Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Letter from President Dunn (of South Africa Johannesburg Mission)

Dear Brother and Sister Benson:

I am happy to report that your son, Elder Benson has officially arrived in our mission! 

We are so delighted to have him safely here with us in Johannesburg. He seems happy, looks great and is excited for his service as a full-time missionary. Thank you so much for your part in helping him prepare for this sacred duty. Attached please find a couple of photos from our meeting earlier today.

This morning, after we greeted your son at the MTC, he was given an orientation that began with a panel discussion moderated by missionaries who are just completing their service here. It was a very candid, thorough and practical introduction to the realities of missionary life in South Africa. Breakfast followed and then your son was given an overview of all mission-related issues he needs to know about including instructions on flats, mission rules, hygiene, mission vehicles, allotment cards, health and safety. Because of the overwhelming amount of information, all content was then given to him as part of a Mission Policy Manual that he can refer to and review in the weeks and months ahead. I also had the wonderful opportunity to interview your son and get to know him as he begins his mission. Again, he appears ready and eager for service.

Our transfer day then concludes with a “transfer meeting” where your son, along with all the missionaries in the mission, receive news of where their assignment will be for the next six weeks, and who their companion will be. Your son also had the chance to bear his testimony in this meeting, and did a fine job.

Based on my impressions about your son he has been assigned Elder Asay to be his trainer and first companion, and his first area is Ikageng. Please look for an email from your son this coming Monday which is his preparation day, where he will no doubt be sharing his impressions of what is usually always a very hectic but exhilarating week. 

Again, on behalf of my wife and our entire mission we are so thrilled to have Elder Benson in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission, and are committed to doing all we can to make his mission the incredible, life-changing experience it should be. To that end if I can ever be of assistance to you or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

With love and very best regards, 

Michael A. Dunn
South Africa Johannesburg Mission

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Week number two in the MTC and I'm still here!! What an amazing experience it's been!  So many things I wish I could talk about in so little time! I'll try to include everything I can.

First: I have the most amazing companion!! Elder Mohatli who lives in Pretoria, SA is a spiritual giant! He speaks three languages so he's helping me with Zulu in the moment.  We are teaching our investigators tomorrow so send us your prayers!!

We aren't allowed to send pictures in the MTC because the server is so slow but I'll send you them next week. So many thing I want to show you guys!

President Collins and his wife are amazing!! You couldn't find a more loving pair! They were mission presidents in Russia before this so they're seasoned veterans in the field !!  I also got to meet Sister Dunn yesterday! She's the sweetest lady! I haven't met President Dunn yet but that'll come next week.

I was made district leader! It's been such a humbling experience. The elders in my district are the funniest guys I have ever met! They may have a hard time focusing more than often, but when they buckle down they are unstoppable. There's Elder Reynolds from England; me, Elder Griffen, and Elder Nielsen from the States; Elder Mohatli, Elder Saiah, and Elder Ntsekwa from SA; and Elder Tikologo from Botswana. Good luck trying to say those names!!

Our teachers are Brother Sibeka in the morning.  What a stud!! He is such an inspiring teacher to me.  He has a way of having fun while also being able to bring the Spirit.  Then there's Sister Ramekguoe (ram-uh-gh-way).  She pushes you and makes you feel like a loser, but in the best way!! She's preparing us so well for the field.

The MTC grounds are so awesome!! The MTC, plus a huge soccer field, basketball court, bigger grass field, volleyball pit, and gardens galore! Pictures to come next week.  Plus, indoor ping pong, foosball, and gym.  When we're not learning, we're playing!!

The food is different! I've only had the cafeteria food which is basically American food with African twist.  It's delicious, but its taste is different.  That's the only way I can describe it! Finally had pahp!!!  If you don't know what it is: corn meal with some weird things done to it to resemble super sticky mashed potatoes. It's delicious!

Wow I finally realize why missionary emails are so long!!! Haha it's so hard to put to words the amazing experience this has been.

One of the highlights has been going to the temple.  We were blessed with the privilege of having a fireside with Elder Ellis of the area presidency and his wife.  The thoughts they shared were amazing.  The temple... oh my goodness.  I highly recommend everyone to visit the temple! The grounds are comparable to that of Salt Lake!! Smaller, but just as beautiful.  What we did inside the temple was more beautiful.  No matter if I'm in Bountiful, USA or Johannesburg, SA, I feel at home in the temple.  I'm so happy to have the privelage of having the temple in my mission.

I think it's worth mentioning that all of the Africans are amazing at soccer... and that I've scored two goals.  This American has got some sick handles.

Again, pictures next week.  Love you all so much!!

-Elder Benson

Monday, October 19, 2015

I'm Standing on South African Soil!

Hello everybody!!

I made it to South Africa in one piece!  I arrived here with nine other elders, six serving with me in Johannesburg!  We got our bags and met the bishop of the singles ward.  Can't remember his name, but his energy was unreal! He woke us up from our long flight and got us pumped to serve the Lord.  After a forty minute bus ride we arrived at the Johannesburg MTC.  We were greeted by President Collins, the MTC President, and his wife.  We had a five-star dinner (compared to the plane food) and we're now emailing home! Another group of elders are arriving tomorrow, who are either from Africa or Europe.  I'll send some pictures and write some more about today on P-day next Thursday!  Thank you all for your support!!

 -Elder Benson