Ciao famiglia. I can't believe that I'm writing you again. The weeks pass like days.
The work is still going here in Siracusa.. Still no new investigators.. but things are going well with the ones we have. Adriana came to church this Sunday for the first time! She is our investigator from Romania.
We went and visited her this week with Maria, her friend that referred her to us, and it was a really sweet lesson. We talked about Alma 32 and helping her faith grow.
She has a friend staying with her right now and she doesn't speak any Italian so Adriana translates the lessons for her.
Things aren't progressing so well for Anna Maria.. she is still having a really hard time quitting smoking. We have her on a program right now to help her, but her son has been in and out of the hospital, so it makes her really nervous and she picks up smoking.
We decided we just need to serve her and love her and not make her feel like we are pushing her into it..
So this week when we went over I asked if I could give her dog a bath.. she said yes, but the bidonte (caretaker?) said no.. but I beggggged Ghadi (the caretaker) and she said I could...
Princess Gets a Bath
So we gave her dog Carlotta a bath and I cut off all her hair because it was really long and gross and she couldn't see anything...
I realized I'm not a very good dog groomer, but Anna loved it. Her daughter called while we were there and she said that Carlotta looked like a “principessina”..
We are still doing a lot of finding, but I like finding because we always meet cool people.
Everyone in Sicilia is really nice and really open to talk, but even people who have doubts about their faith or believe their church is corrupt still don't want to meet with us. It's a lot about tradition here.
We met a lot of cool people this week. This one girl from Poland kept us for like an HOUR on the street talking to her.. or more just like listening to her talk.
When I tried to bear my testimony about the power of the atonement helping us through our trials, she rolled her eyes and said,
“You are only in your 20's, you've never had difficulties in your life.”
and it's true. I've had a pretty great life... so that started to bug me for a couple of days just thinking,
“How can I tell people that Jesus can help them with their problems when I haven't really had any huge problems in my life?”
I still haven't come to a full conclusion, but as I reflected, I realized that most of the greatest difficulties in our lives are prevented by living the gospel of Jesus Christ..
I was blessed to have a Christ-centered home and friends that encouraged me to choose the right, and because I always sought to live the gospel, I was protected from a lot of things that I saw others suffer from.
It was a big testimony to me of the truthfulness of the gospel in my own personal life, and I know that more trials will come. I know that even good people who make good choices endure great trials, but it helped me to understand how the atonement has strengthened me my whole life.
I also had a mini freak-out this week. I have a lot of freak-outs. But it was seriously a bad idea to put Pace and I in the same house because we both "die" together. So when one of us freaks out, then both of us freak out.. (They got their travel plans this week!! August 5th is her return date.)
But I've just been reflecting a lot about the successes of serving a mission, and the ways the Lord has helped in my work here. I remember reading all of my friends' emails and thinking that every moment on the mission was just like a movie, like missionaries were superheroes that constantly had the spirit whispering where to go and what to say..
And I don't know, maybe it's still like that for some people, but my mission hasn't been that way for me. Especially here in Siracusa, my last city I feel like I should have all these super mission skills and be seeing all these miracles.
Definition of Success
And after a full transfer of finding and not having much success, I've been changing my idea of what success is. It's been really positive for me, because little miracles start to seem so much more important.
Like when we met with Giusy and Luigi this week to talk to them about missionary work and the topic spun of (as it usually does with any lesson) and we shared a scripture that they needed to hear. Luigi almost cried as he thanked us for always being inspired to know what to say to help them.
Or a sweet experience sharing a lesson with our English course students and watching it touch their hearts.
Or just spending time with a member and letting her sing hymns off-key to you for 30 min because she is lonely.
I'm just learning to appreciate the little things that I love about Siracusa.. There is so much character here.
Like today we were walking to the church and we talked to this old man who invited us to his house for water and to meet his whole family.. almost everyone is like that here.
I'm learning a lot my last few transfers.. I'm really happy to be here in Siracusa, its duro (hard)... but It's beautiful and we have a good district.
This week we played another prank on the anziani.. We set up a lesson with Graziano. (He is an English course student that already knows just about everything about the church.)
We set up this whole scheme where we were going to have them come in for a lesson and to go over the baptismal questions because we told the anziani we were trying to figure out when his baptism was going to be.
Well the original plan was to have him say he moved to Siracusa because he heard that here you didn't have to pay tithing..
But we got there and Graziano changed the whole lesson and made up some story about how his wife cheated on him and he wanted to get baptized because it would look good in court and he could use it to send his children to an orphanage... yeah.. heavy stuff..
So Williams and I are like.. Okay, guess we will have to go with it.. So Graziano lays out this whole scheme for the anziani and they are looking at us like “You want to BAPTIZE this guy?”
They are trying to talk to him and tell him that he is crazy without being rude and Anziano Hansen says “Graziano, I don't want to hurt your feelings man, like we are here to help you, but, I don't think Jesus would want to destroy anyone.”
In the end we told them it was a joke and they are “planning” revenge but all of their attempts have failed. So we will see.
Also we nominated Sorella Vickers as district leader and she commanded that we all wear pink to DDM.
"On Tuesdays We Wear Pink"
Poor anziani serving in a city with 4 sisters.
Also, I met a cute family from Buenos Aires in Ortigia the other day.. We do an “hour of power” where all the missionaries go to Ortigia for an hour to do finding and then meet back up at the end. We bring copies of the Book of Mormon in every language because there are so many tourists.
Anyway, we found this cute family and I told them that my parents served in Argentina.. meno male they spoke Italian because all I remember in Spanish is “Can I go to the bathroom?” and “church,” so whenever I find people that only speak Spanish I give them a mormon.org card and say “church” and send them on their way.
I Live Here
Okay well I love you all! Thanks everyone for the letters and things!!
It's fun to see all the pictures of everyone getting married and having babies and stuff.
It freaks me out a little, but I love it. I loveeee you guys.
With love from Siracusa,
(Email - Sent May 26, 2014)