Friday, June 3, 2016

David Arrives back in the U.S.


(This one is written by Mom...) We got to go to the airport on Friday. Amazingly, Anziano David Whitesell has completed his mission to Italy! His plane arrived mid-day, but of course he stood in lines to take his baggage through customs and immigration, etc., so he walked out of the doors of International Arrivals around 3 p.m.

We wanted someone besides his immediate family, to be there to take some video and still shots for us upon his arrival. We asked amongst his high school friends, who were home from college, if anyone had a couple of hours Friday afternoon to come to the airport with us. Nick and Nikhil stepped up and came to the airport with us to meet him. So glad the stars aligned and they could come!
Nick (L) and Nikhil

Dunkin Donuts of course!

It was such an overwhelming time for him, and for us! People ask him, "How was your mission?" How in the world can you pack TWO WHOLE YEARS of growth and experiences into a few sentences...?

We went right from the airport to the home of one of our church leaders in the 'stake' -- that is the group of congregations in the Boston area. He had some very insightful things to say about missions, and about returning missionaries.

He mentioned how each mission is so different and individual for each missionary. He reminded us that the Lord knows each one of us personally. David's mission helped him grow in ways that the Lord knows will help him now and in the future. Like filling a "bucket" of experiences and knowledge for yourself, that you can retrieve and remember later. Those things can help YOU get through future challenges, and maybe they can help you help someone ELSE get through theirs, too. Maybe the experiences David had will give him the wisdom to help someone else down the line, when they come to a challenge or obstacle.

I apply that to those of us who did NOT serve a 2-year mission, too. I think God knows what each of us needs, and just what and who we need around us to help us get through our adversity. He also knows how we can help somebody ELSE get through those things. We each have a different "bucket" of life experiences to draw from when we need it.

This church leader then "released" David from his service in the Italy Milan Mission. It wasn't a blessing or a prayer or anything. He said David would not be serving in that mission anymore. BUT, he was not being released from the TYPE of work he has been doing: serving people and being a representative of Christ. Those are life-long things.

It was a very emotional day for all, and David ended up being awake for about 24 hours straight.

We came back to the house and he unpacked his suitcase, showing us some of the cool things he brought back from Italy.

Lots of ties! He brought back ties for some of his friends. There was a merchant in Florence who really liked the missionaries, so he always gave them a great deal on their ties.

We're happy, happy, happy to have David home.

We love you David!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Note from Nicotra's Family

Hello (Anziano Whitesell's) Family!

We had a great time with your son eating fried pizza (a Napolis recipe). We really enjoy him and inviting him to our house.

He is a great missionary and a great boy, we are happy to have met him.

Nicotra's Family

P.S. We know the joy to meet again our son back from mission and are happy for you

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Last Post from Italy!

Hi, I really don't know what to write! Last THIS as a missionary, last THAT in Italy, last time in church, last time with the Nicotra and Pogetti families (really cool members).

We went to Lecco to hike. I shared the "Sons of Mosiah reunite with Alma" scripture from Alma 17 with some people, as a reminder to stay strong.

Although 2 Timothy 4:7 would also be applicable: I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.

Then the one I've been sharing as a favorite scripture is 3 Nephi 11:11 -- "I am the light and the life of the world."

It's really surreal, I still feel like I'm just going to another area, like it's normal transfers. It's like when Sirius Black dies by going through the doorway...nobody quite knows what's on the other side, but now I'm standing there about to pass through. Good things I'm sure.

I'll send the best pictures I've got, gathered through my iPad. You may have some of them, and some will be new.