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, for the next few weeks.
I hope you all have a great, miracle filled and guided week!-
-Starešina Benson

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