Letters From The Field – Elder Tanner Bennett’s Mission Blog – Week 19-20

October 10, 2018

Elder Tanner Bennett was a guest on a previous episode of LDS MissionCast. He agreed to share his mission letters with the readers of our blog. So each week we will bring a letter from his mission. We will interview him at the conclusion of his mission as well. So stay tuned and stay connected to Tanner’s story each week on the LDS MissionCast Blog!

Hey everybody!

Happy midautumn festival! 中秋節快樂!

I apologize for last week’s failure to write an email. Our mission did a mission-wide cleaning “purge” of all apartments. At the mansion, this was an 11 hour process. I won’t horrify all of you with the details, but just know it was an intense experience. On top of that, my companion had a filling break and had an emergency dental procedure to fix it, 2 of our investigators independently found antimormon literature and were asking questions we had to go answer in person, then we had a member buy us lunch and basically, our life last monday was impossible and through the grace of God alone were we able to accomplish it.
Now to catch you up,
Starting Monday, 9/17
Monday: Monday was a unique day indeed! I went up to Alishan which is this HUGE national park up in the mountains. it was a 3hr bus ride up a VERY NARROW ROAD. I get motion sick just thinking about it. It had 95 switchbacks that our bus driver took going about 50 miles per hour. oof. Anyways, it was beautiful there and I LOVED getting to go hiking! It’s such an incredible place. The bus ride back was even worse than the one up there, and that night we had some really productive missionary work~go us haha.
Tuesday: ZONE CONFERENCE! Zone Conference with President Card is VERY different from President Teh. President Teh is a general 70 of the 1st quorum of the 70 and so every zone conference with him was like a mini general conference. President Card is a little easier on the yolk. He has been really encouraging our mission leaders (zone, district leaders and STLs) to lead that out and so he gives maybe 20 or 30 minutes of addresses and then the rest of the time we spend learning from other missionaries, it’s SO cool! We talked a lot about technology and how to better use it and had this HUGE idea board that has been really helpful in getting in contact with some of our more difficult to meet investigators.
Wednesday: Wednesday was super good. We had 5 NEW adds and and a super great lesson with a lady named Helen. She is super cool and we are planning to extend her a baptismal invitation this Tuesday! We’re really excited! In the evening we had our English class! I love teaching English here. I have grown up now so I teach the Older people while Elder Loe works with the kids… 辛苦了。That thing I just said was really funny and I spent maybe 2 minutes laughing at my own joke… Elder Loe is unimpressed… I’m so lonely. Anyways haha, it was a good day. We had our super group lesson and it went really well. We’re getting the whole group on date hopefully this week and that is super exciting!
Thursday: Companion exchanges!… and sickness! Yeah. I was sick, but that’s alright. Thursday we went on exchanges with the Jiayi elders, who are also sick. I went to Jiayi this time and Elder Durrant and I basically spent the afternoon laying in bed. That night however, we were crackin. We got a new investigator who is on date now, and another new investigator who is getting a date this week. It was, as one could say, Sick. hahahaha. I’m too funny. Anyways, that was Thursday.
Friday: continued the exchange, we slept in until 7 because we just couldn’t move when we got up. We ate Dragon fruit, drank some donggua and passion fruit tea for vitamin C and we were off! We got two new adds we sent up to some different missionaries, and we hear they are doing well. Switched back, biked 7 miles to 大林 only to get a text at our investigators door letting us know they weren’t home, and then biked out to a university called Nanhua. It was good. I was very sick.
Saturday: Weekly Planning! Elder Loe and I did some INTENSE PLANNING that day and just slaughtered it. We had some great new ideas for using technology, recorded some principles videos, which is basically just recordings of us teaching the lessons we send to hard-to-meet investigators, and had really great results!  That night we went up to 中正大學 (zhongzheng university) and had some cool experiences! I ran into a French dude! FROM BRITANY (my favorite place in france) We talked in French and English and he set up with us! It was so cool! his name is Francois and everything! haha I like him. Then we walked the campus and ran into another add, but then came 2 girls from China! oh my goodness, the Chinese people are so ready for the gospel. We added them faster than you could say baptism and we’re meeting them both this week.
Sunday: Sunday was super cool, it was my first time doing full interpretation for people and it was wild! My head was still hurting from being sick, but it was still a good experience and I interpreted our whole meetings from Mandarin to English! Kinda cool. After that we headed home, did studies, had a meeting with our ward mission leader, and then came home and for dinner. I took a nap because I was still sick haha. Then we went out and did some finding. It was super cool, but the most special experience came when we ran into 2 of our investigators at a 7! Helen and Sabrina! We all had a great time, laughed, made friends, and got Helen committed to read the Book of Mormon. Sabrina is on date and had some really cool experiences she shared testimony about with Helen and it’s really strengthened both our relationship and has given Helen a much needed friend. The Lord loves his children and it’s so cool to see stuff like this happen. He knows exactly what we need and will always give it to us when it’s best.
Monday: Last Monday was a Nightmare. you read about it already, again my greatest 不好意思 to all of you (very specifically my mom).
Tuesday: Tuesday was pretty uneventful, we spent the morning waiting for our landlords to come and check out some items in need of repair (we discovered the day before). after They left, we went into jiayi (嘉義)and minxiong (民雄)It was pretty slow going until we hit this university called Nanhua. Nanhua is the twilight zone. It is nestled up in the mountains and it’s always dark and covered in fog. There are very few people there from the few times we have gone and they’re all so timid and afraid of us. There’s unexplained noises and it’s just a crazy place… we don’t like it. On Tuesday however, we finally ran into a girl named Emma. She’s from Mongolia, and is, to quote her, “very rich.” We spent 40 minutes captive to her as she shared story after story about how much she had done and how much money she has. She set up with us and then didn’t show up, probably riding in her helicopter somewhere. Good for her.
Wednesday: Wednesday was amazing. Elder Loe and I in our morning planning session both felt very deeply impressed to bike to Dalin (大林). We were very relucant to follow this prompting because Dalin is a 12 mile round trip and we have NEVER gotten an add from Dalin all the times we have been there. We determined however, that we should go and so we did! We found no one. So we biked back and began to head towards Minxiong. Elder Loe and I were less than happy. Why on earth had we gone to Dalin!? We had felt SO SURE of this prompting and it had again, yielded no results. We were biking now to Minxiong when suddenly a person on a scooter blew past us and then pulled over. This man was so excited to see us and could hardly contain himself in his excitement. His name is Archer. He told us how he had met with missionaries before in a different city, however because of circumstances in his life he stopped meeting with them. He told us that that morning he was thinking about his life and God when he decided to pray for the first time in over 8 months. He told the Lord if he found missionaries again that day he would meet with them and take the discussions again. Boom. There we were. At the perfect time, in the perfect place because we had followed our prompting to go to Dalin that morning. He pulled us over, set us up and after he left, Elder Loe and I had some apologizing to do. We prayed and thanked God for teaching us this lesson. ALWAYS FOLLOW PROMPTINGS. That night another of our investigators named Delly agreed to a baptismal date and we are very excited for him!
Thursday: District Council and exchanges with district leader. This time elder Loe was in Jiayi, and that means my MTC COMPANION ELDER LANG AND I RAN MINXIONG! That is so wild. It was so fun. Elder Lang and I laughed basically the whole day. He shared a story from English class the night before. You all remember Paul? Master pianist and stroke victim that can’t use half of his body, Paul? Yeah. Okay, in the district leaders English class on wednesday, they were trying to give an example about how we need both faith and works to accomplish our goals. They did this by using a chopstick to say that if you use only one, it doesn’t work. That is when Paul chimes up “I can use just the one.” The whole class turned to look at him. He asked for a piece of paper and limped up to elder Durrant holding the chopstick. Paul told him to hold the chopstick horizontally. What happened next was legendary. Paul, takes the piece of paper, does some intense breathing  and in one blow, CUTS THE FREAKING PLASTIC CHOPSTICK IN HALF WITH THE PIECE OF PAPER! You can’t make this stuff up! Paul limped back to his seat, sat back down and the class was unproductive the rest of the night. Oh my goodness, I love Paul. We had some good adds that night and went home to eat pastries on our very clean roof.
Friday: Elder Lang and I had fun closing out exchanges. We biked on dirt roads, contacted in areas I’ve never seen and met the District leader and my companion for lunch. Elder Loe and I spent the night at the National Jiayi university doing some contacting, it was good and then we headed home.
Saturday: Weekly Planning, and Maria. Weekly Planning was good, but our investigator, Maria had been struggling. She was baptized in August, but has still yet to be confirmed. She is basically a Cinderella servant for this horrible family in Meishan and they keep promising her time off and taking it away. Her bosses don’t like the church and are just horrid people to her. We’ve been exploring every option available to help her, but there arent many. Please pray for Maria and for her bosses hearts to be softened. We hope next week she will be confirmed. We met that night with a mr. Liang from china. His mandarin is very differentr. He has a very heavy accent that is super hard to understand, but I really like him. We bonded over some places I visited in China and had a grand time. We shared the full first lesson and he agreed to pray, what a stud.
Sunday: Sunday was wild, one of our investigators told us she will be getting married either this week or next week so she can live the law of chastity with her boyfriend, soon to be husband! How cool! Go Leila! Not much happend, it was church and then a lesson with a recent convert named Sister Chen. She is very interesting. She was baptized last year with her 13 year old son Willy. She’s a single mom and has a very… inappropriate sense of humor haha. We shared about faith and I got to play their piano and sing with them. She shared her conversion story and how much she has come to love the gospel and the church. Seriously cool lady.
As for today, it is the Mid autumn Festival! Basically today is a lot of parties, Barbeques and we have some investigators we get to hang out with! I’m excited!
These last few weeks have been intense, the work here in Minxiog (民雄) has been progressing rapidly with 4 investigators on date, 3 more will be added this week, in addition to 10 other progressing investigators. It is a stark contrast from when I first arrived.
In June, when elder Jacobs and I first walked through the door of our “Minxiong mansion” I remember turning on the lights and hearing only the scuttling of cockroaches hiding behind the mountains of garbage built up in the house. The “mansion” had several infestations, hadn’t been properly cleaned in over a year, and bad been abandoned for the last 3 months. The refrigerator had been unplugged with food in it for that entire period of time and the smell was indescribable. You can imagine my shock when I heard the exclamation of “this is nice!” from my trainer.
Cleaning the mansion was a 3 month process, culminating in the final purge of last week. I can now, very comfortably walk around barefoot! Our mission president even encouraged us to rededicate our apartments and homes. I was able to offer the prayer and the peace that filled our home was undeniable and indescribable. I feel very proud of the work I’ve put into this house, and our entire zone does as well. There was a competition going on to see who could clean their apartments the best and my zone KILLED IT. Go Jiayi!
Aside from the house, I feel an unbelievable amount of gratitude for the miracles that I have seen done in this work. When Elder Jacobs and I whitewashed into Minxiong, we had to start fresh. There were no investigators, there was no real area book, no contact information. The only thing I can say about it is that God is directing His work. I can’t begin to explain even a 10th of the miracles and “coincidences” that happen to me and Elder Loe on a regular day. God loves His children, He is always reaching out, and He is ALWAYS listening for what we need and willing to provide it (3nephi 18:19-20). I bear testimony that God is there. I know with an absolute assurity that He knows me and He knows you perfectly. He has provided for us a Savior, through whom, we may find joy not only in this life, but in the life to come, and through whom we may be with our families, our loved ones, and our friends for time and all eternity. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, he was the prophet of the restoration and the divine translator of the Book of Mormon, and I know it’s true. I know it because the Spirit of God has witnessed to me time and time again as I’ve searched the pages for comfort, to learn more about my Father in Heaven, to understand the Savior and his Atonement, and learn about how I can receive healing in my soul and have always found it. I’ve seen it transform people. I’ve seen it bring people to a more complete understanding of Christ and his Atonement and help them heal, give them a new start, and give them hope in a world that would seek to remove all hope. It is our Anchor, (Ether 12:4) it is safety for our soul. If there is ever anything I could ever tell any and all of you, it would be to READ THAT BOOK. Feast upon it’s words (2 Nephi 32:3) and pray, (Moroni 10:4-5) experiment upon God’s words and watch as it begins to enlarge your soul (Alma 32:26-28) and bring the peace we are all so desperately seeking for. Start at the very beginning, and prayerfully ask the Father and HE WILL ANSWER YOU. This is my testimony I seal in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I love you all, and I’m so grateful to be serving these wonderful people. Please know, your prayers are felt, your faith is strength to me, and I’ll be sure to write next week. ?
Love y’all!
Elder Tanner S Bennett
莨匠熊長老Elder Tanner Stephen Bennett
Taiwan Taichung Mission,
498-11 Wu Chuan Road North District,
Taichung City 40446
Taiwan, R.O.C.

1, Mexican food from exchanges
2, Isn’t Taiwan beautiful?
3, Me and Elder Loe discovering a clapping selfie feature on my phone
4, A local fish market, they have stingrays!
5, a statue in Jiayi
6, I love my area.
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