Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We have to Keep Pressing On!

Hello Family and Friends! 

This week has been a really awesome and unique. I have learned so much and we saw multiple blessings. 

Earlier this week we had interviews with the President and that was amazing. President Wheeler is so inspired and he does such an amazing job at being the head of this mission. I really look up to him and he leads by example. 

One really fun thing we did this week was racing in the Pine Wood Derby. So one of the wards that we cover only has 2 cub scouts so they challenged all of the activity day girls and their dads to make some cars so naturally we signed up to do that as well! Last P-day we made our car and put the finishing touches on Tuesday. So when Wednesday came around we were race ready! Unfortunately we didn't win but we did race pretty well and we were probably in like the top 10. Not bad for a couple of Elders haha.

 This week i had the amazing opportunity of conducting my first baptismal interview. It was a very sacred and humbling to me. It was for a young couple who decided to learn more about the church because his Dad is a member. Anyways they were definitely ready for baptism and they were so excited. On Saturday the baptism came around and it was super spiritual. It is so humbling to watch people make promises to follow our savior Jesus Christ. 

One kind of funny thing that happened after the baptism was i was talking to a missionary who used to serve here in AZ and suddenly this random guy got right up in my grill and started to tell me how much he liked my tie. Yes my tie was very beautiful, but within the first 10 seconds it was obvious that he was 3 sheets to the wind.. drunk haha. So i figured it would be some nice entertainment to talk to him for a while. The whole time he was rocking a nice Russian accent. Haha! After we had enough he told us to press on and do the Lords work! 

It was a really awesome week. I loved it. The Church is so true and the Gospel is for everyone. I will agree with the drunk guy. This is the Lords work! We have to keep pressing on! I love you all and hope to hear from you all next week! ​

Elder Ben Kestner

Monday, March 6, 2017

CalliKestWard the Trio

Hello Family and Friends! 

This has been one roller coaster of a week! So this week started out kind of slow. We started Tuesday with District meeting and a zone lunch so that was lots of fun. Then we went out and started to work the rest of the day. When we got home for the night we got a call from the Assistants to the President and they asked us if we would take Elder Steward into our companionship as a Trio. So we accepted and now there are 3 of us! Elder Steward had been out on his mission for about 9 months and then he was sent home for surgery because he tore his Labrum and Rotator Cuff. 9 months of being home and he is back in the field. So that is pretty much what has been super new for this week.

 Later this week some really cool things happened. We have been really focused on trying to find people to teach and we can definitely see what happens when we put our efforts towards finding. Anyways this week we finished tracting this long stretch of happy rd and all the side streets and it was really cool, overall we found quite a few potential people to teach. When we were going through our area book we found a name of a person that some other missionaries had contacted a few times. We had gone through this list a couple of times but this one certain time Lexis name stood out more than the others. So we decided that we were going to visit Lexi on Thursday. She was really nice and very welcoming so we invited her to church and set up an appointment for tonight with her. We will see what comes of it but i know that it is all in the Lords hands. Slowly but surely the work is picking up.
On Wednesday we had the chance to go to the Gilbert Temple and enjoy the sacred peace that resides in the house of the Lord. It was an amazing experience. The temple truly is the House of the Lord we can feel his loving presence abundantly. I love the temple and for all of the blessings that it has brought me personally. It was really awesome it had been like 2 months since i had been to the temple so it was super nice to go.
My Zone
I love you all so much and i hope that life is going great for all of you! 

Another thing is today we are going to build a pinewood derby car for the track that is on Wednesday haha! 

Elder Ben Kestner

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pigs and Service

More bike problems..not fun!
 Hello Family and Friends! 

This has been a really unique week with a lot of really cool experiences. So to start off i have to say that i really enjoy tracting. Going door to door and trying to share the gospel is so unique and it makes for so many great memories. This weeks tracting funny moment was hilarious. So there we was out tracting some dirt roads getting to see who is who. While doing so we approached this house and out of the corner of the yard this big pot belly pig starts chasing after us and to top that off it was barking like a dog. Yes this pig could bark like a dog. So as we composed ourselves the pig turned out to be really friendly and it really enjoyed being scratched on the back. Hands down it was one of the best things that i have ever witnessed. 

Anyways a little later in the week we were out contacting a new move in to the ward and as we got there we saw that this Sister needed some help putting slats into her fence. So we took the chance to stop and help her get the project done. We love to do service. It does not matter what we are currently doing we are there to help. We ended up by helping this sister finish this project in just under an hour. We were grateful to be there at that time to help. 
This week in my studies i came across a passage of scripture that i pondered on for a little bit. It is in Mosiah 23:5 It says "And they pitched their tents and began to till the ground, and began to build buildings; yea,they were industrious , and did labor exceedingly" I really like the use of the word industrious it is defined as the value of work. And the definition of work is an activity of effort. So that led me to think about that in the Gospel sense. Are we working in Gospel to do the things we are supposed to? or are we being industrious? which would make this work a very great value. As i thought about this i know that as we focus on the Lord and be industrious in the Gospel that we will make this work of the greatest importance. And i know that this Gospel deserves to be that important. 

That pretty much sums up all of my week. I love you all and hope that all is going well! 

Elder Ben Kestner

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Our Purpose

A pretty creative net?
Hello Family and Friends! 
So this week has been very busy and lots of good things have happened. We almost had a meeting every single day this week so that was pretty cool. One of the highlights this week was leading out my first district meeting. It was very cool and i noticed in my studies that i had refocused on our purpose as missionaries. When we truly focus on our purpose and live that purpose in everything we do we will see miracles. So that district meeting was so awesome i know that if anything else i learned a whole lot more about our purpose. 

So just a little bit of a back story... When i first got into this new area 2 weeks ago there was not a whole lot of teaching going on so we have really been trying our best to pick up whatever we can as far as teaching goes. With a lot of praying and a lot of faith we went out and worked and talked to as many people as we could. During this last week we had this goal to tract all this one road. The name of the street is "happy road" so we figured we were not going to be bummed out tracting through all of it haha. It took us a few days but after it was all said and done we met one really nice lady named Rochelle. When we knocked on Rochelle's door she was very nice and friendly to us. She said that she has some questions about our church and that if she ever joined another church it would be our church. So we starting teaching her a little bit and left her with a Book of Mormon. One really inspiring thing that she said was that she wanted to know more about our church because she works with a Doctor who is LDS and just by him being a nice and open member about his faith she wanted to learn more. Sometimes we do not fully know the influence that we have on someone else just by living what we believe.
Just in case you forgot what I looked like..
 On Thursday we had the awesome opportunity to hear from President and Sister Wheeler at Zone Conference. They solely taught about how we should apply and live the simple Doctrine of Christ. The Gospel is so simple and it holds so much power. Jesus Christ made a perfect example of how we can live that Doctrine and by doing the simple things not only as missionaries but also as members we can truly feel his love and guidance through our daily lives. That is mostly what i got out of that conference but it is what i need to hear. President Wheeler is an inspired man and he has a great understanding of what we need to know and teach as missionaries. 

That is pretty much all of my week. I love this work and i love all of the people that i serve along side with, both members and missionaries. The Gospel is so simple and so true. Let it help you through your trials. I love you all and i hope that all is well!

Elder Ben Kestner
I saw this sign in our area and I thought Dad would like it..

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dirt Roads

Hello Family and Friends!

Transfer calls came this week and after spending almost 4 months in the Desert Ridge zone it came time for me to leave and come down south to the Bella Vista zone. I loved serving in Desert Ridge's wards. They were awesome and it felt like home. I know that I am serving in my new area for a reason and that the Lord has a lot in store. So a big thanks and shout out to all of those amazing people that I served along side with. You taught me so much and I will be applying those things for the rest of my mission.

The Bella Vista zone is going to be amazing. It has been one of the hardest weeks ever! I have only been here a few days and I can tell that I am going to learn to love it here. One big change is being more southern in the mission is that it is basically all dirt roads out here so that will be pretty fun. My new companions name is Elder Callihan and he has been out for 20 months now. It is going to be a fun transfer and I think that we will learn to work well together. This area is so unique in the way that it is laid out I cant wait to explore all of it. One neighborhood near us has million dollar homes and they have their own private airport. Then we cover people that live in less then desirable circumstances. I know and I can feel that miracles are going to happen in the next 6 weeks. It has been a stressful week, but I was called as a District Leader. I know the Lord wants me to learn something from all this and I know I am fine, but it has been kind of a rough few days.
One night when we were out proselyting we decided that we were going to start tracting down this one street so we went and started knocking doors and we ran into 2 kids on the street. They were really chill teenagers so we shared the Book of Mormon with them and set a time that we can meet up again. The spirit is always there when we testify of truth and I know that these two boys felt it.

Well that is the majority of my week. I love serving the Lord and I know that he is there for us. He loves us enough to give us trials and challenges and I am so thankful for all of those trials that we have. I love you all and God Bless. 

Elder Ben Kestner

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Transfers & Roadside Blessings

To get this email rolling we received transfer calls on Sunday night. So Elder Lott is going to be staying and I will be leaving the promised land of the Desert Valley and Stratford Estates wards. I have served here for 3 transfers and loved every minute of it. So it will be a bitter sweet goodbye but i am so excited to see where i will be going next.
P-Day activities
 Anyways this past week has been amazing! We have been really busy contacting people and finding investigators.

One really awesome experience that we have had this week was when we were meeting with our Investigator Letecia. When we went to meet with her she had invited her Mom and Son to talk to us as well so we were super pumped to be apart of that. Her son shared an amazing experience that he had with feeling the Holy Ghost and the comfort that it brings. We shared with them that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know us personally and that the Holy Ghost is that comforter. So it was really cool.

Speaking of investigators and the Holy Ghost we had a really cool thing that happened on Thursday. While we were biking around we saw a kid riding his scooter down the road and we just waved at him as he rode by and right after we passed him i heard a very familiar quite voice tell me "go and talk to him" so when you get promptings like that you do not ignore those. So we locked up the brakes and turned around and caught up to him. That is how we met Corey. So when we stopped him he said that he is looking to get on a better path and that he prays every night for help to do what is right. So we starting talking about the things that God does for us and we told him that God does hear his prayers and he knows the things that he struggles with. So we set up a time and met with him again on Friday and taught him the whole message of the Restoration. It was awesome. I am really excited to hear about how he does these next few weeks.
Back at the Farm
 While Elder Lott and i were out biking just a little while after dark we passed a guy on the road who was riding in the opposite direction. He yelled at us and said Missionaries so just like always we locked up the brakes and headed back towards him. At this time as we were getting closer I smelt the very strong scent of alcohol. So when we met him he just asked us if we hold the "Melchizedek" and said he needed a blessing. So he asked us which one of us had it and we told him that we both do so he knelt down on the sidewalk right next to the road and i gave the blessing to him. This guy was so drunk that he was not making a whole lot of sense but he told us that he was a member and that he hadn't been to church in a while. Right as we were leaving he just yelled and said "Mormon Strong! Mormon Power!" We just said "Amen Brother" and rode off so that was great experience for us all. ( Side Note:

Well that pretty much sums up my week i learned a lot and i learned to put the trust in the Lord. He is always there and he knows our personal needs and concerns. I love you all and i cant wait to hear from you next week. Keep your heads up and press on!

Elder Ben Kestner
P-Day lunch with the E. Mesa Elders

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Missionary Broadcast, Mountain Biking & Panda

Elder Lott taking in a quick nap on our way back to our area,,
Well hello Family and Friends!

This has been a very busy week over in East Mesa!

So to start it all out on Wednesday we had the Worldwide Mission Broadcast. In that Broadcast they addressed that we will be having some pretty significant daily schedule changes. So now in the morning we decide at what time we want to work out, study, and eat breakfast, we still have to wake up at 630 and be out the door to work at 10 but i like this new schedule it will be different for a while but i can see why they made the change.
Me & Elder Merritt
 This past week we went back to the farm. The farm is awesome and we go every week. I held a 2 week old baby goat named Panda! It was so cute and this thing loved me!

As far as teaching goes we have been really busy in the last few weeks trying to contact all of the people in the wards that we cover. We have been able to pick up a few people that are interested in learning more about the church and the things that we believe. I love to share the Gospel with people. We have an amazing message about our Savior and we can study it every single day. All of our current investigators are the nicest of people and they have true questions about who our savior is and what his role is in our lives. There is nothing like seeing someone come to know about Jesus Christ on a personal level, it is amazing.
Elder Merritton our exchanges this week
You know we knocked on that Door! haha
 So earlier this morning 3 of us Elders had the chance to go mountain biking with one of Elder Hollands members and i knew that we were in for a treat when he told us that he is an Iron-man athlete. So at 10 o'clock we loaded up and were off to the trail. We road for a few hours in the AZ desert and when it was all said and done we had ridden 13.5 miles and the temperatures was in the 70's and clear for all of the ride. All of it was amazing. Definitely a great experience.

Transfer calls will come on Sunday night, probably pretty late. Either Elder Lott or I will transfer. Normally after the first 12 weeks they separate from their trainer. I know it will be one of us, but we don't know who. I love my Mission President, President Wheeler. He is super chill and I trust and support him.
Me & Elder Merritt..I Don't know who's glasses these are??
 Well that is pretty much all i can remember about this week. I love the work and i love the simple Doctrines that the Gospel has. When we come to know more fully who our Savior is we will feel his love more abundantly in our life. I love you all and i hope you have a great week!

Elder Ben Kestner

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It does RAIN in Arizona!

It definitely rains in AZ! 
Hello Family and Friends! 

This week has been pretty legendary for a few reasons. I had the chance to go on exchanges with the legendary Elder Harley, get caught in the rain for a few hours and teach a couple of people more about the Gospel. It was an exciting week and i learned a lot from multiple people.
Ben & the Goats!
One of the highlights of the week was going to a service project at a place called Aimees Farm Animals. While we were there we had the chance to feed goats, walk mini horses, and tromp around in the mud. It was awesome. The cool part is that all of the animals are used for like emotional support and therapy purposes so that was really cool. I was definitely nice to go and do something like that for a little while to get a change of scenery and serve someone else for a while. Overall really awesome. 

On Thursday i went on exchanges to Elder Harleys area. Elder Lott and our DL were supposed to go to our area but Elder Lott ended up by being stomach sick all day so they stayed in, but Elder Harley and i went and we had a great day. We spent most of the day tracting and contacting the potential in the area. It ended up by being a pretty productive day and i learned a thing or two from Elder Harley. 
Elder Harley & I in his area
So throughout this whole week it had been pretty rainy and a few days we got caught in it and we got soaked. It was pretty awesome, so yes it does rain in AZ and this time of year when it rains it is cold, so it was a bitter cold couple of days. While we were out in the rain we tracted into a lady who had been given a copy of the Book of Mormon from a friend and we talked to her a little bit about it and she has a few questions so we are hoping that we can meet with her later this week. We had talked to a few other people like that as well so that was fun. I cant remember who said it but the saying goes: all weather conditions are good conditions for proselyting and doing the Lords work. 
1000 miles in 5 months!
So overall this week has been awesome. One scripture that i really enjoyed this week was Jacob 4: 4 It says that the people of Nephi knew Christ and that they had a hope and a glory that he was going to be the Savior of the world hundreds of years before he was even born. I love that scripture. We can be witnesses of Christ and we can bear that he lived and that he still lives. I love that all of us can do exactly that. Bearing a witness of Christ is so amazing and it is something that we should cherish. 

I love you all and i really enjoy all of the emails that you send. I hope you have the best week!!

Elder Ben Kestner

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Doctrine of Christ, Teaching & Blessings

Well Hello All! 
So this has been a very busy week here in East Mesa. Our two wards that we cover have been really picking up with lots of potential so that has been really exciting. To start out the week we were able to find a lady that we had contacted a few weeks ago. Long story short she really wants for her and her son to come closer to Christ. So we actually taught her the Restoration message and invited her to be baptized this morning which was super awesome. It was a great experience and the spirit was definitely present in that home. We will be following up with her later this week and see how her experiences with the Book of Mormon have been. So that is one of the many great things that happened this week. 
​On Tuesday night i got a call that i was not expecting. As the phone rang and i saw that it was President Wheeler I had a mini heart attack. NORMALLY a call from him during proselyting hours is not a good thing, but he asked me to come to a Conference that would have some of the brothers form the Missionary Department of the church come and teach some of the Missionaries. So when i heard this i was really excited to be able to go. The conference was amazing we learned and relearned our purpose as missionaries. The simple things that we need to remember is Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. Those simple things that we teach will change lives. Most of the concerns that people have will be resolved by those simple Doctrines. That Conference will stick with me for a while. After it was all over i truly felt edified by the spirit and i know the things that we can apply in missionary work. 

We had a great meeting with our investigators Kenyon and Niah this week as well. They both have been to church twice now and they seem to love coming. So when we met with them on Thursday we had talked to there mom about how she felt about them being baptized and she said that she was totally okay with it. We were so pumped and maybe she will have some interest in learning more as well! So we will probably set up a definite baptismal date this next week. Kenyon and Niah are awesome and they want to keep on learning so we are really excited about the! 
Well that's about all for the week today was great we went out and did some sweet thrift shopping and i picked myself up a couple of sweet ties. I have gained quite a collection of ties since being out here, i just love having them haha. On the more Spiritual side of things one chapter in the Book of Mormon that has come up a few times this week was Enos. I would encourage you all to read it this week it really sets the example of how we sometimes have to pray to our Heavenly Father. I know that true and sincere prayer will bring us closer to our Savior. Prayer is such a powerful tool that we can use. I love you all and i hope you have the best week! 

Elder Ben Kestner 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lambos, Service & Stake Conference

Hey Fam! 

So this week has been a stellar week. 

During the week we went on exchanges and did a ton of service but all in all a successful week! So to start out the week we went over to the Terry's, who are some members in our ward, to help them move some rock in there back yard. So 4 Elders ended up by moving 7 tons of gravel and rock. It was definitely work but we love to help those in need! 
 So later that day we were biking around and we saw an older gentlemen who is a very devout catholic but a really nice guy. We have talked to him a few times in the past because he puts up this amazing Christmas lights display right in front of his house. Anyways when we saw him we stopped and started to help him take it all down. We were able to get it all taken down in just under 2 hours so that day was full of service. I love service because i love helping people out the joy that it brings is second to none.

So on Sunday night we were about to head in for the night and we saw a unicorn in our neighborhood. There was a bright orange Lamborghini lurking on the street. So of course we stopped to talk to the guy about it. He said he has had it for a few years and he was even nice enough to let us sit in it! It was definitely a cool experience and i learned that they don't make those things to sit big ol boys like myself haha 
On Friday we went by Kenyon one of our investigators and we talked to him about the Plan of Salvation and baptism. He has read over 500 pages of the Book of Mormon. Did i mention that he is 13 years old? It is awesome! We invited him to come to Stake Conference with us and he was excited to come. He texted later on Saturday night and asked if his 9 year old sister could come as well. So we were super glad to have both of them with us for Stake Conference and they really enjoyed hearing from Elder Cordon of the General Authority 70. They both said that they want to come to church with us next week as well! I know they are feeling the spirit and it is beginning to grow inside of them. 

In closing one thing that really stuck out to me this week is the blessing that it is to share the Gospel. I want to invite all of you to look for a chance to share the Gospel with someone. It can really change lives and i know that it can change yours as well. I love you all and i love hearing from you. I hope that you have a great week! 

Elder Ben Kestner

Thursday, January 5, 2017

First Christmas in the AGM!

Hello Family and Friends! 

First off i hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas! It is such a lovely time of year that we have to come closer to our Savior i hope that each of you had a wonderful experience! This has been one of the most memorable Christmas experiences there is just something about being a servant of the Lord and preaching his Gospel during this time of year.
 So some of the highlights this past week was when we were out tracting. Elder Lott and i were going door to door and sharing a message about Jesus Christ and one of the doors we knocked was anti mormon which is always fun for us so we had an interesting conversation with and ended that situation. So the next day we were doing the same thing and we knocked on a Christian preachers door so we were in for it again. So we just had another great conversation with him and left but when things like that happen to us it is just a testimony builder for me because i know what is true and i love the blessing that the gospel has in store for all of us if we chose to accept it in our lives!
Earlier this last week we met as a whole mission and had our Christmas activities as a whole mission the most memorable part of this whole meeting was when we all grabbed ballons that had lights attached to them and went outside to let them off into the night sky. Each balloon represented a baptism that we had throughout the year. As we let all of the balloons off we sang silent night as they all flew into the sky it was an amazing experience! 
Overall this Christmas is one that i will never forget the experience and memories will always stick with me. As we keep Christ in Christmas it will change our perspective and we will come to know our savior. I love you all and i love hearing from you I hope that you have a happy and safe new year! 
Elder Ben Kestner 
Arizona Gilbert Mission