Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Quorum of The Twelve

Mama! Caio!

Ok so I am very short on time right now but I will do my best.

So yes, I do leave July 10. I will call from the airport in the morning before Noon... I hope. I really don’t know.  I do not have any travel plans as of now. I only received a packing list for my carry on from my mission prez.  Neck is good. Language is not good haha, and I have no idea what I’m doing!  

OK so now to the weekly report:
The last week has been really rough. I Lost my companion last Friday and he went home so now I am in a trio. Its hard teaching with three people but it’s a good experience because the 2 anziani I am with know the language very well and are helping me so now I am learning a ton not just about the language but about teaching people. The language... ya I still have no idea what I am doing. This is going to be nuts! In a week I step on that plane and I don’t know anything. I can talk about churchy stuff but outside of that... nothing. Should be fun though! Jumping in the deep end that’s for sure!

Tuesday we had 10 of the 12 Quorum of the 12 at our meeting, many of the 70, and all the new mission presidents. It was basically conference just without the prophet. The only people that were not there were Boyd K. Packer and Robert D. Hales, and the first presidency. What an opportunity to see all these men in real life. I’ve never been to conference, and to be so close to them was amazing. I couldn’t believe how strong of a testimony L. Tom Perry gave. Just to hear his voice shake the gym rather than my TV at home was the best thing ever. You can’t deny these men are true disciples of Jesus Christ. I saw Elder Ballard walking around and Russell M. Nelson gave us the guns with his hands as he was driving out of the of the MTC when we came back from gym ha-ha. They really are not that serious of guys in real life. They are just normal men with incredible lives. They are way different at the pulpit that in life I’ll tell you that. The best part of all this is that being a missionary is just like being an apostle. You carry the title Elder and you are representatives of Jesus Christ. The only difference is that I don’t carry all the keys that they do, however we still have the same priesthood power. My favorite quote I heard here was that "Missionaries are Apostles, with a lowercase a." Now that is cool! that came from Elder Bednar I believe. 

I encourage everyone to read the Book of Mormon every day. There is such power in the Book of Mormon. We are taught here that it is our most powerful tool for conversion. Read every day and I promise your life WILL change as you look for the evidence that Jesus is the Christ. It is another testament of Christ and through it we can receive revelation for our lives.

Italy is a week away and I’ve done my best here. I have very few regrets and although I am very nervous, the Lord is right there at my side every step of the way. I love you mother, father and sisters.  

Some sweet Italian stuff:
In la boca di lupo- in the mouth of the wolf meaning... good luck
su serio???! -you kidding me?! (slang)
tu sei un creep- you are a creep
computer-computer (haha)
il gato- cat
ti volio bene- I love you/I want good for you-(to a friend, but not a girl or family)
that list was so random haha

Talk to you in a week! 

Anziano Benson

Friday, June 22, 2012

MTC Pictures

My Companion Elder Malloy
The ZONE "Watch Out Italy"
My District
Idaho Boys
Kaulin Johnson and Me
My Roomies
Forza Italia!

2 Weeks and 4 Days to Italy

June 21, 2012
Top of Form

The is having issues with my mail.  I haven’t been getting letters this past week because someone has my exact same name they have not been giving me my mail because they actually print the dear elders on a huge sheet of paper so multiple notes from different people get put on the same page. I would ask people to hand write letters if they could, but if that is too much make sure you follow the exact address and name including:

Anziano Andrew Jeff Benson
MTC mailbox #216
ITA-MIL 0710
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Ut 84604-1793

This last week has been pretty crazy. The Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency are arriving this Saturday so they are closing off entire buildings and having added security.  It should be interesting. We have a "special Tuesday devotional" this week so we are all assuming it to be really good.

It’s been really rough going this week. I haven’t had a companion for 2 weeks because of his shoulder surgery and now he might go home since his stay here is extended to a total of 15 weeks. Lessons are terrible.  We have digressed in teaching investigators and the Italian is not good because we have missed so much class going to the doctor and physical therapy. We find out today if he goes home. Living and learning from the experience. The Lord definitely has a plan and so far I have learned to be more patient and open. I’ve also learned how to be a leader and help others more even when it’s not required. I know there is more to come from this experience and more to learn, I just haven’t figured out what it is completely yet.

Other random news. The laundry room was closed this morning due to a gas leak. Kind of random ha-ha. But I finally got my laundry in well about now which is 11:00 am. Normally we do laundry at 6:30 am. It’s a zoo in here! Way too many people. You have to kick and scratch to get you laundry in with hundreds of other missionaries.

Counting down the days now. 2 weeks 4 days till I leave. It’s getting crazy around here getting ready to wrap it up here. We got the new Italians yesterday! They are all so excited to be here and we love getting new people. There are only 6 Anziani though. And the rest are 6 Sorelle...? That’s not usual. My district has 1 sister out of the 15 of us. Everything is going good here and there isn’t anything new to report on. Just doing my best.

Love everyone and I am doing well. Had a hard week, not the best, but you just keep going. I totaled up the Hillcrest kids here and I think there are about 25+ of us here or something like that. It’s really cool to see all the people we know stepping up and serving missions. The church is true!

Anziano Benson

Friday, June 15, 2012

Not Enough Time

June 13, 2012

I finally managed to find Drake and tell him to meet me for a picture with Elder Austin Madsen, and Elder Tanner Weatherston. It’s so great to see so many people here I know. I saw all my college roommates and Cody Andrus put his papers back in and got his call to Salt Lake City South Spanish Speaking. He already left last week so he already did his time here. Allen Hawkins (from Washington) is doing great and he left to his mission last week. Tanner Hansen from (Boise) just finished his 9 weeks here last week and shipped off to Frankfurt Germany. No word on what Derek Buckner is doing (California)

Ok now to the good stuff

OHHH Girl... this last week was a rollercoaster to say the least. My companion got out of surgery last week. He will be in a sling for 6 weeks. He has not come to class in a week so he now has to add on 6 weeks to his stay at the MTC. He will have to stay behind with the rest of the new Italians coming in next week. It’s all been really hard taking care of him. It’s like dads knee surgery all over again! Ha-ha just kidding, dad you were way worse than him. We are all very happy for his decision to stay here, but with that decision it has placed the burden of the entire zone to watch him through the day since he can’t go to class someone has to missionarysit. We rotate out on who watches so no one misses too much class. It has been a HUGE struggle to catch up in class. Every day we are expected to master an entire part of the dialect in one day. It’s terrible! I.E. Yesterday was using verb conjugations in the future tense (AKA) Squash verbs and super squash verbs. I am about 10 days behind the rest of the class, but I usually make up 2 days in one. It’s just a lot of hard work. I’m starting to get very nervous about Italy though... and I know everyone says hey it will be fine, but I’m not sure you understand what is about. Someone’s Eternal Salvation is at stake and they might not get that because I can’t speak the language. Now you tell me it’s not time to be worrying when we’re talking about that. Yes the Lord will help us out, but it’s not like I’m going to spend a week In Italy and then be able to say whatever I want. I have to work my very hardest so when I get to Italy I can say,  I did my best and there was nothing more I can do. Then the Lord will help us with the rest.

I got emails from the new missionaries in Italy and they said in their own words "I was ready to come home after day 2 in Italy" It is literally that hard. What a humbling experience it is to learn a language. You go from knowing so much to knowing so little. Something we use more than anything else in our daily lives is words. If you can’t say anything you go crazy very fast. THIS is by far the HARDEST thing I have ever done. No questions about it. I would fill 10,000 antifreeze tanks before I do this ever again.

I love what Jeffery R Holland says about being a missionary.
He asks “why is it so hard? Why are people not just lining up to be baptized? We have the true gospel, they know it’s true and you know it’s true. But they won’t be baptized. The answer is that Salvation is not cheap. If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ you better be ready to suffer a fraction of what he felt! YOU wear his name and a part of that comes with a few steps to the summit of Calvary, The road to salvation leads through the garden of Gethsemane. Now we will never suffer as he did. But we are expected to grow up and follow the rules!"

Anyways that’s just a little bit of my favorite talk of all time that Holland gave here. Its go time and I am now on the 3 week countdown. Time is ticking and it’s getting harder and more intense. It’s only going to get harder when I get to Italy. Ya in Italy the food is great, the cities are great, the people are amazing. But this isn’t some vacation and touring around Italy. This is day in, day out Work, Work, Work. Even on P-day its work work work.

What a blessing it is to serve a mission. I feel like I have already changed so much. You get weird here Fast! Missionary weird that is and that is a good thing. If I were to come home now none of you would know who I was (I’m NOT coming home though!) sorry mom

One last thing. The other day for the first time I saw a family. For the first time in 2 months! I had not seen a family. Some family came onto the MTC campus when I happened to be practicing placing book of mormons. I felt a peace, a joy, happiness. A realization of why gods plan of happiness is centered around the family! Love your family, they are the most important social unit of all time. God is our loving Padre Celeste, the plan of salvation is made for families to be together forever. Jesus Christ is the son of God and through him we can obtain eternal life with our families. I love my family and this church is true!

Amore Tantissimo (tons of love)

Anziano Benson

Monday, June 11, 2012

Week 4 Already

Salve Padre!

            This week has not been the best. My companion after 4 weeks of physical therapy is getting surgery today. I have fallen behind in class with learning Italian and it’s near impossible to catch up to where the rest of the class is at because I’ve missed 8 classes in the last few weeks visiting the doctor because of my companion. My companion Anziano Malloy pulled a (Drew Benson Move) and wrecked racing motocross 2 weeks before he came to the MTC ruining his shoulder. He thought it would get better but they did an MRI this last Monday and he had torn and separated his shoulder socket and he is missing bones in there that chipped off when he wrecked. Thankfully the Branch President requested that Anziano Christensen one of the Idaho Falls boys go with him to the surgery so I don’t have to miss class for the 6 hours they will be gone today at the hospital. We are all hoping the best for him and we are not sure what will happen. He has talked with the district president (manager of the MTC) and he says that he might go home but they are playing it by ear. I gave my first priestood blessing last night to him and I was a great opportunity to use the priestood for the first time giving a blessing. It has been a really difficult 4 weeks, but somehow I continue to see blessings and see the Lord helping me along. I have been putting in overtime studying to catch up to the rest of the class but it hasn’t quite got me there.

            Our district loves to play calcio(soccer) against the Brits here ha-ha. Those English think they are so darn good at calcio but Team USA (Italian District 33C) handed it to them the other day showing the cocky Brits that us Americans can take them in their own game. It’s been nice to finally get outside and enjoy the nice weather. It’s been rather hot here though. It’s usually hotter than 90's here every day and the wind never blows... EVER. It’s nice, but I do miss the Idaho breeze.

            I got everyone’s packages this week! Thanks so much for all the goods. Mail is like the most exciting thing in the week ha-ha and every missionary loves getting letters.

            MOM yes I would like to vote. If you could send that to me it would be fantastic.

I have not seen Austin Madsen yet, but I saw Jordan Bateman, and I finally saw Drake on Sunday-took me a week to find him.

I love all you guys and hope everything is going well with you. The MTC is hard, but the harder things are in life the better you will become. It’s such a blessing to be in a place where you don’t have to worry about the outside world. I wouldn’t trade anything is this entire world for being here because it is that GOOD.


Anziano Benson

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Week 3 at MTC

May 31, 2012

Salve Famigla!

   Time is going by so fast. Next week is hump week! Ya! Almost half way to Italia! Things are going well on my end. We all lost our sanity 2 weeks ago so we are all a little crazy and people to some Stupid stuff sometimes ha-ha. I usually stay out of it though, which is a shock for me because I’m usually the first one to suggest doing something stupid. Looks like I finally learned how to do what my parents wanted?? It just only took my 19 years! We have been hearing some very good talks here at the MTC, some of the recent ones we heard were L. Tom Perry, Ronald A Rasband (President of the 70), President of the Provo temple, and there are rumors going around like crazy that President Monson might be speaking or many of the quorum of the 12. President Monson has never spoken at the MTC before so we are all hoping for a first. I hear the first presidency and the quorum of the 12 will all be here through the last week in June and I would flip if we got the prophet!
            The Italian is a struggle and it takes so much work but I can see progress every week and it’s amazing to see how much I’ve learned in a few weeks. Our teaching is getting better as well and we are at the point now where we don’t use preach my gospel in the lessons because we are supposed to have memorized what we want to say in the lessons beforehand. So far that has been going very good and they are pushing us off into the deep end with the language. Soon they will only speak Italian to us and we have to speak it back, which is rather hard because I don’t know much vocab outside of Gospel terms. But that will come as we SYL (Speak Your Language)
            This week was the first week I got to play some Calchio! (Soccer) It was the best thing ever and I was happy to run for the first time I messed up my neck. I kind of only went to PT only 1 time because I hate the doctor. I hate any doctor for that matter. I knew it would get better eventually and it is. Thankfully I have angels to make up for my stupidity on trampolines because I should probably not be here but I am because apparently someone in Italy needs me really bad. We also played some volleyball and I think I will go kick some trash in 4 square tomorrow.
            I’ve been hearing about the earthquakes and I so wish I was in Italy right now. I would give anything to be there helping them and loving them. I hope that there will be many who will be willing to listen to this great message I have for them. They would be eternally grateful for the happiness of the gospel, as it has blessed my life. It’s weird to be cut off from the world I wish we got the news paper or something to let us know what is happening around the world..

            I miss you but the time will go by fast. Io Amo mi Famigla...Arrivaderci

Anziano Benson