Thursday, June 20, 2013

Know It, Live It, Love It

June 19, 2013 

Well this week has been, well, HOT! Man we are climbing up there hotter everyday and I’ve somehow turned into a camel; I drink so much I can’t believe it. It’s rather perplexing, but let’s just say that me and the heat have a love hate relationship. I hate it because I smell and am sweaty, but I love it because the struggle just means that the Lord is going to help us out and build us stronger through the battle of the afternoon sun.
Well my new companion Anziano Davis is a really good missionary! He’s from Dallas Texas. It’s really fun working with someone who has a lot of experience. We agree on many things and we have a good amount of ideas to put into practice. It really is just fun because we both know that we have seen some good things so far from the mission and well, its becoming a very very rare thing to serve with an old missionary because they are all training or are in zone leader positions or assistants to the president. So it’s probably not going to happen again unless I get to do one of those things. I’ve already learned a lot in just a few short days, and the success we have isn’t measured by our numbers, but the knowledge that we have gained is priceless. Actually there is a price but not monetarily speaking. It comes from prayer, study, trials and challenges that we have faced. To me it’s a big price to pay, but the benefit is far better than the price we have paid to get these blessings of knowledge and an increased guidance from Heavenly Father. What did I know before the mission about the gospel? I would say probably next to nothing. I didn’t even know who God was. I knew he existed and he gave us this life and made the atonement possible, but that was about it. Now I know the way he communicates, blesses, acts, loves, cares, and how he feels about his children. The deep affection and the great plan of mercy that he has given us. What the gospel actually is. If you asked me what the gospel was before, I would have said the teachings of Christ and the way he wants us to live. But it is so much more than that. So much more! There are just so many things that I never understood that I now understand. It all makes sense now. It’s all just clear. There is no confusion; I may have questions and ways to deepen my understanding still, but the gospel itself is so simple and clear that it is the only way to salvation for all of Gods children. That’s what I’ve learned in the short time on the mission. I would hope that all can discover and not only know it in the head, but know it, live it, and love it in their heart. This comes through the power of the Holy Ghost only. I knew all this in my head, but now it’s been planted, grown, and nourished in my heart and its starting to grow, and there is still more space for it to grow.

Well before it slips my mind I wanted to say Happy Father’s day to Dad. Man what a great Dad I have! Dad thanks for everything you have done and will do for me. You have been a great example for me. I learned now to work hard and that’s what I needed for the mission because let me tell you it’s not easy out here. It’s not easy to be on a mission in the first place, but Italy is on a different level my friend. There have been many days with just a good 6 hour block of time with nothing scheduled except finding. But I’m glad that we have to have these trials because it will all be for the best in the end.  Thanks for your example all those years.  It’s made all the difference now! That’s what matters. Ok well I love you a lot.

One more thing,  I helped a homeless guys buy food. Do you think you could help me out with that on my card? Its €20 I believe, at a store called Benet. Thanks!

Love, Drew

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Working Hard in Lecco

June 12, 2013 

Well to describe the transfer here in Lecco it’s a little like this. As you know we’re are really big here on 20 lessons, because the European Area Presidency has declared a promise that all missionaries who teach 20 lessons double their baptisms. Well during the winter the mission, as a whole lost that focus a little bit and we did not get even close to reaching that on average. But now that summer is here more people are out and about and well you just naturally teach a lot more than winter. Winter is pretty tough, but anyway, the week I got to Lecco they taught 21 lessons and rightly so, we had 2 baptims this transfer. And then we just hit rock bottom. From 20 to nothing because we baptized 2, dropped 3, and lost 1, and then we had 3 people not answering the phone and disappeared off the face of the earth. Oh man that was hard. To go from teaching that many lessons to nothing was rough. And of course I have never tasted of the 20 lesson week in my mission, I think I came the closest with Anziano Smith.  I’m probably one of the only ones to not reach this goal and to be rather honest, well I got mad a little because you bet I work hard. You bet I’m obedient. I come from the charge of President Manwaring and well, you don’t get slouchy missionaries from him and It was rather disappointing because for the life of me I could not figure out why everyone else in the mission could reach 20 lessons and I could not! I know many who are not obedient as they should be and they are baptizing strong members and have a day packed full of lessons! What’s with that? So I set out to find out what was stopping us. Well with a lot of prayer and self evaluation and study, it came down to the fact that I didn’t think I could. I really didn’t honestly believe that I could get 20 lessons because it seemed like one of those things that are so far into the distance that only the good cities get, and only the miracle cities get, and that’s just not Busto, Siena, or Lecco. Well I was wrong. If the miracles that Jesus did are true then it should be a snap to get 20 lessons with some faith, obedience, hard work, good planning, and goals. Took me one year to figure that out unfortunately, but I got in figured out. We are hoonin ( as they say in Australia) here in Lecco now! I pulled myself out of the pit and we are getting keen (also Australian terms) on 15 lessons first and then we will be on the road to 20.
We are doing great and I think to help me accomplish this task the Lord is sending me a stud of a comp.
His name is Anziano Davis! I already know him and he is in the group above me,. We will have 2 old missionaries out here harvesting the streets of Lecco. He’s super obedient and is a calm focused missionary. I knew him from the MTC, and he was my district leader in Busto for a while, so we have already worked together.  I have a feeling that this transfer is going to be awesome. I’m really excited! Anziano Ramey was an awesome companion as well and he taught me a lot and got me started on good goals and having some ambition which prepared us to do great on this next transfer. Anziano Ramey is off to Genova and so is Anziano Johnson, they are actually new companions in Genova together hahaha. How funny. No need to meet your new comp he’s already here! But Anziano Murphey my Australian buddy is training. Tomorrow we will have our new comps.

Well I don’t want to get you hyped up to much so if I fail then I look super cocky, haha but I will put my trust in the Lord on this one and I’m pretty set on this because I don’t have a lot of time left in the mission and I don’t want to have any regrets and well, I have some making up to do. I hope to get it done.

Elder Benson

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's Always Good On My End

Anziano Remy and Benson in Lecco
Well,  it looks like you are all having some fun so far during the summer break. It’s hard to believe that it’s already June! The summer will soon be over in a few months. The summer heat really hasn't kicked in yet. I am actually loving the weather so far haha. It’s been really nice here; about 70s everyday with a nice breeze, and then we usually will get some really really good storms here with lightning and some super heave rain and then it passes. With the mountains around here, the weather is rather interesting. Makes for some really awesome storms. I’m liking Lecco a lot. It’s not super small here but it’s a nice little town. Everyone always talks about Como, but really Lecco is the hidden gem on the other side of the lake. Bigger mountains more cliffs and a better view of the lake. The beauty makes it easier to relax a little and enjoy where you are. I’m not much of an arts guy either.

We still have a fair amount of investigators but they are dropping like flies fast! So we have to get on the hunt soon. I don’t always love street finding the most, but at the same time I love it because you always see the coolest stories and coolest miracles. For sure. There are many other miracles, but the best ones are when you’re out pounding the pavement after many hours. It’s been a very great pleasure to be in Italy. There are many different cultures, many Africans, middle eastern people, of course Italians but there are many others as well. I have even found some different foods and learned to like some of the music you hear from the middle eastern countries when you’re in the streets. It’s pretty cool and it helps you see how different we are all created, but how we are still the same.  I like the different cultures, it makes the world different and exciting. There is even an invite in Preach My gospel that says take note of what things in the culture where you are serving are good and take them and apply them in your life. The Italians strength is definitely the family. They love the family here and they are so big on doing what the people before you have done and doing it the family way.  Tradition! So don’t lose your traditions! Pass them on and make it a good thing! It makes us strong and united.
 I don’t know what to say, no matter what happens in the mission it’s always all good on my end. Even if I’m so tired and can’t even walk anymore, or we just got 5 appointments cancelled in one day. It’s all just for best and really nothing can go wrong if you’re doing your best.

Well Thank you so very much for the letters sisters. I’m not sure what happened to Ellis, still celebrating I’m sure, but thank you all the others. Good job on scoring goals and you guys are the best! Keep on having fun because one day the party is over, haha just ask Ellis.