Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Castles, Gratitude and Speaking in Church


CASTELLO di SAN MICHELE.  I'll start off with today, actually the past 2 hours, we went to the castello here in Ferrara.  The "Castello Estense" or "castello di San Michele" - "St. Michael's Castle" is a moated medieval castle in the center of Ferrara.  (Side note from Mom: I'm excited that he went, so I won't complain to him that he did not send a photo!  I will include one from the Internet.)
St. Michael's Castle

aerial view of Ferrara
I had forgotten how much fun museums can be, so there I was, reading everything.  The pictures/artwork came with captions in Italian and English.  I was able to read both, the Italian being much slower, but because of time I just read them in English.  So I learned about the development of Ferrara, some of the feudal history with the dukes and marquises and popes.  The whole city is laid out very nicely from an aerial view.

So it showed how that came about, from reclaiming area A, then area B, then cultivating area C, and building, etc.  There are frescoes on the walls and ceilings of the living quarters -- might think about that for your room, hmmm?  Then there was an art exhibit in the last several rooms, which was comparatively boring.

SPEAKING IN CHURCH.  This week at church, I think we had about 10 people in attendance.  (Side note: members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go to church for 3 hours each Sunday.  One hour is Sacrament Meeting, where we partake of the Sacrament, then listen to inspirational messages about the scriptures or other teachings of Jesus Christ.  The other two hours are Sunday School-type classes, discussing and learning scriptures and gospel principles.)  So, funny story: we go through the first 2 hours no problem: Priesthood and Gospel Doctrine.

Third hour comes around -- Sacrament Meeting, with the sacrament and then typically 2 or 3 speakers.  (They try to go right up until the hour with ending, so if speakers have short talks, the Branch President or Bishop gets up and gives a few closing thoughts).  The Branch President is checking over details for the Sacrament Meeting: who's passing the sacrament, who's speaking, interval hymn, etc.  Around 11;15 the sacrament finishes and the first speaker gets up.  She finishes about 11:22.  There are 2 speakers planned.  I was the second one.  So the interval hymn goes until about 11:26.  I get up, and give my talk about continuing revelation by President Eyring (talks can be based on General Conference Talks).

I had my notes down, a few scriptures prepared, and had read the talk so I knew what stories were inside.  When I sat down, it was 11:46 -- I talked for 20 minutes!  I had not planned on a 20-minute talk, but since there wasn't anybody else after me, I had to stretch -- I talked long enough that the Branch President didn't have to fill in at the end.  Yay, me! :)

GRATITUDE.  This week, I was thankful for getting into a house.  The missionaries here all know it's extremely rare to get into a house when you're going door-to-door.  But a nice Nigerian lady let us in, and we explained a bit of the Restoration, and she made an appointment for us to come back next week.  That's the 4th time I've been invited in.  So that was a neat occurrence.

MUSIC. Nice to hear about Kara improving on piano.  I've emailed her about how much I miss piano, now that I only infrequently play it.  So, back to basics when I get back!  I still have most of my songs in muscle memory.  And I can sight read music slowly, so with a couple of play-throughs, I can play the basic songs (0 sharps, 1 sharp, 1 flat) alright.

Love you!
Anziano Whitesell

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