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