Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 29, 2013 Massillon, Ohio

Friends and Familia!!
Hey! So this week was crazy. Crazy as in I've been really sick still..... I was stuck in the apartment almost the whole week. I went to a doctor on Friday. The long story short is that they did some bloodwork, but they haven't sent the results to my doctor yet. If they don't call within a couple of hours I'm going to call and yell at them in a very Christlike way. ;) Basically the story of this week goes like this....
#1) Monday was GREAT! I was feeling pretty good all afternoon! The nicest woman ever in my ward took all four of us to get pedicures. My toes are hot pink! The even greater part is that I talked to the woman who was doing my pedicure for a long time... I never thought that you could have a conversation about the gospel with someone who is awkwardly working on your feet... but it turns out that you can! The lady was so nice and wants us to come over and talk to her more later this week! Hoorah!!
#2) We had Family Home Evening with Lazaro and Laticia. It was so great! And they gave us coke to drink. A giant glass of it. And we all know how much I love coke... (hahahahaha.)
#3) At district meeting we sang "Come Unto Jesus" (#117). It's my favorite song of all ever now! Also, the first five notes of the song are now my 'missionary knock.' It's delightful. We also had lemon bars. Yummmm.
#4) We had another tornado warning! Yay!
#5) At a Pioneer Day activity (which I will pretend that I was actually at), we had a really nice talk with Carol. She loved how friendly everyone was and wants to keep coming back. I love Carol!
#6) Hmm. We went singing in a nursing home. There was a man who very enthusiastically clapped after each song. He was so. sweet.
#7) People brought us dinner almost every night this week. I love the people in this ward! And one couple who lives on a farm (okay, not really... just kind of) brought us a dozen green and brown eggs! (shout out to all of my crazy family who has chickens!)
#8) I was making some phone calls on our mini-deck and I ended up talking to our sweet next door neighbor, Pat for a while! We talked a lot about plants (which reminds me that I keep forgetting to send another picture of my pink cosmos plant "Ariel." She is getting so tall!) because she has a gorgeous mini-garden. It was so awesome! And then later that night, she brought us over a pot of blooming pink petunias. And then I hugged her! Yay, Pat! Yay, flowers!
#9) Another fantastic member of our ward gave us an electric piano!! We checked out a couple of hymn books from the church library. I've been playing the piano at the beginning of studies when we sing a hymn. Also. The Children's Song book: best thing ever. Have you ever read the introduction to it? I hadn't until yesterday. It's delightful!
So.... there have been better weeks, but we keep trying to be optimistic! I have definitely learned that your attitude can change everything about a situation. This week is going to be great. We're going to talk to precisely 73,082 people this week. And we're going to make Pat peanut butter cookies. :) I hope that you all are having a good week. And to my little bro and cousins who go to EFY today... have fun!!
-Sista Heather Benson!


Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013 - Massillon, Ohio

Heyyy Friends and Familia!
So right now I am so, so happy! I am in the Historic Massillon library. . . which means that I'm out of the apartment! I've had some kind of flu for about four days now.... and I was cooped up in the apartment going CRAZY for 2 days! I'm sure that you can tell from my crazy pictures that this week was pretty much so strange. I'm not really sure what to say about this last week except for that it was weird. I can't wait for this next week! It's going to be awesome.
#1) When Sister O'Driscoll and I went up to North Canton to have dinner with a member. She brought her friend who met with missionaries about a year ago. She was really nice and it was great to be able to have dinner with her! Major side note: Their house is literally the most massive house I have ever been in.... she even had taffeta swooping off of her kitchen chairs....... who does that???
#2) Meeting with our crazy Cuban investigators.... who set their own baptism date for August 31. We think that it will be good because we want them to be self-motivated in doing it. We're very excited for them. Sister O'Driscoll and Sister Chapman went on exchanges while I was dying and they watched the Restoration DVD with them. They loved it! And their grandkids even watched too! Yay!
#3) When one of the members in our ward went to the store for us to get us a rotiserie chicken, french fries, and cheese. We were dying and it was pretty much the nicest thing ever. She is heaven sent.
#4) Having dinner with Sister Chapman at a member's house in Canal Fulton.
#5) Watching "Forever Families" in hopes of giving it to a woman we've been visiting. It's the cheesiest movie ever and was made in the early '90s. Sister Astle and I died laughing.
#6) Our water baloon fight that we had in our backyard after planning one night.... And the fireflies were out! :) :) :)
#7) Getting out of the apartment this morning! Yayyyy!
I love being a missionary. But being sick on a mission is the worst thing ever because all you want to do is go out and work! Really, I've gone crazy this week. I am so, so excited to get out and go help people this week! Yay!
Thank you so much for all of your prayers and letters!
-Sista Benson!!!!
(overly enthusiastic right now? definitely possible.)

Our classy car; His name is Shmitty.  He's a 2013 Chevy Cruze.



And pretty much the funniest picture ever.  Don't judge!

North Canton!

It was 101 degress F.  It was 108 earlier but I didn't have my camera!
 (Also:  I'm listening to the CD you sent me, Dad!)
 She's Classy!!!

Um...We may or may not have had a water balloon fight.:)

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013 - Massillon, Ohio

Friends & Famillllia!
This week has been a crazy one! Sister O'Driscoll has been having a lot of breathing problems. We've been to several doctors, but no one can figure out what's wrong. It gets pretty scary sometimes! Despite the fact that we spent much of the week in the apartment, so many amazing things happened this week. We witnessed a miracle every day! .......
#1) Our media referral Monday, which I talked about last time! :)
#2) A woman in our ward made us the most cheesy, delicious, broccoli, chickeny thing ever!
#3) We had a lesson with our investigator, John, in the pouring rain on his porch. An awesome recent convert in our ward came with us. They're pretty good friends now- which is great. Even though the rain was literally dumping down on us, the spirit and peace that was there was so amazing. He said that he wanted to be baptized. It was wonderful! I truly cannot explain what a beautiful moment it was.
#4) On Wednesday there was a crazy tornado pretty close to us! When we first got the watch, it looked like it was going to be a nice day! We were at a member's house in gorgeous Canal Fulton (so green!) doing service. Our district leader told us to stay there. We ended up being stuck in the member's home for 7 hours! Pretty soon it started POURING. I have never seen it rain so hard in my entire life!! I filmed Sister Astle running out into the rain. It's a pretty great video and I wish that I could send it over email! We also made some pretty fun videos about funny experiences that we have had. I'll have to send the chip home! The strangest thing about all of this is when we got a text message saying "Take shelter: there is a live tornado heading toward Canal Fulton." All of us from the west started hurrying to put on our shoes and get in the basement. Meanwhile all those actually from Ohio and Missouri chilled on the couch and acted like it was no big deal.... so strange.
#5) Sister O'Driscoll says that I have started singing in my sleep. The other night I was aparently singing, "Come Unto Jesus." Hahaha! :)
#6) There was an old referral who we have been trying to set up an appointment with for weeks. We stopped by again and she let us right in! We had a great lesson with her and her friend! We're going back again tonight! :) :) :)
#7) We sat in the sunshine talking with a woman in our ward who recently had to go to live in a nursing home. She is so sweet!
#8) Sister Chapman and I taught John about the Restoration of the gospel and the word of wisdom. He said that he thinks it's true. He said that he would come up with a plan to start living the word of wisdom! (that darn tobacco...)
#9) We met a woman that a member in our ward referred to us. We have stopped by probably fifteen times over the last month. She finally was home! She is so nice. She got really emotional when we offered to weed her yard for her (literally: imagine the thorns in front of the castle in "Sleeping Beauty" that Prince Phillip has to cut through with his sword. Then imagine it in front of a suburban house.). We're going back Wednesday! :)
#10) We had dinner with a woman in our ward and two of her kids. The mom reminds me of my mom. Her daughter is my age and her son is David's age. But I must say that my mom's lasagna is much better. :)
#11) We visited with a less-active couple in our ward who really want to start coming back to church. Kathy has a solid testimony, but it sounds like her husband never really had a testimony and only joined the church because she wanted him to. He asked us if we would come back every Friday and teach them, though, so that's good! :)
#12) We had dinner with the members who feed us Buckeye ice cream for dessert. It's delightful.
One thing that I have definitely learned is to look for the miracles and blessings in our lives. Whether they are big or small, they really are everywhere. All that we have to do is open up our eyes and our hearts and look. :) I love you all! Thanks for writing me! Don't get into too much trouble this summer! :)
Sistaaa Benson

This is my plant, grown from the seeds that my mom sent me! It's only been about five days and look how big she is! I named her Ariel (hence, the Ariel stickers). It's fine.:)
Horse and buggy in the middle of Canton!

 The Massillon Tigers Stadium (Apparently High School football is a
BIG DEAL out here. 
 Crazy Ohioans!)
 Sister Astle

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10, 2013 Massillon, Ohio

Hey friends and familia!!
So today is Tuesday! Our P-day is weird this week because transfers are this Friday. We found out last night that all four of us are staying (BIG surprise there....). We haven't found out about the rest of our district, though, so this week should be interesting.
The last week has been full of ups and downs! We had a good 4th of July, complete with hot dogs at a recent converts house. A few of the eventful things of my week...
#1) BED BUGS. So Ohio has bed bugs. Like the real deal. "Don't let the bed bugs bite" is real life here. And it's scary. A few members of our ward have them. One of which did not tell us and we have been over at her house recently. Luckily we did not get them, but now she is not so happy with us that we won't come back over. Another woman asked the other Sisters to come over to get toilet paper for her out of the basement because she has a bad knee. And she has bed bugs really bad. So instead, they went to the store, bought her some, and tossed it towards her door from afar. So we have been hoping and praying that we won't get bed bugs.
#2) Our investigator Susan is a talker. We have been struggling to help her progress and to answer her questions because she talks more and faster than any other person that I have ever met in my life. This week, though, we saw her twice. Both times we actually had a good conversation! We helped her resolve some of her concerns and we really listened to her. It was so awesome. The second time we went over, we walked into her house and she had MoTab playing. So our lesson had background music, like on The District. It was stellar. The spirit was so strong. We love Susan so much!
#3) There is a lot of corn here! And rolling hills. Also: when we go up to the top of the highest hill (pathetically short, actually) we get so excited because we can actually see things below us. Elevation is amazing. I miss the mountains. Just a little. But I love how green it is here!
#4) Sister O'Driscoll went to another doctor. They still aren't sure what's causing her to have a hard time breathing. They gave her a few things to try and we are going back in a couple weeks.
#5) A member in our ward made us the most amazing Italian food ever the other night. It was angel hair with alfredo sauce, vegetables, chicken, sundried tomatoes, and cilantro. It was delightful (I say this because my dad keeps asking what kind of food we are eating...).
#6) I really loved receiving letters from so many Idaho relatives this week! (And also Pappy!). I love you all!
#7) Last week we received a media referral. This person got on and requested a missionary visit. We love when that happens! We went and talked to him and he is awesome! He had genuine questions and really wants to learn more. One thing that he asked us while we were there was, "...So if I were to convert, how long will it take?" Um. Hold the phone. Amazing! We talked to him about how it is different for everyone. It can be anywhere from 3 weeks to 18 years (really though, there is a man in our ward who investigated for eighteen years.) So anyway, the point is that this guy is awesome. We are so excited to talk more to him.
#8) There is a family who just moved into our ward yesterday from the L.A. area. It's an elderly mom and her daughter. Her other daughter is also here helping them move. We visited with them yesterday and they are so awesome! They asked us if there was a day this week that we could come over for dinner. (Two hours earlier, our schedule was pretty much booked solid until later in the month, but a member cancelled. Coincidence? I think not!)
#9) The last few weeks have been a little harder because we haven't been able to get out and work as much as we have wanted to because of Sister O'Driscoll's breathing. One thing that I have definitely been working on is hope and optimism! There has not been a lot of time that we have been able to work, but the things that we have done have been great. The people that we have been meeting with are so great. I love the people of Ohio so much! I love sharing the gospel and there is absolutely nowhere else that I would rather be right now. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it can change a person's life and bring more happiness to them than they have ever known.
I love you all! Thanks for your love and support. :)

-Sista Heather Benson!!

I love Sister Astle!

Gate that leads to Nowhere!

The most Cheesy Chicken Croissant

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013 Massillon, Ohio

Hey friends and familia!

It has been quite the interesting week in Ohio. Sister O'Driscoll has been really sick this week. On Monday night we took her to the Emergency Room because she was having a really hard time breathing. She and Sister Chapman were there until 2 am. It was really scary! We've been to a couple doctors this week and have another appointment on Friday. She seems to be slowly getting better. Scary stuff. (Plus side: I got to drive on Monday haha! Sister Astle and I had to go pick up one of our cars to take home that night. Also- I can drive in general now, too because they are worried about Sister O'Driscoll driving.)

The best part of my week was last night (Sunday). We had our Mission President's Fireside. President Vellinga spoke and so did President Tally (the stake president). Sister Chapman and I also sang a beautiful arrangement of "Be Still My Soul" with two of the Elders from Akron. One of our ward's recent converts also told his conversion story and bore his testimony of the gospel and that families can be together forever (their mom passed away recently). It was so awesome and the spirit was so strong. The best part of all of this is that we had three of the people that we have been teaching there. Susan, John, and Lazaro all said that they had a great time and were so glad they came. Lazaro said that he loved the peaceful, good feeling. It has been so amazing to watch him as he has changed his life over the last several weeks. We are meeting with John tonight and we are so excited. We had to cancel with him on Monday and Thursday night and when we asked when we could come back, both times he wanted us to come back the next day (that never happens!). He is awesome. One other cool thing that happened at the fireside is that one of the members (who helps us teach and translate with Lazaro) one of his friends who speaks Portuguese! She said that she's really interested in learning more. I thought that I was going on an English speaking mission! :) I am going to come home knowing probably 8 different languages. It's fine.

Last night we were sitting in our car totaling the monthly miles when the bushes in front of our car starting sparkling with dozens of fireflies. Sister O'Driscoll had never seen one and she literally screamed. It was the coolest! Are we from out west? No, not at all...

Yesterday at church we had a combined 5th Sunday Priesthood and Relief Society meeting. The most awkward/funniest thing happened. So, not very many members have been signing up to feed us. It has been kind of a bummer, but it's okay. So the Relief Society president stood up and basically yelled at the ward about how they need to feed us because we've been "going without food." It was so awkward. And so hilarious. But then they passed around the binder and we have dinner every night for almost the whole month! Haha.

I hope that you all have a fantastic 4th of July week (we have meetings all day on the 4th... and then we're doing our weekly planning... but then we're going to the Bishop's house for a barbecue for dinner! Excited about that.). It sounds like all you Idaho people have already kicked off the week well. Don't go rolling too many four wheelers or watching too many outdoor movies without me. ;) Even though it's kind of lame that I'm not doing normal 4th of July things this week, there's nowhere I'd rather be than in Massillon, Ohio teaching people about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and Redeemer and I am so, so glad that I have been given the chance to go tell people about Him and our Heavenly Father's plan for us. I know that He loves each one of you so much and wants you to return to live with Him someday.

I love you all!

-Sista Heather Benson