Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Transfers, Visits, and a Long, Long Day

Well, some interesting happenings this week!  It's the week of transfer calls and transfer information, so there were a loooooot of speculation calls: "Have you heard anything yet?" and quite possibly betting, by some of the more apostate missionaries. (joke :) )

TRANSFERS. But we got the news, and no surprise for me: I'm staying another transfer in Firenze.  Another six weeks of fun times and teaching and good things!  So I'll take Mom's letter and try out Montevarchi or Pistoia (on Pdays) this transfer.  Those towns are still in our zone, so we can visit them on Pdays.  Although, since we have to stay in our zone, Firenze is by far the best city in the area to go for Pday, so I lucked out there.

One elder in my district is training, and one sister is leaving.  She'll be replaced by Sorella Hogan, who was in my district in Bologna for a transfer. It will be nice to have her in my district again.

PAPERWORK.  I picked up my permesso ("permission") after more nonsense at the questura ("police headquarters").  I had to get a certain sheet of paper they had given me, which I had forgotten to bring, although fortunately I kept it with my 'stack of permesso papers.'  So now I'm legal until 8 June 2016, which is when my ministerial certificate expires.

We've visited some members to work on family mission plans.  In our mission it's not allowed to just visit a member for dinner, share a spiritual thought and ask for referrals.  No dinner appointments unless there is an investigator (someone taking gospel lessons) or new convert present.  Fortunately, Henry and Julia love having us over, or we wouldn't get fed by members...I love that family, and not just for the food!

SCAMBIO. I did three companion exchanges (where we go teach with a different missionary than our companion: "Scambio" in Italian) in the past two weeks.  It was nice to get back to normal, having my greenie around, normal training and missionary work.  Although during one Scambio, other missionaries met with a man I found 2 months ago (on a different scambio), and got his phone number before he left on vacation.  And they had a good lesson with him, so that was nice to hear about.

FAMILY TIME. We met with a Nigerian man on Scambio (exchange) who lived in my regular area, so we met with him the next day once we switched back to our own companions.  We had an address, so we walk along and from the street we see "'s-a-lot-of-Africans-at-that-house-up-ahead ...43...45...47...oh-that's-the-address-we're-going-to.  We stop, look at them.  They (6 men) look at us.  "Is there a Chuks here?"
"Yes, he's inside."
"We came to meet with him. He told us to stop by."
"We will get him. Who are you?"
"Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ."
"Oh, most of us are Muslim."
"Oh. Well, Chuks said to meet with him."
'Chuks' comes out.  I've never seen him before.  They invite us in, we sit down, they pull up chairs.
"Who told you to come here again?"
"This is Chuks. He says he's never seen you before." (They are speaking pidgin amongst themselves and English to us.  There are 6 Africans around the room, and we 2 missionaries.)
"Well, the man said his name was Chuks, and to come here."
"Call him again, then.  We will see who it is."

We call, and after a few rings, he picks up.  We talk for a moment, and I put him on speaker.  One African man motions for the others to be quiet.  They listen to the voice and one says, "Oh, it's Papa J! He says he's coming shortly."  After a few more minutes, he arrives.  We teach a nice gospel lesson, with a bit of Praise-Jesus-Hallelujah Baptist preaching in there. And we leave.

LONG DAY. One more story, less elaborate. We go to church.  Church is the normal 3 hours.  After church is a lunch, because an ExPat family living in Italy for awhile, is having a baptism for their 8-year-old.  Big to-do.  They have a lunch, but hadn't planned on half the ward showing up.  But they do, and everyone is worried that the food will run out.  Somehow like the loaves and the fishes, if not 7 baskets left over!
 That finishes, behind schedule, taking another 2 hours.  Then the baptism service, where both speakers decide they'll make up for not having been invited to speak at General Conference by subjecting the attendees to 20-minute lessons on Baptism and the Holy Ghost.  Then the service. Then the confirmation. Then a group picture.  And we finally leave, around 4:45. We got there at 9 in the morning!  There were some ruffled feathers, let me tell you...

Angela invited her roommate to church, which was neat, but probably scared her off as the first time she ever came, it took SEVEN HOURS.

Ok, that's enough for today.  Have a great week!
This is our last District picture, before the transfer.
**The number of chairs we're sitting in, is what transfer we're in! (You can CLICK on this photo to make it BIGGER.)
I have just finished 10 transfers, so I sit on 10 chairs.
I am still training Anziano Liu, who sits on just 1 chair.
Left to Right: Bastian is staying, Cunningham is training, Liu, Whitesell, Skinner to Pisa, Jensen to Ancona.

Love, Anziano Whitesell

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