Monday, August 20, 2012

Preparation brings love

Hey all!!!

Hope you are all doing well back home. Life is great and amazing here in Utah!! The weather is starting to get cooler which is strange since it's only August and not December yet. That's how it's supposed to go, right? Cold in December like Texas?? Guess not. But it's so strange to pull out my cold p-day (preparation, basically relaxing day) clothes in August.

The week has been good language wise. I have finally convinced myself that the best way I learn is NOT with flash cards. Who would have thought? Granted I’ve never used them in my life before this. Instead, I'm starting a new method of grabbing a dry erase marker and drawing the meaning of the word and the actual word on the board. It actually makes learning the vocab really fun, especially when I mess up really badly and I can't even tell what I drew. But that makes it even more memorable! Like trying to learn the verb to cut - rezati, my attempt to draw a knife in 5 seconds was so bad... but I learned it after that!! We'll see how this goes.

As I mentioned last week, we had our half way day here in the MTC last Saturday. It's only down hill from here. I absolutely love it here now. I learned this week that the more effort I put into my time here preparing, the more love I am expressing for the Slovene people when I get there. President Monson had a great quote from last General Conference in the Priesthood Session Last October (basically the leader of the Church at the large biannual conference) where he said, "When the time for action comes, the time for preparation has passed." It is so true! In four weeks, I will be boarding a plane to go to Central Europe, and the more time and effort I put into preparing for the moment when I first talk to a Slovene person, the more love I can show and helpful I can be.

It's so strange though. All the Elders and sisters learning Bulgarian and Polish on our floor are leaving Tuesday, as well as the two districts who have been here for three weeks. It's going to be so quiet. But then Elder Burdette and I will be the "old" people on the floor. Tomorrow, before all the new Bulgarians and Poles arrive though, it's going to be sooooooo quiet. But then new people to meet, get to know, and help will arrive!

This week in class we had a great, inspired discussion on sacrifice. As a missionary, we are asked to sacrifice so much, who we were, in some cases our passions, our time, our focus, etc. But even so, none of it can compare to the sacrifice Christ made for us. As people, we are required to make sacrifices to be able to achieve our eternal destiny. Each of us is already perfect. But, like a beautiful, perfect sculpture, is hidden under a block of marble, we must chip away the "excess marble" of our lives to be able to achieve that perfection. Allowing God to shape and form us will result in a far better person than we of our own efforts could have made. And so when you feel weak or unable, that mean's you are doing what is right. Change is a result of that sacrifice, and makes us feel that way. The problem would arise when we feel comfortable or strong in what we are doing. This means we have stopped growing, stopped stretching ourselves so that we become more than we were before. This is the time we need to revaluate ourselves and see how we can change in our lives to become grater. If we don't God will eventually force us to and that is even more uncomfortable or difficult than it could have possibly been on our own. But know, that we are given weaknesses and challenges so that we may become humble, and so weak things may be made strong to us. (Ether 12:27) This is the process God uses to shape our perfection. All of which is only attainable with the grace of Christ.

I love you all. I hope the best for everyone and hope none of you ever stop seeking your potential. Even so, now is always a great time to start.

-Elder Benson

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