Monday, September 9, 2013

Dear Family,

Ok, this week was super legit, but also super hard as well. But...lets start with the legit stuff first!
I learned something super funny today. So we work in 3 small cities (Rio Bravo, Laredo, and El Cenizo) El Cenizo has the highest crime rate out of all the areas in the mission! Wooohoo! haha 

Also, the tie thing is ridiculous. I have already gotten maybe 20-25 extra ties here. Some of the elders have 600-800 ties. It's craZY boy! For example the AP's here have such good ties, the won't even get Donald Trump's ties anymore because they are too "cheap" for them. They wear brands like Prada, Lui Vuittan, Ted Baker's, City of London, and stuff like that. It's ridiculous. One of them has a Prada tie that is worth about 500-600 dollars. IT's nuts. 

So, those families we have been teaching have been progressing well, and they seemed to be super excited with their baptism date. 

Then, yesterday we were driving down the street when we saw a lady named B... (she was an old investigator that had to stop taking lessons because her dad didn't like it...which is funny because she is 60 years old and her dad is 82...she had some financial problems and couldn't. so she's trying to find a new place to live) anyway, we decided to just stop and talk to her to see how she was doing. She had read 75+ pages off the Book of Mormon without anyone telling her. She's somewhere in 2nd Nephi right now. She understands it really well too. She was so excited to see us that she invited us over to her daughter's house so we could continue to teach her. So we are going there tonight. She wants to be baptized and seems willing to do just about anything to do it. So, Ill have to let you know how that goes.

Ok, bad news. That S..... family that we found and started teaching that was doing so well didn't make it to church yesterday. Her dad had a stroke and so they left to Laredo and were there all day, but they invited us to come today. So, I'm excited about that.

Then, G..... all the sudden disappeared on Sunday also...we couldn't get a hold of him. So we're going to try to make it over there today also and see if we can figure out what happened. It was really disappointing....

Also, please don't freak out or be angry...but I was helping a member put together a swing set thing (on Thursday) and tweaked my back a little. It didnt seem too bad so I just went on. Everyday seemed to get a little worse until yesterday in church I literally couldn't sit through the whole thing so we had to go back. Well...when I got here Hermana Maluenda (President's wife) told me to call her if I had trouble with my back and she'd help me get a cortizone shot or what I needed. So, I called her...and she said she would call the area doctor and tell him my history and then he would call me back and tell me what to do...

So he calls me  back a couple hours later and tells me that it's super hard to get a cortizone shot here (that was well thought through) because the doctors want to do it there own way, and they want to give me a MRI and then decide what I need and then if I got the shot I would have to be super careful for the next couple weeks so that I didn't relapse again. Then he asked if I had a copy of a recent MRI (who would bring that with them on their mission?) and I said he said he would try to figure something out and to call him back tomorrow (today).

Then at like 10:30 last night guess who called me?? Doctor Hayes.  He said that (and he was super nice) if a cortizone shot wasnt working after 2x's it probably wouldn't work that well or for that long, and it's just a band-aid to the problem. So, he asked me what the next plan would be after cortizones shots and I told him that it would be some kind of surgery (either the nerve-cutting or the fusion) and he said that maybe I just need to go home and get the surgery done and call it good. Then, he basically talked to me about what I wanted to do when I grew up and when I get back from my mission. He said I'd be a good orothopedic surgeon (I'll keep that in consideration).'m so sorry...I think I just wanted to come back out on the mission so bad that I didn't actually let myself recover that much and now I don't know what to do. I'm in a lot of pain but I'm loving it here soooooo much too. It looks like that they want to send me home, but we definitely do not know that for's so embarrassing I can't even tell you....I'm really having a hard time thinking about it right now. Luckily I have a legit companion and I've been able to work really hard still to keep my mind off of it....but geez. I feel like I'm really trying my hardest and it's just not going well..

Anyway, I'm super sorry about the bad news...Hopefully Ill have better news soon.
Still love you guys bunches, 

Elder Benson

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ok, so I have a lot to catch you up on in a very little time. I do not live with the Zone Leaders, I just had my package sent there because it's too dangerous to send it to my apartment because things get stolen a lot.
(Our area covers everything south of Laredo all the way down to Zapata where our only Library is)

So, my companion name is Elder Bradley. He has been out for almost a year (on Friday) and he grew up on a small farm in Missouri. He's taught me a ton already. He's super patient, and legitimately cares about the people and following the Spirit in everything we do. I explained to him about my back problem and how I had to come home, and he does everything he can to make sure that I'm doing ok. He's a super awesome companion! We've already had some super crazy experiences just because of it. Basically all he says is, he doesn't care about numbers, where we go, or what we do as long as we are following the Spirit, and we've had so much success.
For example, we decided to go to El Cenizo (a little city in our area) to find somebody, because we felt like we needed to. Nobody answered, so we walk out of the yard wondering what happened when an 18-year old Mexican guy came up to us, shook our hand and told us he was looking for us. He invited us to his house the next day, and his mom was super excited. All her kids came to listen, and he accepted a baptism day on Oct 6. He says he's been looking for repentence and knew when he saw us.
Next, we were knocking on a door to answer a referral, she wasn't home but we had both felt super good about the referral. Then, we saw a mom smoking outside her apartment waiting for her kids to come home from school. Haha, not the person you'd think be ready for the Gospel. She invites us to sit with her when we start teaching her about how we can help families through the Gospel of Jesus Chirst (faith, repentence, baptism...etc). She was hesitant until we asked her to kneel with us and ask in prayer if it was true. I was literally begging Heavenly Father to answer her prayer. She finished and we waited....we asked how she felt and she said the most content she has ever felt. She didn't want us to leave, and accepted a baptismal date with her 16-year old daughter for the 6th as well. The only problem is the smoking. We are going to their house tonight though.
It has literally been so much fun though. The first week was super hard, but we were patient and are now receiving the blessings from enduring our trial well.  I hope it continues.
The members are super great, and we've been fed a couple times.
I laughed when you said our area is really dangerous. It might be, but I've never felt like it is. WE see TONS of border control though. like 20 cars a day. The border is the river. So we have the border, a prison, and lots of mexicans here.
Yes, we do shop at Wal-mart though. (thank goodness) So you would be able to send me stuff through there (cough cough:)). That'd be super cool if you could. And yes, I did get the package (thank you very much).I can't believe Rachel forgot it. ;)
Ok, this is the best part though. Our apartment is freaking legit. Like, the legitest of the legit. We have normal beds, a fridge, a lot of room, a shower and.....(this is the best part) A WASHER AND DRYER!?!?!?!
We have a freaking Washer mom. it's so sweet. Ha, it's nicer living quarters for shizzle. The apartment I was in in San Martin was a piece of poop compared to this.
Anyway, all is well. My P-Day is on Monday, but it was Labor Day (the day everyone doesn't labor...?) so we couldn't use the Library to email home. I did write one letter to Rachel though. So, that should get there soonish...
Oh, well...I think that's it for now. Love ya bunches!!

Elder Benson

Elder Bradley

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hello family!
Well, first Ill give you an update on the back...All of a sudden this week I started getting these shooting pains down my leg while I´ve been walking. It literally shuts off my leg for a couple seconds after a couple seconds of excrutiating pain. haha, it is really terrible. I asked about the cortizone shot, and no one (including the members and people here) trust the doctors for something like that. You have to realize that the ¨hospital¨here in Resistencia even is a couple of buildings that look like houses and you walk on dirt paths in between. The medical care here isnt that hot. Also I looked for medicine balls and no one seems to know what that is thats a no go. But it seems like a good idea. To sum it up, the back isn´t doing too hot, but before anyone makes any decisions I want to know what exactly is going to happen first. I don´t want to get a call saying that I´m going stateside without knowing whats going on....but I'm sure that you are working on it and everything is going well.=)
So, not too much exciting has happened here. My cooking skills are improving. I´ve been cooking with members and Elder Amezcua and I can cook a lot of things now. Who would have guessed I would learn that on my mission? Also, we found a place that sells blacks beans in El Colorado during a district meeting and so we cooked a lot of beans...and you can guess what happened during the nights...haha.
Also, our chico Mauro that was supposed to get baptized, his mom sent him to live with his dad. So, he is not going to be baptized that soon. But, we have some new machachos, Antonio and his brother who are 11 and 13 years old. They came to church yesterday and loved it. They accepted a baptismal date for the 29th and their mom was so happy that they are happy that she had us come by for torta yesterday. So that seems to be looking good. We´ve also found a whole bunch of part-member families where the mom and dad are inactive members but they have 9 or 10 year old kids that haven´t been baptized. So we´ve been activating them and teaching their kids at the same time. When I arrived in San Martin average attendance was 12 and yesterday it was 34. So we are making some progress! =)
Also,  we came across an Indian reservation this week. We went in and found a member. He spoke broken spanish. About 1 out of 100 speak spanish. They speak an ancient Indian language called Toba. So, we didn´t get a lot done there....haha but we did manage to find that one member, Elu¨iogi. (pronounce ee-loo-ee-he...well kind of) and he came to church yesterday with his kid. So that was cool.
Ummm...not too much else has happened. President Heyman called me and talked to me though.  He wants me to think about coming home to get help. But, he thinks I´m going to get hurt. I don´t know.
Anyway, that´s it for now. I love you bunches!

Elder Benson

One of the homes outside of San Martin.  We like the Directv dish.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hey All,
Dad, what in the world happened to you?? Size 34?? You lost a ton of weight since I have been gone!! You are gonna be in better shape than me when I get back from this oil-infested food! =) haha that is so good! I'm glad that you have continued to work hard and are now reaping the rewards of your success. That is part of the reason I like to work out so much, is because I can see the results and then set more goals. Its exciting huh??=) Great job!
Also, I did talk to the doctor from Salt Lake, I told him that I could do the work here still but it was painful. Don´t worry, I'm not going anywhere for awhile. I have work to do.=)
Umm, I'm still having a lot of fun with Elder Amezcua but also, we had a poopy week. Saturday was the baptism of Mauro, and everything was set. His mom approved, he was excited, we bought food, we gave out invitations, we filled the font and everyone was there for his baptism and he didn´t show up. We went to his house and he his family were no where to be seen and we still haven´t been able to find them. So..that kind of sucked. ha,
Ummm, also I have some pictures of the area that I am going to send, so youll have a better idea of what it looks like. Also it was Elder Amezcua´s birthday on the 30th so we ate tacos that he taught me how to make. I have learned how to cook a lot of Mexican food. I'm going to be a champ when I come home. I can make tortillas, tacquitos, guacamole, picante sauce, churros, breakfat burritos, and some other authentic Mexican all from scratch! =) what?? haha it´s pretty fun.
Also, I was reading in the scriptures this week with a purpose of how I can help the people here. I learned a couple things. One if we want to help others, (including our family) we first have to have a love for them and see them as what they could become. This can only come through diligent reading and praying. Next, after we see them as our Heavenly Father would, we must seek for a specific way to serve that person. Every person is different and thus need different help. To find know how to serve them comes through prayer as well. Lastly, we need to follow through and act. Through this, we can strengthen their relationship with the Lord as well as our relation with them. That is my consejo for the week=)
SOoo...yeah my back hurts a lot. Keep praying for me please. Other than that, I am learning a lot and I now have 20 weeks in the mish! what? Time flies huh? haha, anyway love you bunches. And keep it up with the weight losing! That is great! =)

City of San Martin

San Martin

Monday, May 27, 2013

I am still in San Martin. But, Elder Solis left and a new Elder came in. Elder Amezcua. He is from Mexico and only speaks phrases of English that the missionaries have taught him and things he has learned from movies. For example, ´this sucks´and ´crap man´and i´ll be back´. haha it´s pretty funny. Elder Amezcua is a big dork, and it´s easy to have fun with him. I'm definitely a lot happier. Anyway, he finishes his mission in November. So he has been out for a good while. He is funny and we are having lots of fun. I´m going to try to send a picture of us but if you dont get it I´m sorry. The only problem I have with Elder Amezcua, is he is a dang good cook. He is always cooking Mexican food and it´s really good. Im going to be fat....=)
Other news, ever since Elder Amezcua got here, the work here has picked up. We have been teaching a lot better and everything. We have lots of dates for baptisms including 2 this week and 3 the next. Our main investigators are Allah Sandoval and Mauro Meza who will be baptized this weekend. (Both are youth 9 and 11 years old) and Daniela Sanchez, who will be baptized the next week. It´s been a lot better in San Martin now.
Also, yes. My back hurts a lot. I sent it to the doctor and he freaked out a little. The doctor is worried that if I fall or have an accident it will rupture. I just hope they can find a way to help me with it soon. the doctor said he thinks it´s really dangerous to have a back like mine and be out doing work all day. But, theres no chance of me coming home. The doctor that gave me the MRI told me to go lay down and not move for the next 3 months when she saw the results. Ha, but, we will see. No, mom, I'm not working out. Trust me, I want to so bad, but I can´t. It´s literally just that painful. I can hardly tie my shoes. My doctor sent it to Salt Lake City and I guess we are going to see what they say. You don´t have to worry. There´s not a chance that I will be leaving the mission. I won't make any big decisions until we have heard from everyone else too. The mission president has been in contact with me but for now that´s all that has happened. No physical therapy or help has come yet....
Ummm, for now I can´t think of that much else. Except, I was reading in 4Ne 1 15-16 and it reminded why I am here. It talks about when the Nephites were all living righteously and how there was never a happier people in the land. That´s the goal right? ha, so share the Gospel with your friends so we can all be happier! =)
That´s it for now I think...Oh! Send my package por favor. Make sure there is something spicy (cayenne powder) and good stuff in there. (tons of peanut butter and everything else I asked for) Thanks! =)

Elder Benson

Elder Amezcua

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hey mom!
I am kinda jealous that everyone is going to a United States mission. You have no idea how much I miss American food right about now. Peanut butter, ice cream, ah there are plenty of things. Especially cold milk. They don"t refrigerate their milk or eggs or cheese or anything that we would. I miss a lot of things there.
Yes, I did go get an MRI. And, first, let me say that it is very very very very different than getting in MRI in the United  States. First, you don´t need id. You don´t really need a reason or anything. If you have the money they will put you in the machine. Also, I dont have the results of the MRI yet. I am going to get them either tomorrow or Wednesday, so you are going to have to wait just a little bit longer. I´m going to guess that it was worse than before though because it hurts worse than before...ha
Also, I was talking to the zone leaders, and they said it only takes about a month for a package to come through during the argentina winter (or US summer) so you can definitely send a whole buttload of peanut now...if you want. And definitely tuna too...and maybe a bag of trail mix or nuts.
So, about our area. We have an 12 year old girl, Brisa, that is being baptized on Saturday. She is the oldest of 4 kids. Her parents aren´t married, and they haven´t been taking lessons. They heard she wanted to be baptized and decided to take the lessons. They now have decided to get married and be baptized. We dont have dates for them yet, but we are working with them.
Another investigator we have is Mauro. He is also 12, and a friend of Brisa that lives across the street...(or dirt..Im not sure I'd call it a street). He is going to be baptized the week after Brisa. His mom just signed the baptismal record and approves of him being baptized into the  Church. So we will be having some baptisms soon.
Ummm, it´s been cold down here (cold as in 40-50 degrees) but with the humidity you need a coat. It chills you to the bone. And since it is cold every makes this thing called torta frita. If you haven´t heard of it, which I doubt you have, this is how you make it: first, take a bowl of fat. Pig fat is most common, but cow fat will do. Next, mix it with leudante harrina (which is white flour that has fattening yeast thing in it), mix it with salt and water until it is a good consistency. Next, form them into a flat disc, which looks like a tortilla with a hole in the middle. Next, fry it in a gallon of oil. They make these by the dozen and give them to you. They put dulce de leche on it (we dont have it in the US but it´s a fattened chocolate syrup thing) and roll it up and eat it. For this reason, missionaries and the people gain a lot of weight. Believe it or not, torta frita tastes good. I havne´t eaten too much of it because you feel like poop after eating it.
Well, that´s it for now. The transfer ends tomorrow, there is a chance that I or Elder Solis could be leaving San Martin but I doubt either one of us will leave. I´m still in tons of pain and not doing too well. I am sorry to tell you that you will have to wait another week for the results. Thanks for your prayers though.

Elder Benson

ps. I saw Elder Morris in the MTC. That is crazy that he had to get back surgery.
This is the food Jake described in his last letter.  Yum!