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Sam’s 4H Play

Sam takes a bow
Sam’s 4H award
Super Sam

Elder Ben arrives in Chile

(Email on 9/19/2022)

Dear family,

We want to let you know that the missionaries arrived safely at their Chile Santiago Oeste Mission. We share a photo of your arrival. These days we will be sharing more information regarding your  companions and assigned areas.

All the best

President and Sister Mouhsen

Leaders of the Chile Santiago Oeste Mission

Elder Ben at center-left

(email 9/20/2022)

Dear Parents,

We want to let you know that Elder Berky has arrived without any problem at the Chile Santiago West Mission.

Next Monday during their P-day your Son will be in contact with you.

We are very happy to have Elder Berky We know that he will bless the lives of many people by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in this way he will participate in the gathering of Israel.

 We send you a warm greeting.

President David Mouhsen and Sister Silvina Mouhsen.

Leaders Chile Santiago Oeste Mission

The new group, companions and mission president and mom
Elder Ben and his new companion

Family letter to Elder Ben

Elder Ben Berky,

We love you and are proud of you. Since we missed talking to you last week, and I don’t know when we’ll chat again, I thought it’d be good for you to hear how we are all doing.

We are praying for your continued safety and an abundance of the Spirit to be with you. Remember to always find the good and nurture the good each day. ❤ This helps to invite the Spirit 😉

Monday

Sam made his first $325 payment for his Fine Arts (Band/Choir/Orchestra) NYC tour in March. It all came from his own earnings! He has recently posted an ad for his motorcycle washing/detailing biz in a few motorcycle groups and has been getting a lot of interest. He has his next 5 detailing jobs scheduled. ($50 per motorcycle, though he is going to raise his rates to $75. People say regarding his $50 charge, “that’s all?”) We still hardly see him between school, band, working at Mike’s, and now his new side gig. He leaves at 6:50am for early morning seminary, sometimes catch him for 30 minutes around the afternoon time, and then not again until 10pm! He got picked as Student of the Month for September (see attachment).

Tuesday

I had group at the CJC in Provo as I usually do in the afternoon, so I asked Dad to take Jacob to swim practice. He took your Caprice. It was raining. It wouldn’t get above 45mph on the freeway, then at the Springville exit it decelerated to 25mph. Every time he tried to accelerate, it decelerated. Sam thinks the last time the Caprice acted this way it was also raining. Did it do this for you? 

Fortunately James was just getting off work and picked up Jacob at the Springville exit and took him to swim practice. Dad called the tow truck, and while waiting he was browsing on KSL.com for a new used car. I think we are becoming partial to Toyota’s hybrids. 

Wednesday

I did inititories in the morning at the Payson temple. I put a whole slew of names on the prayer roll. 

Jacob AND Ryan went with the YM to do baptisms in the evening. Sam didn’t go as he had Band practice 6-9pm.

James brought home a flyer for Institute classes that are on Wednesday evenings. I asked if he was going. He said, “they didn’t say on the flyer which building”. I said, ‘Which building did you get the flyer from?” He replied, “the YSA church building.” I smiled and nodded and smiled even bigger 🙂 

He didn’t go, but we’ll keep working on him! 

Thursday

Ammon had his 2nd practice with the Millenial Choirs (Children’s choir). There are probably 50 kids in the children’s choir and I was really impressed with the organization in the drop-off and pick-up of the kids. The conductor is Mr. Mendenhall, who James had at MMHS and LOVED. 

Friday

Dad went to Fairview with Dave Lewis and LaMont to do more building of the yurt floor. He came home exhausted again with a month’s worth of physical exercise in one day. Dave Lewis did a time-lapse video that we’ll send the link to watch (if you are able to watch it). 

Sorry I missed your video call in the early afternoon! I didn’t have my laptop with me when the Facebook Messenger call came through, and I didn’t even hear it ring through. 🙁

I took Ammon with me to the Friday Homecoming game to also watch Sam and the marching band perform at half-time. Ammon brought his Macey’s sack and picked up garbage in the stands for the 2nd half. He earned $9 from people who thanked him for his work. He was pretty excited about that, but as we were walking back to the car he said, “The money was nice, but I really liked the thank you’s more.” Then he asked when the next game was going to be 🙂

Score: Wasatch 55 MMHS 17

Saturday 

Cubscout popcorn sales season is here! Dad took Ammon to the Payson Smith’s from 8-10am to sell popcorn. They made $290 in sales with some cash donations. It would be easier to just pay his yearly dues without doing the sales, but the popcorn sales really helps him to learn marketing, money, and hard work! There’s a new popcorn flavor that is “Flamin’ Hot” that is our new favorite. Probably similar to Taki’s.

Ammon’s last flag football game was at 10am. He was tired from standing for 2 hours selling popcorn, and didn’t really run much (he usually doesn’t anyway). But he did almost have a few catches! He also likes to hang out at the back to be “Safety”. I’ve included a short 1 minute video compilation. I have been playing catch with him every few days. I’m also practicing when he catches the ball, to know which direction he needs to run. We practice the muscle memory: catch the ball, turn and run! There have been 2 times in games that he’s caught the ball and ran to the wrong end-zone! His team (the Raiders) made it to the play-offs and have another game this coming Wednesday. 

Sam had his first marching band competition in Payson (Mt. Nebo Invitational). There were 12 bands. MMHS got 2nd place – woohoo! Dad was exhausted and stayed home to take a nap so June came instead. We went to see her property in Salem (great views!) We also stopped at the Payson Pet Hospital for Eliza’s final round of puppy shots. 

James went up to Fairview in the early afternoon and helped some more with the yurt. Exchange work for LaMont and Tanner coming over a month ago to hook up the CAT5 network cabling to James’ trailer. 🙂

I took Ammon, Jacob & Eliza to the Utah Valley Refugees potluck dinner in Orem. The majority of the refugees in Utah County are from the DR-Congo. Utah Valley Refugee’s organization has 2-3 advocate American families who serve as mentors/helpers/ministering families to help the DR-Congo families adjust to American life. We are just monthly donors to help the organization. 

In the evening Jacob went over to Lyla’s to hang out with her and Jakob Meyer. Actually, Jakob Meyer wanted to hang out with Lyla, but Lyla was uncomfortable being alone with just one boy, so she invited her best friend Jacob Berky to also be there 🙂 

Speaking of our Jacob, he leaves each morning at 7:20 to walk to SF Jr. High. I’m already walking with Eliza during that time, so I’ve changed my route to meet up with him and we walk together until the corner of Canyon Road. Eliza gets really upset leaving him behind as he continues to school and we continue home!

Eliza is getting really good at jumping up to catch the frisbee in my hand. She can get up to 4 or 4.5 feet high! Now I just need to encourage her to run after the frisbee. Sometimes she’ll chase it, but not until it already has hit the ground, and her retrieval rate (bringing it back to me) is only about 50%. I sent a text to the lady from whom we bought Eliza to give her an update (the lady requested let her know how the puppy is doing). She was so happy to hear from me:

“Thank you for letting me know how Eliza is doing. I always enjoy hearing about and seeing the pups. Thank you for the photos (I sent her a google album of just Eliza pictures). She looks like she is very loved, content and happy. Thank you for giving her such a good home. My husband passed away a month ago. I know this makes him happy too!”

Sunday

Lynette sent this message to the sibling chat group about 10:30am:

Mom was really struggling to speak this morning. Could barely talk. Was really quiet and had her eyes closed most of the time I was curling her hair. Then we finished watching the Music and The Spoken Word in her room. Long story short (I typed up the details) she was trying to tell me goodbye again. In a very clear and understandable voice said that her sister Dawna was coming today and that Henry had everything ready.

Side note: This is one of the rare times in the past 10 years that she has mentioned grandpa Henry by name without prompting from one of us. 

I went over at 1pm and sent this:

I just spent a couple hours with mom. Yes, I can barely understand anything she is trying to say. Very animated, but no understandable words. She tried to talk to me, but when I just nodded and smiled she began to look upward and mumble towards the ceiling and to the other unseen beings in the room. So very hard to see her in this state. She did mention again something about a party and a car coming for her.

Kylie came over at 3pm and played a game with Dave, Julles, June and Jacob until 5:20pm. I was at stake choir practice from 3:40-5:10. We sent Kylie home with 2 dozen eggs (which I hope were still good- they may have gotten frozen in the outside fridge), tomatoes and blackberries from the garden.
Anthony & Gracey came over for dinner. We had breakfast casserole with garden fresh sautéed onions & peppers (serrano, bell, banana & Anaheim). I know, I know, I’m killing ya mentioning all this fresh food. I also got for my birthday some new restaurant quality stainless steel pans. While doing more Alzheimer’s research prevention, heavy metals of aluminum and iron have been found in excess amounts in the brains of dementia patients. Since we have been using cast iron exclusively I thought it would be prudent to take preventative steps now and start cooking on stainless steel.   Last week we tried to watch “South Pacific” musical, but it was really slow. At intermission it was 10:15pm and we all went to bed, except dad. He stayed up to finish it. I think we are done with all the ‘good’ musicals for now. We are going to start watching Shakespeare plays on Sundays. Probably just the comedies and not the tragedies! Jacob is in TWO drama classes and loving the acting. In his theatre classes they have been doing a unit on Shakespeare since school started. We watched the comedy “Twelfth Night” from 1996 with an all-star cast. Such a good production. Even Anthony was laughing at some of the Shakespearean jokes! Helena Bonham Carter (who played Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter) was playing a lead role. To see this actress not play a deranged Bellatrix was interesting! 
If you make it all the way to the end of this – congratulations! That must mean you love us. 🙂

Caprice putters out in the rain
Eliza tries the frizbee
Sam awarded Student of the Month at MMHS
Ammon and Eliza
Ammon’s last flag football game

Ben’s Mission Report

Well the week has been great, the food is kind of killing me. I kind of just want a fresh can of beans. Man that sounds stupid. Anyways, you are probably wondering why this email is called what it is (I’m not repeating it because I think its spelled wrong).

We had a General Authority come, Mark L Pace, the General Sunday school president, and Amad S Corbit the first counselor of the young mens presidencia. 

So as me and Elder Shmidt we’re walking out of the Comedor, the president of the CCM (Mexico MTC) asks if we can help him. So obviously we say no and go about our day.

Anyways he asks us to be the welcoming committee for them as it’s their first time in the CCM, so me and E Shmidt just kind of shake their hand, walk them to their house (that was 20 feet away) and then that was about it.

So then we are just chilling in the devotional and its over and we all stand, and the President points at me and tells me to get up there with him. I pointed at myself a couple times, and he nodded every time, so I shove E Shchmit who did not see him pointing at us and walk all the way up to the stand. It looked mad sus, with neither of us venting. Anyways as we get into that back room, the

President says to us, I’m so glad you could make it. Sorry for the no quotations, I’m on a mexican keyboard and it’s kinda broken. 

So after that everyone wanted to talk to us because to everyone else it just looked like we walked up there just because we wanted to, or because we were trying to Assassinate them, which is what one kid told us.

So that was fun, and this is too long now, so I’ll end with a few things. Spanish is going well, but it’s completely different, the people here are cool, and I’ve decided to stop eating because I just can’t take cafeteria food anymore. 

Love you all, and I can’t wait to give yall some cool stories, and more about the gospel. Also never take for granted real food. Here are some pics if you are interested. No context for you though, you did not eat all of your vegetables last night.

Ben and other Elders
P-day garb
Noticing the fall of one of God’s creatures
Hanging around