Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Angels, White Shirts and Liquorice Fudge

(Side note from Mom: Angela, our "adopted daughter," is our good, good family friend.  She graduated from Wayland High School the same year as David, then her parents moved back to Taiwan.  She is studying abroad for her junior year of college, in...Florence!  She is actually in the same congregation David is assigned to as a missionary right now, at least until he gets transferred.  She says, "I keep telling people that I picked Florence long before David got his mission call..."  She arrived in Florence about 10 days ago, but sick.  That's background for David's first story.)

Each week I jot down a few notes of things I want to send to people in emails, and this week was about being forced to change, or rather, growing through pressure.

COMMUNICATION MISSES.  So the week started out with an email from Angela, saying how she is sick and needs a blessing. I think ok, and I email back thinking it's just a minor cough or something, not to worry.  Late on Pday I get another email: it's bronchitis and she's had it for a week, and needs help sooner rather than later.  So communication being lame, since I have a dumbphone and no address for her, and I'm gone all day to a conference, I can only contact one of the youth in the ward with a smartphone, and get him to contact her to get me her phone number.  Apparently that was the wrong number, then later we contact her with the right number, and she says that through she has contacted the other missionaries and got one of them to give her a blessing.

So I was left feeling defeated--I'm glad it was solved, but I felt kind of useless.  It was a silly situation, making me feel like there was some obvious thing I missed (Google "xkcd: have you tried knocking; Dad, you'll feel this applies to you sometimes...)

In any case, Angela is good...we saw each other at church.  Her voice is raspy but she's alive.  And, I got the church magazines you sent with her, thanks!  Also the lemonade story letter.

STEP IT UP.  At the new missionary training, they focused on what President Kearon had said -- attacking the day, planning ahead, as well as general mission life in Italy: rules, budgeting, etc.  The invite was to get a 21-lesson week this week.  We've been averaging about 10 lessons a week, so that would really be stepping it up.

So I made a lot of calls, had things planned out before-hand, and am learning useful skills now that I have to work at a higher level.  Because what President Dibbs said made me think: I haven't changed much in Firenze so far.  I need to step it up to grow this area.

This has led to more calls, using finding time more productively, calling members ahead for lessons, and a few things I've struggled with.  Those include calling outside my comfort zone (other than the members I'm used to calling), calling in advance rather than procrastinating until the day before, and not holding off on calls until I know more or have called some other person who's not picking up.  So progress through change (a conference talk from awhile ago) is good for you.

RANDOM FOOD ITEM.  After I finish the list at the grocery store, and I want something different, I look around...this time I got Liquorice Fudge.  English liquorice may have alcohol, as opposed to licorice, which is fine, but I checked the ingredients and this fudge was fine.  I got it, and it's delicious.  And there was much rejoicing. :)

Mom, to answer your questions:
BIKE REPORT.  The bike is fine.  I actually gave it to my companion Anziano Liu, since he's a bigger guy and that's the sturdy bike.  My current bike is sketchy.  It looks classic and is very basic, no gears...and only one brake.  The other snapped.  I need to get that fixed sometime.

ITALIAN FOOD I LIKE.  Italian tortellini/ravioli is good.  Lazagna is good.  I think Italian food is just whatever an Italian makes...much of the food here is "Italian."  Panino is just a grilled sandwich.

My personal study has focused on increasing my scriptural awareness, with scriptures on various topics being easier to reference, like Families, Faith, Prayer, etc.  I'm also reading the New Testament.

BAPTISM.  Also, Henry baptized Julia, it was great!  A lot of Peruvians showed up to the baptism and we had a party.  It was neat to watch him (the ordinance was in Spanish) since he practiced a bunch beforehand.  He was concerned about getting it right. :D

ANGELS IN WHITE SHIRTS.  And Mom, we fixed an old couple's tire.  We were biking past, and see them on the side of the road.  We pull over and ask if they need help, though it's obvious the tire is flat.  They accept, and we do it in about 10 minutes (5, once we find the wrench and tire jack), white shirts and all.  They are very grateful, and as we fix the tire they are talking on the phone. Their friend was looking for a mechanic for them, but they told him, "Two angels stopped, and they're fixing the tire right now."  So thanks for teaching me how to fix a flat!

Love, Anziano Whitesell

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