(Side Note: every 6 months, October & April, there is a Worldwide Church General Conference held in Salt Lake City. There are five 2-hour sessions over the course of 2 days, filled with inspirational talks and counsel from church leaders, including our prophet and church president, Thomas S. Monson, pictured below. It is broadcast via satellite, Internet, cable television, and youtube. 43 languages are interpreted in the Conference Center and broadcast via satellite.)
GENERAL CONFERENCE. Yes, I listened to General Conference in Italian. We were going to listen in English, but we wanted to sit with our investigators -- people learning about the church -- and so we all watched it streamed in Italian. It's interesting how they do streaming. Since the talks are already written, the audio starts up in English, then fades out when the Italian translator is talking. So we heard the hymns in English, and for the rest you can hear the first word of most sentences in English, then the rest is Italian. I got a lot out of it anyway, but English would have been nice.
Actually, since we invited a few people to the Women's Conference, Anziano Anderson and I ended up listening to a few talks from the Relief Society Broadcast. I heard 3 Relief Society talks and 4 Priesthood talks, so I got a bit of everything. I did, however, miss both afternoon sessions which is disappointing because Elder Bednar and Elder Holland gave talks that I missed.
My favorite 2 were those by Chi Hong Wong (the 70 who spoke in Chinese), and Uchdorf on Saturday morning. Elder Wong's because it was a nice talk about service, and it was a sign that the church is growing steadily, since it's not all white people anymore. And Uchdorf taught an excellent Book of Mormon lesson; it was very similar to the way we teach the Book of Mormon to investigators.
SCRIPTURE STUDY. In the scriptures, I finished the Book of Mormon, so I'm working my way through Jesus the Christ. It's good material, if somewhat dense. But it all makes sense, and it's amazing that Elder Talmage did such an in-depth research on the Gospels. If you have a way to tie together New Testament study and JTC besides just cross-referencing JTC, I'd be happy to hear it. I'll probably be about 30% done by this time next week.
RECYCLING DESKTOP ORGANIZERS. Here are pictures of my zone this transfer, and also the box I cut to the size of my scriptures to make a carry case. Master Crumble, incidentally, is pretty much the same as the granola mix you made for awhile, just without pineapple chunks. It makes for good cereal.
STELLAR TEACHER. I've definitely learned the most from Anziano Anderson thus far in my mission. He speaks the language pretty well, so I pick up on that. And how to do other missionary work, just basic talking-to-people, scheduling appointments, etc. Greenie stuff (side note: a "greenie" is a new missionary).
There is a young man here (19 I think) who is going on his mission to Barcelona, reporting Monday. It's neat to see other people getting ready for their missions, and nice to see that the ward is strong, in that 2nd-generation members are going on missions.
BANKS AND BELLS. There are some things about Italia that you wouldn't think about or know about without being here, that I've picked up on, though I'm sure there are more...
1. There are banks on most street corners, so that makes a TON of them.
2. Each church has bells, so each hour, we get serenaded by any and all churches in the area. The problem is, they go on for about 5 minutes each hour. So if we're teaching someone at 8 p.m., we take a 5-minute pause and smile at each other until the bells die down :)
I love you and hope you're able to review the conference talks often!