Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Autumn Days

Zdravo! Lep Pozrav, itd...

The weather is absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!!!!  Since I always start with the weather update I figure we should just get that out of the way. This week has been absolutely amazing, Occasionally fog in the mornings, but it is a nice warm fall. I remember this time last year was the first snow fall, but it doesn't look like it will snow this year in October. Usually it has been in the 20's (70's) recently for the highs. Cool enough to wear a light jacket outside, but you might roll up the sleeves if you're outside too long. Its great for just leaving the window open all day and night though.

So this week we had the European day light savings time.... At least I think it is different here than in America. We all fell back one hour. One of our members gave us a heads up about it some weeks ago, but I didn't fully trust it, so I kept it in mind as I went to bed and expected that my phone would automatically switch the time if he was really telling the truth. This was really easy since our phone is our alarm clock. So I go to sleep without changing anything, and we wake up, go over, turn it off, and find that all our other clocks say 6:30 also. Huh. I guess the time didn't change. So we go through our morning, when we start talking with the sisters who are also nervous about the time change. After it gets a little later, they call that member who gave us the heads up and he said.. Yep! It sure did change. None the less, I still didn't believe him, so I called another member a little bit later and he said, Yep! It's 8 right now, not 9..... Uh oh. Oops. We just accidentally woke up at 5:30. Oh well.This morning we woke up at ˝6:30˝ But I think I was still up earlier. It just happens when you are used to waking up at the same time every day for more than a year!

This week we had excellent visits with our less active members. None of them came to church unfortunately (Sunday was a very very strange day), but many of them, and the members who didn't come had fair reasons.... (Which still aren't really excuses, but oh well!)

Specifically, the girlfriend of the member who has been inactive for 8 years is really starting to show interest in the gospel. We had a visit with them on Thursday after they came to church for the first time in Ljubljana on Sunday. It was a great visit and we had a good chat and watched the restoration movie together in Slovene. Unfortunately, when we asked his girlfriend if she wanted to join us for the lesson she thought about it, then said no... What can you do? Can't force anyone into the gospel.

None the less, we went on with the conversation and started to watch the movie after setting it up. After about 5-10 minutes though, his girlfriend comes around the corner into the room for a snack and sees we are watching a movie, and stands in the doorway watching it with us!! After a few minutes, she sits down next to her boyfriend and watches intently. She was in and out of the visit from there on out, but stayed for most of the rest of the movie. She isn't quite learning from us yet, but she is definitely on the way, and is definitely interested.

Also, Saturday Celje hosted a great ˝Kostan Piknik˝ -Chestnut Picnic. It was excellent and members from Maribor and Ljubljana came as well. Some less actives and investigators from Celje came as well. It was a great success.

What else is going on this last week? Elder Lyman is amazing. The Sisters are doing well. Sister Legro goes home in a few weeks. Her parents are coming over to visit and pick her up. Friday is the 1st of November. Dan Mrtveh - Day of the dead. MASSIVE holiday here in Slovenija. Halloween basically doesn't exist. Elder Wilson is coming up here to Celje tomorrow for the day for an exchange. It will be fun. We have a lot scheduled tomorrow.

Hope all is well and warm at home. Be safe and strong till the end!

-Starešina Benson

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Success, and after 8 years

Hello all family and friends!!!

So this week a ton of wonderful things happened. It is so wonderful it will be hard to write it all, especially since I don't have a ton of time to write. But this week... the library worker just told us we will have more time to write actually. So no worries!

Autumn is truly here in Slovenija right now. The weather has been absolutely miraculous. A bit cold and foggy in the mornings, but then it all cleared up and nearly every day has been warm and sunny. Well, warm so that I'm perfectly comfortable in a sweater. All the trees are all in full color now. It is absolutely beautiful.

But the work this week has been amazing. One of the less actives we've been working with, who we reestablished contact with a week or two ago has restarted praying and reading his scriptures, and told us this week that he plans to come back to church in a month or so.

A nice mom we found last week is doing very well and prayed for the first time in her own words last night with us.

We established contact with a referral we received from another less active member and he said he would invite us in at that moment, but he had guests over, and we set up a time this week to teach him.

The less active sister who came to general conference last week in Ljubljana came with us again to Ljubljana a second time to district conference (like stake conference for all of Slovenia). She is doing very well.

BUT!!! The greatest success of all with the less active who has been inactive for 8 years. (this gets really confusing since I don't include names for privacy sake, doesn't it?) We had a lesson set up with him for last Thursday, and I had prepared a small gift for him from some service we had done that day, but when we arrived, we rang his ringer at the bottom of the apartment tower... and no no one answered. We try again, nothing. We wait a few more minutes, and try again, nothing. We call him, no answer. Well, he's definitely not home is what flashes through my mind, and we decide to try going to visit other people we've met with nearby who said we could come back.

We go through all of the people we had, and then the question was what to do. We still had a little time before having to head home, and then as we thought, I had the feeling that we should go try visiting the less active one more time. We went, not expecting much, and we ring the phone, and his girlfriend (who isn't a member) answers!! She says they're home, and that we can come up briefly. 

We go up, and talk to him at the doorstep. At this point it is too late in the night for a visit, but I give him the gift (a few kilos of fresh chestnuts), he apologizes for not being home, and we reset for Saturday!

But then... Saturday morning comes around and as Elder Lyman and I are finishing studies, our phone begins ringing. It's our less active friend. It's never a good sign when someone you have a visit with that day calls you the morning or day of the visit. I answer, we talk for a moment, and he tells me the expected bad news, he can't meet that day. He apologizes, but then he tells me something I couldn't have even imagined...
He has for the last few weeks been thinking about when he wants to return to church, and had decided and felt, that he should, and promised, to come to church the next day! Despite the fact we had district conference in Ljubljana, we found seats for him, and he AND his non member girlfriend came with us. It was a great conference, his favorite talks being from the district president and from President Rowe. Afterwards he met many members, and reconnected with a few. His first Sunday meeting in 8 years.

We have a lot set up for this week as well. It should be a wonderful week. We're in Kranj right now, spending the P-day there. The Lamberts, the senior couple arrived safely (despite some interesting experiences with cars breaking down in the middle of the road in Celje as they are moving in). They are wonderful and from Arizona.
Life is well and wonderful. Hope all of your lives are wonderful and miraculous this week as well.
Lep Pozdrav!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, October 14, 2013

Strange strange week

Beautiful Greetings. (Lep Pozdrav)

It is sunny today. It is so wonderful. This week has been an incredibly strange week. Largely cloudy, cold and drizzly up until yesterday. Then the sun pierced through the fog and the weather turned absolutely amazing. We'll see how long this will last.

So I feel like we have been all over this week. We have had something strange every single day of the week. It all started on Monday. Last week we all went to Ljubljana to have some fun and spend time with the missionaries there. It was great. Then on Tuesday Elder Lyman and I had to go back to Ljubljana to do visa things for him. It was a relatively smooth process. We then, on the way back to Celje stopped in a little town called Zagorje to find (more try to find) someone who was referred to us through (yes! It does work believe it or not! I was amazed too!). None the less, a relatively smooth day. We found someone ( woman with a nice little family) to teach that night too. Then Wednesday, guess what, BACK TO LJUBLJANA! For zone conference. Zone conference with all of Slovenia was fine, but not nearly as inspiring as the time before. Then Thursday and Friday we hosted an open house in Celje where we opened the church doors and gave a handful of tours of the church and invited some people to learn more. It was actually quite successful. The sisters found someone new to teach through that as well. then came Saturday, where we went to Maribor!! As general conference was a week or two ago, we are just now getting around to watching it. I'm just grateful we had the opportunity to go and see it in English, mostly. We were there in at the senior couple's place watch conference for a majority of the day. It was amazing, inspiring, and gave direction to my life and answered questions of specific things I need to do and things I need to focus on to be even better than before. Then Sunday came around, and we went back to Ljubljana!!!... But in this was the real success of the week.

Instead of having regular church in Celje this week, we had it in Ljubljana to give people a chance to go down and view general conference in Slovene (the translations were actually done by Slovenes for the first time and were absolutely wonderful. Not the dreadful former missionaries translations). None the less, it was us four missionaries, and then only 2 Celjeians. But, these two Celjeians were one, the sister's investigator who is awesome, aaaaand a less active sister we've been working with who hasn't been to church in some 3 months or so (longer, a year or so, if you go back to the time when she came every single Sunday)!!! It was a wonderful conference and I feel she really received the counsel she really needed. We will keep working with her to help her become even more strong and cemented in the gospel. All the members were amazed to hear that she had actually come to the conference in Ljubljana. It is quite ironic too, that the Sunday she would come back was in a way (by train), place (100 km from home), time commitment (10 hours total after travel time and conference), and monetary cost (price of a train ticket to Ljubljana and back) above and beyond the normal commitments of going to church. Goes to show one someone wants something and is inspired and driven to do it, nothing is too difficult. Especially with the Lord.

Beyond that, everything is well in Celje. We have something really really really really really really exciting coming up soon. This week a senior missionary couple is coming to Slovenia, and is coming to Celje!!! We are planning something big for them this Friday, and things for them to do in the country.

Great things are happening, and more are still to come.
Well wishes home-
-Starešina Benson

Here are some pics I've been meaning to send you. The one in front of the Celje church is of me and Elder Baldwin back last month. Then we have a modern district picture of the Celjski misijonari in Ljubljana, and a picture of me and Elder Lyman in Ljubljana at the dragon bridge.

-Starešina Benson

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wonderful Days Past and Ahead!

Hello all family and friends!!!

Life is wonderful and cool in Slovenia. the rain has mostly stopped

though which is a big plus.

This week has been a bit crazy, and from last Sunday, I've been with

three different companions. It started out of course with Elder
Baldwin going back to Croatia (he's in Zadar now on the coast for his
last transfer before he goes home) while Elder Merl who serves in
Montenegreo (who is from Austria) came up to Celje. He was here Sunday
night, Monday, and Tuesday. We then went down to Zagreb on Wednesday
to meet our new companions we are training.

Those few days with Elder Merl was honestly one of the most fun

exchanges I've ever been on. We had a great time at FHE. Then Tuesday
was wonderful as we went out and did a ton of missionary work. We
taught a few people and found an inactive member I haven't taught in
about 5 months. He was a bit apprehensive with the language, but that
is understandable.

Then Wednesday I met my new companion, Elder Lyman!!! Elder Lyman is

wonderful. he is from Cedar City Utah in southern Utah and is 18. His
Slovene is fine. better than mine was back in the dark ages of my
first days. He got here and we have really hit the streets. It feels
so good to work so hard.

Last night we also had a wonderful lesson with the less active women

we've been meeting with. The branch president came with us (he had
first priority since he is her home teacher) and was amazing. He was
bold, we invited with power, and the Spirit was very present. It was
one of the best lessons I have ever had with her. As she was closing,
in her prayer she asked for the ability and strength to be able to go
to general conference next week in Ljubljana. When we left, she
thanked us some five times for the visit. It was wonderful. It would
be ironically wonderful if her first time to church in months is in
Ljubljana instead of at home in Celje. But no complaints.

It has been a wonderful week and it is looking like it is going to be

just as wonderful if not even more next week.
Hope you all enjoy your weeks!!

-Starešina Benson