Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"And a Child Will Lead Them"

November 28, 2012

Milan Ovest Zone
Well this past week has been a little better. We had some good interviews with president. I think we just need to keep working hard. Still need some more investigators but another day in the life of the missionary no? So we had a cool story this week. Our investigator who was preparing for baptism, is very good friends with a family in the ward. This family has 3 children in it and a mom. They are very nice kids and know a lot about the gospel. One of them is 8 years old and is preparing for baptism. We teach our investigator at their house every time, but he was having a hard time and didn’t want to read the book of Mormon, and he just didn’t have a testimony so we didn’t think he was ready. And he told us that he didn’t want to read the book of Mormon and we told him that he couldn’t be baptized if he didn’t read. So basically we decided to cancel the baptism. But, then the next day in church he came up to us and said that he wanted to be baptized as soon as possible because this 8 year old asked him to do his baptism, and the only way that he would be able to do that is if he was first baptized himself and held the priesthood. So, long story short we will have his baptism on the 22 of December and then he will be baptizing this 8 year old in the near future! More or less around then. Merry Christmas no?! haha I’m so excited it was just great to hear that he now wants to read the book of Mormon and will do whatever it takes. I guess it’s true in the scriptures when it says “and a child will lead them.”
Other things going on. Hmm it’s just pounding rain! Man it just won’t stop. It’s raining more than Seattle and that’s saying a lot! It’s raining so hard I feel like Forest Gump in Vietnam when he says sometimes rain even seems to come straight up from underneath. Haha. It’s not stopping either. I’m rather cold! 

Random Accomplishment of the Week:
So you all know of the BIC crystal pens right? Well have you ever actually used an entire one? Usually they get lost before it’s even possible to use it all. Well you see I have had this pen since senior year in high school, took it to college, and brought it on the mission and I used an entire BIC pen until it wouldn’t write anymore! took 2 years. I’m super proud haha. I have a picture to prove it! Enjoy the random event. Also me feeding a squirrel. I know you’re jealous...

Guess what? I hit 250 km on my bike so far in 4 weeks. That’s averaging about 40 Miles per week, in the rain. I think I’m riding more that you are Dad! haha just kidding probably not. Well thanks for being so awesome Dad and make sure you keep the girls in line haha. I’ll talk to you next week.
Anyway, I heard Matt Tolson got his mission call to Germany! That is so awesome! I’m stoked for him! Also, Jerikah Reid got called to New Hampshire! I’m so excited to hear so many people going on missions!
Happy Birthday to Anni! Hope you are having fun! You’re getting very old now. 6 already?! That’s so crazy! Love you lots and make sure to clean your room and mind Mom and Dad. haha.

Love you all!
Anziano Benson

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Making Gravy

November 20, 2012
Well this week we had to change pday to Tuesday so I won’t hear from you guys till next week. Well other than that, not much has changed in the last week. Our bap date is rescheduled for sometime in December but we need to ok it with him still. He’s been working a lot and we couldn’t see him last week so now we have to push it back more. The work has just been hard here. We aren’t having a lot of success in finding people to teach. I’m not sure how much longer I can go doing all day finding and not having a single person listen to you. Its hard to believe that in the last 6 weeks that there is not just one single person searching for the truth. But I guess we just haven’t found who we are looking for yet. I’m searching for what the Lord wants us to do here but so far I haven’t been able to see the path ahead. Sometimes you just don’t understand the higher more perfect ways of God and you just have to go along with it rather than fight it. At the end of the day at least God loves us. To put it into perspective we worked all last week and had zero success with finding anyone, the part that gets to me is I could of sat at home and did nothing the entire week and had the same result. But I didn’t sit at home at all. We did 4 hours of street contacting and 3 hours of knocking doors. Every day for a week. I’m exhausted. Thankfully the weather has been rather nice so that makes it not too bad.
Well, other news is that our ward has asked us that we make gravy for Thanksgiving. That will be good fun. We are doing a ward party and it should be great! I sent a few pictures. We had a good time playing some futsol last week, and I had a chance to take one last picture with with Anziano Smith before he leaves for home. I'm glad I had the opportunity to say goodbye.

One Last Picture with My Awesome Trainer
Anziano Smith Before He Goes Home in December
 Tell grandma B that I actually read the stories you gave me of the journal entries of Dad, Grandpa and so forth, and that I would like some more stories about my ancestors. I read the story about Robert Harris and I loved it and I want more stories to read. Talk to you next week.

Anziano Benson

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Still in Busto

November 13, 2012

Still in Busto and I’m with Anziano Merrill. No changes for now, next transfer should be pretty interesting so we will see what happens. President Wolfgram always keeps you on your toes with surprises so it’s pretty fun. Yes Riley (Anziano Salmon) got here today but he won’t know who is training him or where he is going till tomorrow. Neither does his companion.. So I really really hope that Riley goes to Milano 1 because he will do companionship exchanges with me here in Busto! But chances are not likely ha-ha, but I’ll see him eventually. (Anziano Salmon is from our ward and according to his Mom, Riley is near Venice-Nowhere close to Anziano Benson)  
Well our investigator is going strong and we have a bap date for Nov 24. He is doing good and we are just working on helping him receive a testimony on these things. He believes them but hasn’t asked God if they are true. Super important that part is. Anyways we might push back the date but nevertheless we will baptize him for sure!
Today we had an awesome P-day. The Milano church has a futsal court outside and so we got together a ton of Anziani and played some futsal. Anziano Smith was there with his old comp, Anz Thompson from Idaho Falls, and a couple others from the surrounding area of Milano. It was super fun and I also said goodbye to Anziano Smith since I probably won’t see him until I get home. He is just such an awesome person to be around and a great companion. It was good to see him. He wants to come see you all when he comes to visit at BYUI, he will stop through to see you guys. Anyways work is going ok, not fantastic, but it’s going. So it’s all good. Well have a good week. Any snow sticking around there yet? 

Anziano Benson

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Un Sacco di Pazienza (A Ton of Patience)

November 7, 2012

Streets of Siena
So what’s a day in the life of an Italy Milan missionary during the election of the United States?? Picture this. My companion and I are teaching a lesson in the middle of the town square on a bench. Nice peaceful day, the sun is out. Many people walking by, ok... fine. So we are teaching a lesson, random Bangladesh man comes up to us (never seen him before) and asks us "Who’s going to win... At first I didn’t know what he was talking about, and then it hit me.  “Oh the elections.”  It happens at least a few times a day.  "Hey are you guys American?!!" "Yes" Who’s going to win?!" I respond "Bo" or Italian for who knows and then leave haha. I’m a missionary and we are not allowed to support, talk, or give opinions of any kind of government. So glad the election is over because now people will stop asking me questions I’m not allowed to answer!

Well update on the work. So far not much again. Man I think I’ve just been brought to my lowest. I can’t give anything more than I’ve already given. I’ve given exact obedience to the best of my ability, I stop anyone in sight who isn’t in a rush and will listen and we are asking for referrals. I’ve got nothing else to give. I’ve given my will and my might, and all I’ve got to say is that I’ve just been chastened, humbled and brought to the complete mercy, direction, will, and way of the Lord. Since I’ve accepted this and chosen to do; not what I want, but what the Lord wants, I honestly don’t have any idea what is happening, and maybe it doesn’t even look like it’s been better than my ideas and desires, but there is an eternal course here and I’m choosing to follow that one. Those who accept the call to serve don’t automatically accept the will of the Lord, it’s a choice you make when you get up every morning on time, that decision to go to the obscure dark alley where there is graffiti out the wa-zoo to find some homeless guy and give him a pass along card. It’s when you talk to the grumpy old guy who gets mad at you and then tells you that you are of the devil and we are liars and a few other things I can't repeat. Hmmm, do I honestly want to talk to that guy? heck no! But does the Lord want me to? you bet! So I do it anyway and I’m happy I do. That is submitting to the complete will of the Lord. I’ll be honest I don’t know what I’m doing, it doesn’t even look like I know what I’m doing or show any reward or success that what I’ve been doing is what a good missionary does, cioè, baptism. But who cares. I’m just following the one who knows everything and not asking questions, even though every second of my life in the mission field has been a struggle, a challenge, a doubt that what I’m doing or where I’m going is right where I need to be. The mission has brought me to my knees because I have nowhere else to turn, but in the end it all seems to work out. I would say Busto has been a big honkin storm and I’m just trying to somehow manage to make it through, but eveyone knows you need a GPS when you’re in the middle of the ocean trying to make it out of the storm, cioè by GPS I mean the hand of God. At least that’s what the brother of Jared did. He said hey I’m getting in this boat ready to go to the promise land. I bet he didn’t know that he was in for the ride of his life in that boat. Hey me either. I’m just doing what I’m told and I got in the boat because I wanted to get to the promise land and now that I’m here, I’m out in the streets slaying the enemy with the word of God and trying to not get kicked out of apartment complexes and find someone who wants eternal life. Man what an adventure. haha.

Anziano Benson and Anziano Merrill

Lake Como
Ok, well now in less dramatic story form the members in this ward are bravissimi! Our ward is jam packed with priesthood leadership. We have a former mission president, about 15 RMs a member of the stake presidency, and before they changed the ward boundaries there was a former member of the 70. So pretty much our ward dominates at being awesome. We just still are trying to get the work rolling. It’s getting better, but we are still in need of new investigators. There are a lot of part-member families that we can visit but they have a lot of things to work though and many of them don’t want to baptize. But we are praying for the opportunity to find some work to do other than banging of doors all day in the rain. I have learned as they say in Italian (Un saco di patzienza) or a ton of patience here in Busto, and I’m not really sure if I’ve done what I was called here to do but I’m trying to figure it out. I see people baptizing here and there and everywhere around me but I think so far I’ve been the one just finding and teaching and preparing all these people to be baptized rather than doing the baptizing. But we will see. We have a date of baptism for Nov. 21 and this guy is bravo. He said he is ready and nothing will stop him from getting baptized, but everyone has to take their stand against the wall of faith and actually put words into works of faith. Faith without works is dead no? Let’s just say we as missionaries are a little picky about who we let get in the font because there have been many people baptized and never seen again in church and if that’s what will happen we don’t baptize them. We look for those who are ready to give their all for the true church of Christ and endure to the end with real intent having faith in Christ.  
My new companion Anziano Merrill
Anyways that’s all for now. President Manwaring is just so amazing, you’re really lucky Dad that you have the opportunity to meet with him so often and learn from him. I wish I had his wisdom haha.
Ciao! Love Anziano Benson. 

P.S. we are trying to talk the Sicilian sisters in the ward to do a ward Thanksgiving, haha we will see what happens!
American Cemetary in Florence