This has definitely been one of those kind of low-key and disappointing p-days, but I did my best to scrap up the best photos I was able to get.
This week has been so crazy. Last week we had found some new investigators but when we tried contacting them this week they didn't answer. It was sad, but it was kind of just like, well, the work goes on! At the beginning of this week the zone leaders gave an invite for each companionship to knock at least 20 doors a day for the whole week. I was totally down to do it, but a little bit surprised because house to house is usually one of those finding methods that isn't really the most successful. Nonostante, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday passed and we did our 60 doors. No one let us in, but we did have a few short conversations and gave away some pass along cards. So Wednesday early evening after we finished our 20 doors we didn't have anything scheduled for the evening so we went out to do street finding. We walked to the metro stop so we could take it to a more central part of the city. As we were at the little ticket scanner thing my ticket was being wierd and not scanning and so as I was standing there for a moment messing with it Anziano Lamoureux looked back and saw a girl who had come to English Course the night before. Anziano Lamoureux had mentioned that we should ask her and her sister who had also come if they wanted to take the missionary discussions. At this moment her and her mom were walking towards the exit to leave the station. We changed plans and left the ticket scanners. It was awkward because we had only just briefly met her at English course, but Anziano Lamoureux asked if we could walk with them for a little bit. They were friendly and we just started walking and talking a bit. Turns out they are from El Salvador in South America and moved here to Italy. We arrived to their house and then asked of we could come in and share a spiritual message with them. They agreed and we went into the apartment and walked up a couple floors to their apartment. Turns out it was locked and they didn't have the keys so we sat outside in the hallway while we waited for the other sister who had the keys to come let us in. We sat and talked for another good 20 minutes before she came. When we went in we taught them the Restoration lesson and gave them a Book of Mormon. It was such a spiritual lesson. The whole time we were just in awe. They are Catholic, but were interested in learning what was in the Book of Mormon. Towards the end the mom expressed a bit of apprehension at how learning these new things and reading these things of our church could cause confusion. Pretty much it was like she just didn't want it to change her faith and connection to God that she already has. A prompting just came to me so strongly and I assured her that if this book really does come from God and is true, there will not be confusion, but in fact, everything will make sense. We left that lesson floating on cloud 9. For sure it was a miracle. Even after we were doing house to house and didn't get let in at all God blessed us for our obedience by helping us be in a certain place at the exact time to meet this girl and her mom so we could teach them the gospel. And then he gave us the courage and strength to boldly step up and invite them to learn and do the things they need to gain testimonies and experience the joy of the gospel for themselves.
This letter is long, but one other quick thought. This week during district meeting we had a brief addastramento from the senior couple who is serving here in our zone. The Senior Anziano told a story about his childhood. He grew up in a broken home and just dark place without the church or the gospel. One day however he walked into a member's home and saw beauty and happiness and felt the spirit. He saw a vision of what he wanted his family to be like. Shortly afterward he took the lessons and was baptized. Now years later he has a beautiful family and is serving faithfully in the church blessing the life of his family and the others. Well, during all this I had this thought come to me. On my tablet I have a couple of our family pictures that I love to show to members or friends sometimes. They always comment on how big my family is, on all the adorable nieces and nephews, my beautiful sisters and sister and laws, and then admiring my parents saying how proud they should be and how hardworking they must be to have raised a family this beautiful. I am usually very happy and proud to show those pictures, but on a few particular occasions when I am sitting in the humble home of a poor family, or a family that has been torn apart by drugs and addiction or other hardships of life, I just pause wondering if maybe pulling out pictures of my "wealthy American family" would instead be discouraging or depressing for them to see in their rough situation. The thought just came to me though of how beautiful my family is! I don't have to feel sorry to show pictures of my family because they are actually a light and example to people who do not have the joy and blessings of the gospel! I had thought this before, but in that moment I just realized how much there is a light and beauty in my family that others see when they look at those pictures. I have seen it. I know they see a light in us when they look at those pictures. We may not be a perfect family, but you have so much going for us. Our family is eternal and that is powerful! I wish so bad everyone could have a family like mine. I don't know why I ever got so lucky to grow up in it, but somehow I did. I am so thankful for this opportunity to now share this with others.
I love you all. Have an amazing week! Anziano Stucki.
To answer your question, yes I have been waiting months to put that as the title of my letter for when I got transferred from Reggio. ;) I love Reggio assai and miss it. But, instead of spending this whole letter mourning I'll focus on the sweet, beautiful, awesome city of Napoli where I found myself now!! First off, it's the birthplace of pizza and I for sure didn't even know what a pizza was until I ate a Napoli one. More on that later though. :D I was so overwhelmed when I got this call. Mostly just over excitement! There's an Italian saying that goes, "Vedi Napoli e poi muori." (You see Naples and then you die) After being here only three days I see why! This place is unbelievably gorgeous. It is also HUGE. Between the metro lines, suburbs, innumerable buses, and hordes of people, it's gonna take me not a short amount of time to learn this city. Luckily my sweet new companion Anziano Lamoureux has already been here for almost 6 months so to say the least he knows the city very well! Despite what you might think he is not French. As cool as that would be, he is actually way cooler! He is a Utahn from the great city of Alpine, dances, sings, and does parkour. Seriously, he is the coolest companion. We get along so well and have a lot of similarities. We are definitely going to have a blast this transfer! He is one of the most chill people I've ever met, but at the same time he knows how to get it done and he is also a really good missionary! I feel like since I have been out a few transfers longer I should be the one setting the example and teaching him, but he is totally teaching me so much! It will be really good for me. He is making me rethink everyway I do missionary work. Haha
The work here in Napoli is poppin. Here in Napoli there is an awesome branch of 60-70 members. There are 6 missionaries in this city, or maybe I should specify and say 6 anziani. There is a reason why sorelle don't get called to serve here in Napoli. *cough* #Mafia #MyMainGoalInThisCityIsToNotGetMugged *cough cough*
We have some awesome investigators too. The main ones are a mom, Monica, and her daughter, Ylenia. They both are making so much progress! They both have baptismal dates. We are so excited!
Just within my first few days here we have also seen several miracles doing finding. Because this city is huge there are so many piazzas and big streets full of people so it is very very easy to do finding. Friday night we were doing English course finding. We stopped several people, but didn't really have any long conversations until we went off onto this kind of side street. I walked up to this guy and his girlfriend sitting on a bench and asked them if they knew how to speak English. The guy responded yes and we started talking about our English course, but then soon the conversation moved to us as missionaries and what we do. We asked them what they knew about our church and turns out his girlfriend who is actually Russian, but speaks Italian perfectly, went to our church a year or so ago and her boyfriend goes to America everyone once in a while for work and has stayed in Utah and saw a Book of Mormon in one of the rooms! Anziano Lamoureux is so smooth and good with people. He just went on to explain the Book of Mormon lesson, then next moment we were reading Moroni 10:4-5, giving them a Book of Mormon, saying a closing prayer, getting their numbers, and setting up a return appointment. Haha that was just one of many miracles I have seen.
I am so grateful to be here in this amazing city with an amazing companion and members and investigators. I'm thankful for everything I learned in Reggio, but I know this is my time to move forward and learn and grow in new ways. I know this church is true and God loves us.
Love you all, Anziano Stucki.
Also, two other random things that I didn't say in my weekly email. First off, here in Napoli they speak Napolitano which is more than just a dialect as they would have in other cities. It is an actual separate language. Basically everyone knows how to speak Italian and they do often, but still a lot revert to just speaking Napolitano. It is the craziest and coolest sounding language ever. I feel like a greeny walking down the street again listening to people's conversations and not understanding even a word. Haha even Italians from all the other parts of Italy don't understand Napolitano. For example one phrase in Napolitano is "Jamm a' mmagna a' pizz!" In Italian you say, "Andiamo a mangiare una pizza!" which means, "Let's go eat a pizza!" It's crazy. Haha
Second thing, I have so many companions and old mission friends serving in the zone of Napoli. A bunch came to Napoli today for p-day. I got to meet Anziano Macdonald my follow-up trainer in Trapani, Anziano Melling my trainer from Trapani, and Anziano Gibson my MTC companion is in my district! Also, in my house (It's a fourman house) I live with a missionary from my MTC group! I am so stoked for this transfer.
Anyways, that's all for now. Love you again, Anziano Stucki.
It's already the end of another transfer. I can't believe it! I will officially be on the downstroke and that's scary. What's also scary is that I'm probably getting transferred and who knows where! Honestly as long as I don't have to take a plane I will be good because if I do I am going to have to burn some stuff to get my bags underweight.
This week was just a really good week. We were able to meet with a lot of people! I don't have much time again now haha but this past Sunday in church I bore my testimony because I didn't know if it would be my last time doing it in this city. I have grown so close to this city because I have spent 3 transfers here, but it has also been in the later part of my mission and so I have been able to communicate and actually be my real self in Italian around these members and people and so I have grown the closest to them. I know that God places each of us right where we are for a reason and each of us has a mission and ruolo da svolgere! I know He loves us and does all He can to help us learn and grow and help others do the same. Love, Anziano Stucki.
Beh, my time is about up. I just want to say this week has been full of miracles. It was so awesome to recieve that miracle from the Firenze Anziani. I know God continues to bless us. This past week on the 28th I hit my year mark in the MTC. It has been a time of thinking and pondering as I've reflected back on my mission. I am so grateful for my mission! I don't know how to say that more powerfully, but I mean every word of it. This is truly the best experience of my life. I am so grateful for everything I am learning and experiencing. I love my mission. I know God is real and loves us! Anziano Stucki.
We got a referral from the missionaries in Firenze and so Friday we went to see him more up north in Calabria. Little did we know he had a lot more planned for us than just a simple incontro. He picked us up from the train station in a town called Bovalina around 13:30. He had insisted on meeting with us around 13:00 so we figured we would be eating. We weren't sure what to expect. I got excited as we pulled up in his car in front of a nice looking brick building with nice tables and chairs out in front. He said we were going to a restaurant (and when they restaurant in Italy it means NICE, not like a cafe or bar or a paninoteca) but as we entered the front doors and walked in my excitement turned to nervousness as I realized he was about to brake his bank account for us. Let's just say it was DELICIOUS. And maybe the most expensive food I've eaten in Italy and maybe my life...? Bless his heart. I felt so guilty with every bite, but he insisted. What can ya do? That being said, these pictures that I have attached here are this town called Gerace. People here say it is the "Firenze" of Calabria. It was gorgeous!
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.