Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas/First Baptism

December 26, 2012
First Baptism

We had a very Merry Christmas yesterday and got to Skype with Anziano Benson.  He looked so good and is doing great. He said they did have the baptism on the 21st and that it was an amazing experience.  Something he will never forget. He went over to some members houses on Christmas Eve and feasted on octopus and squid spaghetti and he said it was delicious.  He said he would recommend we all try it some day.  He said they then ate over 20 different appetizers and then got to the main course of lasagna.  He said it was all so delicious and they were so happy that the members are so good to them.  On Christmas Day they went to some other members to skype and they really took great care of them.  I will try to attatch a clip of the skype if I can get it to work in the next few days but today Anziano Benson sent us some pictures from his first baptism and also from his visit to Switzerland last week.  It was just the best Christmas gift ever to get to visit with him.  He sent us this quick note today.

Buon Natale Familia,
So Anziano Merrill is going to Torino and my new companion will be Anziano Memmott. Anziano Memmott is coming from Prato in the Firenze district where I served when I was in Siena so I’m really excited. He’s a good guy.  Anziano Smith and I did splits with him back in September and he loves to joke a lot so it will be good fun. Tomorrow is transfers so I will be going to Milano to pick up my new comp! I will leave you all with some of the most recent pictures :) Buon Natale! I miss all of you and it was so good to Skype with you all yesterday! Well enjoy yourselves and eat some cheese ball for me!

Switzerland !!!
Love, Anziano Benson

Switerland is Beautiful!
Christmas Money"Haven't Found Anything to Buy Yet!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Switzerland or Bust

December 19, 2012

Ok, so I’m so sorry but super fast. We are on our way to SWITZERLAND!!!! I’m so excited! Swiss chocolate here I come! So I’m a little rushed. So sorry about it. I feel bad because there is a ton of stuff going on this week. Baptism is moved to Friday December 21! At Milano 1 chapel. Super excited! His name is M____________. He’s got an awesome name I think haha. He is an awesome guy and has a huge love for the gospel. He has been to church an impressive 10 weeks in a row. I’ve never had anyone do that, ever! So I’m very blessed to know this man and his desire of real intent to be baptized for the remission of sins following the example of Jesus Christ. I will tell more on Skype after the bap! 
Well, we are all ready for Christmas and I’ve got plenty of junk food haha. I think I might be all junked out before Christmas. I even bought myself a Pandoro which is a huge Italian cake that is super super good. Look it up on the internet. It’s famous here at Christmas and it’s a tradition.  

You’re all the best and I love you so much! I will get you some pictures from the Swiss Alps today! Merry Christmas and remember the Christ in Christmas and what you can do to give not to get. It’s so weird to be away from home for Christmas and for the first time ever I’m not thinking about myself but only about other people. For the first time in my life I think I’ve found the true meaning of Christmas.

Well I’m off to catch the trains. Love you all and talk to you next week!
Love Anziano Benson

Friday, December 14, 2012

Good News

Hey good news! Randomly all 3 packages showed up! One of my packages got opened by the Italians and checked. I’m sure they took a little candy and then taped it back up and left the rest. I really was glad to finally get something haha. I was so excited and thank you so very much. I was so thankful because the gloves that I bought were not cutting it. It’s just too cold. Winter is full on here and we got snow and negatives here Negative C that is not F. But humidity is terrible! So cold! So thankfully I got my packages. Loved the candy.  Man I miss American candy. They think Italy does everything great but the truth is they could learn many things on making candy and pastries. Kind of a bummer to learn that we do it better haha. Oh well enjoy the world in its fullness.. Eh don’t worry about not getting anything here for Christmas, really. I think the money in the account is much better. I will figure out something to do with it. For the first time in my life I don’t know what to do with $$$$, I don’t really want/need anything. Nothing here seems cheap enough. It’s all out of the sky prices. Soccer jerseys are like €80 or $100 US dollars so I think I’ll just get some cheese and crackers and be Wallace and Gromit haha. Everyone just sells wine and cheese and that’s it around here haha, so looks like I’ll just stick to that. . I will definitely find something to buy. Maybe some snow boots because my toes are falling off.
So surprise surprise. I managed to get hooked up with a member here who is an American. He went back to the states for Christmas with his whole family... so I managed to sneak some goods back with him and he is sending you all a package :)Don’t open till Christmas. I also mailed an explanation of who gets what in just mail letter style. Protect what I sent you mom because it’s the best you can buy here in Italy! The girls got there’s so just take it and run. Quality not quantity is what I got you and Dad. And girls I just got you some yums haha. Shhh don’t tell the kids. Just put it randomly under the tree and without and markings and see what happens when they find out I sent an entire package haha. All the way from Italy, well kind of. But anyways there you go, Merry Christmas! I did get grandmas letter and I have been enjoying learning about the Savior everyday! It’s great.  Thanks Grandma.
The work is accelerating and YES we are having a baptism!  M______ is 100% locked in. We had a good number of suspicions about him and that he wouldn’t actually commit to challenge 100% but this week he bore his testimony to us and told us that he’s joining for a lifelong commitment to the church so we agreed that he’s ready! We confirmed that he has devoted his life to this promise and covenant and he will be baptized on December 22. Merry Christmas! I honestly couldn’t ask for more. That’s all I want for Christmas is a baptism. Santa came early for me I guess. We also had a miracle referral from the Lake Como Anziani and we got this super awesome elect guy and his family. He is honestly one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He even drove 20 min to pick us up which never, ever, ever happens. Usually people are like “Hey come over,”and then we go all the way out to their house in a rain storm and they kindly are not there, then they hang up the phone on you when you try to call, so let’s just say this guys is amazing. He has real intent, it’s just a matter if he wants the blessings of the gospel or not. He has 2 super cute little daughters who are just like Bre and Anni. 5 and 11 years old and they know a little bit of English so they try to talk to me from what they learned at school. Haha such a great family. The wife is super nice, but she works a lot at night to help the dad out since the economy here is terrible and there is just poverty and homeless people everywhere. Super sad. You would think that it’s not like that, but there are just endless people searching for work and don’t find it since they can’t speak Italian. Many immigrants are here since it’s the only country with open borders to migrate. So well it’s a mess. But I’m thankful for what I have and we are being blessed at this time with so much. The work is getting better and we went from teaching 2 lessons to 10 lessons a week and we are getting stuff done! Also since we didn’t have any work to do we went on a reactivation spree. We reactivated 1 family, 1 man, we are working with another family right now to get them back to church, and in the other family we have 2 more to help as well. Most of them have been coming more often, but not consistently. We are so blessed and I think I should say I didn’t reactivate them but really the Lord did. He just put the missionaries there to help these people and really I didn’t do anything. I just invited them to change and see the blessings they are missing out on.

 We were going to go to Switzerland today but we couldn’t go because some of the other Anziani who planned to go didn’t have enough money. But we might go next week if it’s still good weather. I get to Switzerland free since I have a train pass for all of Lombardia which is Milano all the way north to Lake Como I can use any train or bus. Glad to hear all is well. Any snow sticking yet? Well that’s about it and things are going good. I love you all and will talk to you next week.

Anziano Benson

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Love the People Here

Decmeber 5, 2012

Family, so good to hear from you.  You asked about Thanksgiving and the gravy and well, the ward wanted 3liters of gravy and well we just couldn’t buy €40 of roast so we decided just to make some brownies and they all went crazy for them because there is nothing even close to them here. We had a lot of fun and they even made some pumpkin pie for us Americans. Hahaha no way!? Well as for Christmas I have no idea. Usually we can Skype but we do it from a member’s house and seeing how we don’t have any member appointment for Christmas it might not happen. I actually don’t know what we will do. We don’t even have a way to call so you guys might not get to hear from me except email. No fun...
Allison is coming here?!!!!!!!!! (Sorella Astel. A girl from our ward that lives 5 houses down. Anziano Benson grew up with her)I’m so happy haha! that’s awesome! I just laughed super hard when I heard she is coming. I don’t even know what to think anymore. Who next, Katie Chase? haha I’m not sure what’s going on but I guess there is something in the water in Idaho Falls huh?
Hey I’m glad you get to meet Anziano Smith’s mom! I miss Anziano Smith and I’m sad that I won’t get to see him again until I get home but he’s done his time and he’s off to college! He said he would come see you guys when he’s in the area.
As for the packages I got nothing so. Bo non lo so?
Italians go all out for Christmas
They hang lights up on all the streets.
As far as the work goes, it’s getting better. I think there is some improvement that we can do on our end of the deal, but we are building up some potential investigators to see. Mxxxxx is still going good and he will get the priesthood in 3 weeks so he can baptize this 8 year old. Super awesome! We just need him to keep reading the book of Mormon and he will be set! We may not have any other investigators but hey at least we are baptizing! It could be worse and we could have absolutely no one... but instead we have at least someone who is ready. Busto has really just put me to the test. And I think I failed that test, but that’s why we have the Lord because my best isn’t enough and sometimes you just have to work hard and do all that you can and let the Lord steer the ship. It really is tough when you go weeks on end of no one having interest in the gospel, and I don’t even understand why it is that way. But I will say that once you find those elect Italians they give everything to the church and they don’t lose their testimony. The opposition is hard here because Satan knows that these are some of the most strong believing people in the world. This is where Christianity has reigned since the time of Christ and everyone has a belief in god here. They just don’t know how to find the truth in the world of confusion between religions. Nor do they want change. But I love the people here even though they yell at me and use words that I don’t know what they mean haha. And of course there is the occasional Jehovah witness who try to bible bash us which is pointless. But life goes on. Well hope you are enjoying the holidays. Don’t work too hard. Love you all.

Anziano Benson