Monday, February 24, 2014

Things are warming up!

Hello all family and prijatelji
This week has been an... interesting week.
For one the weather has been still cloudy and rainy, until today!!!!!!!!! It is very very very very very sunny outside right now!!! It is wonderful. For the next few days it is supposed to be up to 10 degrees Celsius, like 55, almost 60! Spring is definitely coming. The flowers are starting to bloom. It is good though since this winter was not at all as bad and long and snowy as last year. It is just Pust next week, and it will be strange to have a festival  to ˝scare away the snow˝ when there are flowers and grass all over the place.
We had a Zone Conference with Croatia on Wednesday where Elder Charles, a newly called area seventy came and taught. It was an incredibly spiritual experience in which we learned so much personally on what we can do to continually improve and become the best missionaries and people we can be.
This week for the work, we have had a lot of great success. The biggest of course, are with the 15 year old and 17 year old friends. After not having a lot of contact with them throughout the week, we met with them on Friday (Elder Burdette and Simon actually as we were on exchanges) And taught the gospel of Jesus Christ (Faith, repentance, baptism, the holy ghost). In it they taught about the example Jesus set for us in being baptized, and invited both of them to be baptized themselves and they said yes! They are set right now for about 3 weeks. They have been regularly to Church as well, and even came to a youth activity with us on Saturday where the branch youth met, had a lesson and lunch, and then went go carting. It was a great day. We are incredibly excited for them!!!!!
Otherwise this week should be a more normal week than last, or not, we shall see. You never know if you are going to get a call saying... yeah... we need you to come down to Zagreb this Friday... You never really know what is going to happen, especially as you are a leader.
Hope all is warming up at home.
Be safe and strong!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, February 17, 2014

This is life and it is amazing!

Hello all family,
The weather this week has actully been quite amazing. Up until today. The sun came out and I was actually able to see the mountains all around Ljubljana for the 3rd time since being here, despite having been here for more than a month now. Oh well. That is just winter, espceially in Ljubljana. But then today happened. The stuff falling from the sky right now is a varying mixture of snow, rain, and ice. So it is all quite nasty, especially when you add the wind into it all. But it should all be ending too. With the sun, we got the first taste of Spring, so it isn't too far away! Just a little strange though since Pust (Slovene halloween/groundhog day/festival) is still about 2 weeks out.
This week was a fine week. I went down to Zagreb for an exchange with the assistants, and learned that while I can somewhat speak croatian, and can understand most of it, I really just dont like the headache that comes with it all. So I am glad to be back in Slovenija.
Otherwise for the work this week- The 15 year old person we taught for the first time last week and then came to church with us, came again this week, just this time he brought his 17 year old friend with him! Elder Burdette met the friend on Tuesday while I was in Zagreb, and both committed to come to church with us. We then last night had another visit with them, where both were present, but then about a third of the way through, they got a call from another friend saying he was going to be there in 5 minutes! So he came - 16 years old, and we started teaching all three. The best part of it all though, was the 15 year old who is most committed, and when we were alone with him for a bit, told us that he knew that everything we said was true, especially about the restoration, and then proceeded to teach his 16 year old friend the restoration and first vision right in front of us! He is so great.
Otherwise this week we have a zone conference for all the Croation and Slovene missionaries in Zagreb. An Area authority, Elder Charles (Who came specifically to Slovenija some months ago for a fireside) is coming to focus specifically on the mission. This next few weeks should be crazy as we are going down on Wednesday, then we have to go back to a leadership council with him on Saturday. Back and forth to Zagreb a lot this week. But it should all be a geat and inspiring week. Lots of correction from the Lord should be coming. That is the best. Change is the best. This is life and it is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope you all have a great and amazing and inspiring week as well!
Much care-
-Starešina Benson

Monday, February 10, 2014

More miracles, can you believe it?!?!?!?

Dober dan dragi prijatelji,
This week has been just as miraculous a week as was last week if that is even possible. The weather has still been quite dank and gloomy, but the work has been amazing.
This week, we met another friend of the member friend through whom we met the lady and her handicapped friend. This friend is a younger woman, about 26 years old, and is a law student at the university. She is incredibly energetic, and excited, and interested. What she is doing is organizing a free home makeover for them through the interior design school in Ljubljana, because of their disabled son. They were so grateful for how she was helping them, and so wanted to help her and return her kindness with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This family gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon for Christmas, and is excited to read it. After having met her and describing who we are, she was even more interested, especially in the aspect how our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the center of everything we do and believe.
Otherwise the other great miracle story of the week was a young 15 year old guy we found. Elder Burdette found his mom about 4-5 months ago, and taught her at their home once, but after that she disappeared. Then, he went back a little later to invite them to the last all of Slovenia conference, but she wasn't home. However, her 15 year old son, whom he had briefly met when he had last been there was home, and so he invited him to church that Sunday, to which he came with a friend!! Then he disappeared, until this last Friday, when we went by his place again, and he was home. We talked with him, in which he shared a very personal spiritual experience and we taught the story of the restoration. We invited him to come to church then this Sunday with us, and he came with us. He had a great time, and was invited by the youth of the branch here to an activity. He is great, very sincere and humble, and prepared.
Otherwise this week I have an exchange in Zagreb tomorrow with the assistants. That will be fun. Ne mogu pričati na hrvaskoj. We will see how it goes.
Be great as you all are, and live towards a miraculous day every day!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, February 3, 2014

An icy, but MIRACULOUS week. Really really icy and miraculous.

Hello all family and friends. Lep pozdrav... actually from Celje today because I'm here for p-day, but normally from Ljubljana. 

This week, winter really really came and made it obvious that it was winter. Granted it took all the way to February to do it, but it has finally come. The snow that fell last week was only the beginning to a really awful week weather wise. It snowed again early in the week, and then the snow stopped, and the rain began. It was too warm to snow up high, but the air on the ground was freezing, especially at night, so all the rain that fell, soon froze into a layer of ice over EVERYTHING. A bit further south and west of Ljubljana in Postojna, the ice was about 2 inches thick. People's cars were completely encased in ice two inches thick, and the electricity failed along with the water pumps. Supposedly everything will be fine, just not very good. Yesterday getting to church, it probably would have been easier to get to church with ice skates than with boots there was so much ice everywhere. The snow is kind of off and on, but whatever has fallen and not been cleaned up, all has a layer of ice over it now.

So the weather has been really really bad, but other than that, this week has absolutely been amazing for Elder Burdette and I.

It all started from the beginning on Monday. We went to a apartment building where Elder Burdette had met a few people some time ago who had said he could come back. So we went to the first ones, on the 10th floor and knocked on the first door, hearing that people were home, but no one came and opened the door. We then went to a younger woman's door nearby and knocked, but it was obvious no one was home. We then decided we can just keep going then and knock on a few more doors on a lower level where Elder Burdette hadn't reached. Unfortunately, the elevator we got into only went to even floors, so we had to go down to level 6 instead of our goal of level 5. So we go down, and when the door opens, directly in front of us is the younger woman whose door we had just knocked on. She was walking up the stairs, and when she say us get out of the elevator she gasped! It was truly a miracle that we ran into her. It was truly the perfect timing to the second, in a completely random floor. The Lord truly guided us to her in very strange, but intentional way. We talked and she expressed a lot of concerns. We set up to come back on Sunday (yesterday). We came back yesterday, inviting a member to come along with us, and had a great, quick visit with her.

The next truly amazing thing from this week came with the help of one of the member families here in Ljubljana. I had known them from before when I was in Kranj. They always had the reputation of giving missionaries lots of referrals of who they could go to, but nothing ever came of those referrals. My first week in Ljubljana, they asked us to come by, and (in addition to giving us 2 referrals) mentioned they were going to invite their neighbors over to meet with us. We didn't hear too much from them the week after, but this last Monday, we got a text message from them saying they had set up with their neighbors to come over in the evening to meet us. We go over, not really knowing what to expect, and their neighbors come! We get to know them and begin to teach. They are two women, the first a handicapped woman and then her friend who helps take care of her. They were both incredibly interested if not a bit cautious at first. They asked us two very good questions, ˝How can I grow my faith when I have lost most of it?˝, and ˝How can I know which faith is true?˝ They are incredibly good and ready for the message. We were able to meet with them again a few days later and finished teaching the restoration of the gospel. It is truly amazing to see the trust the members have developed with the missionaries, and has now developed to allowing us to meet and teach their friends.

Also, this week we set up with our English class student who is also an investigator. We asked one of the members who is living in Ljubljana to come on the lesson with us. The member actually is an American, not a Slovene, but served his mission in Slovenia, even Ljubljana 8 or so years ago, and knows many people from his time here. So we taught the lesson (and got lunch from it as well), and then asked if he wanted to go try one of the less active members who literally lived a 2 minute walk from where we were. He knew this less active member from when he was a missionary, and she was actually the third Slovene member ever, the first baptized member. So we ring her name outside her building, and she answers! She recognized him immediately, and invites us all up. We go and have a quick visit, getting to know her, and that she still has an incredible testimony of the gospel. We teach a brief spiritual message which brings her to tears, and set up with her for the next week. It was amazing. She is so strong and knows what is right. I can not wait to see where things will go with her.

Other than this we had an excellent visit with another member family who lives outside Ljubljana and taught a much needed lesson on the Atonement, and met her less active daughter. We are getting to know many of the members here now, and building good strong relationships with them.

The work is brightening up, even if the weather isn't. Here's to even more miracles before us in the upcoming week.

Much care and warm wishes-
-Starešina Benson