Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Buon giorno di ringraziamento!
Buon giorno di ringraziamento!
I think that's how you translate Happy Thanksgiving in Italian. I'm not sure though because it's obviously not celebrated here so it looks like i'm going turky-less this year!
This has been another interesting week. Ups and downs. Maybe some of the negative attitude comes from the bad weather. It's been raining a lot and when random rain that we can't predict hits us we come home cold and drenched. It's a lot of fun though to look in the mirror after you like a mess! Unfortunately missionaries don't have the luxary of the Weather Channel on demand, therefore, we get hammered if we forget the right coat or umbrella.
I guess I want to get the worst things out of the way first. Bad news first, right? It literally brings me to tears just thinking about it but Leonardo told us not to come back. We called him to set up another appointment and he told us that his wife wasn't in agreement with us being there, and that was the extent to the conversation. Well we decided to go back to his house to talk to him face to face. He opened the door and he seemed different. He said that he was not interested at all. Looking inside the house we saw his wife on the coach with one of the babies and she wasn't happy at all that we showed up. He went to give us his copy of The Book of Mormon back and we insisted that he would keep it. He said goodbye and closed the door. I had to sit down for a second after that because I was shattered. It felt like all my hope for him was hit by a truck. It was tough at first especially because how quick we found him, and how quick we lost him. And the thing that stinks is that it seems like it has been happening a lot. First with Gabriella, then with Marissa, now with Leonardo. I remember a talk that Elder Holland gave and that I saw in the MTC. He said to missionaries, "If you don't get a return appointment for a second lesson, that means you didn't teach a good enough first." This quote hits me hard and yes, people have their free agency, but I really need to improve my teaching. I think I have used the language barrier as an excuse too much to turn to my companion to finish what I want to say when I mess up and get embarrassed. It's hard learning and teaching in a new langauge, I'm not going to lie! Missions would be impossible and crazy to do without the help of the Lord.
One thing cool from that experience at the door with Leonardo that I'd like to share is something that I've forgot to mention in emails before. Remember how it's been talked about how, for babies, the veil from the premortal life to here in this life is so thin? Well being a missionary has really opened my eyes to this. When we were talking to Leonardo he had his newborn baby girl in his hands. When she looked at us, people that she's never really seen before in her life, she smiled the biggest smile and stretched her hands out towards us like she wanted us to hold her. I know that is not a big deal, but countless times Anziano Vitali and I have walked passed crying babies in the arms of their parents and as soon as they see us they stop and just smile, and the parents look at us like we just preformed a miracle. Randomly we see little kids wave at us. And the only thing I can really say about these experiences is that they know. They know that we are servants of the Lord, and these little experiences, that could be nothing, have really strengthened my testimony that I am called from the living prophet on the earth to preach the Savior's gospel. I don't mean to brag, but I can't believe how lucky I am! Even when I have these little tough times and when my hopes crash, I have this knowledge and comfort that the Lord has promised to be with me. Since Anziano Harris was there when we found him, I talked to him while they were reporting their numbers on Sunday, and I told him the news, a bit negatively. He said something that really hit me and that I will always remember when my hopes in someone crash like that. He said, "Ya man, that's tough, but that doesn't effect or change the miracle of how we found him." Oh how true that is, and I won't forget it.
Other than that bad news something weird happened to my camera's memory card and it looks like the data got corrupted when I tried taking pictures off to send to you guys, but we'll see, hopefully they're not gone!
Okay time for the GREAT news. We started teaching Ignazio Mazzone and it's been great. At the end of our first lesson we all definitely felt the Spirit, and we invited him to be baptised. After the invitation he was quiet for a few seconds, and then began nodding his head yes. He said that he wanted to, but he wants to make sure he is ready first, and that he knows that the Church is true. It was a really powerful moment for sure. We taught him the second lesson just this morning and it went great. He is progressing well and keeping up with all his commitments. He even reads his scripture reading assignments with his daughter and discusses them with her. It was awesome hearing him pray for the first time, and he also bore his testimony about finding Christ after being an atheist in church during Gospel Principles class. This whole thing is so amazing! I remember when I first met him and all the members said don't worry about him, he doesn't want anything to do with the Church. The Lord definitely prepares people in His own due time. We are feeling prompted to fix a set baptismal date, even before Christmas. It's definitely possible! Keep praying for him!
Other than him we have been teaching the Tache's a little bit, and they are doing well and enjoying church more and more as they make friends. I don't remember if I wrote it in the last email but our mission has a goal for each companionship to get six new investigators before December 11th. Since finding work becomes a bit difficult during the holiday seasons, president wants us to book our time with teaching (which is what I'd rather be doing than finding). Therefore, we've been doing a lot of finding lately... in the rain. We have found very little luck, but we are trying! One night we knocked on this guy's house, and all he said was, "Fermatevi!". Which basically means, "Stay right there." We asked why and he told us that he was calling the police. We thought it was extremely funny, especially because of the conversation he probably had with the police regarding two missionaries at his door that needed to be arrested. We waited and no cops showed up so we took off.
Hey! I'm not really finished, and we have to go for another appointment, but I will come back on...
Love ya all tons!