Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Working Hard in Siena

September 26, 2012

Well looks like everything is going well back home. Exciting to hear about Cache. Tell him good luck and he’s in for quite the adventure. I’ve talked to some Australian people and didn’t understand a word they said and they were speaking English...  Anziano Smith and I laughed really hard because it was just ridiculous the words they use. I’m sure New Zealand uses quite the diverse vocab as well. Sounds exciting that Pee Wee is going to Europe. If she toughens up she might get to play a lot. She better gain some weight though to play against Helga the Swedish monster haha. Yeah I did hear about the Siena game! Huge deal for them! Hope they keep on winning because otherwise they will get relegated. Forza Siena alla Vittoria! Hard when you start in negative points though. We will see what happens.

As far as the piano goes we actually have a sister in the ward that plays every week. She is not amazing but she loves doing it and she is learning new songs every week and she plays them very well for sacrament. I play when she is not there. Anziano Smith is quite the pianist as well. He played for a jazz group before the mission so he is really good. So we usually just do whatever. To be honest President hasn’t said a word about the car. But I’m almost sure we will lose the car in about 4 weeks. No news yet though... I’ve been seeing a lot of road bikers coming and going through Siena. You really need to ride here haha. Tell the girls good luck with soccer, and yes, send my absentee ballot to Siena, I would love to vote.  
Home of World Gelato Champions!
In San Gaminiano
  Well I’m not sure what to say this week to be honest. I finished the book of Mormon again haha. And I’ve also been reading it in Italian every day, but its taking a lot longer than in English.  I did make it through the words if Isaiah in Italian... barley haha. But now I’m through that, it’s pretty easy to read. I already blew 2 holes in my slacks so I might need a new pair. I’m not sure what to do because I’m only a few weeks away from having to wear a suit every day. Not super excited about that though because it’s still pretty hot for a suit. It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing. There are people still to be taught!!

Anziano Smith and I have been working so hard these last 11 weeks and we have this last week to finish strong then we find out if he is leaving or not. We have just been searching for that 1 who will be baptized and unfortunately that one person we haven’t been able to find, teach, and progress them through making commitments to read the book of Mormon every day, come to church every week, and pray every day. That’s the key. If they don’t do those things they don’t get baptized. Hmmm if that’s what you need to get baptized then shouldn’t we as members be doing the same things consistently??? Sure hope you all are because if you were an investigator you wouldn’t get baptized. Not only that but as members who have entered the baptismal covenant we promised at baptism that we would come to church for the rest of our lives till the day we die. If we are not doing that we can’t repent because we are not renewing our baptismal covenant every week by partaking of the sacrament. Sacramental renewal= forgiveness for sins=blessings and happiness. I’ve learned to be a lot more blunt on the mission too haha so I apologize in advance mom if I say it the way it is when I get home. It’s just that If you don’t say it the way it is to people they can’t change and repent because they didn’t know what the truth is if you didn’t directly state it.

As I’ve finished the Book of Mormon yet another time, I’ve learned that the entire story of the book of Mormon is a choice. There is a choice to follow Christ and keep the commandments or not. It’s YES or NO. There is no between. We either keep the commandments or don’t. As a result, there is either blessings or we become subjective to the captivity of the will of Satan. There is not one SINGLE example ever in the entire history of this earth where the people chose to follow God and were not blessed. It makes me think that it is just ridiculous to not choose to follow Christ. It will only lead to unhappiness and sorrow when we deny this truth. You make your choice. For every choice there is a consequence. Good or bad. Whose on the Lords side who? Now is the time to show, for thus the Savior soon come. Those who are righteous will be numbered among his disciples, those who are not; he shall proclaim I know thee not. Such sorrow I feel for those who denied the truth, for in that day they shall truly have sorrow. Don’t let that be YOU.

Anzianio Benson

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tante Belle Cose (Many Beautiful Things)

September 19, 2012
Well before I forget to answer your question, most people think we are Americans but that’s just because Anziano Smith and I are the 2 Mormon missionaries walking around in Siena with super white skin and white shirts and ties haha. But many think we are from Italy because we sound like natives when we speak. Pretty cool!

Well this week was full of random events! We went out and found an unknown less active and it was awesome to talk to her and help her out, especially since she is pretty lonely out living alone in a really small town. Also we did companion exchanges and I got to go to Prato (just outside of Firenze) for a day which is the China town of Italy and is way awesome! haha I loved it, it was crazy! But now I’m back in Siena. We got bible bashed a few times..normal and also talked to some crazy people... it happens, and had a lot of fun as well.

We have had some good times here in Siena and every day I learn more and more about the gospel, in what way I can improve, and also how to work in unity with my purpose as a missionary and the will of Del Signore Gesù Cristo.
Transferimenti are coming up soon and I will let you know what happens. Anziano Smith and I are just working as hard as we can for 2 more weeks and waiting to see what will happen. He’s been an awesome companion and I have learned a lot from him. I know I was placed with him because I needed him to help me out. He’s a great example and has the most positive loving attitude about this work. I could not have had a better trainer. I think we will find out soon if we are keeping the car but nothing yet from president. What a blessing it was to have a car though. I got to see many more things that most missionaries never ever get to see, not only that but also tante belle cose that the tourist never see either. We got to see the pure raw untouched countryside’s of Toscana of endless grapes and wheat all because we had the opportunity to visit these members who sacrifice a lot to come to church every week. I converted the gas prices and the gas here is about $6.50 a gallon. It costs like 80 euro to fill up with 10 gallons its crazy! Makes it really hard on the members to drive an hour to church and back but they do it anyway regardless because they know they get blessings for it.  
P.S. Sorry mom but mission rules we don’t eat dinner. No one eats dinner because lunch is 2 hours Long. If you didn’t know every store, restaurant, shop closes at like 11:30 for lunch and they all reopen at like 3:30. All the Italians stuff down a massive lunch and then take a nap haha. It’s a ghost town at lunch time, so president modified the schedule where all missionaries don’t eat dinner. Surprising I know but that’s what it is. At least it keeps me from getting fat. I’m really jealous about you all eating fresh salsa haha. To be honest the Tomatoes are good here but the home grown garden tomatoes can’t be beat. Plus I’m not dining every week at the 30 Euro restaurant down the street or at the local markets. We just go to the grocery store because everything here costs A TON. So we just go the local Cheap-Co and eat the normal produce. Food here is amazing....if your here on vacation and eat out every day, which is not us.

Oh also I found a suit! Anziano Smith found one in the closet and it happens to be my exact size! Super nice and its bullet proof! Brand new, never worn so that was super exciting that I won’t have to buy any suites if I wear one out. Well that’s the randomness of this week haha. Love you all!

Talk to you soon.
Anziano Benson

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

La Mia Testamonianza Italiano

September 12, 2012 

 Hello la mia Bella Piccola Sorellas! Come Stai? Grazie for the pictures. To answer some of your questions: we usually eat granola for breakfast, or nutella on bread sometimes.  Although I am in Italy and the food is good, I still have to cook and I’m not a good cook so I am missing Mom’s food. We eat pasta everyday and it gets a little old but better than actually cooking something time consuming. Unfortunately there is zero Mexican food here. Beans don’t even exist which is really annoying. I would kill for some Mexican food right now. We don’t eat dinner here in Italy. The mission as a whole works through dinner so we just eat a really big lunch and then go and work till 9:30 at night. At times I get super hungry but at least all the pizza and pasta isn’t making me gain a ton of weight.  I’ve actually lost weight since the MTC. 
Anziano Benson In Siena
Ok some random details. You will like this. haha. Ok we have a palm tree in our back yard and its awesome because I’ve never seen one before and there are about 10 lizards living in the back yard and I love to see them in the afternoon. Ah man Grandma and Grandpa are really close to Italy.  It sounds like they will have a good time in Germany and Switzerland.
It finally has cooled off here! It’s been pouring rain and I’m loving it! I don’t like the heat! I’m from Idaho! I am loving Siena. Time is starting to go fast.  I’ve been out for four months already. Crazy! I’ve got 3 weeks left untill transfers which will be done the same week as conference. They usually call 3 days before the transfers and then you’re gone. I’m hoping I can stay another transfer with Anziano Smith.  He is a good missionary and we get along well.
Siena Duomo
The work has picked back up again and we are having some very good success! There are Atheists who love to tell us God doesn’t exist and others say that what we are trying to accomplish is impossible, but I am here to tell you none of those things are true. The work in Italy is just great. Nothing can stop the work from progressing and I know that is true. There are many other religions here too. We all have our agency but at the end of the day we have taught them in their streets, taught them in their cities, and in their homes and I say unto you “are the fruits of our labors few? I say nay they are not!” (Alma 26:29-31) Yes it’s hard but our labors are not few.
Well there are lots of change ups in the investigators but we haven’t found that one who has committed to progress all the way to baptism. We have lots of hope and it really is possible. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many people you baptize because it’s not my baptism anyway, it’s the Lords. He gave us the opportunity to find these people and change their lives. When he leads us to the right person at the right time they will be ready for baptism. For now we must continue to teach and invite people to make commitments.

Inside Siena Duomo

This church is true.  This Church is so True!  If you ever doubt, question, have objection or think this is not the one and only church; only way to salvation, then all you need to do is ask if the Book of Mormon is true.  For if it is true, then Joseph Smith was a true prophet and also in these days we have a living prophet who still leads and guides us.  Everything we now know has come from prophets so if you are not sure about your testimony, I would “exhort you like Moroni to ask God the Father if these things are not true(Moroni 10:3-5) This is your salvation, your agency and your time here on the earth so choose what you may and do what you may, but one day we will all be held accountable with what time God has given us.  For now is not the time for spiritual weaklings! We are as the Army of Helaman.

La Mia Testamonianza in Italiano
Io so che Gesù Cristo vive ancora, e che lui è il Figlio di Dio. Lo scopo di Cristo era che lui sofera  i nostri peccati cosa possiamo entrare nel regnio di Dio. C’ era un'apostasia renda necessario di avere un restorazione, tipo in questi giorni, abbiamo un profeta,  il solo vero profeta che guida la sola vera chiesa. La prova di questo è nel Libro di Mormon.  Lo e’ la prova di queste cose. Se facciamo uha pregnira possiamo sapere queste cose per certo.  In queste cose ho ricevuto una  testimonianza in , nel nome di Gesù Cristo,  il hostro salvatore, e redentora. Amen.

I know Jesus Christ lives and that he really is the Son of God.  His purpose was to suffer for our sins so we can enter the kingdom of God. There was an apostasy making it necessary to have a restoration.  In these days, we have a prophet, and one true prophet to guide the one true church.  The proof of all this is in the Book of Mormon.  Through a testimony of the Book of Mormon we can know these things for certain.  Through these things I have received my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Great to see all the pictures! You all are such a great family and it makes me happy to know that at the end of the day my family is preparing for eternal life. Well love you guys and hope everything is going good. For now here are some pics. Of the Siena Duomo! Just amazing isn’t it?
Anziano Benson

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another Amazing Week

September 6, 2012 

This week was a week of straight up miracles. We set 3 baptismal dates in the last week or so and it’s been a big eye opener that if you have the faith anything can happen. We were in the park the other night and it was almost time to go home and I was trying to talk to people while Anziano Smith was on the phone setting up appointments when a stranger approached me and started talking to me. He said he had 2 book of Mormons but hadn’t read them. We talked a little and he wanted to meet up another day so we were really excited! Met him the next day and he said that he had been praying to know the right path in his life and he wanted to change. He said that he saw us, the missionaries, and felt that he should come over and talk when he was in the park. He is our third baptismal date and we are trying to help him understand the apostasy because after he met with us he went to the Duomo last Sunday. We will see what happens haha. Other baptismal dates a wonderful Italian women, and a 14 year old elect amazing young boy who has a (saco) of faith! We are really praying that these people will hold fast and continue forward with their baptizsms. I really want to find an Italian family too. The branch needs some more priesthood to help the members, so we are on the search for the elect! I really have had some time to rethink who I am and who I want to become. Well maybe in terms of who I want to become but I don’t know what I want to become. I’m lost as far as school goes haha I don’t know what I want to be anymore but whatever I’ll figure that out another day. Well, I sent my letter home yesterday and so you will get it in a week. You might be shocked but it’s all truth... You can put my testimony in the front of el Libro di Mormon that I sent you haha. Also Dallas finally wrote me and Britton. Good to hear from them! Is there an address for Drake?

Very good week and I’m super glad that we are so blessed. Everything is going good and the time is starting to go really fast!
Glad to hear Riley is starting up! I might actually train one of his friends by the time he gets here, but no word if I will yet. Conference was good and we love hearing from President Wolfgram.

Well I do have to say Mom; Italy is cool in Florence and Pisa and those places, but sometimes they are a little overrated tourist traps. Siena is where it’s at! Also my surrounding area where we drive a few hours to see members. That’s Italy in the pure untouristed areas and where the true beauty lies! Those are the places you want to see, and you can have a tour guide who speaks the language haha. But I do have to say everything here costs a ton of money. So if you want to go start saving now! Well we did a Duomo  p-day today and it was really cool!

Well sounds like you and the Smiths are best buds now haha, just letting you know that it is really weird for us to think you guys all talk and are going to see each other. You guys are now family according to Anziano Smith haha so if Dad ever goes to D.C. they will probably make him stay with them. Well love you guys and talk to you soon!

Anziano Benson