Hey all friends and family!!
Hope all is well this Labor day weekend! See, I'm not that isolated from the world. I still know it's Labor day. :-p Mainly because I don't receive any letters today since the post office is closed though. But anyways, life is going great here at the MTC. My tiny district is officially on the final stretch before heading out to the mission field iiiiiiiiiiin TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY!!!!!!!!!! That means that next week's email will be the last letter sent from the states barring anything that has drastically changed. Who knows, the Turks who were on our floor were reassigned to NYC Turkish speaking for like 6 months before going to Turkey. Also, that means if you want to send me a package of any kind, you are quickly running out of time before packages go from $10 to $50, and letters go from 50 cents to a dollar.
But those are simply silly details. The best part of the mission is about to start! Getting to meet the Slovene people and giving them the opportunity to find an infinite amount of happiness and the freedom from guilt and pain of past actions. It's amazing how much love I already have for these people even though I haven't met a single one of them. Part of it is probably a part of my call, and another is probably a small portion of the infinite love our Heavenly Father has for them. I simply can't wait to go and experience them!!! Yes, the MTC here in Utah has been great, but nothing could compare to the actual experience and people.
So cool experience this week. On the first day of new missionaries arriving to the MTC, they go through an interesting introduction to teaching. Thirty or so missionaries are put into a room together with a person who wants to hear the gospel, and they have to "try" group teaching that person one at a time (emphasis on try). It's interesting. But to start it off, they have a companionship that has been here for a while and are quite good at starting conversations and teaching to lead the newbies into it. Elder Burdette and I were asked to do this this Wednesday! It's super exciting, terrifying, and humbling that our teachers would recommend us for that, and that they would pick us for it. We get a special training for it tonight, and will let ya'll know how it goes next week.
Also, we had a widow named Sister Madsen come and talk to our tiny district going to Slovenia and Croatia Tuesday. She was amazing! Her and her husband Truman Madsen were good friends with former Croatian basketball player Krešmir Ćosić. They were a significant part of his discovering the gospel. After Krešmir joined the church, he wanted so badly to share it with his countrymen in then Yugoslavia, and so basically founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day-Saints in then Communist Yugoslavia. She shared her experience with him there and since his passing, and the work going on there now.
I will be blunt from what she said. There are miracles happening there right now. Where before only some 60 people were accepting the gospel a year in the whole mission area, in the past 6 or so months, there has been an explosion of people coming to know Jesus Christ. What was once 60 baptisms a year is now like 60 baptisms in 3 months. The work there is exploding, and I am going to be a part of it!
I know if I have faith that I can be effective and CHOOSE to be a useful tool in the Lord's hands in building His kingdom on Earth, I can and will be. We each have this choice. Will we reject what we hear and say around us, or actually put it to the test? Experiment if it is true? No results are had without trying. And I know this Restored Gospel is true. I know because I tested it, initially to prove it wrong, but still gave it a fair chance, and it has changed my life in every facet to be a better, stronger, and most importantly happier person. But these are only the physical blessings. Spiritual blessings beyond description and imagine are attainable. I encourage everyone to have faith and test truth where it is offered. If it brings forth good works, it is good and true (Matthew 7:13-19).
I hope all is going well at home. Hope to hear from you soon before I leave the States.
Best Wishes - Starešina Benson
P.S. Here's my new address for when I'm in Slovenia. Since I'm only two weeks out, figure it's good to have now. Will probably take a little longer to receive and get back, but could be worse, like somewhere in South America.
Elder Cameron Benson
Adriatic North Mission
Crkva Isusa Krista Svetaca
Posljednjh Dana, Svačicev Trg 3/1