Sunday, June 14, 2015

New Companion-Elder Torres from Peru

Letter from Ben on May 5, 2015

Hola Familia,

How are you all? Good I hope. It is great to hear from you.

This week was awesome! We have changes tomorrow. My companion is Valiente and is going home this Thursday. It's been crazy to think about. I've never been with a valiente before. I'm inheriting a lot of clothes and stuff he doesn't want to take home. Today we got to go to the temple with Élder Hobb's converts to see them receive their endowment and then be sealed. It was a beautiful experience!

The work is going well here in Belloni. We have started to find some people that really look like they could progress. I am going to be staying here another change with Élder Torres. He is from Perú and has been in the offices as Executive Secretary and is just now leaving.

This next week is going to be a little complicated for church because the individual departments (basically the same thing as a state) is going to be having elections for their respective governors. So the government is using all of the church buildings in the stake except for 2 smaller chapels that are really far away and in the middle of nowhere). So we're going to see what we can do to get people to church this week.....

That's really cool that dad is getting to work with that person from Brazil. (John has a Speaking Partner assigned to him for the Pathways program. They Skype once a week for 30 minutes to work on speaking English). I'm sure that will help him a lot not only to improve his English but by improving his English it can significantly improve his prospects of getting higher paying jobs. I love being with Latin-American companions and helping them learn English. My Spanish also improves a lot when I'm with them. Así que, ¡Aprovéchate Papá!

Also really cool to hear that update on the temple. I'm super excited to go to the temple in Indiana. So cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well this cyber café is really ,really slow and I've had to start over like 3 times. Take care!

Love you all lots. Take care!

Élder Benjamin Taylor

Missionary Work-They Need Help From the Members

Letter from Ben on April 27, 2015

Hola Familia,

Congrats Justin on getting your braces off. 

I've been doing well this week. My companion and I have been asked to do a presentation/workshop on how to work with the members that we're going to present to the mission leaders in the leadership council tomorrow, so that's exciting. 

We are going to talk about how we as missionaries can strengthen the members. There are lots of ways we can find people to teach as missionaries. We normally rely on talking with people in the street or knocking doors (not that talking with people is a bad thing, it's just one of the many ways we can work); but everyone knows that there is a much better way to work. In Chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel, it says:
"Work with members of the Church to find people to teach. The ideal situation is when members invite others to be taught and are present for the teaching. When members do this, more people are baptized and remain active in the Church. The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the responsibility alone of the missionaries. They succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found."
It's nothing new that we're inventing, it's just something that we don't do as a mission. Our trainers didn't do it, nor did their trainers nor their trainers trainers. And it has never been a focus for us as a mission. It's just another resource we aren't using. The members are also not very accustomed and we're trying to help them understand that we expect them to participate even more in their ward's missionary work. It's a little slow but there is a progress.

I'm doing fine health wise and loving my zone. The missionaries are doing great, getting along well with their companions, working hard, and being obedient. And that's what makes me extremely happy.

Next week I am going to need to put plans for Skype for Mothers Day. Just let me what hours you are going to be together so I can start planning.

Take care,

Elder Benjamin Taylor

Missionary Work-Would Like You to Answer Some Questions

Letter from Ben on April 20, 2015

He has a list of questions about missionary work in this letter. Please email Ben with answers to these questions. His email is and I know he would love to get your answers!

Hola familia,

¿Como estáis? Espero que cada uno de vosotros esté bien.

This week was wonderful. Lots of work. We ended the week dead tired, which we are happy about. We continue working with the members trying to strengthen them: Build their faith, teach them how to share the gospel, and invite them to act. It has been a wonderful experience and has been absolutely beautiful to see the desires so many of them have to share the gospel. The biggest obstacle that we're finding is that many simply don't know how to share the gospel or they're just afraid of how their friends will react, which makes it difficult to get references and take it from just a spiritual experience with the members to a productive finding activity. 

I wanted to ask you (as a family/ward) to answer a few questions I have been thinking about. If you want to talk to other members and have them respond that would also be awesome.

1) What is the biggest obstacle that keeps you from sharing the gospel with your friends and family?

2) Do you make an effort to invite non member or less active friends to your home the same time the missionaries are going to pass by? (maybe the night you have dinner with the missionaries, or in family home evenings, or in birthday parties or other important events like graduation/going away parties)

3) Are you working on Élder Ballard´s  challenges of inviting at least one person every quarter of the year to listen to the missionaries and of reading, studying and applying the teachings of Preach My Gospel?

"...we can all be more consistently involved in missionary work by replacing our fear with real faith, inviting someone at least once a quarter—or four times everyyear—to be taught by the full-time missionaries. They are prepared to teach by the Spirit, with sincere and heartfelt inspiration from the Lord. Together we can follow up on our invitations, take others by the hand, lift them up, and walk with them on their spiritual journey.
To help you in this process, I invite all members,regardless of your current calling or level of activity in the Church, to obtain a copy of Preach My Gospel. It is available through our distribution centers and also online. The online version can be read or downloaded at no cost. It is a guidebook for missionary work—whichmeans it is a guidebook for all of us. Read it, study it,and then apply what you learn to help you understand how to bring souls to Christ through invitation and follow-up. As President Thomas S. Monson has said,“Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’svineyard to bring souls unto Him.”  Elder M. Russell Ballard "Following up" 

4) Do you know of anyone that need the blessings of living the restored gospel in their lives? Now of these people that you have in mind, what actions will you take to introduce the gospel to them, and by when?

5) Do you have a deep desire to share the gospel? If no, what will you do to develop that desire?

6) Do you pray frequently to the Lord asking him to indicate to you who those people are that are prepared to receive the gospel? Are the references that I give to the missionaries received through inspiration, or are the the same people that I always say just to get the missionaries off my back?

I would appreciate the honest answers to whatever questions you feel comfortable answering. I want to know how to better help the members here in my ward, so any suggestions and opinions would be wonderful.

Love you all very much. Please take care.

Élder Benjamin Taylor

Exciting Week & Disappointing Week All At Once

Letter from Ben on April 13, 2015

Hola Familia,

How are all of you doing? Good, I hope. I am doing much better; I'm being diligent with my inhaler and am taking allergy medicine to keep from getting anything again.

It's good to hear everything is going well. So the secretaries are ordering my tickets now . That means that I only have THIS MUCH TIME left. ¡So that's crazy!

This week was amazing in a few ways and a real downer in other ways.

My companion and I had many amazing charlas and met quite a few amazing people. We felt more and more the company of the Spirit, but when Sunday arrived almost everyone fell through and either couldn't or didn't want to go to church. Investigators, Less Actives, and Recent Converts alike. 

We didn´t have any of the 5 investigators we had planned on, only 2 of the 12 less actives that had promised to come came, and only 4 of 9 recent converts were able to make it (as opposed to the normal 6 or 7).

I was thinking a lot about our work and I was thinking of what more my companion and I could have done. Sometimes it rains, hails, is hot, is cold: but the thing that frustrates me more than anything is when people aren't completely honest with us and they tell us "Si, si, si." but when it comes down to it they really meant "No, no, no."  I understand that it can be for various reasons, maybe a doubt that they might have, or fear to offend us, or even just straight up laziness. I just wish I was better at discerning that, and also helping them with that.

Regardless, I'm doing well. I hope everyone is taking care and is participating actively in the ward's missionary work. De no ser así, no hay porque tener misioneros en nuestro barrio. (Otherwise , there is no reason to have missionaries in our neighborhood.)

Love you all alot,

Take care,

Élder Benjamin Taylor

General Conference-God Answers Our Prayers

The letter from Ben on April 6, 2015

Hola Familia,

I hope everything is going well back home. General conference was amazing, right?

This week was amazing and ended even better when we had General Conference. We got the daughter of Clara (our recent convert), Paola, to go to General Conference. We had left after the first session to go look for people to invite to General Conference. We had passed by 3 other less actives and 1 other investigator to try to get them to go to General Conference. Those all fell through. My companion and I both felt like we needed to go to Clara´s house to go invite her daughter Paola, who earlier had denied to go. (Clara was already at the church watching the re-transmission of the General Women's Session). 

We weren´t anywhere near her house, in fact we were rather far from her. But we went already having had every other person fall through. We got there and told her at the door that we had felt that she needed to go the church with us and that we would pass by in 20 min to pick her up. She was shocked, and didn't respond anything. We were sure that that her silence meant NO. We weren´t even exactly sure why we were there we just felt like we need to go.

When we had told her that I am sure that she could hear the sincerity in our voice and hear the spirit testifying to her that she needed to go. So, after a few seconds of silence told us to give her those 20 min and she would get ready to go. We came back and she was waiting to go to church. I know that you don´t know her, but keep in mind that simply looking at her, she looks like a rebellious punk and has never been interested in going to a church. I had noticed that something had changed in her since the last time we had seen her.

Anyways, I'm going to omit the details and just say she went to the session. The young women of the ward took control and took her to a bench where they all sat next to each other. She really enjoyed her time and said that the talks answered some of the questions she had.

Now, when I was talking with Clara after the conference she told me: "The Lord listens to our prayers" she said crying. "Last night my daughter and I had a big fight. She was going to go out to the street and leave again." (she has had a history of leaving and leaving for weeks at a time staying in the street or with other kids in the street doing who knows what). "The fight escalated and she decided to leave. I immediately knelt down and prayed for her to return, for her safety. I then would read a few verses of the book of Mormon, then return to praying. You don´t know the fear I have when I know she is out in the street and I can´t go out and look for her."  

You must remember that Clara is confined to a wheel chair. She continued, "I had been on my knees praying like I never had before. When after about 25 min Paola walked in and knelt down with me and prayed with me. I know that God hears our prayers. If it weren't for what I've learned in these weeks I probably wouldn't have thought to pray. I probably would have called one of my sons to go look for her, which would have given the same results it always had of more rebellion and her running off for weeks at a time."

I am convinced that this is the change that she has had. It wasn't me or my companions words, nor the telephone calls we had made to invite her. It was God answering the prayers of this faithful mother. It made me think if I am really relying on the power of prayer like I should.

Love you all lots, take care!
Élder Benjamin Taylor