Friday, February 27, 2015

Letter from Hermana Bentley - 2/23/15

Hola mis amores:)

This week has been full of miracles! Never underestimate the power of prayer! We have been more specific in our prayers, and the Lord has blessed us for it! We found two new investigators and both of them are on date for baptism! Every time we meet with a new investigator for the first lesson, we always invite them to be baptized. First we share the message of the Restoration, and invite them to be baptized when they know that our message is true. The first investigator, Carlos, is a friend to one of our recent converts,Tino, and was present when we were reviewing the restoration of the gospel with Tino. We got a call a couple of days later saying that Carlos had felt something at that lesson, and wants to be baptized! So we are teaching him now:) The second investigator is a former, but she's just been gone visiting her mother. So we invited her to come to church and be baptized in a month and all and she's excited for it! Golden, I tell you! Almost too good:) and we actually found out there is kind of an obstacle for her. She's not married to the guy she's living with. So. Now we also have a wedding to plan:) Hopefully all will go well with that!

We also had a fireside with the members in our ward. Only people from Kearny came though! Probably because we made it a point to call the people in our area and inform them of it. They all have family mission plans and we are going to follow up on them and hopefully be able to get some more referrals!! The work is moving forward, and this area is booming! The Lord has blessed us so much!

Oof. Missionary work takes a lot out of me, so I'm always grateful for P-days! Always something to improve on, always something to be grateful for. Like how dry it is in Utah! We don't get a ton of terrible snow, but last Saturday we got some:) and my poor Californian companion had to drive in it. I'm not much help, cuz I can't help laughing when we start losing control. :P

Something interesting about the streets around here, is that the speed limit is always 25 mph. So when I went on an exchange, we were driving on a 40 road, and I was like, whoa I'm going too fast! Then I just thought about 90th that's right in front of our neighborhood. Good ol' New Jersey!

I love ya'll!

Love, Hermana Bentley

PS Oh! And Oscar did not get baptized on Friday:( We were not able to meet with their family for over a week! But we are meeting with Oscar tonight, and we're going to help him with any concerns he has. We will also help him see how much baptism can bless him and his family's progression to being eternal:)

Letter from Hermana Bentley - February 17, 2015

Sooo, yesterday was a holiday so the computers in the libraries were all unavailable. But...

Happy Valentine's Day en tarde! That day was actually a little awkward for us missionaries...but it's coolio.

This past week has been fairly interesting. We found a few new investigators, and they are SO ready! And one of our investigators, Martha/Hna. Ojeda is feeling more and more the truth of our message. It was amazing what she said to us the yesterday! She has been really confused with all the different truths and churches, and she told us that we are the ones that she feels different about! Her answer is becoming clearer and clearer and she knows it. I just want her to know immediately!! But patience is a virtue and she is doing her best. I love that lady!

Wednesday night I felt so sorry for my companion. We had eaten at a less active's home and apparently the food didn't fit well for her stomache, because in the middle of the night she felt sick and threw up. Luckily it was only once for her. But I felt even more sorry for her, cuz I was the one that woke her up and made her realize that she was sick! She told me that in her dream, she was hearing me talk and she woke up and looked over at my bed and I was sitting up, reciting the first vision in Spanish over and over. So she was like, "Hermana Bentley, what are you doing?" and I apparently said, "I'm just practicing." She told me that right now was not a good time and that I should save that for language study. So I laid back down. She tried to go back to sleep, but that was when she realized that she felt really sick. When she came back from the bathroom, I was sitting up in my bed again with my eyes open and everything. Hermana Mortensen said that that was kinda scary cuz my eyes were open, but hollow cuz I wasn't concious. So, poor girl, she was weak and ready to go to bed when my sleeping self decides to strike up a conversation. She told me I said, "You know, I was just thinking about the difference in believing and knowing..." she was like auuugggghhhh go to sleep! So she had to listen to me gab off while feeling all that nausea. The next day she felt better, and now she's doing awesome.

Last Friday was not my favorite cuz I was backing up my companion with the car. I don't know why I never thought that this was a dumb idea, but usually I will put myself between our car and any other cars that are behind us so that when she comes back I can simply tap on the back and she'll stop. Unfortunately, though, she was on a small hill of ice and she took her foot off the brake for two seconds and I tapped, but too late cuz my leg was pinched between the two cars! And I yelled out cuz it hurt and I thought that that would be a good thing to do when my leg is like that. So she quickly pulled forward a little, and I limped to my seat in the front, and when I got over my first initial shock, I felt my leg and there was a slight dent in there, but now there's only a bruise and my leg is healing great! I gotta go now but I love ya'll and miracles continue to happen! pray for Oscar Guerrero please, he's getting baptized on Friday and he's feeling a little nervous!

Hermana Bentley

Monday, February 16, 2015

Letter from Home - Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dear Vickie,

Another storm? I just noticed that Boston has received huge snow deposits. I looked at a video and it was amazing how deep the snow is over there! Fortunately--unfortunately for you--we are having unseasonably warm weather. haha But, then, you are one of my kids who loves cold weather, right??? Kind of makes you want to live in Arizona. hehe

We had a nice Sunday. The Relief Society presidency was changed. Cindy Minson, Kelly Danice, and Jenn McIllece are the new presidency. I went over to play for the Care Center.

Saturday was Valentine's Day. I made that yummy carrot cake because Beth really wanted me to do that. I played all of Symphony. But I put 1/4 of a cotton ball and a bigger bandaid. It was big, but I could play for the most part without pain.

Friday, Dad and I went out to Archibald's for dinner. Whatever I get over there, I really love. They are a good restaurant. BTW, I sent your Valentine package, but in order to get it there by Valentine's Day, it would have cost almost $55!!! So I opted for the 9-11 day rate for much, much cheaper. You should have it this week. Enjoy, but don't get sick! I actually made sugar cookies and decorated them. They are in the Pringle's can so they won't get crumbly. Then a bunch of other stuff I thought you would like including that music book you wanted. You're welcome! I love you, too! LOL Oh, yeah, Dad and I went to The Orange Peel after Archibald's. They make all kinds of smoothies without sugar. In fact, Dad and I requested they put in Stevia. Shayla told us about it.

Thursday, I went to Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Camp meeting. We heard some very interesting pioneer histories by Diane Tree.

Wednesday--nada.

Tuesday, we had Abrielle and Nathan over for Nathan's first ever Grandma sleep-over. We watched movies and ate yummy stuff and stayed up way later than we were used to. I wish I could have Breena and Joshua over somehow. Maybe we can figure that out. Main requirement is potty-training must be accomplished before sleeping at a Grandma sleepover! lol

Monday, David taught the family night lesson. He's a very good teacher. It was on family and couple councils.

General family news: Dad is still busy with the choir and work. He went to the doctor and his diabetes is worse. The doctor suggested he try the Paleo diet. So we are doing our best to try that diet. It's mostly meat with vegetables. No grains nor sugar. We are definitely not perfect; but it's a process, right?

David and Beth are packing up a little each day. My lonesome is already starting to hurt. I'm going to miss them--but especially that cute little Marci! I think Trevor won't know what to do without being able to carry her around and babysit her.

Wilford's last day at work is the 19th. So we are going to celebrate his birthday with a breakfast on the 21st--his birthday. I was hoping to have Marie's birthday party Saturday night because she and Todd are going down to Mesa with Beth and David and will be gone on her birthday--the 26th. I'm waiting to hear from Marie, though, after she talks to Todd. It would be a fun Saturday to have breakfast together, then party until dinner, then go out for Marie's birthday.

Trevor and Wilford have been playing a lot of computer games because a new game just came out this last week.

Henry and the Madrigals did Singing Valentine's on Friday. He had so much fun.

This morning I was praying and thinking about what to pray for each of my children. Some of my kids I knew just what to ask for in their behalf. But some, I wasn't sure. So I prayed that Heavenly Father would bless so and so without asking for anything specific. I appreciate when my children talk to me or come to see me and let me know what's going on in their lives. I really feel a void when I don't hear from one or more of them. I thought how that's very much like praying to Heavenly Father. He must feel a void when someone forgets about Him or when someone feels they don't need him. Especially when He knows just how to bless their lives--but holds back because of free agency. I think occasionally we go thinking we can do it all--independent of help from above.

But Helaman made it perfectly clear that we cannot be independent in this life (Helaman 5:12). In fact, he called Jesus Christ a rock. He said that we had to rely on Jesus Christ, the rock. Hard times will come our way--it's a given. But we can avoid being dragged down during those hard times if we will depend upon Christ.

Well, I hope you and each of your siblings will remember to pray to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and to realize that they can't do it without their help. I also hope that when I pray for my kids, I will know specifically what to ask Heavenly Father. Mothers really like to be in touch with each child--if only just to listen to them and then, to pray for them.

I love you muchisimo!

Love, Mom

Letter from Hermana Bentley - 2/9/15

I can't remember everything that I want to say! So this might just splurge out...

Every thursday we go on a "car fast" and so we walked everywhere that day. SUPER DUPER COLD!!!!!!! I bought a KitKat to remind myself that there were still good things in the world...and plus my companion was about to die of cold so we went into a convenience store. We taught a recent convert that day and he served us dinner. The dinner was quite interesting. My companion had a chunk of fish in there with the bones and scales still in there! And then I looked at mine. It was actually pretty cool. My chunk of fish actually still had the full tail on there! I meant to keep the skeleton of the tail (it was full and intact!!) but as we were teaching, someone cleaned it up:( I almost ate a couple of fish scales, but I felt them and pulled them out.

The story of the Ojedas continues to be inspiring! We officially invited Hno. Ojeda to come back and be active in the church. His answer was awesome! My companion says she has never had such a positive response to that question. He says that he will do whatever he can to come back. He said that he has been blessed with a good financial situation, but has neglected the things of God. So he's determined. I seriously am so proud of him! Mi companera y yo took Hna. Ojeda on a tour of the church to help her feel more comfortable with coming to church. It was kinda crazy, cuz a member totally overloaded her with all these details about everything/deeper doctrine, but she's okay! She came to church on Sunday and she really liked it! Plus Saturday night she invited us over and we were able to teach her about diezmo:) I believed she is one of those prepared ones!

The gift of tongues is growing within me as I focus on what people are saying. During lessons and conversations, I can get the gist of what we're saying and sometimes I even participate! I also can talk better. Yesterday my companion said my prayer was great, that I didn't have grammatical errors like I usually do! Step up for me:) It's kinda funny though, cuz I don't think that people really know what to say to me, so they greet my companion excitedly and then they turn to me and say, "Como esta su espanol?" or in accented English, "how is your Spanish?" At first, I was like, "poco a poco!" But it's kinda embarrassing to me now cuz I simply just say, "Esta mejor que ayer..." It's like they expect me to be picking it up pretty good by now. But I'm pretty sure that some of the members just don't know what to say to me... yesterday was a good day of communication with the people in the ward though! My companion and I taught this Sunday school class the Plan of Salvation. Mostly my companion talked and I drew on the board. She gave me a couple of opportunities to speak, and I looked like a deer in the headlights the first time, but the second time I took it and talked a little. I was a little bit scrambled, but I think I helped them a little. Oh by the way it was in English cuz the teenagers prefer that. And we were more comfortable with that. Poco a poco.

On Tuesday we had a zone meeting and I got to sing a number with another elder. We sang super awesome! And another brilliant piano player kind of elder played the guitar for us. It was a beautiful song about going and doing the Lord's work with faith:) I was a little surprised at my music ability cuz halfway in the song I went on a wrong note, but the note sounded good, and somehow I was able to sing the rest of the phrase in harmony and I got back on track for the rest of the song...scary, but thanks to Heavenly Father for helping me through that!

I love you all and hope that you have a fantastic week!

Oh! And I went to Ellis Island and that was super fun! I saw the Statue of Liberty from a distance and a whole bunch of fun historic stuff! Especially the building that everybody used to have to go through to become part of the US.

Love, Hermana Bentley

this is me and my companion, Hermana Mortensen! Super awesome person!!

Letter from Home - Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Dear Vickie,

I just found out that we have more relatives that are from New Jersey. Phillip Packer was born in Pensaucken, Camden, New Jersey. It's in the Southern part of the state. His father, Phillip, died in Burlington, Burlington, New Jersey.

Well, on to the news. I have three students that I teach. A viola student on Monday, Henry takes voice lessons on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In return he massages my back and legs. Boy, does he find sore spots. I didn't realize I was so sore!!! Melanie is taking piano on Friday. That's in addition to my orchestra classes on Tuesday and Thursday morning and afternoon. So that's fun.

Today I went to church. But I left before the end because of my cough. At least I got to take the sacrament. Kaylee sang in church today and did an awesome job! Jacob and Shay and family returned from Arizona last night and said it was the best vacation they've ever had. Shayla hated to leave--yet another thing we have in common. Today they brought my van back and we exchanged our cars back. I'm so glad to get my van back. Jacob really liked the van, though! I made a pie today. Now that you're gone, I have to keep up the baking! Not as good as you are.

Yesterday I tried to play at Symphony. I had a band-aide on my finger to kind of give it some cushion. After about 20 minutes while playing on my thin E string, I gave up. It was hurting too bad. It was red and puffy. Next week I'll bring a cotton ball and a larger band-aide. After Symphony I went over to Bart Robbins and rehearsed for playing at the Care Center--which we did today.

Friday, Dad and I went to eat at Johnny Carino's. Then we went to the movies and saw Big Hero 6. It was a really good movie.

Thursday night I went to Melanie's for a Tupperware party. I haven't been to one of those for decades. I had fun and bought some stuff that I needed. I hope we don't go broke. haha

Wednesday and Tuesday I didn't do much except regular stuff.

Monday was Groundhog Day and we watched that movie for FHE. That was fun.

Dad's still doing extra rehearsals for the Tab Choir getting ready for the big choral convention coming up. He's been working hard at his job trying to get reports done and fixing computer programing and such. He was a perfect host today and stayed downstairs and visited with Jake and Shayla instead of going upstairs to take a nap. I was proud of him.

Wilford got a new job as a telephone tech. He starts in a couple of weeks while he winds down at his job at Smith's. The new job is full-time--which is what he wanted. He has to go to Magna every day now--well, starting in a couple weeks.

Henry has been keeping up in school. He is really busy with church callings. He was gone most of the day today. Yesterday he was gone all afternoon at a girl's birthday party.

Trevor is doing well in American School. He got his first exam back on Saturday and got 97%. Yesterday he had Michael Peterson and Mah-mood here playing computer games.

David and Beth are getting their things together in preparation to pack. Marci is so cute. She also has discovered the joy of laying on the floor and rolling around. She "talks". Of course, we can't understand what she is saying. But she makes talking noises. She still loves to get into the garbage. She has more teeth. Don't ask me how many.

Well, I guess that's all the news. I hope your first investigator, Brian, is doing well in his search for truth. Also, I'm so excited for the baptism of Oscar Guerrero and hope the rest of the family will desire baptism. Also, I was so happy to hear the surprise that Hno. Ojeda was already a member. Did Hna. Ojeda accept to be baptized? I hope so. I am praying for them to feel the Spirit and desire to belong to Christ's church.

I'm so proud of you and your service in your mission. I read your blessing today and felt so happy that you can be spreading the joy that you have in your heart and that shows on your face. I feel so blessed to have you as my daughter. I have choice children. Thank you for your testimony. I love you and hope you have a wonderful week.

BTW, I guess your house is still standing after the two winter storms blew through. LOL We are having unseasonably warm weather here.

Te amo muchisimo, Mom

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Letter from Hermana Bentley - February 2nd, 2015

Dearest Family,

This week was crazy learning time for me and my heart! Because my companion was asked to attend an important mission meeting, I was left with a new companion for the day, and I led my area. Worst. Day. Of my mission. But huge growing experience. I have never been really good at talking to people with seeing how they are doing, and so I've always feared the day that I would have to lead a companionship. That day came last Thursday. The lesson happened the way that I had feared. But we didn't die and their house didn't explode, and thank goodness for my temporary companion (funnily enough, her name is Hermana Mortensen too). I felt really bad for myself that day, and I was tempted to call home and say that I couldn't do this. But I knew that God would never give me those thoughts, and I knew that He has a plan for His children and there was no doubt that I am part of that plan. Entonces, I went home and talked to Heavenly Father with all my heart. And He is here with me every step of the way. I'm going to go help and pray for His children all day; I have fear inside, but I know in whom I have trusted. My faith in my Father in Heaven is so much more than what a doubt could ever do. Don't forget that. Ever. I say that in Jesus' name, Amen.

The area that I'm working in is called Kearny. Newark is the next city over and has the highest crime rate in the nation. So just sit on that for a minute;) So it turns out that no sisters can serve in Newark because it is too dangerous. Kearny is the most dangerous place that sisters can serve in in this mission, which honestly some places seem sketchy, but I haven't felt threatened ever. The people that we talk to are so awesome! Well, there's one person I wanted to slap, but I won't worry about that.

We have one person set for baptismal date, and I can't remember if I told you, but his name is Oscar Guerrero Sr. Super awesome guy! He's come to church two weeks in a row! And his wife is a less active member, but she's gonna get Sundays off and their son Oscar Jr. was baptized like two months ago and he's got the Aaronic priesthood now and he's gonna baptize his father! They have such a beautiful family and are so kind! They also have a daughter who is a less active, but we are working with her too. She is just as kind as her family. Then we have another family called the Ojedas. The mother is a strong Catholic, but we've been teaching her and she is praying to know if Joseph Smith is a true prophet and if the Book of Mormon is true. The son is a recent convert who is actually struggling right now. But then a miracle. We were meeting with Hno. y Hna. Ojeda, thinking that we were teaching two investigators. Then Hno. Ojeda went out of the room for a second and while he was gone we invited Hna. Ojeda to be baptized. He came back in and his wife expressed to him that we had just asked her to be baptized. He replied that he wasn't surprised, seeing as that was how he was baptized. WHAAAT?????? Apparently 35 years ago in Ecuador he was baptized and was active for two years! We think that he might even have the Melchezidek priesthood! He's wanted to come back, but was afraid. He hasn't been able to come to church because of his work. But he supports his family in looking into the church. What a huge miracle and blessing!!

So I just had to shpeal on that. Miracles DO happen!

So, I don't have very much time, so I will post some pictures (finally!) Love ya'll!

Love, Hermana Bentley



Letter from Home - February 1st, 2015

Dear Vickie,

Dad and I are eager to hear how you fared in the big storm last week. Dad kept close track of the storm on the tv and weather reports. So we think you came out pretty well. But today I noticed another storm coming from the West that is suppose to hit the northeast again. You'd better get all those people converted and righteous so the weather will calm down!! ;-)

Well, here's the low-down for the week:

Monday I went and played the piano at Daughter's of the Utah Pioneers. I love going there because they make such a fuss over me and each other. I never get to stay for the luncheons, though, because I always have to leave early to pick up Trevor at school. My piano playing went fine-even with nine fingers and an occasional slip-up of the cut finger. I taught my viola student in the afternoon.

Tuesday and Thursday I taught my usual Orchestra classes.

Wednesday I went to the temple in the morning and did initiatory work. I had a good time because there was a couple of friends there that work in the temple. Yes, my friends work in the temple! I'm the one who had babies into my 40's, so I've got awhile before I can join them. When Trevor reaches 18, then I can be called to work in the temple. That will be exciting if it comes my way! FYI, I would never do anything different. I love all my kids--even the ones I am raising at the Grandma speed! Beth watched Abrielle and Nathan that night. I guess we all watched them. They're pretty fun. We were really looking forward to Grandma sleepover on Thursday night, but...

Thursday, I woke up and noticed my eye was looking a little worse. Beth said I had pink eye. There has been a discharge for a few weeks. I've just been waiting for it to blow over. Anyway, I texted Shayla and told her the bad news. Since they had vacation plans starting Saturday, they decided to not have the kids come over. It was probably for the best because I wasn't feeling well.

Friday: Today was Grandma's birthday. I thought of her all day. I still miss her a lot. I took Trevor to his piano lesson to Shayla's. I waited out in the car. Shayla came out and said that my eye didn't look bad. Then I recognized that I hadn't had any discharge from my eye that day. That was pretty strange. Anyway, we traded cars because they were taking the van to Arizona. I really, REALLY like driving my car, but that would have been a tight fit to have three kids in the back of their car. So I loaned them the van. When I got home I put 2+2 together and realized why my eye was doing better. I had asked Dad on Thursday night to give me a Priesthood blessing. I was basically told that I need to counsel with the Lord about my health problems and other things I was told. I texted Shayla and told her. It makes me so thankful to Heavenly Father for his love for me.

Saturday, I conducted the Symphony for rehearsal. After about an hour-and-a-half, I couldn't conduct any more. My hip and back hurt so much and my arms were about to give out. So I asked one of the violas to conduct. She did a great job. Then after I rested one song, I conducted the last one. I used to be able to do that for three hours straight! Henry is doing well playing percussion. We came home and David and Beth told me they were moving back to Texas. Such a heart break for me. They didn't know exactly when, but they thought March. Today they told me they are thinking this month. So we won't have little Marci to brighten our days with her smile. We won't have David and Beth to cook us their delicious meals. Plus, I will miss all the visiting we have done. I guess I can't hoard them! Tami and John love them, too. Besides, David and Beth think Utah is too cold. Go figure! Anyway, it was Beth's birthday, so we went to Olive Garden and met Todd and Marie and Aurella. We had to wait over an hour. But we had a lot to talk about. We finally got in and, of course, the food was delicious. Afterwards, we came home and played a game. I played too, but I don't remember what the game was--something about shadows and neutrals. Everyone coached me through the game. Something like Rook and Skip-Bo are along my speed.

Today my cough was so bad I stayed home from church. I was released from choir director and called as choir pianist. Bart Robbins is the choir director again. Brother Chavez told me it was because they needed me to play piano--not because I did a bad job as choir director. LOL I really appreciated the ward choir people who came and sang. We sang really well, plus we had a lot of people come. But I am happy to be behind the piano again. I washed the pots and pans tonight and my scab came off my cut finger. It looks pretty healed over. But I can feel a round ridge under the skin. Plus it is still very tender!

I didn't get that music book sent that you asked for. I went to Amazon and it is out of print. There was one available, and it cost $99.99. I only paid $35 for ours. I'm a little hesitant to send that book because I don't want to lose it. Give me a minute, though, and I will probably convince myself to send it. Heck, maybe I'll sell it for $100!!! jk

Dad is doing well. This week he was on-call for work. I think he told me that this month the Tab Choir will begin rehearsing on Tuesdays as well as Thursdays to get ready for a convention coming up.

You know what? You never told me what part of New Jersey you are serving in! I'm guessing it's in Newark, but I'm not sure. Let me know so I can look it up on Googlemaps.com.

Wilford is still looking to move out. He's thinking of looking for a job in Arizona. I reminded him of the heat. So we'll see. If he does move down there, he will be able to hobb-nobb with Grandfather and Alba. Plus, I'm sure he and Robert and family will have fun. Tonight Dad and Trevor and I had devotional because Henry had already gone to sleep. This is how it's going to be when everyone moves out and Henry goes on a mission!!! It's a little scary for me to have it so quiet; and I hope I don't get lonely. I guess I'll survive. I'll have to get busy cleaning and organizing and decorating. haha -- me decorating!?

Henry is getting ready for an audition. It's tomorrow for his Musical Theater class. I gave him a couple of voice lessons--but he is so nervous. I told him to be positive. His voice is doing great! I'll have to let you know next week how he did. He's singing part of "To Dream The Impossible Dream". I'll be praying for him! He's also getting ready for Sweethearts. A girl asked him out. I can't remember her name.

Trevor is doing well with American School. He is keeping up his half-day at Elk Ridge. He got an A- in Seminary! So I'm pretty proud of him.

I love you and pray for you daily. I know you are pleasing the Lord and making New Jersey a brighter and happier place with your cheerful attitude and your wonderful personality and your message about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Con Mucho Carino, Mom