Saturday, May 31, 2014

Smiles for Miles!

May 26, 2014

Hey everyone! 
Well I am having the time of my life!  I feel SOOO great everyday.  I love overcoming challenges, and feeling the comfort of the spirit daily.
This week went fantastically, we put a goal with Ward council to have a TON of baptisms on the 14th of June.  So far we have like 14 people who have accepted the baptismal invitation and are preparing themselves for that day.  3 of them are big time Doctors!  As I have said before, I don't even feel third world right now.  It's like good ol 'Merica except everyone speaks Spanish!  The work in downtown Tarija is historically slow because everyone is so well off.  However I think my companion and I are are on our way to set a mission record in one of the hardest areas.  We truly have been so blessed to see the hand of the Lord daily.  I am learning so much the importance of the people we love feeling the spirit in every lesson.  Many times as missionaries we just want to teach all the necessary lessons super fast so they can be baptized after just 3 quick attendances, however I am learning the lesson of patience and the importance of having SPIRIT PACKED lessons every time.  I am Smiling! =)
I went on a exchange with Elder Fasabi, and it was cool to be able to give him a lot of pointers and hype him up to give all he has got to the Lord.  It was fun visiting his area because it's a good ways out of the city and it was fun getting my shoes dirty again!  =)  We invited a family that he is teaching to be baptized on the 31st.  They accepted, and this Saturday they will be in White!
I love you all so much!
Elder Bender

                                                         Elder Bender and Elder Brasher

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's the Spirit

May 19, 2014
Hello everyone!

What a great week I have had!  =)

I love my companion Élder Brasher so much, he's the BEST!  I am
learning so much from him, and TOGETHER we are learning so much from our Savior.

Wednesday night we had a short exchange with the Assistants and that was a great learning experience and we set three baptismal dates with the Ledezma family.  They rock, AND this week they came to church=)

President Willard flew into Tarija and we had a leadership pow-wow
meeting.  It was so epic and just packed with the Spirit.  President
Willard is the Dumbledore of the Gospel!  I love that now I will be
able to be in a lot more meetings with him.  We learned a lot, and
applied those things the following days and finished up the week
really strong.

One highlight lesson from this week was when we taught our buddy
Danilo.  He is a Urologo (don't know how to say it in English, but the
type of doctor that specialized in the prostate and colon and stuff
like that)  Anyway, the dude is AWESOME!  For being so educated, he's
so humble.  Hes 33 and lives alone and is just a straight GENIUS!
It's really a different experience teaching someone who is so darn
intelligent.  In Friday night my companion and I had already taught
him The Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and we really just wanted
to get in there and let the spirit drown the guy.  We went in and said
very few words, let him teach us what he read from 2 Nephi 31, and
they the spirit came in so strong it was undeniable.  Honestly one of
the most spiritually strong moments I have ever had in my life.  We
invited him right then and there to pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon is
true.  He asked, and then paused for like two minutes during the
prayer, we were all there in silence and the spirit was just burning
inside each and every one of us.  After he closed the prayer he said
he feels a ¨undeniable sensation to act¨  He then accepted a baptismal
date for the 14th of June and came to church on Sunday.

I am learning so much guys it's insane!  I am loving every minute of
it.  I have been super busy with new responsibilities and haven't had
time to take ANY pictures, but I am hoping to send some next week.

I love you all!

Élder Bender

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hola de Tarija!

May 12, 2014


Last Thursday we had Transfers and my Son Elder Peñaranda is now
training a brand new Elder!  I am a Grandpa now!  haha   Also
President sent me to Tarija to be a Zone leader with my new companion
Elder Brasher!  I took a 50 minute plane trip to get to Tarija from Santa
Cruz, and in the end of every month the Zone leaders here fly to Santa
Cruz for the mission council.  I am going to rack up some frequent
flier miles!  haha

Tarija is BEAUTIFUL!  I love it.  My companion is from Oklahoma and he
rocks!  He is the homie, like even if we weren't companions and we
were at home we would be best of buds.

We also are teaching some STELLAR families.  So stoked=)

Thanks so much for all your letters, I love reading every one of them!

Élder Bender

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Destroying with Dengue!


Last Monday we went as a zone to the Jardin Botanico de Santa Cruz and it was a really great day!  It consisted of trying to sneak up on Ostriches, annoying Crocodiles, swinging from vines in the Jungle, and goofing around on a playground!  We are Jungle junkies.

However also Monday night the symptoms of Dengue hit me hard!  I keep working hard popping ibuprofen like a mad man (probably should send another bottle mom=)) until Thursday morning when we went to the hospital.  Quick blood and urine tests and a trip to the pharmacy and by 3 o'clock in the afternoon I was drugged up out walking around and preaching the gospel again!  In all honesty I felt like JUNK this week, but I can honestly say I didn't waste one minute of the Lord's time.  We still taught 39 lessons this week and 21 were with a member present!  We destroyed this week=)

I found lots of extra strength from  Mosiah 2:17 this week as I overcame my own pains, and did all I could to serve my King.  AND DON'T worry one bit because I am better now=)  It was a trial, and my faith was strengthened.

One Miracle that as a DIRECT FRUIT of my thrist to labor in the Lords Vineyard, was that on Thursday the mission doc told me I could rest until I felt better, but we went out to teach.  When we were out teaching we found Paul Burgos for the first time in 3 weeks!  He started working a TON and has been impossible to find.  Before he had a baptismal date, but it fell through because he didn't feel prepared.  Well this day as I put my own pains aside and served my Savior, we finally found Paul, and he told us that he wanted to be baptized that Saturday!  So, Saturday night we got dressed in white and my beloved friend and future missionary Paul Burgos entered into a covenant with the Lord.  It was a beautiful baptism!

I hope all in well!  Happy Mother´s Day to all the Moms that read this, but especially to mine! :)

Élder Bender

                                                                 Candy Apples, so yummy!

 One fatty spider we found in our house, I had convince my companion not to kill it with his barefoot!
 We went as a zone  to the Jardin Botanico of Santa Cruz, it was a really fun day!  We found a HUGE tortis!  It's like a foot and a half in diameter!
                                                          My companion and I goofing off!


                                        Huge ant hill!  Tha ants are the size of my thumbnail!

                                                   The biggest cactus I have seen in my life!

                                              The Lake!  Yes, there are crocodiles in the Lake!

                                            King of the Jungle!
                                                                      Big 'ol Cross!

                                                                 Elder Gines and I

                                                     La nina (my son in the girly girl pose!)
                                                          Getting Wicked in the Gator!

                                                        Jugamos como ninos en P-day!

                                                          We had lamb for lunch, here's the proof!

                                                    Our zone!  We work hard and play harder!

                                      Let's check the warranty on my Eccos!  They split on the bottom!

                                                           Paul and Marco
                                                           Baptism of Paul

                 This is what Quior looks like from  the top of our casa capilla (rented church building)
                                                             Our pensionista and family!

                                     Two families I love from Samaria!  Duran Family and Yamal family