Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Holidays from Africa


Things are good here in Potch.  The holidays are starting, which is both good and bad.

Good: It's the holidays!!  It's a time for everyone to appreciate the company of family and friends, to eat some good meals, and to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Bad: all of our college students that we've been teaching are now going home for the holidays.  That, coupled with the fact that everyone here is going to be getting drunk during these next couple of weeks, is going to make for some weird and possibly dangerous experiences.  I'm excited to see what happens.

There have already been some crazy experiences this week!  We saw a big fight on a street corner in the township.  Those guys get crazy, so don't start a fight in Ikageng.  Also, we passed a Zulu celebration while driving to an appointment in the evening.  That was really cool!! I would've snapped pictures, but my camera was at the flat.

This week we had zoning in with President and Sister Dunn!! They could only stay for an hour, so we decided to go to see Carlissia, our recent convert.  That hour was powerful.  Tears were shed, testimonies were born, times were good; we came, we saw, we conquered.

The Charchenko's are officially here!! They are the new senior couple here in Potch.  Me and Elder Asay have spent a lot of our week orienting them here in Potch/Ikageng, and it's been a blast!!

Love you all.  Enjoy this holiday season everyone!!

-Elder Benson
"I bless the rains down in Africa..."

I'm never going to get tired of these skies.

Monday, November 23, 2015

I'm Jesus

Let me explain.

This week I was on exchanges in Jouberton, a township north of Potch with Elder Khwela.  We visited a potential investigator and started/attempted to teach him the Restoration.  In the middle of the lesson, he starts going off on a tangent on preachers and black people.  Then out of nowhere, in his broken english, he says this:

"Us blacks, we're rotten.  You, Benson... you whites... you're Jesus!!"

Feel the marks in my hands and in my side, man.  There ain't any!

There are a lot of awesome quotes that I have from this week that are super awesome!!

The first one is from a prophetess we were teaching/ we were being preached to.  She's a really nice lady that we contacted on the street.  This is what she said:

"If you take upon yourself the name of Christ literally, if you absorb it into your bloodstream and into every cell of your body, you will look at yourself entirely different."

Please don't be as literal as this lady, who had her middle name changed to 'Christ'.  But her words are undeniably true.  Every week, as we all partake of the sacrament, we know the words from the prayer: "That they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember Him and keep His commandments which He hath given them; that they may always have His Spirit to be with them.'  As we take upon us the name of Christ, and are obedient to his commandments and be as Christ was, we are promised the constant companionship of His Spirit, the Holy Ghost.

None of us will ever be as perfect as Christ is.  But as we strive to do all we can to be like Him and partake of the sacrament every Sunday, there will be remarkable experiences in our lives that can only be explained as from the hand of God.

This next one is President Kwaikwai, our branch president, as he was talking to a neighbor's black pug:

"You only like me because we are the same colour."

I just thought it was funny, so I put it in here.

This one is from a Sis. Bobbi.  She's a widow that lives all alone.  She's an Afrikaaner.  She's served as a missionary, a seminary and institute instructor, and a mother.  She's a remarkable women.  She's experiencing major trials in her life at the moment, including children denouncing her and severe medical challenges.  But she never ceases to inspire me.  This is what she said:

"Our church is different from any other church because other churches wish to see God.  Our church is different because we want to believe and follow Him.  We wouldn't be here if we could see Him."

Too many people in Africa and around the world seek for signs to believe, or have to experience trials to believe in God.  We, as Latter-Day Saints, must believe+follow him at all times.  The way we do that: obedience.  It's something that I've gained a testimony of here in SA.

I experienced my first lighting storm!! Utah's are good.  But I haven't been more scared in a lightning storm than when I was teaching during one in a little scrap-metal shack!

A senior couple from Arizona are moving into Potch!! They are the Charchenkos'. I think I know where Elder Asay+Elder Benson are spending Christmas!

A quick lesson in Zulu:

Sawubona - Hello! (I just learned how to spell it right.)
Unjani (unJAni) - How are you?
Hamba (HOmba) - Go


Elder Benson

Vaal River
Sunsets in South Africa are bomb

Monday, November 16, 2015

One Month In

I can't believe it's already been a full month since I've left Utah!!  It already feels like an eternity.

It's weird have 100+ degree weather in November.  I heard that it's snowing in Utah! I wish it would snow here.  I've completely forgotten what it was like being cold.

I had the honour of confirming Carlissia this week! Man, she is already a powerful member of the church.  In the college campus she is staying on, she has already referred us to at least four students who are all progressing!  Every time I see her, she says how she is going to serve her mission in Utah.  I finally remembered my camera so I'll send pictures of her baptism and everything!

My legs have been healing nicely!  None of the dogs that attacked me have died yet, so I don't need to worry about contracting rabies.  The bites are still bruised and a little sore.  I became a legend at the Mission Summit for fighting off three dogs in my first month.  I was told I can take off my skirt because now I'm a true missionary!

Also had a remarkable experience this week.  After waking up one morning, Elder Asay and I saw that we missed call from a good friend of ours: Tinashe.  He's attending North-Western, the university in Potch, and often comes on splits with us.  I called him back and he told us he was in the hospital.  We dashed to the Potch Hospital with Brother David from the branch presidency.  Tinashe told us that he was attacked by an evil spirit.  To everyone at home, don't mistake this for some emotional problem.  Tinashe is the most spirital, humble, emotionally stable man.  While walking to his dorm, he had a terrible feeling overcome him.  Suicidal thoughts came into his mind, as well as other dark thoughts.  He couldn't walk, and he couldn't speak.  He finally mustered the strength to pray, and it went away.  He was too weak to do anything so he called us.  But because we were asleep, he called the hospital.

After telling us this through the bars to his cell (he was in the Psychiatric ward), the guard let us in and we gave him a blessing and gave him protection against the evil spirits.  The spirit was indeed felt there.  Since then, he's been permitted out of the hospital and he's come on splits with us.

This freaked me out a little because it's made me realize that there are indeed spirits out there, attacking us and trying to take us down.  But I feel all the more secure; for as there are demons, there are angels that protect us.  I know the elders in the field, as long as they are righteous, are protected from the fiery darts of the adversary.

So yeah.  I've experienced public breast feeding, dog attacks, helping cast out devils, baptisms, and ssooo many secret hand shakes that I'm struggling to remember.  This is such an amazing experience for me.  I've learned that trials are placed in our way so that we can overcome them, not to be overcome by them.  The mission is already changing me in so many ways, mostly spiritually but also physically (I'm getting a little soft from all of the pahp and sweets)!!

I'd love to hear advice from any past missionaries! Anything to help with my study, contacting, attitude, anything!!

Until next week!! Sharp sharp.

-Elder Benson

P.S.  Sharp sharp is pronounced 'shaup shaup'.  It's kind of a greeting/farewell/surprise word here.

 Sick pic

The kids



Joburg temple . . . the best!

Sunset . . . sharp, sharp

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sawubona everyone!!

Thank you everyone for  your emails!  I need to figure out how to manage my time better when writing you guys back.  I only have twenty minutes left for the group email so I'll do my best:

I was officially inducted into missionary work!! It was such an awesome experience.  The ritual includes going into a yard, three dogs, and band-aids.  Yep, I was attacked by three dogs a couple days ago.  I'm fine though! No need to come home for rabies shots.

There are a lot of churches down here! Me and Elder Asay refer to them as the 'happy clappy' churches.  During one of our lessons, we were teaching about ten people.  Throughout the whole lesson, these people were happy clappy.  When I was teaching, they would shout things like 'Yes!' or 'Amen!' or just clap and rejoice.  It was so hard to keep my cool!! I'm surprised I didn't laugh that much!! Afterwards, in the car, me and Elder Asay were tearing up from laughing!!

In another lesson this week, we walked into a man's house.  His name is Zanele Jack.  This man is intelligent! Elder Asay has been teaching him for about a month now an he's progressing so quickly!  That lesson was a different story.  The first thing that comes out of his mouth was, "Why did Joseph Smith have forty wives?"


Only my first week here, and I already get that question? Eish.

We did our best to answer him, but he couldn't wrap his head around the fact that God would command the church to practice polygamy at that time.  We're teaching him again this week.  Please pray for us with Zanele!

Yesteray was Carlissia's baptism!!! It was an amazing experience for everyone involved.  The baptismal font was pretty unique, but that didn't take away from the amazing experience it was.  The opening hymn of the baptismal program was 'Praise to the Man', and the Spirit was felt so strong.  I have some pictures from the baptism.  It was a special day.

For everyone wishing to serve a mission: this is a invaluable two years of your life.  I've only been out two weeks, but I've experienced more joy than I ever have before.  One of the days all of our appointments fell through, which was extremely frustrating for us.  With only an hour left, we decided to go contacting.

That hour has proven to be the best so far on my mission.  It was truly preaching the gospel!! We gave out most of our pass-along cards, and handed out 7 copies of the BoM!!!  From gas station attendants to grocery store baggers to normal people on the street.  It was a very fruitful night, involving souls that were prepared for us in that hour.

That's all the time I have this week.  I love you all so much!!  Until next week!

-Elder Benson

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hello from Potchefstroom!!

I'm extremely short on time so I'll fit in as much as I can!

For starters, I've been blessed with the best trainer in the world! His name's Elder Asay (A-C).  He's from Orme, UT and is such a stud!  He's one of the funniest, goofiest, most spiritually powerful guys I have ever met! You don't know what it's like to have fun until you've met him.

I've been assigned to the Potchefstroom/Ikageng area!! This is such a dynamic area! Potch is a university-town like Provo!  North-Western University is right in the middle of Potch, and it's an untapped gold mine! On my first day in the field, we taught a group of eight students! No role play in mission prep/the MTC could've prepared me for that!

On the other end of town is the township.  This is where you find the scrap-metal shacks and kids playing soccer in the streets. I have many, MANY photos to send to you.  It's too bad I goofed and left the camera at the flat.  I'll send them to you guys next week.

I only have time to talk about one investigator.  Her name is Carlissia (car-leash-ia).  Man, she is powerful!!  She's in her early twenties and attends a small-town college.  I came in  when she was still progressing towards baptism, but she's now going to be baptised next week! I don't think I've experienced so much joy than hearing that she passed her interview.

I'm so blessed to be among the people of Africa!! They are truly prepared to receive the gospel.  I'm sorry I didn't have more time to tell you everything that's going on.  You are all in my prayers.

-Elder Benson