Bok vsi! (Bok is Croatian for hello)
Your daily weather forecast here in Slovenija is hot hot hot, getting up to about 32 C (90 F) everyday. Everyone is hiding indoors during the day because of it and is the common topic of conversation of the Slovenes now. ˝Joj! Kak je vroč!˝ It makes it even better since we are dressed in dark slacks all day everyday, so we've definitely been getting some attention. But it's a good kind of attention.
I won't hold the surprise back and just get to the point instead of building suspension (too too too much). As I said last week in a PS I think, we have transfers this week, and things are changing for me. It was quite entertaining actually. With Elder Bateman going home tomorrow, and no one coming from the MTC to replace him until October, president had to pull someone up to Slovenia from the other half of the mission to fill the hole. Also, Elder Hardy, Elder Mills, and Elder Grover are going home in three weeks to be back in time for school, and we will get 3 missionaries from the MTC to replace them. What that means, however, is that we need experienced missionaries in each of the 3 areas.
So, we got the call Friday morning. Elder Benson, you're staying in Celje, Elder Simon, you're going to Ljubljana with Elder Hardy to train in three weeks! Also, Elder Burdette (my MTC companion) is coming down from Maribor to be my companion! And a Croatian is going to serve with Elder Grover in Maribor. Awesome!!!... wait... a Croatian missionary is going to be training a Slovene missionary in Maribor? What? But I get to be with Elder Burdette again!! I'm so excited!!! Then it begins to get strange. After a few calls between us, zone leaders, and even a call from President Rowe for us in Celje, we get a call on Friday night. President is thinking of changing the transfer. Another call some 10 minutes later, yep, the transfer has changed.
Elder Benson, you are going to be staying in Celje, Elder Simon, you're going to Maribor with Elder Grover to train in three weeks! Also, Elder Burdette (my MTC companion) is going down from Maribor to Ljubljana¨to be Elder Hardy's companion! And a Croation is going to be my new companion in Celje.
So that's how things should be looking. His name is Elder Baldwin, and we think he has about 5 months left of his mission. He has been serving in Zagreb for a really really long time. I have met and talked with him before. It should be a great transfer. Also, because we are switching from 9 week transfers to 6 week transfers, the next transfer is in 3 weeks when the three go home and the three from the MTC arrive. From that point on we will have transfers every 6 weeks like the rest of the world.
As for missionary work this week, we had an amazing experience building off of the less active member who hasn't been to church in 6-8 years. We had contacted him outside the elevator last week after being led to him by inspiration. At that time, we set a time to meet with him the next Wednesday. We arranged for an active member to come with us for the visit. However, the night before, we texted him to confirm, and he texted back he couldn't do it, but to do the same time on Friday. We rearrange with our member, and show up at his apartment on Friday. When we arrive, we ring his name outside the apartment, but no one answers. Bad sign. Our member takes off, and we get into the bloc, knock on his door, and discover no one is home. So we leave a note on a card in his mailbox saying to call us, and we'll probably be back before too long to check up on him. The end for a little bit.
The next day, the priesthood (the men of the church) were on the rotation to clean the church Saturday afternoon. We were asked to be there to help out, and it went really quickly as we had a handful of people there. Afterwards, the president of the Melchizedek Priesthood asked if he could go out with us for two hours to do some home teaching. We didn't have a lot of time however, as he had to catch a train back home around 6pm, so we didn't have time to go to a town just outside Celje to visit one of his friends. Also, two of his home teachees were on vacation, and another didn't answer her phone. That left us with one person, the same less active we were supposed to meet with the day before who wasn't home. And so, we go back up to his bloc, calling the president's home teaching companion on the way to meet us outside the bloc. We arrive, us two, the president and him HT (home teaching) companion (neither of whom have met the less active member), and ring him. No one answers. We then, figuring it's worth a shot, get into the bloc and go up to the door. We arrive, to discover the door is open!! Elder Simon knocks and the less active comes around the corner and welcomes us inside! We then have a great lesson showing our love for him, inviting him back, and inviting him to read and pray to build up his strength. He has a lot of potential, it has just been a really really long time since he was at church, and so lacks courage and is unsure who is still there whom he knows. None the less, we are set to meet with him again this week.
As the transfer with Elder Simon draws to a close, I am so incredibly thankful for him and our time here. We have had a lot of success in strengthening the Celje branch together, both in bringing the active members together and dispelling contention, and bringing back some people who had strayed away. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned, and look forward to the lessons in the future yet to learn. And particularly, I am grateful to the Lord for the blessings he has given the branch here in Celje these last four months. Without Him and His will, none of the success we have seen would have been possible.
I hope you have a wonderful week!
LP Starešina Benson