Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Week 12

August 17, 2015

This week was Ferragosto, a big holiday where everyone is gone, so Saturday was the mission-wide apartment deep cleaning day. A lot of the members use the holiday to take a trip to the temple in Switzerland, so there weren't many people in church Sunday. Because of issues with the holiday and the train schedule, we got to church late, which was a massive bummer for a bunch of reasons. But in hindsight I think I gained a greater appreciation for the sacrament. We always tell people the sacrament is the most important part of church but getting there a little too late to take it was just super depressing.  It reminded me that this really is the most important part of my week. Thankfully we took it to someone else later and got to take it then. 

I told you all last week about how the heart of Lorenzo has changed. He isn't the only one! We saw Andrea this week, a guy who apparently used to be Evangelical and would totally lambaste the missionaries, but he has changed so much. He told us about how good he feels inside when he talks to us and I think our testimonies really hit him hard. 

We had transfer calls. Thankfully my trainer and I are both staying in Bagheria and he is going to be the new district leader. 

It stormed this week. They don't have rain like that in Medford! Unfortunately during this event we got locked out of the house, and ended up having to climb over to our balcony from another person's balcony and someone helped us break our back window with a hammer so we could get in. Needless to say we made copies of our keys after this experience. 

I also strengthened my testimony of the scriptures this week after English course.  There was an atheist there who asked me why, if there is a God, He would allow people to suffer like they do in the world.  I unfortunately realized that I hadn't prepared a scripture for that question. But all of a sudden a scripture in Alma popped into my head, which I shared. After that he was just like "ok, that makes sense". And that was it. It was super cool! 

Well we haven't baptized anyone here yet but we are getting close, and no matter what happens you all can know that I am doing literally everything I can go further the work here. Faith precedes the miracle.


Anziano Cannon 

This isn't your mom's calzone...

We went bowling with the two newest converts in the ward, 11 year old Marco 
and 21 year old (and mission bound!) Lorenzo.

Can you guess the theme of the names we used? 

Ethan's cousin Tristan Spencer just arrived in Rome
where he will be serving his mission as well!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 11

August 10, 2015

This week was zone conference! Here in the Rome mission we are allowed to wear skinny ties, suits, pants, and shirts because that is what is classy I guess. So all the Anziani went to a place called the "tie cave" which is this back room in a store where they have ties for 5 euro and we all bought the same sock tie to wear.

The best idea we got from conference was to basically go up to people with a restoration pamphlet and start talking. Seriously - we have truths that will change their lives for eternity; why would we need to ask them if they are interested? Sure enough, it worked, this guy named Paolo was super curious and asked us when we could meet again. 

My companion is making me step up to the plate more for my training, which includes making phone calls. Unfortunately it's super hard to understand people over the phone so several people ended up incorrectly thinking one of the ward members was sick because "someone" miscommunicated with him on the phone. Whoops.

We had a scambia (exchange) earlier this week. We had like 5 appointments set up, and they all got cancelled! Uh oh. But I learned so much from my district leader, Anziano Beesley. The second person we talked ended up speaking with us on the street for 45 minutes.  Because we said a prayer and challenged him to meet us again, it counted as a lesson!

Referrals here are golden, so we were stoked to go eat dinner and teach a nonmember friend of the Manino's at their house. We tried to learn a few French words before he came since he speaks that and Italian and Sorella Manino speaks those plus English and Chinese. Unfortunately, he got home too late, and the lesson will be this week. But on another note it has been really fun to learn words in other languages (Bangla on the buses in Palermo, some Twee in church with the Africans, and an unfortunately large amount of Sicilicano, which some people here love speaking).

We reestablished a baptismal date with Lorenzo - he is getting so close to being ready! Missionaries have been meeting with him for a while now, and he has come so far. It's so easy to picture him in his baptismal clothes. We are getting pretty excited here.  The time goes so quickly that today neither of us even felt like we needed a p-day and we almost would have been OK just proselyting like normal. Thanks for your prayers!


Anziano Cannon

Sorry I didn't take like any pictures this week! Here's the greenies of the Palermo zone though. None of them were in my MTC district but we have a special bond over the fact that none of us have a clue what we are doing!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Week 9 and 10

July 27, 2015

So the big ward joke right now is that my "bisnonno" (great-great grandpa) had 31 kids. Honestly it's not that funny but I laugh just because they think it's so hilarious. 

On Thursday we were going to go find less actives and we said a prayer and hugged like we always do before we leave and literally as we were about to open up the door, Giorgio, a less active, rang the doorbell! So that was pretty cool. We taught him a lesson and then he took us to get food. Honestly Baccio Bar is the best but if I go there one more time I'll have diabetes for sure...

That night with the Saccone family we had a great lesson with the Montegnas - a single mom and her two kids. It's cool how the Spirit works. I haven't had an experience where I just start spouting out words I have never heard before, but I still have been so, so blessed- very often when speaking I will be able to miraculously use words I have seen just once or twice in language study. That's what happened when I bore my testimony to the Montegna family.

Church was great because I finally understood what the people were talking about, and I literally felt like one of the two speakers was talking straight to the four missionaries in the room, especially me. This week I have definitely been learning faith. It is difficult to continue to have faith when you have to drop several investigators because they will just never meet with you, but our mission president said that there is someone ready to accept the gospel in each city where there are missionaries, so we press on. The Lord has blessed us greatly - sometimes He requires that you speed walk 3 miles in the afternoon so you can get to English course on time - but you do get to English course on time.  :)


Anziano Cannon 

There are two big theaters in Palermo, this is the smaller of the two. 

View from our balcony at night. You can sort of see the Catholic Church at the end of the road.

August 3, 2015

So great to hear from you this week! I am excited for zone conference in a few days. I was about to go up and bear my testimony yesterday during sacrament meeting when we had to leave so my companion could translate the temple prep class the stake president was teaching for an African. That was really cool, but it's too bad I missed that opportunity, for some reason it's like not scary at all to completely put yourself out there in Italian.

This week I had a really cool experience eating a yummy dinner as the sun set on the balcony of the third floor apartment of some members. It was sort of exactly what I had pictured when I thought of coming to Italy. And the mom said she might know someone who knew my aunt who went on a mission to Italy, is this a small world or what? 

We also met the coolest Muslim guy ever on the bus, he was from Bangladesh. It was nice to tell him about our beliefs and leave him with a pass along card but for me it was also just a good reminder that there are great people that belong to every religion.

We taught another lesson to the Montegna family. They were so close to coming to church on Sunday, it was sad that they didn't because the son got sick. I really feel like the gospel could help the mom quit smoking. We just got back from playing zone calcio (soccer). It was crazy, as we waited for the bus afterwards I literally had sweat dripping into a puddle from the bottom of my shorts! It was so great. I did my best in honor of my brother Seth and the ragazzi (boys) who were watching us play. 

Thursday morning as I took a shower we lost water. Thankfully I was able to get the shampoo out of my hair before it completely went out! Haha.  How did we do the dishes, use the bathroom, or take showers for the next couples days?   The condensation from the AC drips water into a bucket that we have to dump into the shower every couple days. This week, it was a miracle to have that nuisance. We would pour the AC water into the tank above the toilet and, after we both went, then we would flush it.  

Sometimes I feel like no one in Italy wants to listen to us.  Like at a pranzo (lunch) appointment with an old couple who spoke Siciliano (the local dialect I obviously don't speak) who, practically the whole time, would not let me finish even one sentence of a spiritual thought.  But we also see huge miracles, like when we walked passed a building and a guy from inside yells "you speak English?"  We don't have his phone number but we hope he comes to English course! We've even had non-members we know take English course cards to give to their friends.

This week I tried to gain a greater testimony of the Atonement. This time the way God went about teaching me is by showing me a multiplicity of weaknesses that I have. But, as Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, if we don't acknowledge our weaknesses, they can never become strengths (see Ether 12:27 and the talk "Lord, is it I?"). Things are going well here, thanks for your prayers!


Anziano Cannon

P day pizza last week! I can't believe I ate that whole thing. Here the crusts are thinner so it wasn't quite as huge as an American pizza. Those are fries on top. This place was awesome!

A cool church in Palermo.