Blessed to be sharing the Gospel with the people of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota. Grateful for my Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ, a wonderful family and amazing friends.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Y'all can call me Spiderwoman
KELLY AND DAVE! Ok so a few months ago Sister Rook and her old companion got them as a referral from some Elders in the Salem, Oregon mission. Well long story short they met with them once then they said they didn't want to meet with missionaries again. Well, Sister Rook felt prompted to return to visit them this last week and wow. I have no words. When we knocked Kelly opened the door and let us right in. We sat down and she proceeded to tell us that she had been having a really rough past couple of days and that she had prayed for an hour or so last night to God that he would send her a blessing and send her help. She knew we were an answer to her prayer. She said that every time she prayed or needed help she would turn around and the Mormon missionaries would show up (they have been meeting with missionaries for like years.) So we talked with Kelly and her son Dave and bore testimony and cried and all that good stuff and then set up a return appointment. It was an incredible miracle, and the spirit was strong as we spoke with them about our Heavenly Father's love and the truthfulness of this church. Well, the miracle continues! We were sitting on our bench yesterday at church, waiting for our new investigator Jake to walk in, when Kelly and Dave came into the chapel, Book of Mormons in hand! Sister Rook and I practically jumped off the bench in astonishment! We had no idea they were coming. Members of the ward quickly noticed and reached out in welcome and friendship, which was an instantaneous answer to about a million silent pleadings in my heart. Midway through the meeting Kelly leaned over to Sister Rook and asked her how all of the people knew it was their turn to get up and say their testimonies. Sister Rook explained that they were guided by the spirit and not even two minutes later Kelly was up at the pulpit. She bore the most powerful and simple testimony I have ever heard, about how much love she has felt from the Mormons, about all the trials she has faced with her son and his brain injury, and about how she knows this is true. She can feel it in her bones! Then Dave got up and bore a sweet testimony, and all the sudden the ward was in tears and everyone was getting up to bear testimony! It was by far the most powerful sacrament meeting I have ever been apart of. I was tingling the entire hour and could not wipe the smile off of my face for anything. It was all so centered in Christ and for a moment I felt his presence there, sitting right beside me. I know that he loves Kelly and Dave, and my goodness I do too! Please keep them in your prayers!

Also we met this investigator the other week named Jake. We talked to him in a parking lot and he told us one of his good friends had just passed away in a tragic accident. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and it brought him so much comfort and peace. We then met with him later in the week and taught him the Restoration and he was able to come to church yesterday. He showed up in his John Deere hat, old jeans, and some steel toed boots. It was awesome. He is such a sincere guy and his heart is so open. The meeting was powerful yesterday and he felt the spirit strong and said he couldn't wait to come back.

Pueleen and Brian are doing well! We were able to take Pueleen and a less active member to watch the General Women's broadcast and it was AMAZING. They both absolutely loved it and are getting really excited for General Conference this coming week. Which by the way, I CANNOT WAIT! I AM SO EXCITED! But keep them in your prayers too, because they really need to be married sooner than later. Satan is working hard on them!


Alright y'all, our apartment is infested with spiders and other small creepers, and my companion seems to have a paralyzing fear of such things, so I have to kill them all! Ahh it has been a real trial...haha but lemme tell you. I have become a master. The little devils don't even bother me anymore. Ya know what they say, "when the going gets tough, the tough decide they are finally gonna grow up and learn to kill the 8 legged monsters"

Dave loves to call Kelly Mama. So when he got up to bear his testimony in church he kept saying "Mama this" and "Mama that". It reminded me of all the times that Jakey and I would quote Johnny Bravo: "Mama, make me a chicken fried steak." I forgot how stellar my Johnny Bravo impersonation was. My comp doesn't think it is as funny as I do, but she will learn.

The other day we were getting ready to go see a potential and I was giving us a little pep talk in the car, because that is necessary sometimes, and of course I included a quote from Marcel the Shell with Shoes. (stellar YouTube video...I recommend that all of you see it if you haven't yet) Well Sister Rook decided to take a big old gulp of water before that and then proceeded to burst into laughter spewing water all over the passenger side of the car and into my fresh bag of trail mix. :( It took us about 15 minutes to stop laughing and finally get out of the car. Sometimes it surprises me when she actually laughs at my jokes...

Spiritual thought:
This morning I was reading in Alma 37 and I came across verses 14-17. This is Alma's counsel to his son Helaman about keeping the records (the Book of Mormon) sacred and safe. It talks about how the Lord has entrusted Alma, and now Helaman, with the records, and that they were written and preserved in the wisdom of the Lord, for a very wise purpose. While reading this it got me thinking about the fact that the Lord has entrusted me, as a member of the church, with the Book of Mormon, and a knowledge of it. These records that prophets spent their lives protecting and keeping are now in my hands! And I thought about how I often I take the Book of Mormon for granted, or how often I don't treat it as sacredly as I should. Then I started thinking about all of the other things Heavenly Father has entrusted me with: a wonderful family, a knowledge of the gospel, a testimony of the Plan of Salvation, etc. etc. Do I treat all of these things as sacred as I should? In verse 16 it reads, "But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you. behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words." That is such a powerful promise! We are taught that if we treat these things sacredly (by keeping the commandments of God and trusting Him) then He will fulfill all of his promises to us! He will allow our testimonies to be strengthened and continue growing, he will give us daily guidance through the Book of Mormon that no one can take away, and he will bless us with an ETERNAL family that cannot be overcome by any power...not even death. So my goal for this week is to treat those things the Lord has entrusted me with more sacredly. I encourage all of you to do the same. We are so blessed!

I love being a missionary. And I LOVE ALL OF YOU!

Sister Bengtzen

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Contrary to popular belief...Mac N' Cheese does expire.
Ahh it is so good to hear from everyone! I am amazed at how y'all are seeing the miracles in your lives and I am so grateful that I get to share the miracles I see with you! 

So this week almost all of our appointments fell through...which was rough...but it gave us the opportunity to go finding, which I LOVE! We've been praying so fervently to find a prepared family and the Lord has answered those prayers! We were driving to see a potential and saw this couple walking (mind you it was dumping rain) so I pulled over as fast as I could and we jumped out of the car and raced after them. Well, the lady was NOT havin' it, so she said a few choice words and off they went into the dumping rain. BUT such is missionary work...haha so we girded up our loins, fresh courage take, and knocked on a nearby door. A man answered and we immediately asked him what it would mean to him if he knew that his family could be together forever. He looked at us for a moment, ran inside to take his steak off the grill, then came back and asked us what we meant. He explained to us that his wife was pregnant with his first child and that his family sure meant a lot to him, and he wanted to know what we were teaching. He invited us to come back and teach him and his wife together...and we are going back tonight! It was a total miracle. 
Also we have been teaching this islander from Pompeii who's boyfriend is a less active member of our ward. Her name is Pueleen and she has two children.  This week we went over and showed her the 1st vision DVD and the spirit was so strong. She absolutely loved it and asked us if she could keep the video! Haha so of course we gave it to her. After we testified and finished the lesson she told us that she had been talking to her boyfriend and that they had made the decision...THEY WANT TO GET MARRIED! And she wants to be baptized right away!!! Oh my goodness! I literally did not have words. Bishop is coming with us on Wednesday to meet with them and to get it all squared away. I cannot wait! 

Elder Fallabella from the 70 came to address us this week and it was absolutely INCREDIBLE! Anyway, I got to speak with him and his wife for a moment and of course I took the opportunity to practice a little Espanol! For a minute they were both quite impressed, then I said something and they all of the sudden busted up laughing. so apparently I need some more practice....haha maybe someday I will be bilingual! But all that aside they are the two coolest people I have ever met! 
Also we skipped dinner the other night and so I was making some late night mac n cheese because I was real hungry. (By late night I mean 9:35 p.m.) Anyway, I had just shoveled in a delicious cheesy spoonful when sweet Sister Rook showed me the expiration date on the box. Yeah...2008. I'm sure you can imagine what happened next, expired cheesy goodness all over everywhere! I didn't even know those things expired!!! Anyway, I spent my "getting ready for bed time" cleaning up cheese off the wall. 

Side note - Sister Rook is the sweetest thing ever. And I love her. SO MUCH! Our first P-day together we went to the grocery store together and she challenged me to eating an entire loaf of french bread, which I gladly accepted. I think we will be great friends.  

Spiritual thought:
Today I was reading in Alma chapter 33 about Zenos and how merciful the Lord had been unto him. In verse 11 Zenos cries unto the Lord in gratitude testifying that he knew his prayers were heard because of his afflictions and his sincerity, but above all else his prayers were answered because the Son of God had been merciful unto him...and unto all of the children of God. The spirit witnessed to me that my prayers here in Chalco Hills have been answered because I have been obedient and sincere, yes, but above all else because our Savior lives, and because he performed the Atonement for each of us. Sometimes people claim that miracles cease to exist today, but I can testify that miracles occur every day. A miracle is defined as a divine manifestation of spiritual power, and the Lord manifests His power in so many ways. I see his hand in my life, and I see it in the lives of all those around me. He knows us. He cares about us. He assists us. And He lives for us. In reading this verse this morning I was reminded of the power of the Atonement and of something I already knew, something so powerfully simple, and so crucially important...My Redeemer lives. 

Sister Bengtzen 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Omaha sweet home(aha)
Well team, the Lord works in mysterious ways because my new comp doesn't even drive, and I am forced to do 100% of the parallel parking! Hahaha Heavenly Father apparently really wants me to learn that skill, so y'all just wait. In a few short weeks I'm gonna be a master. (Keep that in  your prayers though...I'd rather not crash a mission vehicle doing something so lame)

WELL HOWDY FROM OMAHA! I don't think they all of the sudden say Howdy here...I mean I am still in the same state....but it seemed like a fitting greeting. Maybe I will start that trend, and everyone in the city of Omaha, Nebraska will start saying Howdy because they heard Sister Bengtzen doing it. It is absolutely plausible. Anywho, I spelled Choco Hills real wrong last week. I am serving in the CHALCO Hills ward haha and I am in like the Southwest part of Omaha. And it is very different than Lincoln! But it is absolutely wonderful. So many people, so many houses, so many families, so many dogs! And the ward is so kind and welcoming...and nutty! There is so much work to do here and I am so excited about it!! My new comp is Sister Rook and she is just a sweetheart. She says the most sincere and grateful prayers that I have ever heard, and I am so excited to learn and grow with her. We got a lot to do here in Omaha.


So throwback! President allowed me to go to the temple on Saturday and surprise Tim and Phoebe as they went to do baptisms for the dead. I wish I could put into words how sweet the experience was. Tim walked in the doors and just started crying. He could not stop saying how different he felt, and how grateful he was to be there with Phoebe. He instantly recognized it as the House of the Lord and his heart was so full. Phoebe absolutely radiated as she got ready and she could not get over how beautiful the stained glass inside was. She was able to do baptism while Tim watched and the whole day was just tender. They are making plans to be sealed as a family in about a year, and I pray that I will be able to attend that sealing. They are such a remarkable family and the Lord will continue to do wonders among them. Kenneth, their son, is being baptized this week and I know he is so excited. This gospel has just changed their lives!
Tim and Phoebe at the Temple

Also this week we talked to everyone we saw here in Omaha and oh man. It is a little different than Lincoln. But we were able to share the message of the Restoration with a man named Santiago and he accepted baptism! His whole heart softened when he heard the first vision and he committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray that night. We left him with a Spanish copy of the Book of Mormon and we are going back to see him on Wednesday so keep him in your prayers!

We also ran into this guy named Jerome and I got him talking about football, then his boat, then his family. What a lead in...haha am I right? Anyway, he wants to learn more, so he invited us to come back on Tuesday! So keep him in your prayers as well!


I accidentally threw my umbrella in the dumpster the other day and so I had to dive in to get it. Haha my comp screamed and thought I accidentally fell in! I was laughing so hard that it took me like 10 minutes to climb back out. I think she thinks I am there goes the first impression.

There was this crazy high priest in the library the other day and he would not let us print off 5 copies of this paper, and we really needed 5 copies of this paper, so I was really about to lose it, but I prayed for patience and all of the sudden I started talking about football. 10 minutes later we were best buds and I had 10 copies of said paper. The spirit is a real thing people!

I tried to make up a story about Sister Rook the other night during dinner and she could not believe that I was "lying"! Hahaha so I don't think I will be doing that for a that family thinks I am crazy too, so we are an 0 for 2 on good first impressions.
Windy and wet in Omaha

Spiritual thought:

Alma 26:37 "Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth." I know this is a simple verse, but I read it the other morning in my studies and it just reminded me that the Lord is aware. He is mindful of me, he is mindful of the people that I have come to love so dearly, and he is mindful of all of you. So remember that, when the going gets tough look back at all you've become, all you've learned, and how you've grown and remember that the Lord IS and always WILL BE mindful of YOU.


Sister Bengtzen


Friday, September 9, 2016

Fortune Cookies and Kung Pao chicken aren't even Chinese!!!
Alright let's just take a minute here....has my whole life been a lie?! Or am I just the only person who did not realize that American Chinese food was not as authentic as I hoped it was. Calvin informed me of that sad truth this week and I am still broken hearted. But I digress...I shall get over it someday!
Sabrina, Sister Smith and Calvin Hung

Ok this week has been a whirlwind, and I don't have a ton of time so this email will probably be short! Orrysay eoplepay! But I still love you all.

Sister Smith is absolutely incredible and as of yesterday is an STL! AHH I am so excited for her. She has been such a blessing to me and I cannot wait to see the miracles she performs in the lives of so many others. She will do wonders among the sisters in this mission, and I am so grateful that I got to be one of those sisters! Even just for a moment. Ok, but she is staying here in Lincoln and I am going to Omaha! WUT?! Yeah...literally the last thing I expected...but I will go where the Lord wants me to go!
I am going to the Choco Hills Ward and my new companion will be Sister Rook and I am already thrilled because I hear she is absolutely adorable! So woo hoo! I will be about 7 minutes from the mission home, which is exciting, and things are gonna be real different, haha but it will be wonderful! I leave tomorrow morning and Sister Smith and I spent like the entire night crying and there's that. Girls are so strange. I will miss her so much! But I am glad that she is going to be an STL. She will be I have already said.
Calvin Hung's baptism
Ok so miracles!
CALVIN HUNG WAS BAPTIZED EVERYONE! Oh my goodness I am just speechless. He was beaming the entire day and I have never seen anyone that happy, EVER. He is incredible. He bore his testimony after the ordinance and the spirit was so strong. He talked about how he knew there was a God because of all that he had given him, because of the Book of Mormon, and because of the church. I cannot believe I have to leave him. Ahh breaks my heart. But I know he will continue progressing and I cannot wait to see that! I feel like I am leaving my child behind or something...good grief missions are hard.
Next up Kenneth has not smoked in like a lot of days! And he came to church and he loved it! And he is set for the 17th of September. My oh my he is so ready. He reads the Book of Mormon with his heart instead of his head, and that is true desire. Phoebe and Tim are so eager and excited to help him. It is incredible. I cannot believe I have to leave them too. Rips my heart right out. :(  But I know that Phoebe and Tim will be sealed in the temple someday soon, and I will not miss that for the world.
Finally, our investigator Katherine and her three daughters came to church this Sunday and it was such a surprise to have them there! They stayed all three hours and Katherine claimed she really loved it. We got a discouraging text from her later on Sunday night and we went right over to her home to address her concerns. She began sobbing telling us all of the horrors she had heard about the church and how her life seemed to be falling apart since she stopped reading the Book of Mormon.  We bore our testimonies, testified of the Savior and Book of Mormon, comforted her, and then came back Monday night to teach her. The spirit during the lesson was strong and she said that she knew this was good, she knew this was right, and that if it wasn't the Lord would have already led her astray. She has such faith and courage! She said she wants to continue meeting with us and accepted baptism on September 24th. I know that she can get there if she turns to the Lord to help her through. This really is His work, and my testimony of that grows every single day. I am lucky to be a part of it.

Alright team, let's start praying that my new comp knows how to parallel park because heaven knows (along with the entire UNL campus) that I cannot!!! OH MY GOODNESS. I tried a good 12 times before Sister Smith opened the door and pushed me out of the drivers seat! Haha but I gave it a good effort.

Calvin's baptismal suit was a little large and he walked out of the changing room, looked at us, looked at the suit, then back at us, and said "I feel as if I am a Kung Fu master" Haha then he made the strangest face and did some like karate kick, punch combination. It was a wonderful way to bring the spirit in hahaha
P.S. I had the best burger and chocolate shake of my life! MY LIFE. Feast your eyes suckers....
Do not worry...some day we will come back here and you will all get to try it.

Also I inhaled a mosquito the other day. I almost died. But it's ok. I am still breathing now...and I think the mosquito suffered worse than I did. So ha!

Spiritual thought:
I read this quote the other day and I just think it sums up life really well. I don't have much to add because it is SO good.
"You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give." Sometimes that is easy to forget...but it's so true. The Savior lived the perfect life, and all He did was give. I think we could all work on giving a little more.