Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Time, Motivation and Miracles


(side note from Mom: In an email, I mentioned spending an entire, tedious morning in Firestone, when I had only planned on a couple of hours. I also referenced an inspirational talk by one of our church leaders, Deiter Uchtdorf, called "On Being Genuine.")

TIME. Wow, spending the entire morning somewhere you thought you'd only be for a couple of hours!  That must have been a terrible experience!  I can't imagine ever having such a problem here in Italy *cough*hospital*cough.  It happens.  It's nice when it happens at a church member's house.  It's not nice when it happens at, say, the grocery store.

WHAT MOTIVATES US TALK. I did get the chance to hear President Uchtdorf's conference talk.  I think we can apply his message by being ourselves, as missionaries, rather than trying to fit into the "missionary mold."  There are some people who go about missionary work like robots, always trying the same things and making sure nothing is different.  But then there are other missionaries who want to be "different," or go about trying new things and new methods, but only in the interest of showing off how they are not "normal" missionaries.  So the perfect place to be is in the middle -- yourself, but not going out of your way to show off.

(side note from Mom: the missionaries teach English lessons.  I suggested that he "trade," English lessons for a pasta-making lesson from a native Italian...)

I have not asked about pasta-making lessons.  I may try that, or try asking people advice about making meals.  It would seem kind of strange to ask about that through the doorbell panel speaker.  (Is there a word for that in English? In Italian it's "citifono.")

MIRACLES THIS WEEK. So as we tracted (looked for people to talk to) Saturday morning, we talked to the first person we ran across.  It's a good habit to be starts the day in a "missionary mindset."  He responded in English!  After talking for a few minutes, he invited us in (his house was nearby) for a glass of water.  We talked with him and his wife about their family, and one of the sons in particular who is my age, and offered some advice about him.  Then they invited us over for lunch that day, and we talked with them about Family Home Evening, or FHE.  (FHE is a time when families--usually one evening a week--can be together to study gospel principles or do activities together.)  This evening we're going over to show them what a Family Home Evening looks like, and teach the first lesson as our spiritual message.  It is so exciting: that never happens!

Then yesterday, we talked to a man standing next to us at the stoplight.  We talked for a good half-hour, he bought us drinks (non-alcoholic), and we talked some about family history work.  He's pretty Atheist, and I don't know where that will lead, not having made a return appointment, but he was a nice old man.

DAVID A. BEDNAR. The Bednar conference was exciting! All of the missionaries (about 250 of us) went to Milan for the conference, and Elder Bednar led a discussion-based question-and-answer session.  He posed a question, and let any missionary raise their hand to give a response, so we could all learn from each other and from the Holy Ghost.  He also spoke some, and President Teixeira (of the 70) spoke, and Elder Allen spoke (also a General Authority).  We'll be getting iPads within a couple of weeks, but the focus of the meeting was on using the tools we have been given to continue "hastening the work."  So we will be receiving training on how to use the iPads as missionaries over the next couple of months as they get the details hashed out.  We're still part of the 'test group,' just further along the process.

I took some good notes; Elder Bednar encouraged us to record not so much the words he said, but the feelings we had, or impressions we felt were important.  Although the meeting was draining, I felt pretty energized the next day.  And besides that, at the conference, I got to see many friends from my MTC group, and other missionaries I've run into in districts, zones, or at transfer circles in the past.  The reunion side of it was wonderful.

OOPS STORY.  We took a train back from Milan to Bologna, and got off in Bologna.  But then I realized that I had forgotten my bag on the train.  So we rushed back on, grabbed the bag...and couldn't get off.  So we were stuck on the train for another hour, until the next stop in Prato (SW of Bologna).  And the next train back to Bologna wasn't until 10:50, getting into Bologna around midnight.
 So we called President, and he said to stay at the local senior couple's apartment that night. ("Senior couple missionaries" are sometimes retired, or at least their kids are grown, and they are serving for 1 to 3 years in the mission.)   So that's what we did.  They were very accommodating.  It was a nice apartment, and we even got dinner and breakfast.  Senior couples are pretty cool.

In return, I left a couple of cans of root beer (having received A&W from the senior couple at the American Base earlier that day).  So I'm looking forward to drinking those over the next few days. :D

Love you!
Anziano Whitesell

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