Boy have I got a story for you! This might be the only story I share because it is probably all I have time for.
For this story, we will start about 5 weeks ago. Anziano Hunsaker and I were charged with call of preaching the gospel in the city of Cagliari. We worked hard sweat drop by sweat drop, step by step, calorie of gelato burnt by calorie of gelato to teach repentance and baptize converts. One day we were blessed by God with the opportunity of teaching Lucky who was referred to us by a Nigerian member named Friday. Like good, responsible missionaries, we scheduled appointments, taught him lessons, broke his boxes, and helped him as much as we could. Like good responsible missionaries we did this for weeks until finally the date of the baptism arrived. Saturday, August 26th 2017 we woke up at 6:30 like good responsible missionaries, did our morning routine, made calls and invited everyone and their dog to the baptism that night and then went out to do finding like good responsible missionaries. We came back and ate pranzo, studied the language, and gathered all our stuff together to be good, responsible, ready missionaries for the baptism at 6:00. We arrived at the church at a good old time of 5:20 and began setting up for the baptism. It was at this point that we noticed the other elder missionaries at the church because they had just finished a lesson. We kind of talked a bit and then looking around seeing we had just arrived and then at the closed font doors, they must have had a question. With a pause, it came out as more of an exclamation than a question as they said, "You guys haven't filled the font yet!?!?" Apparently even in all our preparation as good responsible missionaries and the blatant outline of correct baptism by the correct authority and immersion hadn't quite made us realize that the font might need water in it for that!! Long story short, one and a half hours and 60 feet of garden hose through an open church window later, Lucky and I went down in to the about waste-high deep font for his baptism into the true church of God. Good thing many people came late anyways and one of the "5 minute" talks before miraculously became a 30 minute talk because even with all that time the water was high enough for the two of us. #BlessingsOfBeingShort Needless to say, it turned out great in the end. Lucky gave the most rock solid testimony ever. After meeting him just weeks, it was so awesome to see him echoing the truths of the restored gospel as he declared that this was the one true church of God and he knows Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet with the priesthood authority today. At the end of his testimony he said, "I would encourage you all to read the Book of Mormon because it's true!" To end I would like to add my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon is true and this is the church of God on the earth. Onward and upward!
Your sometimes good and responsible missionary, Anziano Stucki.
So much has happened this week and I want to try and share a lot of it so we're going to go for quantity over quality in this letter!
First things first, we had zone conference this week. It was probably the best one I've had during my whole mission. It was such a good spiritual boost. Felt like I was back in the MTC for a bit. :) It was awesome to have President Pickerd back. I don't know if you all knew, but actually for the past about 2 months President and Sorella Pickerd have been in Utah doing surgery and treatment for Sorella Pickerd's cancer. Sooo we have had a momentary missionary President holding down the fort for this time. This momentary President is named President Euvrard and used to be the president of the Milan Italy Mission. Anyways, President Pickerd is back while Sorella Pickerd is staying in Utah for a awhile to do treatments. I think she will come back to Italy after a few months. The day before zone conference I got the opportunity of doing a trio scambio with TWO Italian missionaries, one of which was an AP. Talk about being humbled. Whatever Italian skills I thought I might have had, kind of disappeared. Haha it was a really cool experience though that I will probably never have again.
Now is when I've got to condense things down. In the fewest words I can say, pretty much Wednesday night at 6 we had a lesson scheduled with these two members named Salvatore and Giulia in church. We get there early and see the Sorelle missionaries also there. We asked them what they were doing and they said they were waiting for a lesson at 6. We casually then asked who it was with. They casually replied it was with Salvatore and Giulia. We then not so casually were like, "What?!?" I don't know why they told both us and the Sorelle that they were open. They were probably just too excited that two companionships of missionaries wanted to meet with them. #IAmNoLongerInAUtahWardAlert Pretty much, after the laughs were over, we decided to let the Sorelle teach these members and then went into another room to make calls until 7 when we had English Course. Little did we know those plans were also about to change, because literally the second person I called surprisingly answered the phone after we've been trying to get a hold of him for months and asked where we were. I said that we were in the church and then he said he would be there in 5 minutes. He is an old investigator. He kind of died off a few weeks before I came to Cagliari and I had never met him in person. True to his word he soon arrived in the church. He has read a bunch of junk on the internet and as soon as we sat down started drilling us with questions from anything about polygamy to law of chastity to Joseph Smith. We talked forever and ended up not showing up until the end of English Course. Honestly, the whole thing was just a testimony to me of how important it is to have faith and humility when we pray and seek the truth. I'm not sure if he will do what he needs to find the truth, but I felt like this was a miracle in and of itself just how everything came together that evening. If anything, at least we know what's going on with him.
A huge highlight of this week would be that Lucky "passed" his baptismal interview and we found another African man to teach this week. He is also a refugee from Nigeria. We had a lesson scheduled with another African investigator one evening and went to the piazza where we agreed to meet. Our investigator wasn't there, but we saw another African man sitting on a bench. To my surprise Anziano Hunsaker went up to him and asked him if he knew our investigator. In my mind I was like why the heck would he know him! Well, I must not have been following the spirit because after Anziano Hunsaker asked him, this man replied and said he was actually roommates with our investigator!! Long story short, he knows our church her well, has read most of the Book of Mormon, has attended our church many times (In Nigeria), and his wife and children have been baptized into our church. Needless to say, he was very happy to find us! We will be teaching him tomorrow.
That's all, for this week, but as a spiritual thought for this week I would like to say I am learning so much to trust in the Lord. I more and more take comfort in the thought that not only does God know what is going on in my day, but everything that happens is also going according to His plan! In fact, he even has a REASON for why it is happening how it is. Whatever happens, happens how God wants it and "all these things shall give [me] experience, and shall be for [my] good." D&C 122:7
Love you all! Anziano Stucki.
Hey family! This week has been crazy! Basically last Monday after p-day we left the church and went to a park nearby where we like to do finding. We talked to several people who werent really interested and then we talked to some other guys who very much were NOT interested and pretty much just exploded on us. One of the guys just went off explaining all these theories and studies and reasons as to why religion was false and on and on. He went off for a bit and I then I said to him, "I'm still learning Italian. I'm sorry but I didn't understand all of that." His friend sitting next to him who obviously spoke Italian then actually admitted that he actually didn't really understand either so then I didn't feel as bad. I remembered back to years of primary and Sunday school where they say that if you meet someone who just wants to contend, just bear your testimony and then leave. So I quickly bore my testimony, which he immediately denied and then we announced we had to go and left. It was glad to get out of that situation, but after hearing all his rage and mocking, the spirit was long gone and I left feeling kind of trashy. We took the bus and went to another park. We entered the park and started walking through when before we even talked to anyone a couple on a bunch called to us. We went over and talked to them and they explained how they have actually lived next to our church building for years and always wanted to know more about us. Fast-forward the week we had a lesson on the restoration and are going to teach them again on Wednesday!
We had several lessons again with our investigator Lucky the African from Nigeria. He loves the church and wants to follow Jesus Christ so much, but we found out a week or so ago that he didn't really understand the idea of a one true church. He just believes any church that prays in Christ's name is "true." In Italian there's a phrase they like to say that translates into English as "breaking boxes." It basically just means to just call someone out and set someone straight. So, this past week we realized we had to break some boxes of Lucky's. Which we did! We wasn't extremely happy about it all, but we invited him to pray about it. In the next lesson we talked and he feels that everything he is doing with us is right and he wants to continue! He is still on track to be baptized on the 26th! We are sooo excited! He is so awesome.
One last thing, I am the organist here in church (thank you Lorelei for giving me even those few lessons on the organ!!). Put simply, I am "surviving." I will continue as long as the members can excuse when I randomly smash my foot down on the wrong foot pedal and bring the house down during the sacrament hymn. Haha
Love you guys so much! Anziano Stucki
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.