Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dinners, Doors, and Count Your Blessings

Hello Dad, Hello Mom!

I read a General Conference talk (or something) that came to mind, about "Your Life is Now." They talk about living your life always, and not saying "When I 'm in college, then my life will begin," or "when I have a job or am married or have kids, then my life will begin." We should always live in the now.  Not in a hedonistic sense, but always magnifying whatever calling we have the blessing of filling right now.

HELPING WHERE WE ARE.  There's a Preach My Gospel passage that talks about being a blessing, not a burden, to the Bishop.  You two seem like that, and I get to be that help, here in tiny Ferrara.  Our Bishop called us the other day and asked if we could go "home teaching" (visit a family or individual in their home, with an inspirational message) with him on the 17th to a less-active member of the congregation.  So of course we say yes.

We don't get invited over for dinner quite as much as the stateside elders. but hopefully we still bring a good message.  Anziano Fabiano got a couple of messages from stateside missionaries.  One story was, "We rang 15 doorbells, and nobody let us in, so I stormed off and waited in the car for 20 minutes."
Our Italian response was, more or less: "Try 1500 doors without getting in, and forget about the car :/ "  Some people.

Another group made it their transfer goal to get a dinner appointment every night of the transfer.  And they did.  We all have our burdens to bear--

DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES.  Your missionary comp sounds similar to mine, Dad.  Anziano Robinson and I are somewhat classic representatives of our respective areas.  I'm all "educated" and more closed and formal; he's more outgoing, doesn't care about grammar/speaking correctly (more out west: he's from Utah).  Still smart, but in a different way from me.  He actually is a skater, and looks exactly like our younger ex-cousin Zak when he's wearing a beanie.

MULTI-CULTURAL EXPERIENCES.  "Strange" moment from last week: we ran into 2 Romanians on the street.  The lady spoke Italian to us (both speak Italian), and the man, who was out of it on medication, spoke in broken English.  They talked to us and asked for a Book of Mormon.  So on Sunday, we went to their apartment and gave them one in Romanian.
They invited us in and when we got to their flat, there was another Romanian, a Ukrainian woman, and 2 Albanians waiting for us to teach about the message of Jesus Christ.

So with some language difficulties (they spoke broken Italian), we attempted to explain the Restoration of the Gospel.  It went meh, about 2.5/5.  They got that the Book of Mormon is important, but they didn't seem to grasp "So, are you the Orthodox Church? Or the Catholics?"
"No," we just explained, "we're the church that Jesus Christ created."  "Oh, so the Catholics?" No we're different.  "You're not Jehovah's Witnesses, are you?"  "No we're not them."  But they want us back, and we'll bring a book of Mormon in Albanian too.

GOOD FOOD. Anziano Robinson cooks pretty well.  He has a vomit-reaction to the texture of fruit for most of his life, so his recipes don't have that.  But he makes lazagna.
And he made me realize I could make grilled cheese sandwiches as a snack in the evenings.  Brilliant.  On another note, I made coffee cake for district meeting, and they LOVED it!  3 people asked me for the recipe. So kudos to whoever came up with that recipe.

OUTINGS.  Yes, we need to do things on Pday.  Starting next week, either a castle or a museum here or in Bologna.  It takes some energy to get over the inertia of "I can just sit in the apartment today," but you guys were always saying, "Let's go on a hike," or "Let's go to Boston," so I suppose I have a history of doing things on weekends.

BLESSINGS.  Great News: Bettina from my old ward was baptized on the 25th! She said the hiccup with the baptism date that fell through (when I was still there) ended up being for the best.  It made her evaluate whether this was actually something she believed.  But she was baptized the 25th, and probably confirmed this past Sunday.  Happy Day!

And I got your letter.  Thank you!  I always love stories from Conference, and the Liahona magazines.

Love you, and have a great week!
Anziano Whitesell

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