Monday, November 12, 2012

Blessings, Albanians, German Service & an Exchange, and The Return of a Legenda?

Hello all family and friends!!!

This week has been a fairly spicy week, event-wise, capped off with the
most amaying experience of my whole time serving last night.

Weather's quite mellow and damp too, but unimportant.

So!! First. Wednesday! Having a lesson we had fall through, we went to
go visit an elderly članica (member lady) nearby with another member
we were intending to bring to the lesson. First of, this lady is
absolutely amazing. She joined the restored gospel about two years ago
at the age of 80. She is probably the sweetest, kindest person I have
ever met in my entire life. Anyways, on Dan Mrtve, she went to her
home town, a small town in the northeast end of Slovenia, to go
visit her ancestors' graves. While there, she fell and broke her arm!
She's since had a little trouble getting around, and so we went by to
offer her help and a blessing, which she warmly received.

After the visit, Elder Hardy and I decided to go door to door for a
little bit before heading home for the night. We went to a blok in the
northern end of Kranj we had peppered with English class fliers the
week before. (Or two weeks? I don't know. Time is all a blur). Going
into this really large, tall blok, we take the elevator to the top to
begin working down and we knock on the first door. A lady probably in
her late 20's opens the door and as we begin speaking, she
stops us and says, "wait." She goes to get a man (her husband) and we're
thinking like, ˝oh no.˝ When he comes to the door he looks at us,
instantly smiles before we say a word, and says, ˝Notre! Notre!˝
(Meaning Inside! Inside!)

We slowly walk into the living room, a little confused and cautious,
and we're invited to sit at a table. It was so eerie, like they were
expecting us. We quickly find out however, that none of them can speak
Slovene. Problem. We soon discover the three people home are all
Albanian, the husband can speak Serbo-Croatian (which is how we knew
to come inside, we can understand him but he can't understand us very
easily), and the wife who opened the door can randomly speak Spanish.
Thankfully, Elder Hardy can speak Spanish (studied it for 7 years in
school), and so we work through her, speaking Spanish to her where she
then translates into Albanian (Which is nothing like Slovene). And so,
after explaining who we are and why we're here, the husband starts
going on a rant on how great America is in Serbo-Croatian. ultimately,
we're invited back when we have time in the evening. Even though
they're all Muslim, as he said, Jesus is God, or Allah, so it's all
the same.

The next day we had the English class sign up day (~12 solid people,
plus a few more friends they might bring, we start tomorrow
afternoon), we had what's called exchanges. Basically, one of the
Elders from Ljubljana named Elder Grover came up to Kranj for the day
to be my companion while Elder Hardy went down to Ljubljana for the
day. It was an intersting day having a companion with a different
teaching style and... living style and sense of humor, but was
ultimately fun.

We recontacted an older member who looked into the gospel for a long
time but was ultimately never baptized. Her husband is German and
apparently can't speak hardly any Slovene, so that would be
interesting. So we went by and she opened the door. She said her
husband has been having issues (they are older) and was in Germany
right now and she was planning on going up to be with him Wednesday.
Either way, we offered if she needed any help or service and she said
to come back the next day at 11am. Returning, we helped her move all
of her plants and lawn furniture into her cellar for the winter before
she returned to Germany. She is super sweet and kind. She has had A
LOT of friendships with missionaries and even the Mission President,
and made us lunch afterwards (most amazing potatoes I have ever
eaten!) After she said there's a chance she may not go back to
Germany, but we have her number, so we'll see what happens. Either
way, it was a great opportunity to help her.

Lastly, the greatest miracle of them all. for a few weeks now, we've
been trying to get in contact with an inactive member in Kranj, but
each time we've been by, her son answers the door and says she was
resting. Our faith in her was starting to wear thin, but from what we
heard about her, she was awesome! (Former black belt, hilarious, (Jaz
sem anti-krist contact). So, we tried again to contact her last
night. We ring, the light turns on, we see someone look in, hear
someone leave, then come back with the keys and this good middle aged
lady opens the door. We start talking, asking to make sure this is the
right place and who we are and she suddenly just says in English,
˝Take it easy!˝. She goes, runs to put on a robe, stands in the door,
smiles, and says, "come on in!"

We sit down at her kitchen table, and there's a picture of a temple on
the wall. hmmm... cool... She then tells us these amazing spitirual
experiences shes had, good friends she made, her baptism experience
(and the records she still has of it), and brings out an old Croatian
Book of Mormon (they used the Croatian translation before there was a
Slovene version 10 years ago), shares more spiritual experiences shes
had, and is just pure awesome and funny. When asked how her
experiences were, she thought for maybe 30 seconds of silence
then bursts out in English, ˝Glorious!˝ Ultimately, we asked her if she
would like to return to church and she sits and thinks for a moment,
and muttering under her breath in English (she didn't speak a lot of
English by the way) she said, ˝yes, it is time... to return.˝ The
catch to returning Sunday? We have to drive with her to show her where
the church is. The problem? We need another man with us for safetly
and mission rules. The fix? She calls a friend she has over in the
other room in, (mind he's never had any experience with missionaries,
doesn't really know who we are) and practically tells him they're
going to church together Sunday and he's like, ˝Ok.˝ Super!!

She is super awesome. She was super prepared to return, just needed
someone to visit with her, remind her, and bring the Spirit and God
does all the work. That and her friend might also be prepared to
receive the gospel as well. Simply goes to show when you put yourself
out there and act as a representative of the Lord as we are doing (and
as all do as home teachers and visiting teachers in the church), in
faith, miracles happen.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and His work is going forward. Let
us all join in of this great labor and not get left behind.

Until next week friends and fam!!
-Starešina Benson

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