Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Five Worlds

Oh dear family-

The weather here finally started to cool down a little bit and the timing was perfect because I was thinking about fall and everyone going back to school. You might be surprised at how excited I got about the beginning of a new school year and I wasn't even going back to school. I can't believe how old you are though. Stefan going to college, Hans at high school and taking 3 AP classes while he's at it. How did you get yourself into that Hans? You'll do great though, you're smart and you know how to work hard. Do you love Mother Wood? And Mrs. Farr? Oh they were my favorites. Where is Stefan living? It didn't look like dorms. I just get excited thinking about new books and pens and pencils and notebooks and learning new things. Oh it sounds fun.

Oh I can't believe Stefan is at BYU.

I really thought a lot about you guys going back to school this last week and I remember when I went down to BYU. The biggest lesson I learned was just how much I loved our family. It's a lesson I'm still learning, but I was so surprised at just how much you meant to me. I remember one weekend when I came home for something. We went to church and had pancakes and played ticket to ride and life just felt so good at home. As I drove away I wanted to cry and to my surprise I did. I stopped crying long enough to pick up Mary and talk to her family, but then as we passed Wasatch I couldn't hold it back any more and after about thirty seconds I had to pull over and Mary was in shock asking me what was wrong. I said I didn't know, just that the day at home had been so good. After a minute I pulled myself together still not completely sure of what had just happened.

The point is that I love you and everyone in our family.

This week we did a scambio in Genova and I went with Anz. Jeter. It was a scambio unlike any other because before I even arrived he knew more about me than just about any other missionary because he followed the blog. Just after I got my call and mom announced that I was going to Italy Milan he said he had three people tell him about the blog. One of them was, Elliot Newton, a family friend of the Lunds and I don't remember who the other two were. The idea is that it's amazing how many people read the blog. Anz. Jeter found it and loved it so much that he read the whole thing. It was pretty funny to mention a story and have him already have heard about it and seen pictures.

The Torino zone will be a lot happier this transfer because our transfer plan is more or less based on the happiness advantage. Its a bit out of the ordinary because most of the time zone visions focus on things like number of lessons or new investigators, but I like trying new things and people have been reacting well to it. I am a little nervous, however, that president and the APs will think I'm a weenie.

Anz. Rodriguez has to pick up his legal papers in La Spezia tomorrow so we came to see Cinque Terre today. It was so cool. I really can hardly describe it and I don't have the cord to send pictures. We will have to come back here someday and go swimming in the ocean. I really wanted to jump in the ocean after the hike through the trails but I resisted the temptation.

Things have been going well and I am happy. Anz. Rodriguez has lots of energy and a funny sense of humor. President told me to just expect him staying in Torino for one transfer because of the way things are working with zone leaders lately. That means we have six weeks together and I'm going to make the most of it and try to learn spanish at the same time.

I love you very much and miss you a lot.

Have a good week.
Love Ben

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Be Happy!

Oh hello family-

How did we ever get so lucky as to have such a good looking smart bunch of people in one family? I still can't believe you went to London.

We went to go do email yesterday (I'll explain why) and I knew I wouldn't have any emails but instead went to watch a few old videos. Little did I know that vimeo had a super cool new video waiting for me. I watched all eight minutes of you guys running and dancing through London at least four times. Oh it was glorious.

The reason we were doing email yesterday is because Anz. Sciarretta is leaving Torino to be a traveling AP and he needed to be in Milano today. The APs told me to do email on Tuesday and I told them they were crazy and that I was going to do it today. So now I'm doing it today. Don't they know that I didn't have any emails yesterday? Now I'm at the office in Milano. My new companion will be Anz. Rodriguez. He was born in Mexico and raised in Texas. He didn't learn English until he was 11 so I'm hoping he can help me with Spanish. I actually met Melvin before at BYU and now he's Anz. Rodriguez. He's a nice guy and I think it should be a fun transfer.

Did I mention how much I loved the London video?

This transfer went by pretty quickly and I think this upcoming transfer will be just as busy. I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I'm still very happy being a missionary- in fact I'm actually very happy and feel good- but life at home seems to be materializing before my eyes. I'm actually going to go home someday. I can't believe it. I remember when I had been in Italy for about a month and I talked to a missionary who had been here for about four months and I remember thinking to myself that if I could just make it to my third transfer I would be OK. Well I made it to my third transfer and now I've made it a little bit further. I can hardly believe how the time has flown. Do you remember when I was in Siena and the only good thing I had to write about was how beautiful the city was? That was a year ago! I know the time hasn't gone fast for everyone and it hasn't even always gone fast for me, but I'm still just excited to have made it past my third transfer.

Life in Torino is good and most of the members should be coming back soon. I feel like the work in the city really improved this transfer, so the next transfer should go well. We have to come up with a zone vision for the transfer. It's basically a battle cry or what we want to focus on for the transfer. I just want to show everyone mom's videos and read them dad's happiness brain washing training. Life is so much better when it's happy.

Thanks for your letters; I can always count on you. It's so nice to feel a little unconditional love. Even if I was a lame missionary I think you would still love me. The mission is definitely an extrovert place and I just love seeing videos and pictures of our family because it reminds me that there are other people in the world just like me. I love the thought that somewhere there's a place where I fit in perfectly.

Anyway, this is just your introvert son who is faking as an extrovert telling you how much he loves you. Yore the best mom.

Send me pictures soon and don't forget about your promise to make MHRP for me when I get home.

Oh I love you so very much. Until next week.

Love, Ben

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Letter of Love

An explanation of Ben's use of 'yore.' We were discussing how people confuse and misuse their, there, and they're and also your and you're. Stefan pointed out that people rarely misuse the third one, which is yore. As in "Yore hair was not so grey in days of yore". We had a lot of fun making up silly sentences based on this word. The coliseum is yore's. That's just one of the many things that keeps us entertained for hours. Sad, but true.

Oh dear family how do I love you? Yore the finest of the fine.

I often feel like I could compose a love letter to you, but that might be a bit strange. I really can hardly tell you just how much you mean to me and just how much I love you. You will never know.

Thanks for the expressions of missingness because it made me feel that I was definitely not forgotten which left me to just be really happy about yore crazy summer. I really can hardly believe all the fun and excitement and activity you were able to cram into one summer but I have the feeling that even though I may have missed out on one exciting summer it certainly won't be the last. In fact I have a feeling that there will be many to rival it. Just think of it- we will always have the usuals- Lake Powell, the Mitchells that will forever remain classic Lehnardt things, but from now on I will always be willing to play tour guide in Italy and then before long Stefan will have another cool place to talk about and so on. Our life is just too short for all the good things. Oh I love my mom and dad that taught me to love and enjoy life. I loved the pictures too mom. You guys are all so good looking too that I figure I too must belong in that beautiful group of people.

I could continue waxing on about yore beauty and perfection but I won't.

We got really lucky today finding that our usual internet shop was open only because the owner had to come in for a bit. Today is Ferragosto and everything is closed. Literally everything. It's the high point of a lasting August Italian phenomenon. Italians have what they call "ferie" which really just means vacation. Italians are totally crazy though in that they will leave for weeks and weeks on end. It's all pretty unplanned too. Lots of people we talk to say they're going away and they'll come back when they run out of money. Lesson to be learned: Italians take vacationing very seriously and aren't afraid to leave everything behind for weeks on end. August 15 you will find that idea firmly rooted in mind.

Yesterday I had no one to celebrate my half-birthday with. Everyone thought I was crazy for even remembering that it was my half-birthday. Poor people. They probably never had mothers who remembered things like that. To celebrate I bought myself gelato yesterday, and the day before and I'll probably get some more today.

Work is going well. We really just need to find more new people.

Thanks in advance for the promised book reports. I really loved the pictures you sent too. They were so cool. Oh I really can't believe them. I loved the one of Gabe and the London eye and Mary twirling in front of the castle. You really are amazing.

I'm glad that you miss me. I miss you too. Have a good week and do lots of fun things like writing me letters or making videos to send me.

I love you lots.

Love Ben

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

P-day in Dover

After reading my emails Anz. Sciarretta and I will be heading over to Dover to check out the castle. Holy cow I don't think I've ever heard of such a cool place in the world. Castle plus history, plus cannons, plus Lehnardt craziness sounds like a good afternoon. I tempted to just hop over the Alps and the Channel and come for a visit. Wow I'm jealous of you guys. I can't believe our family is capable of just picking up and going to go see and do so much cool stuff.

Our family voyages sure have changed a lot. Do you remember when dad plugged Stefan's nose and made him throw up on the train? Or when Mom passed out on the Metro in Boston and then threw up in Fanuiel Hall? The obvious trend is that our past trips involved a lot more vomit than today's adventures to Dover castle. Although I'll always treasure my memories of spaghetti being regurgitated through Stefan's nostrils, I really look forward to the no stroller, no child carrying Lehnardt adventures. And they're definitely adventures. Vacation just doesn't seem like the right word.

Things in Torino are going pretty well. The big challenge is to find new people to teach. One challenge is that it's August and everyone is going on vacation for the whole month. In my opinion though the real challenge are the people that seem so good the first time you meet them but then constantly give you bidoni. Bidoni is when they don't show up to appointments. We make time for them and plan for them and then they don't come and we ended up using our time and energy on them instead of something else. The hardest thing is that it seems like such a good thing to put time aside for them, but when it goes on for weeks and weeks there's hardly anything worse for the work. It's hard too because Anz. Sciarretta is much more emotionally attached to a lot of people and so it's hard for him to let go of anyone.

I really like Anz. Sciarretta though. I love his east coast accent when he says things like "aunt" and other stuff and it's definitely got me thinking about living back east at some point. He's got the funniest personality that really seems football-ish. He's really nice and loving, but he also has the potential to be really intense. The kind of intense required to tackle someone to the ground. We're really different but the nice thing is that we both realize it and we make it work well.

I'm starting to like Torino a lot more. I never didn't like it, but for the longest time I just had a weird feeling that I wouldn't really be staying long. I've settled in a lot more and the more I get to know the members and the city the happier I am.

I'd really like to get some of my questions answered especially about Stefan going to school. Give me some details, Stefan. I know you've been busy with fish and chips and castles this week but next week I want to hear about school. I want to see more pictures too. Oh I just love you guys. Have you read any good books lately Mom and Dad? Feel free to summarize them and send them to me. If you can manage to put your deep spiritual thoughts into words I'd love that too although I understand how challenging that can be.

Well chaps have a good week in London and a safe trip home. Hope you enjoyed your holiday. Send me blog posts and movies next week.

I love you much.

Love Ben

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Have a jolly holiday

Good day chaps-

I hope jolly old London is treating you well and that you aren't eating too much rubbish on holiday. Actually I would eat lots of rubbish if I were you. It's poppycock that you say that croissants are your favorite British food- croissants are french.

Well I've exhausted my British vocabulary unless you're driving a lorry. Oh how's your flat?

Oh mom I've been thinking about the photography thing a lot and I was thinking just what you said. It would be a great job/skill to have and it would be perfect for being in school because it's so flexible. Not to mention that I have an expert teacher. Anyways I get excited just thinking about it.

Lately I've gotten kind of obsessed with Preach My Gospel. It really started when I was in the office. I started noticing that the best of the best always went back to PMG. When Elder Causse, who is now Bishop Causse, came and visited our mission he pointed out that he had never served a mission because he was a convert, but he was still going all over Europe teaching missionaries how to be better missionaries. How did he know how to do missionary work? He read the manual- PMG. When I was in the office I realized that our time to do missionary work was so limited that we had to just do the very best work possible and it had to be done efficiently. I started studying PMG like crazy and the work suddenly became so much more fun and enjoyable.

When I first got to Torino after a few days Anz. Sciarretta said "if I had a dime for every time you said PMG I'd be a rich man." I'll admit that I do talk about it a lot, but it's only because it's the best way to do things. One of my favorite things lately is studying. It makes everything else go so much better which makes me happier.

Well my time has flown by. I really don't have much news for this week. I'm still a missionary doing missionary things. I don't have any complaints, well actually I really hope to get some pictures next week. Especially of the bikers. I heard that mom had to shed blood to get a good angle.

Why is my email so short? I'm wondering why I just don't seem to have as much to say lately? I have been doing a lot of the same stuff for a while now so there isn't as much new news to share, but I feel like I've still got new stuff going on. I need your help. Next week ask me some good questions. What do you want me to write about? Maybe you could give me some good conversation topics. Did you like David Copperfield, Stefan? When do you go down to BYU? Are you excited? Where are you staying? What about the rest of you? I know you're in London but what have you been doing lately? I need a good blog post or two to keep me updated.

I expect a good update on all of you next week with juicy details and everything. How much longer will you be in London? I have this weird feeling about Torino. I'm still trying to settle in. It just doesn't feel like I'm going to be here for a long time.

Well have a good week. I love you guys. Don't forget- I expect good updates next week. Have fun and be safe in London.

Love Ben