January 7, 2019


Terrada, Bahía Blanca


Elder Leiva

Elder Ben: Happy New Year and Happy Birthday to me

Okay, I guess we'd better start with New Year's. I was awake at midnight, and there were a lot of fireworks. Before you ask, (Courtney) I had a responsible reason for being awake. Transfers. I am now serving in Bahìa Blanca in a small ward called Terrada. My senior companion is Elder Leiva, who just finished his training. The both of us are fresh out of the package, so I think he's senior companion because he knows the area better than I do; I'm trying not to be a Laman about it. We worked really hard this week, and we found 21 new people to teach. To put that in perspective, I usually average around fiveish in a week. The needs here are different, but no matter where you're serving, twenty one is a good week. He's from Honduras and is pretty much a professional at football.Today I am 19 years old! I made pancakes this morning to celebrate. I realized last night that this is my first birthday away from home. I miss you guys of course, but I think it’s best to give this time so that we can be together forever. I love you! [As an FYI for those who have given Ben money for Christmas or birthday...] I withdrew 2000 pesos ($53.60) for Christmas and spent most of that on clothes and a new backpack. I withdrew another four thousand ($107.21) recently, thought I haven’t spent much of it. Today I used a little on office supplies and a yogurt. Thank you! This week was already full of changes, but I would put this one in front. I've been reading the Book of Mormon for perhaps five months, and on the fourth of January, I finished. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it probably wasn't what I got. The very moment that I turned the page after reading the last words, I received one of the most powerful surges of the spirit that I have ever felt. It filled me, and unlike the other spiritual bursts that always seemed to dissipate just before I could get a good look at it, this time it dwelled and gave me time to search my feelings, to decide if I trusted it. Having studied psychology, I knew that the mind could play tricks and that finishing books often could give me a rush, but I've finished enough books to recognize the difference. This feeling didn't come from me. I gave plenty of time to think and decide, and then I wrote my testimony in the back of the Book of Mormon that I had marked. Moroni's promise isn't just another verse.Keep up the great missionary work at home! I love you guys!Elder Sheffer


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