Tuesday, April 9, 2013

November 2012 "I love Wantirna South"

5 November 2012

Another fantastic week has passed by in Wantirna South. The weeks seem to become shorter and shorter.
Elder JB emailed me a few weeks and was asking about the possibility of us meeting up on his two hour layover in Melbourne. I had a chat to President this past week about it and he thinks it’s a great idea. So I’m really excited to be able to spend an hour or so with Elder JB on his way home. It will be good to see him still as an Elder. We will have to take a picture for you mum, a picture of your boys out together.
As for this past week we have been able to teach some spirit filled lessons. One new investigator called Samantha read the whole Book of Mormon in 5 days. Our investigators are truly quality, I love teaching educated people. I don’t think I have ever come across more lawyers, doctors and pastors in my life but I love it, I love this area so much!


On Friday we finally implemented my idea to go finding in the local market.  It was highly successful! We were able to talk to so many people. Members helped us out and really put the churches name out there which was great. Most of the people we found live outside our boundaries though, but that’s ok, we need to move the work forward all over this city!


 On a whole it was a great week, the people make the place, the members here and so loving towards us and the investigators are quality. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Thank you all for your birthday wishes. I have a great day planned for Thursday. We already have a full day of  teaching.
Elder Bennallack

12 November 2012
Wow what a choice week! Where do I start?
Maybe in order: After I emailed last week, Elder Guymon and I headed down to Phillip Island. It was quite fun but quite torturing to be honest though, the swells were prefect! It was great for Elder Guymon to see it though. 

I honestly had one of the best birthdays I have ever had! I got spoilt silly!! I got presents from members and even investigators.  Also I received so much mail as well, including a 70 page letter!!! haha!  That’s right a 70 page letter.  It took so long to read but it was awesome. Thank you so much for all of your love, I received packages from all of you guys and Mike and even Lisa-Jayne. She is honestly awesome! I got special messages and cards form Karlie and Sarah, even the Herricks. I did feel quite loved!
Let me tell you about my Thursday though: I couldn’t have asked for anything more! We taught 6 lessons and three with a member present. It was flat out from 10am in the morning.  So the first surprise was at our first appointment.  We are teaching this amazing lady named Margo and were teaching her in a member’s home and were half way through the lesson when for some reason I looked in the background. In the background I see a framed picture or me amongst all of the family photos...  I just stopped and thought ‘what the heck?!’   It was so funny!!!
I then got up and had a look at it only to discover another 4 framed photos of me all around the home!! It was so crack up! Once I discovered it, all they sung me happy birthdays and ended up pulling out a personalised ice cream cake and balloons for me! It was such a surprise! One of three cakes...
Happy Birthday Elder Bennallack!
The second was when we saw our recent convert Gabriela. She actually left to go back to Peru this past week because of visa issues, so we were saying our goodbyes when low and behold another cake comes out.  

Then you were right, we were invited to the Cray's for dinner earlier in the day.   After an enjoyable dinner they pulled out a double decked love-heart shaped chocolate cake baked by Kent, David  and Yvette. 
I was spoilt so much!  I also received about 15 messages to my mission phone from members in the ward and all of my friends that live in the area.   I’m still puzzled how everyone found out it was my birthday. I know FB had a little to do with it for a few and Elder Guymon must have had something to do with it as well but it was the most amazing day, such spiritual highs with amazing lessons and a lot of love. I love this area!
It was a great week.  Saturday we participated in a multi-zone service project restoring some railway lines in Yarra valley. On the way home we found a purse on the road and were able to look through it find an address and return it to a grateful owner.
We had 4 at church yesterday which was ok. It was a great day though. As I mentioned we were invited to dinner at our investigators home. It was highly beneficial as the partner is quite hostile towards us as missionaries. We were able to make some great progress.
Reflecting back on the week I am just in awe. I truly do live a blessed life.
Thanks for all that you do and for all the love I receive.
Love Elder T Bennallack
19 November 2012
Sounds like everyone is doing well. This week was a ripper. We taught 11 lessons with members present which we couldn’t complain about.  I concluded the week with actually getting into my 'cricket whites' last night as I baptised a man named Jamie, more about that later.
We have the most amazing investigators. I truly have so much love for them all.  On Wednesday we had a combined zone conference which was great. Our zone is lifting which is great. Transfers are at the end of next week though, from what I have heard I’m fairly sure our zone will be changed quite a bit.
The whole mission will change drastically over the coming months. It is so exciting. So I’m sure you have heard that since the missionary change at General Conference that the missionary applications have sky-rocketed from 700 per week to over 4000 a week.  They are expecting the mission force to nearly double to 90 000. Because of this obviously the dynamics of missions will change a bit.  Elder Hamula has informed President Lifferth that because of the increase they are going to max out the complement of the mission.  At present ,the mission has 160 missionaries serving. Over the next few months the Melbourne Mission will be maxed out with 250 missionaries!  This is huge. The mission will be turned on its head. (250 missionaries being the max a mission president can have stewardship over) A big ask for him. I’m really excited though because I am going to see this wonderful change take place. These missionaries will start flooding in around the New Year.  Nearly every companionship has a car at present. This will change; lots and lots of bikes have been ordered.
Other exciting things happening in the mission: In the New Year, President had been jumping through hoops to open an English branch in the city, literally in the CBD. This past year they got a Chinese branch up and running right next the QV building. Now there will be an English branch that will meet there.  This means that the city will be opened to English missionaries which hasn’t happened in a long time. They have just leased a missionary flat in Richmond, 200 metres form the MCG for the new branch. It’s so exciting everything that is happening.  Even more, the assistants have been hinting more and more that I will be serving in the city?? That would be amazing!   Ideal situation, keep me here one more transfer then head to the city... I will go where I’m needed though.
Ok back to my week. So we had 4 investigators at a baptismal service over the weekend which was highly beneficial.  The baptism was of a man named Jamie who the sister missionaries have been teaching.  He has regularly been attending our sports night we hold every week so I have made good friends with him.  Anyways, yesterday at his baptism the baptiser didn’t show... no one could get hold of him so I raced down to the flat 20 seconds away from the chapel, grabbed my whites and then baptised him... It went really well.
After the baptismal service one of our investigators Renee, really felt the spirit and she has decided to get baptised this coming Saturday on the 24th.  She is awesome! She is a 63 year old nurse, and a very smart lady.  She is already into Alma in the book of Mormon and has been at church without fail the past 4 weeks. I love her to death. Well she insists that I baptise her. So this weekend I will be getting in the 'cricket whites' again. What a privilege.
On whole it has been a great week.
Elder T Bennallack

26 November 2012
So first off, to answer another of Dad's questions: a lot of the new missionaries are 19 year old sisters. In April, there are 9 sisters, all 19, from Utah coming in. Crazy! The dynamics are changing.
So this has been one of the best weeks of my mission where  we worked closely with the members. 15 member present lessons, which is my highest in a week my whole mission.
Over the past month we have been organising and planning a Thanksgiving dinner which we put on Thursday night. We had 70 recent converts, member fellowship and investigators there and held it at the chapel. I love the principle of delegation, you can get so much more done.  We had the hall all decorated, 7 turkeys and tons and tons of food, and of course my favourite pumpkin pie for desert, alongside with many other cakes and sweets.  It went really well, the dinner couldn't have been better and was so beneficial for all of our investigators that we had there.  Obviously the whole theme was 'thanksgiving' and how we are thankful to know such good people.  Following the sit down dinner we moved to the chapel where we held a fireside focusing on the Temple. The Temple President and the Mission President both spoke. The night went perfectly!
On Saturday, the baptism of Renee went really well!  She is such an amazing lady!  I have so much love for her. It was such an honour to baptise her.  Her family was all in attendance with was great.
Yesterday at church we went to all three wards because we had investigators at all of them.  I ended up confirming Jamie and Elder Guymon confirmed Renee. It was a great day!
This morning we rode into the city with the assistants from the Temple on the bikes.  It was about a 50km ride which was great!  It is very pretty riding along the Yarra.  President picked us up in the city, what a good man.
A little on transfer news. I'm staying here for one more, which I am so excited about.  It will be good to be here for Christmas.  Obviously there will be three new missionaries moving in with me. I already know the inside scoop though which is good.  The new assistants, one is a pom. one is from Perth and my new companion will be from Orem, Utah.  I haven't met him yet, but have heard good things about him. I will be training him as a zone leader.
Elder T Bennallack


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