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