Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's a Small World

April 28, 2009

Hola familia,

It was exciting to hear about all of your adventures with scuba diving and caving. It makes me anxious to join you. I had already heard about that lady on Britain's got talent. It was pretty interesting to hear about.

I still haven't gotten to play tennis and on top of that it's raining pretty hard today. Which means I won't be playing today. Ni modo. It sounds like Matthew and Jonathan are doing pretty well. Are you guys getting tan? I'm really, really white right now. I don't see the sun very much here in Vancouver. Although our last pday was really hot and I got a little sunburned.

Good job on your talk in sacrament meeting Jonathan. You might be surprised but I haven't spoken in a single sacrament meeting since I've been in Washington. Weird huh? Thanks for your amazing letters, Jonathan. I'm always lifted every time I get them. I love seeing the return address with Mom and Dad's names crossed out with "Jonathan" handwritten above. haha.

Spanish Conference was amazing! I got to see all of the Spanish missionaries from the entire mission. So I got to see all my friends who are still in Pasco. Besides that though there was some really good training. First we heard from President Alder. His topic was faith unto repentance. He gave us lots of good ideas on how to help people act on their faith and do something about it. The thing that was great about it was that he focused a lot on the culture of the Spanish people and gave us suggestions on how to be more polite and have a greater influence. The other speaker was President PiƱon. He was so sincere during his role-play examples that he even began to cry. You could feel how much he loved those who were acting as the investigators. He was also the one who translated at the Mexico temple rededication. Which was really cool because I got to watch that. It's funny how small of a world this is.

Which reminds me... Dad. I met a guy named Jacob who went to BYU and got a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. And he was so excited that I knew Mike Jensen. He just couldn't get over it. And what's more he is not a member of the Church. He was born in Jerusalem and his native tongue is Arabic. But he speaks English perfectly. He's going to be going back for this fall semester to get a degree in law. He's already been accepted into the program. He'll be going at the same time as Elder Dudoich. I'll try and get them to meet each other.

Raquel is doing great. She came to sacrament meeting this last Sunday. We were so excited about that. She's even been changing her work schedule so that she would have more time to meet with us. Isn't that so cool?

We haven't been able to meet with the other group of people that I talked about last time. So, no update with them.

I've been meaning to tell you for a long time. That picture where I was wearing a shrunken sweater; it wasn't mine. It was Elder Blomquist's. So you don't need to worry. I still have all of my sweaters intact and wearable.

I've been looking for the smartsensors here dad but haven't found any. I've found lots of products from competition. I'll keep my eyes open though. Our area covers pretty much everything north and west of road 500. Maybe you could find out where they are installed so I could go find them. I think Elder Tracy would love to see them almost as much as me. I've already told him all about that stuff.

Amy, you're going to be out of the MTC before you know it. Don't worry about not being ready for Spanish when you get to Chile. Because you won't be. Two months is just almost no time at all to become fluent in a language. The harder you work though, the quicker it will come. Just don't get frustrated and keep grinding away. It took me about six months to finally feel comfortable with it. I'm glad you've noticed the power of teaching with the spirit though. That is MORE important than speaking Spanish well. Just a quick example. We were teaching Raquel the other day and having a hard time helping her understand a specific principle. Elder Tracy and I were both praying that she would understand what we were teaching and then just out of nowhere we hear this, "Ohhhhh, I get it now". The spirit just, boom, put it into her brain. What we couldn't explain to her the spirit could. As long as we give it all we’ve got, the rest will be made up.

Matthew my Homie G. What's going on with you besides being busy with school, tennis, scuba diving, and caving? Tell me about Washington D.C. too. Do you still wear some of my clothes? How tall are you and Jonathan?

I love you so much my dear family,

Elder Benjamin Arnold

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I like to pull weeds!

April 21, 2009
Hola familia,

I'll start by answering all of your questions. It is a little harder to find people to teach here in Vancouver. But Heavenly Father is leading us to them so it's still fairly easy. There are four of us Elders in the Spanish branch here. Elder Godinez, Elder Rodriguez, Elder Tracy, and myself.

I haven't yet sent that winter stuff package. I have it all packed up in a box and just need to send it. Hopefully I'll get that done really soon though. I got the Spanish Cds. They came after I got to Vancouver. But that's okay. There's a Spanish zone conference coming up, actually it's tomorrow. I'm super excited about it. So, I'll see Elder Blomquist and I'll give it to him to give to Ramona Marin. It'll be really exciting to see all of my missionary friends from Pasco again.

The family we live with are the Boyle's. They're an awesome family. I've been enjoying something that I didn't like doing at home very much. And that is weeding! Sometimes in the morning we use it for our exercise. We go outside and work hard in their yard for a half an hour. We've made quite a bit of progress already. I never thought that I would enjoy doing something like that so much. It also makes exercise and working out time a lot quicker and more fun.

I think that I'm finally going to go play tennis today!!! Elder Tracy bought himself an inexpensive racquet. We probably won't play for very long but I'm excited for it. We're also going to play ultimate frisbee and work on tuning up our bikes.

Wow, we've had such a good week. Our area is really starting to pick up. I want to tell you about a few of the people that we're teaching right now. The first is Raquel. It was an interesting story how we found her. We were tracting in some apartments. We could tell that most of the people were white. You get an eye for finding Hispanic people after a while. But there were a bunch of kids outside playing. I started talking to them and started talking about Jesus Christ and why we were there. They also loved the pass-along cards that I gave to them. I've probably given them at least 50 cards all together (we've seen them a couple of times). They pointed out all of the apartment rooms where the Hispanic people live. Which was about three I think. Well it turns out that one of them was Raquel. She was really nice to us and asked us to come back the next day. So we did. And she was there! Sometimes that's a surprise to us. She let us in and we taught her a different kind of first lesson which was led by the spirit. She started talking about how there are so many churches and that she's searched for quite a bit of her life, trying to find one that feels right. And after a while she just gave up. She got frustrated. So if you can see where we went with this, we shared with her the story of Joseph Smith. And how he had the same kind of questions that she has. We read the account straight out of the Joseph Smith History. It was so powerful and amazing. She was full of questions afterward. After answering all of them and having her be satisfied with our answers I was feeling really guided and like my tongue was loose. I got to say some stuff like, "Raquel, here is the answer you've been looking for." It was so much fun!!! Probably the time when my mind is the most focused on missionary work is while I'm teaching. Everything just leaves my mind. And the spirit just comes in so strongly. Since that day we've had two more appointments with her. Actually, maybe one. My memory isn't very good. She's making so much progress. And I can see it in her eyes when we teach her that deep inside she knows it's true.

Well, have a great week family. I can't wait to go caving and scuba diving with you in the near future.

Love, Elder Benjamin Arnold

Friday, April 17, 2009

Biking in the mud

April 14, 2009

Hola familia,

I did get my Easter package. I also got one from Grandma. So I've been spoiled. I've got a lot of candy now so I'm going to be a hyper boy this week.

I've never seen the video of Amy opening her mission call. That would be cool to see. I didn't see it in the Easter package. Maybe I'll look a little harder just to make sure that I didn't miss it.

I'm loving it here in Vancouver. It has rained quite a bit but I'm really enjoying it. Amy instilled a love for rain in me. The members that we live with have been out of town for quite a while and only just barely got back last night. So I haven't had that much of an opportunity to get to know them other than just this morning.

My new companion's name is Elder Aaron Tracy. He is from California. He's been out three transfers so this is his fourth. It's really funny because we have so much in common. We're both computer nerds! We've had a few intense discussions. Just while we're driving in the car getting from appointment to appointment. That's the other thing. Vancouver is so much bigger. And there are fewer Hispanic people. It's like less than 4% population of Hispanic. Which is so much different from Pasco.

We had a really nice Easter dinner with the Reshke family. The food was great. They both served Spanish speaking missions. And they attend the Spanish branch. Brother Reshke served in Chile. So I was excited to tell them about Amy going there soon. Also President Alder, our ward mission leader, served as a mission president in Chile. So many connections to Chile. I heard that the Spanish down there is crazy. That they slur lots of words together. They also cut off practically all of their s's.

Elder Tracy and I just found this really awesome group of people that we're teaching. They are three couples that all hang out at one house. All three of the guys are out of work right now. It's so much fun teaching them. There was a time when we were teaching them that I was so overcome by the spirit that I felt like I was trembling. Everything was completely silent in the room with all their attention fixed on us. It was amazing. I don't ever think that I've taught that powerfully with the spirit.

I didn't really have any allergies in Pasco. But when I first got here my eyes started to itch and my nose was irritating me, so I had to take some medicine at first but now I feel better and it's not bothering me.

I did remember to bring my bike with me, which we have already used quite a bit. Now that's a story. Our car has to get the rear brakes replaced so we've been doing a bunch of bike riding. We'll be able to use the car again on Wednesday evening. We rode up and down some really big hills. We also rode next to some railroad tracks in the rain and mud. It was so much fun! We also watched some Hispanic people play volleyball for a while. We tried to play with them but it began to rain really hard and they stopped playing.

Have a great week, I love you
Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


April 7, 2009

Bueno familia,

Well, I found out what's happening this transfer. And I'm not staying in Pasco. On Wednesday (tomorrow) I'm heading over to the West side of the Mission. I'm going to Vancouver. Vancouver west to be specific. My new companions name is Elder Tracy. Not sure how you spell it yet. He's younger than me in the mission so I'll have to be the senior companion. I was hoping to go junior this transfer. Oh well. I'm excited to see a greener part of Washington. I'll miss all of the awesome friends that I've met here.

I've been cursed to move. This will be my fifth time moving. And I've only been in one area. I don't think that is very normal. I guess that I'm getting pretty good at it. Luckily some of my stuff was still packed from two weeks ago when we moved into the Strebel's.

This last week Elder Waldo has been really sick. He had a temperature of 103.8. That's ridiculous. So we spent quite a bit of time helping them go to their appointments and things like that.

Elder Blomquist and I went to breakfast this morning at Denny's, in honor of us being separated. The waitress was LDS and gave us lots of extra food. And then a guy who is a brother of some people we're teaching paid for our meal. That was so cool. We left a big tip though.

Conference was awesome!!! I loved Elder Holland's talk. The brethren threw it down this time. I also thought it was cool when President Monson said, "CEASE NOW". That was really bold. I also really appreciated Elder Perry. Talking about member missionary work. How we're an underutilized tool. And how we waste most of our time finding when that's not our calling. Hopefully that motivates people to get going on missionary work. Also the conference was broadcast to our stake center in both English and Spanish.

I still whistle quite a bit. I don't mean to; it just kind of comes out.

I'm going to send a bunch of my stuff home before I leave tomorrow. It's all of my winter clothes stuff. It has made it easier to pack.

Yeah, I did buy a tennis racket. I have wanted to play so bad. I haven't been able to use it still. Maybe I'll get to today. Maybe Elder Tracy plays. That would be neat.

I haven't gotten the Spanish Book of Mormon on Cd yet. Maybe it'll come today. If not I'll just mail it to Elder Blomquist. He's staying here in Pasco. His new companion is Elder Viera. He's from Brooklyn and 27 years old. He's been out for over a year. I'm sure that Elder Blomquist will like him.

I love you,

Have a great week, and good luck with tennis Matthew and Jonathan,

Elder Benjamin Arnold