February 1, 2016
What a week! The mission is one heck of a roller coaster.
This week we taught Janus again. My comp had a pretty sweet inspiration to ask him during the lesson if he wants to serve a mission. I had just earlier had the thought: "man Janus should go on a mission, too bad he's not even close to ready so we can't bring it up". But it ended up being a great conversation; definitely glad it happened as it is the perfect answer to his tough family situation right now.
Weird experience. This week I went to Terni for a scambio [exchanges] with my zone leader. It is a BEAUTIFUL hour long train ride. While I was there I met Marco Petrollini, who is featured in one of my favorite “I'm a Mormon” clips. He was just as happy as he is in the video. He and other faithful members remind me why Italy is getting a temple.
We were out finding at one point and walked past a park with a bunch of guys doing "parkour" [picture special ops guys doing an obstacle course]. I've seen videos of this before, but it was cool to see it in real life. By that I mean, people doing some of the cool moves and tricks in real life, but also the reality that not everyone starts out perfect- most of the guys there just cracked us up as they performed some of the most ridiculous, lame "tricks" ever.
While I was there, my companion was back at work in Rome, and apparently Mauro accepted the invite to be baptized! Asking questions is something that I've learned is so important. Previous missionaries who had taught Mauro a year ago had been kind of wimps, and, when my companion asked as we had planned why they thought we came to visit them, his less active wife responded that we were there to bring spiritually uplifting messages. Thankfully, they cleared that up with a nice message about our purpose, and our next lesson will be the Restoration.
We got a text from Jean Pierr. He told us it might be better if we met when school ends... In June. My companion and I are very worried that his mom is part of this. She means well for him, but she seems very occupied with his grades in school, and he currently has a tutor coming over for a few hours a day three times a week. Yesterday he agreed to meet one more time, we'll need some big time prayers that it will go well!
Liu is doing better, he's found some more work recently (a blessing of the spiritual steps he's taking in my mind). Sadly, he too said he may be leaving to find work elsewhere. I've never cared more, prayed harder, or loved as much the investigators we have right now. It's so hard, but I try to look on it always from the positive light. If they accept the message, they have gained so much. If not, it's not like we've hurt them. We can (usually) only do good here. (I say "usually" as I am reminded about when I stuck out my arm to block the metro door from shutting this week so my companion could get in too, then it malfunctioned and we cost all 200 or so passengers on that train about 20 seconds).
We have some incredible members. Yesterday with the Salerno family I was shocked again at the guts some of them have, hearing about how they preach the gospel on the buses or at work. Also on that note, we had a nice surprise when a member brought a 22 year old Romanian named Gabriel to church! Of course the combined third hour about genealogy taught by the high priests group leader and a senior missionary probably wasn't the most entertaining thing he ever listened to, but he said he'd come back next week and today we'll get in contact with his friend that brought him to see how we can get involved.
I have been terrible about getting pictures, it's hard because I think we are only allowed to take pictures indoors or on Mondays. Here's my district though. Quick note about the senior couple: they are the BEST. The Memmots have spent almost their entire retired life serving missions. Elder Memmot worked with Mitt Romney during the 2002 Olympics. They are great people and we missionaries really appreciate them.
February 8, 2016
Good week, we got our hot water back and found out Anziano Saffer and I are staying another transfer here!
Liu had a pretty cool dream this week involving the picture of Christ's second coming that's right out in the main area of our church. The members are really being great to him. The only awkward thing this week was when they consecrated a big bowl of oil for the ward priesthood holders to use during priesthood. If you try to put yourself in the shoes of a non-member, that's a little weird. Thankfully Fratello Rossato totally singled him out and was like "seeing as we have an investigator among us, let's explain what the priesthood is." Haha but it was no big deal at all, quite helpful actually.
I know we are supposed to become super mature and spiritual during the mission and all, but I'm not going to lie, if the Jehovah's Witnesses who proselyte here challenged us to a winner-take-all calico [soccer] death match, we would totally take them on and wreck them. Don't get me wrong, there are some really great members of their church, but most of their people we see are like 65 year old ladies.
We taught Mauro this week! Fabio had given us a really cool idea about illustrating the Restoration using a cup tower. Unfortunately, it didn't work out quite as we had planned it and I ended up having to basically say "As we can see, Christ's church was much more perfect than this cup tower". But it ended up being really good. If investigators don't feel the Spirit when you tell them the first vision they usually never will. And he did! It was pretty emotional for him and he accepted a March 26th baptismal date. I've also been really blessed to feel a love for his 14 year old stepson Dennis, who is a member. He is at a crossroad in his life and needs the family to be all together and active in the church for things to go well for him.
Oh my word this week we went to Villa Pamphili!!! It is the COOLEST PLACE EVER. You just enter this amazing park with these massive trees and walk on these super wide sand/gravel paths with a bunch of (actually decent) runners and an occasional biker. You walk past these beautiful Roman statues, and all the sounds you are used to from the city are gone - just birds chirping and some church bells ringing. The whole thing is kind of elevated so at one point there is a nice view overlooking Rome and St. Peter's. Even in just natural beauty alone, for you Oregonians I will say that this beats Lithia Park. But we didn't go there on p-day. It was actually for finding on a cloudless morning that was a warm 20 degrees [68 degrees Fahrenheit]. We found one guy to do the Restoration with; unfortunately he was a little too open minded in the end to accept it as truth.
I'm sorry to everyone and especially my mom for no pics, later today we are going to see some stuff with a less active who needs help.
[A few picutres of Villa Pamphili downloaded off the internet.]