Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dictionaries, Humidity, and Crystal Light

Ciao, tutti! (Hello, Everyone!)

SUMMERTIME WEATHER.  This has been another good week in the beautiful city of Firenze (Florence). For the past week, the days have taken turns being hot and sticky, or just plain rainy.  I didn't think I would have to break out the rain jacket again before fall, but I used it a couple of days ago (and still got soaked). But when the sun is out, it has been a comfortable, if humid, 85 degrees or so.  So in biking and walking around every day, it is necessary to drink a lot of fluids.  Example: last week during grocery shopping, I bought 8.5 liters of drink...milk, juice, and some Fanta.  It's all gone now.  And that doesn't include the water I drink throughout the day.

MAIL. Mom, thank you for the letter, I got it yesterday.  I appreciate the picture.  Now I can stop using the leftover pictures on the camera to explain my family (there were some on the SD card of when we went mini-golfing, with the grandparents, last summer).  I was thinking about American food (I don't know, maybe someone mentioned it, or a type of food in particular or something), and I figured since I'm in a new city, I might as well build a new stash of American food.  That pile from a couple of months ago dwindled to just a Payday, a SweetandSalty bar, 2 packages of Keebler crackers, and some mints.  Also 2 jars of peanut butter, but I brought that with me!

The items that came to mind were Crystal Light flavoring packs, Kraft Mac N Cheese, Cinnamon Graham Crackers, and Wildberry pop-tarts. But even without specific American food, I am enjoying Italian food.

We contacted a referral yesterday, from or from elsewhere in the mission.  When we get someone's number who doesn't live in our proselyting area, we pass it along to the office, who sends it to the right missionaries, the closest to them.  He was about a 25-minute bike ride away, and this was the third time we had passed by him.  It turned out he was a Jehovah's Witness who wanted to tell us we were wrong.  He had previously had a paper with a list of problems in the Book of Mormon, and would have shown it to us, but he misplaced it.  It's exasperating, talking with them, because Bible-bashing never gets anywhere, and it just brings contention.

WEEKLY TRAININGS. As district leader, I'm still working on the "presentations" part of the job.  I'm in charge of encouraging and inspiring my district and looking after their well-being, as well as keeping them in line and effective.  Part of that includes a weekly District Meeting, where I do a 40-minute training, usually on a topic from Preach My Gospel.  I can plan for it just fine.  It's easier than a talk because I can ask questions and draw on the whiteboard, and include role plays, but it still feels dry.  I'm not the most engaging speaker.  But, I've done 2 so far, and I think they'll just get better from here.
Firenze (Florence) from high up

Also, on the teaching note, I was asked the night before church to teach Gospel Principles (a Sunday School class the next day).  That felt a lot like District Meeting.  But seriously? "Gifts of the Spirit?"  The lesson plan in the manual is to talk in detail about several of the gifts mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants 46.  No help.  So I talked and asked questions about the parable of the talents, and how we can grow our talents.
Anzianos Kormylo, Jensen, Rojas, me

LEARNING MORE ITALIAN. For language study each day, I have several options.  Now that we have iPads, we can use DuoLingo.  I can read out loud to myself from the Book of Mormon in Italian.  I sometimes take the same Liahona (church magazine) issue in Italian and English, and translate from English to Italian, and compare translations.  Or I can focus on a section of the visual dictionary, like animals or bicycles.

I think I don't need you to send the New Testament guide here.  In Ferrara I was reading more in the evenings, but here it's more alive and moving.  I feel more engaged in the evenings, talking with my companion, writing in my journal, etc.  I do have an Old Testament guide and a Book of Mormon guide when I do want to read something (and endless conferences on Gospel Library).

RELAX. I think from my companion now, Anziano Kormylo, I'm learning to be more relaxed.  My past 2 companions were relaxed, but in an "I don't want to work and these rules are restrictive" way, so we clashed.  Here, I feel like even if things go off schedule, I'll be alright.

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