Monday, August 25, 2014

It is True

Muy Buenos Días a Todos! 

I want everyone to know that I Know the Gospel is true.

Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and He loves You.

He suffered and died for us, simply with the hope that we would accept his Gospel and Eternal Plan of Salvation.

Our Heavenly Father sent us here to this earth in Families for a reason.  So that we could cultivate experiences and learn more of his marvelous plan for us with our special loved ones.

Our Loving Father wants us to return to Him in these families.  EVERYONE together as one united group.  It is something that we EACH need to work on each and everyday, for in the end we are responsible for how we kept our own covenants with Him.

His Church has been Restored.

I love you all, and I love my Savior.

-Elder Bender 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

workin' Workin' WORKIN'

August 18, 2014

It´s been a great week, I am sure everyone who reads this is jealous of the life of a Missionary=) 
It´s the Best!

Monday we taught a FHE with the Stake President and his family, with the Castillo Family, and the Ledezma Family, it went beautifully!  I feel I'm family with them all.

First of all, this week there was a GIANT parade going all through my area celebrating the festival of San Roque.  Apparently that guy is a catholic saint, and he is the ¨saint of the Dogs¨  so everyone celebrates it as their dog's ¨birthday¨.  In the parade they march around the city carrying this giant china doll Mr. San Roque.  And, hundreds if not thousands of teenagers and people march behind him banging the heck out of their drums.  I don't believe they practiced much, or at all.  I got the impression that the goal was to simply make a racket!  They happened to march right by a house where we were teaching a lesson... Drove the spirit away for 20 minutes, but then after we finished up the lesson haha.

A recent convert family of 10 months from Bermejo (a town two hours south of here on the border with Argentina) came to a hospital here in Tarija on Wednesday in an Ambulance with their 16 month old baby boy who had fell in some water at home and drown.  He went over 10 minutes without breathing, and the doctors already had given the family forewarning that the boy wasn't going to make it.  We got a call from the Zone Leaders on Bermejo and quickly went over to the hospital to give the baby a blessing and comfort the family.  When we found the Dad in the hospital he didn´t even know we were coming, but was so happy to see two kids in ties.  The first thing he explained is simply that he wants his son to be able to be a missionary like us some day.  With a miracle we got past some Bolivian Police officers and got to critical care to bless the boy.  I found him on a 7ft long bed, and he only took up like 35 inches of it.  The saddest thing I had ever seen.  Tubes going in and out of him in every place imaginable, and they informed us that he was in a coma, but they had him breathing somehow.  We blessed him.  Taught a lesson to the parents.  Made arrangements for them to stay in the house of some members.  The bishop quickly met with them to work out medical detail and help needed.  And Sunday they came to church with us.  Informing us all that the boy is conscious, and should make a full recovery.

God works miracles, and loves his little future missionaries.  The church is true, and ready to help any, and everyone.

Saturday I got dressed in white and was blessed to perform another saving ordinance.  Fernando Castillo, the oldest son of the Castillo family (the family who I baptized in June with Elder Brasher) was also baptized.  He's 20 years old, a future missionary, and a great buddy of mine!  The entire Castillo family is happy that now when they go to the temple to be sealed, they ALL will be present.

The Church is true!

I love you all so much,

Thanks for your prayers and support!

Élder Bender

                                                                   Baptism of Fernando
                                                                     Castillo Family
                      These are the kids of our pensionista, the lady who cooks us lunch every day!
                                              Lunch Buddies!  We eat lunch together every day!

Monday, August 11, 2014


August 11, 2014
Hey Family and Friends,

This week I have had Meetings EVERYDAY.  So when I had the rare chance
to actually TEACH the gospel, I made the most of it and LOVED it.

Lunes -  We flew to Santa Cruz for Mission Leader Council meetings.
It was a great meeting, talked a lot about how we need to see people
as God sees them.  Their TRUE potential.  It's so applicable in every
situation, and it gave me strengthen to try and see the members of my
zone in this light and help them to reach their divine potential.

Martes -  More Mission Leader Council meetings.  Talked a TON about
bettering the ward council meetings and the important role we have in
helping the recent converts and less actives.

Miércoles -  My companion and I met with our Stake President to get
the low down on how the 4 wards in our zone are doing and how we can
strengthen these special wards of Zion.

Jueves -  We had ANOTHER Zone meeting, training our missionaries how
to more effectively help our Bishops in Ward Council.

Viernes - Zone Conference.  3 Zones from Tarija, and the Bermejo Zone
and the Yacuiba Zone came into town to learn from President.  It
honestly was the most spiritually powerful meeting I have been in my
entire mission.  As a mission we memorized The Living Christ Document,
and used it in this meeting to analyze the life of the Savior.  I love
my Savior.  He is EVERYTHING I have.  I owe my life to Him, and will
give every waking moment to build His Kingdom.

Sabado - We had a meeting with the Bishop and Ward mission leader to
put the new knowledge into practice!

Domingo -  Sacrament Meeting.  Covenants renewed, taught a great class
in Gospel Principles, and had a good handful of investigators

This week, NO MEETINGS!  All teaching and baptizing=)

I love you all and hope you all have a great week.

The gospel is true.  Jesus is the Christ.  He lives - He lives through
US.  Let's make sure that throughout this week those around us can feel
that same conviction.

Élder Bender

 Pictures of my Companion and I showing off our Bolivian Love in
commemoration of the 6th of Agosto, Bolivian Independence Day.

Pictures of the view and the Christ statue where we jog to each morning.

The dog followed us ALL morning in our jog, such a pal!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Missionary Work rocks, what more can I say?

August 4, 2014
Hey everyone!  Hope all is going well, and that your enjoying life as much as I am!  Being a missionary is the best.  Period.  Can I do this forever?

This week was super great.  9 People at church Sunday, stoked.  

Last Monday for Pday my companion and I went to a street fair they do once a year called Santa Anita.  It was cool.  Its famous here and they sell EVERYTHING tiny.  Like a cup the size of a penny.  A Cake the size of  my fist, etc.  Its like a little girls dream fair.  Most of it is doll sized stuff for little kids to buy.  The coolest part is for TINY kids, they can buy stuff with buttons!  Yep, that's right, any old button counts as a little coin for the niños.  

I bought Dad a cool Bolivian Souvenir in Memory of his Birthday.  Hope it was a great Birthday!  =)

Also bought a sweet Bolivian llama fur beanie.  Sweetness.

Also My companion and I bought matching super light weight rain jackets from a regular sports store. (See pic)

The work went great week.  We are giving it our all, and its paying off.

We had transfers and I am still with Elder Bailey, STOKED.  Gringos just know how to work HARD.

We had a GREAT zone meeting.  I stressed about it for a bit, trying to really make it something spiritually uplifting, and it turned out GREAT.  We talked about the POWER and AUTHORITY we have in our callings.  That really when we are inviting people to come to Christ, it isn't an invitation from us, but from the Prophet, and from the Savior himself.

August is going to be a great month.  So stoked=)

Love you all to pieces!

Elder Bender

Matching rain jackets with my companion!
Best bud Elder Woolf!

Time for Fun and Trials of Faith

June 28, 2014
Hello everyone=)
Last Monday we took the entire zone to play soccer against one of the neighboring zones, La Viña.  It was cool because Elder Wolters and Elder Taylor, the Zone Leaders from the other Zone, are some of my best buds in the mission.  So OBVIOUSLY it was a SUPER competitive game.  We made matching Zone shirts for our entire zone with the Colors of Tarija, Red, and White.  Meanwhile, the other zone also made matching shirts, so it made our soccer match even more legit.  Jerseys and all.
OBVIOUSLY my Zone won. ;)  We rented two soccer fields, one for Elders and one for Sisters, and our Elders won 12 to 10 and our sisters 7 to 2.  YES.
That was super awesome. 
Now speaking more on Trials of Faith.
We had a good handful of people with Baptismal dates for the 26th, and when Tuesday came around, not a single one had really CONFIRMED that they were going to be baptized that day.  I felt strongly that Ninfa Rojas was the most prepared of them all to be baptized, however it seemed as though a zillion distractions were being put into her life RIGHT that minute, and we couldn't even teach her!
My companion and I decided to do a special fast for her, that would could teach her and help her to feel the spirit so that she could be baptized.
The Lord heard my prayers, and Saturday we were in white once more.
I know there is SO much power that comes with fasting, and prayers.  I know the Lord listens, and listens to ALL of us, even those of us down here in Tarija, bordering Argentina. (Mormon 9:21)
I love you all, and hope that you too have trials that strengthen your faith. 
Elder Bender

                                                            Our Zone!!

                                                                  Ninfa's baptism!