Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In All Things Give Thanks

Thanksgiving in the MTC is VERY different according to Ben. The food is great and the day is filled with devotionals and service. The best part of the day...meeting an Apostle. Ben had the opportunity to speak with Elder Anderson personally and he cherished the advice he gave him. 
He said: 
"Elder don't be discouraged fight the good fight and love the people love the people love the people!" It was really cool to hear that from him directly. I'm so blessed being here right now even with all the crazy challenges that have been happening.
One of the recent challenges that has broke Ben's heart is one of his close friends in his District ended up having to return home due to some depression/suicidal issues. In Ben's words:

"I was really sad to hear that as he was one of the strongest people I know in the gospel. But Satan gets to even the best of us and we have to keep pushing along... I got to say one last goodbye before he headed back to England. He has promised to email me every week for the rest of my mission!"
My heart is breaking for my son and how hard that must have been for him. You spend every day and night with these kids. You share so much emotion and life with them because you have to in order to make it through. I sure wish the best for this poor young man and hope that Ben can stay in contact with him and hopefully reconnect at a later date.
On a more positive note Ben has become really close with one of his companions in their District. "He's just like me Mom, we are twins in our personalities!" is what he tells me. His name is Bai Zhonglao (Elder White). They decided it would be fun and memorize the song "Love is an open door" from Frozen and perform it in front of their District as a surprise. Of course my son has no problem playing "Anna" the girl part and I have to say it is pretty funny! It's hard for my husband and son to watch because they really get into the parts. I think it is FANTASTIC that they can goof around and have some fun in what is a very monotonous schedule and hard language to learn.
Speaking of the language, Chinese is the 2nd most difficult languages in the world to learn and it is kicking his butt! 😖However to hear my son say these words is very comforting.
"Mom, I've been studying my heart out every single day and I've never prayed this much in my entire life. Yet I feel I'm still falling short on my Chinese abilities. I'm going to keep pushing along and I know that I can do this! All I ask is if you can keep me in your guy's prayers it would be very appreciated." So proud of his fighting spirit.
There was one last surprise this week. The investigator they have been teaching since they arrived turned out to be their teacher. She came in looking totally different and threw them all off. What a fun way to introduce yourself!

 Frozen Video (Ben & Elder White)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Ni Hao From the MTC

It was like Christmas morning when we received the first email from Ben. He apologized about not emailing sooner but he arrived at the MTC ON his P-Day so we had to wait a week. He talked of being shuffled around a lot giving him books, an I pad, lots of questions and finally class. His teacher spoke nothing but Chinese which he describes as one of the most intimidating and annoying things he has ever participated in.😀 He eventually met his companion, Elder Crowther who he describes as his polar opposite but that their personalities compliment each other well. They were told they were going to have to teach an investigator the next day ONLY in Chinese. They were nervous and did not understand a word she said but made it through somehow. Ben and Elder Crowther will be teaching her everyday until they leave. 
The Elders in his District have become some of his best friends and they are learning a lot from one another. The pranks started on day 1 which is great because Ben LOVES pranks. They soaped the floor for the new arrivals and made everyone slip and fall. So in return, Ben set their alarm clocks for 2:00 am and hid it in the ceiling. Lets just say, the pranks got worse after that! 
He loves the food, he's never been this tired in his life, the schedule is killing him and he has never been this frustrated and edified at the same time. HE LOVES IT! 
Wo Ai Ni (I love you)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What Day Is P-Day?

I opened my email later in the evening the day we dropped Ben off at the MTC and squealed because I see an email from my boy titled-"I'm Alive" 😁
From Ben:
"Hey just got to send you a quick email saying I am OK. I love you long time and I will email you on P-Day. Hope everything is good and I will see you soon." 
Elder Nelson
I was so excited to know he is "Alive". That was never my concern with him just in Provo, but hey I'll take it. My concern was...he forgot to mention when P-Day was! This resulted in a very anxious , stressful ME checking my email EVERY day, ALL day long just in case. IT WAS A VERY CRAZY WEEK!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A ♥ Full Of Emotion

Hands down today was the hardest thing I've ever done. I just left a part of my ♥ in Provo. While my head is telling me how exciting this opportunity is for him and the many blessings it will bring, my mama ♥ is not there yet. This kiddo of mine has some of the most admired attributes that I will miss in our everyday lives. He is the peacemaker in our home. The kindness he shows to his siblings and the way he shows such love and respect to his Father and I will be hard to live without. When you are with him he makes you feel like you and what you are talking about are the only things that matter. I KNOW these traits and the many others he has been given will come in handy as he sets out to serve the Lord for these next 2 years. As hard as this is, he is in much safer hands serving our Father in Heaven than he could ever be with us. Thanks again to our many AMAZING friends and family that have been part of our "village" and helped him get to this point in his life. Hugs and ♥loves♥ to you all!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Oh What A Night

Knowing that tomorrow is the BIG DAY, made today even more precious. Trying to soak in every minute of "Vitamin B" (Ben) that we could, heightened all of our emotions. We are a family of 8. Not including friends, that is a lot of attention that Ben needs to give to each of us in a limited time frame while trying to gather the last minute necessary items to be ready to go in the morning. Thank heavens Dad is a "Master Packer" so getting everything in the suitcases seemed to be relatively easy. Taking time to go through his room, last minute phone calls, giving me a hug every time he passed by, visitors stopping by for that one last moment with him and helping get everything ready meant when it was time to head off to be ordained an Elder, Ben was the perfect mix of exhausted and excited. 
What an experience! Being surrounded by loving family and friends, some council and wisdom was shared with him as well as us as a family. As the men were standing around getting ready to set Ben apart, I wanted to take a mental picture of his presence. Whether I am crazy or not, when they were done there was definitely a different spirit about him. His smile was huge, his hugs tighter and you could FEEL the spirit in him and the excitement for the task he was about to embark on.