Thursday, April 18, 2013

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

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