Monday, December 10, 2012

CRAZY CHANGES and more... snow...

Hey everyone over in the warm world of America.

This week has definitely been one of the craziest weeks so far. The
unimportant news is that it snowed again, and a lot more than it did
back in that freak October snow storm or whenever that was. It started
Friday night, and snowed for probably like 12 hours slowly. We got
what looks like on like 9˝ to a foot of snow? Something like that. And
the real fluffy snow too, not the frozen snow that's easy to walk on.
The weather has been somewhere between below freezing and just above
for the past week. The coldest I think was -9 Celcius, warmest...
maybe 6 Celcius? There's no fahrenheit here so I have no idea what
that would be... except cold and below freezing. But since Saturday,
it's been sunny even if not really all that warm outside.

The Christmas lights in the centers of Ljubljana and Kranj have light
up. Last Monday, we went to the lighting ceremony in Ljubljana and saw more Slovenes than you would ever see at one place at one time. Then on... Tuesday evening maybe.. they had the lighting
ceremony in Kranj center, just so happened as Elder Hardy and I were
walking though. We looked around wondering why are there so many
people?!?! And then we found out. It was interesting. Complete with a
catholic priest blessing the Christmas tree, childern playing
harmonica and accordion music, and Sveta Niklauša comming (Saint
Nicholas, so Santa and Saint Nicholas are two totally different
people here with two different times for arriving). But now it's
really pretty, what with the snow and the lights and now its been
super clear the last few days, the mountains in the background
covered in snow.

But the most exiting thing to happen this week is.... I have a new
companion. It took everyone by surprise, and still no one is really
sure why it happened. President called Elder Hardy and I on Wednesday
morning to tell us that Elder Hardy is going down to Ljubljana, I'm
staying in Kranj, and one of the Elders in Ljubljana, Elder Bateman,
is coming up to Kranj. With that change I also became district leader
of the missionaries in Ljubljana and Kranj... all 6 of us. It's
outside the transfer week, which was about 3 weeks ago, so no one was
expecting it. But it is a refereshing change. It's super nice doing
work with a different person who has a different outlook on the work.

Elder Bateman is from Vancouver, Canada, and now, besides Elder
Burdette, is the youngest missionary in the mission age-wise, but is
the 2nd oldest missionary here in terms of being in Slovenia. He
actually first served in Kranj as his first area as the last
missionary before president closed Kranj. Then he went to Maribore for
8 months, Ljubljana for 4, and now back. Fun fact: Age-wise, I am the
oldest missionary Elder (boy) in Slovenia now. Of course, I'm still
younger than most all the sisters, but give them some time and they
will be gone before too long.

This week has largly been a transition week with the exchange. One of
the successes we had however in the beginning is one of our older lady
people we visit, the one I had a really hard time understanding before, is finally progressing in the gospel. We challenged her last
week to try an experiment, to 1) ponder a question, 2) Pray about it
to God, then 3) To read the Book of Mormon to then 4) receive her
answer. She did it, and after talking about it for a moment, she
realized herself that God had answered the question and concern she
had expressed to Him. She said she would try the same experiment again
this week with another, more specific question.

In my life, I have seen how the scriptures, both the Bible and the
Book of Mormon, are more than just books to read with information, but
rather that the words are, to put it in a metaphoical way, alive. They
are a means God uses to comunicate to us, through His word and spirit,
to address the concerns and challenges we have in our lives, whether
they be spiritual or even physical. God has all knowledge, knows all
truth, and knows what is best for us and how we can be most happy.
Whether the question is about what is the true path back to God and
salvation? (because millions of people say they have the way,
contradictoray to another). How can I be more happy? How can I have
better relationships with my friends/family? Should I really take this
job? They are all important to Him and He wants to help us, and will,
through communication to us, or personal revelation. Prayer and
reading the scriptures are all methods, and that is part of what I do
here. To help people have these spiritual experiences and communication
with God, because it has been such a blessing in my life. And as we
have these experiences, we gain a sure knowledge of where we should go
and what we should do, both now, in the future, and for eternity.

I pray everyone is safe this week. Enjoy Christmas as it fast approaches!

-Starešina Benson

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