Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Semana 56 in 9 de Octubre (February 16th, 2015)

I think it´s safe that I've gotten to the point in my mission that my trainer warned me about, when I've been gone so long that I think everyone has forgotten about me and I spend the majority of my internet time on lds.org looking at the ward directory or my genealogy tree. haha but thanks for writing me mom and dad, I can always count on you guys!  But this week we went to the family history center downtown with one of our converts to help her get started on her genealogy, and the hermanas let me log into my family history account. I was doing some exploring on mom's line and it's gotten tracked back SO far! MOM!!! Do you realize that through your dad's line we are direct descendants of Charlemagne the emperor of the Roman Empire?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Check out the photo attached below, I was following the line of your dad, through Horace Bollings skinner and he's got some crazy lines of Royal blood and that line is up to some B.C. years. Family History is that COOLEST! I have been able to feel the spirit of Elijah so strong in my mission, especially knowing that I can't do much about it here,  but I can't wait to work on genealogy with you guys now that you're professionals in your callings!
Anyway, I know in the jungle of south america we've got like an 8 month lag behind you guys, but we just watched Meet the Mormons this morning! It was so so good---even watching it in spanish. Made me so happy to be a member of the church and have the gospel which has brought so much happiness to my lives and the millions of others.  All of the missionaries in Iquitos got together this morning to watch it and I got to see hermana Tinta, which made me happy. I can't believe she already is almost at 6 months! She is the cutest, I will always have a special place in my heart for her and she is still in Punchana and is doing so so great!
Hermana Hernandez and I had a great week this week.  We have been having a great experience teaching our investigator Henry and his mom Lucith. We had no idea but his mom was baptized a member of the church when she was 17.  We had been teaching them both and they are both coming to church now and super excited. I love teaching people and seeing them progress, and the coolest part is inviting them to act for themselves, praying that they will follow through with the committments and seeing them truly receive answers to their prayers. Lucith commented on the changes she has seen in her son, about his history with alcohol and the differences she's seen since he started meeting with us. It's a testimony that the gospel changes lives and we're excited to see the progress of Henry and Lucith. They've got a few neighbors who are members and they are a great support as well.
I've spent a long time reflecting and pondering about what it means to be a successful missionary and if I'm gonna come home from this whole thing looking back and feeling good about what I've done. The conclusion I've come to is that the only true indicator of a successful mission is the level of conversion to the Lord that you achieve and your obedience in following through. I'm determined to achieve success and I pray for it every day!
On sunday, while you were all celebrating Grandma's birthday,  it was a holiday known here in the Selva as Carnaval. It gets a little bit, well a lot bit, crazy so all the missionaries in Iquitos had to stay indoors alllllll daySunday. It consists of people getting drunk, painting eachother and lots and lots of water fights. I won't lie, it was a long time to stay inside with little to do, but we took full advantage of it and slept like a straight up princess for the first time in 15 months. BEST SUNDAY NAP OF MY LIFE!!!!  Then we went up to the roof and watched the craziness outside for a bit. As part of the the festivities every street colaborates to make and Umbisha (or something like that...) with is basically a three story high pole with a bunch of crap tied to it. And then they dance around it seven times and knock it down and rip all the stuff off and have more water fights. I really don't understand this holiday at all but it's fine. 
But please wish Grandma a happy 80th birthday from me! Loved the pictures and it is so weird seeing everyone looks so big. Makes me feel old.
Well, that's all for this week!
Love you guys!
Hermana Benyo

Me and Hermana Tinta

Up on the roof while were locked indoors

Yum! Alligator meat

Looking down at the Carnaval party...getting ready to knock over their junk-pole

Mom's family line up to Charlemagne

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Semana 54 in 9 de Octubre (Feburary 2nd, 2015)

I'm pleased to announce that after over 14 months in Peru, 6 trips to Lima, 1 to Ecuador and 1 to chile, I finally have my visa!!!! YAY!!
No, but this week was pretty good. My trip to Lima was actually really awesome, normally those little trips can get you unfocused but this time really helped me, it gave me some time to sit and reflect about my work and my area and all the people were teaching and how I can get better. I got to catch up with one of my first district leaders who is now serving as zone leader in Pucallpa.  We were talking about the early days in our missions, when he was my district leader he had barely six months and me and my companion had just finished our training and were opening an area.  We really had no idea what we were doing and when we prayed to set our monthly goal we came up with the number 8. 8 baptisms that month was our goal. I had no idea that it was a high goal but to me it felt right.  The other new missionaries in my district set super high goals as well and I just remember people looking at us like...yeah right...But that month we worked SOO SO hard to achieve that goal. And although we didnt get eight, we baptized a family of 5 which wasnt bad for our first month in a newly opened area.  Talking about this reminded me that with time we sometimes fall into conformity.  Although I have much more time and experience than I did back then, I have never been so dedicated to do achieve a goal. When I got back from Lima I was feeling pretty good, and since then we have been dedicated and committed to achieve our inspired goal.
This week flew by and I honestly can't remember what even happened, but I know that we worked hard and thats what counts.
Sorry this letter is short and semi-boring, but hope you all have a good week!
Also happy birthday Spencer!!! Can't believe you're already 23! That makes me feel old.

Love you all!

Hermana Benyo

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Semana 53 in 9 de Octubre (January 26th, 2015)

So for a second, let´s forget about the wedding papers being turned in the day of, let´s forget about selling tickets and raising money with chicken wings, let´s forget about the fact that the bride was late and in her absence the groom disappeared too and the municipality workers had another gig scheduled a half hour after, let´s forget about all of that for a moment and take a moment to appreciate how beautiful it is to be a missionary and help broken families be healed through the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the ceremony Hna Karen said that what had happened was what she considered to be a miracle. When we found this family, Karen and Nigzon were about to leave eachother and now a short month later, they are married and he is now listening to the discussions as well. I was grateful when all the stress of selling chicken wings on thursday and matrimony and hair doing on friday was over. Then came my favorite part...THE BAPTISM!!! Words fail to describe the feeling you have as a missionary see those special people, Karen, Clara, Gilmar, and Amy come to that day when they make covenants with the Lord, knowing that they are REAL converts who are here for good.  Seriously, we´ve got some future relief society pres. matrerial! After the baptism, Karen testified of her desire and vision of her family in the temple along with her husband...I know they´ll get there!  Yesterday a woman asked me if as a missionary I have witnessed any miracles such as healings of diseases....I told her maybe not, but I have seen miracles. I have seen hearts softened, natures changed, and families transformed. Maybe I´ve never seen the healing of the physically afflicted, but I have witnessed the healing of spiritual infirmities through the atonement of Jesus Christ as well as the transforming effect that it can have ona family.  And to me, that is the greatest miracle of all.  I feel completely privileged to have been a part in the conversion of this family and to have been but an instrument in the hands of the Lord, it is truly humbling to me.  I finished this week one happy Hermanita.


Hermana Benyo

1. Ran into my amigas Hna Allphin and Hna Dickey on Pday
2. El beso
3. El baile
4. Me and the happy couple ;btw here i reattached the photo number 4-
5. The family all together
6. Me n my mexi
7. The Baptizers- Elder Moreno and Elder Taylor