Thursday, February 27, 2014

Semana 7 in Tarapoto

My favorite staircase to our room
 Our Room

Eating granadilla (a fruit)

Hello my family and friends!!!

Another week passed here in Tarapoto and I can hardly believe it. time is passing so quickly it's blowing my mind.
This week was a little rough, with a lot of appointments falling through, but the good news is that we've been teaching some great families, two of which came to church on sunday!

We had zone conference this week with President Gomez, and man he really is the best! He really does such a good job showing he cares about us and his training was really good. Since I'm newer, I still don't really know him that well, but I already love him! We learned that we need to pray more fervently and focus more on teaching families.
This week we had district conference (Tarapoto doesn't yet have a stake or wards, it's a district of 4 branches).  So there have been rumors flying that in this conference they would announce that Tarapoto is gonna be a stake. Because it's a district, The mission president presides, and President Gomez was there. Unfortunately they announced that it isn't ready yet to be a stake because not enough tithing is being paid. In the conference they spoke about the importance of tithing and commandments and 'being pioneers' to build up the church.  It was good, and I think that it was good to excite the members to keeping working and moving forward.  

This week we are teaching a sister named Alicia, who is the mother of a sister named Marisol. Her husband is a recent convert and she attended conference and has been praying and doing well. 

We also found a new family named Richard and Nati. They are former investigators of another companionship a year or so back. They are younger and are really smart and understand a lot, so we don't have to teach quite as simple as with our other investigators. They are also recently married which is AWESOME, because that is usually an obstacle here. Richard attended conference on sunday and we are excited to continue teaching them!

This week I have really been focusing on studying the scriptures and knowing them, really really knowing them and how to apply them to help teach.  I'm so greatful for the scriptures and my testimony of their power has really grown here.

I love you all! Write me and tell me about your lives!

Hermana Benyo

Semana 6 in Tarapoto

Hola mi familia!

This week I got my new companion Hermana Salinas and seriously she is the best!!!  She is super loving and helps me so much to not stress about everything. We are also very obedient when it comes to schedule and I am honestly so happy in general! Man it's nice to have a companion again.

We also got a new zone leader, Elder Carter, who was assistant to the President but just got transferred here to finish out his mission as Zone Leader in Tarapoto. Both him and Hermana Salinas are really good leaders who are going to help our zone and Branch Tarapoto SO much.

This week we worked HARD. So hard, and honestly I was happier than I have been since I have been here. But what I never noticed until Hermana Salinas was my companion is how much I stress about everything. Tarapoto Central (my area) and branch Tarapoto is what all the missionaries have pinned to be 'the toughest area in the mission'. Which is a little daunting, and often I get discouraged and stress that we aren't doing enough. There are also a lot of members who are going through hard times and I stress about that too. This week our branch president got released suddenly and we currently don't have a bishop, but next week is district conference and we should get a new one.  Hermana Salinas is helping me to learn that It isn't going to help to stress, just need to take it one day at a time and do everything we can. Maybe there are challenges in the area, maybe there arent many leaders, but we are here to help strengthen this branch, help them be animated about missionary work, and help them to become a ward. I know that this isn't a 'bad' area or a 'hard' area as people say, and we have a lot of hope for March. I know Heavenly Father is preparing people here in Tarapoto to help build up this little part of Zion here in Tarapoto, it's just a matter of finding these families through the help of members. 

There is a sister in the ward named Hermana Marisol who is kind of a rock for the branch. She has 4 kids and a baby, but her husband Nixon died a year ago saturday from cancer. He was a very strong member of the church and it was a huge blow for the whole branch. On Saturday, we climbed up this big hill, a part of our area that is more secluded and jungley that we don't often venture to. But we were visiting people on our list of less actives when we knocked the door of a member named Janet. She let us in but her parents were screaming at us angrily telling us to leave.  We talked to her a little and she told us that she was formerly a member and married to the brother of Hermana Marisol, but he left her for another woman, and that she left the church and joined the Evangelical church because she associated here with her husband and it was to painful, because her husband was a member and she has a lot of negative feelings toward the Church. She then went on to tell us that Nixon, the husband of Marisol was her blood brother (two sets of siblings married).  And it just so happened (not so coincidentally) that we knocked her door exactly one year on the day from when her husband passed away, A time when she and her family were thinking about him and their hearts were softened.  We just testified that we know that what her husband did was wrong, no one in the church is perfect and simply put what her husband did was very wrong, but the Church of Jesus Christ is perfect. It isn't a museum for Saints, it's a hospital for sinners.  And sincerely sincerely expressed how much God loves her, his daughter, and how much we love her. I don't know what she felt, but it was such a cool experience for me. I know we believe in angels and that they watch over their posterity and family on the Earth but seriously for the first time in my life that I felt a confirmation of this. I know it wasnt a coincidence and I could feel the presence of Hermano Nixon watching over his family, pleading for them to come back and that we had been guided to them at a time when they were more willing to listen. The parents were still screaming for us to leave, but I felt the spirit so strong. We invited her to a memorial service that the branch was holding for her brother that night, and she showed up! I don't know how it will turn out , or if she is ready to come back, but it was such a spiritual experience for me this week to feel so guided by the holy ghost. I am so grateful for this experience to be a missionary, it is unlike enything I have ever experienced.

I am so grateful to be here and honestly so happy. Everyday is a refining fire. I love you all so much, I pray for you and I hope you are well.

Hermana Benyo

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Semana 5 in Tarapoto

So this week was a mix between fun and hard!  Hermana Alvear left tuesday and I was terrified to go out and teach by myself, but it actually went really well!

My companion was different members every day and most of the time it was this awesome recent convert named Ximena. She's a teenager and seriously so strong in the gospel and a great missionary. I actually had a lot of fun with her and her testimony is really powerful. She's also beautiful so that helps (especially when contacting hehe). 

I was praying so hard this week that I would be able to teach with the spirit and that the people would be able to understand me...and guess what? It worked. Once I was really on my own that's when I realized that I can actually do this. The day Hermana Alvear left I taught the entire plan of salvation to our investigator Gisela, and she seriously was so involved and asking so many questions and really excited. The spirit was so strong and then we ran out of time and she asked if I could come back the next day to finish the lesson. That's when it was really apparent that although I was alone, I had the help of my Heavenly Father working through me to teach his children about their purpose here on the Earth. And she really understood me, and I understood 100% of what she was saying. I am so grateful for the help of my father in Heaven and it's so cool to experience it and know that literally all you need to do is have faith and open your mouth and he will fill it with what the investigator needs to hear.

Tarapoto is still tough and we still don't have any baptismal dates, but I found an awesome family to teach this week! They have a lot of trials but I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ can help them and they're really excited to come to church again!

So I have been staying the night with Hermana Linford and Astete, the sisters in another district in Tarapoto which is inconvenient when I work in Tarapoto central during the day. They're area is cool, mine is more of the city so it's fun seeing something new.  I've been sleeping in Hna Linford's bed with her so I'm excited to get my bed back tomorrow. There apartment is a lot nicer than ours but last night we found a huge spider in their HUUUUGE. Biggest I've ever seen in my life.

I'm loving the perfect weather here, the Peruvians are telling me from the news that its pretty cold up in your neck of the woods..hehe. I find out who my new companion is today and she comes tomorrow! Woo!

Learning to have patience and trying to be more diligent. Thanks for the prayers I'm doing great! Love you all!
Hermana Benyo

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Semana 4 in Tarapoto

Hola Familia!

This week went really fast but we got in a lot of work!  So this week starting tomorrow I will be working with members until my new companion arrives the following tuesday. It should be an interesting week, but I know it will give me the chance to really grow and figure out how to apply the things that I have learned so far from my trainer.

This week we found a ton of new investigators and that was really cool. We taught this one girl named Lady Diana (yes that is actually her name) and she was super sweet. She is only fifteen but she was really excited about learning and says that she wants to learn more about the gospel, so I'm teaching her again this week with one of the members.  We also taught this old couple named Reina and Ramon. Reina suffers from Arthritis and they had 11 children but a lot of them passed away. It was really sad, and when we asked how many were still living she said "3 or 4, I can´t remember". But they are super cute and sweet and love learning.  

Also, our progressing Investigator Hisela is the best! We´ve been teaching her since I got here and she always has so many great questions and wants to learn everything she can before committing to baptism. We´ve been working with her really trying to get her to pray to receive an answer for herself if the gospel is true and if the Book of Mormon is true, and how to recognize answers to her prayers. She called us this week and told us that she got an answer and she for sure wants to get baptized! Yay!

This week I've really learned the importance of teaching people and not lessons. Every single person here has there own individual problems and I know that no matter what it is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ can help them.  The hard part is having enough love and discernment to know how to help them.  Especially in spanish.  But I'm really trying to listen to the people. They love to talk. And I know that by listening and teaching to their necessities, their hearts will be touched and they will feel Heavenly Father's love for them, and feel that desire to follow Jesus Christ and return back to live with God one day. There is nothing better than that feeling when you know that you've really helped someone in the best way I know how.

For service this week, Me, Hermana Alvear, and the elders (well, mostly the elders) helped tear down a wall in our house. Its the house of Hermana Luzmila, our Relief Society president and pensionista (she cooks for us). We live in a little room upstairs, but the other night there was a huge storm that damagaed the roof and now their fixing stuff. Also, this week was the last sunday of Hermana Alvear and Elder Woolstenhulme before they go home! We took a bunch of photos at church.

Anyway I love you all, and pray for me (especially) this week!


Hermana Benyo