Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Lep pozdrav dragi prijatelji in družina-
So the word konec in Slovene means - The End.
Today is the last day I will have as a missionary. Technically that day was yesterday, as I will still a full time missionary going out teaching people. But now I will have my exit interview in a few hours, and then the closing returning missionary dinner and fireside, then sleep in the mission home, and then at 7:00am we will be on our way. But then again, my parents are already here in Zagreb right now as well having lunch with President Grant. So tomorrow morning at 7am I will meet with my parents and we will return to Slovenija for a week and a half. We will be a majority in Slovenija for the week and a half, but we will also be in Vienna for two days, and will be the first Sunday in Ljubljana, and then the next Sunday in Paris, returning to America the next day after Paris.
So I don't actually know how I feel yet. It's actually not that bad since I am returning to Slovenija, but ... I might have had one eye tear up slightly as I was on the train leaving Ljubljana. But we will see how it is in two weeks.
So this week was still a great week. Meeting lots of people, saying goodbye, and lots of service. We went and did service for one of the members who has been fairly distant from the missionaries, but we had a lesson with him this week and at the end we asked if he needed any help. He then said he was remodeling his house since he will be moving out in a month. So Elder Stott and I went to help him out in shoveling a massive patio worth of gravel so he can go over it again in a plastic covering. It was hard work! But really great. Afterwards we got to meet a less active member who hasn't been to church in many years as he gave us a ride home. It was great.
Elder Stott and Simon will now be together in Ljubljana. There is only one elders companionship in Ljubljana again as Elder Burdette and my replacements couldn't enter the MTC until next round (2 months later) as they were both still in high school. So there will be a hole in Ljubljana for two months. But it will be fine. Otherwise Elder Lyman will be with Elder Brown in Celje. We will see all the Ljubljana people again as we will be in church in Ljubljana this next Sunday, then we will likely have an activity in Celje to say goodbye to everyone. But it will be a great next two weeks... once we get past tonight. It will be great to see my parents again tonight. A little strange, but great. They met Elder Simon and Lyman last night, giving them a tour of downtown Ljubljana as I carefully avoided it.
But that should be pretty much it.
Hope everyone has a great week still, and we might either hear from each other or see each other in the next few weeks!!
Srečno! Čao!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, July 14, 2014

The last week, and the perfect closure

Hello all, family, friends, acquaintances, and people I have never met,
živijo, živijo, živijo.
This week will likely be more brief due to lack of time. For my last p-day, all the missionaries in Ljubljana went to the Slovene coast. It was great, but as such we are short on time.
But this week, as mentioned last week, the biggest event was of course the baptism of the great person and dear friend now that I taught in Celje. The baptism was amazing, despite starting a bit late because I was late. The branch president had asked us the day before to visit someone in a hospital from Brazil, and the only visiting hours were from 2pm to 5pm... the baptism was at 3pm. right in the middle of it all. So we asked for the help of the senior couple, and went to visit our brother there in the hospital, before running off to the baptism.
It was really amazing. After the baptism, he stood and spoke for quite a long time bearing his testimony and discussing how he came to the point where he is now, and how the Lord has wrought many great changes in him. It is truly incredible remembering the person I first met some 8-9 months ago, and the man I baptized a few days ago. The gospel is true and works the greatest changes in a person than any other thing can do.
Otherwise, the work is moving forward most definitely in Ljubljana. All the other missionaries are of course looking forward to an exciting and mission shaking transfer. We will be short one companionship in Slovenija (Ljubljana) so that will make some interesting changes. Otherwise all the members are very excited for the people being baptized as well, and to soon see my parents who are coming to visit as well.
Have an exciting week and look forward to the last week!
Also, if you haven't already, I invite you to send me an email to my current email at cbenson@myldsmail.net about your feelings and impressions as you have read any of my letters. I cannot promise responding to those this week or next. Also, I will be sure to write up my final closing remarks later soon after next Monday.
Enjoy! Much success!
-Starešina Benson

Monday, July 7, 2014

Baptism, guided by inspiration, new mission president, and wrapping things up

Hello all family and friends,
So, the end is quickly and (uncomfortably) approaching. This upcoming week is the second to last week of my mission. The time has gone fast, but just because we are near the end doesn't mean it is the end of the miracles!!
This week as actually been truly incredible. The first and biggest and most important part starts with the exchange I had in Celje this last week on Tuesday and Wednesday. While there Tuesday night, we had English class, which was very good, and afterwards we lead a spiritual thought for those who wished to stay. Present was one of the people I had met and began teaching the gospel in my time time in Celje about 8 months ago who had still been meeting with the Elders in Celje and coming to English class. He had actually been set to have a baptism date at the end of June, but according to the Celje elders, was not able to be prepared by that time.
And so I saw him there and had the chance to talk to him Tuesday night after the spiritual thought. He come up to me and said, ˝So Elder Benson, I know that you and I are usually connected quite well. Have you felt it?˝ A little confused I asked, ˝Felt it, felt what?˝, he responded with, ˝That I want you to baptize me.˝ I was a bit shocked and overwhelmed, but confessed that I had actually had a feeling like that. So we then discussed when (as I would of course be leaving in less than three weeks from that time of course). Looked at the last Saturday, there's a branch activity. The next Saturday before that, the 12th (this Saturday) and he said, ˝OK! The 12th it is.˝ And so he is set to be baptized this Saturday here in Ljubljana. It is amazing really, to be able to see him now. I remember one of the first times I taught him, and invited him to be baptized and he said no. Since then he has changed and grown so much. But as he says, it is not to ˝be baptized˝, but rather changes for his whole life, to be a better person in better connection with God. He has quit smoking and become a much greater, joyful person as he applies his faith.
Also, the next morning in Celje, (I was serving with the youngest missionary in Slovenia, Elder Brown) we had the goal of really going out and following the Spirit in our work. So the night before we prayed as to where we should go that next morning and came up with a path. As we closed, we prayed again and asked if it was right, then the next morning asked if it was right again and prayed for success as we carried out the plan. We then went out and talked to a few people for the first 5-10 minutes... then the miracles started pouring out. About 15 minutes in, we ran spontaneously into a girl who I had taught her and her mom English, the gospel, and who came to church a good few times, just coincidentally on the street. The chances of running into her the one day I was in Celje was amazing, and we had a great conversation. But it didn't end there. We walked on, talking with a few more people, and Elder Brown said he got the feeling like we should go visit a less active member on the way. So we went over and near her apartment building, we ran into a guy on his bike the elders had taught a month ago, but hadn't had any contact with. We had a great short conversation with him, before moving on, going into the apartment building, and as we were going in, one of the women I had taught in Celje was coming out! We talked with her for a bit and set up for the elders to go back and see them that Sunday. We contacted the less active's door, but no one was home, so we walked on, only to have one of the members I had really strengthened in my time in Celje to come around the corner and walk along the street we were on only 20 feet in front of us! I ran to her and had a long conversation with her, learning she had just returned to Celje from Montenegro two days before. But as we were walking with her, we passed by another of the elder's people they had taught, then lost contact with a month or so ago on his bike. He stopped talked with Elder Brown, and set up to meet the next week. And so we walked on, and then as we were almost running out of time to be late for our next meeting, we passed by a guy on the street with a shirt that had ˝Utah˝ printed on it, so Elder Brown stopped him and had a great conversation with him. Running out of time, we said goodbye to the member, and rushed on to our next appointment, arriving on 5 minutes late.
It was a morning of coincidence after coincidence. But I personally believe that there was no coincidence involved. It was pure inspiration. Goes to show that we are truly guided if we let ourselves be, by a greater force (a loving Father in heaven).
Otherwise, this week we met President Grant. He is really great. A really big person, well over 6', so Elder Stott got along with him really well as he is bigger than even Elder Stott. He is definitely different from President Rowe, but he will do many great things I believe here.
To close, I would like to invite any and all of you who have taken part and followed me for the last two years to write me, and let me know how my experiences have enriched your lives, helped you, or entertained you. It would be great to hear from you. You can email me at my personal myldsmail account here, cbenson@myldsmail.net for the next few weeks.
I hope you all have a great, miracle filled and guided week!-
-Starešina Benson