Send Elder Benson a letter today!
Elder Cameron Allen Benson
MTC Mailbox #132
2005 North 900 East
Provo, UT 84604-1793
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Kelly Orgill. I have been friends with Cameron since junior year of high school. He has asked me to run his blog while he is gone. Generally, the posts on the blog will be straight from Cameron's letters. However, today, I thought I would post about Cameron's Utah trip and what it was like to drop him off.
By the way... the title of this post was in request of Elder Benson.
Cameron flew into Utah on Friday. He was shocked by how dry the climate is here, but he was also surprised by the stormy weather. We had an unusually stormy week, last week, and he made several jokes about making assumptions that it must always be like this here.
He stayed with the Smiths (a missionary couple who served over Austin Institute) until Monday morning. During his stay he got to see The LDS Conference Center, Visitor's Center, Salt Lake Temple, a production of The Sound of Music at the Hale Center and much more. He thoroughly enjoyed his stay, even getting to see Elder Sorenson (a former elder who served in San Antonio) and meeting Sister Justice (a former sister who served in the North Adriatic mission)!
On Monday, at 8:20am, I got to pick him up, we took pictures and then headed to Magelby's Fresh for breakfast in Provo with Brother Hopkin (One of Cameron's former Institute instructors who now teaches at BYU). We had a great time visiting with him. Next on the agenda, we ran errands to get office supplies and then met Ian Harward (another former elder who served in San Antonio) for lunch at J Dawgs. Cameron really liked the special sauce at J Dawgs. After that, we parked the car and I gave Cameron a quick tour of BYU campus. Of the buildings I showed him, his favorite was the Joseph Fielding Smith Building (JFSB). He was surprised at the size of the BYU Bookstore and liked BYU's Museum of Art, which currently displayed Beauty and Belief, an exhibit of art from Islamic culture. When we walked outside the museum, it started raining and then we realized we were hungry, so we ordered Indian food over the phone and ran in the rain to the last building I wanted to show him (the Ezra Taft Benson building)... I wanted to show him this since he is related to President Benson several generations back.
Well, just like the entire trip, we were on a time crunch, so we picked up our Indian food, came back, ate super quickly and went to FHE (Family Home Evening, in a singles ward, is basically an assigned group of people from the ward that meets on Mondays for an activity and spiritual thought). For FHE we went and participated in a blood drive. Cameron had never given blood before... and in all, I am not sure he really liked it... but he donated it his blood in exactly 4 minutes! Pretty good time. And, because our whole group gave blood, we got free pizza and drinks!
Finally, our last stop of the day was Sub Zero ice cream! There, you can choose what percent fat of cream you want and your toppings and then watch it freeze in seconds as they spray liquid nitrogen onto it and stir your creation. Cameron thought the ice cream had an interesting texture, but he liked it. Afterwards, I dropped him off to stay the night at my brother's house.
On Tuesday morning, I came to pick him up. When I walked into my brother's house, I saw Cameron eating breakfast with my nieces and nephews. They had a blast with him and he even played tag with my nephew until it was time for us to leave.
Our first stop of the day on Tuesday was Shoe Carnival. We got there at 9:50am, ready to look for casual shoes. When we tried to open the door, it was locked. One of the employees unlocked it and told us that the would not be open for another 10 minutes. We went to Office Depot in the mean time, then came back at 10:01am the doors were still locked, so we jetted out since A. we didn't know for sure what kind of shoes Cameron needed and B. we figured we didn't have enough time to look since we had to meet Jeffrey (my brother) at 10:45. We met Jeffrey at Jamba Juice, chatted for 40 minutes and then headed to meet with Cambron Sherman (a guy in my ward to served in Slovenia and currently teaches the language at the MTC). Cam was awesome! He showed us pictures of Slovenia, gave us a brief history of the country, told us about the members there, answered all Cameron's questions and bought us pizza to share. We had a great visit with him and it was fun that Cam ended the conversation with, "I'll see you tomorrow" to Cameron.
Then, we hung out with Cooper Howell (another former San Antonio elder) at a park in Orem. We swung on a massive swing-set and just caught up on each other's lives. Cooper was so thrilled that Cameron had chose to serve a mission. We only stayed about an hour when we realized, our time was slim and that Cameron and I needed to swiftly change into church clothes and get to Manti, Utah so we could meet another former San Antonio elder, Jeff Hertig. It took us an hour and a half to get to Manti. And the view of the temple was GORGEOUS! The temple looked like a castle on a hill and glistened in the sunlight. We walked to the front doors of the temple and saw Jeff and his two friends standing there, smiling to see us. It was a fun little reunion/meeting. The temple was packed for baptisms, but with Jeff's help, we were able to convince the temple workers to squeeze Cameron and I in to do baptisms. After that, Cameron and the guys went through a session at the temple. I got to sit outside and watch the sunset. I loved every second.
By the time the guys got out of the temple, it was 10 o'clock. Cameron and I rushed back to Provo so he could meet Jordyn, my roommate, since she had been out of town and really wanted to meet him. And then, finally, I dropped him off at my brothers around midnight. It was a long day!
On Wednesday morning, I came to pick up Cameron for the last time. After he was all packed and did the last couple tasks he needed to at the house. As we were ready to walk out the door, I looked at the clock and saw we had one hour until he was to report to the MTC. It was at this point that he told me we still had three things to do: 1. Go buy a spiral notebook and calling card, 2. Mail a box at the post office, and 3. Take pictures before he entered into the MTC. I was super nervous that we were not going to make it in time, but luckily it everything worked out perfectly.
As we drove through the security gate to enter the MTC, we saw several smiling faces. I rolled down my window and a guard leaned in to ask Cameron, "Are you going on a mission? Congratulations, son!"
We drove around and parked next to a sign labeled 24, where Cameron's host anxiously waited for him. We pulled out Cameron's luggage and I gave him a quick hug. Before I knew it, he was gone, walking the other way. I waved and said, "Goodbye Cameron! Good luck Elder Benson!"
Cameron is going to be an amazing missionary. It was fun to see all the people he knew the past week and hear about the impact that he had made on their lives. Everyone was really impressed with his knowledge, dedication to the gospel, his head-start learning on the Slovene language and that he had already completed three years of Architecture.
As soon as he sends out an email for the blog, I will post it. Until then, here a few photos of him leaving San Antonio and his time here in Provo.
Cameron and the car all packed. Ready to head to the airport.
Cameron with his parents before he left to Utah.
Cameron while donating blood at FHE.
Cameron. After giving blood.
The FHE group. Proud donors.
Cameron and Cooper Howell.
Jeff Hertig, Cameron and Kelly at the Manti, Utah temple.
Cameron with Hallie and Jackson (Kelly's niece and nephew) before he reported to the MTC.