Saturday, August 27, 2011

"The Greenie" and "The Dog Whisperer"

Elder Bengtzen has had a crazy second week in Indiana. He is officially a "Greenie".  I sent him a box that was full of anything and everything green.  Green slippers, magnets, Kool Aid, paperclips, stapler, tape, envelopes, green stamps, etc....and lets not forget, lots of green candy.  In the middle of the box was a green frog holding a sign that said, "It ain't easy being green".  He said he and his companion, Elder Thomas (from Pocatello, Idaho) laughed for about 5 minutes while going through all the items. 
We received a phone call from Sister Collins letting us know everything is going well for Brayden.  She said he is a delightful man and will make a great missionary.  I know without a doubt that she will take great care of my little boy.  President and Sister Collins are from Bountiful, Utah.  What a small world!

We looked up Brayden's new address on Google earth.  It looks like a decent apartment complex with a large pond in the back yard.  He said it really isn't that great of a place but can't complain because they are only there to sleep.  He really can't complain because how many missionaries get an apartment with beach front property.

Elder Bengtzen had a tornado/earthquake emergency orientation last week.  He really hopes he gets to use what he learned at least once while on his mission.  I think the heat is affecting his thought process.

He has been getting extremely bad headaches.   Sister Collin's used to be a nurse and she has him drinking 100 ounces of water a day.  She has also told him to add a healthy snack into his diet every 2 hours and has him taking Excedrin.  He says it is so hot there that he has to carry a towel around with him all the time.

Elder Bengtzen is trying to get use to the fact that he only gets $33 a week for food and personal items.   Luckily the members feed them dinner every night.  He also has been given a "ghetto brick" cell phone that they get to text with.  It is for mission appropriate business only.

Last Saturday while tracting, someone sent their blood hounds after Elder Bengtzen and Elder Thomas.  While Elder Bengtzen was FREAKING OUT, Elder Thomas casually took out a Book of Mormon from his bag.  He held the book out in front of the dogs and they immediately stopped charging them.  The dogs even let the Elders pet them.  Way Cool!!

Some exciting things are happening in Indiana.  The temple has been approved by the state and city and is now waiting for final approval of the architectual plans by SLC.  They will immediately begin construction the day after ground breaking.  In October the Church is going to launch a new "Why I am a Mormon" campaign in Indiana.  They will advertise on billboards, TV, and radio commercials.  They are asking members of the wards and families there to participate in the filming and recording.  He says it will be huge! He also said they have 3 baptisms scheduled for September 3rd.  His mission is averaging over 1 baptism every day.

I am so proud of Elder Bengtzen!  I know he is where he is suppose to be. I know that he will continue to be an amazing instrument in the Lord's hands.  This is the Lord's Church and I know that nothing will stand in the way of spreading His gospel throughout the world. Keeping the Lord's commandments is the ONLY way to TRUE happiness!  Thank you for being such a great example to us Brayden!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Off to Indy!

Elder Bengtzen woke up at 3:00 am on Tuesday, August 9th to get ready to leave the MTC.  He and about 40 other missionaries arrived at the Salt Lake airport at 5:30 am.  After arriving at his gate he got to call home.  We had set the alarm for 6:00 am and were waiting for the phone to ring.  I got back in bed with the phone in hand.  Then, the long awaited ring.  One ring was all it took for me to answer.  He sounded so good!  He was so excited and anxious to be on his way.  Gregg went to round up the rest of the kids and they all came running with excitement waiting for their turn to talk to Brayden.  After everyone had their turn we reluctantly said goodbye until our next phone call at Christmas.  Then it was time to start getting ready for Brach and Ashley's wedding.  A perfect beginning to a perfect day! We even bought an "Edward" (from Twilight) cut out and put Brayden's face on it so he would be with us all day during the wedding festivities....

Back at the airport our good friend Mike Adams (who works for Delta) arrived to see Elder Bengtzen off.  This made Brayden's day!  He was so excited to see Mike and have someone stay with him until he got on the airplane.  Mike bought him breakfast and video taped Brayden giving advice to Brach and Ashley.  He also took a picture of Brayden and Brayden's airplane and gave them to all the kids later that day.

Elder Bengtzen was the travel leader of 10 missionaries.  They all had a layover in Detroit and then after arriving in Indiana 5 of them were to stay there and 6 were traveling to Baltimore and Maryland.  Brayden had motion sickness on the plane and was so happy to be on the ground again.  President and Sister Collins were waiting for them as they came off the plane.  He says he loves them both and really enjoyed his first home cooked meal in 3 weeks... amazing pork sandwiches. 

After a good night sleep they went to the Stake Center for orientation and to become certified to drive.  Well, due to Brayden's driving record the past couple of years he is on probation for one more month so will probably not be driving for a while.  They went to the chapel for a transfer meeting.  They have 3 Area Presidents there.  Elder Bengtzen was assigned to Elder Thomas in the Indianapolis North Indiana area. Elder Thomas happens to be their district leader. He says it is so beautiful and green there. Not very humid with temperatures in the low 80's and high 70's.

Elder Bengtzen's first lesson was on Wednesday to the Curtis family.  Sister Curtis and her 5 year old daughter are active but Brother Curtis is not a member.  He has a very scientific mind that says emotional feeling is not a viable source.  They challenged him to read Moroni 10:3-5 and pray about it. On Thursday they taught 3 lessons, found 1 investigator and 1 potential.  He was anxious to leave the MTC so that he could get in the field and relax a little bit.  Ha ha, jokes on him!  He says the field is 8 times harder.

He has been given a very nice Diamond Back bike so he didn't have to buy one.  He is assigned to a part-time car area so also does a lot of bike riding.  He says he rode a total of 30 miles on Thursday and that his butt is very sore!  He has lost 10 pounds so far on his mission.  Towards the end of his first full day he said, "This is by far the most mental/physical challenging thing I have ever done. Being a billionaire better not be this hard!!"

Over all Elder Bengtzen has had a wonderful week.  He says the hard work is absolutely worth it!  In his own words he says, "I love Heavenly Father, I love Jesus Christ, I love President and Sister Collins, I love Elder Thomas and I absolutely love this Gospel in Indy!!"

Friday, August 5, 2011

Narnia at the MTC

Well, 2 weeks at the MTC and Brayden has decided it's time to go on a diet.  Him and Elder Webster (from Arizona) are on a chocolate milk  and  100oz  of water liquid diet.  Uh,  let's see how long that lasts!
(Elder Webster)

Elder Bengtzen loves 10 hour church.  He said he enjoyed this Sunday even more than last Sunday.  He said they pray 20-30 times a day and sing 6-10 hymns every day.  He always has a hymn stuck in his head.  He loves communicating with the Lord.  He says his prayers are usually about 25 minutes long and so far his prayers have always been answered.

A week ago Wednesday, (one week after MTC arrival) an announcement came over the intercom during lunch that said "We are running short on hosts today and need about 20 more elders."  Brayden and his companion, Elder Mills ran to the information desk. I can see it now, running as fast as they can, pushing anyone and any thing out of their way. Sweaty and out of breath, they were given their assignments.  I guess  they don't have that church rule of "no running in the halls."  They were so excited to greet all the new missionaries and show them around the MTC.  The rest of Elder Bengtzen's district was upset because they wanted to host as well.  Elder Mills and Brayden set out to see if they could sign up for this Wednesday's drop off.  They said they were full and didn't have any more room.  Later that day, Brayden had a letter in his box from the training department asking him and his district to host on Wednesday. See, all his prayers are being answered!    
Back row - Elders Mills, Elder Hawkins, Elder Dahl, Brother Cope, Elder Hunsaker,
Elder Webster, Elder Bengtzen
Front row - Sister Sneed, Sister Castleton, Sister Flint, Sister Richards, Elder Knowles
One of the teachers, Brother Cope, is Gregg's kind of teacher.  One day during a 7:30am class, Elder Bengtzen started to doze off.  The cool and funny Brother Cope said, "Elder Bengtzen, let us do push-up."  Brayden started laughing and the teacher said "I'm serious, let's do them."  So on the ground the 2 of them went and did 20 push ups together.  The reason I say he is Gregg's kind of teacher is because whenever the boys do something stupid, Gregg says, "drop and give me 20." Brayden said it helped temporarily but made him more tired later on.

Elder Bengtzen has found a Narnia hole in his room.  One day he had a sudden urge to lift up the ceiling tiles???  He found a whole treasure of things.  A basketball hoop, a bunny rabbit, a stocking, Justin Beiber, Easter eggs, toilet paper, candy and so much more!  Wow, do all the rooms have a Narnia hole or is Elder Bengtzen the gate keeper.  He has such a hard decision.....what to take, what to leave there.

Well, it is time for 10 missionaries to head to Indiana on Tuesday, August 9th.  Elder Bengtzen has been called to be the travel leader.  What? He hasn't been on a plane since he was one!  They even have a lay over in Detroit.  I sure hope they make it to Indiana.  He gets to wake up at 3:00am because the bus leaves at 4:00am.  Have fun son....but not too much fun!