Monday, July 23, 2012

Elder Benson's First Email

Hello all!

I'm alive and doing well at the MTC! It has been an absolutely amazing and really difficult five days since I first reported in Provo last Wednesday.

When I first got here, I practically ran through all the hoops to get all set up, and then I hadn't been here for more than twenty minutes before I was put into a room with a teacher and one other person to find out that the teacher wasn't going to speak a single word of English!! It was crazy! But the learning began instantly. I'm not going to lie, Slovene is really hard. There aren't really any words that are similar to English, but at least it still uses the Roman alphabet... with a few alterations... but that's not so bad. The pronunciation is a bit straight forward as well too. Every letter more or less is pronounced instead of like English where there are so many silent letters. I feel bad for people learning English.

But anyways, this place is absolutely amazing! It's so ethnically diverse. You walk around or are studying outside and a big group of Samoan or Tongan Sisters walk by, or people are rushing past you talking Russian, or greeting each other in Spanish, it's so cool. Yeah, most everyone, and by that I mean probably about half, of the people here are from Utah, but still there are so many different people from all over the Nation and world. There are a few Canadians that I've met and am starting to become friends with.

Remember that one other person I said was in the classroom with my teacher and me? That was my new companion! (For those unfamiliar, I am going to be with another guy nearly 24/7 for the next two years). His name is Elder Burdette and he will be my companion for my time here in Utah. He is really cool. He's a really quiet, kind of nerdy kid from Salt Lake City but is super smart and caring. I think we'll make a great team. It is just us two learning Slovene here after all. We're practically getting one on one instruction with our teacher.

Not only do I have a companion with me however, I am also assigned into what's called a district, which is basically a group of people all going to the same place. Usually these are like 10 people-ish. Well our district is only Elder Burdette and I and two sisters! Super small!! The sisters are Sister Giles and Sister Compare and are really nice. Sister Compare is from Woodstock, Vermont and Sister Giles from Pleasant Valley, Utah and they're learning Croatian and the Cyrilic Alphabet (so they can read Serbian if needed). Also, there's some leadership within the district and I was called as District Leader on Thursday night. It’s a huge responsibility because I have to make sure everyone is doing all right and there is unity, but it is also incredibly rewarding as well. I know that this calling isn't a responsibility that puts me above everyone else, but below everyone else. That as I serve them and help us become more efficient and productive, we will all do better preparing to go to the Adriatic.

However, overall, this place is amazing. There is such as spirit of joy and happiness here that everyone has. Everyone is here with a specific purpose and has a desire to help everyone else. I know that we are here to help people find this joy and happiness that only comes through our Savior, Jesus Christ, as I personally have found myself in my life. This is why I am here. I want to simply make people happy and there is no better way that I know of than through the gospel. Something I learned this week is that when you are in need of strength and ask God for help, he will support you. However, often times, he will support you through Christ-like attributes of faith, patience, charity and what I am especially learning now, courage. This is probably the most terrifying thing I have done in my life, but I know I can do it with God. I am grateful for this opportunity to be here, and am looking forward to hearing from you all!

Take courage my friends and keep your heads up!
-Starešina Cameron Benson

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