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