INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGES I HAVE LIKED. A comment Elder Bednar made was along the lines of revealed truth. Everything that people have invented has been inspired, to further the Lord's work. Computers, microwaves, rockets...byproducts of God poking here and there to encourage the creation of things, to bring to pass the exaltation of man. That was brought up in the Roots and Branches talk by Elder Cook about computers and family history, but it also applies to other things.
P-DAY ACTIVITIES. Wow, 8 days is a long time between Preparation days! (We had an early P-day last week, because of our conference.) It felt like it ought to have been Preparation Day yesterday, but it wasn't. Now I am back on schedule.
This morning we woke up at 4:45 (reminiscent of early-morning drives to the airport) and biked over to a hill that looks out over the city. We watched the sunrise. It was such a nice view, one of those awesome moments where a bit of extra effort pays off in an extraordinary experience.
BAPTISM. This past Saturday was Henry's baptismal interview. A senior missionary asks questions to make sure they are prepared to make the commitment to be baptized, and are willing to be a disciple of Christ. He was found ready, so his baptismal date is July 18 (yes, this Saturday!). That will be a nice finish to the week.
The Zone Leaders slept over on Sunday evening, on their way up to mission council meeting, and one of them taught me a different way to solve a Rubik's cube. So I've worked with that the past several days, seeing if it's any better than the other way. If nothing else, it's nice to know a different way to solve the cube.
And, this week we did a lot of finding work, where we go out looking for people to talk to. It reminded me of Ferrara; it seems to be a necessary evil, ha! (Not an overly productive use of time.) We ran into a lot of nice people, some of whom were willing to meet again: a Filipino woman, an Egyptian man, and a Romanian man. I don't think all that many Italians get baptized, since I have mostly taught foreigners. And, you can see that in the ward (congregation), too. There are a lot of Peruvians, some Ukrainians, and quite a few Americans, and a respectable number of Italians. But the majority are not Italian.
ENGLISH CLASS. The group that attends our English is different here, too. The three people who come regularly are all middle-aged. One from Southern Italy, one from a town near Firenze, and the third from somewhere near Firenze, but lived in Sweden for awhile. So we have sort of a cultural class, hearing about their lives, day-to-day activities, searching for work, where they've gone, etc.
HOW HAS IT BEEN EASY OR HARD FOR YOU TO LIVE WITH COMPANIONS IN YOUR MISSION? Good companions are good when they want to do work, be engaging, and do things. They talk about things that interest both of us, or can make their preferred subject interesting. And while they may list things they want to do after the mission, that's not the main focus. Bad companions are lazy. only talk about one thing, and complain.
CLEANING OUR CLOTHES. We have a washing machine at the apartment. We just buy detergent and bleach, so about every 3 weeks.
P-DAYS. We have done a variety of activities on our P-Days. Here, we have gone to a museum called the Uffizi, climbed the Duomo and various buildings, or we went to Ponte Veccio and looked at expensive stores there.
Our ward (congregation) here in Florence is a mix of tourists and church members right now. There is a solid base of members, and maybe 150 people come to church each week.
Love, Anziano Whitesell