Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hello dear family

Hello dear family,

Oh dear. Can I just begin by saying that your emails this week were so insensitive? You need to make life at home sound about a hundred times less fun and you need to do way fewer fun things. No more Les Miserables, no more chocolate, no more books. Oh dear. I actually do love hearing about it. Don't stop writing me about the cool stuff you're doing just so I don't think about home. Hearing about all the cool stuff at home only motivates me to work hard enough and find all the cool stuff in my life here. But, boy oh boy life sounds so fun at home. I can't believe mom's list of cool stuff. I feel like I'm going to spend the first month after I get home reading, listening to music, and eating. Life is great, isn't it?

Let me tell you about a few of the cool things on my end. This week we got a very promising referral from some members. She's from Brazil so she speaks Portuguese, and because she lived in Spain she speaks Spanish- but no Italian. She speaks with the members in Portuguese because the wife is from Brazil and then I have discovered that I'm actually pretty good at Spanish. I'm learning Spanish or rather I have and I'm getting a lot better at it.

Speaking of Anz. Chipman he's doing really well. It's so fun to watch him adjusting to missionary life. He says a lot of really funny stuff in Italian and in general he's just got a really happy Springville, Utah character. He's so nice and luckily he laughs at himself a lot, which is good because I laugh a lot. As dad predicted living in four is also really fun. I wrestle a lot more and we have a lot of fun. It's also nice because whenever one companionship has success we all get excited about it so it's like having twice as much success.

Speaking of companions I can't believe Stephen is with Gunnar. I was just writing Stephen a letter. What a small funny world. I'll tell Stephen to watch out for Gunnar's yoga moves.

In other news I've been having so much fun with this new study method of looking for patterns in my notes. It has been so cool. I love it so much that I would recommend that everyone do it and buy a cool notebook to do it in. Like a moleskine. Oh I love moleskine notebooks. They're so cool. They've gotten really big in Italy and a few weeks ago I found a little moleskine store. Normally they just sell the notebooks in other stores but this was a store all just for them. It was so cool. I'm proud to say though that I was far ahead of the trend. I liked moleskines way before everyone else thought they were cool.

I was thinking, with all these letters you are sending, would it be possible to get any bit of this cool reading material? A cool talk or a chapter or anything really.

Can you believe how time is passing. I'm on the other side of the ocean so mom can't kick me in the shins, but maybe it's the combination of being with someone who was so recently at home or the fact that I really am coming home soon-ish, but it doesn't sound so far away anymore.

Oh I love you. Mom, make sure you keep a good book list for me. I'm excited to read some talks.

Life is good here in little old Muggio. I miss you lots. Have a good week.

Love Ben

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello family, and Ruth and Bill and Lizzy, Zoey, John and Will,

How is thanksgiving. Are you eating lots of cranberry ice and pie for me? Mmm I hope so.

What's new this week?

Well I feel really old. Last Thursday I picked up my new companion Anz. Chipman in Milano and we made our way to Muggiò. Anz. Chipman is from Springville, Utah and guess what? He graduated last spring. He's the same age in school as Stefan. Having a brand new missionary is pretty fun and not that I'm getting cocky or anything but it really makes me see how much I've learned and grown since being a missionary. Anz. Chipman is the best trainee I could ever ask for. He's like a big teddy bear and is so nice and just wants to do what's right and work hard.

Muggiò is really cool too. We are living with the zone leaders and I really like living in four. I always think about the happiness book when it talks about getting strength and support from our social network. Muggiò is a huge area and even though it's not actually much bigger than any of the other zones I've been in but the difference in Muggio is that there isn't really one big city but rather lots of little cities so there are people to work with spread out throughout the whole zone. We're going to be spending a lot of time on buses. The ward is one of the biggest and strongest I've ever seen. There are about 180-200 people in church every week and lots of really strong families. In fact there are two sisters from the ward serving at temple square. So if you ever meet an Italian sister at temple square I probably know their families.

Other exciting news is what has taken the name of the hastening. The zone leaders came home from consiglio really excited and told us that President had been talking about a hastening in the work. President said that this hastening is something he has been waiting for since his mission. When they got telegrams in Italy he thought it was the hastening and then the internet and lots of other things he thought about the hastening beginning, but at a mission presidents conference last week all the general authorities were talking about the hastening. Anz. Chipman was telling me about when Elder Bednar spoke at the MTC and he talked about how it makes him laugh when people speculate about different reasons for the age change. The real reason he said was that the Lord will hasten his work in his time. I think it totally makes sense. Missionary work and missionary preparation is changing a lot because of the age change and it has got to mean something big is happening. It's a sign of the second coming so get ready. D&C 88:73 talks about it. Anyways enough end of the world talk.

I'm so happy Hans is 16 and that he's my brother and that he's alive. I hope I'm like him when I grow up.

Well I love you lots. Happy thanksgiving. I hope you made it to California safe. Oh I love you so much family. I wish I could think of more stories to tell you about this week. I'll have to think of some for next week.

Love Ben

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye Torino

Oh hello dear family-

Monday morning I got a call from President and he told me I was going to Muggiò. Or was it Monza? Well the idea is that Muggiò has a really big area so I'll be going there and taking the Monza section. Monza from what I understand is just north of Milan. I'll also be training. I've always thought training would be a fun adventure so I'm pretty happy about it.I just realized that it won't be too long before Stefan is getting trained in some part of the world. I've had dreams about Stefan leaving really early, coming to the Milan mission and me training him. Oh it would be fun.

Transfers always give me such a mix of emotions because I'm excited for what's to come but always so sad to leave. I've started to feel so at home in Torino and there are some people that I hope to be able to stay in contact with. I'm always surprised and flattered when people notice and even care that I'm leaving. They see so many missionaries come and go and I know that I am really cool, but... Anyways I'll be sad to leave Torino. Yesterday we went over to the stake missionary leader's house because he wanted to talk to us about some stuff and at the end I told him he was leaving. He lives a few floors above his mom and when he heard I was leaving he improvised and invited us down to his mom's. They got us pizza and we had one of the funniest dinners of my life. At the end the mother kissed me on the cheeks (which is very normal and traditional, but also not allowed for missionaries, but she did it anyways) and sent us home with a giant 6X6, inch thick bar of famous Piedmontese chocolate.

I love the people (and the chocolate) of Torino and I'll miss them a lot.

I'll also miss Anz. Roisum. I'll always remember Anz. Roisum for the way he loves the scriptures. I love having a companion that likes to study because we have an hour to study together every morning and it can be miserable if someone doesn't enjoy studying, but equally wonderful when you get two people who like to learn.

I also can't believe how old I'm getting in the mission. Hearing about Taylor, Ryan and Nick being/going home is crazy too. I'm glad I've got training to think about otherwise it would be too easy to get lost daydreaming about going home. I can't believe how close it is. Now I hope I don't set mom off saying this, but It really doesn't feel like that much time. Monza could easily be my last city and more and more of my mission friends are going to be home soon. Which reminds me of Christmas.

What can you send? Well let me give you the inside scoop because I was the one who took care of the packages for a while. Italian customs are well, very Italian. Sometimes packages will get charged for customs, sometimes they won't and it's almost impossible to predict. It you send meat or anything that sounds too much like food you're pretty sure to get charged. The mission asked people to stop sending packages because as Italy got more and more into debt more and more packages started getting charged for customs. The mission pays for the customs because the packages have to be payed for on the spot in the office and it can be a hassle and take a bit of trust to get missionaries to pay the mission back. So technically you can send whatever you want, but the office might curse your name and I might have to use personal money to pay for customs. My suggestion would be to send stuff in envelopes because my bags are already stuffed and pictures and letters are some of the nicest things you can send right next to socks which you can also get into an envelope.

Alright Hans here are your questions- tell me about the play and your dance date.

Stefan I'm really jealous of your study time and I'm jealous of everyone else for their igloo.

I love you lots. Have lots of fun in California and write good letters. Thanks for the article mom.

Love Ben