Weeeell, time is runnin out and I have too much to write. It has been a really good week though! Lately (And by lately I mean like the last 6 months) I have been failing at writing in my journal. As of a month ago I started writing my journal on my tablet. Reason 1: I can type faster than I can write with a pen. Reason 2: I decided to start writing it in Italian, so it needs to be on my tablet so that someday when I forget Italian (fingers crossed I won't!!) I can just copy and paste it into Google Translate and read it. It'll have to do for now, but the thing that stinks is I totally could just send y'all my journal, but I'd have to rewrite it in English which basically defeats the whole purpose. So, the sad truth that I face every week of my mission is that I can't write everything in my weekly email! Hopes are that I will just be able to give y'all the whole spill next week on Skype. 😉 That being said too, if y'all have questions or specific things you want me to talk about, you could send me a list of questions during the week and I will just answer those in our call. Fate voi!
Comunque the ONE good story that I will share with y'all happened on Wednesday morning when I was in Messina on a scambio. Era troppo bella... me and my companion Anziano Gunnell went to the house of an investigator to teach a lesson. He is very excepting of the lessons, but his wife...not. We planned that if it was just us with him we would read the story of Nephi building the boat in the scriptures, but if his wife sat in we would read the nativity story in Luke 2 because she is catholic, it's Christmas time, and we wanted to build on some common ground. Well we went there and the wife was around but said she had stuff to do so we prayed, started the lesson, and begin reading the story of Nephi. Well, after only 10 minutes the wife just came in and sat down (what I didn't know then was that in all the months or maybe years he has taken the lessons his wife has NEVER sat in on a lesson!!). It turned out that the story of Nephi was actually so perfect and soon we were all sitting on the edge of our seats! It turned out being so good because in the story Nephi goes off on his whole discourse about how their God was the same God that Moses had and that He is the God of us all. It was the perfect universal message that built on common ground just like we had wanted! Well, the lesson ended and we left walking down the road. Well, as we walked we passed an African that we had actually seen the night before (because the scambio started Tuesday afternoon). We begin talking to him a bit and asked if there was anything we could do for him. He just asked for some book to give to him so he could read "the word of God." Being that we just carried around Italian Book of Mormons we couldn't give him an English one, but Anziano Gunnell asked him what his favorite scripture story in the Bible was. He then responded, "The birth of Christ." It was a moment of just shock and wonder as we got out our tablets and turned to the story in Luke 2 that we had pulled out earlier that morning in planning! It was just one of those cool miracles that just makes you realize God is watching over you and He is present in the small details of our lives. I love being a missionary!
I love you all and I can't wait to see you all on Skype!
This week we had zone conference and it was so awesome! It was so spiritual and fun. It was so good to see other missionaries and to see President Pickerd again. Sorella Pickerd still isn't traveling around to the zones farther away from Roma because she is still finishing chemo therapy.
This past Sunday was really cool because I got to take part in a musical number in church. There was me playing piano and singing, a man playing the violin, and a women singing. We did that arrangement of Silent night that I sang at my farewell. I love that arrangement so much! We did it all in English too. Haha the women singing doesn't speak English but she's like a pro opera voice major and is obsessed with apparently some version of Silent Night that Celine Dion. Haha needless to say, with only a few pronunciation tips like saying "virgin" with a hard "G" sound instead of like "J" sound, or saying "Heavan" instead of "Hayven." Haha That women really has such a beautiful voice!! The performance was so beautiful! There were so many people crying afterward. And the thkng In just keep thinking is, it was all in English! The spirit is real. That hymn is for sure my favorite Christmas song. Not to mention that women is not a member. She usually just comes to church because she likes to play the piano. We hope with time her heart will open to take the lessons.
Well, I think that's all for this week.
Love you, Anziano Stucki.
To break the news fast, there were no changes for us for transfers. I am here writing from Reggio Calabria again! Honestly, transfers and packing and traveling and adjusting to the new city and people and companion is sometimes just exhausting so it's kind of nice to sit back and relax this time around for transfers. It will be nice to spend this time here during the holidays because I love this city and the members are so awesome. That is one of the best things about cities where it is a smaller branch, you grow so close to them. Plus, let's be honest, this apartment is the nicest one I have had in my whole mission. In fact it is one of the nicest ones in the whole mission. It used to be a senior couple's apartment and let's just say they take really good care of senior couples. :) haha
Well, I hope y'all know about the church Light the World initiative that they are doing again this year. I was going to write you all about it last week, but I forgot. It is such a cool initiative and a cool way to focus on Jesus Christ more throughout the season. I would invite you all to 1) participate in it and 2) invite friends and family to participate! As we combine our efforts and focus on serving as Jesus Christ served, not only will we bless those we serve, but also many people will be touched and have a desire to learn about the gospel and the restored church. A couple weeks ago we watched some training video about this event and they said that last year during these holiday months around when they did Light the World the church department recieved more referrals than all the other months of the year combined!
On Friday we had a pranzo appointment with a member and her husband who is not a member. Afterward we did a spiritual thought. We decided to show the Light the World video. At this point I have seen that video probably 30 times, but this time watching it with them I had a new thought. It was inspired by a small second in the video where you see the hand moving back the little flap on the advent calendar to grab the candy behind it and you hear the girl laugh in the background. That part just stood out to me because it is kind of odd and random. You just here the laugh and see the advent calendar and you don't know any of the background story and what else is going on in that less than one second clip. And also as you watch the whole film it's like that, just small tiny little less than a second clips of acts of service and moments of the holidays taking place. The part that is profound is that obviously behind each one of these clips is a bigger longer story. When the film ended I explained them these observations I had made and then went on to explain that so often this is how our acts of service are. So often we focus on the one act itself and we don't think of the preparation, the careful moments of planning and worrying before, or even the stumbles and scrambling and the moments of stress and anxiety. And then, we often don't see the moments after. The smile and gratitude of the person after we served them and said goodbye or the quiet moment traveling home and the aftermath and cleanup. I went on to say that maybe this season of Christmas as we follow the calendar and serve people everday could be just a little bit like that. We may be noticed gratefully for the full efforts of our service or we may be unknown and anonymous to those we are serving and even others in general. I just began to bear my testimony that even though we may not be recognized or even appreciated for our efforts Heavenly Father does see all and He is so happy for all the good that we each do. He appreciates us and blesses us. As I began to bear my testimony I got emotional especially thinking about this women and the many difficulties that she has had to face. I guess you could say she is one of those women who has to "pull the handcart" harder because of the burdens that have been placed upon her. I know she so often goes unappreciated and even disrespected even after all of the hard work and sacrifice she makes. I also began thinking about my mom at home and the many times especially around the holidays where she would get up early to cook or clean and just get things ready for all of us. I am so grateful for the acts of service that the many people in my life have done for me, the unseen and seen. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for me in the garden of Eden where no one was with Him and even His disciples were sleeping. I am so grateful for His love and determination to do that. I would invite you all to make a full hearted effort to serve and invite others to do so as well! I know that even if the things we do go unnoticed or even unappreciated our "Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
Love, Anziano Stucki.
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.