Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Hello Family,

The snow's been clearing up here as well. It's gotten a lot warmer and the snow has just mostly melted. There isn't really any left on the streets. There are still piles of it by the sides of the roads though.

My pull up bar was about thirty dollars. I bought it at Walgreens. I don't know where you would find one back at Provo. I'll send you a picture of it so you know what it looks like.
That reminds me that I got all of my pictures ready to send this morning. All I have to do is send it now. I will get that done for sure today.

I haven't gotten the Land's End package yet. We went and checked at the Matson's house the other day but it wasn't there. I did have a letter waiting for me though.

I love the sweaters that I got for Christmas. I wear one everyday. They give me one more choice in my things to wear. It used to be that I really only got to pick out a tie. Now I get to pick out a tie and a sweater.

This morning we finished off my crepe package. Elder Anderson has a really good recipe for the filling. We bought some bananas and mashed them up with brown sugar until it was kind of liquidy. Then we would put that in the crepe with some whipped cream and top it off with a drizzle of chocolate syrup. I had three of them and afterward I was really full.

I kind of have a fitness trainer too. Elder Anderson has been getting me to do some really good workouts with him. The other day we went over to the gym and did a jumping workout. My calves felt sore for a couple of days afterward. He's also helped me do some benching. We have done a lot of pushups and pullups as well.

Spanish has been coming along really well lately. Just the other night we went over and saw Teresa to help her with something. Juan was there to help as well. He was baptized just the week before by Elder Anderson and Elder Mortensen. Anyway, while we were there I heard a couple of jokes in Spanish and I understood most of them. Without anyone really having to explain them to me. I also talked to Teresa for a little while about some scriptures in the Book of Mormon. At that point the Spanish was just coming out. I didn't really even have to think very hard about how to conjugate things the right way.

The way we met Rosa is kind of a funny story. We were over at her apartment complex visiting an investigator. When we were just leaving we saw a man outside cleaning up his house. He had a big box of garbage. We went up to him and started talking to him in Spanish and asked if we could help him. So we took the big box of garbage over to the dumpster with him. When we got back we started talking about coming over and teaching him a little bit. He said it would be okay. When we left and he went back inside we could hear Rosa start to yell at him in Spanish. "Why did you tell them they could come back." She went off on him. It was hilarious. Elder Johnstun and I couldn't help but laugh. When we went back a couple of days later Rosa was the one who answered the door. She was really nice to us and we've taught her a couple of times since. She's been to church once. It was just kind of a funny experience.

Que tenga una buena semana. Les quiero.

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Dear Family

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!!!

First you'll probably want to know what happened to me when Elder Johnstun left. The last time I saw him was yesterday, the 22nd. I moved in with the Zone Leaders, Elder Anderson and Elder Dudoich. You'll get to see some pictures of them in my Christmas letter.

I got the Farkle and cookie packages. So I think there's only one that I haven't gotten yet. I also got the one from Amy.

We're not going to be using our cell-phones to call. I'll still be calling sometime Christmas morning though. It'll be a surprise.

I don't know if you've heard but we have gotten a lot of snow up here. It reminded me of Provo last winter. And it has been really cold. Usually it's about twenty degrees in the daytime.
The roads have also been pretty bad. Our little cars are definitely not made for it either. Ni modo. Manejamos bien porque somos de Utah.

That big chocolate cake that Sister Matson told you about was huge. I took some pictures of it so you'll get to see it. It was a six layer Wall of Chocolate. I managed to make it through five of the layers. That was all I could do though.

Since Elder Johnstun just lives thirty minutes away from Provo he'll come and see you sometime. He'll be glad to answer any questions that you have. I'll also give you his contact information next week.

Well I'm almost out of time. I love you so much.
Elder Ben Arnold (Benjamin)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some Kind Words From the Matsons

Dear Sister Arnold,

I am glad for this opportunity to let you know how very much we are
enjoying your son. I think that he is as good as they come! He is
always kind and thoughtful of others and you might like to know that
at my house, he is the first to get up from a meal and start the
dishes! You have trained him well.

It is plain to see that he truly loves and appreciates his family.
He has taken some service time to direct us (bro. Matson and I) in
solving several computer problems. some of them have been real
problems for some time.

We will really miss him when he leaves here and hope that he stays in
the area so we can see him often.

Yesterday they did splits with another set of Elders and Elder Arnold
had to take the lead. He did very well and was surprised at how well
the spanish came to him and he was able to converese for 20 minutes in
spanish and give some discussions without a problem and understood
most of what was said.

We both know that he is exceptionally bright but his spiritual gifts
may even exceed that!.

thank you for sharing your wonderful son.

Merry Christmas to you.
Sister Matson

Icy Roads-Investigators at Home

Dear Family,

Christmas time has been amazing. It snowed!!! The roads are even snowy. And the bridges in between Pasco and Kennewick have been really icy. Don't worry though we drive really carefully. I think it's a good thing because most of the people that we know are scared to drive now. That means that most of our investigators are at home more often. And to top it all off it got down to one degree this morning. That's cold. I didn't think it was supposed to be that cold in this part of Washington. I actually would appreciate the long underwear right now.

If you really want to give some gifts to any of the people we're teaching you could just send some games like Flux, en Español. By the way, I don't think I've told you but I love that game. I've played it with Elder Johnstun a couple of times so we could figure out the rules. The spanish on the cards is hilarious.

Right now there are six of us missionaries covering the Spanish branch here in the tri-cities. So to answer your question we only cover one branch. There is a lot of work to be done though. There's so many good people in that branch too. I hope that I'll get to stay here for a couple more tranfers.

You were right Amy. I wasn't jealous of you having to study for Chemistry. Haha. I don't know why but that reminds me that I got to direct the Matson's how to fix their computers. I'm not allowed to touch computers but at least it made me think. It gave me a good chance to stretch out my knowledge of computers.

Nice job on the Spanish mom! (Nosotros hicimos galletas con chocolate) It's exactly right. Estoy animado a comerlas galletas (I am excited to eat the cookies). I promise I'll speak Spanish when I talk to you on Christmas. I'm going to forward a separate email to let you know when we can call. I'll give a set time next week after I get your feedback.

I love you, love you, love you. Have a great week.

Elder Ben Arnold

P.S. By the way I have heard from Elder Burr. He's doing really well. I've also heard from Elder Cahoon. He's doing good too.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


(He refers to himself in this letter by Benjamin because I have taken to calling him by his full name since he left.)

Hello Family,

I'm sorry that this email has been so delayed. The computers were down at all the libraries on Tuesday. Then we had zone conference all of yesterday, I'll tell you more about that. So I haven't had the opportunity until today to email you.

I've been really bad at writing letters and sending you my pictures lately. This next week I'll do better though. Sister Matsen got me and Elder Johnstun some Christmas cards with our pictures on them. Which reminds me that we got the house all decorated this last week. We helped the Matsen's out with putting up the Christmas lights up outside and with putting up their tree. I was glad to be able to participate in the decorating.

I've been taking a lot of pictures recently so I'm excited to send them home. I'll probably just send them on an SD card since I've collected a lot of them (oops).
Thanks for keeping track of my money mom. By the way that big purchase from BestBuy was just a Spanish and English translator. Which I have been using all the time. I would recommend getting one for Amy before she leaves. I'll tell you what kind it is so you can check it out. I don't have it with me right now though.

It hasn't been very wintery here. The temperature is usually in the low 40's or high 30's. And it hasn't snowed yet. It hasn't even threatened to yet.

Benjamin would love some jerky and fudge! I don't know if Christmas would be the same without getting some jerky in my stocking. And I can't ever say no to that fudge.

I love how you're now a plant nerd Amy. Now you know what I felt like about computers. I've been so excited about your mission call. I've told everybody about it. They also all think it's really cool that we'll be able to speak Spanish to each other when we get back. And that we'll be back at almost the same time.

Jonathan, I want to see how you're DS works with cooking in the kitchen. That's something that I would love to play with. Tell me more about it the next time that you write.
Congratulations on your drivers license Matthew! I'm excited because I know you're really excited. How's school going? What's your absolutely favorite class?

The confirmation of Teresa went great! I was pretty nervous but I had prepared really well. The hardest thing about it for me was talking in the Tu form. As missionaries we don't do that very much since we're supposed to use the Usted form. Other than that though it was awesome.

The half-time show at a baptism is just the time while the people are changing after the baptism. It's only about fifteen minutes. Sometimes we watch the restoration as well.

This is my average daily schedule:
6:30-8:00 wake up, exercise, eat breakfast
8:00-9:00 Personal Study
9:00-10:00 Companion Study
10:00-10:30 or 11:00 Spanish Study

Then we go to our scheduled appointments or visit the people we planned to from the night before.We eat lunch at about 12:00.Then it's the same thing again. Going to appointments until dinner. Which is usually with a member. We're supposed to be done with that by 6:00.Then we continue working again until 9:00. Which is when we're supposed to be back to our house. We plan for a half hour then get ready for bed. Then we turn off the lights and go to sleep at 10:30.

I love you all so much,
Elder Ben Arnold (Benjamin)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Crepes and Jello...Reminders of Home


Yes!!!!! You got it Amy. I'm so excited. I would've jumped up and down and gone crazy but I'm in the library. I'll have to wait until I get out to the car. Haha.

It sounds like you've all had a pretty exciting week. Don't worry I didn't miss out too much. I had a really good week too. The highlight of my week was that we had Teresa's baptism just this last Sunday. It went perfectly. I got to give the opening prayer and do a half-time show with Elder Mortensen. All in spanish of course. Elder Johnstun did the actual baptism so I'll be doing the confirmation this upcoming Sunday. I'm a little nervous but really excited. I've already got everything I need to know down.

Blanca hasn't been baptized yet. We've had some things to work out. She will be though. I'll keep you posted.

I got your package this last week. I loved it. Elder Johnstun was in a different room when I opened it. When he came back in I had all the food neatly organized on my bed. I was so excited to cook some of my own food. I think it was that next morning that I cooked us some crepes. They were very good and it reminded me of all the times I made them at home. I'm also really excited to make the strawberry jello. That is one of my favorite foods in the whole world.

For Thanksgiving we weren't supposed to go out and proselyte so we mostly just visited some of our progressing investigators and members. We ate a really good Thanksgiving dinner with one of our investigators. She is married to a member and his whole family are members.

We haven't decorated our house at all. I think Sister Matsen will probably do that though. So I don't think we need anything.

On Christmas I'll be calling you. When it gets closer I'll tell you what time I'll call. I'm really excited to talk to you again.

I love all the things that you're doing with the DS Jonathan. Keep it up and you can show me all the things you can do when I get home. Until then, write me a letter and tell me all about it. Maybe you could make a movie of it so I can see what it looks like too.

Congratulations on your ACT score Matthew. Especially good job on your math score. I knew you had it in you. By the way I love seeing you wearing my clothes. It makes me feel like I contributed to a good cause. You can wear them all you want.

When that Click 500 manual gets done Dad I was wondering if you would send me one. I just want to see it in it's final state. That sounds pretty nerdy, huh. Tell me more about how that project is going. I love hearing about that kind of stuff. I'm a deprived Electrical Engineer right now.

I love you so much,
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Becoming a Better Missionary Everyday

Hola familia,

You wrote me a lot of great emails this week. I'm so happy to hear how everything is going at home. Life just keeps getting better here in Washington. I learn how to be a better missionary every day.
My Spanish is coming along great. I can carry out pretty good conversations with our investigators. I feel like I'm learning so fast. I'm even comfortable with talking to people at the door while we're tracting. Sometimes I don't understand what they say. Usually I get it though and can answer their questions. I love Spanish.

I don't know what we're going to be doing on Thanksgiving. We probably have a dinner with a member. The members we're living with are out of town for a week. We're also not supposed to go tracting so we'll just visit members and our progressing investigators.

We've had a lot of amazing spiritual experiences lately. We got prayed to somebody's door the other day. We were over visiting Blanca and she wasn't there. When we were leaving Elder Johnstun told me to pull over in front of this other house. When someone answered the door we saw a woman inside who was crying. They immediately let us in because they had just been praying for help and comfort. That was cool.

Another similar experience happened when we were driving to an appointment and we missed a turn. We saw a lady sitting on the curb who was crying into her hands. We parked in an adjacent parking lot and walked over to talk to her. She was still crying when we got there. We talked to her for a little bit and asked her if she needed any help. We gave her a way to contact us later if she wanted to. We feel like we'll see her again soon.

I think that Satan must be trying extra hard lately to hurt people. There are so many things going wrong in lots of people's lives. Look for lots of opportunities to help people. You may not be able to do very much for them but even small acts of kindness can make a huge difference.

We eat with members most of the time. We also have food back at our house. And occasionally we eat at fast food restaurants. We're very well fed. I'm never hungry, except for on Fast Sunday.
I would love a sweater and sweater vest for Christmas. I've borrowed one of Elder Johnstun's and one of Elder Mortenson's before. They are very handy.

What are you going to be doing for Christmas? Are you going to go down to southern Utah for new years eve again?

Work hard, and remember to read and pray every night.

I love you,
Elder Ben Arnold

P.S. Will you look up Josh's address for me? I think that Elder Johnstun ran into him one time here in Kennewick. We might could go on exchanges with him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Querido Familia,

I got my package that you sent. I was thrilled to open it. You put lots of goodies in it for me. I already ate all of the candy and the dried apples. I keep forgetting I have the dried cherries otherwise they would already be gone. Don't worry about me being hungry. I am very well fed. I eat as good as I did in the MTC. Which means I eat three meals a day. And I'm always completely full at the end of every meal. I've probably started gaining weight again but I'm not sure since I don't have a bathroom scale.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is definitely the strawberry jello. It's been my favorite for as long as I can remember. That's why I would always try to get you to make it Mom. You were just too good at turning it back over to me. Haha.

The people that we are teaching are amazing. I'll tell you more about a couple of them in my letter. Most of the people that we talk to are very receptive and are willing to talk to us. Something funny that always happens is they're always willing to schedule an appointment as long as it's not today. And then when the day of their appointment comes and we show up they would again prefer to just reschedule it for a different time. I think it's hilarious. It's the same with giving prayers. Whenever you ask anyone to say a prayer they're always willing to say the next prayer, but when the time comes to say the prayer they always insist that we should pray.

Keep "stretching" Jonathan. I expect you to be taller than me when I get back. How much longer until you pass up Dad?

Don't worry Mom. I'm not lying when I say that I'm happy. I promise you that I am. I love being a missionary.

You're so close to getting your call Amy. Aren't you excited!!! I am. Don't worry, time passes really really fast. Just enjoy where you are now and things will move forward faster than you can imagine. Thank you for all of the many wonderful things that you have done for me. I love your letters and all of the fun creations that you come up with. I don't know what I'm going to do when you leave on your mission. Teach Matthew and Jonathan your ways. Haha.

Matthew, I've got someone for you to play pingpong with! It's my companion Elder Johnstun. He leaves on December 23rd. He'll find you sometime. I don't think he believes me how badly you would beat him so you'll just have to show him. Haha.

We use the pass-along cards and the pamphlets all the time. We have lots of them on our supply shelf. We also have plenty of Book of Mormons. We get all of them through the mission so we don't buy them ourselves. My two favorite pass-along cards to use is the one with the picture of the Salt Lake Temple and has questions of life on the back. The other one I like is the free Finding Faith in Christ DVD. With the picture of Christ on the front. They help a lot on doing a door approach and for doing street contacting. We use the pamphlets during our lessons to give the people something to look at as well as to study when we leave.

We got a new account and card for our money. That's why you don't see any activity in my bank account. We get more money at the beginning of every month. Mostly it's just for food but we can use it for anything missionary related. Like buying bathroom supplies also.

Having a wonderful week. I love you.

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Good to See Your Face!

Holding a weight behind his head. Our skinny boy has gained some weight!

Ben's companion Elder Johnstun.

Playing basketball on pday. Looks like he is about to get dragged down.

Settling In

Hola familia,

The library was closed yesterday. Since that's the only place we have to email we had to do it today instead.

I got the Halloween card that you sent. I absolutely loved it. I'm so happy every time that I get a letter from you.

Yesterday I played really hard. My whole body hurts really bad. I'm sore all over. Mostly my legs though. It's just so much fun to play basketball. I can't hold myself back.

Have fun at your concert Amy. I can imagine how excited you are to go. I'm getting very anxious for you to get your mission call. I can't wait to find out where you go.

I bought a frisbee this last week. We've played with it a few times in the morning. It reminds me of all those good ultimate frisbee games at Wavetronix. I've been trying to play tennis. We have a bunch of places to go play. We just need to get some rackets and I have to convince Elder Johnstun to go. He wants to go though so it won't be hard. I'll probably be really rusty.

I've taken a lot of pictures recently. Although I won't send them to you until probably next week. I'm also going to send you your birthday present mom. Then you'll have the opportunity to meet Elder Johnstun and get a tour of the place that I live.

I've been getting worse at writing in my journal lately. I still write every night just not a whole page. I'll have to fix that tonight.

My nerdy self is still in me. I have this constant desire to use a computer for more than just emailing. Don't worry though, I've never even touched a computer outside of using it for email. I'm always telling Elder Johnstun how a laptop could help make missionary work more efficient. Maybe that day will come. He thinks that's pretty funny.

We haven't been able to go to the temple yet. We get to go once a transfer. I think we're going either next p-day or the following. I'm getting pretty excited about that.

The days just keep flying by. I'm afraid that these two years are going to be over without me even noticing it.

You should send me pictures in letters or on an SD card. The internet is pretty slow here. And I don't have too much room in my inbox.

Have a good week. I love you.

Elder Ben Arnold

PS I can't remember the address of our house. So I'll just send it in the letter that I write.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008



Sorry that I haven't been very informative yet. When it comes time to write you I forget everything that I wanted to tell you. I'll mostly just try to answer all the questions that you had.

I email here in the Pasco library. I can print out my emails. I don't know how much it costs. I get the first three for free though. It's not a big deal though. Probably only a couple of cents.

I don't have any gloves. I haven't really needed any yet but they will probably come in handy soon.

My companion, Elder Johnstun, is from Mona Utah. I will be sending some pictures home today with my letter from last week. That way you can see what he looks like.

We live with members, the Matson's. They're an older couple and they're awesome. I actually don't know our address right now since we just moved last Saturday. As soon as I get another letter through the mail I'll let you know what it is. I'll also take some pictures of our house so you can see what the inside looks like too. It's really big.

I'm excited to get your package Amy! I'm sad that they won't be coming in those cool bags anymore.

The weather has been just like Provo. I love it. It's starting to get a little bit cooler now. It doesn't rain very much. There's really not that much in the way of trees and plants. In that aspect it is also very similar to Provo.

We've been so busy. The first several days here in Washington we worked right through dinner. And didn't eat until 9:00 when we went back to our house. In those cases we would just stop by a McDonald's or something like that. Recently though we have had a lot of dinner appointments with members. The food has been really good every time. It's also not very spicy. They probably do that because they know that we're gringo's.

I didn't vote. I was planning on it. Then I forgot to send the letter to get my ballot. I've had a hard time remembering things like that lately. I guess that's why they give us planners.

We rode our bikes quite a bit at the end of October because we were out of miles on our car. We've been a lot better at using our miles efficiently though so we'll probably not need to ride our bikes too much.

I'll tell you about some of our investigators in the package that I send home. We're teaching a lot of people who are really prepared. It is so cool to be a part of this work.

I love you lots,

Elder Ben Arnold

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kennewick Welcomes the Spanish Elders

It turns out that we get a little bit of time to email today since we couldn't do it yesterday. I also didn't quite get the letter done yesterday. I should get it sent to you tonight. So expect it in a few days.

I have my new address but we're going to be moving on Saturday morning. That's kind of a long story that I'll tell you about later. When I figure out our new address I'll let you know. I would prefer it if everyone just sent mail to the mission office though. They forward it to the correct address. That way I won't forget to tell you my new address if I'm moving because it'll always just be the same.

My first week in the mission field has been crazy and awesome. Elder Johnstun and I have been working hard. We've had a lot of appointments and lots of referrals. Kennewick has never been opened to Spanish Elders before. We have a lot of people to teach. The only time I've been tracting (I think that's how you spell it) was when I was on exchanges with Elder Mortenson and Elder Becerra.

Our preparation day was really fun. We played a lot of sports. I finally got to run again. It felt so good to actually be physically exhausted.

I don't think I've told you, in our area we have a car. Since we cover a part of Pasco and all of Kennewick. We've just about gone over on our miles for the month so we're going to be biking all of today and tomorrow. I'm excited. That means that this morning we got to put our bikes together. That was a lot of fun. Everything seems to be working okay. Thanks for the new helmet. I've been needing one of those for a long time now.

I've been doing really good at writing in my journal still. I haven't missed a single day. And I always write exactly one page.

Lots of things have happened since I've been here. We've taught a lot of people. And they've pretty much all been in spanish. My spanish has been improving a lot. It's so cool to be able to understand what people are saying and to be able to talk back. I've still got lots to learn though. I wish I had time to tell you about every single person that we're teaching. That would take forever.

I got to look at my blog website yesterday. It is so cool. Thank you for doing that. I really liked the pictures on the side that would change.

Thank you for being such an awesome family.

I love you
Elder Ben Arnold

We Are Dying to Hear About Washington

(Ben's pday was Tuesday but he didn't have time to write much of an email. Paper letter is in the mail and we are anxiously waiting.)

I don't really have any time to email today. Thanks for your emails. I got your letter mom and my bike and all of the bed stuff. I sent a letter today with lots more information about this last week.

I love you all so much.

Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, October 20, 2008

Washington Here I Come!!!

Hola familia,

I'm so excited to call you tomorrow morning. I don't know if I told you. I report to the travel office at 8:00. So we'll leave the MTC at about 8:30 probably. I can't say for sure what time I'll be able to start calling. It'll probably be about 10:00. My flight leaves at 11:20. So I won't be able to talk to each of you for more than about 10 minutes. That's not very long. I wish I had more time. Make sure everybody's cell phones are charged all the way so we don't get any calls ended early. Haha.

I really like the pillowcase from the Hall's. It's so cool. I've gotten lots of jealous looks. Maybe I should lock it up tonight. Haha.

If you can't tell I'm in a really amazing happy mood right now. I've been getting really really excited to go to Washington tomorrow morning.

The other members in my district all report to the travel office at 6:00. So I'm going to have to wake up early with them. Oh well. I'll also be in Washington before they are in Texas. It's funny how that works out.

I took some pictures with Elder Kuchar(Adam) yesterday. I found out then that he was leaving today at about 4:30. He has a really long flight. I'm excited for him, because I know what it feels like.

I'm sad that I didn't get to go with you on the canoeing trip. I can imagine how much fun it was. Those were some of my favorite trips. They were so relaxing. The more I think about it the more jealous I get.

We already said goodbye to one of our teachers, Brother Farrell. He's amazing. He told us all about his mission during our last class with him. Some advice he gave us was to take a lot of pictures. That's something I've been working extra hard on lately. If I can be diligent with sending them today you will get a whole bunch.

The latest that I'll get you my new address will be by next monday. Hopefully I'll be given the opportunity before then. I'll tell you all about my new companion and I'll send you some more pictures.

I hope that my calling card works. Just in case I think I'll bring a bunch of extra quarters. It would be pretty sad if I wasn't able to call you just because I didn't have a way to pay for the phone call. I wish that we could just have a cellphone. They're so much easier to use.

Amy, make sure you send me a letter and email the moment that you get your call. I keep getting more and more excited for you everyday. For now though, get a copy of Preach My Gospel. From what you've told me in your letters you would enjoy studying chapter 6. If you can find enough time study one section each day. I've found that I progress the most from studying when I study about the Savior and his Atonement. The progress is sometimes slow but keep it up and you will be amazed at how much you've learned when you turn around and look back.

I almost forgot to tell you about our teaching appointment this last thursday. It was awesome. I taught with Elder Sudol and Elder Jensen. We each taught about a third of the lesson. I was amazed at how much our Spanish has improved. It's amazing to be able to say most of the things you want to. And after having studied for only two months. I can't believe that we've already taught the four times in spanish in the teaching appointments. We truly have been blessed with the gift of tongues.

I love you all so much. Don't worry about me. I'm super excited and happy. Look for opportunities to love and serve each other.

Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, October 13, 2008

Getting Ready to Leave

Hola familia,

I have way too much to tell you. I don't really know where to begin. This week has been really hard. I wrote you a letter yesterday with the permission of President Watkins. There's a lot more information in there about what's happened. Don't worry about me though. I'm fine.

I got my flight plans on Friday. I'll be leaving on Tuesday morning, the 21st, at about 8:30. My flight leaves at 11:19 and it arrives in Washington at 12:00. I'm assuming there is a time zone change. Forty minutes seems too short for that flight. I'm getting really excited to go. I feel a lot like the time right before I entered the MTC.

I'm sorry I haven't sent the SD cards back yet. It's hard to find time. I'll definitely get them in the mail today. By the way I really enjoyed the videos. I don't know if I already told you that. It's amazing to see you.

I'll call you when I get to the airport. I'm guessing we'll have the opportunity after we're all checked in and ready to go. I have the calling card in my wallet all ready for being used. I got the Delta skymiles number. I'll try my best to remember to give it to them. My flight is Delta so I will be able to use it.

Also there are fourteen missionaries in my flight group. All going to the Washington Kennewick mission. I don't know how many are English versus Spanish. That was really exciting to find out. Since my name is the first in the alphabet I was assigned the flight leader. I mostly just have to make sure everybody shows up and doesn't get lost. Fun, huh.

I did send the Tax forms that you sent me. That was kind of a funny experience. I was so excited that I got a package. And then I found out that it was only tax forms. I had a good laugh. I got them sent just a few hours after I got them.

Good job on getting your mission papers all finished Amy. I look forward to hearing about it. I get so excited about it whenever I tell any body about my family.

Keep up reading those scriptures to Mom, Jonathan. What makes it even better is when you start with a prayer. Ask for the spirit to be there. And you will learn so much more. I've experienced this so many times.

I loved the pictures of you and your date Matthew. You looked very handsome. I love the shirt and tie. You'll have to let me wear them when I get home.

Thank you all so much for your prayers. The power of prayer is real. I have seen so many prayers answered. And I feel your love and it gives me great comfort. Thanks for your prayer Dad. I really have needed that this week. Have fun with your new calling. You'll do a great job as the first assistant in the high priest group.

Thanks for taking care of my bike, Mom. I am actually really excited that I get to put it all back together again. It's been such a long time since I've been able to do something like that.

Love you so much,

Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, October 6, 2008

A sore bum....and only TWO weeks left!

Hola familia,

Wasn't conference amazing! I got so much out of every talk. It was a lot of sitting though. At least you were able to sit down on couches. My bum was really sore by the end of Sunday. I'll tell about some of my favorite things and some cool experiences from this week in my letter. This week really has been amazing. All of my prayers were answered.

Thanks for the cookies and doughnuts Amy. They were soooo good. Much better than the dougnuts and cookies that we get in the cafeteria. I don't know if I've been gaining weight still or not. I've been playing soccer outside at the field, so I don't get the chance to weigh myself. Lately, I was stuck at about 153. Hopefully I've broken that lull though.

Everyone in my district is going to the Texas Houston South mission except for me. I'm leaving on the 20th of October and they're all leaving on the 21st. I can't believe that that is only two weeks away from today. The time here at the MTC has flown by so quickly. It also feels like it's been a long time after I think about all of the things that have happened here.

I've still been doing really well at writing in my journal. I haven't missed a single night and I write at least one page. I figured out that my journal is only going to last me about a year if I keep that rate up. That means I'll send it home and you'll get to read about how the first year of my mission went. It'll be like a novel though. It'll probably take everyone, except maybe Matthew, a week or two. It'll be an awesome reference for when I get home too.

Thanks for the video Jonathan. It was nice to see you all. The house looks pretty much the same as when I left it. Although I really liked the beautiful flowers on the table.

When I was listening to conference I really liked listening to the people who had spanish accents. After speaking and listening to so much spanish I could see why they pronounce lots of things wrong. They are just saying the letters like they do in spanish.

I met some missionaries serving in the Provo mission this morning at the temple. They were in a different part of Provo than you though. They all spoke spanish. I guess there's a lot of need for spanish speaking elders here too.

That reminds me of visiting the temple this morning. Every time I go it gets better and better and I learn more and more. It's so peaceful and the spirit is really strong. It's my favorite time to just sit and think about things that are troubling me. It's a time where I can just talk to my Heavenly Father.

Last night Elder Burr and I watched the Joseph Smith movie again. It was more amazing than any other time I've seen it. The spirit was so strong. My favorite part was the time when Joseph Smith was just taken captive with a few others. They are laying on the floor in chains and their captors talk was vulgor and disgusting. After he could not listen to any more Joseph Smith stands up and rebukes them. I've never been in a room with so many people that was completely quiet. There was so much power eminating from him. If it was that powerful in a movie I would've loved to have witnessed it in real life.

I never told you how cool I thought the new Click! 500 application is Dad. Sometimes I wish I could help work on it just a little bit. I miss doing that kind of stuff. I'm distracted pretty well though. I love it here. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything (except my family).

I love you mom, I love you dad, I love you Amy, I love you Matthew, I love you Jonathan.

Have a wonderful day. Strive to love each other and follow the promptings of the spirit. I find the greatest joy in helping others.

Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sleep Talking in Spanish

Hola Familia,

This week has been really good. I've been learning and growing a lot. This last week, on Thursday, we taught for the first time in only spanish. It was insane. I didn't know that I knew enough spanish to talk to somebody about the gospel for an hour. We truly are blessed with the gift of tongues. I'll tell you more about it in my letter.

The temple was especially good this morning. I was more prepared than ever before and I learned a lot. I feel spiritually renewed and ready to go to work.

I did get your card with my SD card in it. Thanks. The video was really nice. I really enjoyed seeing you all move around and talking. It's been a long time since I got to see you outside of a picture. That's also really cool that Elder Arnold and I are related. I told him on Sunday. He thought it was pretty neat. We would've been able to see the connection if he had gone back one more line in his family. Thanks for finding that out for me.

We had a really good speaker last night at our fireside. His name is Stephen B. Allen. He talked a lot about missionaries that had done something really just stupid this last week and ended up getting sent home or even put in jail. You don't need to worry about me doing that though. They were things like making bombs! And in that case there was a sheriff just three houses down. I won't go into the details but there were a lot of things that really were not very smart. The reason he talked about all of those things was to stress the importance of our companion. How we're together to protect each other from, one, doing stupid things, and two, to provide a witness against false charges. Elder Burr and I have are have always been really good about following that rule, but we're even better now. Some people at the meeting probably really needed to hear that.

It sounds like your date was fun Matthew. I would've liked to have been there to see you. Make sure you send pictures so I can feel like I didn't compeletely miss out. I would've loved to have eaten the food. The cafeteria food here just kind of tastes the same now. Occassionally we have really good meals. Nothing like home though. I can't complain though because it will probably be lots better than what we eat out in the field. We probably just won't have time to cook anything.

Sorry I didn't send the pictures. There wasn't very many new ones anyway. I had it all ready to go on Tuesday but I couldn't ever find any time to get over to the post office to have it weighed. Just to make sure I put enough stamps on it to make it to you.

I think I might dream in spanish sometimes. Elder Burr said that he woke up one night and me and Elder Sudol were talking to each other in spanish. Weird huh! I don't remember have very many dreams though.

I'm so excited to hear all of the wonderful things that you are all doing. I wish I could be there to take part in it. I love you all so very much. I pray for you everyday (more than once). Be happy and look for opportunities to help others. You'll find even greater joy and happiness.

Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, September 22, 2008

Spanish is Taking Over!

Hola querido familia,

I can't believe it's already been over a month since I've been gone. See, I'll be home before you know it. This past week has been extremely crazy. I've been forced to learn and experience a lot. I'll tell you more of the details in my letter that I write later today.

Since it's been a month there has been lots of changes in leadership in our branch. Elder Burr and I were both released as zone leaders. Elder White and Jasperson replaced us on Sunday. They're a solid set of missionaries and will do an execellent job. All of the district leaders and the coordinating sister were also changed. Elder Murray, George, and Faasee were all released. Elder Sudol took over as District Leader in our district. He's one of our roomates and you have a picture of him I think. I'm definitely going to send you the pictures I've taken today. We made some pretty cool ones last night.

The Spanish is coming along excellent. I even occasionally forget what words are in English and can only think of the spanish word. It doesn't happen very often but it is still cool. I've been understanding our teachers really well lately. We've also made a major transition to speaking pretty much only spanish during class. We're working on diminishing the english we speak outside of class too but that is not going as well. We just have to keep working at it.

We gave our last lesson at the TRC in english on last thursday. That means this upcoming thursday we have to give the entire first lesson in spanish. We are going to be so ready for it. It is amazing how quickly the Lord is allowing us to learn our new language.

I'm jealous of you Matthew and Jonathan. Even though it was muddy I would've loved to go mountainbiking with you. I've met a couple of Elders here who share my same passion. Elder Dahl and Elder Sudol both like mountainbiking a lot.

Thanks for the healthy snacks. It's nice to have something that isn't one hundred percent sugar. Which reminds me that I've been slowing down a little bit on gaining weight. I'm only up to 153 pounds now. I think it had something to do with being sick. I'm just about over it now though. My goal is 160 by the time I leave the MTC.

The food here was really good to begin with. Now it usually just okay. Occasionally we get a good meal. It all kind of starts to taste the same after a while. My favorite thing though is the chocolate milk. I usually have one glass with two of my meals each day. I hope that it's not too bad for me because it tastes really good.

I'm glad to hear you made there okay grandma. I'm excited to try some of your cookies (healthy or not). How long are you going to be staying?

We got to go to the temple again today. It is always a cool experience. Lately we've been doing names for President Watkins. I think we've done over fifty names as a zone for him.

Keep working hard in school. I pray for you to do well and have the desire to work hard every night. I feel like I'm in school right now. Except we study only spanish, preach my gospel, and the scriptures for several hours every day. Including on Saturday. Our classroom is not very large and we cram twelve of us plus a teacher in there for most of the day. It is crazy how well it works.

I need to go now. I need to leave a little bit of time so I can go and print all of my emails.

I love you all very very much. And I pray for you often.

Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ben Gives a Talk in Spanish!

Dear Family,

I didn't get to see the CES fireside our the other thing you talked about. It would be awesome if you sent me a copy of the talks. We did however get the chance to hear from both Elder Cook and President Uchtdorf at recent devotionals. They were both amazing talks. They give you such a strong desire to go and do good continually.

Thanks for the way sweet awesome cool ties. They're some of my newest favorites. I forgot to take pictures of me wearing them so I'll have to send you some next week when I wear them again. Also, thank you for the candy. It's always nice to have something to eat in the evening. We have dinner at 4:30. Early, huh. I love the cafeteria food. I can eat as much as I want. Don't worry mom I've been eating lots of salad and fresh fruits! I usually have them at least two meals every day. This has been causing me to gain more weight. I'm up to 150 now. I wonder how much I'll weigh by the time I leave. I bet I won't keep gaining weight out in the field though.

All of that weight is not turning into fat though. I work hard and have lots of fun during our gym time. Most of the time I play basketball and drench my shirt in sweat. On saturday though, I ran 5 miles in forty minutes with Elder Sudol. That made me really tired. And my legs were sore for a while after that.

I've been sick for the last few days. I think that I'm passed the worst of it though. I didn't feel as bad this morning as I did yesterday. I think the sickness got accelerated a little bit because I fasted and then ran 5 miles soon after that. I'm taking better care of myself now, so I should get better quickly.

I'm looking forward to eating some of grandma's cookies. They are some of my favorite!

I'm working on getting some more pictures to send you. I probably won't get it to you until next week. Maybe I'll surprise you though. I wanted to take pictures of all of the different places in the MTC so you could see all the things that I get to do.

It's pretty neat that you know Brother Parma, Amy. Thanks for the hug. He is an awesome teacher. When I found out that he knew you I felt like I had a physical connection back to you instead of just a strong spiritual one. Pretty cool.

Besides you all, my family, I've only written to Jeff Ackley and Jeff Dunford. I'll make sure I write my grandparents today. If there is anyone who really needs a letter just let me know. I'm starting to get really fast and good at writing them.

Right now I am doing my laundry. It's pretty easy. There isn't very many settings on the machines. Mostly all you do is put the clothes and the soap in and then tell it either to do whites or colors. There's no temperature control or anything like that. I'm pretty happy about that actually.

I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday. It was all in Spanish too! It only had to be five minutes so it wasn't too hard. It's amazing how blessed we are to learn the language so quickly. When we have the spirit with us we can learn so much with proportionally little effort.

Elder Burr and I went up to the temple again this morning. Once again it was awesome. I love how strong the spirit is there. It is a great place to ponder and to be taught by the spirit. I also got some cool pictures up there this morning. I can't wait to show you them.

It sound like flag football was pretty cool. I wish I could've been there to see you. Good job on giving it your all until the end Matthew. Remember that enduring to the end is always the hardest part when it comes to the gospel. I'm sorry your foot got stepped on Jonathan. That always hurts.

I love getting your letters. Your words make me feel close to you and they bring me comfort when I am missing you. I think of you often and love you so very much.

Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, September 8, 2008

He Misses Computers...but Loves the Temple

Hello Family,

I got the package with all of the stuff in it. And the calendar is awesome. I hung it up at our desk. It's cool to be able to see the time we have in the MTC in a larger picture. All we had before that was our day planners.

I'm sorry I haven't sent you any pictures yet. I'll make sure I send you a DVD today. I'll also try to take more pictures before then. I hope you enjoy them.

I heard about the Regional Conference. One of my teachers, Brother Parma was able to attend. I guess I didn't tell you. Sometime last week, time has become a big blur for me, Elder Cook the apostle came and spoke to us at a devotional. We have devotionals every sunday and tuesday. They're always very uplifting and spiritually strengthening.

Elder Burr and I saw the new Joseph Smith movie last night for the first time. I would highly recommend seeing it. It is the best most powerful movie that I have ever seen. And I mean that.

I'm still gaining weight. Last time I checked I was up to 147.5. Matthew watch out! I don't think I told you but I also ran a mile a few days ago and I surprised myself. I did it in 6 min 1.59 seconds. Now I've just got to shave off a few more seconds. Elder Burr and I run, lift weights, and play basketball during our gym time. It's a lot of fun and it's a nice break for our brains.

There are a lot of computers here and I can't do anything with them. It's driving me crazy! Haha. They have a pretty restrictive version of windows on them. And you can only check your email on some of them. It's kind of a bummer. It's better not to be distracted by all of that anyway.

We went to the temple this morning and did some names for President Watkins, who is our Branch President. It was an awesome spiritual experience. I learned a ton from the session. I can't wait to go back again next week.

Maybe it's a good thing I didn't clean up my room. You probably would never have found that remote if it was packed up in a box. I'm sorry that I left it such a mess though. Our dorm room is really clean. And we've been getting nothing but outstanding on our weekly room reports!

I've been doing really well at writing in my journal. I write about one page every night. I think that I'm up to page 24. By the way thanks for the journal. It's really nice and it makes it easier to write in it. It feels more like a book that I'm writing for you and my future children. That's what motivates me to be so persistent in doing it every day.

The Español is coming along great! The harder I work at it the quicker it comes to me. We're mostly learning how to say gospel related things. We're also getting pretty good at saying prayers and bearing our testimonies en Español.

Yo se que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial y nos ama.
Testifico que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador y Redentor.

I pray for you every night in Spanish too.
Te pido que bendigas mi familia con consuela y fuerza.

And we do all things:
En el nombre de Jesucristo.

I'm sure that I did something wrong in all of that, like miss an accent. So don't be too critical.

I just want you to know that whenever I have to do something hard or I'm feeling down that if I say a prayer and ask for help I always receive an answer. We are all weak, but we can all be made strong through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope that all of you will do this as you face your challenges and trials. Remember, bare with patience thine afflictions and the Lord will give unto you success.

I've been getting better at working hard, so I'll probably send out a couple of letters today. And again, I will definitely send you all of the pictures that I have.

I miss you all very much. I can feel the effects of your prayers. I'm so glad that I have a family as wonderful as you are. I love each of you with all of my heart.

Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, September 1, 2008

el Hijo de Dios

That's really neat that you had the missionaries over. I hope that I get to visit with members often up in Washington.

It's been an awesome blessing to get so many letters from you. One missionary in our Branch has only gotten a couple. It wasn't until just recently that he got them. Everyone shares all of the goodies that we get. Elder Sudol is one of our roomates had his birthday on Saturday. His parents sent him a big cake and his girlfriend sent him a ton of candy. Everyone appreciated getting some extra sugar in their systems. By the way I really enjoyed all of the candy and cake bars that you sent me. I still have some of the nerds.

Sorry for the misunderstanding on Jonathan's letter. I'll make sure I address it to the right person next time. I'm glad that you have decided not to tell anyone my email address. I would rather spend most of the time writing to you.

The word for son is "hijo", pronounced "eeho". As in "the son of God", "el Hijo de Dios". By the way Spanish is coming along really well. I don't know if I already told you but we've been saying all of our prayers and baring testimony in Spanish for a while now. I have really noticed the gift of tongues helping us to learn the language at an extremely quick pace.

If there's anything I've learned while here in the MTC it is to prayer before everything you do and invite the spirit to guide and help in doing whatever you are about to do. The difference when I study without verses with is more than a ten times difference. The spirit is the best teacher out there.

I hope Matthew gets better soon. There's been a sickness going around our Branch lately. I hope I don't get it. We already have a lot of work to do. Learning Spanish is a daunting task. I need all of the energy that I can get. Which reminds me that I've been eating a lot of food at meal times. I'm up to at least 145 pounds now. I forgot to weigh myself yesterday. It's a good thing that we get to exercise often in the MTC. Elder Burr and I are pretty focused during that time and we push ourselves pretty hard. I wish that I could take a 3 to 4 hour nap sometime. We have the Lord strengthening us, so we'll be fine.

A wise missionary told us that here in the MTC the weeks feel like days and the days feel like weeks. It's completely true. The days seem to last forever. Mostly because you work so hard all day long and we're not used to doing that much in a single day. It's crazy that the two week mark is coming up tomorrow.

Elder Burr and I have just about got the Zone Leader responsibilites down. We organized our first sacrament meeting yesterday. It went pretty smoothly but we'll do even better next week. Mostly we've been working on helping the missionaries in our Branch to overcome any problems and to keep on task. You have to let them do whatever they want, but we have to set a strong example, which we could do better at, and lovingly encourage them.

I love you all very much, I love every letter that I get from you. Hopefully I'll be able to answer some more of the comments and questions you had for me in a letter later today. I'm about out of time and I don't want to lose this email.

Love Elder Arnold

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Zone Leaders?!?

Elder Burr and I got to go to the temple today. It was a pretty cool experience. The spirit was very strong there. It's really neat to be one of those missionaries who I used to see.

The only place I know of to email is here in the laundry room. So that's where I am. Waiting for my clothes to dry. The computers are pretty busy. And we have only thirty minutes before it kicks us off.

The first couple of days here in the MTC seemed really long. My sense of time was completely out of wack. It feels like we've already been here for a couple of weeks. Sunday, and today have been going by quite a bit faster. I'm sure that the next several weeks will go by really fast. At least that's what everyone says who's been here for more than 8 weeks.

I absolutely love the food here. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to gain weight while I'm in the MTC. I'll start weighing myself and let you know how it goes. At least we get to exercise four or five days of the week. Saturday was the first day that we had gym time. Elder Burr and I ran a mile and then went inside and lifted weights. I even did 19 pull ups in a row last night. That was probably from lifting those forty pounds in my room before I came. An Elder in our Branch could do 28, so I'm not the record holder.

Your letters and candy were amazing. I loved hearing from you. You all had good advice. All of the letters are up by my bunk. I'm on the top. We also have desks with a board we can stick stuff to. That's where your picture that you sent me is Jonathan.

Oh I almost forgot to tell you. Our branch is brand new and consists of missionaries that all came in this last Wednesday. There are two districts in our Branch. Elder Burr and myself are part of District B. Elder George is the District Leader in our District and Elder Murray is the District leader in District A. Elder Burr and I, to our surprise were made the Zone leaders. That's not supposed to happen until you've been here for four weeks. Well at least we have the Lord to strengthen us. Who he calls he qualifies.

Elder Burr and I are getting along really well. We've become really good friends already. We keep each other in line as well. We have to constantly remind each other to keep our hands out of our pockets and to not say the g word - "guys". Haha.

I miss you all very much. The Lord is constantly providing me with comfort. Dad's blessing about feeling your love whenever I am lonely has helped a lot.

I'm about out of time. I love you all very much. I'll send you a letter today as well. I apologize in advance if I repeat myself.

Elder Arnold

Letter One!

Dear Family,

We had lots of free time today. That's why you're getting a letter from me on the first day. My P-day is on Monday so that's when I'll write in the future. I'm going to be professional at writing soon. I managed to write three and a half pages in my journal already.

After I left you guys we all went and got in line to pick up all of our stuff. That included dorm key, mission companion name, and other such things. My companion's name is Elder Taylor Jace Burr. He's from Alaska, I really like him so far. We have a lot in common. He's going to the Houston Texas mission, Spanish speaking. The other two guys that we share a room with are going to the same mission as my companion. That kind of makes me the oddball out.

I saw Elder Kuchar during lunch today. He looked pretty happy. We were both glad that we ran into each other. It turns out that I also saw two other people from Provo High that came in today.

We met our branch president today. We were with him for a long time. Mostly all we did was introduce ourselves. There was 24 of us. After we finished that, two "more senior" missionaries talked to us about some more helpful information and then took us on a quick tour. It wasn't way helpful because it was too much to remember.

I just thought you'd like to know, there are hand sanitizer pumps by every single door. I thought it was pretty funny. I guess they really don't want us getting sick.

I didn't think to take any pictures today so I'll make sure to mail you some on Monday. I'll probably just send you my SD card. I'll make a copy on one of my DVDs of course.

Except for the part where I had to leave my amazing family, today was a really good day. I really look forward to hearing from you. I don't get my email setup until Monday. Hopefully I'll be able to put all that info in my next letter.

Elder Arnold

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Today we said our goodbyes and Ben started his best two years...

The Fantastic Four

Proud parents who prepared him well.

Last family picture for two years!

See you in two years Elder Arnold!
We love you!