Sunday, February 12, 2012

State College Week 17

This last week of my mission was a great one! I saw so many blessings this week. I felt like I did work hard, because it went by relatively quickly! I had a great time preaching the gospel for the last time as an ordained minister of the Lord. Like always, it's a really hard thing to leave people, and a place you love so much. I've felt like I've had to leave my family 6 times on my mission. It was especially hard leaving church and knowing that it's doubtful I'll ever see a lot of these people again. Especially the H......s.... But I feel good. People have been asking me how I've been feeling and I've been feeling kinda weird. It's strange to think that these 2 years are up. I'm a little nervous to get back to civilian life, but at the same time I feel good. I feel at peace. I feel good towards my mission and I feel like it was a very worthwhile experience. I thank God so much for the many things I've learned, the precious things that I will never forget and the closeness I've gotten to the Spirit.

Elder Mason will be staying in State College and he will be getting an awesome new companion, that is a work horse! He'll have a great time serving with him. Our investigators are doing great! Rashid is doing fine, he came to church. They'll continue to meet with him and strengthen his testimony. We were able to have lunch with Fei this week! It was good to see him again. He's doing fine, and is still open to meeting with the missionaries. Heather is doing wonderful!! She's got such a great light in her eyes! OH!!!! Do you remember David K.....s from Pittsburgh? He's totally engaged!!! He's been dating a member of the church and got engaged last Thursday, to be married in August. I am so excited for him!!!

The Church is so true! I have loved every second of being a missionary. Well, let me say, I have learned from every second of being a missionary. And I am grateful for it. There  have been good, and bad times. Happy and sad. But I know that God was in all those moments, right there with me. I finished the Book of Mormon this week. It is true!!! There is nothing like it on the face of the earth, and it has brought me closer to God. Joseph Smith was a prophet, no matter what they say. Jesus is the Christ, the only way to salvation, and to the Father. I love Him, and am forever grateful for His sacrifice on my behalf. I love you so much!! I would write more but, "Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full." (2 John 1:12) (I got that idea from Mike) Love you!!!!!

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Sunday, February 5, 2012

State College Week 16

Yes indeed, 9 days. Wow, this is soooo weird! I know that at the end of the week, i need to start packing up my stuff that I've somehow accumulated over the past 2 years. That will be difficult, maybe, trying to see what I need and don't need. I think I've gotten over the fact of leaving stuff behind. Everytime I leave an area I need to leave things behind. Tangible and not tangible. The Tangible things I've learned to get over, and that I really don't need 54 ties. Haha! So as I was thinking about packing I figure that there are things that I am going to leave in the apartment/mission home, and may need to make sure I have them at home. The list of things I'm leaving is this:  pillow, blanket, bedsheets, towel, and... I think that's it. It's just excess weight. I'll be sending home a box next Monday of things that won't fit in my bags.

Anyway, enough about that. Heather is doing awesome! I love her and her husband so much! Today actually, Brenden is going to give us a tour of a Nuclear Reactor that he works at. Yeah, pretty awesome! I'll be sure to not get radiation poisoning and die. That would be unfortunate. We'll have detectors on us don't worry. This week for other investigators coming to church was kind of a let down. We had 5 people committed to come to church and only one came. The one is great and is completely solid! Her name is Henrietta N..... She has a sister that is member of the church and went to church with her in St. Louis, loved it, and now wants to meet with us and learn more about the church, and eventually get her family involved in it. She's great! We're meeting with her on Wednesday. Rashid is doing well. We met with him yesterday. He's still not sure about getting baptized, but does love the church and meeting with us. He told us that he would definitely talk and discuss it with his family when he gets home to Sierra Leone. But we're still going to meet with him until he leaves.  I really have a lot of love and respect for that man. It amazes me that amount of love that seems to develop as I teach people the gospel and associate with them. It makes it that much harder to leave.

 Please pray for me to work hard this past week. Elder Mason and I set some goals to work the hardest we've ever done for the final week on my mission so that you'll have to wheel me off of the plane on a stretcher. ;)

Elder Serrano

Sunday, January 29, 2012

State College Week 15

I'm glad there was a little snow! We got a lot of snow this past weekend, but right now it's raining so I expect all the snow to be gone tonight and turned into ice. It'll be crazy!

Heather's baptism went very well, and exceptionally smooth. Because of the snow I was a little worried that it would snow too much that people wouldn't be able to make it to the church, especially Heather, and we would have to postpone the baptism. But, the Lord heard the humble prayer of a missionary, and I'm sure, many other people, and He slowed, and stopped the snow by 10 am so there were 3 hours in which roads could be cleared and salted. It was a wonderful blessing. Brenden's less-active parents came up to the baptism and helped out in the program. It was a wonderful thing to see them there and hopefully to have them feel the Spirit there. Bro. Heidrich gave a talk, and Sis. Heidrich played the organ. She only needed to be baptized once! Elder Mason did a good job at it. She was confirmed yesterday, and she definitely was glowing. I'll forward you the pictures that Brenden sent me. What a happy day!!!! I love it when friends get baptized. :)

My finger is doing good! The scab is gone and is turning into a scar. It was a quick healing!

Right now I'm not too sure on  how Chris is doing. He actually went into a de-tox unit, outside of our area, last Thursday to completely flush out the toxin in his body. He's gone through it before and says that the first few days are really rough, but it's so worth it. We look forward to hearing from him again in a few days and then teaching him some more. He's a great guy. And I pray he's enduring well.

This week went by pretty fast which scared me a little bit. Oh, and this week I got my travel itinerary and instruction for luggage weight. That was strange. I can't believe it's actually happening! But it's okay. It's a good thing. I love being a missionary and witnessing the miracle that come from God. I love teaching the gospel to others, and helping them come closer to Christ. I have loved all the many experiences that taught me and strengthened my testimony. And I will continue to work until the end of my mission, but  I am excited for
the next chapter of my life and what that will bring, or rather, what I will help bring to pass.  The gospel it true. The Church is true and always will be, so says the Lord.

Elder B. Serrano
Elder Serrano, Heather, Elder Mason

Saturday, January 21, 2012

State College Week 14

So this morning I sliced my middle finger open with a knife so It's a little difficult to type, so forgive the length, and probably the spelling errors that come from trying to type with only four digits on a hand. It was bleeding pretty badly so I had to raise it above my head and apply pressure, until it slowed down. It turns out that
scouting and the first-aid merit badge paid off! Hopefully the makeshift bandage will work: gauze and duct tape. It looks kinda silly but hey it's all I had.

Heather is so ready to get baptized!!! She's very excited about it and so am I! We have everything all arranged and she should be good to go. All she needs right now is the baptismal interview and she get the
okay. Golden!!!!!

We got some word on Fei. He texted us and said that he was going to be busy for the next 2 weeks and then he wanted to meet with us and return the white shirt and ties I gave him, so that basically means he's done meeting with us... He probably got Anti-ed while at that conference in DC. Which is a huge bummer! Maybe one day something will happen.

Chris is doing great! We were able to meet with him two times this week and teach him. He's been improving on quitting smoking and drinking, which is awesome! And he went to an addiction recovery group last night that some people in the church put on. We haven't heard from him yet but I'm sure it was a good experience. He's doing well though!

This weeks topic for my studies that seemed to be common, is how awesome missionary work is! I read 3 sections in the Doctrine and Covenants that were just amazing to pump up a missionary: Sections 30-32. They are amazing in that the Lord gives words of advice, commandment, and comfort to missionaries. I loved it! I love the Work. It truly is marvelous. And I am sad that it is coming to an end soon. But That's okay, life goes on. :)

Elder Benjamin

Friday, January 13, 2012

State College Week 13

I'm doing wonderfully well!  I am staying healthy, to the best of my abilities, and I'm continuing to take vitamins and working out. I love it making healthy decisions, I feel so much better! Elder Mason is doing good. Heather is going to be baptized on the 21st of January by elder Mason, and I'll be confirming her on the 22nd. It'll be a momentous occasion! :) Fei, we haven't been in touch with for this past week because he's been gone. We're a little worried, but things will work out. Chris is good. We were able to teach him about the Word of Wisdom and invite him to live it. He was feeling sick, and we were able to give him a blessing to help him and to strengthen him as he starts to ween off of the cigarettes and alcohol. He's got great faith, but sometimes doesn't realize it. We have a great new investigator that came to church named William D. He really enjoyed church and is very willing to come again and continue to meet with us. He's a great guy that is way into being prepared. The sisters are doing great! They are so fun, and are wonderful missionaries. The district I'm in is an awesome one!! And we need a van because both of the sister companionships don't have a vehicle. So we have it so we can get to places if we need to travel as a district. Like this Wednesday we all need to travel out to Altoona for some training, and since there are no missionaries close by we will all road trip out there.

I can't believe that Steve is way out in the boonies! There's only a branch where he's at, and I was kinda thinking that it would be terrible to be sent there when I was looking at the wards and branches there in his mission. But he'll make the best of it. And I'm glad the he has a good trainer. That is such an important aspect for any missionary is their trainer. The trainer can make or break a new missionaries mission. So that's nice to know.

I love the Plan of Salvation too. It's probably one of my favorite lessons to teach as a missionary, because it's "new" to people, but it's the truth, so 80% of the time people always believe that it makes sense right away. I love it!!

I love being a missionary. 'Nuff said. :)

I will work hard and finish my mission strong! That's the only way to do it!

Elder Benjamin Serrano

Sunday, January 8, 2012

State College Week 12

So this week was awesome! I had a great birthday. On my birthday, we taught Fei, emailed, then went out to get some Wings for lunch! They were way good! There is this awesome hole-in-the-wall pizza place that we go, and it is sooooo amazing! Everything they serve is delicious, and reasonably priced. And yes we did buy a cake and use the candles. I actually forgot about the poppers, so we used them on New Years eve when we celebrated the new years as if we were in Iceland, (basically we popped them at 10pm instead of staying up to 12). The week was a good week! We did find a new investigator named Chris W....s, who called our bishop here and said that he wanted to get his life in order. So we met with him, and in the first lesson we invited him to be baptized and he accepted! So he has the baptismal date of Feb. 18. We're very excited for him! Heather is doing great as well! She is really excited to get baptized in a couple weeks. She's such a great lady, and her husband Brendon is doing great too! From the insights he gives in lessons you would think that he has been active his whole life. I love them!
I was able to talk to Elder Serrano the younger on Saturday. That was so awesome! We only had 8 minutes, but it was very worth it. He sounded way excited and nervous too. He's going to be an awesome missionary! I'm very excited for him.
Elder Serrano the elder