Weeeeell, it's another week!
This week I was able to go and do a scambio with my follow-up trainer, Anziano Macdonald! That was really fun. We were in Castellemare. On Wednesday night we went and did a lesson with some of their contacts. The people's uncle who is a member was there and helped with the lesson. Well after the lesson we left with the uncle (named Giuseppe) and he took us out to gelato. He was talking about his son and how his son loves to play songs on the piano and sings and even showed me a video of him. Well we left the gelateria and we continued talking. He explained how his son wasn't a member (his son is 15) and how much he would want him to be baptized and go on a mission. Well at some point we saw this stray dog walking on the road and Giuseppe started talking about the dog. Well in Italian the way verbs work you don't have to say "he" or "it." For example in English you say, "He runs" but in Italian you can say, "corre" which can mean "he, she, or it runs" but if you want to specify who was running you have to say "lui corre" (He runs) or "lei corre" (she runs). Plus, at least in this case in Italian if they wanted to say "it runs" they would just say "corre" without a pronoun so as you can see it's a bit ambiguous. Usually you understand fine because you're following the conversation and you understand the context, but I didn't catch it, plus I kind of phased out thinking about his son. So as Giuseppe is talking about the dog I jump in and just say, "Si vede che lui sarebbe un missionario bravissimo!" ("You can see that he would make an awesome missionary!") You can guess what happened. Giuseppe just kind of gave me this wierd look and then said some comment about a dog missionary or something. Haha It was a good night. Giuseppe kept saying he hopes I come to Castellemare again. Haha I would love to go back and jam with his son on the piano. The next morning in Castellemare we went out and did finding on lungomare. It was so beautiful! Several times we would just be walking along and look across the bay and you could see the big volcano Vesuvio. It's those moments that just slap you back to reality and make me realize how amazing this opportunity is! After that we went to Caritas which is what they call a major Catholic charity institution and helped cook and make lunch for homeless people who come! That was the first time in my mission I got to do that. It was fun! I tried to follow the conversations of several of the other volunteers, but although by now I communicate just fine when I'm talking to an Italian it is so hard to follow a conversation between two Italians especially when they are talking fast. Plus even though Castellemare is part of the Campania region and pretty close to Napoli at that the accent is changed a bit and it was a bit harder to follow.
Well, this week Nonna came back from Tuscania! She's been gone for the past month! Right before she left she said she would be gone for just about 2 weeks, but then after about 10 days we asked Monica about her and she just said yeah yeah yeah she'll be back in like 15 more days!! Haha That's one thing I've kind of discovered about Italians. They'll say they're just going to visit some family in another part of Italy and so you'll think alright they'll be gone a quick little weekend trip or maybe at most a week, but then they basically move away for 3 weeks and then you will call them and ask if they are back and they'll just respond that they'll be back in another week or something. So that's what happened with us, but the good news is she is back so we are going to be doing a good'ole lesson with her hopefully soon!
Saturday evening we did a lesson just with Monica (Nonna's daughter), Pasquale (Monica's husband), Ylenia, and Roberta. Me and Anziano Sanchez talked about prophets and then shared our favorite general conference talks with them. I shared "The First Great Commandment" by Anziano Holland. We then challenged them to bring questions to General Conference next week and suggested that one of those questions should be whether they should wait until June when Roberta finishes the Catholic Comunione to be baptized. We have talked so much about baptism with them, and at least for Monica she has heard all the lessons many times by now. I have wondered if Monica really does want to wait for the Comunione to be baptized or if she is just using that as an excuse and then in this lesson she opened up and just said that she wasn't sure about some things so she wanted to wait to be baptized. She didn't want to say what those things were though so we challenged her to just take them to General Conference and search for answers. Pasquale opened up a lot too about his feelings and thoughts. He basically said that he feels like religion is like jobs. At different times in his life he has had different jobs--he has just moved on and found new jobs based on his situation. He said he feels fine with his current religion but someday if the Lord gives him some sort of revelation he will readily move on, but for now he just doesn't feel it. We talked about the importance of him doing his part to recieve an answer. The conversation kind of wandered all over the place and finally Pasquale just said, "Well one thing is at least certain and that is, Jesus Christ lives." In that moment the words to a part of the introduction to the Book of Mormon came to my mind where it says, "Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world..." I quickly pulled out the Book of Mormon and flipped to the introduction. I handed it to him and told him to read the last two paragraphs. After doing so I just said, "Pasquale, yes, you are right! Jesus Christ lives! And this Book testifies of him and strengthens our faith in him. And if you believe in him, you certainly can believe in his words. And if you can believe in his words you can believe him when he taught us to be baptized. You can also learn to recognize and know which is his true church that you should be baptized in. But how can you know all of that?" He then referred back to the paragraph he had just read and said that we could know by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. We went on and talked a bit more and although he didn't really accept to read the Book of Mormon I feel so good about the lesson because I know that we tried our best. Plus, lately I have been trying to become more familiar with Preach My Gospel and the Book of Mormon so that I would be able to remember those things when the moment arrives and so I was so happy to see it happen this time. I have so much hope for General conference this coming week. I am just praying that they will be touched and be able to recieve guidance during it.
That's all for this week. I would encourage all of you to bring some questions to General Conference. They will be answered! Also, go look at the church's new Easter video and share it. It's so good! Love you, Anziano Stucki.
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.