Monday, September 30, 2013


Lep pozdrav!!
Transfers this week!! Guess what is changing! I'm not. Well, my companion is. Elder Baldwin is going back to Croatia, to Zadar on the coast for his last 6 weeks. Meanwhile, I'm going to be training again!!!   I'm only about 98% sure that his name is Elder Lyman... aaaaand that is pretty much all I know about him. I'm so excited!! I have so many plans for this next transfer!! We are going to go and get to work like work have never been defined ever before. Meanwhile, Kranj is being reopened!! With Sisters. Sister Fugal from Ljubljana and Sister Kovač from Maribor are reopening it. But in other fun and exciting news, we got a call from the assistants in Zagreb that they wanted Elder Baldwin to come down to Zagreb on Sunday night, so... no, I'm not in Zagreb right now, I'm still in Celje, but I do have a temporary companion. His name is Elder Merl. He is currently the only companionship in Montenegro and is going to be training also this transfer. He's also from Austria and is super awesome. We'll be together until Wednesday when we head down to Zagreb and meet our new companions.
This week, a fun little story is that we had a lesson with our awesome less active who we have been meeting with this last month on Saturday, and we had an active member set to come with us to visit with him. But at about 30 minutes till, we still hadn't heard anything from the active member. Nervous, I started looking around for another member, anyone who could come so we didn't go to him alone. Then, as we were finishing district meeting, the member who came to that (that in itself is another miracle story on how that district meeting even came together) was leaving when I realized, Hey!! Wait!! Do you have any time this evening? They did, and so we went on to our less active member friend to find...... he wan't home. Shoot. We all waited a bit outside his blok just to check to see if he was going to be late, when I realize and get the feeling, we haven't met with another less active person who lives close by this week. So I call her and she answers! She said she had just gotten home, and would love a visit, just to give her 30 minutes to get ready. So we wait a few more minutes with the active member and then head on over for a wonderful visit. We resolved her concern of sometimes losing courage and invited her to pray for strength and peace when those times come so she can do those things she knows are right. She has also been reading the scriptures every day for the last few weeks. You can see the change in her, and hope, despite the worsening weather, that she will soon return. She has already felt the prompting that she should come back, now it is just helping her have the peace and strength to help her act on it.
Amazing things are happening here in Celje with meeting with the less actives and people are progressing. I just hope to soon start to see the fruits of that. Also I hope to start seeing things changing with finding people who are interested in creating sacred coveneants with God as well. All in due time, which is God's time, not mine.
Here's a good Slovene farewell. There are literally millions of ways to say good bye and they try saying them ALL.
Srečno! Lepo se imejte! Fin bodi! Uživajte! Nasvidenje! Adijo! Čao! Lahko noč! Se slišamo! Se vidimo! Čao!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, September 23, 2013

Families are the key to happiness

Hello all!!
Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of time to talk today. We're off to a castle called Trakošćan in Croatia, and then on to Varaždin in Croatia to spend some time with the missionaries there before heading back. None the less, amazing things are happening here!!
The big success of the week was with the less active who's been less active for some eight years, but with whom we've been meeting with regularly now for a month of so. This week, we invited one of the long time members, whom he knows from back in the day, to come with us and it was wonderful!! They talked for some 30 minutes before we started a spiritual discussion, catching up on their lives from the past years. Both have had kids and grand kids in the time, and lives have changed. But none the less, the memories they share are still there and happy. After a great short spiritual discussion about the nature of God and how He wants to bless us, especially focusing on our families and the goal for him to have an eternal family, punctuated on the two members talking again with more catching up, the member we brought suggested the idea of this week of inviting him and his family to her place to have a family home evening! He or we could prepare the short spiritual thought, the other a little game, and then she would bake some little small sweet treat for everyone. He excitedly said yes! So we will see. This should hopefully bring his comfort and build his faith to be able to return to all the members soon.
Besides this good work, we have transfers coming up next week. (every six weeks. Beginning of October is the new transfer) Chances are I will be training a new missionary, but we will see. Nothing is set in stone, ever. We'll find out the end of the week.
I heard it rained in Texas, finally! Enjoy the cooler, but still warm weather. It is damp and cool here. The fog has started to roll in in the mornings. I've started to have to keep a blanket with me in the mornings. But it is all good. It looks like a perfect sunny day today.
Lepo se imejte in srečno še naprej!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, September 16, 2013

Progress in the week

Hello all family and friends--

This week has been a sunny and cloudy week, but all around cooler. It
is definitely fall now.

This week, we had great success with our less active member who we
have been working with for the last month or so. We have met with him
every week now for three weeks, and he said he has started to pray
and read again. This last time however, we had a great lesson with him
reading from 3 Nefi 18. The best part of the lesson however, was as we
began, his little three year old daughter, who loves us, started making
a lot of noise, and so he asked her to go into the other room with his
girlfriend. She went, but she was still making a lot of noise. After a
few minutes however, the girlfriend in the other room started trying
to make the little girl quite because she wanted to listen to what we
were saying. After 15 or so minutes  of little success, the girlfriend
quietly came out of the room, and stood leaning into the doorway
listening to everything we said, staying there for some 15 minutes as
we finished up, rejecting the invitation to come join us, but staying
in the doorway listening. She seems like she is showing interest in
what we say, and could be open to the gospel!

At the end, we invited him, even them, to come on Sunday with us,
responding with that he hoped he would come. Then, we talked to his
little daughter who had come back and was listening and staring at us,
and showed her a picture of a church service we have in a brochure,
saying ˝This is us on Sunday. Look! There are other little kids there
too! Will you come with us on Sunday?˝ She answered ˝Ya! and daddy,
and brother, and daddy's girlfriend can come with us!˝ Unfortunately,
they didn't come this week, but we will meet with them again, and
further invite the Spirit to their house.

In other news, one of our star members here in Celje who smokes is
trying this week to quit smoking!!! We are behind him, and are going
to be doing the 1 week program we have to quit with him. Let's just
say grapefruit juice and mouthwash are wonderful!

Hope all is well and peachy back home!
-Cooler wishes coming your way-
-Starešina Benson

Monday, September 9, 2013

A General Authority and Perfect Placement

Hello all family and friends!!!
Summer is officially come to an end weather wise here in Celje. The high today is expected to be 20°C (~70F) and a low of about 16°C (~60F) and rain. Rain for the next three days.
This week in Celje it has been insane. Slovenia has been hosting the Eurobasket, basically the national championship tournament for basketball for all of Europe. The four cities in Slovenia hosting are Ljubljana, Celje, Jesenica, and Koper. There have been so many people in Celje, it has been a little ridiculous and unnerving. And so many foreign people. Spain, Georgia (the country by Russia), Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovenia are the nations playing in Celje this week, and so (mostly because of Slovenia) it has been a mad house here. But it should be cooling down after today as the games in Celje and the other smaller towns end and everything moves to Ljubljana.
This week, we had the amazing opportunity to hear from a general authority, a 70, Elder Charles here in Slovenia last Saturday. The whole day was incredibly inspiring. We had a few members going with us, but we had to go by train because of the lack of space. About two weeks before, on Monday, as we were leaving the library from doing emails, we ran into these three young kids who could only talk in English, who were apparently European volunteers. We chatted with them, and found out they are from Turkey, Czech Republic, and Spain. they don't live in Celje, but rather are living all over Slovenia, the Turkish guy from Velenje, and town in our area about 30 minutes away. We chatted with them for a bit, but were late, and had to move on.
Then, as we arrived at the train station to go to Ljubljana, we hear someone trying to get our attention, and see the Turkish guy waving at us! We begin to talk again, and this time he has all three of the volunteers from Velenje with him and they are all going to Ljubljana also for the day! We spend the whole train ride with them and have a great chance to talk with them, leaving them with our number, and an invite to call us if they want to learn more or are in Celje. They are going to be here at least until next spring.
The other amazing experience (besides the whole fireside itself which was an incredibly spiritual experience) was that as we arrived, people began going upstairs. However, there was a woman there, by herself, who I felt like I recognized, but I didn't know from where. I began talking to her and realized I had met her two days before in English class when I had come down to Ljubljana on an exchange for a day. She seemed alone, and so we began talking and got to know each other quickly. We went up and I sat by her. I soon learned she is a new investigator of the Ljubljana elders, and had been to church a few times, and some members had invited her to the fireside. Unfortunately, all her member friends were late, as were all the Ljubljana missionaries, and so I sat with her, joked with her, and answered any questions she had throughout the fireside. At the end, we went up to meet Elder Charles, and he shared a shortened version of his conversion story with her and testified to her. It was so powerful. Even though I'm not in Ljubljana, I have a good feeling about her, and know, through all of my experiences that night, that the Lord had placed me exactly where I needed to be, meeting and friendshiping just the people I need to friendship. The Lord is in charge of this work and His missionaries, and I am constantly amazed each and every day by how he guides us. He is the master architect, not of buildings or structures, but of the lives and interactions of every of his beloved children - you and me!
I hope everyone at home is having a nice and inspirational week. We can see miracles each day if we just follow the guidance of the Lord in our lives instead of being resistant.
Many blessings and miracles this week!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, September 2, 2013

Perfect Timing

Lep Pozdrav family and friends!
Today is the first day back to school for the public elementary, middle, and high schools, and the weather reflects that idea that Summer is over too. I've had to put on sweatpants and a pullover recently at night, and today. Also, the city is gearing up for a first in Slovenia's history. For the next three weeks or so, Slovenia is hosting the Euro basket, basically like the national championship tournament for all of Europe. Everyone says this is the first time in all of Slovenia's history to host an event this big for all of Europe. Celje is one of 4 cities hosting the games. Temporary tents are getting set up, the downtown has basically been all remodeled, and all the lines on the street have all been repainted with a fresh coat of paint. Thousands of Slovenes and Europeans are about to flood into Celje and Slovenija this week. It's going to be exciting!
Over the last few weeks, one of the less active women we have been working with disappeared. She had gotten to the point of coming every other week with our help when she just suddenly disappeared shortly after Elder Baldwin arrived. We would call her, she wouldn't answer. We would stop by her place, no one was home. We talked to other members who were her friends, and they said she hadn't answered their calls either or seen her for a few weeks. Uh oh. So eventually, we resolve that we will do whatever it takes to find her. However, that extra work wasn't necessary. Last night, we felt we should go visit some of the people who hadn't come to church today, and we felt first about going and seeing her. We go up, still trying despite the weight of many former repeated failed attempts, and ring her name outside the apartment. We wait a few moments to silence when we hear a calm, quiet, ˝Hello?˝ She was home!! We asked if we could come up and she said yes and began having a wonderful conversation at her doorstep.
Then, as we are talking, another amazing member whom we were worried about because she hadn't come to church that day either, called. I rejected the call, focusing on the conversation we were having, but soon the feeling and idea hit me. She lives only around the corner from this less active we are talking to. Her son will be at home. Why don't we go have a lesson with the two of them right now??!! Taking advantage of the opportunity, I quickly call back and ask if it's possible, and then we head over for a great visit. We counsel, set up, and comfort our two sisters who didn't get that from church today, and set up for the next week with them. At the end, the sister who called while we were having the conversation explained she didn't know who she had called, just the first number she saw on her phone, expecting her son or husband, but found it was us! The Lord guided her to us as we were guiding our less active sister back for the perfect scenario, impossible without His help.
In other news, Celje's old first counselor in the branch presidency was released and a return missionary was called to fill the spot. We are starting (very limitedly right now) to use facebook as missionaries and as a mission. And I think that's all for exciting news.
Stay warm at heart and cool in body (or warm depending on your climate)!

-Starešina Benson