Monday, July 8, 2013

Storms and New Experiences

Hello all friends, family, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, Americans and... well.. you're all pretty much Americans so....
Life in Celje is peachy and stormy. I think it has rained and sun shined every single day, including the worst storm I have ever seen in Slovenia so far. But thankfully because of the rain the temperature has stayed down and the humidity has stayed up!
On Wednesday, Elder Simon and I went to mow the lawn of an older member who lives just outside of Celje. It was a good visit with her, and the work went by fairly quickly relatively. As we were leaving however, we could hear thunder in the distance. The member thanked us profusely and wished us a quick journey home, hoping that it would rain after mowing everything, but not as we rode. But alas, twas not to be. After some 5 minutes from her house, after safely riding down a massive hill (we are on bikes after all)... it began. It wasn't bad at first, only a few drops here and there. But looking behind us, we noticed the whole ,mountain, more hill, behind us was obscured by the rain, and it was headed towards us. We went as fast as possible as Elder Simon's broken geared bike would go (so not that fast), but never the less by the time we made it to center of Celje, it was pouring. Being in service clothes though instead of missionary clothes, and a helmet with a brim really helped though, so it was actually quite refreshing. And so we continued on, quite wet, but it wasn't annoying. As we came to approach the major road and the railroad tracks however, there was another set back. The railroad crossing was down. And so we sat in an ever increasing downpour for five minutes waiting for a 4 car train to pass by. By the time we made it though and back on the road, we were only probably 5 minutes from home, but it was getting worse and worse. What had been bad weather became catastrophic for a biker. It began kind of like little, hardly noticeable pin pricks, which quickly intensified to a storm of increasingly painful pebbles pelting my head and back. The hail had arrived. Not to mention that but the puddles on the streets had turned into pools, one of which I rode through some 6 inches deep at least. We quickly took shelter, only some 3-4 minutes from home in a service entrance to a bakery just off the street. As we waited, the hail and wind only got worse. The maximum size hail we saw was probably the size of a pea to a fat blueberry. No fun for a bike. The rain was intense as well. And so we waited probably some 15 minutes for the hail to stop and the rain to begin to slow down before pushing the last way through the flooded streets home. Quite an adventure, but definitely one to remember.
In other news, my mission has just increased in size!! On July 28th, Montenegro will join our mission. Currently there is only a small branch in the capital of Podgorica, and being a Slovene missionary means I will probably not see any effects from the addition, but if my mission wasn't massive before, it definitely is now! (5 countries, from Slovenia to Montenegro, to Serbia.
Another fun little bit from the week, I conducted Sacrament meeting in Celje yesterday. The branch President was at work and both of his counselors had family obligations which prevented them from coming, and the president of the priesthood here can't speak very good Slovene (he's from Peru), so I was asked to conduct. It was a good experience and was told I did a good job. Who would have thought I would be conducting sacrament meetings of a developed branch like Celje, in a different language no less, for the first time. An older member said he hasn't... ever seen that. He joined the church some 8 years ago, but then again was inactive for probably 4 or 5 of those years.
We also had a massive Slovene Pick nick on Saturday which was incredibly fun and successful.
And so yeah, life is amazing. Searching out for the people who the Lord has prepared and opened their ears to hear the message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has been my life this last week. It is hard, hard work, but incredibly rewarding work as well.
This week is going to be another very busy week as well. We have a special guest coming to Celje from Utah to speak to us on Wednesday, then we have Zone conference with all of Slovenia in Ljubljana on Thursday.
Here's to an awesome week. Well wishes and rewards!!
-Starešina Benson

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