This is the view from the upper window of Ben's pench.
It's nice and cozy.
When it rains it doesn't rain directly on Ben,
it drips just off to the side
of his bed and there is a little bucket there to catch the drops. :)
This picture is at the Baptism of Elias. Here we have good ol`Elias, his girlfriend and the mom of his girlfriend.
Dear Family and Friends,
Going back to Colonia Bombal to baptize Elias was quite the experience! It was so fun to see him all dressed in white and know the baptism is a new beginning. That he is clean of his sins and that he is at peace. Just looking at how happy his is in this photo says a whole lot more than I can describe. Anyway, the trip was really tiring, but well worth it, something I will never forget.
Ok ,to answer some questions, I have only received one package of spicey crackers up until now but this question that mom sent me makes me think I will be receiving more which really brightens up the day! I have not gotten the pictures yet...to answer the question if I am saving the spicey crackers for Christmas....well, they are already gone. My missionary friends and I decided to eat them...I actually finished off the bag this afternoon in a bowl of cereal...what a GREAT treat! Thanks so much! My missionary friends loved the little spicey crackers, which I thought was great. Most times people think I`m pretty strange for eating them...I don`t blame them really, but it was fun to see that they liked them.
This week has been absolutly incredible. My Spanish is coming along so well with the Latin Companion. My accent is improving and I am able to Speak and understand much more quickly. Understanding others is stillthe hardest thing for me to do but I know that it will come along with Practice.
This week we spent a lot of time verfying contacts and having them not be there or them telling us to come back another time. We were trying as well to contact our progressing investigators this week too but a lot was falling through. If there is one thing I have learned on the mision is that when things get hard, it`s time to get excited because with a little more hard work there is a blessing lying just around the corner. This definitely happened. When I was in Colonia Bombal on Sunday, my companion went out with another missionary and there were three people that made it to church!! Maria...who is going to get baptized the 26th of this month. David...her 14 year old son with a mind as sharp as a tac, and Camila, a little 10 year old girl who has been coming to church with another member family because her parents are inactive. Blessings come, we just need to keep working hard.
Christmas is fast approaching and here it just keeps getting hotter. The first official day of Summer is, I think, the 21st of December. It is a little different to see the Christmas trees and the plastic Santa Claus in front of store in all of his snow gear when it`s not exactly the climate for that kind of stuff.
I have dropped a little weight in this area. I think it`s because I am controling how much I eat...ok, I haven`t done so well in the past two days, but we`ll get better....and my companion and I are trying to go running every morning. Throw in some ab workouts and hopefully things turn out all right.
I love you all, I`ll write next week! Talk to you all soon!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
This is the view from the upper window of Ben's pench.
Posted by Ben at 4:26 PM
Sunday, December 13, 2009
My Dear Family and friends,
I number one, feel blessed beyond measure to have a family that loves me as much as you all do. I never will be able to thank my Heavenly Father enough for giving me a family where there is so much love. I…really am speechless. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIFF!!! Way to be born!
I`ll just keep on writing. So yesterday we had Zone Conference and it was incredible! We learned about having companionship unity and I am excited to apply that in my companionship in our work in Pacifico.
I am getting used to my new area still, and I absolutely love it. The ward mission leader here is 21 (we just celebrated his birthday) and is SO willing to help us. The members are incredible! I really don`t know where to start. I have tons of things on my to-do list that I want to do…wow this week has flown by! It really seems like yesterday that I was e-mailing everyone.
Hey, AMAZING news, I am going to be able to make the trip back to Colonia Bombal this Sunday and baptize Elias! I asked President today and he gave me permission to make the trip. I am so excited and I WILL send pictures and let you know how it goes.
So this week it rained here for the first time in about 11 months and boy did it rain!! I was just about to go to sleep and I heard the sound of dripping water next to my bed, the roof was crying because it was raining so hard. So we put a bucket and some rags next to the bed and that took care of tha!! No worries!!
Oh, and I got the package of Spicy Crackers this week!!! Thank you so much!!! Oh man I am excited to eat those!!
Ok, so I need to go, I am so sorry this was such a scattered e-mail, but I love the work and miracles are happening here. Spanish is coming along very rapidly and I am going to work very hard in this next little while to the get Spanish down, get the accent down and be able to speak like a native. I really want that and I know it can happen. I love you all! Thank you all again for the thoughts and prayers!
Posted by Ben at 4:49 PM
Friday, December 4, 2009
Transfer to the Province of San Rafael! New companion: Elder Ramirez from Cali, Colombia November 30, 2009
I am so sorry I did not write to everyone last week. I had a mix up with the internet and only had about half the time I normally have to write and it ended up just not working out. I am so sorry.
These last two weeks have been quite the blur. Getting transfered to a new area, getting a new native companion, moving to a pench with 4 Elders in it. Quite the experience, and I am loving it! Having a Latin companion has already helped me improve my Spanish a ton. I learn new words and phrases every day and my mind is getting more accustomed to hearing the Spanish and I don`t get lost near as often now. It is a huge blessing to have this opportunity and I want to learn as much from it as I possibly can.
An experience ihad (I wrote it like that the first time I wrote it, then I corrected it, then I decided to leave it like that because it lookds like iPod) right before I left Colonia Bombal was incredible. Elias is an investigator we have been working with the whole time I had been in Colonia Bombal. About a week and a half before I left, we left a challenge with him and the Familia Chapana to read a little section, a little part of the Book of Mormon, every single day that week and after each time to pray and ask Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. We told them that we were going to do the challenge as well and come back in a week and see how it went. We wrote them little reminder notes and everything. We came back the following week and I asked Elias how it went, he said that he hd been reading in the mornings before he went to work (he works a ton, this was defnitely a sacrifice and an act of faith for him). He said that he felt good about it. I asked him about if he wanted to get baptized and he he feels like he needs to but was still unsure. I asked him if he believed that God could answer his prayers right there and right then. He said yes, we both and everyone really believed that God could answer his prayer right then and there. So we all kneeled down and Elias prayed to know if he should get baptized and then we waited on our knees for about a minute to wait for the answer to come. After we had sat ourselves down again I asked him how he felt. He started to cry and said that he knew he had recieved an answer. He was praying with real intent, and really wanted to know if he should get baptized and if these things were true and he got his answer. We were all very emtional and I asked him if he wanted to get baptized the 12th of December. He said yes.
This is a miracle!! Things like this don`t just happen. He is not the only person that week who we kneeled down with together and people got their answers. We did this two other times and each time they recieved their answer. It was a week of miracles. Absolute miracles and I testify of that.
Elias wanted me to come back and baptize him and I would absolutely love that! He is one of my most beloved friends, but I don`think that distances being what they are it would be doable. I live about 5 hours away in a bus from him now. Oh, if I could recieve permission I would LOVE to go back and baptize him on that day. But the thing that is most important is that he is getting baptized and I absolutely love that!!
The bus ride to my new area was long but it was on a DOUBLE DECKER bus and was way fun! I am now in an area called General Alvear in the Province of San Rafael I think. The area is called Pacifico. My companion is Elder Ramirez from Cali, Colombia. I don`t know if that is where you served your mission Dad but it`s way awesome to be a companion from the land where Dad left his tracks. This area is MUCH different than Colonia Bombal. My eyes were a little opened when I got here to how campo Colonia Bombal was. I`ll definitely be sending some photos, but its a whole lot smaller and we share the area with the Hermana`s. We are doing English classes every day during the Siesta in our church with the Hermana`s so our companions can learn English a little better.
We are in a district of 6. Elder Ramirez (Colombia) and I (Good ol`Lindon, Utah), Elder Mendoza (Honduras), Elder George (Portland) who is in just his second transfer), Hermana White (Utah), and Hermana Arrierez (I think).
Anyway, I`ll send this e-mail, then some pictures, then another e-mail if I have time. But I love you all and cannot wait until Christmas so I can talk to all of you. The work is going so well here and I absolutely love you all!!!!! Brady...I am so happy to see how you are playing! Keep working hard! I absolutey admire your hard work and dedication! Stay focused and remember your brother is really praying for your success.
P.S. For Preparation Day we had an Asado, a big Argentine thing. If you like eating tons of meat with lots of juice and fat, this is the thing for you. So, I really don't like it. It tastes really good, but I really do not like to eat that much fat. :) So, Bye for now!
Dear Family and Friends,
Sorry I don`t have tons of time, this computer started acting up and cut my time pretty short, but I`ll do what I can. Thanks so much for the updates of what`s going on. I`ll try to fill you all in on what`s going on.
We finally found out why Luis and Estella had been avoiding us. Maybe it was our Spanish, or maybe it was just Satan working WAY overtime, but somehow, Luis thought that tithing was 10% of our income annually PLUS an additional 50% of your income. Wow! Now we would have some pretty nice chapels if that were the case! Anyway, so we fixed that problem and they should progress a lot this coming week.
We went to Elias` birthday party yesterday. He turned 21 and we did a challenge with him...Daniel Chincha (remember the recent convert...he`s so incredible!) and the Familia Chapana who has been helping us our a TON with them that everyday they have to read a part of the Book of Mormon and then after reading their part pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is a true book. We made little reminder notes for everyone and everything. They are all going to get answers if they ask with real intent, and have faith in Christ. I felt so good about giving this challenge to everyone and I am so excited to see how it all turns out!
I love you all take care. :)
Love, Elder Hoglund
Posted by Ben at 8:03 PM