Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ben's last mission email

Hola familia,

Zone Conference / Elder Ringwood

Our Zone Conference yesterday was amazing. I felt so uplifted and ready to go work afterward. Four of us that were leaving bore our testimonies at the beginning. I felt impressed to talk about my own conversion throughout my mission. It amazes me how the spirit speaks directly to our spirit what we should say in the very moment that we need it. Following that Sister Greer spoke to us and then President Greer. They are both great teachers. As they were speaking I had many thoughts come to my mind that I quickly recorded. It was more the spirit teaching me than them. Following their talks we heard from Elder Ringwood. It was cool to watch him follow spiritual impressions that came to him. You could see that he was teaching to our needs without knowing what they were except through the spirit. He spoke a lot about getting lost. Getting lost in the sense that we lose our lives as missionaries. That we give up all distractions and dedicate our lives to the work. It was kind of a continuation of President Greer's talk.

Eddy y Blanca

We continue to have spirit filled lessons with Eddy and Blanca. They both came to church this last Sunday. The coolest things about teaching them are the changes that are taking place in their lives and the added happiness they are finding. I love it. It's the best part about being a missionary.


Yesterday all of our plans fell through. All of our backup plans fell through. We prayed. We tried hard to listen to the spirit and go where the Lord wanted us to. We ended up in an apartment complex off of St. John's visiting a few trybacks. Next door to the door we were knocking on there was a guy and woman that was a little older than him sitting outside talking. We walked up to them and introduced ourselves. His name was Rigo and Maria was his mom. We talked to them for about five minutes about different churches, the purpose of life, and why we obey commandments. Then Maria got up and left. She didn't seem very interested obviously. As soon as she left Rigo opened up. As he spoke to us and explained his life situation it felt like his spirit was crying for help. He wants to know how to find happiness in this life and he wants to know how to solicit God's help. Again the spirit guided us in what to say. He had never prayed before. We taught him how to pray and what prayer really is. He said he would pray every night and we're going to see him on Thursday.

Have a great week
And I'll see you all soon
Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 11, 2010

Hola familia,


I had my exit interview with President Greer this morning. I think the purpose was for him to get a feel for what our plans are for after our mission. It's nice that he's so worried about what happens to us for the rest of our lives. I really do feel how much he loves us. Right after he interviewed three of us we went to the Portland temple. It was beautiful and a very sacred experience for me. I learned so many things by the spirit. I felt such a peace and didn't want to leave when the time came to. The temple is so symbolic and has much more meaning than it first appears.

Eddy and Blanca

Eddy and Blanca were found just as I left Vancouver a year ago. Eddy came to church a few times and then as happens with many investigators they dropped off and weren't being taught for some time. Well, recently they were found again and Elder Bair and I have begun teaching them. They are both such amazing people and really are ready to accept the gospel. In our last lesson Elder Bair started out by talking about the Book of Mormon. They realize the importance of it and committed to start reading and praying again. Another cool story: Eddy the morning that we had our last lesson completely quit drinking. He called up Blanca and told her to throw out the rest of the beer. She ran to the sink and dumped it all out. He is committed to live the gospel and is going to be very blessed.

Meeting in the Tri-cities

The meeting went well over the four days we were in the tri-cities. I got to go and work in Pasco during the evenings and had some amazing experiences. I forgot how much I missed Pasco and the people there. I don't have any more time so I'll tell you some other day about all the stuff that happened in those days.

Love you all and have a great week

Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 2, 2010
Hola familia,

This week, starting tomorrow, there is a meeting in Kennewick. It's going to be going until the 6th. We're going to be going over all the new PMG lessons. I'm pretty excited about that. There is a lot of stuff to learn. Hopefully I'll be able to hop into Pasco in the evenings and do some missionary work over there.

The Zone Leaders found this guy tracting and taught him a lesson. He was apparently really cool and was very excited about coming to church. They talked to him about being baptized and he was excited about that so they set a date for him in August. They referred them to us because his wife only speaks spanish. We're still trying to get a hold of him.

Juan is a friend of Arturo, who is a member. Arturo invited him to come to church and he came dressed up in a suit. He really enjoyed church and we're scheduled to go teach him this week. Isn't it amazing how things just work out. The Lord's hand is in everything.

We had a Family Home Evening with Jorge and two of his kids this last week. We watched a video at the church and played a little ball with them. They all really enjoyed it and built some good father son relationships. Then Jorge came to church yesterday. He's a really good guy and I'm glad that I've been able to know him.

Break the fast
The branch had a big dinner after church since it was fast sunday. It had actually been a while since we had had one. Whenever there is food involved extra people always seem to show up. Whatever gets them to church. It's fun to try all of the different kinds of food that the various people bring. There's always a big variety. Especially with all of these people from different countries.

Elder Bair and I have become lumbermen. We've been helping Hno Woodland debark some huge logs at his house. After we get all of the bark off then we sand it with an electric sander and stain the logs. He's building an entry way over his driveway. It's a project that he's been wanting to do and now with our help he's getting it done. Along the way I'm learning how to work with wood. The other day I learned how to pour concrete. That was an experience.
Love you all. Have a great week
Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 20, 2010
Hola familia,

We went bowling today. The first game I scored only an 82. Kind of sad. But then I got 131 the next game! I tried hard to redeem myself.

We taught Debra four times this last week. She's opened up a lot to us and we're figuring out what all of her doubts are. She's really close to coming to church. We really need to start working with her husband more. She is such a good lady. She ironed all of my shirts and pants last week. She's taking good care of us.

Orson Pratt Arnold
He was a stake president up here in Washington and moved down to Orem when he left. President Alder wanted me to ask you mom and dad if you knew him or could do a little research to see if we're related.

The Atonement
This transfer we're focusing on studying the Atonement as a district. There is so much depth to understanding what all happened in the period of time between the garden of Gethsemane and His resurrection. I come to realize how important this work is as I increase my understanding of what our Savior did for us. Mom I have an assignment for you. I need you to order a book off of amazon. It is called "The First 2000 Years". It is written by Cleon Skousen. Let me know if you can find it.

Sister Arroyo is a convert to the church but her husband is not a member. I tried to teach them a year ago but didn't have much luck. He wasn't very interested. Since that time some things have happened in their lives and now we are teaching them both together. We had a lesson with them and President Alder just the other day. The lesson went great and we're looking to set a baptismal date with him by next Monday!

This is Ricardo from Columbia. I went on exchanges with him last night. The appointments that we went to were not there. We had a great conversation in the car though. He was interested in what I did for work before my mission. I pointed a couple of SmartSensors out to him and he thought that was really cool.

We painted a members shed this week with Elder Hortin and Elder Prawitt. I got pretty sunburned from it the first time we helped. It was actually quite a bit of fun and it helped them get done a lot faster. The best part about it was the conversation that we had between Elder Bair and I and the other two.

You'll have to fill in all the details in your mind. I'm having a hard time getting my brain to function correctly. It's having a hard time remembering all the things that happened this week.

Love you all,
Have a great week
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hola familia,

This has been a great week. I feel very calm and excited to do the Lord's work.

Just what I expected and was hoping for. I will be staying in Vancouver with Elder Bair this transfer. In fact our entire district is staying the same minus one change. Sister Kendell who has been with Sister Pleshek in the Spanish branch will be going over to Kennewick. Sister Pleshek will be training a new missionary. Elder Hortin is staying here and getting a new companion. Elder Becerra got called to be a Zone Leader and will be going to Pasco with Elder Montoya.

Elder Bair and I went to the Chiropractor this morning with Elder Tolman. There is a member in his ward that will do it for free for missionaries. So I got my back all tuned up. Apparently he's going to be able to help me with the bad circulation and occasional numbness that I get in my arms and hands. It was kind of fun getting all twisted and tweaked. He was able to help me get my back back in alignment due to my bad posture.

Yesterday was amazing. Everything just happened. Everyone was at our appointments. All of our lessons went well. The spirit was just really strong all day. Maybe it was because last week we worked hard on days when nothing was happening and it was really hot. So I'll tell a few of the cool things that happened during the day. We went with the Boyle's to dinner at a pizza place. While we were waiting for them to show up a guy named Tim came up to us and started to ask us some questions. It became apparent that he wasn't a member. He said he had always been interested in finding out more about the Mormon religion. Who better to ask than a couple of Mormon missionaries. He also came back to us a second time to get our phone number so he could ask us more questions.

Another experience that was amazing: We taught Debra and Alejandra. She asked us about blessings during the lesson. She wanted to receive one. We gave her one and afterward as we were talking to her about how she felt she described a feeling that she had which started in her feet and went all the way up to her head. She then began to cry and we sat there in the silence for a couple of minutes. After the blessing we watched a short video about when Christ came to the Americas and healed many people. I had never seen this video before my mission. In fact I hadn't seen it until just a few months ago. As we watched the love that Christ had for these people and how much they loved him a peace filled the room. There was no other place on earth that I would've preferred to be than there. I love the gospel.

I taught Emilio while I was here a year ago. He even came to church one time. Well we found him again and we taught him last week. He then went to play soccer with the members of the branch. He made good friends with them all. And he came to church this last Sunday. We got his son, Emilio, who is three, to go to nursery. Members are awesome. They have so much capability and influence on helping people come to church.

We've been doing a lot of yard work for the Nihipali's. We've just about got the front yard all cleaned up. So we'll be moving to the backyard and the garden soon. Last Wednesday they took us to lunch at a Chinese buffet. The food was good and it was fun talking to them. They are very good people.

Edith and Marco
Edith is pregnant and is going to have her baby on Wednesday. We took Sister Reshke over to their home to meet them. They kicked it off really quick. Now Sister Reshke is going to be taking care of the kids while she is in the hospital. And she is going to arrange to get them dinners for the next couple of nights. We should hopefully be able to start getting them to come to church now. We're going to be having a lesson with them at 3:00 today so in just a few hours. I'll tell you how it all goes next week.

This is the Lord's work. I love being a missionary!
Love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Hola familia,

Pres Greer

So President and Sister Greer are pretty cool. I'll forward a picture that they took with the whole zone. They're both pretty funny and you can tell that they love all of the missionaries. I've only met him the one time. In the little meeting that we had they had each of us introduce ourselves. Sister Greer talked about their family a little bit. Then they told us about a whole bunch of changes that are going to be happening. New training that they got in the MTC. For example, our zone conferences and interview cycles will only be every other transfer now, every three months instead of a month and a half. They have a whole bunch of new PMG lessons and videos that the church just barely produced. The videos are footage of real missionaries doing real missionary work. It's hundreds of hours of camera men just following missionaries around. I'm excited about that. The Greer's seem to be really excited and ready to go to work.


We now live with the Nihipali family. They are from Hawaii. They are both very nice and the place we live is pretty good. It's a lot different from the Boyle's. We are living in more of a separate part of the house. So we don't see them quite as much. Elder Bair and I rearranged the furniture and stuff the way we like and we feel at home.


My birthday was intense. President and Sister Greer and the AP's called me the morning of my birthday and sang to me over the phone. Then they sang to me again at the meeting when we met them. We ate lunch on my birthday with Sister Boyle and a few other missionaries including Elder Hortin. Then we ate dinner with the Church's and they threw a surprise birthday party. When we got there we thought it was going to be just us and then four missionaries popped out of the closet and the Boyle's showed up later. I forgot to mention that I ate strawberries pretty much all day long. Then at night we went to Sister Drown's house and had strawberry shortcake with Tillamook Oregon strawberry ice cream. Wow I got spoiled. I got your package grandma. My favorite part was the cookies. They're almost gone already.

4th of July

It was like a war-zone here. We had a hard time going to sleep on Saturday and Sunday. It literally sounded like bombs were going off every few seconds. The only time I watched any was while I was in the bathroom. I opened up the window and I saw big explosions in the sky slightly obscured by a large tree.

Have you ever driven on the wrong side of the road?

Listen up close this is a story you'll never forget. We went on exchanges last night with the first counselor of the Branch Presidency, Hermano Garcia. We were talking and having a good time as we were driving to our first appointment. Elder Bair and I were both giving him directions as he was driving us around in his little white honda. Well, we tell him to turn left at the next light and he does. Only he turns a little bit too early. I shout to him, "Not here Hermano, not here!" And all of a sudden we are on the wrong side of the median. We see a bunch of cars coming straight at us and another person on the other side of the median honking at us. Hermano Garcia eyes got as big as watermelons. He doesn't know what to do. Elder Bair tells him to keep driving until we got past the median. After about 200 feet we make it and are back on our side of the road. We all let out a sigh of relief and busted out laughing. I kind of sat there stunned. And said to myself, "Did that really just happen?" That's something you only see in movies. Then Hermano Garcia says, "Well we're okay." I couldn't stop laughing all night.

Just another week in the life of a missionary.

Love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hola familia,

Dance Festival
This was a huge event. This entire side of the mission, 80 missionaries, participated all day Friday and Saturday. 2500 youth from Longview, Vancouver, and the Dalles all were involved in this festival. This all took place in a really big football field amphitheater. They had three performances and a Youth Conference. There were a lot of nonmembers participating as well. The missionaries job was to usher all the people into their seats before the performances. Then we would watch part of the performance and at a certain time we would go back and get ready for our part. At the end of the very last dance every single kid comes out onto the field and when they get into a big group they started to sing How Firm a Foundation, that was the theme for the whole festival. Then all the missionaries in single file lines carrying white flags come marching out onto the field. It was intense.

I think my favorite part though was the youth conference. It started out like a skit with Helaman and Moroni. Then all of the stripling warriors come out, there were only about 40 or so. After they do their thing, which I never got to see, the missionaries come out onto the field behind them. As we came out we sang Called to Serve. Then there was some narration talking about the missionary life. Then we belted out the standard of truth. It was powerful. That was the strongest I've felt the spirit in a while. Then we started to sing We'll Bring the World His Truth and went and crawled up into the crowd. There were a lot of people crying after. It was such an amazing experience.

The Move
We moved out of the Boyle's home today. There were some changes in ward boundaries in the stake and they ended up redoing all of the missionary housing. Some missionaries even had to change the ward they were serving in. It's still two weeks until transfers.
This is the new address: 701 NE 108th St Vancouver WA 98685. I don't know much about the new family we're living with. We only just moved in this morning. I've been really sad about the whole move. The Boyle's didn't want us to leave either. Well, that's the life of a missionary.

Mission President
We now have a new mission president. President Belnap went home yesterday. Our new mission president is President Greer. I haven't met him yet. We'll see him for the first time on Friday. I've heard that he is a very happy person and that Sister Greer is even happier. I'll tell you more about them next week.

Young Women's class
This last Sunday we taught Sister Boyle's Young Women's class. It was a lot of fun. The topic was sharing the gospel. We talked a lot about the Dance Festival and how they could use that experience to share the gospel with those that came or even those that didn't.

Loose Chickens
After our district meeting yesterday the sisters went over to visit Sister Woodland. They weren't home but the sisters discovered that there was a dog in the chicken coop. They got the dog out and then called both us and Brother Woodland. Brother Woodland couldn't get back home but we ran right over. So I had some fun catching chickens and putting them back. There were only three that weren't accounted for and one that was eaten by the dog.

Missionaries out saving the souls of men and a few chickens on the way.

!Que tengan una semana maravillosapo!

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hola familia,

I think that I have eaten strawberries in my dessert for the past two weeks straight. Maybe except for one or two. All of the strawberries are coming on in the fields. They are so much better than the California strawberries that we've been eating. Just before coming to email we went with President Alder, our WML, and did some U-PICK strawberries. In other words pick your own strawberries for one dollar a pound. We got some huge bags of big ripe red strawberries. I'm so excited! I am a strawberry boy and I think everyone in the branch knows it.

Elder Hortin / Exchange
I got to go on an exchange with Elder Hortin. That was awesome being able to serve with him again. It's cool that he's my zone leader over here. We had a lot of cool experiences while we were together yesterday. We accidentally stayed up a little bit late just talking about everything that's happened. I did that with Elder Bair last night too. I'm just too talkative lately I guess.

Elder Hortin and I had made plans the previous night to go and talk to a family that we hadn't seen in a while. Well only the grandma was there and she was busy so we couldn't teach her. But the Lord had a reason for leading us there. As we were leaving the apartment complex we both saw this pregnant lady walking down the road and both felt impressed to go talk to her. It turns out her name was Edith and she had always seen missionaries going by and had always wanted to talk to them. She invited us to come over today at 6:00. I'm excited to go back and see what happens.

Smart Sensors
I've seen two brand new intersections with Smart sensors on each of the traffic light poles. They looked like SS205's. I don't know if they were just advance units or what. But it was cool to see that.

Father's day card / singing / tomato plant
I didn't wish you happy father's day last week dad. So Happy Father's Day! I hope you got my card by now. I promise I didn't forget I'm just late as usual. As part of our sacrament meeting we sang some father's day songs with the primary. That is, all four of us missionaries got up there in front with them. I've sung a lot more on my mission than I ever thought I would. And I actually really enjoy it. I even sometimes sing with my companion in the car or to begin companionship study. At the end of sacrament meeting they passed out cupcakes, cookies, and tomato plants to all of the fathers. They said that we're future fathers and gave us some as well. So Pancho our strawberry plant now has a friend. He doesn't have a name yet.

Today has been such a good day. We woke up at 5:15 this morning to go to the temple in Portland. We were supposed to make it to the 7:30 session but got there early and went through the 7:00 session. I learned so many new things this time. It was cool to see the differences again between the Columbia River temple and the Portland temple. I love being in the temple. It is such a sacred and holy place. Afterwards we went to the church bookstore which is right next to it. I got a couple of CDs of music. I can't remember the guys name very well but he's the guy that played Hyrum Smith on "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration". I also saw a CD by Daniel Beck. Hey, I know that guy. Tell Dan that I say hi dad. I was waiting by the door for everyone to finish checking out their purchases when I saw a hispanic guy sweeping up outside. I felt the spirit say, "go get him". So I ran out the door and introduced myself. He took off his glove and shook my hand. His name was Maricio. He thought my name was Leonardo at first. I started talking about the gospel and he shared with me a lot of his life story. He was involved in a lot of crazy stuff before but has been humbled and wants God in his life. At some point Elder Bair came out with me and we started teaching him together. I love teaching with Elder Bair. We listened, did a good job at asking questions, and taught him how the gospel could heal his life. We got his address and phone number and we're going to send it to the office for the missionaries in Portland to go and vist him.

A day in the life of a missionary. Saving the world one soul at a time.
Take care and have a great week.
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hola familia,

We went on exchanges with Elder Hobbs and Elder Barter, two missionaries in our district. I went into their area doing English work and Elder Bair stayed in our area. This was an experience that happened to him. He had in his plans to go and contact a referral that we received from a set of English elders from when they went tracting. He had a very hard time finding it. In fact he turned around twice having given up. He was prompted by the spirit to find it. He gave me a call and asked me how to get through a certain part of our area. (side note, I am amazed at how fast he has learned the area, he's awesome). Long story made short he made it there. Ofelia immediately recognized them and invited him in. They taught an amazing first lesson. She had been looking for this for a long time. She is essentially all alone and needs to find God. I don't remember too much more from what Elder Bair told me. Well, just last night at 10:31 we got a phone call. I didn't recognize the number and tossed it over to Elder Bair and asked him if he did. He said, "It's Ofelia!" She sounded very excited as she talked to Elder Bair and wanted us to come over tomorrow (today, Tuesday). And her roommate/friend is going to be there as well. I'm super excited to meet her tonight. I forgot to mention she's 25 years old.

Walking in the rain / Woody
We were walking down highway 99 in the rain to go put some pass-along cards in a Mexican restaurant. A homeless man ran across the street with a piece of cardboard over his head. As he approached us he said, "My umbrella is better than yours. It can make me fly." He said it in a very sarcastic voice. It was pretty funny. We started talking and found out that his name is Woody. Well meanwhile the rain stopped. We talked all the way until we got to the restaurant. He told us about lots of things that had happened to him and how somebody had stolen his umbrella. Well, I had another umbrella back at home so I offered him mine as we parted ways. He was very grateful. Hopefully it made his day. On our way back to the car it started to rain. I got soaked. I couldn't help but laugh and smile the whole way there.

Andres y Isabel / Church
Andres, Isabel and their family are progressing so well. They came to church this last Sunday. They are working hard on getting prepared for their baptism. Hopefully we'll have more news next week. In an appointment we had with them and Dora not too long ago we were able to help them all recognize the spirit. We were all so happy and wouldn't have been in any other place in the world. Isabel even testified to Dora about the Book of Mormon and shared one of her favorite scriptures. That was the point in the lesson where the spirit was strongest.

Rearranged our room
This morning before coming to email Elder Bair and I completely changed the layout of our room. There is a lot more space now. It always feels good to change things up like that every once in a while.

Ricardo English
We've been meeting with Ricardo in the mornings and studying English and Spanish with him. He helps us with Spanish and we help him with English. I've been learning a lot already. He's originally from Columbia.

Study / Listen
I've recently been studying a lot about teaching skills from Preach My Gospel. I studied the section on listening in the most detail. As I've been putting the things I learned into practice I'm finding that our investigators and others that we teach just tell us what they need to hear. You have to pay close attention to pick out their doubts and concerns. I love teaching even more.

Pancho the strawberry
I planted a strawberry in a little pot and keep it on my desk. It's been growing very well. We take it outside when it's sunny. It's been fun to see it grow. We decided to name it Pancho.

Que tengan una buena semana
Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hola familia,


Elder Bair and I felt inspired to go tracting in the Maple Knoll apartments. As we were tracting we felt impressed to go to the other side way in the back corner and knock on four specific doors. On the way over to the doors we saw a man cleaning the inside of his van. We felt impressed to talk to him. After knocking on a few of the doors we went back to his van and began a conversation. We talked about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. We gave him a copy. We couldn't set up an appointment because he said he was always busy and that he might be going back to Mexico soon.

We went back the next day anyway. We found him there late in the evening and he was hesitant but with some persuasion he let us in. We talked about the blessing prophets were for the people in their day. We then talked a lot about the gospel and how it can unify the family. It later came up that his wife is not very interested in becoming very religious. He had a hard background and has received a testimony of Jesus Christ. We then shared the message of a prophet being called in our day to bless our families. He understood it. He wants that for his family. We committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We'll see what happens when we get a hold of him again.

Isabel y Andres / Dora

We were just about to start a lesson with Andres and Isabel when there came a knock at the door. A lady who introduced herself as Dora sat down at the table with us. It was kind of like she knew what was going on. She seemed very content just to sit down and listen to us. She was very polite and intent as we talked. After sharing our lesson with Andres and Isabel when we began to ask her questions and shared a brief message about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. We left her a copy of the Book of Mormon and a pamphlet on the plan of salvation. At our next lesson with Andres and Isabel when we got there she was already there sitting down at the table waiting for us. She had read the first three pages of the pamphlet. During that lesson we talked about temples and how we need to prepare ourselves now to be able to partake of the blessings of the temple.


Elder Bair and I have been getting up every morning and going running. We run for about 20 minutes which is just enough to really start sweating. It has given me more energy in the mornings.


I'm going to play tennis today! I haven't played for a long time. And I've not played with anybody who really knows how to at all on my whole mission. Elder Hobbs got us hooked up to play with the high school tennis coach. Awesome.

Elder Bair

Elder Bair is from Glendale, Arizona. He has been out for almost 18 months. We are working really well together. Everything just seems to be clicking. We're following the spirit really well and have been teaching well together. There are four kids in his family and he is the youngest. Two boys and two girls. He is awesome.

Have a great week,
Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 1, 2010
Hola familia,


Transfer day is this upcoming Wednesday. I will be staying here in Vancouver but I will be getting a new companion. Elder Uribe is going to be serving in Kennewick. My new companion is Elder Bair, pronounced bear. I served around him in Pasco while I was with Elder Godinez. We always called him Elder Osito, which is the animal bear in Spanish.

Punchbowl falls hike

Our hike last week was amazing. We made it up as far as we wanted to. There were two upper falls that were about 6 miles from the parking lot. You could go back behind both of the falls. I got lots of pictures. Elder Montoya and I did a lot of running. We probably ran 4 to 5 out of the 12 miles that we hiked. It was a really good workout. It was really tiring especially with a backpack on full of food and water.

Digging trenches

We did some service for the Woodland family in the branch the other morning. We were digging a big trench around his garden to cut out tree roots. It was some good physical labor. There were some nasty roots that we pulled up. A few that were even made of metal. haha. Afterward we ate breakfast with them. We ate pancakes and Mexican scrambled eggs and bacon. It was delicious. Especially after working for a couple of hours digging a trench.

Dad, my hands are a lot more beat up and not so much like city boy hands. That's great, huh!

BBQ with the Boyle's / pressure washing

I've done a lot of yard work for the Boyle's and that's helped as well. One day I dug up a huge stump with a shovel and an axe. That was a lot of work. It was the stump of a cherry tree that Brother Boyle had cut down before I ever came to Vancouver the first time. The roots on that tree were almost bigger than the trunk itself.

The Boyle's take such good care of us. We didn't have a dinner the other day and they prepared a meal for us. We had, I don't know how to spell this, Shish-ka-bobs? And french bread buttered and cooked on his grill. I love the Boyle family so much.

This last week Ricardo, an investigator that I taught while I was here before, came out with us a couple of times. He did an awesome job of teaching and committing people. He even bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and other things. He is a really awesome person.

Les quiero mucho. Sigan firmes en la fe.

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hola familia,

We have transfers again. How did that happen? We find out this Saturday what is going to happen so I'll let you know next P-day.

Jorge and Claudia came to church this last week. They had come a lot before I came but hadn't been since I got here. We had a lesson with them last night. Brother and Sister Garcia came with us to the lesson. We watched The Testaments with them. We then talked about how that family was beginning to be torn apart by the world but through Christ they were united. Jorge and Claudia have had problems in their marriage like every other family. They felt the spirit as we watched the movie and then talked about it afterward. Claudia and Sister Garcia both started to cry a little at the end of the video. Sister Garcia shared her testimony how the gospel has blessed her family. She also shared her experience with her baptism and how clean and close she felt to her Savior afterward. I saw a light go on in Jorge and Claudia's eyes. They saw hope for their family. How important it is that members are involved with teaching people investigating the church.

Last P-day we went fishing in a members private pond and caught 8 rainbow trout. We cooked them this last Saturday for lunch. They were really good.

Today we're going on a hike. We're probably going to go back to punchbowl falls. We're going to be leaving in about a half an hour. We're going to try to make it farther up the trail this time. We only saw about half of the falls last time.

Elder Uribe has been sick a lot this last week. Poor guy. He's just about better now. It gave me some time to get our room and area book and journal all organized and up to date.

I love the Book of Mormon. I carry around a copy in English always. One of the kind that we give out to investigators for free. I always use it in my personal study in the morning as well. It hasn't failed me. Every time that I have a question or concern I've been able to find answers and guidance in that book. I know that it is true and that we've been blessed to have such a great tool. As I search my soul in its pages I find peace and hope. Through that book I have come to know my Savior.

I love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hola familia,

It was a lot of fun talking to all of you. It's insane how fast that short time goes by. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed Mother's Day, mom!

This morning we went on a hike up to the punchbowl falls. That's why I'm emailing so late today. We had a lot of fun. I got a little dirty and a little wet from the various falls along the trail. The best part was at the very end. There was a really high bridge that went over a really narrow and deep part of the river. There were two steep walls of rock on either side. It was so high that when I threw a rock down it made a really loud slapping sound. Almost like a gun but not quite that loud.

Elder Uribe and I have been riding bikes and walking all of this week. It's been good exercise. And we've been doing more finding during the day. The only thing is that it is hard to get to all of our appointments. The reason why we're not using our car is because it is at the dealership. A warning light came on saying there was something wrong with the airbag. It turns out that there is a serious problem in some of the electronic connections. The airbag could've gone off at anytime. It's weird because it is a 2010 model chevy malibu. It's okay that we don't have it though because the Lord has blessed us in many ways and has made up for not having that form of transportation.

One way that he's blessed us is by getting random rides from members. One day Elder Uribe and I were out eating dinner on the lawn of a school. We had a long walk ahead of us that we weren't looking forward to. Just at that moment a young man who just returned from his mission last summer pulled up and asked us if we needed anything. Perfect! Saved once again.

This morning we woke up early and went and taught seminary with Brother Boyle. I enjoyed that a lot. We covered Mormon 1-6 and focused on the principles of wickedness never was happiness and how we need to repent now and not procrastinate. There were about 8 kids in the class. That's the perfect size. I love teaching small class size groups.

We've been doing a lot of service for members lately. Cutting lawns and helping in gardens mostly. It's been great because we're building a lot of trust with the members. We also get to see them a lot more because we've been getting rides from many of them.

Due to the hike we're a little short on time.
Everybody have a great week
Love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hola todos,
!Feliz dia de las madres!

This week we've been busy saving the world! We've been saving lives through teaching. Which reminds me, have you received the new Ensign which has the Conference Talks in it? I don't think we're going to get ours until next zone conference, next transfer. Maybe you could send me one before then (hint hint wink wink ;)

Our progressing investigator pool is kind of funny. They are all friends or related in some way and they all live in the same apartment complex. I'm pretty sure that is how each of them were found.

The list goes as such:
Andres and Isabel
Jorge and Claudia
Julio and Griselda
Mario and Viviana

Andres and Isabel are going to be baptized at the end of May. They are a really awesome family. We always have awesome lessons with them. Isabel reminds me of a bunch of friends back in Pasco. The only thing they are waiting for to be baptized is some final paperwork in their divorce so they can get married.

I met Jorge when I was here before but we never taught him or his wife. We had a lesson just the other day on the gospel of Jesus Christ and talked about baptism. It is amazing how the spirit guides both us and them during lessons. We are now helping them unite their family through the gospel. It is amazing how people can be healed spiritually and emotionally through the atonement of Christ.

We met Julio and Griselda when we were at a lesson with Jorge and Claudia. They asked us if we could teach them. We were excited about that. Especially since it is usually the other way around. We've taught them a couple of times now. They didn't see the difference between our religion and all the others after our first visit. They felt confused. We had only talked to them about the gospel and a little about the plan of salvation at this point. We were then able to teach simply about the ministry of Christ, apostasy, and the restoration. The spirit was very strong in that room. It was one of the stronger lessons I've had on my mission. Elder Uribe felt the same way. We had our Ward Mission Leader with us as well, President Alder. He was a mission president in Chile. He was also very impressed with the lesson and how we responded to their questions and doubts. It was just an awesome lesson.

We taught Mario and Viviana yesterday. We taught them about the plan of salvation and they ate it up. It was simple and powerful. We read a lot from the Book of Mormon. I love reading from the Book of Mormon with investigators. At the end we talked about baptism and discovered that they are willing but don't feel prepared. We asked questions and dug a little deeper and found that they have never prayed about the Book of Mormon or the things we taught. So they didn't have a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and of the restoration of the priesthood. We testified and committed them to pray about the Book of Mormon together.

It's been amazing to me how as we've committed people to be baptized all of their concerns and needs have come to the surface. We're then able to refocus and respond to their specific needs and help them make progress towards baptism and one day going to the temple.

This work and this church are true. I have been guided by the spirit many times to be able to help people overcome trials and questions that they have. I had an interesting thought that there is no way you could get 50,000 young men and women to go out and do what we do if it wasn't true. The gospel has changed my life and brought me more happiness than I can express.

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hola familia,

It's been a crazy week. I am now in Vancouver. It's rained a lot since I've arrived. It reminds me a lot of Amy and how much she loves rain. It will probably start warming up soon. They had a warm week last week.

My new companion is Elder Uribe. I already knew him. We served in the branch in Pasco at the same time. He was in my old area while I was with Elder Godinez. His family currently lives in New Jersey but is originally from Chile. From Vina del mar area. It's not in Amy's mission.

Good news from Pasco! Arnulfo and the Flores family got baptized this last Sunday. I was really happy to hear that. Also Felix Santos who Elder Godinez and I taught and baptized just got back from Mexico and is in Pasco. I got that message today from him in an email. So I just missed him.

I have a story to tell you that hasn't completely unfolded yet. While I was in Vancouver the first time, we were teaching a family whose names are Ricardo, Daniel, and Sebastian. For some reason or other the missionaries stopped teaching them. I was talking to Brother Abdalah, a member in the branch, and he told me that Daniel was in the hospital. I still don't understand very well what for. He has a lot of swelling and pain in his abdominal and chest area.

Well, we went and visited them in the hospital. When we got to the hospital both Ricardo and Sebastian were there as well as the whole Abdalah family, which wasn't planned but still amazes me that it worked out that way. We talked to them for a little while about how Daniel was doing. He has lost a lot of weight. He's really skinny now.

Then we started to share some scriptures. It was interesting how the spirit guided the conversation. We shared scriptures like 3 Nephi 13:28-32 and Alma 7:11-12. We talked a lot about Christ and the atonement at first. Then we began to talk about the miracles that Christ performed and by what authority he performed them. We testified that that authority had been restored to the earth again through the prophet Joseph Smith. I then felt prompted to share some experiences I had with giving Priesthood blessings. One of which included a very young child being healed according to the faith of her mother. As I shared all of that I had tears in my eyes. Many experiences flooded back to my memory and I felt an overwhelming feeling of love from our Heavenly Father.

We then gave Daniel a blessing of health. He was eager to receive it. He was blessed to be healed according to the faith that he showed in reading the scriptures and praying while in the hospital. It was a very spiritual experience for each one of us in that room.

We're teaching a number of good families. One of which is on date to be baptized in the end of May. We've been working hard to find even more people to teach and little by little we're finding more. There are definitely a lot less people here than in Pasco. It makes for a good challenge.

I don't know if this would interest you. There was a branch activity on Friday night. They talked about emergency preparedness. They talked a lot about natural disasters and what we needed food wise and other things to be prepared. The family that has a baptismal date, Andres and Isabel, were both there.

I have a testimony of the importance of obedience to the small and simple commandments. For example, reading scriptures, praying, holding family home evening, paying tithing, and doing home teaching. I've had the opportunity to meet many different families and members of the church. You can see where each one is at in their level of understanding of the gospel and how strong their testimonies are of certain principles. There is a huge relationship between that and their diligence in doing the small and simple things. That relationship certainly exists in missionary work as well. The more closely I've followed the rules and commandments that we have, the more effective and happy I am as a missionary. One simple example is talking to everyone about the gospel. We're told to talk to everyone that we see and come across. Even since I've got to Vancouver I have improved in large measures with this. Recent days have felt much more productive and like I'm doing everything the Lord is asking of me as I've put forth extra effort to talk to everyone I come across.

This gospel is true and it means everything to me.

Love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hola familia,

So, transfers are tomorrow. I am leaving Pasco. I will be going back to my same area in Vancouver living with the Boyle's again. I'm excited about that. My new companion is Elder Uribe. He is from New Jersey but originally from Chile. I served around him quite a bit already. He was here in Pasco while Elder Godinez was my companion.

I feel really lucky to have been able to serve for longer periods of time in fewer branches. It has allowed me to get to know the people I teach better and have closer relationships with them. I will most likely not get transferred out of Vancouver which will mean I will probably only serve in two branches my whole mission. Isn't that so cool!

It's been really hard saying goodbye to everyone. Leonardo was the first one I talked to about it and we both cried. It was really hard to see him like that. I'm very glad that Heavenly Father allowed me to come back to Pasco to be able to help him more and become even closer friends.

There are also some other families and individuals that are very close to being baptized that I will miss. The Flores family and Arnulfo are both going to be baptized this week. They've been interviewed and everything. I'm happy though that I could take a part in their conversion. It honestly feels like I'm leaving a part of me here. It feels so strange to be leaving.

I'm excited to see Francisco in Vancouver and the Boyle family. So both of my summers will have been spent in Vancouver and both of my winters in Pasco. That's funny to think about. On Mother's day we could use Skype again since I'll be with the Boyle's. How does that sound?

Our zone BBQ went great last week. We had a lot of fun and the food was amazing. Elder Parlogean is a great cook. The weather was a little windy but still decent. We just ate the food inside the church and had the grill outside in the courtyard.

The weather has been really nice lately. It's even been up in the 80's. Can you believe that? Today it was already 70 degrees at 8:30 in the morning.

This afternoon Elder Hortin and I are going to go and see the Whitby's and say goodbye to them. That's another family that I am going to miss.

I just helped Leonardo set up an account on the computer at the library so he can email me! It won't be hard to keep in touch with him anymore. Woohoo!

I'll tell you all about Vancouver next week.

Love you all

Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hola familia,

We just went to the temple this morning. It was awesome. There was a little technical difficulty but it ended up being even better than normal. We woke up really early and went to the 7:00 session. I learned so much this time. I wish that I could go every week. I always get so spiritually recharged when I go.

Do you remember Elder Godinez? He came and visited us the last couple of days. It was really awesome to see him again. We even got to go on exchanges with him the other night. He's staying busy down in Idaho with school.

There was a branch party on Saturday and we had a lot of recent converts and investigators there. I loved it. There's just something about food that gets a lot of people out of their homes and over to the church. ha ha. Whatever works.

Santos is going to be moving to California this next week. That makes me sad. We're going to make sure the missionaries get him down there though. We have an appointment with him tomorrow.

Today we have a zone BBQ. Elder Parlogean, who's from Texas, is making the BBQ and rice. It's been marinating all night long. I got to smell it last night and I'm excited to eat it.

The Flores family will hopefully be baptized this Sunday. We need to have their interview tonight but weren't able to meet as planned with them last night. They are an awesome family and are going to go a long ways in the church.

We're meeting with Arnulfo again tonight and he came to church last Sunday. Hopefully things pick back up with him. His life just seems to keep getting harder for him. He really needs our Heavenly Father's help right now. I pray that he follows the things that we tell him.

I love you all
Have a great week
Elder Ben Arnold

PS I don't remember if I already told you this but we have transfers this week. ZLC is on Friday and that's when we'll find everything out. Hopefully I can squeeze another one out in Pasco.

Tell Matthew and Jonathan that I love them and that I always pray for them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hola familia,

Things continue to be amazing in Pasco. It's been really windy lately which has made it a little bit colder. Not cold enough to keep our suit coats on though. We don't have to wear them anymore since General Conference this last weekend.

General Conference was amazing. I really liked Elder Rasband's talk on how missionaries receive their call. I want Matthew and Jonathan to go back and watch that one again. There was definitely a theme of the home and parents teaching their children. I also like how Elder Holland called us to repentance.

Mom do you think you could burn some of the conference talks onto a DVD? Also there are the video clips called Mormon messages that are really good maybe you could put some of them on there too. Maybe that would be a good assignment for Matthew or Jonathan too.

Not a lot of investigators came to General Conference. I would like to be able to take it to them. The only one that came was Arnulfo. He loved it. He's so awesome and humble. Every time we read something with him that helps give him comfort, he tells us that those words are so beautiful. And he longingly looks at the Book of Mormon with his hand rested on its pages. He has found happiness through the gospel. He is going to be baptized on Sunday of this week. I wrote an email to a missionary that taught him in Mexico and got a response back today! He was pretty excited.

The Flores family are going to be baptized not this Sunday but the following. We're going to teach them tonight at the church. The kids have made a lot of progress lately. We've been having some really good lessons with them.

We have a lot of exciting things this coming week. We have both a zone meeting and a stake meeting that Elder Hortin and I have to get ready. Lots of planning, woohoo. Then we also have the baptism to get ready.

I got the Easter package. It was great. I wore the tie from dad the very same day. I even wore the pin too. That was the last day I wore my green suit. It's a good thing we can wear slacks from now on because I completely thrashed my blue suit pants and now my green suit pants have two holes in the backside. Hopefully I can get that fixed before I need to use it on Sunday.

I love you family.
Have a great week.
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hola familia,

We met a new guy named Arnulfo. He is awesome. He talked with the missionaries down in Mexico. He moved up here with his family and since then his family has been broken up. When we first met him he was very depressed and didn't know what to do with his life. Ever since our first visit he has gotten a lot happier and is always excited to meet with us. He is going to be baptized on the 11th of April. He is a very humble honest man.

The Llamas didn't come to church. Gabriel decided that he wants to stay Catholic. It seems like he got antied by one of his family members. We have another lesson set up this next Friday and he did commit to come to one session of general conference. I pray that he comes with his family.

The Flores are progressing really well. They are looking good for the 10th of April. They are looking for a job and a place to live. We are teaching them in a hotel right now. The kids have been warming up a lot to us. It is a lot of fun to me to help the kids understand the plan of salvation. They were actually asking a lot of tough deep questions last time.

Juan and Briana haven't been doing so well. We went over on Sunday morning to wake them up and they didn't answer the door or their phone. We haven't been in contact with them in a little while. We left them a message on the phone talking about the importance of these things and that as soon as they are ready to take things more seriously we will be waiting for their call. I hope that they call soon. I love that family.

Pasco is doing amazing right now. The Lord is blessing the work here. It is looking like we are going to hit our goals for March and April. We are very excited and are working harder than ever.

Love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teach when you find, find when you teach.

Hola familia

This week has been pretty awesome. One of the most exciting things was on Sunday. Gabriel Llamas came to church! The rest of his family didn't come but they are all going to come next week. He loved it and said several times that he was going to bring his family next week. He has changed a lot recently. Just last night we had an appointment with the whole family. We read about the plan of salvation in 2 Nephi 9. Leonardo came with us too. It turns out that they met each other before a couple of different times.

We met a new family this last week. They just moved from Nevada and were investigating the church there. They were even on baptismal date. It is a family of seven and all of them came to church this last Sunday. They are a really cool humble family. I'm excited to start working with them. We're going to have our first lesson with them tonight.

Juan and Briana didn't come to church this week. They didn't set an alarm and they slept in. They're still progressing and excited to get married. They got an apartment. And Juan has had jobs available to him left and right. He is working two jobs right now. They're good jobs too. They're being blessed already for having desires to do what is right. We'll work hard to get their wedding arranged this week.

At our most recent lesson with them one of their friends was over visiting them, Katrina. She wasn't involved in the lesson but listened. Then at the end we just started to talk to her and asked her a lot of questions of the soul. She opened right up and she committed to be at our next lesson with Juan and Briana. That was cool. Just like PMG says, "Teach when you find, find when you teach."

The work is progressing rapidly in Pasco. The whole stake is getting really involved in Missionary Work and people just keeping coming out of nowhere for us to teach. The Lord is blessing us in many ways.

General Conference is even closer! I'm super excited to bring investigators to church in two weeks. We're so blessed to have a living prophet to guide us.

I love missionary work!
Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Matthew!

Hola familia,

This week has been busy. We had Zone Conference yesterday that we'd been getting ready for. Elder Hortin and I had to do a training on Teaching using questions. The whole Zone Conference was focused on that. It was amazing. It's completely changed the way that I teach. I got to apply the things that I learned a lot last night while I was on exchanges with Elder Jack up in Connell and Basin City. We got in two doors while tracting using these questions.

Santos was confirmed on Sunday. Juan Saldana confirmed him. I love taking part in ordinances like that. It is a very spiritual experience. Which reminds me this last Sunday was branch conference. Elder Tracy, my previous companion, did the translation during sacrament meeting. He did a good job. It's fun to serve around him again. Then in gospel principles the Lybberts came in and visited with us. So I got to sit next to them and translate. I think it's harder translating from Spanish to English than from English to Spanish.

I didn't tell you, I don't think. We got all of our Citius Altius Fortius t-shirts and wristbands that we ordered. The whole zone loved them. It's fun to see them wear them every week.

Did I tell you last week that Briana got her ID? We set a baptismal date with them for the 4th of April, General Conference! They committed to be married before then! We are so excited for them!

Hey Matthew, Happy Birthday! I can't believe that you are already 18. Only one year until you get to go on a mission. You are going to love it. Something is coming in the mail for you. I'm sending it today. I already bought it just need to get it in the mail.

We have dinner with the Llamas family tonight. Our last lesson we just taught Gabriel and Gloria, the mom and dad. Juan came with us and they committed to come to General Conference. They know that they need something else in their lives and the mom is willing to come to church if the dad, Gabriel, will come. He has a hard time believing that he should come to our church because he has grown up strongly believing in the Catholic church. We gave him a lot of things to think about last time and he is very sincere about his family. He is such a good guy. I pray that he opens his heart to the things we teach so his family can receive the many blessings that are available.

I wish I could write about all of the other things that happened this week. There was so much. Life is good when you're busy doing the Lord's work. Even when you're tired.

I'm getting anxious for General Conference. I highly suggest that you all get up that morning and shower get in church clothes and go watch it at the church. For every session. I've gotten way more out of as I have done that. That way you also don't fall asleep. You should also try and go to one of the sessions since you're so close. Maybe I could see you in the audience. We're so blessed to be so close.

I love you all
Remember to read your scriptures everyday and to pray
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What happened to Amy?

March 2, 2010
Hola familia,

On Saturday morning I did a baptismal interview. It was amazing and a very spiritual experience for me and her. After the interview I had to talk to President for something. He answered the phone and said, "Elder Arnold, I was just about to call you. Your sister is okay." A feeling of peace came over me. Then I asked myself what happened? My sister is okay from what? I got a panicked feeling and wanted to know where Amy was, in the hospital or with her mission president. He went on to explain that he had just gotten off of the phone with my Stake President and that there had been a large earthquake in Chile. That was the first that I heard of what happened. Ever since then I have been praying fervently for my little sister to be okay and to be able to help those around her.

We already got the shirts we ordered for the zone. They're pretty cool. I'll send some pictures of them soon. Which reminds me, I have been going picture crazy lately. I have probably a thousand new pictures to send you. I have most of them all ready to send on a DVD.

We walked to church with a family on Sunday. They are already members but have been struggling a little bit lately. The father in the family just passed away. It was really hard for the daughters. They are 15 and 13.

Santos was interviewed for his baptism this upcoming Sunday and he's all good to go. We’re really excited for him. He is a very humble guy. Leonardo has been key in his conversion. Leonardo has set the goal to get the Melchizedek priesthood as soon as he can. He's changed so much lately and doing so well.

During our last weekly planning we prayed for Juan and Briana that they would realize the importance of living the gospel. They haven't been answering our phone calls or making the appointments that we set with them. Then just last night they called us and asked us if we could set up a time to meet. We saw them two hours later! We had an amazing lesson with them. We read out of 1 Nephi 17 where Nephi was commanded to build a boat. And we related how if God was so powerful how could God not help them get married and get her ID. Which is what has been preventing them from getting married. They were really excited to go there this morning and pick it up. We called them this morning to remind them to go and get it. No answer. We'll see what happens.

Transfers are coming up pretty quick. We have ZLC this Friday and then transfers the following Wednesday. I'll let you know what's going to happen next Tuesday.

I was talking to President Belnap this morning about something and he told me that on Thursday one of his friends that is going to be a mission president in a Spanish speaking mission is going to come with Elder Hortin and me so he can ask us questions and watch us plan. That was pretty unexpected and hopefully will be a good experience.

We went with Juan down to Burbank to an appointment we had with Teresa. When we got there she was out in the back working on taking out a big pile of weeds and logs. We jumped right in and started pulling it all apart. It was just what I needed. I wasn't feeling 100% spiritually speaking that day. After working hard for an hour I felt like I got it all out of me. I think it changed Teresa's view of us as well. We should have a great lesson with her when we go back in a couple of days.

I love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm a really happy missionary right now.

Hola familia,

We had stake conference this last weekend. It was amazing. It was a life-changing experience for me. As a result I'm examining and studying Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. It has been opening my eyes in a lot of different ways. Another thing that has been important that I learned was I need to record all of the inspiration that I receive. I haven't been good at using a study journal in the past but I'm good at it now. I don't let a single thing go by without carefully recording it in my study journal.

At the stake conference in the leadership training session before the adult session Elder Hortin and I did a training with all of the Ward Mission Leaders. It was awesome. We're looking to see some big improvements in the different ward missions. We also put together an awesome zone meeting. It was kind of like a glorified District Meeting, haha. We got permission from President to do that instead of District Meetings last week. It got everyone really excited to go out and work.

We decided to walk to Stake Conference on Sunday instead of driving. We talked to a guy on the way and gave him our phone number. All the time finding, it works.

We're going to have to move Santos' date back a couple of weeks but he's still doing really well.

Funny story. I went on exchanges this last week with Elder Spencer. In the morning at 8:00, we went to go help somebody move from a two bedroom apartment into a one bedroom apartment. It's a long story as to why that is but it took us from 8:00 to 12:00 to finish the move. It was like death. I didn't know you could fit that much stuff in a little apartment. On top of that there were about 10-15 of us helping her move the whole time.

After that experience I've been extremely OCD about the cleanliness and organization of our apartment. You'd be proud mom. haha.

I love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Leonardo is on fire!

Hola familia,

Exciting things are happening in Pasco. Leonardo is really on fire now. The other night while we were on exchanges again; he called up Elder Hortin to see if he could go out with them that night. So he did and they taught a couple of lessons. We also had a lesson with him and Santos. Santos read his reading assignment in Mosiah 18. We reviewed verses 8-10 with him and he committed to be baptized on the 28th of this month! He is a very humble man and is trying very hard to learn and repent.

Juan and Briana haven't been doing so well. It's been hard to get a hold of them lately. They didn't come to church last Sunday either. They've been working on getting her ID still. We keep committing them to go and get it but something always gets in the way. And apparently there are always really long lines at the DMV.

Amy, feliz cumpleanos! No puedo creer que ya tienes 22 anos. Espero que fuera un buen dia. Perdon que tu correo electronico todavia no ha llegado. Espero que llegue tu carta muy pronto. Ojala que la proxima vez que escucho de ti ya la hayas recibido. (Happy birthday! I can not believe she's 22. I hope it was a good day. Sorry that your email has not arrived yet. I wait your letter soon. May the next time you hear and you received. - translated with google translator)

Here's a cool story about finding: I was on exchanges with Elder Smith. We were knocking on some doors in an apartment complex and we saw a Hispanic lady walking down the street with several children. We decided we were going to catch up to her and talk to her. It was a long walk and we had to walk quickly but we caught up to them. I talked to her about temples and eternal families. She said we could come by and visit with her and her family. She gave us her address and phone number. We need to talk to everybody about the gospel

I've been focusing a lot lately on my personal and companionship studies. I've noticed that I've been receiving a lot more guidance and inspiration for those that we teach. Great power comes from reading the scriptures.

I love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I love missionary work!

Hola familia,

I don’t think I told you last week but Juan SaldaƱa is the new Branch Mission Leader. He’s doing awesome. We already worked a lot together when he was just a branch missionary. There was also a high priests group formed! That’s one step closer to becoming a ward. We’ve been working really hard to try and get the Perry Plan up and going with all of the changes that are happening. We think that it will actually go somewhere this time. We’ve been trying to teach Juan everything that we know to help him fulfill his calling.

Recently Leonardo had been struggling spiritually. Something happened in the last week and now he’s on fire. He blessed the sacrament! I almost cried when I saw that. He was up there with Juan Saldana and with Francisco Chavez. It was Francisco’s first time as well! It was fast Sunday and like Amy it was a spiritual outpouring for me. I felt the power of the Atonement. In these last few weeks the gospel has meant so much more to me.

Another story about Leonardo: Elder Hortin and another missionary, Elder Burgin, went over to visit him. Santos, his roommate, was also there. Santos has been doing drugs. And he was high when Elder Hortin and I talked to him the first time. He felt like if he was going to listen to us that he was really going to commit himself and listen. So he threw all of his drugs away that next day and hasn’t used it since. Elder Hortin and Elder Burgin had a great lesson with the two of them. He told me later that night that Leonardo was on fire. He’s eating everything up right now and doing everything he needs to. He also got offered his old job back again. He was looking for a job in Yakima; I’m glad he found one in Pasco.

We started teaching a lady named Angelica. She was taught by the other elders when I was first in Pasco. In fact I taught her while I was in a companionship with Elder Anderson and Elder Dudoich. She’s really excited about coming to church and getting baptized only her husband is really Catholic and appears to love worldly things like alcohol more than God. We have an appointment with them tonight. We are going to be reading out of the Book of Mormon on the topic of “wickedness never was happiness”.

I can’t tell you about all the experiences that I’ve had this week but I’ve felt several times like Heavenly Father was working through me to teach and help his children. That is such a good feeling, when you comfort people and get them back on the right path.

I love missionary work!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scriptures Equal Power

Hola familia,

The baptism of Francisco went great. He’s so solid. He’s been reading a lot out of the new Gospel Principles book. Which by the way I have enjoyed very much using. Elder Hortin performed the ordinance of baptism and I confirmed Francisco. It was a very neat experience. I felt impressed to tell him about sharing the gospel to people around the world. We’ve lately been talking about how we’re going to try and help him to serve a mission. He’s 23 years old.

Scriptures equal power. I testify with Amy. If we would just read our scriptures everyday we will always progress forward. I’ve seen too many investigators, members, and missionaries that are stuck spiritually speaking. They seem to have negative attitudes or they just don’t enjoy church as much as they used to. Missionaries may not be excited to go out and work. They just don’t have the vision. The reason is because they are not effectively using their study time or not studying at all. As we read the scriptures we receive revelation and inspiration. We receive the motivation and desire to do the Lord’s work. We are excited and have a vision about what we do. As we leave the scriptures by the side of the bed and let our busy lives be filled with things of the world we hinder our spiritual progression. There is a direct connection. Other things like church attendance and Family Home Evenings help but can not replace daily scripture study.

Today I saw an interesting contrast between worldly things and godly things. We went to the 7:00 am session at the temple. At which I was taught several amazing truths of the gospel. I received guidance in my own personal life as well in how to help those around me. Almost immediately following our temple visit we went to the mall in Kennewick to buy some new shoes for Elder Hortin. It felt so dirty inside of there, in some stores more so than in others. There was a drastic difference between the spirit in the one and the other. How wonderful it is that we have places on this earth like temples where we can escape from the filthiness of the world, spiritually speaking.

I was saying earlier that I love the new gospel principles book. The main reason is because of its simplicity. As I’ve taught the basic, simple, pure truths of the gospel in place of complex analogies or stories we see more success and have more effect on those that we teach. The spirit can bare witness of pure doctrine more than it can an analogy or doctrine that is doctrine at all but rather an opinion.

This last week we spent a large portion of time preparing for our monthly stake meeting. It went very well. There was a lot to report on. The meeting was effective because lots of action items have come from. We were able to point out many areas of weakness and strength that have influences on missionary work. We have an amazing Stake President, President Montierth, as well many other amazing, spiritual giants of leaders.

Transfers are coming up. We’ll find out what happens at ZLC this upcoming Friday. It’s strange to me again to look back on this transfer and see how quickly it has gone by. I should be staying here for at least one more transfer. I love Pasco!

Love Elder Ben Arnold

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eugene and Francisco

Hola familia,

Things have been busy this week. We had interviews yesterday, which is why we’re writing today. There was a lot of planning for that and also for a Stake Meeting coming up. We focused on teaching simple and true doctrine during interviews.

Hey something exciting. We just got back from shopping at Wal-Mart. You’ll never guess who I ran into. If you remember last year while I was in Pasco I met a man named Eugene. It was in the Panda Express. Well I saw him today. He walked past and the spirit made me recognize him immediately. I called to him and went over and started talking to him. He’s been slowly doing better. He has missionaries come and visit him frequently. This was an answer to many prayers. I wanted to be able to talk to him one more time and the Lord in his own time gave me the opportunity.

While at Wal-Mart we also got a new lamp because it’s really dark in our apartment. And my chair broke. The whole back part of it broke off. I got a new, cheap, comfortable plastic chair.

The internet is being really slow right now. There are a lot of kids on facebook and playing online games. Either they are out for lunch or they don’t have school today. That’s one nice thing about the winter. Usually we use the library when they are all in school. I might even be sending this letter to you in the mail.

We have a baptism this upcoming weekend. His name is Francisco. I don’t remember if I told you but this is the guy that during the first lesson when we were talking about the apostasy said, “So then Joseph Smith was called to restore the church so that we could have all of those things again.” At the end of all of our appointments he asks us when we are going to have another lesson instead of the other way around. He says that he loves learning the new things that we are teaching him.

We’ve been finding a lot of people to teach through the Vargas family. They have a lot of family and friends.

A lot of the training that we’ve received lately has been on finding new investigators because that’s been really hard lately. There just hasn’t been enough time with all of the progressing investigators and people on date. But we need to keep finding otherwise our pools of investigators go down.

Love Elder Arnold

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vargas family wedding and baptism


January 5, 2010

Hola familia,

First, we had a baptism on Saturday. Yisel and Ana, the daughters of the Vargas family, were baptized. It went really well. Ana was a little nervous but got over it and she did a good job. They are 11 and 8 respectively. The water was pretty cold. We couldn't start filling up the font until late because there was a primary meet the teacher in another ward that morning.

We've been so busy lately. There's so much to do with not very much time to do it all. We've had two Elders living in our apartment with us for the past few weeks. They just moved out yesterday. It feels empty in there now. There will be less distractions in the evenings though, so that will be good in that way.

The Pasco Stake has been seeing a lot of success in missionary work lately. For this month of January we're looking at just under 30 baptisms, which is just less than half of the total number baptized in all of 2009! It's been mind blowing.

We're teaching a young man, 26, named Francisco. He's a really smart kid. Maybe I can't call him a kid because he's older than me. He's been coming to church for a little while but haven't started teaching him until more recently. We were teaching him about the apostasy and the falling away of the church after Christ. Then he made a comment about that's why the church needed to be restored. Elder Hortin and I just kind of sat back stunned. I've never heard anybody say that before. Or understand that that quick. He's committed to be baptized on the 16th of this month!

There was another baptism in the branch this last Sunday. In fact there were six people that were baptized all together. One family, and two others that are really good friends. Investigators of the other Elders and the Sisters. Each one of them had somebody different baptizing them as well. So there was a lot of people dressed in white.

There's been a change in Pasco in the last few months. All of the missionaries are catching it and you can see the vision in their eyes. It's so much fun to be around so many missionaries that have that mindset and desire to work.

I love you all
Elder Ben Arnold

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Past

December 30, 2009

Hola familia,

This has been an amazing last week. Everything has just been going so smoothly and I've been so happy.

Jose was ordained on Sunday. We did it right after church. It was a very spiritual experience for me. Before the actual ordination I was worried that I wouldn't be able to remember all of the things that I needed to say. Heavenly Father helped me out though and brought it all to my remembrance. Jose has been stepping up a lot lately. He's recognized that he is the head of the house and he needs to be a spiritual support for them. Receiving the priesthood has helped him to see that responsibility that much more.

I've already started putting the pictures in my journal. It also makes it easier to remember all of the things that I did during the day so I can write about them.

I had a really neat experience just a couple of days ago in my personal study. I was searching for an answer to something. I was really bothered by it. And I needed some spiritual confirmation from Heavenly Father. As I finished praying I stayed on my knees for a couple of minutes. A name of one of the seventies came into my mind. I went back to my desk and felt impressed to open my November Ensign, which is the conference issue. I was again impressed to look down the list of names of the speakers. I slowly read each name. When I came to something like the 7th name it stood out at me. It was the same name that came to me at the end of my prayer. So I turned to that page and began reading. At first I wasn't sure where this was taking me or how it was going to be an answer to my prayer. My answer was in that talk. And as I read different parts of it the spirit confirmed those things to me. Whenever the spirit comes over me that strong it makes me cry. I felt so joyful and so close to my Heavenly Father. Just as Amy testified I testify that our Heavenly Father loves us and is always looking over us. "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you."

Thinking back on past Christmas' I can't remember any presents that I received. The things that I remember is decorating ginger bread houses with my family. I remember not being able to sleep at night in anticipation to open presents. So me and Matthew played a football game on the computer all night. I remember being with my family and those that I love. Christmas one year ago the thing I remember most is talking with my family. And I'm sure that is the thing I will remember the most about this Christmas.

Love Elder Arnold

PS Feria means fair, that's the word Amy couldn't think of.