This past week was zone conference! In the rotation of zone conferences Palermo zone is towards the end of the transfer and Cagliari is towards the beginning so I'm kind of lucky to be having zone conference again. It was so awesome as always! In zone conference I got to play the piano for a musical number. The song is called, "Thy Will Be Done." It's a new song put out by the church in the new mutual album. I love it so much. I've come to see music more and more on my mission as a joy and even a help for me. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed at times I love listening to music, singing, or if on some rare occasion we have a minute at the church, I love to play and sing on the piano. It's funny how so often we appreciate certain things so much only when we don't have them as much. I can say some of the most happy and spiritual experiences of my mission have been when music is involved.
This past week I had an awesome experience talking to a man on a bench in one of the big piazzas in the city. It was one of those times where you are walking up to them and you have no idea what to say at all! I just tried my best to be as confident and friendly as I could. We began talking with him. I remember having the clearest thought to ask him a certain question. I did, he answered, and I felt prompted to say something else. I felt like I was guided through basically the whole conversation. I have to say, by the time it ended he was not interested in hearing our message but it was still the coolest experience! Just how the conversation evolved and where it ended up, I felt very happy with where it ended up and I felt like we were able to present our beliefs in a very friendly but firm way to where he completely respected us and understood clearly. I'm thankful for that experience. That definitely doesn't always happen to me where I'm guided to know exactly what to say. Many times I talk to people and the conversation doesn't go at all how I expected or wanted, but I'm thankful for those moments where I realize what God can do.
I'm thankful for this opportunity to be serving a mission. I know this gospel is true and God lives and loves us. I know the Book of Mormon is true and if we follow the modern prophets we will not get lost or led astray by the changing views of the world.
I love you all! Anziano Stucki
By the way, I forgot to say but the two pictures I sent of me and then my nametag are a hike we did for P-day today! The buildings behind the picture of my nametag are a part of Cagliari.
1. Me, my companion Anziano Crook, and Anziano Raimondi the Italian elder today writing emails at the church.
2. My last Brioscià in Palermo with Anziano Garrett and Anziano Macdonald.
3. Me at the church in Trapani before leaving
Sorry I don't have pictures of the city of Caglieri. I will get some this week!!
Love you all! Anziano Stucki
A LOT has happened this week. I am writing y'all this week from.......Caglieri, Sardegna!!! I'm just across the sea from Trapani and the island of Sicilia where I was before. Caglieri (more or less pronounced like "Kah-yeh-ree.") is the capital of Sardegna. It's at the very bottom of Sardegna. It is much much bigger than Trapani. There is a good ward here and there are 8 missionaries in this city (4 elders, 4 sisters). We live in a 4-man house and it is so fun! My companion is Anziano Crook from Layton, Utah. I am on a streak of having all comapions from Utah so far. I am his follow-up trainer which pretty much just means I am the companion he has for his third transfer. With me in my fourth transfer, we are a very VERY young companionship. Thank goodness though, because the people here are way easier to understand. Supposedly they speak some of the most pure Italian in Italy. That will help my Italian a lot. Also, one of the other elders in my house is Italian. He is hilarious. In the evenings at the end of the day we seriously just sit around the table in the kitchen and He makes us all laugh. Hana He knows English pretty much perfectly but he still talks in Italian almost always.
Well, backup to Thursday morning the senior couple the Garrets dropped me off at the airport in Palermo, Sicilia for my flight to Roma and then Caglieri. Don't ask me why I flew all the way up to Roma first because I wouldn't be able to tell you!! It is was still fun however to "be" in Roma even though I literally just sat in the airport for my short 1 hour layover. Haha Anyways, back in Palermo I was sitting in the terminal with 40 min before boarding time. So what did I do sitting there alone in the airport not having a companion with me for the first time in months? I went back down the hall where I had seen a nice little concert grand Yamaha piano. I started with River Flows In You and then went to Pirates of the Caribbean. After that, I didn't have any other songs memorized so I pulled out my tablet and started playing from sheet music I had on that. People would clap after each song and then I would just play another one. I played for a good 30 minutes and then headed over to the gate to board. I got to talk to a few Germans after. They didn't speak Italian, but they spoke English pretty alright so thank goodness! Basically I just told them that if they see boys dressed like me in Germany that they should go say hi to them. Haha
Hours later, I arrived in Caglieri. All the missionaries were there at the airport to pick us up. I briefly said hi to my new companion then was informed the zone leaders would be taking my luggage, and me and my companion would be accompanying another elder to Oristano (a city up towards the north of Sardegna) to meet his new companion. The fun part was, the train that this elder's companion would be arriving from at Oristano was the exact train Anziano Crook and I would have to take to return to Caglieri. We couldn't get on the train and go back to Caglieri until we were sure this elder was with his companion though, but thankfully miracles happen, because the exact train car we were waiting at, was the train car this elder's companion got off of. I don't know if that made sense, but pretty much, it was a crazy day. Haha When we got back to the apartment that night, I suddenly realized the only thing I had eaten all day was an apple. I am definitely learning to just go with it and just enjoy the ride. I've seen this week very much that many times that's the only good option.
I am loving it here in Caglieri. It's also close to the sea just like Trapani. The sunsets are gorgeous. The bus system is also amazing too! Haha I feel very blessed to also have the opportunity to be serving as the district leader here in Caglieri. I feel like this calling is very much a blessing. At a time when I'm adjusting to a new city and new people and faces, my first reaction might be to turn inward and focus on myself more, but instead with this I am called to look outward and focus on the needs of others if even in just this small way. I am coming to learn that turning outward is actually a blessing in and of itself because in doing so something inside us changes and we instantly become just a little more like Christ.
I'm so thankful for this opportunity to be on a mission. I know God loves us and that following Him will bless everyone's lives.
Ciao! Anziano Stucki.
1. Me and my cuz
2. Pizza Italiana!
3. Since I might be leaving Trapani, we've been trying to get to the "have-to's" one of which is my favorite Sicilian sweet of all time, the Graffa. :)
This week was very interesting after being out of our area for several days. While in Palermo, I got to go on a scambio with my distant cousin (we have the same triple-great-grandfather or something #familyhistorypaysoff) Anziano Anderson which was pretty fun!! While on our scambio we sat at this bus stop for like 30 minutes waiting for the bus to come. We were just sitting there talking not really paying attention when all of the sudden the bus we needed to take came flying by. We ran after it trying to wave it down, but it was hopeless. The next bus didn't come for another hour so we ended up walking a good 40 minutes home. Haha
This week back in Trapani we were very much guided by Heavenly Father! Saturday night and Sunday we had all of our plans fall through. Saturday we went to our last house on our list to find that the people weren't home. We looked down the street though and saw an old lady outside her house who we had seen a day or so before (we met her when my awesome tall companion helped her get something out of a truck that was too high for her to reach). So we decided to go talk to her. We talked to her, her daughter, and her son. She also gave us this really interesting kind of fruit that I've never seen before. It was pretty good so it was a win-win! Then, Sunday night after all our plans fell through we were walking over to a roadside bench to have a mini planning session and before we even made it to the bench some guy approached us and started talking to us. We had a long conversation. He had many different beliefs than us but in the end he decided to take a Book of Mormon and said he'd read it!
Also, this Sunday the Italian lady from the new Meet the Mormons movie came! She is an old convert of this branch and grew up in a small town nearby Trapani. She is so awesome! She actually referred her good friend, Antonella, to the missionaries sometime ago and Antonella is now our investigator!
Tonight we recieve transfer calls. It would be so so awesome to stay in Trapani but chances are I will probably move. I'll let ya'll know next week!
I am so grateful to be serving here in Trapani, Sicily. I have learned so many lessons while in this city. I definitely am not the same person I was when I came. If there's one thing overall that I can say I learned it would be that God never leaves us and that He gives us trials for our benefit. I am confident that God could do whatever He needs to and could rush in and save us instantly in any moment of despair, but He doesn't always do that. And thank goodness too because He knows what He's doing a lot more than I know what I'm doing. This past week me and Anziano Macdonald were talking about one of out investigators and what invite we could give her to help her. As you may or may not know, on a teaching record there are a list of invites that you could give your investigator. You can give them other invites as you feel inspired but in general these invites have something to do with reading the Book of Mormon, praying, keeping a commandment, or going to church. For some reason as I thought through them this time, it really stuck out to me that they really are basically the primary answers--those things that we talk about and know we should do to stay close to God. I realized I was trying to think of some sort of invite that was too complicated. In reality, those simple things apply to virtually every situation. No matter the diverse and complex problems that occur in life there is an answer found in following the simple things God gives us to do (reading the scriptures, praying, repenting, etc...). I know that is true. Sometimes we go on long long searches to "find God" in complex ways only to go in one great big circle back to the simple things that we are encouraged to do time and time again. I know the gospel is true and I have a testimony of our Heavenly Father and that He knows exactly what we need to do to make it back to Him. And He loves us so much that He does what's best for us to help us grow and turn to Him.
Love you all! Anziano Stucki.
This week I'm writing from Palermo because we got evicted from our apartment in Trapani after our neighbors complained about me singing too much. Just kidding! But we really did get "kicked out". It all started when the sink in my bathroom started leaking (one transfer ago) and after looking at it more they decided to call professional help because they had to replace some pipe or something in the wall. Comunque, they sent a guy out to look at the apartment and they decided to also paint it and put some protector stuff up for the humidity. We came to Palermo for zone soccer today and we'll be staying here for 3 days.
This past week we had zone conference which is always good! We also went to Erice again but this time because some members invited us to come pranzo with them and then teach a spiritual message to some of their non-member friends. As summer comes on the Italians seem to be eating more and more seafood. For one of the courses of the meal they brought out a huge bowl (like one of our big bowls we put popcorn in for movie nights in Moab :) filled with mussels. That was probably the weirdest thing I've ever had to eat on my mission so far. They tasted alright but the texture was so wierd. Afterward, we briefly taught the Restoration lesson and all went well until one of their friends asked some trivial questions. After that it just got worse and worse. We and the members tried to explain our beliefs but their friends took more and more offense and the spirit of confusion and contention grew. It fell apart so fast. We left that appointment with our ears ringing from all their loud words. We felt pretty discouraged and frustrated. Little did we know what would happen however. We learned from the members later that sometime after we left and things had died down, one of their friends actually asked for a Book of Mormon! We are so excited! God definitely blessed our efforts.
We also had another awesome lesson with our investigator Erika (she is the mother of the 4 children who I talked about a letter or two ago). The usual member we bring to lessons with her couldn't come, so this time we decided to invite the branch president and his wife. They were happy to come and even brought their 11 year old son. We taught the Plan of Salvation. At the beginning we asked Erika what she believed was the purpose of life. She gave some sort of general answer and then added that well probably no one could really answer that exactly. Smiling we turned to the branch president's 11 year old son and asked him the question. He nailed it!! It was so good, straight forward, simple, and sincere. (He basically just talked about how we are here to follow God). Erika was so impressed with him. It was awesome. As usual though throughout the lesson the four kids were crazy and disruptive. At one point Erika was recounting a beautiful story of how she had met many many missionaries in the past who have come to her home but until we came and brought a member things just didn't click. She continued basically saying how we had come and been the answer to her prayer. It was at that point in this beautiful story that she suddenly screamed, "Attenzione!!!" A fraction of a second later a good-size 10-step latter came falling down. It missed the back of my head by inches and came crashing into the side of the head of the branch president who was sitting in a chair beside me. Her son apparently had bumped the latter with his tricycle and knock it over from its resting place against the wall. The branch president was fine and played it off kindly but Erika was mortified. We all started laughing and Erika ran into the catching to get something cold. She didn't have anything so she came back with a small chunk of ice she had scraped off the freezer. Hahaha it was so funny and surprising. Before this lesson we had been wondering if it would be a good time to give her a baptismal invite and we weren't sure, but during the lesson she actually asked about baptism. The Sanacuore's shared their conversion stories which definitely were very much about baptism. We gave her a soft baptismal invite and she said she hoped it was something she could reach someday. We invited her to church also and she said she would come. Fast forward to Sunday 30 minutes into church, we were having doubts if she would come. Suddenly just as the testimony meeting was starting she and her 4 little kids came in! I was so amazed too because the kids behaved themselves perfectly! They all loved church and one of kids even cried when they had to leave primary.
That's all for this week. Love you! Anziano Stucki.
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.