Tuesday, December 30, 2014

30 December 2014 - Mexico City CCM

Week 5

¡Buenas días!

I can´t believe I only have one more week at the CCM!! This time has just flown on by! It´ll definitely be a change of pace when I get out into the field, but I´m super excited and ready to go!

On Christmas Eve, the entire CCM had kind of a choir festival, where 2 zones combined and sang 2 Christmas hymns. It was super cool! And quite a bit chaotic. Last Sunday, I decided to join the CCM choir. We only had one practice for singing on Christmas Eve and we´d be singing this great arrangement of Santa la Noche (O, Holy Night). And when we sang it after the festival.. Wow. There is definitely a strong and loving spirit in singing hymns about Christ, or hymns in general! Truly amazing.

 I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and were able to remember the Reason for the Season! It was definitely a good one! We were sitting probably 14 out of the 16 hours we were awake, but it was still good! We had a ton of amazing devotionals. The first one was given by Elder Russel M. Nelson and his wife. Sister Nelson talked about how we can make everyday Christmas (because everyday really can be Christmas). Christmas is a time for miracles, a season of angels, a season of music, and a time of intensely focusing on our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we are able to keep a Spirit of Christ everyday in our lives, then everyday can be Christmas! It´s fantastic! 

Pretty much immediately after the first devotional, we had another! It was given a couple of years ago at Christmas by Elder David A. Bednar called "The Character of Christ". If you can find it and read it, it would definitely be worth your time. He talked about how Christ´s character is shown when He reaches out in love and compassion, when the natural man in us would be self-absorbed and turn inward. He gave a couple of examples from Christ´s life. One that stood out to me was in Matthew 4:1-11, where Christ is fasting for 40 days before his ministry, and gets tempted three times. At the end of it, verse 11 says that angels came and ministered to Christ, but the Joseph Smith translation completely changes our understanding of this event. It says that Jesus knew that John was in trouble, so He sent the angels to minister to John. Christ was physically and spiritually spent. Completely. And he would have, no doubt, benefited from the ministering of angels. But, even in His moment of distress, He saw someone in need and reached out. There are so many examples that explain this basic, yet powerful principle of the Character of Christ and I would urge you all to learn of Him.

On Christmas night, we had the opportunity of watching Meet the Mormons! A fantastic movie, giving a few stories of some ordinary Latter-day Saints. It was definitely a grand Christmas present from Presidente Pratt, who´s the president of the CCM. A couple of things really stood out to me. One: Our Heavenly Father is the author of diversity. There isn´t just one flower, or one aspect of this world. There are so many things that are different, including us. Each of us have different personalities and opinions, but that doesn´t mean we should build a wall in between us. Like Elder Bednar said, we need to reach out in love and compassion, when we normally tend to be self-absorbed and turn inward. Two: The Lord calls ordinary people to bring forth His work. That is so true. The Lord calls teenagers to proclaim His gospel to the world. It´s truly amazing how much trust He puts in all of us. That reminds me. This last Sunday night, we saw a devotional given by Elder Richard G. Scott. He talked about prayer. He explained that when we pray, our answer received usually comes in three ways: 1) We receive a peaceful, feeling that is the Spirit confirming to us our answer or the truthfulness of the Gospel, 2) We receive a stupor of thought, which is the Spirit telling us that whatever we ask or hear is not true, and 3) (Which is the most common) We don´t feel anything. When #3 happens, this is our loving Heavenly Father showing His trust for us. He wants us to follow through with a decision so that we may grow, progress, and learn. 

Tengo un fuego en mi corazón. Sé que esta Iglesia es la Iglesia de Jesucristo restaurado en la tierra en los ultimos días. Sé que el Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios y por el poder de Dios, José Smith lo trandujo. José Smith vio a Dios el Padre y a Jesucristo y recibió una respuesta de su oración. ¡Jesucristo vive! Lo sé con toda mi corazón. Y Él nos ama perfectamente. La Expiación es eterna y perfecta. Podemos ser limpios por medio de la Expiación y podemos tener paz y feliz en nuestras vidas cuando seguimos a Jesucristo.

That´s about all the time I have for this week, but know that I love you all and I love hearing from you each week!

Para siempre Dios este con vos.


Elder Murphy

Kia Kaha

23 December 2014 - Mexico City CCM

Week 4

Wait. Does that say week 4? Yeah. It does. I´ve been here for a month! Well, okay, a month on Friday. But still! 

So my district has decided that yesterday was Christmas World and today is Christmas Adam, since the world came before Adam and Adam came before Eve! So Merry Christmas Adam! Haha. Just kidding. 

This week was pretty fantastic! It flew by so fast that I can hardly remember what happened, but I´ll do my best!

On Wednesday, my district had the opportunity to welcome 100 new missionaries to the CCM! It was a lot of work running new missionaries back and forth across the 90 acre campus, but it was still fun! We got to meet a ton of cool missionaries and kinda take a break from the intense everyday studying routine!

I forgot to tell you guys on Tuesday that we got to go to the Mexico City Temple as a district! It was truly amazing and so beautiful! It was a nice break to get out of the CCM, and an even better experience to be there and feel the amazing spirit that was there! I almost forgot how crazy and insane this city is. And it was a cool contrast seeing the difference from the CCM to the chaos that is Mexico City and then to the peace of the temple grounds. Sometimes I completely forget that we are in Mexico City, because it´s so peaceful here and the Spirit drowns out almost all of the outside noise. 

This week has been an interesting experience, teaching and role playing constantly. It´s definitely a new experience to have to teach in unity with someone. Completely in unity. Especially in a language you can barely express your feelings in, but it´s all good! The language is coming! Our teacher started a thing this week where he wants us to only speak Spanish. In class, if we speak English, he´ll just say "¿Qué? Lo siento. No entiendo inglés." (Which means, What? Sorry. I don´t understand English). And also he had us ( I think only a few of us actually did it, including me) put a "¡Solo español!" sticker on our nametag, so when people see it, they know not to talk to us because we´re just going to ramble off something in Spanish to them. Kidding. But it is an interesting transition to only speak Spanish. Most of the time I completely space it when I´m talking to someone, and then randomly transition to Spanish in the middle of our conversation. It´s pretty funny seeing the reactions.

Sunday, as always, was absolutely fantastic! Our Sunday devotional was given by the director of instruction and operations at the CCM: Shawn Cates! His devotional was fantastic! He explained some extremely important principles that not only apply to missions, but to life as well. When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes a quest, that is when God endows us with power. Many times, the Lord asks us to do things that we don´t know how to do, but He will show and teach us, providing a way. We shouldn´t live after the manner of men, but after the manner that God shows us. When He shows us how to do something, we should probably do it that way. When we say "finish what you start", it can be a pretty good motto, but not when the Lord tells you to stop. There are three things we need to do to allow the Lord to show us line by line, little by little, to live in His manner: 1) Have a determination to do it His way, 2) Dilligence and hard work, and 3) Depend on God. 

He told us a story of when he was a young man, and there was this super cool guy who knew Kung Fu, and, them being young men, wanted to know Kung Fu. What they were expecting was fighting and whatnot, but it was not what they got. They ran. And ran. Until they came to this wall in a park and the guy who knew Kung Fu took two steps on the wall and jumped right on over. He then told Brother Cates to do it. He tried and tried and tried again, but each time he failed. He could barely even get his fingertips on the top of the wall, let alone pull himself up. The guy kept yelling, "Stay on target!! You´re a disease!" Eventually, Brother Cates was able to get over the wall but what he took from it was awesome! He said, "You stick to that thing like it´s a disease. If you do it and do it in the Lord´s way, you will make it over the wall. Just stay on target!"

Stay on target, everyone. Remember the Reason for the Season. Christ was and is the Ultimate Gift! Remember that Christmas just means "Christ Más". Keep the Spirit of Christmas. Keep the Spirit of Christ.

I love you all! Have an amazing week and ¡Feliz Navidad!


Elder Murphy

Kia Kaha

Monday, December 22, 2014

16 December 2014 - from Mexico City

Week 3


Okay, I´m not going to lie, but I´m pretty sure yesterday was Tuesday. To say that this week flew by would be an extreme understatement. And look at that! I'm already halfway through my MTC experience! It´s been kind of an emotional roller coaster, but it´s been an opportunity to stay optimistic!

On Tuesday, we had our weekly devotional, which was given by Elder Benjamín De Hoyos, and thank goodness he was able to speak English! It was broken English, but the Spirit was still so strong in the message he was conveying. Two of the principles he explained really stood out to me. First, is to love all people. It can be hard. It IS hard. But when we stay positive and optimistic, looking for the bounteous blessings in our everyday lives, it will come easier. I have definitely seen that principle put to action in these last three weeks. The second principle was the importance of positive daily contact with people. Honestly, just smiling at someone, anyone, everyone, can completely turn their day around and maybe even change their life. Just a smile. "By small and simple means are great things brought to pass."

On Friday, I had the opportunity of studying the scriptures with several of the Elders from my district. We studied Alma 53 and 56: the story of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors. I love that story more and more each time I study it. They were just youth, but they had been taught well and were able to be so valiant. And not one of them was lost. They were all wounded, but not one was lost. We´re all going to go through trials and hardships and be "wounded", but so long as we press forward with firmness and steadfastness, it´ll work out!

So apparently, December is a pretty important month for the people of Latin America. They have celebrations for a ton of saints and all throughout this month, there have been booms off in the distance gradually increasing in amount and sound. Well, this week has been filled with booms! Fireworks going off every few minutes! Sometimes, it sounded like thunder. Other times, it sounded like the cannon from the Hunger Games. But Friday, was the celebration of the Virgin Guadalupe. And. Well. The fireworks didn´t stop from about 9 on Thursday night until about 6 Saturday morning. It. Was. Intense.

Saturday was possibly the most interesting day so far. And I´m pretty sure interesting doesn´t even begin to explain it. It was a pretty normal day, but we got a new schedule that said we had a "Christmas Program" in the evening. It ended up being a traditional Mexican "ballet" on the birth of Christ. Definitely not my definition of "ballet" but it was super cool to experience a different culture with such an important event! Remember the Reason for the Season, everyone! Jesus Christ was the ultimate gift for all of us!

Yo sé que nuestro Padre Celestial nos ama perfectamente! Él envió Su Hijo. Y la Expiación es perfecta. El Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios por nosotros en estos días y nos ayuda con todas las problemas en nuestras vidas.

This work is amazing. I love serving and representing our Lord, Jesus Christ each and every day. It´s a privilege and such a wonderful opportunity!

Thank you for all of your emails! They always bring me joy! I love all of you!

Para siempre Dios esté con vos.

Elder Murphy

Kia Kaha

Friday, December 12, 2014

9 December 2014 -- From the Mexico City CCM

Week 2

Hello Everyone!

Has it really been a week already? This week has flown by so fast. The days are all just blended together, it´s hard to even remember what I did yesterday! But it´s definitely been a good week! Full of challenges and difficulties, but jam-packed with tender mercies from the Lord.

Last Tuesday night, we had our weekly devotional and it was given by Elder Miguel Reyes of the Seventy. It was a tad difficult to follow along and focus, because he was Speaking Spanish and the translator was having a tough time keeping up. But, the Spirit was there, and I was able to get the general message. He talked about how when he was on his mission, there were two other Elders with the last name of "Reyes". So, sometimes, they´d go on splits and be "Los tres Reyes", or (in English) the three kings. They´d bring the gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those they were teaching. And it´s so true! We have the knowledge of this gift and we have been called to bring the gift of happiness that the Gospel brings to peoples´lives. He also talked about being "of one heart and of one mind" with our companions and walking side by side so that the Lord can walk in between us. 

Someone told us that the day after our first P-Day would be a pretty tough day. And, well, it kind of was. Not as bad as I thought it´d be. I´ve already drilled it into my head that there will be tough days on my mission, and Wednesday felt like a breeze. Anytime I´ve felt discouraged, or annoyed, or stressed, or am just having a bad day, I just smile and smile, and since my brain doesn´t know any different, it turns on the happiness! There´s no point in having a bad day and then being discouraged when the Lord is right on our side. If the Lord be with us, who can be against us? We all have our off days. It´s part of life. But we can either allow those bad days to hinder us or strengthen us. We have the ability to choose and act with our Free Agency for a reason. One passage from the scriptures that´s been running through my mind constantly this week has been Romans 8:31. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us, even a little bit, from the love our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for each and every one of us. No matter what we do, it´s always there and it has been the foundation of my testimony. For we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us.

This week, we´ve finally gotten out of the " welcome meeting" phase and are getting into a nice routine schedule with things, for the most part. Some of you have asked about Esdras, and that is kind of an interesting story. So, I figured that Esdras was already a member. I figured they wouldn´t throw people, who knew hardly any Spanish, in with a real investigator. And that part was true! Some of the other missionaries in my district said his fake teeth fell out as they were teaching him and he had a unibrow marked on his face. But on Friday, we walk into class, and can you guess who was sitting in the teacher´s chair? You got it. It was "Esdras". And you probably guessed that his name isn´t really Esdras. Good guess. It´s Hermano Candía. And he is our new afternoon teacher! Yup. Kinda just threw that out at us out of the blue. But he is super cool! He speaks Spanish SUPER fast, and sometimes, it´s hard to keep up with him, but I can usually catch 80 to 90 percent of what he says. Which would be impossible without the Gift of Tongues! He keeps telling us his purpose is to get us to learn Spanish and speak it proficiently. We always do these "speed" exercises where he says a phrase and we repeat and we all say it faster and faster. It´s amazing how well just repeating something over and over can help! And with the Spirit, it´s even more powerful! I can already speak and understand faster Spanish, and we´ve only had him in class for a couple of days! So. Awesome! I´m finally figuring out a system with studying and practicing the language and it feels great!

Sunday was, well, of course, fantastic! We said goodbye to the second district from our zone, and it turns out that now, we´re the "oldest" district! Weird. Especially only starting out third week. Speaking of which, week 3? Already? Goodness. Anyway. On Sunday we had about three devotionals. And each was amazing! The first was a "class" with the president where we learned more about the plan of salvation and how families can be together for time and all eternity. The second was given by Elder David A. Bednar a couple of years ago. He talked about how we can be Preach My Gospel Missionaries. It´s important to always treasure up the words of the Gospel and then to remember that the Holy Ghost is the real teacher. Not the missionary. By constantly treasuring up the Gospel, the Spirit will be able to bring things to our remembrance that people need to hear in the very moment that they need to hear it. I´ve definitely seen this truth, even in role playing. I´m able to remember scriptures and quotes that I´d completely forgotten about. And, when those things are brought to remembrance, we need to actually open our mouths and speak, having the faith that the words we say will have the Spirit and be carried unto the hearts of the investigators. The final devotional was, of course, the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. If any of you haven´t seen it, I strongly encourage you to watch it! It reaffirms the reason for the season. Think of Christmas as Christ-más. Remember to always have the Spirit of Christmas, or just drop a syllable and always have the Spirit of Christ. He is the Reason for the Season! He is the ultimate gift to all of us! And His love for us is perfect and eternal!

I absolutely love hearing from all of you! It brings me joy and comfort!

I absolutely love all of you and this work.. I definitely love this work. It´s hard, but I couldn´t see myself doing anything else. And have nothing I´d rather be doing. No other way I´d rather serve the Lord. Como el Ejército de Helaman. It´s all worth it and will all work out in the end. Have an amazing week!

Para siempre Dios esté con vos.

Elder Murphy

Kia Kaha

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pictures from the CCM

Ben's CCM district: 
back row - Elder Higginson, Elder Oxborrow, Elder Murphy, Elder Allen, Elder McCorney, 
Elder Stromness, Elder Burke, Elder Skabye
front row - Hermana Hansen, Hermana Pace, Hermano Candia (teacher AKA Edras), 
Hermana Failner, Hermana Hansen

Ben and his Terrible Towel for Towels Around the World

 Ben and his district at the Mexico City Temple. Ben with his Terrible Towel.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2 December 2014 - From the Mexico City Centro de Capacitación Misiona

Hey Everyone!!!

Greetings from the Mexico City Centro de Capacitación Misional! Or, in other words, the Mexico City MTC!! Wow! I honestly cannot believe it has almost been an entire week already! It´s felt like an eternity, yet, it´s gone by so fast. As they say here ¨Days are weeks and weeks are days and by the time you leave at the end of six weeks, it´ll have felt like an eternity.¨ I have most definitely seen that here!

 I guess I´ll start with Wednesday. Me and about five other Elders from Arizona got to Atlanta at around Noon and didn´t think there´d be a ton of missionaris on our plane. It just so turns out that there were about 80 missionaries going from Atlanta to Mexico City. We took up all but a few of the seats on the flight! It was so crazy! I kind of hummed ¨The Army of Helaman¨ as we all got onto the plane. We got to Mexico at around 4 and proceeded to pile onto several buses. This city is crazy! The driving is so insane and not an inch of space is wasted. We got to the MTC and I pretty much hung out with my Arizona buddies until they gave us our assignments for our first companions! My companion is Elder Allen. He´s from Utah and is super cool! And is going to Wichita, Kansas as well!! He´s pretty easy to talk to and has a good spirit about him. His strengths are definitely different from mine, which is awesome! Because we can just play off of each others´ strengths! We live in a dorm with four other missionaries, two of which are going to Wichita too! They´re super awesome! Elder Stromness and Elder McCarney. We call ourselves the Kansas Quad. Haha. Weird, but it´s so cool that we´re all going to Kansas. I thought it was just going to be me! The other two missionaries are Elder Lopez and Elder Elao. They didn´t know a lick of English. It was definitely a barrier at first, but Elder Stromness and I know (or at least kinda know) Spanish and we were able to figure out a system. They´re super awesome! Elder Lopez is like a pro soccer player. I haven´t seen him play, but I´m sure he´s awesome! Elder Elao did Martial Arts and has a ton of stories! We traded ties with them the other night! Such a cool experience! The thing to do here is trade ties. All the time. Oh. And the food here is definitely interesting. It has it´s good days and it´s bad days. I mostly just eat fruit. But when they make actual Mexican food, it´s the best!

The first few days felt like everything was rushed. I felt like I had absolutely no time to study or really breathe at all. I guess it´s because we had a TON of orientation stuff through Saturday. It just takes some getting used to, I guess. I love it here. It´s so beautiful. You´d never believe it´s right in the middle of Mexico City. It´s another whole world. Almost brighter, it feels like. The campus is beautiful and there are a ton of parrots! On Friday, we taught our first investigator...In Spanish!!! His name is Esdras! As you can imagine, I was freaking out! I kinda wrote down what I wanted to say (by the way, Elder Allen know absolutely no Spanish). As we were in there, and I was kind of reading out of my notebook, I stopped, closed my notebook, and just talked to him. I do not really remember what I was saying or how well my Spanish was, but I just talked to him. The Spirit was definitely there and the Gift of Tongues is most definitely real and powerful! As the days progressed, and we taught Esdras more and more, I gradually used less and less notes. Yesterday, I decided to just go off of faith and what I knew, so I just took in my Spanish scriptures and a Spanish pamphlet of the Restoration. It was so amazing! The Spirit was so strong! I actually ended up reciting to him the First Vision in Spanish, which I´d forgotten I´d had memorized! Family and friends, the Spirit was there and I know the Gift of Tongues is real! 

We had interviews with our branch presidencies on Sunday and mine was with President Lindeman, who is the second counselor. I expressed to him my concerns about setting goals with learning the language (because I´d been having a hard time setting goals) and he told me the only thing I think that I would´ve been able to understand. He told me that learning the language isn´t like learning how to do Calculus, where you learn equations and practice problems out of a book. No. Learning a language is more like learning how to draw. You can´t just learn to draw well from a book. It takes countless hours of practice. To learn a language, you have to speak the language. He told me about this pair of elderly couple missionaries who were in his mission in Spain that didn´t know Spanish. Well, the old man wanted to bear his testimony in sacrament meeting and wanted to say "I feel a fire in my bones". But instead of saying "huecos" for bones, he said "huevos". It just shows that you can´t be afraid to be embarrassed or scared to mess up when you´re just starting out. The language is definitely hard, but I know that as the weeks progress that I´ll figure out a system and it´ll come. I just need to keep working hard and praying.  Elder McCarney always says, "Work like everything depends on you and pray like everything depends on the Lord." 

Sunday was probably one of the greatest days of my life. We had sacrament meeting only in Spanish. It was definitely interesting, but I understood what each of the speakers were saying. The topic was on the Atonement, and just hearing everyone´s experiences in their own sort of broken Spanish was such an amazing experience. That afternoon, we went to a devotional, which was given by Elder Holland in January of 2013. It was super cool! And he talked about the importance of this work and how we need to be converted before anyone else we teach can be. Oh! I almost forgot! On Thanksgiving, Elder Bednar gave a devotional broadcasted from the Provo MTC! He only gave a short talk, but left the rest of the time open to a Q&A session. I remember him talking about how energizing this work is. If we really get into it and focus only on serving the Lord, we will be energized with the Spirit. Sunday night, we watched some videos in the auditorium. The first one was about the first sister missionaries and the huge importance and strength they give to this work. The second one was ¨Only a Stonecutter,¨ which was about one of the stone masons who worked on the Salt Lake Temple and walked 22 miles to Salt Lake every week! Something happened, and he had to get his leg amputated, but after it somewhat healed, he made a peg leg and continued to walk the 22 miles each week! It just shows that there really is no excuse to not do something that may seem hard. The final one was on Christ and the Atonement. I think it was called ¨To this Cause was I Born¨or something like that. It showed me that yeah, my trials and hardships are hard, but he went through all of them for every single one of us! The Atonement is real and eternal!

That´s about all the time I have for this week. I love hearing from all of you! It has made my week! 

Yo sé que este es el Evangelio Restaurado de Jesucristo y que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. Nuestro Padre Celestial nos ama. Todas las personas.

I love you guys and I love this work. It´s definitely been the hardest six days of my life, but it has all been uplifting, enlightening, and all worth it. Have an amazing week!

Elder Murphy

Kia Kaha

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

He's safe - 26 November 2014

We got an email from Ben tonight. He's at the MTC, called the CCM in Spanish - Centro De Capacitación Misional México. He says the campus is beautiful and huge. His companion is Elder Allen. At the time he emailed us, he hadn't met him yet. His P-Day is Tuesday, so if you plan on emailing him I would send it beforehand. His email is bmurphy@myldsmail.net . He also sent his mailing address if you choose to send him a letter. He will be at this address until January 6th.

Elder Benjamin Isaac Murphy
06/01/2014  7-A
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

I just wanted to update you. Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Off to the Mexico City MTC

A bittersweet day

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ben's Farewell Party -- 23 November 2014

 Everybody enjoying lunch in the dogan

 Adam, Chris, and Tyler

 New Besties!
 Old Besties!
 Really old besties.
 Adam, Bek, and Ben
 I don't know what's going on here.
 Alyssa, Kelli-Marie, Jacy, Austen
 Ben & Liv
 Chris & David
McBride Clan
Logan, Sas, Ben, Tweet, B

Ben's Farewell

Here's some pics from Ben's farewell today.