(Side note: Mom sent David a "Cool Italy Story" we had heard in a church meeting here. It's on this blog, in the previous post.)
To answer your questions first: yes, I did receive the story about President Uchtdorf and the Italian government. It's neat to hear about some of the travel and meetings that the First Presidency and the Twelve do to keep things running with the everyday business of the church.
READING. A favorite scripture I've read this week...none in particular come to mind. In the Book of Mormon, I'm reading through 2nd Nephi right now, with all the Isaiah chapters (pretty dense reading), so that may be why.
(Another Side Note: In our church, we refer to some church leaders as "Elder," just as we refer to most men missionaries [just not in Italy] as "Elder." The ones David mentions here are church leaders assigned to different areas of the world, and those giving the talks he references are from the 12 Apostles. We have a First Presidency [our prophet and his 2 counselors], plus 12 Apostles at the head of our church: patterned after the church organization of Christ when he was on the earth.)
We have a "mission tour" by one of the 70s, Elder Fingerle, coming up on the 19th, so we're supposed to read Matthew in preparation for this presentation, as well as 3 talks: "Seek Learning by Faith" (Elder Bednar), "Roots and Branches," (Elder Cook), and "To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood," (Elder Bednar). They're very powerful messages about using new technology to bring forward the Lord's work, and increasing our capacity to learn through the Spirit.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE. Highlight of the past week was every time we used our rain jackets. From the last time I wrote you, I haven't seen the sun until this morning, and now it's raining again. Thank goodness we decided to get warm rain jackets when we did, 'cause sweaters wouldn't have been much help. Apparently all across Italy there's not-so-great weather, and there are floods in Genova. But we've remained fairly dry, even on bikes and walking places. So yay for that.
GOOD EXPERIENCES. Some uplifting tales from the mission, but not sugar-coated: not everything turns out perfect.
Awhile back we were knocking on doors (ringing doorbells) and were let into the house. Now this doesn't happen very often, and Anziano Fabiano (my current companion who has been out almost a year) tells me it's maybe happened ONCE to him. We taught the Father and the son there a nice lesson about the Plan of Salvation (God's plan of happiness for His children -- us -- to be able to return to Him after this life). Then we came back a few days later and taught the entire family.
Those kinds of experiences give us a lot of hope when they happen. When we taught them the second time, the mother wasn't very interested, which led to the father being less willing to meet with us or come to church. We've met with them twice since then, over the period of a month-and-a-half, which is not very productive for them or for us. But these things happen, and at least we left a good impression when we first met with them.
MEMBER MISSIONARIES. One new convert in our area (someone who's been baptized within the past year) is a very outgoing lady, and has many opportunities to talk about the gospel and the missionaries. One of her friends was having difficulties in her life, so she came to Ann's and we talked to her and gave her a priesthood blessing. That lady has since met with us once a week for the past five weeks or so, and is preparing to be baptized on the 23rd or the 30th. No guarantees, but I'm looking forward to the next few weeks.
I hope this message finds you healthy and happy, and ready to face the falling leaves :D
|leaves outside my apartment...won't ever match our yard in New England!!|
I'm going to send a 4-part panorama that you can photoshop to make sense. It's the view from my window as it stopped raining.
|view from my apartment, Udine|
Also, in the previous message, my companion, Anziano Fabiano, is the one awake. Anziano Kendrick is closest, and Anziano Minor has the backpack.
|Staying awake...or not :)|
Another thing, could you email to find out where Cameron Cozzens and Braxton Allred are serving missions? I'd like to hear from them, see how they're doing. It's really cool to email other missionaries and hear from them and about how the experience is different in other places.