Monday, December 17, 2012

Firewood, Food, English class, Božič

Lep pozdrav prijateli in družina!
(Beautiful greetings friends and family!)

This week has been a little bit of everything. Weather-wise (cause it
always seems like that's how I start these isn't it?) It's been all
over the place. No new snow really, but SUPER cold. One night we were
out in -15 C. Then, a few days later, it started to rain, so a lot of
the snow has melted now. And it's been relatively quite warm, which is
a nice break. I still wear my nice and warm winter European coat

And service this week! So much service. By the end of this winter, I
think I am going to be an absolute pro at chopping firewood. And when
I say that, I mean chopping firewood like the fronteirsmen did, with
an ax spliting it down the center. We cut some firewood for one of the
older ladies again in Kranj, and a person who has met a lot with the
missionaries before. So much firewood. Many things in Europe are
obviously modern, but now and again you see these glimmers of the
past. Probably becuse those things are better (and cheaper!) than the
˝modern way˝.

And if any of you had worries that I would be starving in the frozen
wilds of the west side of the alps known as Slovenia, you can have your
fears put to rest. I have been fed so much this week it's not even
funny. Most of it is interesting Slovene food. But really, Kranj is
the land of milk and honey when it comes to free meals because people
love us. Cmoki, more stews than you could describe, veineršnitzel,
potica, anchovies, more stew, it's amazing.

This week has been a fun week with a lot of visiting less active members
of the church here. Elder Bateman and I are starting one of the
members who we've met with a bunch this week to stop smoking. We have
a program where we help them be able to completely quit smoking within
one week, and we're starting this today. He's had great success with
it, and this is my first time trying it. If the person follows it
completely there's a 90-100% chance of success. Curious? Ask your
local mormon missionaries.

Also, this past week the church here in Ljubljana had the Božič
(Christmas) activity. It was a ton of fun, complete with music
(performed by members and the missionaries. Yours truly doing a jazzed
duet of Joy to the World, and bass part of a polish folk song) and
well done videos of the birth of Jesus. I baked little miniature
pumpkin pies (exotic for Slovenes since they don't have pie like we do
in America. Really, they have never ever seen pumpkin or apple pie
before), and there were all kinds of delicious desserts.

Three of our English class students came to the activity and had a ton
of fun. They really enjoyed the program, even with its religious
content. We are now going to have a discussion with all of them this
week on the gospel. We'll see where this goes. English class ended as
the Christmas season is beginning this last week. We'll start it again
in January (after everyone makes new years resolutions to learn
English!!) It is a lot of fun and we both learn a lot.

One of the things which really surprised me here in Slovenia, however,
is how few people know the origin of Christmas is related to the
birth of Christ. This season is a time to be with family, and enjoy
the most valuable relationships we have here on earth, and feel the
love of one another. And also to recognize that this love and these
relationships do not have to end in this life. That because Jesus was
given for us, because of the love our Heavenly Father (God) has for
us, we can overcome death, both spiritual and physical. (John 3:16)
With the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us, we
can live in peace and free of the guilt, sorrow, and pain this world
can give us, both now and for eternity. This is our message, and the
reality of the work we share because we have experienced it.

I wish everyone a merry Christmas!! No promises on an email next week
as it will be Christmas eve which is a holiday in Slovenia, and
computers may be impossible to get to. But still. Merry Christmas and
Peace and happiness!!

-Starešina Benson

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