Monday, September 24, 2012

Živijo from Beautiful Slovenija

Hey all family and friends!!

Home all is well on the home front in America! I arrived in Zagreb
after a very long flight from Chicago to Zurich, to Zagreb where I met
my mission president, President Rowe and his wife, and a few other
missionaries here in the mission.

It was an interesting first day. We had introductions, met, and ended up in President Rowe's house for the night, having an amazing meal Sister Rowe cooked and sleeping in the little girl's room for the night. He has a great family. two little girls (I'm guessing probably about 8, 10ish years old?) and three sons (two I'd guess in their like 13-17's and another who wasn't there, but I'd guess he is like 10ish?) Super nice family! We got to
sleep in that night until 8:30am! Before President came in and woke us up. We had a meeting that morning and then my new companion and I took the train off to Slovenia!

So on the way out of the mission home (President's home), we got our
assigned areas and new companion. I'm with Elder Hardy who is super
cool. He's from Boston sort of (and Toronto, France, but Boston is the
simplest answer) and has been in Slovenia for around a year. I'm so
glad he's been here for a while so he can speak the language. The MTC
definitely prepared me to speak, but understanding is a TOTALLY
different experience! I'm glad I did all I could from the MTC to learn
the language cause otherwise I would probably be totally lost. Trying
to understand what everyone says can be a real challenge sometimes,
but I can cope. At least I can say what I know fairly well and am
easily understood when I don't butcher the words or make a silly word
mistake So... side story, yesterday at church, the branch president
(Pastor basically) asked me to introduce myself for five or so
minutes. In that I said, "Jaz sem smešen biti tukaj", meaning to say
"Jaz sem srečno biti tukaj". Meaning: I am funny to be here vs. I am
happy to be here. Oops!!!. But I am very grateful Elder Hardy can
really speak the language well. I would be so lost without him

So I am currently in the city (town really, not THAT big) of Kranj,
about thirty minutes northwest of the capital Ljubljana. we're
reopening Kranj. There haven't been any missionaries in Kranj from
about a year. It's a super quaint little place. Very European. Just to
the South east of the Gillian Alps, and to the south of the mountains
bordering Austria. You can see the mountains really well in many
places in town, but I haven't taken any pictures yet. Sorry!! Next
week! :-/ There is snow now on the mountains though, and is quite
cool for what I'm used to. Elder Hardy said this is the coolest town
in all Slovenia because it is the closest to the mountains. Elder
Burdette by the way, went off to Maribor in the northwest corner of
Slovenia, really really close to the Austrian border.

So some interesting things about Slovenia and the people here. there
is no central air systems. At all. Meaning no air conditioning, or
heating systems. Everyone has radiators here, but no one has turned
any of them on yet since it's still in the 60's ish. Winter is going
to be interesting. take the guy who's never lived in snow and starts
to get really cold below 70 degrees and put him where it gets really
cold in the winter. Oh well. I'll survive. I'm going to go buy some
winter clothes later today. Kaj še.. what else.. So everyone has a
garden here! it's awesome. All the apple trees in everyones' front
yards have apples. And the juice and bread here is amazing! I haven't
run into any really weird food yet. I had a strudle yesterday at church
that I couldn't figure out what it was, but i still sort of knew what
it was. and some Serbian food a few days ago, but that was more like
fried bread with sausage in it. delicious, if not healthy. Also, I've
come to the conclusion a few days ago that I like Slovenes a lot more
than Americans. they're a lot nicer, almost everyone you walk past on
the streets says something like Živijo (Hello), and they're all just
really polite. And direct. My kind of people!

So really amazing story from Wednesday, my first day here in Kranj.
Because we're opening the area, we had no appointments. just because
there haven't been missionaries here though doesn't mean people don't
know us. We had a few people want to talk with us because they
recognized us and haven't talked to us in a long time. But my first
day, great intro to Slovenia. we get to Kranj (A older missionary
couple serving in Ljubljana drove us up from the train the Ljubljana),
get groceries, and find a house someone wanted us to go visit. It
starts to rain. A lot. And it's cold. We get to their house
(navigating by map since this is Elder Hardy's first time in Kranj too)
and no one is home. So we head back to check out a room we have in the
one skyscraper in town, close to home. we come back outside after
checking the room and Elder Hardy asks which blok (apartment complex)
we should go visit. I point to one across the street. It's really
started to pour now. We get there, and start from the top door. The
first door we knock on opens. We (by that I mean elder hardy in
Slovene) says a statement about a small portion of our message and the
guy who opened the door is interested. His name is Andre and we had a
great lesson with him. he speaks great English, but as with most
people here, much prefers to speak in Slovene. It was a great tender
mercy from the Lord to introduce me to the work through that. I mean
what are the chances? first door knocked on in Kranj is a lesson. It's
as if the people here are finding us to talk to instead of the other
way around. We have a lot scheduled to do this week so it's really

Hope all is well on the hope front. We have District conference here
(all the churches have a single church meeting from across Slovenia)
next Sunday in Ljubljana, and then we have general conference (World
wide church meetings) the next Sunday, so the Sundays will be super
busy too. sorry about the no pictures, I will fix that next week!!
Mail might take a little to get to me but I promise to write back.

Hope all is well!
-Starešina Benson

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