Wow, what an insane week. Yesterday in church I got so confused that I talked to an English speaker in Italian and then immediately afterward an Italian speaker in English. At one point I was "in charge" of helping and befriending three different investigators of ours and the other elders who had no idea what to do and spoke different languages. Our new ward mission leader even had the sister's recent convert teach gospel principles. I just had to hope that our love for the gospel would make up for our inexperience with it.
At the baptism we didn't prepare nearly as well as we should have, so I ended up wearing my suit coat over my wet baptism shirt afterwards. It was a miracle it even worked in the first place because we planned to meet Salvatore at the train station to catch a train that would get us to the church over an hour before the baptism. But that train didn't come, and then the bus we took had problems, but eventually we met Eman, got to the church and had the baptism. The two talks in Italian and the talk in English were translated for those who weren't bilingual.
As we waited in the bathroom for the sister's baptism to take place, I bowed my head to say a quick silent prayer, and when I looked up, I felt peace as I saw Eman mouthing a prayer of his own. For some reason the water in the font was FREEZING cold, but right as we stepped toward the center the water temperature literally heated way up and felt great. Maybe my dad can explain this using physics, but I thought it was pretty cool anyway. Overall it was a great way to celebrate the road Eman has taken to come closer to Christ, while remembering how much farther he still has to go. He has changed so much and I was so happy to be there to see him take one step further on his journey of discipleship.
This week we were excited to meet a few new potential investigator families! Helping a family into the Gospel would be great.
A couple months ago I was a little frustrated that it seemed very hard to get the few members we have in Bagheria to come to teach lessons with us, and I had the prompting that "you can get member present lessons, you just have to baptize the members first" (meaning that we can baptize people and then bring them to lessons to teach other investigators). Teaching Salvatore this week that thought came into my head again as he showed us how he writes these elaborate page-long reflections on his Book of Mormon readings and then puts them into people's mail boxes. I couldn't help but think that if he is already a good missionary now, I can only imagine how he will help after his baptism.
Sorry for this crazy and poorly written email!
Love you all,
For our third transfer pic at zone conference we weren't supposed to
smile, but as you can see, I couldn't really handle that.
smile, but as you can see, I couldn't really handle that.
Pretty crazy week (as always). I was very blessed to get my "permesso" to preach the gospel in Italy while I was still in my first city, so I don't have to return to my birth city later and get it. This was not the case for Anziano Vrska from Palermo, and I will just say that literally EVERYTHING went wrong for him, so we ended up taking the hour long bus ride to the airport four times over the past few days. Plus a train got derailed going to Agrigento, so many trains that would normally stop at Bagheria have been canceled. Bummer.
It's been an awesome week other than that though! Yesterday we ate lunch at Sorella Pecorraro's house. She is an older member from Milan who has lots of non-member friends and family here. We basically did a split with her, going to two different "appointments" and teaching 12 people total. The first one went super well, Sorella Pecorraro started crying during the opening prayer so I knew we were off to a good start. It was kind of nerve wracking to teach people in a big group style like that, but our Restoration lesson brought a few of them to tears, so we are stoked for our next appointment!
Salvatore has still been making great progress, he is WAY too deep into the doctrine for gospel principles so we may need to have him switch classes eventually haha. When we started talking about intelligences during our Plan of Salvation lesson I felt like we might have gone a bit too far. ;)
Crazy story of the week: we slept at Palermo the night before we sent off Anziano Simmons. We were supposed to wake up at 4 to catch the bus. But when I rolled over to check the clock it said 5:07. So we called up a taxi real quick to haul us to the airport, and payed him more money than I would like to admit. Unfortunately we paid all of our cash to do that, so we were stuck at the airport where all the ATMs were broken. Thankfully, there was one other guy waiting to take the bus back, and he agreed to pay for our tickets if we paid him back once we got to the ATMs at the station.
This week I studied the Christ-like attribute of virtue. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that most of what I could find was a bunch of old talks by Elaine S. Dalton. :) But I know that we all have royalty within us so we should be loyal to it. Especially for those of us who have taken upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ through baptism. There is no friendship more valuable than our own clear conscience, and our own moral cleanliness.
Yesterday during sacrament I was just flooded with personal revelation about baptism, repentance, forgiveness and the sacrament. Part of this was something I had already heard in conference, that we cannot wait to repent until we take the sacrament. It has to occur beforehand. Then we are forgiven as we take the sacrament. I don’t know how doctrinal this is but it made sense to me. It was wonderful. I realize now how General Authorities always have such perfect answers; they just have been tutored by the Spirit a lot more than we have so far!
Thanks for your emails,
The lady sitting next to me was a little weirded out by how
much I enjoyed the bus ride to the airport. The weather
has been changing and I love the clouds!
And some pictures from the Palermo zone conference courtesy of Sorella Waddoups...