Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Monday, August 7, 2017

Light Our Minds With Heaven's View

Hello all!  I hope you're having an awesome week thus far!

This week has been amazing.  You may have heard that we're in Rustenburg, but we're also a village called Phokeng!  We focus primarily on Rustenburg, but we often travel to Phokeng throughout our week.  Complete with dirt roads, fruit trees, and towering mountains, this corner of South Africa is a little slice of heaven.

This week, as we were traveling in Phokeng for an appointment, we had to slam on the brakes to avoid running over a kitten that had waddled into the middle of the road.  We quickly exited the car, ran to the wandering puss, and scooped it up in an attempt to save it from oncoming traffic.  After our daring rescue, we asked nearby homes whether or not the kitten belonged to them, but none claimed the poor creature.

So here we were, standing on the side of the road, cuddling a lost kitten no older than a month, with no idea of how to help our newfound friend.

We quickly traveled to the home of a nearby member, explained the situation, and ran off to buy a carton of milk for the poor little kitty as the member watched over it.  Together, with the help of the member's children, we managed to give the kitten some much needed nourishment.  We also discovered that it was a she!

The members happily agreed to look after Simba, the newly-named kitten, for the weekend until we could return on Monday and give Simba a home at the SCPA, a local animal shelter.  Elder Brumpton and I visited the members on Sunday after attending church, and I had the chance to hold Simba again.  By this point, Simba had become quite comfortable with me and she quickly snuggled up in my arms for an afternoon nap.  I've never been much of a cat guy, but I found that my heart was melting for this cute little fella.

This Monday morning we drove to the member's house to pick up Simba for the last time.  What we found shocked everyone: little Simba had passed on during the night.

After saying one last goodbye to our little friend, we began our journey back to Rustenburg.  While driving I caught myself pondering about life, in all its variety and shapes.  Like Christ of old, I have on occasion considered the birds and the lilies, and how God so graciously provides for them.  Yet, in crossing paths with little Simba, I've developed a even greater appreciation for the gift of life.  I'm grateful that I had the chance to know Simba and to provide a shelter for her as she entered into her rest.

As Simba has run her course, so will we all.  But we don't have to be uncertain of what lies ahead!  God has revealed his plan for our salvation.  From this Plan of Salvation, we discover that we lived with Heavenly Father before this life, that we came to Earth to inhabit a mortal body and to learn to apply the Atonement of Christ, and that we have the chance to inherent eternal life in the mansions eternity.  This knowledge is disclosed from billions of God's children upon the Earth. This is a reason why I'm serving as a missionary of God because, like tens of thousands of full-time missionaries like me, I desire for all to feel the deep peace that comes from this plan.  For those of us who have a knowledge of these things, we can take it a step higher.

Bonnie L. Oscarson once said of the truths of the gospel such as this plan,"We have a knowledge of these things, but do we believe them? If these things are true, then we have the greatest message of hope and help that the world has ever known. Believing them is a matter of eternal significance for us and for those we love.  To believe, we need to get the gospel from our heads into our hearts!"  To illustrate how one takes the gospel from the head to the heart, we need to go to the beginning of my missionary experience.

At the beginning of my mission, I learned how to testify of what I knew to be true in the restored gospel.  Yet, as the weeks continued and as I continued to testify to strangers about simple truths of eternity, I often found myself questioning if I really knew if all these things were true.  Yes, I had been raised to sing songs about following God's Plan of Salvation and to read the word of God since my earliest days, yet I was uncertain if I knew if I had a bone-deep conviction of it all.

One night, long after sleep had escaped from my mind, I knelt in prayer and expressed to my Father in Heaven that I believed everything to be true, yet desired a deep spiritual witness of its truthfulness from the Holy Ghost so that I could be more bold in declaring to others the truthfulness of the gospel.  Immediately after closing my prayer in the name of Christ, I heard a voice speaking to my heart.  The simple phrase it communicated to me transported everything I had ever learned about the gospel deep into the sinews of my being: "You know it's true."

And it is true. All along I had known that the truths taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was true.  All that was missing in my conversion was a witness from the Holy Ghost that it was the complete truth, perfect and without spot.  This experience redefined my testimony.  From that point onward, I have had no fear to testify of the gospel because I know, from a power beyond myself, that it is true.  In testifying to others of my witness of the gospel, I've discovered that a testimony of the restored gospel that is shared with others allows them the opportunity to feel for themselves the divine testimony of the gospel.  Yet a testimony from another isn't enough to gain a bone-deep conviction of the truth.

Bonnie L. Oscarson also said about conversion,"True conversion is a process that takes place over a period of time and involves a willingness to exercise faith.  It comes when we search the scriptures instead of the Internet. It comes when we are obedient to the commandments of God. Conversion comes when we serve those around us. It comes from earnest prayer, regular temple attendance, and faithful fulfillment of our God-given responsibilities. It takes consistency and daily effort."
Keolebogile (Lebo for short) is going through this process currently.  She's investigating the gospel at fifteen years old, and she is such an amazing girl!  When we first met her, we taught her about the Plan of Salvation.  She found so much joy in knowing where she came from before mortality, what her purpose was for living on Earth, and who she could return to live with after death.  Her desire to return to God had never been greater to that point.

This week we taught Lebo how she can gain a deep, abiding testimony of the Plan of Salvation and other truths in the restored gospel: by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.  After discussing with her this process, we asked her what she was feeling.  She sat in silence for a brief moment, analyzing how she felt.  Eventually she looked us in the eye and said, with simple conviction and quiet enthusiasm,"I need to know it's true."

She has accepted the invitation to read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon.  For if it is truly more of God's word revealed to man in these days, that means that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's kingdom upon the Earth, preparatory to his Second Coming.

Conversion isn't easy.  It requires daily, consistent effort.  But, after a period of time and an experiment of faith, it can be achieved.  I am converted every day to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know, with a power beyond myself, that it is true.  Let us all gain this conviction so that we can wake up with determination and go to be with peace and assurance, regardless of what may come our way.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Find Yourself

A destination can be a place where we're going.  Bright lights and the fast lane, crashing waves on the coasts of Cali, tropical jungles near the equator--vacations, dreams, adventures, all of these have an overarching sense of excitement and adrenaline.


A destination can be a place where we're being sent.  Discerning the difference between the two is often the quest that we are all subconsciously striving to discover. Will our destination reward us with accomplishment or joy? Will our destination allow us relaxation or nirvana?

We've heard over and over again that 'Joy is in the journey.'  We've heard over and over again that we need to take a step back from focusing on the end result and enjoying the way we get there.  In reality, however, we need to know if our destination a place that we're going or a place where we're being sent.

Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.
Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

This message sounds confusing, doesn't it it?  To stop looking, searching, and losing only to start looking, searching, and losing all over again.  What in the world does this message mean?

The key to figuring out this message is found deep inside the question:  'Is my destination a place where I am going or being sent?'  Differentiating between the two takes a lot of pondering and internalizing.

A destination could be where we purchase a plane ticket and hotel room; or could be found on one of our Pinterest boards blanketed with sandy beaches or snowy mountains; or could be riding a board either on a wave or down a slope.  But are these the destinations we should really be searching for? Are these temporary, short-lived destinations where our focus should be? It's time for us to get off of the internet, search engines, and social media in our quest to find the ultimate destination. It's time for us to...
Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.
Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

The words of a world-wide famous rapper may get us closer to arriving to the answer: "You've got to lose yourself...  you've only got one shot, do not miss this chance...  this opportunity comes once in a lifetime."

You might be thinking,"How in the world do we lose ourselves?" or "Why in the world is it only once in a lifetime?"  To the wisest of people, it's the easiest question in the world! They have spent their life entertaining the quest of looking, searching, and losing. They've mastered the very meaning of losing yourself.  They don't own a nice car, they don't vacation every other week in the year, and they don't spoil their children with a personal debit card. Yet they travel 24/7 around the world, they hold massive conferences tuned into by millions, and they motivate every soul they come into contact with.  Who are these people? They are those who have lost themselves. They have absolutely mastered it and, because they are the best in their field, they have found the ultimate destination.

No need to fear: you are about to find out the secret to their success. Surprisingly, the secret has been known for millenia.  It's found in the best-selling book, which just happens to be the oldest book in the world. To unlock the secret, turn to the Bible. The best-kept secret is found in Matthew 16:25.  It reads as follows:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

This verse is taken from when the man named Jesus of Nazareth is speaking to twelve of his most avid followers.  They followed him, witnessing many miraculous events and awe-inspiring words of wisdom every day in every location that they were with him. This Jesus is renowned in the world's most popular religions as either a great teacher, an inspired prophet, or a Messiah. Even now, thousands of years after his death, he is still quoted by millions of preachers, teachers, and leaders for his wisdom-saturated words.

In this short verse, we find the answer to the riddle that has been repeated again and again:

Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.
Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

Jesus acclaimed himself as the Son of God, the leader of God's forces for justice and mercy. The twelve men, the apostles, who followed him had received a divine witness that Jesus was the Christ that had been prophesied by the prophets of old. They earnestly gave heed to his words. When he spake to them yet again on this occasion, they gave strict attention to what he said.  Let's look again at the verse:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Simply put, whoever loses their life for the sake of Jesus Christ shall find it. To the rest of the world, it may take a bit of time to understand his saying. For myself I've finally understood what that remarkable man meant. And I've found myself! After 20 years of searching for my ultimate destination, I've discovered the location of my destination!

This destination wasn't just where I was going. Plane tickets, hotels rooms, and transport was a big part of it. The way I found the destination was because I was, quite literally, sent there. Here's a picture that shows where I was sent:

Looks exotic, right?  Complete with a chain-linked fence, tin shack, and limited yard space, this is where I found the ultimate destination.  If I had seen five years ago that this would be where I'd find myself, I honestly would have laughed out loud.

This little spot of ground is found in South Africa, where I've been serving as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I received a call by one of his designated representatives that I would embark on a full-time voluntary mission for the space of twenty four months.  After thousands of dollars spent, hundreds of miles traveled, and a few moments of rest, I arrived in this beautiful country.  To some, what is imagined in South Africa are giraffes, lions, and monkeys.  To others, what is found is poverty, corruption, and danger.  For myself, I have found the meaning of what Jesus Christ meant all those years ago.

I now know what is meant by the words:

Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.
Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

All my life I was looking for where I could find myself. I was searching myself for what I desired to accomplish out of life.  Through that painful process, I lost a lot of valuable time that I could have spent in wiser pursuits. I lost my sense of direction in life. I lost what it meant to lose myself.

As I answered the call of Jesus Christ and embarked in his service, I didn't have all the answers. To be honest, I had no idea how the end results would appear as. But as I started looking for ways to serve others, as I searched for those who I could help in some way, I lost myself. I discovered that, in saving my life in an attempt to make the most out of it, I completely lost its meaning. Yet as I closed my eyes and stepped forward in faith, believing that I could make a difference, I found a greater purpose in life. I found souls that needed divine help. I found myself.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Stop looking for purpose. Stop searching for meaning. Stop losing hope. Start looking for ways to serve. Start searching for charity. Start losing yourself. You'll be surprised about how much you'll accomplish.

So, returning to the question 'Is my destination a place where I am going or being sent?'  Well, it's both!  If you wish for the ultimate destination, eternal life, your destination is a place where you're going.  But more importantly, it's where you're being sent and who is sending you. If the one sending you is Jesus Christ and you're are being sent for His sake, you'll find yourself and the ultimate destination.

Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.

Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Spiritual Twist

Eta! Hallo! Sanibonani! Lumela!

I hope that this letter finds you happy and healthy.

I'm going to begin this week's letter with a slight twist:

Betty Botta bought some butter;
“But,” said she, “this butter’s bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o’ better butter
Will but make my batter better.”
Then she bought a bit o’ butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So ’twas better Betty Botta
Bought a bit o’ better butter.

Tongue twisters are an peculiar source of fun, especially when one attempts to recite one in a second language.  Like many of you are aware, in this side of South Africa, the language spoken most frequently, isiZulu, contains a lot of clicks and sounds that would twist your tongue in an everyday conversation.  However, if you journey down to the cape, you'll find yourself among the Xhosa people, whose language is saturated to the brim with a vast arsenal of clicks and sounds.

If you ever find yourself crossing paths with a Xhosa man/woman, I highly recommend that you kindly request from them a Xhosa tongue twister.  But be warned, you will be blown away from what you will hear coming out of their mouth.

Here are a few examples (the 'q' makes the click that sounds like popping a bottle):

1. Ugqirha uligqabhuzile iqhakuva elisemqolo kaqondie qhumfu
2. Iqaqa laqabaleka iqhini latyibalika laqhawula uqhoqhoqho

To any non-native Xhosa, the spectacular play on the Xhosa language in these tongue twisters invokes smiles and applause.  But if they were to investigate the meaning of these twisted tales, one would be left in confusion.

Here are the translations of the previous tongue twisters:

1.  The doctor squeezed the pimple on his back.
2. The polecat crossed the hill, slipped, and broke it's larynx.

Like 'Betty Botta' and her bitter butter, these tongue twisters entertain only the auditory senses, leaving logic and reason less than amused.
Luckily, some tongue twisters can leave us with a more  indelible impression.  In my latest reading of the Book of Mormon in isiZulu, I discovered one such tongue twister hidden deep within its pages:

'Ngalokho-ke, kufanele kube khona ukholo; futhi uma kufanele kube khona ukholo kufanele futhi kube khona ithemba; futhi uma kufanele kube khona ithemba kufanele futhi kube khona isihe.'

After a failed attempt in translating the meaning of this poem with my limited knowledge, I reverted to my English copy of the Book of Mormon.  What I read left a profound imprint on my soul.  Quoting from Moroni 10:20 :

'Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.'

Having read this scripture many times previous, it wasn't until I stumbled across this spiritual tongue twister that I had desired a deeper study of this verse.  As I investigated the scriptures for such understanding, another famous scripture popped out as I read:

'And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.' (1 Cor 13:13)

As I continued to study, I uncovered a more meaningful meaning of charity.  While I could go on for millennia preaching about the benefits of charity and the need one must cultivate in order to attain this divine gift, I believe you would benefit greater from .  This activity won't take more than 30 seconds and will bless you with a more powerful focus towards becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

Read through this inspired list from 'Preach My Gospel'.  Keep a prayer in your heart that the Spirit may assist you in your personal reflection as you honestly seek on how you may more perfectly attain the gift of charity:

I feel a sincere desire for the eternal welfare and happiness of other people. (Mosiah 28:3)
When I pray, I ask for charity—the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:47–48)
I try to understand others’ feelings and see their point of view. (Jude 1:22)
I forgive others who have offended or wronged me. (Ephesians 4:32)
I try to help others when they are struggling or discouraged. (Mosiah 18:9)
When appropriate, I tell others that I love them and care about them. (Luke 7:12–15)
I look for opportunities to serve other people. (Mosiah 2:17)
I say positive things about others. (D&C 42:27)
I am kind and patient with others, even when they are hard to get along with. (Moroni 7:45)
I find joy in others’ achievements. (Alma 17:2–4)

That was quick, eh?

From what you felt and what you thought as you peered through this list, I hope you have narrowed out a few points to improve on in your path of discipleship.  I invite you to study out this divine gift of charity.  I benefited much from my studies on this topic, and felt a guiding hand as I read through pages referenced about the topic of charity.  I know the Spirit can help you discover something greater if you will simply open your scriptures and pray in the name of Christ for this gift.

As I've been released as an Assistant this week, I appreciate the moments that armed me with experience to overcome Satan, to exercise charity, and to follow Christ.  I love being a missionary in this consecrated land of South Africa!  With my last 12 weeks of my mission ahead of me, I am looking forward to an eternity in the service of God.

I'll catch you next week in Rustenburg/Phokeng!

Elder Benson

Note: This below video is from our skype visit with Elder Benson last year. He's sharing a tongue twister in Xhosa.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Baba Benson Goes to Swaziland

Busy can't even describe the state that we've been in during the past two weeks!  We held an emergency MLC this Monday to discuss a few items.  We were also joined by our new ZL's out in Swaziland! Because they haven't received visas to allow them entrance to South Africa, they joined us via Skype.

Like previously mentioned, conducting workshops during interviews was a success.  Here are the pictures as promised:

After the workshops, we hit a bittersweet note as we dropped off the Wells at the airport.  Together they served valiantly in the battle against dust, cockroaches, leaks, and unmoved furniture.  Elder Adams and I almost went them on their detour to Paris, but decided it would be better for us to stay because of the big week ahead.

The Blacks, another beloved senior couple, are leaving to return home.  It was a highlight of my mission serving with them out in Mpumalanga.  They treated us elders to zip-lining, elephant riding, Kruger National Park, self-hosted Pickleball Tournaments, and countless meals.  They gave our four-man district  a home when we were four hours from everyone else.  I'll miss them kakhulu!

All the senior couples and office staff joined up at El Rosa, one of the only decent Mexican restaurants in South Africa, to celebrate their honorable release.  (Also pictured in the restaurant are the Duncan's, a couple out in Klerksdorp.  ¡Feliz cumpleaños Sister Duncan!)  The food was almost as great as the people we were with.  Sister Hunt (Mission Office Secretary) dared me to try the hottest salsa on the menu, which I boldly accepted.  Little did I know that, after downing a hefty spoonful of liquid death, I would soon be spitting and sputtering and guzzling any drinks within my reach.

After conquering the salsa, I felt ready to take on another Zone Conference with the staff. This Zone Conference was one of the bigger hurdles to jump, especially since we've needed to add an extra day to accommodate the Swaziland/Mbombela Zone.  Zone Conferences in the SAJM require a lot of preparation, but always turn out to be a highlight of the transfer.  It was bittersweet hearing Elder Zitumane bear his departing testimony.  What an awesome companion he was!

The morning following the two Zone Conferences in Roodeport, we began the long drive to Swaziland.  If you haven't read from the previous weeks, Swaziland has been assigned to our mission.  It was formerly in the Mozambique Maputo Mission (Portuguese speaking), but was given to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission (English speaking) on the account that two of Swaziland's most spoken languages are English and siSwathi (a relative of Zulu).  After heaven's approval, Swaziland joined our borders and twelve elders joined our midst.

Four and a half hours later, we arrived at the Mbabane chapel for interviews. Pictured is Elder Feliciana, giving you a tour of the Employment Center and the Library.

One of the elders I had talked to over the phone prior to our arriving in Swaziland was Elder Alvarado.  Earlier in his mission in Mozambique, while waiting for a new companion to arrive, a conflict between the government and rebels blocked anyone from entering his area, leaving him without a companion!  He continued to teach his area with members for two and a half months until they could vacate him from the area.  His father is Brazilian and his mother is Honduran, he speaks four languages, and loves telling scary stories.

While President got to know the new elders, the ZL's and I hurried to get some food for everyone.  While waiting for the food, we played a contacting game, in which we each took turns approaching people in the mall with a specific word given to us by the other elders (such as elephant, banana, monkey, etc.) that we had to say within the first ten seconds of the conversation.  If we successfully included the word and either handed out a card or gained a referral, a point would be earned. (For prospective elders/sisters: if you are to play this game, remember that the purpose of this game is to invite others to come unto Christ.  Nothing should be done that would interfere with the Spirit of the work.)

After all was said and done, I came up short.  Unfortunately the video is too large to share which shows what the ZL's decided to have me do for losing the game.  Let's just say I wouldn't suggest drinking a raw egg to anyone after this encounter.

All the elders in the zone are either Brazilian or American, and all speak English and Portuguese.  Elder Feliciana helped me to learn a lot of Portuguese this weekend, which was much easier due to my four years of Spanish in school. (¡Gracias Señora Dimas!)  They're also photogenic!

Saturday's Zone Conference was very memorable with these elders.  Their previous mission specifically told them not to bring suits on their mission, which explains all of the white shirts.

Elder Adams and I attended church with the ZL's at the Ezulwini Branch.  I'll be the first to say that these saints know how to sing!  (If you hear a monkey screeching in the background, don't be mistaken; it's me trying to sing.)

After the block meeting, we rejoined with the staff and began the long commute back to Roodeport.  The wasn't so long as it was when we first drove in, mainly because I zonked out after crossing the border.  I loved this weekend in Swaziland!
Pictured is E Brown, Mina, and E Feliciana

Other highlights of the week:
Birthday Package from Mom😊

Finding a Hidden Room in the Roodeport Chapel ('Adventure is out there!')

Dropping of Elder Eki at the Airport

Just Juice and Spot It👌

Cool Quote Wall in Swaziland

Showing President How To #selfie with a Selfie Stick😂

Monday, July 17, 2017

Up and Down with SA Children


In case you can't see the above video, try clicking this link.  It's worth a watch--super cute!

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Big Averments


I've been in the dark for over a month, but I aver to ameliorate!  The gospel is rolling forth here in Africa, and it's never been quicker!  The Johannesburg Mission has just been given Swaziland to further the work with the Swazi people!!  I've spoken to a handful of the missionaries that side and they are more than excited to become part of the Joburg Mission.  They are a mix of Brazilians, Hondurans, and Americans whose ages vary from a month left to six months out, yet all prepared to kick it into the next gear.

We've finished missionary interviews workshops today President Leavitt interviewed 120 missionaries in four days!  That man is remarkable!  We are holding two Zone Conferences tomorrow and Thursday, and we are traveling to Swaziland for their Zone Conference this weekend!  We're always busy, which is to be expected when you're on the Lord's errand, and we are exhausted, which is to be predicted when you're on the Lord's errand, but we've never been happier, which is guranteed when you're on the Lord's errand.

BTW:  97 days 16 hours 14 minutes and 09 seconds left until I depart this great land of South Africa (but who's counting, right?).  It's such a long time, but I know it's going to go by so quick, as have the past three months.

As I've looked over the times in my mission that have flown by the quickest, there's no time that has passed quicker than during my study!  I honestly wish that the alloted personal study time would be two hours!  During various exchanges and splits with other missionaries, I've seen that when a missionary spends their studying time focused on others, they are never left with any spare time to study for themselves.  As we lose ourselves (and our study time) in the service of others, the Spirit will aid us in both our studying and our teaching.

We watched a video during MLC this week that can aid all of us in how we study for others.  It was a Elder Renlund's talk from the recent Mission President's Training.  (Fun fact: Elder Renlund was the Area President here in the Africa South East Area just a few years ago!  He was much loved of the people here, almost as much as he loved them.)  His aim was to encourage Mission Presidents and missionaries alike to 'treasure up' the simple doctrines and principles of the gospel.  In this sermon, he revealed three questions that can aid us in our studying of the gospel in preparation for various teaching scenarios.  These are the three quesions:
  1. What is the invitation that will be extended?
  2. What doctrinecorrectly understood, will motivate the investigator to accept the invitation?
  3. What blessings has God promised for accepting and keeping that invitation?
Stick to these questions, and I know you will be given inspiration to aid you in what to study, how long to study it, and why it applies to those of whom you are studying for.

There's another apostle of the Lord that has suggested a wonderful subject of study.  Elder Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has repeatedly exhorted all of us to study all 'Jesus Christ' subtopics in the Topical Guide.  These are his words to us concerining this study:

“To those of you who feel you don’t have time, if you will make a sacrifice, you will be well rewarded and very, very grateful for the change of perspective, increased knowledge, and improved depth of your conversion.

“…In a coming day, you will present yourself before the Savior. You will be overwhelmed to the point of tears to be in His holy presence. You will struggle to find words to thank Him for paying for your sins, for forgiving you of any unkindness toward others, for healing you from the injuries and injustices of this life.  You will thank Him for strengthening you to do the impossible, for turning your weaknesses into strengths, and for making it possible for you to live with Him and your family forever. His identity, His Atonement, and His attributes will become personal and real to you.

“But you don’t have to wait until then. Choose to be one of His true disciples now. Be one who truly loves Him, who truly wants to serve and lead as He did. I promise you that if you will study His words, your ability to be more like Him will increase. I know this is true.”

I also know that his words are true.  As I have undertaken to become a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ by treasuring up his words, my love for him has escalated, my prayers more sincere, my faith uplifted in my Savior.  I challenge everyone reading this letter to take on this challenge, if you haven't already done so, beginning this Sunday!  Download this study help that will aid you in your study of the Savior of the world!  It will change your life!  Note: the study aid is for 90 days and begins Sunday, 16 of July.

Love you all loads!  I aver to amerliorate my weekly letters for the remaining months!!

-Elder Benson

Four generations of wildcats in the SAJM:
(Found this gem in the Fourways Area Flat)
Elder Farnes: 2013-2015
Elder Benson: 2015-2017
Elder Marsden: 2016-2018
Elder Papenfuss: 2017-2019

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Photos for the Week


There's barely been time this week for writing a weekly letter, so I'll include pictures from all the adventures we've had!

Meet the office staff! Comprising of the Wagner's, Hunt's, Leavitt's, Wells', and the AP's.  Elder Wagner is obviously in bliss mode.

The leadership council of the SAJM! Comprising of Zone Leaders from around the mission.  My firstborn Elder Jørgensen is currently a ZL in the Centurion Zone (seated directly behind me), and my two Xhosa comps just across. 'Sho sho Boi'!

Elder Ebite pulling a fantastic Zoolander against his 'father' Elder Zitumane.  E. Ebite is from the Philippines, and cooks some mean rice.

The most epic national anthem in the world with five languages (Xhosa, Zulu, Sothu, Afrikaans, English).   Try twisting you're tongue singing that!

Behind is Elder Flack (ZL Vaal), Elder Zitumane's firstborn, and Sister Wagner (Office Secretary).  There's dozens of proselyting materials offered in dozens of languages (including Russian - woot woot Elder Parker).

Two elders visiting the Mission Home for some classic Italian cooking (thanks Pops for schooling me in the art of pasta).

The kings of Rabie Ridge reunite!  My favorite Zimbabwean companion.  I miss serving with him in Tembisa township. #BK

All you future elders preparing to serve to Johannesburg: bring a flashlight, because you never know when power outages strike!

Zone Conference day one! The SAJM has one of the largest car fleets of the missions around the world, and these cars aren't even half of the active fleet!

I also volunteer as a Domino's Pizza Maker on P-Day! (I wish... they just let me help make our pizzas).  Thanks to my trainer Dorris for showing me the ropes of quality pizza production!

Zone Conference day two!  Like you can see in the pic, there's a rainbow of diversity and energy in the SAJM that is hard to beat.  Plus we have the best Pre-Conference snacks South of the Equator thanks to Sister Leavitt!

Accompanying President Leavitt to a second baptismal interview at the Johannesburg central chapel, nearby to the Vodacom and Telkom towers (seen just above the roofline).  Never mind that I had to climb up a pole onto a roof to get the picture, it was worth it!