Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Divine Dove

I've come to have a more firm testimony in the power of the Spirit.  It all began when we visited a less-active recent convert last Saturday named Simon.  He lives next door to two taverns, which are usually crazy on a weekend.  We drove past his house, and we were well on our way out of there.  But that calm prompting came: go see Simon.  I was super confused, especially since we would have to visit him at the height of the night.  Again it came: go see Simon.  After a pretty heated internal debate between logic and the Spirit, I gave in.  We parked the car in the safest place we could find, said a prayer to protect us and the vehicle, and we sprinted to his house.

What happened next was amazing: we knocked, Simon let us in, and we had an amazing lesson with him.  He expressed much gratitude for our visit, and that he had prayed earlier in the week for us to come see him.  Afterwards we quickly left the scene, and no sooner had we started driving away did we see a fight ensue.  Some may attribute this to luck or to coincidence, but I've come to learn on my mission that there really are no such things.

We continued throughout the rest of our week.  We had many more visits of the Spirit in the form of a small and simple prompting, all of which lead us to being able to testify, in power of that same Spirit, the truthfulness of gospel principles and of the restoration of Christ's gospel.

If we'd all trust in those prompting of the Spirit, which is a small but powerful voice, this world would be so much more peaceful and happy.  It really starts with us, and I think that we'd be smart to listen.

Here's a poem my brother wrote about this Divine Dove in our lives:

The Divine Dove

A voice soft and delicate,
Heard clearly though inaudible.
Where nothing will replicate,
Which the world finds insensible.

The message is distinguished,
Be sure to give ear.
Wherein is the pain relinquished
a message soft and clear.

The voice is not its own,
But that of the master.
Such understanding has grown
When heed is given faster.

Behold the Holy Spirit,
Feel his presence grow.
Notice your soul be lit
As you see the revelation flow.

Your soul He will sanctify,
Of a once considered loss.
As to gold does fire purify
He removes all the dross.

No man is out of His reach
We only need to change.
Let him our hearts breach
And with our life, rearrange.

Of His power and majesty
No words can describe.
Nor the happiness so readily
To all does He provide.

To this member of the godhead 
This tribute has been borne
From one whom He readily lead
To show a Savior is borne.

I give thanks to him
For all that he has done
To fill a heart once dim
The light of God's Son.

I love you all!  I love receiving emails from you all, and I look forward to seeing you in 16 months!!

-Elder B

Monday, May 23, 2016

Peace speaks with the Spirit

Man, one week left in the transfer!  It is so funny how quickly time flies when you're having fun.

One of the highlights this week was our zone activity.  What was it?  Scavenger hunt in the mall of Africa!  When Lehi saw a great and spacious building in the vision of the tree of life, he saw Mall of Africa.  The place is huge!  I forgot my camera cord at the flat, so pictures will come next week.

There's an investigator here who is truly blooming. A few months ago, while teaching two investigators about the Plan of Salvation, Peace walked in and joined in on the lesson.  He soon started with the missionary discussions, although our visits with him were scattered.  A few weeks ago, we felt that we need to reteach him the message of the Restoration.  We did so on Tuesday and we invited him to take Moroni's challenge in Moroni 10:3-5.  He agreed to do so, but he stated he already believed it to be true.  We congratulated him on his belief, but we stated that we wanted him to know it was true.  On Friday, we visited him again.  As we began to meet with him, we were really struggling to hear him through the sounds of stereo, TV, and children that were coming from all around his house.  If you can remember, my brain can't handle distractions very well.  My mind started to falter and it started to wander a bit.  But then I was moved to listen to him more intently.  With my focus redirected, I tuned in to what he was saying.  No sooner that I did so did he say this to us: "I read a bit of the Book of Mormon, like you asked me, and I prayed to God and asked if it was true."  As he spoke, the Spirit entered into the room with tremendous force.  Peace continued: "When I prayed, I just felt so good.  I know it's true."

This moment really defines what missionary work is all about.  I mean, I could tell you of being robbed, being attacked by guard dogs and African viruses, but the Spirit really is the key in this work.  I love being able to be a conduit of the Spirit, and it gives me such a spiritual high like never before.  With this miracle of conversion that I've had the privilege of witnessing, I've come to realize more fully and more completely something that i haven't really grasped before.  I've come to realize that the Lord's hand is truly in every aspect of our lives.  As President Dun put it so perfectly: "...What we don't realize is that Heavenly Father is there in [these spiritually] moments, but more importantly is there in the broader spectrum of our lives.  he's there in the days, in the weeks, and they years which lead up to [these] events, and we need the spiritual eyes and the sensitivities within our spirit to hear, listen, and understand.

May we all develop the eyes to see and the ears to hear the tender mercies of the Lord in not only our lives, but in the lives of those around us.  I can promise that as you seek to strengthen your ability to hear, listen, and understand the promptings of the Spirit, you'll come to find that,"there really is no such thing as coincidences in our lives, that God is indeed in the details of all of our lives, or can be, or wants to be, if we understand how to listen to him (Elder Neil A. Andersen)."

Mom, the Word of Wisdom is all about balance, I've come to find.  It's a guideline to allow the human body and the spirit which resides therein to be in balance.  Not only that, but that there can be balance in what we eat.  I've been eating too much grains, which is putting my butt and my belly out of balance, eish!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

Speaking in Xhosa, a clicking African language.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sawabona from Rabie Ridge!

This week was an amazing one for sure!  Our plan last week was to have a district fast, starting on Thursday night which lead into doing what we've called the All-Out Blitz on Friday.  It's an all-out finding opportunity, where we set up a banner at the busiest corner in the other guys' area and do some major contacting.  Our primary purpose is to jump start Jorgensen and Samuel's area (since they're whitewashing), but also to become more consecrated missionaries.

This is the letter to President Dunn about the result (and about the district as well):

"The All-Out Blitz was a success!  We passed out over 20 BoM's, a little over 300 pass-along cards, and received over 20 referrals.  Above it all, it allowed the whole district to work hard and grow together.  Thanks for the banners; they were a big help in talking to people.  All of the elders who were involved had a blast, and we look forward to what lies ahead for Rabie Ridge 1 (the other guys' area).

I need to give a huge shout-out to Elders Samuel and Jorgensen!  They are both polar opposites, but they work great together.  Jorgensen loves to work hard and knows his schedule, and Samuel loves the people and knows how to enjoy the work.  Their work is clearly showing up in their stats, but more so in the ward.  The ward was skeptical of having three new elders, but they wouldn't trade these guys for anybody else.

Elder Musiiwa is a joy to work with.  He's either on the side of absolute silence or absolute crazy, which makes for a fun ride!  The people here in RR2 are warming up to his quiet nature in lessons, but they love the guy!

An experience I had in the All-Out Blitz really highlighted the whole experience for me.  As we started the Blitz, everyone went to work straight away.  I was struggling getting into it for the reasons of hunger+thirst but also for the reason of fear.  I've always had a bit of a hesitation to open my mouth to complete strangers, so this day was really going to test me.  As I started contacting, there was a lady that I saw was a sitting duck on the corner.  Immediately, I went up to her and started talking.  After a few laughs and a few words, we started up a conversation.  She at first was extremely closed off but over time opened up.  She eventually told me of her failing home life and struggling faith.  A few moments after she had finished, I found myself talking to her, bearing testimony of our Saviour Jesus Christ and His Gospel.  I saw her shoulders relax, her eyes soften, and her interest heighten as she began to ask more questions.

It is always a good feeling when you recognize the miracle of conversion take place, and knowing that you were a proper conduit for the Spirit to speak to people.  I'm grateful that the Spirit gave me the prompting to have the Blitz and for the huge success  it was.  From the Elders in Rabie Ridge to the woman I spoke to, I think we have all been a bit more converted and a bit more humbled.  The Spirit truly is the key in this work, and I'm grateful for the privilege it is to be a missionary in the SAJM."

Thank you all for the help in allowing the amazing work here to progress, from your letters to your support.  More to come next week!

(The Lord is with us!!)

-Elder Benson

This is the Golden Investigator, Moagi!  He decided one day to walk into church and immediately wanted to be baptized!  Future general authority this one!

"No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.  Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame.  But the purposes of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent 'til it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; 'til the Great Jehovah shall say 'The Work is Done'."