Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Day!

Anziano Benson Via Skype Christmas Day
December 25, 2013
It was great to visit with Anziano Benson on Christmas Day Via Skype. He is doing great and the work is moving forward in Italy. He said the Christmas Recital went well and that he survived the piano playing but wanted us to know it had 6 flats. He said it was the most difficult thing he has ever played and it was far from perfect but the members still loved it. I have to relate one story that he told us.

The Package!
Drew had a Christmas package for his family ready to go about 4 weeks before Christmas but just got too busy with the work and didn't get a chance to mail it. Every evening when he got home, he would see that package sitting there and it made him feel bad. He said that by the time he got around to checking to see how much it would cost him to mail the package and get it there in time for Christmas that it would have cost him $100 Euro's. Way too much money and he was depressed that it would never get mailed. The week right before Christmas was busy busy and Drew and his companion were visiting with some people in a park. They came upon a homeless man and stopped to talk with him. Drew said that the man looked at him and right off asked if he could have his gloves. Drew said, "No, I need my gloves." They visited for a bit longer and the man asked him for his gloves again. Drew said "No, I really do need these gloves." They had to leave because they had an appointment and were walking away. Drew said that he couldn't stand it and turned back and gave the man his gloves. He said that even though he really did need them, he could not stand leaving the man in the cold without any gloves. The very next appointment they went to was an investigator. They gave him one of the discussions and as they were leaving the man said. "Elders, I would like to do something for you for Christmas. I work for shipping company and would like to mail a package home to your families for free.  Drew said he could not believe what he was hearing.  Drew said “how did you know I needed to mail a package?” He said I didn’t, but I would like to do that for you if you have anything.” Drew said he brought the package back to the man the next day which was the Thursday before Christmas.  We got the package the following Monday, two days before Christmas.  Drew felt certain that this was a tender mercy that the Lord sent him because he sacrificed his gloves for the homeless man.  We would like to send a big “Thank You” to the kind Italian investigator who mailed that package to us.  You will never know how much that meant to us.

Thank You!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 18, 2013

Well sounds like a good week of fun. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Well news here is that this week we are doing a Christmas recital and I got volunteered to play the piano. I’m not sure how but that’s what it has come down to. They don’t want me to play just some hymns. They want me to blast the audience with some arias from one of the world’s famous operas La Scala........???  Who do they think I am?! I’m not that good at the piano, but they gave me no other choice. So zero practice I will be performing 3 songs that I have never even heard of. Even better I don’t have time to run through them. This will be interesting. I’m just not going to stress about it. I am going to try to find a solution. Pray for me.  I need it.
Christmas money. What?  I think my jaw hit the ground when I read this. Ok, I think will be weird to have some money. I do not know how long it has been since I had money to spend?! Last Christmas was the last time that I spend more than €15.  I don’t know what to do with it. Thanks Grandmas.  It will serve me well when I get home because all my stuff is DESTROYED!  Totally! My suits are so trashed, my coat has holes, my shoes have holes, and my backpack was destroyed with chocolate because I put some in and forgot about it.  I will keep my eye open for suites.  I’m not sure what to get but I would like to save some money for when I get back.  It just hit me that I have like next to nothing at home.  I will have to get a job subito as they say in Italian. I’m not too worried about all that though. Looks like Drew will have start being a big boy and providing for himself. Tough luck!
Well this week we have seen some miracles! We have this lady that we have been teaching for about 3 or 4 months and she has made some good progress. She has progressed so much and we fasted together with her this last week and she got answers to her prayers! It’s hard to explain the whole story but just know that the fast changed everything! It’s been great! 
Then for the people we are working with to get married. They have agreed to marry, but we don’t have a marriage date yet!  We are working on it and they will most likely be married next February or March. They have to plan everything. We will be having another marriage late January. We have found 2 new families totaling to 7 new people to teach! What a miracle. I think the Lord is giving us very Merry Christmas! It’s not all roses though we have been working very hard. I think we are late home every evening. It’s exhausting most of the time but it’s rewarding. Also another lady that I taught back in Lecco got baptized down in Lodi! Super cool!
Milan East Zone Christmas Conference
We are staying busy with the zone and doing tons of scambi (splits). Christmas will be pretty crazy here. 7 days of madness. Here everyone is partying like it’s the end of the world. Literally! It’s a madhouse here this time of year! But it’s beautiful.

I got some Italian cook books to brush up on my cooking. I will bring them home with me so I can teach you guys how a pizza is really done! And of course some bomb pasta. We just need some good cheese though. That’s the secret is having good cheese and fresh ingredients.
Well not much to report on here. We see miracles every day though! We have been so very blessed to see the sun for 3 weeks straight here. I’m so thankful for it every day of my life! The weather is being kind to us. Nice for me who has to go around on bikes? I think it will get nasty though in January. It usually does.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Buon Natale Buone feste! Auguri! Babo natale è vicino! In questo momento dovremmo ricordare più l'esempio di Gesù Cristo. Sono molto grato per le persone qui in italia che hanno un buon spirito di amore, e non si menziona il loro appettito per mangiare! Vi amo tantissimo i miei genitori e care sorelle. Cos' Avete fatto qest'oggi per aiutare qualcun altro. Grazie per tutto quello che fatte

Anziano Benson

Monday, December 16, 2013

Out With The Old, In With The New!!!

December 11, 2013

Things are rolling along again in Muggiò! We have been receiving some divine counsel from the European general authorities on how to move the missionary work forward in Italy, and we have been putting it into practice! As a result of this we found a family of 4! They are really really interested and we are now teaching them the lessons. Miracles!! President Dibb is inspired!

We also had our Christmas zone conference this last week! Ham and potatoes! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOD! I haven’t had ham in so long! It’s nonexistent here! I about died it was so good. However, I am loving the Italian Christmas as it is. They have quite the spread of foods as well. I even splurged and bought a ton of nuts. I took on the grandpa D tradition I have an obsession for nuts. they are really good. and healthy! I have been working on my own Christ like attributes and I love the Italian mentality at the New Year: out with the old and in with new! They throw stuff off their balconies! T.V.s fridges, couches, plates, everything! Man it’s a mad house here! I advise you to do the same Out with the old garbage and in with the clean! Get rid of bad habits and set new goals. 

Well I really am enjoying this time of the year. It’s merry and bright. The sun is shining in Italy and the gospel is going forward. I have a really strong undeniable testimony that this is the restored gospel and that we have the priesthood. Simple but strong. The scriptures are amazing as well, and they have the words of life.

Merry Christmas! Buon Natale! Augurui! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Love Elder Benson

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Flocking to the Fold of the Shepherd

December 4, 2013

I’m not sure what to say about the week. There were appointments and disappointments, people progressing in the gospel and others digressing.  We had some people just ignore our calls, while others gave us fake addresses and phone numbers and then there are several that have gone to Switzerland for a month. Haha that about sums up the week. We have been meeting with President rather often these days and it’s been a real treat. We have had several visits from apostles in the 70 and 2 counsel sessions with President Dibb. We talked a lot about how we are going to move the work forward. One way is that we are now all aligned with the stake boundaries so we can work directly with the stake leaders. It’s going to be a lot of fun! Things are going good. The work is moving along and our investigators that we have been teaching are still progressing and moving forward. The work has really changed a lot since I first got to the mission. We are really turning things up here. We are getting ready to grow the stakes even more here and more people are flocking to fold of the Shepherd. We are getting to the point where we are not just that church. But the people really know who we are and respect us. I love the Catholics here. They are great because they all believe and have such strong faith. They just have a hard time understanding why we are here in Italy though haha. They haven’t made that connection yet. Things are going well though.

It’s cool to hear that you are reading the gospels as a family. I just finished the gospels for the first time the other day in Italian, it was really good. I liked them a lot. The Old Testament is next, but is really long and tough to understand in Italian, but there are a lot of interesting lessons to learn there.
 It’s freezing cold here. It’s already colder that last year and we are not even in January. The good news is that we have been seeing some sun these days. Oh thank goodness, or I would be frozen to death.  I don’t think my socks are warm enough for this weather. Not to mention our apartment has terrible heating
Anyways. It’s good to see the pics of the family. Looks like you had a good Thanksgiving! I froze at the train station all Thanksgiving Day helping missionaries get on the right trains. Wish I had some turkey. haha.
Love you!

Elder Benson

Monday, December 2, 2013

13 Baptisms In Our Zone!!!!

November 27, 2013

Not a lot has changed this transfer. We are all staying the same. In fact hardly anyone in our zone got moved out, but the best part is that Lecco is back in our zone! Yes!!!! Now we can go hang out in Lecco for pday! I’m so excited to go back. I miss Lecco a lot. It’s one of my most favorite cities! Now we have 14 companionships in our zone! Wow that’s just big! I think the biggest in the whole mission. It’s quite the responsibility to be zone leader. Not sure how it is everywhere else in the world but it’s so much fun, but stressful at times with zone meetings, meetings with president, district meeting, baptismal interviews, trying to lead the zone by teaching the most lessons and so on, we have our hands full. We are home late every night and then have to do planning for the morning.  I am finding no time to write in my journal. But I like it this way. Better than having nothing to do and wander the streets banging doors for 9 hours. Been there done that. You go really mentally crazy fast doing that every day.

We are really impressed with the work that has been going on. We had 8 baptisms in the zone this last weekend. That’s half the branch of Siena in 1 day brought into the church! What a success! The total baptisms for this transfer from the zone is 13. That is like an all time record!!! The work is slowly growing; never in big jumps, but slowly growing bigger and bigger. Our ward boundaries are huge in Muggio. It’s really hard sometimes to travel these distances but it’s not stopping us from doing a great work. We are finding success everywhere. I am doing just great; happy, focused and concentrated 100%. This is my Anziano Fiorentinos last transfer and we are working overtime! I am positive that we will have  great success this transfer.
Well that’s all for now! Have a good week and a good Turkey Day! Eat lots for me because I will be at the train station ALL DAY Thursday, helping get missionaries where they need to be. 
Love you,
Elder Benson
Italian Food is the Best!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Shower of New Investigators and Referrals

November 20, 2013

What a WEEK!
The Milano "Bone Church"
Oh man we had quite an amazing week! Well first the good, the bad, and then the ugly!

The Good

 Well this week it rained and showered new investigators and referrals. We had a crazy week! 10 new investigators!!!! I have never ever found that many people in one week! And not to mention the referrals! 12 referrals, we exceeded our goal of 11! It was really fun this week. That is the good.

The Bad
Bad well many of the people we have found have stopped answering the phone so now we can’t teach them. But that’s ok we are still teaching some amazing people.

The Ugly
Nice Bike Wreck This Week
Well I will give you a photo of the ugly. The hand is from my bike wreck the other day. This is 2 days after the crash, but what happened was I found some mud on the paved bike path that I did not see so when I turned the corner I just slipped right out and fell face first and caught myself with my bare hands. Result, well I had to clean out all the embedded rocks in my hand. About 15 pieces of gravel got taken out by one of the loving members. Thank goodness she helped me out. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been and everything is ok, but the gravel was the worst part. Actually 2 days later we didn’t manage to get it all out but after time the rocks will come out.  A couple of days later, I crashed again on my bike. 2 times in 3 days. I’m not sure what’s going on lately but bikes are my worst enemy! I hate them! Nothing hurt but all bruised up and my knee is a little blue haha. So that’s the ugly for the day. Well I am all good and trying to avoid crashing on the bike again.

Sorella Astel, Anziano Benson, Anziano Salmon
All from the Same Home Ward in Idaho
Just missing Anziano Jensen
I did finally meet up with Anziano Salmon and Sorella Astel at Zone conference.  It was awesome to see them at the same time.  All we were missing was Anziano Jensen. It seemed like home for a small moment.    And Aunt Holly, I did finally meet up with Sorella Fuller from your ward. I talked to her at the zone conference. She seems really nice and said she knows the Jolley family really really well. So when she got her call you told her to find Elder Benson! So she found me.  Small world. 

"That's it, CHEESE"
Have a nice week!
Elder Benson

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

An Explosion of New Work

Well we had a pretty good week this week! After the conference with the area president, President Teixiera we have been seeing some good sucuess. He gave us some pointers and inspiration and some ideas. we have been hard at work and we have been doing our best to follow what he taught us. Unfortunatly this has been a rather hard transfer for me. And I think I was a better zone leader last transfter, but im not letting that stop me. We are picking up the slack and doing better with taking care of our zone members. Its not always easy being a leader, but its very rewarding. This week we have seen an explosion of new work to do. We found new people left and right and we have some bap dates. The path is looking good towards baptism for several! Im not sure if I will be here to see it, but I think I will be. Everyday is pretty much a battle here. Im always so tired! If someone asked me what the hardest part of a mission was I never thought I would have said being tired. But man just 8 hours never cuts it when it comes to sleep,but the joy that comes from the work is great! Well I love you.  Sorry for the shortness. I have to go! Love you!

Anziano Benson

Anziano Benson With Sorella Fuller.  Sorella Fuller knows Anziano Benson's Aunt Holley

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy to Serve

November 6, 2013

Well, here is the good news. After having my line in the water for about 2 transfers I think we finally got a bite! We still have a ways to go and we don’t have a bap date, but we really have some winners and they will be baptized for sure! We will see how it goes. Other than that, everything is all good! I’m happy to serve and I just know that you just have to do your best. I’m doing that so I’m happy. Well that’s about all I have to say.
The weather here has been pretty nice and not too bad. Well more sporadic that’s what I would say. It’s not good weather but it’s not bad. It hasn’t got really cold here yet but it’s really cloudy all the time and rains about 3 days a week. Sometimes a little depressing to have 6 days of clouds and 1 day of sun but that’s about the norm here.

This week we have a big mission tour going on in Milano tomorrow. One of the 70 is coming to speak to us. I already saw him about 7 months ago when I was in Busto , so it was really cool and he is a really good speaker so it should be fun! Should be about 1/3 of the mission there so I’m looking forward to seeing some of my old comps and I will try to get a picture with Riley and Allison.

Well have a good week and take it easy
Elder Benso

Find the Elect and Share the Truth

October 30, 2013
Cara! Belissima! Dolce Famiglia!
Come state! Spero bene!
Jack-O-Lanterns in Italy
It’s been a good week in short. We have a really really big ward here in Muggiò so I’m looking forward to getting things moving! I have learned that in all this is richiede pazienza! Patience! It’s great to see the miracles. This week we had little work, but many miracles along the way. We found some really cool people, some crazy people who won’t leave us alone and send us wacked texts, not a fan, and we think we may be on to a baptism in the near future. We finally found some winners. It’s an amazing experience to be in the mission right now. There are just so many missionaries its crazy! They just added 2 sister missionaries in the ward so now things are really cookin. Anziano Fiorentino is great and we have been polishing up our cooking skills. Well let’s just say that I’m not a good cook like you mom or Ellis, but I have come a long long way from where I started! Its kind of funto learn some new skills. Well I really really love you guys. I am excited to do this awesome work of the lord. It is truly an honor to be a part of the true church. I love the opportunity to share such a great message con la gente in Italia. Things are going well and this is just one of the greatest things I have done in my life. Well with all those words, there must be a bit of realism. This work is hard! Rewarding, but it’s all about attitude, sometimes missionaries have a really bad attitude about everything and they are no fun to be around. But fake it until you make it! False enthusiasm and then everything goes for the better.
I really love the fact that we get just gigantic massive blockades in missionary work and we are in the dark trying to find a way around the seemingly insurmountable obstacle. And then the Lord in his mercy and for the good of other people takes the blindness from our minds and for a small moment penetrates the veil, showing us a way in the dark. This world is wicked, you have no idea how wicked it is. It’s different to visit the people than it is to live among them, enter their homes, see their life; listen to their story. The earth is ready for destruction, but our Savior is waiting for us, to build up his kingdom, find the elect and share the truth. The field is white already to harvest and he that thrusteth in his sickle with all his might, perish not, but bring salvation to his soul. Many too many prophecies have been fulfilled, the end is so near, but we are not done. We need to work a little harder and a little longer before he comes again. The gospel is going forth quickly and rapidly but it’s not enough. The members need to do their part. We are doing ours they need to do theirs. We need more help!
Always be an example of the believers.
Elder Benson

he settimana!
 I know it is Halloween tomorrow, but I am getting supper excited for Christmas! I really really loved Christmas here last year, mostly because of all the good food! And even more the good deserts they do here! That’s the best part. They also have chestnuts everywhere here! Its super cool that they just cook them all over the place on the corners and you just buy some in a bag, mostly because well I have never seen chestnuts roasting over an open fire like they songs say. Also because they don’t have Thanksgiving here so they start celebrating in November Christmas! Supper awesome!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Time Is Flying

October 23, 2013
Anziano's Benson and  Fiorentino
Well things are going well. I’m so very thankful to get into the groove with my new comp. Thank goodness transfers are over! Most crazy day of my life! But it was fun and I actually handled it pretty well and got everyone where they should be. Things are going well and not much has changed at all in the last transfer. I still haven’t set any bap dates my entire time in Muggio. But that’s all good! We are having a blast and we are getting things in line with the ward. Pres. Dibb wants us to work more with members so we are going to give it a shot and see what happens. We are praying hard and we seriously have been like 100% obedient and so we are starting to see a few blessings. My new comp Anziano Fiorentino is a stud! He is just driven to get stuff done. Example... he didn’t want to speak English anymore so for the past 5 days I haven’t spoken any English. It’s really weird and even though both of us are American and it’s so much easier to speak English we just do it in Italian. I’ve never done this before for so long. It’s really stressful at time because you really see how much of the language you still don’t know, but it’s been good and I’m getting the hang of it. He’s just a really really good missionary; top notch. One of the best I have had. Actually I have had all really really good comps, but this one is just awesome. He has 2 transfers left including this one. He gets home in January. Kind of crazy because when he goes home I will have just 2 transfers left! Oh man Someone help me I’m on the 6 month countdown and I’m freaking out! Man I’ve really got to get some stuff done! I am really enjoying my time here in Muggiò. The ward is really really big; bigger than I thought and we have a lot of work to do.

Well that’s all I got for this week. Time is flying. Especially as ZL. I don’t think we have been home before 9:50 all this week. We have just been so busy. It’s fun though! Well have a good week!

Elder Benson

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fortza Milano Est!!

October 16th, 2013

So anyway here is the news! I am staying in Muggiò and my new comp is Anziano Fiorentino! He isn’t Italian but is from Florida! He seems pretty cool but I haven’t met him yet, tomorrow we will be at the Milano Centrale station bright and early. Too early perhaps, but that’s all good! 
Last week was crazy.  Here is what I did last week:
View from our appartment.  My old area in in the
Mountains in the background

So I will give you a quick lowdown of this week. Well Monday we had transfer cleaning day where we deep clean the apartment. Then we had to get on a train after lunch and go to Pavia and do a bap interview. Takes 2 or more hours to get there. Then Tuesday we had a few appointments in the morning and then apparently they decided to add sisters to Monza so we had to go set up their apartment that they just bought so Tuesday evening we spent some time unloading all the stuff from IKEA and putting together everything and all that fun stuff. Wednesday Anziano Moore has to pack and all that fun stuff. Thursday we will be at Milano Centrale station all day from 8:30-5:00 calling and making sure that everyone gets to their city safely. In short when it comes to transfers we are the assistants to the assistants because we live close to Milano so we are as much as a part of transfers as the assistants because if anyone gets lost we are the first people to call. Then Friday we have weekly planning and probably grocery shopping and then a few appointments set up in the afternoon. Saturday we have some time but after lunch we are going to Milano Lamgugnano chaple for the stake conference adult session and leadership training for all the stake people. Sunday stake conference again Milano. And on top of that we had to call our entire zone and give them travel plans for transfers and tell them what time they are leaving what who they are meeting up with what train they are taking and so forth. Then when we get to the station on Thursday when all the missionaries meet up in a big group we have to organize all the missionaries to get them where they need to be doing and people are late and so on. Anyway this is probably like your INL users week but in Italy and well if you have ever used public transport in Italy you know it’s terrible, confusing you get lost, never on time, and unreliable. But we somehow are managing to fit lessons in! I’m not sure how that is possible but it’s working out!
Anziano Moore and me with our game soccer game face

Like I said we have been busy.  This is actually our only relaxed p day.  Our last pdayshave been really busy and we have even had to sacrifice our time to teach lessons and do some other stuff what we were not able to get done during the week. This has been going rather slow work wise, but there is always something to be done. I’m really not able to keep up on everything; we could really use like 2 more hours each day to finish what we need to get done. It just kind of continuously piles up. I don’t know if it just that we need to plan better or what but it’s just rather ridiculous, we have a ton of fun doing it though. The transfer has just flown. 
Fiat 500.  Very Italian
It’s crazy I can’t believe that I have 4 transfers left is all! Are you kidding me! I’m freaking out! But I’m really happy to be busy. Better busy that not so I can’t complain. Anziano Moore has been a great comp and I’m thankful for his obedience and great attitude about everything. He never wants to stop he just goes and sometimes I have to tell him. Anziano its 10:00 you can’t call investigators at this hour! We will do it tomorrow, don’t worry. haha. He has no on or off switch he just goes and goes and goes. It’s been great! We laughed a ton and he is quite the jokester. Sometimes it’s hard to keep ourselves focused, but we manage to do just fine without too many distractions. Anziano Moore is off to Torino to train open a 

My normal Transportation
new companionship and be district leader! That probably the only thing busier than a zone leader is doing that! That’s just crazy! But he’s really excited. The transfer we had was full of laughing and joking, and thank goodness because otherwise the work can get really, down and depressing, but not for us that was completely the opposite. Well the work is slow a little but we barley have time to teach lessons this week anyways so that’s probably ok for this week. But we will have to focus more on that next week when we can get some more time to sit down and think about it and get ourselves organized and planned better. If you want to succeed in life you have to plan and organize yourself! That’s just the way it works! Huge testimony of planning and organization in the mission. I invite you to put it into practice at home as well. It is a principle of the gospel because the gospel is planned and organized. Did God not say in Moses that all things were organized spiritually before they were created physically? He planned all the creation and how it would go as well. That is why he is perfect because he is perfectly organized unlike us. We need to do the same. Hope that all of you are doing well and that you are living the gospel like you should. I am just loving every second of the mission and I’ve put into the practice the words of Anziano
Holland. "Teach your missionaries to love rejection!" He explained to the mission presidents of the Rome and Milan missions. I love rejection, sounds crazy but if you don’t you can’t reach your full potential as a missionary. I wonder how rejection can apply to real life, but I will figure that out later. Well that’s everything for now and we will see how this next transfer goes! Transfers 12 prepare to get dominated by Anziano Benson and Fiorentino! Forza Milano Est!

Monday, October 14, 2013

All is Well

October 9, 2013

Oh man the weather took a nasty turn this last week. I went from short sleeve shirt to suit and overcoat and scarf in one day. I feel like I’m back in Idaho. We got a peek at the forecast and we are hitting 100% humidity and about 50 degrees. Let’s just say it feels more like 30 degrees not joking. The humidity just pierces all 5 layers you have on, and not helping was that we got rained on all day. I came home drenched and it’s not like I get to sit under an umbrella I’m on a bike! So I just get wetter than a dog. Wasn’t too fun the other day.  We are going forward, but so help me if it rains every other day just like last winter I don’t know if I will make it through this. There is nothing worse than being cold wet and 5 hours on a bike. There are no buses here so no chance of that. For now all is good and we will live. We have just been so busy with zone stuff and trying to keep our own work straight, but all is well.

Hey I won! I get a special award! I guessed where Joseph is going on his mission! Ghana! haha I was right! What up! haha I hope I get something fragile in the mail because of it! Congratulations Joseph.

Well love you! Have a good week!
Anziano Benson

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I Really Feel Kind of Italian Now

October 2, 2013

Well this will be really short and I’m really sorry, but we are always in a rush. We have gotten into a habit of teaching on pday so we don’t even get time to do full email and stuff. But things were a little harder last week, and we are looking to find a few more people. We still have lots of people to teach but their work just consumes all of their time and availability. I really really love Muggiò. I feel right at home here and everyone here is really friendly and just calm. We are near Milano and I don’t mind the big city nearby. The air here is kind of dirty but it’s still beautiful where we are. I like Muggio because its more calm and outside the hustle and bustle of Milano and Monza. All is well on my end. I really like being a zone leader. Its helped me a lot more than I have helped others. It just really gives me no chance to think about myself and that’s just great! I love serving others. I’m still pretty focused on the mission and things are going well. I feel honestly right at home. I really feel kind of Italian now. The way they think, talk, act and live.  I just fit right in now haha. I have forgotten what life is like in America. It’s just so different here that I don’t remember even much about home and what it’s like. I’m just content working hard and having a good time. Me and Anziano Moore are having a lot of fun together and we keep the work going.
Well I really love you guys and don’t ever doubt that I don’t love you guys because I just absolutely adore my family and look forward to hangin with the fam again soon. I really have some good people in the fam and have the best sisters ever! Thanks for your thoughts!

Have a good week from your only and best son and child Elder Benson! haha

The Missionaries Are Top Notch Here!

September 25, 2013
Well I honestly hate so say it but there really isn’t anything new going on. We have just been busy busy managing the zone and keeping in contact with everyone. Yesterday I got to go to Pavia which I didn’t know was that beautiful but it was just a fantastic city. I really liked it and it was a lot like Siena, but still Siena is better haha. Well we have been hard at work and we are searching out a bap date. We are being patient and waiting for the right person to pop up though so they can accept the date. We have been doing some good work and we have about 14 investigators we are working with; most of them couples, and a family. We are just working working working and doing our best. I have been having a ton of fun and it’s been a real pleasure to get to know all these awesome missionaries. I think that all the missionaries are top notch here! I really love them and they are just great. We even have the chance to have some awesome Sorelle in the zone who are just working hard and having some good success. Last week in the zone we had 4 baptisms and it’s been really fun to watch and celebrate with these missionaries. I have to keep reminding myself how lucky I am to be here in Italy. Sometimes you just are kind of used to all the cool stuff. But more and more I am creating a deep love and awe for all the things I see and hear.
Love you all!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Muggio ZL's At Your Service"

September 18, 2013
Che Settimana! Well things are going good here again. Staying busy, busy, busy. I’ve learned that zone leader means absolutely no personal time. I think I have written in my journal 2 times in the past 2 weeks. Pretty bad, but I just can’t find the time. When we get home we call many of the zone members to see how their week is going to encourage and inspire them to do better. We also have to see how all the sorelle are doing and that they are safe and not getting harassed or feeling down. It’s been good but tiring. We deal with phone calls from the minute the alarm goes off till the time my head hits the pillow Our phone basically rings every 5 min with questions, problems, and so forth. If we aren’t calling them they are calling us. It’s just so hard to stay focused, motivated and driven when you seriously are just dead dog tired because you did not sleep that well on the old squeaky hurt your back bed. Me and Anziano Moore try to keep a good attitude about everything and laugh off the sleepiness with jokes and funny phrases and making fun of stuff. It seems to work ok. It’s hard work. Sometimes we aren’t as efficient as we should be, but we are trying our best. I think we have done pretty good with being zone leaders and are making sure that we are watching closely to make sure everyone is doing ok.

"Muggiò Capi qui per il vostro servizio!" 
translation: Muggiò zone leaders at your service!

We are teaching a ton, but all of our investigators have things to work out.  We are praying for a miracle because there is one of these couples who is ready for baptism. Right now we are living in Muggio, but our proselyting area is Monza and Muggio and some of the surrounding cities. We are a rocks throw from Milano, but its way better than being stuck in that concrete jungle of dirty streets. Not a fan of Milano. But they have some good soccer that’s for sure. Keep me updated on AC Milan. Well not much new we have a lot of work to do and the lessons are going well! We seem to always have something to do and we haven’t had to do much finding work, but we will probably sift out some people this week and search out a few more. The ward is pretty big. About like my home ward right now. So it’s really fun. Thanks for everything! Love you all!
P.S. You will never guess what I found! Literally around the corner from the apartment there is an Adidas factory outlet! They have everything there! Its super awesome. I was thinking maybe of getting everyone in the family a Milan jersey for Christmas so that when I come home we can all match. I don’t know what you have in mind, but I think we are all Milan fans now, no?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Muggio- Milano East Zone

September 11, 2013
"I found Elder Jensen Fresh off the Plane."
Both from the same home Ward in Idaho
"You Know You're in Italy When."
Well things are going well in Muggio. I am in the Milano East Zone. This last week was just absolutely exhausting. Transfers, and not to mention we are in charge of making sure everyone gets on the right train and everything. So we spent like 9 hours in the Milano Centrale Station helping new missionaries and everyone get to the right train and get to the new cities. Then we had a consiglio with the Mission President and we met with all the zone leaders in the mission. We are over 4 districts and 13 couples of missionaries. Most of the missionaries being younger than 5 transfers and well, now the phone rings off the hook for questions, problems, reporting numbers of the week, and so forth. It’s just a lot to take care of. We are doing our best to care for all these new missionaries and make sure that everything is going well for them. I love it but I’ve also never been so tired in my life. Sometimes I wonder if I’m going to make it through the day. It’s been a lot of fun though. My new comp Anziano Moore is a pretty funny guy. We make a lot of jokes and we have some fun. Thank goodness we have fun or I would be going insane right now! We are in a pretty big city. At least Monza is. It’s bigger than I can handle anyways!  I never have served in this big of a city. The ward here is massive, one of the biggest in all of Italy. They have a lot of members here and it’s a strong ward. They even have young men and young women’s every week, just like at home! I haven’t seen that since I left home! The church usually isn’t strong enough to hold such activities every week, but now we are in an awesome ward so the ward is able and willing to help us with a lot, and we have a fair amount of investigators.
"Goodbye  Anziano Guzzle." Sad.

Yeah the Monza Grand Prix was last weekend. There were a lot of people coming from out of town to see it. I don’t think I have ever seen so many Ferraris in my life, not to mention some Lambos. I was on my bike riding to an appointment just chilling behind a supped up Ferrari for like 5 minutes. Talk about distractions! I almost wrecked at one point because I got caught gawking a little too much at the 20 Ferraris parked on the side of the road.
Well, I really appreciate all the emails I get from home. I think about you guys a lot and how lucky I am to have such a good family. The situation in Italy has been really bad. Everyone is out of work, it is probably worse than that we had in the states few years back. Even the members are having a hard time and people are sleeping in the streets, it’s really sad.  I have been humbled, saddened, even desperate to help someone. What do you do in a situation like this? Ahh, man it’s just been tough. It has caused many to turn to God for help and we are doing the best we can to be his instruments.  

Goodbye Lecco. My Favorite City!

Love, Anziano Benson

Friday, September 6, 2013


September 4, 2013

Yup! We got her done and had a baptism! Man this has been just such a touching experience in the past month to know this young 20 year old Italian. She managed to read: The book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith story, Gospel Principles, the Ensign of the conference talks and come to church 5 times before the baptism. Now I don’t think I have ever have seen, or ever will see another investigator like this one. She nearly cried after she came out and met us after the baptism. She thanked us for everything we did for her and I felt the sincerità of her gratefulness. I can’t spell anymore! How do you speel sinceerity? bo? Anyways. I really am so so so lucky to be here in Lecco. And when I got the call from President, it was really hard to hear the words, Elder Benson you are being moved to Muggiò. Anziano Guzzle and I just had a blast here in Lecco and it has been my favorite city hands down. I can’t complain! The weather is perfect, the teaching was a lot, baptized 3 times, the ward awesome, the lake magnificent! The city small, the people nice, la belezza incredible! We worked hard but also we taught a lot. We dropped a lot of people and lost some of my most favorite people. But what a way to end my last week in Lecco. I’m going zone leader in Muggiò. It’s not the most beautiful city, but it is the biggest ward in all of Italy. Looks like we better get some work done there! I’m excited but sad to leave. I’m just in one of those awkward stages, sad and happy at the same time. I even made best friends with people here playing calcio. And well, even they were not interested in the gospel. We played soccer, ate spaghetti together, gelato, and laughed. It was great. When I come back to Lecco I’ve already got plans to come see my best friends that I made here in Lecco. I’m so grateful of everything. I only hope that I can make Muggiò better that Lecco in some way. That’s where I’ve done all my baptisms for the Lecco ward, in Muggio, so I already know the area a little bit. I will probably be there for a little while so we will see what happens. I saw all the photos! Thanks for them all! I love you guys and I will look forward to seeing you all very very soon. Well that’s the update for now. My comp will be Anziano Moor, don’t know him much but he’s a chill missionary. I’ll let you know more next week love you!


Anziano Guzzle and Benson


Time: the Most Precious Resource We Have in This Life

August 28, 2013

Well things have been going normal. The baptism is scheduled, but we are not 100% sure if it’s going through. We still have a few small doubts we are trying to work out, but it’s noting big. We are just going to have some faith and do our best. All good on my end! Yes I got a side bag and some shoes and then the money grandma gave us I had to give to a homeless guy so that was unfortunate. But at least we helped someone who really needed it. It’s a long story, and I never give out money to homeless people, but this time it was justified 100% I wish I could tell you the whole story but let’s just say it was crazy and that it would take 20 face to face to tell it haha. Anyways I’m doing just dandy and just gearing up here for the fall and then we are headed straight for winter. Not sure what will happen after this week as far as who’s going where but I’m just enjoying myself because my time is limited. All right I will now let the pictures do all the talking.

Advise to Little Sis at BYU
It makes me pretty sad that for the first time in my life I can’t be there for you. I always was there and you were always right behind me in my footsteps outdoing me. Except you turned out to be the better version of me. Ellis I am going to save your life right now with 1 thing. I just want you do to one thing. If I was going to die right now this is what I would tell you and I want you to do it. Learn about planning. Preach my gospel the missionary book has an entire chapter about planning and using time wisely. Ellis time is the most precious resource you have in this life. ESCECIALLY in COLLEGE! Do not waste time, get organized and make a weekly schedule of what you have planned to do during the week. I mean everything. In the mission I know what I am doing every single day of the week 10 days in advance and we do 3 hour planning once a week. If you do that but with school you will be so successful you won’t be able to be stopped by anything. If you want just kill it at BYU and get straight A's Study study study about planning and organization. All those last min projects and stuff don’t fly in college. I wish you the best of luck and you are really going to learn a lot, not school wise, but life wise. Life lessons, how to get along with others, keep the room clean and get a GEM! Grow Every Missionary or in this case roommate. I love you Ellis and to be honest you are my example, not me your example. I don’t know if you will go on a mish, but keep it in mind and be ready because God may need your little hands and your feet to carry you across the world and to the doors and faces of people you don’t know the truth only because they know not where to find it. I encourage you to serve a mission because it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done. Love you so much and don’t worry too much! You’re more prepared than I was for college. 2 rules! No getting married before I get home, I forbid it because now that I am legit to go to the temple I want to be there when you get married. 2 no going on a mission before I get back I have to say “Hi” at least once. 
Love you have a good week! Drewbie


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finally Saw Anziano Salmon

August 21, 2013

Anziano Benson and Salmon
Well after much struggle much battle and strife with many of these just good people we are not sure what to do. They just don’t trust God enough in this moment and time to make a covenant. So we have 3 people in a middle boat of neither progressing or digressing, we lost 1, and confirmed a bap date! For September 2! This girl is 20 years old is an only child and lives with her mom dad and grandma. This is the same family that me and Anziano Davis went to and ate dinner with that one time. The rest of the family needs some time and we haven’t had a full blown shot to teach them all, but the daughter just absolutely loves this church. She read the entire book of Mormon in 4 weeks and has moved onto Doctrine and Covenants and has arrived at section 74 in just 1 day. She is so elect we are not sure what to do with her. We can’t give her enough to read! She just eats it up! Its insanity. Anyways since we couldn’t figure out what to do with her we figured we should just do nothing else than baptize her haha. So yes, the 2nd of September is the baptism. We still have to pass over some of the commandments but we don’t see any problems. She’s a good honest in heart young lady. I’ve just been blown away at the teaching process we have had with her.  Anyway I’m really excited because I am not sure if my time here in Lecco has come to an end but I will be leaving if I go with a baptism in hand. We have, as they say in Italian, lottato for these investigators and have lost a few, kept a few, and will be baptizing 1. It’s been a little bit frustrating because I’ve gotten so attached to some of these people, but they aren’t reading or coming to church so we will probably have to do some drop lessons in the next few weeks. Sometimes that’s what you have to do. But I love Missionary work, its great! I need to do a better job at staying in contact with the new converts in Busto. I haven’t heard from them since I left. I will have to send them a letter. Well Sorry that I’m short on time but I wanted to say that I saw Anziano Salmon! (friend of Drew's from his home ward in Idaho) I chatted with him and it was really really good to see him. It was awesome. It’s funny to see him all the way here in Italy. I got a picture but I will send it next week. Anyways Love you so much! Anziano Benson
Friends and both from the same home ward in Idaho

Such A Blessing to Serve Here

August 14, 2013
Family, all has been going so so here. I’m happy because we haven’t had to drop anyone yet, but anxious because all of our investigators are hanging on by a thread. There isn’t much I can do anymore it’s in the hands of God. I just worry a lot about it now. The family that we had dinner with when Anziano Davis was here wasn’t super interested, but from the beginning we knew that the daughter who is 20 years old was elect. Well, she has just caught the spirit of the book of Mormon and will finish it this week.  Anyways it has been a real pleasure to teach some of these people. They have challenged my testimony and put my own knowledge to the test. I can’t say that I have a perfect knowledge, but I can’t wait until I do when my life is all said and over here on earth. When we can all learn the mystery of "where gods began to be.

Wheww! Man I thought I was getting a letter about a dead dog. That would have been terrible! For the first time I would have actually missed the darn dog if he decided to kick the bucket. He probably just got some of the flu for dogs or something. Thank goodness he is all right.

Grandma, it’s been such a blessing to serve here. In this recent period we have had just some really tough investigators in the sense that we teach them, but they don’t believe us and won’t get baptized because they haven’t received an answer. Well it makes it rather hard because we have been teaching all these people for so so long and they are such good people but they don’t seem to come to a right conclusion on what they should do with the knowledge they are receiving. It’s been a little stressful, but it’s also been very fun because they keep asking questions I’ve never thought of, and they force us to go and search doctrine and truths that we have never come across. Sometimes I feel that the Lord is teaching me more than them. The truth that has just struck me the most is this. "As man is now, God once was. As God is now man can become." I know it’s true, the spirit has borne witness to it, and it’s the divine destiny of the righteous. I can’t wait till that day when I have the chance to fulfill that doctrinal truth. Love you so much grandma and thank you so much for everything you do for the family! Thanks a million for giving me $50, I saw these super cool Italian shoes the other day that are on half off and I was thinking what I could do to get them since I ran out of money haha. But now I think I might be able to get them! You’re the best! I congratulate Jordan and I’m just too thrilled that he has chosen to serve the Lord. The mission really has changed me more than the people I have taught and for that I’m so thankful for the chance to serve. Love you and have a good week! Dio vi benedica!

Grandpa, Wow I can’t believe how green it is there. The photos are amazing! Bummed knee huh? Well that’s no fun sorry to hear about that. Hope all will get worked out. Props for getting around Europe on a bummed knee eh? Things are going well here. The weather is starting to cool down a little bit, fall here is really really nice compared to what I am used to in Idaho so I will be enjoying every second of it. Time here is going fast and I’ve been having lots of fun, even though I’m always dead dog tired. It’s like the jet lag never went away haha. Well have a great week grandpa. Thanks for the photos!