Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Companion, Training

new companion: fresh perspective!
TRAINING.  Well, I have a new companion: a greenie (new missionary) named Anziano Liu.  He's a gentle giant, very polite and not wanting to disturb or bother people, and a big guy.  He attended a year at Utah Valley University before coming here.
Anziano Whitesell with the Duomo off in the distance

The thing I'm noticing, working with/training a brand-new missionary, is how many things I just take for granted -- having a companion who knows how to cook, what we do on P-days, knowing the systems of the mission for asking for reimbursements for travel, how to do email, even teaching basic Italian Restoration lessons.  It's taught me a lot about how much I've grown, though I'm pretty sure I had a better hang of it when I first came on my mission (one can always hope).

after the tornado went through
In any case, I'm working a bit more than I've had to in the past, explaining this or that, and initiating conversations, teaching lessons, etc.

tornado debris
NEW CHURCH MEMBERS. Henry received the Aaronic Priesthood last Sunday, which was neat.  He actually asked me to do it, which is neat on the one hand since they treat us like family (tears were shed when Anziano Kormylo left).  But it means I'll have to work to get him more integrated with the rest of the ward (congregation), since as much of an honor as it would be for me to do things like baptisms or ordinations, it should be someone from the congregation, who will be here after I leave.  So, I'll work on that too.

LEARNING.  Julia is on track for a baptism the 5th of September.  We are excited about that, and getting the family ready.  The brother has sat in on several lessons, and while we are not yet sitting down with him and giving him the lessons personally, that will come shortly.

FRESH PERSPECTIVE.  I have seen some nice things come from the last week.  When someone is being trained, people may comment that they have "Greenie Fire." That is their idealism, and eagerness to talk to everyone, spread the good word, and be involved in things.  Their energy and excitement has not been dampened by anything!

MEXICO MEMORIES.  So in the rush to 'talk to everybody,' we ran into some neat people.  Cristina is a lady who lived in Mexico 20 years ago.  She is Mexican, but speaks Italian fluently.  She already read the Book of Mormon, because a friend invited her to do that when she was a teenager.  Also, she recognized the ASF (American School Foundation: the school we attended when we lived in Mexico City), when I said I had attended a private American school there.  I guess there aren't that many...

We also met __________, a weird guy (think 'crypto nut') who we ran into, and before we could say anything, he told us to read a verse from the a book that wasn't actually included in the Bible.  Since I was carrying the Bible, I took it out and he couldn't find it.  But he had me write it down and said I needed to read it.  Then he left, muttering about the number 7.  Then we ran into him again in the grocery store.  He was still wearing shades.  As I was looking at detergents, he says behind me, "Si, quello va bene." ("Yes, that is fine.")

Tes and Savio are a Filipino couple who knew a member of the church and had taken lessons from the sisters in the past.

Life goes on.  It's the 25th today!  It's another month-mark of being away.  Time just ticks away so fast.  I finished uploading pictures to Box.  There's one in there of my scrape, from the bicycle wipe-out.
bike mishap eeeewwww

Love you!
Anziano Whitesell
Oh, P.S. Teresa found where I'M ON THE NEWS: google "Firenze lo Pulisco Perche" and it's the first result.  Here's the link.

Sign Art Around Florence

SIGN ART.  And maybe you can see all of the sign-art now.  Signs around town, where someone creative has painted pictures on the signs, of people "using" the symbol somehow.  I've taken pictures of almost every one I've seen around town, so I would guess that covers maybe 80% of them.  There are clever people working on those.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Training, Tag-Teaching, Traditions

Well I don't have any huge new stories this week -- no hurricanes, wipeouts, UFO's, or other crazy nonsense.  But I do have transfer news, and I have put more pictures on Box :D !!!

TRANSFER NEWS: I am staying here as District Leader, and I will be training a new missionary.  Woo-hoo!  Anziano Kormylo is going to Lecco, way far north, and I will miss his company.  But we've discussed a lot this "new companions" business, since not knowing anything about the people we're going to be spending 24/7 with for the next 6-12 weeks is, well, kind of scary.

I've decided that, on the positive end, I could get an Australian (or Brit) who already speaks Italian and shares my interests.  On the negative end, I could get an anti-social, card-carrying member of the K K K with no desire to learn Italian and who has never left his home state.  That would be really disappointing.  I would probably cry.
 Realistically, it's probably going to be somewhere in the middle.  Probably an American, probably knows some Italian, probably gone/going to BYU.  We'll see.  I'll pick him up from Milano tomorrow.

LEARNING FAST.  Julia is still progressing nicely towards baptism.  We're on track for the 5th, and without any foreseeable hiccups, I think we can manage that.  We're tag-teaching with the sisters, since she is usually home during the mornings, but without her husband.
So they teach her then, 2X/week, and we teach Saturday evenings, when Henry is also there.  So with pushing from us and the sisters, she is learning quickly.  She has also told us that she reads the pamphlets with her boss (she works as a caretaker for a 91-year-old lady).  So that's neat.

Henry had his interview for the Aaronic Priesthood.  Unfortunately, he left before Priesthood Meeting, so he doesn't have it yet.  Next week --

We've also visited many members this week, so Anziano Kormylo can say goodbye.  It's neat, seeing how the missionaries can get close to members over the course of a few months.  I got close to Ann in Udine, but in Ferrara there weren't as many members.  So Firenze is a different experience in that regard.

SABBATH DAY.  The Stake President held a meeting just before Ward Council about keeping the Sabbath Day more holy, which is apparently a church-wide push.  They rearranged the schedule of church and put Sacrament Meeting in the front, instead of at the end.  And he brought up things like setting examples for our children in how we treat the Sabbath, and how families can start traditions to keep children focused on the Gospel.  See "The Music of the Gospel," Wilford W. Andersen.  Good stuff.

For meals, I cook rice dishes, pasta-pesto, mac-n-cheese-n-sausage, and sloppy joes.  A variety.

I'm looking forward to the next several weeks, as people get back from vacation and work goes along.

Love you!  Anziano Whitesell

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stretching, Scrapes and Saldi


Yes, we were surprised at the hail and at the man's reaction, too.  I have taken out the frisbee twice, but I've definitely lost some skills.  NOT throwing, for hours, 3X/week takes some muscle memory away.  Same for piano.  I can still play Black Pearl and Have a Nice Day, but Wizards in Winter, He's a Pirate, and Skyrim are completely gone.  It's very sad.

GOOD TIMING.  I gave a talk last Sunday, with two other missionaries.  No, I'm not leaving yet, (so far as I know...we get transfer calls Saturday), we just got assigned to give talks.  And he said "7 minutes," and I gave a 7-minute talk, didn't have to stretch it!  There was a Seventy (church leader) from Brazil there, named Massagardi, so he gave a talk, too.

SUITS.  I bought a suit last p-day, from Gutteridge.  Most of the 'suit stores' look intimidating, because you know they cost a ton (hello, Boggi).  This one looked classy, but was on Saldi (sale).  It's a blue suit, which I haven't tried before.  I wasn't about to do the anchorman burgundy or green suits, but blue is a good color.  My grey suit is fading some, I've worn it quite a bit...and biking in it can't help.
 Also a few weeks ago, I got a leather bag.  A side bag, but a little smaller than the one I took to college.

BIKE MISHAP.  Another thing that happened, on the way to a service project on Thursday to clean up debris from the storm,
I was coming down the hill on my bike and turned, and skidded out, leaving a nasty scrape on my forearm, just below the elbow.  So I wasn't hurt during the storm, just after.  And of course, the only thing to do was wash it off and go to the service project.  And then at English class, people asked, "What happened?"  It stung pretty bad the next day, but now it's scabbed over, healing nicely.

Also, chances are I'm training a new missionary, this next transfer.  I don't know for sure, but it's likely.  I'll find out Saturday.

Well, that's all for this week.  Have a great week!
Love, Anziano Whitesell