up the road on the opposite side. We ran to the units because we know time was against us. The first three out of four units didn’t answer the door.  With a prayer in my heart we approached the last door.  As we approached the door a man came outside after seeing us coming. I quickly realised I had seen this man before, it turns out we met each other nearly a year and a half ago.
Back when I was serving in Ballarat, I made friends with a Catholic Priest who invited me to his inter-faith group. We attended this inter-faith meeting which was full of Christians from all faiths. We were able to stand and share the basic restored principles of our faith coupled with our testimonies. Although a positive experience nothing came of it, well that is what I thought.
A year and a half down the track, I knock on this man’s door who I met at this inter-faith meeting. It turns out he recognised me too and expressed his sincere desire to now learn about the church. We were able to bear our testimonies and set a return appointment for the following day. Miracle!
Elder Bennallack  

29 April 2013 
I was so glad to hear that mum and dad were able to meet President and Sister Lifferth, they are amazing!  It was actually quite funny I called President Tuesday night to talk about a few things and he told me that he has a package for me? I was so confused but was very glad to hear that he had lunch with the two of you. While you were with him on Tuesday I had a great day in Dandenong, we actually set six baptismal dates that day. It was the only full day in our area this week so we made the most of it.

This week we travelled a lot. We had interviews with four more zones which went really well.  We have been training over the past few weeks on dropping investigators.   It is actually quite funny when we commit everyone to do this.  The principle behind it though is that an investigator will never be baptised if they don’t keep their commitments.  We all know the doctrine of Christ – faith, repentance, baptism… Faith is an action word. James 2:17, John 7:17. When investigators keep their commitments they exercise faith. Repentance is the consequence. Too often missionaries miss the mark with repentance.

We know repentance includes gaining forgiveness of wrong doings but I believe the Bible Dictionary gives us a greater insight especially when it comes to conversion. 'Repentance comes from a Greek work which denotes a change of mind or heart, a fresh view on life, God or one’s self.'   When people will read the scriptures, pray and attend church this repentance process naturally occurs. This is what prepares someone for baptism.  At the start of my mission, I was working just as hard as I am now but I didn’t understand this concept, I kept trying over and over again with investigators that weren’t quite ready to hear the gospel because they wouldn’t keep their commitments.  We read in D&C 4 that the field is white, people are ready, and these are the people we need to focus our time and efforts on. Anyways that was a summary of what we have been training on; combining the importance of investigators keeping their commitments, weaved in with using time wisely which is one of the chapters in 'Preach My Gospel' (PMG).

This mission is really moving forward.  We had 41 baptisms this month which was a fair effort to back up the 68 from last month. We are right on track for us to reach our goal of 151 for this second quarter of the year.

Well all is going well in our area, we should be baptizing on the 11th and the 25th which is exciting.

Tomorrow we have a ZLC meeting which is always enjoyable and then we have Zone Conferences starting up next week.

Elder Bennallack


March 2013 Dandenong

4 March 2013
What a week! Well where do I start? Transfer Tuesday was a big day. We held a ZLC meeting in the mission home in the morning which went from 10am-2pm after which we drove down to the chapel for a transfer meeting at 3pm.  All the logistics went so smoothly, one after another, cars were swapped along with everything else and the missionaries were on their way.  We had the trainers pack an overnight bag and work locally until they met their "Golden’s' on Wednesday evening. 
Wednesday morning we drove down to the airport in the van and killed two birds with one stone. We dropped off some Elders flying to Tasmania and then got to the terminal 30 seconds before the first missionary come out of the custom doors.  It worked perfectly.  It was really awesome to see Sister Foster. We had bus waiting for them to take them back to the chapel.
All day we were giving trainings, introducing them to the mission with lunch and dinner somewhere in-between. We finished the evening when the trainers arrived with a testimony meeting. It was a really amazing experience for me. I was sitting in the testimony meeting in a euphoric state overcome with the spirit.  It was so amazing to see all of the new missionaries (golden’s) and the faith that they have.
Cousins serving together: Sister J Foster & Elder T Bennallack
I haven’t really cried many tears my whole mission but one seemed to escape my eyes as I was talking to Sister Foster over dinner. I was asking her when she decided to serve a mission and what prompted her. She has such a strong story in which the spirit hit me big time as she was telling me. She was relating how hard it was for her with the passing of Uncle Andrew.  She was talking about how she found comfort during that awful time as she turned to her Saviour Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice.  The spirit touched my heart as she was speaking. I know that the atoning blood of Jesus Christ covers not only our sins, but all that is unfair in life, all the pain, all our afflictions. I’m forever grateful. Sister Foster is going to be a giant in this mission. Don’t we have an amazing family?

Thursday we drove into the city again to drop off more missionaries at the train station to catch a train into the bush. We were so lucky, we hit big time traffic towards the city and the last 10 minutes took an hour.  We got them on the only train leaving for that day with less than 60 seconds before departure. The Lord answered our prayers. As the missionaries got on the train I relaxed a bit, transfers officially and successfully completed for another six weeks until we have 16 new sister missionaries coming in!
As for our own area, the Lord is blessing us so much. We weren’t able to spend a whole lot of time in our area but I feel like we worked really smart as we prioritised our time. Due to the Lords tender mercies we were able to have 15 investigators at church on Sunday, all individuals too. What a blessing.
I’m struggling to get to know people though because our ward is so huge and 70% Polynesian, it’s hard to remember names. We have well over 300 people at church each week with chairs going back to the stage. It is far bigger then our ward even in Colorado, it's chaos.
Last night the Mission President Fireside went well.
Today my companion and I have been so sick. We have food poisoning from a dodgy old potato salad we were fed last night. I was able to throw up and sleep it off for a few hours though so I’m feeling ok now, just weak.
What on the cards for this coming week? Well, we're driving up to Wangaratta and Albury tomorrow morning for a zone conference and exchange.  Thursday we are bringing all the Sisters in again for a Sister’s conference.   An exchange on Friday and then next Monday we’re off to Tasmania for a few days. We'll fly in Monday morning, have a p-day there which will be nice. (I have never been to Tas). Monday night we are planning and teaching with the zone leaders. Tuesday we have a zone meeting and an exchange with Rosney. Tuesday night we will drive up to Launceston in our hired car to exchange with two more golden’s. We'll fly out from Launceston on Wednesday night to get back to Melbourne for a follow up meeting with the golden’s on Thursday  Should be good.
Well. know that all is well, I’m safe, happy and healthy.
Thanks for all your support.
Elder Bennallack

13 March 2013

The past few weeks have been so crazy! 

Where do I start? Well I don’t have much time, I just wanted to shoot a quick one but it is getting late and we have lots of work to do tonight for a golden review meeting tomorrow.

We were up north for a few days which was so amazing. We were able to see so many companionships and help them a lot. I felt really good about it. Something President has taught me is, looking at the time and effort vs. results.  Weighing it up and seeing if it is worth it. The trip was!  It was really good!
We had a few days in our area, so many miracles it was crazy, we are teaching families which is great.
Elder Bennallack & Kirklin at Port Arthur, Tasmania

Monday we flew to Tasmania bright and early. On P-day we drove down to Port Arthur and checked it all out. We got tickets for free which was nice. It’s a cool place.
Hobart is pretty.  We ate dinner at the Bender's home Monday night; they were so excited to see me.
Dinner at the Bender's. (Old family friends)
We were busy, busy, busy, though.  Monday night we were with the ZL's talking about the zone and teaching. Tuesday we were with a companionship in Rosny which was amazing, We drove to Launceston on Tuesday night.  Today we were with two companionships both for a few hours each.  We flew back tonight and then picked up another 'golden' at the airport.
Now it’s prep time for a meeting tomorrow.  Tomorrow morning we are going to the Temple which I have been looking forward to for a long time.  I’m fairly set on being a Temple worker when I get home, I love it. 
The past weeks have been crazy. Sorry I haven't been able to include specific miracles but I might leave you with one: On the way home tonight our plane seats were moved to the front of the plane. The man sitting next to us lived in Dandenong and is now an investigator we are seeing on Friday. I love the way the Lord makes things happen.
Elder Bennallack

18 March 2013
 I emailed only a few days ago, having said that it has been a full on few days.  I sware there isn't 24 hours in a day?
Thursday was spent in the Temple which was amazing, followed by a training meeting with the golden’s'.  I love the Temple so much, I reflect oft on the choice experiences I have had in visiting Temples all across America, they truly are beautiful.
We were left with Friday, Saturday and Sunday in our area this week.  We were teaching hour after hour day after day for the three days. As a result in three days we taught 25 lessons, setting 10 new baptismal dates with 13 at church. We were also able to find 18 new investigators with 29 new contacts. The Lord blessed us so much, miracle after miracle! Our teaching pool is full of families, it’s great.
We are continuing to teach many Sri Lankans. This weekend a man named Rasikaren is getting baptised. He has come a long way. I have so much love for these ‘boat people’, each have such an amazing horrific story with family members being tortured, killed, kidnapped you name it. Rasikaren has physical scars from his experiences while he was in a bunker for a month. It is full on, but I am so grateful to be able to help them; nothing can help them in life more than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Although we could baptise 10 in a week if we wanted, Jacob 5 comes to my mind. There are some great roots in the Dandenong ward with a Sri Lankan family that joined the church seven years ago who teaches our classes alongside with 4 or 5 new Sri Lankan recent converts. We just need to be smart in how we grow this ethnicity within the ward. The branches cannot overpower the roots otherwise they will not have the support and will go less active. Although we have over 10 who are coming to church and progressing rapidly we only want to start with those that want it the most. The idea is to baptise one or two a week. The Dandenong is great!
We found out this week who our new Mission President is. His name is Cory Maxwell, Neal A. Maxwell’s son! I think he is the CEO of Deseret Books at the moment; he works on the General Sunday School Presidency and has worked very closely with many apostles in publishing their books. How lucky am I, very excited!
Worldwide missionaries can now email whoever they like including friends as long as they don’t live within the mission boundaries. I feel a little weird and disobedient emailing friends but it’s come from the brethren so there must be a good reason behind it?
I’m off to the west side of the city for a few days this week on exchanges and then preparing for a baptism this weekend.
Elder Bennallack

 25 March 2013
It has been one heck of a week! We spent Tuesday and Wednesday on the west side of the city on exchanges, then we were super busy in our area for the rest of the week.
The weekend was the highlight of the week because on
Saturday we had the baptism of Rasikaran. He was so ready. Elder Kirklin baptized him and I confirmed him a member of the church on Sunday. We are really starting to develop a Sri Lankan community at church. We are now looking into getting some headphones so sacrament can be translated into their language.
We had a lot at church on Sunday but were told that we cannot baptise every week but only on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays now!! That’s ok.

After church on Sunday we drove down to Wantirna South where I was able to get into my 'cricket whites' and baptized Suzanna. Honestly, it was the best service. It was a nice private service, the spirit was so strong. I am so proud of her, it has been a long journey back. The atonement of Jesus Christ is real, the Lord is so merciful and for that i am so grateful.
We will be baptizing this weekend too which will be great. The mission had their goal of 75 in March. We are at 45 at the moment with only a week left so we need 30 baptisms this weekend. It is going to be close, there is a lot of dates set for this coming weekend.
We have a ZLC tomorrow where we will announce our next quarter goal which is: “ Teach like the Son, 151.” It will be a great meeting tomorrow.
We have two missionaries coming in on Wednesday but the big transfer cycle is in a few weeks. We need to start looking at transfers again with another 28 missionaries coming in.
Well life is great! I love my companion, I love my area, I love learning off President.
Happy Easter Everyone for this weekend. We celebrate the ultimate action of love, I’m grateful.
Elder Bennallack

February 2013 Humble and Inadequate

4 February 2013

President actually gave permission to the whole mission to watch the Super Bowl today... So we were all at a members home watching the 49ers nearly win... They were down the whole game, so close in the end. It was a great treat to watch a sport.  A little weird watching the TV for the first time in 15 months.. Exciting none the less. Due to the power outage we were late to our lunch appointment with other missionaries in Clayton.  We all went out to an 'all you can eat' Chinese restaurant where you cook your own meats and veg in a spicy broth that was on the table.  It was beautiful... It's so funny, all of the missionaries get so excited when it's the start of the month and they get their monthly allowance.. Good company none the less. .

On a more serious note though last week was amazing! An amazing week ending in the baptism of Cheyenne.  She was baptised on Sunday evening at 5:30pm.  The baptismal service went really well, we had a YSA named Cory baptise her.  He leaves on his mission to Guana on Thursday and we are great friends with him.  It was a choice experience for everyone; him with his first baptism and his parents to watch his first before he leaves. It was flawless. So many of the Young Women that we have introduced to her, and have been involved in the teaching process were there. The spirit was so strong, the 8 non-members there felt it too. Cheyenne is such a trooper she was at church yesterday for 12 hours! a double church, then a pot luck, then her baptism followed by the Mission President Fireside. A great day!

Another highlight for the week was teaching an investigator called Rochelle.  We were able to meet her at her home with her parents on Saturday night. (Her parents are Baptist Pastors.) We were so excited for the lesson because we knew it would be important. We discussed a few key points of the gospel over a roast but after dinner we has a great lesson with the whole family explaining the Restoration of the Gospel and the need for one true church. They had done their research and had read about the Plan of Salvation which fit in perfectly, because their concerns about all other Christians in the world who are not baptised Mormon, was answered through the knowledge of the spirit world and baptisms for the dead in the Bible.  They had problems with the interpretation of the scripture in Corinthians where Paul speaks of baptisms for the dead.  Luckily I had a short 'Mormon Message' (snippet from 'Heaven on Earth') in my bag showing Biblical scholars and even a Catholic priest supporting the practice and explaining the scripture. The reason for the story, the Spirit was so, so strong! It was so thick you could cut it in the air with a knife. They all recognised the spirit and accepted the Book of Mormon.  They are quite excited to read and pray about it and even better willing to act on their answer. They understood perfectly. Im just so excited for the whole family. They are all excited to meet again, but not as exacted as I am!

Thanks again for all your support and love.
Elder Bennallack

11 February 2013

Thanks for your emails, it sounds like Jill aced it. I'm quite excited to have her in the mission, I have been telling quite a few as I have been thinking about who will train her? Maybe in my zone, we have so many sisters?
Well this is the start of week 6 which would normally mean the last week of the transfer but because the MTC have changed their schedule which Jill will be a part of we are now having a 7 week transfer so the new missionaries can come in at the start of the transfer. This coming transfer will be crazy though, there are 29 missionaries coming in!  That is by far the biggest transfer I have ever heard about.  I think there were eight in my intake and the biggest I had heard about was maybe 16 or 17 so it will be quite interesting even how they will be able to pick up such a large group from the airport?
As for my week it was full of miracles. Yesterday, I was asked to confirm Cheyenne a member of the church and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost.  It was a choice experience as I was able to prayerfully prepare myself and feel the spirit flowing as I gave her a blessing from God.  I was grateful for the intense feeling of the spirit in the room associated with the blessing.
The whole week I have been focusing my studies on the three related topics of faith, hope and charity.  I really wanted to dissect the three topics and truly discover for myself how they all connected.  Clarity illuminated my mind as I was able to prayerfully study and record my thoughts.  I have personally noticed the change in the work that was brought about by an increase of faith on my behalf. 700 hours of study time we have as missionaries to focus on becoming more Christlike.
Well we have zone conference coming up this week which I'm really excited about.  We are giving a 30 minute training on the Holy Ghost.  Time to explore doctrine; it's going to be great!
Elder Bennallack

11 February 2013

As I finished my email just then, I got a call from President Lifferth.  He has just asked me to be his Assistant.  I will be starting tomorrow and will be conducting all the Zone Meetings across this mission this coming week.  My companion will be Elder Kirklin.  Just thought I would shoot you a quick line to let you know. My mind is racing 1000 miles at the moment. I feel completely humble and inadequate with the trust President has put in me.
I know that I won't be alone though, I will have my Heavenly Father to guide me and sustain me.
25 February 2013
So this week I have been working in my area by day and being in the office by night trying to get transfers all sorted. It has been a challenge but I love how it is all a huge puzzle. We were in the office to midnight every night besides yesterday in which we finished at 10pm. Everything is prepared.

We have a ZLC on Tuesday morning, transfer meeting in the afternoon. Wednesday we are picking up the 'goldens 'and spending all day with them and then they are off to their areas Wednesday night and Thursday.  It doesn’t sound too complicated but when you break it down and look at how everyone is going to get there, is there enough cars to take people? Do they need a trailer?  Are the new flats ready and furnished  Booking plane tickets to and from Tasmania, train tickets to country areas, swapping all the cars around, checking licences and making sure people can drive, bikes, miki cards (public transport), bedding, food, trainings etc. It takes a bit of time.

We are renting a 54-seater bus to pick everyone up at the airport haha!

Sister Jill Foster is so lucky! Her companion is the best sister in the mission. She has been the coordinating sister in the mission for the past year. (The sister AP, the one that looks after them and exchanges with them etc.) She is going into her last transfer and is training for her last. Sister Foster is going to have a great start to her mission!

Well a little about our area. To be honest with you we weren't left with a lot of investigators even though it was the AP area. We were left with 5 investigators. So this week Elder Kirklin and I have been finding.  It’s great we are truly just working smart because our time in our area is limited.  We have been focusing on finding a lot of Sri Lankan. There are so many Tamil-speaking refugees here in Dandenong. They are really humble and easy to teach.  We wanted to focus on them because we have lots of Tamil recent converts plus a few members who can translate and fellowship.  It's crazy because you find one and go to their house and there is 7 of them living in the one house.  I feel like Dan Jones. They all sit down and we start preaching as if from a soapbox.
We hit the jackpot on Saturday. We were in-between appointments and we saw what looked like a Tamil man walking down the street, we parked the car in front of him and "crossed his path." We spoke with him and followed him back to his living quarters.  Anyways, once refugees have been let into the country from Christmas Island, the government puts them up in a hotel for a month and a half to give them a chance to find a place to stay.  So we follow this man back to his hotel in which the whole hotel is full of Tamil. There are 50-60 Tamil staying there.  We arrive; they all come outside and start listening.  They are so humble, new to the country, religious but without a denomination in Australia. They are all such good people, leaving their wives, children and families to risk the dangerous journey on an over-packed boat heading to Christmas Island in hope of a brighter future for their families.  Anyway, we walked with a few of them to church yesterday and an English class is in the works for this Saturday.

Life is good, as assistants we need to set the example for the mission statistically alongside with everything else. March needs to be a big month for us as the mission has a goal of reaching 75... I have the faith that we will see miracles though.

Being an assistant is so different to other missionary work. It's quite fun though, I love the dramas and I work well under stress. But I know with certainty, what we have been able to accomplish this past week wasn’t me though.
Elder Bennallack



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

January 2013 The Lord is Hastening His Work

7 January 2013
I’m really excited because I’m staying another transfer here in Wantirna South!  That will be six months for me in this area and seven and a half for the zone.  The zone is truly lifting and we are seeing success, so I’m so glad to be staying.  Our area is on fire too, we are teaching amazing families and are looking forward to some baptisms in the coming weeks. Suzanna has asked me to baptise her.  It has been such a long road for her and I love her so much!  I’m so excited for her!
As for everyone else, Elder Stracke and both the assistants are staying, so our flat is staying exactly the same.  This means I will be 'killing off' another two assistants because they both go home at the end of this transfer.  I’m really excited to be staying though, I love this area, I love the people, I love my room-flat-mates, I am just loving life.
Our ward is really struggling though.  We only have about 80 in attendance now at church.   I’m looking forward to ward council this coming Wednesday. Obviously a lot of things are going to be discussed; we have a lot to share as well.
I haven’t really focused too much on less actives my whole mission although we do a little. (One family came to church for the first time in years this week.) I have always left it to other missionaries because there are plenty of missionaries in the mission that are scared to find, therefore they always tend to do a lot of less active work. But this coming transfer we are really going to have to shift our focus a bit and really try and help some of these families. Its good being missionaries because you can be bolder with less actives because a) you don’t know them and b) you don’t live there permanently.
I have no idea why, but on Sunday I rock up to church and everyone kept coming up to me saying ‘Elder Bennallack, you’re a party animal are you?’ I was so confused until I found out that someone in the Waverly ward has put a bunch of the ‘I’m a Mormon’ profiles up on their notice board alongside with their picture. For some strange reason they have chosen mine and so on the Waverley notice board is a print out of my ‘I’m a Mormon’ profile that I wrote before my mission that says ‘Hi I’m Tom Bennallack and ..... I like to socialise ... ‘With a silly picture of me at Disneyland when I was with Sarah. It’s pretty funny when you think about it. I just laughed. So much for being dignified and people not knowing your first name... haha.
Anyway that’s about all for the week for me. I felt prompted to teach an investigator about our Heavenly Mother this week. That was definitely a first for me on the mission, but the spirit was so strong and it was really beneficial.
Elder Bennallack
 14 January 2013
That is very exciting news about Jill (cousin) coming to Melbourne, in Feb too!  Maybe I might serve around her.  At the moment I have just as many Sisters in my zone as Elders. I have 7 in my zone at the moment. My mission has changed so much lately. At the start of my mission there was a lot of drama with sister missionaries.  But of late we have has some strong sisters come in and step up. They are leading the mission now. They can touch the hearts of people that we can't. I am fairly sure we have nine 19 year old sisters coming in next month too all from Utah. It's going crazy!
Anyways, I'm really excited because Elder Pearson is in town due to the creation of the new stake yesterday. Tomorrow we will be having a big conference with him which is scheduled to go for five hours. Then on Wednesday he has called a special ZLC meeting in which we will be spending another 3 hours with him. It's going to be a great week!
Well it is the first week of the transfer and it is all happening. We have been knocking a lot of doors this past week trying to build our teaching pool.  We found a few good people. One family that we are teaching tomorrow, I am quite excited about.
A few of our golden investigators have been on holidays the past few weeks, they all get back this week which will be great. I'm quite hopeful of quite a few investigators. We just need to continue doing all we can as we act in faith.
I started the Book of Mormon again this week. I'm now in second Nephi and loving it. Nephi is such a great example to all of us. Regardless of his challenges, he acts, I love it!
The zone is going really well. I can look back over the past six months in the zone and realise where I have gone wrong. Although I'm still making mistakes, we have a great vision within the zone as each companionship is working. There was a baptism in the zone yesterday and there are baptisms scheduled every week for the next six weeks.  Exciting times, the Lord is hastening his work!
This past week we have been working with lots of less-actives.  It was rewarding to see many of them at church yesterday.
It has been a great week, I feel so blessed. I'm just enjoying the spirit that I feel in my life and the clarity of the promptings I have been receiving of late.
Elder Bennallack

 21 January 2013
It sounds like it was a very choice week, especially with the sealing of Nana & Grandad that took place on Friday. 
Well this week has been full on for us!  It has been one of the best weeks I have had on my mission.
Statistically we found 8 new investigators, 21 new contacts, taught 26 lessons, have 8 people lined up for baptism in February, and we had so many of the less-active families that we have been working with come to church!  And we had two baptisms in the zone this week. Half the baptisms for the whole mission this week came from our zone, I'm proud of them.
We have a great family lined up for baptism.  It was quite a miracle how it all happened.  Elder Stracke and I were out tracting this one night and we knocked on this door.  Derrick answered the door and with attitude went on to tell us how he was atheist.  I was fairly relaxed at this time but I felt this really clear prompting to rebuke him so I did.  I told him about him not having a purpose in life and for never even attempting to reach out to God, I could see the spirit working in him as he was hanging onto every word. We were then able to teach a bit about our purpose.
On the follow up visit we had a great lesson just on who God is and how we can communicate with him. He offered the kneeling prayer at the end.  We are now teaching three out of 5 in the family and they three have dates for the 9th of Feb. Bit of a miracle I thought.
Tuesday and Wednesday were some of the best days of my mission as we had the privilege of listening to Elder Pearson. He is such a powerful speaker as he is filled with the spirit. On Tuesday we had a 9 hour meeting with him from 8am till 5pm. Although drained by the end, I left with so much faith! What a man of God! The next day he addressed us as zone and district leaders for a further 3 hours. I have a great love for that man!
It has been a great week; there is so much happening in our area. The mission is lifting. The Lord is indeed hastening his work.
Elder Bennallack
 29 January 2013
This past week was good. We were still able to teach over 20 lessons but had a few struggles with some of our investigators.  It’s expected though, we all have to go through the trial of our faith, if we endure well then the Lord will bless us.  A little disappointing we had six at church but quite a few of our key investigators were missing.
Well I have just left a ZLC meeting at President's home.  The mission just hit an all time low of 12 baptisms for this month of January after baptisms in the 40’s in November and December. The assistants have their work cut out for them as they try to turn this around.  Elder Pearson set the goal for us to reach 75 baptisms as a mission in March.  It will happen; we just need to have faith.
Hopefully we should be baptising this coming weekend.  Cheyenne who is 16 is on date.  She comes from a part member family who are supportive of her.  She has fit into the church so well!  We have been able to bring some YW out teaching with us to be-friend her and they have done such a great job. She went to a YW sleep over the other night, alongside with weekly mutual on Tuesdays and our sports nights on Wednesday.  Tonight we are teaching her the law of chastity, should be good.
Suzanna is set for re-baptism and has asked me to baptise her, so hopefully that should happen within the next week or two.
It’s just exciting times here in Wantirna South; it’s exciting to be serving a mission at this critical time in the world’s history. I’m grateful for the relationship I continue to develop and deepen with my Heavenly Father. Gratitude fills my heart. Elder Bennallack