Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015 - Letter from HOME

Dear Vickie, We have had a lot of rain the past few days. I'm so thankful for our winter without snow, and I dared to thank Heavenly Father for the mild winter and beautiful weather. Now we are having a lot of rain, and I thank Heavenly Father for sending the rain so that we can have water throughout the summer. He certainly is a merciful God. However, I feel so bad for the huge earthquake in Napal. The last death count I read was just under 2000. So much grief, and I wonder when it is our turn for the great earthquake that we are preparing for.

I'm very grateful for your service on your mission. You are a light to those around you. I glean that light through your emails. We need to recognize our strength and build upon it. Start where we are. Rely on the Lord. We can't get there on our own. We need intelligence and strength and realize we need the Lord to get where we'd like to be.

Let's see what happened this week. Monday we had family night. It's so strange to have such a few amount of people in attendance. Tuesday was a busy day for me. One of my Orchestras had an assembly concert and an evening concert. The Principal got up at the end and said that she closed her eyes and it sounded not like an elementary school orchestra--but much better. My students were so excited to hear that. I'm so proud of my students because they have worked so hard by practicing and coming to rehearsals.

Wednesday was Aurella's first birthday. We went to Todd's sister's house and celebrated. She is such a big girl.

Thursday was the first rehearsal for stake choir for conference that will be happening the end of May. So I'm playing the piano. We're singing a special arrangement of the hymn, High On A Mountain Top. The theme of the conference will be the Restoration.

Friday night we went out with Jake and Shayla to Chili's. Then we came back and played Spades (I think that is the name of the game.) It was pretty fun. Henry, Trevor and Wilford watched the kids. Marie and Todd brought Aurella over. Aurella was so quiet until her parents came home. Then she was the loudest baby I've ever heard. I think she is laughing. Anyway, I loved watching her and visiting with Jake and Shay and Marie and Todd. When Abrielle came she just talked and talked and went on and on. She just had so much to tell me. She sure is a loving girl. I saw her today and loved giving her big hugs!

Saturday we had the big dress rehearsal for our Symphony concert for next Saturday. Saturday evening we had International Soup Night at the Ward House. I made Manhatten Clam Chowder. It's not really International, but I figured because you can see the Manhatten skyline from your window, it would work. It was pretty spicy, but it was good. I won the award of having the prettiest soup. lol

Today was regular church day. The speakers were a new couple in the ward. Dad taught the Priesthood lesson. We had the yearly "camp" meeting after the block of meetings. We're still waiting to find out how much we need to pay for the boys. It's stacking up to be a pretty busy summer. The boys have camp and youth conference and EFY, and Henry will be getting a job and getting his mission papers in, and Dad has the Tab Choir tour. BTW, he's going to New York. But I will be surprised if you get to see each other. If you do get to see each other, I'm going to wish I had made the sacrifice and gone on the tour!

Dad got a calling in the Tab Choir. He's now one of the Tenor Librarians. They had retirements last Sunday and some of Dad's good friends retired from the Choir. It's getting more emotional for him as his time gets closer. Still he has 5-6 years left.

Well, I guess that's all. My testimony of Jesus Christ is burning brightly. I know he lives and because of his qualities of Godhood, he is very intimately aware of each of us and our desires. We can become works of art that God chisels. You know I love you very much! I look forward to your letter tomorrow morning or so.

Love, Mom

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday, April 20th, 2015 - Letter from Hermana Bentley

Wow! I literally just got soaked outside! We had to park a little farther from the library and my companion says that this gets worse! Oof! My beautiful Guatemalan bag got wet! Oh. And everything that I said in my last letter is true, except for the fact that my zone leaders joked us, and apparently I get to stay here in Kearny and kill Sister Stevens. :) I was a little mad at first because I had done some packing on Monday morning. Luckily though I was gonna finish packing after a zone BBQ. And there is where I found out about that! Gr.

Our new district this transfer is SO flippin' awesome!! Our district leader, Elder Warnock, is super awesome! I wish I could've had Jake and Steven with me in our first district meeting this transfer. I think they would've laughed haha! This guy has dry humor like no other. Everyone else in our district is super awesome too! I'm excited to work with them all:)

I really don't think that I will be losing any sort of weight on my mission. A sign that hispanics love you, is feeding you. Last Saturday was one of those days. Oof. We started off with the lovely and elderly Alvarados, who went and bought a pizza just for us. Then right after we went and saw a Peruvian member and she fed us good! Afterwards, I had to be careful with my burps cuz I was afraid I'd chuck it all up! We had another visit with a member after her. But don't worry. We had talked to him the night before not to give us ANY food. For we surely would have died. But the rest of the day went well. Actually, we got juked twice. But, we got to go visit sweet Dulce. And something that I've been having a hard time with is contacting people. I see someone, and I think, "okay."... and then nothing happens. We just walk on, and I feel a little guilty. But I've decided something! I'm going to try to be a boss contacter by the end of my mission. So I had to start somewhere. We contacted two people that day! Which doesn't seem like much, but that was awesome to me! One turned into a street lesson and now we have an appointment with her Wednesday. One guy we should've contacted passed by and both of us said, "Hi, how are you?" About 10-20 feet after we passed him I realized something. So without thinking I turned around and called, "I'M GOOD! THANKS!" He jumped, and we all thought that was funny. We should've gone back and shared something cuz that was a good ice breaker, but I was lame and kept walking. Oh well. Shake it off.

You know what's crazy? The first day out of training we were teaching a less active and her husband, who is not a member. We were teaching the restoration, and her husband, Mauricio, was participating really well! Near the end, I felt the Spirit, just felt like I should be bold. It was the most amazing feeling. So I asked him when he knows this is true if he would be baptized. He said yeah. So then I asked him if it was okay if we taught him everything we know and help him to find out if this is true. He said yeah. It also sounds like he wants us to read the Book of Mormon with him. So that's what we're doing tonight. Power of the Spirit. Can't do God's work without that member of the Godhead. I'll update on that in a few weeks.

I can't pretend that this isn't hard. But this is the best thing ever. I love it, and I'm a different person because of it. I remember the lyrics to a song I really love to listen to:)

"He loves me, more than I could tell you, you should see, what He's done with me, Hey hey hey hey He's made me new. All His strength, I can handle anything in Jesus' name, you should see the change hey hey hey hey He's made me new."

I testify that this is the work of the Lord, and as we share it and live it, we are purified by the pure love of Christ. It's good to have a testimony, but it's better to be converted.

Love ya'll:) Hermana Bentley

Monday, April 20th, 2015 - Letter from HOME

Dear Vickie,
I can hardly wait to hear where you were transferred to. I know you're not supposed to end with a preposition, but I'm not perfect, you know! lol Friday I was the recipient of a root canal at the dentist. My eye tooth on the right side was totally dead. I asked the dentist if it could have anything to do with the fact that my right eye was leaking all the time. He said that it very well could. So at the end he was going to give me a prescription for pain medicine. I told him I already had Henry's. He gave me a prescription for anti-biotics. Since my eye was involved--and it had been for months--I decided to take them.

Saturday, I was in such pain--but not from my tooth. My hip and leg were really acting up. So I didn't go to Symphony. I was supposed to go to a double bridal shower (Daisha Chavez and Kortnee Whitehead) but I stayed home. There was a stake ice cream social that night, but once again, I really didn't feel well enough to go.

Sunday, I went to church. My leg and hip felt a little better. But I was soooo tired. Dad said it was because of getting the root canal. Sandra and Craig Peterson spoke. Their talks were amazing; but I had a hard time keeping my eyes open. Same thing in the other meetings--great lessons, but I was extremely sleepy.

We had our Monster Concert with the elementary school orchestras on Wednesday night. It's a lot of work, but well worth the effort. The kids love playing in such a big group. There are hundreds of little instrumentalists playing.

Tuesday night we had a recital for my one and only student--besides Henry. It was cute.

Monday Aunt Malinda and I traveled home from Arizona where we had Grandfather's 85th birthday parties. The adults, Uncle Ty and Aunt Malinda, Uncle Roy and Aunt Jeanne, Me, Grandfather and Alba, Chelsea, Megan and Bonny and Geller went out Friday night, we met at a park on Saturday with all the grandkids and great-grandkids--all who could make it. It was so fun seeing everyone. We missed those who couldn't come. Sunday was Grandfather's actual birthday. Alba fixed an amazingly beautiful spaghetti dinner. Robert and family, and Steven came. Henry was with me on the trip so he was there too. Of course, Aunt Malinda was there since we came home together. We had such a great weekend. The trip home went so quickly because Aunt Malinda and I just talked our way home. It was better than having a movie or book on CD!

Well, I'd better get this off to you. I love you and hope you have a great week. You are always in our prayers. Love, Mom

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - Letter from Hermana Bentley

Me voy!!!

Transfers are tomorrow and I'm being taken away from Kearny! I feel pretty sad about this. All these people here are in my heart and I'm gonna miss 'em. And I also am not going to be killing Sister Stevens. I'm really sad about that too...she's so awesome! But the Lord has a work for me to do, and this area doesn't need Sister Bentley right now!

Yesterday my companion and I went to the care center to visit an older spanish lady, Dulce. She seriously is so sweet and we love to come visit her and sing and share a little scripture with her. Last Thursday we had tried to go and visit her, but she refused to let us sing, talk, or even give her a hug. So we sadly went away, with her kindof mad at the world (she's been in this care center for 10 years and feels very lonely). We decided to try her again. We came in, and she just had the biggest sweetest smile for us. We talked with her and I just had this feeling that I wanted her to know that we really did love her and that we do really love to sit and visit with her. We sang to her a couple of hymns, and then talked about the Holy Ghost. The Spirit was sooo strong and the feeling of love was strong too. Sometimes my companion will just stop and look at me to say something, and she did so in this visit. I had no idea what to say, so I just said the first thing that came to mind. I told her that we loved to just come and be in her presence, cuz we do. I don't remember much else of what I said, I think I bore my testimony of the Spirit. Then it was time for us to sing two more songs and then go. As I looked at Dulce, I realized that I didn't want to leave, i just wanted to stay here with her and ask her about her life. And then sing and sing. We sang two songs. and then I was like, "Dos mas! dos mas!" So we sang two more. And my companion saw two songs and we didn't know which one to sing, so we decided to sing both. Finally we said the prayer, and got up to go. This sweet woman can't walk, and is confined to a chair or bed for all her time now. Before we knew what she was doing, she had shakily gotten up from her wheelchair and stood and tried to take a couple of steps. It looked like she was going to try to walk us to the door of her room! But she just stood up for us cuz we were leaving. I was so overwhelmed! We hugged and kissed her cheek and helped her to sit back down. So, we left, with much love. I just want to take her home!

That was an amazing experience. Really interesting that that was the last time that I would be seeing her. At least for now. I don't really know what else to say. I just see all the trials that all these people go through, like the Cuevas, Tania, Martha, Samantha...all these strong people who are going through the hardest things and we get to be the representatives of Christ who go to comfort, serve, teach, and love them just as Christ would. I get to have the honor of serving and loving these people; with that love, comes the pain of when they make wrong choices, the happiness when they are making good choices, and still seeing all they are going through. But the joy that comes from Heavenly Father and His Plan of Happiness, and Christ through His Atonement. It just makes everything unbelievably good and perfect. All will be made right through Christ. We just gotta work and believe. More like work to believe. I know Christ lives and that we may be made perfect through His Everlasting Atonement. So let's work and laugh and live!

Love you all! Hermana Bentley

Yo y mi companera enjoying the day! (We're volunteers)

Sunday, April 12, 2015 - Letter from Home

Dear Vickie,

I'm writing you on Grandfather's birthday at his house in Mesa. Alba fixed a delicious dinner and Robert and family and Steven and Aunt Malinda and Henry and I ate with Grandfather and Alba. He is officially 85. The funny thing is that his age backwards is my age--58. Isn't that interesting. I wonder how that happened??? Last night Henry and I went to sleep at Robert and Bridget's. Henry went right to sleep. Robert and Bridget and I were staying up talking. It was so funny. I had just said that I had set some goals and was doing so well. Robert said, "Let me hear about your goals." In the next breath he was snoring! haha Bridget and I ended up enjoying each other's company before we finally went to sleep. Breena gave a talk in Primary. Robert went up to help her and I was standing by Aiden. His little feelings are so tender and he began crying. So I took him out. So I didn't actually get to hear her talk. But I looked through the little window and saw how beautiful she was standing up there giving her talk.

Saturday we had Grandfather's big birthday party at the park. It was perfect weather. We had so much fun eating and talking and playing basketball and the little kids played on the playground. We decided we wanted to continue getting together every April 12th or nearby that date to celebrate Grandfather's birthday. Megan came all the way from California. It was so fun to see everyone. Henry and I and Robert and his family were there. Megan and her son, Geller; Jenny and her husband, Ben and their little girl Aubrie, Bonny and hubby, Ben; Jaron, Nathan, Sophie, Sion, Camilla. Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Roy and Royce and Cody. Aunt Malinda, Uncle Ty, Tonya, Maelie, Kason and Sadie, Alexa and Tyson, and Chelsea. There, I just took roll. lol

Friday night we went on our date to Sweet Tomato. Megan and Bonny joined us. Henry and I traveled all day on Friday.

Thursday night Henry went to the Madrigal party and helped get the new Madrigals out of bed. He pulled an all-nighter, so I drove all the way.

Sorry about last Monday. I had DUP and couldn't be on-line when you were there. But at least my letter will be waiting for you when you get on. We will be on the road when you write your letter tomorrow morning.

I'm so thankful you are serving the Lord on a mission. The Lord is happy with you and the work you are doing. I know Jesus Christ lives and guides his church.

Until next week. I love you very much! Love, Mom

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Letter from Hermana Bentley - 4/6/15

Happy Birthday to Jesus!

So, back before the mission, I sometimes would drive pretty scary. :) Here, you have to drive in such tight circumstances that when I get home, I'll be an even scarier driver, but at least I'll know what I'll be doing. :):)

The great thing about being a Spanish missionary in the US is that I don't only get one type of Spanish, but Latinos from all the different countries! The down side to that is there is 3 or 4 different kinds of people that make it really hard to understand because of their accents! Like Argentina people. All their ya's are sha's. And not only me, but both of my trainers too have the hardest time understanding Columbianos! And Dominicans use a lot of informal Spanish, so a quarter of what they're saying goes out the other ear. But they are so funny. And I love them all, I'll just have to be okay with not knowing exactly what they're saying...that could be bad...

This week I had a lesson in which the Spirit was definitely not present, and it was the most awkward lesson that we have ever had. Apparently we were supposed to stay there for the whole evening and eat with them and then teach. So we did. This is with Martha and her husband, Diego, who was active in the church for two years, about 15-30 years ago. Things were kinda slow, but then we ate dinner (which was AMAZING! It was some Easter dish that the Catholics do). Then the husband poured himself some beer, and we immediately felt super awkward (but Martha didn't! She's keeping her commitment to live the Word of Wisdom!). And then Martha starts asking some questions about the Word of Wisdom, which made it more awkward. But we did the best we could to answer questions, and then we got ready to teach the lesson; we actually changed the whole lesson plan cuz of how drastically the circumstances changed. But. Then a friend came in to visit with Martha and her husband. I could tell she must've been a good friend, but there was something off. We taught about prophets and how we receive revelation from God through them. Honestly, neither of us felt the Spirit there the whole time, except for one moment. That was when we showed them pictures of the prophet and the apostles. I could feel the Spirit in that moment. I didn't say much in that lesson. I had no idea what to say. But I learned from that lesson that I can't teach if the Spirit isn't there. I'm so grateful for the sweet feelings that come from the Spirit. I treasure those moments when I teach by the power of the Holy Ghost.

My companion has the most awesome music. Totally mission appropriate and some of them are so fun to listen to! There's this one song that Sister Stevens and I love jam out to (when no one is around:)). I can't remember the name right now, but when I get home I'm going to dance to it with one of my neices and nephews!

I love you all very much:) Have an awesome week! Love, Hermana Bentley

at a wedding taking silly pictures with one of the ninas

Chilling with my companion at lunch:)

Having fun at the sister training meeting:)

Letter from Home - Monday, April 6th, 2015

In answer to your question about if I know Spanish: I know a lot of Spanish. Because I don't get much practice, I get a headache trying to speak it. But I still know quite a bit. In fact, I get compliments when I speak it. Your old Ma knows something!

Sorry about today! Steven is here for the week and had to talk this morning. Then I was late for DUP; so I hurried and got there late. So I missed you online. I was so sad. But I loved getting all those pictures! Plus reading your emails. I thought maybe I could send you a letter snail mail. We'll see. I'm pretty much worn out from having Abrielle and Nathan here for a Grandma sleepover on Saturday night. It ended up being a Grandma weekend with sleepover. I'm bushed! But I sure love having them over. It's just good that the younger girls have the babies!

I will not be able to be online with you two Mondays out of the month--except for the summer months because of DUP meetings. I'm sad about that because Monday mornings are the highlight of my week. But I do need to pay attention to my responsibilities. I'm hoping to get my email written on Sunday night. That way at least you'll get something from me.

I saw Alexa on Saturday night at the Ladies night and I was excited to hear that she writes you. I'm so glad that she keeps in touch. We had fun at Leatherby's. Aunt Jeanne and Lynnae were there and all of Aunt Malinda's daughters. But Marie wasn't--not sure why she wasn't. Of course, Beth was in Texas and you in New Jersey.

Henry got all four wisdom teeth out. But he didn't have any pain nor did he swell up. The whole procedure took a half your. Now I have a prescription of pain killers in my purse that I don't need! I'm so thankful for the Lord's blessings and miracles. Trevor's arm is still swollen a little. But there is not pain except in one small area. I'm allowing him to not take piano lessons for the month of April so that his wrist can heal. We have dental appointments for Wednesday. So I think we'll get Trevor's wisdom teeth pulled and I already have the pain killers just in case.

I love you soooo much. I'm so glad the Lord is helping you on your mission. We are constantly praying for you.

Love, Mom