Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh my goodness

Oh my dear family,

Lately I keep having moments when I feel like the priorities in life are just so clear. I say to myself "What's important in life is so clear and it's amazing how much we get confused, when really true happiness lies in a loving family and the blessings of the gospel." But then my blood boils just a little bit when I hear about injustice and unfairness and my genius, deserving little brother being cheated of so much money and opportunity by the school system that I hate so much.

The thoughts that come to mind are how hard life is and can be and how hard it can be to truly live the principles of the gospel in the moment of crises, but simultaneously how much more meaningful things like faith and forgiveness become when we really truly have an offense to forgive. As my blood cools and the adrenaline drains from my veins these are my thoughts. First of all I cannot deny that the Lord's hand is in all things. Everything will work out. Lehnardt's are not the kind of people to be blocked by a hiccup in the plan. Years down the road when Stefan is famous and successful his success will only be made greater by the difficulty he faced in getting there. Perhaps one day we will even be thankful for this, or maybe not, but one way or the other I suppose that now that the deed is done all that's left for us is to react in our own way. Now is the time for us to forgive and go on.

Oh my goodness. I can't believe this. I'm sorry for all my preaching. I'm sure that Stefan doesn't need it, but I thought I would say it for the rest of us weak souls. Oh Stefan, you must me destined to do something great to have to deal with something like this on the way. Let us all forgive and look forward with hope. We will turn this obstacle into a great opportunity to show just how we react and where our true loyalties lie- in Jesus Christ.

Dad, regarding the skis. I do love those skis. I don't think you know how much time I spent in the garage just looking at them and admiring them. I do hope I grow though because I remember them seeming impossibly long for me.

Poor Gabe. Couldn't you guys convince the lifty that you had a son named Mary. Or maybe Gabe could have just talked really high and pretended to be a girl with short hair?

Dear movie makers. I loved the sorcerer movie. I really was pretty impressed with how much story you told and how few special effects you did. I think I will go back though and just watch the whole movie in reverse just to make it more like your old videos.

Stefan- Heritage or Helaman. That is the question. I really can't decide which to suggest. I liked Heritage for the aspect of being able to cook and hang out. Then again Helaman is really fun because it's so much easier to meet lots of new people there. I think you could have a lot of fun in either of them. Is there anyone you think you might room with? How set are you on BYU? What colleges have you heard back from? What's the news on Harvard? MIT?

So you're doing lent? You may be the only people I talk to for the next 40 days who celebrates lent. I wasn't really aware that it was going on. I've heard a lot more about Carnivale which is like the opposite of lent. I actually don't think it's too wild around here. Our ward is having a carnivale party and I think it's just kind of like Halloween. Good luck with your abstinence.

The birthday video was so good. I loved seeing so many people. Grandpa Fritz and Grandma Maria, the Linkouses, the Mitchells, Roger Dudley, my Aussie friends the Georges...I give a special thanks for Clint and Katy's appearance.

Life in the office is good. This week I've learned all the tasks I'm responsible for. The real test will come next week when Sorella Burgoyne who trained me leaves and I'm left to work alone. I think I may have mentioned it last week, but I do a lot of writing and editing. I guess this is my chance to find out how much I would really like to write for a living. I've always wondered what it would be like to write for a newspaper or a magazine possibly even writing books and I suppose that now I'm being given a chance to sample it and see if it's more than just fun to think about.

Since I've gotten here we've set up two baptisms. Maria should be getting baptised next week and Stella the week after. We have inherited lots and lots of women to work with thanks to the sorelle. Milano is a lot different than any other place I've been because of all the south Americans here.

I miss you all. I hope this week goes better than the next. I'm always praying for you.

Love Ben

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In Italy rum is rum

Hello family-

Oh my dear darling family people...

This week has flown by. There have been a few moments this week that just made me think- "I'll have to email about this." So let me begin.

After an appointment fell on Thursday through we stepped into a bakery for a treat. I picked a nice big chocolate ball that looked delicious. I bit into it and tasted rum and my thoughts went like this. "I've had chocolate with rum flavoring before, this must be the same." I finished it off. "Why does my mouth burn and my throat sting? Wait. I'm in Italy. They aren't afraid to put real alcohol in treats." I learned my lesson that when you taste rum in something it means that there is rum. The lesson really sunk in too because I spent the rest of the night with a stomach ache and a light head. Why would anyone ever drink?

The next day we went to an appointment with one of the Nigerian members and one of his friends. They had talked to us about Nigerian food before and tonight was the night that they made some for us. What we ate was semolina which is basically the same thing as fufu, which is pretty crazy. Fufu is a weird doughy substance and there were two lumps of it as big as my head sitting on the table. The way you eat it is by pulling a ball off with your hands and dipping it in the stew which had cow parts in it and looked like throw up. The weirdest part is that you don't chew it, you swallow whole. The logic is that the semolina or fufu has already been ground and you chew your food to grind it and because the semolina has already been ground you don't need to chew it. It was a crazy eating experience that I'm proud to say I survived, and I loved watching Prince and his friend enjoy a food that was truly so strange.

Besides the comings and goings of my stomach I don't have a lot to report. I just did a scambio with Anz. Bona in Vicenza and I really loved it. Anz. Bona has become one of my good friends in the mission. He's really a great example of being kind and loving people and I loved hearing his perspective as he looks back just before going home. Hearing about his successes and lessons learned and also regrets really made me think about the way I live and serve. Anz. Bona is a missionary who knows how to have fun, and he also has a very sincere spiritual side. Looking back on it as I write I'm realizing how cool it is that I can spend time with another guy my age and talk about spiritual things and it isn't weird at all.

I'm tired of writing about myself now so I'm just going to write about you guys.

I love Beaver Mountain and I'm so jealous of your luxury vacation there. I don't think our whole family has ever gone skiing together until now and I guess it wasn't our whole family because i wasn't there. The Garlicks sound amazingly awesome and I can't wait to meet them.

I hate to say it mom but valentines day is a big deal here, but I really haven't seen anything extravagant or over the top like you want. Next Tuesday we're going to Mestre for interviews and training so I'll spend valentines day on trains and in a training meeting, although that night I think I'll be going to Mauer's house for dinner.

I really don't know what else to tell you. I miss you a lot. I'm working hard and trying to stay excited and happy. I can't believe Stefan hung out with Heather til one in the morning. The more and more I talk about my family I feel like I came from a family of all stars. On Sunday I was telling a member family about my family and as I was telling them everyone's age I realized that Xander wasn't 12 anymore, but 13. It's so strange to be so far away and so removed for the passing of your lives. I'm just glad that mom takes lots of pictures and sends them to me otherwise I don't know if I would recognize you when I come home. I already hardly recognize Hans. I think it might be warming up a little, but my Utah heritage keeps me from trusting any real warm up until April.

I love you and I miss you. I'm doing well and I hope you are too. I'm so glad all of you were born and I'm so glad we got to be born so close to each other in the big world.

Love, Ben