Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Monday, December 28, 2015


Busy busy week!!  I thought I was going to get away from the craze of the holidays when I came here!

On Tuesday we had New Missionary Orientation for Elder Jorgensen.  It felt a little bit weird going back after only one transfer, but Sister Dunn made sweet rolls so I'm not complaining! 

Our district got hit pretty hard as one of our Elders went home this week.  He was in my group, and a good friend of mine.  I hope that he will figure things out and come back in six months like he says he will.

Zone Meeting on Wednesday!  It took us a good two hours to set our goals for this next year of 2016, but we feel confident that we can accomplish them.  Although I've never really like the concept of new years resolutions, it does give you time to contemplate on what you've accomplished, what you didn't accomplish, and what you wish to improve in the new year.    There's always room for improvement, no matter how awesome you think you are.

Later Wednesday, we had a Christmas party with our flat complex!! There's a lady who plays the organ beautifully, and we did a few duets with my violin throughout the night.  I was surprised to see some of the Afrikaaners crying.  It's probably the only time I ever will.

On Thursday we drove with the Charchenko's to an adjacent town called Parys (pronounced pa-RICE, not Parys) to visit a terminally ill Sister named Bobbi.  Out of all of the amazing things she spoke to us, this is probably  the coolest she said:

The first to apologize is the bravest.
The first to forgive is the strongest.
The first to forget is the happiest.

Sis. Bobbi was one of the first missionaries to serve in Soweto, the world's largest and most dangerous townships.  She's truly a pioneer in the Latter-Day church  in Africa.

Friday: CHRISTMAS!! We drove to Johannesburg to celebrate Christmas with the mission.  We had a big talent show!! I played my violin, the Poly's did the Haka, an African balanced 25 copies of the Book of Mormon on his head, and Pres Dunn did a dance (just to name a few).  We then drove home and Skyped with the family.  I love my family so much!! I can't believe how much they've grown, and it's only been two months!!

I wish I was home with all of you to celebrate the holidays, but rest assured: I am in the place where I need to be and where I want to be!  I may not have been born in Africa, but Africa was born in me.  I love you all, and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy (and safe) New Year!!

-Elder Benson

Monday, December 21, 2015

'Tis the Season

There's no better way to celebrate Christmas than in 104 degree C weather.  I can guarantee it.

Hearing about home is a little bit weird right now! Another Holy War (eish, what a wreck), BYU Basketball, STAR WARS, SNOW, it's all too good.

We went to see the lions this week!! I held Simba and almost got eaten by Mufasa!  Literally, he jumped up at the fence when Elder Bergman's umbrella opened up!

Liezl Robbins was baptized this week!! She's what you would consider a golden investigator.  She came prepared to every lesson, came to church, and was baptized in less than a month of her first lesson!  She is going to be a powerful member of the church.

This is a weird time for Potchefstroom!  The town has slowed down, the streets are empty, and the college is shut down for the holidays.  Ikageng though: you stay weary 24/7.  People are happy, drunk, and high and you don't want to mess with an old madala with a temper (rocks have been thrown, but it's all good).

Christmas is here!! It's given me a lot of time to think about why we are truly celebrating the 25th of December.  More than His birth, we remember the dedicated life He lived for each of us, and the work that was accomplished for our salvation.  May we all grow closer as we look up to Him who was born and who died for us: Jesus Christ.  May God be with you and have a merry Christmas!!

-Elder Benson

Monday, December 7, 2015

The 90 Degree Curve Ball

During the middle of District Meeting on Friday morning, I received a call from President Dunn.  I went out into the hallway and, after talking for a few minutes, he said:

"Well, Elder Benson, this is extremely unorthodox, especially at 6 weeks, but we'd like to call you to be a trainer this next transfer!"

So yeah, I'm going to be training this transfer!! It's like entering the mission field for the first time; you feel overjoyed, confused, happy, prepared, unprepared, everything!!  Keep me in your prayers please!

It's bitter sweet as well, since my trainer Elder Asay is leaving to be a Zone Leader.  We were already making plans for Christmas and New Years!! This was like a wicked 90 degree curve ball!

This is a weird time in Potchefstroom.  If you haven't read from earlier, Potch is a college town like Provo.  Like any college town, everyone goes home for the holidays, leaving it a ghost town.  That cuts the list of our progressing investigators in half!!  But like any trial, we climb over it and keep going.

This week we also had the privilege of having Elder Hamilton of the 70 address the mission.  He said so many amazing things, but the thing he said that really touched me was this: "Many say that this work depends on us.  But He has repeatedly told us 'I can do mine own work.'  He just lets us participate."  It made me really appreciate how amazing this work truly is, and that we are all part of it.  If you don't wear a name badge on your chest, you wear one in your heart.  Don't be afraid to be a missionary to everyone around, in word and deed! You'll be amazed at the blessings that will come with your diligent service to God.

The Christmas season is the perfect time to start!  In the spirit of Christmas, serve your fellow men!! We commemorate the birth of the One who loved us enough to pay the price for our imperfections and to die for us, the most selfless act in all of eternity.  The least we could do is join in on the spirit of Christmas and fill the world with charity and cheer.

I love you all!! Enjoy the holidays, the sweets, and the cheer.

-Elder Benson
Welcoming the new senior couple from Arizona (the Charchenkos) to
Potchefstroom.  (Sister Dunn, Brother and Sister Charchenko, President Dunn,
Elder Asay and Elder Benson)

"The Charchenko's are fortunate to have these two great missionaries waiting to
greet them and now serve together.  Elder Asay is training Elder Benson and they
are a powerful companionship." (dunnsinjoburg.blogspot.com)

"A new convert, Carlissa, was ready for us to come to her dorm where she is
studying engineering.  She is such an inspiring young woman. She was
recently baptized and has now become a powerful missionary herself. 
She plans to take a gap year with her education and serve a mission herself."

I love my family!
(Note from Mom: There's a store here (Woolsworths) that delivers from online
orders.  I can place an order and have it in Elder Benson's hands the next day. 
Happy mom!)

Clock Tower 

Dutch Church