Monday, April 8, 2013

September 2012 Wantirna South

3 September 2012  It's never a dull week!!

Matt's Baptism
So first things first, we had Matthew's baptism on Saturday. It went really well! He really felt the spirit which was great. He felt the spirit even more on Sunday when he received the Holy Ghost. He literally looked different, it was so good. Well a good way to end the week and the transfer.
Besides that, we had a really great week in our area. We were able to teach some really powerful lessons including a lesson with our Burmese friends. This week we had three extras join us. They all felt the spirit so strong! It was great!  I'm really excited about what is going on there. We were also able to find 16 new people which is really exciting. Our area is on fire! :)
I saw some great miracles this week. One happened on Saturday. I love the spirit! So after our baptism, I received a call from a companionship in my zone. One Elder had run away from the other Elder... good fun. Anyway,  we had to drive down to their area and sort everything out.. we really didn’t have time for any of this though, because we had important appointments to get to.  After speaking to the other missionary we split off to try and find this missionary.  I was with my companion Elder Guymon.  We said a prayer in the car asking to receive revelation on where this Elder could be, also to be able to find him quickly because we didn’t have time.  Anyway, the second I closed the prayer, the revelation came to me that he was in a library which was a ten minute drive away from their flat where he left. This missionary didn’t have a car either so it was quite far away. Yet we followed the prompting, walked into the library over to the computers where I pictured him being and what do you know, there he was at the exact computer I pictured in non-proselyting clothes, without his badge on. Such a huge miracle. So after some rebuking and some discussions with the assistants we were able to continue on with our day... I’m so grateful for the spirit!.
Another miracle which was an answer to prayer was on Wednesday. We were off to teach this lady the stop smoking program. It includes the use of vitamin C tablets, mouthwash, grapefruit fruit and a toothbrush. It was the end of the month and we literally had no money left. We were freaking out because we weren't sure how we were going to buy and pay for everything necessary for the lesson. We said a prayer together and asked for things at the shops to be on special so we could buy them. We gathered all the coins in the car, under the seats and in our wallets together. We had exactly $9.05 We went into the shops and two items were on special. (I had the spare tooth brush at the flat.) We do the math before we get to the register and the total added up to $9.07... I then let my companion know the rule of rounding up and down here in Australia.. We had the exact amount!!  It was ridiculous!  Such a miracle! e Een something so stupid like this, I know the Lord answers our prayers if we have righteous desires....
So surprise!! I got transferred.... hahah! only six weeks in Croydon. So let me explain.
I have been talking a fair bit with President over the past few weeks and I made a suggestion to him that I think it would be really beneficial if we moved the zone leader area. Croydon Ward has been the zone leader area for years. The members here have become so accustomed to great missionaries, that they really have been taking them for granted. Because of this, the members aren't very missionary minded. This transfer we improved it a lot, but there was still a lot of work to do. So I suggested to President that we move the zone leader area and give the Croydon ward a bit of a break and put in some other missionaries. It’s just comes back to that famous saying, "that you don’t know what you have till it’s gone?"  Anyways so we found out mid week that Elder Guymon and I have been doubled out of Croydon and they are putting in some Sister missionaries there.   It’s a little sad to leave the area though because we had so much going on. 
So on the flip side, where am I being transferred??? Guess? hahaha! Wantirna South!!!!   The one ward that I know the most!  (that is the ward next to the Temple.) It’s the ward that the Cray's are in and also like 20 other YSA's that I knew before the mission ... I’m so excited though! The whole ward will be great fellowship! Wantirna South is the strongest ward in the whole stake, in fact it is one of the strongest wards in the whole mission. 
However, for the past two years this ward has been filled with dodgy missionaries because it is President's home ward and so it has been known as the baby sitting ward.  The members have been screaming out for working missionaries and there is so much work to do here. I’m so excited to be able to start fresh building the trust of the ward and making them missionary minded!  One better, I’m now in a four man flat with the Assistants! I’m so excited! they are so awesome. I am going to learn so much this coming transfer. 
Elder Guymon is staying with me too. He only has two transfers left so I will probably 'kill' him off.   Which I am really happy to do he is the actual man! I love that guy!

10 September 2012
So Wantirna South is great!
This week has been really beneficial. We have only been able to spend a few days working though... we have done so much planning.  We literally had nothing when we walked into this area. There was no area book, no map, no record of any investigator, we didn’t even know what our area boundaries were. Anyway we now have a really organized area and we are ready to work really hard this coming week. We have a big blown up map of our boundaries so we can record which streets we tract, a new area book and a ward list. It’s great.  We even got given brand new bikes form President! I love him he spoils me way too much. I was talking to him about it because our area is really really small. You could look it up on Google maps if you like. It goes from the Burwood Highway down to Wellington St and from Stud Road to the creek and Jells Road. We should be able to tract out the whole area in a few months.. As you will see on google maps, more than half our area is either part of a huge business district or is parklands. The area is so nice,  it has bike trails running through it and now that we have bikes, we are planning on parking our car and just using bikes everyday and talking to everyone we see on the trails.

The area is quite different to anything I have served in before. It’s quite rich. In every other area I have served in there has been a rich part and a modest part. Here in Wantirna South it’s full of mansions... there isn't even a modest part. There is lots of development happening also. They are selling 18 meter by 12 meter blocks for $430 000 dollars... it’s crazy. It will be a good challenge though!
We have started off on the right foot spending most of our efforts visiting all the active members, asking what we can do and reporting back within 24 hours.. We are really starting to build some trust.  The ward really has a sour note in their mouth with missionary work so there is a lot of bridges to build, but we will get there. We have already found 6 new investigators. The real growth is going to come through member referrals though.
Having said that though, the Lord is truly looking out for us. As soon as we got our map up and going we prayed about what street to tract. a street stood out to me so we tracted it. On the 5th door we found an older couple in their 60's that had been investigators  long ago, have member friends and was super close to being baptised but felt like her faith wasn’t strong enough. she said after a spiritual chat that she is ready to give it another crack... blessings! I truly know that the Lord prepares the hearts of those we find!
Just before emailing today I learnt how to circular breath so I can play the Didgeridoo. One investigator was teaching me. Oh I'm also now a pro at throwing a Boomerang! hahah!!

17 September 2012

We have been able to get so much done in such a short period of time!  I love planning. The clock still ticks way too fast though, I wish someone would fix it already!   This week we were able to continue to build up our teaching pool.  We found 16 more people which was really good but the excitement is with the members.   We have been able to visit about half the ward now in their homes which we are quite proud of.   The ward has really done a 360 which is great!   This ward will be such a blessing to us in the coming weeks. We received our first member referral this past week which we were really happy about.  Hopefully many, many, more to come!
We had 3 at church yesterday which wasn't too bad but we can do much better.  The area is still building though.  We now have our new ward list, a list of everyone's callings and a Bishopric action list which is great. We were able to fill a fellowship list at church yesterday too. Aah! so much has happened it is just exciting. Elder Guymon is great! The Assistants are great!   I feel like the luckiest missionary having such giants around me teaching me so much!

Elder Bennallack with Elder Olsen,
first ZL with Elder Guymon
Although it is all peachy in our area, I can't say the same about our zone.. there is a lot of work to do but II have been just a little confused about how and what to do.  I was able to receive some great revelation last night though on my knees. We are going to try to make it to everyone's ward council meeting to make sure the missionaries are doing what they should be doing in that meeting. That is the most important meeting we attend as missionaries, as it is the opportunity to really get the ward leaders behind us and on the same page as us.  I think it could really help.  Members are everything in this work. Especially here in Australia.
Elder B1 was able to email me this amazing case study last week which I printed off and read. It was so amazing that I went straight down to the office, made copies for everyone in my zone and handed them all out at District Meetings this past week. It was exactly what they needed. It was all about using the members in the work. Thanks Elder B1.  It's so awesome having a brother serving in another mission. You get to pinch all their great ideas  :P
Elder Bennallack (the better looking one  :P)

24 September 2012

We are really seeing a 360 change in the attitude of the members in the ward which is priceless.  We have three baptismal dates now for our area which are progressing really well!  They all came to church which was great!
One of our dates, Suzanna is an absolute miracle.  We were actually just doing our shopping on a P-day when we ran into this lady Suzanna who had her name taken off the records when she was 19.  She is now 45 and she has been wanting to get back to church but had no idea if she was allowed or how to go about it.  We were able to meet with her this past week. I have so much love for her. You can truly see that she is repentant and that God loves her. She came to church yesterday and has just finished reading the Book of Mormon. She is amazing! She has a family as well that we are hoping to teach in the coming weeks. Her date is set for October the 27th which will give us a little time to get her paper work from SLC.  Such a blessing! It just goes to show how important it is to always be  missionary even on P-day. If we weren't in our proselyting clothes she wouldn't have recognised us. Blessing!
There was so much work to do here when we got here.  I feel blessed, and the two baptisms coming up are member referrals. It just goes to show how important the trust of members is!
Speaking of members we have so many Young Women in our ward!  There is about 40 active!  we have been thinking quite a bit of how we can use the Young women when it comes to missionary work because obviously they can't come out with us... This past week we talked to the Bishop and the youth leaders and have made this huge score board, (thanks mum for the scrap booking skills) it actually looks great.  (I will have to take a picture of it.)  Anyways we presented this board at Mutual on Tuesday.  It's a big point system/competition with the Young Men vs the Young Women.  The idea is, as the youth do missionary work they get points by doing things like inviting a friend to church or giving a friend a Book of Mormon or inviting a non-member over for tea while we are there.  Anywasy, the winner after three weeks will enjoy a gourmet sit down dinner by the losing team!  They are all excited to win. The best individual effort will get some cookies baked by us. On Sunday they were all so very excited and they have already done so much which is great!  Words cannot do it justice, it's great.
Elder Bennallack

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