First news of the week, I have finally recieved my Permesso di Soggiorno!! Which pretty much means 1) I can now rest peacefully at night knowing I am "allowed" to be here and 2) because I got my Permesso in Trapani I'm pretty much considered a local and I therefore qualify for a sweet discount on the chairlift up to the beautiful city Erice on top of mountain next to Trapani. I already went there once with my last companion but with over 100 GB of space for pictures on my memory card and the "local" discount, who could say no? Not me!!! I will send pictures later...
This week I learned many lessons. One being, if you need to catch a train that leaves at 8:00 in the morning and you have to get ready, pack lunches, and walk 45 minutes to the train station, you should probably wake up earlier than 6:30! Thank goodness Heavenly Father forgives us and helps us still because as we were rushing hopelessly late to the train station we happened to pass by a certain bus stop right as a certain bus that would take us near the train station miraculously happened to come by. Enough said, we were able to make the train! This appointment was with a less-active who we have been trying to meet with for over a month because he's been so busy and unavailable. The next train wouldn't have come until noon and so we would've missed our lesson that morning if we hadn't made the 8:00 train.
This week I have also come to see what it means to mourn with those who mourn and to stand with those who are in need of comfort. We taught another less-active in Mazara del Vallo this week too. He cannot walk anymore so he is confined to a wheelchair. We taught about prayer and how you should thank God for things he has given you and then ask for blessings. He just kept saying over and over again, "All I pray for is to be healed..." Thinking he just maybe wasn't understanding I kept re-explaining how he can also pray for other things. It took me a bit before I understood what he was saying. With tears in his eyes, this 65 year old man said, "That's all I pray for. That's all I ask. I just ask God to give me healing. That's ALL I ask." It broke my heart to see him like that. He has such an innocent understanding of prayer and God. We tried to comfort him as much as we could by bearing testimony of Jesus Christ and the importance of respecting God's will in all things.
This week we went all the way over to Catania for stake conference. During stake conference a man gave a talk and talked about how often we may have the faith to be healed but then he asked the question, "Do we have the faith to NOT be healed?" The point of his question was profound as he went on to explain how so often we ask for things that we want or what we think we need, but God doesn't always give them to us because it's not what HE wants. We have to believe that what God wants for us is really the best. If we have faith in God, we can have faith that following Him and sacfricing our will for His really is better.
I love you all! Have a good week!
Thank you, Anziano Stucki.
This week has been great! We have started teaching a new investigator who used to take the lessons with the missionaries some time ago. One day, we randomly found her name in the area book and decided to pass by. When we went she answered the door and said they didn't have time right then. Her four children (all under the age of 7) were so excited to see us though! They poked out the door from behind her and announced that they would be home the next day afternoon. So we returned! This mother is so sincere and very believing. The other day we did a lesson on the Restoration. At one point during the lesson, a member we brought with us was explaining the Apostasy and the fact that all the authority was lost and the church fell apart after Christ's death. She excitedly interrupted and said, "But wait, what about them?" and pointed to us. We were then excited to explain that the reason WE were there was because the church had in fact been restored and the authority was back! Throughout the whole lesson, however, the kids were running around the house, yelling, the littlest was bawling because he was too shy to come out and see us but he wanted the mom to hold him, and then their grandma stopped by quickly and gave all the kids gelato and so then we helped the mom dish up all the kids gelato. I honestly don't know how the Spirit still reached this mother because when I left the house I seriously had a headache from the yelling kids. But, this mother said the closing prayer for the lesson and in it thanked God for helping her find the answers to many of her questions and for the Spirit and peace she felt.
This week I also got my first opportunity to play soccer in slacks, white shirt and tie, and yes, my dress shoes (thank goodness for shoe polish!). We were walking by this little soccer court and these kids called over and invited us to play so we went over and played for a bit. Haha
Today one of our friends from English course, who works as a tour guide, took us to Segesta to see an ancient Greek temple!!
2. Countryside of Sicily!
3. Me and our friend
4. Greek temple
Love you all! Anziano Stucki.
Hey all! I am still here in Trapani! Everything is going great! Anziano Melling has gone to Rome. My new companion is named Anziano Macdonald and he is from Blanding, Utah.
So here in Italy, there is a cookie brand here called "Mellin." Whenever we would introduce ourselves to people Anziano Melling would say, "Hi, I'm Anziano Melling, like the cookie." Now, there's always someone who makes a clever comment when Anziano Macdonald introduces himself. People seem to remember my name pretty well, but they always leave off the "i" at the end, which then kind of sounds like the word "stucco" like the texturing stuff on walls. I decided I need a cool way to introduce myself but somehow saying, "Hi, I'm Anziano Stucki, like the stuff you smear on walls," doesn't seem like it would go that well. They still have fun with my name though. I love also telling people my name is from Switzerland since it's so close to Italy.
One cool story from this week, my Italian is improving more and more but it still has a long way to go. But, I have seen so many instances where in the moment I needed it, I always understood just enough, or was always able to speak just enough to be able to communicate and get by. Without a doubt, I have seen the gift of tongues very powerfully this week. Just this past Sunday, a past missionary (from Utah) who served in Trapani 7 years ago came and visited with his family. I sat by his younger brother. None of them except this past missionary of course understand Italian, so I wanted to translate the meeting for them. I was hesitant though. I didn't think I could do it. However, as the first few testimonies came and went, I suddenly realized that I was understanding almost everything they were saying. I had the thought that God was blessing me with this gift and so I should take advantage of this opportunity and practice. So, I leaned over to the brother and asked if he'd like me to translate. At first he said not to worry about it, but I insisted. As member after member got up and bore their testimony, I did my best to translate. There were still many that were pretty hard to understand, but I did my best to at least summarize what they said into English for this brother. I loved it so much. I feel like God is blessing us immensely. I do not feel alone in this work. I really believe our ability to do this work really isn't so much about how much we can do with our own power and capability, but about our ability to subject our will under God's and rely on Him.
That's all for this week! Love, Anziano Stucki.
Remember last week I said something about Neal doing splits with Elder Macdonald from Blanding? Well, they are now companions. I think this is so cool. Here is a letter from Elder MacDonald to his family about the transfer. - Terri
Attachments7:01 AM (1 hour ago)
Last week I wrote about how I went on a exchange with anziano Stucki in tropani. I was like "what if I got transfered to Tropani to follow-up train you haha". The following Monday I got the call, packed my bags over the next to days and took the 1 hour Bus ride from Palermo to Tropani on Thursday morning. When I first got the news I was like "Yes, I got what I wished for!" Then that night I was like thinking about it and I was getting kind of nervous and was more like "oh no, I got what I wished for..." The nerves didnt last very long though because Anziano Stucki is awesome and does super good work. He is already doing so good with the language and I dont ever have to worry about him.
This week has probably been one of the hardest, but probably the most fulfilling of my mission! We saw SO many miracles. We had a member give us a referral to teach a women who had a miraculous dream. In this dream she saw that this member was the way to the joy and peace she is searching for. She barely even new this member, but decided to contact him and then he contacted us. She is so awesome! It is amazing to see how the Lord is preparing the hearts of these people.
Also, the girlfriend of a member here is a non-member, but has been coming to church for awhile. She has taken the lessons before from missionaries a year or so ago, but us and the boyfriend both think she's ready so we wanted to ask her this week if she would like to take the lessons again. We talked to the boyfriend before, but had changed his mind and said we should wait to ask her. So we decided to wait. However, we went to pranzo with the girlfriend and boyfriend and his family and afterward, before we left, she stopped us by the door to see if we could set up a time to come and study the scriptures with her! She isn't completely open to taking the lessons yet, but we are so happy to have this opportunity to help her if even just a bit more.
This past week, we did scambio's with missionaries from Palermo. They came to Trapani. It was so fun and even in that short 24-hours we saw several miracles! Thursday morning me and my scambio companion (Anziano Macdonald) decided to try some house to house. Truthfully, house to house is probably one of my least favorite ways to do finding, but he had a cool way of doing it that I'd never done before so I decided to give it a try. During daily planning, we each prayed separately and then prayed together. We looked at the map and chose about twelve street names that stood out to us. We prayed over these street names and then each chose 3-5 to ourselves. We compared the ones we had chosen and any that were the same we went and knocked every door (or rang every citifono) on that street. The first time we compared the ones we had chosen, none of them were the same. So we prayed again. Haha this time two of the streets we had chosen were the same. Later that day, we arrived on the first of the two streets we had selected. We began ringing every citofono. At first, either they didn't answer or they rejected us. When I rang the citifono of one house, the button just kind of shot in and got stuck down. For like 5 painful seconds you could just hear the loud buzzer inside the house just ringing out monotonously before we got the button to come back up. The people answered the door with a less-than-friendly expression and to add to the awkwardness, turns out it actually was a business and not somebody's house. Hahaha Needless to say they didn't let us, but we got a good laugh afterward so it was cool. Haha We kept going up the street without success when we passed a women on the street. Anziano Macdonald stopped her and tried to give her a billitono for English course. She was kind of surprised and taken-back and just kind of stared at us for a minute before saying she wasn't interested. As we moved farther up the street, I happened to glance back and see her get in a car and then to my surprise she drove up towards us, parked the car, and got out. She apologized for seeming rude with our encounter minutes before and said that she actually was very interested in learning English more. We had a good conversation with her about who we are and what we do and she seemed very interested. It ended up being so cool. It was so amazing to me that even though we didn't get into any of the houses we were in the place God needed us to be. And not only that, we were there when He needed us to be. We found out during our conversation that she is a saleperson for bus tickets and rentals. She had just happened to be on that street for only a shortwhile when she met us.
I'm so grateful to be serving here. We'll get our transfer calls tonight so we'll see what happens! I'm so thankful for the ability to pray and for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know there are many good and righteous people on the earth, but only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the same church that Jesus Christ organized on the earth, can we recieve the ordinances and fulness of the gospel that we need.
Vi voglio bene! Anziano Stucki.
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.