This has been another great week and I love Siracusa so much. I'd be cool staying here the rest of my mission. I love everything about it, the people, the environment, everything. Things have been really great though.
The Conforto family in our ward has twins, Riccardo and Andrea who just turned 14. The parents wanted to throw a Halloween themed party, so we helped them decorate and get everything prepared. We were invited to come on Thursday night and we even had an investigator, another guy named Riccardo, come and get to know the members. We had a lot of fun and they made me in charge of the games. We did the one where you put a piece of gum on a plate, and then cover it with flour and everyone needs to dig around in their own respective plates to find the gum, chew it, and then blow a bubble. It was pretty hilarious!
On Saturday we went up to Catania where I did my first baptismal interview! It was a great experience and I learned a lot from it. The candidate is very well prepared and ready for his baptism that will take place this week. It made me happy to see the joy in his face when I told him that he was ready.
Okay, the girls might kill me again for this one: We met with Giovanna again, and then after she invited us out to eat some sandwiches. Well, I love to dive down into the culture within different cities, and apparently horse meat sandwich is a Siracusano specialty, therefore I ate horse again, and it was great. I really enjoy horse meat! You're going to need to hide the horses from me when I come home! I might get hungry.
I got an amazing phone call from the Anziani in Bitonto. I think I might have mentioned it, but when I went up to Rome to go pick up Anziano Smit and everyone else heading down to Sicily, I talked to a man, Salvatore, and got his number and gave it to the Anziani living near his city. Well they called me and said that he now has a baptismal date for December! I am really excited for him!
I started a trend on Sunday. I went up to share my testimony in Sacrament meeting, and I spoke of a man I met in Sardegna that didn't have family, work, nearly nothing, yet anytime I asked how he was doing he replied, "Benone!" and was always very happy. I had never heard that word before and I searched dictionaries trying to find it to know what it meant. Being rather new in the mission I didn't know much about a grammatical trick you can use to add words onto adjectives to make them more enhanced. Well 'benone' means 'very good' and the fact that he always was positive no matter what really has stood out to me throughout my mission. I shared this with the members and how me need to always be examples, even in being positive and cheerful despite trails and difficulties. After that, whenever I talk to some members and ask how they are, they always reply. 'benone!' with a smile. I like this new little joke, and I think it's starting to liven people up a bit!
We had several dinner appointments this week, including one with the stake president of Sicily! We had a great time with them and he gave us some great advice about what we can do to strengthen members.
Probably the highlight of the week has been our experiences with a new great friend and investigator named Stefania. She comes to English course because she is getting ready to go to California for three months, so she wants to improve her English even though she already speaks great. She came to church on Sunday and the members were all very welcoming. We did a lesson with her and then another one before English course last night and she's already moving right along in The Book of Mormon being in the third chapter! As a little joke and to make people laugh I am learning a little bit of the dialect, Siciliano, so I say random phrases in dialect to put a smile on some one's face as they see a pathetic American trying to speak their native language! Stefania is so nice and bought me a Sicilian grammar book!
English course is going very well and we have so many students that show up. As a fun little activity we will play a 'murder mystery dinner party game' to help them do some problem solving, thinking, and conversation all in English. They are all coming dressed up or disguised as new people, and we will all play parts and figure out 'who the murderer is'. I think I might go as Leonardo DiCaprio! Haha
Today we had a fun p-day with all the missionaries in Siracusa, Ragusa, and Gela, and we went to a beautiful little city just south of Siracusa called Noto. We explored all the antique churches, historical sites, and in the end just enjoyed each other's company since it's likely that Anziano Green and Sorella Dall might be getting booted off the island!
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! Vi voglio un sacco di bene!