Thursday, April 18, 2013

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



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