Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Semana 62 in Moyobamba (March 30th, 2015)

This week passed faster than you can say disaster. But it was another good one!
We have a new workout routine to get back in shape. I mentioned to you that Moyobamba is built on a mountain right? Well there's some stairs that lead allllll the way up the mountain and that's our new morning exercise. There's 413 steps and we've come to lovingly know them as 'las escaleras de satanas'. Google translate.
We're happy to announce that Hermana Jorge accepted a baptismal date for the 18th!! Yay! But we've got a LOT of barriers for hurl over before that date sneaks up as far as chastity and word of wisdom go...but he's doing really good. Came to church on sunday super excited with his niece and also his nephew who is like 38.  It was great having them and Kristal his 13 year old niece loves church and wants to do her personal progress and even went out with the young women sunday to visit the less actives in the branch! She is worried about being baptized for what her family will say but she's super cute. Hermano Jorge has his baptismal interview this week and we're hoping that will help him with his progress. So far I can see a HUGE change in him, and he can too--he tells us everyday that he is truly changing and repenting, poco a poco!
We're also teaching a young less active family called Familia Chacon. They are hilarious! I love visiting them and on Sunday the entire family came and Claude (the wife) brought her 16 year old sister Hanni who we've been teaching. Hanni is really great but her mom is not supportive (understatement). But I love these guys, and the dad always calls us ´chambonas´. Not really sure why but it makes me laugh every time.
Can I repeat how awesome our branch is? It fills the requirements already to become a ward so we're going to be seeing some great things here in Moyo!  The members are so so great, it's the best branch council I've ever had, alll the members are involved and take part in caring after the less actives converts and investigators. There's just a really awesome spirit here.
On Sunday we went to Rioja...I don't know if I mentioned but Zone Moyobamba is the only zone in the mission that is split up over like 4 different pueblos..so to get to the other areas you have to drive between 25 minutes to and hour.  Rioja is another little town that has a branch and everyone in the zone went to doa blitz on sunday...which means that every missionary pairs up with a member and we go out and do visits to help them grow their branch their. Rioja is super tiny and cute, we were able to find some people to teach for the elders there, and now I'm best friends with my companion, a member from Rioja, Hna Marizol...she's loca but super funny.
Anyway not much else going on, Hermana Tituaña's doing great. She's flying to Lima today to do her visa papers so I'll be working with members and staying the night with the other sisters.
One thing from my personal study: So something I've discovered in my mission is that I can measure my success as a missionary based on the presence of the spirit in my life. If I feel it abundantly throughout my days, I know that what I'm doing is good. If not, then I've got a lot to improve on, whether it be dilligence or obedience. Well, I think it really applies to life in general. When we feel the spirit abundantly in our lives, we are on the right track in our eternal progression. Even though we may still be committing errors, if we are repenting regularly and doing what we should, we will have the spirit. If we can't feel it, something is wrong and we need to stop doing the things that offend the spirit, however big or small they may be, because in the end these things are only holding us back.  This is one of the spirit's purposes, to help us measure and know if we are on the right track.

Well, that's all I got.

Love you guys!

Hermana Benyo

 We decided to embrace Hermana Tituaña's culture on Sunday so we went to church in traditional clothing from Ecuador!

Doing visits in Rioja

My member companion, Hna Marizol

Me and a duck...it peed on me as I was taking this and then I dropped it....It was okay though

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Semana 61 in Moyobamba (March 23rd, 2015)

Just another week in paradise.

This week passed so fast I can barely even remember what happened. On monday, the zone went to the famous caves.  It was pretty fun and I've got some pictures to show for it.
The good news about this week is that our investigators came to church!!!! (Cue hallelujah chorus)
Jorge and Kristal came, He is the dad of Tia Sena (our pensionista) and he is super awesome. He is in the process of quitting drinking and honestly he is doing a great job. He told us yesterday that his friends started calling him ´Pastor´ because he went to church on sunday and won't drink with them.  He's super hilarious and something about him is so...wisconsiny. He reminds me of one of my uncles or something. Kristal is his twelve year old niece who always listens in on the discussions. She is super cute and loved young womens.  We were super happy because Marilu came to church today, the hermana that I mentioned the last week that we knocked her door.  Her husband Omar didn't come because he had to work but we are praying super hard for them so that they can progress. They have some doubts about marriage so we're going to teach them with a really awesome newly wed convert couple in the branch.  My companion was super cute in church yesterday, she told me afterwards 'I have never felt so much love for the person sitting next to me as I did today in church with our investigators'. This girl is gonna LOVE her mission, I told her just wait till we have our first convert together! 
Anyway, that's pretty much it for the week, short and sweet, these weeks are passing like blinks of an eye. 
And Jenna and Jason--SO happy to see the new baby!!!!! And he is guatemalan ahhhhh so sweet I can't wait to meet him!!!!

Love you all,
Hermana Benyo

Hna Josephina and me...Let's keep in mind that I'm 5'3'' and this lady makes me look like a straight up giant
Getting ready to head into the caves

At the mouth of the caves

Mi hija!

Jenna--this one's for you because it looks like a I have a lazy eye

In the cave

El Rio Jordan at the end of it

The River Jordan!

So pretty!

Can't say no to a cow picture!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Semana 60 in Moyobamba (March 16th, 2015)

Hey family!!!

I have no words to describe how much I love my life and my mission right now.  I feel so completely lost in the work...in every way possible.  Moyobamba is an awesome challenge that the Lord has dished out for me here at this time in my mission and I just love it so much because it requires basically my whole soul.  
The hard part about being here is that we are here 100% giving it everything we possibly can, praying harder than I ever have in my life, going forward in faith with out getting discourages, loving the people, inquiring of the Lord at every moment, stopping in the streets and praying for any sign of direction from the spirit, feeling the spirit guiding us every day, loving the people, praying for them, walking a TON, involving the members and literally doing everything that we POSSIBLY can to move this work forward and help people to make and keep sacred covenants.  And then Sunday rolls around and the disappointment comes.  The people that we spent every waking moment of every day helping and teaching and committing and praying for, the flake out and we're in the chapel alone as if we had spent the whole week laying around watching a netflix marathon instead of missionary work. Meanwhile the Elders in our SAME branch are baptizing families by the thousands and planning weddings for the next month.  I know that comparing is wrong and I've only been here a little bit but when you're giving it everything you've got and NOTHING, its a bit disappointing. BUT, the good news is that we are not getting discouraged, not even the slightest. I've experienced the dangers in that and I know how debilitating it can be and will never be going back down that road.  
So that's my small vent for now,  on to the blessings and miracles. The other half of me is SO grateful that the Lord isn't handing success to me on a silver platter because right now I am the best missionary I have ever been and also HAPPIER than I have ever been.  I wish a year ago I would have known everything that I know now, and I know that I could have done things so much better.  Even though our fruits aren't apparent right now, every single day we go out and we feel the spirit we share the gospel with everyone, nothing but truth leaves our mouths and we have daily spiritual experiences and I feel as though we are really helping people to accept the gospel.  We are so close to success and honestly have so many people that I can truly say we were divinely led to, they just need to come to church.  One of them Is a family of a young couple with a baby. Their names are Marilu and Omar. They are so special and we found them our first day here. We were completely lost in the street with a map in hand not knowing where to go. We prayed for inspiration and I felt the desire to knock a certain door. At the door we were greeted warmly by Marilu and she welcomed us in.  The rest is the usual, but we left that lesson and my companion after having taught her first ever discussion said ´´They are great, they´re gonna get baptized for sure!´´  I love it. ´´Yeah´´ I said, I love her faith so much and I have faith that her words just may be prophetic. This family has desires to be baptized and I feel the spirit so strong every time we teach them, we'll get them to church Sunday, the members are supporting. They have a baby who has some developmental problems and that makes it a bit complicated. But I have so much faith. 
But anyway, everything is so good and the spirit is confirming to me that what we are doing is good. Fruits to come!

Love Hna Benyo

Me n a horse

This spider......I have been tip toeing around like a baby for the last two days after seeing this. I screamed for a solid 10 minutes and our pensionista Tia Sena came to save the day and killed it

This is the 1st cow I have seen in over a year...LOOK CLOSELY

My area

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Semana 59 in Moyobamba, Peru (March 9th, 2015)

Hola mi dulce familia!
This week was interesting. We had consejo de lideres in Iquitos, so on Wednesday drove to Tarapoto with the zone leaders...first of all so weird being with out a companion and on top of it squished in the back of a car with two elders driving on windy mountain roads trying not to throw up, haha yeah..... But then we got to Tarapoto and I met up with the sister leaders there in the airport so it got a little bit better from there. We flew to Iquitos and The leadership council was cool as always we got to discuss and change some norms in the mission that I think will help us to progress. And I stayed with the family history sisters....oh my gosh. Their house is sooooooo nice.  It's like a mini mission home. I'm so jealous.  Anyway it was good to see some of my friends in Iquitos and before we knew it we were on our way back to Moyobamba. We stopped at DOMINOS in Tarapoto (it was a big deal, definitely worth noting because that was NOT there when I served there). 
While I was gone my awesome comp was working with members! She is the best! She was super nervous about it but she did great and even found some new investigators. So proud. But really, she is super obedient, and humble and always looking to do better, I love her to death.
This week was a little bit tricky because apart from being in Iquitos for two days, it was district conference on sunday. The conference was is Rioja, which is a pueblo like 25-30 minutes from here and that made it a little bit complicated to get our people to church. But the good news is we had two less active families come and one of their families brought their son and daughter who we´ve been teaching so we're gonna keep working with them this week. 
The work here in Moyobamba is so awesome! It's totally different and sometimes I feel like I'm in a different mission. It's challenging but I'm so happy and focused here. We've been focusing on listening to and following the spirit and its going great!
On sunday I was so surprised to run into Hermana Luzmila! She was my first ever mission mom in Tarapoto and I ran into her here in Moyobamba on sunday. The sisters in Tarapoto told her I was serving here, so she made sure to stop by the chapel sunday to say hi! It was so great to see her a year later!!
Well that's all for this week!
Love you all!
Hermana Benyo

Me and the sister leaders from Tarapoto in the airport in Iquitos  (I've learned that it is impossible to ever take a decent picture without it getting photo bombed by elders)

Me and Hna Luzmila, Kenji, and Jadde---mi familia de Tarapoto!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Semana 58 in Moyobamba, Peru!!!! (March 2nd, 2015)

So cambios happened....
And I'm in Moyobamba, Peru!!
The PARADISE of the mission. That´s what it´s known as and it is so true in every possible meaning of the word. YOU GUYS. I am obsessed with my new area I could write a book about it,
Okay, so to get to Moyobamba, you have to fly to Tarapoto and from there drive about 2 and a half hours through green jungly mountains....Okay for all you who know what a nature/outdoor/mountain fangirl I am, I was pretty much freaking out the whole drive because it is so beautiful. The City....well, town. It's tiny tiny and I am falling in love with it so hard.  Surrounded by green mountains on all sides, and the city itself is super elevated on top of a mountain. Not to quote Demi Lovato, but I'm closer to the clouds up here.  Oh, and remember how I was talking about how last week in Iquitos was the hottest week in my whole mission? well, I think God listened to my prayers because here in Moyobamba it is a constant 77 degrees. It is amazing. I sleep with a BLANKET at night! NO FAN! And you wisconsinites would all make fun of me, but I've been walking aroud the last three days with a coat on.  Basically it's an only Elders zone, there's only 4 hermanas here, so my whole mission I've heard all the Elders go on and on about this place, and I never really got the big deal. But now I do. So awesome. Everyone deserves a chance to come to Moyobamba.
The people here are super different than in Iquitos, but they are so cool!  They are very polite and educated, and they don't drink all the time or blast their peruvian music 24/7, it's so peaceful!  And my area is basically the rich hood.But its gigantic, you could probably fit 8 9 de Octubre´s inside of it. It´s soooooo cute, I would live here hands down. There's some parts of my area that are like a suburban town peruvian style.  Because of the economic difference, there's definite difference in the work and the people.  It's actually really similar to my first area in Tarapoto in the sense that it's not the same tactics you can use in Iquitos.  It's a bit harder to find new people to teach.  Like, in Iquitos you can literally knock on any old door and find a family to teach that will welcome you into their home and invite you to something to drink and listen closely....even if they want nothing to do with the gospel. Here, there's rejection. What is this feeling? I feel like I've woken up from my Iquitos dreamland to the real world of people who DON'T want to listen to us.  Rejection. Something about it is so refreshing. It makes me feel like a real missionary! I like the sincerity and that way we can move right on to the people who are truly prepared to receive the gospel!  Oh. And I forgot to mention, I'm opening an area and training a new missionary! My companion is Hna Tituaña and she is the cutest thing ever. Member her whole life, from Ecuador. Misses home a bit but she's adjusting fast. So for the last four days me and my companion have been stumbling around a bit lost looking for people to teach, but I have been able to rely more on the spirit to lead me where to go so much. More than I ever have in my mission. I feel so focused, and I really can feel the spirit so present in my life and in my work. I feel so blessed to have this challenged placed before me at this time in my mission.  Because there's only four sisters (including me) here in Moyobamba, I'm the only sister leader which means that I will have to leave my companion here this week while me and the zone leaders travel to Iquitos for the monthly leadership council...that will be weird.  Hna Tituaña is nervous about it but I know she'll do great. The sisters here are Hermana Jackson and Hermana Centeno, my ex companion!! Love both of them so much and excited to be here and help them.
THE BRANCH! The branch here is AWESOME! I don't know what it is, it's a district with branches but the members here are so strong and so converted and really know what it takes to build the church. Our ward mission leader is the bomb, my pensionista cooks super delicious and church was sooo great! I felt the spirit way strong!

You guys I feel like I hit the jackpot getting transferred here.

I'm never coming home, 

Hermana Benyo

                      Last photo with zone 9 de Octubre

                                                  Me and Hna Hernandez. Only one change together!

                                                                                   Me and my district

In Moyobamba with hna Centeno!

 The Elders had a crazy awesome baptism of two families my first day here. It inspired me for sure! One of the hermanos had to redo his baptism 7 times...poor guy

                                                    Me and my new compi! Hna Tituaña

                                                       A look out point in our area

Semana 57 in 9 de Octubre (February 23rd, 2015)

Well, this week I just finished out my third change in 9 de Octubre.  Transfers are today. I'll let you know what happens next week.  This week was weird. I kid you not it was hotter than Satan's Inferno and we lost a lot of time in our area because Hermana Hernandez went to Lima for her visa and the zone leaders asked me to stay with the sisters of another area to do a work visit and help them to find a new house before the end of the month.  So we house hunted all day, and when I tell you it was hot, I really mean it IT WAS SO HOTTTT. Iquitos is naturally hot and it's all relative really, but this was on a whole different level, it was cruel and unusual punishment style heat.  We walked allllllll day looking for houses and didnt find much and I think I sweat three buckets. And at night I had to sleep on a mattress on the floor, just below the reach of the fan. It was a straight up oven and I hardly slept all night.  Then at 2:30 I couldn't handle it anymore so I stood up and remembered the advice that mom would always give me when I complained that it was hot at night as a kid...but never actually did because it's weird....well, desperate times call for desperate measures. You bet I walked into the bathroom with pajamas on and all stepped in the shower, turned on the water, walked out sopping wet, collapsed on my bed and slept like a baby the rest of the night. Thank you mom for your weird advice, it actually came in handy, but only in a 3rd world country where A/C doesn't exist.
In other news we had a couple of cool experiences this week. In district meeting we talked about thge importance of doing inspired work and not just going through the motions. It made me think of one of the talks that mom sent me by Robert Millet that says ´´A Christ-centered life is a spirit-filled life.´´  Those words were resounding with me the whole week and made me reflect on if I truly have a christ-centered or spirit-filled life. Those special moments come and go, but in a truly Christ-centered life, they should be frequent and prominent.  I would like to have spiritual experiences every day for the rest of my mission. Well, life.
On tuesday we were teaching the second lesson to a 16 year old girl named Ingrid.  We were sharing the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ when we were finishing up the lesson and I was writing in a Book of Mormon to give to her. Up unitl that moment, the lesson seemed nothing unusual to me and my companion asked her a question as I contined writing a note in the Book of Mormon we were about to give her. The question she asked her was ´Why do you want to know if these things are true?´´ She struggled a bit with the question and I thought she just didn't want to answer. Then all of a sudden I look up and see that she's crying and that's when the spirit kind of hit me. Up until that moment, I hadn't really felt much, it seemed just like a normal lesson to me. And she said ´´I'm sorry, it´s just I feel something right now that I can't explain, it just makes me want to cry. I feel like this is true and I want to change.´´ it was the sweetest, sincerest moment I have witnessed in a long time and it really caught me off guard, but when it happened, the spirit burned like a flame.  We told her that what she was feeling was the holy spirit testifying to ehr heart of the truthfulness of this message.  We invited her to be baptized on March 21st anbd she accepted. When we left the lesson she thanked us and gave each one of a us a gigantic hug. I walked out of that lesson on cloud 9, not even realizing what had just happened, and could not stop smiling for a good hour.
We did divisions on Sunday, my companion wanted to go stay with a sister in Secoya who was sick and accompany in her house, so I decided to do divisions and go work the day in our area with an Hermana from the ward named Miriam. She is awesome and accompanies us ALL the time! So grateful for her. The next most exciting thing that happened Sunday was that two of my best friends came to 9 de Octubre to say goodbye to everyone!! Hna Burrell my ex companion accompanied by Hna Linford! I was SOO happy to see them because they finished their missions in Pucallpa far from me.   So Hna Miriam and I ran into them going to visit our recent convert Hermana Laura, who is a widow that lives by herself.  Hna Burrell and I got to share together one last time with her and it was really sweet.  After the lesson came the dreadful goodbye of a missionary and their convert.  We took a picture the three of us together. All of the sudden sweet little Laura started to cry super hard.  She said how happy she was to have the gospel in her life and the peace it brings to her.  She used to be SUPER catholic and wanted nothing to do with the gospel, but now she is firm in the faith and in church every sunday without fail and reading her scriptures. She told Hna Burrell that she would never forget her and always have her in her heart. It was honestly one of the sweetest, yet saddest and most tender moments that just watching I started crying too.  It kind of hit me in that moment how much it actually must suck ending your mission.
Well, that's all for now. Miracles this week, more to come next week. 


Yes, I'm sorry to send more river photos....can you tell I'm running out of interesting things to take pictures of in my area

. Me and Miriam who is basically our best friend because she accompanies us to divisions ALL the time. She's awesome. To clarify, she's not asian she's peruvian.


Almendra and Miriam

Rio Itaya

Saying goodbye to my girls Hna Liford and Hna Burrell

One last lesson with Hna Laura

This last one's an added bonus for comic relief. A sister in our zone paid to have a portrait done of her family in Iquitos and this is how it turned out. I died for like 10 minutes. She was mad because they ´´look like cannibals´´