Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Head Banging and Sweet Collisions

Hey All!

So it has been awesome week! I have learned so much!

It still gets in the 90's here BUT the nights cool off so that is definitely nice. They say that during the winter I will need a light jacket because it can get down to 40 degrees during the nights. Like that's a big deal! haha 

So the Elders in my zone decided that we were going to start waking up at 520 in the morning and go do basketball workouts. The first few days of waking up that early were rough but it is totally worth it and we have a really good time. So every P day we get a few zones together and play some kind of sports. Today we played flag football which was awesome. Some pretty sweet collisions happened but we all escaped with no injuries haha. This past week has flown by so fast that it is hard to remember it all!

Yesterday in both of the wards that we cover, they did their primary program. The primary programs are always so fun. There was one kid who screamed his line into the mic and when he realized how loud it was he finished his line while whispering. It was so funny! Another kid with a Mohawk and green bow-tie was "head banging" to the song Praise to the Man. It was hands down the best thing I have ever seen! Hahaha. Kids are so awesome they only see the good in people and things. Also at church Elder Ralph and I had the opportunity to teach the Teachers Quorum how to teach the message of the Restoration. I really like how they are teaching 14 and 15 year old's how to be missionaries. It is so awesome to see missionary work happening with the members. They are such a huge support to the work in their area!

So on Saturday I went out on splits with Elder Reynolds who is one of the Spanish speaking elders and it was an awesome day! We went out into my zone and we talked to everybody that we saw on the street and it was such a cool experience. We want to reach out to everyone we come in contact with so we can teach them about how great the Gospel is in our lives! Elder Reynolds goes home in 8 days so I was really glad that I could learn from him. One thing that I learned is that it is really effective if you are a personable person. So that is definitely something I am going to work on!

Overall a really awesome week. I am so glad with all the missionary opportunities that we have received. We see miracles every single day and that alone is so special. I love being out here doing the Lords work. The Gospel will brighten our lives if we want it to. I love you all and I look forward to hearing from you next week!

Elder Ben Kestner

Pic #1 This is some people from my zone with the Gilbert Temple in the background.
Pic #2 Last week we did some service for a guy and he needed us to tear out his bathroom wall. (So I was a little late on getting the pic)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

There is no growth in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the growth zone!

Just because I am kind of weird!
Hey Family and Friends!
This has been an awesome week! My weeks as a missionary fly by so much faster than they did back home! 
There was so many cool things that happened this week! On Friday we had the chance to go to the Gilbert Temple with our zone! We get to go once a transfer! How cool is that?! So after that we went to Kneaders, a bakery and cafĂ© in Gilbert, and we tried to beat the record for what zone could eat the most pieces of French toast. So the record was set with 14 missionaries eating a total of 68 pieces. We only had 10 missionaries and we ate 59 pieces. I ate 7 pieces and I was so stuffed. 6 slices is a loaf of French bread!! We were so sad when that's all we could do haha but it was totally worth it! 
Another cool thing that happened was we helped a guy tear down a bathroom wall in his house. The demolition is always the best part so I enjoyed that until I was leaning over knocking a stud out with a sledgehammer and a piece of the AC ducting came down and hit me in the back of the head. It left a nice bump on the back of my head so that was pretty cool! I like doing service. It gives us a chance to help others and by doing that we can help others feel the love that the savior has for them.
We did a service project with the BSA. It was like a huge merit badge POW WOW
SO on Thursday all of our trainers had MLC that they had to be at so that left Elder McKee, Campbell, and myself to go out on splits for the better part of the day. All of us arrived in the field on the same day so it was a little interesting having all of us be new and going out by ourselves. Overall it was actually really cool. I know that I learned a lot about myself and I definitely learned some things I can improve on. There is no growth in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the growth zone
One other really cool experience we had this week was hearing about a guy named Jim that we gave a book of Mormon to a few weeks ago. We haven't had the chance to meet with him, but we did meet with his girlfriend who says she is catholic. Anyways, I guess Jim has been reading from the Book of Mormon and he said that she can see a positive impact that it has on him. I was so excited to hear this! I can hardly wait to meet with him and talk about this journey that he is on! Miracles do happen!
This is a new development in our area. I thought it looked pretty cool.
This week I was hoping to hit 250 total miles since the time that I got here on my bike but I only got to 243 bummer deal! I think that I am acclimatizing to the heat because it isn't bothering me as much as it did when I first got here. 95 degrees feels really nice now haha. I really enjoy biking around here it gives us a chance to talk to everybody we meet on the street. It doesn't matter if they are playing basketball or waiting to pick their kids up from the bus. Spreading the gospel is such an amazing privilege to those that want to listen! 
Don, one of our investigators, seems like he is starting to make progress for baptism. He told us that he wants his decision to be between him and the Lord and nobody else's. He is an awesome guy and I know that when he knows that it is the right thing for him, he will make that commitment to follow Jesus Christ and his example. It is a special thing that he is doing and I am always excited to meet with him.
 I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!

Elder Ben Kestner
FHE with the Kerby's. 

It is my companion, Elder Ralph's birthday today! The WML, the Hatch's gave us some goodies!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Laser Tag, Sasquatch and Gladys Knight!

Hello Family and Friends! 
So the weeks have been flying by since being in Arizona! I cant believe that i have almost been here a month! So today was one of the best days so far! On P days we get a few zones together and either have a big indoor soccer game or a big basketball tournament for a few hours. It is so much fun and it gives us all a chance to let loose and have some fun competition for a little while. Well then we got lunch and did our shopping and then the Gilbert zone came back to the church to play LASER TAG. Yes laser tag in the church building! It was LIT! We all played for like 2 hours! So it has been a long but fun day so far! 
We had a lot of teaching opportunities this week, which is really cool. One thing that we have been promoting is a Gladys Knight Fireside. She is coming to Gilbert soon and there has been a very good reaction to it. We are mainly trying to have non members be there, because Gladys has an amazing conversion story. Through all of these firesides that she does people start to take a serious interest in the church and it brings a lot of work for missionaries. So i am very excited for this event! Beside promoting this fireside i feel like Elder Ralph and I have had a lot of success street contacting people. We have given away several Book of Mormon's and it seems like those who accepted them have an interest in the church, so we will be following up with them this week! 
So the member support here is so awesome! They feed us every day of the week. All of the members and even non members want to feed us! They are all so awesome! Last night we ate with with the Woods they are a younger family and we had a very nice in depth conversation about Sasquatch and UFOs. It was one of the better parts of our week haha. 

So every week it seems like we hit milestones. Whether it be the number of people we talk to or the amount or the amount miles we put on our bikes.(which as of today is 175 miles since i have been in the field) Elder Ralph and I love talking and meeting with people, we just want to share the sweet message about how we can center our lives around Christ. I know that the message of putting Christ first is the way that we can grow closer to him! 
Overall i love teaching people. I know that message that missionaries share is true. We have nothing to fear because we want all people to come unto Christ! 
Oh one thing i forgot to mention is that I sprained or rolled my ankle earlier this week. Whoops! Its doing better now. haha Crap happens so i just keep moving forward. I hope that home life is well, but i want you to know that being on a mission is the right thing for me and i wake up so happy everyday because i know that there is a possibility of bringing souls unto Christ! I have to go now but I love you and look forward to hearing from you next week! 
I love you all! 
Elder Ben Kestner
The Crawfords fed us on September 7th..Sister Crawford's sister is Mrs. Koski who teaches at Pocatello High School. Small World

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

113 miles in 12 days!

Hey Everybody! So this week has been really amazing and it seemed to fly by really fast. This week we were able to get a kid named Cody on date for baptism! Cody is 8 right now and his mom was a convert to the church like 12 years ago, so she wanted him to have the missionary lessons before he made the decision to get baptized. He is so knowledgeable about the Gospel and our purpose here on earth. It was an awesome lesson and i know that Cody is really excited to be baptized. Anyways we have been putting in some work to get to know all the people in the area. The members are really supportive and they are so welcoming. They have sent us to a few people that we were able to have nice gospel conversations with. The Gilbert zone has a really high percentage of members, but there is a lot of people who still haven't heard of the LDS church. I have set a goal to invite everyone that we talk to on the street to do something to come closer to Christ. One thing that i have definitely learned is that you cant judge a book by its cover! 

So yesterday we did exchanges with the APs so Elder Broulim came out with Elder Ralph and i. Elder Broulim is from RIgby Idaho and he is an awesome missionary. Anyways yesterday we were just riding around and we stopped and talked to a guy named Jim. So Jim is a pretty rough looking guy with tatoos all over. He talked with us for a few minutes and it turns out that he spent like 28 years in jail, but now he gives a lot of credit to Jesus Christ to where he is now. He said that he wants to grow closer to Christ because he realizes how he has helped him since being out. He accepted a Book of Mormon. and said that he would read and pray about it with his girlfriend. We will follow up with him later this week. Meeting Jim reminded me that we cant judge a book by its cover and that we are all Children of God. 
For Gabbi
One of the highlights of my week was talking to this family who had a 4 year old kid. We were on our way home for the night and we saw this family just chilling in their front yard. So this 4 year old kid asked us what we were were doing. We told him that we were sharing a message about Jesus Christ and he said that "Jesus lives in the sky and satan lives in the dirt" it was super awesome and then he asked, "so are you going to sing or talk to us?" so i looked at Elder Ralph and then i asked the kid what he wanted us to do. He said "i want you to sing for me!" So he literally pulled up a seat and we sang i am a child of God for him. It was so awesome and then we shared a short message about the Gospel with his family. It was so much fun and we had a good laugh because the kid was so funny! 

Overall this week was awesome. In just 12 days we put 113 miles on our bikes in the nice heat of Arizona. This area is really nice for biking actually and it is a great way to meet everybody on the street. I love being here! I would love to hear from all of you! I love you all and hope that all is well! 

Elder Kestner