Monday, October 29, 2012

My Worst Nightmare has Arrived


Hey all!

Sunday morning, I woke up (an hour later than normal thanks to Slovene
daylight savings) to a whitewashed world outside my window, with
strange white powder falling from the sky. It had been raining for a
day or two before it got cold enough, so the rivers are once again
really angry. Thankfully we did have some warning. Last Monday night,
we went to go visit a nice lady we've been talking to every week on
her doorstep and she warned us it was forcasted to snow on Friday.
Friday came, and rain, but no snow. Saturday, more rain, thankfully no
snow. And then. And then. Sunday. It came.

It's really strange living in snow considering I've never lived in
snow my whole life. It's not actually super cold yet. Enough to make
it stick, sort of, but it is all kind of slushy stuff by the end of
the day. And no ice yet. I'm really glad I bought boots and wool socks
two weeks ago so I can just walk through the stuff without getting wet
or cold. Elder Hardy says it'll prolly be a cold winter though since
it's already started snowing, and it's only October.

So this week has been a great week. Lots of lessons and sincere
people. Not a lot of contacting, but we did do some more service
cutting drve (firewood) for an older member lady here in Kranj. Last
monday, we went hiking up Šmarjetna Gora, a mountain next to Kranj and
got a great view of all of Kranj and the surroundings. If I can get to
a computer that can upload photos, I'll send those today. I am going
down to Ljubljana...

This week is also going to be super strange. It's a holiday week,
which basically means all the Slovenes take the whole week easy. The
31st is ˝Reformers Day˝ (even though there aren't any protestants to
speak of in Slovenia really) and is a state holiday. The 1st,
meanwhile, isn't technically a state holiday, but the whole country
takes it off because it's a Catholic Holiday here, Dan Mrtve (day of the
dead). A day where everyone (even members here) spend the day
remembering their ancestors and go to the pokopališče (Cemeteris) to
spend time remembering them and leave them something, like a little red
candle. Work basically stops here, even for us. Elder Hardy and I are
planning to maybe go visit a member family on Wednesday and pepper
Kranj with fliers advertising English class. Other than those two
days though, the work looks good.

This week, we had a lesson with a sweet fant (guy) named Janez. His
family met a lot with the missionaries before maybe 5 years ago, but
didn't end up joining. He was buddies with the missionaries, but never
really heard what we have to share. He actually contacted us on the
street as we were walking home. He is a Jazz music major at a faks
(college) in Austria and is part of a band, but lives at home in
Kranj. He was really interested in what we had to say and said ˝you
gave me some new things to ponder about.˝ He really wants to see what
we're all about, but is in Sarajevo, Bosnia for a music festival this
week. He was hesitant to commit to acting because he said he
wasn't sure if he would act on an answer he would receive.... which is

He truly understands the concept of ˝real intent˝ which is the key to
getting answers from God. If we want to know truth, to really receive
wisdom from a higher power for something we don't know (James 1:5),
then we need to be sincere with our asking. If we have no intent of
acting on some answer we get, we are not being sincere and will not
receive an answer, or the answer we get will simply be our own pride.
But if we do ask with a ˝sincere heart and real intent˝, then we can
know the truthfulness or untruthfulness of anything we need from the
Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:3-5). This truth, this knowledge, is the simple
definition of revelation. Knowledge and instruction from God. And god
is unchanging, and will give us truth today just as he gave the
ancient prophets and apostles. And this direction can be a pattern
for living the most productive and happiest life. We simply need to do
our part and be humble and sincere enough and have real intent to be
able to receive the inspiration from on high.

Hope all is well back home. I hear it's starting to cool down there,
too. Pics to come hopefully.

-Starešina Benson

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Fall of Faith


Ladies and Gents, fall is definitely here. The leaves are falling,
the fruit is ripe (and really delicious!), the weather is cooling,
and miracles are happening.

This last week has been a busy one full of service and meetings. We
helped an older member here in Kranj mow her yard and weed her jagoda
(strawberry) garden, and a different family cut and gather wood for
the winter (more on that to come!). We also had Zone Conference on
 Tuesday where President Rowe and his wife, and the assistants to the
president, (a missionary companionship who works with president) came
up to Ljubljana where all 14 missionaries (not including senior couple
missionaries) met together for instruction. It was really cool seeing
all the missionaries gathered again.

Less missionary work has been done this week due to the large amounts
of service and vacations. (We had two of the people we meet with go to
Koper, a Slovene city on the sea, this week). But that's perfectly fine.
The opportunity to help others is one of the main reasons I am here,
and service is a fantastic way.

One of the families here in Slovenia, the Lotrič family who lives up
in the mountains, needed help gathering and cutting firewood for the
winter. So we were picked up by the branch president (bishop, pastor
of the congregation here), President Majc in the morning for a nice 45
minute drive up to the middle of no where. We worked there for the
whole day gathering enough wood they said for two winters. I have
pictures when I am at a computer where the pictures actually work.

Also, across the mission we have titled the time from now until the
end of the year the ˝Fall of Faith.˝ Fall of Faith because miracles are
happening. I've mentioned it before, but the full extent of it is
difficult to fully realize. As long as the members and missionaries
here do their work in faith, real miracles are happening. People are
literally contacting us wanting to meet up to talk about the gospel.
Also, as a mission, there is the goal of having 100 baptisms, which is a
record no one has even come close to achieving before in this European mission.

Important to note is the difference between faith and hope. Hope is a
belief something can and will happen. Faith is ACTION on a belief that
something can and will happen. When we put forth and show our faith,
miracles happen. God is real. God is eternal and unchanging. And
miracles happen today just the same as they did 2000 years ago and
before (Mormon 9:19-20). The only difference is that people have lost
their faith, and so miracles to some seem to have ceased. But faith
must always precede the miracle (Ether 12:6). And so we go forward
every day in faith, meaning in action, as to the things which seem
impossible but will happen. This is the same for every person. The
only difference is we all have a different work. But if we exercise
faith in what we do, we will see results. The only way you can know is
through trying. That is the only true way of knowing the truth (John

And so this work goes on.

Much Love all-
-Starešina Benson

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another Photo

Eating dinner at Elder and Sister Hansen's (Senior Missionaries) House

Monday, October 15, 2012

Winter is on it's way and so is success!!

Pozdrav family and friends!!

A lot has changed in the last week in Slovenia (at least here in
Kranj). The weather first of all has taken a steep nosedive into the
cold side. The sunny, warm days I fear are over for the next four
months. I don't think I've seen a clear sky since one day where we had a lot of rain at night. It's actually kind of reminded me of the winters in Texas. Probably in the 40's at night and topping out
in the 60's during the day with mist (SO MUCH FOG) and overcast skys.
Raining every day or two lightly. Elder Hardy says this is kind of
what it's like all winter, except for mist is light snow, and much
more brutally (at least for my taste) cold. Being in the highest
elevation town with missionaries doesn't help either. But at least
it'll probably look really nice, and I still have some time to get more
clothes before the winter fully descends.

The work has also largly picked up as well. People who disappeared for
a little bit have recontacted us, and we've found some incredibly
prepared people. We've contacted a lot of people who have met with
missionaries before and are interested in meeting again, too.
Furthermore, our less active member buddy from Tržič moved to a town
closer to Kranj. We visted him at his new place (really nice!) and had
a great discussion about the temple. We committed him to begin
preparing to go to the temple and he accepted!

For those unfamiliar with the temple, The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints builds temples as worshipers of God have through all
time (until the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in aprox.
70AD). From Moses' time, (and even before including the mountain tops
of the early patriarchs). Temple worship has played a central role in
the worshiping God. The temple was used by Christ as a primary place
he taught at, and it continued to be following his death,
resurrection, and acension by the apostles. (Acts 5:42)

As God is an unchangable and eternal God, temples are important to
Him. While the exact purposes and implementation of the temple has
changed through time (from the mountain tops, to the Tablernacle, to
Solomon's, to Herod's temple), the significance of the temple has not
changed. Just as in Christ's and the Apostles' time, the temples of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today are places where we learn more about
our Savior and our Father's eternal plan for us.

We invite all people everywhere to prepare to enter the temple. But
just as God is perfect and holy, we need to live our lives to the best
of our abilities to be able to be worthy to enter his holy house:
standards of living taught by His prophets throughout time. Not even
all members of the church can enter. And so, it is our invitation to
everyone, regardless of where you are spiritually in your life, and
regardless of the groove you have set yourself in, to enter the

I know the peace, blessings, and strength that comes from the temple
is a true blessing in life and is unlike anything else. A temple is a
house of the Lord, set apart to be holy, and so the communication
between God and us, his children, easily comes. I know that God is
unchangable and eternal, and is a constant in my life and anyone's
life. Our relationship with Him and his Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ
is the greatest thing we can build on earth. From this relationship,
we recieve direction, comfort, and a greater understanding of who we
are, things needed even more so in this increasingly complicated and
darkening world.

I pray everyone at home is in good health and safe spirits.
Be strong!

-Starešina Benson

P.S. We have a Zone meeting (all the missionaries in Slovenija) tomorrow
with President Rowe in Ljubljana. I should be getting mail. Expect
responses in the next two weeks.

Monday, October 8, 2012

More Pictures!

With Elder Seegmeuller at the MTC

With Sister Whistler

The apartment


Holding Slovenian Flag at the MTC with MTC teachers and Elder Burdette

The Slovene countryside on a cloudy day

Another view

With Elder Hardy

It's Beginning

Pozdrav friends!

Sincerely hope all is well at home. The seasons are
definitely beginning to change here in Slovenia. The weather is
somewhere between 60-80 degrees depending on the day, and the leaves
are beginning to change colors. A little more color here than in
Texas, that and A LOT more green. But that's a really good thing! The
first sign of snow way up in the top of the mountains has showed up,
so now it'll be fun to watch that line slowly get lower and lower and
lower until it reaches us here in Kranj.

This week has been a particularlly interesting week. Lots and lots and
lots of walking. But I don't mind. We're walking though one of the
most beautiful places in the world! Last Wednesday, I think it was, we
took the bus to a person's house we were meeting with, about a 15 minute
ride to a town called Moše. Unfortunately, he wasn't home, and the next
bus to pick us up was something like an hour and a half out, so we
began to walk. And walk. And walk. And walk. I think we left sometime
around 7ish and got back home in Kranj around 9:30ish. A good
experience, long, but good to see the whole landscape. We figured the
distance we walked was just over about 1/4 the distance to Ljubljana.

We've also been doing a lot of work in a town to our north called
Tržič. Further north into the mountains. It's a nice, small, quaint
town tucked into a narrow river valley of the mountains. there's an
inactive member there we've been meeting with and helping who hasn't
been contacted by anyone in the church for something like 4-5 years
and missed the contact! He was so excited when we found him. But
everytime we go up to Tržič, something good always happens! Without
fail, we've always found someone who's interested in hearing our
message there.

Truly, serving a mission is a blessing greater than any other
experience on Earth. Of all the things I learned in the university,
none of them can compare to the things I am learning here. Things like
learning to live in a foreign country, to truly learning how you
learn, the digging even deeper into the simple, profound, and eternal
truths of who we are, where we came from, why we are here, and where
we go after this life. It's so true what people say that when we teach
something ourselves, we are the ones who are really being taught, not
the people we talk to. I can already tell that the lessons I am
learning now will take me through the rest of life and beyond. Lessons
that cannot be learned any other way than by doing.

If any of you are even considering serving a mission, know this. Stop
thinking and do it. It will be the best choice of your life and will
affect everything you do afterwards for the better. We know that if we
have the desires, we are qualified for the work. The Lord can do all
things, and in us can prepare us in ways we don't even recognize or
imagine. And preparation never ends either. We are always being
prepared for new experiences in the future designed specifically for
us. But remember this. For all the preparation you put in, there will
come a moment when the time of preparation passes and the time for
action comes. Fear not, for fear is the opposite of faith. And in
faith we can do all things for God will enable us. And it is not until
after the trial, or test, or experiment of our faith that we receive
our witness that the thing we have faith in it true, right, and a
blessing in your life.

I pray all is well in your lives. I have a cool plan in mind to share
a part of Slovenia with all of you that write me letters. The first
batch should be mailed off today ;-)

Much love,
-Your Brother, Starešina Cameron Benson

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall is turning

Dober dan moyi prijateli! (Good day my friends!)

Hope all is well at home. Life is great here in Kranj. the seasons are
definitely changing and thankfully it has been warmer today than it
was last week. Granted that didn't stop all the rain from falling this
week, but still that only makes the place even more green. Sometimes
when I walk around I just think how this place is probably as close as
you could get to the garden of Eden. Eveything is green, and blooming,
and there are fruit trees everywhere (especially apples). It rained a
lot this week though. Thankfully mostly during the night. The river
running by Kranj flooded its banks and tripled in size, but has been
getting calmer and more turquoise every day.

Beyond the flood, not too much has changed. The people are still as
nice as ever, especially compared to people in Ljubljana (the
capital). Walking down the street in Ljubljana is a sad experience
because whenever you say hello to someone, they don't even look at
you, just keep their heads down and keep on walking. But the people
here in Kranj are amazing! They all respect us and what we are doing
and it always seems to put a smile on their face when we say Živijo to

So yesterday, Sunday, was district conference at the Church here in
Ljubljana. Many members from all over Slovenija came down, (from Celje
and Maribor) along with the rest of the missionaries. President Rowe
came up from Zagreb, and we had an Area Seventy (So in the new
testament, Jesus called his twelve apostles, then also a quorum of
seventy to minister) there as well from Switzerland. It was an amazing
conference! It is interesting having all the talks given in either
Slovene or English, but it is always helping my Slovene to get better.
I still have issues understanding people, but it is getting better
every day. And my talking ability is better and better also.

In the middle of conference, we had a rest hymn, and then President
Juhart (the district president for the church in Slovenija) asked that
Sister Rowe, then President Rowe, then Elder Benson would give
testimonies! I had no idea I was going to be asked to bear a testimony
here before all the members in Slovenia! A little freaked out, I had
to figure out if that was what he really said (it was announced in
Slovene), then seek inspiration on what I said.

I said a prayer and a scripture came to mind, Alma 32 on the seed of
faith. From this inspiration and through the Holy Spirit in the
moment, speaking from the stand, God gave me the words to say.
That I gave the word of God, the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, a
place in my heart as to like a seed, testing it. Because it was a good
seed of truth, it grew and became a great tree, and bore fruit more
delicious and beneficial to my life than I could even imagine, even
the pure, constant, and unchanging love of God and Christ. Having
tasted of this fruit, I know that the seed I planted is true. Action
is demanded when an undeniable witness is given. I am here in Slovenia
to further cultivate more fruits, in the people of Slovenia and the
members here as well. That the fruit, the pure love of Christ
unrestrained can be shared among all people. And how great is the joy
and how greater shall be the joy in the coming months. The work I do
now is not just for two years though, but is an eternal work. As life
is eternal, so shall be the joy made because of the efforts I labor

I hear the seasons are changing back home as well! Mail is a bit odd
since it must come from Zagreb, but I will get it before too long.

Much love!

-Elder Benson