Wednesday, March 20, 2013

THE END

Hello family-

I don't know if anyone got the message but I'll be home on Friday. Could someone come give me a ride home? I'm in Italy right now and I'm almost done being a missionary, but not quite. Tonight I'm going to teach the grandma of one of the sister missionaries at temple square. She was planning on getting baptized when her granddaughter got home in September, but in church on Sunday she came up to me and said, "You're the first person I'm telling but I want to get baptized on my birthday- May 19." Tonight will be the last lesson I teach as a missionary and then tomorrow I'll go to Milano and have dinner with the Wolfgramm's and then the next day I'll be home.

Did Mom really dye her hair blue? I still can't figure out if that's a joke or not. I think it's probably a joke.

I'm giving a mass acceptance to all invites everyone gave me. Beekeeping, bb gun shooting, apartment managing/fixing, James Bond marathons, sleeping on Stefan's couch (that's my own invite, but oh well), tea parties, trips to the park and whatever else anyone wants to do.

What else...

As far as people at the airport I don't really want anyone but family there. I don't want it to be a big deal and I really just want to see you guys. There will be plenty of time to see lots of other people- because there are lots of people I'm excited to see- but I want take it a bit at a time. I don't want to have to pay attention to anyone but you guys right at first.

It must be at least a week since I've slept for a full eight hours. I either lay awake for a long time before falling asleep or wake up an hour early because I'm so excited to come home. I have to take deep breaths for at least five minutes before I try to study otherwise I get nowhere. Is anyone else going slightly crazy? Based on Xander's email I'm pretty sure he's lost it too.

Well this is it- the end. I don't think anyone will be able to understand what this feels like. In moments when I'm not busy working or thinking about home I have a solid feeling of peace. I feel satisfied. I feel like I'm in a holy place. I don't just say it because I'm a missionary but I feel like I've done something of worth, something significant that not even I completely understand yet. I'm glad I came on a mission and I'm glad I stayed being a missionary despite all the times it would have been easier not to. I love you guys and I love the Lord.

Love, Ben

THE END

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Penultimo

Dear family-

...I feel like I'm back where I was two years ago when writing you makes me too excited to think of things to write about.Dear family-

...I feel like I'm back where I was two years ago when writing you makes me too excited to think of things to write about.

Before I forget, Melvin just let me know his wedding will be June 21st. I've got to be there. I don't know how much of the summer is already planned but that's an important event to keep in mind. Also the dinner sounds fun. Melvin wrote me about it and he loved it. It won't be long before I'm there too.

OK so I'm moving down my list of things. Sometimes I like making lists to help me remember the important things to write about but then sometimes it just cuts out all of my other random stuff that I remember as I ramble. I'm still reading the Old Testament and it's so cool. This week the ten tribes were lost. How do you lose a whole tribe of people let alone ten!? Haha I'm so funny. Anyways it was so cool to understand the background and see what a big deal it really was to lose them. The scriptures talk about it all the time and now we're working on gathering them again. Did you know that the gathering of Israel and them taking back the land of their inheritance will outdo the Exodus in significance? One day people will stop talking about God as the God that brought the children of Israel out of Egypt (which they do all the time) and they will start to refer to him as the God who restored the ten tribes of Israel. Anyways I've been enjoying my study time lately.

Stefan- Oh where do I even begin to talk about Stefan? First of all happy birthday to you Stefan. And secondly I hope you want to hang out with me as much as I want to hang out with you when I get home. Without doubt I count as one of the greatest blessings of my time as a missionary the way I feel about Stefan. I clearly remember nearly two years ago when I first heard about Stefan's ACT score and my first reaction was jealousy, "Why does he always outdo me?" But then something told me to stop. I took a deep breath, and just started to feel happy for him. I realized that I was lucky to be his brother and that his success didn't have to make me look like less. Before long Stefan become my favorite topic of thought and conversation and everybody on the mission knew about my brother Stefan. Why did I waste so many years fighting with Stefan? Now it doesn't matter though. What does matter is that we have years and even eternities to come together. I'm so grateful for that day when my heart began to soften and I discovered my brother.

The next thing I put on my list is home. I'm not sure if I have anything in particular to say about it besides the fact that I'm so excited to come home.

Metro Miracle- The other night I was on a scambio in Milano. We were riding along on the metro and I made eye contact with a lady. I smiled and she started to cry. I walked over and sat down next to her and asked if everything was OK. She explained that her mom had been in a coma for a week now and that she was a member. The lady herself was a member too but it had been a long time since she had gone to church. We sat and talked for a minute and I got her information to give to the missionaries in the area. She was crying because seeing us was a sign to her. She said we were angels. Whether or not I actually am an angel it was cool to be in a position where I was acting as an angel to someone.

Well I'll see you soon. Have a good week. I'm alive and doing well.

Love, Ben

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

kissing girls


Hello family-

Melvin is getting married! The video was so cool. It was so perfect. And they look so happy. I'm so excited for them.

The video really was very cool. I'm sure Melvin and Maggie loved it. Wow I still just can't believe I watched him kissing a girl and stuff like that let alone kneeling down and proposing.

Well, I'm feeling much better than last week. The weather is rainy and my companion is sick but life is good. I can't wait to come home. The other day we were on our way coming home from my last district meeting. It still doesn't really feel like I'm really coming home but every time I come to a "last" it becomes a bit more real. I'm really excited to come home and I can feel myself starting to move on but I feel good about it. I'm not done yet and I've still got two weeks of good work left in me, but looking back I can honestly say that I've been trying and working and giving my best for two years. I wasn't always the best but I worked at it and I improved and I never really stopped. And I think it's because of that that I can start to move on with peace of mind. The end has come and I while there are lots of things I love here I don't feel like I'm leaving things undone. I feel satisfied and it's a good feeling. I'm ready for what's next.

Speaking of what's next marriage seems to be coming up constantly. I don't know if I've just started noticing it or if people are really talking about it more but I feel like I hear about it all the time. Last night was probably the best. I was on a split with the stake patriarch, who is such an amazing guy, and he ended up telling me all about how he met his wife and what he thought were important things in finding a wife. It was so fun and funny.

I feel like I don't have that much to say. We're teaching a guy who stopped us on the street. He's a Buddhist and pretty funny. He came to church on Sunday and when they asked him to introduce himself in priesthood meeting he said his name and then said "and I'm a mystic."

Life is good. I'm not going to die. I can't wait to see you again.

Love, Ben

OK, in an effort to try and share something slightly meaningful I'll tell you about my latest scripture studying. I got a new copy of the Book of Mormon and I've been specifically studying the atonement. I've heard of people doing this before and I'm amazed at how good it is. It's nice because I don't worry about writing too much in the copy because that's all I'm using it for and I've been amazed at how much I've learned. Confirming once again that I learn by writing.

OK, all done. Have a good week.