Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Recovering, Bologna, Speaking in Church

Hello again,

(Note from Mom: lots of photos, so I'm just sprinkling them throughout.)

I'm mostly better from being sick, but not entirely recovered.  I have a light cough, and though probably unrelated (still worrisome), a pain in my chest.
I figure it's right about where my heart is.  Not to be scary or anything.  I've had it since the first hospital visit, and while it has ebbed a bit, it hurts some when I cough and a lot when I sneeze.  It just feels bad, like pressure, not-a-sharp pain if I breathe deeply.  I figure I'll ask about it when I go back for the follow-up x-ray on Tuesday.  It's okay.  I'm not dying! These things happen.

BOLOGNA.  For some fun news: we went to Bologna today for P-day.  And I uploaded pictures to Dropbox, so you can look at the view from the Bologna Tower.  And, you can see the RAIN and maybe the WIND we encountered while there!  It was pretty bad weather, and I'm still wet, but it was an enjoyable trip.  Then we went to...another SUSHI BAR!  Yay!  All-you-can-eat-sushi, and Oriental food, and even some desserts and gelato (separate, obviously) at the end.  I stuffed myself.  It was awesome.

SPEAKING IN CHURCH. We gave talks on Sunday.
 It was missionary-talk-day, apparently.  It wasn't supposed to be, necessarily, but I switched with a member who was going to be out of town that day.  Since it was the two of us missionaries, we each gave a decent 15-20 minute talk, filled the time, and ended at a reasonable hour.  The Branch President didn't have to fill in for us.  Success!

QUESTIONS, Let's see, answering your questions.  My favorite story I read this week: There were a few Ensign stories that I liked.  What was I thankful for: I was thankful for the package you sent via Bishop White this week! (Side Note: Our Bishop here in Boston took his family to Italy for their spring break, and took a package from us, over to David.)  Those shortbread animal crackers were a nice touch :)
Bologna from the Tower

I'm looking forward to General Conference in a week and a half...I'll watch as much of that as I can, but it's also fun to read the stories for the first time in the Ensign, like from last conference.

And how have I shown gratitude: I tell people "thanks anyway" when they turn us down.  Does that count?

Happy upcoming birthday in a few days, Mom!
Progressive Photo Bomb

Love you,
Anziano Whitesell

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Good People, Military Invitation, Inspirational Thoughts

Hello, Family--

(Side note from Mom: he uploaded lots of photos this time, so I'm just sprinkling them throughout.)
we have to be goofy some of the time:
Sanity Check

THANK YOU so much for the full-length letter, Dad!  Maybe because I've been sick, maybe because I didn't hear from TK or Kara last week (it's okay, they emailed this week), or maybe something else, but it was really nice to hear from everyone in the family.

GOOD PEOPLE. First, I'm glad you've gotten some communication from people saying I'm being taken care of -- from Brother Moon and Sister Syke.  I have quite a bit of support out here: the Branch President came by with a bag of oranges and a jar of honey for the recovery, and I was able to ask a nearby Elder (young adult) for a blessing.  He actually helped with the blessing.  Anziano Lindsey gave the actual blessing.
coffee cake was a hit

MILITARY INVITATION. (Side Note from Mom: Brother Moon is on the military base close to David.  He emailed us, Frank and I, after he had the missionaries over for lunch, and he sent a picture of all of them.  He also offered his military address if we wanted to send David a package.  Very nice!)

And then yes, Brother Moon grilled us some chicken on his legit grill at his house last Sunday! We didn't grill much, but it's a nice American thing to do.
Brother Moon grilling chicken

Sister Shearer also said you got the highest recorded amount of snow in Boston this year: 108.6 inches or something like that?  That's ridiculous!  Home Depot must be making a killing, even without profiteering.

I still have a bit of chest pain and my cough.  I was "raring to get back to work" as soon as possible, but I'm seeing it would be a good idea to go back slowly, not quite as gung-ho as I had planned.  I have basically stayed sane these days: reading a lot, resting, eating, repeat.

INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHTS. I did a spiritual message along the theme of "letting your light shine" at a district meeting a couple of weeks ago.  I took some lyrics from a favorite song: "It's harder to light a candle, easy to curse the dark instead."  And I took Proverbs 20:27, "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord." It was basically, that what we do is hard sometimes.
"The Jehovah's Witnesses are asked
not to knock on this door"

view from the Bologna Tower
 If we're in a tough city or having a slump in missionary work, it's easier to bemoan our fate.  What we do isn't easy, this lighting candles business.  But when we light people's candles (help them feel the love of Jesus Christ), that's the Lord's work.  And even though it's hard, we can do it.  We have been called to do it. Ce la facciamo!
Kinder Egg with a prize inside!
(these are 'illegal' in the U.S., you know:choking hazard)

I have been studying the Old Testament Manual...from 1981 because that's the one in the apartment.  I'm sure most of the information is the same.  It made some references to Ensign (church magazine) articles...from 1973.  Which happen to be accessible through Gospel Library (internet resource the missionaries can use).  So there I was, looking up conference talks from 40 years ago.  One favorite was "Becoming a Somebody," by John H. Vandenberg.  The whole conference was good, but I especially liked that talk.  My 2nd favorite was "Live Above the Law to be Free," then "What is a Friend?"  Also the first 3 talks in that Sunday morning session.

Funny how conference talks are like missionary youtube.

And on a final note, we have a zone training the 9th of April, then on the 27th Elder Bednar is coming to our mission.  And he's going to be training us on iPads, which means we'll be getting those at some point in the foreseeable future.

HAIRCUT. I also got a haircut today.  It's about a 2 on the sides, 2.5 on top.  Military short, the way I like it.

Love you!  Anziano Whitesell

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bikes, Synagogues, and Being EXTRA Sick

Hello from Italy!

SICKLY. Well, today's news isn't great.  The cough lasted, and developed into chest pains and trouble breathing.  So I went to the hospital, took a blood test and got an x-ray, and was diagnosed with pneumonia.  Blech.  So this upcoming week I'm supposed to be on bed rest and stay in the house...a full week to ten days.  I don't think I've ever had to do bed rest for ten days before.  But I guess I picked it up, and now I can't do anything but rest it off.

I was taking Bronchenolo for the cough, and Ibuprofen for the pain.  Now I've stopped taking Ibuprofen as frequently, since that hasn't helped very much with pain.  The coughing still hurts, though: when I feel a cough coming on, I sit down and brace myself.  I'd give it a solid 7 on pain.

They also gave me Laxocavin (?) or something spelled similarly.  Just take 1 a day for the next 10 days.  Then go back in 20 days for a follow-up X-ray to make sure it's all gone.  So, this next week I'll finish reading Jesus the Christ, write a few letters, and start on some church BYU manuals on the Bible and the Doctrine & Covenants.  Not being able to leave the house isn't much fun.

NEW COMPANION. I've found out that Anziano Lindsey enjoys drawing and has done some pretty cool designs.  He's going home in less than 12 weeks -- less weeks than I have months.  And he's pretty ready to go home.  Finding work will be different this transfer, as he isn't used to much "street" finding.  But I'm still hoping for good things this transfer.

RIDING BICYCLES. We've been riding our bikes, just as often as if the weather was warmer.

If people came to Ferrara for the first time, I would say they should go to the Castle.  There's also an art museum called the Palazzo Diamante.

SYNAGOGUES. There's also a Jewish synagogue/museum.  But, here's a news flash: this past Zone Conference, the President shared an update from his weekly security bulletin.  Since ISIS has been targeting Jewish buildings, and attacks have been made primarily around synagogues and Jewish schools, missionaries are recommended to stay away from any Jewish buildings.

Anziano Wright, in Trieste, might have to get a new apartment, because theirs is right across the street from the local synagogue...there's no avoiding it.  So, that's something for us to keep in mind as missionaries.

TIME. On transfer day, I was waiting in the station all day, from 7a.m to 7 p.m., waiting for my new companion.  But he got in safely, and we headed back to the apartment.

Love you!
Anziano Whitesell

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Golf, Cheesecake, and Being Sick


SAME PLACE, DIFFERENT COMPANION.  We got transfer calls this past Saturday.  I am staying here in Ferrara, and Anziano Robinson is going away to Bergamo.  Yes, 'one-and-done' for him (he was only here for 1 transfer, or 6 weeks), somewhat unusual.  But okay, I'm getting a new companion named Anziano Lindsey.  Going into his 15th transfer.  (Each transfer is 6 weeks long, and in 2 years, missionaries have 17 transfers.)  So he's getting pretty close to dead.  ("Dead" means finished with his mission.)  I'm looking forward to the change, and seeing what this new Anziano is like.

UNDER THE WEATHER.  As far as stuff going on, I have been sick for the past week.  It has just been "bleah" most days.  It started Wednesday evening, feeling light-headed and having pretty bad chills.  Then Thursday was more too-hot, too-cold, too-hot, too-cold and coughing.
 So I broke out the ibuprofen I've had from America in my 1st-Aid kit and used that.  Friday was similar to Thursday.  And from then I've gotten mostly better, but the cough is still here.  I'll be quiet for a few minutes, then *GASP* cough-cough.  It's mostly annoying at this point, because I'm not tired or dizzy anymore.  I just have a cough.  Boooo!

IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.  It's March 4, and I have a confession to make..."Happy Birthday",,...I think.  Sorry, I know there's a birthday on the 3rd, 21st (Kara), and the 31st (Side note: this is wrong, BTW--his Mom's bday is the 29th), but I can't remember which parent is on which end of the month.

 I'm pretty sure it's Dad: I hope so, because that's the letter I sent!  Which, incidentally, would have been there on time, but I got it back yesterday saying that I had to pay extra because it weighed too much.  So I sent it again, with extra postage.  Happy Birthday to Dad, you have a letter coming hopefully soon.

I also got the thermal underwear, thank you, the same day I got my other packages.  It has kept me warm a couple of days so far.

EXCELLENT CHEESECAKE.  So, today being Anziano Robinson's last P-Day here, we went to a diner called "American Graffiti," which is basically the opposite of "Olive Garden:" an American restaurant in Italy!  They have a good selection: cheeseburger/nachos/steak/burritos/buffalo wings.  Typical "American" fare.  I had nachos, which I'm not a huge fan of, but I felt like trying them this time.  They were all right.
Then they had cheesecake, which was excellent.

PUTTING PRACTICE.  And, last story, a couple of weeks ago for P-Day we played golf.  What?  Yes.  Anziano Robinson loves golf, and not a huge fan, so we went and used the driving range.  I could get them out to about 75 meters, wheras he's hitting professional shots and adjusting his technique, and all that.  So, it wasn't a complete waste, but not something I'd choose to do again.

Service this week: we went to the food kitchen again.  It's an every-other-week kind of thing.

OLD FRIENDS.  (Side note: Frank told David that one of his old mission companions is now the Men's Volleyball Coach at BYU.  We saw him on t.v. a couple of weeks ago.)
 I love that you could pick Elder McGown out of the crowd in the sideline.  That's pretty neat.  I'll be interested to see what MY missionary peers become within the next few years.  Also the next 30 years.

When you see an old friend from the mission, the first question you get asked is "How are you doing?" then it's "How is the work going in X city?"  So on the one hand, it's sad to only see people every 6, 12, or 18 weeks or more.  But on the other hand, not much changes on a day-to-day basis, so there wouldn't really be a point to having daily communication.

TOP-NOTCH SPEAKER. The whole mission is coming together in April for a training by...David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  Surprise!  Everyone is looking forward to that.  On the point I was making, all the missionaries in the whole country will get to see each other, which is nice.  Also we'll see Elder Bednar, which is very nice.

Have a great week!
Anziano Whitesell