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


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