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