Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Semana 4

My district and I celebrating Christmas! 

My companions and our Latina roommates! 

Mi familia!!!
So another week has gone by at the CCM!
I found out this week that I will be leaving my district and advancing to a latino district for my last two weeks here in Lima! I´m seriously so sad to be leaving Hermana Talbert and my district but I know that it will be for the best and it will be cool to be in total and complete immersion. So the way that works is North Americans stay here for six weeks of language and gospel training, but latinos are only here for 2 weeks. So in the last four weeks that I have been here, there´s been 2 different rounds of latinos, and the third round will be the one I join for my last two weeks. So basically I´ll just be doing the basic 2 weeks of MTC training without language training...all in spanish with a latina companion...so that should be interesting!! I´m a little nervous.
Today was P-day and my district all gifted our secret santa gifts. It was super fun and we all got in the christmas spirit and wrapped up our presents, it was really cute.  Elder Largent loves the harmonica I got him and now all the Elders in our district got harmonicas and play hymns all the time.
We went proselyting again in North Lima on Saturday.  I got put in a trio with two Latinas and they were very good. I can tell my spanish is getting better because they don´t speak an ounce of english and I could plan the lesson with them and teach the people we were contacting as well.  We were back up climbing these dusty mountains with all the little houses built on the side of them. We met some really cool people and bore our testimonies. I´m becoming less and less timid about sharing the gospel and I love it. Today while we were shopping for p-day I gave out a plan of salvation pamphlet to a man on the bus so that was pretty cool!
 I´m getting really anxious to get out in the field and get to Iquitos, but 2 weeks to go!
I love you all and Merry Christmas from Lima!

Hermana Benyo

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Semana 3

Me and my lovely companions at the Lima Temple today

Me and my district at the Light Ceremony. Left: Hnas Ogden, me, Talbert, Ransom, Reynolds, Smith, and Heiner. Row 2: Elders Price, Geddes (short), Largent (tall), and Allan.

CCM volleyball court

View of MTC from my bedroom

CCM Patio where we study

Soccer Field where the latinos lay the smack down

Lima Temple 

How´s it going, I miss you all!!!
So this week Hermana Talbert and I got a new companion!!! Her name is Hermana Ogden and now we are in a trio so that is pretty fun!!

I seriously love Hermana Talbert and we are so close and work great together, and we´re excited to have a new companion.  So our district has also gotten really close! They are all awesome and hilarious.  Like I´m not even kidding you, they´re all really cool but SECRETLY they´re the biggest nerds on planet earth. Seriously they are so passionate about pokemon, dragon ball-z, and Yu Gi Oh.....and they always bond with the latinos over dragon ball z, but It´s fine. hahaha no they´re really cool and funny. All the girls in our district are super close too.  Our district is doing a christmas gift exchange and I have Elder Largent, our District leader. We went shopping today and I got him a sweet harmonica from this music vendor.  ALSO, so on the way back from Utah, grandma and I stopped at Little America, some random restaurant in Nowhere, WY and when we ate there I told the waitress I was going on a mission to Peru. And she was like ´Óh cool, theres a girl that works here who is doing that, I think she´s going to Peru too. So yeah, flash forward to now and one of the hermanas in my district who reported the same day as me said she worked at Little America in Wyoming...I was like ´NO WAY´. This world is so small, even in Soth America.

So last night We had this awesome Christmas lights ceremony where they decorated the CCM with Christmas lights and then lit them up. It was really cool, some of the area seventies were there and it was really awesome. Although it´s like 75 degrees and sunny so it´s easy to forget it´s december....(hehe sorry I had to)
So the CCM is SUCH a bubble. Seriously, it´s so beautifully landscaped and perfect inside and I kid you not there´s always hummingbirds and birds in the fountains. And it´s so tranquil and safe feeling but also a little bit like a prison cell. haha I can´t wait to get out to Iquitos. However, Lima is kind of scary. I´m glad I´m not serving there. The few times we have left, it´s liberating but then you get out to the dirty city with the PSYCHO drivers and it can be a little overwhelming. Seriously mom, you would hate riding in cars here. Absolutely. Feels like you´re gonna die.  But getting out of the beautiful tranquil CCM is like leaving the Garden of eden and venturing into the lone and dreary world.

Also Hna Talbert and I were talking to some Senior Couple who had been to Iquitos recently and she said that Iquitos seems like it is like 30-40 years behind Lima.....and Lima already feels a bit like it´s stuck in the 90´s haha. It´s scary but I´m honestly so excited. She said it might be hard to find deodorant.....
Anyway, our teaching has been a little rocky lately. of course the whole language barrier is pretty hard to break through but also just I´ve felt like we haven´t been prepoerly covering what we need to.  Our teacher Hermano Meza (he is awesome) pulled us aside and talked to us about our concerns. When we told him that we thought we weren't being effective, he directed us to this section in Preach My Gospel where it says that we should teach our investigators not lessons. Yeah I´ve heard that a million times but that's when i realized that if need be, it might take 3 lessons to cover the restoration and that´s OK! And that really helped me and Hermana Talbert. I´m grateful for his guidance and I think it will help us teach more effectively.

I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who is mindful of us.  I am grateful to be at a point in my life where I can have His spirit with me every minute of the day, and be focused on serving Him and His children.
Well anyway, I love you familia, Hasta Luego!
Hermana Benyo

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Semana 2

Me and Hermana Talbert at the Lima Temple 

My companion and I bought these awesome peruvian genie pants from a street vendor in Lima today.

Last night with our fave latinas! Hna Castro from Peru, Me, Hermana Garcia from Mexico, Hermana Talbert from Indiana (my comp), Hermana Amador from Honduras, and Hermana Rivera from Chile

Lima Peru Temple!!!


Okay so week 2 in the CCM has gone by pretty quick!
This last satruday we had the opportunity to go tracting in north Lima and it was quite the eye opening experience!! I got to go with one of my sweet latina roommates and we went visiting people with some of the actual sister missionaries. North Lima was very different than anything I´ve ever experienced. It´s very poor and theres tons and tons of houses built up the mountains, and they look like shanty little boxes stack on top of eachother. You have to climb up all these stairs to get to them. I have noticed that the people here in Lima Peru are SO friendly and kind. They are always willing to listen to our message and are so happy when we came to visit and check up on them. We visited some of the less active members and shared a lesson with them about the importance of coming to church to partake of the sacrament there as well as the strength they would receive in doing so. It was really difficult for me to understand the peruvians however. They mumble and just laugh at me because I´m just a little gringa that has no idea what they´re saying. I don´t know why, maybe I just get nervous because I have no problem whatsoever speaking to the latinos here in the CCM, but hopefully it gets better! I got to share my testimony and some scriptures about baptism and sacrament and the people were very kind!

One funny thing that happens here in the CCM is that all the Latinos and North Americans play a game where the north americans teach the latinos funny things to say in each others language, and have them say it to other people. Like for instance the other day Hermana Talbert and I were just walking and these latino elders walking past us were just casually like "whats up, chicken butt?", completely matter of factly. Hahahaha we died, they are all so sweet and hilarious. Oh mom, you´re gonna love this. I found out this week that "your mom" jokes are SUPER not ok here. I said it in spanish to my latina roommates and they all gasped and died laughing. It was really funny and I´m glad I learned it with them hahahahaha. Hermana Talbert and I are so sad that our latina roommates left for their actual missions already. They are such good missionaries, always help us with spanish, and just genuinely good friends.

The food here is super good still. There´s this awesome fruit they give here called granadin. Its sort of like a pomegranate but has the consistency of slugs. Its pretty good.

We had p-day again today and got to go to the Lima temple again, it was really really good. It´s weird being outside of the CCM bubble in actual Lima and the driving is NUTS! There seriously so efficient with roadspace I would be so scared to drive here.

But anyway, I miss you all very much, and we had a really fun little thanksgiving dinner, american style!! Also, the sun here is pretty intense! I´ve gotten burned so quick!

This week I read an AWESOME talk by Brad Wilcox called "His Grace Is Sufficient". Its a good reminder that although we can never be perfect, he expects us to try our best and show gratitude for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ has made for us. "There should never be just two options, perfection or giving up. When learning piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? no. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long suffering, that change is a process and that repentance is a pattern in our live. His strength is perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Grace is not the light at the end of the tunnel, but the light that moves us through the tunnel."

I know that this is true. For me and Hermana Talbert lately, it´s been esy for us to think that we aren´t good enough and that spanish isn´t coming fast enough, but we need to remember how HE sees us. Our father in heaven loves us and like a piano teacher and his student, He doesn´t get angry when we mess up a few notes, He expects us to keep trying.

I love you family and I pray for you on the daily!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Benyo

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Semana 1

Hola Familia!
I only have a little time to write so this is going to be fast!!
I am having an amazing time here at the CCM! On my flight here I saw BRAD DEVINE on my plane!! YOU HEARD ME. I told him I love his videos and he laughed and said thanks. He was flying to Lima, Peru! like what???
I have been having such a good time here! The gift of tongues is real because I honestly feel like I'm fluent already! I can talk to all the natives in spanish and taught my first lesson and went to the temple and understood pretty much everything in spanish! I know I had a lot of spanish background, but even the people in my district who had zero spanish are prating and testifying in spanish already!!
The spirit is so strong and I know I´m exactly where I need to be!  My companion is Hermana Talbert and I LOVE her! She goes to BYU and we were friends on facebook before and talked, she is the greatest and is such a wonderful example to me, she´s the best!
Today we went to the temple and crammed onto a tiny little clown bus crammed with like a hundred peruvians! Its also scary because pedestrians dont have the right of way here so thats always interesting!  The spirit was so strong in the temple and I definitely received a couple answers to my prayers!
The CCM is seriously paradise and the peruvian food is amazing. We ate this weird fruit called granadin and it tastes like a mix between pomegranates and slugs. haha.
Our latina roommates are so cute and always greet me and Hna Talber by saying "Hi babies!!" I laugh every time. I dont think they realize babies means like infants and isnt used for your friends.
Yester day I got to play soccer with the latinos and it was a great experience...I got owned haha. They call us  "the north americans".  After that we were upstairs in our dorm when the GROUND STARTED RUMBLING. I was so scared!!! Not gonna lie i was freaking out, it was my first earthquake but I guess it was just tremors! Ahhh
Anyways the spirit is so strong and Ill be able to have more time to talk next time! Just know that My testimony is growing exponentially and I am happy here in paradise!!
I love you all!!!
Hermana Benyo

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lauren's Farewell Talk

Good afternoon brothers and sisters, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be here with you all and speak one last time before head out to the MTC on Wednesday, I only get to do this once so I’ll try and make it count. I want to thank the awesome kids in our ward, I LOVE the primary program, it’s the best Sunday of the year and I think it’s kind of appropriate that I was scheduled to speak right after the kids, seeing as I feel like I still am one….

I truly do miss being an innocent child, playing outside all day and watching Disney movies like it was my job. When I was a kid, I loved any movie that had a princess in it and the little Mermaid was a particular favorite. In this movie, the main character Ariel is a mermaid princess who is turned into a human and given the opportune experience of life outside of the ocean where she was raised. When Ariel is a mermaid, she is fascinated with humans and collects man-made objects salvaged from shipwrecks. At one point she finds a fork and, not knowing its purpose or name brings the object to her above water seagull friend Scuttle. Scuttle, the all knowing  expert on humans tells Ariel that this object is called a “dinglehopper” and that it is used to comb and style one’s hair.  Later in the movie, Ariel finds herself above water in the dining hall of Prince Eric. She sits at the table and to her content recognizes  the familiar dinglehopper sitting on the table before her. She immediately picks it up and begins combing her hair with it, as she believed that this was it's intended use. However, when the prince and others look at her like she is nuts, she is embarrassed and realized that scuttle the seagull had misinformed her of the use of this object.

In this story, Ariel is unaware and misinformed of two things 1) the identity of the object and 2) it's purpose.  In the world we live in, many people simply don’t know their own identity and purpose in life. Much like how Ariel was misled into thinking a fork was a hair-combing dinglehopper, we as people can be deceived into believing that we are non spiritual entities who’s purpose is solely to seek financial success and other temporal goals. Some succumb to self-destructive habits such as drugs and alcohol, immorality, and deceit on their quest to discover their purpose.  And many have elements of the truth, but simply are unaware of the full truth of their identity and purpose.  And that is where the gospel of Jesus Christ comes in.

When we come to know Christ, and learn of His doctrine, we will come to know our true identity as royal spirit Sons and Daughters of our Heavenly Father. However Before we can come to know our true purpose, we must first know our identity.
We are so blessed that our Heavenly Father has shown us in these latter-days where we came from, where we are going, and why we are here. Much of the confusion that comes in this life stems from us not understanding who we are.
In a CES devotional, President Uchtdorf shared the classic Hans Christian Andersen story of the Ugly Duckling: “In the story a mother duck discovers that one of her newly hatched chicks is unusually large and very ugly. At first the mother wonders if she has hatched a turkey egg, but the ugly child can swim as well as her other children. And so she comes to the conclusion that the poor thing is simply abnormal and disfigured.
The other ducklings, however, cannot leave the ugly child alone. They punish him mercilessly, pecking at him and teasing him and making him miserable. Finally, the ugly duckling decides it would be better for everyone if he left his family, and he runs away. During the bitter cold of his first winter on his own, the poor duckling nearly freezes to death, but somehow he survives. In spite of his privations, he feels himself getting stronger, and he loves spreading his wings and taking flight even though he’s alone.
Then one day he sees flying overhead a flock of majestic birds, white as snow, graceful in their movements, with beautiful long necks and wide, elegant wings. Oh, what glorious and happy creatures! The ugly duckling longs to fly with them. He is afraid that they might kill him because he is so ugly. But then he decides that would be better than being pecked at by the other animals forever or freezing to death in the winter. And so he takes flight and follows them to a beautiful lake where they settle onto the water.
As he lands, the ugly duckling looks into the water and sees the reflection of a magnificent swan. Gradually, unable to believe it at first, the ugly duckling realizes that the reflection is his own! To his surprise the other swans welcome him, and they even agree that he is the most beautiful, most majestic of all the swans. At last he has discovered who he really is.
President Uchtdorf went on to say “think of where you come from, you are the sons and daughters of the greatest most glorious being in the universe, He loves you with an infinite love, He wants the best for you. This knowledge changes everything. It changes your present, it can change your future, and it can change the world. If only we understood who we are and what is in store for us, our hearts would overflow with such gratitude and happiness that it would enlighten even the darkest sorrows with the light and love of God, our Heavenly Father. Our destiny is greater than we can imagine.
After we come to know our true and eternal identity, we can come to know our purpose. As we know in the book of Moses it says  “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Our TRUE and ETERNAL purpose is to work towards eternal life and share the gospel with others so they can receive that same joy.  However, we all have our own specific purpose in life and can come to know what the Lord has in store for us as we grow closer to Him.  In my own life, it wasn’t until I started to work at discovering my specific life mission and the purpose the Lord sent me to Earth to fulfill that I began to recognize a customized divine errand from the Lord.
Growing up, the idea of going on a mission was never really on my agenda; it was more of a distant and unlikely possibility that I never really gave much thought. But just about a year ago, I really decided to stop trying to man the ship all by myself and turned the steering over to my Heavenly Father. I kind of just said, Heavenly Father, look I’m starting to realize that I don’t really know where I’m going, I can’t do this alone and I need to know what you’ve got in mind for me, so from now on, thy will O Lord be done, not mine.
And as soon as I changed that paradigm and attitude in my life, I just felt immediate peace and I knew that everything would fall into place through this newfound or rather renewed partnership that I had with the Lord. I continued to pray for direction as to what the next step in my life would be (what I kind of had in mind at the time was maybe a hint at a career path or something obvious like that) buuuuuut just a couple weeks later the answer came to me at a very unexpected time in an unexpected way, watching general conference, and in an instant EVERYTHING I was planning for my life changed, and suddenly I was going on a mission, there was no question, the spirit testified that to me the moment the prophet said that I would be eligible to serve at age 19 and just like that I had discovered the next step of the Lord’s customized divine errand for me. And I could not be more thrilled to be taking that step now, a year later.
I love this gospel IMMENSELY and the amount of peace that I feel just from just reading my scriptures and praying, going to the temple and developing that relationship with the Lord is immeasurable and truly inspiring. Nothing in the world inspires me more to try to be a better woman and to be pure and spotless and to love my fellow men.  This gospel  makes me happy. Truly truly happy and how could I possibly keep that from all the people who dont know anything about it. I CANT and THAT is why I am going on a mission. that’s why.
I hope with everything in me that those I come into contact with will feel of the joy that comes along with the spirit and the knowledge of his gospel and the transforming power of the atonement, because I know that it will make their lives better and fulfill His work and His Glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal Life of man.
I get so excited just thinking about this awesome work and I truly believe that sharing this joy is the greatest, eternal service one can give, and giving up 18 months of my college years is a small price to pay.  
I love you all brothers and sisters, and I love my family for the rock that they have always been and always will be to me.  I am grateful for this restored gospel on the Earth today. I know that our Prophet is truly a prophet of God and I find great peace and inspiration from the words he speaks. I love the temple, I have only been a couple times but the spirit that I feel there is so scared and indescribable and something that everyone should experience. I love the Book of Mormon and I know that the words within it are true. I will never be able to physically prove to anyone that the Book Of Mormon was really written by ancient prophets, but I know that every principle in it is true good and for our benefit, and I know that God provided this book for our day. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel to the Earth and I am so grateful for his faith and sacrifice. And lastly, I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the sacrifice they made and the love they have for every one of us. I love the transforming power of the atonement and I know that it truly does change people.  I want so badly to be a good disciple more than my weak mortal imperfection can allow, and I pray that I will learn and grow, but more importantly forget myself and serve the Lord.

And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, November 18, 2013

One Day Left People!!!

That's right. Get all of your hugs and tearful goodbyes in tomorrow before our missionary makes her long journey to Peru on Wednesday. I put her address for the Peru MTC in the column to the left. In case you can't find that I will put it here too.

Pouch Mailing Address:
Peru MTC
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

Centro de Capacitacion Misional
Av. Melgarejo 159
La Molina
Lima 12

Lauren will be in the Peru MTC for six weeks and she will be sending us updates weekly. You can follow it all on here. Good luck to our missionary! So excited for your journey to begin.

LDS Missionary Training Center Peru
Peru MTC