Ciao! How are you all doing? Things are going great here in Italy and I really love Sicily. The people are absolutely fantastic and we are having too much fun with them. For example, for p-day we played soccer with a family we are teaching. The mother and father have three boys all in their twenties, and they are extremely talented in soccer. Let's just say I got owned and they showed me what soccer is! We play again today so I am a little nervous!
|Trapani, Sicily, Italia|
|Enjoying some Gelato|
|Trapani, Sicily, Italia (July, 2012)|
|Trapani, Sicily, Italia (July, 2012)|
Investigators are doing great! We have two refugees from Nigeria who want to be baptized so we are preparing them for that. Their names are Michael and Bright. We've seen quite a bit of miracles with them. Michael became a new investigator after we taught him his and my first Sunday here. Later in the week he has actually asked us to teach him more often and he loves the Book of Mormon. I thought of an idea, and we are going to put it into use and see if it works. As there are so many African refugees here in Italy that escaped Libya during that contentious time, they live here and have been here for over a year and don't speak Italian, and who knows how long they will be here, or if they must settle down here. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to try to teach an Italian course specifically for them. Ya, we are only two Americans who barely know this new language, and we started learning less than a year and a half ago, but we at least know the basics and I believe it will be a huge help to them. Plus, they say that when you teach a subject that your knowledge of it automatically grows so we've got a win-win situation! Our first lesson is tomorrow so we'll see how many people show up, if any at all! We did a little bit of publicity so we'll see how it goes.
We have a student from English course that shortly became a new investigator. She had usually come early to the course to ask questions about life, but at my first lesson before English course she agreed to hear the missionary lessons. She has a great faith in God, and knows that she must somehow become closer to him, but she isn't sure how to yet. That's where we come in! Last night before the course she came and we began to read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon with her. She might have been a little embarrassed at first, because she said that we needed to stop as soon as somebody else from the course came. We read, and then slowly everyone from the course started coming, but she didn't want to stop, and we eventually finished, and even had the closing prayer. To me it was a mini-miracle to see how intently she was reading and pondering the words in this truly inspired book.
We've also found some success with setting appointments with ex-investigators. The area book is full of investigator forms without reasons of why missionaries stopped teaching them, so it makes it a lot harder for us new guys to figure out what happened. We set an appointment with a friend of a member who will come with us, and says that she really wants us to make a friendship with her son in his twenties. Hopefully we can get some young, missionary-aged men out on missions! The branch already has two out, why not more!
The branch here is absolutely fabulous. Since Sicily was recently made a stake, the members are determined to make Trapani a ward. There are about 40-50 active members and they are so ready to help with missionary work. One man in particular was baptized two years ago with his wife, and since then several of his children and grandchildren have followed him by example. We went to visit him and he is getting his brother ready for us by sharing the Plan of Salvation and bearing his testimony. Let's hope for the best!
Another family invited us over for lunch after church and had us share a message to some family members who were visiting from up north. We had a great time, and one man was particularly interested in the church, and will already be sought out by missionaries when he returns. I might not know what will happen with his conversion story now, but I can hope and pray for the best, and we'll see in the life to come!
Sicilians are amazing cooks! They pretty much go all out on every meal, and they love to feed the missionaries! I think that most of Italia sticks to a red sauce for the pasta for the most part, but Sicilians switch it up a bit and use a lot of onions and garlic. I am definitely loving it here! Me and my companion get along great, and we speak only Italian with each other, so our skills with the language are growing too. We have so much fun at English course! One man is determined to master the American accent and bought a book on the matter. We began reading it together, and he went directly to a section labeled DANGER. It talked about correct pronunciation of the English words, because the Italian accent would make them sound like swear words. He began reading and we were trying to hold back the laughter as he pronounced these words very wrong, thus making them very vulgar words! Another guy asked me how you said "moglie (wife)" in English. I told him and I wrote it on the board. He looked at me confusingly and said, "I thought that was the word for 'lupo' (wolf), or are they the same word?" Everyone in the class was dying of laughter and those married made some witty remarks.
I love it here! Things are great and we have some great work going, and I know it will get better! I love you all so much! I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Brooke, I love you Heather, and I love you Greg! Have a great week and stay safe! I can't believe that you are all about to start school/work again! Prepare well and make it a great year! Vi voglio tanto bene! Grazie mille per le preghiere e l'amore che mi sento ogni giorno! Siete grandi!
Anziano Clay Lacey