Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Elder Arnold gets spicy!

March 31, 2009

Hola familia,

I heard about the Spanish Bible. We're so stoked about it. We'll actually have something good to study out of. It's funny, because our current bible that we have contains a whole bunch of notes and things in the back that are all false doctrine. We're going to be really anxious until September. They announced it at our last sacrament meeting.

Good job on tennis, Matthew and Jonathan. You probably noticed mom but I bought a tennis racket. I've been itching to play so bad. I haven't had the time to use it yet though. So hopefully today I'll get to go and serve some for a little while.

It sounds like scuba diving was fun. I can't wait to go and try it with you. I think I'll probably be with mom and Jonathan the whole time. I always have problems with my ears on airplanes so it'll probably be the same with scuba diving.

I'm getting a little better at eating spicy foods. Since we eat some every once in a while. If you remember I never liked any amount of spiciness before I left on my mission. I even thought that those red cinnamon jelly beans were hot. Now those are nothing. So I'm making some improvement.

There were two baptisms this last Saturday. One investigator from the sisters and one from the zone leaders. It was really cool. Oh did I tell you? I've translated in sacrament meeting now once and also at a baptism. From Spanish to English. It was lots of fun. It's fun to have made so much progress in Spanish in just the last two transfers.

I guess that I have two sisters now. Amy and Andrea. I guess it'll kind of be like coming home to a new baby girl in the family. Ha ha. Just kidding. It's too bad that I'm not there to join in on the fun with Matthew and Jonathan.

We are currently living with the Strebel's. Our new address is 4820 W Margaret, Pasco WA 99301 (If anyone wants to write to Ben, he may only be at this address for a week, so send letters to his mission office address). The Matson's and the Strebel's both went out of town for a little bit so we're babysitting two houses. The Strebel's are really cool. They're good friends with the Matson's and moved into Pasco at about the same time as each other.

We'll find about transfers this upcoming Saturday. And transfer day is on the 8th, which is Wednesday. So I'll tell you what's happening next Tuesday.

Edgar and Lilian are doing really well. We just showed them lds.org. And they're really impressed that all of the scriptures and everything is online free to download. Edgar is going to put some of the scriptures on his MP3 player and listen to it at work instead of other books or music. We're super excited about that. He doesn't like reading as much because he doesn't understand it as well as when he hears it. Their son Justin is really cool. He just walks around during the lesson and he loves getting into the food. He always gives us high fives now. I love teaching that family.

Maria and Juan. We had an appointment with Maria just the other day. We had an inspired lesson with her. We were going to teach her about the plan of salvation but we diverted following the spirit. She was telling us about one of her sons that's been causing her a lot of heart-ache. So we shared Mosiah 27 and Alma 39. We read some of the highlights of the chapters and helped relate them to her situation. It was an amazing spiritual lesson. She was really apologetic about not having done the reading assignment and she promised very sincerely that she would do it this time.

Rafael and Maria. We actually haven't been able to visit them again yet. So we'll tell you more about them next week.

Well, have a great week.

I love you super a lot

Elder Benjamin Arnold

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Awesome week!

March 24, 2009

Hello family,

How are you doing? This has been an awesome week! Our baptism on Sunday went really well. The sisters also had a baptism. The two people were Ramona Marin and Maydelis Suarez. Socorro, Ramona Marin's son was the one that baptized her. And Elder Dudoich baptized Maydelis. There was a really big turn out. It was just a lot of fun. So they'll both be confirmed this upcoming Sunday.

The Pasco Library reopened today!!! Now we don't have to drive extra far to get to the library. They put in a lot more computers, which has been really nice. And the time is for an hour straight without any interruptions!!! They got new computers and the keyboards are amazing. Just thought you'd like to know that.

Tell Natalia congratulations on her baptism. I'm glad that it went so well. It's always so exciting to take part in them.

Wow, I can't believe you're so tall Matthew and Jonathan. You've both just about got me caught. Well, I was expecting this day to come anyway. I can see the changes in all the pictures that you send. Since I don't see you as often your maturity is more obvious to me.

Did I tell you about the chicken coop that we roofed? That was what I thought of when you told me about Dad, Matthew and Jonathan all working on those garden boxes.

Transfers are coming up pretty soon. They'll be on the 8th of this next month. I don't think I'll be staying in Pasco but we'll find out. I'll be sad if I do leave. Also we got a phone call that made me sad this morning. Elder Dudoich told us that we are moving out of the Matson's today. We didn't even have a clue that that was going to happen. The Matson's don't even know yet. Sad huh. I don't know what I'm going to do without them. It's going to be so weird.

Tomasa is doing pretty well. We've had a hard time getting a hold of her lately. She has been busy with her family and things like that. We're hoping that she's really close to baptism though. She loves the Book of Mormon. And understands that it is the word of God. It's just been a little bit of a struggle to get her to read on her own and pray to receive a spiritual confirmation. That's the way most people we teach are though.

We were given some cool new investigators this last week by the Lord. The first ones live next to a member who's been their friend for a long time. Their names are Rafael and Maria. Rafael loves talking about politics and stuff. He has so many ideas and theories about things. They were really cool. They both love talking. So I'm afraid we might get stuck in a long lesson with them sometime. I'm really excited to start teaching them though.

The other family we found was somebody that had been taught a little bit before by missionaries. We tracted into their door and their daughter answered. We left our number with them and asked her to give it to her parents. Then just a few days ago we got a call. Juan who was recently in jail called and asked us to come over because he thought that Maria needed to get closer to God because she is going through some really hard times in her life right now. So we went over and had an awesome first lesson with them. Elder Blomquist asked Maria to say the prayer at the end of the lesson, guided by the spirit. She started to cry during the prayer and couldn't finish. It was a very spiritual experience. We shared some comforting scriptures form the Book of Mormon. That is a powerful book and she knows it now. I can't wait to tell you about our next appointment.

We're teaching another family that I don't think I've told you about. Their names are Edgar and Lilian. They have an autistic son. We've had about four lessons with them so far. They are solid. The only real obstacle they have is getting to church. They're a little nervous about bringing their son to church. But we already have a family in the branch with autism. So we've been working on getting them talking to each to share ideas and help them feel confident.

I got your package! Thank you for all the wonderful little snacks and for the sets of scriptures. I'm excited to give them away. I don't think we'll give one to Hna Marin because she is partially blind and can't read as a result. Do you think you could find some CD's with the scriptures on them? It would be nice for her to be able to at least listen.

I sent Amy a letter the other day. I drew flowers and stuff all over it. I included a bunch of pictures with stuff written on it and then also some pamphlets from a Baptist church. I need to send you some of those pamphlets too. They’re really cool. Most of them are in Spanish.

Did you like your birthday present Matthew? I'm sorry the card was late. I thought I got it in the mail on time. I guess not. Write Amy soon. She would love to hear from you. Make it a good letter, include lots of details. Tell her how much you love her. Okay Homie G. Gracias.

I'm glad you’re on the tennis team, Jonathan. Keep working hard. Remember I only won one match my entire freshmen year. Most of the time it was a shut out 6-0 or 8-0.

It's Elder Anderson's birthday today. He turned 21. We woke him up this morning with silly string and party hats that had Dora the explorer on them. It was really fun. Hopefully we made it enjoyable for him. Then we took him out for breakfast this morning. It was lots of fun.

Have a great week. Love, Elder Benjamin Arnold

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

March 13, 2009

Hola Familia,

Buenos dias means good morning too. And hombros are shoulders. And you did spell it right. Good job! You are learning Spanish. The hardest part about learning Spanish is just learning all the words. The grammar and everything is pretty easy to pick up.

It's exciting to hear how Amy's doing. Make sure you tell me her email address as soon as you find out. Tell her that I love her. Maybe you could forward this letter to her.

That's exciting to hear that Natalia's getting baptized. We have a baptism coming up this Saturday! Ramona Marin. She's been taught for quite a while and she's an older lady. Her interview is today and that should go well. Her son, Socorro, is going to be the one baptizing her.

I sent Matthew's birthday card this morning. So it should get there on his birthday. It has all of my pictures in it as well as my old MSF, credit, card. It got compromised and I got a new one. I thought you might like to see it. Also one of the SD cards in there is one that I bought here in Washington. The 4GB one. It was only $15. It was such a good deal I had to take it.

Yes! Jonathan is a tennis player. Keep playing and working hard at it everyday and you'll start seeing the results in no time. Remember that I was a terrible tennis player when I was a freshmen (and I'm still not that good, but that's not the point). There was only one other person that tried out besides me. Lucky me.

That present for Matthew sounded just like what I wanted to get him. Hopefully he'll enjoy it and use it. I would've liked to have had one of those during high school. I would've used it all the time. So, have fun Matthew!

Invitation Sunday was kind of a bummer. Out of all the members we visited and talked to about it only one brought a friend. That was really sad. And then the talks went on forever. The first two speakers took up all of the time. And the other 4 speakers still gave their talks. So it ended up being over an hour and a half. And almost none of our investigators were there because they all had visitors and things. Oh well, it was still uplifting for those who came. Hopefully the next time it comes around it will be a little more successful in the branch. I probably won't be here next time though. That's a sad thought.

The Matson's will be moving, sometime. I have no idea when. They are going to sell their house before they move. And they still have a ton of stuff that they haven't packed. Actually haven't really even started that much. Which makes me really happy. I don't want to leave the Matson's. I love 'em to death.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day,

I love you,

Elder Benjamin Arnold

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chicken Coop

March 10, 2009

Hola familia,

It sounds like you've all been pretty crazy busy this last week. With school, work, trying to have fun, and getting Amy ready to leave tomorrow on her mission. Time just flies by, doesn't it? The days, months, and years just keep on clicking by. And Matthew turns 17 in just a week and a little bit. Almost happy birthday Matthew!

I wish I could've heard your amazing talk Amy. I'm glad that I get to read most of it. It's exciting to talk about missionary work. Especially to get members excited about it. That's all we focus on during our dinner thoughts. We have a thing called invitation Sunday coming up that was an idea of President Belnap's. It's a special sacrament meeting with special talks. Also the whole meeting is explained by the bishop or branch president about everything that goes on so that a person who is not a member can understand what it is that we do. There was a lot of success the first time that they did it back in September. As a result there was 22 baptisms in the mission. So we're really excited for the one on this upcoming Sunday, the 15th.

We've had some crazy weather lately. It'll be in the 50's and then start hailing and snowing and then go back up to the 50's. It's made life a little bit more interesting.

I wish I could've eaten some of your waffles Amy. They sound amazing. Too bad that they wouldn't go through the mail very well. You'll just have to make me some in 2010.

Leonardo is amazing. He's come out with us on exchanges. He's also so much fun to be around. I wish that you could meet him. I would tell him to call you but he doesn't really speak any English. And I can't be there to translate for him. Oh well. You'll eventually get to meet him.

We helped somebody roof their chicken coop this last week. That was a lot of fun. It was especially fun to watch Elder Blomquist and Elder Malan try to catch the rooster. It was really fast. It took them a long time before they succeeded. We also helped build a support wall. It was really fun to get out of the every day routine and do some good service.

Our new finding people techniques aren't really so much new as a reminder to always be finding people. It was more of getting us to talk to every single person that we come into contact with. Which we've done a pretty good job of implementing. In the last couple of weeks we've tripled the size of our investigator pool. So we've had a lot more work to do lately with trying to teach all of these people. The best and most fun days is where you just go out and work hard and teach all day long. It's such an amazing feeling to share the gospel with somebody.

Well, I have to end this email up.

I love you all very super much

Elder Benjamin Arnold

P.S. Thanks for getting the scriptures. I can't wait to use them.


March 4, 2009

Hola familia,

BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!! Leonardo Arellano. That's really cool that you went to a baptism the same day that I had a baptism. Ours was at 7:00 pm though. So 8:00 pm your time. It was amazing! I wish I could've taken a video of it to show you how awesome it was.

I've told you about Leonardo before but I used the wrong name. I used to always call him Leonar. Because that's what we were introduced to him as. Good thing we found out before the baptism though. haha. He was a referral from a member named Delia. We had a couple of lessons in her home. And there were several members involved in teaching him. It was such an amazing experience to see somebody from beginning to end in getting baptized.

It was also really exciting to get my clothes wet. It is kind of funny because I've lent out my tie about four different times for baptisms and finally it was me wearing it. It's hard to express in words how much joy this has brought me.

This reminds me of a favor I have to ask of you. Leonardo didn't have a triple combination. Which means he doesn't even have a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants. But sister Matson is amazing and she helped me out with getting him a nice copy with his name on it. But for future people I was wondering if you could send me a couple of copies of some nice triple combinations and bibles. In Spanish of course. Thank you!

We had a really amazing Zone Conference yesterday. Which is why I'm writing you today. They talked a lot about things that Elder Blomquist and I have needed to focus on more. Which is mostly on getting New Investigators. We've done a lot of tracting but it also gave us other ideas as well. Right after Zone Conference we put the ideas into practice and saw success immediately. We found several new investigators yesterday. And one in particular was amazing. His name is Edgar. He had all the right questions and has been so prepared. It was even better because we took one of the priests out with us and he was strengthened because of it as well. His name was Edwin. His family is very active in the church and a great asset to the branch.

It sounds like you've all been as busy as me. I'm glad that you start your day off with a bowl of marshmallow matey's still Matthew. Right now I'm eating Cinnamon toast crunch to begin my day. Cereal, that's where it's at. If anybody doesn't agree with me you'll just have to take it up with my homie g M. Silly.

Tennis sounds exciting! I wish I could watch you guys play. Maybe when I get home. Tennis gives you a lot of control over your own mind. Something that comes in useful in missionary work. Play hard Jonathan, and give it everything you’ve got.

Okay okay, I'll take scuba lessons when I get home. If Matthew and Jonathan liked it then I guess I probably would too. Actually it always sounded pretty cool.

Congratulations on your ACT score Matthew. Now teach Jonathan your ways and make him get a 36. That would be awesome. But really, that is awesome that you did that. You'll see a lot of things open up too because of that.

I hope that you have a wonderful week. Make it count. It's your last one with Amy. Your amazing, beautiful, caring, kind, cool, and awesome sister will be out serving the Lord. So give her lots of loves.

I love you,

Elder Benjamin Thomas Arnold
February 24, 2009

Hola familia,

It sounds like you've all been super busy with everything this last week. Matthew, your tennis stories sound like lots of fun. I wish I could be there to watch you play. I haven't even been able to play once since the beginning of my mission. There are some tennis courts around but I have to go buy some tennis rackets and balls. Maybe I'll just wait until summer. Hopefully I'll have a companion that is willing to play with me. Maybe I'll stay with Elder Blomquist all summer. That would be cool.

It's exciting to hear that you've taken up tennis as well Jonathan. I can't wait to play with you when I get home. Granted, I won't be very good. You'll have to be nice to me. What else have you two been up to?

Transfer info: Elder Blomquist and I are both staying!!! That makes me happy because there are lots of people that are getting close to being ready for baptism. Leonar is supposed to have his interview today. But we couldn't find him at all yesterday. And he never answered his phone. Hopefully he's okay. As long as everything still goes okay his baptism is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday at 7:00. Hopefully I'll be able to tell you all about that next week.

This last Sunday we had a fireside by President Belnap. We had two investigators there. It was really awesome because there were lots of recent converts who shared their conversion stories and their testimonies. One of them was Juan Saldana. Who was baptized while I was here, by Elder Anderson and Elder Mortenson. He doesn't speak English that well so Elder Anderson went up with him and translated what he said into English. It was actually really funny. I wish I could've recorded it and sent it home to you. It was an amazing meeting because the spirit was really strong and it gave all of our investigators a strong desire to really find out if this church is true.

Tomasa is one of the ones who was at the fireside. She's been making lots of progress lately. We're hoping to help her take the next step in a couple of weeks. She is the center of her family. As soon as she comes many will follow. I'm super excited for her.

We've played soccer for the last couple of p-day's. It's been a lot of fun. Last time I was the goalie. It was so crazy. I actually did a pretty good job. Diving all over and making miraculous saves. We also got some durag's. You'll see them in some of the pictures that I eventually send home. I'm going to try and get the pictures from everybody in our district and burn them to DVD's. That way you get lots of pictures.

I've fallen in love with peanut butter. I eat it all the time. I guess just because it gives me so much energy. I've just been craving it all the time. We found a funny comic that depicts this exactly. I'll take a picture of it and send it home.

Well, have a wonderful week.

You're happy missionary

Elder Benjamin Arnold

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Amy

February 17, 2009
Hola familia,

I got your package mom. It was wonderful. I'm glad that my translator is now back. I forgot to tell you that I had sent it in and that the new one was coming to Utah. I'm glad you figured it out anyway. Thanks, it's already been put to good use between Elder Blomquist and I.

It sounds like Amy had a busy birthday. I hope you didn't work too hard Amy. And that you had some time to enjoy your first day of being 21. It sounds like my letter got there but maybe not my present yet. I hope you enjoyed my pictures. Make sure you get on top of putting all the music you want on that present of yours. Time sneaks up on you. And you won't want to do it all at the last minute.

Driving is coming along just great. I've figured where everything is. Elder Blomquist has to help me out sometimes though. He pays a lot better attention than I did when I was the passenger.

Tomasa has been doing pretty well. She's been to church twice now. And this last week she brought three of her grandkids with her. Hopefully we'll make some good progress with her this week. Maybe the spirit will convince her to be baptized.

I haven't heard much from Blanca lately. I haven't seen her at church in a long time either. She is such an amazing person I wish that things would just work out better for her.

Leonar is the member referral and the one that was going to be baptized this last week. He's had some doubts that he's not ready for it yet. He wants to be completely prepared. Which is a good thing other than it's preventing him from partaking of all those wonderful blessings that we have available to us. We're going to meet with him tonight and go over baptism in depth. We'll hopefully be able to set up his baptismal date for the very end of this month. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Lucia's been doing amazing lately. She came to church this last week. It was so exciting to see her there. She's still been having lessons with the sisters in sister hill's home. Which has been a huge help to her. She's slowly getting more and more ready. Hopefully she'll have the strength to take the last couple of steps necessary to be baptized. Heavenly Father is helping her. As long as we keep working hard everything will work out okay.

Don't worry I haven't been sick lately. There's been a lot of sickness going around. Elder Blomquist and I have avoided it. Hopefully it stays that way.

I don't think I'll be moving this transfer. I'll probably stay one more here in Pasco. But just in case I'll find out this Friday or Saturday what will really happen. So around that time just send everything to the mission office.

Well it sounds like I am currently the heaviest member in our family. Sitting at a comfortable 158. I actually haven't checked in a while. So I'll find out for you next week. I've been using my pull-up bar a lot. And we also play basketball early in the mornings on Monday and Wednesday with the 4th ward. It keeps my cardiovascular system healthy and strong.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful week,

Love, Elder Benjamin Arnold

I'm still here. Only for another ten minutes though.
I'm excited to read the Harry Potter in Spanish. It'll test my vocabulary.

I hope you did good on your ACT test Matthew. Good look with it. Make sure you tell me how it goes this week when you find out.

I sure miss you Matthew and Jonathan. I wish I could come home for a few days and play tennis and go mountain biking with you. I also wish that I could share all of the things that I'm learning. I've grown so much spiritually. I'm able to focus on the really important things more. One of those things is my family. I'm definitely going to be a different person when I get home. And don't worry Matthew I'll come back ripped with muscles. BAM.

Thanks for your letters Jonathan. Your words lift me up. They make me feel more loved every time I read them.

Keep working hard you two. Look for ways to love your family members. I promise that you'll be happier as you do so.
Love Benjamin

Big Eater

February 10, 2009
Hello Family,

I had few interesting dinners this last week. One of the most interesting ones was with some members in an English ward in Kennewick. We had Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken. It was really good. I had goal to finish it all. So I ate 5 and a half plates of it. I was super full afterwards. The reason we were eating there was because we did a combined lesson with the sisters to teach Lucia. Who should be getting baptized soon! Elder Johnstun and I started teaching her close to when I first got here in Washington. It's exciting to see the progress she's making.

Today has already been an amazing P-Day. We went to the temple first. I always learn so much every time I go. And this time I was more attentive than usual.

I usually do my laundry at the Matson's house.

The baptism for the 15th is going to be pushed back a couple of weeks probably. But it's better for him to be ready for his baptism. There are just a couple of things to work out with the word of wisdom. He's making so much progress though. He has such a strong desire to improve and change his life. There is something that I'm really looking forward to. Leonar's brother died not very long ago. It's been the thing that has really caused so much change in his heart. And Leonar has such a strong love for his brother. The other day we taught him about the spirit world and how missionary work is being done there. I could see a light come on in his eyes when he heard that. So I really want to be there when he does the baptism for his brother in the temple.

Something that we're doing better on this last week was getting lessons with members present. We exceeded our goal. It was awesome. We're hoping to see continued progress in this area. It's something we've focused on for a long time but has only just recently been coming together.

I guess I haven't really told you much about Elder Blomquist. He's from Arizona. He can play the piano really really really well. It's fun to listen to him in the mornings sometimes. He doesn't get to play all that often. Besides being really musically talented he also is an awesome missionary. His teaching skills and Spanish have both come along rapidly. He's had lots of opportunities to learn since he has a trainer that doesn't know all that much. We're working hard together and having a fun time sharing the gospel.

It sounds like you've been having a fun time at home. Don't worry, hearing about your vacations doesn't really make me feel bad that I'm missing them. I only really miss being with my family. Can you believe that I'll have been out a half a year on the 20th. I can't believe how fast time is going.

Les quiero mucho,

Que tengan una buena semana,

Elder Benjamin Arnold

A Baptism

February 4, 2009

Dear family,

Every transfer we have a zone conference and interviews. Two different days. They're always on Tuesdays so our P-day gets moved to Wednesday. That's why I write a day late sometimes.

We had a really awesome baptism this last week. They were two girls that I helped teach with Elder Anderson and Elder Dudoich. Their names are Abby and Bianca. They're young girls, teenagers. One of the coolest things about the baptism though was that we had three investigators there. One of them is the guy I was telling you is going to be baptized. He loved the baptism. We went over to his house the next day and talked to him a lot more about him being able to be baptized. He was excited to be able to start a new life. It turns out that the 15th is his birthday. So that's when we set his baptismal date for. A new year a new life. Just two days after your birthday Amy!

We had a really neat experience with Tomasa just the other day. We've been teaching her for quite a while now. Even since Elder Johnstun was here. She's never been to church before this last week. It was a miracle story. She was having a really bad morning. Just mad at the whole world. She tried calling us to tell us not to come by but she couldn't get a hold of us because our phone doesn't accept calls outside of our area code (her phone has a California area code). Then she recognized that it was Satan trying to prevent her from doing what is right. When she related the story to us she told us over and over that she told Satan to get out of there. It was really cool to hear in Spanish. It was a lot more powerful. Then she decided if we came by to show her how to get to the church that she would go. And of course Heavenly Father made sure we went by her house and she followed us to church! The story doesn't end there though. She couldn't stay longer than just one hour because she had a court hearing right after sacrament meeting finished. She was really worried about the court because she hadn't done whatever it was that she was supposed to. She didn't have the money or resources to finish. But she had been praying for help. Because of that and probably her willingness to follow the Lord for no apparent reason her court hearing was changed to a week later. Which gave her sufficient time to get everything finished. It was a powerful testimony to her of the hand of God in her life. She also has a grandson named Santiago who has received many miraculous blessings as a result from prayer as well. We're excited to go see them in the next couple of days. We're going to extend a baptismal invitation to them!

By the way my favorite scripture is D&C 6:36-37. I think I told dad that on Christmas. But there's no rush. We've still got a year and a half to get that done. haha.

Well time is almost up. I love you all so much. Sorry I didn't answer too many of your questions. But I hope you enjoyed my stories from this week.

Elder Ben Arnold