Letters From The Field – Elder Tanner Bennett’s Mission Blog – New Area!

October 18, 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!

My spectacular family and friends,

抱歉 (sorry).
Now that’s out of the way, allow me to explain myself. Last week was transfer calls and I found out I would be moving from my precious little Jiayi, Minxiong (population 2 million) to the second largest city in all of Taiwan called Kaoshuing (Gaoxiong 高雄, population 16 million). I’m now whitewashing in an area called Nanzi (楠梓) and boy what a week it has been here. I will explain more about this in a moment, but I will first talk about Minxiong for a bit.
My last week in Minxiong was very nice. Elder Loe and I didn’t manage to find a new investigator, simply because we were spending ALL DAY EVERY DAY teaching. We did 34 lessons in one week. We didn’t get home before 9:30 once my last week there. Just on Saturday my favorite mongolian investigator was baptized (GO LEILA!) and we have my 2 best Taiwanese friends lined up for the end of October and beginning of November (SABRINA AND DELLY YOU ROCK!) Leaving Minxiong was very difficult for me. I was trained there, and have seen so much growth in myself (not to mention weight loss) over the last 3 months it was hard to part with the people who have truly become like a family to me. Lots of goodbye cards, goodbye presents, a few tears, and a solid testimony meeting later, I was off.
I left to Gaoxiong pretty early and met my companion, Elder Gardner on the train. Let me tell you how extremely grateful I am for him. Elder Gardner is a violin viruoso and is very mild, extremely humble, and the only reason I have been able to survive the week I had.
Originally, I was going to send a 12, yes 12, paragraph rant about the week that I’ve had. Between two very disobedient and rude elders, we were forced to live with until they left to collect their trainees, an apartment filled with infestation and filthiness, an Areabook filled with falsified numbers and fake investigators I had a lot to write about. However, upon closer examination of the week I had, and reflecting upon the incredible words spoken by our living prophets, seers and revelators in General Conference, I want to skip the rant, forgive what is needed and move on to the miracles and joy that this week has brought me.
The miracle of the tennis ball:
I will begin this story by telling you all that God lives and he loves His children. He is so acutely aware of each of us and our circumstances and our needs, it’s truly incredible. This week, Elder Gardner and I were mostly on foot awaiting our bikes which arrived only Friday. However on Tuesday my right foot began to hurt. Every step would shoot pain up my whole leg radiating from my heel, causing lose my balance and fall. I tried to ignore this as missionaries do so I could keep working without causing interruption to the work. However as my walk became a painful hobble we decided we should contact the mission nurse. After talking to her she said to ice and rest it and if possible find a tennis ball to roll out the muscles in my foot. Elder Gardner and I spent the next few days wrapping my foot, looking for places to buy a tennis ball, and having no success were very frustrated. I prayed a lot to find a tennis ball, on the street, in a shop, I didn’t care so long as I could get the pain to subside. Then, after a particularly painful day on Thursday walking about 8 miles, we came home and started doing our journal writing while I tried stretching out my foot again and icing it. That’s when the cockroaches came. They came spilling out of our desks and we scrambled to get the raid, and started to spray everywhere. After killing them all, we decided to move a desk to check for more cockroaches, but instead of cockroaches, we found, sitting in the corner, was a brand new tennis ball. It was a humbling experience and a powerful testimony to know that God was watching over me. After using the ball for a few days to massage out my foot, the pain was completely subsided and I feel wonderful. My friends and family, God is watching over us. He loves us, and is so acutely aware of what we need. I loved elder Andersen’s talk in conference about trials and their meaning. I learned very quickly how much God loves me, and just how personally involved He is in my life and in others. That simple, tender mercy, that small tennis ball left there for one reason or another, was left for me. It was to help this struggling missionary whitewashing into a nightmare to feel his Father’s love for him after dealing with a “12 paragraphs worth of ranting” kind of week. I know God lives, and he loves us.
Miracles and the Mission President:
Another thing that happened this week was our interviews with the mission President. It was a great experience as always, and we had the opportunity to share about what was happening in Nanzi previously. Our mission President is an incredible man, and I received a strengthened testimony about the revelation God gives his chosen leaders. As I was talking to President Card about the poor situation nanzi had become he simply answered “so that’s why.” He explained that there was no good reason for myself and Elder Gardner to whitewash into our Area when it should have been one of the previous elders that should have stayed to train. However, he said that as he pondered it more the spirit told him that he had to do it and he listened. How grateful I am for him doing this. Nanzi is a fantastic place, our ward is exceptional, the people are prepared and wonderful, but the personal dedication, obedience and worthiness of missionaries prior had corrupted the attitude of our ward towards missionary work and this area’s ability to succeed. In just a week Elder Gardner have been able to put right our Areabook, the relationship between missionaries, the apartment, and very plainly the work being done here. There’s still much more to do, but I’ve truly seen the Lord’s hand in placing me here with elder Garnder and the miracles and healing that have been able to come from it.
The miracle of General conference:
What a blessing it is that we have the opportunity 2 times a year to hear the words of living prophets, their direction and their counsel. I loved watching conference, I love the spirit that’s there and I can say with full assurity that I know the words that were spoken are TRUE. I loved the reemphasis made on the proper use of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ name. I loved the talks centered on faith, forgiveness, building faith in the home and a greater dedication to the church. More miracles and wonderful events are taking place now than ever before, but we must also be aware of the adversary and his tactics. We can’t be “lukewarm” so to speak in our faith. The time for that has long passed, and we need to be strengthening each other, forgiving one another, loving each and every person as a child of God and honoring our individual covenants. What an incredible conference, I’m excited to start my study of it again tomorrow.
My friends and family, I love being a missionary. I love being here in Taiwan, and I love serving where I am. The situation at present may be difficult, and navigating this seemingly impossible task is quite an effort, however I feel honored to have been picked with elder Gardner to be the ones to fix it. I know the savior lives, I know he is there sustaining me and supporting me day by day, and I testify that he is doing the same for you as well. Even in times when you feel lost, without hope, without meaning, without purpose, turn to the savior and rely on him. I would encourage you all to read Docterine and Covenants sections 121-122 this week. It is the account of Joseph Smith in liberty jail and is one of the most powerful and comforting scriptures for someone who feels they are forgotten, or lost, or in need of love. I know God lives, I know Christ is the Savior of this world, I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God’s kingdom built upon the earth. I know the healing power of the atonement is REAL. As I’ve continually repented, continually tried to change and improve I’ve seen more miracles and blessings in my life than I ever have before. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know it’s revelator and translator is Joseph Smith, that he is a prophet of God and we have prophets living and guiding us today. I know that as we all heed their counsel and strive to improve that the blessings of heaven will be poured out in their endless bounties.
I love you all,
Sincerely Yours,
Elder Tanner S Bennett

Elder Tanner Stephen Bennett
Taiwan Taichung Mission,
498-11 Wu Chuan Road North District,
Taichung City 40446
Taiwan, R.O.C.

1) the ball
2) delicious Thai curry
3) a closeup of the ball (it’s that important)
4) Bye Bye Minxiong
5) Leila! woohoo!
6) More woohoo!
7) me and Elder Gardner discovering my selfie feature.
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