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