Monday, April 27, 2015

It's a Hastenin', join in!

April 27, 2015

Bom dia,

Only one thing makes a missionary happier than to hear that their investigators are receiving revelation and making changes through their study of the Book of Mormon, that is when the missionary's family is reading and being changed by that sacred book.  Good work:)

President Willard pulled me aside the other day and shared with me something he feels that as a mission we are lacking.  That simply is to help EVERYONE know that the Book of Mormon is true. He shared with me the following scriptures:

57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenanteven the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which have given them, not only to saybut to do according to that which have written—
 58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’skingdom; otherwise there remaineth scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the childreof Zion.
 59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, say unto you, Nay.
 60 Verily, verily, say unto you who now hear my wordswhich are my voice, blessed are ye inasmuch as you receive these things;  

If you currently are not seeing miracles from your study of the Book of Mormon, I invite you to change that and "receive" the truth more fully.

I studied my Patriarchal blessing and was reminded of how blessed I truly am.  How blessed each and every person who reads this letter truly is.  God has clearly said, "Where much is given, much is required."  May we not let another second go by without acting to bless the lives of other with our precious knowledge.

This Saturday we had a ward missionary activity that we had planned.  It went really well!  We started off playing some get to know you games that way the visitors could get to know the members better.  Then we did a church tour that went spectacular!  We had assigned members to present a certain part of the church, and the groups went by and learned what we do in that part of the church and why.  It was great!  At the end all the groups got together in the chapel to learn about the Sacrament and there we watched the "Because He Lives" video.  It was a great activity, and many investigators had great experiences!  Right afterwards everyone went to the baptismal font, where I baptized Raul and Nahir Choque.  All in all it was a fantastic week!

The work is a hastenin', come and join us!

Élder Bender 

 We found a GREAT mexican food restaurant.  In fact it was so great I forgot to take another picture after the food had came!  haha.  Tacos<3  are hard to find in Bolivia!
  Raul and Nahir Choque were baptized.  They are Veronica Choques kids (Veronica was baptized 1 month ago.)  Their dad, Raul snr. will be getting baptized any day now!  Stay tuned=)

Good News all around

April 20, 2015

I am happy to be alive!  I am happy to be a missionary!  I am happy to represent my Savior!

It has been a great week of proselyting with Elder Fuentes.  We have found a TON of new investigators.  What a blessing it was, literally it one miracle after another as we found anxious people to hear the gospel.

Elisabeth is one of our new investigators, and she is really eager to learn more about the gospel.  Her husband passed away, and she has been left with her 1 year old baby boy.  She loved learning about eternal families, and I love teaching about them!

I am so grateful for my eternal family.  What a precious truth to share with everyone.

We also participated in a big move!  We helped the sister missionaries from Trompillo move to their new house, and man alive they had a TON of stuff!  To make matters worse, they live on the 3rd floor of their new apartment building! 

I was busy doing lots of visa tramites last week, and I am sure this week won't be any different!  I am going to town with the mission lawyer trying to get everyone with a current visa.  It'll be a lot of work!

Elder Bender

Monday, April 13, 2015

A new chapter

Good morning family and friends!

This week was transfers week, and in the end I can say that everything went wonderfully!  Was I superrrr stressed?  Of course!  Haha, but there weren't any major problems, and MANY tender mercies.

Monday I bought flights and started coordinating all the transfer travel. 

Tuesday the new missionaries came, oh how I love new missionaries! Haha they are the best!  I went to the airport with the APs and President and Sister Willard to pick to up.  As we got everyone on the micro to drive to the office (45 min. from the airport) I had a strong impression to ask one of the 15 missionaries if he had his passport.  I asked without hesitating, and quickly he found out he had left it in security!  We stopped the micro and ran back to customs and luckily got there right before they closed everything down.  What a blessing! 

Wednesday was the day of movement, and when all was said and done, it went well.

I have a temporary new companion, Elder Fuentes, the financial secretary.  There are two "extras" in the office with us for two weeks before they finish the mission, so one is with my old companion Elder Butts to have three companionships working our areas instead of two.  I assume that after they go home I`ll return to be with Elder Butts.

We taught some great lessons with Elder Fuentes, and it looks like in a few weeks Raul and Nahir Choque - Veronica Choques kids - will be baptized too.  

Have a great week,

Elder Bender 

Monday, April 6, 2015

185 year legacy

Family and friends,

What a blessing it was to come closer unto Christ this week, and to hear from his inspired leaders.  

Gratitude is what keeps coming over me today as I think what to write.  We truly have been given so much.

I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement, that redeems me daily, that washes away guilt, and helps us forget our own selfish desires.

I am grateful for my eternal family, and the restored keys that make that statement possible.

I am grateful for a living prophet, and I sustain him in my heart, and in my daily labors. 

Tuesday two new missionaries came to the mission (1 week before the transfer date) and I was able to spend some time with them. Wednesday we had our leadership council meeting, and also we did a lot of tramites for visas.  Wednesday evening Elder Butts and I went to the hospital to be with Elder Bair while his companion was in ICU.  We were with him from 10-2am, enough time to play Phase 10! Friday we did a lot more visa tramites.  

In the midst of all the bustle of mission planning for transfers, my companion and I have been able to talk with a lot more people about Christ's resurrection.  I know without a doubt that He lives, and that He will come again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He was born in a manger in the meridian of times.  He restored His church 185 years ago today, and he continues to guide it through divine revelation daily.  To doubt for one second that Christ isn't 110% attentive in instructing His leaders in each decision they make, is doubting His endless love and power.  May we share this good news with everyone we know and love, it is indeed our duty.  I know that each one of us can receive a renewed faith in Him and His church as we continue to humble ourselves and pray to Him.  Don't just keep your faith, but strengthen it.  "Don't leave for tomorrow what can be done today."

Élder Bender

                                        Bowling pics with Elder Bailey, Elder Juarez, Elder Butts
                                                    Burger King knights in shining armour pics

                                                 Twinner ties with my companion, Elder Butts
                                             Midnight phase 10 game in the emergency room
                              After running through the rain to get to conference!  With Elder Garcia 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Because HE Lives

March 30, 2015

It makes me happy to hear that you are all doing so well! :)

Thanks for all your letters and updates.

Last Monday we went and played tennis for Pday with the assistants.  It was way fun.  It was super hot out, but we made the most of it!  I want to play more tennis...

This week was full of miracles.  We found a man named Jorge that lived in Fairfax Virginia and had gone to the D.C. temple visitors center many a times.  I told him I was born in Fairfax and that just kick started the conversation!  He accepted a baptismal date, and I feel like it is no coincidence that the Lord has put me here at this time to help him and his family come closer to Christ.

Due to elections yesterday, we couldn't go out to teach until 6pm, so I stepped up to the plate and cooked 6 pounds of ground beef and made all the office mates tacos!  They turned out super good.  Tacos aren't common in Bolivia, so it was a real treat:) 

I know that because He lives, we can all live happily!  I see proof of that as I read my family's letters each week.  We truly are a happy go Mormon family!  We can all find solace and healing in Christ's everlasting atonement.  He died and LIVED AGAIN, so that we all may be whole.  Watch this video called Because He Lives (He Lives)

I am currently sharing this video with everything that moves here in Bolivia to help this blessed people feel Christ's love, and obtain an everlasting joy. Share it with your friends!  Invite them to Conference! Invite them to come unto Christ.

Élder Bender  

                                                                                       Playing Tennis on Pday!

                                                                    Enjoying the cookies from grandma!
                                                            We had an oreos break in the office... we ate a lot..
                                           The North mission secretaries, partners in crime!  Love those guys.

"He is Here"  office picture with the office crew, and Elder Oliart (my trainer)!  He came back to SC to visit and stopped by!
                                                                                                 Taco Lunch!

                                                                  My study room, filled with love from the family!
                                                                 Random Pictures from my time with Elder Garcia!

Be the Blessing!

March 23, 2015
Hey family and friends,

Thanks for the support you give to the local missionaries in your wards, it is the most direct way we can show our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the restored gospel.

Last Monday we played wally.  It was so fun!  Tuesday we had an interview conference, and for the first time in about 10 months I had a formal interview with President Willard!  The other times I had always given my interview time to other missionaries that needed more help.  I mean, I talk with President every day, so its not like I needed his attention or anything, but I really did feel God's love for me as he expressed the trust he has in me.  I learn each and every day the importance that our "shadow" has.  I mean the impression we leave on people.  A simple smile can change someone's day, choosing to laugh instead of complain not only is healthier, but it shows Christ's love.

In my district meeting, I taught the district about making and keeping commitments.  I am 100% positive that without constant action to keep the flame of our faith burning strong, it'll go out.  The winds of temptation and noise of the world want to put out or hush our faith. He want us to be "too busy" with other things.  Whether the missionaries come to your house to help you make commitments to repent, pray, study the scriptures, or not, we all need to make our own personal commitments with God.

We fasted and prayed for Veronica Choque because she was having a lot of tough times ever since she decided she wanted to be baptized.  She joined us in fasting and prayer two weekends ago, and this last Saturday was happily baptized a member of Christ's  restored church.  She truly is a Latter-day Saint.  As she bore testimony of the restored church I was deeply impacted.  

For those who don't know, I found Veronica and her family in a street contact.  I know God guides us towards his children.  God will guide you to change the life of someone in need.  Be the blessing that someone else needs.

With love,
Élder Bender