Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cardboard Christmas Tree

Hola familia,

Of course transfers happened this last week. Elder Hortin got here on Wednesday afternoon. He's from Smithfield, Utah, which is near Logan. He came out at the same time as Elder Blomquist. He's served in Yakima and Sunnyside.

This whole last week has been extremely busy, in part, preparations for Christmas. We're going to the Stake President's house today for a zone p-day. We're really excited about that. The reason for that is because the stake reached its goal for the year, which is amazing. There are also a lot of baptisms scheduled for January. We'll start the year off with a bang.

Jose Vargas got interviewed to receive the priesthood. He'll receive that next Sunday. He asked me if I would ordain him. That hit me really hard as I was talking to him in the church hall. I feel very privileged for having that opportunity. It's been amazing to see that family progress. They all love church. And the other daughters are going to be baptized in the beginning of January.

I don't know if you remember last year when we talked to you for Christmas. We used a member’s newspaper store. He has four lines there so we can be all talking at the same time. I'll call you at 9:45 our time which is 10:45 your time.

I believe that I got all of the packages. I got the one from grandma and the one from Amy and from Crate and Barrel. I remember at least one from big box games and I think there's another one in the van. We're driving the mission van up to the Stake President's house. It's pretty big. I think it's a 12 passenger van.

We have a cardboard tree in our apartment that Elder Anderson got from somewhere last year. All of our presents are under it. I'll take a picture of it so you can see it.

I love you and look forward to talking to you on Christmas!

Elder Arnold

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baptism and new companion

Hola familia,

This week has been an awesome white and snowy week. We got maybe a couple of inches of snow. It snowed again a little last night. It makes driving a little bit slower but it is pretty and white.

We took Elder Godinez to President Belnap's house this morning. I'm going to miss him a lot. We've been companions for the past four and a half months. Elder Hortin is my new companion. He came out with Elder Blomquist. He'll get here tomorrow.

Just so you know Elder Godinez will be going to Rexburg for school. He's going to be studying Construction Management.

I'm glad I'm over being sick. I missed going to our dinner with the Llamas family. Which by the way means flames in English. They didn't come to church. We haven't been able to talk to them and found out why yet. They seemed so excited to come.

The Vargas family, previously referred to as the Gomez family, are now married and baptized. The wedding was amazing. So many people helped them out. They made it a very special experience for them. And lots of people came too. I took lots of pictures and will be sending them home this week.

Their baptism went very well. Again there are pictures of their baptism as well. Three of them were baptized this week, Jose, Antonia, and the older daughter Cristal.

This has been a very busy week with all that's happened.

Love you all very much
Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sick again

Hola familia,

This is going to be a short letter. I’ve been sick since last night and haven’t had as much energy.

We still don’t know anything about transfers. They didn’t give us the information at ZLC like they usually do. They said that we were going to get it at Christmas Zone Conference but we didn’t.

By the way Christmas Zone Conference was great. We got very spiritually fed. And we got to watch Forever Strong. They cut out the first 11 minutes or so though. It was very inspirational. There are lots of things to apply to missionary work out of it as well.

The Gomez – Vargas family, soon to be the Vargas family, are getting married tomorrow, Thursday. The parents will then be baptized on this upcoming Saturday. They just got their marriage license on Monday. I can’t believe how many miracles have happened to get them to this point. I’ve been praying for miracles so that they could be baptized before Elder Godinez left. And it’s going to happen.

We’re having dinner with the Llamas family today. They haven’t come to church and we haven’t had many lessons with them recently. There will be more to report next week.

Love you

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

La familia Gomez

December 1, 2009

Hola familia,

This week has been very eventful. Another family found us: La familia Gomez. They are progressing the fastest out of anybody that I've taught. They've come to church and have kept all of their reading commitments. And they accepted a baptismal date for the 12th of December. That was all after just like 3 days of knowing them. Three of the kids are baptismal age. It's been amazing teaching them. We've run into a little problem with them that might push their date back but they'll still be baptized.

Here's a story about the mom in the family:
The Gomez family is amazing! We watched the testaments. We then re-watched the part about the authority given to Nephi. They accepted a baptismal commitment for the 12th of December. So Elder Godinez will still be here!!! Antonia sent us home with a big pan of food and with a bunch of homemade tortillas. They were good.

I was just remembering another experience we had with Antonia. In our lesson that we had with them yesterday she told us about a near death experience that she had, where she was standing outside of her body and watching the doctors and other people around her body. This happened at the beginning of this year. The reason this came back to me today was because in the Gospel Principles class the topic was the Spirit World. Brother Bedoya was talking about death and how it is a separation of the spirit and the body. He then asked Antonia if she believed that was true. She said that she knew that was true and nodded her head. That was her whole response. Then she looked at me and gave me a smile...

The Llamas family isn't progressing a lot right now because we're having a hard time getting a hold of them. We went by on Sunday. Little Gabriel was outside playing in the yard. He ran over as soon as we pulled up. We talked to him about coming to church with us in a little while. He ran up the steps to tell his mom saying, "Yes, we get to go to church today!" He is such an awesome kid. I really feel like he'll be an amazing missionary someday. Hopefully we'll be able to find them at home more often.

I'll let you know how transfers go next week because we have ZLC this Friday. I can't believe time is going by so fast.

Love Elder Arnold

PS I got the package this morning. Thanks for the jacket. It's just what I was hoping for. I already set up the little Christmas tree. Did you get that from Germany? I already ate a bunch of the candy too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Llamas family

Hola familia,

I just realized that I haven't told you about the Llamas family. I remembered to bring my journal this time so I'll copy some of it over:

...After hearing him I feel so much more connected to the spirit. I feel more open to receiving personal revelation.
Elder Garrett and I went out and worked together tonight. I sincerely felt a new sense of urgency. We first attended Tamara's baptism. I shared a testimony after the ordinance. Right after the prayer we congratulated her and then left. We called Felix leaving the church parking lot telling him we needed him for an exchange in five minutes. He was all for it. We visited several different people. At first nobody was there. Then we started to find people left and right: Rolando, Moises, Nancy, Brittany, Ronnie & Brandon, Gabriel, and the Leal family. That was all in an hour and a half. We were truly led by the spirit. One of those visits stands out in my mind. That is Gabriel. Just before heading back to the Leals, Elder Garrett said, "Why don't we go see that family that we ATF'd that were out playing soccer?" So we drove over there and a man, in his 40's, named Gabriel answered the door. I introduced us and began teaching how a prophet and apostles have been called. We talked to him about the grandness of the church throughout the world. That these men just like the men that walked with Christ go throughout the whole world. And that one of them would be here in Pasco tomorrow. He was taken aback. He turned to Elder Garrett and asked him, "Is this true? Is this real?" Elder Garrett responded, "Es la verdad." We committed him to come and he said for sure he would.' It is incredible what happens when the spirit guides. This is God's work. His hand is in our lives everyday.

End of journal entry 11-14-09

Happy B-Day Mom!

We had two really great lessons. We arrived about 20 minutes late to Gabriel's house. They were there waiting for us. And Gabriel had read the pamphlet. All of them seemed to be understanding very well. It was best when we asked questions. I definitely talked too much. The kids participated. And they all sat there quietly and patiently.
At the end of the lesson we gave Gabriel a book of Mormon in Spanish and the four kids books of Mormon in English. I'm very excited for this family...

Last thing we did tonight was see the Llamas family. Wow that was spectacular. When we first got there, I heard little Gabriel (junior) say, "Yes!" They immediately turned off the TV and all gathered around to listen to us. Even the mother was there. We reviewed the restoration and the Book of Mormon again. We showed them a lot of pictures from the picture book produced just recently by the church. They hadn't read from their Books of Mormon yet. I think that they will be excited to next time though.
At the end of the lesson Ana, the oldest daughter, offered the prayer. Little Gabriel is really excited to give it the next time. Also next time we're going to watch the Restoration video and the end of the testaments. I noticed also that we need to try to include Karain more often. She seems to be getting left out a little bit.

I love missionary work!
Elder Ben Arnold

PS I talked to Mayela Poulson again recently. In fact I tracted into her sister in Pasco. Her husband is not a member. It sounded like it was a pretty delicate situation but maybe we could get something going if we talked to Mayela.

That's crazy that dad's using facebook.

I'm pretty sure that I can call you pretty much anytime on Christmas. We'll probably hear more as it gets closer.

(Where is Elder Godinez going home to?) He lives in North Carolina. Then just a couple of weeks after going home he'll be going to Rexburg to go to BYU-I. That means we'll be able to run into him sometime since he'll be so close by.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Elder Godinez

Hola familia,

This last week has been amazing. I have grown and been fed so much spiritually. I mentioned in my last email that Elder Holland was coming to our mission. On Saturday the entire mission came to the Gage Building in Richland. Elder Perry, Elder Jay Jensen, and Elder Holland all came. We first took a picture with them in front of the temple. Then we all got to shake each of their hands and look into their eyes, which they later described as being our own personal interview. I felt when I looked into Elder Holland’s eyes that he was looking straight into my spirit. It was an experience that I will never forget.

All three of them spoke to us. Wow. I wish I could share with you all of the things that I was taught. I want to share one experience though that caused all of us to think a lot and made us cry.

This was while Elder Jensen was teaching us. He had one of those small earpieces/microphones so that he could walk around and write on the chalkboard. Close to the very end of his teaching he said, “Could I have Elder Godinez please come up and join me.” Of course I was sitting right next to Elder Godinez. He was pretty surprised and seemed a little nervous. I’m not going to say everything that happened but after Elder Godinez read a few scriptures and a small discussion with Elder Jensen, Elder Jensen did something that I will never forget. He began to talk about Elder Godinez coming up on the end of his mission. This is something that I don’t ever talk about with Elder Godinez because it is a soft spot. He loves his mission. He would serve longer if he could, I know that. Then he talked about at the end of his mission that his stake president would sit him down and he would release him. Then he would take his name tags from him. And at that moment Elder Jensen began taking off Elder Godinez’s nametags. With each one that he took off Elder Godinez began to cry harder and his head would drop lower. After they were all taken off, Elder Godinez was standing there with his head in his hands with Elder Jensen standing next to him with his arm around him, comforting him. Everybody, including President and Sister Belnap were all crying. When Elder Jensen did this, I felt something was being pulled out of me. It hurt emotionally and spiritually.

Elder Jensen was trying to teach us a point of how we can’t stop after our missions. If our mission is the spiritual high of our life, then we are doing something wrong. I’ve been caused to reflect on this experience many times. Then a couple of nights ago, Elder Godinez and I had a very spiritual experience together and we were taught even more of this principle by the spirit. I’ve never understood the importance of this work and personal progression so well before.

I believe I explained Leonardo’s situation with the letter I wrote last week. Well I had a very amazing spiritual experience with him. Sunday morning we drove over to his house to make sure that he knew about church with Elder Holland. He didn’t. So he got ready and met us over there. Come ten o’clock I was sitting next to him right in the middle four rows back from the pulpit. That was a very special experience. The joy that filled my soul in seeing his progression. Wow. Something that I can’t adequately describe.

This Stake Conference with Elder Holland was an amazing missionary experience. There were over 100 investigators at the meeting. Sitting there watching him. We are going to see a lot of fruits from that. Just from talking to a few of those people right after the meeting I am getting chills. They all felt something. They knew that he was a man called of God. Something else cool is that on that day, November 15, is the day that Juan Saldana was baptized one year ago. What a great way to celebrate.

I think I might not have been clear. Elder Holland came both on Saturday to teach the missionaries and on Sunday to Stake Conference to visit the Pasco Stake.

I wish that I could explain more of the experiences that I had this week including finding a new investigator family, who are awesome. But I am running out of time.

Love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

PS I love being a missionary!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Griselda, Moises and Leonardo

Hola familia,

I don't think I ever mentioned to you that Elder Holland is coming to our mission this upcoming Saturday. The entire mission is coming to the tri-cites to a mission conference. We're all pretty excited. There's also a possibility that they're talking about splitting the Pasco stake. Who knows what's really happening though. They might even just be announcing that it will be happening later, like in a year.

We were tracting the other day over in East Pasco on a street named Douglas. We went past this house that didn't really look like anybody was home and there wasn't really a front door either. It was just a glass sliding door. We were going to skip it then I remembered a trailer that I knocked on in West Pasco that was similar. And it was a really cool guy that answered and we were able to teach him a little bit. So instead of skipping the house we went and knocked on the glass door. A young woman named Griselda answered the door. It turns out they had just moved from Tennessee. And over there they had gone through three sets of sister missionaries. Woohoo, I'm really glad that we stopped by.

We had a fireside put on by President Belnap at the Gage building in Kennewick. Lots of missionaries and investigators and recent converts came, including a good number from the branch. Griselda, the Sisters recent convert, spoke at the fireside and did a great job. Everybody that went loved it. The spirit was very strong. I sat next to Elder Godinez as he translated into the transmitting device. It was easier to listen to him speak in Spanish because he was talking louder.

We’ve been teaching this guy named Moises. He is the boyfriend of Itamar, who I think I’ve told you about. Anyway, they’ve been having some problems and they’ve split up now. We’ve been meeting with Moises which meetings generally consist of us sitting there and listening to him for a while, then sharing our own feelings and counsel from the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. Lately, it’s been harder for him to accept what we teach because there is a member who is good friends with Itamar that’s not been a good example for her. It’s been a frustrating situation for us in explaining to Moises how that could happen and still in a sense protect the face of the church. I’m sure glad that the spirit testifies to what we say. Apart from that, he’s progressing very well right now.

This last Sunday I was so excited! Leonardo came to church. I felt inspired this last week to write him a letter and leave it in his mailbox. So I did it and look what happened. I also felt very guided in what I wrote in the letter. He also came to the fireside that night. Yes! I saw an increased amount of light and happiness in his countenance. He hadn’t really been to church since General Conference. I’m really excited to tell Elder Blomquist.

I love you all a lot
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Staying in Pasco

Hello family,

This last week has been a little hectic. But I've also learned and grown a lot. Yesterday the work was going really slow in the morning because nobody was home or answering their doors. We ended up tracting quite a bit. Mostly all that came from that was a man told us that when we studied more about the Mormon church in depth we would very quickly leave it. And that it is a structure established by man. He got all of his references from members that had fallen away. It was pretty sad to see how blinded he was. It was one of those situations where it was really hard to keep the spirit with you. You want to just rebuke him and strike him in the heart with the spirit.

But at the end of the day we went on double exchanges with Juan and Felix. Juan and Elder Godinez went to Richland and taught a couple of amazing lessons, giving us some really good new investigators. Then Felix and I first went to one of our investigators houses who had been progressing a lot. She asked us why it had been so long since we had been over. They had kept their commitment to watch a conference talk by President Monson, so maybe we will be able to make some more progress with them.

Then we had a really good family home evening with a family that is partly recent convert. The mom taught the lesson on temples. It was awesome. Then we went and saw Brittany. We talked about eternal families and the temples a little bit. We also talked to them about getting married so they could one day take part in having an eternal family. They are going to be getting married next August just before I go home due to some situations they are in. So maybe I'll get to see them married and baptized. That would be awesome. We were blessed with lots of success last night I think in major part because we kept working all morning and afternoon without even really talking to anybody. Except for the guy that told us we were going to leave the church. haha.

Transfers are tomorrow. Elder Godinez and I are both staying together for his last transfer. I was excited to hear that. That means I should definitely stay here at least for one more transfer after that probably even two. That means I'll be in Pasco cumulatively for more than a year. Isn't that cool. There were not too many changes in the other members of the zone.

Halloween wasn't too eventful. We worked during the day like normal then went to the branch party. There was a ton of people there. Juan put on a clown show with one of his friends who was really talented at juggling and riding a unicycle. It was cool. It reminded me of my glory days wearing that little red fireman’s hat. haha.

Love you all lots,
Have a great week,
Elder Ben Arnold

Linda: Did you get snow in Pasco?
Ben: We haven't gotten snow yet. It's been a little bit colder in the mornings lately. I'll let you know when we do get it. I think normally it doesn't snow much in Pasco. Last year was a once in ten years kind of thing.

Ben: The zip line sounds scary. How high up is it? I wish I could come and try it out.
Linda: Scary? You're not afraid of anything. Let's see... David made a ladder with two ten foot boards but they overlapped by about 3 feet, so maybe 17 feet up?
Ben: You're right I wouldn't be scared. I thought I'd just throw that it in there. Haha. That sounds pretty fun.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Victor's baptism

October 27, 2009

Hola familia,

Victor's baptism went great! Devin Lybbert was the one to baptize him. If you remember Devin is his friend and the one that referred him. Then he was confirmed the next day in sacrament meeting by Elder Godinez. It was really neat.

The other night we had a lesson with Victor at the church. We watched the testaments video in the primary room sitting on one of the couches. In my personal study that morning I learned some new things about the atonement that have really made me a lot more appreciative for what Christ did for us. The spirit was really strong during a few parts of that movie and it made me cry. Even though I've already seen the movie probably more than 30 times. That's one of the beautiful things of the gospel, there's always something new to learn.

This last week we found this lady named Itamar. The morning that we found her I was trying to figure out where we were going to go tract. I was praying for guidance but I didn't feel very inspired. I eventually ended up choosing a street. While we were tracting that street we found Itamar. She's just younger than twenty. She said that she was really open to learning new things. She had just moved there two months prior. We went back for our appointment. She soaked it all up. She was involved in the lesson and was understanding everything. Then we found out that she had a roommate that is a guy. We were a little nervous to meet him. A few days ago we were out of people to visit in the evening. I suggested that we go and visit Itamar. My companion was hesitant because we weren't sure of what the boyfriend was like. Then the suggestion came again. Let's go visit Itamar. Same response. Then the prompting came a third time. So we went over and visited her. We met her boyfriend who was actually really cool. Then set up a time to go back and see them. The Lord knew that we needed to go see them. It reminds me of a couple of different accounts in the Book of Mormon. Helaman 5 and 3 Nephi 11. The people heard a voice 3 times before they understood it. It seems that is what the Lord had to do in our case as well.

The BBQ up in Basin City with the Whitby's went great. It was raining earlier in the day but it cleared up by the time we got up there. They cooked us some awesome food. I probably ate way too much. We played a bunch of sports in their huge field. It was a lot of fun.

This morning we got to go to the temple. It was amazing. It's been 5 months since I've been. I learned a lot of new things. The spirit was very strong in the celestial room. It was very peaceful and I felt like I had no worries in the world. Everything was taken off my shoulders for that little while. I'm glad that we have temples on the earth. What a privilege.

Love ya all,

Elder Ben Arnold

PS When Amy says the word pass she's referring to going by somebody's house or just to visit somebody. In Spanish you use the verb pasar to say that. Which literally translated into English means to pass.

Yeah, I'm jealous of the computer thing. I don't miss computers as much as I used to. But I keep getting reminded about them every Tuesday. That and seeing people's computers that we teach that aren't working nearly as good as they could be. If only I could help them out a little bit. Oh well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sick baby

October 21, 2009

Linda: I thought that Elder Becerra was your companion. When did you get Elder Godinez? Tell me about him. Where is he from, etc.
Ben: When I moved from Vancouver to Pasco is when my companion changed from Elder Becerra to Elder Godinez. He is originally from Morelia Mexico. He's lived about half of his life in North Carolina. He's really good at soccer. He's a great teacher and a really good missionary. He's almost done with his mission. This upcoming transfer is his last one. By the way transfers are in about two weeks. I'll find out not this friday but the next what's going to happen.

Linda: I just got a notice from UPS saying that your package has been delivered. When will the mission office give it to you?
Ben: I actually had to go up to the office a few days ago. So they gave it to me then. It was a bomb package. It sure made my day. I've been really excited to use all of my cool sweaters and stuff like that. It's raining today and been getting a lot colder lately. Thanks for all of the little treats. I also really enjoyed the little toys from wavetronix. Especially the little traffic light. haha.

Linda: Did you receive the postcard we sent you from Europe? You wrote in your last email, "I love it here in Pasco." That made me think of when we went to Oregon shortly before your mission and drove past your mission. I said, "Ben, look, here's your mission." You looked around and didn't look too impressed. It was funny. I'm so glad you love it now!
Ben: I got the postcard from Europe. It was pretty neat. I remember when we drove through my mission. I think I was just afraid that there wasn't going to be any people in it to teach. haha. I can't wait to show you Pasco. You will be amazed at how many Hispanic people are here.

Linda: I think you’re right. I think you had swine flu. Did you have a sore throat with yours? Was it like a cold but with fever and aches and a headache? Or did you throw up?
Ben: I had all of that. Including throwing up a little bit. That was only on one day though. After talking to some other people I'm a hundred percent sure that we did have swine flu. I'm really glad that we got over it. I plan on getting the flu shot. I don't want to go through anything like that again.

Linda: Do you need more Spanish scriptures?
Ben: I don't think I need any right off the bat. Victor is actually going to be getting a set from Devin, the member who referred him and has been teaching him with us. We have some very good prospects of people coming up though too. Could you send another set of the Book of Mormon on CD's in Spanish. I don't plan on giving them away. We just have an investigator, Luis, who can't read. I want to loan him one CD at a time to help him gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

Linda: Amy said her date to come home is September 28th. Do you have a date too? Ben: I don’t know.

Hola familia,
Victor is all good for being baptized this upcoming Saturday! He's been interviewed and everything. He's really just absorbed everything that we've taught him like a sponge. It's been a lot of fun teaching him with Devin and his wife. We get to practice translating so they can understand. It's kind of weird though when you're talking in Spanish and in the background you hear an echo of what you're saying in English. Sometimes it makes it hard to concentrate.

We had a very spiritual blessing of health for a baby. There is a young man in the branch who has a child but his wife is not a member. While we were over at their house both the little girl, 4 months old, and the dad were sick. She asked us if we could give their little girl a blessing. I was stunned. I've never had a non-member ask for a blessing like that. The thing that was most amazing about this situation was the mother’s faith that the child would be healed. She asked and the Lord answered. We gave a blessing to the small baby and then to the dad. During the entire blessing the baby was just so calm. Just before she had been crying and had been very fussy. Then about five minutes after when we left the baby didn't cry again for the rest of the night. And hasn't had any problems since the blessing. The mother knew that it was due to the blessing that the baby was healed. The father also felt better afterwards and made a very quick recovery. The Lord answers our prayers when we ask in faith.

This mother is now one of our top progressing investigators. She has been very open and has been keeping her commitments. I'm so excited.

For preparation day today we are going to go play sports in the rain and have a big BBQ with some members up in Basin City. In fact these members, I'm related to them. Awesome huh. I don't know if I told you that I keep finding lots of relatives up here. It's pretty cool.

Love you, Elder Arnold

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Testimony meeting


This last Sunday Victor wasn’t going to be able to come to church at 12:30 so we brought him to the English ward which started at 8:30. He speaks English fairly well and understands quite a bit. Spanish is definitely a lot easier for him though. Since it was fast and testimony meeting people were of course bearing their testimonies. To be honest they were a little bit boring. There were quite a few that were very eloquent and long but I really didn't get anything out of them. Then a man, who was probably in his late 20's and who was a little scraggly looking, got up. He was very nervous and in few and stammered words shared that he had fallen away from the church but now had come back and was experiencing a lot of joy from it. He was very emotional and fought so hard to express his feelings. It wasn't very long but it hit my heart. Following him a little girl got up. She was probably about 8 years old or so. Maybe a little older. She was very calm almost monotone. She shared her testimony on the priesthood. As she began I was stunned and shocked at the things she was saying. She shared an experience of how her father and uncle gave a priesthood blessing to her little brother who had fallen down a flight of stairs. The teachings of Jesus Christ came to my mind as this little girl spoke. Be even as a child, meek, submissive, humble. These two testimonies were more powerful and influential than every other eloquent speaker that I heard that day. These two testimonies were heartfelt. They were sincere and the spirit carried the message to the hearts of the listeners. Wow. What an experience.

Update on Victor: We moved the date back to the 24th. Everything was being pretty rushed and unorganized. And we wanted everything to be well prepared and to go smooth. Ever since we had General Conference he has changed in his outlook on what we teach him. He has told us very firmly that everything we've taught him is true. I already told you that he came to the English ward. I think I told you earlier that he had a problem with coffee. He thought he was going to have a hard time quitting. The morning after we committed him to not drink it anymore he called us and told us that he had had a small cup. But that he wasn't going to drink anymore. And since then he hasn't. He told us that he thought it was going to be a lot harder than it was. The Lord supported him as he showed forth his faith. It's been a really cool experience to see the difference in him since the day I met him at Devin's house, expecting our lesson to be boring, to today where he is really excited for his baptism.

Tomorrow is Elder Godinez's birthday. He turns 23. We've been having a really good time in our companionship. I'm pretty sure that he's going to finish his last transfer, the next one, here in Pasco. So I should be here for at least a couple more. Did you know that after two more transfers in Pasco I'll have spent one year here? That's pretty intense. I love it here in Pasco.

Elder Godinez and I having been working with the Stake quite a bit recently and they're very excited about missionary work. It's all been coming from their end. They are providing a lot of support. We are expecting to see a lot of good things happen before the end of the year.

I've got kind of a sad story. We were teaching this young lady. I think I told you about her last week. She read. She's really smart and going to college. She was showing interest and starting to pick up even after just our first lesson. Her dad didn't like that we were meeting with her. So the lessons had to end. It's really frustrating when stuff like that happens. Especially with a person as prepared as she is. We're just going to have to pray that his heart is softened.

I know that this is the work of the Lord. I love listening to his prophet and apostles. Serving him in the way that I am has brought me so much joy.
I love you all so much,
Elder Ben Arnold

PS In the picture of me holding the banana is the Ramirez family over in Vancouver. They were recent converts of something like 6 months to a year when I got there. I think just recently they have been going through some hard times financially. They are a really cool family.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Farm hands!

Hola familia,

Today we had a pretty fun day. We went up to Connell and did some farm work. We laid pvc pipe in an apple orchard. The rows were really long. I still have that blue glue on my hands. I think it will be a week or so by the time it all comes off. Then we had a carne asada afterword. Which was really good.

Conference was great. There were several things that stood out to me. I think Elder Scott started it out with a bang. I learned a lot on how to better follow and recognize the spirit.

I really enjoyed Elder Callister's talk. I can't wait until I get it in the ensign so I can study it. He answered tons of concerns and doubts people might have about the restoration and all things that fall under it.

On most of the speakers I had quite a few notes except for Elder Holland. While he was speaking I just sat there during pretty much the whole talking staring at the screen intently. He had so much intensity and sincerity for what he talked about. Again I can't wait to study his talk more in depth.

Investigator wise conference was great. We had 4 people come. As well as a few recent converts, which included Leonardo and Felix! During the Priesthood session I was sitting in between the two of them. Before the first presidency spoke I explained to both of them who was going to be speaking. Then just as President Monson got up to speak I looked over at Felix and he looked back with this huge smile on his face. It was priceless. Then talking to everybody afterward, including Felix, Juan, Leonardo, and Victor, each person had had very strong feelings and were all very spiritually uplifted. Victor, who is going to be baptized on the 17th, was almost in tears a few times; that's what he told Elder Godinez. It really opened his eyes to the importance of what we taught him. During every session he was at, his eyes were glued to the screen.

Love you all,
Elder Ben Arnold

PS I didn't pluck a chicken, but I am the one that caught the one that Elder Montoya killed.

The little boy in the yellow shirt is Orlando, and his dad is Francisco. They are some of my most favorite people I've met on my mission. I've written him twice since I left Vancouver. I haven't gotten a letter back so I'm not sure how he's doing. Elder Becerra says that he's been doing good though.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cool Down

September 30, 2009

Hola familia,

I'm writing today because we had zone conference yesterday. It was really good. I really wanted to learn how I could be a better missionary and I was taught a lot of stuff by the spirit. I'm going to tell you about one activity they had us do because I want Amy to know about it and give it a try in her missionary work.

President Belnap had us do some role-plays on committing somebody to be baptized. We used the question "will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?" Then the "investigator", our companion, brought up a predetermined concern. After you've been a missionary for a long time it's really easy to address concerns. You just jump right in and teach using the scriptures and then recommit. But President Belnap wanted us to do it differently this time. He asked us just to wait and be patient after the concern was brought up. Then once the spirit tells you what to say that's when you speak and ask questions and address their concern. Even though it was just a role-play it worked amazing. The baptismal commitment turned into a very spiritual experience. This was one of the main things that I took from this zone conference. That we need to be more patient and listen to the spirit more often.

Victor is doing awesome. He has a baptismal date for the 17th of October. We're so excited for him. We should actually be meeting with him tonight at about 6:00. The thing that has definitely been key in his conversion is his fellowshipper, Devin. They work together so Devin talks to him all the time about his reading and other things like that. And of course like I said before he was the one that referred us to meet Victor. He just invited him over for dinner and to meet some of his friends (us) that could help him be more happy.

Yesterday Elder Garrett and I were on exchanges. We taught a lesson to a girl that is 18 years old. Her name is Yvette. She was baptized with her twin sister in Idaho. And right now is living with her dad while going to school. She found us while we were visiting the Ramirez next door. As we were leaving she saw us walk by out the window. She hurried and put her shoes on and then ran outside to catch us. We talked to her for a little bit then set up a time to come back. In our lesson we had invited Abby, the next-door neighbor who is fifteen to come over. After the lesson, since they're both members, we did some role-plays with them. Elder Garrett and I pretended to be their friends at school and stuff like that while they had a conversation with us and then shared a small pass-along card. They're both really excited to go out and share their cards with a few of their friends that they have in mind. I was thinking that you guys should have a family home evening and practice talking to your friends about the gospel. It'll give you a lot more confidence to do it in a real situation. The nice thing about role-plays is that you can mess up and it doesn't matter. The only people that see you is your family.

The weather is starting to cool down a lot here. After General Conference this weekend we have to start wearing our suit coats all the time. Which is fine since we're starting to need them right now.

We're really excited about General Conference. One, to hear the prophet speak and the apostles. And two, because we get to bring investigators to it. That way they can feel the great spirit and love that our living prophet has for us.

Well, have a great week, and spread the gospel
Love you tons
Elder Ben Arnold


September 22, 2009
Hola familia,

I'm all better! Woohoo! This last week we haven't really had anything to report on. We got sick Monday evening and we were confined to our house until Sunday morning. That was a really long and really boring week. Mostly we just tried to sleep. My fever got up to 103.7. It scared me a little bit. We were in contact with the mission doctor and tons of people brought us over medicine and food and stuff. So we were well taken care of. Amy might find this funny, our highest number on our weekly report was a 2.

The baptism went awesome. Felix is a really good person. He's smart and he catches onto things really well. Even though he has a hard timing getting to church with work. We taught him about fasting a while ago and just recently found out by accident that he was fasting on fast Sunday with us. Even though he couldn't come. We've already shown him where the church is in his hometown in Mexico. He knew right where it was. He's excited to look it up when he gets there.

Something really sad happened this week. What's even more frustrating was that there was nothing we could do about it. Teresa got taken by the immigration and deported to Mexico. I got to talk to her on the phone and Gabi went to the immigration office to see if she could do anything. Nothing. I've been praying a lot for her. On the bright side she'll get to see her son again. And somehow she'll stay in contact with Gabi and Juan so I'll be able to find her I hope. It was just a really scary experience.

There's another person that we're teaching, Victor, that has been progressing really well lately. We just had a lesson with him last night. You can tell when a person is understanding what you're teaching them. Most people just listen to us to listen to us and then get us out of their home. But when a person is listening and understanding and wanting more the whole lesson just flows and the heavens feel like they are opened pouring down revelation. And that's what happened last night. We were teaching about the plan of salvation. Victor was like a sponge he just soaked up everything that we were saying.

I almost forgot. This week is transfer week. Due to being sick Elder Godinez and I didn't even get to go to ZLC. Oh well. We're both staying together for another 6 weeks. There's only one change in our district and only a couple more in the other district in our zone.

Love you family,

Elder Ben Arnold


September 17, 2009

Hello mom,

Elder Godinez and I have been sick with the flu since Monday night. We've had to stay at the apartment and rest for the last few days. We're just beginning to get better and aren't supposed to leave for the next couple of days still. We just had to come and print out some talks because we needed something to entertain our minds.

Our baptism was awesome on Sunday evening. I'll tell you more about it when we feel better.

Love you lots,


New Bible

September 8, 2009

Hola Familia,

Just yesterday we had an activity out at a park. It is something that the branch does every year. We had carne asada and played games. Elder Godinez started talking to one of the guys that came, not a member. At the end of the activity we got him and one of our investigators, Luis Fernando, to come and sit down with us in the grass to have a lesson. We reviewed the Restoration lesson a little bit. The coolest thing about it was that Luis Fernando who is not a member was testifying and adding a lot to our lesson. The other guy we had just met thinks that Luis is already a member. It was really cool.

Another awesome lesson we had; we taught Victor at Devin's house again. Devin is a member that invited Victor to talk to the missionaries in the first place. And this time Victor brought a friend, Martin. We watched The restoration DVD and a the very end of the testaments. The spirit was really strong. We were going to set a baptismal date with Victor that night but Martin was there. Martin didn't catch on nearly as fast as Victor did. He doesn't really like the story about Joseph Smith being called as a prophet. He was kind of funny actually.

Felix is still going to be baptized on Sunday. He's really excited about it. I'll let you know how it goes next p-day.

I'm really excited for the 14th. The new bible in Spanish comes out!!! It's going to make teaching so much easier. I can't wait. All of us missionaries always talk about it. Most of the members aren't very aware of it. In fact I was talking to Juan Saldana. He's been wanting to buy a new Bible. I told him that he needs to wait until the 14th and buy one of the new ones. He didn't even know about it. You'd think they would've announced it in church recently. I read they're only printing 800,000 though. Hopefully there will be enough to go around with the few million Hispanic members.

I can't believe that Amy has been out for 6 months. And her Spanish is beginning to take over in her English emails. That's so awesome. I can associate all of the mistakes she makes with some quirky Spanish grammar or spelling. That's so cool!

Well I love you family,

Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


September 2, 2009
Hola familia,

This has been a very busy week. We had interviews which is why I'm writing today instead of yesterday. Interviews went well. Elder Godinez and I were the ones that were in charge of planning and organizing it. And we had to do a lot of training presentation stuff. It was a little stressful at first but it turned out well.

Just yesterday we went on exchanges with the AP's. Elder Duncan came into Pasco with me and Elder Godinez went over to Kennewick. Right after dinner we got a hold of Brother Miles and went and visited all of the members of his small apartment complex, it has four vacancies. We ended up teaching two of them and just talking to the third and setting up a return appointment. Talk about referrals received. And both of the lessons were both with Brother Miles there, which was a huge contribution. He's a lot like Kobe in his desire and willingness to share the gospel (I got the email from Amy about Kobe's missionary experience). The first lady, Adriana, has three super crazy little boys. They are so happy and full of energy. Since the lesson was in Spanish Elder Duncan was spending the whole time trying to calm these little guys down. They would grab onto you and take your scriptures. It was so funny. Anyway she was a really cool lady and hopefully will be able to come to church this Sunday. We're just going to have to provide a lot of fellowshipping to help with her little boys. The other girl we saw was named Aby. She's a really young mom with a boyfriend who doesn't live with her. Those young mom's with kids always seem to be pretty receptive. It's just something about being in the presence of a little kid that just came from the presence of our Heavenly Father. She actually was born in the US so we had the lesson in English. That way Brother Miles and Elder Duncan could participate. She said that she would come to church with Brother Miles this Sunday and she even offered the prayer at the end.

Teresa came to church this week! It's been a while since she's been. It brings me so much joy to see her progressing in the gospel.

Leonardo is still trying hard to come. I'm praying that his situation improves. He has such a strong desire to do what is right and he recognizes what he needs to do.

We had a really cool lesson with another member named Brother Lybbert. For now he works for his father in law on his farm. So he knows a lot of Hispanic people. He invited one of his friends over for dinner and had us come over at the same time. He told his friend Victor about us coming over. Later on during the lesson we found out that he expected the lesson to be really boring. Which means it wasn't. He's a really intelligent guy, a lot like Felix. He really caught on to everything that we taught about and he was really willing to do what we asked him. The thing that was crazy about that lesson was that it lasted for an hour and a half. Including a little bit of talking at the beginning because we were there for dinner too. It only felt like we were there for about 20 minutes. The time just goes by so quickly while you're sharing the gospel.

Then to top off our week of referrals just the other day we got two media referrals, which I haven't gotten very many of lately. We were able to get a hold of one of them yesterday and taught a great first lesson.

Just because of how crazy things have been and with Felix's bad work schedule it looks like his baptism will have to be pushed back another week. He's still really excited about it; we just have to keep working hard and get it to happen.

I got some DVD's! That means I'm going to actually be sending some pictures home soon.

This last week has also been the week for giving blessings. We have given probably 5 or 6 in this last week. It's not hard to do in Spanish anymore. Which is great because I can say what it is that the spirit tells me more easily.

I love you. Keep sharing the gospel.

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Hola familia,

I'll start by answering some of your questions. I haven't seen the Matson's because they moved to Boise. That was one of the reasons why we moved out of their house. Because they were going to be moving soon.

I did run into Mayela Poulson while I was at a baptism in Connell. I was really surprised because they were living in Pasco when I was here last time. I did the baptismal interview for the lady that was baptized. She was really cool. And Mayela had been working a lot with her and was really key in getting her baptism to happen.

Felix is doing really well. His baptism is on the 5th of September. He's really ready to be baptized. The only sad thing is that he's only up here in Pasco temporarily. He's moving back to Mexico in November I think. He was just up here to help support his sister for a little while. He's excited to go look up the church when he gets back to Mexico though. So he doesn't plan on falling away from the church. We've had really good lessons with him lately. He always does most of the reading that we give him so he's prepared for the lessons. Then he always asks questions when he doesn't understand something so we actually know that he's understanding things. It's a lot a fun when you get to teach somebody like that.

I saw Leonardo a couple of times this last week! I saw him actually just last night. We had a family home evening with several members and investigators at a park. We had a little lesson and we had some refreshments. We also played some soccer and a little bit of frisbee. It was a great experience for Leonardo to become better friends with some of the members and get him even more excited about the gospel. Sadly he couldn't come to church this last week due to a really weird situation in helping out somebody that he didn't really know. He really wanted to come to church and he was pretty bummed out.

We've also been meeting with Teresa and she's beginning to do good as well. She's working in the apple fields right now. Hopefully she'll come to church this next week.

This last week while we were tracting somebody tried to throw water on Elder Godinez and me. They missed though. The Lord was protecting us. It was actually really funny. We can take the scripture being mocked and spit upon almost literally now. haha.

I think it was this last week that we had another ZLC. So we had to drive all the way back over to the Dalles. I sure have had to spend a lot of time in the car lately. I did get a letter written to Francisco on the way over though. I hear that he's doing really well, as well as some of the other people that we were teaching.

I memorized my address and then I forgot it again. I can tell you as much as I can remember though. It is off of "Cartmell" in between 19th and 20th avenues. And it is apartment number 108. The apartments are called the driftwood apartments.

I love you family

Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One year since Ben entered the MTC!

August 18, 2009

Hola familia,

This last week has just flown by. This whole next transfer is going to be gone pretty quick too. The first year of my mission has gone by very quickly, especially recently.

I don't know if I've ever told you much about Elder Godinez, my new companion. He is from North Carolina, originally from Mexico, Morelia. He's lived in the US for quite a while because he speaks English without any accent. And he speaks Spanish perfectly as well.

Moving back into Pasco is amazing. It's so good to see all of my friends that I made before. I've talked to Teresa already but haven't been able to get a hold of Leonardo.

When I got here, the Elders had been teaching a guy named Felix who was already set up with a baptismal date. He's really neat. The other night we were getting this call from a Private number. Every time they called it was while we were in an appointment. I felt like I should answer after about the fifth time and it turns out that it was Felix. He doesn't have a fixed work schedule or a cell phone, which makes it kind of hard to find him. We had gone by his house twice that day to see if we could catch him there. He felt bad about that and obviously tried really hard to get a hold of us. Then we were able to set up a time to go and visit him this week. He is one of very few people that are taking initiative and being active in their part of preparation for their baptism.

Isn't Amy's Spanish amazing? She's already writing that much and hasn't even been out for 6 months yet. Do you have a Chilean accent? While I was in Vancouver I met one of the sister missionaries that served there and she spoke really well. She didn't have a Chilean accent. I just thought that was interesting. Keep up the good work Amy.

We're living in an apartment. I'm sad to not live with members anymore. It's just different. It was a little messy when I first got here due to Elder Waldo finishing his mission and the chaos involved in that. In my spare time, which is limited, I've managed to go through and organize almost the whole apartment. It's involved throwing away more than 5 big bags of garbage. I'm pretty sure missionaries have been living in this apartment for just about a decade. And there's stuff that has been left since the first set of missionaries: clothes and other things that nobody was ever going to use. So I got rid of most of it. I was already mostly familiar with the apartment and with our whole area since I had already served in Pasco for six months. It's been fun to be able to jump right into it and start working.

I seem to be getting more and more tired. We've been teaching a lot this last week. Like actual sit down appointments. It's making me really exhausted mentally. My favorite part of missionary work is definitely teaching people. Especially in their homes. And in Spanish. The thing that makes it fun is not just teaching but asking questions. It's a challenge to get them to share their obstacles and doubts with us. Then when you do find them out and share and expound on the scriptures to help address their concerns and help them repent, it's such a joyful and exciting work!

I want to throw this part in for Amy. My last week in Vancouver I did a training on being a missionary of order. Being organized and more than just that but teaching in a way where we don't just teach but do as I was talking about before, teaching the person. Addressing their needs and helping them to change. A part of being a missionary of order is keeping records 100% up to date. Updating the area book every night as a part of planning. Then during daily planning and weekly planning not just writing down numbers and planning on where to go but to receive personal revelation on each individual investigator. It's hard to explain the whole thing in one paragraph. It's taken me my whole mission to figure out all the little things that go together into being a missionary that is organized.

I'm not sure what my new address is. We live on the northwest corner of Cartmell and 19th. It's right behind the pizza place. It's just right off of Court st.

I feel sorry for you Matthew. Having wisdom teeth taken out is not very much fun. I remember how much I bled and was uncomfortable. Anyway, hang in there and remember I love you.

How's the zip line coming along Jonathan? Isn't it crazy that school is starting already?

I love you family,
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to Pasco!

Hola familia,

This last week has been pretty hectic. There have been lots of things that have come up that took time out of our missionary work. But we've still gotten some good things done.

Right after I emailed last week we started the long drive over to Kennewick. We mostly just talked and slept. We had the Zone Leader Council that night. Elder Bruce C Hafen from the first quorum of the seventy was there. We reviewed a lot of how we're doing as a mission and areas that we could focus on to improve. They really wanted us to share our true feelings and be completely open with them. It was really interesting.

I found out that my new companion is going to be Elder Godinez and that I'm going back to Pasco! I was really excited to find that out. I got to see him, Elder Waldo, and Elder Dudoich and a few other people that I'm good friends with.

Elder Becerra is going to be training the only Spanish missionary coming out this transfer. He's really excited and nervous. I'm super excited for him.

On Wednesday I got the fun job of driving all the way back to Vancouver. My leg felt really weird after we got back. It started to cramp up a little bit while I was with Elder Becerra that night.

We had zone conference on Thursday. Elder Hafen talked to us. It was really good but also really long. We started at 9 in the morning and we didn't end until about 4 in the evening.

On Friday we took Sebastian out with us. We picked him up at 12 and then took him back to his house at 8 when we had an appointment with his family. The day was pretty slow. We didn't teach a ton of people. I think a big part of that was because it was Friday. Everybody likes to leave and party because it's the beginning of the weekend.

Cornelio has been out of town lately as well as Roger and Deysi so not anything new to report for them.

We found a new investigator named Angelina. We couldn't go to her appointment and we didn't have her phone number. And when we went back she had been waiting for us. We felt really bad about that. We apologized and she let us in. Elder Becerra were trying a different technique today. We were going with just soft cover copies of the Book of Mormon. No backpack or anything else. Angelina let us into her house. We introduced the Book of Mormon briefly and then just read to her out of it. We just shared everything that the spirit told us to. The lesson was so amazing. The spirit was very strong and she was very interested. Elder Becerra read out of Ether 12 and I shared the conversion story of Alma the younger. We left her with a very strong commitment to read Mosiah 2 and then to pray and even to come to church this next week. Sadly I won't be here to see her again. Something feels really special with her though. She's an older lady probably in her 60s or maybe 50's.

The mini-missionaries did not sleep with us. In between the two days they went home and slept there.

Congratulations on your AP tests, Matthew. You're a smart kid. Put some of that brain power towards studying 3 Nephi 11 to the end of 3 Nephi this week. Focus on how Christ teaches the people. And then think how you might be able to apply that as if you were a missionary. Notice also how much he loves the people and is not just teaching them to teach a lesson. Especially in chapter 17, I love that one.

Jonathan that same assignment goes to you. Tell me about how the zip line is coming. Take some pictures of the construction of it so I can see everything you had to do to get it up.

I was just measured not too long ago and I was right at 6'2". Matthew might've caught up to me already. We'll have to measure up in a year.

I'm leaving for Pasco tomorrow, Wednesday, early in the morning. I have to drive to the Dalles. Then I should be free to do stuff for the rest of the trip. I plan on catching up on the millions of amazing letters that I haven't yet responded to.

I won't have time to send pictures until I get to Pasco. Sorry I've been so bad about that too. I've got lots of good ones though!

Love you family

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Moving Again

August 4, 2009

Hola familia,

Don't have too much time today. The library's internet was down so we had to go to a different library in southern Vancouver. The other reason that we're rushed is because I have to go to a meeting with the other Zone Leaders in the Tri-cities. I'm going to be a Zone Leader. I found out on last Monday when I got a call from President Belnap. So I won't be staying in Vancouver. I'm guessing I'll be going back to Pasco but on the other side. We'll see though. There's still lots of possibilities.

Ricardo came to church again. This time Sebastian came with him. They both seemed to really enjoy it. Just yesterday we talked to them again. Daniel was there as well. The lesson went super good. We extended the baptismal invitation. They committed to be baptized if they got an answer. It seems that Ricardo already has got an answer; he just didn't want to voice it in front of his two sons. We'll talk to him about that a little bit more during this next week.

Jacob should be visiting soon if he hasn't already seen you. I gave him something to give to you. I'll explain later if you have any questions about it.

We had mini-missionaries this week. A couple of priest age boys came out with us for two whole days. It was a blast. They both enjoyed it and we got a ton of work done in our area while they were here. Elder Becerra and Gabe were riding bikes while David and myself were in the car. Matthew and Jonathan if you ever get a chance to do that, I would say do it. You'll learn a lot and get excited about serving a mission.

That's so exciting to hear about Teresa's mom being baptized. Missionary work is just so much fun and brings so much joy into everybody's lives.

I got your letters mom. It is really fun to see the pictures of everybody and see how they're doing.

Francisco received the Priesthood! He's doing really well. He might be getting married soon. I'm going to miss him a super lot.

We met a new guy named Cornelio this week. He's very interested in what we have to share. The entire time during the lesson on the restoration he was on the edge of his seat. He shared his own feelings and was very open with us. I haven't really seen anyone like that since Francisco. He was also, just like Francisco, very anxious to get a copy of the Book of Mormon and to begin reading it. I'm sad that I won't be able to see him finish his progression and come into the church.

Sorry that there's not any more time.

I love you family,

Elder Ben Arnold

PS Thank you everybody for the letters you have sent me. I'm trying really hard to respond but I'm not the best letter writer. Expect them to come soon though.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heat Wave

July 28, 2009

Hola familia,

Ricardo came to church! Neither of his sons did but this was a huge step for him. It's really cool how we got it to happen too. Elder Becerra and I planned really hard for how it was we were going to accomplish the task of getting him to come to church. We used all of our methods of planning from our mission including ODOR-PAL. We ended up planning out two lessons. The first one would focus on authority, apostasy, and the restoration all referenced from the bible. We shared probably about 25 scriptures with him covering the three topics. That lesson went really well. The purpose of this lesson was to give a setting for the next lesson. In which we watched Joseph Smith: the prophet of the restoration. It was in English because it hasn't even been released yet. He speaks and understands English really well though. During the hour of the movie I looked over at him occasionally to see his reaction. His eyes were glued to it. You could see how much he was thinking and pondering on what he was seeing. When the movie ended we talked about how he felt and what happened in the movie. The conversation was simple. Basically it went along the lines of, "That really happened? Yep." He was stunned and speechless. Everything just really started clicking in his mind. And to top it all off the spirit was very strong. Elder Becerra and I left that lesson on a super spiritual high.

Yesterday was not a good day. I ate something weird on Sunday I think because I had the symptoms of food poisoning. Sunday night from the hours of 11:00 pm to about 5:30 am I threw-up about 6 or 7 times. It wasn't very fun. I got a blessing Monday morning. We took the day off so my body could recuperate. It's so boring and miserable to be a missionary stuck at home sick. This is only my second time like this. I slept really well last night and I've felt a lot better today.

We went on exchanges with the zone leaders this last week. I was with Elder Clark. He's a really good missionary. He honestly talks with everyone. I learned and grew a lot just in the one day we were together. We also had a really interesting lesson together. I think I've told you about Deborah before. The spirit told us to go see her. So of course she was at home when we knocked on the door. She invited us and we began talking. Right away she told us about a dream that she had had three days ago. It was a dream about the second coming. She was with her family trying to find safety. She saw some stairs or steps going up a large hill. At the top of the hill were two missionaries. She told me that one of them was me and that the other was Elder Clark. The thing that was odd about that was that she's never met Elder Clark before. I wanted to make sure that she really did see specifically us two and not just two missionaries. And it really was us. We talked to her a little bit about this and she thinks that it came from God.

After that lesson Elder Clark and I were talking about how we've always heard about weird stories like that. Where people in essence get dreamed to somebody's house. We were both very stunned and pretty excited. We're going to review her dream with her in more detail when we go back next time, probably tomorrow.

We're going to go see Jacob tonight. I have something for him to take home to you. And to answer your question he is not a member. I think he'll be coming to Utah in about a week.

Sadly, we haven't heard anything from Lana yet. Heavenly Father knows where she is though. He'll make something work out.

It has been really hot lately. This morning when we went outside it felt like the hottest morning that I've ever felt. The summer will pass over in a while and we'll have our cool weather back.

The Boyle's wedding went well. Now we're just waiting for all of their family to go back home and we'll move back in. It'll probably be on next Monday. We still visit them just about everyday.

I love you family,

Elder Ben Arnold

Spirit Tracting

July 21, 2009

Hola familia,

This last week has been very full of crazy stuff. First off, we moved. It's just temporary for the Boyle's Wedding. We moved out last night and we'll be there for two weeks. We're living with President Ross, the branch president. We already miss the Boyle's but the Ross's are great too.

We had a cool experience doing some "spirit tracting" as we call it. We get in the car and Elder Becerra tells me where to drive. Every time we've found several people to teach. One of the teaching experiences was really neat. We had just got finished teaching a man in English that we taught in his garage. He was a little bit drunk so it made it interesting. Then we got back in the car because he said there weren't any Hispanic people in the area. Elder Becerra told me where to turn whenever we got to an intersection. After driving for just a minute we saw a lady sitting down on the sidewalk in the shade. She looked like she had been crying. The spirit said to talk to her so we parked the car about a block down the street around the corner. When we were first walking up, we couldn't see her because of the trees. We were praying that she would still be there. We walked really fast until we got within sight of her. When we got up to her she was looking away kind of ashamed. We just started by asking her if she was okay and if there was anything we could do for her. She didn't say anything just shook her head. We talked to her a little bit more with the same kind of response and then I asked her if it would be alright if we shared a scripture with her. She gave the same response and shook her head. Then she said that we could say a prayer for her. It was the first thing she said and it was really quiet. So we sat down in the shade with her on the sidewalk. I asked her for her name. She said "Lana". Then I offered a prayer specifically asking Heavenly Father to help her. She was a lot more open to us after that. She told us why she was sad and that her ex-boyfriend had just yelled at her and told her to get off of his property. It just tore her up and the reason she stopped on the sidewalk was because she was so overcome with emotion that she couldn't keep walking. We read Alma 7:11-12 with her and talked about it. I could see that it meant a lot to her. Her countenance cheered up quite a bit. The subject then changed to talking about Spanish. Where she works she associates with a lot of Hispanic people and she has to use a translator, a real person. She bought rosetta stone and has been using that. I talked to her about how I learned Spanish and she was really impressed. She said she would give us a call so we could come over and give her a Book of Mormon in Spanish and English. It was such a cool lesson. I felt on such a spiritual high after all three of us got up and went different ways.

Your adventures with scuba-diving sound like a lot of fun. I'll be excited to join you later on. Try not to have too much fun without me. haha.

Off of Amy's comment about the song coming on the radio. I hear stuff like that every time we go into a fast food place. It's kind of hard hearing all that stuff. Most of it doesn't sound as good as it did before the mission though. You can feel the spirit leaving as you hear it. There was one time in a Chinese restaurant where I heard some motab come on. That was really cool.

On Sunday I did my first baptismal interview. It was in English with Tyler. He just got married to one of the members in the branch. They're both about 20. He's really cool. He's very ready to take part in this church. He was actually kind of bummed that he had missed the opportunity to serve a mission. Isn't that such an amazing attitude?

ATF stands for All Time Finding. When you say that you ATFed somebody it means you talked to them outside of tracting on doors. For example talking to somebody in the park or outside in their yard or garage or on the street.

Francisco got an emergency call to go into work. One of the other workers just up and quit and he's been working double shift this whole week. It's been really hard on him. He hasn't been able to meet with us and he wasn't able to come to church yesterday to receive the priesthood.

Our district improved again this week. We've all been talking to more people, teaching more lessons, and seeing more success.

Another update on Jacob from Jerusalem; Sister Tulva, who is awesome, got us a Book of Mormon in Arabic to take over to him. He wasn't there the first time we tried but we left the book there for him. Then we came over the next night and went in and talked to him for a long time. It was really interesting and fun. He wants to come see you guys when he moves down to Provo in about a week. He's going to take something to you from me. When do you get back home? That way I can tell him when to go over. I have his email address so I'll keep in touch with him. I'll give him all your information so he can get in contact with you.

Exciting week!

Love you, Elder Ben Arnold

Fearless Finders

July 14, 2009

Hola familia,

This last week our district has been really excited. We got a lot of work done together and are looking to work even harder this week.

We had zone conference this last week. It was at Beacon Rock which I've been to in the past for a hike. We got to wear jeans and t-shirts which was kind of weird. There were a lot of missionaries there. So we got to see lots of our friends. There's so many that I still don't know. We had little workshops where a stake president or bishop would talk to us about different topics. In general the zone conference seemed to be focused on the after mission life. It was really helpful and gave most people I think a better understanding of what we're doing and a desire to work hard. I always get recharged from Zone Conferences.

Nobody will play tennis with me either, Matthew. I've played a couple times recently but I was a little bit too good and nobody wants to play that much anymore. Ooops.

Elder Becerra and I have been fearless finders this week. We're always trying to talk to every single Hispanic person that we come across but sometimes it comes up in a really awkward situation and it is really hard to talk to the person. So this last week we overcame that and have pushed each other really hard to not miss a single opportunity. As a result we've opened our mouths more and are teaching more people, even if they're not all really super interested in what we teach.

One of my favorite ATF experiences was with a guy selling ice cream. We saw him riding down the street and we really wanted to talk to him. So we waved to him and said hello. So he rode right over to us because he wanted to sell us some ice cream. Which we did. And it tasted delicious. It was a $1 coconut flavored popsicle. Then we changed the topic of conversation to missionaries and then into the message of the restoration. It was well worth the $2 that we spent.

One of my fearless finder moments turned out to not really be a Hispanic guy. We had just contacted one of our referrals and we were in the car pulling out of his driveway when we saw a guy taking out his garbage right next to us. I only got a glimpse of him and he looked Hispanic. It was another one of those awkward moments for me. But being fearless I rolled down my window and started talking to him in Spanish. He turned around and looked really confused. He started talking to me and he had a Russian accent. His name is Sergey pronounced Seerhay. We had a good conversation about his church and about what we do as missionaries. It was a very good seed planting.

Sorry I didn't tell you about how excited I was with all of the birthday presents that you got me. I got lots of yummy candy from Jonathan. Which I still haven’t finished yet. I got a really cool plaque thing from Matthew, which I have sitting on my desk. It says "Don't measure the success of your day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant". Pretty good huh. Amy got me some ties and wrote me an awesome letter. And from Mom and Dad I got some more ties and a GPS which I use very often. That also included a bike mount which is really cool. I've already used it. We had to buy Elder Becerra a bike first. He got his from a missionary that's going home for 50 dollars. It's like a 500 dollar bike though. He got a really good deal. It even has disc brakes.

Francisco is doing really well. He had his interview for receiving the priesthood this last Sunday. So I'll report on that this upcoming p-day. Isn't that so exciting.

Love you

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stacking Hay

Hola familia,

This week has been really interesting. First, my new companion is not Trevor Jones. There was a last minute transfer change which I got on Tuesday night. Elder Jones is in Longview instead. I actually just met him the other day and he is really cool. But my companion who I was really excited about is Elder Becerra. I don't remember if I told you anything about him. But we flew into Washington together. He's from Oaxaca Mexico. So he speaks Spanish already and he grew up in Sandy Utah so he speaks English perfectly. He served in Connell for 9 months which is just 40 minutes north of Pasco. We saw each other a lot while I was over there and we were really good friends. So when I found out that he was going to be my new companion I was really excited. I'll send some pictures of him home in a little bit.

A few other interesting things that I found out. Elder Blomquist is training a kid from El Salvador this transfer. I'm really excited for him. Elder Tracy is also going to be learning a lot with his companion.

4th of July was pretty exciting here. It was a normal day for us. But at night there were a ton of fireworks in our neighborhood. I even got to see two trees catch on fire. Good thing there were policemen and firemen everywhere.

Weather has been really hot lately. About 100 degrees everyday with a little bit of humidity. I don't know why it's so hot. Just the last two days it dropped back down to 65. I think that's more normal for here. It's supposed to heat back up again here in a little bit.

District Leader isn't too much different. I just have to get number reports from the members of the district and then prepare district meeting. The last one that we had went pretty well. I think it got everybody excited about this upcoming transfer.

Nothing new on Marta and Ruben. We invited Marta to come to church about an 1 hour before it started and she said that she was getting everything ready to go. And then she didn't come. We haven't been able to talk to her since to find out what happened.

We are having some progress with Ricardo and his two sons, Sebastian and Daniel. Ricardo has been reading the Book of Mormon and some other books including Jesus the Christ. He's really excited for our next visit on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll have more good news to report on them for next Tuesday.

We loaded and stacked some more bales of hay this week. I had allergies really bad, especially when I was in the trailer. I would sneeze every 10 seconds for ever it felt like. And on top of that it was one of those 100 degree days. Elder Becerra and I both got a little heat exhaustion but we're over it now.

My birthday was fun. I don't think we really did anything too special. In fact I totally forgot it was my birthday until we got to the transfer site and Elder Garrett reminded me. It was really fun to meet up with Elder Montoya and Elder Becerra again. That was a great birthday present. Oh yeah, Somebody that is related to Brenda Hall brought me a cake. I wasn't able to be there because of a last minute dinner appointment change. But I'm going to give them a call this week and talk to them. Thanks Brenda!

Amy's Spanish is coming along really fast. She's writing me completely in Spanish now. It makes me even more excited for the time that I get to see her again. We taught a lady from Chile last night. She gave us some empanadas, which were delicious. We had a good lesson and I got to learn a lot of new words that I didn't know before. I'm thinking we're going to teach her a lot so I can get the Chile lingo down.

I've also tried Completos this last week with Sister Campos. Who is also from Chile. They really are delicious. They're called completos because they are totally full to the point where you can't put any more toppings onto the hotdog without it spilling over.

Love you lots,

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Ben!

June 30, 2009

Hola familia,

This last week has been very exciting with lots that happened. First, Francisco was baptized!!! And then confirmed on Sunday. We worked extra hard to get this baptism to go through. We had to have an interview by President Jubitz, which went very well. Then we ended up having to change the time of the baptism on short notice. Which means we had to call every single member, but it was worth it. I think it got more people to come as well. I used the awesome baptismal template that I made with Sister Matson for the program agenda thing. It looked really great. Thanks Sister Matson! The day of the baptism was pretty hectic as well. Elder Tracy and I got there really early to set everything up. It turned out that there was a baptism right before ours so everything was already done, meaning chairs and the font being filled. The stressful part was making sure that everybody that needed to be there was there. Including Francisco, one of the branch presidency, the speakers, and the music stuff. It was a relief when the last person got there and we could start. The whole baptism went perfectly. The two speakers were Arturo and Toni, both of which are recent converts. They both did a great job. Then Francisco and I went down into the water and there was a really peaceful feeling. It was an amazingly beautiful experience to have seen Francisco make it to that point. I could see a stronger light in his eyes than I've ever seen before. Even in just the last few days he is such a different person. He is so much happier even with everything chaotic around him. After the baptism Hermano Garcia talked a little bit and invited Francisco to go up in the front. He wanted to point out all of the people that came to his baptism and that they were his friends and family. This touched Francisco a lot and he expressed how grateful he was with tears in his eyes. He could barely get the words to come out. It was one of the more spiritual experiences I've had on my mission.

The following day at church Elder Tracy performed the confirmation. He did great especially since it was his first time. It was once again the same experience that I felt during the baptism. Francisco was so ready for it. And he was again very emotional like at the baptism.

Well, now the rest of the week. For transfers Elder Tracy is going to be leaving after 7 and a half months in Vancouver. He's going to Walla Walla. Clear on the other side of the mission. He'll be senior companion with Elder Malar; I think that's how you spell it. He came out with Elder Blomquist.

And I will be staying here with my new companion, Elder Trevor Jones. I don't really know him but I've heard lots of good things about him. I'm also going to be the District Leader this transfer so I have some more learning and growing ahead of me.

Birthday has been great. I made the executive decision to celebrate my birthday today so Elder Tracy could be here. We have to be at the transfer site tomorrow morning at 7:30. Which wouldn't give us much time tomorrow.

To answer a few more of your questions; I don't think I'll need any more scriptures. I still have the one pair. I'm not expecting another baptism until towards the end of the transfer.

I got all three packages and a bunch of letters. Including the one from Amy, Thanks Amy.

Marta and Ruben. I'll give you a better update on them next week. We haven't made much progress yet being wrapped up in other stuff. Hopefully we'll get Marta to church this next Sunday to talk to President Ross and make some progress with her divorce.

I love you family,

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Francisco and Marta

Hola familia,

This week has been turning out just the way that I wanted it to. I guess I didn't mention that Maria fell of date. She wasn't able to come to church last week. Francisco is still looking good though. And that will be this upcoming Saturday. We still have a few things to take care of to make it all happen. The only big thing left is his interview which is tomorrow with President Jubitz.

I thought you'd like to know, we gave Francisco one of those pair of scriptures that you sent me. We couldn't wait until Saturday. And he's been using them a lot since then so I think it was a good idea. We've been seeing him just about everyday for the last little while. He also hasn't smoked since a few days after we committed him to be baptized! He's been keeping his commitments so well!

Sorry about being late on the Father's day card dad. I think you should've gotten it today. If not, maybe tomorrow. If nothing else, just like I told mom, it just extends the holiday for a few more days.

We didn't really go and pick strawberries this week. We did go on a hike today, which is why we're so late emailing. And there were some wild strawberries along the trail. They were some of the sweetest strawberries I've ever eaten. They were just really small.

The gps that Elder Tracy got was a tomtom XL or something like that. And it works really well. It's one of the better ones that I've seen.

So as you might already know transfers are coming up. Transfer day is on my birthday which is a Wednesday. We'll find out what's going to happen on this next Saturday. I'm pretty sure that I'll stay but we're not sure about Elder Tracy. I think it's possible that he could stay one more.

Since it's also getting towards the end of the month, we're running low on miles so we went biking yesterday. Just for the end of the day. We biked from our house down to our dinner appointment with the Woodlands and then we stopped by Marta's house on the way home. That's all we had time for.

The appointment with Marta went super great. We started asking a lot of questions guided by the spirit and found out that the morning that we knocked on her door she had been praying to find the true church. And surprise, surprise, we showed up. The thing that was cool was she immediately recognized this as her answer. She's beginning to read the Book of Mormon again. And she's going to be coming to church this next week. She's actually been taught before by the sister missionaries. I guess she wasn't ready back then. And now she is! She also has a young guy renting one of her rooms from her. His name is Ruben. While we were riding our bikes to the appointment we ran into him walking home from the store. I recognized him from before and we walked our bikes along with him back to Marta's. It turns out that he actually had a lot of LDS friends where he lived in Mexico, Mexico City. Actually, really close to our temple. He's never talked to missionaries or really been introduced to the church. So we're really excited about him.

I didn't really tell you much about our hike today. It was 15 miles roundtrip. I got tons of cool pictures to send to you. As I mentioned there were lots of strawberries to pick and eat along the way. We met a guy named Brandon afterward that we started talking to. He gave us a little bit of water because we had run out. This was back at the parking lot after the hike. We talked for probably 20 minutes about him and his life and then about missionary work and about Spanish; he went to Mexico for a little bit. It was a cool conversation.

Well I love you family, Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Elder Tracy


This week was crazy amazing and ridiculous. I guess I'll start with the beginning. Tuesday night,. P-day and the day before Elder Tracy's birthday, we took Arturo, a recent convert of about four months, with us to an appointment with Francisco. The whole lesson was super spiritual. There were many times where all of us cried and shared some very personal stories. There was one scripture that we shared that still stands out vividly in my mind. Francisco, it turns out, has to overcome a small smoking problem. He is frustrated that he can't just give up everything bad. He wants to do what's right and gets frustrated at himself for not being perfect. So, we read 2 Nephi 4:28-31. "Awake my soul, no longer droop in sin." It hit him so powerfully. He read the whole thing while choking back tears. I have never seen a scripture mean so much to any person before. At the end of the lesson we again talked about baptism and set a baptismal date for the 27th!!!!

Francisco has not smoked since Elder Tracy's birthday and has even got his hours changed at work so he doesn't have to work on Sunday's!!!

Now Elder Tracy's Birthday. We started off by doing a little celebration. We opened up his presents and of course I sang him Happy Birthday. He absolutely was thrilled with the things that he got which included all of that piano stuff, which he uses all the time, and a GPS from his family. Which we also use quite often. He couldn't have been more happy. Thank you.

His birthday continues. At 11:00 am we went out to work just like we normally do. We went and visited Maria. Who is the person I told you about last week. And we also committed her to be baptized on the 27th!!! Dos bautismos!!! So as you can tell this week Elder Tracy and I have been on a super high.

Recently we've been doing a lot of service outside in people’s gardens. It's fun to see the trust that we're beginning to get from the members as a result.

We had interviews yesterday, which is why I'm emailing today. Elder Tracy and I did a small training again about teaching using the scriptures. I also enjoy getting advice from President Belnap. He is a very spiritual man. Later on that day we saw great success. I don't know what the difference was. None of our appointments fell through. That's probably the first time on my mission. I guess that the Lord is just beginning to bless us for all of the hard work we've put in the last transfer.

I'm glad you had a great birthday, Jonathan. It looks like you enjoyed the card. Feel lucky, because I thought about getting you one with Dora the Explorer on it that sang in Spanish and English. haha. Sounds like you're going to have fun with the zip line. Don't get hurt, otherwise mom will never let me do it when I get back. haha.

Washington D.C. I've never been there. When you get home Matthew you need to write me and send me some pictures. I'll look forward to hearing all about it.

Thanks for the advice on tracting, mom. I'll work on incorporating some of that into the way I do my door approaches. I guess in a sense that's how I try to do it anyway. But I've never tried using people's names before.

Strawberries. I have eaten lots of strawberries with members for dessert and things like that. We were going to go strawberry picking with our Ward mission leader today but that fell through because our p-day changed. We were going to go yesterday. I guess we'll have to wait ‘til next week.

I love you all
And I look forward to hearing from you next week

Elder Benjamin Arnold

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Searching the Crevices of the Rocks

June 9, 2009

Hola familia,

This week has been great! I don't even know what to say about it. I think in general Elder Tracy and I are just working even harder and beginning to have more success. Yesterday, somehow we received 5 referrals and contacted 3 of them already. On top of that we got 2 new investigators. It was awesome!!!

One of the new investigators name is Maria. She has three little kids. About a month ago her husband or boyfriend, I'm not sure which, got deported. Apparently Elder Tracy and Elder Jones had talked to them quite a few times but had never been able to get inside and teach a lesson. Maybe this was just a humbling experience for Maria because she let us inside even though her house was really messy. Being alone now she has to find a job and was planning on moving to Pasco. That will be at the end of this month. The lesson was great though. We taught about the restoration. We got her and her three young kids and we all knelt in a circle at the end of the lesson. And she offered up a wonderful prayer. We had to help her a little bit at the end but it was awesome! We asked her how she felt afterwards. There was a definite peace present and she could feel it. We sent up a return appointment for tomorrow and she is really, really interested in coming to church on Sunday. Yes!

I'm a little bit jealous of you Amy. One baptism a week. That would be crazy. That's going to be a lot of new members in the church throughout 2 years. Think of the effects that will have on the eternities. Don't worry; I'm actually pretty content with the work that I have to do. It's lots of fun searching for the Hispanic people out of the crevices of the rock. Ha ha.

Francisco is doing super amazing. He calls Elder Tracy and I his angelitos, which means his little beloved angels. That's cool, huh. We have a lesson planned for tonight. Arthuro, a recent convert, is coming with us. We're going to try and set a baptismal date with him. So we're both pretty excited. The other thing that is really funny, Francisco's son, Orlando, always asks his dad, "papi, where are your friends?" It's awesome how close of friends we've become with those two.

The package for Elder Tracy came this morning. He was pretty excited about it. He thinks it's a little weird that he's going to be twenty. So of course, I always bug him about it. How did you know about the fold up piano thing? Did you know that we bought one of those and it broke? We tried fixing it. We succeeded but then it broke again. I'll send you some pictures of it. He'll love it.

Congratulations on your certification Jonathan. Did you really dive down 15 feet without scuba equipment? That's better than I could do.

Hey Matthew, don't get too good at tennis. I'm not going to be able to keep up. I've still only played once since the beginning of my mission.

I love you all; have an awesome week

Elder Benjamin Arnold

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Elder Arnold loves strawberries

June 2, 2009

Hola familia,

Okay I promise I won't take any more pictures while I am driving. I didn't look like I was almost about to crash did I? Yes I can buy more dvd's. I saw some at Wal-Mart and thought about buying them but then decided not to because they cost like $10. I'll probably go get some next week.

I'm glad that everyone was okay from the scout outing. It sounds like it would've been a blast. We'll have to go do that when I get home but before Amy gets home so we can still be super protected.

Matthew and Jonathan congratulations on your good grades. Keep up the hard work and it will pay off soon. Les prometo.

Wasn't it so good to get that wonderful letter from Amy. She's progressing so quickly. Something I notice in her letters is how much she relies on the spirit. She's a very humble missionary and as a result she will have lots of success. Even with a language barrier she's strongly influenced many people for good.

Francisco is getting very close to baptism. We talk about the subject every time we go over to his house. And it's usually him that brings it up! In our last lesson we watched the restoration video and shared a liahona magazine with him. He now has a testimony that this church was established by a prophet of God and that it is led by a living prophet. The Liahona issue that we gave him was of general conference. He was very excited to hear about a prophet and twelve apostles in our day. It is so powerful to actually see somebody gain that testimony and witness of the spirit. And describe in words how much joy that brought me.

This last week has been really tiring. Since it was the end of the month we were running low on miles. As a result we biked a LOT. I was always ready to take a nap at any minute. We also talked to a lot of really cool people since we were on the street more.

We've been helping the Boyle's take care of their garden. It's been a lot of fun. I took it upon myself to take special care of the strawberries. They're my favorite! I'm going to try and convince them to plant more. I think that is already their plan so I might not have to try too hard. Fruit is also starting to become more available in the stores. Which means I'm going to be eating more fruit!!!

Elder Tracy's birthday is on June 10th. He'll turn 20. We're both really weirded out that we're not going to be teenagers for much longer.

Don't worry Jonathan I remember that your birthday is coming up on the 15th. I'll figure something out to get you.


Elder Ben Arnold