Monday, June 9, 2014

A week of returning members and the fruits of the work

Hello, Živijo friends and family!!
Hope all is well at home. Here in Slovenija, the Summer is just beginning. It was been up to 30 degrees this last week for a few days, which is about 90 degrees. It has been great! Unfortunately that means that people will soon begin taking their trip to the coast, abandoning the cities, and the tourists will begin arriving by the hundreds.
This week has been a very spiritual and busy week. June 8th, yesterday, we had our "come and see" day. It was incredible as we saw many many members come to church for the first time in many years, up to 8 people. It was also phenomenal in that President Rowe was here in Ljubljana as well (mission president). We also had zone conference this week, the last one with President and Sister Rowe before they head home. Their mission ends July 1st, and then we will have a new mission president, President Grant. It will be a great last few weeks for me of busy change. Also this week, we had our final interviews with President Rowe, for me we basically had a final final interview, as I will have known President Grant for 3 weeks before I go home.
But in Slovenia, the work is exploding!!! In the last 3 or so weeks, we have seen 5 people accept dates to be baptized, three in Celje and three in Ljubljana! That is for 6 total, after a long time of not seeing much of anything. The whole Zone is incredibly excited and all of their faith is just going like nothing else. Also, one of those in Celje is a man I began working with whom we met through English Class. He loves to philosophize, but is incredibly intelligent and has received a testimony of the truth of it all, and now has the desire to be baptized. He still has to quit smoking, but he has the pure desire and faith, and with that anything is possible.
In terms of Elder Stott's and my work, we have been working, with the June 8th day, to contact every single member in the Ljubljana are,. not an easy task, as there are many who haven't had contact with missionaries in a long long time. So we went out, and had some great conversations and met lots of people. One of them is a middle aged man who hasn't been in some 6 years who lives on the exact opposite side of Ljubljana as the church. He is half handicapped by a car accident, but still has great memories of his spiritual experiences here in the church.
Also, alongside having contact with every member, we were asked to then knock on ten doors around the members and invite their neighbors to come as well. So we were in a neighborhood on the far side of our area where we don't go too often, but were there because a member lives over there. We knocked on the ten doors close by, with little success. But it was the end of a row of duplexes, so we decided to knock the last 3 even though it was more than what we were asked. The very last door, a man opened and said immediately to us, ˝Janez Smith?˝ we laughed after correcting him and he immediately invited us right in. He had met missionaries many many many years ago and had a Book of Mormon from them... in Croatian, (The Slovene translation was released in 2002) plus a really old copy of the story of Joseph Smith that is no longer printed in that style anymore. He was really open though and we had a great conversation. I really have learned while being here that the success you have doesn't happen in the first 20%, 50%, or even 90% of your work. It comes once you have given 101%. Then the miracles and blessings begin to flow.
Hope you all have great, successful week, and that you are able to give 101% and then keep going!
-Starešina Benson

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