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!!