Monday, April 28, 2014

Chalk, happiness, and reconections

Hello family and friends!!!
The weather in Slovenia has gotten a bit... wetter this week. The spring storms have arrived in full force. Yesterday, really just all of a sudden, it came out of nowhere and just poured for some 20 minutes with thunder and lightening before slowing down and stopping, only to start all over again two hours later. And because it was such nice weather in the morning when we left the apartment, I didn't have an umbrella, and Elder Burdette only had his small emergency umbrella!!
But otherwise we are planning to go to a mountain lake today called Bohinj. Even though it is still really cloudy weather and occasionally raining, it should be a great time. :-)
This week has been a great day otherwise as well. On Saturday we had another chalk activity in the city park. On a main walkway from the parking lot, we drew out the whole plan of Happiness, or in other words the plan that explains where we came from, why and how we are here, and where we go after this life, explaining how God is all fair despite different circumstances. It is a plan of hope and happiness, we are not lost or without purpose ever in this life. I had the opportunity while drawing to talk to a man who was walking by and teach him the whole plan. He has Parkinson's, and so was curious why bad things happen in the world. I explained that we all have our own trials. There is not a single person without them, but they are all different. Some people have health issues, others have family problems, still others with drugs, and still others have other circumstances created from the free choices of other people such as war and social issues. There is not a person without problems. But as long as we are humble, we can still learn and be happy through the trials. Our purpose here is that we learn to be better than the day before, the goal being the bright day when all will be restored to its perfect frame without pain or weakness. But the world now is not the garden of Eden. He was grateful for the conversation.
Otherwise we finally had contact with two of the people we teach yesterday for the first time in weeks. The first was one of our English class students who disappeared after getting a new job, but randomly called us after church had ended and invited us over to his place. It was great to see him again. The other was a person who had been meeting with missionaries some 6 years ago, but had had little contact for the last few years. She had been on plan for baptism, but issues came up which were not able to be overcome. We finally were able to meet with her and it was wonderful.
Everything is otherwise going well, if a bit wet. I hope everyone home is well and healthy. Have a great week! I know schools are ending soon. You can do it!!!
-Starešina Benson
chalk drawing with half the missionaries and the senior couple, the Thompson's

 i was in charge of drawing the predzemeljsko življenje, (pre-earth life)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter and Bosnians

Hello all fam and friends!!!!!!!
This week has been an interesting week. I feel like Easter just kind of creeped up on me from out of nowhere, and now it is over, but it was great!!! Tonight we are having a big Easter concert at church. I'll be singing a solo, consider the Lilies translated (perfectly finally) into Slovene, and we missionaries will be singing v Kristusa Verujem (I believe in Christ). It is going to be great!
Yesterday was a great day. We had a lot of people in church yesterday which was great. Afterwards we went to a member's house in the middle of nowhere and had a great traditional Slovene Easter dinner with them and the other Elders, Elder Lyman and Simon. It was great. We had an AMAZING Slovene salad and homemade mushroom soup with mushrooms they had gathered from the forest. Then the real meal, with ham (representing the body of Christ), horseradish (representing the nails/suffering), and hard boiled eggs (representing the tears). The eggs were dyed of course with different plant shapes on them. We also had Austrian schnitzel, chicken wings, rice, and potatoes. It was amazing! Then we had for dessert, a white cake with fruit and gelatin on the top, a blueberry cream in the center, and potica!! Potica is a traditional Slovene dessert they eat for Easter and Christmas. It's a bread, with either a poppy seed filling, or a walnut filling, that's wrapped into a spiral. It is amazing! It was a great day!
Otherwise, the work this week has been interesting. We had en exchange with the assistants in Zagreb which was exciting. Elder McAllister came up to Ljubljana to spend the day with me, and I'm pretty sure we found all the Croatian speaking people in our area. We had a great experience at the end of the day where we were sitting on some steps preparing some things to quickly advertise for English class before heading home for the night. So as we were sitting there, and a guy walked by us down the stairs saying, "Zdravo dječki!", meaning "Hello boys!"..... in Croatian .I told him that. Then, as we were finishing up, we started talking to a girl who wasn't too interested, but as we were finished talking to her, the same guy walked by again! We quickly stopped him before he got too far away and had a great conversation with him. He lived nearby, but was otherwise from Bosnia. We ironically gave him a copy of the Croatian book of Mormon though which Elder McAllister had on him, and he asked us three times to call him when he gets back to Slovenia in two weeks.
Otherwise all is well. I hope you all have a great week!!!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sun and Families :-)

Hello all! Živijo živijo!!
Spring is here and it is absolutely beautiful today!!! The highs are getting into the seventies and nice and sunny. There was a bit of rain this week, but nothing too crazy.
The work is moving ahead. The less active we are working with is doing really well. We invited her to a lesson we had this week, and she was amazing! She shared the rock solid testimony of God's love and how scripture (particularly the Book of Mormon) has helped her in her life. She is doing well, and came to church this Sunday again, second time in a row.
Also, our teenage friend is doing well. We taught him some of the commandments this last week and he accepted them all. He also says he recognizes when he breaks or broke commandments that he feels a lot different. He is progressing. We are basically still working with him as if he was preparing to be baptized even though his mom has said no for him to be baptized.
On Thursday, we went by to go teach him, planning to meet his mom as well. So we arrived and he said we should actually go and sit on a bench outside his apartment. So we went over, and soon his 9 year old sister came down and we started talking with her as well. Then soon after that his 20 year old cousin came over and sat with us and we started teaching her. Then his mom came and went, and some 10 minutes later his 13 year old sister and her best friend came over and sat down with us and we started teaching them all! it was great. We taught the nature of who is God, as our Heavenly Father and that he wants to hear from us, then teaching them how to pray. I also shared my story of how God had personally communicated with me and called me to serve a mission. We then prayed at the end and they all discribed that they were feeling the Holy Spirit, and explained that that means God is with us, and all we have shared is true. They are a great family and really want to be together. They may have tough situations, but I know this gospel can and will help and strengthen them now in this life, and if they follow it, enable them to be together for eternity.
Great things are happening here. This next week looks like it is going to be amazing! I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!
Much love from sunny Slovenija!!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, April 7, 2014

Crazy Busy, Crazy Good, and a Return

Hello all family and friends!!!
This week has been really really really really busy, and really really really really good. We had zone conference this week for all the Slovene missionaries, and my first zone conference that I have lead and taught since I have been zone leader. It was really good, if not a bit busy and stressful. We had Indian food for lunch. Super good. Elder Burdette and I meanwhile taught about our personal conversion and the language of faith. What is the language of faith? Looking on life and the events that happen with hope, that everything will turn out alright, which it will. We can never become depressed or negative, because it is in that moment that we will have lost, even if the finish is still a while in front of us. This is to have faith. Perfect example? Look at the response to the task in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 3:5+7. How do the brothers Laman and Lamuel respond in verse 5? How does it show their lack of faith and hope? How does Nephi respond in verse 7? How does it show his faith? If we despair at the beginning, we will despair at the end. But if we have faith, we will come off conqueror at the end.
Otherwise this week, last Sunday, as mentioned, we went to surprise a less active member and were an answer to her prayers. On Wednesday, we met with her again with a family whom she knows really well from church, and then on Sunday morning we met with her at 9am on the street corner and went to church together!! It was the first time in over a year she has been to church, and the first time really in 6 years since she has been serious about wanting to come back!!! Great things are happening!!!! She had a great time and was embraced by countless numbers of her friends at church, and had a good time.
Also this week, our 15 year old friend really wants to be baptized, but he can't because his mother is not allowing him to. However, we met with her for the first time this week and taught her and his little sister. His mother was so glad to see us, and literally told us, ˝Dobi se z njim!! Večkrat na teden!˝ or in other words, ˝Meet with him!! Multiple times a week!˝ She loves us, just doesn't understand the importance of covenants, but we hope to continue to teach them, and that the Lord can soften her heart. At the end we taught them how to pray, and everyone in the family felt the spirit.
The work is going ahead. I am actually quite surprised how much work we had to do this last week, with Zone Conference added in. It was a really great week, and looking forward to another good one to come!!
I hope everyone at home has a great time, and that we look forward with faith and hope to a brighter future of what WILL be!!!!
Lep pozdrav in se slišamo nasljedni teden!!
-Starešina Benson