From Mimi Douglas: I served my mission in Milan, Italy from June 1980-October 1981. For me, the Italian people are the most loving people I know. I learned that even though I am American, my soul is Italian. I was in Milan when the first stake was formed in Italy back in June of 1981. President Ezra Taft Benson was there to form the stake. My most spiritual experience both on my mission and in my life was there at that time. The new stake center was a rented two story building with a large wide staircase. While waiting for the meeting to begin, I went down the staircase, thinking my companion was right behind me, but she wasn't. She stayed to talk to some members at the top of the stairs. As I walked down the stairs, President Benson came in, walking very slowly, with two canes and bodyguards on each side. He stopped and looked at me and asked me how I was. I told him I was fine and then he stopped talking and just looked at me, for 30 seconds or so. In the silence of that short time, I felt President Benson's spirit look out from his eyes and assess my soul. I knew as the silence grew, that he knew me, he knew my soul, my shortcomings, my talents, all of me. And as he looked deep into my eyes, I knew I had passed the test, that I was worthy to be a missionary, worthy to be myself as a daughter of my Heavenly Father and I could make it to the Celestial Kingdom. I was in the presence of an apostle but more than that, Heavenly Father through one of his general authorities, told me spirit to spirit that he loved me. It has influenced the way I live my life and I know truly I am a better person because I know I can and will return to my Heavenly Father to live with him again. He promised. In those few seconds, I experienced the most sacred personal experience of my life. President Benson went on to form the stake and I was a most happy missionary.