Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Monday, January 25, 2016

I am now officially "Tshepo"

It's been a hard couple of weeks.   I've been robbed.  I've gone to the ER (don't worry, I only had my fingernail ripped out).  I'm going in for blood tests to see if I've contracted some creepy-sounding African parasite. . . 

Now the good news!  We went from 30 people in sacrament meeting to 60.  We're receiving more referrals than ever.  We went from 0 people on date from baptism two weeks ago to 4 on date.  Many, many reactivated less active members of the branch.  I was given an African name (Tshepo-trust).  I've developed a closer bond with my Savior than ever before in my life.  And I love it all!  The whole picture, bad and good, is highly addictive and is just plain fun!!

The mission is the greatest.  It is the worst.  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  But I definitely wouldn't want my best friend to miss out on the experience.

Please just keep me in your prayers.  I'm going to need it.  I love you all so much!!

-Elder Benson

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ultimate Challenge: Contacting While Being Mugged

Another event checked off of the bucket list!  This is even better than the dogs.  Here's the story:

Elder Jorgensen, my trainee, had a prompting to visit an investigator, so we went to the apartment complex where he lived.  We found him on his way to work, and we scheduled an appointment with him.  With nothing to do, we started contacting people on the street.  It started to get a little dark, so we were en-route back to our car when a man approached us.  He described that he was in a dire situation and needed to contact his mother.

Side-note: Even if the situation seems harmless, always follow the mission rules.

Seeing no harm in the situation, we allowed Guy #1 one phone call on the phone (that's against mission policy).  He called his "mother", and we asked for our phone back.  But Guy 1 ignored us and proceeded to walk down the street to where his "mother" was waiting.  We attempted to regain control over our phone, to which he continued to protest and walked into an alley right next to us.  Not two steps into the alley, I stepped in front of him and told him to stop.  He puts the phone in his pocket and tells us to calm down.  Guy #2 walks into the alley from the direction we had just come from.  They begin to converse in their own language, and we noticed that Guy 2 was playing with something in his waist belt: a knife.

Just our luck: we were getting mugged.

Guy 1 asked for some money.  Luckily, I remembered a week prior to carry some cash in my handbook in case of robberies.  I gave the guy the 100 Rand I had in my handbook and told him it was more than plenty.  Guy 1 and Guy 2 looked pretty disappointed and asked for more.  We emptied our pockets, our handbooks, everything, with no luck.  Obviously a little irritated, Guy 1 said ,"How about we go to the ATM?"

They began to lead us to the ATM just 50 meters down the road.  Me, being a missionary and trying not to make a scene, gave Guy 2 a pass-along card.  He asked what it was and I explained that it was a pass-along card.  He looked curious and then asked what we did as missionaries.  I told him that we testify of Jesus Christ and we help people draw closer to him.  I quickly took out another 150 Rand and gave it to the guys.  Guy 1 proceeded to leave, but Guy 2 said that he'd give the number a call.

I feel that regardless if we had given the guys our phone, we would've been robbed one way or another.  But this made the whole situation a whole lot worse because we disobeyed one of the mission rules, even though it seemed like it was for a righteous cause.

To my future missionaries out there: don't break any mission rules.  There are here for your protection.  I feel so blessed to be protected while out in the mission field, but I feel bad for justifying a simple rule.

On the bright side, I only lost 250 rand, which is around 20 american dollars.  But that's a whole week of my allotment so I'll be living off of instant dinners for a while!!  My son is pretty shaken up by the whole thing, but I'm doing good so no need to worry about me.  We've received calls from President, The Zone Leaders, and many other Church Representatives to help us out.  I'm really glad it happened actually!  It taught me a lesson, allowed me to check off being mugged on my bucket list, and gave us a chance to do some contacting.

Don't have any time left to write about everything else.  I love you all!  Stay safe, stay strong, stay true.

-Elder Benson

Monday, January 4, 2016

How to Do Holidays in Africa

First: get together with your zone and have a giant waterfight.

Two: get together with your branch and have a barbecue. 

Three: Don't get sick with the flu.

There hasn't been much this week to write about.  I got sick with the flu so I've been chilling inside the flat studying the scriptures and watching church movies.

There's two kinds of churches in Africa.  One, like in Potch,
held in school houses surrounded by barbed wire....
.... Two, held in beautiful chapels,
again surrounded by fencing and barbed wire.
No matter where you go, the Spirit of the Lord can always be with you.  You can stand in holy places wherever you go.  I've made it a resolution to always have a prayer in my heart and to stand in holy places at all times.  I hope that we can all stick to our resolutions, and that not too many people paid for a gym membership they won't use.

-Elder Benson

It's true.